Tag Archives: shayari

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“.)

a Lovers Quarrel 


Never have more vehement emotions been exchanged than during a lovers quarrel.

Far too many poems have been written on ‘hijr’ or separation from your lover and about ‘ishq’ or romance and its sweet overtures. Witnessing a lovers quarrel earlier this week, led me into an expedition to find Urdu poetry about this very important aspect of love that is shared between two souls.

A couple who share a powerful bond for 40 odd years, is seen in the middle of a scene with flared nostrils, inflamed earlobes, and pursed lips, making the onlooker gasp in surprise. But is it so odd?

When the poets write about the lover, the all encompassing , the soulmate, the center of their universe, they might at times imply that it’s going to be perfect and acrimonious all the time. They might simply leave that part out; because just like no one wants talk about dirty laundry or farting and cursing, (although all poets do it and so do their lovers), it is something that won’t seem very elegant, and wont go in tandem with Urdu adab(manners) and its nazakat (elegance), something very central to its culture and its nuances.

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A lovers quarrel has a different kind of alchemy at play. Fueled by the complete opposite emotions that make their bond so powerful, the raw feelings of pettiness, impatience, pride and most importantly expectations enter the arena.

“The quarrel of lovers is the renewal of love” said, Jean Racine, referring may be to the making up after the fight.

But it isn’t just the making up, rather about how long a time elapses before they decide to make up. Lingering around in a pool of hurt, as pride doesn’t allow you make the first move; each one waits for the cloud of anger to subside, not being able to decide whether the other is ready to start a conversation.

It also isn’t just in the after-a-fight embrace, but whether there will be acceptance of the hurt caused, or will defense of one’s actions cause further damage. No matter who was wrong, pain was caused by both, words were exchanged and soft spots uncovered. Apologies plagued with defensive explanations, never seem to help the cause.

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After the harsh experience, simple moments that were so ordinary like sharing a cup of tea, sleeping in the same bed, eating a meal (mostly in silence), seem to have a cloud hanging over them.

Both sides would like the moment to lighten again, the comfort of being in each others company to be restored, but an unexpected visitor doesn’t allow them to start the discussion. As their eyes meet across the table, they can feel the hurt they have experienced, instead of words they choose to touch their hands, and smile.

The next morning, worldly commitments force them to travel part, carrying with them the hurt of last night. Too much time would be consumed in peeling the layers and asking the other to respond.

But as this poem by Ahmed Faraz says,

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even if it causes anguish, do return to me,

for the sake of the pride you have in our love, come back,

Or just to turn off the lights, come back.

A lovers quarrel …..

Transliteration

Ranjish hi Sahi… by Ahmed Faraz

ranjish hi sahi dil hi dukhane ke liye aa
aa phir se mujhe chod ke jane ke liye aa

pahale se marasim na sahi phir bhi kabhi to
rasm-o-rahe duniya hi nibhane ke liye aa

kis kis ko batayenge judai ka sabab hum
tu mujh se khafa hai to zamane ke liye aa

kuch to mere pindar-e-muhabbat ka bharam rakh
tu bhi to kabhi mujh ko manane ke liye aa

ek umr se hun lazzat-e-giriya se bhi maharum
ae rahat-e-jan mujh ko rulane ke liye aa

ab tak dil-e-khushfaham ko tujh se hain ummiden
ye aakhiri shammen bhi bujhane ke liye aa

mana ki muhabbat ka chipana hai muhabbat
chupke se kisi roz jatane ke liye aa

jaise tujhe aate hain na aane ke bahane
aise hi kisi roz na jane ke liye aa

Translation

If it is grief so be it, come to break my heart again
Come,  if only for the act of leaving me again

Our relationship may not be the same now, but even so,
Come to fulfill the rituals and traditions of the world

To who all must I explain the reason of separation
Come, despite your displeasure, at least for the sake of the world

Till now my hopeful heart is keeping some expectations from you
But at least come back to put off these last candles of hope

Too long have I been deprived of the pathos of longing
Come my love, if only to make me weep again

Respect a little the depth of my love for you
Come someday to placate me as well

It has been a long time I haven’t had the luxury of grieving
My peace-of-mind please do come back if only to make me cry

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This amazing video by button poetry called When love arrives,  performed by Sarah Kay and Phil Kaye is a must watch.