Monday, September 21, 2009

Kya jaanoon sajan?...

I have incidentally never discussed music on my blog, and apart from this one, I do have a few other posts in my mind, which I might publish subject to availability of time!

Through this post, I want to express my unsurpassed admiration for one song--'Kya janoon sajan'. Apart from having a most hauntingly painful melody, what I like the best about this song is its sensitive, yet teasing lyrics. This song has my favorite lyrics of all the Bollywood songs that I know of.

So, I'll be largely discussing the lyrics of this song, and my interpretation of them. I'll be giving a very literal English translation of the song, so no wonder, the lyrics will sound weird! ;) Also, since I've heard more often the newer version of the song from the movie--"Dil vil Pyaar vyaar", so would be discussing here the verses in the same sequence as in the newer version, in which the order of stanzas has been changed.

क्या जानूं सजन | Kyaa jaanoon saja | What do I know
होती है क्या ग़म की श्याम |Hoti hai kya gham ki shyaam | What is a dusk of despair
जल उठे सौ दिए | jal uthe sau diye | A hundred lamps got lit up
जब लिया तेरा नाम... | jab liya tera naam... | When I uttered your name...

I believe the above stanza is quite self-explanatory!

जब से मिली नज़र | Jab se milee nazar | Since when we had exchanged glances
माथे पे बन गए | maathe pe ban gaye | have become on my forehead
बिंदिया नयन तेरे | Bindiya nayan tere | Bindi (click) your eyes
देखो सजाना | Dekho sajana | Oh see, my dear!

Since, your eyes have fallen on me, your love has become a constant presence in my conscious, and just like a Bindi can be made out by any onlooker!

धर ली जो प्यार से | Dhar li jo pyaar se | When you had held with love
मेरी कलाइयां | Meri kalaaiyaan | My wrists
पिया, तेरी उंगलियाँ | Piya, teri ungaliyaan | Dear, your fingers
हो गई कंगना | Ho gaee kanganaa | Have become bracelet

Beloved, since when you had held my hand, I can constantly feel your presence in everything I do, though not restraining me in any way.

Kya janoon sajan...


काँटों में मैं खड़ी | Kaanton mein main khadi | Standing in thorns
नैनों के द्वार पे | Nainon ke dwaar pe | At the threshold of my eyes
निसदिन बहार के | Nis din bahaar ke | Every day, of spring
देखूं सपने | Dekhoon sapne | Do I watch dreams

Standing in a barren land (that is, without anyone's love), among thorns (eyelashes?), I dream of spring (your love) with utmost eagerness (at the threshold of eyes--indicating the eagerness of wait?)

The following lines are most ambiguous and difficult to interpret because of a very unusual kind of inversion:

चेहरे की धूल क्या | Chehre ki dhool kya | The dust on my face [1]
चंदा की चांदनी | Chanda ki chaandni | The radiance of Moon [2]
उतरी तो रह गई | Utari to reh gayi | Persisted, when dropped off [3]
मुख पे अपनी | Mukh pe apni | On my face [4]

The ambiguity arises because line 3 can be associated with either 1 or 2.

Clubbing 3 with 1 gives:

The moment the dust on my face dropped off, the radiance of Moon was left on my face. This can be interpreted to mean, that " O' beloved, the moment I stopped looking at my barren surroundings and thought about you, my entire being had become a reflection of, and my face reflected your radiance."

Clubbing 3 and 2 gives:

"O' beloved, the moment I stopped mooning over you, I realized my stark reality, and my entire being was covered in the thirst that the desert around has come to represent--the dust that settled on my face."

By the way, another blogger had done a post on her interpretation of this song here (click).


  1. i didnt knew the lyrics of this song was this good, never hummed more than the first few lines..

  2. I love this song. But only you Ketan, ONLY YOU could 'analyse' it :D lol...

  3. "O' beloved, the moment I stopped mooning over you, I realized my stark reality, and my entire being was covered in the thirst that the desert around has come to represent--the dust that settled on my face."

    Please google 'mooning'.

    Of course there were some other instances where I could nitpick, but this was royal!

    (Oh no I am doomed now! The wrath of Ketan is be upon me!)

    (I don't care about correctness of grammar of second sentence in bracket above. Tolkien the great uses such grammar sometimes.)

    BTW you didn't juxtapose it with the new version, like I thought you promised in beginning of post. Or I missed some 'whole point' of the post?

  4. @ Uncommon sense:

    Glad, you liked the lyrics; might come up with few more such posts. :)

    @ Rakesh:

    Could I have the pleasure of thinking your comment to be a very cryptic way of complimenting me? Please?

    You were never really baffled by the the radiance/dirt dichotomy in meanings? Which of the two interpretations do you go by? Also, the link at the bottom leads to Sowmya's interpretation, which is much less 'technical' and aesthetically more appealing, too. Plus, her interpretation of those lines is different from mine. :)

    @ Stupidosaur:

    Someone is afraid of my wrath! I'm truly honored! You know na, what kind of harmless(1) creature(2) am I? ;)

    Well to humor you, I did consult Wiktionary, and found the following meanings for 'mooning' as a verb:

    But then I was actually frightened at the prospect of my knowledge of anatomy going so grossly wrong, and displeasing a certain heavenly body, which allegedly holds the potential to moon (see, rhymes with ruin! ;) ) my destiny. So, I also chose to search for 'moon over':

    BTW, the meaning of 'mooning over' I was remembering was to think longingly of one's love interest.

    Actually, the lyrics in the old and the new version are exactly the same. Only the order of 'antara's' has been reversed. I've stuck with the order in the newer version.

    And I really am missing your nit-picking. :)

  5. Actually, even I'm not sure whether it was a compliment :P

    I mean, I'm not sure if I meant that you're very deep to have analysed the meaning or whether you're free to have analysed it :)

    I just go by the music I guess! YEAH at times, a few songs do have very interesting and deep lyrics.

  6. I've never heard this song before..I dont believe it, but I really havent heard the new or the old versions..

    sounds like its pretty cool..but yeah, I kinda agree with Rakesh,'re the only one, I, too can imagine successfully 'analysing' this song! :D

  7. OH wow- lovely lovely lyrics...Where can I hear this song? You tube? Forward me a link so I can listen to it!!!!!

    p.s. humble apologies for being so silent! I'm just really swamped with work!!! I'm worried that I've been neglectig my own blog, let alone the ones of my followers!

  8. I am amazed at last stenza interpretation, and i thought i was the only 'deep' thinker of bollywood songs

  9. Dr. S.

    here you go

  10. @ MGeek: Never knew you enjoyed old Hindi songs! Would like to see similar posts dealing with your favorite songs.

    @ Rakesh: Bad manners! You overlooked my "please" in the above comment. :(

    @ TUIB: You must listen to the song once. I think you'll like the melody a bit, but definitely you'd find the lyrics very intriguing. In fact, the first time I'd heard it, I'd dismissed it as insane blabber!

    @ Dr. S: Yes thanks, the lyrics are indeed lovely, and glad you liked them. And hope, this post also addresses your concern that I only like violent, gory love stories! :P

    You're neglecting my blog? No problems! That's why I've prophylactically named it as 'Neglected' Serendipity! My own foresight suprises me sometimes! :P

    @ IWW = Anamika: Glad to know I've company in dissection of song lyrics. ;) Would be looking forward to your posts dealing with lyrics that impressed you. :)

    And thanks for providing the link. I'd have not been able to do that with my cell phone alone.


Well-articulated disagreement would be a very good indicator that I was understood, and would be appreciated more than perfunctory agreement or praise. But of course, you could agree and praise...

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