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Thursday, February 16, 2017

Rain, Romance and aahe.n (sighs)….

Rain, the opera of nature— clouds of different hues and shapes dancing to the blowing wind accompanied by thunder and bolts of lightning—is magical and dramatic. At times it drizzles giving us the feel of a tender touch of a cute baby. Sometimes it showers bursting down like a cherry blossom. Often it cascades down like a silk dupatta (stole) of a pritam blowing in the wind, giving us the real thrill of rain. Once in a while, it also pours down ceaselessly like the tears of a beloved that often force us to join it in chorus.

Rain is cool and has a calming effect on mankind. Even plants and animals welcome it, for it rejuvenates every living being. Every prani (being) therefore welcomes it with glee. In its colourful multitudinous, it simply evokes sringar (romanticism). Obviously, we look at it in reverence. As the man sways in that mist created by its myriad forms, he/she gets reminded of many … many sweet memories of the days gone by…

On one summer evening, I was going to Sridhar’s house to say goodbye before leaving for college after vacations. As I was half the way, summer shower caught me… unawares. Within no time the drizzle turned into rain, forcing me to look for a shelter. Noticing a canopy over the entrance of a house, hopping onto its steps, tucked into a corner …of the entrance …

Oh! What a surprise! It is that same house … that cute Mangalore tiled house….the construction of which I watched curiously in those days …the days of going to and returning from the school. Its inmates too looked quite different … differently dressed, even those leggy girls behaved differently… even talked differently… The man was tall …looked handsome in his white T-shirts, and always sported a baseball cap while supervising construction. Mother and girls too used to be around—either curing the walls or aiding the labour in watering the bricks… if no work, all the four played caroms… or the man and elder daughter (I presumed) played chess …. This gaming continued even after construction… they have also raised a cute garden within that small vacant land well before gruhapravesam… everything of them was out of town…and the house, the people… everything of them fascinated me so much that I invariably glanced at it while going to or coming from school. For, everything of them looked so esoteric….so passionate... 

Oh! Those images suddenly overwhelmed me as I stood there, in their porch…even now everything looked spic and span… the path way from the gate to the veranda was marked by nicely pruned hedges… there were rows of flowering plants on either side. There in one corner, a small green carpet, perhaps lawn. Oh! They still maintain an atmosphere around them that has never been here in this town… 

From inside merry sounds … giggling of girls, yelling… “adi voddu – Oh! no, not that … aa record pettu – play that record” …shrieking about this and that… suddenly a male voice almost ordering … “play this…it goes well with the musty smell of the rain… and the pakodies –snacks –getting readied by your amma …”.And suddenly, everything became silent.

A melancholic sound … ‘finger picking’ of Sitar’s string in a separated fashion … … but progressing with cadence ...followed by Rafi’s voice… badii udaasi...  full of pathos ..

Maine chand aur sitaro ki tamanna ki
(I’d longed for the moon and the stars)
Mujhko rato ki syahi ke siva kuch na mila
(But for the darkness of the night, I got nothing)

What a soulful rendering … melodic harmony between the sound bites of lyrics and the accompanying music…soothing to the ears…. Sitar interlude simply heightened bluesy snatches of melancholic melody.
            Mai vo nagamaa hu Jise pyar ki mehfil na mili
            (I am that melody which found no assembly of love)
            Vo musafir hu jise koi bhi manzil na mili
            (I’m that traveller who found no destination whatever)
            Zakham paye hai baharo ki tamanna ki thi
            (I got the wounds, though longed for the spring around)

The second interlude is interestingly of flute intermingled with violin phrases…making the already despondent lyrics blossom in the eloquence of its heartache… indeed, thump the heart more heavily…
            Kisi gesu kisi aanchal ka sahara bhi nahi
            (No plait, nor even any hem to cling to)
            Raste me koi dhundhla sa sitara bhi nahi
            (not even a fading star on the way)
            Meri nazron ne Nazaro ki tamanna kit hi
            (My eyes had longed for lavish scenes)

The third interlude too is of flute seasoned with violin phrases…enhancing the sense of loss … the instrumentation is so economic—music director Datta's assistantship with Burmanda, is perhaps, the obvious influence—and yet it plunges the listener into abyss…
            Meri raho se juda ho gai rahe unki
            (her ways have parted from mine)
            Aaj badli nazar aati hai nigahe unki
            (today, her outlook seems to have changed)
            Jisse is dil ne saharo ki tamanna ki thi
            (she, from whom this heart had desired support)

…perhaps to round off the pathos effectively, music director preferred Sitar plucking for the final interlude … Watch how Rafi renders the word, ‘badli’ in the antara: Meri raho se juda ho gai rahe unaki Aaj badly nazar aati hai nigahe unki… as though pouring out all the agony of the singer at his beloved’s changing stance…
            Pyar manga to sisakte hue araman mile
            (though sought love, I got the sobbing desires)
            Chain chaha to umadte hue tufan mile
            (desired peace, but met with raging storms)
            Dubte dil ne kinaro ki tamanna ki thi
            (the drowning heart had longed for the shores)

The lyrics of Sahir Ludhiyanvi, the poet of Chand and Sitare—written for film, Chandrakanta (1956) an obscure film—with captivating harmonies, are quite haunting. And Rafi rendered his vocals to convey the depth of their meaning with appropriate shift and bend of voice and embellishing it here and there with vibrato effect. And Sahir’s marvellous lyrics—Mujhko rato ki syahi ke siva kuch na mila; Pyar manga to sisakte hue arman mile; Chain chaha to umadate hue tufan mile—when aired by Rafi’s voice that is swelled with emotion—emotion of sadness, they strike straight at heart … indeed Sahir’s pen’s inky darkness silently encircles the listener’s heart.

The music director, N Datta has to be complimented for composing this song in raag Bhimpalasi—a raag by virtue of its innate komalata, softness and melody considered as the best suited for romantic songs but Rafi with his udaasi tone—with no ups and downs … the whole song progressing as though a river to its brim is flowing steadily— had simply injected komalata, softness into the song making it sound more melancholic and the sweetest to hear. After all, won’t saddest thoughts run through the listener softly like a knife passing through butter? Obviously, music connoisseurs often complimented Mr Datta for giving the best expression of raag Bhimpalasi through this song and with his mastery on rhythm quivered listener’s hearts…

Oh! Coming out of the trance … sensing silence is no longer bearable in that stilled atmosphere … …whispering, “Thank you Sir, you made my evening”, jumped out of their porch into the fading drizzle……


Water colors painting - Courtesy: Sri Milind Mulick. I thank him profusely...


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