Koi veerani si veerani hai

GhalibHaveli

Koi veerani si veerani hai,
Dasht ko dekh ke ghar yaad aaya

I wondered if any wilderness would be more desolate than this!
And then I remembered another of the kind – the home I’d left behind

This verse is painted on the entrance of Ghalib’s Haveli at Ballimaran, New Delhi (that I had the fortune of visiting last year) which might induce a cold shiver down your spine. He lived a painful life and that forlorn greets you as soon as you step inside. I’m more than a fan of his work and to touch those walls was an experience in itself. I hope the govt. will preserve the sanctum. I call him the miserly poet because what he says in such few words cannot be said by others in a thousand.

As for this verse, it comes from a beautiful ghazal. Some of its other notable verses go like this-

dam liya tha na qayamat ne Hanuz
phir tera waqt-e-safar yaad aaya

Doomsday had barely passed (I had barely breathed a sigh of relief) when the moment of your departure came rushing to my memory (leading to another state of restlessness – another doomsday)

phir tere kooche ko jaata hai khayal
dil-e gham-gustah magar yaad aaya

I’m again thinking of your street ‘but’ that makes me think of my lost heart. Could mean the street reminds me of my lost heart (thinking of the pains I suffered last time) saying that apparently thats where I lost it OR I would like to think of your street again but since my heart is lost, I have nothing to offer this time.

mai ne majnuh pe ladakpan me Asad
sang uthaya tha ke sar yaad aaya

Going with the crowd, I had picked up a sang(stone) on Majnuh when I was a boy but even then I had somehow realized the wrong behind it. To say, I always had a lover’s disposition and I could empathize with Majnuh even as a boy.

Photo taken at Ghalib’s Haveli in Dec 2012.

Ibn-e-Mariyam hua kare koi – II

kya Kiya Khijr ne Sikander se
ab kise rahnuma kare koi

rahnuma=guide
After seeing what Khijr did to Sikander (Alexander), whom can anyone trust now? So, what did Khijr do? – the verse alludes to fountain of youth which was visited by Khijr and Alexander but while Khijr drank his water, Alexander returned without drinking. As per this, Alexander gets lost looking for the spring, but al-Khidr finds it and gains eternal life.

jab tavaqqo hi uth gayi Ghalib
kyun kisi ka gila kare koi

tavaqqo=hope
Ending on another disappointed note, Ghalib says that what is left to complain when one has lost all the hope ie one complains in expectation off getting the wrongdoer to suffer or getting redresses for one’s own wounds but if I know that my wrongdoer will never come around, what is the point of lamenting him.

And this ‘maqta’ brings us to the end of this not-so-intricate, yet delicious ghazal. Here’s Abida’s version on YouTube, enjoy-