Sunday, December 6, 2009

मैंने हुस्न के लिए अपनी जान दी 'I died for beauty' - Emily Dickinson

मैंने हुस्न के लिए अपनी जान दी
और कब्र में अभी अडजस्ट हो ही रही थी
कि बगल के कमरे में आ पहुँचा वो
जो सच के लिए मर मिटा था।
उसने आहिस्ते से पुछा: यहाँ कैसे?
'जनाब, हुस्न के लिए' मैंने कहा।
'और मैं सच के लिए, -- दोनों हुबहू ही हैं,'
वो बोला, 'तो हम तो दोस्त हुए ना।'

फिर क्या था, बिछड़े हुए यारों कि तरह
हम रात भर वहीं बैठ गप्प मारते रहे
जब तक काई हमारे होठों तक ना आ गई
और हमारे
नाम अपने नीचे छिपा गई।


tr. from English by Akhil Katyal, 8th December, 2009

Sunday, November 8, 2009

At the second-hand bookshop

At the second-hand bookshop near my place,
Romance is at the end of Self-Help,
next to Crime.

A little bored, I pick up a book
to pass the time, while I hum a song,
browsing a bit, I reach the line -
'What a pity that we love each other,
but we don't get along.' I am not keen
to follow it up, not in the mood today
for things gone sour or hearts of clay,
so I keep on turning the pages,
and chance on this girl, who says,
- right before she blows him a kiss -
'I will love you forever, until further notice.'

(Thanks to David Hermann)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

The only thing I forget

The only thing I forget when you are around
is myself, like those stupid sailors who jumped
into the sea, forgetting themselves and the
barest clue they might have had not to drown.
No one came for their sake. Did you know that
you are the sirens' song that you loved to cite?
You are the reason why wars are conched,
why Gods go foolish over the ones they make.
And you are the face that launched.... When
you are around, I feel dumb, speaking words
that make no sound, I feel light, and when
you look at me, boy, it's either that I go blind
or this whole fucking world goes out of sight.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

आख़िर प्यार है

आख़िर प्यार है, इसको ऐसे ही थोड़ी छोड़ेंगे।
लड़ोगे तो बात सुलझाएंगे नहीं,
चि
ढ़ोगे तो तुम्हें बहलाएँगे नहीं,
पर अगर ख़ुद चुपचाप हों हम,
तो बात ना करने की कसम
हम ख़ुद ही तोड़ेंगे,
आख़िर प्यार है, इसको ऐसे ही थोड़ी छोड़ेंगे।
थोड़ा दूर जाओगे,
तो बिना रोक टोक चलने देंगे तुम्हें
मु
के देखोगे नहीं,
तो हम कुछ ना बोल मरने देंगे तुम्हें,
फिर धीरे धीरे, तुम्हारे जाने बिना,
कभी हसी से बांधे, कभी रोये बिना,
तुम्हारे कदम हम अंजाने ही मोड़ेंगे,
आख़िर प्यार है, इसको ऐसे ही थोड़ी छोड़ेंगे।

Sunday, July 26, 2009

देखो

अपनी तस्वीर बनाने वाले से हुनर न मांगो, उसका तस्सव्वुर तो देखो,
छिपाने वाले से उसका राज़ न मांगो, उसकी आबरू तो देखो।
अगर प्यार वक़्त के चलने का लंबा सफर है,
तो घड़ियों के रुकने की आरज़ू तो देखो।
कितना कहा, कब तक कहा, लब्ज़ों के पीछे आंखों से, पर
जो आंखों के भी पीछे छुपी है, वो आधी-अधूरी गुफ्तगू तो देखो।
अगर मेरी बातों से हो परेशां, नापसंद है वो, तो उनको
अनसुना करो, पर मेरी बातें करने की जुस्तजू तो देखो।
जिस्म को सांस ज़रूरी है, तारों को रात ज़रूरी है, तो फिर क्यूं साँसे रुकी हैं,
दिन में तारे दिखे हैं, अखिल, इश्क के नक्शे में, क्या ज़रूरी क्या फालतू तो देखो।

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

ऐसी रातें भी बीती हैं _ मोहम्मद दीन तसीर

ऐसी रातें भी बीती हैं
जब तुम्हारी याद नहीं आई,
कुछ दर्द तो हुआ
पर कोई शिकायत नहीं।

हर गलती अब सामने आती है
काले पत्थरों की लकीर बनाये,
कोई आरज़ू नहीं है इन पत्थरों को तोड़ने की,
ना आज़ादी की, ना यहाँ से चल पड़ने की।

