Tuesday, February 24, 2015

In Twos and Threes

As always, stuff comes in twos and threes.

Earlier this week, I was reminded of Shiv Kumar Batalvi’s heart-wrenching Maaye ni maaye main shikra yaar banaya. I had read an excerpt from the much-praised H is for Hawk, Helen Macdonald’s account of a goshawk she raised. It sounds fascinating and I can’t wait to read it.

Batalvi, experienced perhaps in loving wild things and having them leave him, is enamoured of the hawk in this poem. He says:

Choori kuTaaN
Te o khaaNda naaheeN
Uhnu dil da maas khavaaiya
Ik uDaari aesi maari
O muR vatani na aaiya

I crushed choori, but he would not eat it.
So I fed him the flesh of my heart...
He took flight, and such a flight it was
That he never turned this way again...
Oh, I befriended a hawk, mother!

Jagjit Singh sings a melancholy version of this poem here:

And while on this, I found something else. Jagjit Singh singing Batalvi again and this one, the utterly pathetic Maaye ni maaye mere geetan ne nainan vich...
I clung to this song for a while, when I was grieving my mother’s death so intensely a few years ago.

Aakh su ni kha laye Tuk
HijaraaN da pahkiya,
LekhaaN de ni puTHaRe tave!
Chat laye tarel looni
GhamaaN de gulaab toN ni,
Kaalaje nu hausala rave!

Tell him, mother, to swallow the bread
Of separation.
He is fated to mourn.
Tell him to lick the salty dew
On the roses of sorrow,
And stay strong.

Although I still love Nusrat’s version best, here is (a very young) Jagjit Singh giving it a shot:

Translations are from Suman Kashyap, or based on her translations.

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