I found…

This poem is a sequel to the poem: Lately…


“What I needed most was really a lightness to swim, the day I earned my wings.”

I found, for every being,
who loves the rivers and sea
or the oceans for their storage
of fragments of history,
dives deep in, to recover the debris,
sometimes ends up becoming it.

I found, for every being,
who loves the ruins, ancient structures,
and the abandoned places,
in search of a treasure we all seek,
digs deep in, to recover a peace,
sometimes ends up succumbing to it.

I found, for every being,
who loves to fly in a dream,
weaving flying carpet of fantasy
that breaches walls and boundaries,
falls deep, if no attempts are made
such that reality turns in.

I found, for every being,
who loves to lend a visit to galleries,
or to listen rhythm of a thundering,
gives a lot in, to acquire the wings,
forgetting, one takes home back
more than one ever brings.

I found, for every being,
who loves interacting with seasons,
be it an autumn, be it a spring,
keeps longing, to re-create, what
no longer exists, till day, one self
turns  into an object of yearning.

Similarly, I found, for every being,
how love is still a necessity,
like an air for human to breath on,
blood for a vampire to quench on…
flesh for a beast to feed on…

That no matter what,
even when one’s not oblivious
of fantasy within, of all the consequences,
one would not stop,
till demise is reached,
of all hope lurking still somewhere in shadows,
or of the lover seeking a resolution.

In one way or another, it would go on,
till sun of yearning, and moon of longing,
keep drowning, yet to rise again
from bed of ocean.


“Quite like that I found myself there, way I found myself in you… Deeply embedded.”

– Dedicated to discoveries one stumbles upon, in the journey of love…

Image credits:
1. An underwater sculpture by artist Jason deCaires Taylor, entitled ‘Resurrection’.
2. Sculpture discovered from an Ancient Egyptian city named Heracleion or Thonis.


This poem is a response to Miss Aminah Tasleem’s melancholic words in poem: 7:49 AM


Lately, I’ve been tracing,
the footsteps on shore,
before waves come sweeping.
I found, those who submerged,
gave great thought before drowning.

For, I’ve too been swimming,
in river of memories, lately,
I felt touched,
by carcass of bodies,
they’re animated, steered by beasts.

Lately, I have been roaming,
corners of capital,
where people went missing.
Found there myself,
facing mirrors haunting!

For, I had been discovering,
statues of stone,
etched in abandoned places.
I related, how they’re frozen
in pangs of longing…

Lately, I’ve been dreaming,
about lands in fantasy,
a place where humans met
the guardian angels,
I gather, angels were relocating!

For, I’ve been wishing
days from a tranquil memory,
when ruled the living,
but I heard fragments urging…
‘let us be, stop chasing!’

Lately, I have been smiling,
in public appearances, the
shows of avid performances,
leaving each a note,
“Few acts worth remembering”!

For, I’ve been visiting,
the markets, to shed some old stuff,
just to feel light-weighted.
But, I ended up acquiring, what was
left by someone migrating!

Lately, I’ve been reading,
poems of secluded artists,
now no longer writing…
I found, nips become frozen,
when memories start unrolling.

Lately, I’ve been writing,
poems to those who’ve parted,
even when none’s answering.
For I found early,
when ducts open flood gate,
one shouldn’t be resisting.

– Dedicated to late time recalling…


Image Credits:
1. Boat alone – stock wallpaper.
2. Solitude – stock wallpaper.

Lost in translation


In a downpour of words, looking for drops with meaning…

Gigantic structures,
shrinking sight.
Stretched streets,
inescapable sides.

No where to go,
No where to hide,
where-ever you see,
labyrinth infinite!

Unmoved spirits,
animated signs.
Pitch-black contours,
stark neon lights…

Nothing moves,
nothing inspires,
All in flashes,
a moment’s ride.

Blunt emotions,
swift censor knives.
Hyper-bole expressions,
timid cold strife.

No one to confess,
no one to confide..
no one to say “how”,
no one to hear “why”.

