Photo Of The Day

 Sydney Skyline and Harbour Bridge at Night

North Sydney in the evening hues

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain VII

Come, fill the Cup, and in the Fire of Spring
The Winter Garment of Repentance fling:
    The Bird of Time has but a little way
To fly - and Lo! and Bird is on the Wing

This is the seventh quatrain of my continuing series on "The Rubaiyat". As with underlying theme of the previous quatrains this one also touches on time and passing of time.
The first two lines say "fill the cup" of life or wine in this ever-pleasing warmth of spring. Throw away the gloom and despair and remorse of the winter and snow where the life comes to a halt. The spring has arrived and enjoy and bask in its glory. The change of weather is just one way to look at it. The changes in seasons depict the stages in one's life wherein a phase of dullness and sorrow is soon eclipsed by something pleasurable and mirth and cycle of joy and grief continues. Enjoy this moment. Live it full! for the wheels will turn soon. Nothing is perpetual, neither this time nor this joy. Only the change is constant.
The next two lines tells that his moment is temporal, this phase is fleeting. The time will be on move again for it waits for none. Appreciate the beauty of the moment. Relish it for it will be gone for ever. The Bird of Time is on its wings again!

Thoreau - Walden Quotes - II

This is the second post on the best quotes from Thoreau' s Walden as I continue reading through the book. Read more posts on Thoreau's Walden.

I read in the Gulistan, or Flower Garden, of Sheik Sadi of Shiraz, that “they asked a wise man, saying: Of the many celebrated trees which the Most High God has created lofty and umbrageous, they call none azad, or free, excepting the cypress, which bears no fruit; what mystery is there in this? He replied: Each has its appropriate produce, and appointed season, during the continuance of which it is fresh and blooming, and during their absence dry and withered; to neither of which states is the cypress exposed, being always flourishing; and of this nature are the azads, or religious independents.— Fix not thy heart on that which is transitory; for the Dijlah, or Tigris, will continue to flow through Bagdad after the race of caliphs is extinct: if thy hand has plenty, be liberal as the date tree; but if it affords nothing to give away, be an azad, or free man, like the cypress.”

I had three chairs in my house; one for solitude, two for friendship, three for society.

Every man has to learn the points of compass again as often as be awakes, whether from sleep or any abstraction. Not till we are lost, in other words not till we have lost the world, do we begin to find ourselves, and realize where we are and the infinite extent of our relations.

A lake is the landscape’s most beautiful and expressive feature. It is earth’s eye; looking into which the beholder measures the depth of his own nature. The fluviatile trees next the shore are the slender eyelashes which fringe it, and the wooded hills and cliffs around are its overhanging brows.

Our whole life is startlingly moral. There is never an instant’s truce between virtue and vice. Goodness is the only investment that never fails. In the music of the harp which trembles round the world it is the insisting on this which thrills us. The harp is the travelling patterer for the Universe’s Insurance Company, recommending its laws, and our little goodness is all the assessment that we pay. Though the youth at last grows indifferent, the laws of the universe are not indifferent, but are forever on the side of the  most sensitive. Listen to every zephyr for some reproof, for it is surely there, and he is unfortunate who does not hear it. We cannot touch a string or move a stop but the charming moral transfixes us. Many an irksome noise, go a long way off, is heard as music, a proud, sweet satire on the meanness of our lives.

Every man is the builder of a temple, called his body, to the god he worships, after a style purely his own, nor can he get off by hammering marble instead. We are all sculptors and painters, and our material is our own flesh and blood and bones. Any nobleness begins at once to refine a man’s features, any meanness or sensuality to imbrute them.

Photo Of The Day

Bondi Beach Sculpture, Bondi

Sydney Botanical Garden

Thoreau : Walden Quotes

I am currently reading Henry David Thoreau's Walden. It's been a tough book to read and understand. Hopefully this time around I should be able to complete it. I would be giving my summary on it later, but for now reflect on some of the best quotes from the initial chapters in the book. Read more posts on Thoreau's Walden.

"As I have said, I do not propose to write an ode to dejection, but to brag as lustily as chanticleer in the morning, standing on his roost, if only to wake my neighbors up." 

"I went to the woods because I wished to live deliberately, to front only the essential facts of life, and see if I could not learn what it had to teach, and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived. I did not wish to live what was not life, living is so dear; nor did I wish to practise resignation, unless it was quite necessary. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life, to live so sturdily and Spartan—like as to put to rout all that was not life, to cut a broad swath and shave close, to drive life into a corner, and reduce it to its lowest terms, and, if it proved to be mean, why then to get the whole and genuine meanness of it, and publish its meanness to the world; or if it were sublime, to know it by experience, and be able to give a true account of it in my next excursion."

"What should we think of the shepherd’s life if his flocks always wandered to higher pastures than his thoughts?"

"A man is rich in proportion to the number of things which he can afford to let alone."

"I love a broad margin to my life."

"With a little more deliberation in the choice of their pursuits, all men would perhaps become essentially students and observers, for certainly their nature and destiny are interesting to all alike. In accumulating property for ourselves or our posterity, in founding a family or a state, or acquiring fame even, we are mortal; but in dealing with truth we are immortal, and need fear no change nor accident. The oldest Egyptian or Hindoo philosopher raised a corner of the veil from the statue of the divinity; and still the trembling robe remains raised, and I gaze upon as fresh a glory as he did, since it was I in him that was then so bold, and it is he in me that now reviews the vision. No dust has settled on that robe; no time has elapsed since that divinity was revealed. That time which we really improve, or which is improvable, is neither past, present, nor future."

