Sunday, April 9, 2017


The bastards hid along long enough
The bastards, they been causing the gout
The bastards you could see all along
The bastards, assholes belching doubt

The bastards, they rocked and swayed
The bastards, had a merry go 'bout
The bastards swung and ho'ed
The bastards, ye, you and the lout

The bastards, the bas and the turds
The bastards, the termites, the grouts
The bastards, 'em with cards and the birds
The bastards, in leotards all up and about

The bastards, they barged in
The bastards, they knocked you out
The bastards, they kept you unconscious
The bastards, they each morn' sprout

The bastards, the nice looking ones too
The bastards, always won every bout
The bastards, make nary a splash
The bastards, the victors, they shout

The bastards, them of the insanities
The bastards, them fukcing about
The bastards, of limitless errors
The bastards of no differentials of pout

The bastards keep tumbling out of your closet, now
The bastards keep rolling 'em out
The bastards are feeling the heat
The bastards, them beginning to rout

The bastards, they be leaving you moments
The bastards, them faint, they shout
The bastards, they're funny that way
Now that the winter is passing,
Hey bastards, the spring is up and about!
The bastards are left it tatters
In the shadows they lorded over
Now revealed to be dolls in trouts

The bastards are rushing out
And foolishness rushes in
Whither and whether the new bastards
The bastards, a new show, a new rout.

Thursday, November 3, 2016

Ghalib - Bazeecha-e-itfal Hai Duniya Mere Aage

From here.
Ghalib at his natural best in this ghazal – “which represents a dazzling array of poetic interrogations, none of which contravene one another; instead, they draw the ghazal together to illustrate the workings of the many-minded Ghalib” – From the book “Ghalib: Epistemologies of Elegance” by Azra Raza and Sara Suleri Goodyear.
Here is the entire ghazal (14 couplets) in Roman Urdu with an English translation from the same book, for your enjoyment:
Bazeecha-e-itfal hai duniya meray aage
Hota hai shab-o-roz tamasha meray aage
The world is a children’s playground before me
Night and Day, this theatre is enacted before me
Ek khel hai aurang-e-Suleman meray nazdeek
Ek baat hai aijaz-e-Masiha meray aage
For me the flying throne of Solomon is a game
And only talk, the miracles of Christ before me
Juz naam nahin surat-e-aalam mujhe manzoor
Juz waham nahin hasti-e-ashia meray aage
I acknowledge the face of the universe as only a name
The substance of reality is but superstition before me
Hota hai nihan gard mein sahra meray hote
Ghista hai jabeen khaak pe dariya meray aage
Next to me, the wilderness is shamed into hiding in dust
The servile river grovels in the dust before me
Mat pooch ke kya haal hai mera teray peechey
Tu dekh ke kya rang gait era meray aage
Do not ask what my condition is without you
Just look at your own comportment before me
Sach kahte ho khud bin-o-khud aara hoon, na kyun hoon
Baitha hai but-e-aaina seema meray aage
True, I appear consumed by the niceties of adornment, but of course
An idol mirrors my reflection before me
Phir dekhiye andaaz-e-gul afshaani-e-guftaar
Rakh de koi paimana-o-sahba meray aage
Then witness the blossoming manner of speech
Just place a decanter of wine before me
Nafrat ke gumaan guzre hai main rashk se guzra
Kyunkar kahoon lo naam na unka meray aage
I was presumed hostile where I am merely jealous
Why should I say do not take that name before me
Imaan mujhe roke hai jo kheenche hai mujhe kufr
Kaaba mere peechhe hai kalisa meray aage
Faith retards me, where idols lure me
Kaaba is behind me, the church is before me
Aashiq hoon pah mashooq farebi hai miraa kaam
Majnun ko bura kahti hai Laila meray aage
I desire, my craft is to seduce the desired
The beloved Laila insults the lover Majnun before me
Khush hote hai par wasl mein yun mar nahin jaate
Aai shab-e-hijran ki tamanna meray aage
Joy prevails, but union need not signal death
Yearnings of the dark night of my soul came before me
Hai mauj-zan ik qulzum-e-khoon kaash yahi ho
Aata hai abhi dekhiye kya kya meray aage
Tears of blood create oceans of blood, if only this were it
And yet, what unknown fates must I still behold before me
Go haath ko jumbish nahin aankhon mein toh dum hai
Rahne do abhi saaghar-o-meena meray aage
Even when hands have no movement, sight retains vitality
So leave the accoutrements of wine before me
Hum-pesha-o-hum-mashrab-o-humraaz hai mera
Ghalib ko bura kyun kaho achha meray aage
He is my comrade, my confidant, my fellow carouser
Do not speak ill of him, Ghalib is good before me
*Part of archiving various Ghalib gazals sung by Jagjit in the TV series. Copy pasting from various sources.

