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.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

No news is good news

I live in the land of no-news. Suits me fine, since after living here for almost two decades, I'm slightly afraid of hip-and-happening places. Apart from the absence of globalized marketplaces and entertainment complexes which are so de rigeur for modern city living, I have little to complain about this back-of-beyondness. The no-good surd visited our city just the other day. During his ten-minute speech, we noticed something . That the name of our city had completely escaped his consciousness. He mentioned Jharkhand six times and Jamshedpur, four, but not for once did he utter the name we so wanted to hear, from his lips. I think he didn't learn zis' vaard.

We were a bit depressed at first. Then I saw this cartogram of the US of A. Modified by the quotient of news generated vis-a-vis territory. And realization dawned.

pic courtesy : Strange Maps

Apparently we are in good company. Good company like Topeka, Boise, and Cheyenne, to name just a few. If that sounds incomprehensible, read this. This cartogram, originally from the August 2004 issue of Science News Magazine, where it illustrated an article entitled ‘A Better Distorted View: The Physics of Diffusion Offers A New Way of Generating Maps’. Seems news has a system of redistributing maps. What do you think?