Student artist, Joanna Bassi on her current show, 'Hallowed Degeneration'

Pages are used to wrap the loaf..
Loaf is used to attract the votes.
Paper is used to exhibit a worth.
Worth is used to mark the culprits.

Innocence is used to make a trade.
Men are used to sharp the blade.
Flowers are used to honor the dead.
Dead are used to cover mistakes.

Water is used to leave a color.
Air is used to choke the inhaler.
Heart is used in exchange for a life.
Life is used to buy meal for a time.

Music is used to sedate the brains.
Opinions are used to kill the taste.
Words are used in eulogy of departed.
Silence is used to push injured to death.

Walls are used to reflect echoes of praise.
Praise is used to accumulate more praise.
Images are used to kill the imagination.
History is used as art of social dictation.

Years are used to count the survival.
Minutes are used to buy the patience.
Friends are used to climb the steps.
Steps are used to suppress the brilliance.

Systems are used to keep the inheritance.
Inheritance is used to bury the competence.
Routine is used to declare the efficiency.
Efficiency is used to step-over effectiveness.

Sentiments are used to create a trust.
Trust is used to negotiate an advantage.
Art is used to garner the popularity.
Popularity is used to settle the facts.

Distant planets are used to wish for a home.
Earth is used as picnic and vacation place.
Labels are used to veil the substance.
Substances are used to reach the mystics.

Resources are used to please the divinity.
Religion is used to avoid all scrutiny.
Science is used to measure the emotions.
Emotions are used to skip all objectivity.

Flowers are judged by intensity of colors.
Gardens are used to decorate the palaces.
Height is used to measure the greatness.
“How it happens” is used to skip the logic.

Measures are used as goals and targets.
Targets are used for an excuse of a process.
Dreams are used to avoid the reality.
Reality is used to discard the marvels.

Ears are used to savor the “Yes”.
Eyes are used to judge the beauty.
Tongue is used to taste a toxic.
Skin is used to create a dress.

Oceans are used to test the menace.
Skies are used for birds of vengeance.
Education is used to increase the distance.
Stars are used to blame perils of existence.

Rules are used to judge the artistry.
Standards are used to pass conformity.
Familiarity is used to asses creativity.
Weapons are used to suppress hostility.

Fireworks are used to hide the decay.
Fear is used to keep up the display.
Pictures are used to skip the word,
Words are given to skip the day.

Student artist, Joanna Bassi on her current show, 'Hallowed Degeneration'

- Dedicated to the societies and civilizations of name.

Art/ Image Reference: Artist, Joanna Bassi from her show, ‘Hallowed Degeneration


Nobody leashed their eyes restless to me (Kisi Ne Bhi To Na Dekha)

- Rendered by a popular ghazal singer Pankaj Udhaas saheb.


Someone would greet with a smile, that’s a desire.
Somewhere beats would be aligned, that’s a desire.
(Not a part of original ghazal, but a singing rendition.)

Of all resting, nobody leashed their eyes restless to me.
Today too a day passed leaving a shade of sadness to me.

Not even a wind sang me the news of the close ones.
Hummed it only the humid tales of coldness to me.

Forgive me for being a stranger to the gathering.
New are locales and paths of non-wilderness to me.

So deep an anguish, neither can I sink, nor emerge out.
Evaporating of a flow might earn now stillness to me.

- Dedicated to a sadness that often entraps people and makes them do something destructive rather than creative.

Yeh Aarzoo Thi Ke Haskar Koi Mila Hota
Kahin To Humse Kisi Ka Dil Aashna Hota
Not a part of ghazal, but a singing rendition)

Kisi Ne Bhi To Na Dekha Nigaah Bhar ke Mujhe
Gaya Phir Aaj Ka Din Bhi Udaas Kar ke Mujhe

Saba Bhi Laayi Na Koi Payaam Apno Ka
Suna Rahi Hai Fasaane Idhar Udhar Ke Mujhe

Muaaf Kijiye, Jo Main Ajnabi Hoon Mehfil Mein
Ke Raaste Nahin Maaloom Is Nagar Ke Mujhe

Woh Dard Hai Ke Jisse Seh Saku Na Keh Paaun
Milega Chain To Ab Jaan Se Guzar ke Mujhe

- Original lyrics by Urdu poet and lyricist: Majrooh Sultanpuri


This hails from a day (Ye Jab Ki Baat Hai)

- Composed and sang by famous ghazal singer Talat Aziz in a private gathering.


