Monday, August 9, 2021

What a Weekend That Was!

Sad. It was a sad weekend. The weekend following 23rd July, 2021. When two eminent theoretical high energy physicists, both of them Nobel laureates, Toshihide Maskawa and Steven Weinberg, transitioned from being alive to whatever that other dumb state is. Sir would have probably said, उनीहरू धान रोप्न गए (they went to plant rice). I never inquired about or understood the origin of that phrase. I just like(d) it for the simplicity and obscurity of the reference!

I ‘knew’ Dr. Maskawa because of the CKM (Cabibbo-Kobayashi-Maskawa) matrix or quark mixing matrix. In modern theoretical physics, it is quite hard to put a face on an equation. (Remember, E=(γ)mc² reminds one of Einstein. Or, (γ·∂+m)ψ=0 reminds one of Dirac. Well, maybe that’s not a good example. How about Noether’s theorem or Yang-Mills theory or Higgs boson or Feynman diagrams or BRST formalism or BCFW recursion relations? I guess you get the idea that it is hard to associate faces to equations in physics… Forget faces, even names sometimes get lost in the zoo of acronyms!) It is indeed sad that, for me, CKM matrix got a face at this inopportune time.

I ‘know’ Dr. Weinberg because of… a lot of things. In fact, I decided to become a theoretical physicist because I read his book “Dreams of a Final Theory” in the library of my high school. (Why do I have to be specific about the library? For that, read OMUs 4 in this post.) Then, during my undergraduate days, I got to know more of him by studying the electroweak theory (including Weinberg angle or weak mixing angle), by studying his book on Gravitation & Cosmology (including his paper on cosmological bound on neutrino masses), by reading his book “The First Three Minutes” (though I doubt I finished this one). I got to know much later that the name “Standard Model” in particle physics was coined by him. I had even applied to UT Austin for graduate studies, just for the possibility that I could, maybe, in due course of time, be able to meet him in person. But that application didn’t go as planned and I went to SBU. I was still confident that being in the same country possibly means the probability of meeting him is still nonzero. The day of 23rd July, 2021 has made that probability zero.

I have ‘followed’ Dr. Weinberg’s advice on graduate research since my undergraduate days, i.e., since I read his Nature article Four golden lessons. In fact, I always keep a summary of the 4 lessons in my shirt pocket (along with other quotes from famous people like Einstein, Feynman, Salam, WS, PvN, etc.). As I started thinking about graduating and becoming a postdoc, I came across another article of his with similar flavour: To the postdocs. What a coincidence of timely guidance!

Sadly, as I inch towards finishing my third postdoc and no clear view of a faculty job on the horizon, I wonder if I have missed a third article by him titled, “Are you ready to teach?” or “Research without academia?” or ⋯. Well, I guess 23rd July has made me stop that search.

I will end this post with an article, which on any other day, I would not have. (Read it till the end, though!)

Finding one’s place in physics

Monday, July 19, 2021

Colours and Biases

It has been a while since I talked about photography ‘properly’ on this blog. What with all the pandemics going around, who has the time to photograph anything pleasant. Apparently one of my brothers (cousins) does. He sent me a few photos of roses and a hibiscus with dew drops all over the place. They were nice photos but I felt that the colour profile of every photo could have been tweaked a little to make the colours pop. That would have given them a vivid, vibrant feel. (Some may have even benefitted from soft focus giving them a dreamy feel.) Let me demonstrate what I mean. Here’s the original photo of a hibiscus:

Dull Hibiscus

The colours in this photo feel flat and muted. The pink petals are borderline white and the background elements – dark green leaves and red flowers – appear to take over one’s attention that is intended for the main subject. To remedy some of these aspects, I fiddled with the colour warmth, saturation, highlights & shadows and contrast to get the following photo:

Vivid Hibiscus

I was happy with how the pink and orange hues now attract one’s attention more than the background elements, which somehow don’t stand out too much. As is often said, it takes one flower to know another, so I asked my 3.3 years old daughter Sakura what does she think of the two photos. She at once picked the original photo! I was shocked, to say the least.

