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Yes its sinking in.. Rank 40, CSE 2015.The UPSC circle- the close and the beginning.

Bagh-e-Bahisht Se Mujhe Hukam-e-Safar Diya Tha Kyun Kaar-e-Jahan Daraz Hai, Ab Mera Intezar Kar                      - Mohammad...

Thursday, September 28, 2017

September songs - The coordinates beyond dates and time


"तू कौन सवेरा है मेरा , 
मै उड़ने लगा तुझसे मिलके 
मैं मैं भी रहा, तू तू भी रहा ; 
कुछ ऐसे घुला तुझमें मिलके 

तू पलकों पर , उड़ता है मेरी 
- तस्वीरों सा -
- तकदीरों सा -
तू आँखों से , रिसता है मेरी 
- जज़्बातों की -
- ताबीरों सा -
तू चूड़ी कंगन झुमके की 
झंकार सा मुझमें बजता है 
तू बंसी के संगीत सा है  
मुझमें हर्फों सा बसता है 

तितली के तू पंख भी है 
पेड़ों का हरा तू रंग भी है 
तू बरगद की छाया भी है 
तू शीशम के पत्तों की खनक 
तू शाम के दूध की प्याली में 
केसर की तरह घुलती हसरत 
तू कोहरे से लिपटी खुशबू है 
तू ओस में  लिपटा पानी है
जितनी तुझमे मेरी है सुन,
उतनी मुझमें तेरी कहानी है। .

तू एक बरसता लम्हा है 
चंद करोड़ों सालों -सा 
कभी तेज़ बहुत तू चलता है 
कभी हौले से मुझमें ढुलके 
मैं मैं भी रहा, तू तू भी रहा ; 
कुछ ऐसे घुला तुझमें मिलके।" 
ताबीर  = meaning, interpretation
हर्फ़  =  alphabet

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

The transformations to reach the other.


You love me like water.
You find your ways
- to reach me -
As rain or fog
or dew or frost
What love can build and transform
- you teach me -

Monday, August 21, 2017

The stranger who knows you.

May be you just knew the right wavelengths. So wherever you touched me, 
you coloured everything beautiful.
Like you knew my darkness.
Like you had seen my light.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

To a firefly.

रास्तों में कहीं रौशनी मिल गयी
मंज़िलों तक मेरे साथ चलना मगर।
मौसमों को बदलते हुए देखना,
भोर को सांझ में ढलते देखना,
और मुझे आसमां और ज़मी के दरमियां
सूखे पत्तों पे चलते हुए देखना।

हाँ सवेरे से  जब रात हो जायेगी,
इस ज़मीं की हर इक चीज़ सो जाएगी,
देर तक जागते मेरे दो नैन में;
एक आधा-सा बन ख्वाब जलना मगर।

रास्तों में कहीं रौशनी मिल गयी
मंज़िलों तक मेरे साथ चलना मगर।

रौशनी  ने कहा , भोर नज़दीक  है ;
मैंने  उससे  कहा और सब ठीक  है;
ढूंढ ला तू  फिर-से  आज वो जुगनू मेरा …
जो जानता है, मेरे साथ जगना  मगर।

जुगनुओं  को  बुझते -जलते देखना
वायदों  को पिघलते  हुए देखना।
और मुझे धुप छाओं  के  इस खेल  में ;
गिरते  उठते  संभलते  हुए देखना।

हाँ सवेरे से  जब रात हो जायेगी,
इस ज़मीं की हर इक चीज़ सो जाएगी,
देर तक जागते मेरे दो नैन में;
एक अधूरा सा बन ख्वाब जलना मगर।

रास्तों में कहीं रौशनी मिल गयी
मंज़िलों तक मेरे साथ चलना मगर। 

Thursday, August 3, 2017

Essays on travel - Breathing.