This hails from a day when not
even your shadow was around me.
Traces of your fragrance were in
course to always surround me.

Scattered was my gaze,
dwindling were my footsteps.
These eyes were hunting you
within your dream’s maze.
Forlorn wanderer met its destination,
as your embrace found me.

In each night a solace used to surround
like your tresses.
In each dawn a glow used to be found
like your kisses.
In essence of mine, your beauty
was there always to bound me.

- Dedicated to a serendipity that is found in one’s essence way before one meets it physically.
I found this beautiful poem too in Talat Aziz saheb’s radio program: Caravan-e-Ghazal quite like that.

Yeh jab ki baat hai tum bhi na thay nigahon mei
Tumharay naam ki khushbu thi meri raahon mei.

Bikher rahi thi nigahein, bathak rahay thay qadam.
Tumhi ko doondh rahay thay, tumharay khwaab mei hum.
Hui talaash muqamal tumhaari baahon mei…

Har ek shab mei thi narmi tumharay baalon si
Har ek subha thi roshan tumharay gaalon si
Tumhara husn tha shamil meri wafaon mei…

- Original poem by great Indian Urdu Poet Nida Fazli saheb, written specially for Talat Aziz.

Can’t push the heart (Ji Nahi Chahta)

Out of melancholic circumference, can't push the heart.

Out of melancholic circumference, can’t push the heart.

Oh Rose, to depart from your fragrance,
can’t push the heart.
To linger  forever in petals as nuisance,
can’t push the heart.

Preserved the hem from drops
of crescent for ages.
To emerge from river of adolescence,
can’t push the heart.

Dissolved post each union,
like there was no beginning.
To kill before battle gets commence,
can’t push the heart.

In night of separation,
I wedded a queen of longing.
To embrace in night of presence,
can’t push the heart.

What’s wrong in asking few sips,
from chalice of poison?
To pretend a state of abstinence,
can’t push the heart.

In quest of seeking a meaning
to life, wilderness possessed.
To vanish in city’s effervescence,
can’t push the heart.

Raced to the peak of passion,
only to find no soul.
To move ahead of continuance,
can’t push the heart.

Worshiped the sky entire life,
to sight a miracle of clouds.
To drench in perch of heavens,
can’t push the heart.

Swimming birds in air acquired,
an attitude of humans.
To keep floating in sea of vigilance,
can’t push the heart.

Fumes in proximity narrate,
an arrival of spring.
To let go of autumn’s adherence,
can’t push the heart.

Self-weaving a shroud of future,
being indifferent of time.
To accept, wounds heal in patience,
can’t push the heart.

Lost it all, yet never stopped
losing self in dreams.
To rest in world’s acceptance,
can’t push the heart.

A gaze gets frozen on
wet cheeks of the messenger.
To taste salt of correspondence,
can’t push the heart.

From day of inception the saint
observed denial of love.
To compose yet another sentence,
can’t push the heart.

Amidst a crowd made Farhad,
claim for the love majestic.
To fly here off the self-acquittance,
can’t push the heart.

- Dedicated to the heart that always has its own song to sing… Sometimes a pleasure in longing, often a lament in holding back.

To ease the clouds of remembrance, can't push the heart.

To ease the clouds of remembrance, can’t push the heart.

Ghulab teri khushbu se bicharney ko ji nahi chahta.
Un kaliyon mei bhi muqeem honay ko ji nahi chahta.

Bachaliya daman ko roshni ki boondon se umr bhar,
Rait ke darya se bahar aanay ko ji nahi chahta.

Fanna huay har mulaqat mei k goya ibtida na rahi,
Azsar-e-Khayal bhi ji marnay ko ji nahi chahta.

Hijr mei ki mulaqaat malka-e-teergi se humnay,
shab-e-wasl ab hijab giranay ko ji nahi chahta.

Kyun na karein Jaam-e-Zehr ki farmaish ab unsay?
Zabt ki jhoothi kasm khanay ko ji nahi chahta.

Khoj Maqsad-e-Zindagi mei vehshat ne thama haath,
Shehr-e-shor k rang mei rachnay ko ji nahi chahta.

