Books — English Translation of Gulzar’s Kitabein

Peeping out of the glass frames of the bookshelves

Books, now, stare expectantly.

Months pass by without seeing or reading any book.

Evenings, which used to get consumed in the kinship of books,

Get vanished in front of computer screens now.

Out of anxiety, those restless books,

Have developed a habit of sleepwalking.

 

 

The values they used to impart,

That timeless wisdom which they contained,

Is missing from every home.

The relations they used to speak of

No longer exist.

 

 

At the turn of any page, I hear a silent cry.

Some words, they don’t make sense anymore.

They rather resemble a dry and leafless trunk

Where no new words can grow.

 

 

Innumerous terminologies/technical terms

Are now scattered like pieces of broken mud pots.

Those Kindles have made them obsolete.

That taste of the paper which used to stay on our tongues

While turning every page

Is replaced by a “click” — touch of a finger, blink of an eye.

One thing after another unfurls on those screens with each click.

 

 

That interpersonal relationship with books —

Lying down with a book on our chest;

Sometimes on our laps;

And, sometimes, making a bookstand by joining our knees;

Reading in the middle of the prayers,

Touching of books to our foreheads —

It doesn’t exist anymore.

 

 

That knowledge, which books provide, we can still attain.

But those dry flowers and those fragrant messages

Which only books used to preserve.

Those relations which we used to form

By requesting, dropping off and/or picking up of books,

What about them?

That won’t happen anymore.

 

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