Ghalib - Zulmat Kade Me Mere

From here.

zulmat_kade mein mere shab-e-gham ka josh hai
ik shamma'a hai daleel-e-sahar, so khamosh hai

nai  muzda-e-wisaal na nazzaara-e-jamaal
muddat huee ki aashtee-e-chashm-o-gosh hai

mai ne kiya hai, husn-e-khud_aara ko be_hijaab
'ai shauq, haan ijaazat-e-tasleem-e-hosh  hai

gauhar ko ikd-e-gardan-e-khubaan mein dekhna
kya auj par  sitaara-e-gauhar_farosh  hai

deedaar, waada, hausla, saaqee, nigaah-e-mast
bazm-e-khayaal maikada-e-be_kharosh hai

'ei taaza  waaridan-e-bisaat-e-hawa-e-dil
zinhaar gar tumhain hawas-e-na-o-nosh hai

dekho  mujhe jo  deeda-e-ibrat_nigaah ho
meree suno jo gosh-e-naseehat_niyosh hai

saaqee  ba_jalwa  dushman-e-imaan-o-aagahee
mutrib ba_naghma rahzan-e-tamkeen-o-hosh hai

ya shab ko dekhte the; ki har gosha-e-bisaat
daamaan-e-baaghbaan-o-kaf-e-gul_farosh   hai

yeh  jannat-e-nigaah  woh firdaus-e-gosh  hai

ya subh  dam jo dekhiye aakar to bazm mein
nai woh suroor-o-soz na josh-o-kharosh hai

daagh-e-firaaq-e-sohabat-e-shab kee jalee hooee
ik shamma`a reh gaee hai so wo bhee khamosh hai

aate hain ghaib se ye mazaameen khayaal mein
ghalib,  sareer-e-khaama nawa-e-sarosh hai

Line 1/2 - In this my place of darkness, there is this fervor and emotion of the night of grief. There is a candle which is the sign of the morning and that too is silent. Ghalib says in this my house(world) where darkness pervades and there is passion in me due to this night of grief. The extinguished candle is the proof that the morning has come by. As dawn approaches the candle is blown off. So though my world is still dark (and possibly more darker due to the candle being blown off), there is hope that the dawn is coming soon.

Line 3/4 - Neither the good news of our meeting nor the sight of such a beautiful face. It has been a long time, that there has been a peace between the eyes and the ears. The news of meeting makes the ears fill with joy, but makes the eyes jealous and the glance of her beautiful face brightens my eyes but make the ears jealous. It has been a long time now that there has been peace and quiet for neither the eyes get the see her and the ears get to hear the news and so there is harmony between them.(for there is nothing to be jealous about)

Line 5/6 - The wine has lifted it, the veil of the beauty of the self adorer. Oh! the desire indeed, there is the permission to surrender the senses. Ghalib says that the wine has lifted this veil of the self adorning's beauty. Oh! the desires of my heart, now you too have permission to sacrifice your senses.(an extension being that just by looking at the unveiled beauty, no one can remain in their senses)

Line 7/8 - I saw the pearl in the necklace of a beautiful person(my beloved). What height the star of the pearl merchant is!. Ghalib says I saw my beloved and the pearls on those lovely necklace she has. Look at the fortune(star) of that pearl seller. His pearls adorn such a magnificent beauty.