After regaining my composure, I asked her why did she pick the original? She said there are green leaves in the original. That is true, but that’s what I felt were the distracting elements. That's why I had ‘turned’ them to ‘black’ so as to be the background and the flower could be the center of attention (which every kid expects to be)! Not convinced by that reason alone, I asked her again for anything else she thinks is better in the original. She said there are red flowers [pointing at the background]. Again that is true and I felt those were distracting too (like bold and gold colours on kids’ garments)! I was really confused now and asked her explicitly about the flower in the center, “Don’t you like the pink and orange colours popping out in the center [pointing at the photo with my edits]?”. She answered, “No, the orange & pink are better here [pointing at the original one]!”. And made a face/gesture/pose that seemed to articulate: “Enough with the dumb questions; I like what I like! Why should there be any reasons for that?” and ran off to play Tic-Tac-Toe with her mother. [She figured out the 2-pronged tactic to win by her 5th game against Her! “Was that a fluke or deliberate?” is a question for another post.]

Let me also share some of the photos I clicked in recent times from the verandah. As you might expect, they have been tweaked a little to make the colours pop as I prefer:


Green Coconuts

Gulmohar petal

Gulmohar flower


Thus, it seems beauty is indeed in the eyes of the beholder. What felt distracting elements to me in a photo were the precise reasons for my daughter to like that photo. Or maybe, to her young eyes, the colours are already vibrant and don’t need help popping out unlike my decades old eyes that do. It sounds weird but that’s how life is: unpredictable at the best of times, and unprecedented pandemonium at the worst of times. With that thought, I leave you with

The Hibiscus Photographer

Saturday, June 26, 2021

Rurouni Kenshin

Rurouni Kenshin – the story of a lifetime – has now been more or less completely told in live-action format. The final two movies were released this year, with one of them available on Netflix (at least in India). In total, there are 5 movies:

  1. Rurouni Kenshin (Aug 2012)
  2. RK: The Final (Apr 2021)
Rurouni Kenshin

I watched the fourth movie last week on Netflix. This part of the story has not been animated yet and I was pleasantly surprised that it has been made into a motion picture. If you have not read the manga, this movie may seem a little too fast-paced, with barely any logic or reason to some of the behaviours of the characters. But if you have read the manga, you will realize that this movie IS too fast-paced to give justice to all the motivations and reasons behind the character’s ‘well-justified’ behaviours. It also does away with certain twists and reveals in the original manga to simplify the story and fit ‘everything’ into 2 hours. And quite disappointingly, the words “Amakakeru Ryu no Hirameki” are not heard even once.

Of course, it is no one’s fault in particular. It just so happens that this medium is ill-suited to tell the original story with all the twists and turns, motives and reasons, grief and gloom, love and hatred, trust and betrayal, crime and atonement, “Thank you, Sorry and Goodbye”s.

Watch RK: The Final

Saturday, May 29, 2021

Random May…

With the world spiralling to its annihilation faster than ever, my motivation to write a monthly blogpost has understandably spiralled out of the physical realm. Not just my motivation, many other things have also spiralled out of my control. So for this month, let me do a filler post and just write down from memory what all has happened since the last post.

I have reinvested my investment along with the gains for the near future. Though, this time, in an open-ended scheme. Not that you need to know that, but let’s give the previous post a proper ending. Right?

Speaking of investments, my body’s investments in fats, cholesterols, triglycerides, etc. have reaped great gains but not so much for Vitamin D. It turns out this investment portfolio does not bode well in the long run, specifically, it puts me in pre-diabetic category. I have changed my lifestyle drastically by exercising a bit more and eating cakes a bit less. That should be enough to squeeze out a few more years I guess. We’ll see…

I have a paper out on arXiv with a collaborator from IMSc (let’s call him AM). Well, two versions already in less than two weeks because we didn’t realize in the first version that the symmetry transformations were really Z₃ and not Z₂. But it doesn’t change any of the main results so all is well and good.

SQED₂ Discriminant Locus

I have bought a domain name just to get a feel of what it’s like. It’s ‘’ and click here to go there. And I can reveal that it’s over-rated. Well, because I’m not a business so doesn’t really make much sense but whatever.

