Introducing haroof in ఊహలన్నీ ఊసులై

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I’m mighty thrilled with this development! A couple of years ago, when I was looking for a domain name for this blog, I was obsessed with the word “aksharam”. In its unadulterated form, domains were exorbitantly costly. Unwilling to let it go the word totally, I came up with the jugaad – aksharf! (Harf means letter in Urdu.)

I didn’t think about it much, except it was pleasing to save a few bucks! Learning Urdu was on my mind since forever, but I wasn’t desperate! But here we’re now! Four months into it, I’m still at writing the alphabet and reading dreadfully slow. Last night, something got to me – or was it Jamal Ehsani?! I’m not a poet, but then honee ko kaun Taal sakta?

So folks, gear up for some sher-like, amateurish-at-its-best, full-of-typos, devoid-of-any-rhyme-n-rhythm expressions in Urdu. That’s how this blog started. 13 years later, if it can still have that fresh and experimental vibes, then perhaps I’m doing something right?!

May the akshar-harf be my imaan and ibaadat! Inshaallah!

تیرتے ہیں پھر بھی شیر الفاظوں کے بھر میں
ہم تو ڈوب گئے عشق کے نفس ا مطلب میں

tairte hain phir bhi shaayar alfazon ke behr* mein
hum toh doob gaye ishq ke nafs-e-matlab** mein

(*samundar, **essence of meaning/desire)

Poets still manage to wade through the sea of words
I was drowned in the essence of love


ملتے نہیں ہیں ہم دال اور لام کی طرح
پھر بھی بنا لیتے ہیں دل کسی طرح

milte nahi hain hum daal* aur laam* ki tarah
phir bhi bana lete hain ‘dil’ kisi tarah
(*names for letters “द” and “ल” in Urdu, which form the word दिल.)

Going by the rules of the language, in Urdu, daal (द) doesn’t connect to the letters that follow it! Hence, दिल is written as द<space>ल and read as ‘दिल’ based on the context. Yeah, easier to wade through love, than wrap head around Urdu’s idiosyncrasies!

We never meet, like “daal” and “laam”
But we still manage to form dil (heart) somehow


نقاب دوستی کی رکھے دنیا کو بلا شک
داستان عشق محدود تھا 'گوگل' تک

naqaab dostii ki rakhi duniya ko bilaa-shak*
dastaan-e-ishq mahduud** tha ‘google’ tak
(*unsuspecting, **restricted)

Under the veil of friendship, world didn’t suspect a bit
Ours was a saga of love, restricted only for “google”


بنتا تھا اجنبی وہ ہر بار
پہلی نظر والا پیار ہمے نصیب تھا بار بار

banta tha woh ajnabi har baar
pehli nazar wala pyaar hume naseeb tha baar baar

He turned into a stranger every time
I was destined for love at first sight, again and again.


افسانہ نگار ہوں ، افسانہ ہی بنا وہ میری حفاظت میں
بادی مدّت شرح گھل گئے ، بن گیا وہ نظم

afsaananigar hoon, afsaana hi bana woh meri hifaazat mein
baad-e-muddat* sharah** ghul gaye, ban gayaa woh nazm

(*after a long time, **details)

I’m a story writer, he was made into a story in my care
Years later, the details vanished, turning him into a poem


اگر زندہ تھا رشتہ تو آتش نفسی جھگڑوں میں
ورنہ واجد اسکا لپٹا رہتا بارک کی چدّر میں

agar zinda tha rishta to aatish-nafasaii* jhagadon mein
varna vajud uska lipTa rahta barf ki chaddar mein
(*breathing fire/heart burn out of love)

If the relationship was ever alive, it was in the embers of a love burnt heart
Otherwise, it’s only existence was wrapped up in a sheet of ice


ہنر منڈے کی بازار میں ناپ تول کرتی رہے
زبان کو تو بس انتظار تھا اظہار تعلّق کی

hunar-mandii ki bazaar mein naap-tol karti rahii
zubaan ko to bas intezaar tha izhaar-e-ta’alluq* ki
(display of bond/relationship)

I was busy evaluating it in the bazaar of talent
Language was only expecting a simple gesture of love.


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