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Thursday, July 14, 2016

after all, love is not a linearly progressing one…

Releasing the magazine to the press and pulling up myself from the chair slowly walked out of the cabin… out into the woods around the campus …to stroll under the trees…to get refreshed…  Cumulonimbus clouds are hanging over head, suggesting a sure drizzle anytime. Hesitated for a while … but bitten by the magical beauty of rain… that throbbing heart of childhood and the dear longing for walking in the tickling raindrops … under those “Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add colour to my sunset sky” [life], straight headed for a walk… eagerly looking forward to get drenched ….

As I took a round under the trees…thunders accompanied by lightning ticked my chords… and as raindrops hit my face … heart jumped in gay abandon… undefined emotions, nostalgia, poetry, romance … all at once swarmed over … transporting into an “endless heaven of memories”. In the prelude of the thunder, lightning and the drizzle ... as that legendry singer Tansen said, raga megh already manifested itself in the heart … and in that gay mood that iconic romantic song of yesteryears… Pyar hua ikraar hua… suddenly flashed in mind with the pulse-quickening brilliance….

That prelude of violins in quick phrases like that of gushing monsoon winds through woods, suddenly interrupted by a thunder followed by matching short and sweet sounding mandolin breaks followed by violin phrases in quick succession with intermittent weighty theka of dholak setting a fast rhythm….

And there, that incredibly graceful, natural and beautiful Nargis: in pouring rain sharing an umbrella with Raj Kapoor, so close to each other and yet away … lips quivering … longing to be more nearer to, perhaps…but shy and reluctant to go any farther, perhaps at the command of the decency—a marvel of femininity—but succeeds in creating the magical moment of romancing ….as Raj starts wooing her ebulliently …

Pyaar hua ikraar huahai
(‘am in love, I confess it)
Pyar se phir kyoon darr ta hai dil
(Why is that heart so afraid of love, then?)

Whenever I listen to this apparently innocent looking question—Pyar se phir kyoon darrta hai dil—it invariably challenges my wit. True, Pyar is something to be happy about, to be cherished, to feel proud about, for finding a love interest is in itself a great accomplishment. So, it’s so natural to wonder: “Why the hell heart is then fearing about it?”

To say, or to sing Pyaar hua ikraar hua hai is easy, but once it sinks in mind, perhaps it stirs the heart—indeed rocks the heart with myriad questions, perhaps: Would it be successful? Would I be able to stand to its dictates? Would I be able to deliver all that is expected of me under the relationship? Would the other party reciprocate …? Would I be able to infuse trust into the relationship? Would I be able to grant allowances for the other party’s inadequacies? What if it fails? 

Why in love alone, for that matter even in the context of our traditionally arranged marriages too, one (here, by one, I mean both the parties to the relationship) cannot but end up in such a darr (fear)perhaps! I think any sensible man would end up in an undefined fear—mostly fear of the change? Probably!

For, you do not know how the new relation will unfold as days roll on. There are many nights in which I used to wonder on those lines, particularly, sleeping under the starry sky during summer holidays. On many such silent nights, being stimulated by the music of marriage parties from the neighbouring villages that was brought in by the breeze blowing over the fallow fields, I often used to get overawed by that undefined fear, or should I say haunted by many such questions like what Shailendra’s innocuous lyric Pyar se phir kyoon darrta hai dil raise…

Why college days, for that matter even at this age, that too, believing strongly that “no two people in love [people joined by marriage] should aim at becoming one”, I shudder whenever a heated discussion takes place in the living room and one of the two walks away from the scene with a sulky face… For, many foggy images of the likely consequences of that just concluded discussions run through the mind, making heart  quiver silently.  And over it, there are always that ‘unintended consequences’—thinking of which indeed makes one fear more. Perhaps!
Suffice to say, there are many unknown ‘unknowns’ in that ‘Pyaar hua ikraar hua hai’-status. Hence the vagueness. And it is this imprecision, which indeed is the root cause of fear, that iterates as Pyar se phir kyoon darrta hai dil.

Well, interestingly when it comes to the turn of Nargis, she, with her amazing eyes reflecting a mixture of rapture, tenderness, certainty, gravity, capturing the whole attention of audience, sings with a face that is quite reflective of her fearher natural apprehensions in a more clear terms … indeed, delivers them with exceptional panache….

