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Wednesday, 12 October 2011

The lines that move my life !

Confessions of a flawed perfectionist ~ The series continues!

Self made, self motivated, self driven… well almost… with loads of support from lots of quarters - family, friends, acquaintances. Some things that stay eternally with me are the powerful lyrics from Hindi films that have been travelling with me throughout my life. Yes, Hindi has been the most influential language for me and I fancy myself as a ‘Hindi fanatic’.

Here I sink deep and try to bring forth some of them that really keep me going in good, bad and tough times.


The belief that Life is beautiful and meant to be shared though ups and lows of one another has been my anthem and is beautifully captured in one of my all time favourites..

Kisi ki muskurahaton pe ho nisaar, kisi ka dard mil sake to le udhar, kisi ke vaasthe ho dil me pyaar... Jeena isi ka naam hai… Yes this is what life is all about.

Listening to Hindi film music started as early as 1978 when I was just Eight, thanks to Vividh Bharati, the constant companion – through the rugged Murphy Radio that belted out memorable numbers day in and day out. Early in life I got hooked to Kishore Kumar, Mohd. Rafi and Mukesh and spent lot of time writing out favourite lyrics on bits of paper and in old note books. Singing most times and humming at all times I realized there was this powerful means to motivate oneself or get immersed in solitude with mystical lines coupled with lilting music.

Learning came easy with Hindi and life’s learning too – Soon I got another catch line for life: “Geet gaata hoon mai, gunghunatha hoon mai, maine hasne ka waada kiya tha kabhi is liye ab sada muskuratha hoon mai”… and thus I sing, I hum, I wear the smile!

Schooling in CBSE comes with loads of opportunities to bring to fore the singing skills… sometimes some songs we sing not only keep following us, but also reinforce the belief in the lines that are sung. One such song that goes on defining my outlook to life is “har koi chahtha hai ek muththi aasman.. har koi dhoondtha hai ek muththi aasman”, the search continues even to this day.

The 1980s has to be the most memorable period of my life, this is when I saw almost all the Hindi films of the 50s, 60s and 70s during my college days. Almost every second day I would be in Zamarrud, Lata, Palace, Royal or Dilshad ~ Hyderabad’s classic theatres of yore which screened these movies and provided an opportunity to relive the music, heard on radio, on the big screen. Then there was also the good old Doordarshan which etched the hit melodies of the black and white and the Eastman colour era through Chitrahaar and Rangoli.

Soon, I graduated and was living life solitary in Chennai, a career as medical representative began with much loneliness, but the constant companions were Kishore, Rafi, Mukesh, Manna Dey, Hemant and the rest. My days were dotted by "Aane wala pal.. jaane wala hai...!", "Badi sooni sooni hai... zindagi yeh zindagi!", "Ghungroo ki tarah bajhtha hi raha hoon mai!", “Ek akela is shehr mey… raat aur dopahr mey”, “Chal akela, chal akela, chal akela… tera mela peeche choota raahi chal akela”, "Beqarar dil tu gaaye ja…” to name a few. The last one from ‘Door ka rahi’ epitomised the solitude the veerana pann of the period and continues to be one of my favourites… I just cant get over the tear inducing lines… “aise hi baharen gaati rahe aur sajhthi rahe veerane… jinhe sunn ke duniya jhoom uthe, aur jhoom ke dil deewane”

There are many, many more that come to mind, but I will save them for another visit - a sequel.

I always found solace in the company of my friends, and Lord, I have so many friends that I had to think a lot before showcasing this song – Diye jalte hain, phool khilthe hain... badi mushkil se magar duniya mey dost milthe hain” as an ode to friendship and my personal dedication to all the friends in my life who have been the biggest influence in making me what I am today.

Nostalgia is the basis of this blog post that I have embarked upon and what best song to speak of nostalgia than. "Lehron ki tarah yaadein, dil se takrathi hain... toofan uthathi hain", which just about sums up the journey of my life.

This Mukesh number will stand out as one of the most philosophical pieces "Kahin door jab din dhal jaaye..." especially the lines from this song.. "Ghani thi uljhan bairi apna mann... apna hi hoke sahe dard paraye... dard paraye" is something that does not leave me on most occasions.

Talking of philosophy, there is more to it than just being a dipsomaniac’s rendition... these lines have had a long lasting effect "Manzilen apni jagah hain, raaste apni jagah... jab kadam hi saath na de, toh musafir kya kare", I just cannot get enough of my love for Amitabh Bachchan songs, I will surely dedicate an exclusive piece for that. (oh another blog post sequel)

That song from Sharaabi of course reminds me of the spirits and what most people miss not having known it... aptly summarised in the lines "Jo na peeye woh kya jaane, peete hain kyun hum deewane yaar.. jab se humne peena seekha, jeena seekha marna seekha yaar", yes, quite some learning in life from the spirits, brought to fore by Rajesh Khanna in the Namak Haram number "Nadiya se dariya... dariya se sagar".

Going back in time with that, will be the next one, my eternal favourite.. "Ohre taal mile nadi ke jal mey... nadi mile saagar mey.. saagar mile koun se jal koi jane na", another of Mukesh's memorable ones… another of my philosophical motivators… “Boond chupi kis baadal mey koi jaane na!”

If all those songs make one think that I have a penchant only for melancholy... I beg to differ... I have been known for my pranks and the playful numbers are not something that can be taken away from me.