"Let us settle ourselves, and work and wedge our feet downward through the mud and slush of opinion, and prejudice, and tradition, and delusion, and appearance, that alluvion which covers the globe, through Paris and London, through New York and Boston and Concord, through Church and State, through poetry and philosophy and religion, till we come to a hard bottom and rocks in place, which we can call reality, and say, This is, and no mistake; and then begin, having a point d’appui, below freshet and frost and fire, a place where you might found a wall or a state, or set a lamp-post safely, or perhaps a gauge, not a Nilometer, but a Realometer, that future ages might know how deep a freshet of shams and appearances had gathered from time to time. If you stand right fronting and face to face to a fact, you will see the sun glimmer on both its surfaces, as if it were a cimeter, and feel its sweet edge dividing you through the heart and marrow, and so you will happily conclude your mortal career. Be it life or death, we crave only reality. If we are really dying, let us hear the rattle in our throats and feel cold in the extremities; if we are alive, let us go about our business.Time is but the stream I go a-fishing in. I drink at it; but while I drink I see the sandy bottom and detect how shallow it is. Its thin current slides away, but eternity remains. I would drink deeper; fish in the sky, whose bottom is pebbly with stars. I cannot count one. I know not the first letter of the alphabet. I have always been regretting that I was not as wise as the day I was born. The intellect is a cleaver; it discerns and rifts its way into the secret of things. I do not wish to be any more busy with my hands than is necessary. My head is hands and feet. I feel all my best faculties concentrated in it. My instinct tells me that my head is an organ for burrowing, as some creatures use their snout and fore paws, and with it I would mine and burrow my way through these hills. I think that the richest vein is somewhere hereabouts; so by the divining-rod and thin rising vapors I judge; and here I will begin to mine."

Borges : The Circular Ruins (Summary)

I read another fantastic piece of Borges called as "The Circular Ruins". It's a small 3-4 page short story that I read on my train ride to home and multiple times over subsequent days, each time reading ever less and thinking ever more.

In the story, we are told a man arrives on a shore from the south. On this shore lay the ruins of a magical circular temple that served the abode for our man. The man had a mission that drove him here, He wanted to dream a man; he wanted to dream him in minute entirety and impose him on reality. It was the sole purpose of his life and which had come to fill his whole heart. Initially he dreams of being a teacher in a circular amphitheatre where student's faces hung in cosmological distances and yet still clearly visible. He choose one student from the class that showed potential and attempted to dream him in ever greater detail. But after some days of dreaming, he fails. He starts again after a gap and this time start to dream a complete man, piece by piece. He dreams a heart. Each passing day he dreams it with ever more clarity. After 14 nights he touches the heart and marvels at his creation. He now starts on other organs. Feature by feature, in an year he completes (dreams) most of the Man, but he can not make him open his eyes.

To realise his task, he invokes the Gods of the Circular Ruins who agree to animate the dreamed phantom in such a way that all creatures, except Gods and the dreamer would believe him to be a man of flesh and blood. The Gods further instruct to send him to the other ruined temple down shore to glorify God's name there. In the dream of the man that dreamed, the dreamed one awoke. The dreamer starts teaching the now real phantom (he calls him Son for he is his creation) with the mysteries of the universe. Slowly he began accustoming him to reality and the world around him. Then one day, he orders him to go to the other temple as the Gods said. Before he left, he destroyed in him all memory of his years of apprenticeship.

He is a happy man now for he has realised his purpose in life and spends time wasting away on the banks. Years passed. One day, two faceless oarsmen tell him about a mystic in the temple in North who could walk on fire and not get burned. The dreamer satisfied initially dreaded if his creation would reason on why he is blessed and may figure out that he is just an imagination. He is just another man's dream. The dreamer's worries ended suddenly one day, when in midst of great tumult the Circular Ruins are destroyed in fire. The dreamer thought initially of taking refuge in water, but realising that his life's goal was complete and he can joyfully embrace death as a crowning jewel and rewards of his laboured existence. He walked into the fire, but it does not burn him. In this moment, the terror, the awareness, the humiliation that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him came across him. End.

Borges comes up with such thought provoking story that questions the very basis of existence, perception, reality and self-awareness. One person's existence can be extension of another person's thought. In same way, one person existence can be extension of another person's existence. The dream can not exist outside the dreamer. The dreamt does not have a life outsider the act of dreaming. Where does the boundary lie between real and dream? In in the story, the whole universe is a dream dreamt up by someone who in turn is being dreamt. The dreamer is as unreal as the dream. Were the space time real in the absolute sense of word Real? Did the dreamer had control over what he dreamt for he himself he is creation of someone else. Could he had done something else? Could he have envision something else for his dreamt Son than what the one who is dreaming the dreamer provisions it? Could he have lived forever as a life in a dream? He played God and creating a complete Man, organ by organ but in fact he is just a conduit for someone else's control. The setting of the story (the circular ruins) and circular dreams and the supposed circular reality adds strangeness to this work. The dreamer comes from the south and sends his dreamt son to the north and his circular dreaming continues upstream until say maybe the ingress falls into singularity or maybe they never reach singularity for they each live in their individual universe. This infinite regress is like holding the mirror to the mirror and seeing a candle light in it. Everything in this universe (or set of universe) is illusionary, the Self is illusionary, even the realisation about self is illusionary for someone else dreamt it. This loss of Self at the same time as the realization of being Creator produces such paradox that to define an order or semblance of order to this universe, to define the Creator and Created, the dreamer and the dreamt, being dreamt and of dreaming, of cause and causality will just ultimately fail. But it in a sense that is what the Universe is. It is infinitesimally complex. The center is everywhere and everything is the center. Reality in this universe is created and viewed by each center (dreamer). Remove the center and this reality is meaningless. It's like when one looks for into the mirror. The image has no self and no existence outside when one looking into the mirror. Similarly, what is in this universe is meaningless and does not exist independent of the observer. The dreamer ("I") has to be there to dream it ("Universe") and outside it none exists. The sole purpose of dreamer is to dream and of Universe is to exist both in concurrence and both aware.