मौला इतना  बतला दे तू , क्यों बिसमिल -बिसमिल फिरता हूँ ?
है कौन मुसलसल सा मुझमें , जिसे रोज़ तलाश मै करता हूँ  ?
मुझको मुझसे यूँ रिहा कर दे ,
मै मिल जाऊँ जो फ़िर मुझमें। 
तू उतना ही मेरा भी है ,
मै जितना रहता हूँ तुझमें। 

ps: मुसलसल = continuous, linked in a series.
Picture clicket at Fatehpur sikri, Agra, India

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Because you were built stone by stone.

No. Not your beauty and finesse which took me.
Nor your arches and hues, engravings and calligraphy.
They were magnificent, no doubt.
But I have reached,felt, absorbed 
- the stone you are built up of -
and how you have kept it
- integrated -

Because I know,
That's what makes you stand tall.
That's what will draw these birds to you each day.
Because l know,
You were built stone by stone.

Picture clicked at: Fatehpur sikri, Agra, India.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

What goes on in the heart of the city...


" कुछ बेलफ़्ज़ों- सी बातें हैं ,
कुछ लफ़्ज़ों-सी है ख़ामोशी 
कैसे मै कागज़ पर लिख दूँ 
है कौन यहाँ किसका दोषी?"


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

The star shrinks in its own gravity.

मै ये कहाँ आ गया
किसको कहूँ , न कहूँ ?
मैं हूँ अभी भी वहाँ
बैठा हुआ, हूबहू
मै हँसता हूँ ,
रो पड़ता हूँ
हूँ भूला ,
याद भी करता हूँ
- मै स्याही हूँ -
अपने रंगों से 
रोज़ मैं रोज़ झगड़ता हूँ
मै  बादल -सा घिर जाता हूँ
मै पागल - सा फिर आता हूँ
इन शहरों में
इन कसबों में
हर गाँव की
पगडंडी में
- जंगल जंगल -
किसको ढूंढूं ?
मैं रातों में , 
बीच अँधेरे और सवेरे के
आँखें खोलूँ ,आँखें मूंदूँ,,,
- ढूंढूं तेरी -
धड़कन की धुन
के बीच तेरी
- कंपन कंपन -
और फिर छुपकर
पलकों के तले
रिसती - रिसती
उलझन - उलझन।
पर बीच कहीं उसके मैंने
तेरी आँखों में
जो परियाँ  नाचती देखी थी,
उन परियों के
घरौंदों में
जलता है कहीं
एक काँच का पल
जग चूड़ी कंगन पहनेगा 
जलते उस काँच के रंगों का 
मैं कानों के इन बूंदों में 
पहनूँ रोज़ तुझे क्यों लम्हों सा ...
क्यों मै सोलह श्रृंगार करूँ ?
संगीत तेरा क्यों रोज़ सुनूँ ?
तोड़ूँ सब या तेरे ख़्वाब बुनूँ
हर रोज़ फिरूं
पागल पागल
बेचैन -बेचैन
बिस्मिल - बिस्मिल
बेकल - बेकल
किससे पूछूँ ?
तू मेरा कौन है?
मै तेरा कौन हूँ?
कौन अरमान है?
कौन अनजान है ?
दे बता अब ख़ुदा
अब तो ख़ुदा , दे बता ...

Saturday, June 3, 2017

The day I become a star.

One day there will be
no verses, 
conversations, 
sentences, 
words 
and alphabet.

Only points 
and lines.

To cross. 
Or to erase.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

The explosion in your heart.

Things break the way they break.
As a crack in your favourite coffee mug.
Or as a bomb explosion.

So do people.
'I' 
am just one.
"कहीं आँखों से पढ़ लिए जाते थे,
यहाँ स्याही-स्याही करतें हैं। 
तू तो फिर भी इंसान है सुन, 
यहाँ लफ्ज़ भी टूटा करतें हैं।"

Monday, May 22, 2017

The twins...



This is me. This is you.
And the cities we built here.
This is me. This is you.
And the cities we build here.
"अनचले रास्तों का कोई मोड़ हूँ। 
मुझको छू दे जिधर से तू ,मै कोई और हूँ।"



Photograph- Clicked by a photographer friend

Saturday, May 20, 2017

Will the sky envelope the plateau?


