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Somewhere in Sydney - Tranquility or Beauty or Life

Mountain Goat, Taroonga, Sydney - Bored or Indifferent or Prospicience

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain III

And, as the Cock crew, those who stood before
The Tavern shouted--"Open then the Door!
"You know how little while we have to stay,
"And, once departed, may return no more."

This is the third quatrain of "The Rubaiyat". Philosophically it is just ruminates over the passage of time. The moment that ticks by slowly, never to come back again. As the morning grew (made obvious by the crowing cock). A group of people await outside the tavern, shouting loud to open the tavern door so that they can enter in. They state that they are just travelers and won't stay much long and once they have pass this city, they may never return to it again. As against the Quatrain II where voices come from inside the tavern, in this one they come from outside. But the essence is same, time does not wait for anyone. The moment will just withers away, and there is nothing you can do except make the best of it by living the moment and cherishing it for no one knows where & what state one will be in the future for death awaits everyone.

Pure Engineering!

This is what we call engineering at its best. The best minds out there describe the challenges that NASA's Curiosity rover is going to face in its last moments of descent on the Martian surface when it lands in the first week of August this year. Seriously that is some feat and yes, Best of luck for the landing!

The Rubaiyat : Quatrain II

Dreaming when Dawn's Left Hand was in the Sky
I heard a voice within the Tavern cry,
"Awake, my Little ones, and fill the Cup
Before Life's Liquor in its Cup be dry."

This is the second quatrain of The Rubaiyat[Fitzgerald's first edition].

Dreaming in the early hours of the yet to come morning (before the break of dawn). I heard a voice from the tavern cry out. The voice said, awake and arise my little children and fill your cup to the brim, before the liquor in cup of life runs out and become dry. The quatrain can be philosophically explained as live the day, believe in living in the moment. Do not be worried about what will happen in the after life. Enjoy every moment that you live and revel in its glory. The usage of wine can be both literal as well as allegorical. In a way,wine makes one relieve the anxiety of his fate, his place in this cosmic scheme, his destiny, the eventual death and the absurdity of this life. It just makes him forget the future and let him enjoy the moment. Allegorically wine could also symbolize all the fine pleasures in life (both physical and artistic). The other symbolism is God calling out from the tavern meaning God exists everywhere even in vilest of places.

Translation Har Ek Baat Pe Kehte (Ghalib)

har ek baat pe kehte ho tum ke tu kya hai?
tumheen kaho ke yeh andaaz-e-guftgoo kya hai ?

Line 1/2 - On every conversation/utterance of mine, you say "what are you". You tell me what kind of conversation interchange is this? The most obvious interpretation is the poet addressing his beloved, who has an air of indifference towards her lover and arrogantly dismisses him as "what are you. What do you think of yourself?" (maybe due to social status gap). The poet complains that how can any meaningful conversation happen if this is the way she continues to behave.

na shole mein yeh karishma na barq mein yeh ada
koi batao ki woh shokh-e-tund khoo kya hai?

Line 3/4 - The balls of burning fire does not have such miracle, nor the sudden bolt of lightning has such a style. Some one tell me what that mischievous and sharp-tongued mood/behavior is. This one is fairly straightforward, where the poet describes his beloved's sharp nature and temper as something that can outdo the searing coals and sudden lightning bolt.

yeh rashk hai ki wo hota hai ham-sukhan tumse
wagarna khauf-e-bad_aamozi-e-adoo kya hai?

Line 5/6 - The poet says that I am only jealous because of the fact that he gets to talk to you. Otherwise what fear do I have of the teaching/misguiding that his wicked enemy of mine is giving to you. He is envious that this enemy of his gets the comfort of his beloved's company, but he is not worried about the lessons that he is telling her, for he knows she is mine (or in other way he knows that she will ditch new lover like the way she has done to him earlier)

chipak raha hai badan par lahoo se pairaahan
hamaaree jeb ko ab haajat-e-rafoo kya hai ?

Line 7/8 - This gown of mine is sticking to my body, with blood. Why does this gown's collar need any darning (now). To explain this, the poet says his gown is all bloodied due to his heart bursting out from the grief/pressure of love. So what use will be the mending of the gown, since it will be torn again by his heart bursting out again (due to the rigors of the love). Some ghoulish imagery by Ghalib indeed!

jalaa hai jism jahaan dil bhee jal gaya hoga
kuredate ho jo ab raakh, justjoo kya hai?

Line 9/10 - The poet says that where the body has been totally burnt, the heart must also have been totally burnt. What are you searching now in the ashes now, what is your intention/desire? This is an obvious taunt to his beloved, what is she searching now in the ashes of his burnt out body. What is her desire? Is she searching for his heart, for if she is, that would have also been burnt with the rest of the body. Why is she being so considerate now (for she herself caused his death by her rebuke/indifference). Totally awesome!

ragon mein daudte firne ke ham naheen qaayal
jab aankh hee se na tapka to fir lahoo kya hai?

Line 11/12 - The poet says I am not impressed by it running about in the veins. If it does not drip from the eyes, what kind of blood is this. What good is the lover's blood whose sole purpose is to run around in the veins and it can't drip from the eyes of the lover. What good will that blood (running on veins) be if it continues to make him live and suffer (the agony of love). It should instead drip out endlessly through his eyes, and end this misery(life) of his.

woh cheez jiske liye hamko ho bahisht azeez
siwaay baada-e-gul_faam-e-mushkaboo kya hai?

