Love Poem With a Twist

Something about you reminds me of
faint college summers, when afternoons
were moulded by the red-eyed
encounters (only to be intoxicated
a few moments later); reminds me of the
summer breeze with its
first wild promise of rain, and
unforeseen storms within the
contours of my heart, and when
your breath filled the nooks
and corners of my being I
get reminded of childhood
summers at the sea when the waves
would whisper sweet nothings
and promises of forever, for when
I would go back they would have
still stayed the same. The liquor
that burns my throat now reminds
me of how the things you love can
hurt you too: remember the nights
your ears went deaf to my
refusal and you ravaged my body
with yours anyway? You said it
was all for love, and that love
can live for just so long without
lust, your belief so strong that my
‘no’s suffocated in the darkness
of my throat. The many cigarettes
that lay stubbed out of their existence
among the ashes of my heart makes
me remember how the things you
love can kill you slowly from
inside and as I stub my last
cigarette tonight, the ashes
shall see my love for you
perish once and for
all, because I know
what love is and what
is abuse, and they can
the same.


Urdu: Poetry in Language

If we look into the meaning of the very word ‘Urdu’, we find its Turkish origin means ‘camp’ or ‘army’, because of its predominance among army-men (‘Lashkari Zuban’ or ‘the language of the army’). It is a beautiful blend of Persian, Turkish, Arabic and local Hindi dialects and is known to be one of the origins of Hindi, and has a reputation for fascinating non-Urdu speakers for years.

My first tryst with Urdu was when I was four or five and my mornings were intricately touched with the ornate tune of ghazals wafting into the air. I was too young to figure out the lyrics then but I was very fond of how they sounded, and the soulful music became an integral part of my mornings, thereafter.
My growing penchant for poetry then led to an expedition into the beautiful verses of Urdu. The beauty of Urdu not only lies in its sonically pleasing aesthetics but also in the sheer skill with which the words make our hearts wrench in the idyllic reality of it all.

The legacy of Urdu manifests itself in its largely popular verses on love and heartbreak, as well as in revolutionary literary works that brought about radical changes at the time.

Below are the seventeen most beautiful Urdu verses that I go back to time and again, like the folded corners of the yellowed pages of a favourite book and never have they failed to enchant and move me.

  1. fāsla nazroñ kā dhoka bhī to ho saktā hai
    vo mile yā na mile haath badhā kar dekho

           (The distance between our eyes can be deceptive
stretch your arm out, and see if they meet)

 -Nida Fazli

      2.   aae the hañste khelte mai-ḳhāne meñ ‘firāq’
jab pī chuke sharāb to sanjīda ho ga.e

(We came to the tavern all gay and frolicsome
now having drunk the wine, sombre we have become)

– Firaq Gorakhpuri


    3. ab to un kī yaad bhī aatī nahīñ

          kitnī tanhā ho ga.iiñ tanhā.iyāñ

        (Nowadays even her thoughts do not intrude
see how forlorn and lonely is my solitude)

-Firaq Gorakhpuri


     4.  aage aatī thī haal-e-dil pe hañsī

          ab kisī baat par nahīñ aatī

         (Nothing now could even make me smile;
I once could laugh at my heart’s own plight)

-Mirza Ghalib

5.  maut kā bhī ilaaj ho shāyad

      zindagī kā koī ilaaj nahīñ

        (For death a cure there well may be
but for this life no remedy)

– Unknown


6. bas-ki dushvār hai har kaam kā āsāñ honā

     aadmī ko bhī mayassar nahīñ insāñ honā

 (It is difficult that every goal be easily complete
for a man, too, to be human, is no easy feat)

 -Mirza Ghalib

7. zindagī ke udaas lamhoñ meñ

     bevafā dost yaad aate haiñ

 (In life’s sad moments one tends
to recall the faithlessness of friends)



8. bevafā.ī pe terī jī hai fidā
qahr hotā jo bā-vafā hotā

 (I sacrifice my heart upon your infidelity
were you faithful it would be a calamity)

– Mir Taqi Mir

 9. kitne muflis ho ga.e kitne tavañgar ho ga.e
ḳhaak meñ jab mil ga.e donoñ barābar ho ga.e

(However many paupers passed, and wealthy went and came
when they were consigned to dust they were all the same)

 -Sheikh Ibrahim Zauq

10. āgāh apnī maut se koī bashar nahīñ

      sāmān sau baras kā hai pal kī ḳhabar nahīñ

       (The time of his death, man cannot foresee
uncertain of tomorrow, yet plans for a century)

-Hairat Allahabdi

11. duniyā meñ ham rahe to ka.ī din pa is tarah

      dushman ke ghar meñ jaise koī mehmāñ rahe

      (I did stay in this world but it was in such a way
a guest who in the house of his enemy does stay)

 -Qayem chandpuri


12. duniyā ne terī yaad se begāna kar diyā

      tujh se bhī dil-fareb haiñ ġham rozgār ke

      (This world has caused me to forget all thoughts of you
the sorrows of subsistence are more deceitful than you)

 -Faiz Ahmed Faiz

13. sāhil ke tamāshā.ī har Dūbne vaale par

      afsos to karte haiñ imdād nahīñ karte

     (To a drowning person, they on the shores who stand
do lend their sympathy, but not a helping hand)

 -Fana Nizami Kanpuri

14. aaj nāgāh ham kisī se mile
baad muddat ke zindagī se mile

     (Today I chanced on someone unexpectedly
it was after ages life was face to face with me)

 -Khumar Barbankavi

15. kuchh to majbūriyāñ rahī hoñgī
yuuñ koī bevafā nahīñ hotā

     (she would have had compulsions surely
faithless without cause no one can be)

