Posts Tagged ‘Faiz Ahmed Faiz’

Finding peace in the desert of loneliness

June 16, 2017

​So I was on one of those rants of mine. My wife was on another end of the phone call. I was reciting Ghalib’s poetry, some couplets as I remembered them from memory.

Suddenly out of the blue, I changed the topic and told her, as if I was talking to myself, “Do you know I’m no more sad anymore..? Though I look sad all the time, I’m not. I’ve no regrets.” I started singing, “अजि मी ब्रह्म पाहिले, अजि मी ब्रह्म पाहिले..”

I was again talking to myself. “I’m mostly calm, content. I’m not sorry..” “You know that poem by Faiz?”

“dasht e tanhaai mein, aye jaan-e-jahaan..” 

Faiz is calm here. He stands in the desert of loneliness, still he’s so calm.. and see the beautiful words he uses.. “With so much love, oh sweetheart, your thought has touched my heart.. even though it’s the morning of separation, it feels like the day of separation has just ended, and here’s coming the night of togetherness..”

Even this coming together is not like how honeymooners will jump on each other.. it’s calm, serene.. more like when one dies in the lap of their beloved..

“Why don’t you find such calmness in Ghalib’s poetry?” I asked my wife (though I was actually asking myself). I tried to remember at least one shair by Ghalib where he talks of such serenity. I could recollect none.

I jumped on another poem, one by Sahir. “चंद कलियाँ निशात की चुनकर, मुद्दतों महवे यास रहता हूँ..” Sahir too is not a happy poet. He’s full of his own bitterness. Still he finds these “few moments of happiness”, I couldn’t find those in Ghalib’s poetry. (While I was talking to her about this little poem by Sahir, I was kind of afraid she’ll remember.. I generally refrain from talking about our days of courtship with her. These were the lines written on the first page of the diary wherein I would write so passionately about my longing for her.. I could never tell her of my feelings for her, so one fine day, on the 14th of April, 2006, as we returned from Deekshabhoomi, Nagpur, into my room at a hostel nearby, I handed her my diary and kept looking at her tiny face as she read her own story within it.)

So, cutting it short, I couldn’t remember even one serenely calm shair of Ghalib. Perhaps, he could never get even those few moments.. Do you remember any of his calm shair?

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Of love, regret, and misery…

April 25, 2016

I am not my own self tonight; feeling like a pressure on my temples.  I close my eyes, I try to think of you, I fail miserably.  Each time I close my eyes, I feel the headache all new again.

Why are you so much far away?  I think of that poem from Gitanjali:  “O fool! Try to carry thyself on thy own shoulders!  O beggar, to come beg at thy own door!  Leave all thy burden on his hands who can bear all, and never look back in regret.”

Why me?  I was a fool, but I did seek to leave all my burdens in your hands.  Never did I regret.  “Sab daagh haiN is dil mein, ba_juz daagh e nadaamat..”  Then.  Why.  Me.

Alone and lonely, I sit here waiting for a single glance of benevolence from you.  To bring me out of this misery.

A caravan of mourners

December 4, 2015

I am afraid of this wretched evening.  Sitting in a corner of a whole emptiness is me.  Clock ticks its seconds.  Evening passes by.  “Waqt ke sog mein lamhoN ka juloos, jaise ek kaafila e nauhaagaraaN..”  In sorrow of time, this procession of moments, like a caravan of mourners..

Things need not be this bleak always.  But evenings are not things.  Evenings don’t understand.  Perhaps, evenings are like people trying hard to make you happy.  Evenings don’t know to leave you alone when you need to be left alone.  Evenings are hell in the same way as Sartre said “Hell is other people.” Evenings are not nights.

I woke at 1 a.m. last night.  It was the same room, but the emptiness didn’t feel empty.  It rather felt serene.  Why can’t we have all nights and no evenings?  I’ll perhaps need some other evening to find an answer.

Last night, when I was awake, I was actually feeling calm, at peace with myself.  If I think of it now, it feels like it was a complete different person.  Perhaps, it was me; a me very different from a me I am at evenings.  I checked my twitter.  I read my book.  I hummed my poems:  yuuN gumaaN hota hai garche hai abhi subah e firaq, dhal gaya hijr ka din, aa bhi gayi wasl ki raat.. It feels like – even though it’s a morning of separation – the day of staying away has just gone, here comes the night of togetherness..  At night, even separation doesn’t feel like a separation.  At least, it didn’t feel like that yesterday.

But it’s not a night yet.  It’s an evening, and a wretched one at it.  I am sitting in a corner of a whole emptiness.  The clock is ticking its seconds.  The moments are passing in a procession, like a caravan of mourners.

Song without a voice

May 31, 2014

He was struggling. Don’t know for how long, but for the past week – when he had been ill and lying in bed all the day and night – he had been struggling – not only with the fever and the vertigo it brought – but also for the something that was still elusive, still out of his reach. What was it that he took birth for? The thumping in his skull – which lingered even after the fever was gone – was somehow from his own pain.

“mera dard naghma e be_sadaa..”, he murmured. Faiz’s poem. My pain is a song without a voice. Why? Song? Without a voice? He again fell back into his headache – feeling awful like Gregor Samska.

Headache – or this feeling like pressure – like a lot is stuffed pack into the hollow skull – what? A song? Where’s the voice? He felt miserable, utterly miserable.

Many thought he was sad. Many others thought he should not be. But this song stuck in head finding no voice to come out, and not be sad? Not having a song is okay – you have a whole skull empty to fill with happiness, but now this something is not finding a way out – where to keep the happiness?

“What’s the default state of human mind?”, he again fell into a philosophy. Happiness? If it is, then I’m certainly not at equilibrium. Equilibrium.. the ability to see a coffee pot like a coffee pot..

“mere dard ko jo zubaa.n mile, mujhe mera naam o nisha mile..”, he was still not out of Faiz. If my pain gets a voice; I’ll get my own identity. His headache.. “mujhe daulat e dono.n jahaa.n mile..”, fever, falling asleep. I’ll get the worth of whole world.

The song, voiceless, kept thumping on the inner skull.