Ghazal 194, Verse 7x


mizhah farsh-e rah-o-dil naatavaan-o-aarzuu mu.z:tar
bah paa-e ;xuftah sair-e vaadii-e pur-;xaar-e bistar hai

1) eyelashes, carpet of the road; and heart, weak; and longing, restless
2) with gone-to-sleep feet, there is a stroll through the thorn-filled valley of the bedding



The situation is that the eyelashes have become the carpet of the road. The heart is weak and down-fallen. The longing is restless. In this state of affairs my bedding is, with regard to my sleeping feet, a thorn-filled valley through which I am strolling on sleeping feet.

== Asi, p. 240


The bedding is a thorn-filled valley because the eyelashes have spread out thorns, the heart too has dried out and become a thorn (weak), and the longing is restless. The lover is absorbed in strolling in this valley-- but with feet that have gone to sleep, that are unable to move. The point is that in a state of restlessness and sickness, to lie tossing and turning on the bedding is to roll on thorns.

== Zamin, p. 365

Gyan Chand:

To stroll through some valley with feet that have gone to sleep is to stay in one place within this valley. We are lying on the bedding, our eyelashes are lowered, our heart is weak, our longing is despairing and restless. In this way a stroll through a thorn-filled valley is occurring. That is, on the bedding we are finding no rest; rather, there is nothing but restlessness. Because of the threads/strings of the bedding, he has declared it to be 'thorn-filled'.

== Gyan Chand, p. 373



For background see S. R. Faruqi's choices. This verse is NOT one of his choices; I thought it was interesting and have added it myself. For more on Ghalib's unpublished verses, see the discussion in {4,8x}.

When we first encounter the verse, its 'list'-like first line is set up to mislead us. For mizhah farsh-e rah sounds like a very formal, respectful greeting to a distinguished visitor; in fact it evokes nothing so much as diidah-o-dil farsh-e raah , the greeting planned for ;ha.zrat-e;h in {19,3}. But of course the rest of the line is unclear-- it's simply 'A B and C D and E F'-- so that we are left (under mushairah performance conditions) in suspense.

The center of the verse is in fact the paa-e ;xuftah . Luckily we have the same idiomatic 'foot gone to sleep' metaphor in English. A person whose feet have 'gone to sleep' can do no more than stumble along-- in this case, on a nightmarish 'stroll' through a thorn-filled valley. And such a person lying in bed, tossing and turning, experiences (thorn-like) eyelashes in constant restless movement, and the seemingly thorn-like fibers that line the 'valley' of the bedding (or charpai). Other cases of feet that have 'gone to sleep': {349x,1}; {430x,4}.

Only the 'weak heart' is left out of the vision, unless we go with Zamin and declare that it has dried out and turned into a thorn.