A half written letter craves
- to hear -
that warmth in your chest
curling around the trembling silence
of its half- constructed sentences
tonight once again quivered,
once again stirred.

To its envelope, it once again cribs :
"Hide me from this cold cold world."

Please.


"इसके आगे कहो , अब कहाँ जाऊँ मैं ?
गिरती बारिश -सा हूँ, लौट न पाऊँ मैं। "


Picture credits: A photographer friend.

Sunday, May 14, 2017

To Musoorie, with love.

"जाएगा भी तो कहाँ 
तू ये कारवाँ छोड़कर ?
तू ये कहानी लिए ,
बैठा है किस मोड़ पर ?

पलकों पर तेरी 
- जल रही है -
हाथों पर तेरे 
-बदल रही है -"
There is this something about places and people. If you collide with the right ones, the ones made up of the same material as you are, you are changed. I have fallen in love with people. I have fallen in love with places. I have learnt to move on, to absorb new places and people. But this. But You. Yes You, the queen of hills. You have truly been , by far, the most powerful experience of my life. And so, its going to be difficult.


Its not just that you were beautiful physically. Beautiful to look at, beautiful to traverse, beautiful to touch, to feel and absorb. No, not that. But that we could see the souls of one another.

 Like I had known you since ages as I climbed up on your boulders and cobbles. Like you had known me since ages, as I would find refuge in your conifer canopies. 

Like you knew we were going to have those conversations, share that laughter, shed those tears. Like I knew, you were going to make me fall in love with you, and smile that it happened, and weep that it ended. Ended so soon. 

You were beautiful to your core. And though I could never reach the magma you are made up of, I had felt it throb in your eyes and your touch. I had felt it stir you up, just as you had seen me stirred up so many times.

As I came back in a cab down the hills, and when I entered the plains, there was this song reverberating in my head. I kept playing it on a repeat in my earphones with wet eyes and a shivering body in may summer heat. 
"I wonder why, I wonder how, I wonder where they are.. 
the days we had, the songs we sang together.. 
So I say a little prayer. 
Hope my dreams will take me there 
where the skies are blue to see you once again."

Now this is what I have to say to you.

"You were your rocks and boulders and pebbles. You were your cracks and crevices. You were your rivers and waterfalls. You were your curved roads and pathways. You were your clouds and sunshine. You were your breeze, and snow and hail. 
You were your culture and music. You were food and wine and coffee.  You were your jokes and tickles and scream
s. You were your lights at night and sunrises at morning pt. You were the colours of buddhist flags and chants of Tibetan prayers. You were me.

You are me."


ps: Its been a day and a half back home, and I still am not here at my home. I am still there. I am still that. Its like a famous hindi song of the nineties:
ऐ वक़्त रुक जा , थम जा , ठहर जा ,
वापिस ज़रा दौड़ पीछे। 
मै  छोड़ आई  खुद को जहाँ पे ,
वो रह गया  मोड़ पीछे। "

Wednesday, May 3, 2017

Reading between your words


Your silence leaks
from in between your words
when you try
to lie
that you're laughing and singing loud,

and they love your songs.

Saturday, April 22, 2017

In my entireness.


I miss you in the silence of the dusk,
which the noise of this city-town keeps breaking.

I miss you in the noise of this city-town,
which always leaves my heart crying and aching.

I miss you in the aching of my heart,
and it peeks as moisture from my weary eyes.

I miss you in my weary eyes craving for a peaceful sleep,
and making efforts for it tireless.
And there, yes there,
I miss you,in my entireness.


"तेरी शफ़कत थी , या कोई आज़ाब था ?
ये पता न चला, इब्तिदा कब हुई , कब मुक़म्मल हुआ।"

ps- शफ़कत - affection
आज़ाब - deluge, flood
इब्तिदा - beginning
मुक़म्मल - completion, totality

Monday, April 10, 2017

Between language and silence.


