Dilli Woh Shehar Hai

Mind Piper
3 min readDec 26, 2017

Bhawna, a wanderer caught in all the in-betweens this world has to offer, invites us to look at Delhi from her lens.

दिल्ली वो शहर है जिसके सुर अपने हैं, ताल अपनी है
ये दिल्ली किसी की सुनती कहाँ है?
एक आज़ाद-ओ-ज़िद्दी पंछी है ये
इसके साथ ज़ोर-ज़बरस्ती से बात बनती कहाँ है?
ये सच है, है ये तसव्वुर भी
है घर ये नूर का, मकान अँधेरे का भी
रहती हैं दास्तानें यहाँ मोहब्बत-ओ-गम की
कैसे इतने रंग संभाल लेती है ये, पता नहीं
हर आशिक़ का है ये ख्याल -
“दिल्ली को मैं समझता हूँ, दिल्ली मुझे समझती है “
मगर मीर के शेर जैसा इस शहर का अंदाज़ मालूम पड़ता है-
“दिल्ली के न थे कूचे औराक़-ऐ-मुसव्वुर थे
जो शक्ल नज़र आई तस्वीर नज़र आई”
गोया ये मंज़र मावरा सा है-
ये सबकी है, और किसी की भी नहीं
ये सबकुछ है, और कुछ भी नहीं
सब हैं यहाँ,और कोई भी नहीं

Khudrang- Bhawna’s rendition of Delhi on her canvas

Dilli vo shehar hai jiske sur apne hain, taal apni hai
Ye Dilli kisi ki sunti kahan hai?
Ek azaad-o-ziddi panchi hai ye
Iske saath zor-zabardasti se baat banti kahan hai?
Ye sach hai, hai ye tasavvur bhi
Hai ghar ye nuur ka, makaan andhere ka bhi
Rehti hain daastaanein yahan mohabbat-o-gham ki
Kaise itne rang sambhaal leti hai ye, pata nahi
Har aashiq ka hai ye khayal-
“Dilli ko main samajhta hun, Dilli mujhe samajhti hai”
Magar Mir ke sher jaisa iss shehar ka andaaz maloom padhta hai-
“Dilli ke na the kuuche auraq-e-musavvur the
Jo shakl nazar aayi tasvir nazar aayi”
Goya ye manzar maavra sa hai-
Ye sabki hai aur kisi ki bhi nahi
Ye sabkuch hai aur kuch bhi nahi
Sab hain yahan aur koi bhi nahi

Languages have their own personalities, their own emotionalities. So we bring to you a half-hearted translation and hope that you understand it in your own unique way.

Dilli- the city that plays its own peculiar music
When has this city complied to anyone?
It’s a bird, free and stubborn
Nothing can be enforced upon it
It’s a reality as much as it is one’s imagination
The house of light, and a building of darkness
It contains the stories of love and grief
How is it able to contain so many hues, I cannot decipher
Every lover has one thought-
“I know this city and this city knows me, in all its fidelity”
However, it seems to have the nature of Mir’s couplet-
“Delhi’s streets were not alleys but painted pages of an artist,
Every face that appeared seemed like a portrait”
As if, this is the view in transcendence —
This city belongs to everyone and to none
It’s everything and it’s nothingness
Everyone is here and yet, there is no one here

Bhawna is an artist who is constantly in search of letting life reveal itself to her. She loves to express herself through beautiful letters and colours. She is passionate about understanding well-being and creating safe spaces, not only for others but also for herself to continue learning and exploring.

Here are some thoughts related to her poetry and artwork that she left us with.

Dilli is a city with its own colours and music. It is a vessel that contains restless stories and yet, its own nature is uncontained. Orhan Pamuk has captured what this city means to me in these words-

“When you love a city and have explored it frequently on foot, your body, not to mention your soul, gets to know the streets so well after a number of years that in a fit of melancholy, perhaps stirred by a light snow falling ever so sorrowfully, you’ll discover your legs carrying you of their own accord toward one of your favourite promontories.”

-My Name is Red, Orhan Pamuk

And I am going to leave the rest unsaid, to be understood.




Mind Piper

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