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Monday, May 12, 2014

The power of music

It has  been a hectic month. Tons of classes, a lot of socialising and loads of ( as the wife of the husbands best friend  would put it) 'guesting'. Almost all of the above has been very pleasant but left me looking ( and feeling) distinctly frazzled and frayed round the edges. The husband and the son  ,of course, find nothing amiss. Their logic being that maybe I was born frazzled and frayed ;with 'arched eyebrows'; and a  perpetual scornful look  and....( here I either tune off or flare up).The daughter  says nothing but I  see her looking at me once or twice.
It is evening. She comes to me and hands me her ipod. "Mum, why don't you take a walk on the terrace and listen to SOME  music?" I am on the point of rattling off  allllll  the things still left to be done but something stops me. I smile and say," yes".
I am going up to the terrace after many days- maybe more than a month. The first thing I see makes me stop in my tracks . I am overjoyed. My champa plant ( which I  had planted 3 years back ) has borne flowers. The ivory white petals , with delicate yellow in the middle, have brought to my roof  both fragrance and light. I stop to savor their beauty and am tempted to count  the flowers but the superstitious part of me urges me to move on . I  now check on the bougainvilleas and the hibiscus ( and also on the cycas). Making a mental note to plant spinach in an empty tray like pot, I  switch on the ipod.

 Hauntingly familiar music fills the silence of the evening, followed by equally haunting lyrics. I fall in love with Gulzar again ( after Aandhi, after his song ' dil toh baccha hai ji , after Maachis .... );with the Rajesh Khanna of 'Khamoshi'; with the music of Hemant da; with the beauty, pathos and  inevitability of love itself.  Picture Waheeda Rehman singing this :

Hamne dekhi hai In aankhoon ki mahakti khushaboo
Honth Se Chhuuke Ise Rishton Kaa Ilzaam na do...
Sirf Ehasaas hai Ye Ruuh se mahasuus karo
Pyaar ko pyaar hi rahane do koi naam na do....
Pyaar koi bol nahin, Pyaar awaaz nahin
Ek Khaamoshi hai sunti hai kahaa karti hai....
Honth kuchh kahate nahin, magar kitne khaamosh se afasaane ruke rahate hain...
Sirf ehasaas hai ye, ruuh se mahsus karo
Pyaar ko pyaar hi rahane do, koi naam naa do
Hum ne dekhi hai

The song ends and there is no sound for some time. I almost turn but another beautiful track stops me .This time it is Manna Dey in Kabulliwallah. The part of me that prays for a miracle for my country; the part that gets moist-eyed when the national anthem plays in theatres; the part that gets a lump in the throat when mom tells her first person account of the freedom struggle - that part of me loves this song:

Aye mere pyare watan, aye mere pyare chaman
tujh pe dil kurbaan
tuh hee meree aarajoo,tuh hee meree aabaru, tuh hee meree jaan...
tere daman se jo aaye, un hawaaon ko salaam...
hum jahaan paidaa huye us jagah hee nikele ye dum..
aye mere pyare watan...

This is followed by  Sanjeev Kumar's and  Suchitra Sen's interrupted love story :

tere bina zindagi se koi shikwa toh nahin, shikwa nahin
tere bina zindagi bhi lekin zindagi toh nahin zindagi toh nahin...
tum joh kehe do toh aaj ki raat chand doobega nahin
raat ko rok lo, raat ki baat hai ,aur zindagi baki toh nahin...

followed by the courtesan's wonder that was Umrao jaan:

yeh kya jagah hai doston yeh kaun sa dayaar hai.....
tamam umar ka hisaab mangti hai zindagi
yeh mera dil kahe toh kya ,yeh khud se sharam saar hai.....

followed by:

 ye  daulat bhi le lo ,ye shoharat bhi le lo
bhale cheen lo mujhse meri jawaani
magar mujhko lauta do bachpan kaa saawan
woh kaagaz ki kashti, woh baarish ka paani...

( many, many moons ago I  had the privilege of hearing Jagjit and Chitra Singh singing this ghazal. There was deafening silence in the hall , followed by equally deafening applause. )

followed by my anthem- 'The eye of the tiger'

Just a man and his will to survive
So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don't lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

Thirty minutes later I go down .It is a different me- not edgy, or snappy, or dissatisfied. I am feeling humbled, replete, beautiful- everything together. Difficult  to put down- but something like going to the cliffs of Moher and back. I have just heard some of my personal favorites (courtesy the daughter )and have realized that there is more to life than feeling shortchanged. I enter and find the family ready to sit down for dinner. Something must be showing on my face because the husband and son give me an interested look. ( I return it). The girl just smiles at me.

I now know why the good lord made 'daughter's day' and not a 'son's day!


  1. Oh my, what a lovely post! And so many of my favorite songs all combined in one post. Yes music can be such a healer and bring so much solace in its own soothing way. And when combined with the experience of witnessing one's plants bloom and blossom, nothing can be better :)
    Incidentally, I too wrote a post inspired by the Kabulwallah song on my blog once -

    1. Yes ,Beloo, music is an integral part , and a beautiful part, of our lives.