The Urdu word for a kiss, bosa at first seems to sound very incongruous as a lafz belonging to such a lyrical language as Urdu and one that is meant to describe something so romantic. However, on hearing it a few times and becoming familiar with its intonations, one gets the feeling that ‘bosa’ doesn’t seem to convey light, airy kisses but represents a more passionate expression of love.

Kaifi Azmi’s charming ghazal below paints an enlightening picture to bring this idea to life.

Ek Bosa

Jab bhi choom leta hoon in haseen aankhon ko
Sau chirag andhere mein jhilmilane lagte hai

Phool kya, shigoofe kya, chaand kya, sitare kya
Sab raqeeb kadmon par sar jhukane lagte hai

Raks karne lagti hai moorte Ajanta ki
Muddaton ke labbasta ghaar gaane lagte hai

Phool khilne lagte hai ujde ujde gulshan mein
Pyaasi pyaasi dharti par abr chhaane lagte hai

Lamhe bhar ko ye duniya zulm chod deti hai
Lamhe bhar ko sab patthar muskurane lagte hai

The English translation from the Penguin Poetry book “Selected poems: Kaifi Azmi” as translated by Pavan K. Varma, is below:

A Kiss

Whenever I kiss these beautiful eyes
A hundred candles begin to glow in the dark

Not only flowers, or buds, or the moon, or stars
At her feet even the rival bows.

The statues of Ajanta begin to dance
Caves long silent burst into song

Gardens long neglected begin to bloom
Rain clouds start gathering on a thirst earth

For a moment this world renounces crime
For a moment even stones begin to smile