Friday, May 20, 2005

Kuchh ishq kiya, kuchh kaam kiya/Some Love, Some Work - by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

woh log bahut khush kismat thay
jo ishq ko kaam samajhte thay
ya kaam se aashiqui karte thay
ham jite'ji mashroof rahe
kuchh ishq kiya, kuchh kaam kiya
kaam ishq ke aa're aata raha
aur ishq se kaam ulajhta raha
phir aakhir tang aakar ham ne
dono ko adhoora chhor diya

Fortunate indeed were those
who took love as their business
or were in love with whatever they did.
I remained busy my whole life--
some love, some work.
Work came in the way of love
and love often impeded work.
Then, finally, in disgust, giving it all up,
I forsook them both, half done.

I like Shiv K Kumar's translations of Faiz's work. He's pretty good. One of the reviews (from The Siasat) says: "What Edward Fitzgerald is to Omar Khayyam, Shiv K Kumar is to Faiz Ahmed Faiz...".

But, more than the transaltions, of course, I love Faiz's work. His poems are so articulate and, at the same time, so poetic and beautiful.

This one, for example, is just so amazing in the way he's made such a commonplace subject sound so militant and poetic, and beautiful...


Ye galiyon ke awaara bekaar kutte
ke bakhsha gaya jin ko zauq-e'-gadaai
zamaane ki phitkar sarma'yah unka
jahaan bhar ki dhutkaar unki kamaai
na aaraam shab ko na raahat savere
ghilazat mein ghar, naaliyon mein basere
jo bighrein to ek doosre se lara do
zara ek roti ka tukra dikha do
ye har ek ki thokarein khaane wale
ye faaqon se ukta marjaane wale

ye mazloom makhlooq gar sar uthaae
to insaan sab sarkashi bhool jaaye
ye chaahein to duniya ko apna bana lein
ye aaqa'on ki haddiyan tak chaba lein
ko inko ehsas-e'-zillat dila de
koi inki soi hui dum hila de

The translation- for the many who don't understand urdu...


Tramping about the streets aimlessly, these dogs,
born to the prerogative of beggary--
their only treasure is the world's scorn
their only wages, the world's reproof.

Not a moment's respite, day or night--
dirt their abode, drains their rest-houses.

If roused, they may be set one against the other,
just dangle before them a morsel of bread--
they who suffer everybody's kicks,
who'd tire and die of starvation.

If these destitutes were ever stirred up,
man would forget his imperiousness.
If only they willed, they'd reign supreme
for they could chew up even the bones of their masters.

All this--
if only someone would awaken them to their ignominy,
shake their sagging tails
to action!

Isn't it strange how some people can write like this?! I think it is.

Thursday, May 19, 2005

In Your Ocean Eyes

The fringe of day, dusk
where the two hours of time meet--
neither night nor day, neither today nor tomorrow.
One moment eternal, another just smoke--
on this day's fringe, for a moment or two
the fervour of lips,
the ardour of arms,
this union of ours, neither true nor false.
Why say a false thing
when in your ocean eyes
will sink this evening's sun?
Then everyone will sleep blissfully in his house
and the traveller will wend his way.

This is a translation of Faiz's 'teri samandar aankhon mein' by Shiv K Kumar.

Woohoo!! Yippee!! ...and all the rest of it...!

Back after a short break. And, I'm posting from home this time. Just got my internet connection done. And it's just SO FAST!! Woohoo!! Yippee!! ...and all the rest of it...!

Was out on a shoot yesterday, so didn't post anything. Getting quite used to writing here. Almost start getting withdrawal symptoms the day I don't. Have realised that writing a blog is strangely fulfilling.

Went to the Italian Cultural Centre yesterday. I was there for a shoot, and there was a really good film on - Padre Padrone. Called Anvita for the film as well. We didn't watch too much of the film though. Saw about half an hour of it, i.e. - until my hunger overtook our desire to watch kids having sex with chickens, sheep and donkeys. So, we went to the horrendously expensive cafe at the Italian Cultural Centre and sat there and talked (while I ate a horrendously expensive pizza!).

We talked about what Padmini, Anvita and I were talking about the night that they stayed over after the house warming party. That, about 90% of all people are plain stupid, and one should get around their stupidities and get one's own work done. This, I think, is the premise everyone should live by.

