Friday, April 27, 2007

rainy day ghazal (with bad translation)

(This one is dedicated to whoever took my bag at the Brooklyn Inn last night. It was an old bag, there was nothing particularly valuable inside - no laptop, no passport - but the loss that hurts the most is a beloved Moleskine notebook, full of ideas jotted on the subway, poems and plans and all those other things that come into your head sideways in the middle of doing something else. It was a gift from a friend, a 'substitute for napkins'. In the absence of the notebook, this ghazal was written on the backs of bills and visiting cards scrounged from my wallet.)


Arsa ho gaya hai ke basti se muhajir hooN
Itna ho gaya hai ke hasti se muhajir hooN

Jazeera-e shehr-e sang maiN kahaaN dhoondoN sanam
Ke itne barsoN but-parasti se muhajir hooN

Dil ki jebeN khaali hain magar kya kijiye
Ke aaj to maiN tang-dasti se muhajir hooN

NukkaD ke sharaabkhaane meN khaata khul chuka
YaaroN maiN mae ki masti se muhajir hooN

Is dauDte bhaagte sheher ki sadkeN haiN aalishaan
Par kya karooN ke matargashti se muhajir hooN

and the same in blogger devnagari (it's all over the place at this point, but it's good to know that at some point, i can compose and post stuff in devnagari. now waiting for the nastaliq.)-

अरसा हो गया है के बस्ती से मुहाजिर हूँ
इतना हो गया है के हस्ती से मुहाजिर हूँ

जजीरा-ए शेह्र-ए संग मैन कहाँ धून्दों सनम
के इतने बरसों बुत-परस्ती से मुहाजिर हूँ

दिल कि जेबें खाली हैं मगर क्या कीजिये
के आज तो मैन तंग-दस्ती से मुहाजिर हूँ

नुक्कड़ के शराबखाने में खाता खुल चूका
यारों मैन मे कि मस्ती से मुहाजिर हूँ

इस दौड़ते भागते शेहेर कि सड़कें हैं आलिशान
पर क्या करूं के मटरगश्ती से मुहाजिर हूँ

Update -
Since there are readers of this blog unfamiliar with Hindustani/Urdu, I am going to do the belated (and difficult) job of translating; with the given that everything will sound much cheesier (and even more hyperbolic) in English. And of course, it won't rhyme.
Muhajir, which is at the heart of the refrain throughout the ghazal, can be translated as wanderer/migrant/exile. For the sake of convenience, as well as the spirit in which I wrote this, I am going to use 'exile', but take the other meanings as implicit.

It has been ages since I've been an exile from home
So long that I'm an exile from/by (my) being

On this island city of stone, where do I look for the image of the beloved?
It's been years since I've been an exile from idol worship

The pockets of the heart are empty, but what to do
For I am an exile from/by tight-fistedness today

There's a tab now open at the corner tavern
Friends, I'm an exile from wine's intoxication

The streets of this hustle-bustle city are magnificient
But what do I do as an exile from aimless wandering?


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