Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Good Life

This post was written on board an Emirates flight back from Rio de Janeiro (I have had the good fortune of trotting the globe a bit, these last two years), where I had three seats to myself, where the 'Hindu Non-veg' meal hit the right spot, where two Australian Shirazs made up for the lack of one French Merlot, listening to the Ghazal which I am about to write about, drunk to the last neuron - inventing an expression, not just on the two Shirazs if you are wondering, with a bit of Marquez influencing my style, so this post is not going to be very coherent.

The Good Life: something that the rich in Rio are definitely familiar with (by the way, did you know the Europeans discovered Rio in January, and actually thought that the bay was the mouth of a river, hence Rio de Janeiro - the river of January), and I hope the poor are too, though they might only get to express it through Samba and Footaball.

Maybe in my pleasantly drunk state, but I have been reconciling myself to the fact that I will never be a famous poet. But then again, that next rung of the Homo Sapien that can savour poetry, that can have their heart wrenched by Love In The Time of Cholera (which I again highly recommend to the reader), even if they are reading it a second time, and even if they have been married more than 3 yrs, and have a new son, that rung is as sparsely populated or even more so, as the 19th May flight from Sao Paolo to Dubai, going by the lack of web-pages that discuss a Faiz poem, expound on it, and not just print the lyrics… And I think I have some claim to this second rung.

(“This is a heart-wrenching tale” says Linus in a Peanuts strip, “don’t read it if you don’t want your heart wrenched”)

So the Ghazal that I heard the first time on an earlier Emirates flight, really liked the second time on the onward flight to Sao Paulo, and looked forward to listening a third time and to mugging it up on my return flight is the below fabulous poem by Hazrat Zaheen Shah. This Ghazal is more in the style of Daag the great exquisetly-simple poet of Delhi, different from the style of the scholarly poet of Delhi, Ghalib, who himself says of his poetry “Ghalib sareer-e-khama nava-e-sarosh hai, Ghalib the scratch of your pen is the sound of angels”. Hazrat Zaheen Shah like Daag is very much human and appeals in a focused effort to the heart, unlike Ghalib who pampers the heart and the brain together. Without further ado:

(By the way, the Ghazal was rendered by Abida, and she might have elevated to the next level, even a lesser Ghazal):

Main hosh mein hoon to tera hoon,
Deewana hoon to tera hoon.
Hoon raaz agar toh tera hoon,
Afsaana hoon to tera hoon….

(I am yours in whatever state I might be - sober or in a narcotic bekhudi-c state, if you don’t want to tell anyone, I am your big secret, and if you want to tell the world, I am your famous conquest-ic story…)

Barbaad kiya barbaad hua,
Aabaad kiya, abaad hua,
Veerana hoon toh tera hoon,
Kaashaana hoon toh tera hoon…

(The same idea again, but hinting that you have the keys to my future, you can make or destroy me, and I am ok with either option. I could't find out the meaning of Kaashaana. Help anyone?)

Tuh mere kaif ki duniya hai,
Tuh meri hasti ka aalam,
Paimana hoon toh tera hoon,
Maikhana hoon toh tera hoon….

(A hopeful verse probably, Just like you are my world of bliss, delight (Kaif), indeed, like you are the world in which I exist, I hope to be the instrument of your enjoyment (paimana) as well as the setting (maikhana))

Main hosh mein hoon…

Har zarra Zaheen ki hasti ka,
Tasveer hai teri sar-ta-paa,
Woh kaaba-e-dil dhaane waale,
Buth-khaana hoon to tera hoon…

(Every part of the poet (Zaheen Shah) is a mirror to his beloved from head to foot. Look at the ultimate muslim sacrifice in the second part of the verse: you can convert my kaaba of a dil into your place of idolatory – what more proof do you want that I am yours for anything, anything? Again I don't quite understand in what sense dhaane waale has been used. Comments welcome.)