As James Jean truly said, "The Universe is a Giant Thought instead of a Giant Machine."

James Joyce : Dubliners (Summary)

I last week completed James Joyce's short stories collection called "Dubliners". This is the second of Joyce's work and much simpler in prose and interpretation than what I read in his earlier "A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man". The collection (of around 15 stories) revolves around what the writer does best. Capturing the moods, the frustration and the anxieties and the small escapes of ordinary Dublin folk. The collection follows a particular pattern wherein the initial stories main protagonists are children and later stories delve more into adolescent and then maturity. Each story is a portrait about the character the story is based on. It is at the same time a caricature of the life of those times in Ireland. The characters in the skin of Ireland and Ireland being viewed from the experiences of the character. In a sense, the overall Irish setting is never far from the storyline even though the view is far from healthy. In fact it is of city in near paralysis.

The stories are fleshed in great detail and the context is simple and mundane. It is not the stories that are being told, instead it is the lives of those characters that are being lived and it’s not filled with some crazy idea or fancy plot. It is just plain living. Stories of failed businessman, of dreamy college student, of clever boarding house lady owner, of drunkards and small time thieves. One gets the glimpse of overall early nineteenth century Ireland in these stories and its despondent take on the city. The struggles of the land, the rising Irish nationalism versus Unionist status-quo, the large scale migration, the religious fervour/piety, the Christian divide, the overbearing influence of church, the cold and ever-raining weather, the stillness of the place are very much part of each story's fabric. And in this stillness, the ordinary folk seem content (not necessarily happy) with the isolated Dublin, while the rest of the continent (Europe) has raced past them. It is where all the opportunities lie now. The city as if decaying at its margins with escape (either from the city or from the drudgery or despair of their circumstances) one of the recurring themes of many stories. The stories describe people of all walks of society in near realistic details, in all their shortcomings and emotions, in all their sagging faces and grimaces with Dublin and its streets and its landmarks in the backdrop. In most of the stories the characters comes with a sudden realisation (as Joyce calls as "epiphanies") wherein the sudden revelation shows them the hopelessness of their situation or smallness of their lives. It's not that their conditions have changed, it’s just they became self-aware of their situation with these experiences. In some they face moral choices/conflict, in others a life defining moment. Whether they are changed or not by their experiences is something that the author has left to the reader to decipher. Below is the last stanza from the final story in the collection called "The Dead"
His soul had approached that region where dwell the vast hosts of the dead. He was conscious of, but could not apprehend, their wayward and flickering existence. His own identity was fading out into a grey impalpable world: the solid world itself, which these dead had one time reared and lived in, was dissolving and dwindling... His soul swooned slowly as he heard the snow falling faintly through the universe and faintly falling, like the descent of their last end, upon all the living and the dead.

Photo Of The Day

Floriade festival, Canberra

Floriade festival, Canberra

Translation - Layi Hayaat Aaye Qaaza (Zauq)

This work though not of Ghalib was included in the "Mirza Ghalib" TV serial. This is by Zauq, another notable Urdu poet of that time. He was the tutor of the Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar. Ghalib was part of Zafar's court and though there was no love lost between Zauq and Ghalib, there was mutual respect of each other. The below work of Zauq is probably his best work.

layi hayaat aaye qaaza le chali chale
na apni khushi aaye na apni khushi chale

Line 1/2 - The poet says that the existence brought me and I came and when death took me away, I went away with it. Neither did I came on my own will, nor will I go off on my own accord. In such two simple lines the poet has summed up the tragic essence of life i.e. The lack of control over it. We just arrive because we are born and we just leave when dead and in both, we have no control over the events. No one asked if we wanted to be part of this life, part of this existence.

behatar to hai yahi ke na duniya se dil lage
par kya karen jo kam na bedillagi chale

Line 3/4 - It is better of course not to involve your heart in the matters of this world. But what can one do in this world without getting involved. The poet says that it is best not to get attached to the joys and sorrows of this material world, but then, what can one achieve/accomplish without getting mired in the hustle-bustle of life. Being indifferent does not accomplish anything. Again a masterpiece that touches on the inability of a human to remain untouched from the joys and sorrows of earthly existence.

ho umr-e-khizr bhi to kahenge bavaqt-e-marg
hum kya rahe yahan abhi aaye abhi chale

Line 5/6 - Even if one lived the life span of the Khizar (Khizar/khidr is a revered figure in Muslim faith who is said to be contemporary of Moses and is still said to be alive). Even then at the time of dying, one says.. we lived a small life here, we had just arrived and it's already time to leave. Zauq touches on another of human trait - the unsatisfied appetite of mind where one does not want to let go of life even after living it full. This greed, this insatiable hunger to live forever.

duniya ne kis ka rah-e-fana mein diya hai sath
tum bhi chale chalo yun hi jab tak chali chale

Line 7/8 - The poet says that who in this world has accompanied someone who is on his way to annihilation. You too continue walking (alone) on the path as long as the path goes. Zauq says that each one to his own. Do not look for companion in this journey of life for there will be none. And those who claim to be, will not stay beside when the real test arises. Instead take the road alone and walk along it as long as it goes.

nazan na ho khirad pe jo hona hai wo hi ho
danish teri na kuch meri danishvari chale

