दीपक हो

Today is Diwali, the biggest festival of Hindu culture. I’d written previously about it here, but like most muses, it is something I can keep coming back to.

But it isn’t the festival that is the muse. Instead, all the things it symbolises: righteousness, its conquest of evil, and the inevitability of this victory – these make Diwali my favourite festival. It is an infinite fount of everything that keeps us human.

So, without further ado, I present to you this poem. And, of course, wish you a very happy (and hopeful) Diwali.

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केशव को

Today’s Janmashtami, the festival celebrating the birth of the 9th avatar of Vishnu. Of the 10 avatars that He took, Krishna is the only one considered ‘Poorna Avatar’ – the complete incarnation of God, Vishnu in His entirety.

Krishna is complete, is absolute. He enunciated the knowledge of the Srimadbhagvat Gita, he is the Yogeshwar – Lord of Yoga, the practical application of Indian spirituality, not just a form of exercise.

However, this is all enough and all nothing. For I firmly believe that Krishna is beyond words and thoughts, beyond experience and feeling. Surdas, the legendary Indian bhakta and poet who wrote about Krishna all his life, in fact claimed that all attempts to write about Him were futile. It is a beautiful irony, but again, highlights Surdas’ love for his Maker, and his Maker’s divinity. Here, sample it in the glorious voice of the late Jagjit Singh: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=73ARusu3O6Y.

While I’m none to argue with the wisdom of Surdas, I have humbly attempted to write about Krishna…

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जाने कैसी मुलाक़ात होगी

Marriage is the final triumph of societal life. All actions in public life stem from it, reach for it, and once the task is done, are set in motion again for the next generation. Nature has, of course, wired every species to seek survival. Man, thankfully, is the only one that makes such a show of it.

But since the show is there, it gives rise to many stories and many rituals. Cultures change them with great frequency, art celebrates it in all. In India, we have the arranged marriage – where parents get a couple together, having previously satisfied themselves of the financial, societal, and emotional state of the other family. The young (would be) couple meets in a public place with a great delegation of their relatives, and is usually given a little amount of time to talk to each other and get to know the person. At least a couple such meetings happen, usually more.

It is a process subject to great ridicule but has also considerable success. Anyone reading this in the West will probably be shocked by this way of going about the business of marriage, but they will of course appreciate that things change in other parts of the world.

But even when some things change, some remain the same.

 

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चलो कहीं डेरा डाल लेते हैं

This year has begun with great promise: one made by me, some made by life. After all the running around and hassles of the years gone by, there looks to be signs of peace.

There is hope that we can settle down (in more ways than one), let go of the trifles of everyday living, and rest.

 

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आज छोड़ चलते हैं…

2015 is coming to an end, and with that a phase of life draws to a close. In wishing you all a very happy 2016, and indeed, the rest of your life, I also wish goodbye to the days that have passed… This poem is a celebration of the era that draws to a close today – childhood, with all its vicissitudes and victories, with all its charms and challenges, with all its memories.

I hope you had a great 2015. I wish you all the love, hope, strength, and fulfilment in 2016!

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Observing the Movies: Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!

I consider myself a person with some ability to think. As is natural, this ability finds itself applied to all things that have for me even the remotest fascination. Movies do, which is why I have thought about them, discussed (and dissected) about them, and occasionally written about them hither and thither. I’ve wanted to do so in some long form for the longest time, and am finally doing so.

‘Gravity’ was probably the first movie that I realised I couldn’t write sufficiently about in just a Facebook post. But writing about the movie seemed tougher the longer time I spent on it, especially since the writing kept getting pushed. Ultimately, it was after watching Dibakar Bannerjee’s ‘Detective Byomkesh Bakshy!’ that I realised that this was it, I had to get started.

The piece is fragmented into sections – as best as native WordPress and my limited knowledge of it allows me – so feel free to skip to the headings that seem interesting. I’ve tried to ensure you won’t miss much if you do.

 

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Reading Gulzar – Beeti Na Bitaai Raina

Gulzar (Click on the image for source.)

Gulzar (Click on the image for source.)

This has been a long time coming.

I think the blog hasn’t been updated for a while now (a month to be precise), but that hasn’t really been for a lack of trying. A couple of pieces that I have been working on are taking an impossibly high amount of time to get done with. As such, not quite able to head anywhere with my own words, I have decided to return to the relief and comfort of those of Gulzar.

