Brass Buttons – a poem in Urdu

Brass Buttons – a poem in Urdu, “Pital ke takme’”, by Bill Koul (with English translation after the Urdu version)

This poem fulfills a promise made decades ago, a time period that appears as ages now. It describes a moment when two young hearts met on the morning of a regular working day. Instead of heading to their respective work places, they headed to a beautiful Mughal garden (in Kashmir) where they spent a full magical day in Nature, in each other’s company. That day, she was wearing a dark blue blazer, with brass buttons, which cast a lasting spell on him; the brass buttons appeared like stars that adorned her moon-like appearance.

 ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Kee maine’ gustakhee tumse’ baar baar, aakhir puchha tumnne’ ek baar;

“Kaun ho tum, kya hasti hai tumhari?” Jawab nikla mere’ gustakh muh se’:

“Koi nahi hun, mai toh kucch be nahi.”

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Tum ne’ dekha meri tarf phir ek baar, thhee hazar shikaytein tumhari ankon mein;

Beshak thhee khamoshi teri zuban par lekin thae hazarun sawal tere khayal mein.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Tum khamosh rahee par hum saunch mein doob gayee’, jaise’ suraj doob jaata hai samundar mein;

Hai yeh azeem such ki hum kuchh be nahi, par kuchh toh hai hum, shayad kuchh pal ke’ he liye, ek bulbule’ ke tarah; agar nahi hote’ tum yeh sawal nahi karti.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Na hote’ kucch, na mai deta yeh jawab tumko, na yeh sawal karte’ tum mujse’;

Kuchh ne kucch se kiya thha yeh sawal-o-jawab, ek bulbule’ ne doosre’ bulbule’ se’.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Ek ahem sawal kiya thha zindaghi ne’ aur ek ahem jawab diya thha zindaghi ne’;

Hum koun hai, kya hai hasti humari, kya hai wajood humara, sawal hai ahem yehi.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Hai tumhe’ shikayat mujse’ muddhat se; kiya thha vaada tumse’ sadiyun pehle’;

Likhenge’ hum ek nazam aapke’ coat mein pital ke’ tukmun par, lekin vaada poora na kar sake’.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Sadiyan guzar chuki inn barsun mein, aap se tum aap ho gaye’, hum se mai hum ho gaye’;

Par yekinan woh jaduee lamha zinda raha in barsun mein, raha taaza woh mere’ zehan me in sadiyun mein.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Yaad aata hai woh yaadgaar lamha jab tera deedar hua thha uss subhe’;

Pehna thha tumne woh gahre’ nele’ rang ka coat jis pe’ thhe’ pital ke’ who teen takme’.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Tumhari surat lag rahi thhe mehtab kee tarah aur woh pital ke takme’ lag rahe’ thhe’ sitare’ uss ke aas pass;

Tumhare’ sar par woh duppataa, lapta thha tumne’ jo apne surhahi gardan mein be, chhupa raha thha uss mehtab ko, jaise badal ho aas pass.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Nikle’ thhe hum dono uss subhe’ apne’ apne’ daftar kee taraf, par rukh kiya thha humne achanak Shalimar Bag ke taraf;

Tumhe tumhari raza se’ shayad agva kiya thha maine’, kasoor mera na thha, thhee shararat woh tumhare mehtab se chahre’ ke aur un chamkeele’ pital ke takmun kee.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Poore’ din baithhe rahe’ hum dono uss khoobsurat chinar ke’ neeche, sabz gaas ke uppar;

Taakte’ rahe’ hum uss mehtab chhahre’ ko; waqt kaise’ nikal gaya uss din, jaisa ho ek pal.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Sarhate’ rahe’ hum na sirf tumhari surat ko, dadh de’ rahe’ thhey hum tumhari seerat aur khaylaton ko be;

Tum jaisa koi mila na thha uss chhoti umar mein, uss waqt bhi thhey kuch safaed baal tumhare’ lambe’ kaale’ balun mein.

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Inn barsun mein, chhayee chandni pooree tarah tere balun par, iss waqt be tum alag thhee sab se’, iss waqt be tum alag ho sab se’;

Barsun aage thee tab be tum aur logon se’, bahut aage’ ho aaj be tum un se; lekin tab be mehtab thha tera chehar, aaj be hai.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

After my repeated audacious trespasses, one day, you finally challenged me, “Who are you? What is your entity?” Audaciously, once more, I replied, “No one, I am a no body.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

You looked at me once more, your eyes reflected a thousand complaints; it seemed there were a thousand questions on your mind but, definitively, you chose to remain silent and stoic, once more.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Though you remained silent, I found myself drowning in my thoughts, just as the sun appears to drown in the ocean at sunset. It may indeed be one of the greatest truths that I am nothing, but am I not something at least, albeit for a few moments, like a bubble of air, a bubble of ego and feelings? If I was really nothing, you would not have confronted me with these questions.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

If we were really nothing, neither would you have asked these questions nor I would have answered them; something within us had a conversation with something; one bubble had challenged the audacity and the entity of another bubble.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Life itself had asked life some most important questions: who are we, what is our entity, what is our existence? These important questions are pertinent to all of us.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

For ages, you have had a complaint against me. Years ago, I had promised to you that I would write a poem on the brass buttons of the coat that you wore that day, which I had not fulfilled all these years.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Ages have passed by in these past years; during these years, we have also become informal with each other. But, definitely, that magical moment has survived through all these years; that moment has remained fresh on my mind through those ages.

  ~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Remembering that memorable moment when I saw you that morning, you were wearing a dark blue blazer, with three brass buttons.  

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

Your face appeared like a moon and those brass buttons adorned you like stars lurking nearby. A scarf, which you were wearing around your beautiful neck, also covered your hair and appeared like a mischievous cloud that was trying to hide your moon-like appearance from me.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

That morning, we both had left our respective homes for work but, after our sudden meeting, we had changed our direction towards Shalimar Bag (a famous Mughal garden in Kashmir). Perhaps, I had abducted you with your consent. It was not my fault though; it was a mischief created by your own moon-like face and those shining brass buttons that adorned your appearance.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

That whole day we sat on that green grass under a beautiful chinar tree. I kept beholding that moon-face all the time and the whole day flew away in a jiffy.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

I kept admiring not only your appearance but also your demeanour and your thoughts. At that young age, I had not met anyone like you. Even at that time, you had a few grey strands in your long, dark black hair.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

You were different than others then and you continue to be different now; you were years ahead of all other people then, you are much ahead of them even now. You had a moon-like appearance then; you look moon-like now. In these years, however, your moonlight has completely spread and flooded your hair.

~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~~ ☼ ≈ ☼ ~

… Bill K Koul (Perth, 03 May 2020)

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