Couple of days back I posted a poem in Assamese (Axomiya) in my Facebook timeline ” খৰিকাজাইঃ এটি অসমীয়া গজল” with a brief forward. My daughter tried to do a Facebook translation of the piece and the result, to say the least, was hilarious. Suffice is to say that if it was permissible to sue for loss in translation, then it would have been OK to do that for murdering the language. It is our fault that though my kids understand Assamese and can speak, at least the oldest and the youngest,they can’t write or read the language. So it is for their benefit that I translated the piece along with the brief forward.
I like to listen to ghazals. To tell the truth, as I don’t understand many Urdu words, sometimes I miss out in understanding the real meaning of many ghazals. I still listen. Whether correct or not, I do hum the tunes in the bathroom. Sometimes while working in the kitchen, I do whistle over the ridicules of my better half. As per her, there is no one in the world who is a worse off-tune singer than me. Oh well, I am not aspiring to be a Jagjit Singh*. Anyway, till about four years ago this was my only relationship with ghazal. About four years ago, on my blog I read an English ghazal written by my fellow blogger, Jane Dougherty( Jane Dougherty Writes ) whose blog I follow. I had no inkling that ghazals were also written in English. In short, it was through Jane that I made my entry to the world of writing ghazals. I first started writing in English and then translating to Assamese and now I write sometimes in both language. I do not have any formal training in writing ghazals and so traditionalists may say that my writings are not ghazals at all. Well, I have not stopped humming even though my better half insists that I sing off tune, so why stop writing even if someone says it is not traditional. I am not dreaming about becoming a Ghalib.
The original Assamese ghazal was written a couple of days back.
Wild Jasmine : A Ghazal
Opened the window, wafted in with the breeze your fragrance,
Memories of a rosebud of spring bygone with your fragrance.
Remember the parched earth caressed by the first rain, that subtle sweet fragrance,
Scented wild jasmines bathed by the rain smelled of your fragrance.
Wind is blowing strong scattering the books on the table all around,
Shrivelled petals of wild jasmine inside the open pages, I smell your fragrance.
Closed the book gently, lest the jasmine blew away
Futile attempt, heart filled with jasmines saturated with your fragrance.
I shut the window or the storm may cleanse my heart,
How shall I live a lonely life if wild jasmines lose your fragrance?
You are long gone, address unknown, do not know where you are now,
Poet’s heart is empty and like a madman searching in jasmines your fragrance.
July 24, 2020
San Jose, CA
*Jagjit Singh, the “King of Ghazals” was an Indian ghazal singer who passed away in 2011