We watched the award-winning animated movie Soul. And it was so ul-species-ist. Do animals not have soul? The whole movie showed just one cat soul, like an untouchable going up that escalator thingy all alone! And how the hell did that cat come back alive at the end of the movie? I realize not everyone / everything needs to have a purpose as Richard Aoyade says in the movie but then I recognized Richard Aoyade’s voice near 70 minutes’ mark when he says “So Basic!” like no one else can. With the correct combination of sarcasm, condescension, disgust and deadpan delivery. Liked the music too. 3 Stars. And ∞ stars to RA for brightening my soul with that single phrase.

As is well-known, W. Bengal is not under lockdown or curfew but just a lot of very specific restrictions, like no public movement between 9PM and 5AM and no educational institutions, offices, etc. to open for the next two weeks. Almost no restrictions if you deal with essential items like groceries, sweets, jewellery, sarees and medicines. Enjoy these restrictive times till they last. They might not be around long till the next pandemic, which may appear next after 5 years on 06-02-26! Who knows? [Hey, this is my prediction for the next world-changing catastrophe… please someone bring this post to limelight appropriately if and when required.]

Amid the pandemic, W. Bengal was hit by a cyclonic storm named Yaas. As in, Yaas, thaa’s whaa’s we do. It caused havoc near the Odisha-Bengal coastline. The inland areas were spared this time. The most damage it did near our house was stripping the nearby Gulmohar tree of most of its flowers because not even the road in front of our house was water-logged at any time during the two-days of the storm.

Wars! Battles! Skirmishes! Yes, the fun topic of China-Taiwan, Israel-Palestine, Delhi-W. Bengal, Black-White, Allopathy-Ayurpathy, Idiocy-Stupidity, Intelligence-Learnedness, Real-Fake. As I see it, the resolution to all this is the annihilation of the whole world. Not just those two things, but everything. A clean slate or plate. The story of Noah’s ark without Noah or his Ark. The story of Dr. Stone without Senku or Dr. Xeno. That would be so soul fulfilling. I can’t wait enough for it to happen. Maybe leave Japan out of all this, just because Eiichiro Oda can complete One Piece, even though I won’t get to see that finale. But then, this is not the time to be selfish.

I believe that’s all that happened in the past month or so. I am reminded of one of Dr. Indori’s Sher about giving advice:

शराब पी के बड़े तजरबे हुए हैं हमें
शरीफ़ लोगों को हम मशवरा नहीं देंगे

Sharaab pi ke bade tajarbe hue hain hamein
Shareef logon ko ham mashwara nahin denge

Having wine has granted me great experiences
I won’t be giving any gentlemen my suggestions

राहत इंदौरी (Rahat Indori)

Let us end this post with a grand recital of Ghazals by

Shakeel Azmi

Sunday, April 25, 2021


This post is going to have a drastically different theme than my other posts. I am going to talk about investing money in India. This, however, does not constitute any financial advice. This post just captures and contrasts the result of a particular investment I made a few years ago to another one I could have made instead at that time. So let us begin from the beginning.

After my postdoc at NTU ended in early 2017, I returned to India along with all the money I saved up there. (I think ~NT$100 still remain in the bank at NTU as some interest was deposited after I had left. “Why didn’t I close the account there?”, you ask. That’s because the lady cashier helping me with my international transfers and clearing up my account convinced me that if I decided to come back, I could start using this bank account again, so no need to close it!). These savings were transferred to my NRI account in India. Having returned to India, that account could no longer be called NRI (Non-Resident Indian) so I had to visit the branch and convert the NRI account to an ordinary RI account. The branch manager was fine with doing that but also suggested that I invest most of those savings in a Mutual Fund (MF) instead of just keeping them in the Savings Account (SA) or putting them in a Fixed Deposit (FD). I was thinking of parking these savings in FD, but this guy again convinced me to try this one particular MF, which he said was very much like a FD with almost no risk, and would have some tax benefits. He showed me this demo table to highlight what he was talking about (click on the image to see a high-res version):

FD vs MF Demo

The main takeaway was that after taking into account the Indian taxation rules, the MF would have an effective annualized return rate of 7.1% vs. FD’s 4.9%, even if FD enjoyed 7% pre-tax interest rate. Let’s keep this difference of 2.2% in mind.

