Like any native Tamil, I too didn't learn Hindi or any language other than English at school. Naturally, the only vernacular writers we knew where the one's whose works were translated into English. And the translation scene in Tamilnadu is very poor. What we are missing due to our parochialism, bordering on hatred of any other language is what I thought when I finished reading this book.
Kaifi Azmi's poems are simple, talk about emotions beautifully, and other than a few left leaning poems there is hardly any rhetoric in them. The translator has done a good job of maintaining the rhyme and metre. The book contains carefully selected poems, a few ghazals and the songs Kaifi wrote for the movie Kagaz ke Phool. Read the book for the sensual pleasure of poetry. Given below is my favourite from the book.
A Moment in time
Life is the name given to a few moments, and
In but one of those fleeting moments
Two eyes meet eloquently
Looking up from a cup of tea, and
Enter the heart piercingly
Today do not speak
I'll be silent too
Let's sit just.
Holding each other's hand
United by this gift of sorrow
Bonded by the stirring of emotions.
Who knows if in this very moment
Somewhere in the distant monutain
The snow atlast may start to thaw.