Do You See?

“Hafez! Hang in, stay!”; Highlands, Ahoy!

I’m off to the Highlands tomorrow morning. Fort William via Glasgow. Then to Mallaig the next day!

The FTW to MLG train ride, I’m told, is one of the best scenic ones in the world. And don’t forget the Harry Potter reference it now carries. Although, I doubt I’d take the Jacobite steam train aka the Hogwarts Express. The cheaper normal one would do for me.

Just hoping the weather holds. I do have a borrowed waterproof jacket that should keep me warm against seafarer winds.

Quite excited about it. Will be staying one night at a backpackers’ guesthouse in Fort William.

When I called to book, the lady on the phone said: “Do you know we have a disco Saturday night?”

Hell yes, I do! It doesn’t bother me. Let’s say this will be my ultimate Scottish experience.

I told her I’m a writer and she said: “Then we should look after you.”

Sweet of her.



That’s your Hogwarts Express, i.e., the Jacobite steam train running between Fort William and Mallaig. (I haven’t read a single Harry Potter book till date, although I’ve seen the movies, including the latest 3-D one)



I subscribe to a page called Persian Poetry in English. The reward is reading amazing work from contemporary as well as canonical Persian poets from time to time. And more often than not, reading these poems is quite like watering my dry roots. My heart nestles here this evening:

Hafez (1325 – 1389): From Ghazal No. 189

If the good fortune, 
wings around me once more, 
The Beloved- will come home, 
joyous together, as one we will roam!

To my beloved, 
No one is to narrate– I long day and night.
May the East Wind- strikes a chord, hints at my plight!

In this gloomy town, 
of love and of lovers, no trace I see.
from the cage of self, may someone break free,
unlock the gate of hearts, retrieve us the key! 

If the wheel of fortune, 
minds my pleading heart, 
we will reunite, at least for a tryst! 
Or my rival in love, gives up and departs!

I hear you say:
“Hafez! Hang in, stay!
If you persist, one day,
beloved will come your way!”

Translation: Maryam Dilmaghani, May 2012, Halifax


In Persian:

طایر دولت اگر باز گذاری بکند
یار بازآید و با وصل قراری بکند

کس نیارد بر او دم زند از قصه ما
مگرش باد صبا گوش گذاری بکند

شهر خالیست ز عشاق بود کز طرفی
مردی از خویش برون آید و کاری بکند

یا وفا یا خبر وصل تو یا مرگ رقیب
بود آیا که فلک زین دو سه کاری بکند

حافظا گر نروی از در او هم روزی
گذری بر سرت از گوشه کناری بکند




* Students are gone and new visitors are in. Crowded lunch hour while I went to have my soup with Angela Smith, former Charles Wallace project in charge and faculty at the university. I saw very smart, well-built women-men moving around with sprightly steps. “British Military Fitness”; “Rescue Paramedics”; “Extreme Sports”, etc. teams in bright jumpers. I dragged my lackadaisical self and also ate two pizza slices. Inspiration!

**: My mother, on learning that I’d be visiting the Highlands tomorrow, said, “Do you have an umbrella?”

I go, “Mom! Is this your only concern!”

I promised I’ll try call her at the regular hour.

*** Across my apartment on the block opposite, there’s a pair of red shorts, socks and a shirt drying outside the window from the 3rd floor. Fluttering in the damp rain-stricken wind. I believe they belong to one of our sports guys.


8 comments on ““Hafez! Hang in, stay!”; Highlands, Ahoy!

  1. arpitag
    June 15, 2012

    Hafez: Such mad hope, but there it is.

    • Do You See
      June 15, 2012

      Arpita, what would I do without that mad hope streak in me (Hafez being responsible)? How would I dream? Dream if it be. Glad you dropped in 🙂

      • arpitag
        June 16, 2012

        Hope you have a great trip! I’m a huge Potter fan (Rowling is my comfort read), so very happy that you’re going to be on THE train. 🙂

  2. Mihir Vatsa
    June 15, 2012

    I am also subscribed to that page. Awesome poetry they have.

    The train! Yay! 😀

    Hope you have a fun trip there. 🙂

    • Do You See
      June 15, 2012

      MV, Isn’t that page just great. I read it every other day…

      The train! I love trains MV. I’m sure you youngsters still dig the train!

      I indeed hope to have a good trip, perhaps the last one in Scotland. Thank you; will update.

  3. Do You See
    June 16, 2012

    the hogwarts train has limited summer appearance, so will need to find out all that; also it’s quite expensive…let’s see.

  4. rohith003
    June 16, 2012

    Dont ask the station master for platform number- 9 3/4. lol…well…you are a smart muggle to take a normal train…otherwise you should go running into a pillar.

    Persian poetry has this persian fragrance…a striking freshness and lovely shocks along those lines. Thanx for the link nabina…i just subscribed for it.

  5. Do You See
    June 18, 2012

    The common notion about Persian poetry is that it is all about only love and passion. While that is there, a lot of Hafez, Rumi, et al are commentaries on the society as well. Sufi poetry is capable of using its metaphors to not just address the surreal, but also the material.

    The Hogwarts Express was not running on Sunday. I saw the steam engine and the coaches. In my normal train from Fort William, we went over the same viaduct on which the Potter train has been filmed. And Mallaig was just cracking good.

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This entry was posted on June 15, 2012 by in Fort William, Hafez, Harry Potter, Highlands, Hogwarts Express, Mallaig, Nabina Das, poetry.
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