ab kyaa kare;N kih aayaa aa;Nkho;N me;N jii hamaaraa
afsos pahle ham ne ;Tuk soch kar nah dekhaa

1) now what can/would we do? --for 'our life has come into our eyes' [preparatory to leaving us]
2) alas, that previously we didn't {take a bit more thoughtful look / 'think a bit, then look'}!



aa;Nkh me;N jii aanaa : 'To have fresh life in the eyes, to revive, recover; —to be reduced to great straits, be reduced to the last extremity, be at the point of death'. (Platts p.95)

S. R. Faruqi:

Through its affinity to aa;Nkho;N me;N jii aanaa , to say soch kar nah dekhaa is very fine.

Another point is that when the life has been drawn into the eyes, then it's obvious that a kind of veil has fallen over the eyes-- now nothing will be visible. The event because of which this condition has come about-- not to mention it, and yet to present the whole event, is the height of eloquence [balaa;Gat].



The splendid and complex wordplay deserves a bit more unpacking. When we hear the first line, we can't tell whether the idiomatic sense of aa;Nkho;N me;N jii aanaa would be restorative or fatal (see the definition above). Only when we hear the second line can we guess, from the 'alas!' and the regretful tone, that the speaker is about to breathe his last. And though the second line may help to clarify the first one, it comes trailing its own complexities.

For the speaker's lament that ;Tuk soch kar nah dekhaa is a stylized expression of regret that one 'didn't take a closer look' or 'didn't think before acting' (or, in effect, failed to 'look before he leaped'). This kind of idiomatic 'look' is largely metaphorical. Yet as SRF observes, here the first line's 'life in the eyes' causes us to take another look (so to speak) and to re-imagine the second line in literal terms. For it then seems that the action one is regretting is not (only?) a metaphorical 'look' at a plan, but a literal look, no doubt at the beloved. In short, once the lover has taken a good look at her, has seen her radiant face, it's all over. He's half-dead already (or perhaps 'revivified' like a zombie, condemned to go on vainly pursuing his doomed passion).

Note for translation fans: the fact that aayaa really must be translated as 'has come' (because of the 'now') is just one more example of the way the tenses don't entirely mesh between Urdu and English.