Tag Archives: moments

That moment


Life in the city demands from us long rides, sitting ideally as we wait for the traffic to move, or holding the clutch ever so slightly, ready to accelerate as soon as we see any movement ahead of us.

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On days that I find myself looking ahead for far too long at the endless line of cars, I simply turn right or sometimes left in the hope that I might catch a moment in passing. These moments last simply for a few brief seconds before I am on the move again.

Sharing some of these moments on this post:  a mixture of happy, awkward and funny.

-The sun has just set on a busy Saturday afternoon. I look up and see the facade of a popular restaurant that is going to be bustling with activity in a few hours. Within the glass windows sit 15-20 men, all dressed in uniform, some hustling together, others enjoying chai as they laugh aloud, sharing a moment of companionship before the crowds take over. A moment of release before they are going to be on their feet again, not allowed to converse freely with each other or show any sign of familiarity on the dinner floor.

-A young girl walks with her parents into the Far East Asian restaurant where everyone is trying to eat with chopsticks. After endless chatter over the difference between dim-sums and sui-mai, the food finally arrives. As I wait for friends to arrive I look up from my screen and unfortunately catch a movement of fingers. Her mother had dropped the bright red chili sauce on her Saree and had reached with her fingers into the glass of water to soak the spot, so that the stain wouldn’t stick. In that moment the daughter eyes and mine meet across that glass. I look away as she aghast at her mother, starts a tirade of complains on how inappropriate it was for that restaurant.

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-At the junction where 4 roads meet, I turn the corner and on the opposite side of the road passes a ‘rickshaw’ lit up like a Christmas tree ; which meant every inch of its insides had sparkling ‘disco’ lights and music that could be heard from 20 yards away. And inside this carnival sat the most traditionally dressed man with a white skull cap,  all white kurta and a solemn looking beard, holding on for dear life. Our eyes meet for a brief second, and he gives me the brightest smile.

Ahmed Faraz talks of so many such moments in this poem and asks, “who is going to see them……., “Dekhay Ga Kon?”.

Transliteration and Translation

Ab Ke Rut Badli To Khushbu Ka Safar Dekhay Ga Kon ?
Zakham Phoolon Ki Tarah Mehkain Gain par Dekhay Ga Kon ?

This time, when the seasons change, who will witness the arrival of spring?
Wounds like flowers will bloom, but who is going to see them?

Dekhna Sab Raqs-e-Bismil Mein Magan Ho Jayein Ge
Jis Taraf Se Teer Aaye Ga Udher Dekhay Ga Kon ?

You’ll see everyone in a trance watching the wounds of an injured man,
The direction from where the arrow arrives, who will see that?

Zakham Jitnay Bhi Thay Sab Mansoob Qaatil Se Hue
Teray Haathon Ke Nishaan Ay Chaarahgar Dekhay Ga Kon ?

All the wounds will be attributed to the murderer,
The fingerprints of Your work, O messiah, who will see that?

Meri awaazon ke saaye mere baam-o-dar pe hai
Mere lavzaon main utarkar mera ghar Dekhay Ga kon?

The echoes of my voice heard on my doorstep-on my ceiling
Who will come within my house through my words and who will see my feelings?

Ham Chirag-e-shab hi jab tehre toh phir kya sochna
Raat thi kiska muqaddar aur seher Dekhay Ga kon?

If we are merely the candle that burns up the night, then why think further,
Whose fate was the night and who will see the morning?

Aa faseel-e-sheher se dekhe Ghameen-e-sheher ko
Sheher jalta ho toh tujh ko baam par Dekhay Ga kon?

Come, from the boundary wall of the city, lets look at the city’s enemies,
When the city burns, who is going to watch you atop your terrace?

Har Koi Apni Hawaa Mein Mast Phirta Hai “Faraz”
Sheher-e-Na-Pursaan Mein Teri Chashm-e-Tar Dekhay Ga Kon ?

Everybody in a trance, enjoying the breeze, O’Faraz,
The heartless city where no one cares, who is going to see your wet eyes?

