Tuesday, December 27, 2016

361. The calendar-keeper

let me warn you
not to visit her

lives in
a day of many seasons

each hour
she sprouts a hundred
naive ideas
restless thoughts

each hour
she blooms a hundred
colorful dances
of passion and wrath
and love and regret
and exuberance and desolation

each hour
she sheds her being
in crumbly words
and sits in an empty hull
shrouded in
dark silence
and white noise

let me warn you
not to visit her

those who visit her
do not live long
but they live longer
than they wished they did

360. शाम की चाय

इक वो दिन थे
जब रोज़ बीसों घंटे
धूप भिखरी पड़ी रहती थी
आँगन में

मैंने धूप के कुछ सिक्के
जमा किये होते
किसी गुल्लक में

ऐसे किया होता तो
अब जब हर दोपहर
तीन बजे
रात होने लगती है
तो गुल्लक फोड़ के
सौदा करता
जल्दबाज़ दिन से
कुछ देर और ठहरा करे

क्या है की
मुझे शाम के  चार बजे की चाय
अँधेरे में  पीने की
आदत नहीं है न

Monday, December 19, 2016

359. An argument with death

why do we fear you
i asked, defiantly
when we know you are inevitable
i intend not to

death smiled
well, why would you not
fear me

you will die
and you will cease to exist
all the things that you thought
and said
and did 
and saw
and felt
and wanted
and hated
and planned for
and accomplished
and won
and lost
and loved
and lived
there will be no sign left of
most of it
and soon the last memories of you will fade
you may remain as a name
or mostly not

you will cease to exist
and you will not even know 
that you have ceased to exist
even if you really really wished for it

you will never know the end of most stories
that surround you
and you will be a story past 
none else will care about or have time for

so in essence
all that you make this life out to be
is futile
and acknowledging that thought 
makes you sad and unsettled

so you choose fear 
fear is a good surrogate for sadness
you might as well pretend
that you do not know what happens
when you die
and that scares you

better be afraid of what comes later
than be sad about the uselessness of what is now

so you pretend
and you turn me
a poem
a parody
a person

like you are doing now
and have a fake argument
just to escape the need to accept the pointlessness of your being

so now you see
why you 
much rather fear me
the alternative 
is to seek me
in hopelessness

That is how
an argument with death

Wednesday, December 14, 2016

358. Boxes

packed in boxes
i had left aside 
a lot of books
when i find time
i will release 
all these imprisoned stories
some day

all these books
sat waiting
for a long while
in hope 
of the right time

their pages
started turning
that familiar brittle yellow

and then 
one day
i opened the boxes
and saw
that all the stories
had aged
so much so
they crumbled and fell apart
at the slightest touch

looked at them
and smiled

we seemed
to share a story

have not i
been sitting patiently
in wait for the right time
so I could
free the story in me

one day
when i open my eyes
i will find myself
worn by time
turning that brittle yellow
and my story tender and no longer relevant

when someone
comes by
and touches me ever so slightly
with care
would i crumble 
and fall apart too?

Translating 348.

357. Winter warriors

somewhere warm

where the moon
is not draped in
grey wool

where the streets
are not ablaze
with fake warmth

where you
do not have to wrap yourself
in too many layers
of thought and theatrics

some place warm
if you arrive before i do

and i will be there
to wage a war on winter
with you

356. Grindr stories

oh you say
i sleep with the wrong kind

so do you

mine seek
and no drama

yours seek
and perfect punctuation
(though i don't know how grammar helps a one-night stand)

the ones i seek
want money for a living
no pretense
just food for sustenance

and yours,
an illusion of depth
a parody of intellectual stimulation

i look through my wallet
to give mine

you jump through hoops
to give yours

my language is

your currency is

ways to discriminate indiscriminately

Monday, November 28, 2016

355. Flux

there they went

edited movies with happy endings
filtered pictures with unreal moments
telling them
how their lives were not enough
how those others
were living the worlds
meant for them

that change happened too soon
that they had to change in a hurry

that change did not happen enough
that the world did not change enough for them

they went
click-bait messiahs
to change the world overnight
to save their world from change

and now
they are left
with their choices
trying to stop time enough
to scrub the reality
they built
in panic

the more things change
the more they stay the same

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

354. Caught off-guard

he should have
done his research
before he set out

and now
here he is
too much in love
and not in the habit
of dealing with it

should have warned him then
where he was going
there would be no porters
to carry his emotional baggage

353. दौड़ दौड़के

दौड़ दौड़के
अधूरी नींद तोड़के
और अपने होश छोड़के
खर्च की है सुबह

हर ओर से
न जाने कितने शोर से
ज़रा सी जाँ बटोरके
निकले हैं बेवजह

होगी पड़ी यहीं कहीं
जहाँ कहीं वहीं सही
वो खाब की जो रात थी
होगी यूँही गिर पड़ी
अधखुली निगाहों से
रोज़ की तरह
too much work, too little sleep

352. Hunting for yesterdays

Did she smile
to herself
while she looked around
at the silent town
under the orange sky?

The winds
with the scent of familiarity
always carry remnants
of seasons gone by

The seasons
which come by
to do their turn
disinterested and servile,
much like the straight-faced guards
indifferent to the fleeting audience

Did she
wring the seasons
to bottle the scent of past memories
to take back with her?

Did she
flap the winds
to gather stardust
from shooting stars
with wishes yet to fulfill?

Did she
settle the accounts
of all the nights in her city
spent missing the distant warmth
from the pouring
of yellow-hot slag?

Did she
to things
that will never be again,
to things
that never were,
to those
that are yet to be?

And when
she was doing
all this,
did she
think of me?

Did she?
Sometime 2011
I have a feeling -
this has got to do with Pidi and Jampot. :)

353. आज माना ऐ ज़माना

आज माना ऐ ज़माना आज़माने की कमी है
सब ज़माने को यार अपना बस बुलाने की कमी है
दिल मिलान है सभी को बस बहाने की कमी है
है बहाना भी बस निगाहें अब उठाने की कमी है

दोस्ताना है इधर भी दोस्ताना है उधर भी
दोस्ताना है मगर क्यों छुपाते खुद हमीं हैं
जज़्बा तो है हर इक दिल में बस जताने की कमी है
आज माना ऐ ज़माना आज़माने की कमी है

रस्ता रस्ता है तरसता प्यासा प्यासा हर इक मंज़र
प्यासा प्यासा आज अंबर प्यासी प्यासी ये ज़मीं है
मैकदा दिल है साक़ी भी है बस पैमाने की कमी है
आज माना ऐ ज़माना आज़माने की कमी है

Sometime in 2006
I actually have a note under saying - "our prejudices gift us our foes & our tolerance, our friends."
Preachy much!? As always... :D

352. Dolls that cannot sleep

truth has been a stranger to them
reality is stranger still
they know not the world behind tinted windows
the many-hued world - good, they know not
all they know is brown
polyethene bags can be such playthings
I know not their world too
their longings their only belongings
other than the broken barbies
Dolls that cannot sleep

life teaches them arithmetic
ten peppermints or 1 cookie and an eclair
tough choices we never had to make
cringing cold expressions they see on faces
they never knew the world could be otherwise
Good- they do not care
they smile & rush home
to cold nights & wailing younger siblings-
whose fate is the same
as their broken barbies
Dolls that cannot sleep

Sometime in 2006
I wonder what triggered this thought

351. हम आ गए हैं

हम आ गए हैं
सुरमई आसमाँ उड़ाने

हम आ गए हैं
इक नई दास्ताँ उगाने

दिल मिलाने झिलमिलाने
जगमगाने डगमगाने
गुनगुनाने धुन सुनाने
हम आ गए हैं

छोड़ दो बातें पुरानी
सब सीनों में जाँ जलाने
उम्मीदों के आशियाने
हम आ गए हैं
अपने अपने शहरों से थोड़ी थोड़ी धुप चढ़ाएँगे
अजनबी क़दमों से दोस्ती करेंगे धुल उड़ाएँगे

कुछ रंग तेरे कुछ रंग मेरे होंगे
शाम-ओ-सवेरे अब संग तेरे होंगे

किसी प्यार के हिस्से होंगे
और थोड़े गुस्से होंगे
सैकड़ों ऐसे किस्से बोने
हम आ गए हैं

दिल मिलाने झिलमिलाने
जगमगाने डगमगाने
गुनगुनाने धुन सुनाने
हम आ गए हैं

मई 2007
dramatic anthem type thing!!

