The much thought over identities that I had zeroed in on to 'define' me very obviously were the first to come to mind; artist(creator), philosopher, writer....and yet, i wasn't convinced. Much as I identify very strongly with all these 'concepts', the philosopher in me while admitting the necessity of definitions is also very acutely aware of the fact that definitions limit. In the last few years, the one strong theme underscoring all my experiences has been "limitlessness". Rather the AWARENESS of the human condition; our perceptions, our experiences, our identities, our very being, being "limitless". This very awareness makes me wary, extremely wary of defining and limiting myself. Yet, as i mentioned before, the very basic need to organise, neatly label and make sense of everything demanded a uniquely identifying representation of me; as did Facebook!
It was then that I remembered my Pen Name. Ah well, growing up I did most of my writing in Hindi and that in poetry. Being a poet I felt it was imperative to have a uniquely identifying "takhallus" or pen name, as it is rather blandly termed in English. What I had decided to be identified as was "Saiyyah", another word for "yatri" or simply put, traveller.
That was it; the unique representation of me as an enquiring traveller journeying through life building his riches in the form of myriad experiences. Overwhelmed by the sheer thrill of travel and discovery. Blessed with conscious reflection and a pen to take care of the spillover.
I was satisfied. The crisis generated by the great existential trigger of a Facebook Cover Photo being resolved. I love resolutions.
Finally, having made the transition (from normal profile to timeline, of course. what did you think?) I was revelling in the afterglow when another seemingly innocuous Facebook profile er...subcategory triggered another existential dilemma. It is the "ABOUT" section that I speak of and the unspeakable need to be "understood" and "acknowledged" by another. Which is what brings us here; you and I.
What follows is a poem, written when I was 19 years old. Also, going by the trend of those days, written in Hindi. In the spirit of having people (most of my friends, atleast) actually understand me, I present a translation in English of the original and the quite obviously, the original in Hindi. Unsurprisingly, it is titled "Yatri"...
हवा में उडती धूल मेरा कर रही अभिषेक है,
मंजिल बेमंज़िल सी है पर रास्ते पुकारते,
उठो चलो, कदम बढ़ो, ध्येय पूर्ण तुम करो,
और यात्री का दिल मेरा मचल-मचल उठता है गा,
धमनियों में रक्त का उफन रहा है प्रवाह,
और नेत्र मेरे देख पथ को ज्वाला से धधक उठे,
प्रण अडिग है प्राण अभय,
अरमान चिरंजीव अजय,
मंजिल है मेरी प्रियसी पर रास्ते मेरा प्रणय,
यह जानता मेरा ह्रदय,
चाहे जो हो अंत मेरा हार ना होगी कभी,
मंजिल से ज़्यादा यात्री की रास्तों से दोस्ती...
राह पर बढ़ता रहेगा राही यूँही उम्र भर,
टटोलता वह प्रशनों को, न चाहे पाए वह उत्तर,
मिल जाए धूल में उसी, इक रोज़ वह जायेगा मर,
लेकिन जो चलता रहा बढ़ता रहा जो,
यात्री है वह अमर,
अमर है ध्येय पूर्ण कर,
बसंत हो चाहे समर,
चलना मनुष्य को मगर,
मौत तक, जीवन भर I
- गुरलीन खांडपुर "सय्याह"
The dust that rises upon the wind anoints me as I journey along,
Unaware of where I am headed, my feet follow the call of the path,
“Rise, step forward; walk unto the fulfillment of your purpose!”
Thus my heart filled with glee,
starts to sing playfully.
Roars the swift current of blood flowing in my veins,
As upon the path alights my gaze,
My eyes light up with a fiery blaze.
I, of undeterred commitment and a fearless spirit,
Of dreams that live long; unbeaten,
My destination my lover may be,
But it is the path that is my love,
And in my heart I know,
Whatever be my end, defeat shall not be it,
For a traveler as he journeys forward,
If he befriends the path, what does the destination matter?
He shall walk on, all his life,
Enquiring; intrigued by questions unanswered,
And in the very dust that trumpeted his glory with every forward taken step,
He shall perish.
Dare not death claim him though,
Ignoble, anonymous, silently rotting his skin,
For he lies a martyr,
The traveler who journeyed on.
Come rain or shine,
Our very humanity; yours and mine,
In its highest purpose demands we journey on through life,
Aware of every step that walks us to our inevitable death….