Amrita Pritam: Her Poems, My Life and Love

हैरान होता था जब बार बार ऐसे सपने से आते थे की अमृता प्रीतम कुछ कह रहीं हैं मुझसे, मुझसे? कहाँ वो रूहानीयत की मूरत और मैं बेग़ैरत इंसान । पर अच्छे से याद है “आज वारिज शाह नूं “, “साहिर “, और “इमरोज़”। …..

लगता था की वो बगावत थी या सिर्फ रूह की आवाज़ को सुनने वाली, इक पंजाबन। पता नहीं, पर जबसे मझे पता चला की रसीदी टिकट उनकी आत्मकथा है मझे और दिलचस्पी हुई और तीन दिन होगये हैं की मेरे रोंगटे खड़े हो जाते हैं जब-जब मैं इसके किस्से पढ़ रहा हूँ। कुछ समझ नहीं आता जैसे …..

अपने वाक़ये याद आजातें हैं । वो वक़्त जब ऐसे ही अजनबी से मुलाक़ात हुई और ये ऐसी थी की दिल का इक हिस्सा उसी के साथ रह गया , जैसे उसका कुछ मेरे पास रह गया । 

आज फिर वही हुआ, किसी और से हमने बहुत बातें की… आँखे दिल की किताब होती हैं -सच या झूठ ये मैं नहीं कह सकता क्योंकि इश्क़ तो अंधे भी करते हैं और यदि दिल की किताबें ब्रेल में भी उपलब्ध हैं भला कौन जानता हैं। ..पर जब ऐसी मुलाक़ातें होती हैं तो आपको ये विश्वाश ज़रूर होता है की जो मैं कहना चाहता हूँ वो उस तक पहुँच गया। बस..   


यही था जो दूर होके भी पास था… साहिर-अमृता के इस रिश्ते को याद करके हमेशा मेरे शरीर में कम्पन की लहर उठ पड़ती है….


शायद कुछ पुराना हिसाब रह गया है, कोई मुलाक़ात बची थी जो इन तीन-दिनों में होगयी । मैं बार -बार चाहूंगा की ऐसे सपने परेशान करें, क्योंकि-वयोंकि पता नहीं….

[I wrote the above last year and below are my contemporary and immediate thoughts]

I read the autobiography, Rasidi Ticket (Revenue Stamp), of the great poetess from Punjab, Amrita Pritam, last-year. And these are my thoughts as penned-down (or typed) from that time. This piece was in ‘drafts’ for over a year now. And, I choose to express my thoughts about Amrita, her poems and our uncanny relationship further in this blog.

I was reading Khushwant Singh‘s works or an article about him when I learnt that he said something about a poetess and she happened to be none other than Amrita, and he commented on her autobiography and that was that “Amrita-jee ki kahani to inti chhoti hogi ki ik stamp ke peeche likhi jaa sakti hai”, what made him say this, I do not know. But Amrita Pritam did title her life’s story as, Rasidi Ticket. And I got what I’ve got to read next, this autobiography. I have never heard till now about her, I came to know later that the movie, Pinjar is based on her novel of the same name. And then I dig deep, I listened to her poems as recited by Gulzar. Read blogs about her and I just couldn’t get over her. Almost, every day, I was high on her.

I remember that that time (last year) I was conversing with the poet, Rohan Chhetri, (who later won the prize for his collection of poems) and I mentioned him about Amrita’s works. He wanted that in English. I sent him one of the translations of her works in English from some random blog, the poem was, Mein Tennu Fir Milan-gi (I’ll meet you, yet again). Little did I know that this poem was going to be my ‘only’ help during my heart-break, on Valentine’s day.

I cannot present a review of the book and that’s not even my intention. I just wanted to express the vulnerability in love and that it sometimes brings the best out of you. I think it did help me write, this break-up. And it connected me to Amrita Pritam at a very deeper level now. 

Dear Love,

I miss your Punjabi couplets among many other things. I remember when you were reciting them to me, while I was in your arms, naked, warm in your bed. It’s about last month. I think we did complete a month of a warm relationship last week. And as fate had it, we broke-up, last week.

I remember when on the 7th of February, I played this recitation of Amrita’s poem by Gulzar in a cab on our way to my home for my sister’s birthday, only I and you were passionately listening to this and your friends were clueless. Your fingers were buried in my head, massaging it, and then you drew me closer to yourself, whispered something, and I knew you liked it. I cannot express my joy how I felt when you said, “‘Aj Ankhan Waris Shah Nu’ to bohot hi jyada..” and you halted there. I got the message. 

Post break-up, I’m listening to this on loop with some other songs. I never knew what could be my connect with Punjab, when I never had one, until last month, it was Amrita. And even after a month now, it’s Amrita only, I think. I want to be wrong. But accepting the truth is never easy. I don’t know if you are or not in my life. But, may I just say this that I’ve those memories. I do not know whether, in our queer relationship, you were Sahir or Amrita but I do know who I was, a poem, which is there to stay, just like love. 

With Love,
From
A Poem

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