As a new year begins, here is one of Ghalib’s eternal classics, each couplet in this ghazal is laden with beautiful meaning and brings out a different thought with a convoluted analogy, in quintessential Ghalib style.
unke dekhe se jo aa jaati hai munh par raunaq, woh samajhte hain ke beemaar ka haal achcha hai
This bright glow that erupts on my face when she glances at me,
it makes her believe that my unwell (sickly) condition is doing better now
dekhiye paate hain ushshaaq buton se kya faiz, ik birahaman ne kaha hai, ke yeh saal achcha hai
Let us see what favours will be received by lovers, from these idols,
A priest or soothsayer has suggested that this year is going to be a good one..
Ghalib is suggesting that it has been predicted or foreseen by soothsayers that this year will be a good one for receiving favours and rewards from your beloved, so to say they will be more appeasing and open to the idea.
aur baazaar se le aaye agar toot gaya, saaghar-e-jam se mera jaam-e-sifaal achcha hai
I can buy many more from the market, if this one breaks
My (ordinary) clay cup of wine is so much better than Jamshed’s magical cup that cant be replaced
The story goes that King Jamshed’s cup was a magical one that could reveal all secrets and could reflect the whole world in it. Ghalib suggests that the humility and ordinariness of regular everyday things is so much better sometimes than special, majestic ones that we all wish and crave for.
qatra dariya mein jo mil jaaye to dariya ho jaaye, kaam achchaa hai woh, jiska ma’aal achcha hai
When a drop merges with the sea, it becomes the sea
All work is good, if the combined efforts of the work yields good results
The idea here could probably suggest that individuals we should strive to become part of a larger whole, to realize the purpose of our existence and anything done towards this endeavor is good.
bosa dete naheen aur dil pe hai har lahja nigaah, jee mein kehte hain, muft aaye to maal achcha hai
She doesn’t give me a kiss, but her eyes are firmly on my heart
In her heart she seems to think, if I get his love for free only then is it worthwhile
hamko ma’aloom hai jannat ki haqeeqat lekin, dil ke khush rakhne ko, ‘Ghalib’ yeh khayaal achcha hai
We all know the reality of this place called Heaven
Yet, to keep the heart feeling happy and content, the idea of Heaven is a beautiful one
Here is the link to part of the ghazal from the TV series Mirza Ghalib, featuring Naseeruddin Shah as Ghalib and sung by Jagjit Singh.