ऐसी रातें भी बीती हैं
जब तुम्हारे रास्तों में, हर तरफ़
बस परछाईयां ही परछाईयां थीं,
कूदती ऊपर से नीचे, नीचे से ऊपर
तुम नहीं थे, पर परछाईयां थीं तुम्हारे जैसी
नाचती हुईं,
मैं नहीं था,
पर परछाईयां थीं मेरे जैसी
कांपती हुईं,
हमारे रास्तों की परछाईयां।

ऐसी रातें भी बीती हैं,
जब तुम्हारी याद नहीं आई।


translated into Hindi from Anisur Rahman's Eng tr. 'Shadows' of Mohammad Deen Taseer's Urdu poem.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

एक बार

सोचते हो हम तुमको भूले बैठें हैं, न नाखुश हैं, न बेकरार, क्या मालूम तुम्हें,
तुम्हारे दरवाज़े से कितनी दफा लौटें हैं दस्तक दिए, तुमने न खोला एक बार।
कितनी बार झिझकते हो, बिल्कुल रोने को आ पड़ते हो, पर मानते नहीं हो हार,
अगर
तुम हमसे करते दिल की बात सामने से हस कर, क्या पता जीत जाते एक बार।

Thursday, June 18, 2009

It is too much of a chore, this love

It is too much of a chore, this love,
too much of a keeping track; lovers,
they are always on a look out for a lapse,
when his love might dim, or his passion slack,
and each time he is quiet, the other fears
it is the end, and each time he is terse,
the other takes a spin on Auden's verse
and imagines himself recompensed, though
a moment ago he felt the pangs of death.
Love is a botched experiment in symmetry,
and all lovers mutter under their breath -
'If equal affection can never be true,
why can't the more loving one be you?'


(thanks to W.H. Auden)

Sunday, June 14, 2009

अब वो मौका

अब वो मौका, क्या मालूम, वापस आएगा या नहीं,
उस शाम, कमरे के बिलकुल पीछे बैठे हुए थे तुम,
तुम्हारे और मेरे बीच कुछ सत्तर-अस्सी लोगों का फासला,
मैं माइक पर, बोल तो रहा हूँ मानो उन सबसे, लेकिन
सच पूछो तो हर बोल केवल तुम्हारे कानों में पिरो रहां हूँ।
कमरे के इस तरफ़ से भेज रहा हूँ, एक औपचारिक भाषण
में छुपा हुआ प्रेम पत्र, जिसको बूझना केवल तुम्हारे जिम्मे है।
कमरे की एक मात्र लाइट मुझी पर टिकी हुई है, मुझे मालूम है 

कि हालांकि मैं तुम्हें नहीं देख सकता, तुम मुझे देख पा रहे होगे;
तुम्हारी मौजूदगी का सिर्फ़ एक ज़ायका है मुझे, और अंदाजा
लगा सकता हूँ, कि इस भीड़
के पिछली तरफ़, तुम बावरे से
बैठे हुए होगे, सोच रहे होगे कि तुमसे परे हैं मेरे सारे इरादे,
तुमसे ऊपर हैं, कि मानो इन्हीं सत्तर-अस्सी लोगों के लिए हैं,
और मेरा हर दांव इन सबकी वाह-वाही लूटने के लिए,
पर ग़लत हो तुम, ये सार्वजनिक चर्चा तो एक बहाना है

तुमसे बात करने का, या क्या पता ग़लत हूँ मैं, कि वो बातें जो
मुझे तुम्हारे कानों में फुसफुसानी चाहिए, वो ऐसे कह रहा हूँ।

Monday, June 8, 2009

Tell it like it is

I write in a bid to exorcise you, to finish
you once and for all, but whatever I write,
it ends up reading like rapture, and all
my attempts at invective resign into an
embarrassing sort of fondness.
To love
was never a pity in my eyes, but to be
this humorless image of the lover.
Now
tell it like it is, how many times have you
smiled when you see me like this? No, do not
hold hands, do not kiss, do not do the things
you usually do to assuage, just tell it like it is.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

And framed against the stained glass door

And framed against the stained glass door,
with a slim cigarette between his fingers, was he;
his waist coat thin and his arms fair enough
to shame all the ladies of leisure. Everywhere
around him was the color of wealth and his nails
shone of the pleasures of waste. He stood less,
reclined more on the door frame covered with
the dark green vine, his hair seamless with the flush
of leaves, and camouflaged in the red flowers
were his eyes, and those who saw him then, died
because it was too much, and those who read
of him, winced, because they could never see.

