ज़िंदगी की धूप

ज़िंदगी की धूप में जलते रहेंगे कब तलक

मोम का है जिस्म पिघलते रहेंगे कब तलक

 

छोड़ कर मुझको मेरे लौटे सभी वापस वहीं

ऐसे वीराने में अब चलते रहेंगे कब तलक

 

काश उनसे मुदत्तों पहले कहा होता वो सब

ज़ख़्म माज़ी के मेरे खलते रहेंगे कब तलक

 

मर गया पीके ज़हर जिससे भी हमने बात की

अपने मूह से ज़हर उघलते रहेंगे कब तलक

 

बंद डब्बे में पड़ी हर चीज़ सड़ जाती है गर्द

चार दीवारों में हम गलते रहेंगे कब तलक

 

  • निहित कौल ‘गर्द’

 

Translation

 

Till when, in this scorching heat of life, will we keep burning

Till when will these bodies of wax keep melting

 

All my loved ones left me and went back from where they came

Till when, in this desolation, will we keep trudging

 

I wish I had told you long ago, all that I wanted to say

Till when will these wounds of yesteryears keep irking

 

Each of whom I spoke to, drank poison and died

Till when will the venom from our mouths keep spewing

 

Everything left in a closed box turns rancid, Gard

Till when, in these four walls, will we keep rotting

 

  • Nihit Kaul ‘Gard’

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नाटक

लो निभाते जा रहे हैं, आज फिर किरदार को,

कोई नकली न कहे, नाटक से अपने प्यार को

 

हाँ ये नाटक ही तो है, मानो बुरा ना बात का,

हम तो सब कठपुतलियाँ, किस्सा है सारा हाथ का

जो लिखा है, पढ़ रहे हैं, क्या कहें करतार को

 

हम तो सोचे थे कि नाटक मन को बहलाए गा का कुछ

देख के खुशियों का जनत दिल ये ललचाए गा कुछ

हम तो सच माने थे उस, ज़ालिम के इश्तिहार को

 

प्यार की चादर के नीचे, छुप रहा ये डर ही है

रूठना भी अब तो होता वक़्त देख कर ही है

चल पड़े लाने बहाने, आज फिर बाज़ार को

 

मंच है, श्रोता हैं, हम हैं, तुम हो और माहौल है

ये कहानी गुदगुदाती है कभी, पुरहौल है

चुभती है अब तालियाँ, हटाओ जयजयकार को

 

ज़िंदगी की धूप से झुलसा गयी है छाओं हर

गिर रहा है गर्द, अब कब तक रहेगा पाओं पर

किसने रोका है, सरकते पर्दे की तलवार को

 

– निहित कौल

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#10book

I was posed the #10book challenge by my friend Swathi Prabhu and here is my attempt at listing 10 of the most wonderful books that I have cherished reading (coupled with some associated memories). It was so much fun going down memory lane and trying to decide the favourites to put in here (actually feeling guilty for some of the ones I had to cut – from Malcolm Gladwell and Thomas Friedman to Bill Watterson (Calvin and Hobbes!)). I ended up selecting not more than 1 entry from each author just to force more diversity into the list (hard for me to do since I tend to read authors more than books). Thanks Swathi!

  1. Douglas HofstadterGEB (holds the record for the longest reading time of any book for me – took me 6 years to finish the darn thing. Can’t say “you won’t be able to put it down” for sure! But it’s poetry meets Theory of Computation, which I almost listed here as an entry by itself!)
  2. Richard DawkinsThe God Delusion (it was heart wrenching to not put The Ancestors Tale instead of this, but this one resonated too much with my thinking. But there you go, I have included it in the apology at least!)
  3. Kahlil GibranThe Prophet (yeah, yeah, I know…what’s this doing alongside “the god delusion”?…well technically this is just “spiritual” mumbo-jumbo and not “religious” so it’s OK by me. Love reading it every few years as a refresher)
  4. Nicholas D. Kristof & Sheryl WuDunnHalf the Sky (for opening my eyes with stark data to the terrifying state of women in the 21st century. After reading it you will start believing that gender equality will likely be a defining trend of the whole of the 21st century. It sends a shiver down your back when it first hits you.)
  5. Richard BachOne (just because too many folks put down Jonathan Livingston Seagull…well not really…this one really is a special book for me since for the time in my life when I read it, it was perfect…the memory of this book is like the dreaming of a dream!).
  6. Oliver SacksThe Man Who Mistook His Wife for a Hat (it’s a classic collection of case studies by a doctor and yup – the title is accurate, so read it!)
  7. Ayn RandThe Fountainhead (Howard Roark – need I say more?)
  8. George OrwellAnimal Farm (a novel which was a revelation to me, on how political and artistic purpose can fuse together. I liked it more than even 1984 which itself is amazing)
  9. Roald DahlThe Collected Short Stories (for such magnificent short story writing – he’s the dark chocolate among my books and very inspirational to try and emulate)
  10. Assorted Urdu Poetry by Ghalib, Faiz, Sahir, Gulzaar, Javed Akhtar, Nida Fazli, Kaifi Azmi, Sheheryaar and Zakhmi (my dad’s takhallus)
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रास्ते

ढूंढते थे जिसे हम खुद गुमे,
लेके हमको वहीं पे आ गए

रास्ते, रास्ते, रास्ते, रास्ते,
रास्ते, रास्ते, रास्ते

कौन सा था शहर ये न थी खबर
घर के हम हर कहर से थे बेखबर

हाथ थामे हमे ये ले चले
बिछड़े साथी मिलाने रास्ते

कहने को तो वहाँ था पूरा जहाँ
पर वो मेरा खुदा था जाने कहाँ

हाथ सजदे में मेरे जो उठे
नाम से थे बुलाते रास्ते

~ निहित कौल

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The Journey

The first 5 lines of this poem were written many decades ago by my father, Ashok Kaul. I have taken the liberty to extend the thought with a few more.

A rose was released
From the womb of the seed
Into fetters of its form

From Jail to Jail
The journey of the frail

A baby was born
At the break of the dawn
In an Army uniform

From cradle to grave
The journey of the brave

She sold out her soul
And played out the role
She was made to perform

From bed to bed
The journey of the dead

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Mirage

You are like a mirage in my deserted life.
My hands tremble when I try to touch you,
With the fear that you may disappear.

You are like a mirage.
You seem so near when you are so far away.
You help me take each step with the hope that I may reach you.

You are like a mirage.
You seem like water to my parched throat.
You seem like the haven my tired body yearns for.

You are like a mirage.
You beautify my desert, my life,
When the sun beats down on it mercilessly.

You are like a mirage.
You keep the spark of life alive in my sight,
You make me live for something beautiful.

You are like a mirage.
You make the cacti seem like date palms,
You make my tear drops seem like the oceans.

You are like a mirage.
And with a mirage so beautiful, who cares for the truth.

~ Nihit Kaul

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Blemishes

That keep appearing on all our faces
Drawn by a hand as time traces
Like the lines on an organic Fuji

Blemishes
Some of which are born of sin
On the skin and some within
Like the trunk of a pregnant Oak

Blemishes
Trembling hands that fail to hold
A life’s worth of pain and gold
Like the petal slipping off a rose

Blemishes
Fruit of autumn, flower of age
Seasoned by the hands’ rage
Like the hunch of a windswept Palm

Blemishes
Scenes painted by the Past
Which, eyes of Now, watch aghast
Like the lava, cold and black

 

~ Nihit Kaul

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