One problem was as much as he wanted to say “no risk”, the mutual funds are of course “subject to market risks” so there is no guarantee of returns like there is with deposits in SA or FDs. Another problem was that the money I would put in this MF would be locked for 3.25 years! At that time, I did not yet have an offer from SINP and locking away funds seemed risky from this perspective too. But then everything has an associated risk and the history of these particular types of MF hadn’t seen anything bad so I planned to give it a go. Obviously not with ₹10 Lakhs (≡₹1 Million) as written in the demo table but with half of it.

Yet another problem was that I wouldn’t be “someone in highest tax slab” so was not sure how much tax benefit I would actually get. As has turned out over the years, I am “someone in almost-tax-exempt tax slab” so I think I will get almost no tax benefit from this as can be seen in the table below made in the same format as the demo table (click for hi-res image):

FD vs MF for me

The takeaway from the table above is that the tax benefit for me is none whatsoever. The capital gain after 3.25 years from my ₹500K investment is barely ₹97K, which means the actual effective annualized return rate for this MF is 6.2% compared to 7.1% of the demo table. Adding to that disappointment, an FD created for the same duration with actual pre-tax interest rate of 6.5% would have an effective rate of 7.7% compared to 4.9% of the demo table. So the difference is –1.5% (i.e., an FD would have been a better choice for me than this MF) compared to 2.2% of the demo table.

Anyway, just for completeness sake, let us also look at the actual outcome for someone in the highest tax slab (again, click for hi-res image; the footnotes are same as in the previous table):

FD vs MF for Highest Tax Slab

In this scenario, the tax benefit is there but it is just (6.2-5.4)% = 0.8% compared to 2.2% shown in the demo table.

So the final takeaway is “Mutual Funds are subject to market risks and / or pandemics”. That’s all for this post. I will leave you with

SBI FD Interest Rates

Saturday, March 27, 2021

Holi, Moli, Roli

These are quite important words around this time of the year. The first one refers to the upcoming festival (of colour) ‘Holi’, in which people (mostly sisters) tie threads called ‘Moli’ around other people’s (mostly brothers) wrists, and mix red powder called ‘Roli’ with water to put on foreheads as Tika. There is also the other aspect of Holi, where people play with water and colours and colours mixed in water by drenching and colouring each other. Others, who like to keep some distance from this mess, fill bucket full of balloons with water (with or without colours) and throw them at others from a safe distance. As a kid, I was such a person. The routine for a couple of years during this time of the year was: wake up early in the morning, prepare a bucket full of water balloons (NO colour), go to the roof, and hurl them towards ‘victims’ walking on the roads. As one may expect, the devil is in the details. The (un)fortunate detail was that this house we lived in was basically surrounded by a vast field on three sides, and a wasteland on the other. The roads from where repercussions could not find a way to our house were beyond this field, and those were, obviously, the preferred roads for a kid to assault hapless pedestrians. But it also meant, that kid could never make the balloons land on the roads beyond the field, let alone on pedestrians! So that was how the ‘fun’ aspect of Holi played out for a few years in my childhood. And I feel my daughter is missing out on that. But that’s how it is… times change, people change, circumstances change, priorities change.

Colour Full

Even then, what does not change is the abundance of sweets on this occasion. And I am making sure that at least she experiences that aspect as much or as well as I did. In addition, she did get a toy water-pistol shaped like a dog from her mother yesterday. And she was enjoying it today morning with her menagerie of plastic toy animals. Now, I had never played with a water pistol in my childhood so I thought of joining her too. And she gladly handed the toy-pistol to me. Just after three presses of the trigger by me, the dog-shaped-water-pistol stopped working. If you foreshadowed this happening two sentences ago, kudos to you. I had not and neither had my daughter. But she turned out to be more mature in this situation than I expected. She did ask something like “did it break?”, but without using the pronoun ‘you’. And when I confirmed her assertion, she did not make a big deal out of it. She asked me to fill up the toy with a little more water and continued to tinker with it for a while as I briskly made a beeline towards the kitchen for my breakfast. I am assuming her mother will take care of the rest, or has already taken care of it. Who knows? The moral of the story: times may change, people may change, circumstances may change, priorities may change; but grown-ups screwing up childhoods never changes. And on that note,

Happy Holi

Thursday, February 18, 2021

What Futures Holds?

