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I usually wait till the end of the story to tell you how that story came together, but for this one I'm going to have to break my own rule and share the story behind this story first.
In 2012, I was sitting in a plane, going from somewhere to somewhere. There was no internet on the plane, so to pass some time, I opened up my laptop and started browsing through old files. During that search I found an old folder from college titled 'plays'. In this folder were a few finished and unfinished plays I had written in college when I was studying playwriting. This folder hadn't been touched in 3 years. For the rest of my flight I wondered about why I hadn't re-visited those stories, and what was stopping me from getting back to them.
That story I just shared above, is the origin story of how I came up with the idea of Launchora. I've told it so many times that it actually feels like history - by which I mean that I remember it as a story and not as an incident. And here's why that's a good thing - we forget reality, but stories stay with us. Because they have meaning, a message, something we remember so we know what we would do the next time we came across a similar situation.
With all that being said, I have a confession to make. History seems to have repeated itself.
Yesterday, I was sitting at a local Starbucks here in Gurugram, browsing through some files on my laptop. And lo and behold, something unexpected happened. Something I did not expect at all. I found a file titled 'The Wandering Lover Song'. Something I apparently wrote two years ago and never published.
If you were me, you would understand how shocking this is. You see, for the past 4 and a half years, everything I have created in story-form has been published on Launchora. Every single word. So the fact that there was this song just sitting there made no sense. I had forgotten that I ever wrote it.
I haven't written a new story since August's A Memory That Will Never Be. If you listen to my podcast Storytalking With Lakshya, you'd know how I don't like that and am actually working on a new story right now. But given how that story will seemingly take a while, I am actually quite happy to be posting this one right now. It'll make me feel better when I see my Launchora profile.
So, with all that backstory out of the way, let me tell you what this ballad you're about to read is about.
In November of 2016, I published what I still consider to be the story closest to my heart - a story called The Wandering Lover. After I wrote that story, for some reason that I can't remember, I wrote a poem in the voice of the title character Prem. The ballad below is that poem, written on January 12, 2017, word for word. I've written each stanza in Hindi/Urdu first, and then translated it into English. That too was done by 2017 me, so everything below has honestly not been edited by 2019 me.
P.s. You don't have to have read The Wandering Lover story to read this, but it wouldn't hurt :) Hope you like it!
Maine suna tha ki, pyaar ek manzil hai
umar ki tarah yeh bhi, sabr se hi haasil hai
I had heard once, that love is a destination
Like aging, you attain it with patience
dhoondta raha main chala, uske liye
raaste banata main chala, uske liye
raaste jaleh aur bhujne lage,
raaste bikharte chale, bhikarta main raha, uske liye
I kept on looking for something, for it
I kept on making new roads, for it
the paths kept appearing and disappearing,
the paths started to scatter, and I scattered along on them, for it
ek din mila main waqt se, lekin woh waqt bhi anjaan sa laga
mere raaste pe bhi, woh tha musafir sa chala
one day I came upon time, but time felt like a stranger too
along my own path, time too roamed like a wanderer
din ban gaye lamhe, unn lamhon mein main beedtha gaya
Har insaan ki tarah main bhi, saanson ka shikar banta chala
Days turned into moments, and in those moments I passed
just like every human being, I became a victim of breathing
pyaar ko bhulta main chala, pyaar se mukafir main chala
har muskurahat, jhalak, aur chaahat ko, dosti ka naakab dikhata chala
I roamed around unknowing love, becoming a disbeliever in love
to every smile, glance, and desire, i showed the mask of friendship
Jaane kya dhoondta main chala, pyaar ko badalta main chala
manzilon ki fikr mein, kaafir bana main chala
I don’t know what I searched for, but I kept on changing the meaning of love
In the worry of finding my destination, I kept roaming as a disbeliever
Jo mehfilein chodta main chala, unmein mere kisson ki gungunhat sajti rahi
dilwaalon ke jashn mein, beedhta main chala, kahaani banta main chala
The gatherings I entertained and left, they remembered my stories for ages
In the land of lovers, I got spent, becoming just a story for them to tell
ek din jab mere pyaar ki mulakaat mujhe hui, waqt mujhe bula chuka tha
uss waqt se maine jo izahat maangi, waqt aage badh chuka tha
one day when my love did find me, time had given me my invitation
when I asked time for my freedom, time had moved on to its next victim
waqt ne jaate huey kaha mujhe, ae musafir kyun paagal bana
maine kaha waqt se, majnu ban gaya hun main, kaafir na mujhe phirse bana
as Time left it asked me, O wanderer, why have you become so mad
I said to time, I’ve finally become a lover, don’t make me a disbeliever again
kya yahi pyaar hai, maine waqt se poocha
agar yahi pyaar hai, maut se bacha mujhe zara,
jeene de mujhe kuch pal apne pyaar ke saath
Is this what love is, I asked time
If this is what love is, spare me this death,
let me live a few moments with my love
Par waqt aur maut ki iss saajish mein, pyada main mahesha se hi tha
ant mein, apni manzil, apne pyaar ke liye, lawaaris daastaan bann chuka tha main
But in this game between time and death, I had always been a pawn
In the end, to my destination, to my love, I had already become a lost ballad.
ye thi daastaan, ek musafir premi ki
jo abhi bhi ghum hai, aur ab amar bhi.
This was the ballad of the Wandering Lover
Who is lost as before, but is now immortal.
I’m back to writing… with a twist. Presenting an old story in a new way, 5 years in the making.164
The text exchange between a bride and the groom on the day of their wedding.289
A piece of poetry written by Prem, the titular character from my story 'The Wandering Lover'.226
Part of the Poetry collection
Updated on February 12, 2019
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