Translation - Zikr Us Pareewash Kaa (Ghalib)

zikr us pareewash kaa, aur phir bayaan apnaa
ban gayaa raqeeb aakhir thaa jo raazdaan apnaa
   
mai wo kyon bahut peete bazm-e-ghair mein yarab
aaj hi hua manzoor un ko imtihaan apna

manzar ik bulandee par aur ham banaa sakte
'arsh se idhar hotaa kaash ke makaan apnaa

de woh jis qadar zillat hum hansee men talenge
baare aashna nikla unka paasban apna

dard-e-dil likhoon kab tak? jaaoon unko dikhlaa doon
ungliyaan figaar apni khaamaa_khoon chakaan apnaa

ghiste ghiste mit jaata aap ne abas badla
nang-e-sajdah se mere sang-e-aastan apna

ta kare na ghammazee, kar liya hai dushman ko
dost kee shikayat men hum ne hum-zabaan apna

ham kahaan ke daanaa the?  kis hunar meiy yaktaa the?
be_sabab huaa 'ghalib' dushman aasmaan apnaa

Line 1/2 - The mention of the the angel, and then my exquisite oration about her, made him my enemy finally who used to be my confidant. Ghalib says the mention of my fairy beloved came up over which my verbal magic finally made him my enemy who once was my friend. Such is my style and such is my eloquence!.

Line 3/4 - Why does she drink so much wine in the company of other, Oh God!. Today itself, it had been decided that she will test her resolve. Not a very clear interpretation of this. The poet says today she had decided to test her self by drinking wine, but God! why is she drinking so much wine in the company of others. She could have tested her resolve (of drinking and keeping sober or maybe of drinking and keeping her hands of me) in my company only instead of so many people.

Line 5/6 - I can create another view/landscape, one more on one height, if only our house was on this side of the sky. A brilliant verse that has literally and philosophically endless possibilities. Ghalib says if only our house was on this side of sky, we could have created another view to see it from the height. But our house is already at the highest peak. We are up here, alone, unwatched and unaware of our true self and reality. Another possible narrative is, that I can create another world, a better scene on a height, if only my home could have been on the other side of the sky (i.e. be in heaven who is impervious to rigors of fate and of the sorrows of the existence.) We could create anything, be anything but alas there is death and fate always in the shadows.

Line 7/8 - No matter how she much insults me, we will let it go, laughingly. At last, her/my gatekeeper turned out to be my/her friend. As  with all verses of this ghazal, the words can be reversed easily changing the meaning as well. One interpretation can be we laughingly accept all the insults she throws at me. In a way, her gatekeeper is my friend as he also takes her abuses willingly and does not complain.

Line 9/10 - Till when will I keep writing about the pain in my heart. I will go and show this to her. My fingers are wounded, and the blood dripping pen of mine. The poet says that my fingers are sore from writing about the grief of my heart. My bloody fingers are like a blood dripping pen. How long will I continue to write like this? I have been doing it for long. I will instead go and show my miserable state to her.

Line 11/12 - Being rubbed and rubbed, it would have erased away any ways. You uselessly changed it. By the shame of my prostration, that stone on your door-step. Such masterful! Ghalib says by repeated prostration at your door step stone, the stone would have gradually faded away itself. You uselessly changed it. It would have worn away eventually by my repeated prostrations at your door.

Line 13/14 - So that he does not engage in back-biting. I have made the enemy, by complaining of my friend, my confidant. The poet says by complaining of my beloved in front of my enemy, he has made him his confidant. For now, this enemy can not go to his beloved and complain about him for he too is equal partner in that crime.

Line 15/16 - Of what are we wise and learned of? In what skill are we unique? Without any cause or reason, Ghalib, the sky became our enemy. Ghalib says we have no unique skill and neither am we learned and wise, and yet the heavens without any reason have become our enemy. In a way the poet indirectly boasting and says though he is not wise and skilled yet the sky is jealous of his stature and has become his enemy. I am someone so unimportant that even the heavens are bothered about me!!

Meaning of difficult words
pareewash=angel/beauty/fairy
raqeeb=enemy
raazdaan=friend
'arsh=heaven
aashnaa=friend
paasban=gatekeeper
baare = at last
figaar=wounded/sore
khaama=a writing pen
chakaan=dripping
abas=useless
nang-e-sajdah=shame of prostration
sang-e-aastan=stone at your door
ghammazee=back-biting
daanaa=wise/learned
yaktaa=unique
be_sabab=without cause or reason

Photo Of The Day

 Omkareswara Temple, Coorg

Namdroling Nyingmapa Monastery, Coorg 

Borges : Funes, His Memory (Summary)

