Saturday, March 23, 2013

Woh Humsafar Tha


Woh Humsafar Tha (He was my companion)

So this is not a senti post but about some fabulous Pakistani shows and ghazals (songs) I have been immersed in recently.

 Let me start off the mood by asking you to listen to this song- again on constant replay for me.

Don't go by the video (- it's from a show I will discuss immediately after) but listen to the voice and the words.
  
The original for this song was by a very famous Pakistani Ghazal singer- Abida Parveen - her version was deeply classical- have included that too. The original version was not romantic but about the separation of the Pakistan and the now Bangladesh

I have included the lyrics for the TV show version- they are just so poignant.  Finding translations on the web, I have edited them to reflect the meaning and sentiment behind it rather than a literal grammatical translation as in that the beauty of the song gets lost  most times

These are times when I really really wish I knew Urdu. It is probably the most beautiful and lyrical and poetic language ever. The manners implicit - or the Urdu word "tehzeb" it so attractive.

The song from the show

 

Abida Parveen's version

 WOH HUMSAFAR THA- LYRICS

Tarq-e-taaluqaat pe...
At our parting of ways,
Roya na tu, na main
Neither you cried nor I,
Lekin yeh kya ke chain se soya na tu, na main
But then, what's this that neither you nor I slept peacefully

Woh humsafar tha.... 
He was my companion (fellow traveler)…..
Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …
Woh humsafar thaa magar us sey humnawai na thi…
He was my companion but with him I didn’t have like mindedness (harmony)
Woh humsafar thaa magar us sey humnawai na thi…
He was my companion but with him I didn’t have like mindedness (harmony)

Kay dhoop chaaon ka…..
With  the (hot) sunshine and shade
Kay dhoop chaaon ka aalam raha
With  the (hot) sunshine and shade was world was filled
 Judai na thi…
There was no separation

Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …
Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …

Adaavatein theen..Taghaaful thaa,  Ranjishein theen Magar..
There was animosity, Indifference and anguish but,
Adaavatein theen..Taghaaful thaa,  Ranjishein theen Magar..
There was animosity, Indifference and anguish but,
Bicharne walay main sab kuch thaa
The one who I was parted with had everything (but)
Bewafai na thi…
He didn't have unfaithfullness
Bicharne walay main sab kuch thaa
The one who I was parted with had everything (but)
Bewafai na thi…
He didn't have unfaithfullness

Kay dhoop chaaon ka…..
With  the (hot) sunshine and shade
Kay dhoop chaaon ka aalam raha
With  the (hot) sunshine and shade was world was filled

 Judai na thi…
There was no separation

Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …
Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …

Kaajal daaro
Put kohl
kurkura surma Saha na jaaye
The graininess of the kohl is tough to bear
Jin Nain mein pee bassay
In the eyes that hold my beloved
Dooja kon samaaye
Who else can be beheld

Bicharte waqt un ankhon mein thi hamari ghazal
At the time of parting his eyes had my song
Bicharte waqt un ankhon mein thi hamari ghazal
At the time of parting his eyes had my song
Ghazal bhi wo jo kisi ko kabhi sunai na thi
And it was the song that I had never sung aloud
Ghazal bhi wo jo kisi ko kabhi sunai na thi
And it was the song that I had never sung aloud


Kay dhoop chaaon ka…..
With  the (hot) sunshine and shade
Kay dhoop chaaon ka aalam raha
With  the (hot) sunshine and shade was world was filled
 Judai na thi…
There was no separation

Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …
Woh humsafar tha....
He was my companion …


I think a truly interesting read, watch about a love story is when there is pining- and unrequited love- due to internal or external forces

Though of course that is probably not what one wants in real life. I think is it the thought of what could have been. If you see any really famous love story- always tragic. I think when something ends happily- it's not as interesting or memorable and frankly doesn’t excite one's emotions

I got familiar with this song from the Show "Humsafar" which is a Pakistani TV series. Quite heavy but still interesting. The story is basically about protagonists who are forced into an arranged marriage and how they deal with it. Lots of plotting twists and turns and plotting. 6.5/10

Now Pakistani TV shows are a beast of a different nature altogether from both US shows and Indian shows.
They are unlike soaps but normally based on thoughtful novels and don’t get dragged on and on and on.
The story line is all there before the show starts so the character definitions and pace all reflect that. They normally have a certain number of episodes planned and they stick to that.