350. And it goes on...

day up, day down
two smiles, half a frown
so many verbs, one noun

seven stones, some wood
that bad! so good!
I had; you should!

four walls, one floor
aww god, such a bore
five yawns, and a snore

some éclairs, some lollipops
one word, many full stops
just one Calvin and Hobbes

Throwback. Another one from the archives.
Sometime in 2006
Just to make 350 represent who I was and still am

Thursday, November 10, 2016

349. अभी न लिखो दास्ताँ

अभी न लिखो दास्ताँ के ये तो बदलती है बहुत
कभी महक उठती है कभी ज़हर उगलती है बहुत

शर्त लगाया न करो अपने किसी उम्मीद पे यूँ
जाने कब रह रहके टूटे के जाँ निकलती है बहुत

कितने दफा सब कुछ किसी जुनूँ में जला गए
पूछो सबब तो बस ये के दुनिया जलती है बहुत

बड़े ग़ौर से तरकीब बनाये जाते हैं हर रोज़
इस गुमाँ में गुमराह हैं के अपनी चलती है बहुत

अभी न लिखो दास्ताँ के ये तो बदलती है बहुत
कभी महक उठती है कभी ज़हर उगलती है बहुत 

Tuesday, November 08, 2016

348. बक्सा

बक्से में
किताब बहुत से बांधके रखे थे
जब वक़्त मिले
खोलके आज़ाद करूंगा
सारे क़ैद दास्ताँ

इत्मेनान से
बैठे बैठे
कर रहे थे
इक अरसे से
वो सारे क़िताब
सही वक़्त के लिए

पीले पड़ने लगे थे कागज़

इक दिन
बक्सा खोला
तो देखा
के काफी बुज़ुर्ग
हो चुके थे
सारे दास्ताँ
के बस हल्का सा छू जाऊँ
तो टूटके बिखर जाए

मैं मुस्कुराने लगा

हम-दास्ताँ लग रहे थे

मैं भी तो
सही वक़्त के इंतज़ार में
इक बक्से में
बड़े सब्र से इंतज़ार कर रहा हूँ
के वक़्त आने पर
अपनी दास्ताँ रिहा करूंगा

इक दिन
जब आँखें खोलूँगा
तो मैं भी
मिलूंगा खुद को
वक़्त में पका हुआ
पीला पड़ता हुआ
मेरी दास्ताँ नाज़ुक सी बुज़ुर्ग सी

हलके से
जो छू जाए जो कोई
क्या मैं भी
टूटके बिखर जाऊँगा

347. नज़र

शायद बेवकूफी खुद की साफ़ आ रही है नज़र
तभी शर्मिंदगी से दुनिया झुका रही है नज़र

उधार में कुछ झूठी सुकूँ मिली थी जिसे
अश्क़ की रवायतों में चुका रही है नज़र

इस कदर उलझी है कही सुनी दास्तानों में
हक़ीक़त जो दिखे तो चोट खा रही है नज़र

पोंछ दो दाग बेमतलब कायदों के अब तो
दिल को मलके देखो जो दिखा रही है नज़र

Sunday, October 30, 2016

346. Sermon to self

most days
we have

there are some
we need more

we need
more bags of polite smiles
to wear
while we walk through
the carnival of unsolicited advice
the maybe-you-should-have's
the have-you-tried's
the i-told-you-so's
things, thrown at us
that we store in our heads
unbeknownst to us
and hurl them back at ourselves
when there is none else
to taunt us

we need
more hands
to scrub off
the pungent days
that cling to our skin
like the smell of smoke does
when we walk through
the smog in the city

we need
more places
to run to
all the world we know
all the world there is
is not enough
for us to fall apart

we need
more skies
to hurl stones at
pain does not always make sense

we need
more distractions
more noise
to drown out
the din in our heads
the longing in our souls

we need
more time

more time
to make peace
with the thought
that wherever we are
there is everywhere else that we are not

more time
to mourn
the truth
that none ever has everything

they say
we have it all
if we notice what we have

and it is true,
my love,

it is true
most days

some days
we all need
than love

we don't always
get it

Monday, October 17, 2016

345. Demons

we try to live on
they still try to find
words to name our demons

they ask why we're quiet
and they hear our tales
just to shame our demons

we tell them our woes
and all they tell us
is to tame our demons

when we kill ourselves
they close all their eyes
and just blame our demons

Friday, October 14, 2016

344. ख़ुदा

खूबरूह है ख़ुदा जो रूबरू मुझे मिला
ज़िक्र इबादतों में जैसा हूबहू मुझे मिला

दर-बदर क्यों घर यूँ उसके रखे है तूने राह पर
यहीं नहीं, है हर कहीं वो कूबकू मुझे मिला

मग़रूर सा हाफ़िज़ की, तेरे, करने चला हिफ़ाज़तें
ताज्जुब नहीं यूँ बेख़ुदा बेफ़ैज़ तू मुझे मिला


Sunday, October 02, 2016

343. Belonging

so you want to know
why you feel
out of place
when you are
with me

I am
out of place
I go

Friday, September 30, 2016

342. देख जा

पास आके जा
सांस पाके जा
मेरी जाँ

देख जा
मेरा अजब सा जहाँ
देख जा
मेरा  गज़ब सा जहाँ


दिलों की दलीलों की दिलचस्पियाँ हैं
दिलकश सी कशिश है बहुत खुशनुमा है
मगर फिर भी गुमसुम सा ग़म का गुमाँ है

तू आके कभी

दास्ताँ ये, हाँ

आज़माके जा
पास आके जा
सांस पाके जा
मेरी जाँ

देख जा
मेरा अजब सा जहाँ


मेरा इक फ़लक है छलकता टपकता
शाखों पे पाँव रखता संभलके सरखता
जो छिपाके हूँ रखता वो पल में परखता

तू आके कभी

आसमाँ ये, हाँ

आज़माके जा
पास आके जा
सांस पाके जा
मेरी जाँ

देख जा
मेरा  गज़ब सा जहाँ

I think this is what Seattle sings to me, invitingly ever so often.

