Note: My poetic tribute, dedicated to the soulful ghazals sung by the celebrated musical couple Jagjit Singh and Chitra Singh jee
I don’t know how the kohl-smeared nights would dissolve
Into the fresh dawns, squinting into the day, when your voices
In the unison of duets, would waft in the lingering, dark silence
Of a bedroom with crinkled bedsheets and the recycled language
Of the two-in-one stereo, my unrequited wants, cocooned in
The sweet, fleshy cracking of your ghazals.
I knew not, at the end of those nameless siestas, when my senses,
Handcuffed, trudged through those uncertain mazes, how I would
Unwrap myself, lapping up your waves, losing myself in your shores.
“Tumko dekha toh yeh khayaal aayaa, zindagi dhoop tum ghanaa saayaa”…
I only knew that in my first love’s eyes, I was a washed out night raaga
From the flesh of your moonlight’s swirling melody, a raaga that
Would come back to you again, with my cheap tears of a love,
A tight embrace gone awry. I only knew that in my eyes clamped shut
In that clumsy bedroom, all by myself, I would hum, together with you,
“Yeh tera ghar yeh mera ghar/kiseeko dekhna ho gar/to pehley aakey maang le
Meri nazar teri nazar…”, feeling my rib cage, my bones and the throb
Of my man’s Adam’s Apple, brush against the twilight music of a love nest,
A nest where our smudged syllables would one day, give in to stark, dead silence.
You both knew the trail, didn’t you, the trail of quivering, lovelorn hearts
Who hummed along, biting deep into the flesh of those lyrics in symphony?
Did you know the smog, seeping through your incandescent tunes,
As you sang, every strain filling through your own cracks, your own pores
While you couldn’t rain together anymore?
Did we all know, us, the sagging vines, hanging around
Your bestselling albums, that even melodies could gag,
In life’s unmarked road where you clasped tight
your tragedy, your only route to break free?
I come back to those nights in nameless, grey spirals, your ghazals
The cinnamon wants traipsing around them still, rolling slowly
In my senses, like a dream, forbidden, interrupted,
Which might make a lover out of me, yet again.
Lopamudra Banerjee is a writer, poet, editor and translator, currently based in Dallas, USA. She has a Masters’ degree with thesis in creative nonfiction writing from the Department of English, University of Nebraska at Omaha and also a Masters’ degree in English from the University of Calcutta. She is the co-editor of Defiant Dreams: Tales of Everyday Divas, published in collaboration with Readomania and Incredible Women of India.
Thwarted Escape: An Immigrant’s Wayward Journey, her debut memoir/nonfiction novel (Authorspress, 2016), has recently received Honorable Mention at the Los Angeles Book Festival 2017 (category: memoir/autobiography/nonfiction). The manuscript has also been a First Place Category Winner at the Journey Awards 2014 hosted by Chanticleer Reviews and Media LLC. Her poetry, essays, stories and articles have appeared in numerous renowned e-zines, journals and anthologies, both in India and the US. She has received the Reuel International Award 2016 (category: Translation) for her English translation of Rabindranath Tagore’s novella Nastanirh (The Broken Home) instituted by The Significant League, a renowned literature group in Facebook. She has also been a featured poet performing at Dark Moon Poetry and Arts, Dallas, USA. She is the deputy editor of Learning & Creativity e-mag and an editor of Blue Pencil, the editorial imprint of Learning & Creativity