Also- they normally are not inane. Sometimes a bit too heavy but the characters are rich and not uni-dimensional but with many facets.

If you know Hindi/ Urdu- I would encourage you to try it- the first 2-3 episodes are really quite heavy but it's get pretty good.

So after watching this show I googled everything about it and was surprised to find that the lead, Fawad Afzal Khan was actually part of the one Pakistani movie I have seen- which again was fabulous- " Khuda Kay Liye". The story is about the lives, choices and experiences of two brothers who grow up in Pakistan in a liberal, musical family; but they make very different life decisions. 8/10

Now - in India and in the US I think we have this view of Pakistan as a very radically Islamic country and while that may be true for some of the populace I don’t think it's true for a lot of the country. They are what we think of as normal rational people who think like we do.

The movie was nominated for a bunch of awards- if you can get a subtitled version- it's there on Netflix but not for streaming. I have to say- I DID not like the absolute ending- but will not make it s spoiler- one of my pet peeves is when someone gives away the plot of a story.

( a slight digression but I have to include a poem about this- one of my favorite poems)

At the Theatre: To the Lady Behind Me - by A P Herbert
Dear Madam, you have seen this play;
I never saw it till today.

You know the details of the plot,
But, let me tell you, I do not.

The author seeks to keep from me
The murderer's identity,
And you are not a friend of his
If you keep shouting who it is.

The actors in their funny way
Have several funny things to say,
But they do not amuse me more
If you have said them just before;

The merit of the drama lies,
I understand, in some surprise;
But the surprise must now be small
Since you have just foretold it all.

The lady you have brought with you
Is, I infer, a half-wit too,
But I can understand the piece
Without assistance from your niece.

In short, foul woman, it would suit
Me just as well if you were mute;
In fact, to make my meaning plain,
I trust you will not speak again.

And—-may I add one human touch?—-
Don't breathe upon my neck so much.

I have included this really nice song from the movie.  Have a listen

Bandya

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sU2xnJF3rBY 

So this guy, Fawad, is currently quite the heartthrob in Pakistan and one can see why.
What's interesting- is that he is good looking and attractive but then suddenly will be really creepy!!! Though I do think he is one of the better actors I have seen in a while

So while googling him and his shows I came across one ( and of course watched 17 episodes in 2 days) which I LOVE!!!!!!

Zindagi Gulzar Hai-( Life is garden of Flowers.)

This is an ongoing show and it is really really good

It has it all- romance, interesting characters, women's lib, cinderella-ish story, growth in people. Its about a guy and girl (Duh- obviously) The Guy is from a liberated upper class family. He has all the luxuries but questions the lifestyle around him. The girl is from a lower middle family who has to struggle for the basic necessities in life but she is very very strong willed. 8/10- so far!!! 

What's also interesting for me is that I seriously disagree with a lot of the themes- messages in the movie- which are called and are actually quite chauvinistic and too traditional, but it's still interesting to watch. It's like reading about something you would not want for yourself but interesting to watch.

The lead actress, Sanam Saeed, is an unusual choice. Very good- plays a traditional girl form a poor background and does a very good job of it. You would never guess she grew up in London!!

Also- the clothes you see the upper class wearing in the show- they are not what I thought people in Pakistan wore- shows my tendency to stereo type!!

Here's the title song from it

 While writing this blog I discovered this song was sung by one of my favorite singers Ali Zafar. More about him later

It's interesting- Till I started writing this blog- I never realized how much culture crossed over from Pakistan for me- I always thought it was more of a one way transfer with Bollywood influences on Pakistan. I guess we were one country and if, like me, you don't have any biases for people because of their religion- you really gain a lot!
I mean when I have met Pakitstanis, it has felt no different from meeting an Indian but unfortunately its still different when I think of the Pakistan as a country vs India as a country

So enjoy!

And do give feedback- comments, emails. When I didn't write for a while a few of you commented- I love writing but it’s really encouraging to hear from readers!



46 comments:

vasuthefoodie said...

loved the song sweety.. will try n see the serial.. lloved how you wrote....

vasuthefoodie said...