Line 9/10 - Appearance, promise, courage, bartender, a intoxicating sight. The meeting of thoughts is like a bar without a tumult. Ghalib says the mind is like a wine-house. Lot of things are competing for attention, the only thing that is different in this virtual bar(mind) is that this bar lacks the hustle bustle of the real bar.     

Line 11/12 - Oh! the fresh arrivals at the chessboard of the desires of the heart. Be warned! if you lust for feasting and drinking. The poet says oh! you the un-experienced lovers who have just entered the minefield of the longing of the heart. If you lust for drinking and feasting, then beware!

Line 13/14 - Look at me if your eyes can bear the sight of a rebuked person. Listen to me if you have the ear of the advise listener. The poet says look at me, look at my state if your eyes can look at a admonished person and if you have an ear that is ready to listen to advise of others, then listen to me.(referring to himself as probably a rebuked lover who can give a word of caution to the newly minted lovers)

Line 15/16 - The bartender with his tricks & style is an enemy of integrity and knowledge. A singer with a beautiful song is a robber of power and understanding. The poet says the bartender with his magic of wine is the enemy of wisdom and dignity for these attributes take leave as the wine takes effect. And as melodious music plays, the power and senses also leave. The music makes me weak and lost.

Line 17/18 - Either at night we used to look, that every corner of the spread. It is the shirt of the gardener and the sleeve of the flower seller. The poet says at night, every corner of the spread (gathering) is full of flowers. The corners have become the shirt of the gardener and the sleeve of the flower seller for they decorated with full of flowers.

Line 19/20 - Enjoy the intoxicating gait of the bartender and the taste of sound of the flute. One is the heaven for the eyes and the other the paradise for the ear.

Line 21/22 - Or else come to the meeting at the break of dawn and take a look. Neither that joy of passion nor excitement and turmoil is there. The poet says come and take a look at the gathering at the break of the dawn. All that hustle bustle and commotion of the night is no longer here. There is no pleasure of passion/ardour nor there is excitement of tumult. 

Line 23/24 - Burned by the scar of separation of company of the night. Only one candle has remained, and that too is silent. The poet says being burnt by the wound of separation of the companionship of the night. In this lonely night there was one candle left and that too has been burnt out and the dawn has still not arrived. The burning night of misery has no respite.

Line 25/26 - These topics comes mysteriously(or from the hidden) to my mind. Ghalib, the scratching sound made by the pen is the voice of the angel. The poet says that such topics/themes comes from the hidden/unknown (some higher power) into his mind. Oh Ghalib! the sound of my pen writing is the voice of the angel. 

Meaning of the difficult word -
zulmat = darkness
kade = place of
daleele = proof
sahar = morning
muzda = good news
wisaal = meeting
nazzaara-e-jamaal = seeing a beautiful face
aashtee = harmony/friendship/peace
chashm = eye
gosh = ear
mai = bar
khud_aara = self adorer
hijaab = veil
tasleem = greeting
gauhar = pearl/gem
ikd-e-gardan = necklace
khubaan = a beautiful person/sweetheart
auj = highest point/summit
farosh = merchant
deedaar = appearance
be_kharosh = quiet/dead
waaridan = arrivals
bisaat = chess
hawa = desire/greed
zinhaar = be warned!
hawas = lust/greed
na-o-nosh = feasting/drinking
deedaa= sight
ibrat = admonition
gosh = ear
naseehat = advice
niyosh = listener
aagahee = wisdom
mutrib = singer
rahazan = robber
tamkeen = authority/power
gosha = corner
baaghbaan = gradener
kaf = sleeve
gul_farosh = florist
khiraam = speed
zauq = taste
sada = sound
chang = lute
firdaus = paradise
suroor = pleasure
soz = passion/heat
firaaq = separation
sohabat = company
ghaib = hidden/mysterious
mazaameen = topics
sareer = scratching sound made by a pen
khaama = pen
nawa = sound
sarosh = angel

