Some time ago a friend sent me this poem in Urdu, which really touched a chord. Time is the highwayman that steals our lives away and when a poem like this comes along it must be shared as widely as possible. It is attributed to the well-known poet, lyricist and film director Gulzar, but I’ve had those who know more about Urdu poetry and poets than I do tell me this isn’t so. I don’t know. Whoever wrote it, it is beautiful in its original:
Here is a romanised version of the Urdu:
Ahista chal zindagi, abhi kai karz chukana baaki hai.
Kuch dard mitana baaki hai, kuch farz nibhana baaki hai.
Raftaar mein tere chalne se kuchh rooth gaye, kuch chhut gaye.
Roothon ko manana baaki hai, roton ko hasana baki hai.
Kuch hasraatein abhi adhuri hain, kuch kaam bhi aur zaruri hai.
Khwahishen jo ghut gayi is dil mein, unko dafnana baki hai.
Kuch rishte ban kar toot gaye, kuch judte-judte chhut gaye.
Un tootte-chhutte rishton ke zakhmon ko mitana baki hai.
Tu aage chal main aata hoon, kya chhod tujhe ji paunga?
In saanson par haqq hai jinka, unko samjhaana baaki hai.
Aahista chal zindagi, abhi kai karz chukana baki hai.
And here’s my attempt at translating it:
Slow down, Life, slow down; there’s so much more I have to do
Some hurts, still need to be assuaged, and some commitments too.
Walking at your pace, you see, some were rebuffed and some slipped by
Those I snubbed I must placate, make others laugh who once did cry.
Some desires I need to satisfy, some duties I have yet to do
Some wishes lie within this heart, these I must bury ‘ere we’re through.
Some friendships I have made and broken, some in the mending, cracked again
Those I’ve broken, battered, hurt; their wounds, I need to heal their pain.
You go ahead, Life, I’ll follow you, what will I gain by leaving you?
Those who have a right to my breath, they need an explanation too.
Slow down Life, slow down, there’s so much more that’s left to do.