Thursday, June 26, 2014

एक इमरजेंसी का समर्थक

माना कि
अखबार कुछ ढंग का छाप नहीं सकते
दूरदर्शन वाले कोंग्रेसी तलवों के सिवा
किसी के तलवे चाट नहीं सकते, माना कि
इंदिरा जी सभी हदों से आगे निकल रहीं हैं
पर देखिये ट्रेन तो टाइम से चल रहीं है

माना कि
लाख आदमी जेल में सड़ रहा है, माना
दिल्ली का तुर्कमान गेट उजड़ रहा है, माना
बुद्धिमत्ता संजय गांधी को देख शर्मा जाती है,
नेकी उसके सामने आकर कतरा जाती है, माना
माँ-बेटे को समझाने की हर कोशिश विफल रहीं हैं,
पर देखिये, ट्रेन तो टाइम से चल रहीं हैं

माना कि
चीफ-जस्टिस जी की रीढ़ की हड्डी नहीं है, उसके
ऑफिस में इंदिरा जी की तस्वीर से कोई वड्डी नहीं है,
माना की नस बंद होने के बाद फिर खुलती नहीं जी,
माना की जेल की पिटाई के बाद देह हिलती नहीं जी,
माना विपक्ष आजकल क़ैदख़ानों में पल रही है
पर देखिये, ट्रेन तो टाइम से चल रहीं हैं

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

New York

A city's a difficult thing,
you always try to belong,
then one day it all changes
with merely an inflection -
someone asks for direction.

(thanks to FSF)

Sunday, June 15, 2014

All night

tr. from Maqdoom Mohiuddin's ghazal 'Aapki yaad aati rahi raat bhar'

Your memory comes to me all night
Eyes (tearful) still smile, see all night.

The song of the flute, beautiful, is
bent on turning to memory all night.

The pain that keeps on blazing, sees
the flame of sorrow, jittery all night.

Memory, like the moon, climbs down
my heart, the moonlight is shaky all night.

The madman keeps wandering in these
lanes, a voice keeps reaching me all night.

Makhdoom Mohiuddin (1908-1969)

Saturday, June 7, 2014

My grand father

used to ask us to read him
the shop-signs in Devanagri:

'मिंटू आइस-क्रीम'
'जगत हार्डवेयर'
'चित्र सिनेमा'

All his life, he
had known only Urdu
- leaving Lahore at 18,
a young railway-clerk
new at the desk then
- in the early months here
he had struggled, tried opening
a cigarette-shop in Delhi
(Pachkuiyan Road) before
being given the same job
in the Indian railways
in Lucknow.

In all this commotion,
he never bothered
learning another script,
dependent still, at 73, on his grandchildren
to read him ice-cream signs
when he treated them to
an orange-bar.

Now, years later,
when I ache to read Faiz's letters
in his own hand-writing, I have to
write to a facebook-friend in Lahore,
or ask a boy in our neighborhood,
or worse, use a translation app,
which is like rubbing stones on silk.

What grand-father and I
do not know - Urdu, Hindi -
lie in each others' glass, in
each others' loss, in their
remaining on our tongue, and yet,
as we try, in their flying from our eye.

Friday, June 6, 2014


tr. from Kadambari Mishra's 'बदायूं'

No one knows the name of my little town.
Somewhere on the banks of Ganga, it was settled,
lying there for centuries.
Many times I've thought, that apart from its history,
I should be able to tell people something,
anything, but my town does not give me
a chance.

Yesterday, all who heard the girl, stood around her,
their foreheads furrowed, their faces yellowed,
she was telling them about her town,
hesitating to go back there -

- there, two innocent ones had been hung on a tree
by those predators. Now everyone knew the name of Badayun.

Kadambari Mishra