Mausam Ka Jhonka

O. Henry, who was known for his strong portrayal of simple things in his stories was truly a master story-teller. If you have read “The Last Leaf” or “The Gift of Magi“, then you’d know. I watched a classic Indian movie tonight, Raincoat, which is loosely based on “The Gift of Magi”. A simple story of two people who meet one rainy afternoon and reflect back on things that could have been. Due to my deep dwelling in the topic, I enjoy such story-telling movies with minimum actors and a feel of old-style movie making.
For those who know Gulzar (legendary Indian/Urdu Poet), here’s his outstanding poem from the movie, Raincoat.
Click on the play button below to listen to this Nazm in Gulzar’s voice.

[audio:http://dhargaut.googlepages.com/Gulzar-MausamKaJhonka.mp3]


I’m presenting my own English translation for those who don’t understand Hindi. This poem goes beyond any articulation.

‘Twas a puff of the season
That shook the portrait that hung so listlessly
In the days of yore, the walls weren’t so moist
Who knows why the moistness crept in
Don’t know why the cracks came
And the moistness shows
Like the tears on a face so blank

This rain once sang on the rooftops
It used to write on the windowpanes

Alas it weeps away behind a cage now
And the afternoons are so
Like a chess without the pieces
There’s no one to play, just no one
Neither the day breaks, nor the night comes
Everything seems still

Perhaps ’twas a puff of the season
That shook the portrait on this wall.

Comments So Far..
  • Poetry Lover 10 January, 2006 at 11:09 pm

    Gulzar says it all..

  • Anonymous 2 March, 2006 at 4:28 am

    thats a real good one by gulzar saab..love the man in white……………..

    paromita

  • Se�orita 17 June, 2006 at 2:57 am

    What a beautiful poem! Glad I saw ur post on an orkut community abt raincoat, which brought me here!

  • Gautam 17 June, 2006 at 10:13 am

    Surely a great poem, senorita 🙂

  • vaibhav 13 February, 2009 at 5:13 pm

    Again an excellent peace of work by Gulzaarsaab.it go straight into heart.listening the same in gulzaarsaab soothings voice g8 experience.Also hats off for directors creativity to used the same in perfect scene in Raincoat.Ajay devgan and ash nice chemistry.love this movie too much.

  • Sujit 29 July, 2009 at 6:06 am

    May I tweak it a bit more, with your permission

    Was it a puff of the season
    That shook the portrait hanging listlessly
    Last season the walls weren’t so moist
    Who knows why it crept in now
    Don’t know why the cracks came
    And the damp shows
    Like the tears on a face so blank

    This rain once sang on the rooftops
    It used to write on the windowpanes

    Alas it weeps away behind a cage now
    And the afternoons are so
    Like a chess without the pieces
    There’s no one to play, no bets laid
    Neither the day breaks, nor night comes
    Everything seems still

    Perhaps ’twas a puff of the season
    That shook the portrait on this wall.

  • Gautam 31 July, 2009 at 6:04 am

    Thanks for your rendition, Sujit.

  • Manisha 11 June, 2010 at 5:26 pm

    Gautam:

    Thank you for posting such a beautiful poem by Gulzar. I agree, translating Gulzars poem is a mission impossible. Having said that, I would like to take a stab at it :). Here’s my attempt and before I forget, I would like to thank a friend (you know who you are) for the finishing touch.

    It was season’s
    sudden gust of wind
    that skewed the portrait
    hung on this wall

    In monsoons prior
    these walls were not so damp
    Wonder why this time
    humidity crept in,
    cracks developed,
    and dampness seeped through
    Dewy tears gliding over dry cheeks

    The rains used to sing
    on this very rooftop
    And write sweet nothings
    with its fingertips
    on window panes of this house.

    Now lamenting behind unlit lanterns
    afternoons feel like an empty chess set
    without pieces
    There are no players for a match
    and no moves to be made
    Neither the day dawns nor the night falls
    Everything is at a standstill.

    Oh what a gust of wind it was
    that skewed the portrait
    hung on this wall.

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