Choti-e-junoon par hua mukaam, raha na saaya saath,
Ab waqt se aagay nikal janay ko ji nahi chahta.

Mudato ki aasmaan se guzarish ghanay baadlon ki,
khultay falsafo mei bheeg janay ko ji nahi chahta.

Fiza mei tertay parindo ne dhaaliya ruup-e-insaan.
Is samandar mei aur theharnay ko ji nahi chahta.

Khushbu-e-pehlu se gumaan hota hai aagayi bahar,
rang-khizaan se alvida honay ko ji nahi chahta.

Uun-e-zeest buntay hein aap, waqt k nahi mohtaj,
zakhm bharjaatay hein, bhoolnay ko ji nahi chahta.

Loota kar bhi sab rehtay thay sapnon mei khoye,
Pa kay sab zindagi mei sonay ko ji nahi chahta.

Deed hogayi munjamid rukhsaar-e-paigamber par,
Khat se namak chakhnay ko ji nahi chahta.

Hosh-e-awal se dekha farishtay ne mohabbat jhutlana.
Jawaab-e-inkaar darj karnay ko ji nahi chahta.

Sar-e-hujoom kia Farhad ne dawa-e-ulfat Sohani,
Hum hein k yaha shanakt khonay ko ji nahi chahta.

To deny the use of love as substance, can't push the heart.

To deny use of love as substance, can’t push the heart.

- Another dedication to my favorite film: Wong War Kai’s “In the Mood for Love“. A film that subtly and very beautifully defines feeling of age-old acquaintance and longing for the love amidst two strangers.

Special thanks to Maria Imran, for reviewing and editing the Urdu part, since my Urdu is pretty weak.

Art/ Image Credits:
(1 and 3) Screen caps from film: “In the Mood for Love”.
(2) A stock image.

In Desert of My Solitude (Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein)

- Performed by Meesha Shafi on platform of Coke Studio (Latest and most popular rendition till date)


In wilderness of my desolation,
Oh my beloved, lingers…
silage of your whispers,
and mirage of your lips.
In wilderness of my desolation,
beneath soil of distance, blooms…
charm of your embrace,
as jasmines and tulips.

Ascents warmth of your breaths,
close – somewhere,
Being simmered in its own fragrance,
softly, bit by bit.
Far away glimmering on the azure
canvas, tear by tear,
Perches like a glance of your love,
a dew, heaven-lit.

With such love and benevolence,
Oh my beloved, settles…
the memory of yours, its hand
on bosom of my heart, here now.
It feels as if,
(though it’s time of lonesome dawn),
Sun of rapture is soothing down,
Moon of union is to cast spell here now.

- Dedicated to a desert of solitude that transforms into an oasis of remembrance…

Dasht-e-Tanhai Mein
Aye Jaan-e-jahaan, Larzan Hai
Teri Aawaaz Ke Saaye
Tere Honton Ke Seraab.
Dasht-e-tanhaayee Mein
Doori Ke Khas-o-khaak Talei
Khil Rahe Hain Tere Pehlu Ke
Saman Aur Gulaab.

Uth Rahi Hai Kahin Qurbat Se
Teri Saans Ki Aanch
Apni Khushboo Mein Sulaghti Huee
Maddham, Maddham…
Door Ufaq Paar Chamakti Hui
Qatra Qatra…
Gir Rahi Hai Teri Dildaar
Nazar Ki Shabnam.

Is Qadar Pyaar Se
Aye Jaan-e-jahaan Rakkha Hai
Dil Ke Rukhsaar Pe Is Waqt
Teri Yaad Ne Haath.
Yunh Ghumaan Hota Hai
Garj Hai Abhi Subh-e-firaaq
Dhal Gaya Hijr Ka Din
Aaa Bhi Gayi Wasl ki Raat.

- Originally written by poet of far excellence and sheer brilliance Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

This is a very famous and equally cherished poem by Faiz saheb. It’s widely known for its rendition by Iqbal Bano and later by Tina Sani and Meesha Safi. Out of which Iqbal Bano’s rendition is still most beloved to me. And as it happens, there are many translations of it on internet. Yet, since it portrays the genius of the poet, it’s very close to my heart. I was bound to personalize it in some way.