*Part of archiving various Ghalib gazals sung by Jagjit in the TV series. Copy pasting from various sources.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

Note to Drunk Self

Stop fucking drinking. Or at least hide your damn phone when you’re drunk, I’m tired of cleaning up your mess. The second you cross the line from nice to lit you feel it’s time to pour your heart out to everyone who’s ever hurt you and their damn mothers. Stop. I made so much progress: closed chapters, tied loose ends, got the closure I needed from just about everyone (except that asshole who cheated on us and made us think we were the messed up ones so we wouldn’t suspect BUT we don’t want closure from him cause nothing he says will ever make it right, so fuck him), but now you’ve fucked it all up. You burned those knots wide fucking open, ripped the goodbye pages of those chapters, opened Pandora’s box I fought so hard to close. I was finally forgetting what the demons looked like, but now they’re dancing around me again. When will you learn some goddamn self-control? I’m tired of you. I’m tired of banishing you on these bullshit cleanses I know won’t last, where I pretend I’m happy and don’t need you around to fight my battles. And then I give in. And then you come around with no hair on your tongue calling everyone out for all the pain they’ve caused me. Let me fight my own battles. And stop confesing my love to people, I hide that shit for a reason. He doesn’t love us back, stop trying to change his mind with your poetic bullshit. Next time I invite you over, I’m hiding my phone so get used to talking to yourself. You did this to yourself, remember that. Please stop embarrassing me.

- Diana Ozoria

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Every Evening

I dream of an evening of cricket. of bowling quick. like srinath. left arm straight and high. right arm bent, wrist cocked, ball gripped firmly. of sweat pouring down. my shirt flying. body lean. both legs in the air, in that leap, that instant before the release, eyes strained, a stitch in the chest. agony. writhing agony to land the ball in that spot.      
that moment. a full dusty field. 5 other matches going on, haphazardly spread about. each weaving its way around the other, expertly, guided by no one in particular.
the screams. the curses. a shattered brick, masquerading hopefully as the lone stump. no one is deceived. but no one bothers.      
friends. merry making. laughter. loud slaps. a visit to the tadi. theka. home. food. tv. conversations, reminisces of the match past, mostly made up, an amalgam of dream balls not bowled, cover drives not yet played, spectacular running catches not yet taken. silences. slow silences. hurried sleep.

Dream. Everyday.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

O Megh

O megh, 
kano chole jaao 
opaare kothao 
thomke dnarao 
amio jaai, 
amake naao 

O dheu,
kano boye jaao 
sheemana chharao 
thomke dnarao 
amio jaai, 
amake naao 

Peechhe magar 
chhutega ghar 
chulha jalaati jo Maa hai meri 

Takey jo raah 
thaki nigaah 
Kaise main chhod ke jaaun kahin 

Agar tum hi
saagar ban ke behti zaraa 
agar tum mein 
samaa jaata yeh aasmaa 

Bijlee pe chal ke
choonta baadal 
lehron ko see ke 
boonta aanchal 

tomari chhayay 
chhere to 
jabo na tomay 
tumi-o to
bhorechho amay 
tumi chhara
jabo kothay

Aha...aayega woh pal...
aha...lehrein baadal...
aha...sab honge kal
Chalenge jo, hum tum donon
Tum se hi hai, 
mera pata 
duniya ho tum, 
o meri Maa

Monday, September 29, 2014


is a sexually transmitted disease with a 100% mortality rate.

- apparently an old joke.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rush. Hush.

