Happy Birthday Mirza Ghalib: a conversation.
It’s been more than a week that I visited Mirza Ghalib’s Mazaar in New Delhi, hidden inside Nizamuddin area next to Chausath Khamba. Mirza and I are best friends from a very long time, though he doesn’t know me, but he’s the one who listens to me, and replies in his own words of poetry everytime I talk to him. It’s 27 December, Ghalib Saab’s birthday today. Janamdin Mubarak ho! From that day to this very day and the coming days, I’ve been having conversations with him daily. The talk we had that day, I’m sharing some part of it here:
‘I’m here Ghalib saab. Wake up, I’ve found you. Look, I’m here. I’m Manan. I must have been in your era too, who knows? But I think you’ve found an eternal place in the universe, where you’ll be remembered forever. Don’t you know that? Your diwan is being sold in every nook and corner now, your shers make people fall in love, there’s also an academy right next to where you are right now, that too with your name. You know the Haveli in Gali Qasim Jan, you used to live in is now a museum. You’re living I know. Living and being loved.’
I said. As usual, he replied with ‘Na tha kuchh to khuda tha, kuchh na hota to khuda hota, Duboya mujh ko hone ne na hota mai to kya hota.’ A lot would not have been like it is today Ghalib saab. Get up and see, your devotees come here, tie a dhaga for mannat. I know life has been hard for you, but people come here in search of hope. You can see them chanting your verses.
The moment for sometime was still, as I sat next to Mazaar. I thought I was talking to myself only. Suddenly he asks, ‘Hows my Dilli?’ My excitement started speaking, here are more chai drinkers in Dilli, than your wine drinkers. I’m kidding. Your Haveli in Ballimaaran has been divided but hasn’t lost your essence. It feels like you’re still there. People wait for your favourite mango season as well. Mushaira’s doesn’t happen now as much as it used to happen in 1800’s. But your qisse’s are known to the world. Tanga and tanga-wallas have lost their place. Metro connects one place to another. Life has evolved. But I so wished to live in your era, Ghalib saab. It would have been so lively and worth-living.
When I asked Ghalib saab about Love, he replied with, ‘Ishq Par Zor Nahi Hai Ye Wo Atish ‘Ghalib’ Ke Lagaye Na Lage Aur Bujhaye Na Bane.’ I was spellbound. Ghalib Saab’s wit has no competition.
I wanted to absorb the place, so I got up and wandered around for a while. I found a window, right in front of the Mazaar, hidden in between trees. A red bed sheet was tied as a curtain, also a pink coloured towel. Ahh, what would have been an early morning view from here Ghalib Saab. What if I lived here? Every morning I would wake up and talk to you about life, love and poetry.
You know there were times I used to sit in your Haveli and used to write poetries. I’ll share it with you if you want. Wait, let me read one out to you, but it’s sad. ‘Zindagi ko savaar ae ‘Manan’, din par din, ab teri ye muskuraahat khushi zaaya nahi karti.’
He laughed at me so loud, and said, Chote Mian, ‘Guzar jayega ye daur bhi ghalib, zara itminan toh rakh, jab khushi na thahri, toh gham ki kya aaukat hai.’
I know this is your favourite thing to do Ghalib saab, that is Haazir-Jawabi. I’ll see you soon again. I was just walking out. ‘Chote Mian’ he shouted, yaad rakhna ‘Manzil milegi bhatak kar hi sahi, Gumraah toh wo hai, jo ghar se nikle hi nahi....’ Hahaa, I smile from the inside and leave. I’ll visit you on your birthday at your Haveli. Look I’m here in Ballimaaran right next to you, today and writing this post...
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