Saturday, December 14, 2013

Slow & Steady

As this year slowly comes to an end, we celebrate the slow march towards oblivion by a similarly slow paced Ghazal. (Read the tab titled ‘Shayari’ above if you’ve not done that umpteenth number of times already!)

This Ghazal by poetess ‘Munni Sharma’ is simple but at the same time deep. It has a radif: धीरे धीरे (dheere dheere), which means ‘slowly slowly’. It’s very fitting for this Ghazal because all the Sher comprising it make the perception of time slow down as their meaning sinks in. I have (for the first time) tried not to be too literal in my translations so that even the translated version qualifies as a Ghazal. Here’s the checklist:

  • Radif: I choose ‘surely’ instead of ‘slowly slowly’ because such blatant alliteration doesn’t sound nice in English. Also, the sense in which the original one is used suggests a resolve not laziness!
  • Qaafiya: I choose adverbs (words ending with ‘–ly’ as far as I’m concerned) instead of the verbs in original rendition.
  • Matla: The first Sher has both lines using the qaafiya & radif very much like the original.
  • Bahar: All the Sher are supposed to be of ‘same length’, which is strictly speaking not true of the translation (4th Sher is a bit too long) but hey, it’s a translation and that also from me so enjoy while it’s here! Smile

गूँगों की आवाज खुलेगी धीरे धीरे
संकोची कलियाँ चटकेंगी धीरे धीरे

Goongon ki awaaz khulegi dheere dheere
Sankochi kaliyaan chatkengi dheere dheere

Silent people will speak up openly, surely!
The hesitant buds will flower fully, surely!

रफ्ता रफ्ता हम भी चलना सीख गए
कदमों की रफ्तार बढ़ेगी धीरे धीरे

Rafta Rafta ham bhi chalna seekh gaye
Kadmon ki raftaar badhegi dheere dheere

Slowly & steadily I have learnt to walk
My pace will quicken gradually, surely!

जाँच रहा माझी लहरें मझधारों की
हाथों की पतवार चलेगी धीरे-धीरे

Jaanch raha maajhi lahren majhdhaaron ki
Haathon ki patwaar chalegi dheere dheere

The captain studies the midstream waves
Hands as oars move purposefully, surely!

सदियों से अड़ रहे अना के ये पर्वत
अहंकार की शिखा घिसेगी धीरे-धीरे

Sadiyon se ade rahe ana ke ye parwat
Ahankaar ki shikha ghisegi dheere dheere

These mountains of pride have stood up for centuries
These summits of ego will wither eventually, surely!

माँ भी है नाराज़ भटकते बच्चों पर
लेकिन अपनी बात कहेगी धीरे-धीरे

Maa bhi hai naaraaz bhatakte bachhon par
lekin apni baat kahegi dheere dheere

The mother is angry at her misguided kids
But she will still talk to them softly, surely!

उतर ज़मीं पर आएगी कमसिन पीढ़ी
पर ख्वाबों की उम्र ढलेगी धीरे-धीरे

Utar jameen par aayegi kamsin peedhi
Par khwaabon ki umra dhalegi dheere dheere

The youth will land on ground some day
But their dreams will age slowly, surely!

शोख बच्चियाँ खुद संजीदा हो जातीं
जब आँचल में हया पलेगी धीरे-धीरे

Shokh bachchiyaan khud sanjeeda ho jaateen
Jab aanchal mein haya palegi dheere dheere

Lively girls will become serious on their own
When they raise offspring gracefully, surely!

नंगे जज़्बे देख अदब शर्मिंदा है
लफ़्ज़ों की पोषाक सिलेगी धीरे-धीरे

Nange jazbe dekh adab sharminda hai
Lafjon ki poshaak silegi dheere dheere

Etiquette keeps away from such raw passion
The words wait to be sewn tactfully, surely!

– मुन्नी शर्मा (Munni Sharma)

So that’s the end of one long Ghazal. Just a reminder: I know the last two Sher’s translation is not very faithful to the originals because it’s hard to convey words like ‘शोख बच्चियाँ’, ‘आँचल’, ‘हया’, ‘जज़्बे’ and ‘अदब’ in English properly!

Anyway, she has more Ghazal here and the last one of that lot reminds me of Sheen Kaaf Nizam’s very nice & simple Ghazal whose radif is the same (I translated it here). But for now, here’s the last punch-sher of that Ghazal of hers (‘Felt so good’ as a radif never did sound nice so here I change it slightly to ‘feels good’. Still I don’t think there’s a really nice translation that captures the essence of the original Hindi phrase ‘अच्छा लगा’):

उम्र भर ढोते रहे दामन के दाग
मौत पर उजला कफ़न अच्छा लगा

Umra bhar dhote rahe daaman ke daag
Maut par ujla kafan achchha laga

Life had made me drag those garments full of stains
Death presents me with a shiny shroud, feels good!

शायरी