Groping in a tunnel, Hear
A voice
Few cautious steps
Falling again
A familiar drop. The same
Glimmers of light
TEASE. Closed,
empty fists
Solitary echo.
Hit the bottom, it
No flashes, deathly
Something rots.
Need to
Can't always be
In a tunnel.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Ardha Satya

An eponymous poem from Govind Nihalani's Ardha Satya. The poem has been penned by Dilip Chitre. Picturised on the firebrand Om Puri and the ethereally serene Smita Patil. Uff...

Chakravyuh mein ghusne se pehle, 
kaun tha mein aur kaisa tha,
yeh mujhe yaad hi na rahega.

Chakravyuh mein ghusne ke baad,
mere aur chakravyuh ke beech,
sirf ek jaanleva nikat’ta thi,
iska mujhe pata hi na chalega.

Chakravyuh se nikalne ke baad,
main mukt ho jaoon bhale hi,
phir bhi chakravyuh ki rachna mein 
farq hi na padega.

Marun ya maarun,maara jaoon 
ya jaan se maardun.
iska faisla kabhi na ho paayega.

Soya hua aadmi jab 
neend se uthkar chalna shuru karta hai,
tab sapnon ka sansar use, 
dobara dikh hi na paayega.

Us roshni mein 
jo nirnay ki roshni hai 
sab kuchh samaan hoga kya?

Ek palde mein napunsakta,
ek palde mein paurush,
aur theek taraazu ke kaante par 
ardh satya.

While you gather your senses to go read the poem again, or better still hear its recital in the movie itself, a few thoughts - 

I had always thought of Om Puri as an exceptional actor, but never placed him on par with Naseeruddin Shah. That has been rectified now. And only now have I come to know of the strong kinship and long relationship between these two giants. They were in the same class at NSD back in 1970!

Then there is this lady. How wonderfully etched are all characters in this film. How beautifully Smita gives shape to Om Puri's character, adds warmth and care to a movie that otherwise has to shift its focus between paurush and napunsakta. Om's ardha satya is visible for all to see. What about Smita's?

Is this movie mainstream or a parallel cinema masterpiece? Naseer himself has called this parallel in more than one interview, which should shut the door on this. But then he has calling it parallel while talking about Tridev.

Normally, I wouldn't bother asking this question. But I feel the urge to understand what was mainstream and what was parallel more than 30 years ago. Principally because it might help unlock one door that hides from me an understanding of human psyche. Can cinema offer escape, albeit a short lived one? Is projecting our vulnerabilities onto an unknown person, and hence viewing them and them alone, in all their glory and filth, without necessarily having to associate ourselves with them, also not an escape? Like this movie does so easily?

Hamaara jeevan ek chakravyuh to hai hi. Ab is chakravyuh se bachne ki jagah, use hi apna ghar bana lete hai. Wahaan rehane ke liye kuch samagri chahiye, jise bas bator sakte hai aisi kalakritiyaan dekh ke. Jab ye hai, to mujhe kisi aur cheez se, kisi aur cheez ki taraf bhaagne ki zaroorat kyon?

Kya hum apne aap se bhaag sakte hai bhala? Kya in baaton ka koi jawaab hai bhi? Kya ye bhi ek ardha satya hai?

Sunday, April 27, 2014


Every evening, I would lean on the balcony railing, pretending to pluck the arching gulmohar's flowers. Ma would freak out. Always. Mani would join me in mocking Ma. Mostly. Except for those years when we were on a break, of sorts.

The gulmohar tree does not shed its flowers in the balcony any more. The Grovers on the ground floor cut it down long back.

The Grovers. The Punjabis.
How could I have ever known that this one single fact would shape the course of my life? And take me far away from Ma and Pa.

I was the good boy, who would deliver Ma from this hole we called home.

I have made her numb now.
I call her once a week. We talk for 5 minutes. She has lost all hope of deliverance.

No one mocks her any more. Her resignation is too pathetic, even for Papa.

I am told it is all because of me.
And my zid.

Pa, I am not done yet.

I have more news to share.

I am sorry, sis.