Now, I'm not saying that 90% of all people ARE stupid. Maybe they are, maybe they aren't. But, let's just assume they are...for the betterment of ourselves and for our peace of mind. How, you ask?

Well, I've seen this work, that's how. Believing this proposition makes life easier. And better. And healthier. Healthier beacause you don't lose your temper, don't get impatient, don't suddenly start thinking about HOW and WHY so-and-so can be that stupid! By believing this proposition, you start out by thinking - ok, so this person's stupid. Let me give her/him a chance, otherwise I'll do it myself. Isn't this better? You completely bypass the hours, or maybe even days, of frustration and anxiety...and anger.

My peace of mind is very important to me. That's why I like to believe that - "about 90% of all people are plain stupid, and one should get around their stupidities and get one's own work done."

Tuesday, May 17, 2005

After last night's conversation...

Before I go back home today, wanted to post this too. Have been thinking of bits and pieces of this song since morning. Finally, searched for the lyrics, and am putting them here. It was sung by Frank Sinatra.

Was talking with Gourav last night. Maybe that's why this song's been in my head.

This is for you...

Hey! "That's Life!"

That's life, that's what people say.
You're riding' high in April,
Shot down in May.
But I know I'm gonna change that tune,
When I'm back on top in June.

That's life, funny as it seems.
Some people get their kicks,
Steppin' on dreams;
But I don't let it get me down,
'Cause this ol' word keeps getting around.

I've been a puppet, a pauper, a pirate,
A poet, a pawn and a king.
I've been up and down and over and out
And I know one thing:
Each time I find myself flat on my face,
I pick myself up and get back in the race.

That's life, I can't deny it,
I thought of quitting,
But my heart just won't buy it.
If I didn't think it was worth a try,
I'd roll myself up in a big ball and die.

Jab teri samandar aankhon mein... by Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Ye dhoop kinara, shaam dhale
milte hain dono waqt jahaan
jo raat na din, jo aaj na kal
pal bhar ko amar, pal bhar mein dhuaan
is dhoop kinare, pal do pal
honton ki lapak
baahon ki chhanak
ye mel hamara jhoot na sach
kyon raaz karo, kyon dosh dharo
kis kaaran jhooti baat karo
jab teri samandar aankhon mein
is shaam ka sooraj doobega
sukh so'enge ghar dar wale
aur raahi apni raah lega

Nothing new in my mind today. Various bits and pieces of poetry running through my head since I woke up. So, got out my old brown diary, where I keep writing bits and pieces of whatever I like...poems, songs, one-liners - whatever catches my fancy basically. Quite an interesting read it has become, I'm proud to say.

I hate days like today. When my mind is blank and it just refuses to go anywhere, try as I might.

Padmini got me two fish. One of them must not have been too well, coz it had died by the next morning. And the previous day, it had been swimming upside down. For those of you who know fish, even if not personally, you might've seen that fish lose their sense of balance when they aren't feeling too well. Don't we all actually?

The other one's fine. Though, I think it must be lonely. It's alone in the bowl now, with just one underwater plant for company, and those glass pebbles that Mom so loves! It keeps swimming around in the bowl, but then what fun is that without a friend. It was looking quite forlon and listless this morning. Surprising how many similarities I'm suddenly seeing between human life and fish life!

To A Sad Daughter

To A Sad Daughter

All night long the hockey pictures
gaze down at you
sleeping in your tracksuit.
Belligerent goalies are your ideal.
Threats of being traded
cuts and wounds
- all this pleases you.
"Oh my god!" you say at breakfast
reading the sports page over the Alpen
as another player breaks his ankle
or assaults the coach.

When I thought of daughters
I wasn't expecting this
but I like this more.
I like all your faults
even your purple moods
when you retreat from everyone
to sit in bed under a quilt.
And when I say "like"
I mean of course "love"
but that embarasses you.
You who feel superior to black and white movies
(coaxed for hours to see Casablanca)
though you were moved
by Creatures from the Black Lagoon.

One day I'll come swimming
beside your ship or someone will
and if you hear the siren
listen to it. For if you close your eyes
only nothing happens. You will never change.

