Tram Mein Ek Yaad

You don’t know what obsession is until you get obsessed for real.
For all those who’ve been obsessed with works of art- be it a face, a song, a book, a book’s cover, coins, buildings, a photograph, a physics book, their Mom’s recipe of coconut chutney, or a bunch of words, they all know what it feels like. Under their skin. 

Whoever’s reading this, you know what I’m talking about.

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It begins like a mad encounter with something you’d never thought you’d last that long with. And then you’re fascinated by its strangeness. The strangeness slowly grows on you and like you discover the character of your favourite book, little by little, as you turn the pages slowly, you discover this new obsession.

And slowly, very slowly, it unfolds.

Despite the familiarity that you have developed by thinking incessantly about this one thing, it somehow manages to dazzle you again. Almost like looking at the sun directly.

And this will repeat. Each time. Every time. For a long, long time. Until you’ve just got to do something about it.

And then you strive to make it worth it.

That face you’re obsessed with? You go and kiss them. Or paint them. Or write for them. 
That song? You print it and hang it up on your bedroom wall. You pen it in a secret diary.
That book? You save it for the one person you’d want to share it with ten years from now.
A book’s cover? You always carry it around with you. Wherever you go.
Coins? Every city you visit, you look for some new ones. And you bargain.
Buildings? You photograph them all. You keep a log.
A photograph? You call it an inspiration and make your first film. And win it (life).
A Physics book? You fall in love with Iridov and each page becomes a memory. Each numerical you solve, a story of triumph. 
Your Mom’s coconut chutney recipe? You never write it down. Ever. And every time you go home, you ask her to make it for you. 
A bunch of words? You write a blog post.

This is that blog post.

PS. For all those who’ve never obsessed over something as much, the non-obsessive kinds, you should be thankful.

This video is the sole justification for my obsession with this poem.
Manish ji, you’re astounding.

Tram Mein Ek Yaad

Poet: Gyanendrapati

Chetna Parik
Kaisi ho?
Pehle jaisi ho?

Chetna Parik
How are you?

Are you the same as you were before?

Kuchh kuchh khush
Kuchh kuchh udaas
Kabhi dekhti taare
Kabhi dekhti ghaas

Sort of happy
Sort of sad
Sometimes you’d just stare at the stars
And sometimes the leaves of grass

Chetna Parik
Kaisi dikhti ho?
Abhi bhi kavitaayein likhti ho?

Chetna Parik
What do you look like now?
You still write poems, don’t you?

Tumhein meri yaad na hogi
Lekin mujhe tum nahi bhuli ho
Chalti tram mein
Phir aankon ke aage jhooli ho

You probably don’t remember me
But I cannot forget you

In this tram I’m in
Somehow I still see you.. Here.

Tumhaari kad-kaathi ki ek
Nanhi si, nek
Saamne aa khadi hai
Tumhari yaad umdi hai

There’s a girl in front of me
She looks just like you

And I cannot help
But wonder about you

Chetna Parik
Kaisi ho?
Pehle jaisi ho?

Chetna Parik
What are you like now?
The same?

Aankhon mein ab bhi utarti hai kitaab ki aag?
Natak mein ab bhi leti ho bhaag?
Chhoote nahi hain library ke chakkar?
Mujh jaise ghumantu kavi se hoti hai takkar?
Ab bhi gaati ho geet?
Banati ho chitr?
Ab bhi hain tumhare bahut bahut mitr?
Ab bhi bachhon ko tuition padhati ho?
Ab bhi jise karti ho prem
Use daadhi rakhati ho?

Are you still a voracious reader?
Do you still pursue theatre?
Do you still spend most of your time at the library?
Do you end up meeting some more poets like me?
Do you still sing?
And paint?
Do you still have a huge bunch of friends?
Do you still give tuitions to kids?
Do you still.. ask your lovers to keep a beard?

Chetna Parik
Ab bhi tum nanhi si, gaend si, ullaas se bhari ho?
Utni hi hari ho?

Chetna Parik
Are you still the same tiny, bubbly, happy person you were?
Are you just as.. you?

Utna hi shor hai iss shehar mein
Vaisa hi traffic jam hai
Bheerh bharh, dhakka mukka, thel pel, taam jhaam hai
Tube rail ban rahi, chal rahi tram hai
Vikal hai Calcutta
Daudta anvarat, aviram hai

This city is just as noisy
The traffic is the same
Large crowds, hustle bustle, pushing and shoving, things everywhere
Calcutta is desperate
Its dwellers racing away indifferently

Iss mahavan mein
Phir bhi ek gauraiyye ki jageh khaali hai
Ek chhoti chidiya se
Ek nanhi patti se sooni daali hai
Mahanagar ke mahatthaas mein ek hasi kam hai
Virat dhak dhak mein ek dhadkan kam hain
Chorus mein ek kanth kam hai
Tumhare do talve jitni jageh lete hain
Utni jageh khaali hai
Wahan ugi hai ghaas
Wahan chui hai os
Wahan kisi ne nigah tak nahi daali hai