Line 13/14 - The things for which we cherish the heaven, what is it other than wine flavored with the fragrance of delicate flowers and smelling like musk. Ghalib professes his love for wine and takes the aim at the religious clergy for misguiding people about after-life when the best thing there would still be the earthly wine. It could also mean Ghalib questioning what would be in out there in heaven (even more fabulous than wine)?

piyoon sharaab agar khum bhee dekh loon do chaar
yeh sheesha-o-qadah-o-kooza-o-suboo kya hai ?

Line 15/16 - The poet says that I can see (and take care) of 2-4 barrels of wine. So what use is talking about these glasses, pitchers and chalice. The poet again tells about his prowess in wine-drinking.

rahee na taaqat-e-guftaar, aur agar ho bhee
to kis ummeed pe kahiye ke aarzoo kya hai?

Line 17/18 - The poet says that he has no power left for a speech, and even if the power was there then with what hope should I say what's that I desire. The despondency, the misery has sucked all the life out of him, so much so that he does not even have the will to make a speech and even if he were to, what good would that be. His desires would still be unanswered (by God or maybe his beloved). What's the point hoping for those expectation that would never be fulfilled.

hua hai shaah ka musaahib, fir hai itaraata
wagarna shehar mein 'ghalib' kee aabroo kya hai?

Line 19/20 - The poet says having been the associate of the king, he can swagger around the town boastfully now. Otherwise, what is Ghalib's place/status in the city? This can be interpreted as a compliment to the emperor on whose monthly pension the poet is maintained or it can also be a lament that even a poet of no less repute than Ghalib needs to have a patron so that he is assured of a regular income.

Meaning of difficult words -
guftgoo = conversation
barq = lightning
tund = sharp/angry
khoo = behavior
musaahib = comrade/associate
justjoo = desire
pairaahan = shirt/robe/cloth
rashk = jealousy
rafoo = mending/darning
haajat = need/necessity
adoo = enemy
bad = bad/wicked
aamozee = education/teaching
khauf = fear
ham_sukhan = to speak together/to agree
mushkaboo = like the smell of musk
gul_faam = delicate and fragrant like flowers
bahisht = heaven
baada = wine
khum = wine barrel
qadah = goblet
kooza/suboo = wine pitcher
guftaar = speech/discourse

Read more posts on Ghalib.

The Rubaiyat - Quatrain I

Awake! for Morning in the Bowl of Night
Has flung the Stone that puts the Stars to Flight
And Lo! the Hunter of the East has caught
The Sultan's Turret in a Noose of Light.

This is the first quatrain of The Rubaiyat Of Omar Khayyam. The translation into English (First Edition) is done by Edward Fitzgerald. The thing with is same as Ghalib. There can be a million interpretation. I will give just mine. You are open to keep yours.

Rise, for the morning is rising now from the innards of the night (dawn). And the morning has tossed the bright sun that has put the stars into a flight. The stars are dimming away now in the brightness of the rising sun. See the hunter of the East (personifies the sun) that has caught the Sultan's turret in the trap made of the rays of the light. The Sultan's turret meant the edifice/tower of the king's castle that casts a watchful eye under which terror reigns (the terror of the night). The morning captures this through the loop made of light and chases it away. One can explain the quatrain philosophically as do not be disappointed by the sorrow and troubles that come your way for there will always be a new day and new start when the sun will rise and shine and wipe out the disappointing night and provide you with a opportunity to make a fresh start. The troubles should not bog one down for even the darkest of night is chased away by a rising sun.

Thought Of The Day

(left: sea dragon | right: stone fish | photos taken at Sydney aquarium)

I last week completed a long pending trip to Sydney aquarium. For someone who was and is still fascinated by the beauty and the ways of nature, the visit was quite fulfilling. I also last week saw this David Attenbourogh documentary (called First Life) which again was a treat to watch especially in High Definition. The documentary investigates rise of multi-cellular and complex organisms from the much simpler life forms some time about 542 million years ago in an epoch called the Cambrian Explosion. Post this event, life forms evolved quickly as if put on steroids. From the earlier simpler self-similar fractal forms that needed 10-20 genetic codes to live to bi-symmetrical segmented & crusted organisms with mobility and then eventually to organism that had organs and complex body functions. Life indeed evolved fast considering the pace of changes that happened prior to this epoch and when you consider that most of these forms were eventually made extinct (up to 99% in some fauna groups) in another event called (P-T Extinction event) and other events we still have lot of diversity left on this small planet of ours. It is so fascinating to think and wonder how we reached here to the stage we are and probably who knows we may not be the masters of this world for times to come.

In probably another couple million years humans may evolve with longer or more agile fingers or maybe more fingers (to work on the touch pads, if they are still around), they may evolve with smaller gut (as we go into more protein rich diet) or may be fur over our bodies (if we enter a never ending ice age) or who knows what. Evolution is never ending. It has no path or endpoint or a form to reach. It will never stop. We are evolving as we speak, as we type and as we breathe. Who knows what we come to. For a moment, sit back and wonder at this ultimate movie playing we call Earth!

Photo Of The Day

Leura Falls, Leura, NSW

Leura Cascades, Leura, NSW