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?


Ek ghadi aur – D-day (Lyrics and Meaning)

I heard this song after a really long time (sung by Rekha Bhardwaj), thanks to the shuffle mode on iPods (does anyone still use iPods?). It is a song from the movie D-day. ( youtube link to the song) – did watch the movie a while back, but I forgot what its all about, but this song, I still remember. 🙂

Ik ghadi aur teher ki jaan baaki hai, tere hothon pe mere hone ka nishaan baaki hai

Stay for a moment longer as there is still some life left in me, the proof of my existence is still on your lips

Shab ke chehre pe chada rang savere ka to kya, dhalte khwaabon mein abhi apna jahaan baaki hai 

The night may have adorned itself with the colors of  dawn (literally morning), but our world still lives on in the sinking (setting) dreams. 

Yun bichad ke tu mujhse na sazaa de khud ko, abhi haathon se tere jurm-o-gunaah baaki hai 

Don’t punish yourself by parting ways with me, there still remain some sins to be committed by you (literally by your hands) 

Khilte phoolon ka fasaana to bas bahana tha, bujhte sholon ki dastaan abhi baaki hai 

The tale of the blooming flowers was just an excuse (to start a conversation), the story of dwindling flames still remains to be told

Aankhein suni hai, meri maang ujadi hai to kya, abhi haathon mein mere rang-e-hina baaki hai 

My eyes may be empty, my hair (literally the parting of my hair) may be ruined, but my hands are still covered with the color of henna 


Do not leave yet, because when you do I might die. I am still alive because you are around. I know its already morning (time for you to leave), but may be there is still some time we can spend reminiscing our night together which now seems like a sinking world of dreams. Do not punish yourself with the burden of separation already, you haven’t committed enough sins to deserve that yet. Our conversation may have started with the stories of blooming flowers (probably sharing happy anecdotes), but I would like to share with you stories about dying flames too (about the difficult times). I may not look as pretty as I did when we met, but if you look closely there may be thing or two that you may find charming enough to stay back a little longer.

In the movie the song plays on the radio as Rudra (Arjun Rampal) is about to bid farewell to Suraiya (Sruthi Hassan), a prostitute. This song celebrates and elaborates the brief moments right before having to bid someone good bye, hoping against hope that,  that someone stays just a little longer. There is an undertone of the sexual relationship that Rudra and Suraiya share as complete strangers trying to bond as lovers, throughout the song,  every line is as beautiful as the other, playing with the complexity of the situation and  the different emotions that accompany farewells and goodbyes.

I enjoyed listening to the song after a long time, I hope you do too 🙂



Shikwa na kar (Lyrics and Meaning)

Translation requested by Ikhtara. (Here is the link to the song)

This song is from a 1965 Lollywood (Lahore film industry)  movie – Zamin, written by Mushir Kazmi and sung by the legendary ghazal singer Mehdi Hassan.  You may recognize Mushir Kazmi from his famous song “chandni raatein”.  I typically like to know the situation of the song in a movie which helps with the translation, but there was not much I could find about this song or the movie. No clue what it is all about.  However I found a few old Pakistani movie songs in the process and now I am hooked (Thanks Ikhtara). More about that later, probably in another post.  First the lyrics and translation for this song.


Shikwa na kar gila na kar,

ye duniya hai pyaare, yahan gham ke maare tadapte rahe

There is no point in complaining or lamenting

This is the world O dear, the ones who hold on to sadness are the ones who suffer relentlessly

Khizaan is gulistaan mein aati rahi hai,

Hawa sookhe patte udaati rahi hai

Yahan phool khilke bahaaron se milke bichadte rahe 

Autumn keeps visiting  this garden, (never misses its turn) 

The winds keep blowing away the leaves, 

The flowers keep meeting spring and parting with it. 

(Flowers bloom and wilt as spring comes and goes)

Yahan tere ashkon ki qeemat nahi hai 

Rehem karna duniya ki aadat nahi hai 

Kisi ne na dekha yahan khoon ke aansoon dhalakte rahe 

Your tears are worthless here, 

This world is not accustomed to compassion

No one notices the overflowing tears of blood (from your eyes.)

(The world is so indifferent that even shedding blood from your eyes will not really move anyone – some exaggeration may be but it is also true to some extent.) 

Yahan ka hai dastuur, khamosh rehna 

Jo guzari hai dil pe kisi se na kehna 

Ye din kaat has ke yahan log bas ke ujadte rahe  

It is customary to remain silent here (in this world)

It is best to keep your sob story to yourself

Just spend your days with a smile, people settle down here and are also uprooted everyday.

