gulzarGulzar saab mesmerizes again with this beautiful description of a house, full of nostalgia and yearning, leaving you with a sense of familiarity and belonging. The link below has Gulzar saab reading the Urdu poem, which is equally enchanting:

Makan ki upari manzil pe aab koi nahin rehta
Woh kamre band hain kabse, jo chaubeez seediyan untak pahunchti thi woh ab upar nahin jati
Makan ki upari manzil pe aab koi nahin rehta

Wahan kamron mein itna yaad hai mujko, Khilone, ek purani tokri main bhar ke rakhe the
Bahut se toh uthane, phekhne, rakhne main churan ho gaye
Wahan ek balcony bhi thi, Jahan ek bayeth ka jhula latakta tha
Mera ek dost tha, woh tota woh roz aata tha, usko hari mirch khilata tha
Usi ke samne ek chathh thi jahan ek mor baitha aasmaan pe raat bhar meethe sitare chubta rehta tha

Mere bachon ne woh dekha nahin, Woh neeche ki manzil par rehta hain
Jahan par piano rakha hai, purane Parsi style ka Frasier se kharida tha, Magar kuch besuri awaazain karta hai ke uski ritzs saari hil gaye hain ke, Suron par doosre sur chad gaye hain

Usi manzil par ek pushtainee baithak thi jahan purkhon ki tasveerain latakti rehti thee, Main seedha karta retha tha hawa phir tedha kar jati, Bahu ko moochoon wale saare purkhe cliché’ lagte the
Mere bachon ne aakhair unko keelon se utaara, Purane newspaper main unhe mehfooz karke rakh diya tha,
Mera ek bhanja le jata hai filmon main kabhi set par lagata hai, kiraya milta hai unse

Meri manzil pe mere saamne mehmaan khana hai,
Mere pote kabhi America se aayain toh rukte hain, Alag size mein aate hai who jitni baar aate hai, Khuda jaane wohi aate hain ya haar baar koi doosra aata hai

Woh ek kamra, joh peeche ki taraf band hai, Jahan batti nahin jalti
Wahan ek rosary rakhi hai woh usse mehekta hai, Wahan woh daai rehti thi ke jisne teen bachon ko bada karne mein apni umr de di thi, mari toh maine dafnaya nahin, mehfooz karke rakh diya usko

Ab uske baad, ek do seediyaan hai, neeche tayekhane main jaati hain
Jahan khamoshi roshan hai, sukoon soya hua hai bas itni si pehloon main jagah rakhkar, ki jab seediyoon se neeche aoon toh usi ke pehloon main, baazoon pe sar rakhkar gale lag jaoon, so jaoon.

Makaan ke upri manzil per ab koi nahi rehta, Koi nahi rehta.

Link to Gulzar saab narration in Urdu:

Here is an endeavor to translate this poem in English, though a lot of the essence is truly lost in translation:

No one stays on the upper floor of the house
That room is closed since long, those 24 steps that went to it now don’t go there anymore
No one stays on the upper floor of the house

There in those rooms, I still remember, an old basket full of toys
Many of them had lived their life, in the picking, playing and throwing of them
There, there was a balcony too, with a swing
There, a parrot had become my friend, who would come everyday, and I would feed it a chilli

Opposite from there, one could see a roof where a peacock would sit and pick out the sweet stars with his beak,

My children have not seen that, they stay on the lower floors
Where there is an old Parsi-style piano, I had bought from Frasier, but it is out of tune now, it gives out unmelodious sounds, it seems the notes are all mixed up now

On this same floor there is an old sitting area, where portraits/photographs of our older generations were hung. Each time I straightened the frame, the wind would blow and slant them again. My daught-in-law thought the moustached men from our older generations, in those frames as cliché
My children took those frame off the hooks, wrapped them in newspapers and kept them aside
My nephew takes them sometimes, to use them on film sets, we get rent for them

On my floor, opposite me, is the guest room,
My grandchildren come home from America, they stay there, they come in all shapes and sizes, everytime they come, God knows if they only come or everytime someone else comes

That one room, that stays closed, towards the back, with no light
There, a rosary has been kept to keep it fragrant, There the old maid used to stay, who gave her life to bringing up three generations of this house, when she died I didn’t bury her, just kept her away safely.

And then after that, there are 1-2 steps, going down towards the basement
Here, silence abounds. Peace is asleep. There is only so much space in this corner, that when I come down the steps, I can put my head in the arms of this peace, and fall asleep.