Translation - Dard Minnat Kash-e-Dawa Na Hua (Ghalib)

dard  minnat_kash-e-dawa  na  huaa
main na achchaa huaa, bura na huaa

Line 1/2 - The pain has not obliged to the medicine. I have not become well, have not become bad. The poet's unusual use of "obligation to medicine" emphasizes that a fact that taking favors will make him indebted to it. It is good that I am no better, no worse from the medicine. Otherwise I would have been indebted to medicine if i recovered my health and I do not want to be indebted to anyone. I do not want favors from anyone.

jama'a karate ho kyon raqeebon ko ?
ik  tamaasha  huaa  gila na  huaa

Line 3/4 - Why are you collecting together the opponents. One spectacle happened, a complaint did not happen. The poet says to her beloved, why do you collect together my rivals? If you had complaints you could have told me in-person. Why did you tell it in front of my rivals.. Now your complaints will no longer be complaints, it will be turned into a unique spectacle in which these opponents of mine will derive pleasure from your complaints against me and pass judgments and critical advise on me. I wished you had avoided this spectacle.

ham kahaan qismat aazmaane jaayain ?
too hee jab khanjar aazma  na huaa

Line 5/6 - Where do we go and try out (test) our destiny? You yourself when are not a dagger testing (muster passing the dagger test). Here couple of interpretations are possible. The poet is saying about himself, that he was failed in the test to slay himself, so where should he go now to fulfill his longing of dying. Where should he try out his destiny? The other possible meaning is the lover is referring to his beloved, that you failed in the dagger test. You were unable to kill me. Now where should he go now to get killed?

kitne sheereen hain tere lab ! ki raqeeb
gaaliyaan  khaake  be_maza   na  huaa

Line 7/8 - How sweet are your lips. That the rivals. Having eaten abuses/curses, they have not become less-delightful! The poet says to her beloved that your lips are so sweet that even abuses and curses coming out of them for the rivals is being eaten by them readily and they do not seem to be any less delightful.

hai  khabar garm  unke  aane kee
aaj hee ghar mein boriya na huaa !

Line 9/10 - There is fresh news about their coming. Today itself, in the home there is no straw mat. The poet says I got some news about their coming. I heard my beloved or divine is going to visit me. And today itself, there is not even a straw mat in the house. This is the state of my home and its my utter lack of possessions. And this was to happen today! why today? when I do not even have a welcome mat nor I can somehow arrange for it now! Such is the state of my poverty of possessions that I could only think of the straw mat not being there in my house today!

kya woh namrood kee khudaaee thee
bandagee mein tera bhala na huaa

Line 11/12 - Was that the divinity of namrood? In devotion/service, your welfare did not happen. namrood was a king that claimed that he Is God and hence the words 'namrood kee khudaaee' is commonly used for false claims to divinity. The poet referring to her beloved says that my devotion has not paid off, It did me no good for she does not care about my service. Wasn't her behavior like the divinity of namrood? It is all falsehood and not what they claim. She is just like a false good namrood and my faith in her did me no good.

jaan dee, dee  huee usee  ki thee
haq to ye hai ke haq adaa na huaa

Line 13/14 - Gave my life, given to me by Him alone. The truth is like this that the right/claim did not get fulfilled.(or was not returned). These are best lines in the ghazal in my opinion. The poet says that I gave up my life,  which was in fact given to me by You only. The truth is that, the right was not fulfilled. I gave up my life, I sacrificed it (for reason unknown - maybe in God's path) . But what is so great in it? The life was itself blessed to me by You alone and it went back to You only. The truth is that I was blessed with life to live it. to exist! but the debt was not repaid as I just ran away from living. Life is to be lived and lived rightly for the debt to be paid back otherwise what is big deal about sacrificing yourself in His path. One is just giving back that was He was given earlier.

zakhm gar dab gaya, lahoo na thama
kaam  gar  ruk  gaya  ravaa na huaa

Line 15/16 - If the wound was pressed, the blood did not stop. If the work was stopped, then it did not move on. This are not very approachable lines, here is my take on it. The poet says that when I press my wound, the blood should have stopped.  But it does not and the wound keeps bleeding. And if the work (the work of pressing the wound) was stopped then the blood itself stopped flowing through my body. There is no way out of the misery, either I bleed myself to death by pressing the wound or my blood stops flowing when I stop pressing my wound. In either case, I die!

