Saturday, April 30, 2011

Habib Wali Muhammad

I am afraid I am no connoisseur of music so far as technicalities are concerned , but I can say that I can tell good music from bad – though my personal liking will have much to do with that ! As a school kid, when Radio receiver set or the transistor set were the limited options for listening to music, a bhajan Shri Ramchandra kripalu bhajman haran bhav bhaya darunam…………,” particularly held me charmed and captivated due to beautiful voice of the singer as well as the composition. After some years, it was a revelation for me that the bhajan had been rendered in the voice of Habib Wali Muhammad, who migrated to Pakistan some ten years after partition.

Later on I came to listen and like many ghazals by him like , Yeh na thi hamari kismet ke visaale yaar hota of Mirza Ghalib, Lagta nahin hai jee mera ujdey dayar mein of Bahadurshah Zafar , Kab mera nasheman ahle chaman of Qamar Jalavi , Aaj Jane ji zid na karo of Fayyaz Hashmi , Gajra bana ke le aa, malaniya of Afshan Rana and some others also.

Thanks to Youtube and other music sites, it is easy to listen to these beautiful ghazals sung by the maestro !

Sunday, April 24, 2011

The Eternal Bond We Tend To Forget

I have grown up listening to the bollywood film music, first on the Radio receiver set and later on transistor, cassette player . I particularly took fancy to a beautiful song in the voice of inimitable, Lata Mangeshkar- O pawan veg se udne waley ghodey ………………..” . The song fascinated me as much for the lyrics as the sweet tune it has been set to The other day I watched and listened to a clipping of the song on Youtube , and once again it simply mesmerized me. This song is from the movie “ Jai Chittor ” and is an invocation to Chetak, the immortalized horse of Maharana Pratap just before the great warrior was to take on the Mughal Emperor Akbar, in the famous battle of Haldighati. Nirupa Roy, who enacted the role of Maharana’s Queen, looks majestic and graceful.

I am equally reminded of Kanthak, again the famous horse of Prince Siddhaarth, who after renouncing the world, sought enlightenment, became Gautam Budhh. and founded Buddhism.

The great Rani of Jhansi is always shown riding a horse, but there is no clue in history or folklore as to its name.

Again, Iam a reminded of the movie Teri Meharbaniyan a token of human gratefulness for the ever faithful companion, dog and Hathi Mere Saathi ” celebrating the bond between man and elephant.

Needless to say that the deities in Hindu mythology have various animals as their vahans or mounts , which calls for a separate detailed discussion.

Man and animal have had this inseparable bond since the advent of civilization, but the most selfish animal of all has to be reminded of the animal rights and his duties towards the animal world through various World Wildlife bodies and back home our own SPCA and PETA .

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Birthday Blues

Many years ago, a veterinarian friend of mine who was a casual visitor to our home used to remark that we were an ideal couple. When asked how , he would say- na ek doosre ke bina reh sakte hain naa ek doosre ke saath . And he was not wrong , as my wife and I ‘have’ a strange relationship- I wonder if I can use the word ‘ enjoy’ in this context. We have nothing in common except our two kids .

It is natural that we never ever wish each other even when the occasion demands.

The other day was her birthday, and early in the morning, my daughter on seeing her said “ Wah Wah Birthday Girl ! Not one to miss an opportunity to tease her, I said - Birthday Girl or Birthday Budhia. ? A stern look and a rebuff Apni shakal dekhi hai kabhi ?” was the natural and expected reaction from the angry lady.

Later when I was about to leave for office, she said , “Aaj meri ek hi maang hai “. I was a bit taken aback thinking that when she herself held the purse strings , what she might demand from a kadka husband like me. But it was reassuring to think that being one who went to purchase dresses would instead return with curtains and bed sheets , no big deal was underway. It transpired that all she asked was to arrange for her to visit Hanuman Temple , i.e. Sankatmochan , some fifteen kilometer from my residence. Some how I was able to fulfill this small wish of hers. .