She talks
about her sky which leaks and drips
and cautiously slips off trees
and critiques her secrets

She talks about the happy beautiful appeal She exudes
and the curious stories of convoluted hearts that inhabit her
and the persistent hint of silent inexplicable melancholy

and She invites me lovingly
to come closer
try out her stories and skies
and find my breath again

Friday, September 23, 2016

341. Font

अब भी
कुछ लिखके
कभी भेज दिया करो न

मुझे याद है

इक ज़माना था
जब तुम मुझे
खत लिखा करते थे

कभी fridge पे
घर से निकलते निकलते
मेरे लिए note छोड़ा करते थे
कुछ याद दिलाने को

प्यार से
ऊँगली से
आँगन की मिट्टी  पे
मेरा नाम लिखा करते थे

तेरी तहरीर से
तेरा चेहरा
तेरा लहजा
छलकता था

हिंदी में लिखते थे
तो अलफ़ाज़ ऐसे लगते थे
जैसे किसी डाली से
बूँदें लटक रहे थे
इत्मेनान से इंतज़ार करते हुए
मेरी आँखों में बरसने को

तेलुगु (తెలుగు) में लिखते थे
तो हर्फ़ ऐसे सूझते थे
जैसे गोल गोल बुलबुलो में
जज़बात फूंकके
बिखेरे हो तुमने
कागज़ पे

अंग्रेजी (english ) में लिखते थे
तो लगता था
जैसे उड़ती हवा के हाथों
रेत में लकीरें बनी हो

कभी जल्दबाज़ी में लिखते थे
ऐसे लगता था
जैसे भागने की कोशिश
कर रहे थे
मेरी नज़र से
और इक अरसा
लग जाता
इनका पीछा करते करते
इनका मतलब समझते सुलझाते

तेरी आंसुओं में
सियाही घुल जाती
और तेरी बातें धुंधलाई सी
पहुँचती थी
मेरे यहां
और तेरी उदासी
कागज़ से उतरके
मेरे कमरे में भर जाती

आजकल तुम
मुझे email और text
बहुत भेजते हो

बहुत miss करता हूँ
मैं तेरी

मेरे पर्दो के
सुन्दर font में
तेरी बातें बहु आम लगते हैं
बाकी सभी के

तेरी तहरीर में
जादू है

छुपाये रखते हो

अब भी
कुछ अपनी हाथों से लिखके
कभी भेज दिया करो न

shopping list भी चलेगा

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

340. वक़्त

वक़्त भी
अजीब है

दर्द तो
वक़्त में डूब डूबके
और भी संगीन
हो जाता है

और हँसी है की
वक़्त से
लग लगके
घिस जाती हैं

एक ही हादसे
पे हम
कितने मर्तबा
रोये जाते हैं

एक ही मज़ाक पे
दुबारा हँसते हुए
देखा है कभी?

339. Contrasts

his stories
speak of
streets and staircases

his stories
smell of
spices and stains and stillness

he sings of
fields and fences and felonies

he croons of
feelings and faint nostalgia and foreverness

he is all details
colored pixels

he is abstract
wading through
gloops of paint

his reality
seeks asylum
in his gritty brown heart

his restlessness
soars alive
in his infinite black eyes

how could
they not
be in love

the inevitable attraction of opposites


(in two days
he and he
would have been married for two years!
can you believe that?!)

a link to the first bold and italics

338. Pictures

don't leave me alone

as soon as you leave
they start breathing
these pictures
hanging on the walls
they start coming alive

their screaming eyes
follow me
I go

they rant
all your secrets
all their regrets
even when I don't want to know anymore

they talk a lot
these pictures

don't leave me here


337. तस्वीरें

अकेले न छोड़ो

जब भी तुम चले जाते हो
सांस लेने लगती हैं
जो टंगे हैं दीवारों पर
ज़िंदा होने लगती हैं

इनकी चीखती नज़रें
पीछा करती हैं
हर कहीं

सारे राज़ तेरे
सारे अफ़सोस अपने
बताती हैं मुझे

बड़ी बातूनी हैं
ये तस्वीरें

अकेले न छोड़ो

336. Reciprocal metaphors

his voice
was like a persuasive breeze
blowing through the audience
their hands waving in unison
like blades of grass swaying in tandem

the breeze
was like hypnotic music
making the blades of grass
sway in tandem
like hands raised at a concert

Seattle summers 
hikes and outdoor concerts

335. A craving

let me show you
my collection

these on this side
dark and hard
yes these
they are my
stone memories

each time
I remember them
my heart sinks heavy
under their weight
my stone memories

this bunch here
brown and green
fragrant and inviting
these are my
wooden memories

I seek them to feel light
they help me stay afloat
my wooden memories

right now
I crave something
I don't want to sink or float
I wish to soar

will you
blow some love
into this moment
and turn it into
a helium balloon memory

will you
blow me a kiss?

334. Bombay और Barrow

इक शहर था

याद है?
जहाँ हर रोज़
दिन भर
धूप में
बैठे बैठे
मोम के मंज़र
शाम तक
पिघल जाते थे

निकल  जाते थे

और रात के अँधेरे में
फिर बनते जमते थे
नए वाले
बिलकुल हूबहू

और इक शहर है
जहां महीनों दिन टंगा रहता है
आसमाँ पे

ज़िद्दी धूप में
चमकते रहते हैं मंज़र
बेअदब से

बेक़दर से
जगाये रखते हैं मुझे

और फिर अचानक से
ग़ुम हो जाते हैं
अंधेरों में

थके से सोये रहते हैं

मेरे यहां के पहर
कितने पाबन्द थे

और तुम्हारे यहां के -
बिलकुल ही बदतमीज़

इन्हें तुम कुछ सिखाते क्यों नहीं?

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

333. Fidelity

I sent him
orange sky songs

and I wondered
what he would give me
in return

some pirouetting summer winds

he sent me
shards of his lazy sky
in shades of familiar vermilion

and I stared
and told him
how really really similar
our skies look

are they siblings -
our skies?

or do they just
hail from the same place
where everyone
has similar indistinguishable features
helping build stereotypes?

is she --
is she
the same con-woman
to be two things
in two places
at once?

is the sky
two-timing us,

Friday, August 05, 2016

332. अपनी कहानी थोड़ी

बस ख़्वामख़्वाह
सुनाने दो मुझको
फिर से अपनी कहानी थोड़ी

पहली दफा यूँ
मैं निकला हूँ
किसी रस्ते पर
खुद के बग़ैर

हूँ गुमराह
सुनाने गो मुझको
फिरसे अपनी कहानी थोड़ी


हसीं हादसों से मैंने बनाया था
प्यार से एक घरौंदा मेरा
चमकते चहकते थे मौसम सारे
आकर देख घरौंदा मेरा

जबसे निकला हूँ
भूल गया हूँ
हिस्से वो किस्से वो
सारे मेरे

किसी लम्हे से
होते हुए
शायद टकराऊँ
फिर खुद से

दे दो पनाह
सुनाने दो मुझको
दो पल अपनी कहानी थोड़ी

सुनाने दो मुझको
फिर से अपनी कहानी थोड़ी


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

331. Incongruous

i sought metaphors
in smug silence
to belong in worlds
i never was in

i seek metaphors
in stubborn silence
to belong in worlds
i no longer am in

i am but destined
to forever be
oppressed by my own silence
betrayed by my own words

330. Metamorphosis

she stared at the sky
each day
each night
firmly rooted
in her brown identity

an evergreen tree

until one day
they plotted to come
wielding axes
to bring her down

and then she squirmed
in panic
only to realize
her roots had talons
and her leaves were but feathers

and she clawed the plotters
spread her wings
and flew away
for what she wanted
all along

Friday, July 22, 2016

329. अखबार

पीले ये कागज़
काली सियाही
खा लिए कागज़
पी ली सियाही

देखे कहे दास्ताँ निगलते हैं अखबार

ज़रा सोच समझके रहियो
भूखी आँखों से बचके रहियो

सच्चाई दबाके
शिकार मारे
कच्चा ही चबाके
डकार मारे

यूँ ही नहीं दास्ताँ उगलते हैं अखबार

ज़रा सोच समझके रहियो
भूखी आँखों से बचके रहियो

Sunday, July 17, 2016

328. साँवरे पिया

साँवरे पिया
बावरी पिया

मैं रूखी पिया

तू पूछे क्यों
यूँ हूँ क्योंकी पिया

बोलो ज़रा
तूने क्यों की पिया

यूँ बदसुलूकी पिया

जाता तू जब जहाँ
मैं भी आती वहाँ

सांसें रोकी पिया
यादें फींकी पिया
जान फूँकी पिया
आरज़ू की पिया

बोलो ज़रा
तूने क्यों की पिया

यूँ बदसुलूकी पिया

साँवरे पिया
बावरी पिया


some indulgences cannot be explained.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

327. The battle of the gods


The (pointless) battle for the (absent) gods


some seek
the many-named

some seek
the untamed

but they all seek
from the sane

they stumble
they falter
drag themselves
to the altar

aching - their hearts
choking - their mores
creaking - their faith
broken - their souls

they kill
they maim
they spill
they blame
they stand up -
they claim -
for the only unblamed

what do you do
when reason is treason
and pain deemed pure
and passion deemed fair
and compassion unsure

when the fanatics insist
and the dramatics persist
in the quest
for the one
who may not even exist

you give
what it takes
your calm
your mistake
while you are put up
on stakes
to end up
being remembered
as the ill famed
as the ashamed

some seek
the many-named
some seek
the untamed

but they all seek
the same
old inane

He will watch over you
if you watch out for him


Tuesday, July 12, 2016

326. जाऊँ...