(In short no one really cares about your problems and worries, so there is no point sharing them. The world will just continue as it did, new people will show up while the old ones will  just wear out and die as they do)

This is indeed some heavy stuff. Going by just the lyrics, it seems like it comes from a person who has seen the hardships of life, the ugly face of the world and its people and has very little hope or happiness or faith to hold on to. The central theme tends towards a pessimistic almost cynical point of view that the whole world is a big sham, good times are followed by bad times (autumn after spring, destruction after settlements) and the cycle continues. There is not much one can do about it.

So there is really no point in crying or complaining, because guess what? no one cares and no one is listening. If you still decide to hold on to your misery, all you will do is suffer. Instead it is better to spend the little time you have smiling, because the world and the people who live in it are created and ruined (live and die) everyday and one has literally no control over either.

That is in a sense true. We all have this false sense of control over our lives – if we plan well ahead of time, there will be no problems, if we work hard enough, we will keep our jobs and be happy,  if we save money, we will secure our future etc. etc., when in reality no amount of planning can escape the cycle of life. Good times go hand in hand with the bad ones. There will be unforeseen situations both good and bad, and planning may not necessarily prepare us to face them.

Then there is this false pretense of care and love. Even though it may seem like people care, there is no true selfless love,  only selfish intentions disguised as help or care or love.  (I have often wondered, isn’t charity as much for the benefit of the one being helped as it is for the satisfaction of the one helping out?)

Oh boy! I sound so skeptical and pessimistic – it is probably the song talking, but the song also seems very close to reality with no rosy beginnings and no happy endings just a circle of life with a beginning and an end and back to the beginning again- happy or sad, no one really knows, no one really cares and in the grand scheme of things doesn’t really matter. 🙂

Sone do – Citylights (Lyrics and Meaning)

Nope haven’t watched the movie, was listening to best of Arijit singh playlist, and after some of the typical Arijit romantic hits, I stumbled upon this song….

Sone do, khwaab bone do

Jaagenge phir thaamenge koi wajah jeene ki 

Let me sleep, let me create some dreams 

If I wake up, I will again try to hold on to some reason for living


So when I wake up, I will have a reason to continue living

The pessimist in me thinks the former translation is right and the optimist thinks the latter is 🙂 although the latter makes more sense with the rest of the song. Probably watching the movie may put the song into some perspective. Either ways I think both translations still agree with finding comfort in the dreams momentarily, to help one deal with the miseries in life. Whether dreams are a means of flight or fight depends on the person  reading the words I guess and/or the situation for the song in the movie 🙂

Parchayee ke peeche peeche bhaag raha hai mann 

Chaand ko mutthi mein bharne ko karta roz jatan 

Pyaase se is panchi ko, koi nadi milne do na 

Sone do…

My heart keeps chasing shadows, 

And everyday it tries to capture the moon in its hands (tries to gain control over the moon) 

I am like a thirsty bird, let me stumble upon a river 

Let me sleep….

Tell me about it, isn’t that what life is all about after all. Every morning we wake up and start running, running after things that are fleeting like the shadows or running after these far fetched unachievable goals like the moon. Wouldn’t it be nice if for once we can look for and find something for real, like a thirsty bird finding a river…Well if you let me sleep, at least I can dream about it.

Itne saare chehre hain aur tanha sab ke sab

Tere sheher ka kaam hai chalna yun hi bematlab

Chehron ke is mele mein, apna koi milne do na 

Sone do…

There are so many faces (around me), and yet they all seem lonely (friendless) 

It seems like the your city’s job (and the duty of everyone in it) is to keep moving aimlessly

In this crowd full of (aimless, friendless) faces, let me find someone I know ( a friend or a loved one) 

Let me sleep….

These are my favorite lines in the song. Unless you walk into a crowd of teens or younger kids, there is an underlying loneliness that accompanies every face, every smile. Like along the growing up road, we keep growing our “personal space” by gathering a little loneliness at a time, until it distances us from everyone around, until loneliness finally takes over. And then, every one seems to be walking in a different direction, lost and lonely just like us. So to find someone, a friend, a beloved, anyone, in this crowd who can break that wall around you, and will walk with you to wherever you are headed, no matter how ridiculously weird or impossible that path may be, that is priceless.

Besides being a song that puts the struggle of life into simple and yet profound words, the hauntingly beautiful prelude and interlude will be with you long after the song is played and forgotten…at least that is where I am for now.




