Why this blog is called "Gallimaufry".

gal-uh-MAW-free\, noun.

Originally meaning "a hash of various kinds of meats," "gallimaufry" comes from French galimafrée; in Old French, from the word galer, "to rejoice, to make merry"; in old English: gala + mafrer: "to eat much," and from Medieval Dutch maffelen: "to open one's mouth wide."

It's also a dish made by hashing up odds and ends of food; a heterogeneous mixture; a hodge-podge; a ragout; a confused jumble; a ridiculous medley; a promiscuous (!) assemblage of persons.

Those of you who know me, will, I’m sure, understand how well some of these phrases (barring the "promiscuous" bit!) fit me.

More importantly, this blog is an ode to my love for Shimla. I hope to show you this little town through my eyes. If you don't see too many people in it, forgive me, because I'm a little chary of turning this into a human zoo.

Stop by for a spell, look at my pictures, ask me questions about Shimla, if you wish. I shall try and answer them as best as I can. Let's be friends for a while....

26 November 2008

Sahir The Magician

This morning, for no reason at all, I was reminded of Sahir. Colossus in a world of creative pygmies. Obsessive lover. The man who introduced the art of "adab" (intellect) to the sometimes mindless world of Hindi film lyrics. Thousands of words have been written singing paeans to his talent. To me, he is a man whose words reach out from across time and age. They just go right in somewhere in the heart region. It is foolish to analyse his poetry. His poems are meant to be read, to be felt deep inside in that place where you allow no one to enter....

Here is a gem. Meant to read and cherished, and maybe shed a tear over, since it strikes a chord:

चलो एक बार फिर से
अजनबी बन जाएँ हम दोनों

में तुमसे कोई उम्मीद रखूँ दिल-नवाजी की
तुम मेरी तरफ़ देखो ग़लत-अंदाज़ नज़रों से
मेरे दिल की धड़कन लड़खडाए मेरी बातों में
ज़ाहिर हो तुम्हारी कशमकश का राज़ नज़रों से

चलो एक बार फिर से....

तुम्हे भी कोई उलझन रोकती है पेश-कदमी से
मुझे भी लोग कहते हैं के ये जलवे पराये हैं
मेरे हमराह भी रुसवाईया हैं मेरे माजी की
तुम्हारे साथ भी गुजरी हुई रातों के साए हैं

चलो एक बार फिर से.....

तारुफ़ रोग हो जाए , तो उसको भूलना बेहतर
तालुक बोझ बन जाए तो उसको छोड़ना अच्छा
वो अफसाना जिसे अंजाम तक लाना हो मुमकिन
उसे एक खूबसूरत मोड़ दे कर छोड़ना अच्छा

चलो एक बार फिर से, अजनबी बन जाएँ हम दोनों

Chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabi ban jaayen hum donon.

Naa main tum-se koi ummeed rakkhoon dil-nawazi ki,
Naa tum meri taraf dekho galat-andaaz nazaron se,
Naa mere dil ki dhadkan ladkhadaye meri baaton mein,
Naa zaahir ho tumhari kash-ma-kash ka raaz nazaron se.

Chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabi ban jaayen hum donon.

Tumhe bhi koi uljhan rokati hai, pesh-kadami se,
Mujhe bhi log kehte hain, ki yeh jalwe paraye hain
Mere humraah bhi ruswaaiyan hain mere maazi ki
Tumhare saath bhi guzari hui raaton ke saayen hain.

Chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabi ban jaayen hum donon.

(And here come the best lines...)
Taarruf rog ho jaaye to usko bhoolna behtar
Taaluq bojh ban jaaye to usko todna achcha
Woh afsaana jise anjaam tak laana na ho mumqin
Use ek khoobsoorat mod dekar chhodna achcha

Chalo ek baar phir se, ajnabi ban jaayen hum donon........

And now for my (about adequate) translation of the above. I'm sure others have attempted it too and have fared better than I. It's impossible to love Sahir and not want to share him with everyone! so here goes:

Come, let us be strangers once again.

I shall no longer aspire for any favours from you
Nor shall you look askance at me
No more shall my words tremble at my heartbeat
Nor the secret of your
struggle be betrayed in a glance.

Come, let us be strangers once again.

Something stops you from moving ahead (with me)
I too now wear facades, or so they tell me
The disgraces of my past are my constant companions
And you too are haunted by nights of yore

Come, let us be strangers once again.

When acquaintance sickens, it's best forgotten
When a relationship oppresses, it's best broken
If an adventure on which you've embarked, cannot be completed
One must abandon it on a beautiful turn.

Come, let us be strangers once again.........

In all honesty, gentle reader, the English language has no equivalent for the words "Woh afsaana jise anjaam tak laana na ho mumqin / Use ek khoobsoorat mod dekar chhodna achcha".... One cannot do justice to the genius of Sahir in any language other than Urdu/Hindustani........


d gypsy! said...

love that song....

dunno much abt the person though....

Dick Richards said...

Beautiful. Thank you. "let us be stragers again" -- speaks to renewal, letting go of preconceptions, discovery, so many things.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful translation, G. You have hidden depths.....

verisimladude said...

beautiful..rendering rhyme while faithfully translating the thought..aap bhi har ek pal ki shaayra hain :)

Gallimaufry said...

Thank you, Gypsy: he was one of the greatest poets of Hindi cinema & of urdu.
Dick: as always, you bring another perspective.
Dear anonymous friend and verysimladude: *blush* Thank you! You're too kind.

Anonymous said...

Thanks. Yet another gem to admire that richly textured song. A fantastic translation (and I don't usually gush at translations).

Try some more translations, na.

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