Those of you who think there’s some problem with grammar above, hold your horses. I am talking about “Nature Futures” column for sci-fi / futuristic stories and I can treat it as a singular noun, it being a name of the column.

So yeah, it’s been a while since I have talked about Futures on this blog. Not because the stories aren’t great any more, but because it is a weekly routine and after a while, one starts taking things for granted. So what’s special about February 2021, you ask!

Well, the latest story. Not really the story itself, but the author’s inspiration behind it or as Nature calls it “The Story Behind the Story”. That small snippet at the end of the story ends with the sentence “After all, people want what they want, and rarely what they need.”. We have all heard some variant of this sentence at least once in our lifetime but this sentence after this particular story struck some chord and here we are typing (or in your case, reading) away a blog post.

It led me to think what I want. My train of thoughts didn’t seem to go very far and my brain didn’t register a valid response. Then I thought about what I need. Again my train of thoughts resisted motion and my brain frowned at the dullness / stillness / motionlessness of it all. Maybe at the end of the day, I want a need. Or, is it the other way around, I need a want. Or there could be a third option and I may have transcended above all and मोक्ष (moksha) should be ready to receive me sometime soon.

Till then, I leave you with my second (ya, only second in a decade!) full-fledged 360° polorama.

2nd 360° Polorama

First 360° Polorama

Sunday, January 10, 2021

A Millenary of Chapters

As 2021 rolled in, the world of manga witnessed the 1000th chapter of One Piece. Yes, you read that right: One Thousandth chapter. More than 2 decades worth of weekly anticipation, sprinkled with nearly 3 years worth of (un)expected breaks by Eiichiro Oda, rolled into 1 giant realization that I’m not going to see the end of this marvellous adventure. But as people say, it’s the journey that counts, not the destination. To those people, I say, hell with you all. Because you have definitely not read One Piece.

Combined cover pages of Chapters 999 & 1000

Anyway, that is all I want to say for now. I feel this year will be big for mangas and we will talk about them once in a while as this year unfurls. Wishing Totan Kobako a complete recovery from his hand injuries and hoping this year finally sees his new work published. Meanwhile, I hope those lovely people who translated Sketchbook in the past can restart scanlating the rest of the chapters covering the last 3½ volumes. If everything else fails, I guess Google Lens will have to do the job. It’s a sad state of the world considering that “real-time translation” was one of the most promising features of the “MS Translator” app on Windows Phone 8/Mobile 10, which never materialized for Japanese in the 5 or so years of the OS’s existence/relevance.

Thursday, December 31, 2020

Poetry… What Does It Mean to Me?

Poetry means something to everyone, ranging from nothing to everything. I fall somewhere in between, depending on the type of poetry. Let me get this off my chest first: Free-verse poetry means nothing to me. If a poem does not even have a single pair of rhyming words in it, then it has no reason to be calling itself a poem. Get it the hell out of my syllabus. Sorry about that, childhood memories came flooding in. But having said that, the last poem of my class X’s Hindi poetry book was a free-verse poem titled “लोहे का स्वाद (Taste of Iron)” by सुदामा पाण्डेय ‘धूमिल’ (Sudaama Paandey ‘Dhoomil’), which is considered to be his last poem. I just couldn’t stop laughing at this poem, every time I read it during the course of that year. It said something so stupid, yet so deep (after our Hindi teacher explained the hidden meaning behind the words) that I just fell in love with the way words could be structured to arouse different emotions in the reader. And to this day, that is the only free-verse poem I (pretend to) understand and (definitely) like maybe because, even though it doesn’t have any rhyme in it, it is short and has a certain rhythm to it. Other free-verses can stop bothering me.