In this great jungle
There’s still space for another shepherd
By a tiny bird, and hanging by a tiny leaf, there’s still that one branch
The mad laughters of the city, it’s less by one
In the millions heart that beat here, it’s less by one
All the voices joined in chorus, they’re less by one
The amount of space that your two feet take
Just about that much space is vacant here
The grass there is green
The dew has settled on it
And no one has stepped foot here

Phir aaya hun iss shehar mein
Chashma ponchh-ponchh kar dekhta hun
Aadmiyon ko
Kitaabon ko
Nirakhta lekhta hun
Rang birangi bus tram
Rang birange log
Rog-shok, hansi-khushi
Yog aur viyog
Dekhta hun
Abke shehar mein bheerh dooni hai
Dekhta hun
Tumhare aakaar ke barabar
Jageh sooni hai

I’ve come to this city once again
I’m rubbing my glasses hard and clean to see
Its people
The books
Those that I write
The colourful bus and tram
Its colourful people
Illnesses and mourning, laughter and happiness
Unions and separations
I see now
That this time around, the city’s twice as full
I see (despite that)
That there’s still space here
That’s just enough for you

Chetna Parik?
Kahan ho?
Kaisi ho?
Bolo bolo
Pehle jaisi ho?

Chetna Parik
Where are you?
How are you?
Tell me..
Are you the same?

 

Devnagri:

ट्राम में एक याद

चेतना पारीक कैसी हो?
पहले जैसी हो?

कुछ-कुछ खुश
कुछ-कुछ उदास
कभी देखती तारे
कभी देखती घास

चेतना पारीक, कैसी दिखती हो?
अब भी कवितायेँ लिखती हो?

तुम्हें मेरी याद न होगी
लेकिन मुझे तुम नहीं भूली हो
चलती ट्राम में
फिर आँखों के आगे झूली हो
तुम्हारी कद-काठी की एक
नन्ही-सी, नेक
सामने आ खड़ी है
तुम्हारी याद उमड़ी है

चेतना पारीक, कैसी हो?
पहले जैसी हो?

आँखों में अब भी उतरती है किताब की आग?
नाटक में अब भी लेती हो भाग?
छूटे नहीं हैं लाइब्रेरी के चक्कर?
मुझ-से घुमंतू कवि से होती है टक्कर?
अब भी गाती हो गीत, बनाती हो चित्र?
अब भी हैं तुम्हारे बहुत-बहुत मित्र?
अब भी बच्चों को ट्यूशन पढ़ाती हो?
अब भी जिससे करती हो प्रेम उसे दाढ़ी रखाती हो?

चेतना पारीक,
अब भी तुम नन्हीं सी गेंद-सी उल्लास से भरी हो?
उतनी ही हरी हो?

उतना ही शोर है इस शहर में
वैसा ही ट्रैफिक जाम है
भीड़-भाड़ धक्का-मुक्का ठेल-पेल ताम-झाम है
ट्यूब-रेल बन रही
चल रही ट्राम है
विकल है कलकत्ता
दौड़ता अनवरत, अविराम है

इस महावन में
फिर भी एक गौरैये की जगह खाली है
एक छोटी चिड़िया से
एक नन्ही पत्ती से सूनी डाली है
महानगर के महाट्टहास में एक हँसी कम है
विराट धक-धक में एक धड़कन कम है
कोरस में एक कंठ कम है
तुम्हारे दो तलवे जितनी जगह लेते हैं
उतनी जगह खाली है
वहाँ उगी है घास
वहाँ चुई है ओस
वहाँ किसी ने निगाह तक नहीं डाली है

फिर आया हूँ इस नगर में
चश्मा पोंछ-पोंछ कर देखता हूँ
आदमियों को
किताबों को
निरखता लेखता हूँ
रंग-बिरंगी बस-ट्राम
रंग बिरंगे लोग
रोग-शोक हँसी-खुशी योग और वियोग
देखता हूँ अबके शहर में भीड़ दूनी है
देखता हूँ
तुम्हारे आकार के बराबर जगह सूनी है

चेतना पारीक
कहाँ हो?
कैसी हो?
बोलो, बोलो
पहले जैसी हो?

 

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4 thoughts on “Tram Mein Ek Yaad

Add yours

  1. You know how you can tell when something has /flow/? It’s not something you can articulate, it’s something you can feel.

    This blog, now more than ever, has /flow/. Beautiful.

    Like

  2. Thank you for transcribing this. Now I will take this as a flag, as a scarf and wave it into the hearts of every one who cares to listen to my words.
    Or recommendations.
    Till then these words are a gift to myself.

    Thank you.

    Like

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