Thursday, September 5, 2013

Khaali Samandar (Raat Pashmine Ki)

A while back I did this post (which finds a man describing his ladylove in the terms of the sea, sunset, the moon etc (the kind of exquisite imagery that we have come to associate with Gulzar)). 

The poem in this post also features almost the same set of elements, yet it takes the imagery a step further in that one is not sure till the end if the man is talking about his sweetheart or the tide (yes, that same high-tide, low-tide, ज्वार-भाटा वाली tide).

Anyway, here is my interpretation of the poem, which deeply appeals to me as a hardcore romantic and a sea-lover.

ख़ाली समंदर  (An Empty Sea)

उसे फिर लौट के जाना है, ये मालूम था उस वक़्त भी जब शाम की -
सुर्खोसुनहरी रेत पर वह दौड़ती आई थी 
और लहरा के -
यूं आग़ोश में बिखरी थी जैसे पूरे का पूरा समंदर -
ले के उमड़ी है 

[[She had to go back - we knew this even as 
She came --
Running on the evening-sand rendered crimson
And swaying, broke into my arms like the billowing ocean]]

उसे जाना है, वो भी जानती थी, 
मगर हर रात फिर भी हाथ रख कर चाँद पर खाते रहे कसमे 
ना मैं उतरूँगा अब साँसों के साहिल से,
ना वो उतरेगी मेरे आसमाँ पर झूलते तारों की पींगों से 

[[Even knowing that she had to go,
We kept swearing on the moon, night by night
That I won't descend into this sea of breathlessness
And she won't come swooping down from the stars fastened to my sky]]

मगर जब कहते-कहते दास्ताँ, फिर वक़्त ने लम्बी जम्हाई ली,
ना वो ठहरी --
ना मैं ही रोक पाया था!

[[Oblivious to these vows,
When the time yawned in between telling its eternal tale
Neither she stopped --
Nor was I able to make her stay!]]

बहुत फूँका सुलगते चाँद को, फिर भी उसे 
इक इक कला घटते हुए देखा 
बहुत खींचा समंदर को मगर साहिल तलक हम ला नहीं पाये,
सहर के वक़्त फिर उतरे हुए साहिल पे 
इक डूबा हुआ ख़ाली समंदर था!

[[No matter how hard we tried to keep the moon aflame
We saw it dying, one phase at a time
We couldn't pull the sea any closer to the shore,
By dawn, all that there was on the shore
Was a sea -- sunken and empty]]

My two cents:
1. It's not just the metaphors used in the two poems (this one and this one) that are similar; even the flow is quite alike. The lovers meet as the evening is descending upon the sea shore, and they have to part ways as the night ends. The poems are both very beautiful but in a tragic way, leaving you with a wistful heart and an unfathomable yearning. At least that's what happened with me on both occasions.

2. I was not justifiably able to translate the "ना मैं उतरूँगा अब साँसों के साहिल से / ना वो उतरेगी मेरे आसमाँ पर झूलते तारों की पींगों से" part. I think he is talking about how, every night, the shore and the tide vow to never leave each other; but they're helpless in the hands of the time. Your comments?


  1. Excellent. Thanks for sharing.

  2. Muje lagta hai ki wo log dheeme dheeme ek dusre se baat kar rahe hain, kinare pe chalte hue......
    ladka baato ke sath aati sanson ki khushboo me uljha rahna chahta hai or kuch aise wade hain pyaar ke jo shayad is tarah ke hain jaise aasnaan se taare tod ke laa dena, jo afsano ki tarah hain par fir bhi ladki unme doobi rahna chahti hai....

  3. What i perceived from this line,,its about moon and tide... the tide vows that neither it would let go the moment of ecstasy (of togetherness), even though he knows the fate, nor the moon would swoop down from the sky & just disappear. they just wish to seize the moment of togetherness, even though they knows the eventual fate..

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