About a Poem

Shekhar Hemnani

Shekhar Hemnani

चलती फिरती जान हूँ, कोई नज़्म नहीं 
वो नज़्म,
जो दो बूँद सियाही में बंद 
पुरानी किताब के पन्नों पे फैला दिया 
नुमाइश के लिए पढ़ा महफ़िल में, या 
बंद अलमारी के कोने में छुपा दिया 
साँस लेता अरमान हूँ, कोई नज़्म नहीं

I am a living breathing being
not some poem
that can be captured in a few drops of ink
splashed onto the pages of an old notebook
recited and paraded at a musical gathering
or hidden away in the corner of a locked closet.
I am a hope that is alive
not some poem 

Chalti phirti jaan hoon, koi nazm nahin.

The idea was simple. I am a person, a human being. Acknowledge me, treat me and respect me as one. 

But what I wanted to say was more than just that. Something, that was not that simple but still expressed in a few words. 

I couldn't write for two weeks. The lazy poet in me kept going back to Gulzar's Kitni Girhein (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MhCgyviDibo). So perfectly written. I keep telling myself. "I can do this. Short and concise. I can write this."

One day, while discussing Mausaki's next venture with partners, a thought crossed my mind. "I am not a piece of art or poetry. Nazm nahin hoon main."

Eureka!!! Hang on to that thought!! Maybe this was it. I kept saying "Nazm nahin hoon main" in my head so I wouldn't forget before I got a chance to write it down. I rushed back home. And started scribbling on a piece of paper.

After more than an hour of hitting my head with that pen, I could write just seven lines - one and half verse. I couldn't finish it. I sent it to Sindu and Aalap. Aalap (Aalap Desai is the composer of the music for A Doll's House) and I started working on it. Based on the composition, I modified few words here and there to fit in the melody. But I still couldn't finish the second verse. So we just recorded the first verse. It works. Well, almost.

Chati phirti jaan hoon, koi nazm nahin
woh nazm,
jo do boondh siyaahi mein baandh
purani kitaab ke panno pe phela diya.
Numaish ke liye padha mehfil mein, yaan
bandh almari ke kone mein chuppa diya.
Saans leta armaan hoon, koi nazm nahin...

I was happy I came up with something very ‘Gulzarish’ - in Gulzar sahaab’s style. Complete with metaphorical flights of fancy. But I wasn’t completely satisfied. There was something left unsaid. It needed a little something to make it more powerful. More punchy. More complete.

The lines tell you what she is not. But they don't even hint at what she might be. There is a lot of negativity in the verse. Sure, it works for the play. It hits the audience  hard. But the poet in me cringed every time I played that song. It seemed like an incomplete painting. I was not getting a closure.

So while I was driving back home after our first presentation of A Doll’s House, another thought crossed my mind. I cam home and started scribbling furiously again. "What are you writing? Something for me?" asked Rubina. I smiled and said "I don't know". And I started talking to her about it. She gave it a thumbs up but said "You just need to explain it little better".

Story of my life. :)

Sadiyon se shabdon mein dhalne ki
yakinan tumne abhilasha toh ki hai
Lekin Chand shlokon aur aayaton se
kisne dharm ki paribhasha ki hai

Main Geeta, Main Quraan hoon, koi nazm nahin


For centuries, you have aspired to describe me in words,
but who has ever described a religion in a few shlokas or prayers.

I am a holy script, not a poem.

"I am more than a religion to be described in few couplets." I guess that pretty much sums it up. You can never really understand a woman's role in your life. Like Geeta and Quraan, there are many ways to interpret her.

Maybe, we are all just agnostic, if not atheistic.

Maybe I will never be able to complete this piece. Maybe I already did.

Who knows?

- Shekhar Hemnani, poet, Koi Nazm Nahin

ADHBasab Pradhan