Dil hee toh hai na sang~o~khishth dard sey.
As I write this post from a train in Delhi, I think of my first visit to this mega city a good ten years ago. As it is burgeoning and bursting at its seams, I look around me at the faces on this crowded Metro train ferrying its janta around, across localities and state lines.
All by myself, I spend 2 hours each day listening, observing, sometimes smiling at the petulant remarks, sometime amazed at the pace and always impressed by the rigour of its inhabitants.
Delhi is a city of immigrants and the train offers faces from across the northern plains, travelling for work, for employment, with work tools and wrinkled faces, very few smiles and lots of tired eyes.
So far from their homes, what are they feeling? A longing, a sense of freedom or guilt?
I am far from home too, and although the flight away from my cocoon excites me, I miss home, it’s comforts and simplicity.
Travelling with hordes of strangers, a feeling of sadness engulfs me. What are we but a mixture of emotions, filled with pain and hurt, each one caring a distant sad memory, sometimes hurt by those we love, others guilty of not allowing ourselves to be hurt by those who said that they loved us. Deep within us do we still give fire to the flames of anger that remind us of taunts and criticisms that we repeat to ourselves.
We move into big cities, across continents, away from those we love, to give them the life they deserve but are they waiting for us, or are they not expectant and angry of being left behind?
As a grey cloud hangs over this post inspired by the smog that envelopes this mega-city, Ghalib speaks to us from the other side, about pain, about escape and hurt.
In this ghazal full of hurt and pain, the line that stuck with me was ‘Maut se pehle Aadmi gham se nijaat paaye kyun’, why before death should we be free of sadness.
Dil hee toh hai na sang-o-khishth dard sey bhar na aaye kyon
Royenge hum hazaar baar koi hamien sataaye kyun
Dair naheen haram naheen dar naheen aasthan naheen
Baithey hain rehguzar pey hum ghair humain utthaye kyun
Jab woh jamaal-e-dil faroz soorat e mehr e neemroz
Aap hee ho nazaara soz pardey mein munh chhupaaye kyun
Qaid e hayaat o band e gham asl mein dono ek hain
Maut sey pehley aadmi gham sey nijaat paaye kyun
Haan voh naheen khuda parast jaao voh bewafaa sahee
Jis ko ho deen o dil azeez uskee galee mein jaaye kyun
Ghalib e khastaa key baghair kaun sey kaam band hain
Roiye zaar zaar kya keejiye haaye haaye kyun
It is my heart, not a thing of brick and stone, why can’t it sometimes fill with pain.
A thousand tears will I shed and moan, why should you hurt me again and again?
Not in a temple nor in a mosque; nor at anyone’s door nor doorstep,
If I sit spent by a thoroughfare, why should anyone tell me to get up?
She is heart bewitching, resplendent as the sun at noon, but to understand her I fail,
When she shows herself of her own will, why is her face hid behind a veil?
Life is like a prison, sorrows like fetters that bind;
Why before death should anyone freedom find?
Granted she has no faith in God, she also does fidelity disdain,
Then he who holds God in his heart, why should he go down her lane?
Nothing in the world will stop when wretched Ghalib is absent
Why then shed copious tears, why then the loud lament?