Tag Archives: longing

Ambivalence


Enjoying a cup of steaming coffee
Looking outside at the rather unchanged view from my balcony
The mind wanders to the hills and its moss covered  pathways,
A longing for the cool winds and smell of the earth takes over.

Late at night on the rooftop looking at the city slowly going to sleep
Wondering what someone is doing inside their home on the 29th floor,
The mind wanders to the night bazaars far away that are brimming with precious metals, native foods and colorful puppets,
A desire for the bustle, unknown smells and exotic deserts envelops you.

Sitting inside the taxi while stuck in traffic waiting for the lights to turn green,
Staring at the timer as it runs out before you can make the zebra crossing,
The azure waters of a cove tucked at the end of the beach enters the mind’s eye
The heart pines for the touch of soft sand and tickling sea breeze.

A quiet, stress-free and well rested weekend inside a coffee plantation comes to an end
You watch time move slowly and gaze at the rain that drenches the earth around the clock,
That familiar crossroad that leads to home comes to mind,
You look forward to being back at your balcony sipping that all too familiar coffee, and smile at the thought of the view being unchanged.

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The heart never fails to create desires that allow us the momentary relief that comes from escape.  A feeling of ambivalence, wishing to be else where but here and then awaiting the mundane, the regular routine and humdrum of our lives.

This poem by Gulzar talks about the leaf that never left and died on its branch. Every time I leave the comfort of home to a new adventure, the heart skips a beat, the fear of the unknown, uncertainties and ambivalent feelings envelope me, but as every traveler must, I don’t let the voices get too loud, lest I become like the lone leaf.

Tehni par bhetha tha woh

-By Gulzar

Tehni par bhetha tha woh
Niche talaab tha paani ka aur,
talaab ke andar aasmaan tha
dubne se dar lagta tha
na tera, na udha, na duba
teni par hi bethe-bethe bil-akhir woh sukh gaya!
Ek akela shakh ka patta!

One lone Leaf
Translation by Pavan Verma

It was perched on a branch
Below were the waters of a lake,
And underneath lay the sky,
It was afraid of being drowned
But….
It neither swam, nor drowned, nor flew away
It just sat on the branch and finally wilted
One leaf on a branch!

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Vacuums


On a day filled with warm chai and hearty laughter, a day which extends its arms into the night right past midnight and into the wee hours of the next; you find yourself happy and exhausted with all the smiles, hugs, pranks and secrets shared.

Why then does it creep up on you like a dark cloud?

It would fit right on a lonely, event less, cold rainy day, with nobody around to swap stories with or share that samosa with.

Why at the end of a boisterous day like this you ask?

Some part of the mind has unexpectedly wandered off, thinking of those who might have been here right now, sipping that lal chai sold behind the railway station under the lamppost in the wee hours of the night.  Driving aimlessly in silence, listening to rain fall on the roof of the car on a deserted highway, they would have breathed in that moment with you.

Why imagine this when surrounded by loud music, bright lights and cheerful laughter?

Some who have moved away,
Some you have pushed away,
Some who are unaware how much they are missed &
Some who can’t, even if they want to.
Many reasons, same vacuum.

This week’s poem encompassing the emotion of longing and vacuums, is an ode from Gulzar to his friend Pancham. R D Burman the composer and Gulzar the writer.

The emotions in his lines written for his beloved friend swept me away. How simple the words, how haunting the imagery and how deep the hurt at the loss of a soulmate.

Capturing the hurt and loss of a friend, a vacantness that is never going to be filled, are his words in this poem called: Pancham.

Transliteration

Pancham

Yaad hai baarishon ka din Pancham,
Jab pahadi ke neeche waadi mein
dhundh se jhaank kar nikalti hui
rail ki patriyaan guzarti thi.

dhundh mein aise lag rahe the hum ,
jaise do paudhe saath baithe ho
hum bahut der tak wahan baithe
us musaafir ka zikr karte rahe
jisko aana tha pichle shab lekin ,
jiske aumad ka waqt talta raha.

der tak patriyon par baithe hue
Train ka intezaar karte rahe
Train aayi na uska waqt hua ,
aur tum yun hi do kadam chalkar
dhundh par paanv rakh ke chal bhi diye

Main akela hoon dhundh mein pancham……

Translation
by Pavan Verma

Pancham, you remember
those monsoon days,
when in the valley below the mountains,
rail tracks made their way
emerging out of the mist…

And in the mist we appeared
like two saplings planted together
We sat there for eternity
Talking about the traveler
Who was to have traveled the night before,
But never did.

For long we sat on the tracks
Waiting for the train to come
The train arrived though it wasn’t its time
But you simply walked a few steps, into the mist, and melted away.

I remain here alone in that mist, Pancham.