Nasreen Munni Kabeer’s book In the Company of a Poet is a gently flowing, quietly delightful account of the life and work of Gulzar, told in the form of a conversation between Gulzar and Kabeer. The book begins with a picture of Gulzar’s father, who discouraged his son from taking up writing as a profession, given the economic hardship it might bring along with it. Gulzar’s father died before he could see his son carve a place for himself in both the literature and the cinema of India. Gulzar says that his father’s death left a deep wound in his life, one that still aches, sometimes.

This beautiful poem, infused with an unceasing longing but also a sadness at the reality of loss, conveys a father-son relationship that many of us can relate to. It also portrays, poignantly, the conflict between the father’s hopes for the son and the son’s own hopes for his life ahead.



bohot kuchh hai 

jo kehna reh gaya hai aapse

hote to kehta

bohot maayoos hue mujhme

ke meri shayri le doobegi mujhko

abhi tak tayr raha hoon mai, abbu

magar saahil pe aane ki tamanna

mujhe nahi hai ab

mujhe maaloom hai 

ke aap saahil chhod kar 

ab ja chuke hain


– gulzar



so much to say

is left unsaid

i would say it now

if only, you were here..


you despaired, you feared

that my love of poetry

would drown my life


i am still afloat, father

but the desire

to return the shore

i no longer have

for i know

that many years ago

you left the shore


in the company of a poet










Like Nasreen Munni Kabeer’s earlier books – Talking Films and Talking Songs with Javed Akhtar, this one makes for an absorbing, stimulating work that lovingly records the thoughts of one of the most evocative artists of Indian cinema.

~ by tdcatss on June 27, 2013.

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