Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Heavy Duty




This was one heavy weekend. It was shaping up differently at the start, of course. Listening languorously to this favorite rendition of Faiz by Mehdi Hassan saab.


Aaye kuchh abr kuch sharaab aaye
us ke baad aaye jo azaab aaye

baam-e-miinaa se maahtaab utre
dast-e-saaqii meN aaftaab aaye

har rag-e-KhuuN meN phir charaaGhaaN ho
saamne phir wo be-naqaab aaye

kar rahaa thaa Gham-e-jahaaN kaa hisaab
aaj tum yaad be-hisaab aaye

na ga’ii tere Gham kii sardaarii
dil meN yuuN roz inqilaab aaye

is tarah apnii Khamoshii guuNjii
goyaa har simt se javaab aaye

“Faiz” thii raah sar-ba-sar manzil
ham jahaaN pahuNche kaamyaab aaye


Idly wondering how the poetry would read in translation, I looked up for something by Agha Shahid Ali. Couldn't find anything. Not on the net, that is.

With that same laziness I started playing with the first couplet. And got drawn into it. It took up all my leisure these last three days. I'm not particularly proud of the effort. I know I've flayed a golden rule of translating shayari. I shouldn't of gone for rhyming verses. Anyway here's what we did manage.


Let the clouds close in; bring on a bottle of wine, rare

Come hell or high water then, the devil may care.



Moonshine on my cup alights, at brim, the urn'd pare

The enchantress' hand, then, pours me the sun, a-flare.


Let a ray of light race thru’ my veins, burn in desire

Beauty, step out of your veil again, do me ensnare.


Pondering myriad dolors of my life, alone, I declare

My cruel concubine, always on my mind, you were.


The tyranny of your grief, inexorable, hangs in the air

Each day this bleeding heart rises in rebellion, despair.


In the heart of emptiness, echoed a silence as it were

A hush harked back, from here, there and everywhere.


Destination lay in this journey we took, dear Faiz

Success, ours on every step, far as we did dare.


Knowing fully well that this is a pretty lame job, I can't but disclose a small smile of satisfaction from the first verse. Two cliche's packed into one single radeef ! I felt like that MP from Yes, Prime Minister who could " talk in cliche's till the cows come home."


Thanks Aligarians for complete lyrics

P.S. It occurred to me last night. Does the rhyme remind you of Bianca Castafiore's piece de resistance ? OK. OK, never mind.

3 comments:

narendra shenoy said...

What a beautiful ghazal! The translation is imperfect, if it is, because English does not have the words to capture the sentiment.

Sud said...

amazing, small correction though. It wasn't an MP but an I banker who could speak in cliches till the cows came out.

The Bear Stearns bail out always reminds me of that episode

Partho said...

@ Naren: You are very kind. But I believe my limitations in maneuvering the nuances had a role to play as well.
I now know you were being modest where you said there were twelve people actually reading your blog. Most of the traffic here is now via Narendra Shenoy's blogroll.

@Sud : Was it? You mean the same fellow who said " you throw the baby out with the bathwater,the balloon goes up and they hit you for a six" in one sentence? Thanx for the correction. And do write more often. Bankers in NY make for the most interesting read.