Thursday, February 26, 2015

Naam Ada Likhna (Yahaan)

"Sugar and spice and all things nice, that's what little girls are made of", go the words to a famous nursery rhyme.

Human mind forms connections between two completely unrelated things at times. My mind has adopted this as a hobby. For one fine day, listening to "Naam ada likhna" reminded me of this little nursery rhyme. Specifically this line (and others of this metre):

"Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai"
"The moon perches by my side at times; and at others the colors of evening cloak me."

The heroine of "Yahaan" is Ada, a child-woman who, though caught right in the middle of the Kashmir conflict (her brother is an insurgent), somehow remains untouched by it. For her, the world still holds hope; and joys however small (such as getting to wear a pair of jeans) still make her jump about in delight ("Urzu durkut"). And it is perhaps this optimism, that allows her to fall in love with Aman, a captain of the Indian army.

This is a song of young love, the kind that fills hearts with hope, against all odds.  

"Barf pade to, barf pe mera naam dua likhna" 
(When it snows, right down my name on it as a wish.)

"Aao na, aao na, Jhelum mein bah lenge
Vaadi ke mausam bhi, ik din to badlenge"
(Let's float about in the Jhelum till love is allowed to blossom in the valley once again)

"Kal jo mile to maathe pe mere sooraj uga dena"
(If we get a future together, mark it with a red dot of sindoor)

Composed by Shantanu Moitra and sung by Shreya Ghoshal and Shaan; it is the kind of song that fills you with calm and puts a smile on your face. (Somehow I always assumed it was composed by Vishal Bhardwaj, Kashmir + Gulzar connection, I guess. Anyway, all credit to Shantanu Moitra for creating a timeless tune.)

Lyrics and Translation:
Poochhe jo koi meri nishaani, rang henna likhna
Gore badan pe ungli se mera, naam ada likhna

[[If asked who I am, tell them I am "Ada",
The name scrolled on my fair body, in the color of henna]]

Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai

[[The moon perches by my side at times; 
and at others the colors of evening cloak me]]

Aao na, aao na, Jhelum mein bah lenge
Vaadi ke mausam bhi, ik din to badlenge

[[Let's float about in the Jhelum,
till love is allowed to blossom in the valley once again]]

[Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai]

Aaun to subah, jaaun to mera naam saba likhna
Barf pade to, barf pe mera naam dua likhna

[[When I arrive, see me as your morning; and if I leave, say I was a gust of wind
When it snows, right down my name on it as a wish]]

Zara-zara aag-vaag paas rahti hai
Zara-zara kaangde ki aanch rahti hai

[[She warms me like a blazing fire
There is a kaangdi-like glow about her]]

[Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas chaand rahta hai
Kabhi-kabhi aas-paas shaam rahti hai]

Shaamein bujhaane aati hain raatein
Raatein bujhaane tum aa gaye ho

[[The way nights come to put out evenings,
You have come to put an end of my nights]]

Jab tum hanste ho, din ho jaata ho
Tum gale lago to, din so jaata hai

[[Your smile makes the sun shine brighter
The comfort of your embraces make the days drift off]]

Doli uthaaye aayega din to, paas bitha lena
Kal jo mile to, maathe pe mere suraj uga dena

[[When the day comes, make me sit next to you
And if we get another tomorrow, make the sun rise on my forehead]]

Zara-zara aas-paas dhoop rahegi
Zara-zara aas-paas rang rahenge

[[We'll always have our bit of sunshine
And we'll always have our share or colors]]


  1. Great post! I have always loved this song and its mesmerizing music. I would also like to add credits to the magical cinematography of this song, which makes it so dream like. Hats off to Shoojit Sircar too being his debut film.
    Thanks for this post Kanupriya :)

  2. One of my favourite songs. :)

    I love the (1) sense of secrecy evoked by the lyrics - required for the lovers in the situation they are in the movie, (2) the sensuality - with all those heat and fire metaphors, and (3) the absolute sense of peace that this song evokes with the singers' voices coupled with those amazing visuals. I'm sure there are possibly more meanings to the lyrics themselves, as is the case with pretty much any Gulzar lyrics, if we look a bit deeper.

  3. This is beautiful! You have translated it beautifully to English. Awesome blog !

  4. Hello mam, Shravan here. Tried to reach on Twitter too. Could you please DM me on Twitter. Need some held regd Urdu Poetry.

  5. Wonderful translations and interpretation as well. Orzu-Dorkoth (although in the lyrics its written as urzu dorkuth) is a kashmiri phrase..
    Literal meaning is - May you Stay-healthy(Alive) and May your knees stay intact(good shape)
    However we use it as a phrase to wish good health and long life to the people.. Elders used wish this upon young ones...
    Great work..

    1. Hey, do you know he meaning of the two lines sung by the male lead at the beginning of this song? They are repeated at around 5:12 minutes into the song.

  6. I'm just so glad to see you posting regularly. As usual, a job very well done. You've managed to make the beautiful even more so. Do keep posting often. :)

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