Monday, November 14, 2011


Attended an evening of poetry with the legendary Gulzaar at Singapore's Esplanade theatre & was absolutely blown away. Alongside Gulzar, was another writer - Pavan Varma - who has translated some of Gulzar's work into English. And although the english translation almost never had the same quality of expression, we were thankful for it in any case; mainly because it served as a guide for some heavy-weight urdu vocabulary (not a strength of mine).

I was apprehensive at first. Despite all my love for poetry, I'm far from being a master of urdu and wasn't sure of what to expect from an urdu poet. I went in with expectations of songs of love, longing, chaand, mohabbat and shikwa. I was pleasantly surprised though with the range of topics Gulzar has written about. There was a verse called "kitabe" about forgotten books; a gem of a verse about a diary full of incomplete verses like stubbed cigerrettes; about nature & the environment; about a grimy pub in Mumbai; about the charms of the afternoons in old Dilli, there was a beautiful little verse about RD Burman called "Pancham"; and he ended with a verse I completely loved, titled "Meghna" which spoke about his experience of his daughter giving birth to his grand-son (It got me teary-eyed to hear of a father's tumult at watching his little girl become a woman; a mother; going through the pains of labour.)

Admittedly, its not easy listening to poetry being read aloud. You need time to take it in, ruminate over the words, build the imagery, and by the time you've done all that, you've probably missed the train of verse the poet is reading. Gulzar was a patient reader & allowed us enough time to digest every sentence. And seeing the poetry through the eyes of the poet himself; hearing his views & origins of the thoughts; was a treat. Having said that, I can't wait to get my hands on the book & re-read the verses in my own time & on my own sofa.


Anonymous said...

Agreed! It was a lifetime experience with Gulzar infront of your read out the poetry. If not this, what else is heaven:)

krsnaknows said...

Nice.Wish I knew before about the event.