rahzanee hai  ki dil_sitaanee  hai ?
leke dil, dil_sitaan  ravaanah huaa

Line 17/18 - Highway robbery is it or is it stealing of the heart? Taking the heart, the stealer of heart moves on!. The poet asks is it highway robbery or the theft of his heart? The beloved stops, steals his heart and then moves away quickly. It does not look like she was here to steal my heart and play with it and torture me. Instead it appears like a crime. This does not look like taking my heart, it felt like a plain highway robbery.

kuchch to padhiye ki log kehte hain
"aaj  'ghalib'  ghazalsara na  huaa"

Line 19/20 - Do read something for people are saying. Today ghalib did not become a ghazal-singer. The poet says even in his leisurely hours in company of common folk or when he is not in a particular mood for word-play, people ask him to recite something for they ask how come today ghalib is not at his best (i.e. being a ghazal singer). People have come to expect the best lines from me and If someday I don't give them, they egg me to speak something.

Meaning of difficult words :-
minnat = favour, kindness
minnat_kash-e-dawa = obliged to medicine
raqeeb = opponent
gila = complaint
khanjar = dagger
sheereen = sweet
boriya = mat, mat made of jute/palm-leaves
namrood = an old king who used to say that he was god
ravaa = move on
rahzanee = highway robbery
dil_sitaan = stealer of heart
ghazalsara = singer of ghazals

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The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XXVIII


With them the Seed of Wisdom did I sow,
And with my own hand labour'd it to grow;
And this was all the Harvest that I reap'd--
"I came like Water, and like Wind I go."

This is the twenty-eight quatrain of the Fitzgerald's Rubaiyat. Khayyam says through my curious and reasoned mind and spirit, I have soon learned the ways of the world and beyond. The seeds of wisdom that were sown in me and with my own labour, the crop that I had sown is ready to be harvested. The harvest being the life being lived. This 'harvest' being reaped is like flowing water and blowing winds. Ever changing, formless and full of movement. I came to this word like water and will leave it like a wind. Both forces following the laws of nature and I would be like that. Nothing is permanent, even the winds and the water keep changing.. and so will I.. Here I come and lo! its time to leave already. 

Translation - Qarz Ki Piite Thae Mai Lekin Samajthe (Ghalib)

ham se khul jaao ba-vaqt-e-mai-parastii ek din
varna ham chedenge rakh kar uzr-e-masti ek din

Line 1/2 - Be frank (open) to us when we are drinking wine one day. Otherwise, we will tease you putting forward the excuse of intoxication one day. The poet says to the beloved, be frank (or behave informally) with us one day when we are drinking wine. You have the excuse of being drunk if anyone complains about your behavior. Otherwise if you do not do what I say, some day I will tease you under the excuse of intoxication and you would not be able to complain to others as people would just say ignore the drunk, he is not in his senses to know what he is doing!

gharrah-e-auj-e-binaa-e-aalam-e-imkaan naa ho
is bulandi ke nasibon mein hai pasti ek din

Line 3/4 - Do not be proud of zenith of the foundation of the world of possibility. In the fortunes (destiny) of such heights, there is lowness, one day.  The poet says do not be proud of the success and the high point of basis/base of the world of possibility.  Do not fool yourself with the success of this new world order. In the end of even this high success, lies oblivion one day. Everything that rises will fall one day. The use of four izafat (-e-) in the first line makes it quite complex to comprehend.

qarz ki piite thae mai lekin samajthe thae ki haan
rang lavegi haamari faaqah-mastii ek din

Line 5/6 - We used to drink wine on borrowed money, but we understood that yes,  some day our cheerfulness in adversity will come to color (to come to fruition). The poet says that I am used to drinking wine on borrowed money. I can't stop this habit of mine. But we always used to think that yes, this habit of mine (this wine induced cheerfulness under the distress of poverty and debt) will some day come to come to bear fruit. Some day, it will bring to color. (maybe the poet blushes and turn red under the humiliation that the debt collector will throw at us). Another possible interpretation could be that we used to drink on debt, but still realize that one day his cheerfulness under distress will be rewarded and bore fruit.

naghma-ha-e-gham ko bhi ai dil ghanimat jaaniye
be-saada ho jayega ye saaz-e-hasti ek din

Line 7/8 - Know the song of grief too, O! heart, at least consider that to be good luck. This instrument of existence will be voiceless one day. This is such brilliant lines. The poet says, know the songs of grief too.. for they are just the other side of songs of joy which you already know. They both are part of life and you should consider yourself fortunate for knowing the grief as after grief there is always going to be joy. One day when the existence of self is erased, all these songs would end and instrument of existence will produce no sound thereafter.

dhaul-dhappa us saarapaa-naaz ka shevah nahin
ham hi kar baithe thae ghalib pesh-dasti ek din

Line 9/10 - The one who is completely playful (flirtatious from head to toe) is not in habit of fighting. We ourselves have done it before hand, Ghalib one day. The lover defends her beloved against accusations that she is uncivil and crude. The poet says that she is not like that, the one covered from head to toe with playfulness. She is not the one who has habit of a fighting. It was my mistake one day, for I started it by by hitting her. It is I who had done it before she did it.

