Tag Archives: javed

What is poetry?

What is Poetry?

Is it a form of delirium, an opiate to dull the pain of living, a prayer, incantation, gentle nostalgia for a lost world of innocence, an anguished cry from the heart or a new explosive to blow up an imbecile world, a clarion call to a change of heart and mind?

When for weeks or sometimes months on end, not a single word of poetry ever emanates from the mind, would it mean that the senses have numbed? Does it means that I can feel no pain nor admire beauty?

Is poetry then not a demanding and often formidable goddess that will come to you only when you awaken your senses to both the pain and the joy that life is throwing at you and asking, in fact demanding you, not to shy away but open up your chest and allow those emotions to embed inside your being itself.

Only then does this pricey enigma reveal itself.

As lovers of poetry are we celebrating pain, nostalgia, anguish and hurt, then? Would it be right to say that when we applaud someone’s poetry and hope they would write more such words, we are wishing for them loneliness, betrayal, longing or even death?

Even within romantic poems, the heart smiles when the poet writes about longing, separation, or the sweet pain of desires.

It often seems like the goddess may be the keeper of reality, or instigator of pain itself.


As Javed Akhtar says,

Dilon Mein Tum Apni Betaabiyan Leke Chal Rahe Ho Toh Zinda Ho Tum.

When I read these words, it is as though he is implying that the purpose of every pain, ache and sorrow is to make you feel alive and lest you forget you have the goddess of Poetry to remind you.

A poem on nostalgia By Javed Akhtar.



bap ki ungli thame
ek nanha sa bachcha
pahle-pahal mele mein gaya to
apni bholi-bhaali
kanchon jaisi aankhon se
ek duniya dekhi
ye kya hai aur wo kya hai
sab us ne puchha
bap ne jhuk kar
kitni sari chizon aur khelon ka
us ko nam bataya
nat ka
bazigar ka
jadugar ka
us ko kaam bataya
phir wo ghar ki jaanib laute
god ke jhule mein
bachche ne bap ke kandhe par sar rakkha
bap ne puchha
nind aati hai
waqt bhi ek parinda hai
udta rahta hai
gaon mein phir ek mela aaya
budhe bap ne kanpte hathon se
bete ki banh ko thama
aur bete ne
ye kya hai aur wo kya hai
jitna bhi ban paya
bap ne bete ke kandhe par sar rakkha
bete ne puchha
nind aati hai
bap ne mud ke
yaad ki pagdandi par chalte
bite hue
sab achchhe bure
aur kadwe mithe
lamhon ke pairon se udti
dhul ko dekha
apne bete ko dekha
honton par
ek halki si muskan aai
haule se bola
mujh ko ab nind aati hai


Clutching his father’s finger
When a small child
Went to the fair for the first time
His innocent
Bright eyes
Looked on a new world
What is this? What is that?
He asked excitedly
His father, bending low
Told him the names
Of many things, many spectacles
About the jugglers
The daredevils
The conjurers
And what they did
Then they turned towards home
The child rocked
in the cradle of his father’s arms
And rested his head upon his shoulder
The father asked:
Are you sleepy?
Time is like a bird
That keeps flying
The fair returned to the village
The old father
Clutched his son’s arm with trembling hands
While the son
Explained all he can
About what this was and what that was
The father rested his head on his son’s shoulder
The son asked:
Are you sleepy?
The father turned
Looked down the memory lane
Saw the dust kicked up
By the feet of moments past
Good ones and bad
The bitter and the sweet
And then
Turning towards his son
A faint smile playing
On his lips
Said softly:
I am sleepy now.

If you have a bit more time, please read this amazing article by Jayanta Mahapatra on Poetry as a form of freedom.





I always thought that scenes in the movies when the protagonists stood looking over themselves, was a little far fetched till I found myself in that very same balcony where it all started.
 There I was looking at myself
….at the scene when we sat there making plans, giving final touches to the plan that was not just a business plan but a vision of the future filled with gumption, hope and whole lot of energy. A scene where we sat arguing about little nuances and epic dreams.
…at the same spot on the balcony where I talked about creating presentations with only visuals that resonated with words in our heads.
…at the scene where we looked at holiday pictures eating coconut cream natural ice cream.
….at the place where we shared stories of success, of small impacts created, reaffirmed plans, and  exchanges anecdotes filled with histrionics.
…at the same balcony where the first thought of moving along was said aloud. The thought of an alternative with no judgments was whispered into the air.
….and where we shared homemade cake, drank red wine, remembered the bright orange fishes that died tragically and of the air gun that never found its prey.
…and where I returned with stories of new places,new people, new dreams and so many new possibilities.
…as I see us all huddled around thinking of a second helping, what remains ever so constant are eyes rapt in attention, words never harsh or presumptuous and a presence of acceptance and genuine care.
It wasn’t my last evening on that balcony,  coz I will return to it, armed with a bag full of stories to fill the cold evening breeze and fill my bowl with the second helping of dessert on offer yet again.
To moving away and the echoes of wandering…..


