Thursday, August 11, 2005



Let us consider a ghazal to facilitate this discussion and what better than a ghazal from the first album I had heard while sitting on my father’s lap and to that memory, I dedicate this article. Thetranslation is not of comparable literary value as the original ghazal, and serves the mere purpose of providing those, who find Urdu an alien tongue, a coarse outline of the poet’s creation.

Yeh dil, yeh pagal dil mera, kyun bujh gayaa, aawaragi
Is dasht me ek shehar tha, wo kya hu-aa, aawaaragi

This heart, this foolish heart of mine; why did it die? Loneliness.
In this wilderness, a beautiful city thrived; what happened to it? Loneliness.

Kal shab mujhe, beshakl ki aawaz ne chaunka diya
Maine kaha "tu kaun hai", usne kahaa "aawaaragi"

Last night, a faceless voice caught me by surprise
I asked, “Who are you?” and it said “Loneliness”

Ye dard ki tanhaaiyaan, ye dasht ka veeraan safar
Hum log to ukhta gaye, apni sunaa aawaargi

(In) this pain of solitude and lonely travel through the desert
We soon got bored, So, tell us more about your(self) “loneliness”
Ek ajanabi jhaunke ne jab, poochha mere gam ka sabab
Sehara ki bhigi ret par, maine likhaa "aawaaragi"

A sudden unknown waft asked me about the cause of my sadness
On the wet sands of the desert, I wrote thus: “Loneliness”

Art of Writing


If we had to use dialogue for the initial
example, it might be as follows:

"You want to say something, Jeff."
"Umm, yeah, actually nothing great. I was
simply wondering..."
"No, nothing, not sure, really. You fine?"
"Jeff, I am fine, but I wouldn't say the same
about you."
"No, no. I am fine", he laughed like static while
tuning a radio to a station across the band.

Note that in the first statement, we have not
made it a question. A question would make
the speaker (the lady Jeff is nervous to talk
to) an amiable person. By making it a
statement, it sounds more as if she is
confident and sure of things around her, and
someone who can make another person
nervous. Such little things matter too. A fair
amount of details delivered about the
speakers. The laugh, compared to the static
on a radio, adds to the nervous image of Jeff.
We haven’t stated nervousness anywhere,
directly or indirectly.
It is often mistaken that “showing” entails the
author to write more and make simple things
long winded, albeit wonderfully so. This is
usually a concern when there is a word
restriction placed on the author by some
foreign agent. However, this concern is
misplaced and quite far from the truth.
Consider the following line,

She might have been waiting for her lover.

On the Road


All over the novel, there are non-intrusive
scenes with great jazz players and how they
enjoy their art and how, between their
indulgences in their destined art form, they
live the life of dispassionate human beings.
Dean's absolute awe of them and how he
watches them through their performance like
a man possessed, fills wonderful pages,
giving us a glimpse into the abstruse mind of
Dean Moriarty and what, possibly, holds Sal
to Dean.
“Shearing began to play his chords; they rolled
out of the piano in great rich showers […]Dean
was sweating; the sweat poured down his
collar. “There he is! That’s him! Old God! Old
God Shearing! Yes! Yes! Yes!” And Shearing
was conscious of the madman behind him, he
could hear everyone of Dean’s gasps and
imprecations, he could sense it though he
couldn’t see. […] When he was gone Dean
pointed to the empty piano seat. “God’s empty
chair,” he said. […] God was gone; it was the
silence of his departure.”
And later:
“But the slender leader frowned, “Let’s blow
anyway.” Something would come of it yet.
There’s always more, a little further – it never
ends. They sought to find new phrases after
Shearing’s explorations; they tried hard. They
writhed and twisted and blew. […] They found
it, they lost it, they wrestled for it, they found it
again, they laughed, they moaned – and Dean
sweated at the table and told them to go, go,
go. At nine o’clock in the morning everybody –
musicians, girls in slacks, bartenders, and the



We left the tent in a daze, but I staged an
early recovery.
"These people gossip pretty hard, you know."
"Give it up, Ed. You know that was uncanny.
What bothers me is what did she mean by
become famous?"
"Don't let it bother you. If you will, you will.
And you can be famous and happy unlike
what she...."
"If its destiny's word to be sad, nothing can
go against it."
"Don't be silly. You make your life, bro. Every
step you take is your decision, not destiny's.
Look at Stevie Wonder and that Hawking guy
and ..."
"What makes you think that what happens is
not what destiny wanted to make happen in
the first place?" he asked me with a smile on
his face that shut me up immediately.
Couple of days passed by without a
reference to the incidents in that tent. One
evening, I returned early from work, as news
was that the routes would be barricaded for
the evening. Geoffrey Adams was presenting
his manifesto at Blayt Park. He was running
for mayor and, had there been no police in
this town, he would be running for his life.


The Lure

He turned and walked away.
Tables need cleaning
And his heart needed distance
From the lure of an easy life
Of things handed down and sympathy.
As he scrubbed the tables,
He scrubbed them harder when
Temptation grew,
And with each hard rub
He hoped that it would
Stifle the coolness of that call.


Oh Chandralekha! Oh fairest one!
Does a lover’s heart need such pain?
For little did it know the vile life,
Of once loved and left in disdain.

The hand which lead a myriad spears
And chariots that shook this very earth
Lies in that bed of thousand nights
Of yours and his and an aching dearth


Morning, Beggar to the Gods


Morning beggar to the Gods,
Hides as beggars do-
Behind the tide of noon's great arms
Who takes his rags and lays
Forever dying Morning's light
Turning warmth to heat and vice
Slow death turn even, to dusk, to night
In seamless mirage ebb-

Wednesday, August 03, 2005

Long Live Nitpickers

Those who have read the Aug 2005 issue of Alvibest are invited to run their critic's eye through the journal and find places where errors were overlooked. Errors could be grammatical, syntactical, semantical or formatting.

"On page 21 of the August 2005 issue there is an unnecessary carriage return between "better" and "of it" in the last but 3rd paragraph"

All those who capture such errors and send it to will find mention in the following issue. Help us improve the magazine!

What do you feel?

We would like to hear about what title you would give this sketch and why.