Cleanest slogans,
messiest vibes.
Emptying earth,
busying skies.

No well left,
to be sucked dry.
None has clue,
where to side.

Stolen brilliance,
conjured noise.
Shallow longings,
crazy appetites.

Nor sound action,
nor true voice,
till last breath exists,
playing a lice.

Declining morale,
rising heights…
Larger billboards,
confined lives.

No one left,
to fight for rights.
None to catch-up,
with illusion of choice.

Amidst this all,
an alienated existence of a kind,
where heart’s misplaced,
mind’s untied.
Whispering words…
perhaps no one can find…
sharing it with clouds in heaven,
with all green in pines…
with all birds that sing,
and all in nature that shines.

How do you know
to root for which manifestation,
have you found yourself…
or you hunt for your own reflection…
when have you felt, lastly…
lost in translation…

– Dedicated to all those wandering and wondering…

Title of the poem is inspired and lifted from title of one of my favorite films: Sofia Coppola‘s “Lost in translation“.

Caged or free, unable to find self in world I see...

Are you caged, are you free? Can you find yourself in world you see…?

Picture Credits:

1. Promotional shot from film: Lost in Translation
2. Screen-cap from film: Her

My Master is one and only (Saahib mera ek hai)

This is my first attempt to translate a mystic poetry written in vernacular Hindi by a famous Indian Sufi poet Kabir.
For Kabir it’s said, he was illiterate yet a master of mystics of his time, simple living saint, his poetry expresses this, the profound imagery married with mystic meanings and earthly anecdotes is all rooted in simplicity.

My special thanks to Miss Maria Imran to point me towards his couplets while influencing me for translating and Miss Sidra Kamal for editing and reviewing. I truly believe mystic poetry in no way can be justified or bound to a single meaning, but following is just my humble try to relay its great essence and feeling.

– Beautiful and ecstatic rendition by one of the most internationally renowned artist of Sufi music Abida Parveen, presented by famous Indian lyricist and poet Gulzar saheb.

Saahib mera ek hai, duja kaha na jaaye,
Duja Saahib jo kahun, saahib khadda rachaaye.
My Master is one and only, comes close to him no sublime.
Should I speak of the other, master is one still to show sign.

Maali aavat dekh ke, kaliyaan kare pukar,
Phool phool chun liye, kaal hamari baar.
Looking at arriving gardener, such echoes of buds are.
Picked are ones that are blossomed, our day is too not far.

Chhah gayi chinta miti, manva beparvah
Jinko kuchhu na chaiye, woh hi Shahenshah.
Since worries dispersed as ashes, this heart is totally free!
For those who wish nothing, are indeed the ruler of destiny!

Het preet sun jo mile, ta ko miliye dhaaye
Antar raakhe jo mile, taase mile balaaye.
For those who talk of love, you will meet such countless…
For those who talk of an essence, are truly a breed rare….

Kabira te nar andh hai, guru ko kehte aur,
Har roothe Guru chhod hain, Guru roothe nahi chhod.
Kabir, truly blind are those, who have not yet got their master known…
For their discontent is forgiven by Him, but His displeasing has no cure.

Karta tha to kyun raha, ab kahe pachhtaye,
Bove peir babool ka, aam kahan se hoye.
Since time of deeds you paid no heed, why there now regrets high?
Sowed by you were seeds of a gum tree, how come mango would ripe?

Sab Dharti kaagad karun, lekhan sab ban raaye,
Saat samand ki muss karun, Guru gun likha na jaye.
Let earth serve as writing tablet, forests carve an instrument to write.
Let seven seas become an ink then, no way yet Master can be defined.

Ab guru dil mein dekheya, gaavan ko kachhu naahin,
Kabira jab tum gaavate, tab jana Guru nahi.
Since in your heart appeared the Master, what remains for you to sing…?
When you used to sing of mysteries, you didn’t know your Master a bit…

Main laaga uss ek se, ek bhaya sab maahin,
Sab mera main saban ka, tihan doosara naahin.
To one and only I give my heart whole, in one I find all there that is….
When all belongs to me, I breath in everything, who else can reign within?

