22 January 2012

Phool versus fool

Other day, with an eye on a good afterlife, as I was sipping lime and soda, and others, without caring much about afterlife, were sipping soda and wine, Jassi told us about a nuance in the Hindi language. He said to us there is no such sound as ph in Hindi; it is pph instead. Impressed with his knowledge on phonemes, we asked him to give us an example.
This was his sage reply: It is not phool in Hindi, it is pphool instead.
Not satisfied with his example I asked him this dumb question: Here is a Ghalib's sublime couplet:

Umar bhar Ghalib yahi bhool karta raha
dhool chehre pe thi aur aina saaf karta raha...


(I did not know the meaning of this couplet so Arun helped us understand:

All my life I (Ghalib) kept repeating the same error,
Dirt was on my face and I kept dusting the mirror....)

So, was Ghalib 'Dhool ka phool'? Or was he 'Dhool ka pphool'? Or was he 'Dhool ka fool'?

Jassi did not reply but gave me an enigmatic smile-of the type 'Lord forgive him for he knows not what he says'.

After returning to NTP (Normal Temperature and Pressure) the following morning, having being full of spirits the previous evening, Jassi said to me: What a ridiculous question to ask!

3 comments:

Tanvir Ahmed said...

for your kind information that couplet is not written by Ghalib.. :)

Anonymous said...

this couplet is not written by Ghalib...

ashishroyk said...

@Tanvir:
You may be right. I don't know. But a lot of netizens think that it is Ghalib's couplet, for example, Mahesh Bhatt (the Indian film director):
https://twitter.com/MaheshNBhatt/status/274350720499716096

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