Translation - Yeh Hum Jo Hijr Mai (Ghalib)

yeh hum jo hijr mai deewar-o-dar ko dekhte hain
kabhi saaba ko kabhi nama’bar ko dekhte hain

Line 1/2 - In the times of this separation from you, I keep looking absent minded at the doors and walls of my home. Sometimes I wait in anticipation of the messenger and sometimes for the wind coming from your direction for the winds coming may have some hint of you.

wo aaein ghar mai hamare khuda ki qudrat hai
kabhi hum un ko kabhi apne ghar ko dekhte hain

Line 3/4 - My lover has come to my house; it's a miracle from the God. I sometimes look at her, and sometimes I look at the ruins that are my only abode. Such beauty amid the desolation and ruins! How do I get to deserve this luck? This has to be a miracle from God.

nazar lage na kahin us ke dast-o-bazaboo ko
yeh log kiyu mere zakhm-e-jigar ko dekhte hain

Line 5/6 - May I not cast an evil eye looking at the lovely hand and shoulder of my beloved? Why do people look at my tortured heart (due to this unflinching love) and gossip about it? The poet says that he has been cautious to not stare at his beloved so as not to cast an evil eye and also catch the society's attention. Yet why do people not let me live peacefully?

tere jawahir-e-taraf-e-kala ko kiya dekhen
hum auj-e-talaa-e-laal-o-gohar ko dekhte hain

Line 7/8 - What to see/say about your jewelry and your golden belt and that crown of yours? The poet laments on the stark social differences between them and says that I see my luck and my position (lowly existence) on one hand and your opulent string of pearls and diamonds on the other.

Meaning of difficult words :-
saaba : wind
nama’bar : messenger
hijr : separation
dast-o-baazoo : hands and shoulders
jawahir : jewellery
taraf : golden belt
kala : crown
auj : position
taala : luck
laal-o-gohar : pearls and diamonds

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Albert Camus : The Stranger (Summary)

I just finished reading Albert Camus's "The Stranger". A short book, but no less depressing. The story is simple to read, but the narrative is not that forthcoming. The story starts with news that the mother of the protagonist has died and he would have to take some time off for the wake. There is no hint of grief or remorse in him, instead he seemed distant. It's not as if he is indifferent, he is very aware of the surrounding like the detail with which he describes the heat, the people at funeral. He is also not a recluse either as the very next day he is seen flirting with his on and off girlfriend and going to a movie together. Later in the story, he gets involved with some Arabs and end up killing one. He is arrested and the later half of the story revolves around his trial and his abject resignation. The focus of the trial is not the killing, but the emotional detachment the protagonist displays.(not that it would have mattered). He treats the killing of another person trivially. It's not that he is an outlaw (the killing just happened), it just that what has happened has happened and any amount of remorse is not going to make amends. The protagonist is not guided by morality, not by what people think or what social mores are. He instead is guided by his actions and decisions and he stands by it however wrong. He is not willing to look back and ponder for he believes in present. He does not let his fantasies roam with thoughts of religion or remorse. He sees things as they are. He believes in what he can see and feels. Anything that does not happen while he is on the face of earth does not matter him. He is not hopeless (for he does not believe in one), instead he believes that these hopes weigh a person down. He is aware of the absurdity of his meaningless life and does not try to reason or make amends. He exists as he IS, not trying anything more, nor trying anything less. At the very end he rejects God and reconciles to death not because of any guilt, but because everyone is going to get one sooner or later. He thinks when it is all over, he would be glad that it's over. He is the stranger, stranger to everything other than what his senses sense.

Life in a Village : The Long Lost Times

I had been thinking about writing this for a long long time.. to write about the current rage is much more easier and spontaneous than to write over distant memories that come at their own pace, sometimes of moments that were ordinary and yet still are their in your head for significance unknown among the mindless mambo-jumbo that modern city technology and finance heavy our lives have become. I still yearn for that easier life, though I am not so sure if it would be that fulfilling now. Probably I have outgrown it, but hey! everybody needs a crib. This is my crib.