There are a few songs where the singing of the words surpasses their poetry, if you know what I mean. Usually, the latter is so good that if you were to sing it (and I am assuming here that you’re as bad a bathroom singer as any), you’d still find joy. You’d find joy in merely reading the poetry. But the rare songs I refer to are those where the poetry’s meaning and emotion is enhanced by the manner in which they have been sung. They will be beautiful if you read them, or make your best un-donkeybray effort at singing, but they won’t be as beautiful as the original, shot-on-film, sung-by-the-gods song itself.

This film, Gulzar’s ‘Parichay’ has both these kinds of songs: there is the former of the rich poetry, and this, the latter.

When you listen to the song, or rather, watch it, you’ll see how Lata Mangeshkar and Jaya Bachchan begin the song more like a narration, like singing a song you knew the words to but thry don’t really mean anything personal to you. For a song that is inherently sad in its words, watch the latter smile and enjoy the singing. Then, watch how Bhupinder’s voice and Sanjeev’s introduction to the scene adds the feels to it, like moments beginning to form out of the mist of memories. You know this is more than just a collection of words for him. This leads beautifully to the second verse, by which they’re both emoting, yearning for the filling of a common void.

It is subtle. It is, in fact, aspiration.

Incidentally (and sadly, for it highlights the dearth we’ve had of actors of his ilk in Hindi cinema), Sanjeev Kumar who plays Jaya Bachchan’s father in this song was cast opposite her in ‘Anamika’. Incidentally, again, R. D. gave the music to that film too!

Film: Parichay

Music: R. D. Burman

Singer: Lata Mangeshkar and Bhupinder Singh

Lyrics: 🙂

Here goes…

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मुलाक़ात

कुछ दिनों पहले एक ख़याल आया था जो कविता में बुन सकता था। यूं तो यह ख़याल अक़्सर धुंआ हो जाते हैं, यह रह गया कहीं।

फिर अगले ही दिन कुछ बेवजह, या शायद यूं ही मंज़ूर हो उसे जिसकी मर्ज़ी चलती है, मैं एक पसंदीदा कविता से आन मिला। लॉर्ड अल्फ्रेड टेन्नीसन ने लिखी थी, और मैंने हमेशा माना है की उसकी आखरी पंक्ति जीवन का आधार भी है और उद्देश्य भी।

जो मेरे ज़हन में था और जो टेन्नीसन के ज़हन में रहा होगा, दोनों ख़याल कहीं जाकर मिलते से लगे। जो लगा सो यह कविता लिखनी शुरू की। आशा है की यहां आपको भी मिलते नज़र आएंगे…

और हाँ, अगर आप उस कविता को पहचान गए हैं (और गर साहित्य और कविता में ज़रा रूचि है तो न पहचानने की कोई वजह भी नहीं), तो कमेंट्स में बताइयेगा!

 

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दोबारा

रिश्तों की उम्र कौन माप पाया है?

कुछ सदियों ज़िंदा रहते हैं, हमें शेरों-कहानियों में मिलते हैं। कुछ पूरी ज़िन्दगी अपने पैरों पर खड़े होने में लगा देते हैं, कुछ पूरी ज़िन्दगी हर दिन जीते हैं। हर एक की अपनी उम्र होती है। हाँ, कहानियां सबकी एक ही लगती है मुझे।

काफ़ी रिश्तों को क़रीब से देखा है मैंने। पाया है की जहां ख़ुशी है, रंग हैं, वह सब लोगों के अपने हैं।  पर जहां कलह है, दुःख, रुस्वाई है, उन सबकी एक सी पहचान होती है। ऐसा लगता है की मानों एक को देख लिया हो, तो सबको देख लिया। हम उन्ही मसौदों पर रूठते हैं, वैसे ही बेगैरद लहज़े से बात करतें हैं, उसी दर्द से बिछड़ते हैं, वही आंसू रोते हैं… सब वही है, हमने कुछ नहीं सीखा है। इन्ही उलझनों से गुज़रने का नाम हमने ज़िन्दगी कर दिया है। यही चेहरे, यही मोड़, यही सब चलता रहता है, एक के बाद एक, दोबारा…

इन्ही किस्सों, कहानियों, दोस्तों, और लोगों के ग़म को देखा है मैंने, और उसे संजो के ये कविता लिखी है। उमीद है कुछ पसंद आएगी।

 

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