" मेरे हर हर्फ़ को, हर मेरे अलफ़ाज़ को,
तोलता सौ ज़ुबानों में , हर मेरे  एहसास को,
थक गया था मैं, जग की ये क्या रीत है।

पर ज़ुबां से तेरी जो मुख़ातिब हुआ,
तो ये जाना किया,
- मेरी ख़ामोशियों में भी संगीत है। -

कोई शफ़कत है ये ?
या अक़ीदत कोई ?
दे बता ऐ ख़ुदा।
ऐ ख़ुदा , दे बता।


मेरे बचपन से मुझमें , 

मुसलसल सा है ...
मेरी माँ का मुझे , हाँ वो हर रोज़ ही
तू सुनाया हुआ, हाँ वो परियों भरा
- रात का गीत है। -

तू मेरा कौन है?
मैं तेरा कौन हूँ ?
कौन अरमान है? 
कौन अनजान है ?
दे बता , ऐ ख़ुदा
ऐ  खुदा, दे बता ...

"To that question,
as to why I loved talking to him
day and night.
Because,
 He could talk to me
- mind to mind - 
 - thought to thought - 
- light to light - "

ps-  wrote something in Urdu after a long time.
हर्फ़ in urdu means : letter
अलफ़ाज़ : word
मुख़ातिब : to converse with
शफ़कत: affection
अक़ीदत : devotion
मुसलसल:  continuous, eternal

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Usually.


"तू मेरे गीत का कौनसा लफ्ज़ है?
मैंने तुझको कभी, हाँ लिखा भी नहीं। "
No.
Not in these places.
I find you in spaces
of me,
that I don't usually traverse.
And see you building hamlets there.

Lets build a boat.
And sail away
to those places
those spaces
of you
you don't usually traverse.
"तू मेरे गीत का, कौनसा लफ्ज़ है ?
मैंने तुझको कभी, हाँ लिखा भी नहीं। 
गुनगुनाता भी है ,मेरे एहसास में ,
कागज़ों पर मेरे, दीखता भी नहीं 
तू मेरा कौन है ?
मै तेरा कौन हूँ ?
कौन अरमान है ?
कौन अनजान है ?
 ए खुदा , दे बता 
दे बता , ए  ख़ुदा.."
ps: To Unworldly.

Friday, March 24, 2017

To mountains, with love.



Far away on those mountains, I see a small chalet, and there, a woman smiling at me with limpid eyes. She looks familiar. Like I can see myself in her, just a little older and wiser. 

Her eyes tell me she has traversed these paths before, and felt their soul. I can sense stories reeking out of her enchanting smile. Stories of love and loss, despondency and hope, of trust, of laughter, of togetherness, written right here, amidst these hills.

Stories deprived of language, but containing within them all that music is. Stories sans alphabet. For all that was to be said, had been spoken amidst these mountains once. And understood. Absorbed. Between dusk and night. Between coffee and wine. Between sound and meaning. Between emotion and embrace.

As these stories reach me, a strange mountain breeze blows from somewhere and my hair and scarf drift me ahead. I feel myself borne onward along a force whose source seems to be in all that is, in the very beginning of things, in the core which sustains us. I am drawn towards the mountains and as the breeze reaches my ears, I can hear what those two brown wise eyes and one enchanting smile on the other side have to say to me -


" Live. All that is here and now, is yours. Nothing more. Nothing less. Live. One day, you'll understand. And you'll smile, with wet limpid eyes. That day, you'll melt in these mountains, become one with them. After all, its for the molten magma inside, that the mountains rise. Live. "




"इन पहाड़ों में लिपटी हुई 
एक सुबह है यहाँ,
और एक शाम है 
मै इसी का तो हूँ,
इसमें खो जाऊंगा। 
इसका हो जाऊंगा। 

क्यों धुआं हैं यहाँ ?,क्या हुआ है यहाँ ?
क्या मेरा आसमाँ, मुझसे नाराज़ है?
क्या ये मेरी ज़मीं, मुझसे नासाज़ है?
मै इसी का तो हूँ,
इसमें खो जाऊंगा। 
इसका हो जाऊंगा। 

आसमाँ जब मिलेगा धरा से,
कुछ बारिशों में कहीं,
हाँ इसी का तो हूँ ,
मै बरस जाऊँगा  
तुझमें बस जाऊँगा। 

तुझमें सो जाऊँगा 
तेरा हो जाऊँगा। "

PS: wrote prose after a long time. Got reminded of something I wrote years back... Those two brown twinkling eyes.