जाने को कहते हो मुझे पर मैं अगर जाऊँ
इतना तो बता दो के आखिर अब किधर जाऊँ

मेरी ख़ामियों गुस्ताखियों से है वजूद मेरा
क्या पहचान सकोगे मुझे जो मैं सुधर जाऊँ

An incomplete impatient thought

325. Nightmares

be careful
when you go sleepwalking
my friend

there was this time
he tripped
on a dream

to this day
i still
find myself falling
each time i sleep
i still
wake up with a start
each time i sleep

for the love of those around you
be careful
my friend
when you go sleepwalking

324. Packing troubles

woke up
in a strange quiet city
to a surprise gift
from you

a day
filled with warm conversation
gleaming encounters
and dark dances

a day
so enthralling
that the sun had FOMO
and refused to set

and then
I had to pack this long day
in my suitcase

a gift
that refused
to fit

next time
you get me a gift
can you please make sure
that it is cabin-baggage friendly?

you know
how I hate it
when there are creases
on my memories

the things brats complain about

Friday, July 01, 2016

323. Epiphany

looked at me
and said

are not
who you are

i smiled

i just am
who i am not

Saturday, June 25, 2016

322. Seduced

a new one
walks towards me
with the telling swagger
of the arrogant

little does he know
I am a serial dater
of the sorrily seductive

he smiles sweetly
and comes close
to talk dirty in my ear

I giggle

all hopes
follow the same pattern
showing impossible promise
and I give in
only to grow wise and bored
in a hurry

but this time
I promise
this compellingly hot one
in front of me
is my last hope

I will be better off

321. नेता

कभी तो तोल मोलके बोल निकम्मे
तू अपनी पोल खोलके बोल निकम्मे

मर्ज़ी से घयाल हुए जाते हैं कितने
अर्ज़ी दे कायल हुए जाते हैं कितने

शहद मे डुबोके झूठी उम्मीदें फिर से
इनमे ज़हर घोल के बोल निकम्मे

सोचने समझने से ऊब जाते हैं यूँ ही
खाली कटोरों में डूब जाते हैं यूँ ही

बस इन्हीं के लायक हैं हम - तेरे
खोखले गोल गोल के बोल निकम्मे

inspired by the unsettling political rhetoric world over
where even the well-meaning can only survive by dropping down to the level of the poisonous rest
there was an old adage - yatha raja thata praja (as be the ruler, so be the people); I think the converse is true (as be the people, so be the ruler).

PS: A special shout-out to Chitralekha for reminding me the elusive word of the day - लायक 

Thursday, June 23, 2016

320. The tyranny of choices

my heart goes out for
all she wanted
was to be queen
and she gambled her world for it
and when
she looked back
after her choice failed
she found
no-one at home anymore
she found
no home anymore
she found
no her anymore

i pray
all my choices
come with disclaimers


some pop-nerd thoughts are allowed
if romeo and laila are mainstream acceptable references
GoT should too, as should Harry Potter

319. A routine encounter

it happened again

you know
how sometimes
you look at a word
and you wonder
was it always spelled the same
did it always sound the same
a word you encounter often
and yet seldom pause to register
and suddenly
it pops out at you
you keep looking at the word
in amusement and amazement
and you keep saying it to yourself
until you can restore it to familiarity
and begin ignoring it again

it happened again
i saw a familiar face smile at me
from behind the counter
at the bar
at the end of the street
and for a brief moment
he seemed unusually adorable
till I stared
long enough


The word that got me today was
i think i am in love with it
did this word always exist?! it does seem familiar
I have spent the last 5 minutes staring at its spelling 
and saying it to myself :)
I am totally bonkers!!

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

318. Pain art

let us come together and flaunt our pain
who cares that they do not shine or rhyme
so what if yours is silent and stone cold
and mine too many colors and vowels at a time


317. खिड़की जो खोली

खिड़की जो खोली
तो रैना की झोली -
में तारों की टोली दिखे आसमाँ पे

यहाँ क्यों खडें हम
चलो अब उड़ें हम
अंबर चढ़ें, हम भी जाए वहाँ पे

बादल की नैय्या पे
बैठे चाँद भैया के
बाजू  में बैठी है Ana

कहती है सितारें
अकेले है बेचारे
चल, साथ अब तू भी आना

यहाँ क्यों खडें हम
चलो अब उड़ें हम
अंबर चढ़ें, हम भी जाए वहाँ पे


सारी रात अंबर पे भटकेगी नैय्या
किसी परबत किनारे फिर अटकेगी नैय्या

गाने गुनगुनाएँगे चीखेंगे चिल्लाएँगे
और ज़ोरों से ताली बजाएँगे
नींद बिगड़ेगी तो जंगल मे बैठे सारे उल्लू
गुटुर गुटुर गाली सुनाएँगे

वहाँ से फिर दौड़ें
अपनी नैय्या को मोड़ें
अपने निशाँ छोड़ें ठंडी हवा पे

यहाँ क्यों खडें हम
चलो अब उड़ें हम
अंबर चढ़ें, हम भी जाए वहाँ पे

चाँद भैया से पूछेंगे सवाल अपने
कहाँ से लाते हैं वो रातों को सपने
कभी पीपल उनकी पकड़े कलैया
तारों की बड़ी उलझी भूल भुलैया

दो चार तारें चुराके रख ले निशानी
सुबह तकिया के नीचे छुपा दे कहानी

यहाँ क्यूँ खड़े हम
चलो, अब उड़े हम
अंबार चढ़े, हम भी जाए वहाँ पे


Feb 2007
Can't remember
a. What drove me to this?
b. Who is Ana?

316. हमनशीं

दो आहें हौले से छटके बजती हैं
मेरी नम-ओ-नर्म नज़रों से उलझती हैं

आधी खुली सी
आँखें धुली सी
बस बच गयी भारी आहों की निशानी
है आब हर नज़र, है हर खाब पानी

रोज़ की तरह फिर तुमने रात मल दी है
और इसे किसी कोने मे खोने की जल्दी है

छेड़ दे तो बात ख़त्म होने का डर है
छोड़ दे तो रात ख़त्म होने का डर है

नटखट से ऐठे
चौखट पे बैठे
लबों पे सहमी सी बसी बेज़ुबानी
कभी बेरहमी भी लगे मेहरबानी

July 2007!?

