Thursday, June 26, 2008

Cherche la femme' chèvre

This is the new resolution we've passed. Henceforth, on every new post, we'll include a strip from Peanuts. Something that suits the mood. Please bear with us.

I don't even know why I'm writing about this. The incident is in no way significant. Not funny, neither outright tragic, nor of great shock value to our inured minds. Only reason I can think of, (besides that I've got way too much time on my hands) is that it says something about the thought process of yours truly. Something I'll be reminded of, when I come back to this page years later, and mutter, "So, I've been like this only".

I was driving down to the market in our small town a few evenings ago. On the way, there was a a confused-looking mob on the road at a busy intersection. Somebody asked us to turn around and take a detour. The crowd was swelling, somebody saying something about an accidental death. It didn't look like any automobile was involved. We didn't wait. Later at the market , I was told somebody got electrocuted at a faulty electric pole. Power supply to that particular area was cut off for the night. I didn't think about it much at that time.

Next morning at work, while having chai, a colleague was narrating the incident in great detail. The summary is like this. You see, there's a line of butcher shops near that intersection. Late afternoon, a goat escaped from a butcher's place and went scurrying into a nullah. It was a busy day at business, so the butcher called a ragpicker loitering nearby and asked him to go bring the goat back. On the bank of the nullah there was a transmission tower of some mobile network. There must be a live cable leaking somewhere, 'cause when this grown-up male ragpicker went near the nullah, he did not come back. Word started spreading. The scared butcher went to the local police chowki and reported the incident.

The station-in-charge, seeing no merit to the case, sent over an old hawaldar with a known drinking problem. His brief was to cut power, recover dead body, inform next of kin for identification and send the body over for autopsy. While carrying out the third part of the agenda the policeman got a bit jittery. He was getting late for his evening appointment with the bottle. At the door of the dead man's shanty he called out for his wife and unceremoniously gave her the bad news. She was asked to come and identify the body. But the woman started to wail or something, causing delay, and the hawaldar lost all patience. He roughly dragged her by the hand. This is when the mob had risen. The onlookers suddenly got really pissed and they grabbed the old sod and started lynching him. Things went out of control. A full contingent had to be called in and the area cordoned off.

Later a DSP came and apologized to the local people. The hawaldar was suspended. The traders of the area called a Bandh the next day. The usual.

Only, after listening this far, I had to interject, "So what happened to the goat?" Tell me, was that an unreasonable question? Everybody seemed to find it very amusing.

P.S I suppose everybody is familiar with the original reference.

P.S.2 And do try calling in sick on a thursday once in a while and drinking vodka through the day. Busts a lot of stress, I tell you.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Lie down and Listen

Abeeda, bless her soul, is easily one of my five most favorite singers. She of the wild headshakes and the late Fatty Ali Khan Sahab (No offense; just terms of endearment.) This blogger is completely floored by her power, style and range. Alas, it's her inimitable style, that today I'm about to make a weeny-teenie complaint on. You see, it's like this. Whenever Abeeda opens her mouth and lets forth the first notes of her song, she is in communication with divinity. It's a great thing when she's singing sufi. I mean it's overpowering. It makes an agnostic like me go into trances and have visions of a Supreme Being. Take Raqs-e-bismil.

Now consider her singing a simple song of love. She is still talking to Almighty.

Woh Jiski Deed Mein
Woh Jiski Deed Mei...

Don't get me wrong here, this song also is a big favorite. It's still an awesome rendition and all. It's just that whilst listening to it all these years, I had a foolish notion the poet had meant to convey delicate things about God, in those lines. Thanks to Abeeda's power singing and my proficiency in Urdu. It's only recently I've learnt , that Janab Faiz Ahmad Faiz sahab actually wrote this fine ghazal while hanging out by the wayside and ogling at the beauty queen of Sialkot as she walked by. For all we know. I wanted to translate it, but later realized that like much of great poetry, it's not about what the poet is saying but how he says it. And that, unfortunately, is impossible to translate.

Nuff chitchat. Listen to the song. Browse the lyrics, courtesy schwetank. I've included meanings of certain words and expressions. I had looked for them here and here, while attempting the translation. Thought it might come in useful for people with prolific Urdu, like me.

