Saturday, 10 January 2015

The Meaning

Ae dil e betab thehr!

Teer'gi hai keh umend'ti hi chali ati hai, 
                                      Shab ki rug rug se lahu phoot raha hu jese

Chal rahi hai kuch iss andaz se nabz e hasti
                                           Donon alam ka nasha tout raha hu jese

                              raat ka garam lahu abhi aur beh jane du

                              yehi tareeki tu hai ghaza rukhsar e sehr

                              subah hune hi ku hai ae dil e betab thehr

Abhi zanjeer chanakti hai pas e parda saz
                                        Mutliq ul hukm hai sheraza e asbab abhi

Saghir e naab mien ansu bhi dhul jaate hain,
                                 Laghzish e paa mien hai pabandi e adab abhi

                       Apne deewanon ku dewaana tu ban lene du

                       Apne meekhanon ku meekhana tu ban lene du

                      Jald ye satoot e asbab bhi uth jaye gi
                          Khwah ye zanjeer chanakti hi, chanakti hi rahe

For reasons unknown to even himself, he loved this poem by Faiz. Thus following an unknown whim, he decided to translate this poem in English.

'Estrangement over floods my whole being,
              As if every vessel of the night is bleeding vehemently

The pulse of (my) existence is beating in such a way,
               As if both the worlds are sobering up (after being drunk)

Let the plasma of night drift even more

this darkness is the rosy color of the cheeks of the dawn

It's almost morning, wait, O' restless heart!

The chains still rattle behind the curtains of music
My scattered means still dictate my life

My tears do trickle down in the cup of wine
My trembling tread still obeys an ethic.

And then he stopped, staring at the the line that followed. He tried to search for the right phrase or word but none seemed to convey what the poet really wanted to say. He felt paralyzed, unable to proceed the translation further. It was as if, you understood something, really felt it to your core, but when the time came to symbolize it to convey it to another human being, you found your voice chained with a profound ignorance. But that profound ignorance was not something new.

He smiled then, for the experience of the failure to translate this poem found connection with a similar experience in the past; the failure to translate the hollowness inside on to the hollowness outside. 

The endeavor  to symbolize, to name or to even metaphorize the thing that is thorning you at your very existence. He remembered all those endeavors. The start. The climax. The end. While the former two varied, the latter was always the same. A scintillating failure. That was all he remembered, for that was what he was experiencing now. Though he realized that the failure was not complete. He always got around certain words or phrases that did represent workings of the inside, he did got something to put on the diary he used to keep. But with every word he found to represent himself, a little essence of the inside was lost every time, in his own hands stretching the pen or hitting the key board. 

There should be a language for that lost essence, he thought. 

Yes, there is, the answer came as soon as the sort of a question was put. 

Emotions. Lack of them. Misidentified, Scattered. 

Language. Grammar. Literature. 

The grammar sure is tough, he thought. He remembered what he used to tell people who wanted to be fluent in a certain language. 'You need not to bother about the grammar,' he used to say, 'if you are reading and practicing that language enough.'

Don't bother having no emotions then, he thought, if you are believing in enough wrong identifications. Don't bother not feeling anything when a lot of feeling-like things are hitting the surface. Watch the ripples they make, going nowhere, shining in the sunlight brilliantly, being admired by the onlookers. Let the ocean way beneath be dark and passive, for it is near the ground, containing the majority of things and the minority of light. 

The more meaningful and plentiful the things, the darker the place. 

The darkness that is supposed to enhance the rosiness of the cheeks of dawn, in Faiz's words. 

Is this why human beings wear so many layers of mask, he thought. That they are afraid that when someone sees the meaning beneath the mask, the meaning accompanied by the dark and in the dark, they might become scared and run away. Is it why human beings are afraid of the dark, for it contains meanings? 

that ultimately, we are afraid of the meaning,

the meaning we sought so hard,

and is this the reason that we don't find it,

for we are afraid of it,

As Moses might have been afraid of God,

Yet he wanted to see Him,

His wish was granted on the mountain of Sinai,

They say that a flash of unseen light

made him lost his consciousness for a while, the mountain burned

Such was the might of that flash, of that meaning,

Funny, he thought,

The brightest and the most embracing meanings are to be found,

in the darkest and the secluded places. 

On top of the mountain, alone with God,

Or whoever happens to be there.