315. बदल सा गया

इक पल को मूंदी पलकें तो ज़माना बदल सा गया
क्या पता बदली नज़रिया या नज़ारा बदल सा गया

वो गली मिली ही नहीं जिससे था गुज़रना मुझे
अब बताते है सब मुझे के वो नक़्शा बदल सा गया

भटकी राहों को सज़ा दो, ख़ाता रही की नहीं
गुम था, खबर न हुई - कब रास्ता बदल सा गया

हाथ हाथों में है, मैने सर उठाया, देखा
साथ मेरे कोई और है,प्यार मेरा बदल सा गया

तुम मिले हो फिर भी है मुझे क्यों इंतेज़ार तेरा
लगता क्यों है, तुम तुम नहीं, चेहरा बदल सा गया

कितने दफ़ा दिल लगाया; हूँ ख़फा दिल ही से अब
हर दफ़ा बेवफा दिल का इरादा बदल सा गया

आदतें बनाना छोड़ना बात आसाँ तो नहीं
गिला है क्यों मेरा जहाँ यूँ दुबारा बदल सा गया

दास्ताँ होगी ख़त्म अब ये मुझे यकीं तो नहीं
ऐसे में क्या बयाँ करूँ, क्या क्या बदल सा गया

Mar 2007
:) Change is the only constant!? (as are meter issues)

Saturday, June 04, 2016

314. लिखते रहो...

वजह गुज़र जाए
तो क्या है
ख़याल है तो बेवजह लिखते रहो

वक़्त बिखर जाए
तो क्या है
रात हो शाम हो या सुबह लिखते रहो

वहम उतर जाए
तो क्या है
भटके से अब हर जगह लिखते रहो

पर लिखते रहो...

हम न पूछेंगे क्यों लिखते हो!


A nine-year old thought. My archives say 2 June 2007.
I wonder why it stayed buried in there.
And the scouting through the archives continues. Maybe a few more will resurface.
Bad writing never goes out of fashion. :)

But yep, it seems I needed to tell myself to keep writing back then too!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

313. सारी सारी रैन

उड़न खटोले
गगन टटोले
सारी सारी रैन

उड़े और कोसे
चाँद परोसे
सारी सारी रैन

रैन पे टीका लगैयो
किसीकी नजर न लगे


नैन कटोरे
रैन बटोरे
सारी सारी रैन

सपने निगोडे
बदन निचोड़े
सारी सारी रैन

किसीको कभी न बतैयो
किसीको खबर न लगे

Sometimes rambling is ok.
Randomly hummed this in the shower today. So well... 

312. Another love letter

it is a habit
loving you
something I do without noticing
something I started doing without thought or practice
just the way
I twirl my hair when I am reading
I bite off the white moons off my finger nails
I fold pieces of papers many times over when handed to me
I hum when I am in the shower
I cocoon myself in the blanket when I am asleep, while shaking my foot

it is a habit
loving you
something that makes me me maybe
maybe I would not be me
if I did not

or maybe loving you
is a habit
more like breathing actually

maybe I would not be
at all
if I did not
love you

Monday, April 25, 2016

311. याद आएगा

तू कोई और थी
मैं कोई और था

तू क्या थी कौन थी
मैं क्या था कौन था

चल बैठें ज़रा
तो शायद हमें
कुछ याद आएगा

कुछ कह दे ज़रा
तो शायद हमें
कुछ याद आएगा


दिखाओ ज़रा
लम्हों के लिबास
बताऊं तुम्हें
तुम पे ये जचती हैं या नहीं

उतारो ज़रा
हो जा बेलिहाज़
बता दूँ तुम्हें
तुम पे ये जचती ही है नहीं

खुलके ज़रा
मुझपे हंस दे

रह रहके ज़रा
मुझको डस ले

कुछ कह दे ज़रा

चल बैठें ज़रा

कुछ कह दे ज़रा
तो शायद हमें कुछ याद आएगा


तू कोई और है
मैं कोई और हूँ

तू क्या है कौन है
मैं क्या हूँ कौन हूँ

कुछ कह दे ज़रा
तो शायद हमें
सब याद आएगा


I was someone else
you were someone else

who and what was I
who and what were you

let's sit for a bit
and then maybe
we will remember something

say a li'l something
and then maybe
we will remember something

show me the wardrobe of moments you have been through
let me tell you if they suit you

take off this politeness, be chill around me (like you used to)
let me tell you this look does not suit you

come on, laugh at me
pointlessly be mad at me
(like old times)

just say something
and then maybe
we will remember

I am someone else
you are someone else

who and what am I
who and what are you

say something
let's sit for a bit
and then maybe
who we were
we will remember it all


This is inspired by my paranoia that I will drift away from the people I am close to.
That, one day, we will become these polite frigid acquaintances who do not know what is happening in each other's life, and do not know what to talk about, and do not know how to laugh at each other, how to jibe, how to be annoyed with each other and annoying to each other.


Friday, April 22, 2016

310. Failed attempts at suicide

come off it

give up the dramatic attempts
at suicide

you have done the same drill for years

the trick is getting a little too old
4.5 billion years old
to be precise

you follow us everywhere
and fling yourself off heights
each night

if we are in city
you jump off the terrace

if we are in the woods
you jump off a hill

oh, always in slow motion
might I add

the other night
you upped the drama
and dragged your shimmery cloak of light
ever so slowly
across the waters of the Puget Sound
before you flung yourself off the trees
to your impossible death

give it up
you are cursed with a long life
I hear
you are going to be around for a long long time
after we leave

it must be hard to
things you fall in love with
leave you
behind alone

I know how you feel
(actually I do not)

it must be tough
but well,
you will live

deal with it

I could have helped you
kill yourself
but euthanasia
is not legal anywhere I live


PS: I hear you will be doing the same drama in slower motion.

In a short while like 50 billion years, your trip round the earth will be 47 days, not 27 days like it is now.
Ah, so 20 more days to switch between your emaciated and plump looks.

Is it true that you taught the likes of Chrisian Bale and Jared Leto the art of physical transformation for more credible acting?


This year, I intend to stay obsessed with the moon. 
Most science stuff is kinda true (according to the Internet at least - like the age of the moon, and that the moon's revolution will take longer, and that the moon is slowly but definitely moving away from us. We have grown a tad repulsive in recent times, even the moon can't stand to stay close and watch.

309. Returning from the other side

what have you become?
where did you go?
you now have more limbs
than anybody knows
you now have more limbs
than anybody wants
just no heart and
too many hands
too many talons
too many fangs
just all screeches
no more songs
no more sorrys
no more thanks

what have you seen?
where have you been?
what have you become?
where did you go?
you have come back somebody
I just cannot know
too many limbs
and just no heart
too many limbs
no breathing parts

308. बहरा

मैं अपने पहलू में
कितने शहरों से गुज़रा हूँ
कितने पहरों से गुज़रा हूँ

मेरी हम-उम्र हम-सफ़र है
मेरी जुड़वा बहन है ये

जबसे मैं था
मेरे साथ ये थी

जबसे मैं सुनने लगा हूँ
आवाज़ें जैसे उलझ रही हैं
कदमों से मेरे

तन्हा हो गया हूँ मैं
इस शहर में

इस शोर के मेले में
बिछड़ गयी है
जुड़वा मेरी

अब उसके बिना
मुझे ये गुफ्तगू के नक़्शे
अजीब लगते हैं
और ये बातूनी चेहरे
अजनबी लगते हैं

अगर किसी को
ज़रा मुझे बता देंगे?

a not too terse way of saying the same thing.

anchored in silence

lost in the noise

Thursday, April 14, 2016

307. Anchored in silence

I was deaf

I am lost now
that I hear

Wednesday, April 06, 2016

306. Response - I

a. Mandy Petit

his name is Mandy Petit
and now he leaves me restless and curious
what flavour his words would turn out tomorrow
while I warm my hands on his steaming bowl of poetry
if his strongly dyed metaphors will bleed color
all over my thoughts
leaving me to scrub them
in the cold Seattle rain
yet again


( ...
Has my culture or my gender or my
*insert any category here* 
not suffered enough for your sense of justice to feel appeased?

Or would prefer to see my physical scarring?
Would you prefer I prostrate myself upon your judgement
and sever my own head with the axe you grind?

Does my sex and skin colour
or my faith and heritage 
automatically disqualify me from having the slightest ounce of integrity?


