An evening to remember

It has been quite some time since I last attended a function of sorts at the Pakistan Academy Of Letters, so when I received this sms of invitation from Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui, the PAL editor of English I had to go there for one doesn’t always come across a person of the stature of Zulfikar Ghose, the US based poet, novelist and essayist, whom the gathering was arranged for.

I was fortunate to arrive earlier at the Editor’s office, meet the honorable Ghose sahib and exchange some pleasantries with him. Thats where I got my hands literally on a copy of the biannual anthology of the Pakistani writers, ‘The Pakistani Literature’ where translations from a variety of Pakistani languages as well as original English works of the prominent Pakistani literati are published. I flipped through pages and was pleasantly surprised to see the publication of four of my translated poems from Pushto. I conveyd my gratitude to Mr. Khiraam who enhanced my delight by showing me a heavier anthology which included pieces of translations as well as a selection of the original Pakistani English literature from 1947 to 2010, that again included a translation of mine. I requested for the contributor’s copies which the Editor generously handed me with compliments.

The function itself was a wonderful experience. Ghose sahib recited poems from his latest collection called ’50 Poems’ published by the Oxford University Press. In between the recitals of his inspiring poetry Ghose sahib delighted us with interesting anecdotes pertaining mostly to his experiences in life. There was a question-answer session in the end which again was full of information as we came to know how writers born in the third world are assigned labels in the West and how it limits the scope of a writer.

The modertator Khurram Khiraam Siddiqui (left) with Zulfikar Ghose (right)

It was an evening to remember and one would like to be a part of such enlightening gatherings more often.

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The Beauteous Too, Live In The Same World ..

In Pushto by Rahim Majrooh

Translation by Syed Aadil Omer

I’ve always thought,
If nothing else,
but at least in the matter of love
all the comely people in the world
wouldn’t have any sense of deprivation.
They would be thorougly self-sufficient
with abundance of love for them; they would
be happy in possession of this treasure
without any complain or displeasure,

for they are adored by all;
they rule over the hearts of the people.
They are eagerly awaited wherever they go
as people hold them in high affection;
they are treated with special care.
Every set of eyes admire their beauty.
People even spend their entire
lives to fulfill their wishes.
All the admiration, the veneration
is reserved for them.
They are considered the weakness
of every human being;
their chin-moles have been deemed
wealtheir than Samarqand and Bukhara.
Even kings behave like courtiers
at their doors-steps;
They are dedicated books,
and building are built on their names.
They are the fairies
of the imagination of poets;
they are the princesses
of the dreams of painters.
To meet even a single of their wishes
some are ready to stake
their lives while others could forsake
their entire surroundings and faiths.

Hence I think,
in the matter of love,
all the beauteous in the world
wouldn’t have any sense of deprivation;
they would be self-content in love,
but nay, it isn’t the case!

One can’t fathom the depth of a sea
standing afar on the shore.
The elegance, no matter how charming therewith
they might seem,
like the proud fairies of Koh e Qaaf,
or how reckless or ruthless they might look ,
they also breathe in the very world which we inhabit.
And this world is all but the name
of a trial; of desires, of the dreams unfulfilled.

So, the handsomes too carry in their hearts
a number of wastelands like that of a moon.
They too pass through the phases
of several heartbreaks, like that of a flowerbud
before smiling into a full bloom.
They too melt in the flames of their own selves
like that of a candle.
They could be in likeness to a parched shore
that breaks into cracks in waiting
of the arrival of favourable tides;
and like a phoenix
they burn in to ashes.

Excuse me, for yet another translation!

This blog is a beast
as it craves and craves to eat
thought after a poor thought
of my famished mind;
since I’m a person very kind,
I don’t hesitate to feed
it with trans-creations
of the others’ mind
to help it grow
with its greedy ways .. 😛

The Decision

I too gave up

the desire to reach the shore.

I too resigned myself

to the rising tides.

I discarded the crutches of reliance.

I gathered the pieces

of my shattered self.

I stitched my shirt

[which was torn by passion]

from neck to bottom,

because,

I too was a human after all.

How long would I’ve fought

your perpetual indifference

with a handicapped self.

How long would I’ve watered

the arid land

of our relation

with the bucketfuls of my tears.

How long would I’ve blown

to ignite the extinguished coal

of your feelings;

of your passion.

How long would I’ve kept

afresh, the flowers of hope

in the vase of false expectations.

How long would I’ve burnt

my blood instead of oil

in the candles, that I kept lit

in waiting for you.

How long would I’ve searched

my traceless self

like a child,

in the lane of your memories.

I too was a human, after all;

I grew exhausted at last.

I could no longer carry

the burden of formalities

and excessive mannerism

over the feeble shoulders

of endurance;

I couldn’t make the sound

of a clap with a single palm.

I couldn’t won the battle of fate

with the power of mere tact.

