Those Days and Nights of Leisure

दिल ढूँढता है फिर वही फ़ुरसत के रात दिन
बैठे रहे तसव्वुर-ए-जानाँ किये हुए
दिल ढूँढता है फिर वही फ़ुरसत के रात दिन

जाड़ों की नर्म धूप और आँगन में लेट कर 
आँखों पे खींचकर तेरे आँचल के साए को
औंधे पड़े रहे कभी करवट लिये हुए
दिल ढूँढता है फिर वही फ़ुरसत के रात दिन...
My heart pines again for those days and nights of leisure
When I would sit (for hours) contemplating my beloved
My heart pines again for those days and nights of leisure

Resting in the courtyard in the warm winter sun
Shading my eyes with a corner of your saree (dress)
Sometimes prone, sometimes lying down on my side
My heart pines again for those days and nights of leisure

This song penned by the legendary poet, Gulzar, and superbly sung by Bhupindra for the movie Mausam has been my all time favorite. Though the song has both a slow and a (slightly) peppy version, I think the slow, quieter version in Bhupindra’s evocative voice captures the mood of the song perfectly.

This song played constantly in my mind in school time, especially during the hectic days leading to exams. Though there wasn’t any real “beloved” in those days, I did have my own virtual version of a dream man whom I could summon to my side whenever I wanted. I may have spent more time in dream land than in real life during the last two year of my school life.

But more than any pleasures that a beloved could bestow, I loved this song for the vivid images it painted of the pleasures of idleness — lying for hours in the winter sun with nothing pressing on the mind, lying awake on the terrace late at night gazing at stars, and enjoying the echoes of silence in valleys between snow-capped mountains. Somehow such moments of idleness have always represented complete happiness to me. It doesn’t matter whether I am in some luxurious spot abroad, or my own home, I have always treasured such moments.

I remember we got the entire month of February off as study leave before our XIIth board exams. I would march upstairs to our terrace with an armload of books, stretch out an old folding cot kept there and cover myself with a cozy blanket. I would start out with good intentions, which would last for about 15 or 20 minutes more than the plates of peeled oranges, peanuts, or whatever other snack that my mother had sent up. Then the warmth of the sun would make it all so snuggly and cozy that I just couldn’t keep my eyes open. I would doze off, only to be rudely woken up my mother hours later. As the days slipped by, my study “plan” became more and more aggressive. From one chapter to be studied over two days, the plan kept changing to two chapters per day, then four, then six.

When I look back on those days, it is with mixed feelings – the pure pleasure of the initial days compared with the abject terror of the last few days just before the exams, when I realized that it just wasn’t possible for me to complete the syllabus. All things considered, I managed to get a decent 75%. But it was a huge disappointment to my parents, who going by my past records were expecting me to be be among the top three students in our class.

A few years back, I was soaking in the winter sun for hours in our balcony in Bhimtal, when I caught sight of our neighbor’s twelfth-standard daughter surrounded by school books. Though I did feel sorry for the girl, I am ashamed to say the sight only heightened my pleasure in idleness. Thank God those scary days were over and I was free to enjoy being idle.

Enjoying winter sun on terrace
Enjoying the winter sun at my in-laws’ terrace recently

Copyright © 2023


Published by Leena T Pandey

I have been reading voraciously since the age of five when I first discovered the joys of reading. I would lap up anything in print. Unrolling an emptied newspaper cone with one hand, stuffing roasted peanuts in my mouth with the other, all the while devouring the printed content on the cone with my eyes, was one of my first experiences in hedonistic pleasure. In fact, sometimes I feel that I am on an adventurous journey through the secret dreamworld of other people's imaginations, interspersed with occasional visits to my own life to attend events like graduation, first job, marriage, and so on. As a true-blue reader, I think I am uniquely qualified to comment on and critique other people's works of labour. I can tell exactly what puts the average reader to sleep, what sets their pulse racing, and what has them salivating for more. Write to me at

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