Sunday, February 21, 2010

Iktara.

The Iktara is an ancient North Indian single stringed instrument, capable of deep bass and sharp treble, and hence produces all seven notes distinctively, symbolizing  life in its myriad hues.

Few months back I heard one of the most soulful songs I've heard in many, many years, and these late spring nights when I stay up preparing for exams, in the silence of an otherwise maddening place nothing seems more beautifully haunting.



Rooh ka banjaara re parinda,
(Rooh- spirit, Banjara- nomad, parinda- bird)
The spirit, like a  nomad bird,

Chad gaya dil ka re gharonda
( chad- left. gharonda- shackles)
has broken  the shackles of the heart.

Chad gaya dil ka re gharonda tod ke
Has left, breaking the shackles of the heart,


Re gharonda tod ke, gaya chod ke.
Breaking the shackles, has left.







Je naina karun band, band,
(naina- eyes; band- close)
And everytime that I close my eyes,
Beh jaaye boond boond.(2)
(Beh- wash boond- drops)
Pain is washed away in droplets.

Tadpaye re, kyun sunaye re, geet malhaar ki,
(malhaar- a classical north Indian raaga, sung with the coming of monsoons, the source of life)
Then why do you make me listen to the anguishing  monsoon raagas?



Chorus:
Be malang tera Iktara (8)
The iktara has lost its melody and now continues without any symphony.






Itra tu baasi baasi,
(Itra- dialectical for Itr - a perfume made of herbal scents, popular only in the  northern parts of india. : baasi- stale)
Perfume, you are stale now.

Padi hai sirhane,
(sirhane- the area along the head of the bed, often, in india, a place to keep things.)
and lie uselessly along the head of my bed.

Band darwaaja dekhe, lauti hai subah,
(darwaaja- dialectical for darwaaza, or door)
 My closed doors see a morning return.

Thandi hai angeethi seeli, seeli hain diwarein,
( angeethi- a crude mud oven, used in the extremely chilly winters of north India to warm homes.)
The angeethi lies cold, and so are the walls.

Goonje takrake inme, dil ki sada
(goonje-echo)
And the dirges of my heart echo from these walls.

goonje hai re( 2) dil ki sada (2)
Ah, the dirges echo.






Je naina karun band, band,
(naina- eyes; band- close)
And everytime that I close my eyes,

Beh jaaye boond boond.
(Beh- wash boond- drops)
Pain is washed away in droplets.

Tadpaye re, kyun sunaye re, geet malhaar ki,
(malhaar- a classical north Indian raaga, sung with the coming of monsoons, the source of life)
Then why do you make me listen to the anguishing  monsoon raagas?





Chorus:
Be malang tera Iktara (8)
The iktara has lost its melody and now continues without any symphony.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Waiting for Tomorrow.

Years ago, in the junior section, when we were introduced to the concept of having "bests", it was an extremely faishionable trend to have a best of everything. best colour, best food, best toy, best book, obviously best friend and extremely faishionably,best actor.It almost rivalled having a senior as your friend.And so, One fine day,extremely thrilled and exhilarated after having watched Baazigar, I pronounced my favourite actor to a selected group of friends, whose parents I knew did not allow them to watch anything apart from a couple of hours of cartoon aired on doordarshan in the early evenings.
"Shahrukh khan."
And to prove that I had even brought along a 50paise postcard with his picture on it, which , because of some jealous elements in my class was duly reported and confiscated.

This was of course, way, way before he started writing his name as Shah Rukh Khan.And also way way before our english was good enough for us to understand a movie in english.

Then that summer turned into winter and some more besides. My best actor changed into my favourite actor, but he was still the same.I hardly saw his movies, but obviously that should not be a factor when you are talking favourites.

Then along came another trend: Hollywood.This was something I did not understand, and the fact that we didn't have cable in our home did not help. The photographs I saw in the newspapers all looked the same.So,even risking appearing dumb, my favourite actor refused to change.Now,movies were classified good and bad instead of just liked or disliked, I became aware of the fact that movies had to be directed and produced and that a Shahrukh khan movie did not mean that Shahrukh got together with kajol to make a Kuch Kuch Hota Hai happen.

The leaves continued their yellowing, falling and growing freshly green,and the good lord knocked some sense into most of us. Thus crept in pseudo-intellectualism.Wierd movies were in the vogue. Critics awards were talked about instead of popular ones. I stubbornly refused to accept that Mr and Mrs Iyer was better than Mohobbatein.(and even looking back now,I think you had to be pretty precocius to have grasped that movie at that age.)

And then it started.

The superior smiles and condescending looks everytime I mentioned something I was habituated to stating. And people scorning the wonderful, wonderful songs that breathe the life of a nation.Because that is what it is: An entire nation defined by the movies they make blockbusters.It was then that I realised the symbolism of what I had held as a favourite for nearly a decade now.

Its the pulse of a nation that wants to believe in the beauty of dreams. Its the heartbeat of a nation that, covered in sweat and grime while returning home in a bus, wants to believe that a sangh-e-marmar ka farsh is achievable.Just like a boy from Delhi found his sangh-e-marmar. And more than anything else, It is also a nation who wants to believe in the innocence of romance among sarson ke khet. Perhaps foolishly so, but what does it matter to me?



I will wait for tomorrow, when on a perfect spring day I will witness the story of a painfully ordinary man undertaking an extraordinary journey for love, and a  magic will be re-kindled.