-Bashir Badr

16. koī samjhe to ek baat kahūñ
ishq taufīq hai gunāh nahīñ

       (if someone were to listen, one thing I will opine
Love is not a crime forsooth it is grace divine)

 -Firaq Gorakhpuri

17. Bak rahā huuñ junūñ meñ kyā kyā kuchh
kuchh na samjhe ḳhudā kare koī

       (Lord I pray that no one comprehends
All that I rant and rave in ecstasy)

-Mirza Ghalib


One for the evening of 9/7/16- part 2

Her eyes brimmed of the dying light
of the setting sun, her touch syncopating
my heartbeat to hers, her thoughts ran wild
in the secrecy of her mind leaving me looking
for clues, a little help to unravel the mystery
that she is. ‘your chaos will always find a home
in me’, I say to her and she smiles at me, sadly,
almost in mockery of the indignity of my attempt,
said, ‘we need to not fall in love with sadness,’
but little did she know she was the sadness and
I had already fallen in love with her.

One for the evening of 9/7/16- part 1

The music wafted through the graveyard of
whiskey breaths, each note trembling upon
our skin, whisking us away into the reel of
long lost memories, unanswered questions
hang in the air like mist in a winter morning,
gleefully fogging our thoughts; the smoke
pouring out of our parted lips a brazing
a reminder of the promise of an escapade, the
pain, numbed by a deceptive high, screams to be
heard, and burns like a wildfire through the night
as the ashes settle along the rough edges of
our hearts.

Do Not Enter

(A tribute to my room, which is unimaginably messy but very dear to me)

Books barbed hooks worn-out dolls with
hair frizzled out from lack of touch, clothes
new and old hanging loosely off a mix of
arms too fat and thighs which don’t fit anymore;
bowls of half-eaten breakfast (a victim of the
rush-hour), jades and lipstick reds and rings and
necklaces, earrings nestled carefully in porcelain
cups, cobwebbed memories framed on walls,
gathering dust from lack of use and
don’t forget the cigarettes and unpaid debts,
rows of souvenirs from secret dates,
pillows stained with covert encounters
with Jack and Johnnie, hanging posters yellowed
by teenage prophecies, and silks and crepes
and papers crinkled with stories lost in failed
relationships, alarm clocks on tables,
tangled in cables, old records wrapped with
with affection in quiet corners, and unopened
drawers of forgotten secrets, whispering prayers
from nights spent sleepless, old journals that speak of
love forbidden and perfumes arranged in rows
but carefully hidden, and a door that unlocks this
cautiously guarded territory, it’s all so real and
fake and fast and furious, a land out of reach
of the ever mundane and the never curious.


The storm leaves me in ruins, a
delirium that ink can’t define, my heart
thumps to the narcotics that I
gulped down with fervor, garnished
with a carefully curated intoxication, a
storm in the wilderness of my senses,
the lightning leaves brazing reminders
of everything that leaves me in shivers-
(deaths, unkept promises and
unkempt souls and the likes)
flashing like fireworks
in the dead darkness of my heart,
the wind, oh the wind scrapes my
rotten pieces off my parched skin,
only to bare me to the perspicacity
of reality, the rain silences
the commotions of empty graveyards
in my veins where
the restless souls of unfinished
stories walk, the sky at war with
itself, sending a fever down my spine,
warm, just enough to keep my
cold dead heart alive.


Recovery- transcendence, a
transformation, slivering off
of damage and peeling off
of scars; scars that
once burned and ached,
a fiery reminder of a
time when vulnerability
led to a delirium in your
senses, tossing and
turning in the bed of
nightmares of never
returning to normalcy;
but finding solace
in interminable
agony, comfort
in maladies; recovery is hope
taking flight from an
imbroglio of crippling
helplessness, a
calm in your frenzied
veins inflamed by the
wars fought but lost
to a merciless
reality; recovery is
lessons learnt and
unlearnt, it is
a one way route
to finding yourself
and never

Gnawing violation

It was only when
your teeth gnawed against my skin
that I realized
I didn’t want to do it anymore. My silence was
not acceptance, but
acquiesce, gentle and
suggestive; and even
though I whimpered to your touch exactly like you ordered me to, I never
liked your hands
going down from my navel into my loins trying to
make them their own. My
silence was not pleasure but fear, fear of what
even any inadvertent resistance may do to my body…because my body
was no longer mine to
begin with. I lost it to you, the very day you
crawled into my bed with
my birthday present in hand, and I ran to you the
six year old that I was…
and instead of your arms embracing me in affection,
they probed my skin and my curves and roamed on the
hillsides…and I knew not
of ways that violation was
affection but you insisted it
was, only until I could
keep it a sweet secret and
let open my body
to the fire in your loins. My
flesh is still inflamed from
the day you hit me with
your cane because I
pushed you away. But I
want you to know this- my
womanhood is not for you
to relish, or devour or to dig
your malicious claws in. I
shall not drape my form over
you and wait for you to make
meaning of me. Your sixty-three year long malicious existence does not
make meaning of me.

I do.

To The Girl Who Loves Everyone But Herself

She walked with
an air of measured gaiety and
carefully veiled frailty, her
skin charred by the naked flames
of her own desires, tells everyone
she’s crazy like her brand of
crazy was a circus lion to
be caged and showed off, but
never realized to his full power.
She was eccentric in the way
that she stretched her palms
out, asking for more- not
love or solicitude, even though
that would have been a fine
thing to ask for-
but for pain and incompleteness,
for kisses and breathlessness, for
tears and helplessness,
she was selfless
in the way she served her
heart for the world to ravage
in it’s vicious hunger and for
reality to stain with cigarette ashes,
vodka breaths and drops of salt water
reacting to gravity.

Her existence is starving.
And yet, she has
too many to
feed. To many to
foster. Too many
too much to be loved
to be able to love