Friday, May 22, 2009

You will give

You will give me a thousand love bites and a gift
for each favour I make but I will give you less;
you will give me tenderness, and a face flushed with
lust, and to repay that, I, with some awkwardness,
will give you less. For every touch, for every time
you look at me, as if before mating, my heart,
it will beat a little slower because I give less but
worse, I know it, for each time you flood me
with more, you betray what I give to you,
and it pales, it pales, my love, in comparison.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

And he witnessed the lords of his day

And he witnessed the lords of his day
pronounce many deaths. They said
activism is dead, love's been dead a while,
and they made all possibilities sound similar
which is the same as death really.
It was their job as choir boys of fuck-shittery,
that once their usual songs were done, to go and ring
the knell of something or the other, ding-dong,
they heard and smiled, ding-dong, and then
came back smugly to sing their fuck-shittery song.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

अज़ीज़ और सिरिल, घुड़सवार

और वह घोड़े पर उसकी तरफ़ तेजी से बढ़ा, 'फिर उसके बाद,'
उसने बोला, दूजे को आधा चूमते हुए, 'तुम और मैं दोस्त बनेंगे।'

'हम अभी क्यूं नहीं दोस्त बन सकते,' दुसरे ने कहा,
उसे प्यार से थामे हुए, 'यही तो मैं चाहता हूँ, यही तो तुम चाहते हो।'

पर घोड़े वह नहीं चाहते थे - भागने लगे अलग-धलग;
धरती वह नहीं चाहती थी, उनकी तरफ़ पत्थर ढ़केल दिए,
कि
अकेले ही बढ़ना पड़े, न मन्दिर, न टंकी, न जेल,
महल, पंछी, न मुर्दा जानवर, न गेस्ट हाउस,
जो अब दिखाई पड़ने लगा था, जैसे ही वो जंगल से
बाहर निकले और सारा माऊ राज्य नीचे दीख पड़ा,
ये सब वह नहीं चाहते थे, अपनी हजारों आवाज़ों में सबने कहा,
'नहीं, अभी नहीं,' और आकाश बोल पड़ा, 'नहीं, यहाँ नहीं।'


Tr. from E. M. Forster's 'A Passage to India' (1924) , Penguin Publications, pg. 289.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

How do you compare

How do you compare one lover with another?
Do you prepare a checklist of lovable things
and then count the scores of each?
Who would win -- he who closes his eyes
when he thinks, or the one who blinks;
he who is rude, incorrigibly rude, but must
win and keep the favour of those he meets,
his love for them taking a detour through
himself, or he, who sensing defeat,
would quieten at the right time, his words
sincere while they last but finishing too early;
his hair, they have a light whiff of lemon
if you come close to him in bed, but
the other, his hair fall on his forehead.

Monday, May 4, 2009

गर्मी

tr. from Hilda Doolittle's English poem 'Heat'  

ऐ हवा, चीर डालो इस गर्मी को,
इसको काट खोलो,
इसके चिथड़े-चिथड़े कर दो।

फल गिर नहीं सकता
इस घनी हवा के बीच --
फल गिर नहीं सकता इस गर्मी में
जो ऊपर ज़ोर लगाये और घिस दे
नाशपाती के सिरों को
और गोल कर दे अंगूर।

काट डालो गर्मी को --

अपने रस्ते के दोनों तरफ़
इसे ढकेलते हुए,
हल चला दो इसके बीचों-बीच।

Sunday, May 3, 2009

My Photograph 'अपनी तस्वीर' - Mangalesh Dabral

This is a picture where
a little courage can be traced
and poverty be seen, all wrapped up.
Taken in light, this photograph
hides its darkness behind it.

The calm of this face
is a mask for restlessness.
Any compassion is forever mixed with malice
and a little pride is soaked in much shame.
Although one's time to fight quietly passes one by,
there is a yearning in it to return from war
and these are the eyes
which tell you how love, on which all things rest,
is becoming less every minute.

In self-love and yet fooling around,
I get many pictures clicked
in a stupid sort of hope
that a better one might come by
one of these days.


translated from Hindi by Akhil Katyal, with a little help from Vebhuti Duggal, May 2009.

