Monday, February 15, 2010

Gulzar Sahab @ the Duchess

छोटे थे, माँ उपले थापा करती थी
हम उपलों पर शक्लें गूँधा करते थे
आँख लगाकर -
कान बनाकर -
नाक सजाकर -
पगड़ी वाला -
टोपी वाला -
मेरा उपला -
तेरा उपला -
अपने-अपने जाने-पहचाने नामों से
उपले थापा करते थे

हँसता-खेलता सूरज रोज़ सवेरे आकर
गोबर के उपलों पे खेला करता था
रात को आँगन में जब चूल्हा जलता था
हम सारे चूल्हा घेर के बैठे रहते थे
किस उपले की बारी आयी
किसका उपला राख हुआ
वो पंडित था -
इक मुन्ना था -
इक दशरथ था -
बरसों बाद -
मैं श्मशान में बैठा सोच रहा हूँ
आज की रात इस वक्त के जलते चूल्हे में
इक दोस्त का उपला और गया.

These lines are still echoing in my ears! It was indeed a memorable evening for all of us at the Duchess club! Gulzar Sahab being in our midst to launch the tamil version of raavi paar by Sivasankari amma. He left us mesmerised with his impeccable style, his poetry and his warmth. As we went through the formal book launch ceremony I think we were all just waiting to hear Gulzaar ji speak. His speech was just as good as his poetry.He spoke about his meeting with amma and was humble enough to credit her as the writer of the book and not the translator. AVM Sarvanan was other chief guest who with all his humility spoke in tamil. ( I interviewed him in tamil for my column and impressed him! after all a punju interviewing him in tamil)!. The big moment for us came when Gulzar Ji stepped forward to read his poetry. Upla was the first poem he read. Followed by a longish one on books which was so true n relevant to the present day. A couple of short poems followed on. Then he answered questions. Ranging from films to his passion as a writer Gulzar sahab shared some amazing moments with us. He even explained how Jai ho was penned! Just as we finished singing the National Anthem the hall resounded with Jai ho which was spontaneous. We mobbed Gulzar sahab for autographs and pictures with him. I still cant get over the meeting. The poetry which I enjoyed listening to in urdu for the sweetness of the language and Gulzar sahab's expression left me speechless. I just managed to go introduce myself as a writer and yeah he immediately shook hands...shld I say with a fellow writer! Dont know how far I am going to get as a writer but the moment was big for me! Thanks to the Fab 5 for organizing such a lovely meeting. Its definitely a Jai ho! for the Duchess.

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