A Self Evaluation


It was a deep connection
Far-reaching yet undefined
I wonder what prompted it
There was no history
No prior contact whatsoever
Nothing visibly discernible
Nor physically tangible either —

It tested my resilience
Defeated my sense of platitude
Perseverance —
I cringed
And I crawled
Like an earthly insect
A bird with broken wings
Or a shepherd
Parted from his sheep
Wandering and confused
Aimless –-

Perhaps it’s time to capitulate
For a calm self-assessment
An evaluation of sorts
To measure the heavenly
Against the mundane

© Sadaf Munshi

An afternoon in the Dal


A beautiful evening by the window
That opens down my memory lane —
The window and I
And a piece of poetry —
A cup of nun-chai in the chilling cold
And the flights of my fantasy —
An October afternoon in the Dal
In a Shikara, and you by my side
In complete harmony
With the gentle waves
Of gilded water
And an ecstasy–
Autumn in Kashmir
Wrapped in gold and yellow,
Sulphur and crimson —
A breeze mellow
Under the majestic buin’  —
A walk by the Avantipor ruin
In the outskirts of Srinagar
Or beside the dried up Jehlum
At the waning dusk of fury and fear
Do I still not remember!
And it remains forever —

© Sadaf Munshi (2003)


Some useful notes by the author: 

Dal  ‘Dal Lake; a famous lake in Srinagar, Kashmir’
Nun-chai  ‘salt tea; traditional Kashmiri beverage’
Shikara ‘term for a traditional Kashmiri boat’
Buin ‘Platanus Orientalis; name of a tree known for its beauty and majesty world over, it has great importance in Kashmiri literature and historical tradition’
Avantipur ‘place name; famous for its historical importance for it houses thousands of years old ruins of the kingdom of Pandavas, great figures in Hindu mythology/religion in India; these are gigantic stones engraved with beautiful and amazing pictures’
Jehlum ‘name of a famous river in Kashmir which has been mentioned in literature centuries ago with different names’


Breakfast and Bed







Breakfast and Bed

A freshly made waffle
Topped with whipped cream
Blueberries and chocolate
I see poetry on a plate —

A cup of hot tea
With a touch of cardamom
And a streak of sunshine
Peering through the kitchen blind
There’s a rapturous warmth
In this cold Sunday morning

She sings melodies
In a husky voice
                     “Come to me, come to me”
I listen in delight 

You snore and I toss myself
On the bed, in turns pushing
And shoving you aside
I cannot sleep

Bad habits stay long —
What will you say
When I vanish
From your side one day?

© Sadaf Munshi  

Coffee and a kiss


A cup of coffee
and a sizzling kiss
ah, pure bliss!

The lover’s lips quiver
on the contours
of her body

He moves around
in the deep dungeons
of a solitary town
mapping its twists
and tracing its turns
with gentle strokes  

Please tell me, will you,
the musings of a mystery
And I shall trail down
the lyrical pathways
of the April breeze

Love is a whirlpool
of wishes and wonders
Brace up and take a dip
lest the thread of life
shall slip away

Give me a hand
when I walk on sand
and pause by the ocean–

© Sadaf Munshi



Yi gav lūka-mot
Lūka mətis kyah karizi
Yi čhu tufānah andɨ-god̩ rotsh
Apɨzis poz ta pəzis kor apuz
Zyaw nyanglə̄w tɨ əčhen ditsɨ pači

Gāmɨ-shahar yeli krekɨnād sapud
Mōsum bačɨ gəy dam-phuttẙ
Ta phryakh kheyi nōtvānav

Tse čhuy zan kunyar sanyōmut
Adɨ kava rōvukh pānsiy andar
Dopmay dapān hyenar hyetin grazin
Vyethi hund āb ti mā gav hokhyith?
Prath vati čhi vāndar kala tulith
Asān ta grāyi divān
Lači gilvān

Tse ditsɨth tshāl, mye lej və̄niji thaph
Nindrah trāvɨha ama sokh mā čhum
Kati kōr və̄tsɨs yath sahrāvas manz
Krenjlen āb barān, vatapeyd tshāran

Reshvāri hund Nunda mot kot sana gav
Mye vɨčhmay Lalded shām pətẙ
Ačhev khūn hārān
Shamshānan manz
Nāla divān

Ladishah – Kashir 2016 (II)

