The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XL

You know, my Friends, how long since in my House
For a new Marriage I did make Carouse:
Divorced old barren Reason from my Bed,
And took the daughter of the Vine to Spouse.

This is the fortieth quatrain of the FitzGerald's Rubaiyat. The poet addressing to his friends, says that it's been long that I had a new marriage. I am disclosing out the details to you all today. For the marriage ceremony, we had a loud and boisterous carouse (basically a drunken revelry). I in this new marriage has taken the daughter of the grape vine as my new wife and I have divorced the old and barren reasoning and logic from my bed. I sleep every night not with the reasoning of my actions, but with the realization of the day well spent! The motive of the lines is same as the last quatrains. Too much time has been lost in reasoning and sound judgement as it is taking us nowhere. Instead he has taken wine as his new wife and engaged in living in more earthly delights and pleasure of the senses. All the logic and reasoning will tire you out and the teaching of the learned and wise would just lead you confused and still with no clear answers. Flow with the flow and it may lead you somewhere unexpected but be glad of the joys of the journey you had. Think too hard and reason too much, you still will end up where possibly you had not expected and for sure did not enjoy the journey either!

Photo Of The Day

All pictures taken at Abercrombie House, Bathurst, NSW

Translation - Jaur Se Baz Aaye Par Baz Aayen (Ghalib)

jaur se baz aaye par baz aayen kya
kahate hain hum tum ko muh dikhalayen kya

Line 1/2 - Refrained from oppression (she has), but refrain from what did she? (She) says that how can I show my face to you now! The poet referring to the beloved says, that she has finally realized her tyranny and cruelty towards him and has refrained from those injustices. But, alas such is the misery of the lover that the renunciation of the cruelty is of no use to him, for the beloved is now shameful of her past behavior and says that she can't face him or show her face to him. So! what has changed, even after the admission and abstaining from the injustice, I am feeling the same. Her not showing face was the original grievance and her repentance by shying away from facing me puts me back to same situation. I wonder what did she refrained from?

raat din gardish mein hain sat aasman
ho rahega kuch na kuch ghabarayen kya

Line 3/4 - Night and day, the seven skies wander about. Something or the other will happen, should we panic? The poet says, all night and all of day, the seven skies above us wander about and revolve around. Something will happen, should we be anxious? The idea that movements of heavenly bodies decide the fortunes and fate of men is being mentioned. Since all the bodies are moving around, the poet says this will have an affects on us. What those effects would be, we can not tell, but should we panic or fear? An alternative reading of the last line could be, that something will happen for sure, so why fear? We do know yet what is going to happen so no point stressing yet. Let it happen and then we will see.

laag ho to us ko hum samajhen lagav
jab na ho kuch bhi to dhoka khayen kya

Line 5/6 - If it was a grudge, we would have understood it as a affection. When there is no emotions present, how do I delude myself? 'laag' can mean lot of things. The most common being co-relation or bearing. It can also mean affection as well as enmity. The poet says when his beloved showed a grudge or spite towards him, he would deceive himself into thinking that as a mark of affection. I will fool myself into thinking that he was shown warmth and love. But what to do, when there is no emotions shown. When no feeling are conveyed, neither love or anger, when the beloved is just ignoring him then how does he delude himself. What should he fool himself with?

ho liye kyon namabar ke saath-saath
ya rab apne khat ko hum pahunchayen kya

Line 7/8 - Why did I go along with the messenger. O Lord!, Should I deliver my letters to her!  The poet says, in his eagerness and zeal to ensure that his letters to the beloved reach her promptly and without delay, he goes along with his messenger not realizing that he has reached his beloved's doorstep. O God! Why am I here? Am I delivering my letters to her now? An alternate reading could be made my reading the first line differently. The lover says to the beloved that why are you with the messenger. Oh! maybe I need to deliver my own letters now!. Maybe his beloved has developed an affinity for the messenger. In that case, it is prudent not to send the letters via the messenger for he may read it for he is a rival now!

mauj-e-khun sar se guzar hi kyon na jaye
aastan-e-yaar se uth jayen kya

Line 9/10 - Even if the waves of blood were high enough to wash over my head, Would I rise up from the home of my beloved? The poet says even if the waves of blood came rushing forth, high enough to wash over his head, his head would still be bowed down at the door of his beloved's home. Come what may, come even the apocalypse, but I would not rise up from that door. I read an interesting alternate reading of these lines. The poet in this interpretation questions - why should not the waves of blood wash over my head? No one knows what rises from the abode of my beloved. Such is the tyranny of my beloved, that I have no clue as to what may come forth (from her powers) as I lay on her doorstep. I could very well be waves of blood (cataclysm) that wash over my head.