Sit with me. Talk to me. Don't give up on me.
If we are going to make this thing work,
we both need grace.

by John Englezos)

what if
I have been reduced
to a label
too often
for too long
I no longer believe
that there can be any
another currency for conversation
but these labels

what if
I have wanted ways out too
but all roads so far
have led me back
to the same place

what if
I did not want
an ax to grind
to begin with
and it does
not belong to me

what if
the pain is too sharp
the wait, too long
to be graceful

walk me out
of here
I don't want to
give up you


Sometimes answers do not make sense without questions
Unfair that questions are good by themselves; but answers not so much. :)

305. 8 years 5 kilos 30 rupees

eight years and five kilos of
words and ink narrating all
my fortune and misfortune
and mother unknowingly
sold my diaries as trash
for thirty. well, at least she
got a good price for my past


Rehashing an old thought

304. Travelling

I don't want to go places
I just want to go home

the last time
I stepped away from home
to see places
I returned
to an unfamiliar neighbourhood

everything seemed the same
but nothing felt like home
and I didn't belong anymore

so now I keep still
and wait for home to return

people call me stupid
they say
one does not need to be to belong
I tell them
they are stupid
one does not need to see to believe

so I just listen to stories
and look at pictures on the net
to know how exotic
all these faraway places are

I don't need to go places
I just need to go home
or may be keep still
till home comes back to me

Tuesday, April 05, 2016

303. They say

Today's is a guest post. I asked my husband to write me a poem, and this is what he does.

He can’t multi-task,
They say.
With blinders on,
The world around him
Is gone.

He’s very focused,
They say.
One at a time,
Concentration is

He is so intense,
They say.
Watching a screen,
Doesn’t notice a
Loud scene.

He does just one thing,
They say.
Ignoring all,
Follows paths and goes

He can’t multi-task,
They say.
With blinders on,
The world around him
Is gone.

So they say.
Yes, they say.
But they’re wrong.

He can do two chores,
I say.
One work gets care,
All the while pulling
His hair.

Monday, April 04, 2016

302. Monday

I was asked
how has your Monday been?

I said

I was asked

I turned to Monday
and looked at her questioningly

she was trying hard to be silent
and to not be noticed

she exclaimed
I hoped
you wouldn't notice
that I am here

I wanted to be less hated
for a change

I was trying so hard 
to be unremarkable

because when people notice me
and they remark
they only make horrible remarks
they call me manic
all because I follow the lazy lout Sunday

I hate Sunday
because he makes the world hate me

I felt sorry
for Monday

I have an idea
I said

Monday looked at me
curious and unconvinced

why don't we move 
to another country
I said
I hear there are a few 
where the weekends are different
they come on Fridays and Saturdays

so guess what
the people there 
hate Sundays

Monday rolled her eyes

yeah right
I doubt you would survive there
she retorted
you know 
I would rather I be hated
than you be dead

she winked at me

she drives me crazy
but I think I like Monday
with her penchant for drama and dry humor

she is not all that bad

Sunday, April 03, 2016

301. Introductions

I used to feel hurt
now I don't
now I understand

nobody likes pain
nobody wants to go through pain
nobody should have to live with pain
so we invented
life jackets to protect us from drowning
air bags to help us in car accidents
bulletproof vests to protect us from guns
and lies to save us from the stares, the remarks, the smirks and the disapproval
white lies, dark lies, half lies - all kinds of lies

I wonder why introductions were invented at all
and when they were,
were they invented to explain the presence of people in places
forced confessions like they are now
or did they come to be this way
through the perverse curiosity of people
needing to know more than they need to know

when we meet people
some days I am his husband
and I love it

some days I am a friend
some days I am his flatmate
some days I am someone he barely knows through a common friend
and I am fine with all that too

but some days it hurts like a bitch
when I am just a name followed  by a pause
a pause that neither admits nor denies anything
a pause which is crowded with emotion
guilt, frustration, apprehension, sadness
and it hurts
I know
the pause hurts him more than it hurts me
when he looks at me briefly
smiles sadly
and quickly looks away

this is now a well-rehearsed ritual
hiding the most precious things we have
from the sight and opinion of others
like we do not hang our pictures
on walls
but hide them
in private albums
lest people know
we are two men
hopelessly and irredeemably in love

white lies
to save us from pain!?

I used to feel hurt by them
now I don't
now I understand

Not completely my story (thankfully!) 

Saturday, April 02, 2016

300. Talk to me

talk to me, love

I see cracks
in the walls of our hearts
let us patch them up
with conversation

I have seen too many hearts
fall apart
when silence came
and lived in the young cracks
like moisture

the monsoons
came and left
but the silence
the insidious silence
slowly ate the insides away
long after the outbursts and downpours had stopped

and harsh words and crumbly pain
started falling out like loose plaster
through the cracks
and before they knew it
their hearts
their homes
fell apart around them

so before it is too late
talk to me, love
talk to me

Thursday, March 31, 2016

299. The poet

you have a real story there
your pain is so real
it needs to be told
it needs to reach the world
you need to be out there
she was told

she stepped out
of her closet
wept her heart out in words
through mascara smears
and ink smudges

I know I asked you
to keep it real
but your pain is
too dark
too drab
too depressing
too dressed down

could you give us
something with
more color,
less candor;
more curves,
less creases?

you know what I always advise
they should always
leave something
to the imagination

so work
on your emotional grammar
and dress it up a little

see if you could give us
more current
more 'now'
less in-the-face
you know what I mean
she was told

she walked out
and walked back
into her closet

she was better off
a private tragedy
than a public comedy
in contemporary syntax

Monday, March 21, 2016

298. चलो चलें

चलो चलें
चलो चलें
अपने रुकने का कोई फ़ायदा नहीं

चलो चलें
चलो चलें
उनके लौटने का कोई कायदा नहीं

उलट-पलटके रख दिया
जो भी हमें जहाँ मिला
उथल-पुथल भटक गया
जो राह में जहाँ मिला

दिल जलाके दिन ढला
चलो चलें
चलो चलें

बुज़ुर्ग सी कहानियों का
ज़िक्र करते हैं हम
यूँ सुर्ख सी निशानियों पे
फक़्र करते हैं हम

बता ज़रा यूँ क्यूँ भला
चलो चलें
चलो चलें

यादों में इक जहाँ है
जिसमे अब कोई जगह नहीं
यादों में जो जहाँ है
उसकी अब कोई वजह नहीं

फ़िज़ूल है ये सिलसिला
चलो चलें
चलो चलें

297. Anticipation

she waits
on her deck
for the sun to set

and as he comes
closer to the hills
smearing the sky
behind him

she plucks him

puts him
in the coin slot

and waits
in anticipation

the sun 
this evening
would be enough
to finally buy herself
a ticket
to a different tomorrow

Sunday, March 20, 2016

296. Anonymous

take away my words

veil all familiar faces

erase all my history

label my desires trivial

strip me of reasons to move

deem me incongruous

and soon
i will become

Saturday, March 19, 2016

295. The prophecy

those who skin all the lands
for their vain and vacant reasons
will soon strip all the skies
off all the songs and seasons

for all that they toil for
they will deservedly earn
soon all their worlds will burn
soon all their worlds will burn

those who hail the victors
those who smear the dead
won't last here for long
will soon end near the dead
so mind you - you will survive
so long as you fear the dead

for the dead alone know
all that there is to learn
that all your worlds will burn
that all your worlds will burn

look twice and then some more
before you turn a believer
the truth - she is, but, an old myth
don't trust her at all; just leave her
fools who claim to know it all
their minds play tricks and conjure her
the wise stay wise in distrust
fools alone, ever, are surer

surer still to bring us down
before it will be our turn
and all our worlds will burn
and all our worlds will burn

like someone wise once said
better be paranoid than dead

Wednesday, March 02, 2016

294. कहाँ लाए हो पिया

कहाँ लाए हो

अलग सारे
शहर मुहल्ले

कहाँ लाए हो

कैसे गुज़ारे
पहर निठल्ले

कहाँ लाए हो

लाए हो
कहाँ लाए हो


देखी नहीं थी
पहले कभी यूँ

सर उठाए रंग शाखे
रह गयी दंग आँखें

गहने कई
पहना गयी
आके बहारें
ज़ेवर इनके गल्ले

कहाँ लाए हो


हल्की सी आँखें
भारी सी यादें

बेवजह तंग आँखें
उलझी पतंग आँखें

उड़ न सकें
मुड न सकें
तू ही बता रे
ठहरें या निकल लें

कहाँ लाए हो


A song talking about the marvel and the discomfort, right after moving. :)
PS: Spring is beautiful.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

