Faiz on a lonesome night

 

 

kabhi to subh tere kunj-e-lab se ho aaghaaz
kabhi to shab sar-e-kaakul se mushkbaar chale

may dawn arise from the curve of your lips
may the night be fragrant with the scent of your hair

 

The winter had sent its first signs, and it was no longer necessary to use the fan at night. The absence of the whirring of the fan lent to the room an ambiance of powerful silence. He lay on the bed listening to Faiz’s poem set to music. Those were his favourite lines from it. His eyes stared blankly into space.

The day before, his mother had heard the poem playing on his computer, and had come to hear it. She liked Mehdi Hassan’s rendition of it, which he was listening to. “I used to listen to it even before you were born. It has been so many years, but it is still so beautiful,” she had said in one of the rare moments in which she appreciated art. Thirty years, to be precise, he had thought.

He felt two drops of sweat on his forehead. He could put the fan on, but he enjoyed the stillness of its absence. A stillness that reminded him of many absences. Of the one to who he had written those words above, once, eight years ago. The absence of money. Of real companions. It all stared at him, a silent stream of absences, whose wounds only seemed to illuminate the beauty of Faiz’s words even more.

 

jo hum pe guzri to guzri magar shab-e-hijraan 
humaare ashk teri aaqibat sanwaar chale

i endured the pains of the lonesome night
and my tears became adornments of your glory

The silence of the night was amazing. The stillness was unmistakable. It permeated all the pores of his body. He wished it would go on like this, the silence, the solitude, the stillness, the complete, absolute sense of presence. It was all he wanted from life. He realised that all the poem spoke of was desire, but for once it seemed that desiring itself was the fulfillment of desire. Only that could explain how a poem about desire could be so beautiful.

gulon mein rang bhare, baad-e-nau bahaar chale
chale bhi aao ki gulshan ka kaarobaar chale

let the flowers take colour, let the breeze usher in the spring
come, my beloved, and let the garden blossom in your presence

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~ by tdcatss on October 17, 2014.

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