Kabhie Kabhie… (Sometimes…)

Home, UK     21 October, 2010     12.30am BST

I recently re-heard a poem from the 1970s by Sahir Ludhyanvi. The basis of the poem was used in the 1976 Hindi movie Kabhie Kabhie, where many of the lyrics were changed to create a romantic song. It is a lovely song and one I have listened to since the late 70s.

About 15 years ago, Amitabh Bachchan sang the song on one of his albums done with Bally Sagoo, and in the first part of the song he recites the original poem.

It was not until recently that I actually listened to the lyrics of the original poem properly, and when I did, it blew my mind!  Sahir Ludhyanvi was certainly a brilliant poet.. the poem (in Urdu) can be taken as either the poet talking about a love, or about life. I’ll leave it to you to decide…

(I have the Transliterated Hindi version, and the Translated into English version below, although there is a difficulty in the translation.. Hindi and Urdu are very poetic and descriptive languages where one word can mean various different things when translated into English – as an example, “dil” means “heart”, but in some parts of the poem it can also mean “mind”. I also wanted to type up the song in Hindi, however for some reason, my WordPress installation does not show up the characters properly).


Kabhi kabhi mere dil main khayal aata hain
Ki zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chhaon main guzarne pati
to shadab ho bhi sakti thi.

Yeh ranj-o-gham ki siyahi jo dil pe chhayi hain
Teri nazar ki shuaon main kho bhi sakti thi.

Magar yeh ho na saka aur ab ye aalam hain
Ki tu nahin, tera gham teri justjoo bhi nahin.

Guzar rahi hain kuchh iss tarah zindagi jaise,
isse kisi ke sahare ki aarzoo bhi nahin.

Na koi raah, na manzil, na roshni ka suraag
Bhatak rahin hai andheron main zindagi meri.

Inhi andheron main reh jaoonga kabhi kho kar
Main janta hoon meri hum-nafas, magar yoonhi
Kabhi kabhi mere dil main khayal aata hai.

[English Translation]

Sometimes the thought comes to my mind…
That life spent in the soft shadows of your tresses
Would be so joyful if it could be so; that

This sorrow, which seems to be the fate of my existence
Could have been lost in the radiance of your eyes.

But alas this could not be and now such is my condition

That neither you, nor sorrow for your loss, nor longing for your existence.

My life is passing by in such a manner as if
It has not even the aspiration for anyone’s succour.

I have no place, no goal, neither a ray of sunlight.
My life is being wasted in desolate wildernesses.
I will remain lost in such desolate places for ever
I know, o my soul-mate, but still, out of the blue,
Sometimes the thought comes to my mind…

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