Ja marne se jag dare, mere man anand,
Kab mar hun kab paahun, puran parmanand.
Where people are afraid of killing self, I am sound and relaxed.
For as soon as I kill my image from self, I will find truth ultimate.

Sab ban to chandan nahi, shoore ke dal nahi,
sab samundra moti nahi yun Sadhu jag mahi.
Not every tree smells like sandalwood, not all teams relay tales of bravery.
Nor each sea has hidden a gem beneath, that’s how not all monks are piously.

Jab hum jag mein pag dharyo, sab hanse hum roye,
Kabira ab aisi kar chalo, paache hansi na hoye.
When I stepped in this world transient, everyone laughed while I cried.
Now let’s do something as such Kabir, that we leave everyone with smile.

Agun kiye to bahu kiye, karat na mani haar,
Bhaven banda bhakshe, bhaaven gardan maar.
Once ridden on a path of miss conducts, not for once I broke a cold sweat.
Since I’ve known Master, in blessing I am assured, for disapproval – not upset.

Sadhu bhukha bhaav ka, dhan ka bhookha naahin,
Dhan ka bhookha jo phire, so to Saadhu nahi.
Saint has a hunger for love only, never did saint seek the wealth.
Those who crave wealth and assets, should never be called a Saint.

Saahib sun sab hott hai, bande te kachhu naahin,
Rai te parbat kare, parbat rai mahi.
Along Master each thing is living, chasing folks serves nothing.
Seed becomes mountain for him while mountain worths nothing.

Jyun til mahi tel hai, jyun chakmak mein aag,
Tera Sain tujh mein base, jaag sake to jaag.
Like in sesame exists oil, in crucible dwells wildness of fire…
Your Master too exists within you, should you seek in true desire.

-Dedicated to those of us who seek their Master.


1. Kabir song english translation by Alka P.

Exploring Sufism/ Mysticism

About a year ago, a friend asked me a question on the email, in response to a play I sent for a review. The play was written by me along my sister, it’s based on the spectacular union of Rumi and Tabrizi, it uses the poems of Rumi to highlight his journey. Well, the play got praise but along that came a question: “What’s your take on a Sufism?”.

I had never thought of “my take” specially on subject this complex before… It’s of course not like my usual ones… leadership, education, project management, high performance culture, or artificial intelligence; or array of other social/ technical  subjects I am so comfortable expressing about. Since after years of my time with them, they have begun to come natural to me.  But subject like this have tendency to perplex me, no matter how many times I visit them, I find myself out of my depth, they invite that level of detailed probing, dedicated learning, and ecstatic experience.

Since the time I’ve started publishing poems online, many of which do touch the boundaries of mysticism and the stages of the soul pondered on by different mystics and philosophers. The same question has come to me again and again. This is my attempt to summarize the response at one place.

Since Mysticism/ Sufism is a vast subject, it’s no doubt that it can’t be defined in a page or so, my attempt here is to show what “Sufism” in general sense means to me… (or what I’ve personally learned about it).

1. Focus on essence vs. the form; Whatever we do just for the sake of doing it, shouldn’t be done. It’s the journey that matters more than a destination. What we see is an illusion, reality or truth is very different, so we shouldn’t be sure of anything except a possibility of fact that we can be wrong. So one should strive focusing on the essence of the things, and not different forms that it can garner.

2. Suffering is an eternal part of life. All life forms prevail to a better level, when they struggle and learn from their suffering. In this way suffering leads to salvation.

3. Nothing lasts forever, the only constant in the world is “change” itself. Since everything changes, and keeps changing, the change in the world is tied in a loop. There’s no beginning, nor an end.

4. What begins with a curiosity and yearning, ends in a bewilderment. No matter how much is known, due to things changing constantly on big and small scale, our scale in comparison is minor and frozen. Yet even in minutest of thing, the biggest of the secret of universe is reflected. Hence, the universe never ceases to amaze us. Sufi keeps self always open for new experiences.