Monday, April 27, 2009

If you like my poems let them 'अगर तुम्हें पसंद आयीं मेरी कवितायेँ' - e.e. cummings

अगर तुम्हें पसंद आयीं मेरी कवितायेँ,
तो उनको चलने देना, शाम के समय,
अपने से दो कदम पीछे।

फिर लोग कहेंगे
"इस रास्ते पर हमने देखा था इक राजकुमारी को
जाते हुए अपने प्रेमी से मिलने (बस रात होने
ही वाली थी) और उसके संग, लंबे और मूर्ख दास।"

trans. from English by Akhil Katyal, 28th April, 2009

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Lie down in the park

Lie down in the park
so that your hair
play with grass
an' with your hand
shield your eyes
from the sun;
then turn around
a little for ease,
sinking in the green,
your shirt slipping
on your waist, an'
through your fingers
sunshine tripping in.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

तुम सोचते हो - II


'तुम सोचते हो कि आर्मी में हैं तो बस तय हो गया

कि सबको मारना चाहते हैं या ख़ुद शहीद हो जाना चाहते हैं,

पर क्या जानों तुम, कोई ज़ंग नहीं लड़ना चाहता;

जब दुश्मन की तरफ़ तीन सौ थे और हमारी तरफ़ दस,

तो किसी ने राष्ट्र प्रेम की दुहाई नहीं दी थी,

किसी ने मर्दानगी की बात नहीं की थी,

उन दस को तो रम पिला कर बस आगे भेज दिया था।'

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Love talk in London

I speak to you in another accent
so that you begin to grasp
only after a second, so that
the drift of what I say lags
a little behind my speaking,
and when you reply, you do
with half an expectation
of a misunderstanding.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Nothing goes wrong when

Nothing goes wrong when
spring ends every year,
a predictable season begins,
but when love fades
you run aground suddenly,
there is no joy nor fear;
the plane stops mid-air
as if the skies were folded
and put in a pocket, as if
the tables suddenly were turned
.
I am not guilty I touched him,
I loved him and got bored;
there is no lesson to be learned.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Karaoke

Karaoke, they say, is the only way to love.
Already, your songs have been written &
rehearsed; all you need do is turn up,
tune in, botch some words and sing badly

in a bid to make the song your own.
Karaokes, you see, are gatherings of amateurs.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

मुझे भेजना


अपने
मुहँ से जूठी की हुई एक चिठ्ठी,
उसमें हर लफ्ज़ स्याही से नहीं
बल्कि टेढ़ी हसीं से बना,
और हर जुमला, मतलब से
नहीं,
जिद् से, खटास से भरा हुआ
और थोड़ा झक्की, कि मानो
जताना तो चाहते हो तुम हिचकिचाहट
पर ये हो नहीं पाता तुमसे,
और प्यार, हर कोने से खटक पटक,
तुम्हारे हर लब्ज़ के पीछे से लपक
लुड़क पड़ता है मेरे सामने।

Saturday, March 7, 2009

When I was about eleven or twelve

When I was about eleven or twelve,
he used to give me poppies;
he used to give me such things which
he knew children hoarded as treasures.
He would leave his shirt undone
(the sun being hot for work) his hair
stuck beautifully to his forehead,
his waist was dark and if you saw closely
you could notice that he was breathing fast;
that is my first memory of pleasure,
wondering what it would be to touch him.
He would run out to the school playground
for something had caught his eye
and come back with a red flower
smiling and holding it out for me;
gifting poppies, could he ever know,
he was giving me the idea of opium?

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Pass the parcel

When you drive your car,
you busy one of your hands
on the steering wheel
and lend the other
in an interlock with mine;
the hand by which you steer
is keen to avoid accidents
but the other to cause them.
When you wish to change the gear,
I make you wait, I let go
a second late, to pass the parcel,
my love, of touch; to pass it
back and forth and onwards.
Not to be grand in our love,
or to thump chests but to touch
lightly and leave impress
that disappears soon enough,
not to say all at once and
tie up strands, instead to speak
with this game of hands.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

I did not know that I need you


I did not know that I need you
like love poems need distance to be written;
like taxis need passengers in haste
who read these poems bearing in mind
the lovers they leave or are going to meet.
I did not know that I need you like trolleys
need luggage to be weighed down by that
which they carry. What I did know
was that for all this needing of mine,
for all the lists that I could possibly draw
of that which I do not have, when you would
indeed come to me, you would not come
in reply to a need but instead
as that which always surprises, that
which is given and received but never needed;
like a gift you would come to me.