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I am thinking of love. (Yes, once again.)

A love that lies far away, nautical miles beyond the stretch of the arms and the warmth of an embrace.

A love that lingers like the fragrance of incense from the worship of another day.

A love that brings the drum rolls into the heart with a passing thought of an old flame.

A love that constantly whispers,

‘I am, yet I am not. Seek me not in the day light, but in the shadows of lurking memory. Revoke me from there. Bring me back the things I left behind when we parted.’

At this point, from somewhere in the swirling waters of memory, a dulcet tune washes up on the mind.

आ..आ… आ.. आ..

मेरा कुछ सामान तुम्हारे पास पड़ा है ओ, सावन के कुछ भीगे-भीगे दिन रखे हैं हो, और मेरे इक ख़त में लिपटी राख पड़ी है

वो राख बुझा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो वो राख बुझा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो

A few of my things are lying with you. A few wet days of monsoon and some embers wrapped in a letter too are lying there.

A lot has happened since the last time we bade goodbye. Years have passed, perhaps. Or eons? How can I tell? Time has lost its definition and has become an indistinct concept that waxes and wanes. Yet, so much of my life’s remains are still retained in the crevices of the past, even as I am goaded to look ahead and move on.

Here’s an old smouldering love that was left behind, crackling now and then and seeking closure. It follows me to eternity, carrying moments spent in intense proximity, with the seasonal rain alone bearing witness to the fire that raged between you and me. Every little thing from that time is loaded with romantic vibes. If only someone could retrieve them for me and bring them to the present!

Embers of the past are wrapped in handwritten letters and left to wallow in loss and longing. They are love’s relics, holding reminiscences of an affair that prematurely ended and left softly murmuring ashes behind.

The heart still beats to the rhythm of my old, unfulfilled love for you. The connection might have got severed, but the sparks of passion it has left behind has yet to die.

वो राख बुझा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो वो राख बुझा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो

Extinguish those ashes and return my belongings. Do me the favour. Douse the love that still simmers in my heart and free me from its vestiges.

What more have I left behind with you?

Ah, the autumn! Some of it is there, isn’t it?

पतझड़ है कुछ, है ना?

पतझड़ में कुछ पत्तों के, गिरने की आहट कानों में इक बार पहन के लौटाई थी

The incredible things that I left behind, including the footfall of autumn leaves which I had briefly worn on my ears and given back to you!

You have the timbre of the falling leaves preserved, don’t you?

Some of those autumn boughs are still quivering out there. Cut them down and send me my belongings.

पतझड़ की वो शाख़ अभी तक काँप रही है

वो शाख़ गिरा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो

We may have split and spaced out a long time ago, but my love for you is still lingering in the branches of a tree even after the Fall has passed. Fell the branches, stop their quiver so that I may be liberated from these pangs of persistent love.

एक अकेली छतरी में जब आधे-आधे भीग रहे थे आधे सूखे, आधे गीले, सूखा तो मैं ले आई थी

Once, we were getting half drenched under an umbrella; we were partly wet and partly dry, do you remember?

Together when we weathered that rain, so lost in love that we got half soaked equally, mindlessly.

I brought only the dry part of me when I left. The soaked part is probably lying near the bed. Send it to me.

गीला मन शायद बिस्तर के पास पड़ा हो वो भिजवा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो

I now live with a parched piece of soul. The half that is sodden with my love for you, get it sent to me. Return that prized possession to me.

(These lines are immense in their imagery. The idea of a heart torn into two pieces – one that has dried up in the absence of the beau, and one that is still succulent at the other end in the lover’s presence – is delirious. Perhaps, the ache of longing surpasses the joys of love in its intensity and only those pining over someone with every sniffle and sigh can talk about it categorically.)

What more is there?

Among the stuff that I have left with you as tokens of my love are these unmentioned but beloved things-

116 moonlit nights that I spent with you, the black mole on your shoulder,

the fragrance of damp mehandi, and some mock annoyance and complaint.

११६ चाँद की रातें, एक तुम्हारे काँधे का तिल गीली मेहँदी की ख़ुशबू, झूठ-मूठ के शिकवे कुछ

झूठ-मूठ के वादें भी सब याद करा दूँ

सब भिजवा दो, मेरा वो सामान लौटा दो

Let me also remind of you of some of your false promises that are lying hidden among these things. Return them all to me. Give me all my possessions that I have left with you as mementoes.

With them,

give me permission too,

so that I can bury them forever.

And where I bury these things,

I too shall sleep.

एक इजाज़त दे दो बस, जब इसको दफ़नाऊँगी मैं भी वहीं सो जाऊँगी,

मैं भी वहीं सो जाऊँगी..

Without you, of what use are these things anyway? Along with them let me cease to exist too. Give me your consent so that I will be for once, free from this divided, unspent, fractional love.

Film: Ijaazat (1987)

Lyricist: Gulzar

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