5. Belief in formless God, God is not a divine entity that intervenes in worldly matters, punishes, rewards or takes decision the way we humans think and do. God is wholeness of the system, the collective consciousness, of which, we’re a very tiny part. The laws of the system operate on a single constant/ variable i.e: change. Agent feeds an environment, while environment feeds an agent, and hence things change state. Either from concentrated state to dilute one, or vice versa. Since everything is made up of same energy and has a same origin, Sufi is unable to differentiate, hence has a compassion and love for everything. Oneness as a whole and unity is an essence. This relates to the theory of Pantheism, where God is not personal or anthropomorphic.

6. Many believe that Sufism preaches that one has to live a life distancing self from the worldly matters, while contrary is true. Sufi’s code is to live life as lean as possible, and to see no difference between worldly or spiritual/ meditating manners. Every act has to be performed in a state least disturbing to the order of universe. Since without an action-feedback mechanism specie can’t survive, every action Sufi performs is disciplined in a way that it’s as less harmful and disturbing to self and environment as possible. Sufi just believes in detachment from materialism – doing things for just show-up, as this doesn’t align with philosophy of focusing on essence.

7. I relate Sufism to Scientific Meditation and Mindfulness, Fanna and Baqa in Islam, Christian Salvation, Hindu Mokhsh, Buddhist Nirvana, Zen philosophy from Japan and Chinese Taoism (Yin-Yang and effortless effort philosophy). When seen in light of rationalism, it can be related to Confucianism and Sikhism as well. In general all literature of enlightenment or heightened consciousness relates with each other. So religion and culture may differ, but underlying principles discovered by philosophers/ meditation guides and Sufi masters share a great degree of essence.

I’m no philosopher, I’m no artist, I’m no expert. I’m just a man who’s passionate and curios, who loves to explore and ponder. That’s what I have attempted for major part in my life and that’s what I wish to continue doing.

Usually my takes differ every six months or year… I can’t adhere my whole life to a single reference, single philosophy, single routine/ practice, or single ideology. I strive for better explanations, progressing grounds – an understanding that’s more more fitting, more appropriate. I like to update, to evolve, to adapt; to unlearn to learn; to get amazed by universe’s beauty and vastness in comparison to my naiveness. Even if concepts and ideas that I like and adore don’t change completely, they do evolve each year by certain percentage.

I hope world sees this article as an expression of a curios and continuously learning mind, and participates with me for more enlightenment on a subject. 🙂

Related (on Serenades of a Dreamer):

Collection of mystic poems: https://alisohani.wordpress.com/tag/mystic/

Collection of poems on Stages of the Soul: https://alisohani.wordpress.com/tag/stages-of-the-soul/

The Seeker

Lover on the quest.

Lover on the quest…

A beast craves rampant
amount of hunts to keep self
alive as a predator of tales…
Yet, one sight of prey unachievable,
and hunger meets the satiate.

An addict wishes unlimited
substance to keep self under
the spell for as long as it takes…
But only the right essence
keeps one under a constant influence.

Craftsman strives for enormous
retakes to grant piece
the masterpiece state…
But it’s one artist only
who gifts subject an inimitable face.

A wanderer visits never-ending
junctures in search of the one
that creates the rhythm in a flow…
Yet it’s only a reflection,
where restless meets the patience.

Life seeks reasons uncountable
to emerge even in places
as deserted as the planets…
But its proximity with right star,
makes the whole difference!

A lover desires unfathomable
opportunities to surrender in love,
in each passing moment…
But only beloved makes
one submit without the reluctance!

A moth lusts for thousands
of sources for the unbridled light
to navigate the place…
Yet it’s the light from one flame,
that makes it choose the eternal rest.

Perhaps, that’s how we too,
look for the places
to engage with love,
till we find a destination
where one submerges the self!

– Dedicated to the search of an “eternal love” and stages one passes through for it.