I agree with you i also tend to stereotype.. but love to believe that Pakistanis are not diff than we are... i dont pesornally know any tho.. hv loved whatever Plays i ahve seen and form what appears form the shows they seem very much like us..

wud love to catch up on another one.. so may be this one.. loved the songs...

Meenakshi said...

Zindagi is really quite interesting- it is on going- wait for very Friday to see it!!

Anonymous said...

Very Nice and insightful but as an urdu speaking person, please allow me to say that the meaning of the title song, Hamsafar, is not entirely correct eg. Dhoop Chhaon is an idiom that shows things that come and go but are always one after the other (so together). Also, its not Kajal dalo, it's Kajal daron which means bad khol (i think... its not used very often :p)

Anonymous said...

Hello,
The ghazal Woh Humsafar Tha is one of my favourites. As for me the thing that is important for liking a song is the lyrics. I am a big fan of Urdu and believe it is a wonderful language. Thankfully I do know how to read it and can understand it to some extent, as I had learnt the same in my schooling days. Still some of the more poetic words I have to search to understand the meaning. Likewise for this ghazal I googled. And I must say you have done a great job.Thanks.
About my concept of Pakistan and its people, like any Indian was driven by anger. I must say I was judgemental about it. But when I saw the serial Humsafar, my viewpoint changed drastically for good.
I must say it is much better than any of the indian soaps. More emotional than sensational. The story and characters are realistic and relatable.
After watching both the dramas you have talked about, I personally prefer Humsafar over Zindagi... Let me tell you I am not a romantic at all. And hardly, say 1 out 10 times would watch or read a romance. Humsafar is now to stay in my good books for a long time.

Anonymous said...

i was googling for the english translation of the song humsafar and came across your blog. btw im from karachi...Pakistan...and i had no idea pakistani plays were popular other than in pakistan and Arab nations.
btw thanks alot for the translation, the ghazal is in traditional urdu and no the easy city urdu we normally speak.. :P btw i dont understand what you meant by 'i dint expect upper classes to dress that way' ?? can you elaborate on that please?? the dressing is still a bit too decent and conservative by real standards i think :P btw great effort would suggest you watch 'maat' and 'durreshewar'.
i hope you wont mind what im about to say but i believe pakistanis are more aware of indian culture and how they are in real life etc due to the exposure they have to thier media while it is not the same for the other side..... anyways i cant thank you enough for the translation :)

Anonymous said...

Fawad khan's performance in the show 'Dastaan' is noteworthy too.That series is basically where he made his name. however that show is a bit too heavy, it makes you cry a river...its excellent no doubt and the lead actress who plays Bano shares an amazing chemistry with fawad ....but its based on the partition. some dialogues or scenes might make you cringe which will take away from the enjoyment factor for you.

Meenakshi said...

Thank you- everyone who has read and appreciated the post.
I really appreciate the comments- puts a voice on the viewer.
About the comment on the clothes- that was from "Zindagi Gulzar Hai".
I am Indian but have loved Pakistani plays since the days of "Dhoop Kinare" (have watched the whole play 4-5 times) "Tanhaiyan" etc.
I tried watching "Maat" but I cannot like shows where sisters/ Families are so nasty to each other - even if it happens in real life. I do know about "Dastaan" too- again- too heavy

Anonymous said...

hmmm...you are not a fan of heavy stuff, but you like romances...well i just recently finished watching 'fatmagulun sucu ne' a turkish series and absolutely loved it.
it would be great to read what you write about it.

Anonymous said...

there were two OSTs for the show zindagi gulzar hai.
one was zaroons song sung by ali zafar and other was kashafs sung by hadiqa :P
btw im falling in loooovvee with your blogs.

Meenakshi said...

I have both songs and know all the words for both! :)

Anonymous said...

So I listen to the song on 8tracks, liked it a lot..wanted to hear it again, youtube, wow interesting lyrics, youtube with lyrics, whoa I don't understand, google, Ruminating Rhetoric, hear the song again, loving it, want to know more..ok there is more below the meaning of the lyrics.. Pakistani TV Series..okhay.... the bogger says watch 2-3 as it is something else, have heard about Pakistani playes being brilliant, Saturday late afty, can't hurt, Youtube Humsafar, episode 1......mind=blown!

