Photo Of The Day

All the above pictures have been taken at National Orchid Garden, Singapore Botanic Gardens, Singapore

The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XLIII

The Grape that can with Logic absolute
The Two-and-Seventy jarring Sects confute:
The subtle Alchemist that in a Trice
Life's leaden Metal into Gold transmute.

This is the forty-third quatrain of the FitzGerald's Rubaiyat and continues in the long trend of ones that mention grape or vine. The Two-and-Seventy sects is believed to be the number of sects that Protestantism was divided into by the end of sixteenth century. The idea being that religion can not confer any truth or relief. All they are is motley group of jarring endless debates and disputes. They are a waste of precious time. Life would be better off following the logic of wine, its logic is absolute and single tone, i.e. to enjoy life enjoy as it comes. Enjoy this moment for only this moment is real. As opposed to countless truths and meaning these contesting sects conjure! The subtle and self-effacing wine quickly converts the dark and hard marrow of life into joyful and pleasant moment in the present like an alchemist who transmute lead to gold. Such is the joys of the Grape!

Translation - Hain Aur Bhi Duniya Mein Sukhanwar Bohot Achche (Ghalib)

hai  bas ki har ik unke ishaare mein nishaan aur
karte hain mohabbat to guzarata hai  gumaan aur

Lines 1/2 - In every gesture of hers, as so much there are more signs. She shows love, my doubt of her increases or I doubt something different. These lines can be interpreted in so many ways as to how you read the word 'aur'. The 'aur' has a duality to it, being different or being more. The poet says in every gesture of hers, so much so that there are more signs (there are indications everywhere). We can read this also as in every gesture of hers, so much so that there are signs differently (there is more to what is being gestured). Her gestures are so clear, that when she show me love, these signs make me doubt something else or my doubts about her increase. Read another as - her gestures are not so clear, that when she shows love, my doubts about her increase or I suspect something else. 'gumaan' can also be read an imagination or a fancy notion. In that case, the interpretations multiply! this sher is an absolute relish!

yaarab ! wo na samjhe hain na samjhenge meree baat
de  aur  dil  unko, jo  na de  mujhko  zubaan  aur

Line 3/4 - Oh Lord! They did not understood, nor they will understand what I said. Give them more heart(s), if you can not give me more tongue(s). Wow! this is absolutely brilliant and with the wordplay on 'aur', the reading multiply. The poet says 'They' have not understood, nor will they understand what say. Oh lord, give me more tongues (or a different tongue) or if you can not do that give them more hearts (or a different heart). Again the 'aur' can be more or a different one. The other word that is opaque is 'woh'. The poet has not made it clear as to who they are. It could be a indifferent beloved, the supernal Beloved or his critics. In any case, with their current state, they have no chance of understanding the current discourse of the poet. If they are indifferent, give me more tongue(s), if they can't grasp give me a different tongue!

abroo se hai  kya us nigah-e-naaz ko paiband
hai teer muqarrar magar uskee hai kamaan aur

Line 5/6 - What connection does the eyebrow have with those amorous glances. The arrow is fixed but it has another (different) bow. 'paiband' in common sense of the word is usually to stitch a torn clothes, to make join or patch. The poet questions as to are they connected? her brows and her glances? Those affectionate glances of her's, those telling arrows are fixed on me, but are coming from a different bow. Her brows do not make sense with those glances coming my way. Obviously they are coming from some different bow!

tum shahar mein ho to hamein kya gham jab uthenge
le  aayenge   baazaar  se  jaakar  dil-o-jaan  aur

Line 7/8 - As you are in town, what worry do I have? When ever I feel like, I will go to the market and bring more heart and life (or a different one). I lines are clear but do not connect, I have found this nice meaning to it. The poet says as long as you are in the town, what do I have to worry about. Since you are in the town, I am sure a lot of 'other' dwell in this town and each one of them has his 'dil-o-jaan' damaged and harmed by your airs. There must be lot of traders dealing in these spoiled commodities and fixing them as  new. I don't care, if I feel like I will go and fetch from the market more (different) heart and life from any of those dealers. An alternate reading based on where one breaks the first line. It would read as - As you are in town I don't care, for if the misery rises, I will buy more dil-o-jaan from the market.

harchand   subak_dast   hue   but_shikanee   mein
ham hain, to abhee raah mein hai sang-e-giraan aur

Line 9/10 - Nevertheless became expert in breaking idols they have, I am here, there are still on the way more heavy stones. 'subak_dast' means light handed or someone proficient. The poet says that they have become an expert in breaking the idols. As to who 'they' are, its not mentioned. Could he be referring to the orthodox religious clergy single minded zeal against idols? And then with a challenge thrown in he says, Ok! I am here, you still have a heavy stone in your path (that is me) to demolish. How will you demolish the ideas and truth I speak. An alternate reading of the lines is here where 'ham hain' becomes a continuation of the first line. In this reading it says - however proficient we becoming at demolishing idols, as long as we are, there will always be something more heavy in the path. The path being the path to Truth where these countless distractions that needs to broken, but as long as we are around, there is just around the corner another of those and more tempting distractions to test our fortitude.

hai khoon-e-jigar josh mein dil khol ke rota
hote  kaee jo deeda-e-khoonnaaba_fishaan aur

Line 11/12 - The blood of the liver is in agitation, the heart would weep aloud and freely. If only there were many more blood shedding eyes. The poet says the blood in the liver is in turmoil and my heart is crying freely. That blood is constantly being lost through the eyes via blood filled tears and yet the agitation does not subside. If only I would have more such blood shedding eyes to give me relief.

