sitting beside the old chinar
I search for the voices. The thumping
boots have shot the Bulbul I am told
by a seven year old
whose pheran is still warm.
You must visits us, he insists
seventeen odd people in a shallow dig
marked by a stone, that’s my home.
Uncle Ganie likes blue eyed people
and he knows Abu will find
us all. He promised to come
and see me play after asr prayer;
cricket matches are long at times!
I ask him about the stone.
Not the shale one near the stream
Arshad lives there, not us,
of the size of my fist,
haven’t you seen it before?
A thousand of them, I have.
All in a hurry, silence prevails,
I must go.
The curfew starts at six.
Who knows I would be shot again,
Words fly by me
like a super train on its magnetic track,
like an aircraft piercing the dead sky,
like a Shikara wading through fumigated Dal.
Nausea stirs their meaning, their form,
like fumes of an exothermic reaction,
like monsoon clouds on Himalayas,
like faces of dead in a fake encounter.
Do they fear abandonment
like the wish of every child to grow old,
like Sohni clinging on to molded clay,
like Dhoks of the detained shepherds?
Lost songs of monsoon rains
echo with forgotten drumbeats.
I look for you,
in the voids,
between the beats.
The seas rolled themselves up
and now hide in memories,
vanishing like time;
yet seeping into the voids, like time.
How was it before?
Oh, not the drumbeats
but the void and memories
and the songs too.
Write about it on a paper
and roll it, into a jar,
and throw the jar onto the seas.
Let the seas remember
the first songs and the monsoon,
let the waves rumble with drumbeats,
like memories, and fill all the voids.
Have you ever been consumed by an idea
like a walnut, hollowed out from inside.
No, not by breaking it
but by letting it be
on the table, untouched
until it begins to roll itself
and cracks on the floor,
only to find the void
that exists within it.
Yes, ideas are powerful
but so are they – consuming!
i paint on
the shadows of time
and whatever was left behind
whimpers are benign
and loss, sublime
the nude dementia,
speak of heaven to me.
the gates of dawn
the squeaky Azaan
find me, will you?
Death is strange,
not a stranger.
not for long.
not for long.
I was the one
not for long.
Memory is what keeps us alive.
Memory would be dead too, soon.
And hence, I killed myself
like everyone else.
So is birth, strange!
But not a stranger,
I found me
and I was alive.
When I lose me,
even before Azrael’s descent
even before death.
Death is strange
but not a stranger!
yaad ka koi patah nahi hota
hota hai ek naam
woh bhi sadaa nahi hota.
kabhi tassavur, kabhi taasur
kabhi khwaab, kabhi maazi
kabhi kahani, aksar kuch nahi hota
ek khalish, ek andaaz
ek chehra, ek awaaz
jo kabhi kazaa nahi hota
jabja phir se jaag uth-ti hai soch
phir se mehak uthe hain zindagi ki mala
mein piroye hue chand phool
jo kuch saalon pehle murjha gaaye the,
jo apna rang kho gaye the
zaar zaar ho gaye the
jinhe nazar ne anjaan kar diya tha
aur soch, soch ne azad kar diya tha
aur abh parindon ki manind laut aaye hain
maazi ki dundh mein kho diya hai apna rang
badal gaayi hai awaaz inki aur badla roop inka
ya shayaad badal gaaya hun mein
Dar hai mujhe kho na jaayein kahin phir yeh
Dar hai mujhe simat kar na reh jaon kahin inn mein
Dar hai mujhe inke dar se
aur talabgar hun mein inke patte ka
par, yaad ka koi patah nahi hota
aur inke bisrne ka koi imkaan nahi hota
hota hai, par jeete je nahi hota
yaad ka koi patah nahi hota!
PS: The tittle is from Nasir Raza Kazmi’s famous Ghazal. Ghulam Ali’s beautiful rendition of it – Dil Mein Ek Lehar