In the evening , a tongue - in - cheek remark awaited me as when I went back from office , she offered me the Prasad saying Bhagwan, sadbuddhi de !

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Good Samaritan

The above link will lead one to a beautiful "Middle " by Puneetinder Kaur Sidhu , which transported me back to my days in Kinnaur, where I spent close to eight years covering two service tenures in the eighties and nineties . Though the writer has not mentioned as to in which area of Kinnaur, she and her companions had an encounter with Gila Ram, the proud Kinnauri, a reference to Nesang brandy , made me nostalgic somewhat . For the information of readers , I may add that Nesang is a village in the Moorang tehsil of Pooh sub-division of District Kinnaur and Nesang brandy is the name given to the locally brewed alcohol , reportedly its taste being peculiar and different from the local brand brewed or distilled elsewhere in the district. Fortunately or unfortunately, I have no first hand experience of any kind in this matter. To any body's guess, Angoori is made from the grapes. The most common and cheapest brand is known as Ghanti and somewhat superior and costlier variety is known as Moori .Gur, Barley and Chuli, ( wild apricots ) are the source or the raw material used. This appears to be a compulsion due to extreme cold conditions prevailing in the winters. The local residents are required to possess a license, renewable every year ,for such distillation and are allowed to keep a stock of some 12 or 24 bottles at a time.

....and I beg pardon of some of the well meaning readers for straying again into alien territory of those who love to have the occasional sip .

Salute to the likes of Gila Ram !

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

ज़रा इनकी भी सुध लो !

श्वानों को मिलता दूध वस्त्र भूखे बालक अकुलाते हैं।
माँ की हड्डी से चिपक ठिठुर जाडे की रात बिताते हैं

( रामधारी सिंह ' दिनकर ' )

" पुख्ता हैं जनाबेशैख कि हम हैं कच्चे
इतना तो बता दें वो अगर हैं सच्चे
कि पिछले जनम में थे खुदा के दुश्मन
ये भूख से एड़ियाँ रगड़ते बच्चे "

( ' जोश ' मलीहाबादी )


बैसाखी का दिन जहाँ एक ओर ग्रीष्म ऋतु के आगमन का पर्व है, वहीँ दूसरी ओर जलियांवाला बाग़ के ऐतिहासिक गोलीकांड की भी याद दिलाता है. इस लिए मिश्रित भावनाओं का मन में उठना स्वाभाविक है ! फिर भी सभी को बैसाखी की बहुत बहुत बधाई व शुभकामनायें !

Friday, April 8, 2011

अभी दिल्ली दूर है

अभी दिल्ली दूर है ”-जी हाँ मेरा ईशारा किसी महत्वाकांक्षी राजनेता की ओर कतई नहीं जो मन में भारत का राष्ट्रपति या प्रधानमंत्री बनने का सपना पाले हुए हो । मैं तो सिर्फ एक लोकोक्ति की बात कर रहा हूँ, जिसमे कोई भी मंज़िल दूर होने की बात की गई है। अंग्रेजी में इसे कुछ इस तरह कहा जाएगा

“There is many a slip between the cup and the lip.”

परन्तु हमारे एक अध्यापक महोदय ने हमें इसी भावार्थ का उर्दू में एक शेर सुनाया था :

किस्मत की खूबी देखिये , टूटी कहाँ कमंद

दो चार हाथ जब कि लबेबाम रह गया ”

Thursday, April 7, 2011

ज़िन्दगी रही तो फिर मिलेंगे

ज़िन्दगी रही तो फिर मिलेंगे - सीधे सादे शब्द पर अपने आप में एक सत्य को समेटे हुए . अगले पल क्या होगा किसे मालूम , पर हम हैं कि समझने को तैयार ही नहीं. आपस की कलह क्लेश, मन मुटाव, दूसरों को नीचा दिखाने की कोशिश , क्या यह सब इस सच्चाई के सामने बेमानी नहीं ?

