gulzarGulzar saab in his unique, inimitable style, pens an wonderful description of the changes in our lives as books get replaced with screens. Absolutely wonderful!

We have tried to provide a rough, literal English translation, for your understanding, below. And there is a link to Gulzar saab himself, reciting this nazm as well. Enjoy!

kitabein jhankti hain band almaari kay sheeshon se
badee hasrat se takti hain
maheeno ab mulaaqat nahi hoti
jo shameein in ki sohbat main kata karti thein, ab aksar
guzar jaatee hain computer kay pardon par
badi bechain rahti hain kitabein
unhe ab neend mein chalne ki aadat ho gayi hai
badi hasrat se takti hai
jo qadren vo sunati thi
ki jin ke cell kabhi marte nahi the
voh qadren ab nazar nahi aate ghar mein
jo rishte vo sunati thi
vi saare uDdhe uDdhe hain

koi safa palat ta hoon to ek siski nikalti hai
kai lafzon ke maani gir pade hain
bina patton ke sukhe Tund lagte hai vo sukhe alfaz
jin par ab koi maani nahin ugte
bahut si istelahen hain

jo mitti ke sakoron ki tarah bikhri padi hain
gilason ne unhein matruk kar daala
zabaan par zaiqa aata tha jo in safhe palatne ka
ab ungli click karne se bas
ik jhapki guzarti hai
buhat kuch tah-b-tah khultaa chalaa jaataa hai parde par

kitabon se jo zaati rabta tha kat gaya hai
kabhi seeney pe rakh ke lait jaate the
kabhi godi mein rakhte the
kabhi ghutno ko apne rehl ki soorat banah kar
neem sajde mein padhaa karte the, chhoote jabhee se

woh sara ilm to miltaa rahegaa aainda bhi
magar who jo kitabon mein milaa karte the sookhe phool aur mehke hue ruqe
kitabein maangne, giraane, uthaane ke bahaane rishte bante the
unkaa kyaa hogaa,  woh shayad ab nahi honge!

Books peep through the closed glass doors of the cupboard
With much longing and desire, they stare through
For months now, we don’t meet
Those evenings that would be spent in their company, now often
They pass by, staring at the computer screen
The books remain very restless now
They have fallen into the habit of sleep walking
With unfulfilled desire, they stare at me
The norms and values that they used to narrate
While the cells (battery) wouldn’t die (as they did so)
Those norms are not visible in the house anymore
Those relationships they would narrate
Those have been left incomplete

When I turn a random page, it lets out a soft cry
Some words have lost their meaning
The letters and words seem like dried trees without leaves
On which nothing of meaning grows anymore,
Just many terminologies

Just like clay-pots were left scattered
When glasses made them obsolete
The taste of turning pages that could be felt on the tongue
Now, on the click of a finger, it happens in the blink of an eye (goes unnoticed)
A lot of layers are opened and peeled on a computer screen

That personal relationship that used to exist with books, has been cut off
Sometimes one could just lie down with a book on their chest
Sometimes they would be placed in your lap
Sometimes the knees would become a book stand
Sometimes they would be touched to the forehead, in a half-prayer

All that knowledge and wisdom, will surely keep coming to us, in the future as well
But those dried petals and leaves that would be discovered in the pages of a book,
Those relationships that were formed in the borrowing, dropping, picking up of books
What will happen to all of that?
That may not happen any more