Thursday, March 23, 2017

This silence needs a healing.


This silence rushes like water
- spills and spreads -
through all the paths, 
it carefully treads..
This silence meanders.
Boulders and cobbles and pebbles and clay
whirl through its dreams and fears.

This silence is a river,
Whom its own debris keeps peeling.
This silence needs 
- a healing -

This silence combusts like a flame,
burning red and orange and yellow and white.
This silence flickers.
It is shivering in its own light.

This silence is an ignited gas
trapped between
- concealing and revealing -
This silence needs
- a healing -

This silence is an aching bird,
who's wings are melting away.
Will the sky hold it?
The bird still breathes, it is still feeling.
This silence needs
- a healing -

Monday, March 13, 2017

The colliding elements.

"क्या तुम इन पानियों में घुल गए हो ?
या मैं सागर-सा तुम पर गिरने लगा हूँ ? "

Have you dissolved 
in me 
- as blue -
oh sky!
Or have I begun, 
to fall 
- on you -
releasing myself 
from all 
gravity?

Photograph: Clicked near Lakshadweep, India.

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Because I had been searching.

"मैंने ढूंढा है, हाँ तुझको ; सारे जग में , सबमें , मुझमें 
पल-पल , दिन- दिन , हफ़्तों-हफ़्तों , सालों- सालों 
...................... सदियाँ -सदियाँ।  
 कोई खोया-सा बच्चा जैसे; हो ढूंढ रहा इस सागर में 
तत्पर-तत्पर , बेचैन- बेचैन ,बिस्मिल-बिस्मिल, बेकल- बेकल 
 ......................अपनी परियाँ।  "

Photograph: taken at Bangaram island, Lakshadweep, India
बिस्मिल - wounded
बेकल - distraught
तत्पर- ready, ripe

Saturday, February 25, 2017

Winning or losing.

It was never about you winning or you losing. It was all about making you better.
And then, did you actually want it so easy?
Burn.
It was not about victory taking away all your darkness. It never can.
It was all about making you the light.
It was never about you winning or you losing.

Thursday, February 23, 2017

Made of the same material.

Right at that moment I wanted to feel the sea. Know it complete. Touch all that was buried inside his heart. Difficult he was.

But believe me, it was like having found a friend who knows your melancholy, stirs it up, brings you face to face with your own turbulence. As if both of you were made up of the same material.

Its all water you see.
I wanted to cry in his blue arms. But I stood there smiling with wet eyes.
Its all water you see

Thursday, February 9, 2017

How do I answer the questions cities put to me?


शहरों से शहरों के बीच, तू मिल जाता है मुझको
हर एक रास्ते पर
हरा या पीला या सतरंगा कोई पेड़ बनके
मैं गाड़ी की खिड़की से तकतीं हूँ ,
तेरी शाखों पर बंधे धागे
- धागों से वादे -
- वादों से नग़में -
- और नग़मों से गुनगुनाती  -
मिट्टी की ख़ुशबू
बारिश की थिरकन
पत्तों की कंपन
और आसमां का मुझपर आसरा।

फिर भी इन शहरों में लोग अक्सर मुझसे पूछा करतें हैं,
" तू है कहाँ ?"

Saturday, February 4, 2017

How much can you absorb?

I have it all. Buried deep under my skin.
Too much. Too little.
- How much -
do you want ?

I have it all. Bubbling, burbling, murmuring
in the spaces of my mind
Too wide. Too narrow
- How much - 
can you hold?

I have it all. Foaming, spuming, sparkling 
in my soul
Too eternal. Too ephemeral
- How much -
can you absorb?

How much can you absorb?
With yours
Within yours?

Photograph clicked at: Kupwara, Jammu and Kashmir, India.