बरसों पूर्व जब मैं मात्र दस वर्ष का और छठी कक्षा का छात्र था तो एक शनिवार को हमारे एक अध्यापक ने पढ़ाने के बाद कक्षा छोडते समय अचानक ही कह दिया , या उनके मुंह से निकल गया ज़िंदगी रही तो फिर मिलेंगे । यह बात मेरे मन को बहुत लग गयी कि उन्होने ऐसा क्यों कहा कहीं कुछ अनहोनी तो नहीं होगी ? मैं जानता हूँ कि वह दिन और रविवार का दिन मैंने किस तरह बिताया। सोमवार को जब स्कूल पहुँच कर उन अध्यापक महोदय को सही सलामत पाया तब कहीं जा कर चैन आया । कहने को बात छोटी सी है पर बड़ी भी।

जैसा कि मेरे स्व. पिता जी अक्सर सुनाया करते थे :

आगाह अपनी मौत से कोई बशर नहीं

सामान सौ बरस का , पल की खबर नहीं

बस , थोड़ा ध्यान देने की ज़रूरत है !

Sunday, April 3, 2011


The Sunday Tribune features a Caption Contest every week carrying a photograph from everyday life . This Sunday, the feature has the photograph of a Kalaiwala with brass utensils lined up before him and he is holding a patila with forceps over coal fire to do his job. This reminds me of a couplet, we as youngsters, used to recite :

Aashiq aaye the’ milney, bole’ gale’ laga lo
Jab dekha unke’ baap ko toh bole’ -bhande’ kalai kara lo !

The kalaiwala was a common sight in urban areas when brass utensils were in vogue for being used as cookware. Since brass being an alloy of copper and zinc was not considered safe for cooking and keeping cooked stuff, the inner side of the utensils was coated with kalai a shining silvery metal . This was a ritual every six months or so to get a coating of kalai on the utensils to avoid possible health hazards. A kalaiwala passing by on the road would call out loudly and the entire neighbour hood invite him over to have the job done. Brass, patilas and kadahis were brought out. It was a special attraction for us kids to watch him doing his job . The kalaiwala would take down his baggage and sit down on the earth . First of all he would dig into the earth and place the iron mouth of a leather dhonkani in the pit and cover it with soil. Then he would take out some coal from his bag and light a fire in the pit to heat the utensils.The coal was kept burning by pumping air through the dhonkani with upward and downward movement. Once heated, he would take out a kalai-metal wire and write some alphabet or numeral inside and with a cloth wipe over the entire surface. Instantly the utensil was put in a bucket containing cold water and the coated portion of the utensil would come shining bright. In the sixties the charges were anything between Rs 3/- to Rs 5/- per score. This ensured health insurance for at least six months .

The kalaiwala has almost disappeared from the urban scene, thanks to pressure cooker, steel and other cookware and other sophisticated alternatives, which have relegated the brass utensils to oblivion

Saturday, April 2, 2011

April Fool

The First of April is a marked occasion for celebrating All Fools' Day the world over. Primarily it is a western concept, but like the others such as Valentine ‘s day is popular world wide. The present young generation may not even know that there is a 1964 Bollywood movie having the title- April Fool .There is no harm in having some light moments at the cost of others by cutting harmless jokes or playing innocent pranks , but one should desist from having practical jokes, which, God forbid , may at times prove devastating or even fatal.

This takes me back to some more than forty years in time, when I along with a schoolmate were made fool of by an innocuous, elderly man. It so happened that unmindful of the ominous date, we were walking to our school, one fine morning, when an elderly person , who was walking side by side , causally asked us the name of our school. . When we answered his query, he, in all innocence, making a sad face and with a sullen expression said- unfortunately, your Principal is no more. Completely shocked and taken aback, we looked askance at each other , spouting some nice words about the Principal, whom we held in high esteem and had for him genuine respect. It was only after about ten minutes that to our great relief, the gentleman, disclosed that it was a First April joke.

As for our dear Principal, as per my information , he is very much alive and is almost a centenarian. !