I don't care if you risk
your life to angry goalies
creatures with webbed feet.
You can enter their caves and castles
their glass laboratories. Just
don't be fooled by anyone but yourself.

This is the first lecture I've given you.
You're 'sweet sixteen' you said.
I'd rather be your closest friend
than your father. I'm not good at advice
you know that, but ride
the ceremonies
until they grow dark.

Sometimes you are so busy
discovering your friends
I ache with a loss
- but that is greed.
And sometimes I've gone
into my purple world
and lost you.

One afternoon I stepped
into your room. You were sitting
at the desk where I now write this.
Forsythia outside the window
and sun spilled over you
like a thick yellow miracle
as if another planet
was coaxing you out of the house
- all those possible worlds! -
and you, meanwhile, busy with mathematics.

I cannot look at Forsythia now
without loss, or joy for you.
You step delicately
into the wild world
and your real prize will be
the frantic search.
Want everything. If you break
break going out not in.
How you live your life I don't care
but I'll sell my arms for you,
hold your secrets for ever.

If I speak of death
which you fear now, greatly,
it is without answers,
except that each
one we know is
in our blood.

Don't recall graves.
Memory is permanent.
Remember the afternoon's
yellow suburban annunciation.
Your goalie
in his frightening mask
dreams perhaps
of gentleness.

- Michael Ondaatje

I'm Somewhat Normal and a Social Blogger

To certain people who have broadband, and more importantly, have internet at home...
THERE! I did the two silly quizzes too!

You Are 50% Normal

(Somewhat Normal)

While some of your behavior is quite normal...

Other things you do are downright strange

You've got a little of your freak going on

But you mostly keep your weirdness to yourself

You Are a Social Blogger!

Your blog is more of a semi-private affair for your friends.
It's how you keep in touch... sharing stories, jokes, and pics.

Monday, May 16, 2005

The promised land?

I wonder how many people have even heard of Tenzin Tsundue. I wonder how many people care about what he stands for.

Tenzin Tsundue is a restless young Tibetan, who after graduating from Madras, braved snowstorms and treacherous mountains, broke all rules and restrictions, crossed the Himalayas on foot and went into forbidden Tibet! The purpose? To see the situation under Chinese occupation for himself and find out if he could lend a hand or two in the freedom struggle. He was arrested by the Chinese border police, and after cooling his feet in prison in Lhasa for three months, was finally pushed back to India.

Born to a Tibetan refugee family who laboured on India's border roads around Manali, during the chaotic era of Tibetan refugee resettlement in the early seventies, Tenzin Tsundue is a writer-activist, a rare blend in the Tibetan community in exile.

I think he writes beautifully, and with so much passion that you can actually see it. Here are some poems he's written:


My father died
defending our home,
our village, our country.
I too wanted to fight.
But we are Buddhist.
People say we should be
Peaceful and Non-Violent.
So I forgive our enemy.
But sometimes I feel
I betrayed my father.


Thirty-nine years in exile.
Yet no nation supports us.
Not a single bloody nation!

We are refugees here.
People of a lost country.
Citizen to no nation.

Tibetans: the world's sympathy stock.
Serene monks and bubbly traditionalists;
one lakh and several thousand odd,
nicely mixed, steeped
in various assimilating cultural hegemonies.

At every check-post and office,
I am an "Indian-Tibetan".
My Registration Certificate,
I renew every year, with a salaam.
A foreigner born in India.

I am more of an Indian.
Except for my Chinky Tibetan face.
"Nepali?" "Thai?" "Japanese?"
"Chinese?" "Naga?" "Manipuri?"
but never the question – "Tibetan?"

I am Tibetan.
But I am not from Tibet.
Never been there.
Yet I dream of dying there.


From Ladakh
Tibet is just a gaze away.
They said:
from that black knoll at Dumtse,
it's Tibet.
For the first time, I saw
my country Tibet.

In a hurried hidden trip,
I was there, at the mound.

I sniffed the soil,
scratched the ground,
listened to the dry wind
and the wild old cranes.

I didn't see the border,
I swear there wasn't anything
different, there.

I didn't know,
if I was there or here.
I didn't know,
if I was here or there.