BANJARA by Javed Akhtar


main banjara
waqt ke kitne shaharo se gujra hun
waqt ke is shahar se jaate jaate
mudkar dekh raha hun
soch raha hun
tumse mera ye nata bhi toot raha hai
tumne mujhko chhoda tha jis shahar mein aake
wo shahar bhi mujhse chhoot raha hai

mujhko wida karne aaye hain
wo saare din
jinke kandhe per soti hai
ab bhi tere julf ki khushboo
wo saare lamhe
jinke maathe per hain raushan
ab bhi tumhare lams ka tika
nam aankho se
gumsum mujhko dekh rahe hain
mujhko inke dukh ka pata hai
inko mere gham ki khabar hai
lekin mujhko hukme-safar
jana hoga
waqt ke agle sheher ab mujhe jana hoga

naye sheher ke sab din sab raatein
jo tumse nawaakif honge
wo kab meri baat sunenge
mujhse kahenge
jao apni rah lo rahi
hamko kitne kaam pade hain
jo biti so beet gayi
ab wo kyun dohrate ho
kandhe par jholi rakhe
kyun phirte ho kya paate ho

main bechara
ik banjara
awaara firte firte jab thak jaunga
tanhai ke teele per jakar baithunga
phir jaise pehchan ke mujhko
ik banjara jaan ke mujhko
waqt ke agle sheher ke
sare nanhe munne bhole lamhe
nange pao.n
bhage bhage aa jayenge
mujhko gher ke baithenge
aur mujhse kahenge kyun banjare
tum to waqt ke kitne shahro se gujre ho
un shehro ki koi kahani hame sunao.

Unse kahunga
nanhe lamho –
ek thhi rani….
sunke kahani
sare nanhe lamhe
ghamgeen lamhe mujhse ye poochhenge
tum kyun unke shahar na aayi
lekin unko behla lunga
unse kahunga ye mat poochho
aankhe mundo
aur ye socho
tum hoti to kaisa hota
tum ye kahti tum wo kahti
tum is baat pe hairaa.n hoti
tum is baat pe kitni hasti
tum hoti to aisa hota
tum hoti to waisa hota

dheere dheere
sare nanhe lamhe so jayenge
aur main haule se uthhkar
waqt ke agle shahr ke raste ho lunga
yahi kahani phir dohrane

tum hoti to aisa hota
tum hoti to waisa hota.

Translation by David Matthews
I, a banjara
Have passed so many cities of time.
As I pass through this city of time,
I turn, I look and think
That even this bond we share is breaking;
This time of city in which you came
Then left me, is also ebbing far away from me
All the people of the town have come to bid farewell to me.
All those days on whose shoulders sleeps
The pefume of your tresses even now.
All those moments on whose forehead shines
the mark of your soft hand even now, with tearful eyes
They look at me now numb and lost.
I understand their pain
They know the grief I feel but I am comanded to travel on
I must depart and go on to the next city of time.
Those who dwell in the next city of time
All those days and all those nights
Who do not know you will never listen to my words.
They will say to me:
Go traveller! Be on your Way!
See how busy we are.
What has passed has passed.
Why do you repeat yourself?
With you bag on your shoulder
Why do you roam, what do you gain?
I, a wretched fellow,
A banjara
Wander aimlessly and when I tire,
I shall go and sit on a mound of loneliness.
Then as if they recognise me
Knowing that I am a Banjara
From the next city of time
All the tiny simple moments will come
Barefoot hurrying and scurrying
And sit around me
And say
Tell us Banjara
How many cities of time have you passed through
Tell us the stories of those cities.
And I shall say
Little moments!
Once upon a time there was a queen…..
And after the story
All these little moments will be sad and ask me
Why you did not come to their city
But I shall console them and tell them
Do not ask, close your eyes and think
If you were here then what might be
If you said this,
If you said that,
You would have been amazed by this
How you would laughed to hear that
If you were here then this might be
If you were here then that might be
Softly, gently
All my little moments
Will fall asleep
And I,
Slowly getting up once more
Putting my bag of memories upon my shoulders
Will take the road again
And head towards the next city of time,
To explain my tiny moments
To console my innocent moments
To tell my story once again.
If you were here then this might be
If you were here then that might be.