            Kehata hai dil rasta mushkil
(the way ahead is difficult, says heart)
Maaloom nahin hai kahan manzil
(not known where lies the destiny)
Aa, aaaaaa,    aaaaaa, aaaa

See, how categorical Shailendra is when it comes to the turn of the lady love: he presented her as a better knower of the ‘unknowns’. Responding to Raj Kapoor’s undefined fear, she comes forward with a very clear definition of her fear: “Kehata hai dil rasta mushkil / Maaloom nahin hai kahan manzil. Women, as  Sudraka, that playwright of yore,  said in his play, Mrichchhakatika: “Streeyom hi naam khalveetaa nisargaadev panditaaha / …“Women as a whole are wise by nature; while wisdom is acquired by men only by the study of Shastras” (4.18), perhaps, know better where their interests lie, or what they should fear about/be careful about.   

Perhaps to lull the audience back into life, here the music director comes up with a fast paced interlude of violin phrases followed by flute’s raw outpouring … that goes so well with Raj’s ‘Chaplinesque’ tramp mannerisms…That is the uniqueness of Shankar-Jaikishan’s orchestration—like a magnet they pull the listener to their catchy rhymes,  even an uninitiated listener gets bugged by their tunes. As a school-going child, I remember how I used to marvel at the beauty of the interlude, particularly, the flute bit … so much so I used to unabashedly shouting, of course, silently “kekik kekkikki … kekik  kekkikki …  kekik  kekkikki”. 

And what to say of the depth and beauty of Shailendra’s lyrics! So simple yet so effective, so pregnant with philosophy! As Raj Kapoor sings Kaho ki preet ka geet na badlega kabhi (Say our song of love will never change), Nargis joins him immediately singing

Kaho ki apni preet ka geet na badlega kabhi /
Pyaar jo toota, saath jo chhoota
(if love breaks, if our company breaks)

then both in unison confirm  Chand na chamkega kabhi (moon will never shine) …. That is their steadfastness about their love and confidence of themselves…. And elated by that reassurance, Raj merrily goes on humming…indeed that happiness is palpable from his glowing face on the screen ….

Aa ha ha, aa ha ha
Aaaaaa, aaaaaa

And within no time Nargis, obviously encouraged by that proclamation, perhaps joins him humming in gay abandon …. …. Aa ha ha, aa ha ha / Aaaaaa, aaaaaa

Capping it all,  what I marvel at is Lata’s modulation of tone … you know from a surging flow, she suddenly dropping herself to slow pace, in fact in a kind of soft-trembling tone, coupled with an element of ardrata (warmth) infused into that tone  she sings that last antara

Main na rahoongi, tum na rahoge
(I won’t be there, nor would you be)
Phir bhi rahengi nishaaniyaan
(Yet, there remains signs of us)

As Nargis lip-syncs with Lata’s words, it’s worth watching her face… the warmth, perhaps reflecting her innate longing for their relation to fructify… she drawing the attention of Raj to the children walking on the footpath with her forefinger, feebly whispers as though into his ears— Phir bhi rahengi nishaaniyaan—as if that is how she is looking forward to their future, the fruits of their morrow’s togetherness… perhaps! …  And how could Raj be indifferent to her pointing finger; he too slowly turns his face as her finger is turning …indeed as slowly as Lata sang those words… 

Ha! What a visualization of Raj and his direction…. And that great actress’s expressions! So natural and charming…in suggesting a sense of 'motherhood'... all with no words ... that is her maturity. To cap it all: that great poet, Shailendra and his sweet and simple lyrics that are rich in thought; singer Lata and the stalwarts: Shankar and Jaikishan!

Oh! My god! Coming out of that grip of nostalgia… suddenly sensing that I am already drenched, rushed into the Security guard’s cabin at the gate … but the song is lingering… still … the pitter-pattering of rain drops on the tin-roof is not letting it go off, perhaps. “Fear”, yes, it must be there, for it alone makes one diligently build the Rasta, road—  Rasta to the Manzil, goal… That is ‘fear functional’… yeah, one should make it functional… and keep humming  
                                      Aa ha ha, aa ha ha
                         Aaaaaa, aaaaaa …..



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