Tujhe yaad kar liya hai (Baajirao Mastani) – Lyrics and meaning

Tujhe yaad kar liya hai, aayat ki tarah

I have memorized you like a verse in quran

Qaayam tu ho gayi hai, rivaayat ki tarah

You are now established (in my life) as a tradition

Marne talak rahegi,  tu aadat ki tarah

You will be like a habit (in my life) , till the day I die

Ye teri aur meri mohabbat hayaat hai

Our love is syonymous to existence

Har lamha ismein jeena, muqaddar ki baat hai

Every moment spent in the love is so fortunate

Kehti hai ishq duniya jise meri jaaneman

This thing that the world calls “love” oh beloved

Is ek lafz mein hi chupi qaayanaat hai

(I believe) The entire universe is hidden in that one word (love)

Meri dil ki raahaton ka tu zariya ban gayi

You have become the means to my peace of mind

Tere ishq ki mere dil mein jayi eid man gayi hai

Several eids have been celebrated in my heart because of your love

(That is how festive it feels in your love)

Tera zikr ho raha hai ibaadat ki tarah

You are remembered in my heart like a prayer

Tujhe yaad kar liya hai, aayat ki tarah

I have memorized you like a verse in quran

To love like this, to be loved like this, is beautiful isn’t it?

I think this song summarizes the love Mastani had for Bajirao,  more than any other scene or dialogue throughout the movie. Too bad it was not actually used in the movie.

Although I liked most songs from the movie Bajirao Mastani not just for the music but also for the grandeur of the shots  (as is true for any Sanjay Leela Bansali movie), this shorter one in particular is my favorite. The words fall right into place with the music and the change in tempo adds variety to an otherwise slow song. Haven’t heard the song yet? Here it is : Tujhe yaad kar liya

(The song may at times remind you of the song “Laal ishq” from Ram Leela (another Ranveer Singh and Deepika Padukone starrer movie) – has a similar arrangement of instruments I believe)


Humne kaati hai (Hariharan) – Dil Nasheen (Lyrics and Meaning)

Youtube link to a beautiful rendition of the ghazal by hariharan- Humne kaati hai

Humne kaati hai teri yaad mein raatein aksar 

Dil se guzari hai sitaaron ki baraatein aksar 

I have often spent nights reminiscing you

Starry (glistening) processions have often crossed my heart (in doing so)

Aur to kaun hai jo mujhko tassali deta 

Haath rakh deti hai dil par teri baatein aksar 

Who else would (sit by my side and) console me? 

 But for your words that often felt like a consoling hand caressing my aching heart

Humse ek baar bhi jeeta hai na jeetega koi 

Wo to hum jaan ke khaa lete hain maatein aksar 

No one had and no one ever will be able to claim victory over me

Its is just that I often intentionaly lose to others

Unse poocho kabhi chehre bhi padhein hain tumne 

Jo kitaabon ki kiya karte hain baatein aksar

Ask them if they have ever read a face (the stories behind the faces) 

Who often keep talking about the (tales from) books 

This is where the ghazal in the album Dil-nasheen ends. However the original ghazal by Jaan Nisaar Akhtar has more compelling couplets. (I guess the album probably just picked the lines that were easier to understand, but the other couplets in my opinion sound more beautiful). The rest of the couplets go as :

Husn shaaist-e-tehzeeb-e-alam hai shayad

Ghamzada lagti hai kyun chaandni raatein aksar

Beauty probably is polished by the manners of sadness

Else why do beautiful full moon nights often feel melancholic? 

Haal kehna hai kisi se to mukhaatib hai koi

Kitni dilchasp hua karti hain baatein aksar

I want to express my feelings to someone, and I address them to someone else

Feelings are often so interesting (when expressed) 

Ishq raahzan na sahi, ishq ke haathon fir bhi 

Humne luTti hui dekhi hain baraatein askar

Love is not a burglar but still in the hands of love

I have often seen many a processions robbed (of their happiness, pomp and show)

Humne un tund hawaaon mein jalaaye hain chiraag

Jin hawaaon ne ulat di hain bisaatein aksar 

I have lit up lamps in such violent winds 

The winds which have often overturned expanding empires 

Into the blue – Sara Jackson-Holman


If only if only I could’ve been yours,  been your rapport and yours to adore

If only if only I would’ve said yes, Forgotten the rest oh I could’ve said yes

If only if only you’d ask me again, I’d give you my hand

Let you take me across the sand

Into the blue and faded world of my daydreams

I feel I’m falling deeper everyday

Melting away down a dark and endless abyss

I’m grasping at straws and I’m chasing the wind

As I fall on my face over and over again

If only if only I had the luxury of retrospect

Sounds like you’re speaking some sort of foreign dialect

If only something precious as time had a price

Instead of endlessly taking its toll on my soul

Oh so many if onlys running through my mind

What ifs and storybook endings time after time

If only if only you could’ve been mine, I’d take you

Into the blue and faded world of my day dreams

I feel I’m falling deeper everyday

Melting away down a dark and endless abyss

I’m grasping at straws and I’m chasing the wind

As I fall on my face over and over….

I discovered this song when watching Castle – a detective/drama television series. (It was played in the last episode of season two, yes a while back) And gradually it made its way into my favorites playlist. 🙂

Here’s a Youtube link to the song for those who have not heard it : Into the blue

(Photo clicked at the Red Rock Canyon, Nevada)