Chathon se koodna by Gulzar (Ambuja Cement Ad 2018) – Lyrics and Meaning

“In love with this Ambuja Cement Ad” – that is such an odd thing to say you would think, but – “Gulzar Sahab’s narration and a fitting video”, how can one not fall in love ? And if you ever lived in a neighborhood with a maze of terraces connecting not just houses but also the people living there, you would understand the true essence of this four minute video!

Chathon se koodna chat par, chathon se chat pe chad jaana

Palon pe paanv rakhkar kood jaate the zamaana,

Wo ghar na the gharaane the, chathon ke wo zamaane the

 Subah se sham karte the, dopaharein raat karte the

Chathon se jod kar chath, jab mohalle baat karte the

Chathon mein sootha maanje, udaana guddiyaan penche ladaana

Wo ghar na the gharaane the, chathon ke wo zamaane the

 Chathon se saadiyaan dariyaan uthaa lana,

Badi chath par lagakar parde, chath par raam leela khela karte the

Jinhe hanuman ban na, wo karke tel maalish, subah se chat pe aakar ek sau dadh pela karte the

Anu ki shaadi mein khaala ke golgappe chalte the, baja karti thi dholak aur din bhar tappe chalte the

Chathon se jod kar chath, jab mohalle baat karte the

 Nahaakar geele baalon mein kisi ka chat pe aa jaana, ujhak kar rassiyon par geele kapdon ka sukhana

Hamesha yaad aayega kisi ko dekhkar dadhkan ka badh jaana

Chathon se koodna chat par, chathon se chat pe chad jaana

Palon pe paanv rakhkar kud jaate the zamaana,

 

Springing from one roof to another, and climbing on one roof from another

By stepping on moments we could leap over the world (below)

Those weren’t merely (roofs over) houses, (they were so connected) they were like families,

there was a world that lived on those roofs

Mornings would become evenings, Afternoons would turn into nights (on those roofs)

When roofs were glued together and when neighborhoods used to chat

Strings would be prepared on terraces, to fly kites and compete with friends

Those weren’t merely houses, they were like families,

there was an entire world that lived on those roofs

Sarees and carpets would be brought to the big terrace from all the other terraces, used for making curtains and setting the stage, for the ram leela play

And then the one who would play hanuman, would oil his body and go to the terrace and score a hundred pushups (to look strong for the part )

 At Anu’s wedding, aunt would set up her snack shop on the roof, and the drums would play as everyone danced to its tune all day

When roofs were glued together and when neighborhoods used to chat

And when she would show up on the terrace after her shower with soaking wet hair, and she would raise her heels as she reached the line wire to hang the clothes for drying

How can one forget how the heart would beat faster at just a glimpse of her on the roof

(How can one forget) Springing from one roof to another, and climbing on one roof from another

By stepping on moments we could leap over the world (below)

The punjabi lyrics and the meaning (very loosely):

Dendi munder gawaayiyaan pal pal di , Galaan kardi chathey beete kal di

The parapet is a witness to the passage of time , The terrace talks about the days gone by

 This translation as is the case many a times does not do justice to the elegance of the words but I tried.

There are so many little things in the video that grab your attention even as  you are drifting away into a reverie, relishing Gulzar Sahab’s words sprinkled with that Punjabi folk song, like the kids watching the baby birds that have just hatched, or neighbors coming together to play cricket on a leisurely afternoon, the shout out for the rising moon at Karvachauth, the ladies of the house sitting together, rolling out dough, kids playing hide and seek, holi celebrations….

I have spent many summer evenings and winter afternoons with friends, neighbors and family on the terrace of the house I grew up in, sometimes working on a homework, or reading a novel,  pointing out distant constellations that seemed to fit into our small palms , discussing who or what we aspired to be, our big dreams,  skipping stones into the pond nearby, enjoying the sunset , the sunrise, shaking the branches of the bordering mango tree  as my sister waited patiently below to collect our prized possessions aka a few half ripe fruits, leaping, jumping, leaning to gather those cotton seeds from the nearby silk cotton tree as they flew past our terrace, feeding the birds and chipmunks, having candle light meals and sleepovers (when there was a power cut) and I can go on and on..

And as I look out of my frosty glass window now, at the frigid snow coated gables spread over houses that seem so close and yet so lonely, I wonder, if they will ever know how roofs and terraces come to life in what seems like a distant memory from another life in some other world that I left behind.

Have you ever lived in a house with a functional terrace? What is your favorite terrace memory / terrace story?

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4 thoughts on “Chathon se koodna by Gulzar (Ambuja Cement Ad 2018) – Lyrics and Meaning

  1. Thrilled to see u back after long! Lovely piece! I’m going to savour this at leisure. My recent terrace ‘activity’ includes kite-flying, after decades – blessed with an Atariya only recently 🙂

    • It is both endearing and embarrassing to see readers with “long time no see” messages on my blog. I haven’t been very frequent with my posts. Adulthood takes its toll after all!
      Thank you Jyotsna for dropping by and taking the time to share your thoughts. Much appreciated.
      It is a lovely piece indeed.
      Kite-flying, sounds fun, the last time I flew a kite was probably eighteen years ago. Enjoy your time on your new “Atariya”.
      What would I not trade for an afternoon on a terrace under the warm winter sun! sigh!

      On a side note, I am reminded of this catchphrase from a really old ONIDA ad which applies to people blessed with a terrace too I guess :
      “Neighbor’s envy, owner’s pride :)”
      See you around.

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