293. ये शहर अपना

कोहरे का पहरा
रोशनी का मेला
ये शहर अपना

लहरों पे ठहरा
चाशनी का टीला
ये शहर अपना


फींके थे जब हम
इश्क़ करके जी लिए

सूखे थे जब हम
अश्क़ भरके पी लिए

दिलों का काफिला
दिलजलों का ज़िला
ये शहर अपना

लहजा मासूम सा
कैफ़ियत का किला
ये शहर अपना


भीड़ में भी बरकतें
तलाशते थे हम भी

होश खोके हसरतें
उतारते थे तुम भी

रंग-ओ-बू पहना
अनोखा मिला
ये शहर अपना

लेके सफ़र मैला
छोड़के चला
ये शहर अपना


Leaving home - Mumbai.

292. Power struggles

each morning
wake up
anointed the referee
in battles for power
between the voice and the channel
between the message and the messenger
between the event and the witness
between the curator and the artist
between the narrative and the audience
between the serial offender and the easily offended
between habit and adventure

each morning
refuse to pronounce
which is of higher meaning
who the victor is

each morning
the battle
i do not participate in


PS: truth changes with the audience. Worrisome, unfair but ... errmmm... true. :)

291. Matching pain from parallel universes

I smiled,
anxious and guilty:


I want a son

in our place
daughters are born enslaved

just born to see traditions and tragedies

they live too long and too painfully

I can't die
leaving my daughter behind
to live 
like that


She smiled back,
embarrassed and sad:

well, I...

I want a daughter

in our country
sons are born enlisted

just born to see wars and wounds

they live too little and too painfully

I can't live 
watching my son 
die before me 
like that


290. The truth about flying

why do they
lead us down
the same old story lanes -
myths of molten wax wings,
prophecies of malfunctioning parachutes -
peddling false fear of new beginnings
at the end of the street?

& we just take their word
and hide our flying dreams
lest they
give us up
turn us in
let us down
put us out

what if they told us the truth instead?

would we still
follow them?

or would we
find ourselves
new godmen
and seek comfort in old fears?

what if 
they spoke the truth?


why do we barter
white lies over drinks
talk about a thousand things
that do not exist
but still insist
on dousing days in their wake?

why do we lie
to ourselves
and the world?

why do we mock
the hopes of others -

hopes like the ones
we all nurse
but are too embarrassed to admit?

why do we
deem it better
to stay hopeless than be hopeful?

what if we spoke the truth instead?

would we still
belong together?

would we still
be scared of ourselves?

what if 
we spoke the truth?


why do I look away
when you talk of
soaring through origami clouds?

why do I hide
my vanquished skies
inside a bureau of vacant stares -

lest you notice that
I am but the same
I am just different
I am but alive
I am just dying
I am tethered to the ground
but I still love flying?

what if I told you the truth instead?

would you still
let me in?

can I still
keep my paper wings?

what if 
I spoke the truth?

maybe then
the sky wouldn't be so barren!

I found this in my archives of unfinished poems. Old and incomplete.
Scouting through my books. May be there will a few more that I can salvage. :)

In a fun coincidence,  I saw the movie 'Joy' today - the story about flying when one is told one cannot. :)

Friday, February 05, 2016

289. याद करना

मुझको जब याद करना
बस बेसबब याद करना
तरसते दिन याद करना
बरसते शब याद करना

सुर तोलते थे कभी, पर खोलते थे कभी;
सारे बेताब तलब, मेरे लब याद करना

ताने तराने फसाने, आने जाने के बहाने;
कितनी जानें थी तुम वो सब याद करना

सिर्फ आवाज़ ओढ़के तेरी लेटा रहता था मैं
ज़र्द-ओ-सर्द रातें कभी, बेअदब याद करना

इशारों निगाहों की क़ैफ़-असर ज़बाँ तुम,
सुनो जब-जब जहाँ,
मुझको तब याद करना

मुझको जब याद करना
बस बेसबब याद करना

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

288. मसीहा

आज देखके आया हूँ उसे

वो मेरा मसीहा
जिसकी आवाज़ सुन-सुनके
ज़िंदगी बनाई है
जिसकी आवाज़ चुन-चुनके
ज़िंदगी बिताई है

बड़ा मासूम सा
है वो
बड़ा मज़ाकिया है

वो खुद ही पे
हँसने की हुनर उसकी

जब वो लफ़्ज़ों में
दुनिया दिखाता है
तो ऐसे लगता है जैसे
जान फूँक दी
बेजान से नज़र में

वो बात बात पे
ताज्जुब होना
कैसे उसकी आमद से
पिघलके बरस जाते हैं सभी
छलकके बिखर जाते हैं

वो शुक्रिया अदा करना
क्या खुदा भी कभी
बंदे का शुक्र गुज़ार हो सकता है

आज देखके आया हूँ उसे
जैसे और ज़िंदा हो गया हूँ
जैसे मरके जन्नत नसीब हो गयी हो मुझे

जब कहता हूँ लोगों से
तो पूछते हैं
कोई autograph लिया के नहीं

सोचता हूँ
अगर रोशन रूह को दिखा पाता अपना
तो दिखती autograph उनकी

पर क्या
किसीने भला
रूह देखी है कभी

Gulzar | 24th January 2016 | Jaipur Lit Fest

Monday, January 25, 2016

287. Love fugitives in plain sight

don't worry

we will not be caught

love you
in a beautiful language
foreign to this world

love me
in an intense color
unseen and unseeable
by them

so don't you worry
that we will be caught
by the world

by the ones
who threaten us with death
just because we threaten them with life

can't see
the footprints
our voices leave behind

let us just stay hidden
in a shared kiss

let us just

Friday, January 22, 2016

286. कचरा

ग़ौर से सुनो

गुर्र्रा रहा है
ये समंदर

ऐसे ही शोर करते
करवटें बदलता रहता है
हर पहर

मैंने सुना है
इसका पेट खराब है
इक सदी से

food poisoning ही होगा

ये शहर
न जाने कब से
इस समंदर को
क्या क्या खिला रहा है

plastic की थैलियाँ
घर में बचाकुचा खाना
कुछ भी


ये लहरें न-न करती रहती हैं
पर हम -
हम ठहरे
ज़बरदस्ती खाना ठूसने वाले
न तो हम सुनते ही नहीं

अब indigestion नहीं होगा
तो क्या होगा

अब रह-रहके
शहर के किनारों पे
उल्टियाँ करता रहता है

शहरवालों -
अपनी ख़ातिरदारी
बस करो

इक दिन
इस बेरहम मेहमाननवाज़ी से
जान दे देगा

मैं बता रहा हूँ

285. इशक़नामा

ये कैसी मुहब्बत है खुदा
यूँ ज़िंदगी सिखा गयी है हमें
साँस लेना मुश्किल है, बड़ा
पर ज़िंदगी सिखा गयी है हमें