My grandfather died peacefully sometime back. He was always a hands-on man. Always on to something, never tired and always restless. Never a thing he could not do. I surely had lot of fine moments with him specially on the fields that used be part of our old house (and later the newer house that was built beside it). I still recall what a wonderful green mini-forest we had and all the fruits and vegetable and trees we used to grow. I remember the festive mood that was when we dug out taedu (yams) during Shivratri. I remember the summers when the twirling toona (tunn) seeds would fall out of the sky like snow flakes and the terrace would be filled with it. I remember times when I (along with my sister) would be on the sehtoot (mulberry) tree plucking the sehtoot with our hands and mouth stained by its colors. I recall my grandfather on the big tutari tree (paper mulberry) cutting its branches for fodder of our cows. I recall those winters when we would devour on the sweet & sour chakotra (pomelo) in the winter sun. I remember the times when my grandfather and I sometimes would go to the other field down the railway line to bring the chari (sorghum) and bajra (pearl millet) grass for cow fodder. Sometimes we would bring a bag full of dal (rice bean) pods that would grow intertwined among the tall millet grass. The dal was used to make stuffed paranthas. I remember when we would dug the field to plant mandua (finger millet) and jau (barley) for fodder as well as flour. I remember the big dune the wheat chaff made when the wheat thresher bellowed. I remember the excitement at the great crop we had once of arhaar dal (pigeon pea). I remember the back breaking effort that went into planting the rice seedlings and then later he extracting the seeds from the crop. Sometimes we went to the nearest mill for milling rice and couple of times we went for milling mustard. I remember the very green and gentle barsi (berseem,clover) grass that was grown for fodder. Sometimes our dog (mili) would be running in big leaps having the fun of their lives in those clover fields. I remember when we used to roll the wodden handle (sometimes jointly) of the grass cutting machine. I recall the everyday breakfast of green vegetables mainly rai (rapeseed),meethi (fenugreek) and chaulaai (amaranth). I remember that season when we had so much aeskos (chayote) that it was cooked for our cows. I remember the tall tree of jamaun (jambul) whose fruit we hardly had as it was too high. I remember the vegetable creepers of pumkin, karela (bitter gourd) , cucumbers, loki (bottle gourd), chachinda (snake gourd), tori (ridge gourd) and many other beans that would cover the trees of nashpati (asian pear), mango, tunn, guava, gular (fig racemosa), bedu (fig palmata) and many unknowns. I remember so many days when we both would pick the ladder to pluck the vegetables from these creepers that went straight into the kitchen. I recall when we used to go to break waters for our fields from the bigger canal and in those overflowing fields sometimes a white heron could be seen. I remember the arvi (eddoe) pakodas that were made from its giant green leaves by my mom. I recall the summer season's aam (mango) picking that was a summer holiday must do activity. I can go on and on for a long time for those memories would not stop.

I miss those days. I really do.

Translation - Na Tha Kuch Toh (Ghalib)

na tha kuch toh khuda tha, kuch na hota toh khuda hota
duboyaa mujh ko hone ne, na hota main to kya hota

Line 1/2 - When there was nothing, God was there.. If there had been nothing, there would have been God. In emptiness, God would still exist. In nothingness Only God would exist. In the beginning nothing was there, except God. If there would have been nothing, God would have still been there. My existence has let me down. Becoming (My being) has defeated me. If I did not exist, what would I be? If I did not existed, what harm would it be?

An alternate meaning of these two lines could be -
If I were nothing, then I would be God. If I am nothing, I would have been God implying God is a personal experience. Now having become God, I have become alienated from my True Self by all the vices and corruption of the human existence. What good was my life? If I did not existed, would it have really mattered?

hua jab gham se yuun behis to gham kya sar ke katne ka
na hota gar judaa tan se to zaannon par dharaa hota

Line 3/4 - When the mere existence has become a burden and a curse by the pain and suffering all around, then what is pain at the head being cut off? My loss of faith in God has made life such a misery that death looks to be the only solution and I have no qualms about it. If it would have not been cut off (for God is merciful, and He would spare my life from this violent death), it would always be bent to my knees in devotion to the God to make amends to my faithless and immoral existence.

hui muddat ke ghalib mar gayaa par yaad aataa hai
woh har ek baat pe kahna ke yuun hota to kya hota

Line 5/6 - A long time has passed since Ghalib passed away, but he still comes back to the memory. Saying every-time that had it not been this way, then how it would have been? The contemplation that if I have lived my life differently [followed the correct way] what would have I been. Would it have mattered? Would it have amounted to anything other than death because eventually death is the final Truth?

Meaning of difficult words: -
behis : shocked
zaannon : knees

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Photo Of The Day

Blue Mountains, NSW

Katoomba Falls from Scenic Skyway, NSW