Line 9/10 - Zauq says do not be proud/arrogant of your intelligence, for whatever has to happen will still happen. Neither will your wisdom, not my knowledge would work or make any difference. The poet says that no one has eyes into the future. Even with all the wisdom and learning, life will continue to come up with new situations and it could be that you are not prepared for it. Hence do not be arrogant of your wisdom.

kam honge is bisat pe hum jaise badqimar
jo chal hum chale wo nihayat buri chale

Line 11/12 - On this chessboard, there are only few gamblers like me who are so bad in playing it. Whatever move I play on this chessboard, it turns out it was an extremely badly played move. The poet in the moment of failure and disappointment, laments that whatever he does, it turns out to be more worse. For a person like me who has already lost so much, there is more to lose with everything I do.

ja ki hava-e-shauq mein hain is chaman se ‘zauq’
apni bala se bad-e-saba kaheen chale

Line 13/14 - The poet says 0 Zauq!, I leave this garden amid the inner winds of desire. Why should I care if the pleasant morning breeze blows somewhere. The poet says who cares about the gentle morning breeze and where it blows when the currents (thoughts) of passion and longing can enliven him!

Meaning of difficult words -
hayaat - existence
qaaza - death
bedillagi - dis-interested
khizar/khidr - a revered figure who is said to be immortal.
bavaqt-e-marg - at the time of death
rah-e-fanaa - path to annihilation.
naazan - proud of
khirad - wisdom, intelligence
danish/danishvari - knowledge/learning
bisat - chessboard
bad-qimaar - bad gambler
hava-e-shauq - winds of desire
chaman - garden
bad-e-saba - pleasant morning breeze  

Read more posts on Ghalib.

Borges : Pierre Menard, Author of the Quixote (Summary)

I have been occasionally reading Borges these days and each story unfolds itself like a labyrinth. Ever perplexing as to what those scant pages meant or said. I finished reading "Pierre Menard Author of the Quixote". Like many other stories, it's a literary hoax i.e. to say that Pierre Menard does not exist. The construct is the same as last story, imagine such a book or writer exists and weave an idea around it.

The story is written as a literary piece about Pierre Menard that begins with brief introduction about him and a exhaustive list of his works that range from symbolist literature to algebra. But this is not the focus of the story. The story is about the Menard's seemingly impossible and absurd task of rewriting the Cervantes's Don Quixote. The rewrite is not to be a manual reproduction, but rather coming up with the same work word by word and line by line. He did not want to create another Quixote, but the Quixote itself. The way he attempted this was to learn Spanish language and its cultures, return to catholic faith, forget about events in Europe in these intervening three hundred years and write Quixote through the experiences similar to that of Cervantes but he forgo of this approach (as it seemed less interesting) and instead choose to live in 20th century (with current ideas and ideals) and write Quixote through the experiences of Menard.

In the end the narrator reviews the couple of chapters of first part of Don Quixote that Mernard was able to create. He says that these chapters are infinitely richer to what Cervantes wrote (even though they matched word to word) due to the fact that Menard was able to accomplish this against all obstacles like huge historical and cultural events that have changed human perspective in the intervening years. The same lines now give a reader a much different meaning due to a different context (made possible by the all the world changing events that modern world saw) in which the reader is. So it is the reader who defines the narrative rather then the narrator. The context is the driver channeling the reader response. Thus Quixote written today will be a lot different in meaning to the one that was written in 1600's even though they match the word to word. It is the reader who gives meaning to a work. It is he who is not a passive agent, but rather an active agent in this process. The words may be eternal and unchanging, yet the perception they create on the reader's mind are ever changing with no finality to it. In a way any book in any given time isn't some static collection of pages written by the author, instead it is this packet/case that holds the book and the one reading it and their thoughts and their meanings and there are countless such packets out there. Each packet true and valid to the substance of the book. Borges says that ultimately even the most brilliant books are relegated to the old libraries and says Mernard was a brave man to attempt such a impossible task to keep the book relevant.
A philosophical doctrine begins as a plausible description of the universe; with the passage of the years it becomes a mere chapter—if not a paragraph or a name—in the history of philosophy. In literature, this eventual caducity is even more notorious. The Quixote —Menard told me—was, above all, an entertaining book; now it is the occasion for patriotic toasts, grammatical insolence and obscene de luxe editions. Fame is a form of incomprehension, perhaps the worst.
“Thinking, analyzing, inventing (he also wrote me) are not anomalous acts; they are the normal respiration of the intelligence. To glorify the occasional performance of that function, to hoard ancient and alien thoughts, to recall with incredulous stupor that the doctor universalis thought, is to confess our laziness or our barbarity. Every man should be capable of all ideas and I understand that in the future this will be the case.”

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain VI

And David's Lips are lock't; but in divine
High piping Pehlevi, with "Wine! Wine! Wine!
Red Wine!"--the Nightingale cries to the Rose
That yellow cheek of hers to incarnadine.

This is the sixth quatrain of "The Rubaiyat". The lines are obscure and interpretation is not very forthcoming. King David's lips are locked for he is long gone and dead. King David was the king of Israel and Hebrew people. He was also an accomplished warrior and poet. The lines of Rubaiyat says that King David lips have gone silent now, and so has the cries of "wine! wine! wine! " in the high and mighty Pehlevi language that used to be a prestige language among the classes. Now even the Pehlevi has die out and been lost. And in this former glory, a lowly nightingale cries out to the rose bloom, chirping pettily. The bird is still singing their ancient song excitedly that has given color to the bird's cheeks.
The underlying tone of the quatrain is same as that of the fifth one. The grandeur of human endeavour and their glories will all be lost in time. The nature and it's simpler ways will outlive each and every single human accomplishment. The loss of human accomplishments and hence its triviality and insignificance will be exposed by the seemingly trivial chirping of a humble nightingale sitting on a rose bush.

