Do You See?

“For mixers, my love, you’d poured–what?–even the rain”: Shahid

You know the time difference between Stirling, Scotland, and Hyderabad, India? Friggin’ 4 or 5 hours. It’s like, jeez, I’m eating lunch here and thinking perhaps this is breakfast. I’d have to go to the department in a while. Or, I’m pouring tea in the evening and thinking of the university canteen, what’s on the menu today — fish and chips or jacket potato and chilli — and who all are around for lunch. No, I’m not talking about jetlag. All I’m saying is that ever since I left Stirling, I’ve been writing these broken-ass things as though someone had abducted me out of Stirling. I mean, we can all miss certain people, certain days, events, and the like, but missing a place just because it’s a place that did some good to you is plain silly. No more. If I write about Stirling, now on it’ll be to say I and Stirling were partners in good things. No more broken-ass writes.


Looks like a sad day for soccer. Balotelli or Pirlo magid did not work. Euro Cup to Spain. WTH.


Awesome weather in Hyderabad. Between 21-28C during day time. At night, I pull a blanket over at times. No AC. Even the ceiling fan has to be lowered down. And my mother is happy I escaped the heat of Indian summer by being in Scotland first and then returning to Hyderabad when the temps dropped. Rains are intermittent here. Very soothing. Very pleasant. I thought of Agha Shahid Ali‘s ghazal. Mind it, rain can mix both headiness and haplessness for you.

Yes, even the rain!

Even the Rain

by Agha Shahid Ali
What will suffice for a true-love knot? Even the rain?
But he has bought grief's lottery, bought even the rain.

"our glosses / wanting in this world" "Can you remember?"
Anyone! "when we thought / the poets taught" even the rain?

After we died--That was it!--God left us in the dark.
And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.

Drought was over. Where was I? Drinks were on the house.
For mixers, my love, you'd poured--what?--even the rain.

Of this pear-shaped orange's perfumed twist, I will say:
Extract Vermouth from the bergamot, even the rain.

How did the Enemy love you--with earth? air? and fire?
He held just one thing back till he got even: the rain.

This is God's site for a new house of executions?
You swear by the Bible, Despot, even the rain?

After the bones--those flowers--this was found in the urn:
The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain.

What was I to prophesy if not the end of the world?
A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain.

How the air raged, desperate, streaming the earth with flames--
to help burn down my house, Fire sought even the rain.

He would raze the mountains, he would level the waves,
he would, to smooth his epic plot, even the rain.

New York belongs at daybreak to only me, just me--
to make this claim Memory's brought even the rain.

They've found the knife that killed you, but whose prints are these?
No one has such small hands, Shahid, not even the rain.

I’ve been trying to polish up the article for PS‘ July issue. No idea why it’s taking this damn long. I want to write it and yet I feel my fingers won’t type. Freaked out. Things usually don’t happen this way. Then, “A salt pillar for the lonely lot, even the rain“…

I left my Italian coffee maker in my Polwarth flat in Stirling. It’s old, the handle was broken and gone. But it made good coffee.  After my Chikmagalur coffee got over, I did Lavazza and then a Rwanda and Java mix. Not sure how I forgot to pack it. Old, so what. Some things just slip past.

And these dry pine branches were my only decor in the flat. Went in the garbage bin when I cleaned and left. I vaguely remember I told someone in Stirling that I collected these fallen branches and pine cones on my short walks, to spruce up my “jailhouse pad” because that’s the only way I could do it!

"After the bones--those flowers--this was found in the urn: The lost river, ashes from the ghat, even the rain."

6 comments on ““For mixers, my love, you’d poured–what?–even the rain”: Shahid

  1. rohith003
    July 2, 2012

    Read this poem in fb…still its nice to see this poem in your blog.
    Good to know that you are back in Hyderabad…feeling the Stirling-ness in Hyderabad (even the pain in that feeling is beautiful i think)and all that.
    Been away these days…my brother stole my laptop and panicked me…though he never found my password.

    Will be around from now…stumbling and commenting.

    • Do You See
      July 2, 2012

      Oh but it’s your brother, Ro! He must be having some fun troubling you, I’m sure. You know, brotherly pranks. Stick around and keep coming to this un-blog-ly blog!

      Glad you liked Shahid. He is one of the best modern poets I know to have used classical forms like ghazal in such innovative diction. Super talented poet.

      It’s nice of you to understand a bit of what I’m trying to say (“even the pain in that feeling is beautiful”)… But we’ll let it be.

      • rohith003
        July 4, 2012

        Yes, its my brother. I am going to crack his password and panic him this time. Lol. Been reading all the hacking stuff and seeing those amazing videos of Anonymous and all.

        Didnt read much of Shahid’s poetry…i know he is one of the very good translators. I always go for shahid to read translations. I think i
        should check his poetry this time.

        No…not an unblogy blog…in that way…

      • rohith003
        July 4, 2012

        In that way, this is a very good blog. I had followed very few blogs till now…and yours. Thanx for poetry and blog Nabina

  2. Mihir Vatsa
    July 7, 2012

    After we died–That was it!–God left us in the dark.
    And as we forgot the dark, we forgot even the rain.

    Isn’t it just beautiful? I like it best about Gazals, the sudden turn in the narrative. Back after a long hiatus. Hope Hyd is treating you well too. 🙂

  3. Do You See
    July 8, 2012

    Hello MV, even I’ve not been on the blog for a while. There was a spell of rains in Hyderabad and the internet lines went down (yes such things still happen!)… So the last 2 days I was on and off on emails to answer important messages and not much else.
    What I also like best about ghazals is the standalone quality in the couplets. Each of them draws up a layer to complete the whole. And I’m fine otherwise, thank you! Hyderabad has been nice so far.

    Rohith — thanks! I try; never seem to locate the last word though 🙂

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This entry was posted on July 1, 2012 by in Agha Shahid Ali, Even the Rain, ghazal, Nabina Das, poetry, Stirling.
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