It was a stroke of good luck. I was a struggling writer/filmmaker in Mumbai — or more appropriately for the theme of struggle, “Bombay”— when I discovered this wonderful poem by Bhagwati Charan Verma in my niece’s NCERT textbook in 2010. And I knew immediately that “Deewano Ki Hasti” was going to be the single most defining poem of my life.

दीवानों की हस्ती
भगवतीचरण वर्मा

हम दीवानों की क्या हस्ती हैं, आज यहाँ कल वहाँ चले
मस्ती का आलम साथ चला, हम धूल उड़ाते जहाँ चले

आए बनकर उल्लास अभी, आँसू बनकर बह चले अभी
सब कहते ही रह गए, अरे तुम कैसे आए, कहाँ चले

किस ओर चले? मत ये पूछो, बस चलना है इसलिए चले
जग से उसका कुछ लिए चले, जग को अपना कुछ दिए चले

दो बात कहीं, दो बात सुनी, कुछ हँसे और फिर कुछ रोए
छक कर सुख दुःख के घूँटों को, हम एक भाव से पिए चले

हम भिखमंगों की दुनिया में, स्वछन्द लुटाकर प्यार चले
हम एक निशानी सी उर पर, ले असफलता का भार चले

हम मान रहित, अपमान रहित, जी भर कर खुलकर खेल चुके
हम हँसते हँसते आज यहाँ, प्राणों की बाजी हार चले

अब अपना और पराया क्या, आबाद रहें रुकने वाले
हम स्वयं बँधे थे, और स्वयं, हम अपने बन्धन तोड़ चले

When I get excited, I do speak in Herzogian. At once everything becomes so grand, special, immediate and important. But I don’t think I could exaggerate the effect “Deewano Ki Hasti” has on me. I absolutely love it! It’s a timeless classic—the kind of poem that resonates with you no matter where you are in the journey of your life. It reminds me of my childhood dreams and youthful pursuits. Never quit. Never give up. Keep walking with your heart free and head high. There is no destination—the daily grinds, futile quests and pointless struggles make us who we are—super human. That’s what I am thinking when I’m listening to this recording made on a Nook e-reader on a quiet morning like this one in September 2010.

I had published no poetry then — I wouldn’t even begin submitting my work to literary markets for another four-five years. I wish I knew I could; I wish I had the kind of faith and confidence in my work necessary to do so. If you are a young writer, poet, artist, filmmaker — any creative professional — please consider being part of a healthy and supportive group of like-minded people. Participate, contribute to your community, and the world. Get the work done to the best of your abilities, and put it out there. Don’t be afraid of criticisms or rejections. There’s no running away from them anyway. Do the work. Put it out there. Repeat.

The scenes for this short film came from a friend in Delhi, 2017. Oh, it’s been 7 years already! While I’m still a “struggling” writer/filmmaker if you look at my publications and finances, I don’t think of it as negatively as I used to before. It’s the life that I choose over the security of being on someone’s payroll daily (it’s never too easy!), and I consider myself fortunate to be where I am today, doing what I do to make a living — art, poetry, film, Mithila Review — along with critical and high-impact content design and consulting for global startups and venture capital funds.

You can learn more about the poet Bhagwati Charan Verma here on Wikipedia.

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