Don’t leave just yet, my love.

By Mrinalini Shinde

I walk toward the sound of the water. Or maybe the sound of the water walks me to it.  I see the brook gush and dance with joy, and the stones laugh their crystal laughter. I make myself comfortable on a rock. Break the water’s surface with my feet, and watch the ripples crash against the tiny waves. I listen to the sound of the water, and a few dragonflies buzzing about. For some reason I decide that it is as perfect a setting as any to listen to some music. Put in my headphones. Turn on the shuffle.

The opening notes of Fayyaz Hashmi’s ghazal, immortalised by the haunting voice of Farida Khanum break the silence. Raag Yaman Kalyan, as far as I remember from a nugget of information from a forgotten face.

आज जाने की ज़िद न करो

यूं ही पहलू में बैठे रहो

हाय मर जायेंगे हम तो लुट जायेंगे

ऐसी बातें किया न करो

Don’t insist on leaving, just yet my love. 

Sit close to me, please?

I’ll die, I’ll be ruined

if you insist on leaving.

I look at the sun beginning to set, and the stars slowly appearing like pinpricks. A rooster crows. It’s odd, since the sun is setting, and not  rising. Maybe the night needs its herald too.

वक़्त की क़ैद में ज़िंदगी है मगर

चन्द घड़ियाँ यही हैं जो आज़ाद हैं

इन को खो कर मेरी जान-ऐ-जान

उम्र भर न तरसते रहो

 Life is caged within the prison of time but,

a few moments are free

Don’t regret for a lifetime, 

because you lost these moments now.

And then it hits me. Like a slap in the face.  I gasp at the impact of my epiphany. It isn’t just a song. The fact that the shuffle chose that moment to play this ghazal, while I sat on the banks of a river, looking at the sunset, ensconced by mountains, breathing in beauty all around. It was a far louder call. The Goddess was singing to me. She was begging me to stay, because she knows how much I love her, and want to sit beside her, but how I would insist on leaving soon, setting myself up for a lifetime of regret.

कितना मासूम-ओ-रंगीन है ये सम

हुस्न और इश्क की आज मैय्राज है

कल की किस को खबर जान-ऐ-जान

रोक लो आज की रात को

The weather’s innocent and beautiful

It’s the reign of beauty and love

Who knows what tomorrow holds, my love

Let’s just hold on to this night

I want to cry. And then I do. I cry for being such a horrid lover.  I don’t deserve this kind of love. Me with all my perverse ambitions. My world which only wants to maim our love. Then, it hits me again. My world? My world is the Goddess. My presumption is laughable.  A reflection of my flawed people. To be so vain, to imagine that she would sing to me at all. The song played because it was I who was singing. A desperate cry from the  recesses of by subconscious, afraid of losing her, asking her to not insist on leaving, begging her to sit beside me.

आज जाने की ज़िद न करो

यूं ही पहलू में बैठे रहो

Please don’t insist on leaving just yet, my love,

Please sit beside me


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