For the past couple of days I was volunteering at the Indo German Urban Mela at the Indraprastha Park in New Delhi, and let me tell you it was the experience of a Lifetime! The pavilions by Markus Heinsdoff beautifully lit in the evening, the romantic setting under the Novel Tree, the light installation, the photo exhibition, the various performances on the centre stage and of course the people… Pranav, Akanksha, Joel, Swati, Divya, Prachi, Charles, Faraz, Barnali, Nabeel , Nitin, Chandraveer, Shonakshi and all the rest of you I can’t seem to remember right now. There is a lot I’m going to miss about the Mela.
However, this post in particular is not about the Mela itself, it’s about one of the events. The Poetry Slam event was organized on the second day of the Mela. This particular blogpost is about the poem that won the judge’s choice award on the sunny afternoon. The poem was by one Mr. Taqi Imaam, and the reason I’m writing a whole blogpost around the poem is, because I truly believe it needs to be heard. For this purpose, I have also tried (albeit rather sadly) to translate the poem, originally written in Hindi, into English, and put both the versions on the blog so that it reaches more people.
See I've only been working a couple of months, but somehow, without me even realizing it, I started letting go of my dreams as I immersed my self more and more in my work, and although I'm no longer working, the immensity of what I had done didn't quite hit me until I heard this poem. So read it and in case you believe the same thing has ever happened to you, please do share or comment. So here goes..
aur kwabon ka jhola tha ek,
Jo leke utra tha sheher mein.
Teh karke rahe the
Aur ataichi ke
Ek kone mein,
Main Chhupa laya tha,
Taalaab kinaare ki aakhri shaam.
Kisi ajnabi musafir sa,
Lagta raha barson,
Jo lubhata bhi hai
Khwaboon ka jhola
Darwaze ke theek samne,
Taanga tha maine,
Roz sham ko
Sab khwaab nikaal leta,
Baaten, gappen chalteen,
Chai vaai hoti,
Aur ek doosre ke kandhe pe sar rakhke
Hum so jaate.
Phir ek roz
Dhoop kehne lagi
Tumhe chhata chahiye,
Maine chupke se ek kwaab nikaala
Aur girvi rakh aaya
Tapti dhoop ke paas..
Shaher khareedta raha main,
Khabhi khwaab chhod ke,
Khabhi khwaab bech ke….
Aaj sheher se achchi dosti hai meri,
Ye sarai nahi lagta ab,
Ghar lagta hai,
Khwaabon ka wo jhola,
Jaane Kahan hai aajkal,
Kisi almaari ke peeche...
Ya duchhatti par shayaad,
Kabhi koi khwaab,
Neend mein hilata bhi hai kabhi,
‚aao baten karen,
Chai-vai ho jaaye thodi‘
Karwat badal kar so jata hun main,
‚sone do yaar,
Daftar jaana hai kal subah‘
A suitcase full of stuff,
And a handbag full of dreams,
That I brought with me to this city.
In the bag,
I had neatly arranged
All my dreams.
And in a corner of the suitcase
I had smuggled with me,
That last evening by the lake.
which embraces all and yet remains alien,
the city that offers a sense of belonging even as it disorients,
and the city that becomes part of our identity,
even as it makes us more anonymous.
The bag full of dreams,
Hung proudly across the main door.
I carefully laid out all the dreams,
Gossips, reminiscences over cups of tea inevitably ensued.
And exhausted we would fall asleep in each other’s comforting embraces.
Then one day,
The Sunlight whispered,
What good are these dreams of yours?
What you need is an umbrella.
I stole away one of the dreams,
And mortgaged it
With the sunshine.
Piece by piece,
I bought the city,
At times by leaving my dreams behind,
Sometimes by selling them….
The city and I are on good terms now.
It doesn’t seem so strange anymore,
It feels like home,
One bedazzled with lights and glamour.
My bag full of dreams,
Is lost somewhere in this big house.
Behind an almirah somewhere,
Or perhaps in a corner somewhere in the attic.
Sometimes a dream escapes from its permanent refuge,
Shakes me from sleep and ventures,
‘come on let’s talk, maybe even share a cup of tea?’
I turn my head the other way and throw over my shoulder,
‘That is a luxury I can ill afford, I have work in the morning.’