Image Credits: Nick Pedersen – emptykingdom.com

The Libertine


Even oceans become mere a glass of wine for the libertine…

I wanna sink in the sky,
let oceans be showered on me.
I wanna swim with the birds
let the fishes fly over me…

I would mix my hues in
the colors of the rainbow.
Let world experience triumph
and ecstasy through me.

Surprised be not, for
wanderlust in vicinity.
Be surprised instead, when hear,
a weather inquiry from me.

Feel the nature turning
a sigh into the storm.
Hell of lightning and thunder
is mere a whisper to me.

For a flight of rebellion
through thunder storms,
Trees shy of heaven too
expand their arms for me.

No desire I have to mere
be a carrier of reflection.
Yet, if you imagine then
think of moon, not a lake of me.

The chalice possess contours,
flow of wine isn’t free.
Though born in a shell,
sky breathes sea in me.

Walls and structures melt
for new dawns to brim.
No fruit may remain
long forbidden to me.

‘Might is right’ claims kingdom,
swears the born King.
Felt the Pharaoh deceased
roaming alive near me.

From cradle to grave,
flag is one, one is the lore.
Turning men into sheep,
they refer ‘apostasy’ to me.

Exile me for heresy,
name me ‘the infidel’.
No place I wish among blind,
No rest belongs to me.

Perhaps, an outcast too, will learn
art of pleasing the somber.
Dedicate the book of miracles
for few nights to me.

Leisure invites bewilderment,
passion invites dance…
Clouds turn into cushion,
sky becomes a stage for me.

When sky exhibits seams
and ever separates the colors…
Love dwells not in measures
but in infinities for me.

“Why such steadfastness?”, ask they,
‘Majestic’ replies “Why not…?”
The depths of skies and oceans
store the virgins for me.

– Dedicated to the rule defiers and free thinkers.

Image Credits: societyoffreethinkers.wordpress.com

The First Time


Way the ocean walks on a dry sand for the first time

Once upon a time,
sitting under the spell of solace
I tried to meet myself
in presence of a crimson shade.

Heart asked me a question,
what does it feel like
the connection – the union,
the essence of the “First Time”?

How do you feel the vibe?
how you know the signs?
Which turn to take you know,
which moves are right?

I traveled,
thinking on this for long,
from lands of wonder
to lands forlorn.
Keeping a question of union in mind,
a journey made alone.
Answer to question this perplexing
was still unknown.

Is it smooth, caressing, absorbing and soothing?
Way hands made to hold each other cling after yearning,
Way the ocean walks on a dry sand for first time…

Is it majestic, spell-binding, transitive, and arching?
Way the eyes shine reading the face of the beloved,
Way the new born child smiles for the first time…

Is it startling, surprising, appealing and awe-inspiring?
Way a lover begins to comprehend the words unsaid,
Way a magic trick’s secret is revealed for the first time…

Is it ecstatic, relieving, mesmerizing, and bewitching?
Way a lover marches into the realm of fantasies,
Way one sights the rainbow after a rainfall first time…

Is it rejuvenating, relaxing, liberating and elevating?
Way lovers unite with each other under the moon-light,
Way two spirits embrace each other for the first time…

Is it shining, alluring, captivating, and bewildering?
Way a new world – new star, new place to live is discovered,
Way young bird sees sky to take a flight for the first time…

Or Is it dancing, whirling, waving and conquering?
Way two colors mix into each other, without an apparent line,
Day the beloved claims, “you’re mine” for the first time…

I was looking into these experiences,
and then I looked in my hand
the message you parted with…
“The way you see me intensely,
your gaze infiltrates me like a first time,
the way it stays fixed,
like you’re seeing me for the last time”.

That helped me describe,
the way I feel…
the way an unseen bond,
unplanned connection,
a union does feel like…

It’s not like the first time at all.
it is quite contrary,
It’s like the lost pieces of a puzzle
were supposed to come along,
in each other’s embrace…
like having known each other
for all-time.

Thanks to you,
I realized this today
for the very first time.