Let me also clarify that I am only talking about Hindi poetry, not English poetry. This is because I’m a theoretical physicist and before I understand any topic, I don’t just need a working example but a working theory to go along with it. In fact, I could do away with the example if the theory is well-worked out in the first place. So how is this related to poetry, one might ask. The relation is till class VIII no one taught us the “theory” of poetry, neither in English grammar nor in Hindi. By “theory” of poetry, I mean answers to questions like, what makes the poems what they are? What are the ingredients that go in them? How are they constructed or structured or conjured? What makes one poem good, others mediocre and the rest bad? I couldn’t bother finding answers to these out myself because I didn’t have such questions then. Why? Because I was not good at languages (partly because we were told that if you are interested in Science or Maths, you don’t have to focus too much on languages; that turned out to be a dum-bass advice as I figured out after all these years when I can’t talk to people without pretending to be an introverted / thoughtful person or without appearing as a tactless / horrible person) so a poem was just another chapter in the book about which certain questions were to be answered in the exams. Oh, and this was also a chapter that needed to be memorized because there would always be a question demanding one to write a poem from memory. (Maybe I will show-off my memory in a future post as I still remember one of those poems from class X.)

However, in class IX & X, things changed when Hindi grammar syllabus introduced us to this “theory” in the form of अलंकार (alankaar) & रस (rasa) or “Figures of Speech” (not “Parts of Speech”) & “Genre / Mood / Emotion” (not sure what the exact linguistic term is in English). They are the ingredients that make poetry what it is. They give the words their beauty, the meanings their depth and the whole enterprise its grandiosity. And even though I can apply this theory to English poems to some extent, it is not the same. There is a certain disconnect because having not got the theory first-hand in school when I was being fed all those English poems without the “theory”, the time to appreciate them has gone. But I am thankful that अलंकार & रस were taught at the last moment and so at least, I can say I get Hindi poetry, in a way I can never get English poetry. I won’t talk about this “theory” here but may in some other future post. But they are definitely the reason I was able to bootstrap myself out of my indifference to poetry and actively seek it out and enjoy it while doing so. That has also led me to a form of poetry called ग़ज़ल (Ghazal) that I love the most because to my theoretical physicist brain it is a format that has so much going on and yet can be described theoretically in a few rules that govern its beginning, rhyming structure, physical structure, and (if the poet feels like it) the end. The simplicity of those rules is just marvellous and the resulting gems have been showcased a lot on this blog along with my English translations, which are not supposed to do the originals any justice whatsoever. These translations are just an attempt to keep some non-Hindi speaking readers on this blog a little longer. So let’s talk about ग़ज़ल.

Colours of 2020!

ग़ज़ल (Ghazal): I will define it in a mathematical way but before we get to it, we need to go through half a dozen other definitions as is usual to understand any well-respected mathematical term like homotopy, homomorphism, homology, check-the-RAM cohomology, Heck Man! Dust-Me-Not Detriment and so on.

Definition. A शेर (sher) is a couplet, i.e., a composition of two lines: S=(L₁;L₂).

Definition. A मतला (matla) is a शेर with both lines ending with the same (set of) word(s): M=(L₁=⋯R;L₂=⋯R).

Definition. रदीफ़ (radif) [refrain] refers to the above-mentioned (set of) repeating word(s): R.

Definition. क़ाफ़िया (qaafiya) refers to the rhyming pattern (not words but the sounds) before the रदीफ़, i.e., L=⋯qR.

Definition. बहर (bahar) refers to the metre of a शेर, or number of syllables in it, or simply put, its “length”: B(S).

Definition. A मक़ता (maqta) is a शेर that contains poet’s तख़ल्लुस (taKhallus) [pen-name]: Mq.

Finally, the definition we were waiting for:

Definition. A ग़ज़ल (ghazal) G is a set of four or more shers, G=[S¹;S²;⋯;Sⁿ] with n≥4, which satisfy the following properties:

1. {S¹,⋯,Sm}∈M with m≥1. (A ghazal must begin with at least one मतला (matla).)

2. {Sm+1,⋯,Sⁿ|L₂=⋯R}. (The second line of rest of the shers must have the same रदीफ़ (radif).)

3. {S¹,⋯,Sⁿ|∀ R, ∃ qR}. (All shers should have the same क़ाफ़िया (kaafiya).)

