Inspired by Insomnia

Traditionally the insomnia of hot sleepless nights has inspired my attempts at translating some of my favourite poems. Tonight, however, I am sleepless because I slept away the late afternoon and evening of an unseasonally cold June day.

I realised that I had left these two poems in Return to The Land of Poems unassailed. So here goes.

jab teri samundar aankhon mein
ye dhoop kinara, sham dhale
milte hain dono waqt jahan,
jo raat na din, jo aaj na kal,
pal bhar ko amar,
pal bhar mein dhuan,
is dhoop kinare, pal do pal,
honton ki lapak,
baahon ki chanak,
ye mel hamara jhoot na sach,
kyon raaz karo, kyun dosh dharo,
kis kaaran jhooti baat karo,
jab teri samundar aankhon mein,
is shaam ka sooraj doobega,
sukh soenge ghar dar wale,
aur raahi apni raah lega

when, in your ocean eyes
this edge of sunlight at dusk
this twilight
neither night nor day
tomorrow nor today
eternal for a moment
evanescent the next
at this sunlight’s edge
stolen moments
lips springing
limbs clinging
our union
neither true nor false
no need for secrecy
no need for blame
no need for lies

when the evening sun sets
in your ocean eyes
householders will sleep peacefully
and the wanderer shall take to the road

Original: jab teri samundar ankhon mein (faiz ahmed faiz)

farz karo

farz karo hum ahl-e-wafaa ho
farz karo deewane ho

farz karo yeh dono baatein
jhooti ho afsane hon

farz karo yeh ji ki bipta
ji se jor sunai ho

farz karo abhi aur ho itni
aadhi humne chhupai ho

farz karo tumhe khush karne ke
dhoonde humne bahaane ho

farz karo yeh nain tumhare
sach-much ke maikhaane ho

farz karo yeh rog hai jhoota,
jhooti preet hamari ho

farz karo is preet ke rog mein
saans bhi hum pe bhaari ho

farz karo yeh jog bijog ka
humne dhong rachaaya ho

farz karo bas yahi haqeeqat
baqi sab kuch maaya ho

just suppose

just suppose i may be faithful
just suppose i may be crazy for you

just suppose both these assumptions
may be falsehoods, may be fables

just suppose my heart’s torment
may have been coerced from my heart

just suppose there may be more to things
i may have concealed one-half

just suppose to delight you
i may have invented excuses

just suppose these eyes of yours
may be actual taverns

just suppose this malady, this love for you
may be a fabrication

just suppose in the affliction of this love
each breath may be an ordeal

just suppose this destined union
may be an elaborate masquerade

but just suppose only our love exists
and all else is an illusion

Original: farz karo (ibn-e-insha)

Confession Time: Some sharp-eyed folks have pointed out that Momin Khan Momin’s couplet in the quoted post remains untranslated.

tum mere paas hote ho goya*
jab koi doosra nahi hota

My excuse/explanation is that this couplet defies translation (at least by myself – haath patthar se ho gaye manoos to shauq kooza-gari ka kya kiije).

The juxtaposition of ‘goya‘ in an already haiku-esque expression opens up a labyrinth of interpretations.

Ghalib’s exaltation of this couplet is not accidental. It is the perfect example of Urdu poetry’s ideal of ‘kooze mein samundar.’

*The word ‘Goya‘ has been explained thus – Goya is an Urdu word that refers to a momentary suspension of disbelief that occurs when fantasy is so realistic that it temporarily becomes reality, usually associated with a story very well told. There is no translation for this word in English.

P.S : Comments and suggestions are welcome as usual.