Saturday, February 5, 2011

love sometimes lies so deep that it never shows
there is no time to excavate the truths
the face a surface of many lies
when all you want to show is love, it hides

~Abha Iyengar, 5th February, 2011

Sunday, January 2, 2011

The Way Out

Painting my face may help.

Strong lines of white,

yellow and red.

My body a deep purple.

He likes me scrubbed clean.

Every tiny morsel.

I could wear

a feather head dress.

Tomahawk in hand,

dance the Voodoo.

Throw some magic.

Bring the rain.

Pierce his heart.

Blood may taste fine.

They say a bear

licks a man’s feet

and kills him with laughter.

I could become a bear.

(C) ABHA IYENGAR, First publsihed in Up the Staircase, Issue 10, August 2010

Saturday, July 24, 2010

‘The Last Breath’ by Abha Iyengar

I've danced
with dervishes
And whirled
to their wishes
In dreams that swirled
So very fast.

I have lived
With the ghosts
Of my past
They continue to haunt
To the last.

I close my eyes
And nightmares speak
Of death and deliverance.
Heaven, hell, retribution,
Salvation, words that make
No sense.
(C) ABHA IYENGAR. (first published in sage of consciousness issue 2.2)

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

kya karoon sanvedana lekar tumhari? kya karoon? by Shri Harivansha Rai Bachchan

main dukhi jab-jab huaa
sanvedana tumane dikhaee,
main krtajny huaa hamesha,
riti dono ne nibhaee,
kintu is aabhar ka ab
ho utha hai bojh bhari;
kya karoon sanvedana lekar tumhari?
kya karoon?

yek bhi uchchhvas mera
ho saka kis din tumhara?
us nayan se bah saki kab
is nayan ki ashru-dhara?
saty ko moonde rahegi
shabd ki kab tak pitari?
kya karoon sanvedana lekar tumhari?
kya karoon?

kaun hai jo doosaron ko
du:kh apana de sakega?
kaun hai jo doosare se
du:kh usaka le sakega?
kyon hamare bich dhokhe
ka rahe vyapar jari?
kya karoon sanvedana lekar tumhari?
kya karoon?

kyon n ham len mana, ham hain
chal rahe aisi dagar par,
har pathik jis par akela,
dukh nahin bantte paraspar,
doosaron ki vedana mein
vedana jo hai dikhata,
vedana se mukti ka nij
harsh keval vah chhipata;
tum dukhi ho to sukhi main
vishv ka abhishap bhari!
kya karoon sanvedana lekar tumhari?
kya karoon?


“What will I do with your Compassion? What will I?” by Shri Harivansha Rai Bachchan

(Translation into English)

Whenever I have been sad,
You have shown compassion
And I have been grateful
Both of us followed the norm
But now this goodness of yours
Has become a heavy burden
What can I do with your compassion?
What can I do?

When has it been possible
For even a breath of mine to become yours?
That from your eyes may pour
the tears that flow from my eyes?
How long will the box of words
Keep hidden the secret truths
What can I do with your compassion?
What can I do?

Who can give his pain
And share it with another?
Who can share the pain that
Belongs to another?
Why should we continue
the business of being false with each other?
What can I do with your compassion?
What can I do?

Why don’t we acknowledge that
We are walking on a path
Where each traveller walks alone
And we cannot share our sorrows
He who exhibits his sorrow
Seeing another’s pain,
Really is hiding his happiness
That he is free from this pain
We are happy when
Another is unhappy
This is the curse
Of the world upon us
What can I do with your compassion?
What can I do?

(Translation of Shri Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s poem, ‘Kya Karoon Samvednaa Lekar Tumhaari? Kyaa Karoon?” by Abha Iyengar)

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Kabhii kisii ko mukammal jahaaN nahiin milataa~ Nida Fazli (3)

Kabhii kisii ko mukammal jahaaN nahiin milataa
kahiin zamiin to kahiin aasmaaN nahiin milataa

Jise bhii dekhiye vo apane aap mein gum hai
zubaaN milii hai magar ham_zubaaN nahiin milataa

Bujhaa sakaa hai bhalaa kaun vaqt ke shole
ye aisii aag hai jis mein dhuaaN nahiin milataa

Tere jahaan mein aisaa nahiin ke pyaar na ho
jahaaN ummiid ho is kii vahaaN nahiin milataa.

English translation: Kabhi Kissi Ko Mukammal JahaN Nahiin Milataa

No one ever gets a perfect world

Sometimes the earth is missing and sometimes the sky.

Each one seems to be lost in oneself

One has the tongue but no one to understand the words

Who has been able to douse the flames of time!

This is the kind of fire that emits no smoke

It is not that your world is devoid of love

Just that, it is not found where one hopes it will be.

~Nida Fazli

Translated by Mohammad Ahsaan/ Abha Iyengar, May 25th 2009

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Translation: (2) Nida Fazli ~ 'Dil Mein Na Ho Jurrat'

Without audacity in the heart, you don’t get love,

You don’t get this wealth of love in mere charity.

Many folks in this town are unhappy with me,

I too am not inclined towards every one.

Perhaps it was someone else I noticed, though

Not a soul here that does not resemble you.

The bazaar is all glamour with faces that laugh,

No way it seems one has the leisure to cry!

Take this candlelight while stepping out of the home,

For troubles are not there to grace your solitude.

...[Nida Fazli]

Translated by Mohammad Ahsaan / Abha Iyengar, 18th May 2009

Sunday, April 19, 2009

At Your Grave

[a translation of Nida fazli's Urdu nazm]

I did not come to read
the fateha at your grave.
I knew you cannot die.

He who spread the word of your death
is a liar.

It was never you
but a dry leaf fallen with the wind.

My eyes
are still trapped in your landscapes.
Whatever I see or perceive is
Only the world of your deeds and misdeeds.

Nothing has changed.

Your hands breathe in my fingers,
as I hold my paper and pen to write.

I find you sitting in my chair.
Your failures and trippings run the blood in my body.

Your mind lies hidden within my voice.
In my illnesses there is you.
In my helplessness there is you.

The one who engraved your name on your grave
is a liar.
In your grave there,
I lie dead.

You are alive in me!
You are alive!

Whenever you have some free time,
walk in to read the fateha on my grave.

fateha - quranic verses , read at the grave by relatives and friends for the benefit of the dead.

This nazm by Nida Fasli translated into English by Mohammad Ahsaan / Abha Iyengar, 19th April 2009.