They say the kyangs
come here every winter.
They say the kyangs
go there every summer.

We stay engrossed in our tiny daily problems. Someone failed us, broke a promise, things didn't turn out the way we'd wanted...

What could be a bigger problem than having no identity?

I am an Indian. And, I'm very proud of being an Indian. But, more than the so-called "Indian Pride", isn't the thing that I'm truly proud of the identity I get from being an Indian? I have a home. No - not the four walls and a roof. I mean, a place - a nation - to call my own. To belong to. To be a part of. There are days when I don't feel specially patriotic. There are also days when I don't even give a thought to the place I belong to. But, what if such a place didn't exist at all? What if I was living on borrowed land? What if I'd been shown the imaginary pot of gold at the end of the rainbow, but I was never able to find it? What if promises had been made, and promises had been broken, and I still didn't have an identity? What if no one had ever supported my claim for a place to call my own? My claim for the promised land? What if...?

Can't think of much else to write. Didn't sleep much last night. And then, a certain person's alarm for 6:30 a.m. woke me up!

To all the people who came over last night - Thanks! :-)

If anyone would like to read more about Tenzin Tsundue, you could go to:

Friday, May 13, 2005

Live, Love, Work, Believe, Follow & Lead - with Passion

Mom wrote to me this morning. She says - "Live, Love, Work, Believe, Follow & Lead-- Do everything with Passion and Conviction. Never do things just for Doing sake. And--Work hard and look decorative. There is never any excuse for being slovenly or JHALLA! Use your Strengths AND Weaknesses to YOUR advantage always. Go all out for someone you call a FRIEND. Be Honest to yourself (and to others where possible)."

Isn't all that kinda just what everyone needs to know? To understand? To remember? Everyone goes through those phases off and on when one gets complacent...let things be as they stops pushing...stops making an effort...

Wondering. Isn't that death of life itself? For, what is life, if not full of passion? Passion - for everything. For everyone. Or, maybe not "everyone". But, everyone who means anything in that part of your being that's the closest to you.

Love. Why do people make it sound like a four-letter word so often? Wondering again. Isn't love what defines the person each one of us is? Isn't love what makes the world go round? To love another person, you shouldn't have to give it a name. You shouldn't want to change the person. You shouldn't change yourself. All so right in theory. But, how often we forget it, don't we? I wonder if all this, that is so right in theory, is even possible all of the time. But, remember it we should. Try to follow it we should. Love shouldn't have any rules, should it? We shouldn't have to think about how it should go. We shouldn't have to plan how we want it to go.

Wondering still. And questioning. And believing. The best kind of state to be in, I think.

Came to office late today. No lights since 7 a.m. this morning. And the mosquitos would carry me off if I didn't light the mosquito repellent coil that I'm allergic to. It's amazing how you just have to cross the Delhi-U.P. border, and there you are - in a state where there is no electricity for most part of the day. And my place is exactly 7 kms from Ashram. Outrageous!

Gonna leave you now with another poem that I love...

Khuubsoorat Mod
chalo ik baar phir se ajanabii ban jaaye.N ham dono.n

na mai.n tum se ko_ii ummiid rakhuu.N dil navaazii kii
na tum merii taraf dekho Galat a.ndaaz nazaro.n se
na mere dil kii dha.Dakan la.Dakha.Daaye merii baato.n me.n
na zaahir ho tumhaarii kashmakash kaa raaz nazaro.n se

ta'arruf rog ho jaaye to us ko bhuulanaa behatar
ta'alluq bojh ban jaaye to us ko to.Danaa achchhaa
vo afsaanaa jise takamiil tak laanaa na ho mumakin
use ek Khuubasuurat mo.D dekar chho.Danaa achchhaa

chalo ik baar phir se ajanabii ban jaaye.N ham dono.n

[ta'arruf=acquaintance; ta'alluq=relationship; takamiil= completion]

The song has an additional stanza:

tumhe.n bhii ko_ii ulajhan rokatii hai peshakadamii se
mujhe bhii log kahate hai.n ki ye jalave paraaye hai.n
mere hamaraah bhii rusavaaiyaa.N hai.n mere maazii kii
tumhaare saath bhii guzarii huii raato.n ke saaye hai.n
Quite beautiful, isn't it? Isn't it amazing how some people, like Sahir Ludhianvi here, can say something so beautiful, and use just the right words to say it? I think this, and the ability to sing well and/or play an instrument are the two things that I would give my eye teeth for...whatever the hell that phrase is supposed to mean!