Translation - Woh Aake Khwaaab Mein (Ghalib)

woh aake khwaab mein taskeen-e-iztiraab to de
wale mujhe tapish-e-dil, mazaal-e-khwaab to de

Line 1/2 - The poet says that I wait for her to come in my dreams and give me some satisfaction from this never ending anxiety. If only, I had so much burning passion in my heart to give me strength so much to dream. The poet laments that he has lost so much hope and passion that he does not have even the courage left to dream. For if he was to dream, then his beloved would come in his dreams and put his anxieties and restlessness to ease. Therefore he wishes for passion and strength in his start to dream again. As with Ghalib the couplet can be about his beloved or equally a lament to God.

kare hai qatl lagaawat mein tera ro dena
tere tarah koee tegh-e-nigah ko aab to de

Line 3/4 -The poet says to his beloved that your tears literally tear my heart apart with affection. Those tears slay my heart with tenderness and warmth, so much so that I love these ways (momentary anger/emotion) of yours. There is no one like you who can bring tears from those fiery eyes and yet lovingly affect me in this fashion.

dikhaake jumbish-e-lab hee tamaam kar hamko
na de jo bosa, to munh se kaheen jawaab to de

Line 5/6 - Ghalib says that by showing movements of those lovely lips, you have finished me off of my existence and my worries. If you do not feel like give a kiss, then at least give me an answer. The poet in a daringly romantic streak says that those gentle movements of her lips take his breath away and literally finish him off. Don't give me a kiss if you are not for it, but at least say a reply for those lip movements will still be cherished.

pila de oak se saaqee jo hamse nafrat hai
pyaala gar naheen deta na de, sharaab to de

Line 7/8 - The poet pleading to the saaqee (the bartender) that though you may not like me and do not wish to give me the wine. I implore you to give me a drink, even if it is from the palms of my hand. You may not be keen in giving me a glass (for there is animosity between us), don't give me the glass, but at least provide me with the wine. One can also argue this couplet as an address to the God that I need only the knowledge and truth and do not cherish the material paraphernalia for I only seek the truth.

'Asad' khushee se mere haath paanv phool gaye
kaha jo usne zara mere paanv daab to de

Line 9/10 - The poet says that Asad!, I was filled with happiness when my beloved asked me to knead her feet!. Ghalib says that when his beloved expressed her wish that he presses her feet, he was not expecting it and he was so filled with mirth and glee that he could move or say something.

Meaning of difficult words -
taskeen = satisfaction
iztiraab = anxiety
tapish = burn/passion,
mazaal = strength
lagaawat = affection
tegh = sword
aab = water
jumbish = motion/vibration
bosa = kiss
oak = palm of the hand contracted so as to hold water

Read more posts on Ghalib.

Photo Of The Day

Canberra city from the top of Telstra tower

Australian National Parliament, Canberra

Thought Of The Day

It's been long since I have written on Indian polity, not because of there being any dearth of issues but because I believe that in the current set up the more things change the more they remain the same. What we are seeing today is a circus, a self serving act, self-deluding mockery that is being played with the tax payers money and common citizen's life. And I include opposition (of all shades and hues) in this charade. The problem are fundamental and yet fixable, yet no one is willing to fix them and it's not that they require some gigantic effort or big fiscal spend, they just require some imaginative thinking and resolve. But then creative imagination is not our strong point. Is it? I won't talk on it today, maybe some other day. Maybe not even on the other day.

Below the big headlines on any newspaper or news portal filled with some supposedly earth shattering news or gossip, below there lies a slow and steady stream of ruthless banality, of some miserable small death somewhere in the expanse of this big country. Accidents, suicide, human exploitation, mysterious diseases and criminal acts like murder/rape ect. These little read snippets of some gruesome incident often not stressed over in its singularity, yet when you look at how they are numbing the society, how they are killing people (and especially young people) you just shudder. 3000 people die on Mumbai trains yearly, a rape every 22 minutes. Over 150K killed mostly young people in road accidents in an year. Similar numbers for suicide. Every year the same story repeats for dengue, encephalitis ect. There are countless cruel stats like these. I can go on for ever. Yet, whats the point. Such miserable urban planning, no social nets for people who are clutching on to practically no hope. No rule of law to deter crime. No justice for the wronged. No adequate physical and social infrastructure. No proper health care for many who just give up. And on the top of it as if this was not enough, we ourselves do not seem to have commonsense to make the correct decision.

I think it is too much to ask. We are hoping for too much. For people of my age, (early thirties) who have seen both the old Bharat and the new India, we have already lived half of our lives where materially things may have gone comfortable (for some) yet the overall social indicators are still depressing. And I don't think things are going to get much better soon. We are or soon will be entering a demographic bulge where a whole generation will move from teens to employable age group and consumers The country and its infrastructure (both social and physical) is hopelessly short to handle this. Be it roads, be it housing, be it health care, be it courts or police. These mindless and numbing stats will just grow bigger and be still lost somewhere in this media circus or some chest-thumping rhetoric. They just didn't deserve that much respect, either living or either dying.

I just hope our children see a much better country. Something to think about!

Translation - Dil Hi To Hai Na Sang (Ghalib)

dil hi to hai na sang-o-khisht dard se bhar na aaye kyon?
royenge ham hazaar baar, koi hamein sataaye kyon?