Hence, I consulted my heart

and decided at last, that,

(To you be your way,

and to me mine*)

* Sura Alkafirun/ 109:6 of the Holy Quran

Another translation ..

The gifts of Globalization are many, so are its curses like colonization, wars and monopolies but since I’m sick of the wars and violence around, I deemed it appropriate to resort to poetry. Incidentally, the name of the below translated poem is also ‘Globalization’ which thankfully is having a different context.

In this modern age of Globalization

The distances have so shrunk

In a manner,

That these seem unreal

Like a dream,

Or like a mere figment

Of one’s imagination.

People in the world

Have become so close

As those living in a village

Or in a same little house.

But you and I,

The eternal unfortunates,

Are dwelling in the same city

For years,

Without a contact,

Without a relation.

We are so oblivious

Of the whereabouts of each other.

What sort of a cave,

Of the times bygone is that

Wherein we are resting?

Which kind of a season,

Or times we expect

And are waiting for?

I ask you, love, to judge by yourself!

Since I have not been able to write my mind of late, I’ve found it apt to try and translate someone else’, so here ‘s another R.K. Majrooh poem that might make to a collection of my translations to be included in his upcoming book of Pushto poetry.

la sta da ishq awo sta da meeney peeryan

ma na kooz shawe na dee

la sta da husn talismi asar na

za rawataley na yem

la me da wasl loogharhana tanda

yawa zara hum mata shawey na da

la me da shauq da lewantob abaseen

kha pa ghorzang rawan de

la me da zrha pa khudadad mumlikat

sta da yadoono raaj de

la da ghwagoono pa gumbad ke zama

sta da painzo awo da bangrho shranga da

la me da stargo da banho pa asman

da speno okhko kehkashan zaleegi

sara da de che pa safar ke da jwand

dasey muqam ta rasedaley yema

charta che da da mayentob khabarey

charta che da da lewantob khabarey

hess ehmiat na laree

hess haisiat na laree

dere sat-hee awo beymanee khkareegi

da qadar warho da qeemati asasey

koota seekey khkareegi

da hosh awo aqal Guantanamo Bay ke

bandey aksar mastey jazbey khkareegi

nu oos insaf pa ta de, waya kana!

che ta zama da lewantob de kaifiat ta aakhir

kom tanazur ke gorey

da taalluq da paidara awo zangarey jazba

ta da maayar pa koma tala taley ..

I’m still haunted

by the ghosts of your love

I’m not yet out of the trance

of your beauty

My lips are still parched

with the thirst of your union

The tides of my passion

still rise with the same ferosity

Your thoughts are still there

to rule over the land of my heart

The music of your anklets and bangles

still chime in my ears

A galaxy of crystalline tears still shines

on the tips of my lashes,

Though I’ve reached a certain place

in the journey of life, where

things like love and passion seem all

but shallow and meaningless;

where all those treasured assets

of the esteemed lovers

feel like useless coins,

like the fervor of love

imprisioned in the Guantanamo Bay

of reason,

yet I ask you, love, to judge by yourself!

How do you look at the state of my ardour?

Whats your criteria to discern

the strength and distinction of

my feelings for you?

Two Hykus In Translation

In Pushto: Rahim Khan Majrooh

1) Ya kha buzdil ya kha ashna de zama

che pa maray zama charha teravee

awo zaroorat mehsoosavi da naqab

He is either a friend or a coward to extreme

While slitting my throat

He feels the need to cover his face

2) za che tarsou na wom panah la kali

ma che har sou warey pa sha okatal

da bam pa sar sra lupata khwazeda

Until I left the proximity of village

Every time I looked back

A red veil fluttered on top of the roof

A Translation From Pushto ..

In Pushto by Rahim Khan Majrooh

Translation by Aadil Omer

The events of the last connection

of our relation were so sudden,

so ephemeral that I couldn’t sense it.

I can’t remember what we talked about last

except the words that you uttered,

‘I leave you to the protection of God,

‘You leave me to the protection of God.’

In a state of shock, I couldn’t believe

our parting even when a lot of days lapsed.

‘Nay! It cannot happen!’ I said

‘Our ways can’t be separated!’I thought.

Then the time withdrew its hand

of generosity from that of mine.

Then the fate separated its hand

of companionship form that of mine.

Then the universe of light and color

turned dull and dour.

Then the pines of the florid land

of my thoughts caught fire.

Then, the houris of the paradise

of my dreams turned to freaky vampires

of the streets of lonesomeness.

Then, a peculiar scene formed my backdrop.

As though someone drew the ground

from under my feet; I was hung in the air

like a pi-pal tree, grown within a wall.

From thereon, love,

neither smile visited my lips

nor sleep stayed in my eyes.

True, I’m alive but just like a corpse;

Like the pieces of a widow’s bangles

shattered in pain.