kyaa din the vuh kih yaa;N bhii dil-e aaramiidah thaa
ruu aashiyaan-e :taa))ir-e rang-e pariidah thaa

1) what days were those, that even/also here was a heart at rest/ease?!
2) the face was the nest of the {bird of flown-away color / flown-away bird of color}


pariidah : 'Flown, taken wing'. (Platts p.259)

S. R. Faruqi:

To give a bird as a simile for the color in the face is nothing new. Rather, since along with 'color' is used 'to fly away' [u;Rnaa], it's common also to use a bird as a simile for 'color' alone. Compare


In the present verse there are two new ideas. The first is that he has called the face the 'nest' of the bird of color. The second is that the construction of the 'bird of flown-away color' is the kind that we normally consider a specialty of Ghalib's. That is, we can read it in two ways: we either consider 'flown-away-color' to be a quality of the 'bird', or we consider the 'bird of color' to be 'flown-away'. In the first case the intent will be 'that bird of which the name is flown-away color'; in the second case, the intent will be 'the bird of color who has now flown away'. [A brief grammatical analysis.]

In both lines the parallelism too is fine. When the heart was at ease, then the face was a nest for the bird of color, a nest where the bird rested. When the heart's ease departed, then the bird too abandoned its rest. The first line's insha'iyah style of expression, and the use of 'here', are also fine. 'Here' has two meanings: one of 'in our vicinity' and the other that 'our'-- that is, in our possession too, or ours too, was a heart at ease. In the first sense the 'heart at ease' is established as some physical thing, and in the second sense as a mental state of affairs.

In the whole verse are implications upon implications, because having mentioned the previous state of affairs, he has gestured toward the present state of affairs. The second line, or rather the whole opening-verse, is in this mode-- that is, 'thought-binding' [;xayaal-bandii], which we declare to be characteristic of Ghalib. It's clear that Ghalib has obtained great benefit from Mir.

[See also {456,8}.]



It's true that the complexity of the izafat series in the second line lends the verse a Ghalibian flavor. But Ghalib still gives the screw several extra turns when he wants to. After all, in this verse it seems that there actually were days when the speaker was happy and at ease, even if they're now only a distant memory. But in Ghalib's version of the same kind of memory, it's not clear exactly what 'back in the day' really meant:


But then, SRF points to the insha'iyah quality of the first line, so that the line could certainly also be an indignant rhetorical question conveying strong denial: 'What the hell-- what days are you talking about, when my heart was supposedly at ease? Why, even then my face was pale with misery!' So depending on the tone, Mir's verse can become as emotionally fraught as Ghalib's, which of course also has an insha'iyah first line (though it can't be made as multivalent).

But truly that izafat series, :taa))ir-e rang-e pariidah , is brilliant. For if in those days the face was the nest of the 'bird of flown-away color', then indeed the bird of color-- perhaps the color that had 'flown away' from other people's faces?-- came and spent time there regularly, and treated it as a home. Thus in those days the face was often full of color, liveliness, good cheer. But if in those days the face was the nest of the 'flown-away bird of color', then the face was an empty, abandoned nest, entirely devoid of color; so that even in those days the face was utterly pale.

Really, one of the pleasures of working on Mir is the chance to have a true interlocutor for Ghalib.