That solace as once breathed among us (Woh jo hum main tum main qarar tha)

Tumhe Yaad Ho K Na Yaad Ho..

Serenades of a dreamer...

This is another one of those ghazals, very close to my heart… It’s been performed by various artists of esteemed caliber and reputation… Few to mention are the favorites: Ghulam Ali saheb, Madam Abida Parveen, Late Begum Akhtar and Nayyara Noor.
It’s hard to choose which rendition to pick and select for the top.

– Rendition by Begum Akhtar is my favorite, it’s classical to the core, delivers the soul of the ghazal with ethos and pathos of nostalgia perfectly… (And only time I preferred anything over Ghulam Ali saheb’s version)

Translation:

That solace as once breathed among us,
Whether you care recalling or do not…
That promise, yes, of following thus,
Whether you care recalling or do not…

Those amenities showered on me before
All comforts on my state that you pour,
I do recollect all even if as a fragment..
Whether you care recalling or do not…

Those rants crisp, complains afresh,
Those captivating bits…

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Screaming Hollow.

She remembered walking through dark empty streets on a very quiet evening. There was no one in sight which was very peculiar as she had always known people to be out at this time of the day; old men walking their dogs, little children playing cricket on the road, a muffled sound of evening news on a television in the background coming from the house that looked like a fortress. On normal days she could smell the evening tea and baked cookies all along the street and she could also hear the friendly chattering of families sitting in lawns of a house or two. Yet for some reason today she was all alone, like no one lived in those huge mansion like houses, like she was somehow in a dream on a quiet dark evening when the sun was about to set and the air held an eerie calm of a corpse.

She kept walking street upon street of a neighborhood she might have seen when passing by but strangely knew every nook and cranny of. It was like she was searching for a house that she never been to but it was important to her. It was important to find that house. So she looked along streets that shifted and changed directions like the paths of a maze as if she was in a game she knew nothing about. All of a sudden she stopped at a house that came right in front of her, as if by will. The gate was open so she tried to peek inside but couldn’t see a soul. Thinking if she was doing the right thing, she touched the bell and just when she was about to press it, he put his hand on her shoulder from behind.

 ****

It was raining. Such a heavy downpour that you couldn’t tell what time of the day it was. And here she was standing at the gate of the park where she used to come every day of her childhood. She didn’t care if she was drenched in cold water or the fact that she was the only person in the park right now. All she wanted was to get back to the time when she was an innocent little girl who used to play on the swings with her daddy standing next to her; where she would give her half eaten chocolate to her little sister because the little sister had finished her own and now wanted more; where she could play and play with all the other kids without ever the thought coming to her head that they’ll hurt her or damage her in any way.

She walked through the park and selected the swing that she had always chosen when she was 6. Sitting down, with her feet she pulled herself up and let go so that she would swing back and forth but not too much because she was afraid of heights now and her daddy wasn’t here to catch her if she fell. She looked up at the sky, closed her eyes and let raindrops fall on her face. Not all water was rain. But rain was the only water she was aware of. Then from a distant past her daddy called her, “Beta ao ghar chalain. Bohat time hogaya hai. Ghar ja kar homework bhi karna hai.” She didn’t know but someone was shaking with sobs in the park and it wasn’t the rain.

 ****

It was her grandma’s house from the outside but the insides of the very house told a different tale. It wasn’t a house she was walking into; it was her mind. Inside she was running across an endless corridor with her shoes in her hands with darkness in front of her and a window of light at her back from where she had started but she just couldn’t remember how long it had been since she had been running and the corridor seemed to go on endlessly so she became tired and just stopped to catch her breath.

And when she looks up this huge door is right in front of her and she no longer has her shoes in her hands. She walks through the door and on the other side she tries to shut it only to realize that it’s a swinging door and there is no bolt and no handle on the door to hold it from. In fear she just leaves it as it is and with the intention of moving forward, she turns around only to find three more doors; one in front of her and one on each side. So she moves towards the door in front of her and finds it locked. She pushes with all her might but it doesn’t budge. She tries the door to her right and this time with a little push it swings and slams in the wall behind it creating a howling sound that gives her Goosebumps but she needs to move on so she goes through the door and once on the other side she realizes that this door has no lock either. She looks around and finds herself at the beginning of that endless corridor that she was running away from.

 ****

She was sitting on a hospital bed with a two day old baby in her arms. She looked at the little angel and noticed the same nose that was passed on to every child in his family. She bent down and kissed those little light brown eyes that were a mirror image of his eyes. He sat down next to her, smiled at the baby, held her hand, kissed her forehead and told her that everything will be okay.

 ****