Sahana Mukherjee

All that were left behind
(Remembering Faiz)


Raat yun dil mein teri
khoyi hui yaad aa jaye…*

I’ve been silent.
The pebble on my
desk is witness to my loss --
Both have been shaped
by our river in the hills.
It’s only been too near.
I was dragged away too far.

These nights, it’s been so long,
I don’t even think of you.

It still rains as it used to.
You’re still somewhere around.

As a child, I’d happily cross
all railway tracks for you,

Jump in front of every moving
train, die a hundred times over.

But look at me now, I’m tired,
terrified even of windows,

Look at the sky, how it is
losing and falling behind.


1947. Imagine a space. Even six rivers couldn’t hold you together.
Some time, after that, you and I were caught, loveless.
Think of the time of our great betrayal. I always left you breathing.
Think of the time after that, and even after that, we failed on rain.

Think of it now if you should.
Would you still know
the bend in the road?
In front of my house,
we are walking. You’re talking
to me about going back home.
Think of it now if we must.
Would you still remember
the name of the stop?
That is where you get down
every evening ---

Six rivers of all our blood.

Imagine now if we are to be
loveless across our great betrayal.
Would I come, sing to you
all of our last ghazals?
Would I then ask you,

Maango mat,
poochho mat
uss pehli si mohabbat ke bade mein…**

*(trans.) All memories of you lost,
come back to me, every night…

**Ask me not,
ask me not
for our old love again…