All thanks to you.. I hate all dramas mostly (not a big fan of watching sadness as a form of entertainment..applies to horror as well) I watch dramas for other aspects.. direction, dialogue placements, honesty and depth of characters, where I get to learn the characters.. usually won't be able to attach myself to series and so may not watch the whole thing.. but this was really fast paced and great acting as well by every character.. Being an indian I know what you meant by Indian soaps (which go on and on as there never really is a story and they keep attaching based on TRPs then) Case in point current K-series.. think they only have story of 7 honest episodes, but will run for 7 years on a daily basis.. absolute bull-crap.. Was very pleasantly surprised with Humsafar.. Thanks again

Anonymous said...

Thanku so mch fr dis translation
I m.from india jus watched dis.serial few mnths back looooooveeeeeedddd itt the story actor everythng.
N ofcourse fawad is bestest <3
This song is superb

sharma said...

lovely!! thank you for the meaningful explanation of who humsafar

praful said...

Nice song.. and very well written it's english translation.. can i copy paste it

Meenakshi Garodia said...

Thanks Praful. Sure you can- do please attach a link for the blog alongside it though

raqueem khan said...

Great article , I am in love in this song for quite some time now , the most exciting thing is the treatment given to the ghazal from the artist , the best part was however the poem which can be used on all of who open the secret before you have even watched the movie.

Anonymous said...

Please try to translate Title song of "Zindagi gulzar hai" sung by Haqida Kiani into English. Though I am good in urdu, but you are much better in translating poetry. well done
.. Rashmi

Anonymous said...

thank you for the wonderful translation.i agree with your thought that urdu is quite a poetic language. i am listening to this song for the past week and still cant get enough of it.
the serial humsafar is quite good unlike many of the indian tv soaps. i got a chance to watch pakistani serials in the recently launched tv channel by zee and have finished watching zindagi gulzar hai. i must say they make quality content there. can you also please translate zgh's ost by hadiqa kiani ? i would be very grateful to you.

Meenakshi Garodia said...

Here it is!
The transaltion for Zindagi Gulzar Hai lyrics!

http://ruminatingrhetoric.blogspot.com/2014/07/zindagi-gulzar-hai-lyrics-translations.html

Meenakshi Garodia said...

So- I had a question for the readers of this blog- after you read this - does it make you want to read my other pages? even the non-urdu ones?

Rupali said...

I came across ZGH through Zee Zindagi channel although I had read a lot about Humsafar over the internet but couldn't catchup with it(not into online watching much).
I have always had some kind of fondness for Urdu words since my growing up years and now when I am grown up I just love to hear them.As you said they are very poetic.Now I wish to learn Urdu someday.
Came across your blog now searching for english translation of this beautiful song 'Woh Humsafar Tha'.Waiting for its telecast on Zindagi.
Definately would love to read your non urdu stuff.

Rohini said...

we love 2 read ur non urdu pages. non urdu ppl can also understand humsafar & ZGH lyrics. i love 2 hear this song. always feel pain after hearing this song. i watch this serial no. of times. im very big fan of these serials (Humsafar & ZGH) . i dont know the raga of these songs. like u im also searching 4 lyrics & interviews & starcast. im crazily following fawad, sanam & mahira. ur very good this lyrics, pl write about mere qatil mere dildar mere paas raho ( if they know d meaning of this lyrics they can enjoy the serial) (this serial is going 2 air in Zindagi chnnel). wat a beautiful composition & lyrics. pl introduce 4 non urdu ppl. chahe tum mujhko sawaro chahe barbad karo (i know d meaning of this song) (another painful serial & song) but d whole day i sing this song. why pakistani serial r always painful. but still like to watch. i love to read ur other articles. see u after reading other blogs. upto now i only watch regional & hindi. reasently started watching all pak serials (credit goes to sanam & fawad)

Shesha Chaturvedi said...