umr bhar dekha kiye marane ke rah
mar gae par dekhiye dikhalayen kya

Line 11/12 - Through out my life, I waited for death. Now that I am dead, lets see what I have to show for it! This could be read in so many ways. The poet says I have waited for death all my life. I fancied death throughout my life. But now that I am dead, I am not sure what I have to show. All my life, I longed for death as if my dying would redeem everything. Alas! nothing like this happened, the world around goes on unworried and undisturbed (referring to may either God or his beloved). I have nothing to brag for in my death for they continue to behave unfazed. An alternate could be that after death, in front of God I have nothing to show in my life (in terms of deeds). Yet another could be that now that I am dead, lets see how they (God or his beloved) treat me. Their indifference and my agony made me to wish for death. Now dead, lets see if they treat me any better in death!

puchate hain wo ki “ghalib” kon hai
koi batalao ki hum batalayen kya

Line 13/14 - She asks, - who is Ghalib? Someone tell me for what should I tell her? These lines again can be read in so many possibilities. The poet says that his beloved is endearingly asking "Who is this Ghalib?', a genuine question for she does not know? To this the poet in a light banter says someone tell me what should I tell her? In-spite of my lifelong dedication to her, she is still unaware of me and my love. Well! someone tell me what can I tell her for she has no clue of who I am. What words can cover or complement my lifelong loyalty to her. An alternate meaning could be the beloved in scornful tone asks "Well! Who does this Ghalib thinks he is?" To which the poet ponders - Someone tell me, if I should tell. In response to disdainful tone of the beloved's question, it may be prudent just to be quiet for now. Can somebody confirm?

Meaning of difficult words -
jaur = oppression/tyranny
baz = refrain, hawk
gardish = misfortune/wandering about
laag = co-relation, enmity
laagav = love/affection
naamaabar = messenger
mauj = wave
aastaan = abode

Read more posts on Ghalib.

The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XXXIX

How long, how long in infinite Pursuit
Of This and That endeavour and dispute?
Better be merry with the fruitful Grape
Than sadden after none, or bitter, Fruit.

This is the thirty-ninth quatrain of the FitzGerald's Rubaiyat. The poet opens up with a question asking us, for how long we are going pursue in our endeavors and wishes for these pursuits are infinite. For how long we will continue to resolve the disputes and challenges of life for they are also endless. These pursuits and challenges of life are infinite and unsolvable. It is better to be merry with the fruitful grape instead of wasting your time and energy over nothing or worse, a bitter fruit. Instead of bound to life's spiritual endeavor and earthly disputes that go on for ever, why not merry oneself with the modest and fleshy grape growing in the backyard than with nothing in hand or worse, a bitter fruit. Be happy with what you have and enjoy it rather than pursue infinite and life consuming tasks that may lead to disappointment or no time to enjoy what you already have.

Thought Of The Day

This is another of jewels of David Attenborough. It is a fascinating documentary on the Papua New Guinea's Birds of Paradise. Here is an interesting trivia on these birds.

In this group of 39 species of exotic birds that make up the Birds of Paradise, all females across species look similar and are mostly brown and looking dull and plain. While the males are all showy and colorful and in males each species look distinct from the other species. The plumes and feathers and the colors of males are distinct and totally unlike the females. Why did evolution took the path that it took? Why had this specific bird family has taken there plumage and ornaments to such an extreme levels and insane levels?

The females of the Birds of Paradise group raise the newborn entirely by herself. Most other species of birds usually work in pair to raise the newborns or build a nest or find food for the offspring, but the females of this group does everything by her own. This reason by itself is why the males have so fancy plumage. The tropical forests of Papua New Guinea are rich in fruits and figs all year round, making it easier for the females to entirely raise the chick all by herself. Since the male have nothing else to do, they spend all the time perfecting there dance moves and producing fascinating plumes and displays. As females do not need males to help around, the partner selection process revolves around which male has the best plumes. Now with evolution, this particular liking becomes more and more amplified over thousands of generations until the plumage reaches to such extreme levels. Sexual selection ensures that males with the best plumage are highly preferred and that in turn leads to those qualities getting more pronounced going forward. Also the jungles of Papua New Guinea do not have natural predators, so the birds can afford to have complicated feathery contraptions as they do not need to be agile to fly away quickly from harm's way.

I wonder how humans will evolve to fill the new ecological niche that have opened up in last couple of thousand years of our lives. How will our bodies change with technology, with processed food, with no longer a nomadic and sedentary lifestyle, with so much knowledge. I wonder!

Photo Of The Day

Trilobite 450 Million Years Old (Cambrian Period)

Nautiloids/Ammonoids 450 Million Years Old (Devonian Period)

Nothosaurus 250 Million Years Old (Triassic Period)

All these fossil pictures have been taken at - Australian Fossil and Mineral Museum, Bathurst, NSW