Line 1/2 - The poet says it is only a heart and not some stone and bricks. Why will it not fill up with pain? With a sense of aggravated injury/anguish, the poet aggrieve that I am not made of stone and bricks that I don't feel pain. Even my cup of pain brims. I will cry a thousand times. Why does someone want to keep tormenting me? The second line echoes the first line provoked sense of injustice in saying that I am crying endlessly for I am being subjected to torment. The couplet as with Ghalib most works can be directed at the beloved or at the rigors of the existence where each passing day brings new misery.

dair nahin, haram nahin, dar nahin, aastaan nahin
baithe hain rehguzar pe ham, ghair hamein uthaaye kyon?

Line 3/4 - The poet says it is not a temple, nor a mosque. It is neither a door, nor a home. It is a pathway (public road) that I am sitting on, why are the others making me get up? This couplet though simple can take multiple connotation, each elegant in it own way. Ghalib says that he is not in the temple, nor inside the mosque thus independent of any religious affiliations. Also he is not inside a household or a door thus free from the drudgery of married life and household and social mores. No one can accuse him of religious impropriety or trespassing, instead he is deliberately sitting on the public road and no one can remove him from here now. In just two lines, he has aimed at religious as well as social tie-ups and asked to be left alone in the middle of the street, with no faith and no relations or love. Why can't I live like this? Why do you not let me live, out here.. alone.. unloved? Simply brilliant!

jab woh jamaal-e-dil_faroz, soorat-e-meher-e-neem_roz
aap hee ho nazzaara_soz, parde mein munh chupaaye kyon?

Line 5/6 - The poet says when that beauty of yours is so brilliant that it shins up the admirer's heart. Your face is like the mid-day sun, radiant and beaming and eye-blinding You are the one who is worth seeing, so why do you hide your face in the veil? Again multiple interpretations can be put forth. The poet says that your beauty is such a treat to watch but why do cover it with a veil? It can also be argued that poet is saying that your beauty is so brilliant and radiant that any unworthy person seeing you will be blinded by it and hence you actually don't need to cover your face to protect your modesty for no unworthy can eye you directly. Ghalib being ghalib, one can also interpret that these lines are complaints to the Omnipotent one. Why does God need to hide his true self. Your one sight/miracle would be enough to make people go blind in devotion.

dashna-e-ghamza jaan_sitaan, naawak-e-naaz be_panaah
tera hee aks-e-rukh sahee, saamne tere aaye kyon?

Line 7/8 - This is an absolute play on words. The poet says that with those dagger pointed amorous glances that literally take one's life away, those senses-pleasing grace, those haughty demeanor, those amorous behavior of yours is like rain of arrows from which there is no relief. The beloved with her subtle though flirty (not in a crude but as an artistic charm) and yet a bit overbearing manners evokes a deadly potency that there is no escaping them. The second line states that with such deadly charm, even the reflection of your beautiful face can not can not afford to come before you for it will be waylaid by its bewitching glance. Why do you risk yourself coming before the mirror and come face to face with it?
qaid-e-hayaat-o-band-e-gham asl mein dono ek hain
maut se pehle aadmee gham se nijaat paaye kyon?

Line 9/10 - After couple of heavy worded sher, this is simple on words but meaty on meaning. The poet laments that prison of life and the chains of sorrow are both in fact essentially the same thing. Why would man be released from pain before death? Ghalib in its brutal nakedness of human existence says that prison of human existence, the endless misery of being is fundamentally same (derive from same source) as continuous pain that afflicts the mortal soul. It is not possible to not have sorrow/pain in this existence of ours. Both go hand in hand. So why would a person be freed from this drudgery before death? Why would one expect so? There is no escaping this pain in our lives and the only escape is the eventual death.

husn aur uspe husn_zan rah gayee bulhawas ki sharm
apne pe 'eitmaad hai, ghair ko aazmaaye kyon?

Line 11/12 - The poet says that beauty and on the top of it the smartness and intelligence that his beloved displays. The lusty stranger was able to keep his honour and not be ashamed. There is calm confidence on oneself, but why do you want to test the other? Ghalib says that his beloved is someone who is extremely beautiful not only physically but from the heart as well, and the intelligence and confidence she oozes that she does not get intimated by other watching her or be conscious of her mannerisms. Her supreme confidence (due to her personality) makes her indifferent to the surrounding so that the lusty admirer is able to ogle at her without the risk of being caught by her eyes and hence be ashamed. You have confidence in yourself, but why do you test the strangers/others?

wahan wo ghuroor-e-iz'z-o-naaz yaaN yeh hijaab-e-paas-e-waz'a
raah mein ham mile kahaan, bazm mein wo bulaaye kyon?

Line 13/14 - The poet says over there, there is pride and vanity over the splendor and manners/grace. While over here there is modesty made possible due the respect and upright behavior. Where would we meet on the  road? Why would she call me to the social gathering that she is having. Ghalib aware of the stark social differences between him and his beloved comments that while there self-esteem prevails due to their mannerisms and splendor, over here its humble rectitude and self respect. The difference is so bare, that why would he be invited to the social meeting happening at her place and there is no place where they can meet on the road away from the prying eyes so as not to risk public embarrassment.

haan wo naheen khuda_parast, jaao wo be_wafa sahi
jisko ho deen-o-dil 'azeez, uskee galee mein jaaye kyon?

Line 15/16 - The poet says that yes she is not God-worshiper, she is unfaithful, agreed! One who loves his faith and his heart, why would they go to her street? Ghalib in conversation with some one (presumably the so called keepers of the faith/society). They warn the poet about his beloved's Godless ways and lack of devotion, besides doubting her faithfulness to him as well. The poet with a hint of irritation says that "agreed, she is not god-fearing and its fine if she is unfaithful as well. Why (those who so call love their heart and faith) why do they frequent her street?" Ghalib in other ways hinting that he does not care about his heart and his faith, for he will continue to go after his beloved but those so called moral custodians themselves are aware and maybe frequenting her street and yet preach the exact opposite to him.

