सरहद पार की सुविख्यात लोकगायिका रेशमा के दुखद निधन से उपमहाद्वीप के संगीत प्रेमियों का शोकाकुल होना स्वाभाविक है.बॉलीवुड की फिल्म 'हीरो ' के लिए गाये अपने गीत ' चार दिना दा प्यार रब्बा बड़ी लम्बी जुदाई .....' से भारत में अति लोकप्रिय हुई इस गायिका ने संगीत के क्षेत्र में अपनी एक अलग पहचान बनाई. एक अन्य पाकिस्तानी गायक परवेज़ मेहदी के साथ गाया उनका गीत- गोरिये मैं जाना परदेस- लोक गायन में एक मील का पत्थर है. गले से ही नहीं अपितु दिल से निकली उनकी खनकती आवाज़ अपनी ओर आकर्षित करती थी और करती रहेगी. उनके गायन में एक earthiness - ज़मीन से जुड़ाव- का आभास होता है जो कि लोक गायन की आत्मा कही जा सकती है. इस महान गायिका को विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि
Thursday, October 24, 2013
Passing away of Manna Dey , the legendary singer at the ripe old age of 94 in the wee hours today has left a void in the classical style singing as far as film music is concerned. Though light classical was his forte, he was equally well versed in qawwalis, chorus and duets. My late father, no fan of film music was often heard humming-laga chunri mein daag chhupaoon kaisey - a Manna Dey song from the film Dil Hi To Hai . Who can forget his duets with Lata Mangeshkar sang for the film Chori Chori like aja sanam madhur chaandni mein hum & pyar hua iqrar hua hai pyar se phir kyun darta hai dil ! The qawwali- Na To Caravan ki Talash Hai ; Yaari hai Imaan mera yaar meri Zindagi , and the songs- ai meri juhr zabeen ; dil ka hal sune dil wala; apne liye jiye to kya jiye ; tu pyar ka sagar hai , kasame vaade pyar wafa are some of the many gems from his musical treasure.His song , yeh kahani hai deeye ki aur toofan ki was most soulfully sung by him. He was deservedly awarded with Padma Shri, Padma Bhushan and Dada Saheb Phalke Award for his immense contribution to the world of music .Shraddhanjali !
Wednesday, July 24, 2013
The other day there was a shocking news of a 23 year old qualified engineer committing suicide in Bengaluru for the simple reason that a crow had sat on him twice and this did not augur well for him . This is a glaring example of superstition embedded in our psyche that no amount of education and enlightenment can get us out of it. What worse could have happened to the guy ! This escapist attitude is really unfortunate . One can be sorry for the hapless parents who would have pinned hopes on the guy. There are many other superstitions and false beliefs like a cat crossing your path will definitely spoil your chances of success at something for which you are venturing out . A young man once missed a very important interview , as he kept waiting for another person to come and cross the road as a cat had crossed his path.
But sometimes you have strong reasons to harbor such beliefs. Decades back an otherwise very nice lady in the neighbourhood proved unlucky for me many a time , as coming across her on an important day in the morning would spell doom. Fortunately once she was not around during the time I was to appear for an interview . The fact in itself boosted my confidence and I appeared for the interview and by chance and luck got the job .
There was also a belief in old times that if the shadow of a flying bird called Huma fell on a person , he was sure to become a king, whatever his antecedents and whoever his ancestors might be.
I was born with the planet rahu in lagna and my grandfather would wax eloquent that one day I would become a celebrity or a big man . I became what I did but certainly not a celebrity.
Shakes peare always blamed ‘ the stars above us ‘ that guide our destiny and contrary to this there is a famous couplet :
Muqaddar ki khabar kya de ga sitara
Din-raat gardish mein khud hai bichara.
Monday, July 15, 2013
“तार इस मतलब का आया है मुझे भोपाल से
रात भर भैंसे की दुम हिलती रही भूचाल से .........”
This was a frivolous piece of poetry quoted by a very well known Hindi author in one of his books , which shows how sending Taar or telegram was in vogue in matters important and mundane alike some decades back.
From today, i.e. 15th July, 2013 it is good bye to Telegrams , as the Govt . in their wisdom have discontinued this - one time very important , but now rendered obsolete as also commercially nonviable – service thanks to other cheaper and quicker means of instant communication and transmission like mobile phones and internet etc. There is hardly person , who has grown up with me through the fifties , and has not felt the importance of telegrams in day to day life. Little wonder that the last day of this service saw a sizable number of people at many places rushing to the post offices and telegraph offices to send welfare messages to relatives and near and dear ones , not only to avail the service for the last time but also to be able to keep the specimen of a telegram as a memento or an important relic of the past for the posterity. Some people were also seen taking along their kids to show and apprise them of the system of sending telegrams.
Telegram has been rightly called the harbinger of both good and bad news , mostly- I am afraid- bad news . The mere arrival of a messenger or the delivery man would cause goose bumps in everyone in the neighbourhood ; it is another matter that sometimes the telegram carried good news of a birth in the family or in relation , a promotion, an appointment to a service of one of the relatives , and last but not the least safe arrival of a dear one at the destination after a long journey. I have seen people rushing to an English knowing person to read out the telegram when education was not so common.
It is also true that sometimes loud cries and wails were heard when the telegram carried sad and shocking news of an accident or a death . Once I had to rush to the post office to send a congratulatory Greeting message to an acquaintance who was getting married, leaving aside my personal bereavement. Telegram also came handy when due to some unavoidable and compelling reasons, extension of leave was sought by sending a telegram . However one had to keep the receipt safe in token of having sent it – ताकि सनद रहे और बरवक़्त ज़रूरत काम आवे !