Ladishah Ladishah, ma sa kar graav
Yekya aayi Azaedi, “calendar” draav

Dohas beh penji pyeth, nindrah traav
Nata myen saddkay, yaa syeri phuttraav

Madrasan daftaran kuluf dyith bodd
Yedd thav keyn, tul athas kyath tsodd

Masjidan manz thovukh bait-ul-maal
Koytth phuytt ada roav zachyen taam naal

Yus baraan chanda tay khyevaan mongaddal
Moaj Kashir chhey tamis kyuth khal

Kaem-kaar traewith ays karav taqriir
Haraamuk harsyi khyath parav takbiir

Mokhta benyi rath phott koachi wothraan
Potur chhus buth tulith aychh trakraan

“Azaedi” hunduy ays ganddav partav
Jandda tay kundda hyeth naara dimav

Yusah log buthi tay su boryuun “jail”
Sarkaar chhuy dapaan wuchiv soan khyeil

Yemis lagi tamis lagi sarkaeriy
Mahraaj Saebyin zimmadaeriy

© Sadaf Munshi, Oct. 19, 2016





Ladishah: Kashir-2016 (I)


Ladishah Ladishah kot sana draakh
Zangan chhey raz tay hattis pyetth shraakh

Saddkan kochan pyetth chhe doara-doar
Prath doha yeti chhey laar kati-koar

Ayk loag curfew ta bey hartaal
Awaamas zaejikh anza-manza taal

Kaala-pagahiy chhuy yeti “blackout”
Kar sa maali jal-jal kashiri checkout

Shuyr chhiy laatthi hyethiy nyeraan
Roaba daabah tay drangal karaan

Prath doha wuchhmay kanyan hund ruud
Ath na sa saad tay na chhu kanh suud

Police tay army karyekh reemaath
Tear-gas, goli tay pellet-gun shot

Yeti kanh qonoon na samaajah
Gundan badmaashan hund chhu raajah

Teli oas aasan zyitthan hund paas
Az karaan lokttyen tay badyen khallaas

Telephone internet akhbaaran tthaakh
Yi chha kanh zindagi yath korukh ddaakh

Khaandar tay daawath karyikh mansoakh
Naattan kabaaban pyetth ta lej roakh

Mareezan zayeefan lanji-loar gaw
Gaamu shahar chhu haeraan lukaw

Tshottyik chhiy khetmyit saddkan ddyer
Nas thaaw band tay hoar kun phyer

Raatas haz hoanyaw duniyah tul
So kas aayi nindir, ada subah ti phol

Curfewas manz khets luukan naas
Baana phuytt hamsayan, lejan leyg ttaas

National channelan pyetth chhi debate
Prath akha banyomut yeti chhuy myetth

Paekistanan koruy taqriir
Aes hasa nimoan mulki Kashmir

Hyundustan wothukh ays kadoakh lang
Yi chhu soan haq tay attuutt ang

Aelwa gandda sabzii tay phal
Sarkaar dapaan yuhay gaw hal

Mosuum gobran metsi manz jaay
Kar bozyi day soan asyi andi nyaay

Ladishah Ladishah kot sana draakh
Zangan chhey raz tay hattis pyetth shraakh

Srinagar, August 2016.

© Sadaf Munshi



Every morning we wake up
With a feeling of disgust
Just another day
Of routines and rituals

Your diligence is awe-inspiring
I keep rolling restless in bed
As you calmly get ready
To set out for the usual business
Every day

And as you step out of that doorway
I turn my eyes to the windowpane
And entice the heavenly breeze
To play with my hair
Let me open my arms
To the warm embrace
Of the morning sun
Let me bathe in its crystal rays
And sanitize my sluggish body
Of its banal burdens,
Of punctuality

And when you retire
From your day’s work
To prepare for yet another one
I plan to wait and watch
For the star-studded night
To descend on earth
As the sleepy neighborhood
Rests senseless and silent
On its rugged foundations

I sit in my armchair
And contemplate
On my losses and my gains
I cannot adapt to your timetable
You will not change yours for mine
Our worlds are miles apart
We meet only at the thresholds
To say Hi and Goodbye

© Sadaf Munshi

This, That and Nothing

I stand by the roadside
Waiting for something
Or perhaps nothing?
A man walks past,
Limping towards me
With a burning cigarette
In his left hand
I move aside in a jiffy
And notice a little boy
Pretending to be a puppy dog
“Wow wow”, he frolics
On the concrete pavement
As his mother turns to his father
“Which comic shop should we go to?”

It’s a cold rainy day today
I hear gunshots in my thoughts
One hundred and thirty two
Little angels somewhere
On the other side of the globe
Have been done to death
In cruel vengeance
By six young men
Seeking heaven

I turn my gaze over my shoulder
Two pretty women are talking
“Have a Merry Christmas!”
“Bye! See you soon”.

I look at the locomotives
Parked in front of me
A man from the other end
Smiles a gentle “Hi”
I am perturbed

The little boy is back
With a bag full of articles
“I want to go to another comic store”
I look at the cell phone in my hand
Messages from across the world:
We stand in grief with Peshawar

Women are shopping for the holidays
I see a pair of dogs
Outside a coffee shop
Sniffing past my legs and feet
And cuddling on to their owner
In warm affection

My hands are trembling
I look around for my car
Where am I going?
What was I waiting for?

         © Sadaf Munshi.