– Dedicated to that feeling of union – a connection felt very first time.


Gazing me intensely, like a first time, like a last time…

Image Credits:
1. Screen cap from “The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)” – mtvnimages.com
2. Poster image from “The First Time (2012)” –  pinger.pl

The Void

Shahi Qilla Lahore

Waiting for a lost echo to return again…

I search you in
the ruins of an ancient
civilization, buried for long.
Like you’re an old treasure
hidden still behind the debris.

I search you in
the rubbed off writings of
the letters left.
Like you’re in a text that
moonlights as clues and hints.

I search you in
the walls of the sanctuaries
like you’re some direction
inscripted to elevate
the soul’s miseries.

I search you in
the windows of the long minarets,
surrounding the palace like guards.
Like you’re peeking through them
as bright light or bird impatient.

I search you in
the fumes of the silage left behind
after an uncalled separation.
Like you’re in the traces
of wind that rules the place.

I search you in
the pools gone dry for years, yet
craving to mirror the starlit canvas.
Like you’re in residue of layers,
where celestial bodies overcast
their net of shadows.

I search for you.
I search for my belongings
that parted along you.
Leaving here everything
but life…

– Dedicated to the relics and the void with in frames.

Art Reference: Shahi Qilla, Lahore, Pakistan

Image Credits: Flickr.com

The Ignorant

Federico Fellini's Film "8 1/2"

Lost in himself and oblivious of world OR oblivious of self and lost in the world.

I don’t know what to write today…
So I’m telling you what I see.

I saw a child crying for her mother
in a market today…
Cries so intense that they’re still
ringing my ear drums like
long lasting church bells.
But mother was around not too far away.
Perhaps, toddler couldn’t recognize her
being among the crowd.
Perhaps, crowd was too overwhelming.

I don’t know what to write today…
Just noting down the events on face.

I saw a man laughing hysterically
like how clouds thunder during rain.
Echoes of his laugh were responded
with an equal enthusiasm by the walls
in surrounding.
While his friend standing beside
with just a hint of slowly melting
smile on his face. Quite like sun
peeking from a thick forest.
Perhaps, one shared a joke or an incident.
Perhaps, he was laughing on himself,
for some slip-up he made.

I don’t know what to write today…
Penning down what I observed.

I saw a middle-aged couple today,
working together to pack the bags
of their children, seeing them off for
the school van.
Quite like two swans swimming together
in a lake. In a perfect harmony for all acts.
While not sharing even a word of
language among each other.
Perhaps, they understand each other
too well, they can read what’s unsaid.
Perhaps, it’s a repetition of tasks,
the daily routine, that hasn’t left
anything for them to say.

I don’t know what to write today…
Just revealing what’s crossing the eyes.

I saw an old man from quite far away,
wearing clothes too similar to mine.
He was strolling in the park, like a
leaf separated from the tree.
I tried to chase him, but before I could
he disappeared into the heavy fog.
Perhaps, he was just roaming in the park,
contented of his life.
Perhaps, he was looking for someone
unwise, might be a younger self.

I don’t know what to write today…
Just writing down what I feel…

This weather is too a mystery in itself,
Just from a clean slate not a while ago,
brimming with vividness,  sound of birds
singing and dancing in radiance,
out of nowhere it has collapsed under
the smoke of burden and lost are all birds.
Being oblivious as usual of the ones
sensitive to it. But then it is, what it is,
at least with equal justice.
Whether we enjoy it or curse it.

I don’t know what to write today…
Now when I think of it, at this point.
I realize I didn’t know a thing…
Perhaps, that’s where all the fun started.
Perhaps, that’s how it all began.

– Dedicated to those who wander but aren’t lost and those who don’t wander an inch, yet are completely lost.

The Twilight Zone

A figure in a distance

Art Reference:
1. One of my favorite films – Federico Fellini’s “8 1/2” – 1963
2. Screen cap from “The Twilight Zone – Season 2” – 1960

Image Credits: moviematrimonymn.blogspot.com