Thankyou Meenakshi for writing this post and comming up with the translation. Interesting watching these Dramas among many others have lately made me fall in love with the Pakistan literature. Like you I too had many misunderstandings about condition of women in Pakistan and its society. But after watching these I found out they are absolutely similar in their thoughts and relationships like us. They Idioms, family values, thought process is absolutely similar like ours with a few difference in customs. And probably their Drama's are far better than Dramas in India (which I could never follow more than a week except a few comedy or classics)
I am in love with this ghazal. Enjoyed reading your post!

deepika said...

Can you please explain this line - kajal daaro...what is the meaning of this line...just want to understand from depth.

Anonymous said...

I just loved your blog! I agree to the fact that pakistani dramas are beautiful.. I'm just 2 pakistani dramas old one zindagi and humsafar the other.. From the comments above planning of Dastaan to be my next.

Anonymous said...

Hey Meenakshi, your blog is amazing! I am actually from Pakistan and came across your blog as someone made a post on twitter. I was reading some of the comments here and would like to say to everyone that I've ALWAYS believed that Indians, Pakistanis, people from Bangladesh..we are very much same since we have the same roots. Our media try to portray the people under one colour but the reality is always different. You'd be surprised how different Pakistan is as compared to how it's shown on any medium. We have yoga classes here, and people are obsessed with Bollywood. I, for one, am a DIE-HARD fan of Kareena since 14 years. Kareena and Katrina are extremely popular stars here. We love Indian food (personal favourite is Dhokla and Dosa) but sadly it's not served in any restaurant that I know, so I just get those GITS company boxes and make myself. I also love and admire Sri Pramahansa Yogananda ji (read Autobiography of a Yogi). Basically, I don't want to just point things out about myself only, but talking in a general sense. It's only when any of us go to the western countries, we actually become friends and never think about our differences. I've lived in Canada for 12 years and had Indian, Sri Lankan friends etc. but never thought where they were from, it's only the love and personality that kept us together.

seema srivastava said...

Meenakshi with Humsafar running on indigo, i am seeing it again after a long time and falling in love with the beautiful song again....
And as i hit the google button your blog came up!

seema srivastava said...

Meenakshi could you help me find the poet for
Haath uljhe rehte hain resham ke dhagon mein..... Ab konse siray ko kiss se juda karein

Anonymous said...

Superb...so touching song n story i lvd it n all star casts....

Najam Noor said...

Kajal daro means: Kajal bananay walo. Tumharay surmay k danay chubhtay hain mujhay. Meri ankhon main piya samaye hain tu kisi aur cheez ki jagah kahan

MG said...

Thank you to all who read and all who comment. Just a quick note- I remove the comments that I feel are non harmonious between countries or religion. This blog is about beauty to me

Anonymous said...

Hey meenakshi thanks for such a beautiful translation. I hv been loving this songg since the day i heard ir the very first time.... N even love watching Humsafar too... Since the day Zee Zindagi channel is launched in india i hv become a great fan of Pakistani serials... I love the way they talk especially urdu their dressing sense n everything..... After watching Maat Humsafar Zindagi Gulzar Hai n many more i never found any difference between the people of India n Pakistan..... Hope other people also differentiate between us.. :)

Anonymous said...

Hello Meenakshi love your blog. Loved Pakistani dramas since Dhoop Kinare days. After long years of judaai back to loving ZGH n Humsafar. Urdu fascinates me. Trying to find meaning of various words to understand their dialogues better. Humsafar fever has caught all around me for people of all ages including my 78 year old mom:)
By the way Ashutosh Gawarikar's Everest promises to be good...a girl's attempt to climb the peak and also her personal dream

Dilip Coulagi said...

Where can one get the full song? If you listen to the full Q. Balouch song, there are several stanzas after the last one in this version; I couldn't quite get the last one since the signal was too low.......

Shaami (Shajitha Habeeb) said...

Nice artice Meenakshi. Woh humsafar tha one of my favourite ghazals. I loved Humsafar serial too. I'm a great fan of Pakistani serials. I love the way they talk and their dressing style everything.

Anonymous said...

Thanks Meenakshi for the translation.....i love the gazal.....and the serial too.....it is one of my favourite.....i love fawad khan......

s2001 said...

thanks to zindagi channel i am watching pakistani serials and humsafar has just started yesterday n will be watching it. thanks fr the translate. the song is so heart touching. I am of the generation that watched Dhoop kinare n was totally smitten by Dr. ahmer ansari . please do share more such gems. would u happen to know about the song raat youn dil mein from dhoop kinare. i could only find a few lines version on you tube n the other complete version has different music and i am looking fr the complete vesion from dhoop kinare.

suja mohan said...

