Friday, March 15, 2013

Poetry on Vehicles: Reading a Ghazal painted on auto-rickshaw on Indian street


You may have often seen couplets or rhyming catch-lines written behind heavy vehicles, particularly, trucks and buses on the roads.

Sometime back I had seen this loading auto with almost a 'ghazal' painted on its back.

I was in a hurry and didn't have camera.
But I took out my cell phone, chased for a while and managed to take a snap of the loading auto that had these Urdu couplets written in Hindi [devnagari] script.

The quality of photo taken from cell phone camera is perhaps not too good. Still, its readable:

Aye mere ham-nashiiN kahiiN aur chal
is chaman meN apnaa guzaara nahiiN

This is the first couplet or opening lines of the Nazm. Quite an emotional line and you marvel at the auto-wala sahab's literary taste. The second couplet has the same 'qafia' and 'radeef' and it goes like:

baat hotii phuuloN* tak to sah lete ham
ab kaaNToN pe bhii haq hamaara nahiiN

Hmm. Janab appears to be a 'choT-khaye' person. After all, this sentiment comes when you ladylove breaks your heart and goes away. Only then you get so bitter. Then comes the third she'r:

tadbir se bigDii huii taqdiir banaa le
apne pe bharosa hai to ek daaoN laga le

Till now, it appeared that everything was lost. But now, it seems there is still hope. Let's make a fresh move.

Try your luck and perhaps, you may still win. Who knows! The feelings are intense. He has taken pains not just to remember but also get the words painted from an artist, it shows how important are these lines to him.

By now the verse has taken the format of Nazm. The last and lone line says, 'laDegii taqdir, banega muqaddar'.

Hmm. Is this the line from poetry or the auto wale uncle's own emphatic line! His own conviction reflected in this line. Later I found, the ghazal has a few more couplets. I am not sure who wrote the lines.

There may be one or two mistakes in writing here. However, it is just an example. For many auto-rickshaw or truck drivers, their life revolvers around their 'gaadi'. The way they get it painted or have catch-lines painted on them, reflect their personality.

A newspaper has a Sunday column where readers send interesting catch-lines written on the back of trucks or buses. An auto I often spot has this line written 'Zakhmi Sher'.

Another auto-rickshaw of which I am posting photograph here has this written, 'Sher ka peechha bachche nahiin karte'.

Similarly, there are caste-specific, regional and religious assertions also on auto-rickshaws. Some have names of 'deities' painted in bold, others have 'Jai Mata Di'. Chalo Vaishnav Devi' or 'Namaz ki Pabandi karein' printed on them.

Similarly, there are messages like 'Jai Bhim' or other messages with socio-political meanings. In our own little way, everybody wants to share what they feels strongly about and express themselves.

That's true for everyone--from the street to social networking sites. I have written posts on auto-rickshaws and road-rollers in the past. Expect more on auto-rickshaws in future as well.

[*guloN in original]