Take this for one: “Duniya mein logon ko dhokha kabhi ho jaata hai” in RD Burman’s westernized tone or for that matter "Dekha na hai re, socha na hai re... rakh di nishaane pe jaan" would go down as one of the most memorable group numbers followed by the Teesri Kasam chorus "Chalat musafir moh liyo re pinjade wali muniya" or the Mohd Rafi foot tapping club song... "Aaj kal tere mere pyar ke charche har zubaan par" and "Dil ke jharokhe me tujhko bitha kar" the last two incidentally from the Shammi Kapoor film Brahmachari. (Oh! I can go on and on about Shammi songs)

I have never been perceived as a romantic, but then the romance flows through the songs I sing and relate through... "Yeh reshmi zulfein.. yeh sharbathi aankhen" is the first that comes to mind while talking about romance. Further I would go on and on with numerous ones... like “Tere chehre mey wo jaadu hai… bin dor khincha jaata hoon” or the soulful ones like... “Woh jab yaad aaye... bahut yaad aaye” - mellifluous Rafi can move the stone hearted to tears.

Not until 1997 did I meet my life partner… but I had these lines etched in my memory much earlier “apsara koi aaye to dekoon naheen, koi bahkaaye haske to behkoon naheen, tore matvaare nainon ne jaadu kiya, teri ulfat sanam sar aakon par” Radical in thought and plain speak, I have never wavered in my approach to life and the love for music was only doubled with my wife having the same taste for the kind of songs that I followed.

Equally good or rather a much better singer than me Rekha, my wife, partners along in my quest for living life through Hindi film songs. We sang together varying genre, from the classical Saanjh aur Sawera number “Ajhun aaye baalma, saawan beetha jaaye” to the all time favourite duet Jaane kaise kab kahan ikraar ho gaya.. hum sochthe hi reh gaye aur pyaar ho gaya!” with much aplomb.

This story would be incomplete without mentioning a few other songs and singers I always rever ~ Manna Dey’s Hindustani classics are innumerable and unmatchable, but I will cherish Tu pyaar ka sagar hai” most and the lines “Ghayal mann ka paagal panchi udd ne ko beqaraar” is truly epic.

Then there is Hemant Kumar’s “Sooraj re jalthe rehna..” Yesudas’ “Khushiyan hi khushiyan ho..” Asha Bhosale’s “Do lafzon ki hai.. dil ki kahani” and Lata Mangeshkar’s "Ajeeb Dastaan hai" and “Dil toh hai dil… dil ka aitbaar kya cheez hai” – This last one I still feel should have been a Kishore number!


I would love to sign off with one of my most favourite Mohd. Rafi numbers "Yaad na jaaye beethe dinon ki... jaake na aaye jo din, dil kyun bulaye unhe" with the promise that I would surely return to pen more and more of the "lines that have defined my life" in a sequel or should I say sequels.

Until then keep humming with me – Rimjhim gire saawan, sulag sulag jaaye mann… bheege aaj iss mausam mey lagi kaisi yeh agan!" ~ Most people know this as the unchanged caller tune and ringtone on mobile phone for almost a decade now!

Au revoir

Thursday, 18 August 2011

Life is not a level playing field

There comes a time in everyone’s life, or rather numerous occasions, when you feel let down by what you trust most and the thought process that takes you forward culminates in the belief that ‘life is not a level playing field.




For one whose life is driven totally by listening and humming to only Hindi film songs, I have an English song by Rod Stewart that instantly comes to mind…

Some guys have all the luck
Some guys have all the pain
Some guys get all the breaks
Some guys do nothing but complain


Well, in gist this is life, or is it?


There is more to it than meets the eye; the World Wide Web will throw up a billion pages of content that would form the means to address the situation, motivational quotes, analogies of purportedly successful men and women and more, a thousand ways to make one believe that positive attitude is the key and that opportunities galore for the seeker… I can just go on and on…! But then, the basic premise that I embarked upon with an insanely true cliché, will stay… Yes - Life is not a level playing field!


The ‘saint’ is a myth. A perfectly contended or a ‘completely in peace’ human being is as much truth as Ethiopia being Utopia.


The fifth verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament says “The meek shall inherit the Earth”, the context of the biblical world that it was uttered in has changed meaning now – it serves to aptly exemplify the present day lives – ‘the powerless will lead a life without striving’. I may be condemned of mis-interpreting one of the most famous of the Beatitudes, but then in times of media-judging, logical interpretations are the first things that are almost always, thrown out of the window.


How else can one explain the relentless struggle of the moralistic heart to overcome the constantly greed driven mind and succeeding only to succumb, endlessly.


Moving into a pluralistic society from the days of colonialism and subjugation has not meant equal opportunities but that of irresponsible growth of the incompetent through sustained sycophancy. This is true in all walks of life and corporate ladders are strewn by faithful followers of the doctrine – boot licking upwards.


In conclusion, even as I try hard to refrain from being positive, I am tempted to, and I succumb to, quote the verse from the Bhagawad Gita, that in which I had utmost faith and one which is gradually taking a beating:


Karmanye Vadhikaraste, Ma phaleshou kada chana,
Ma Karma Phala Hetur Bhurmatey Sangostva Akarmani


In simple terms which mean: Keep on performing your duties without expecting for any reward in return, leading a selfless life – this it what it is all about.


…. And when all fails I will retort to Deuteronomy 32:41



------------------------------------Notes: --------------------------
Pluralism: A social organization in which diversity of racial, religious, ethnic or cultural groups is tolerated
Mathew 5.5: The fifth verse of the fifth chapter of the Gospel of Matthew in the New Testament
Deuteronomy 32:41: If I whet my glittering sword, and mine hand take hold on judgment; I will render vengeance to mine enemies, and will reward them that hate me.