Notice the symmetry along the rhythm and flow in it (the rhymes are intricately woven with free verse here). See how metaphors are played with here, the solitude of the lover is presented as desert, and his melancholy as dessert’s nature. Yet everything representing despair in desert converts into a garden of hope and love, which he explains later in last verse that it’s due to remembrance of love of his life. He starts to take everything in wilderness as positively just because he’s along the memory of the beloved.

I have tried my best here to keep the original’s subliminal structure intact in translation, along all the metaphors by the way they are introduced in one line just to be ascended in another. Faiz saheb’s this poem is really a sheer work of brilliance, and of course this translation can never justify it completely. Yet I am glad, that I made an attempt to exhibit my love.

Once, I recall, an eve was strange (Woh Shaam Kuch Ajeeb Thi)

- Performed mesmerizingly by Kishore Kumar, the music is given by Hemant Kumar.


Once, I recall, an eve was strange,
Eve today too is quite different.
Once, I recall, she was here,
today too it feels, she isn’t distant…

In those eyes shying away,
perhaps my image was lingering.
In those lips giving away,
certain beauty was in blooming.
Way I gathered it,
she was humming my name along.
Once it felt to me like,
she’s smiling all along…

My shadow is breathing still,
in those eyes down gazed.
Blooming are her lips too,
hinting of a passion suppressed.
I know for sure now,
my name is being hummed along.
The thought persists now,
she is sure coming along…

- Dedicated to strange eves, where distance is not a distance any more.

Woh shaam kuch ajeeb thi,
yeh shaam bhi ajeeb hai,
Woh kal bhi paas paas thi,
woh aaj bhi kareeb hai…

Jhuki hui nigaahon mein,
kahin mera khayaal tha,
Dabi dabi hansi mein ek,
haseen saa gulaal tha,
Main sochta tha,
mera naam gunguna rahi hai woh,
Na jaane kyon laga, mujhe,
ke muskura rahi hai woh…

Mera khayaal hai abhi,
jhuki hui nigaah mein,
Khuli hui hansi bhi hai,
dabi hui si chaah mein,
Main janta hoon, mera naam,
gunguna rahi hai woh,
Yahi khayaal hai, mujhe,
ke saath aa rahi hai woh…

- Original lyrics penned by non other than famous Indian poet and lyricist Gulzar saheb. Song belongs to classic Hindi film: Khamoshi - 1969.

The Lovesick Gentleman

In face of all uncertainties, he wants his love for her to remain sure.

In face of all uncertainties, he wants his love for her to be a surety.

He wants to keep her love
embodied like lines in the palm
that whether time follows or not,
remains etched to him, always
reminding him of her.

He wants to bathe in her love
like a dry earth sunk in an incense,
before the rain perches from heaven,
for whether clouds ease or not,
he’s absorbed in her.

He wants to inscribe her love
like scratch of war gelled on body
that whether heals or not, leaves
perennial signature of ink that
reminds him of her.

He wants to preserve her love
like a character in poetic novel,
prose acquiring a life of its own,
for whether tale is happy or not,
he’s bound to her.

He wants to sink in her love
like a craziest secret, touching
depths of her unfathomable heart,
for whether world’s with him or not,
he remains with her.

He wants to carry her love
like monk carries the sanctity
image of the sustainer within self,
for whether enlightened or not,
he’s submitted to her.

He wants to be lost in her love
like an echo from days of the past
whirling around in crypts today,
that whether discovered or not,
still aches for her.


No uncertainty in the world
can keep apart two beings
that yearn to be together.

In face of physical boundaries
they would unite in consciousness.
In face of a mind distraction
they would unite in dreams - subconsciousness.
In face of sleep deprivation
they would unite in hallucinations.
In face of no consciousness
they’d still unite in a remembrance.

No wonder, he desired and yearned
for such stature of love.

Imagine a power you can…
Even one that can keep
beings physically apart,
Even one that can travel in time
to create a distance between the hearts…
Cannot keep souls apart,
since they’d still be together
as a silhouette in one mind,
as a fragment of history in another…
registered in time,
carved forever.

Valadmir Kush - Metaphorical Journey

No uncertainty in a world can keep two souls – once united in essence – as apart.

- Dedicated to love sickness and one of my favorite author Gabriel Garcia Marquez‘s subliminal work: “Love in the Time of Cholera

Art/ Image Credits:
1. Lovers of Forest – Stock-house Oil Painting
2. Valadmir Kush – Metaphorical Journey