'ghalib'-e-khasta ke baghair kaun se kaam band hain?
roiye zaar-zaar kya, keejiye haay-haay kyon?

Line 17/18 - Since the wretched Ghalib is not more, what worldly activities have come to stop? Why weep bitterly? Why wail about it now? Ghalib (now dead) says that the normal activities of the world are going on as before, despite the end of this miserable existence. So why do you weep and moan and make a big matter about. The pleasures and the sorrows and the daily grind and the hustle bustle of life is still there. Why do you unnecessarily lament my departure?

Meaning of difficult words -
sang = stone
khisht = brick
dair = temple
haram = mosque
dar = gate
aastaan = abode
rehguzar = pathway
jamaal = beauty
faroz = shining/luminous
meher = sun
neem_roz = mid day
nazzaara_soz = beautiful/worth seeing
dashna = dagger
ghamza = amorous glance
jaan_sitaan = destroying life
naawak = a kind of arrow
aks = image
hayaat = life
band-e-gham = chains of sorrow
nijaat = release/liberation
husn_zan = good opinion of a person
bulhawas = slave of passions/very greedy
'eitmaad = reliance/dependance
ghuroor = pride
iz'z-o-naaz = respect and beauty
hijaab = veil/modesty
paas = regard
waz'a = behavior
bazm = social gathering
parast = worshiper
deen = religion/faith
khasta = sick/injured
zaar-zaar = bitterly

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Borges : The Approach to Al Mu'tasim (Summary)

For those who know Borges, knows what kind of density and imagination he packs in the magical and short tales he spins. I have not read much of his work but whatever I have has a certain sense of strangeness to it. A concept, a stretch of imagination that could be used as a construct to make bigger stories or can be left just an idea hanging there. I read another of his short works called "The Approach to Al Mu'tasim". This story is part of the bigger book called "The Ficciones". As with Borges, the focus is on an idea with not much of a prose to work on the idea. The obsession with whats real and what's not, with mirrors and labyrinths is very much in play. The foreword states that instead of writing huge books about an idea that can be stated in five minutes, a far better idea would be to assume that such huge book exists and then write a summary or commentary on them. This story is based on the similar construct. The writer assumes that such a book is already published and provides a commentary on it.

That imaginary book called "The Approach to Al Mu'tasim" set up in per-independent Bombay. The hero (a muslim) caught up in a communal riot, kills (or thinks he killed) a hindu. Fearing that he will be pursued, he runs to the edge of city. There he meets a wretched soul who raids graves for gold teeth. Shaken by the events, the hero decides to lose himself in the vastness of India. In this journey, the hero adopts the evil ways of the underclass. Here in these vile ways, he comes across a companion who has a sudden change of heart, "a certain moment of tenderness". He concludes that that guy is actually echoing someone else, a friend, or the friend of a friend. He deduces that somewhere in this earth, a person exists from whom the light emanates and this gets reflected to any person who gets in touch with him and some light gets on this person who in turn reflects it to whoever he comes across. And so his colleague also come across a person who had that light that came to him reflected by that One. He calls the One Al Mu'tasim. Thus the journey becomes one of a soul looking for that elusive light, which sometimes nearer made the divinity of the mortal soul more profound, but they were still the mirrors reflecting the true light. Finally the hero comes to a door, and behind a curtain is a shining light. He calls out for Al Mu'tasim and enters the door. The novel ends here.

In the footnote the author refers to the poem Mantiq ut-Tair (The Colloquy of the Birds) by the Persian mystic Mohammad ibn-Ibraham Attar. In the poem the king of birds, the Simurgh, drops one of his splendid feathers somewhere in the middle of China; on learning this, the other birds, tired of their age-old anarchy, decide to seek him out. They know that the king's name means 'thirty birds'. Setting out on epic journey, Thirty, purified by suffering, reach the great peak of the Simurgh. At last they behold him; they realize that they are the Simurgh and that the Simurgh is each of them and all of them.

Reading the footnote, the story becomes clear. The hero was Al Mu'tasim. The seeker was the one that was being sought. The search for truth becomes the search for one's identity. The travails of the life reflected on him incrementally to make him the one. Each experience, each moment, each meeting contributed in making him a complete perfect man, The Al Mu'tasim. In a way Borges uses an actual poem and an imaginary novel to come up with an idea on search for one's identity. The one that we do not see on the mirror everyday. The one who though not visible in the clarity of the mirror, yet shins out so brilliant that its reflects its brilliance all around. Where one loses oneself into enormity to discover oneself. Where the searcher takes the iota of the sought slowly by slowly to ultimately become one that is being sought. As Nietzsche puts it, when you stare at the abyss it stares back at you. As you know about things, you take a piece of it and ultimately become a part of it. Come to think of it, each one of us is the God and god is each One of us. 

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain V

Iram indeed is gone with all its Rose,
And Jamshyd's Sev'n-ring'd Cup where no one knows;
But still the Vine her ancient Ruby yields,
And still a Garden by the Water blows.

This is the fifth quatrain of the Fitzgerald's The Rubaiyat. Unlike the last four where the passing of timeand change was significant, like the change from night to day or change of seasons, this quatrain can be interpreted as one where time passes, but some wonders remain (nature) and some become relics of the past. Time does not wait, it  just passes by bulldozing the crowning human achievements and demigods by the wayside but the humble and seemingly and ordinary ways of nature continue.