Thursday, May 12, 2005

ye husn teraa ye ishq Sahir

Yep! Another post so soon after the first one! This is one of my favourite poems, from one of my favourite poets.

ye husn teraa ye ishq meraa
ye husn teraa ye ishq meraa
rangiin to hai bad_naam sahii
mujh par to ka_ii ilzaam lage
tujh par bhii ko_ii ilzaam sahii

is raat kii nikharii rangat ko
kuchh aur nikhar jaane de zaraa
nazaro.n ko bahak jaane de zaraa
zulfo.n ko bikhar jaane de zaraa
kuchh der kii hii taskiin sahii
kuchh der kaa hii aaraam sahii

jazbaat kii kaliyaa.N chunanaa hai
aur pyaar kaa tohfaa denaa hai
logo.n kii nigaahe.n kuchh bhii kahe.n
logo.n se hame.n kyaa lenaa hai
ye Khaas ta'alluq aapas kaa
duniyaa kii nazar me.n aam sahii

rusavaa_ii ke Dar se ghabaraa kar
ham tark-e-vafaa kab karate hai.n
jis dil ko basaa le.n pahaluu me.n
us dil ko judaa kab karate hai.n
jo hashr huaa hai laakho.n kaa
apanaa bhii vahii anjaam sahii

ye husn teraa ye ishq meraa
rangiin to hai bad_naam sahii
mujh par to ka_ii ilzaam lage
tujh par bhii ko_ii ilzaam sahii
This one's by Sahir Ludhianvi. My other favourites...Bashir Badr and Faiz Ahmed Faiz. If you liked this one, you'll find many more on the link to Urdu Poetry on my Links sidebar.

New job, new life

First time I'm writing a blog. Inspired by some of my friends.

This is a time of "firsts" for me it seems. First first job, my first's quite new and strange...and wonderfully exciting!

So, I started work on the 9th of May...officially. In the Moving Picture Company. Right now, I'm working on a bio-pic on Lal Bahadur Shastri. Yep...a longer (much longer!) version of the same documentary I'd worked on in October last year. In the research stage as yet. Will start shooting in a day or two hopefully.

My first house...oh, don't ask! It's lovely! It's a barsati, which means that the terrace is my own, for all practical purposes. It's a really nice one bedroom, kitchen and bathroom set. Mom, Dad and Saahil helped me do it up last Sunday. Finally got cable yesterday. Will be getting broadband in a month, and then it'll be absolutely perfect! Not to say that it isn't perfect as it has to be...with all the cooking and CLEANING (Attn: Mom!) and decorating I've been doing.

Best part about having my own place is that now...after 4 years of living in other people's houses...I can finally have friends over. Saahil was with me the last two days, Rouble spent one night, Anvita came over yesterday.

The only part I'm not-so-happy about...? That would have to be point number 4 of the rent agreement I signed last evening...the one about "I will keep no pets". That was another thing I'd been looking forward to for when I'd have my own place. Was thinking of adopting a kitten from Frendicoes. Not a dog, though I love them more than snooty cats, coz it'd get very lonely when I'm not home. Cats are more independent that way.

Speaking of independence, that's another thing I love about living alone. I can't understand people (however much I may try to) who prefer living with relatives, or even with the land-lord's family, rather than living on their own. Being reponsible for your successes and your failures. They'll never know the happiness that I get from coming back from work, taking off my sandals, making tea for myself while filling up the cooler, and then just sitting on my bed, in front of the TV, having my chai...and loving to be by myself.

Watched The Practice and JAG last night. Wonder HOW they manage to make such GOOD shows. Wonder why we can't. One good one on Indian television right now is Sarrkar on Zee TV. Quite impressive! But, look what happened with Jassi. But then, it still works, as do the "saas-bahu" kinds that do so well. (Besta luck, Anvita! I still find it very amusing, and I WILL still judge you!)

The pulse of an audience is a very strange thing. Getting the pulse of the audience is even stranger.