4. B(S¹)=B(S²)=⋯=B(Sⁿ). (All shers should have the same बहर (bahar).)

5. Sⁿ∈Mq [Optional]. (The last sher may be a मक़ता (maqta).)

Corollary. If n=4, I feel cheated. I mean, come on, just one more! It can’t be that hard to write one more if you’ve already written four shers down, right? Come on!

Theorem. Ghazals are Great.

Proof. Follow the well-known strategy of proof by intimidation. QED□

Example. Let us see the above definition in action for a ghazal that I translated years ago and tried very hard to make the translation a ghazal too. I was reminded of it lately because someone commented on that post! I will obviously not repeat the whole thing here; just a few shers by नवाज़ देवबन्दी (Nawaaz Deobandi) to illustrate the above-mentioned rules.

तुम नज़र से नज़र मिलाते तो
बात करते न मुस्कुराते तो

Tum nazar se nazar milaate to
Baat karte na muskuraate to

Had you looked into my eyes then
Spent not a word, just a smile then

This is obviously the matla of the ghazal with radif being ‘तो (to)’ in Hindi and ‘then’ in English and qaafiya being ‘-आते (-aate)’ in Hindi and the sound of ‘-ile’ in English. Sorry, not really as the first line has ‘eyes’ before ‘then’. As mentioned in my old post, I tried to wedge in ‘beguile’ in the first line to really make the translated sher a matla! Anyway, having decided against that, my translation doesn’t strictly qualify as a ghazal but all the following shers have something that sound like ‘-ile’ in their respective second lines (of course, everything also works in Hindi).

इख्तलाफ़ात होते रहते हैं
आना जाना था आते जाते तो

Ikhtalaafaat hote rahte hain
Aana jaana tha aate jaate to

Differences do pop up once in a while
As in the past, visit once in a while then

दोस्ती में अना नहीं चलती
खुद न आते कभी बुलाते तो

Dosti mein ana nahin chalti
Khud na aate kabhi bulaate to

Arrogance doesn’t go far in friendship
If you refuse to visit, maybe I’ll then

Ah! saved by the ‘I’ll’ which has the sound of ‘-ile’ as one may confirm.

भूलते शौक से हमें लेकिन
भूलने का हुनर बताते तो

Bhoolte shauk se hamein lekin
Bhoolne ka hunar bataate to

Feel free forgetting me but
Teach me this life style then

Again, the sound of ‘-yle’ matches the sound of ‘-ile’ and we are good here too. There are a few more shers in this ghazal for which you’ll have to visit the old post linked above and have to watch the video linked in that post to hear the full ghazal. Well, let me embed the video here just in case you don't want to leave this page:

This ghazal also has a great maqta but somehow I didn’t translate it in my old post; no idea why. Rectifying that mistake here and now, so do enjoy the end of this “comic” ghazal:

बज़्म में दिल-‘नवाज़’ हो जाते
तुम मेरे शेर गुनगुनाते तो

Bazm mein dil-‘Nawaaz’ ho jaate
Tum mere sher gungunaate to

This venue would’ve considered you kind-to-‘Nawaaz’
You should have murmured my shers as a trial then

It is clear this sher is a maqta in Hindi with an exemplary usage of the word ‘दिल-नवाज़ (dil-nawaaz)’ which means ‘kind’ but since the latter half is also the poet’s name, it provides an outstanding example of श्लेष अलंकार (shlesh alankaar) [pun]. However, in my translation I just lazily appended ‘-to-Nawaaz’ to ‘kind’ to make the translated sher a maqta too. In addition, the two lines are just too long so this sher doesn’t have the same bahar as the preceding ones and I also shoe-horned the word ‘trial’ to make up the qaafiya of ‘-ile’. I have to admit none of this imparts any beauty to the translated sher that the original sher has. Anyway, talking about the poet’s pen-name, thinking about the meaning of Nawaaz as ‘cherish / reward’, one may be able to impart some depth to the translation too but that would be very much out of my depth. Hehe... see what I did there? I used ‘depth’ in two places with two different meanings, providing us – as you are well aware – an example of यमक अलंकार (yamak alankaar) [homonym].

And with that, we end this “great” year 2020. I will leave you with another attempt of mine at translating a ghazal into a Ghazal. I feel this one is quite good; you’d agree too,