Unboxed Writers App for Phone and Tablet

Here are more ways to stay at forefront of Unboxed Writers and stay informed and inspired! Download our app for Android Phones and Tablets. Click on the image to Download Now!


Like Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter



Cattitude: Cause We Support


The Cattitude Trust is a Public Charitable Trust started to reach out to cats in distress, particularly in Chennai (India).

To know more about Cattitude, 'Like' them on Facebook.


Creative Commons License
All content displayed here by Unboxed Writers is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License.
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at http://unboxedwriters.com.

Excerpt, Don't Copy: You may not publish an entire post. You may republish an excerpt of not increasing 250 words.

Give Credit: You may not use any material from our site without giving due credit to the individual author and Unboxed Writers. You must hyperlink directly to the post.

Author: Author of the post retains all copyright, and reserves all rights not explicitly granted here.

One Man, Many Moods

 Never meet Gulzar during lunch time, especially when it hasn’t been served yet. When he is hungry, he gets into a foul mood, refuses to answer in more than monosyllables and makes mocking comments like “I am busy arranging marriages” when asked what keeps him occupied these days. What we have said to upset him – not that we expected him to break into impromptu poetry for the benefit of the invited media – is a mystery yet, but here is a piece of advice. When a journalist wants to interview India’s most googled lyricist and poet the next time, she should never ask him about how he copes with the pressures of multi-tasking, even if it is in the context of the “new” work he is in the city to promote.

In this case, it is a book of poems in English, a language whose finer nuances Gulzar claims being unfamiliar with, that he has translated into Hindustani and is being released. We decide to persist. After all, working on a newcomer’s poems must have been far simpler compared to the complexity in Rabindranath Tagore’s two poems he has recently translated for Subhash Ghai’s upcoming film Kashmakash. He snaps again: “When you know everything, why do you ask?”

Theatre? Maybe that will loosen him up? And the subject is so “close” to his heart, as he has been quoted saying when the three-day theatre festival of plays based on his poems and short stories was staged in Delhi just last week. In each of three plays, which have supposedly not been read by many people according to festival director Salim Arif, Gulzar narrates both personal and shared experiences – whether it is about Partition of which he himself is a witness, or about life in Mumbai, the city that changed Sampooran Singh Kalra, a car mechanic into Gulzar, the Oscar winning lyricist.

Convinced this was a move in the right direction, a friend chimes in to ask about his recent experience of seeing his writings being performed on Delhi stage. “So what’s new with that? I’ve been coming to Delhi very often,” he dismisses this one as well.  We try hard but can’t recall the last time a Gulzar work was staged in Delhi before this. The media wasn’t invited, perhaps? We should have surfed better, we all agree.

We are then told to ask something else. What about his smooth transition to new-age lyrics like Dhan Te Nan (Kaminey) and O Mama (7 Khoon Maaf)? No, talking about his five-decade long journey that has won him innumerable awards and given us jewels like Mora Gora Ang Ley Le, Humne Dekhi Hai In Aankhon Ki Mehakti Khusbhoo, Do Deewane Shehar Mein, Hazaar Rahein Mud Ke Dekhi, Mera Kuch Saaman, among others, doesn’t cut much ice either.

 By now, we have been ushered into a room where, once the introductions are made, the author is slated to read out the original poetry in English followed by Gulzar’s rendition of the same in Hindustani. And here we see the man whose mastery over language can alter even an average piece of writing into a ghazal.  As he reads out his Hindustani translations, the applause is not so much for the poems on homelessness and loneliness, but for the trademark baritone that pauses at the right spots, hums even a free verse and literally sings out each poem.

And when the author Sukrita, whose book Poems Come Home we must mention  for providing us with at least a glimpse of the man we admire, confesses that her only fear during the collaboration was that the wordsmith’s translation would completely overshadow the original in English, she is not too far off the mark.

That brings us back to the shayar whose fan following, ranging from a beaming 70-year-old to an awe-struck teenager, is amply evident at the post-event book-signing spree. As we leave, with mixed feelings about what we have experienced, one can’t help but recall Gulzar’s dialogue from the movie Aandhi that the wife directs at her husband.

“Tum shayar nahin hotey, toh bahut hi ordinary aadmi hote”

(Had you not been a poet, you would have been a very ordinary man”

Don’t mind Gulzar saheb. It’s the Delhi heat that has spoilt our mood.

Similar posts
  • Green Marble, Blue Marble “What’s your name,” Coraline asked the cat. “Look, I’m Coraline. Okay?” “Cats don’t have names,” it said. “No?” said Coraline. “No,” said the cat. “Now you people have names. That’s because you don’t know who you are. We know who we are, so we don’t need names.” ― Coraline by Neil Gaiman I wait while [...]
  • The Harvest of Gratitude The shorter days and longer nights make me thankful for the warmth of the sun and the long lazy days of summer that never ended. Pumpkins, squash and sweet potatoes in abundance remind me that Mother Earth will provide for us even when the cold winter winds blow. A roof over our heads and family [...]
  • No, we don’t get to tell any woman what feminism should mean to her The generation of women that came before mine had a different view by and large of what abuse and violation represented. I remember being told many versions of “apni izzat apne haath mein hoti hai” (your honour is in your hands) while growing up and in my twenties by women who could not understand why I [...]
  • Everywoman… The pain of men Is the crux of noir It’s why girlfriends Are found in fridges The pain of men Is stoic Quietly eats away at the men The pain of men Drives revenge epics Fuels classical tragedies The pain of men Ennobles, somehow The pain of women Is everyday Everywoman And when it is [...]
  • Me too. Me too. Me too. Me too. No matter how many times I say it, it won’t be anywhere near enough. Strangers on the street, boyfriends, acquaintances at parties, “friendly” uncles, neighbours- the reality that our bodies belong to everyone but ourselves is one that women realize rather early into their lives. The first time I [...]

1 Comment

  1. May 15, 2011    

    Thanks for sharing this Poonam … but I’m such a die-hard fan that even the disgruntlement seems endearing .. :)

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Our Authors

Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers!

Subscribe for FREE and get the latest in your Inbox! You can unsubscribe at any time.
Email *


Editor & Founder:
Reema Moudgil
Design Director & Founder:
Vani Bahl
Media Consultant:
Poonam Goel

Mission Statement

Who are we? We are writers. And here, in this space, we put pride and passion back into writing. We give ourselves and each other creative freedom and respect.

* We create an environment where content generation does not entail degeneration of inspiration and spirit.
* We create content that we believe in and identify with.
* We recognise that to create is always of more value than to berate.
*We critique without malice and arrogance.

This site is about us writers, what we stand for but more importantly, about creating something valuable, inclusive, thought-provoking. In this space, we do not just stand for ourselves but for all those who listen to a compelling inner voice that tells them, "Create!"

Unboxed Writers Share

Join the other awesome people who get the new posts right away by email!
Be the first to read the latest on Unboxed Writers.
Enter your email and stay on top of things!