(Note:This version of the poem and its translation is by Kuldip Salil, a translator and poet himself, who has translated numerous Urdu poems. This version is also slightly longer, with 14 lines, while most of them I read online have a slight variation and are just 10 lines long. I have chosen to go with Salil’s translation found in his book, “Treasury of Urdu Poetry“.)

Same same but different


 

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A grand dark cloud gathered all around her.

She wouldn’t be lying if she admitted that she knew it was lurking around, ready to swallow her whole. Standing at the edge, knowing how close it was, how easy it was for her to take a step and fall into that bottomless pit, made her clinch her gut. In that instant she could not breath, fearful at the prospect of falling in again.

But everyday acts needed to be performed, and this resulted in bland meals cooked without soul, paint brushes waiting to be stroked, that bright new dress still hanging in the closet, that pen lying in wait, no words, no new thoughts, just a grayness all around.

If Buddha were to hear her tale, he might simply ask her to live in the moment.

In the moment……

If this moment now is what defines me, then what of the moments that have made me, Me. Right at this moment am I not a culmination of moments past? Made of memories, hurt, pain, victory, satisfaction. If the past defines me, why am I not allowed to escape to the future? Just worry a little, stress out about things I cant control, create negative scenarios where all is lost?

And so she relinquishes control, falling slowing, each part of her body going numb slowly.

In the midst of the grayness, her happy past brings even darker fears; what if the future does not hold the same fervor? As time passes will she be able to fight hurt and failure with the same gusto she did in the past? May be her strength is failing her, may be she never was strong, may be they were right……

huge.96.480867She lives inside the worm hole for a day, the day turns into a week. She can hear them call her, telling her how beautiful, how special she is. She makes mental notes on everything right in her life, everything that she has, trying hard to be grateful.

It’s a bend in the road they say, not the end….come back to us, for we are ever waiting.

 


Deep darkness sometimes surrounds many of us. Depression, Negativity, Fear, Phobias, call it by any name, is a reality. Prevalent and spreading like wild fire, it is sometimes compared to a silent and slow drug.  Making me wonder how many of those happy faces around me are hiding within them this darkness, never being able to confess.

The fear of being ridiculed, being labeled weak, a vacuum of good listeners, neither friends who can be cathartic or an ego to big to admit, leads to the dark hole growing bigger.

My wish then is not that you never to be in that place, because the truth is we all do visit it. But I wish that it doesn’t last too long, that you kick the hell out of it and not linger there too long.

And I pray that you have around you, those who are patient, who believe when you don’t, who wait for you to emerge and smile that knowing smile.

The words of Kaifi Azmi in this poem talks about the lover, which sometimes can be the beloved or could it also be our darkness in whose arms we sometimes lie.

Transliteration

Uljhe uljhe jazbaat na pooch
Sehmi sehmi inayat na pooch
baar baar uska karam farmana
chupke chupke sare-baali aana
jaane kya kya woh mujhe samjhana
aur aap hi sharmajana
mukhtasar kitni thi woh raat na pooch

Aah mamnune-asar ho ki na ho
dekhiye raat basar ho ki na ho
abr ujdhe hue mandhlaye hue
taur sehme hoye ghabraye hue
ashk rukhsaar pe kuch aaye huye
aur kuch palko mein tharraye huye
aur khuda jaane seher ho ki na ho.

Translation

I did not find any prominent renditions of this poem or translations. Hence this is my humble attempt at translating his words.

Don’t ask about those knotted emotions
Don’t ask about those fearful blessings
Again and again you shower your grace
Quietly lie next to my pillow
Explaining to me all kinds of things
and feeling shy at the end of it
Don’t ask how minuscule that night felt.

Even if my sighs may or may not be that impressive
Even if the night may or may not exist
The clouds all uprooted and confused
The demeanor fearful and frightened
Those tears that lie on the cheeks
And some that lie captured in those eyelashes
Only the lord knows if the morning will ever arrive.