ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की

कब से भटक रहा था मैं, ख़ुशी की तलाश में।
यह उम्र गुज़र रही थी उसे मिलने की आस में।
काशी में भी ढूँढा, घूमा कैलाश में।
राम की गलियों में, कभी कृष्ण के रास में।
न बाग़ों के गुलाब में, न जंगल के पलाश में,
यह ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की थी मेरे दिल के पास में।
अमृत का यह दरिया मेरे अंदर ही बह रहा था।
दर-दर क्यों गया था? सिर्फ़ पानी की की प्यास में?

न पासे की फेंक में, न तारों, न ताश में।
मेरी क़िस्मत की है चाबी मेरे इसी विश्वास में,
कि राह भी हूँ मैं और रहगुज़र भी मैं,
मंज़िल भी मैं, फिर क्यूँ फिरूँ उदास-हताश मैं?

रस्ता जो अब मिला है, इच्छा है काश में
कोई न अब कहे कि हूँ निराश मैं!
सबको शामिल कर सकूँ क़ुदरत के राज़ में,
कि ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की है सबके ही पास में।

कि ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की है
हम सबके पास में।

बेतुकबंदी  ९/९/१९९९


The Vacuum Cleaner


A salesman was here today
Selling vacuum cleaners.
They clean everything,
He said.
The pelmets, the curtains,
And of course, the carpet;
Even the bedcover, the walls,
And that place under the bed
Which I can’t reach.

I wonder
If it can sweep aside
The cobwebs that blanket our lives …
… yours and mine.
Will it help me
Reach that corner
Of your heart
Which I cannot touch?
I wonder,
As I wait for you
To decide
If we need that vacuum cleaner..

                                                                                         Betukbandi  (1986)


About the poet – I found this and a few other poems in the diary of an 18-year old girl a couple of years ago.  She would rather remain anonymous. Actually, she can’t remember writing them in the first place and thinks they are rather inane. So when I thought they should be recorded somewhere – whatever their worth – she reluctantly gave me  permission to share them here, albeit in my name.

About the poem – She was obviously a fan of ‘Gone With the Wind’.

About the photograph – Credit all mine! Taken on a trip to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, India. 

यादों के पार

हम मिलें हैं क्या?
बंद दरवाज़ों के आर पार कभी?
एक ख़्वाब में, जो शायद 
कभी देखा ही नहीं?
या ग़ज़ल में किसी
जो अभी कहनी बाक़ी है?

उस लफ़्ज़ में जो, अनबोला,
मेरे होंठों पे बैठा है उदास
या अनपढ़ा, पड़ा 
इंतज़ार में 
इक किताब में?
हम मिलें हैं कभी?

धुएँ में उस आग के
जो सुलगी ही नहीं?
या फिर क़दमों की आहट में
जो थे, 
पर थे तो नहीं! 
शायद वहीं कहीं?


एक ख़ुशबू , जो 

मुझ तक पहुँचने से पहले
खो गयी थी कहीं।
एक नाज़ुक एहसास की गरमी
जो दिल के पास सिहरी शायद।
कहीं वहीं तो नहीं?

इक बादल था, जो अनदेखा

गुज़र गया आकाश में।
एक आह थी, 
कि कभी, कहीं, काश में …
क्या वहीं, उस उम्र में 
जो जिये ही नहीं?
यक़ीनन तो वहीं?
हम मिलें हैं क्या?

(भानगढ़, फ़रवरी २०१६)

नोट – कोई कोई स्थान ऐसे होते हैं जो दिल में हज़ार प्रश्न जगा जाते हैं! एक अजीब सा एहसास, एक बिसरी हुई याद, एक अनकही, अनजानी दास्तान…

ऐसी ही जगह है अलवर का भानगढ़, जो रातों रात ऐसा वीरान हुआ कि 250 वर्षों में फिर न बसा। आज वहाँ केवल भूत घूमते हैं !

(यह कविता अंग्रेज़ी में भी कही गयी है।)

Yaadon ke paar 

Hum mile hain kya?
Band darwaazon ke aar paar kabhi?
Ek khwaab mein,
Jo shaayad kabhi dekha hi nahin?
Ya ghazal mein kisi
Jo abhi kahi hi nahi? 

Us lafz mein jo unbola
Mere hothon pe baitha hai, udaas
Ya unpadha pada 
Intezaar mein
Ik kitaab mein?
Hum mile hain kabhi?

