Thought Of The Day

A mere customary glance of any Indian news portal makes a depressing read about the nation's state. It makes a sad reading. It really does. It's like Nero playing the fiddle while Rome burned. I read one apt couplet somewhere and want to quote it on the predicament this nation is facing. Maybe things will turn for good. Maybe, but i don't fancy the chances.

"jo shakhs tum se pehle yahan takht nasheen tha
usko bhi khuda hone pe itna hi yaqeen tha"

The person occupying the throne before you, was equally convinced of his divinity.

Story Of The Day

This is a story that I heard in the TV today about the state of polity there(Pakistan). Not even changing an iota of fact from the same story the story rings so true for India as well.

In a certain city in India (it could be any city in India or village for that matter) in not so old times (again the time can be any for that matter), a project was approved to construct a building for the common folk to be used as a school and medical center. An engineer constructed the building and in couple of years later he was transferred to a different location(as part of regular job rotation). Another engineer came to fill in his place and said that before he could take charge, he would like to see the building. When the two engineers went to building location, there was no trace of the building or it being ever constructed. The new engineer says that how can he take charge when there is no such building. The old engineer with glitter in his eyes says that he constructed the building, you just keep maintaining the building. The new engineer being old in the trade understood what it meant, signed the papers and took the official charge. He kept maintaining it for some years before he was also transferred to a new posting. A third engineer comes to replace him and in a similar fashion, contended that he will take charge only after inspecting the building. Both went to the building site and like last time, there was no trace of the building. The freshly arrived engineer accusing the existing in-charge for corruption, says that he will report this wrongdoing to his superiors that no such building was ever constructed and whole funds were misappropriated. The existing engineer with a whiff of confidence coolly places his hand on mildly angry new engineer and says that some previous engineer constructed the building, i was maintaining it and now if you want you can demolish it. There will be no need for inquiry and everything will be according to the rule of the land.

power corrupts...absolute power... corrupts absolutely

Photo Of The Day

Shades of Sydney from Waverton

Shades of Sydney from Waverton

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain IV

Now the New Year reviving old Desires,
The thoughtful Soul to Solitude retires,
Where the White Hand of Moses on the Bough
Puts out, and Jesus from the Ground suspires.

Continuing with the series on Khayyam, This is the fourth quatrain of the Fitzgerald Rubaiyat.The fourth quatrain starts with the hint of spring in the air and thousands of desires that were hibernating in the cold winter snow have awaken (like TS Elliot's The Wasteland opening stanza). The Persian New Year begins in spring and hence the coming of spring rekindles the spirits and the pervading gloom of winter and the accompanying solitude melts away in the golden spring sun. This quatrain is different from the first three as they occurred at the dawn while this one happens at the change of season. In this spring the Moses's diseased white hand is healed and the Jesus also starts to breathe to life. Both these terms "White Hand of Moses" & "Jesus from Ground" could also mean the flowers that come to bloom in the early spring from the sterile land. The underlying theme is one of rejuvenation and renewal, where spring cures the ills that the frigid winter has brought on the land and body.It also marks the new beginning where old desires (things thought over during the idle winters) are revived and mind and body gets down to work on them to fulfill them. The quatrain is basically a commentary on the cycle of life and the cyclical nature of the world. There is time for renewal and rebirth, there are times for youth & vigor and then old age and death which again leads to rebirth.

Translation - Dil-e-Naadan Tujhe Hua Kya Hai (Ghalib)

dil-e-naadaan tujhe huaa kya hai ?
aakhir iss dard kee dawa kya hai ?

hum hain mushtaaq aur woh bezaar
ya ilaahee! yeh maajra kya hai ?

main bhi munh mein zabaan rakhta hoon
kaash! poocho ki "muddaa kya hai" ?

jab ki tujh bin naheen koee maujood
fir ye hangaama, 'ei khuda! kya hai

ye paree chehara log kaise hain?
ghamza-o-ishwa-o-'adaa kya hai ?

shikan-e-zulf-e-ambaree kyon hai ?
nigah-e-chashm-e-soorma sa kya hai ?

sabja-o-gul kahaan se aaye hain ?
abr kya cheez hai, hawa kya hai ?

hamko unse wafa ki hai ummeed
jo naheen jaante wafa kya hai

"haan bhala kar tera bhala hoga"
aur darvesh kee sada kya hai ?

jaan tum par nisaar karta hoon
main naheen jaanata duaa kya hai

maine maana ki kuchch naheen 'ghalib'
muft haath aaye to bura kya hai?

Line 1/2 - O! my childish and naive heart, what has happened to you? What is the medicine for this pain after all? The poet says what has happened to his heart?, what is the remedy for this state?

Line 3/4 - I am longing for you, but you seem so disinterested. Dear God, what is this problem? My fondness for you knows no bounds and yet you are indifferent.

Line 5/6 - I too have a tongue in my mouth. I wish if you had asked what is the intent or issue?

