Now what can be written about books which can be good enough?
I have a habit of carrying a book wherever I go. So even if I go to a beauty parlor, or buying grocery, or go on a trip or to the office – there is always a book with me. And then I am assured that come what may, I will not get bored and there will be constant companion which will get me comfort, knowledge and my space. Be it 10 minutes or an hour or more than that, I can easily slip inside my own world at a turning of page. It is my comfort space like a mobile phone is for others.
I don’t know the source of this poem, I don’t remember where I read it first – as it was included in couple of Gulzar’s books. The first time I remember experiencing this poem is when I saw a video where Gulzar saab himself had recited it on stage. And needless to say it was a mesmerizing moment.
For some, this poem might feel old – just like the books. It is impossible to create new relations through books today – who does that? Feels very ancient. Isnt it? The life is not so leisurely today and the love is not so innocent.
Yet. The rest are of the effects expressed still hold true. A true bibliophile still prefers a book to a Kindle. The book is still kept on the chest while sleeping, it is held in the arms, it is embraced often, it is smelled. The pages are turned with extreme care and writing/scribing on them is a crime.
Book lovers all over do create a bond with their books. The books become a part of them, their lives, their being. And only true book lovers can feel the ache of not being able to enjoy their treasures.
I look at the book case in my living room every day and sigh at the number of books still untouched, waiting to be read. And sometimes I do feel like they stare back at me accusingly. I randomly remember the titles which I had decided to read long ago but couldn’t finish just because I had more important things to do. And so I agree – my books get restless. It is all true really. And yet its surreal.
Gulzar saab has aptly described these exact feelings through his poem. No doubt, Gulzar is a man who has constantly reinvented himself. Today, he has created such a huge volume of contemporary songs which will put a lot of young talented lyricists to shame. He has accomplished the feat of “being relevant” with aplomb and elegance. And yet he has an emotional heart which belongs to his youthful years and which aches. And I guess that’s the reason why he can beautifully express the grief related to books with seemingly ordinary moments. Because, they are not just random moments, they were a part of an entirely different world which exists no more. The world is gone with the memories still around. And one has to look a little deeper and longer to experience this world – full of love, memories and longing.
Take for example:
कोई सफ़ा पलटता हूँ तो इक सिसकी निकलती है,
When I turn a page there comes a “Sigh !!”
ज़ुबान पर ज़ायका आता था जो सफ्हे पलटने का,
There used to be a taste while turning a page !!
For me, it is sheer nostalgia to remember such moments in the company of books. Yet it is equally painful. It’s a constant conflict. And that’s why its unforgettable.
I think it truly signifies Gulzar himself !!