Dhuen mein us aag ke
Jo sulagi hi nahin?
Ya phir kadamon ki aahat mein
Jo the, 
Par the to nahin!
Shaayad wahin kaheen?

Ek khushboo, jo
Mujh tak pahunhne se pehle
Kho gayi thi kahin.
Ek nazuk ehsaas ki garmi,
Jo dil ke paas sihari shaayad.
Kaheen wahin to nahi?

Ik baadal jo undekha
Guzar gaya aakash mein.
Ek aah thi ki
Kabhi, kaheen kaash mein…
Kya wahin, us umra mein
Jo jiye hi nahi,
Yaqinan to waheen?
Hum mile hain kya?

(Bhangarh, February 2016)

Note: There is something hauntingly romantic about old ruins. And when these are situated in a village which is supposed to be the ‘most haunted place in India’, one’s imagination runs wild. A memory – glimpse of a veil, a whiff of a scent, a touch of the breeze – the birth of a poem, dedicated to Bhangarh, a small village in Alwar District in Rajasthan.

(I like to write my poems in Hindi as well as English, to reach out to both the audiences! )


A Memory Unlived


A tinkle of an anklet?


Haven’t I met you before,

From across a closed door?

In a dream,

Kind of forgotten?

In a verse still to be written?

In a note

Not yet sung?

In a word that hung

On my lips, unsaid

Or patiently sat

In a book I haven’t read?

In the footsteps

That tread

In a memory unlived?

In the smoke of a fire

Which never was lit?

In a scent that faded

Ere I even smelt it?

In a touch so soft

Only my heart

Ever felt it?

In a cloud

That sailed unseen?

In a sigh, unsighed

Of what-could-have-been?

I haven’t met you, are you sure?

In a life never lived before?


Note: There is something hauntingly romantic about old ruins. And when these are situated in a village which is supposed to be the ‘most haunted place in India’, one’s imagination runs wild. A memory – glimpse of a veil, a whiff of a scent, a touch of the breeze – the birth of a poem, dedicated to Bhangarh, a small village in Alwar District in Rajasthan.

A Special Quilt of Hope


This is a very special quilt, perhaps the closest to my heart! I started making it in February this year, as a Valentine’s Day challenge entry for my facebook quilting group, Desi Quilters. I had just managed to get the pieces ready for English paper piecing, when my daughter fell seriously ill.

She was hospitalized for 2 months, when there was someone very special who gave us faith she and we would come out of it, stronger than before.
“Cruel harsh winter
Ablaze with flowers of hope.
Summer’s in my heart.”
The unfinished pieces lay there forlorn and rolled up, to emerge in September, for yet another group challenge, ‘Flowers’. Finally completed, here it is.

Small Quilted wall hanging 25" X13" English Paper pieced clamshells, appliqued, machine free motion quilted. Flannel batting

Flowers of Hope – Small Quilted wall hanging

This piece is also special, because it is the first time I tried free motion quilting, quite successfully, I thought!

Back of Flowers of Hope  - Small Quilted wall hanging

Back of Quilt

(The use of the lighter brown in the bobbin case was not intentional – I just ran out of the darker thread  :-p)

I added a few French knots to give some dimension to the flowering trees.


Today we are faced with yet another situation where we need strength and hope, lots of it!
My faith continues to give me belief we shall overcome this too!
“…but winter always turns to spring. Never, from ancient times on, has anyone heard or seen of winter turning back to autumn. ” Nichiren Daishonin
And so,
बीहड़ उजाड़ मन.
गुलमोहर अमलतास बन
झूमी आस किरन…

The Traveller Rests

The White Lotus

Corbett ParkIn search for happiness,
I wandered wide
This life I squandered,
In search for a life.
In places of worship,
In cities of sin,
In palaces, in caves,
In fasting and in raves.
In sermons, and in tomes,
In crowds and when alone,
Parched I did stray,
Every path, every way.
And then…I paused
In growing wonder
For in my heart gushed,
The river of nectar.
In throw of dice nor the stars
My fate can’t be read in tarot cards.
The key to my kismet,
Lies in my belief
There’s no cause for fear
No reason for grief
For I am the traveller,
And I am the road,
Where need I go,
For I am the goal?
The elusive scent
That would not let me rest,
Is not of the rose,
Nor the flame o’ forest.
This fragrance arises
In the mystic white lotus,
That blooms in me ’n in you,
And in all of us!

(Translated from original poem in Hindi by self)

Betukbandi, May 2012