The quatrain first two lines mentions that Iram is lost and with it all its glory is also gone forever and Jamshid's fabled seven ringed cup (Jam-e-Jam) has been forgotten. Iram was an ancient city in Arabia that served as a trading post and consequently come to be known as a opulent city. The reputation of the city fell in later times and the city was abandoned and is now only mentioned as a footnote in the history books. King Jamshid (according to Persian mythology) was among the greatest king the world has ever seen. He owned a mythical cup (Jam-e-Jam) that was said to contain the elixir for immortality and one could see the entire universe by looking into it.The king later lost his glory as he become full of pride and lost the blessings of God. The next two lines state that even though the glories of the kings and the magnificence of human race has been lost in time, yet the ordinary garden by the river is still there blooming and the old vineyard is still producing those ruby shaped grapes. The banality of nature has outlived the grandeur of human existence. All human endeavors ultimately will be forgotten and will be outlived and survived by simple ways of nature. The critical element again as in last quatrains is time, not the change the time brings but the constantness of nature with time.

Translation - Ishq Mujhko Nahin (Ghalib)

ishq mujhko nahin, wehshat hi sahi
meri wehshat, teri shohrat hi sahi

Line 1/2 - The beloved addressing the lover says there is no love between us and your feelings towards me are not love. The poet replies let it be madness then and let my madness be the cause of your fame. The lover is willing to go mad in quest for his love even though the love is unrequited. Even his madness, he wishes would bring more fame to his beloved. He wants the best for his lover irrespective of his love is returned or not.

qata`a keeje na ta`alluq ham se
kuch nahin hai to `adaavat hi sahi

Line 3/4 - Don't break of the relationship/ties between you and me. Even if nothing remain between us, then let the enmity remain. The poet is not willing to let go of his beloved. He laments that don't sever the ties, but if you do then let us be enemies. In that way, you will not wither away from my mind but will be a strong feeling in my thoughts even if those thoughts are of enmity.

mere hone mein hai kya ruswaaee?
'ei woh majlis nahin khalwat hi sahi

Line 5/6 - What is this displeasure that you are showing in my presence? If you don't like it here (in the public assembly place), then meet me alone someplace isolated. The poet aware that his beloved my not be keen on exposing our relationship to public sphere, pleads that she can meet him alone, away from the prying eyes.

ham bhi dushman to nahee hain apne
ghair ko tujh se mohabbat hi sahi

Line 7/8 - The poet says that I am also not enemy of my own self. So what if a total stranger is in love with you. This seems to be a simpler couplet, yet thinking it multiple times one can argue that the poet says that he is not enemy with his inner self (his alter-ego), so what if the alter-ego is in love with you. He has nothing to worry about. The physical self is satisfied with his metaphysical self being in love with his beloved.

apni hastee hee se ho, jo kuch ho!
aagahee gar nahin ghaflat hi sahi

Line 9/10 - This is the jewel of this ghazal. The poet says that whatever you are, it is because of your being/self. If one is not aware of this eternal truth, then let there be ignorance. In an existentialist streak, Ghalib says that being/self defines the essence of life. It precedes it. Your life, your actions will define what and how you will be known. If this fact is not being realized and understood by people, then let ignorance reign over the masses.

'umr harchand ke hai barq-e-khiraam
dil ke khoon karne ki fursat hi sahi

Line 11/12 - Life is passing by (moving forward) every moment like a lightning flash. Despite this, there is lot of time to engage in the rigors of love. The poet says that even in this short-lived life, its not small to be in love and occasionally sometimes to fail in love.

ham koi tarq-e-wafa karte hain
na sahi ishq, museebat hi sahi

Line 13/14 - I am not the one who has given up on this relationship of ours. I still believe in it. If not love, then it be another torment/trouble. Ghalib says I am not questioning this relationship, but if there is no love left between us then let the torment remain. Let the misery and uncertainty continue to inflict my soul.

kuchch to de 'ei falak-e-na_insaaf
aah-o-fariyaad ki rukhasat hi sahi

Line 15/16 - Give me at least something, O you unjust One (referring to God as Keeper of the unfair blue sky). Give me at least the right/permission to plead and appeal. Ghalib using simple imagery (like blue sky), in a cynical tone mocks to God to give him some hint of his impartiality or else give him the sanction to plea.

ham bhee tasleem kee khoo daalenge
be_niyaazee teree `aadat hi sahi

Line 17/18 - I will accept this habit. Even if this indifference of yours is a habit of yours. Ghalib says i will start accepting and continue bearing this habit/conduct without complaining. It's okay if this apathy towards me is your usual demeanor.

yaar se cheda chalee jaay, 'Asad'
gar nahi wasl to hasrat hi sahi

Line 19/20 - The poet says that this teasing and sweet-talking the beloved by Asad will finally end. Even if union is not possible, then let the desire remain at least. Ghalib says that this playfulness eventually will be no more, and if union is not there then let the unfulfilled desire remain.

Meaning of difficult words:
wehshat = madness/horror
shohrat = fame
qata'a = break/intercept
ta'alluq = relation/connection
'adaavat = hatred/animosity
majlis = assembly
khalwat = isolation
hastee = existence
aagahee = knowledge/information
ghaflat = negligence
harchand = every moment
barq = lightning
khiraam = manner of walking
tarq = relinquishment
falak = sky
tasleem = greeting/saluting
khoo = habit
be_niyaazee = independence
wasl = meeting
hasrat = desire

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Photo Of The Day

Shelly Beach, Manly

North Head, Manly

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 ?

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?

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

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.

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

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

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

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?

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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

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

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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

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.

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

Line 3/4 - What/Why should I complain of the bodily injury that I am afflicted with, these sky-blue colored 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 color and omnipotent God)

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

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.

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

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 KabbaGhalib takes a aim at the religious orthodoxy that has masked the minds of the classes by rigid rules that they themselves do not follow.

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

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.

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

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.

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

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 color/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

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