Woh jiski deed mein laakhoun masarratein pinhaan

Woh husn jiski tamanna mein jannat pinhaan

Masarrat: Happiness, Joy; Pinhaan: Concealed, Hidden

Hazaar fitney tah-e-paa-e-naaz khaak-e-nasheen

Har eik nigaah khumar-e-shabaab se rangeen

Tah : Plait, fold, multiplicity, perplexity; Fitnaa: Sedition, Mischief, Quarrel, Revolt, Temptation, Wickedness

Naaz : coquetry, amorous playfulness

Shabaab jis se takhaiyul pe bijliyaan barsein

Waqaar jiski rafaqat ko shokhiyaan tarsey

Shabaab: Juvenility, Youth ; taḵẖaiyul : imagination, fancy ; Waqaar : Solemnity ;

rafāqat : companionship, society, friendship ; Shokhiyaan : Coquetry, Mischief, Restlessness

Ada-e-laghzisheiy paa par qyamatein qurbaan

Bayaz-e-rukh pey sahar ki sabahatein qurbaan

Laghzish: Blunder, Lapse, Mistake, Tottering ; Bayaaz: Album, Handbook, Notebook, Vade Mecum

Sahaba : Wine, Esp. Red Wine ; Rukh : Face, Cheek, Side

Siyaah zulfoun mein badaaon sa nikhatoun ka hujoom

Taweel raatoun ki khwabeedah raahatoun ka hujoom

Siyaah :Black, Dark ; Baadaa : Booze, Wine ; Nikhat: Fragrance;

Hujoom: Assault, Attack, Crowd, Onset, Throng, Tumult ; Taweel: Extended, Lengthy, Long ;

Raahat : Quiet, rest, repose, ease, tranquillity

Woh aankh jiski banao pe khaliq dey raae

Zabaan-e-shair ko tareef kartey sharmaae

Banaao : Appearance, form, shape, colour, Adornment; ḵẖāliq : The Great Creator, the Originator

Gudaaz jism qaba jispe sajke naaz karey

Daraaz qad jisey sarw-e-sahi namaz karey

Gudaaz: Well-Mixed, Well-endowed ;Daraaz : Long, tall; Qaba: Gown, Long Coat Like Garment

Sarw : Affluent, Opulent, Rich, Wealthy; Sahi : A religious mendicant, a Mohammadan faqīr;

Kisi zamaney mein is rah-guzar sey guzraa thaa

Ba-sad guroor-o-tajammul idhar sey guzraa thaa

Tajammul : Dignity, pomp, splendour, magnificence; guroor : pride, vanity, haughtiness,

Ba-sad : by a hundred

Aur ab ye raah guzar bhi hai dilfareb-o-haseen

Hai uski khaak mein kaif-e-sharab-e-sair makeen

Dil fareb : Alluring, Beautiful, Charming, Enticing; Sair : Walk, Excursion, Stroll

Makeen : Firmly fixed; well-established;--in a high station; Kaif: exhilaration, Happiness, Intoxication, Joy

Hawa mein shokhi-e-raftaar ki adaaein hain

Faza mein narmi-e-guftaar ki sadaen hain

Fiza ; Atmosphere, Environment; guftaar : discourse, conversation ; Raftaar: Going, motion, walk, gait, pace

Shokhi : Playfulness, fun, mischief; pertness, sauciness; coquetry, wantonness

Garaz vo husn is raah ka juzu-e-manzar hai

Niyaz-e-ishq kou eik sajda gaah maiyassar hai

Garaz: An object of aim or pursuit, or of desire; aim, end, object, design, view, purpose;

Manzar: Aspect, Countenance, Landscape, Scene, Visage ; Niyaz : Petition, supplication, prayer; Mayassar: easy, feasible, practicable; favourable

Kabhie Kabhie Pyar Mein

You know, you don't have to be wearing Raymonds to be a complete man. For that matter, you don't really have to be a complete man at all. But it helps.

There, it was a-waited. So, Part 2 is now on air. Part 2 is hardly about fairness. Part 2 is about impossible mush. That sort of gooey mush where the fair maiden storms out on an engagement ring when her beau chips her nail trying to put it on her finger. In this mushy world, the jilted girl will still have the number of the man she once loved and lost, through years and through continents. In this world, the greatest dilemma will be over pressing that send button. It's now easier to see where O&M is coming from and where they're trying to go with this. It's all about soft sell. Just replace suitable words in the Raymonds base line from above. And you still have the promise of newsprint white. In fact you have two choices. TOI white and Economic Times white.

Worries me. My daughter (ten going on seventeen) is liking this. In my opinion, she's kinda fair already and really doesn't need to get fairer, but who gave a hoot for my opinion, ever?