Tuesday, July 9, 2013
“Bhaag Milkha Bhaag “ are the three last parting words spoken by the father of Milkha singh aka the Flying Sikh exhorting the under 12 boy to make good his escape , when the father himself had death staring in the face and ultimately taking himd other members of the family during the 1947 holocaust called Partition . The movie slated to be released on 12th July borrows these very words for its title. It is rare for a living legend like Milkha to see a film made on his life , times and achievements .The film also contains some rare vignettes from his life . All credit to Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra , the producer- director of the film for this unique venture as also to Farhaan Akhtar who plays and relives the Legend on the screen. The movie when it is open to public view should contain many lessons for present day and budding sports persons and others alike. Here’s one who without any lure of money or riches took to the racing track and brought laurels to the Country. It is nice to hear from his own mouth that the epithet “ Flying Sikh “ was actually a compliment given by General Mohammad Ayub the then President of Pakistan. So much so for the admiration , praise and accolades the Legend deserved and got .
Long live Milkha Singh !
Sunday, June 23, 2013
Even at the peril of being termed orthodox and superstitious , my faith in destiny and stars remains unshakable. In my childhood , I have seen a turbaned gentleman going from door to door every Saturday , carrying a saucer half filled with mustard oil and in it placed a metal image or pratima of Shanidev , the god wrongly associated with everything sinister and ill-omened so much so that a person with these negative personality traits is referred to as ‘ nira sanichar’.One by one each member of the family was required to put a coin in the oil after moving it over the head thrice , during which time the person carrying the saucer –also known as shanidev- would mumble some mantra - as one looked at his reflection in the oil- to ward off evil designs of some unknown power. Though no one now goes visiting door to door , but one can see persons , even young boys and girls carrying the saucer with the pratima dipped in oil and people like me on sighting one of them faithfully put some coin in the oil.
Here is a real life incident that occurred with me some 18-19 years ago.
I was posted at Palampur and at the bus stop , from where I sometimes boarded the bus ,on Saturdays I never forgot to put a coin in oil whenever a person carrying the saucer was in sight. However, one Saturday , I thought otherwise and bypassed the ‘shanidevta ‘ without bothering to put the coin in oil. The day in the office passed peacefully. When it was time to leave after duty hours,I came out of my room and while passing through the corridor, I perchance pushed the door of an Almirah to close it and in no time , a broken steel chair placed above fell down hitting my forehead. The office staff came running and the chowkidar-God bless him- tore his razai and took out some cotton to press against the wound to stop bleeding. The rationalists may laugh at the idea but I believe it was Shanidev’s curse that fell on me for having ignored the necessary ritual of putting coin in the saucer.
Shani Dev, the son of Surya is believed to be a dispenser of justice and reasonably punishes the wrong doer.
Friday, June 14, 2013
I am amused to see that match fixing has become a crime and being a match fixer, a stigma for life . In good old days, match fixing was considered a valuable social service and fixers were held in high esteem by all especially those anxious and worried parents who were on the look out for a ‘suitable match ‘ for their sons and daughters before it was too late. In the social context, the match fixer of either gender was a go between , credited with uniting two families through matrimony. I am instantly reminded of Shankari tai , the match fixer in the daily soap “Yeh Rishta Kya Kehlata hai “- and what a match he finds for Akshara ! In real life also the services of these fixers are sought and availed by people subscribing to the conventional way of life , who do not believe in other options available these days.
Coming to the Cricket match fixers, be it some of the players or the managers or the sponsors or the much maligned speculators aka ‘satorias’ or the satte baaz , they have done irreparable harm and disservice to the game . It is disgusting to see players playing to lose rather than win in lieu of some wads of currency notes or maybe some other gratification. This reminds me of the old Bollywood song – chandi ke chand tukdo ke liye, iman ko becha jata hai…… – sung beautifully by Hemant Kumar . These game changers take millions of spectators for a ride, who throng the Cricket stadium after purchasing costly tickets or who remain glued to the idiot box , making virtual idiots of themselves, watching , who knows , may be a fixed match ! Cricket played in this manner is no longer a game of glorious uncertainties but ignominious ‘ fixties’.
George Bernard Shaw is proved half right !
Friday, March 15, 2013
A lullaby is a song that is sung to put a child to sleep .It is also known as the Cradle song , when along with singing , the cradle in which the child is lying is moved gently forward and backward . The English poem “ The Lullaby ” by W.H. Auden is however cast in a different mould as the poet on looking at his lover, who is already asleep , indulges in some philosophical thinking and the poem, simply is an expression of his philosophical thoughts, which in my humble opinion hardly justifies the title .
There are lullabies in every known language or dialect of the world as the need to sing these in order to put young ones to sleep is a universal one. Hindi films have a lot of lullabies or lori songs, out of which two instantly come to mind. One is – Dheere se aa ja ri akhiyan mein , nindiya aa ja ri aa ja from the film Albela and the other – Chandan ka Palna , resham ki dori ; jhoola jhulaoon nindiya ko tori from the film Shabaab .In my view both have the potential to serve the purpose. I can safely vouch for the first one , which I have sung nth number of times to put my kids to sleep when they were growing up. Another song- Ek tha Gul aur ek thi bulbul , dono chaman mein rehte they – from the movie Jab Jab Phool Khiley- that I used to sing was not a lullaby but a composition of long duration - some 6-7 minutes - which was enough to put them to sleep, more so since I cannot lay any claim to being a singer of any merit. . Surprisingly, my kids asked me to sing this one more often. I often wonder, what is there in a lullaby, that makes one fall asleep , whether it is the lyrics, which invariably contain the words neend or nindiya , sapna (dream) or their equivalents in other languages or the lilting tune the lyrics are set to , the gentle forward & backward movement of the cradle or the gentle thumping of the chest called thapki .