Interesting to read about your love for dhoklas and dosas. The man made wall between the countries should be brought down by people...
Would be so nice.

Anonymous said...

love this.

samir said...

This is a great writeup.
I am writing an article on Persian-Urdu-Hindi songs containing the word "Humsafar", and was going back and forth over how to write about the Urdu "Woh Humsafar Tha". Then I found this great post, and I hope you do not mind that I have put a link to this article.
My blog article is at ---
http://oenophile-samir.blogspot.com/2016/12/of-associations-emanating-from-word.html

MG said...

Not at all. Go ahead. Glad you enjoyed it. You can check out some of the other translations too.

sky80 said...

Recently came across this song and this blog as a result of searching... Thank you so much for the additional insights! Just my two cents on improving the meaning of the translation: "dhoop-chhaaon ka alam tha" refers to a relationship with ups and downs, sometimes sunny, sometimes cloudy.

Hassan Mustafa said...

Nice translation... But would like to correct you that it will be suitable to change the following line as of urdu context....
With the (hot) sunshine and shade was world was filled...
There was happiness and sadness in between
Separation was not there inbetween .....

Hassan Mustafa said...

This is actual poem with English translation

tar'k-e- taalukaat pe na roya tu , na mae
Lekin ye kya ki chaain sae sooya na tu , na mae

At the abandoning of relations, neither you shed tears nor I,
But how is that neither you slept serenely, nor dozed off I?

Jab tak bikaa na tha tau koi poochta na tha,
Tau nay mujhay kahreed kay anmol kardiya!

Until I was haggled off, not a person cared for me,
You bought me and I became invaluable suddenly!

Suna hai gair ki mehfil main tum na jaao gay
Kaho hau sajaluu aaj ghareeb kahnay ko

I hear you’ve decided against gracing the stranger’s gatherings,
Should I garland my humble dwelling, expecting your august company?

Woh humsafar tha , magar us sae humnawayee na thii
Ke dhoop chavun ka aalam raha , judaii na thi

Though fellow travellers in the journey, yet towards her I felt no camaraderie,
Clouds concealed the sun intermittently, though never did we part company!

Na apna ranj , na auurun ka dukh , na tera malal
Shab- e -firaq kabhii hum nae yun gunwaayi na thii

Neither grieving for myself nor for others, sans any grievance against you,
Never ever had I frittered the separation night in such a bizarre gaiety!

Mohabatuun ka safar is tarha bhi guzra tha
Shikastaa dil thae musafir , shikast payee na thii

At times the journey of love was accompanied by an unusual peculiarity:
The travellers’ were heart broken, yet never did their feet tread slowly!

Aadawatein thee , taghaful tha , ranjishaen thii
Bicharnay walay mae sab kuch tha , bewafii na thii

There was negligence, unpleasantness and bitter animosity,
The beloved who forsook me harboured all but infidelity!

Bichadtay waqt un aankhun mae thi hamari ghazal
Ghazal bhi woh jo abhi kisi ko sunayee na thi

At the time of parting, those eyes sparkled with my melody,
And such a melody as had not yet been narrated to anybody!

Kabhi yeh haal kii donun mae yak- dilii thii bohatt
Kabhi ye marhala jaisay aashnayee na thii

Time was such that the hearts revelled in hordes of unanimity,
Now is such time: we deny the tiniest inkling of any familiarity!


Kisay pukaar raha tha wo dubta huwa din
Sadaa tou aaii thi lekin , koi duhaaii na thii

Who was it crying for – the day that sank into the horizon rapidly?
An echo resonated across, yet it was not a wail screamed in agony!

ajeeb hoti hay rah`e sukHan bhi dekh Naseer
wahaN bhi aa gaye akHir jahaN rasayi na thi

Naseer look! The alley of poetry is attired in a bizarre eccentricity
I was finally reduced to mumbling incoherently and ineffectually

Anonymous said...

What a song.... Really heart touching..