I have stayed away from ghazals for a while now. But a jumble of recent events had me listening to “Ab ke hum bichde” by the unimitable Ahmed Faraaz. The poet knows how to pluck the right strings to trigger a silent sigh that grows into a thunderstorm of pent up sorrow. Here comes the text and a free translation.

अब के हम बिछड़े तो शायद कभी ख़्वाबों में मिले
जिस तरह सूखे हुए फूल किताबों में मिले

ढूंढ उजडे हुए लोगों में वफ़ा के मोती,
ये खज़ाने तुझे मुमकिन है खराबों में मिलें

तू खुदा है ना मेरा इश्क फ़रिश्तों जैसा,
दोनो इन्सां हैं तो क्यो इतने हिजाबों में मिलें

गम-ए-दुनिया भी गम-ए-यार में शामिल कर लो,
नशा बढता है शराबें जो शराबों में मिलें

आज हम दार पे खैंचे गए जिन बातों पर,
क्या अजब कल वो ज़माने को निसाबों में मिलें

अब न वो मैं हूं न तू है न वो माज़ी है “फ़राज़”,
जैसे दो शक्स तमन्ना के सराबों में मिलें

The translation is based on that found at http://1moreinthecrowd.blogspot.com/2006/04/ab-ke-hum-bichde-ahmed-faraz… and reposted here with the author’s permission.

The ghazal mourns for a past that is gone. Of a past that wrenches the poets heart. It picks on the deepest wound until it becomes raw; slowly a bright red spot of blood appears, widens and then flows down with your most merciless tears. Of regret..of a madness that once filled every thing in and around you. An aching known only to those who have loved truly with their mind, with their heart, their existence..and then lost it.

Now that we are apart, perhaps we will meet in our dreams. Some time, like finding a dried flower in an old book.

Search for the pearls of trust in broken hearts. Perhaps you will find the treasure in those ruins. The more devastated I feel about my loss, closer I am to how I felt when I was in true love. Perhaps I can find the treasures of my lost faith in love in the ruins of my broken heart.

Now that you are gone, I feel low.. devastated with even mundane disappointments. The most I miss is how I felt in the times bygone. I drown to new bottoms and a piercing ache, a dismay that has no remedy at all settles on my mood. There is a strange kind of satisfied feeling in drowing in the sorrow. Of you, of me. Put together with everything that could have gone well. Perhaps you should mix the pain of the world with the pain of love. After all, when one wine mixes with another, you can at least lose yourself in the heights of intoxication.

You are not God, neither was my love divine. When we are both human, why did we meet each other with so many pretences? [ “दोनो इन्सां हैं तो क्यो इतने हिजाबों में मिलें” There is no way of translating what the poet is saying here. He knows exactly what I would feel like. Poets like Faraaz are the best friends to share your sorrows with. They take your most tearing pain and turn it in to something so beautiful. ]

I loved the idea of loving you. You loved me for what you thought I was. I hid myself behind so many masks. Neither of us could confront the truth of what we were. Why did it have to be like that? When we are only human, why do we chase the image of divine love? Never seeing one another for what we are.

Now, I’m no longer what I was before. You are not what you were. The times we had together are gone. It all seems so surreal, nothing seems real. Not you, not me, not our union. The we way we met in life seems like a union of two shadows in the mirage of wishes.

I am unable to get out of that mirage. I am lost in the ruins of my lost love. All that is left.. tears.. and a lingering wish of seeing you.. in my dreams.. in future.. some time.. some day.. some place.. hope.. to find that dried flower in my book.