Line 7/8 - When nobody else but you only exist, why God! what is the clamor all about? The poet says that if only God is present in its grandeur (and the rest are temporal and material), then what are these other views that captivate us?

Line 9/10 - How are these angel faced people? those amorous glance, that flirting behavior.. what is all this? The poet says that these beauties if you are saying are transitory, but they are still so bewitching.

Line 11/12 - Why are there curls of those fragrant tresses of yours? What are these glances from those kajal lined eyes of yours?

Line 13/14 - Where has this greenery and flowers have come from? What kind of thing is clouds.. What is that blowing wind? The poet says these sights and sounds are so charming that they rival the beauty of God's existence.

Line 15/16 - I live in the hope of faithfulness from those, who does not even know what is the meaning of faithfulness.

Line 17/18 - Do good to others and good things would happen to you. What else does the holy man preach? Ghalib seems to be telling his beloved that do good deeds (like returning his love) and she would be favorably placed to receive God's grace.

Line 19/20 - I offer my life to you as a sacrifice. I do not know what praying is?

Line 21/22 - I agree that Ghalib is worth nothing. But if you are getting him free, then what is the harm in it? The poet showing modesty (self-abasement), despite knowing his true value and says to his beloved that there is no harm in associating with him and if he is not found helpful, then there would be still no loss as he comes free.

Meaning of difficult words :-
mushtaaq = interested
bezaar = displeased/sick of
paree chehara = angel faced
ghamza = amorous glance
ishwa = coquetry
shikan = wrinkle/fold
ambaree = fragrance
chashm = eye
abr = clouds
darvesh = beggar
sada = voice

Photo Of The Day

Sydney Downtown

Humpback whale blowing its way up. Sydney skyline in the background

Translation - Ghair Lein Mehfil Mein (Ghalib)

ghair lein mehfil mein bose jaam ke
ham rahain yoon tishna_lab paighaam ke

khastagee ka tumse kya shikwa ki ye
hathkande hain charkh-e-neelee_faam ke

khat likhenge garche matlab kuchch na ho
ham to aashiq hain tumhaare naam ke

raat pee zamzam pe mai aur subh_dam
dhoye dhab'be jaam-e-'eharaam ke

dil ko aankhon ne fasaaya kya magar
ye bhee halqe hain tumhaare daam ke

shaah ke hain ghusl-e-sehat ko khabar
dekhiye kab din firein hammaam ke

ishq ne 'ghalib' nikamma kar diya
warna ham bhee aadmee thae kaam ke

Line 1/2 - The others in the gathering are all enjoying the company of wine. They are kissing glasses of wine as if it was their beloved. While my lips are thirsty even in this frolic, for i am thirsty of a message of my beloved and not of wine. In a higher realm, this can be interpreted as all others are kissing the book(Koran) and the religion, but i am thirsty of the message that the religion means.

Line 3/4 - What/Why should I complain of the bodily injury that I am afflicted with, these sky-blue coloured marks on my body are just my tactics to get some attention from the beloved. Again one can argue that the lines mean, that why should i complain of the sickness, these are just the ways of the One (the blue-sky colour and omnipotent God)

Line 5/6 - I am such a mad and crazy lover of you that I would write a letter to you, even though the contents of the letter does not make sense. The poet in so deep in love that all he can think of his beloved and fascinates about these small nuances with his beloved.

Line 7/8 - The poet says that at night, we drank wine at the zam zam well (Zam Zam well is located at Mecca and its water is considered holy) and in the morning I rubbed and washed of the stains of the wine on the special haj gown that is to be worn during pilgrimage to Kabba. Ghalib takes a aim at the religious orthodoxy that has masked the minds of the classes by rigid rules that they themselves do not follow.

Line 9/10 - This heart of mine has been betrayed by my eyes to be your devotee, but then even these rings/circle (meaning eyes) are just one of your many traps. Every bit, every part of my body is your, they all rise(conspire) to become one in your devotion.

Line 11/ 12 - I have not really been able to decipher this so will state literally what the translation means. The health bath club (it is usually the king's inner circle) of the king is aware of his affliction, lets see when the days of the hot bath turn around and he gets to enjoy the hot bath and massage.

Line 13/14 - The poet laments that this love has made 'Ghalib' him useless and lazy, otherwise he was also a very capable man. pretty simple and neat!. This can go very well with a beloved as well as devotion to the God.

Meaning of difficult words -
bosa = kiss
tishna = thirsty
khastagee = injury/sickness
shikawa = complaint
hathkande = tactics
charkh = sky
neelee_faam = blue colour/complexion
zamzam = a well in Kaba whose water is considered holy
mai = wine
subh_dam = at dawn
'eharaam = dress for 'haj'
halqa = ring/circle
daam = net/trap
ghusl = bath
sehat = health
hammaam = a hot bath where a masseur gives massage and bath