Meaning of difficult words :-
mai = wine
ba-vaqt-e-mai-parastii = at the time of wine drinking
uzr-e-masti = playfulness under the excuse of intoxication
gharrah = proud, vanity
auj = summit, highest point
binaa = foundation, structure
aalam = world, state
imkaan = possibility
pasti = lowness
faaqah-mastii = cheerfulness in adversity
ghanimat = good luck
be-saada = voiceless
saaz-e-hasti = music of life, instrument of existence
dhaul-dhappa = fight, fighting with hands
saarapaa = from head to toe
naaz = amorous playfulness, flirting
shevah = habit, practice
pesh-dasti = anticipation 

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Thought Of The Day

God's particle unknown and heavier relative is close to being discovered!

The brilliant minds at CERN are rechecking their data on this for now. It has been a while since Higgs boson was confirmed by CERN. At that time it was called the God's particle in the media. Now CERN is running particle beams at 6.5 trillion electron volt (TeV) per beam, nearly double the energy of the beam they were used to find the elusive Higgs boson. With updated hardware and double the energy, they have just discovered a bump in the data. Bump! Now that is a quaint word. It has a nice little ring to it as if master Yoda from star wars discovered an anomaly in the Force. The CERN experiment's idea being as beam's TeV rise, the more energy gets converted into mass and by Einstein famous equation, the heavier particle gets released and this is recorded as a bump. By the way, CERN can go all the way to 13 TeV so by the time CERN is exhausted of it capability, God's particle may have a new family by then.. Each unique and infinitely fascinating with a story to tell.. God should be proud of Himself...

"How is it that hardly any major religion has looked at science and concluded, 'This is better than we thought! The universe is much bigger than our prophets said, grander, more subtle, more elegant. God must be even greater than we dreamed.' Instead they say, 'No, no, no! My god is a little god, and I want him to stay that way.' " 
-- Carl Sagan 

Satre: No Exit (Summary)

After a long while away from reading, I just finished Jean Paul Satre' play 'No Exit'. The play is famous for the iconic and often quoted lines "hell is other people". The setting of this short play is a closed room that depicts three people who have just been condemned to hell after their death.

The play starts with a valet guiding a man to a brightly lit room that is afterwards locked from outside. The room has no mirrors or windows. The room is always lit with no switch to turn off the bulb. Two more women are led to the room by the valet. We are told that the dwellers of this room can no longer sleep or even close their eyelids. A bell is provided (to call the valet) but it does not ring. All the three people ask the valet about the official torturer or torture devices. The valet reassures them that whatever they have heard down on earth about this place (hell) is all wrong. After the valet leaves and the three have been locked, an informal conversation is stuck between them. Each feigning ignorance on why they have been damned to hell and provides false stories as to why they are here. Estelle (one of the women locked here along with Garcin and Ines) mocks the rest to tell the real reason on why they are here and stop fooling around. All the three open up, but find out that they can not make the other person not judge then. Even a small sigh, innocent face expression or even silence conveys something about their actions or the lack of it. Soon it becomes a noisy circus with seduction and indifference and jealousy among them. They soon realize that they have been placed together to make the other two miserable. They are the official torturer of each other. Garcin at this moment cries out "Hell is - other people". Estelle fed up with this acrimony, picks up a paper knife and stabs Ines only to realize that they are already dead. The play ends with laughter with they realizing that they are in it all together and forever!

Satre does convey his existential themes in this play. Each character though 'free' is still shackled by their thoughts on what and how other people are going to judge their actions. They are too caught up in it. This constant need for having to please others (or seeks approval from others) inhibits his or her own actions and choice. Instead of being free to make a choice and act on it as a free man, a person is bound by others making a choice for him or he deciding by playing to the gallery and making choice which gets the loudest applause. Thus in essence the freedom is lost. A free person makes a choice totally based on merit but instead this constant urge to be accepted (to fit in) and struggle to blend in is what ultimately will lead to despair with free will and inherent human independent nature conflicts with the ideas (or expectation) of society, family or peers. This constant struggle, anxiety and despair is our Hell on earth!