"Funes, His Memory" tells the story of a frictional Borges who meets a boy named Funes in Fray Bentos who he recalls as a one with a taciturn face, Indian features and an extraordinary remoteness. His recollections of him (on which this story is) are based on in all three interactions with Funes. In the first chance meeting, he asks him what time it is and Funes instantly replies the exact time without a blink. Funes is mentioned as someone who always knows what time it was, like a clock. Some years later Borges returns to Fray Bentos. It is revealed to him that Funes got crippled in a tragic horse riding accident. Borges meanwhile has started studying Latin and brought with himself some Latin books & dictionary. News of  this reaches Funes and he sends across a note asking if he could borrow some of the books and a dictionary as he wants to learn Latin. Borges in conceit as to if  Latin could really be mastered using just a dictionary sends across the most difficult book to remove any of Funes misconceptions.
Some days later, Borges receives a telegram and has to go back to Buenos Aires. Before leaving he recalls that Funes has some of his books and visits him to collect them. At his home, he is led to his room, which is in total darkness. Funes is heard speaking loudly, clear and perfect Latin, reciting a chapter of the book that Borges gave. The subject of the chapter was memory. In conversation with Borges, Funes lists the cases of extraordinary memory cited in the book and says he was amazed that such cases were thought to be amazing. Funes explains since the accident his memory has been so rich, so clear and so complete that he does not seem to take notice of his immobility. He for example can remember the shape of the clouds on a particular afternoon, or every leaf that he sees on a tree. "Nor were those memories simple — every visual image was linked to muscular sensations, thermal sensations, and so on. He was able to reconstruct every dream, every daydream he had ever had. Two or three times he had reconstructed an entire day; he had never once erred or faltered, but each reconstruction had itself taken an entire day." They talk into the night. Funes recalls that he once invented a numbering system where a different word had a particular numeric figure attached to it like 'leaf' for 99 and 'aah' for 203. Borges argued that is exact opposite of what number system was meant to accomplish(ie. bring order), but Funes somehow seem incapable of understanding. Funes also contemplates a language where he catalogs all mental images of his perception at any given time. Such a catalog would be total sum of his memory and a complete language to represent those memories in space and time. A book perceived today would be a different from one perceived tomorrow in this catalog and hence would have a different name. Both these projects though idiotic and meaningless, tell Borges about the fascinating and dizzying world that Funes lives in. A grandeur of endless possibilities. A simpler perceptive and sensory overload where order is sacrificed for detail. In-spite of such detail, Funes was incapable of general, platonic ideas. His world was not of abstraction, but of endless and mind numbing and yet perceptible details. "His own face in the mirror, his own hands, surprised him every time he saw them. Funes could continually perceive the quiet advances of corruption, of tooth decay, of weariness. He saw — he noticed — the progress of death, of humidity. He was the solitary, lucid spectator of a multiform, momentaneous, and almost unbearably precise world." Such detail made Funes restless and unable to sleep at night. To sleep is to take one’s mind from the workings of the world. But for him, laying on a cot, he can picture every crack, every crevice in the wall of his house. "He had effortlessly learned English, French, Portuguese, Latin. I suspect, nevertheless, that he was not very good at thinking. To think is to ignore (or forget) differences, to generalize, to abstract. In the teeming world of Funes there was nothing but particulars — and they were virtually immediate particulars." They talked the whole night. In the morning light, Borges saw his face, Funes all of nineteen years looks as monumental as bronze, as old as the Egypt's pyramids. "I was struck by the thought that every word I spoke, every expression of my face or motion of my hand would endure in his implacable memory; I was rendered clumsy by the fear of making pointless gestures." We are told that Funes did couple of years later of pulmonary congestion. End.

In the Funes fascinating world, there are only absolutes realities. There is this moment wrapped around the arrow of time, each of these moment having a set of unique and permanent mental images. Funes is able to perceive all this countless moments in extreme detail. Funes is incapable of generalizing or detail suppression. The details that he perceive in fact blur the subject's identity by focusing greatly on it. All is consumed by this detail. Funes forgets nothing, in his mind there is the sum total of all his perception that he has comes across. In his languages, there is the sum total of all his thoughts. Yet, he is unable of thinking, of reason for he is mired in particulars. He is the pinnacle of human mind and yet he is crippled by the absolute nature of his knowledge. He can not think, categorize, organize, abstract and logically differentiate anything. For him, any thing at any two different moments are two different thing. In fact, there is no general model of anything. Each thought as such is a unique model. We have created this world view because we can not remember or perceive all of it. I can not perceive if today is as hot as yesterday, so to help me I have create a model called the temperature scale to measure the hotness of the day. Funes has no such shortcomings. For him, these memories are his past, present and future. He has a perfect and total memory, but no imagination to create these generalizations and abstracts. For him all thoughts and events are equidistant, he will be unable to order them and act on them. He would not see a pattern in the world, he would not see a pattern in himself. He would not be able to hide thoughts or enhance thoughts but live his thoughts over and over again with nothing to imagine. A perfect prisoner to himself. We through imperfect memories, images and imagination we create an identity for ourselves. For Funes there will be no Self, but only a train of thoughts as same as the reality he lived.

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain XVII


They say the Lion and the Lizard keep
The Courts where Jamshyd gloried and drank deep;
And Bahram, that great Hunter--the Wild Ass
Stamps o'er his Head, and he lies fast asleep.

As with other previous quatrains, the recurring theme is one of frailty of the human glories in the face of the passage of time.Khayyam says that the mighty lion and the lowly lizard inhabit the land which once used to be the courts of the greatest king the land has ever seen, King Jamshed. In these lands where once Jamshed basked in his glory and hunted and drank, are no more his fiefdom any more. Nature has taken over it and the mighty and the lowly thrive unconcerned of past glories of human conquest. Same has happened with King Bahram who was known as a great hunter of the wild ass in ancient Persia. Now, the wild ass stamps on his grave as if to wake him up from his perpetual sleep, but it can not break his sleep.The human glories, the human conquests are just specks in the arrow of time that waits for no one. Newer glories will replace older ones and the march of time continues. The heroes of one era will be dust in the next and in all this tumult, time will be never-ending like a wave that comes over and over again, washing away the footprints on the sand.