By we, I mostly mean me; but I am certain that there are many others who share the sentiment. 

We grew up on Gulzar’s songs, listening to them, internalising the lyrics and it recently struck me that there are many words I know because Gulzar used them in his beautiful work. Here’s a list of some of those. 

1. Uns

Meaning: Love/affection

Song: Satrangi re from Dil Se.

Lyrics: Aankhon ne kuch aise chhua, halka halka uns hua.

2. Harf

Meaning: Word

Song: Khul Kabhi Toh from Haider.

Lyrics: Lab tere yun khule jaise harf the, honth par yun ghule jaise barf the.

3. Gilaaf

Meaning: Coat

Song: Beedi Jalaile from Omkara.

Lyrics: Na gilaaf…na lihaaf. Na gilaaf, na lihaaf, thandi hawa bhi khilaaf.

4. Birha

Meaning: Separation

Song: Yara Seeli Seeli from Lekin.

Lyrics: Yaara seeli seeli, birha ki raat ka jalna.

5. Besabab

Meaning: Without reason

Song: Pehli Baar Mohabbat Ki Hai.

Lyrics: Tujhe gud gudaana sataana yun hi sote hue, gaal pe teepna meechna bewajah besabab.

6. Gulposh

Meaning: Covered with flowers

Song: Chaiyya Chaiyya from Dil Se.

Lyrics: Gulposh kabhi itraaye kahin, mehke toh nazar aa jaaye kahin. Gulposh kabhi itraaye kahin, mehke toh nazar aa jaaye kahin. Taabeez bana ke pahnun usse aayat ki tarah mil jaaye kahin.

7. Kimam

Meaning: Liquid tobacco

Song: Kajra Re from Bunty Aur Babli.

Lyrics: Ho teri baaton mein kimam ki khusboo hai, ho tera aana bhi garmiyon ki loo hai.

It’s fascinating to me that most of his romantic or ‘serious’ songs (if I can put them in simplified categories like these), have the simplest language. He uses slightly uncommon words generally in his fast-paced, dance songs only. Maybe because sentiments like love are complicated enough and he wants the language describing them to be simple. Only Gulzar has the answer to this.