Naya Saal

Nida Fazli said:

“दुनिया जिसे कहते हैं जादू का खिलौना है
मिल जाए तो मट्टी है खो जाए तो सोना है”

But someone very dear to me once told me:

“मिल जाए तो मट्टी है, खो जाए तो भी मट्टी है”

The more I live, the more I believe in what he told me.

Nothing is mine. Nor will anything ever be. Very little we ‘own’ in this world is really ours, no? Except the moments we’ve stolen. The stories we’ve struggled to live. The wrong ones we fall in love with and the right ones we shove out of our lives. The tiny gifts we buy for people we care for. The phone calls that begin with abuses and “why the hell have you not called in months?”. A random text on a random day when someone thought of you. The very first time you break someone’s heart, tell them you love them, have a baby, cry in front of an absolute stranger. And more.

Such thieves we are. But then, after all, great artists steal, don’t they?

As life unfolds, in this seventeen day-old new year, all I ask for is strength, wisdom and the power to believe in doing great things. And the little things.

I hope this new year fills our lives with lots of love and light.

Naya Saal by Amrita Pritam is a hauntingly beautiful expression of what broken things look like. What emptiness is made up of and why the darkness exists. A wonderfully written memory, I’d say.

Probably her own.


Naya Saal

Jaise soch ki kanghi mein se 
Ek danda toot gaya

It’s as if a tooth broke off 
Of a comb of thoughts

Jaise samajh ke kurte ka
Ek cheethda udd gaya

It’s as if the long shirt that rationality was
Was torn into pieces

Jaise aastha ki aankhon mein
Ik tinka chubh gaya

It’s as if a thorn
Went into the eyes of faith

Neend ne jaise apne haathon mein
Sapne ka jalta koyla pakad liya

As if sleep stretched its hand forward
And held a burning piece of coal from my dreams

Naya saal kuch aisa aaya.

Such.. was the new year.

Jaise dil ke fikre se
Ek akshar bujh gaya

As if whatever thoughts I had in my heart
I’ve forgotten the words for them

Jaise vishwas ke kaaghaz par
Syahi gir gayi

It’s as if the paper that was trust
Is blotted with ink now

Jaise samay ke honthon se
Ek gehri saans nikal gayi

It’s as if from the very lips of time
A very deep breath just passed

Aur Aadam-zaat ki aankhon mein
Jaise ek aansu bhar gaya

And us, humans (from Adam), whose eyes
Have filled with tears

Naya saal kuch aisa aaya.

The new year.. was such.

Jaise ishq ki zabaan par
Ek chhala uth aaya

As if Love’s tongue
Suddenly bore blisters

Sabhyata ki baahon mein se
Ik choodi toot gayi

As if from the arms of traditions
A bangle broke away (considered a bad omen)

Itihaas ki angoothi mein se
Ek neelam gir gaya

As if rom a precious ring of the past
A sapphire fell

Aur jaise dharti ne aasmaan ka
Ek bada udaas sa khat padha

And.. As if the earth read aloud
A very melancholic letter of the skies

Naya saal.. kuch aisa aaya.

New year.. that’s what it brought with itself.

amrita pritam


जैसे सोच की कंघी में से
एक डंडा टूट गया

जैसे समझ के कुर्ते का
एक चीथड़ा उड़ गया

जैसे आस्था की आँखों में
इक तिनका चुभ गया

नींद ने जैसे अपने हाथों में
सपने का जलता कोयला पकड़ लिया

नया साल कुछ ऐसा आया ।

जैसे दिल के फिक्रें से
एक अक्षर बुझ गया

जैसे विश्वास के काग़ज़ पर
स्याही गिर गयी

जैसे समय के होंठों से
एक गहरी सांस निकल गयी

और आदम-ज़ात की आँखों में
जैसे एक आंसू भर गया

नया साल कुछ ऐसा आया ।

जैसे इश्क़ की ज़बान पर
एक छाला उठ आया

सभ्यता की बाहों में से
इक चूड़ी टूट गयी

इतिहास की अंगूठी में से
एक नीलम गिर गया

और जैसे धरती ने आसमान का
एक बड़ा उदास सा खत पढ़ा

नया साल.. कुछ ऐसा आया ।

Main Tainu Fir Milaangi

Amrita Pritam. A name that I feel like I’ve known forever. Today being her birthday, I can’t help but contain my happiness that we were fortunate to have had someone like her amongst us.

And I am even more fortunate that of all the things I could have been doing in life at the time when I came across her name the first time, I paying attention to her. The way she draws me into her writing, her thoughts, her life, it never ever stops to amaze me.




She reminds me of me. What I am or will be like, hopefully. A lady of love. With the overpowering belief that the world will change if only we loved each other. And said that to each other more often.

If only we loved. It’s as simple and as difficult as that.

Here’s to Amrita Pritam, a poetess whose heart feels like it beats within mine.

Main Tainu Fir Milaangi.

The first time I heard this poem was in Hindi. And then I came across this beautiful recitation by Gulzar. They were friends, Amrita and Gulzar. But their stories are for a post for another time.



Here’s my attempt at the translation for her beautiful poem:

Main Tainu Fir Milaangi

Main tainu fir milaangi
Kithe? Kis trah? Pata nahi
Shayad tere takhiyl di chinag banke
Tere canvas te utraangi
Ya khore teri canvas dey utte
Ik rahasmayi lakeer banke
Khamosh tainu takdi rawangi
Main tainu fir milaangi

I will meet you yet again
How and where? I don’t know that.
Perhaps I could be a
figment of your imagination
Or maybe I will draw myself

As a mysterious line that shouldn’t be
On your canvas
Quietly, I will stare at you
And I will meet you again.


Jaa khore suraj di lau banke
Tere ranga vich ghulangi
Jaa ranga diyan bahwa vich baithke
Tere canvas nu wlangi
Pata nahi kish trah-kithe
Par tainu zarur milangi.

Perhaps I will become a ray of sunshine,
And revel in your colours

Or maybe I will paint me on your canvas
I know not how or where
but I will surely meet you.


Jaa khore ik chashma bani howangi
Te jivan jharneya da paani udd da
Main pani diyan bunda
Tere pinde te malangi
Te ik thandak jahi banke
Teri chhaati de naal lagaangi
Main hor kuch nahi jaandi
Par ena jaandiyan
Ki waqt jo vi karega
Ae janam mere naal turega

Maybe I will become a spring
And the water that sprouts from it
I’ll rub its droplets on your body
I’ll become the coolness from it

That rests on your burning chest
I don’t know anything else
But I know this much
That no matter what time does
This life will walk along with me.

Ae jism mukkda hai
Tan sab kuch mukk janda-e
Par cheteyan dey dhaage
Kaayenaati kana dey hunde
Main unha kana nu chunagi
Dhageyan nu walangi
Te tainu fir milaangi

This body? It perishes.
Everything does.
But the threads of memory
Are woven such
That the universe resides in its every bead
I will pick those tiny beads
I will weave the threads
And then.. I will meet you again.

amrita imroz

Amrita and Imroz.