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.