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Gulzar pens a beautiful Ode to Mehdi Hassan

PTI 15 Jun 2012, 14:20:53 IST
Mumbai:  Bollywood lyricist Gulzar has written a beautiful poem as an Ode to ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan, who passed away in Karachi this week.  The poem runs thus : 

Aankhon ko visa nahin lagta
Sapnon ki sarhad hoti nahin
Band aankhon se roz main sarhad paar chala jata hoon
Milne Mehdi Hassan se!
Sunta hoon unki aawaaz ko chot lagi hai
aur ghazal khamosh hai saamne baithi hui
kaanp rahe hain hoonth ghazal ke!
Phir bhi un aankhon ka lehza badla nahin.....
Jab kahte hain....
Sookh gaye hain phool kitaabon men
Yaar 'Faraaz' bhi bichhad gaye hain, shayad milen woh khwabon men
Band aankhon se aksar sarhad paar chala jaata hoon mein!
Aankhon ko visa nahin lagta
Sapnon ki sarhad, koi nahin!!    -  Gulzaar
(A random translation:
Eyes  don't need a visa
Dreams don't have borders
I close my eyes every day to cross
the borders and meet Mehdi Hassan!
I've heard his voice is now wounded
and there sits ghazal, silent, in front of him
her lips quivering!
Yet those eyes remain unchanged...
When they say...
Flowers have dried inside the books
My friend 'Faraaz' is no more, may we meet in dreams!
I close my eyes often to cross the borders!
Eyes don't need a visa
Dreams don't have borders!! )

Says Gulzar: "In the 1970s,we used to have those quarter inch tapes, and I remember the excitement when his ghazal cassettes would arrive from Pakistan.
"Fans would get together to share and listen to his ghazals.
"I have seen so many people fall in love with Mehdi just listening to his voice.
"People think when intellectuals meet, all they talk about is their art, but it's not the case.
"Mehdi and I were pukka Punjabis.  Like Punjabis, we would discuss food most of the time.  We would share jokes.
"He would come to my place to get away from the crowd after concerts, and my house would be filled with his fans by the time he came to rest.
"Rekha was an ardent admirer.  She would call and come over the moment she came to know Mehdi was here with me.
"I had the privilege of introducing him when he first came to Mumbai for his concert in 1978.
"Who can ever forget the moment he started singing, Gulon mein rang bhare, Baad-e-naubahaar chale, Chale bhi aao.. ke gulshan ka.. karobar chale"