marta hoon is aawaaz pe  harchand sar ud jaay
jallaad ko lekin wo kahe jaayain ki 'haan aur'

Line 13/14 - I die for this voice, so much so that I may lose my head. To the executioner, however she keeps saying - yes more. Quite a stage we have up here! The poet says he literally dies with agitation and fervor on hearing her voice. I am even ready to lose my head (what harm is there in losing the head if I am already dead by hearing her voice?). To my executioner, she says "yes more", but what good is that? I am already dead on hearing these words! The beloved has shown him no mercy and keeps egging to the executioner for more, even though he is dead already, but her voice is a act of mercy for me and I will willingly lose my life to hear that voice!

logon  ko hai khursheed-e-jahaan taab  ka dhoka
har roz dikhaata hoon main ik daagh-e-nihaan aur

Line 15/16 - People are deceived into believing the heat & fury of the sun of the world. Every day I show one more (different) hidden wound. The poet says every day I can show one more (or a different one) of my hidden wounds. Such is suppressed passion and feelings in those burning wounds of mine, that people are deceived into believing that those as the sun of this world. Quite a rhetorical device there!

leta na agar dil tumhe deta  koee dam chain
karta jo na marta koee din aah-o-fughaan aur

Line 17/18 - I would have, taken a breath of ease and rest, if I had not given heart to you. I would have, done a few more days of sorrowful hue and cry, if I had not died. Not exactly eloquent, though its a fairly simple sher. The poet says that life was easy and simple but then I gave you my heart. If I hadn't died, there would have been more days of noisy sorrow. The poet would never be at ease, if he had not died, he was looking ahead for a lifetime of mourning and grief.

paate naheen jab raah, to chad jaate hain naale
ruktee hai meree tab'a  to hotee hai ravaan aur

Line 19/20 - When they can't find the way out, the rivulets do rise. When my temperament stops, then it sets into motion more (differently). 'naale' again can mean two things, either is is small stream that floods in the rain or it means laments. Both actually makes perfect sense here. The poet says, when these small streams can't find the their way(blocked), their water level rises. Another reading is if my laments are not allowed to be released, then they become more intense and fervid. When my natural manner is arrested or bounded, then my emotions are released more powerfully, just like a river that is blocked. The duality of 'aur' gives it also that when blocked, then my emotions are released in a different manner. 'rawaan' would mean something flowing, to set in motion or departed.

hain aur bhee duniya  mein sukhanwar bohot achche
kehte hain ki 'ghalib' ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur

Line 21/22 - There are more (other) very good poets in this world too. They say that Ghalib's way(style) of expressing is different (or more expressive). This is probably among the best known sher in the complete Ghalib's work and its a fairly straightforward one. The poet says yes, there are more good poets out there, but some say that Ghalib's way of putting across things is different (in a sense better than the rest). 

Meaning of difficult words :- 
gumaan = doubt/suspicion
abroo = eyebrow
paiband = patch, join
nigah-e-naaz = an affectionate glance
harchand = nevertheless, notwithstanding
subak_dast = expert,light handed
but_shikanee = iconoclast
sang = stone
giraan = heavy
deeda = eye
khoonnaaba = mixture of blood and water (khoon + aab(water))
fishaan = shed/spread
khoonnaaba_fishaan = to sheds tears of blood
khursheed = sun
taab = heat, fury
nihaan = hidden
fughaan = clamour
naale = lamentation/rivulets
tab'a = temperament, nature
rawaan = moving, flowing
sukhanwar = poet

Read more posts on Ghalib.

Photo Of The Day

This is the photo taken by NASA's Cassini spacecraft that is currently programmed to be crashed into Saturn later this year. What we see here is planet earth as a bright dot between the icy rings of Saturn. If you look closely at the Earth (the bright dot), you will see a very faint dot left of our planet's bright dot. That is our moon. Cassini was 1.4 billion kilometers away from Earth when this image was taken.

We have come very away from home. We have come very very far away from where we started. I wish my eyes could see the full potential of how far we can go and how many new suns and new worlds we could see and fathom from our humble eyes. I wish I could imbibe the enormity of what we are part of. I wish to see finally that we are not alone.. I so wish..

The Rubaiyat: Quatrain XLII

And lately, by the Tavern Door agape,
Came stealing through the Dusk an Angel Shape
Bearing a Vessel on his Shoulder; and
He bid me taste of it; and 'twas-- the Grape!

This is the forty-second quatrain of the FitzGerald's Rubaiyat and continuing with the long line of those dealing with wine/vine or grape. And in the tavern, I was sitting and waiting for my glass of wine to come and behold!. Through the dusk,  I see an angel (shape) and carrying a jar on his shoulder, he asked me to taste it and it tasted to be wine!. In the darkness of the night in the tavern, the door unlocked and in the early morning light seeping through the door, slithering through that the door I saw an angel shape. The poet seems to be referring to the bartender as an angel shape (for the early morning sun behind the slightly open door is making his silhouette look like a shape of an angel as if basking in a divine light) carrying with him the vessel on his shoulder. And what does this Angel Shape bring for him? His treasured and beloved wine! who knows. May be the bartender is the Angel from God bringing with him in vessel of pure knowledge and understanding amidst of the new morning & new awakening..and I taste this and it is the heavenly wine..