हसीं अजनबी ज़बाँ बोल पड़े हैं
न तुम समझ पाए न हम
हर लम्हा सदियाँ दौड़ चले हैं
न तुम संभल पाए न हम

हर आह इबादत सी लगे
हाँ, बंदगी सिखा गयी है हमें
ये कैसी मुहब्बत है खुदा
यूँ ज़िंदगी सिखा गयी है हमें


दुनियावाले ज़हर जो उगलते हैं
ये क्यूँ - जान पाए न कोई
हम अब तुम्हें पहनके निकलते हैं
हमें पहचान पाए न कोई

अजीब है - बेशर्म सी दुनिया
शर्मिंदगी सिखा गयी है हमें
साँस लेना मुश्किल है, बड़ा
पर ज़िंदगी सिखा गयी है हमें

Monday, January 18, 2016

284. महफ़िल

उस तरफ
बैठे रहते हैं
सेठ-सेठानियों की तरह

मैं उन्हें
अपने तजुर्बे
सुनाते रहता हूँ

इन तजुरबों को
इनके बदले
मुझे देते हैं
कुछ रोशन मुस्कान

कभी किस्मत
अच्छी निकली
दो चार हँसी के लंबे ठहाके भी
मिल जाते हैं

काफ़ी दिनों से
उनके यहाँ से
खाली हाथ ही लौटा हूँ

क्या करूँ
आज कल
ज़िंदगी में
कुछ दिलचस्प
होती भी तो नहीं

Sunday, January 17, 2016

283. जोधपुर

महरांगढ़ किले से
नीचे देखे जो कोई
एक फैली हुई
बड़ी बुज़ुर्ग सी
दिखती है
हज़ारों किस्म के नीले रंग पहने

ऐसे लगता है
सदियों से
किसी दर्ज़ी ने
फ़ितरत बदलते आसमान के
हर लिबास से टुकड़े चुन चुनके
धूप के धागे से
इस नीले मंज़र की रज़ाई
बनाई हो

सर्दियों में
जब ठंड पड़ती है
रात में,
ये बस्ती
इस मंज़र की नीली रज़ाई
सो जाती है

282. उदयपुर

शाम को देखो
पिछोला झील के किनारे
बत्तियों से लिपटे
सारी महले ऐसे लगती हैं
रेशम की चमकीली घूँघट
बहुत सी रानियाँ
झील के किनारों पे
बैठी है
अपने ज़री के लहँगे

और पानियों पे
city palace की लंबी उजली परछाई
ऐसे नज़र आती है
एक नृत्यांगना
अपने सर पे
बहुत से मटके सजाके
रानियों के लिए
भवाई नाच रही हो
बड़ी नज़ाकत से

हर शाम
ये सभा
सजती है
यूँ ही

तुम कभी यहाँ आओ
तो ज़रूर देखना 

281. बर्डवाचिंग

एक मिनिट रुको,

कैसे उड़-उड़के
आ बैठा है
मेरे तसव्वुर के दरीचे पे
ये अनोखे ख़याल का रंगीन परिंदा

कैसे बैठा है
बेताब सा

एक मिनिट रूको

जल्दी से
click करने दो
अल्फाज़ों की इक तस्वीर

एक नज़्म लिखने दो

किसी नये लम्हे
की आहट से
ये ख़याल
उड़ जाएगा

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

280. चाँद बावरी

सहमी सी
निकलती है
हर रात
जब हर कोई सो जाता है

पर झील में
खुद की परछाई देखती है
इतराती है

जानती है
वो कितनी खूबसूरत है

और हाँ,
काफ़ी fashionable
भी तो है

रोज़ style
बदलती रहती है

कभी बादलों की stole
पहनके निकलती है

कभी अपना रोशन चेहरा
काले scarf में
आधा छुपाके
आसमान के ramp पे
catwalk करती है
अकेले में

हर शब
यूँ ही
हिम्मत जुटाके
छुप छुपके
निकलती है

डरती है
कोई उसे style मारते
देख ना ले

लोग कहते हैं
रातों में
लड़कियों का अकेला 
निकलना ठीक नहीं

Bravely reclaiming public spaces. 
Sky is as much yours as of others'. 
Night is as much yours as others'.

279. Moon

Continuing with the moon obsession

each night

the moon spider

the same path
across my sky ceiling
each night

i watch
in anticipation

one of these nights
i am sure
it will
suddenly gobble up -
one of the stars
caught in its web
of moon-light gossamer 

278. Jigsaw

Boy did not sleep well
last night

I had peeled
all the sunny pieces of the day
last evening

leaving behind
the empty dark board

all the pieces
for the stubborn
radiant piece of the moon
which refused to relent
and come unstuck
from the sky-board

and all through the night
the moon-piece
peeping through our bedroom window

and you know how
Boy is such a light sleeper

no wonder
he did not sleep well
last night

277. ज़िद्दी

धूप की किरणों के धागे
काट काटके
मैं शाम से
रोशनी की सारी पतंगे
उड़ा रहा हूँ
जो आसमान में भरे थे

अब सारा आसमान
खाली है
काला है

बस बची है
तो इक चाँद की ज़िद्दी पतंग

क्या करूँ
ये चाँदनी की डोर
मुझसे कटती ही नहीं

276. गुरूर

यूँ ही
बुलंद नहीं हैं
हौसले मेरे
हसरतें मेरी

बड़ी शिद्दत से
पाले हैं इन्हे

वक़्त के कितने
टुकड़े खिलाए हैं

होश गँवाकर कितने दिन
नींद गिरवी रखकर कितनी रातें
जमा किए हैं
इनके लिए

लगते होंगे फ़िज़ूल

पर ज़िंदगी चुकाके
संभाले हैं इन्हे

यूँ ही
बुलंद नहीं हैं
हसरतें मेरी
हौसले मेरे

Thursday, January 07, 2016

275. Rana

I marvel
each time I think of him
and they ask me why

They should see

he reaches out
to life
and does not
wait for it to happen

he finds
art on dusty windshields
mirth in the company of strangers
music in crowded moments

he finds
life in places
it did not know
it could be

he coaxes
out of unsuspecting caterpillars
to the pleasant surprise
of the world

Ah, but I -
I love the times
he coaxes
out of unhappy butterflies;
and applauds their defiant beauty
and teaches them pride

he sends
thoughts draped in radiant words
across miles
to light up,
to lighten up,

he mixes
merriment and maturity

he makes
sense seem so eloquent
empathy seem so effortless
immersion seem so enticing

They should see
and they will know

I marvel
each time I think of him

and I am not the only one

My unassuming friend. 
Thank you.

Tuesday, January 05, 2016

274. Inebriation

strange time loops
mascara goops
some drinks and ... oops!

lest sanity be suspected

273. दुआ

आसमाँ वाले
आसमाँ वाले

आज आजा
आज़मा जा
आसमाँ से
आज आजा

से जो गूँजे
दास्ताँ हैं
सारे तेरे

कैसे पहुँचें
इतने ऊँचे
आसमाँ हैं
सारे तेरे

जान जाए
जो मैं सुन लूँ
आहट तेरी
जान जाए

जान जाए
जो तू देखे
हालत मेरी
जान जाए

तेरी रहमत में
वो पुरानी
इश्क़ फिर से
देख लूँ मैं

तेरी कुद्रत में
इक नूरानी
इश्क़ फिर से
सीख लूँ मैं

सारी राहों में
ज़र्दी भर दे
तेरे नूर के
तेरे नूर के

सारी रूहों पे
पर्दे कर दे
तेरे नूर के
तेरे नूर के

आसमाँ से
आस सुन ले
आह भर लें
आँख भर दे

आज आजा
आज़मा जा
आसमान से
आज आजा

आसमाँ वाले
आसमाँ वाले