Ok, so I may have turned 47 today but I don’t feel it. So what’s new?
The day was a busy one. First Monday of the month always is. Morning was made with this lovely cartoon sketched by Rohan Chakravarty titled “Tummy Fill” ( A take on Kill Bill, and Lucy Liu who Rohan thinks I resemble). This sketch was Tarique’s birthday gift to me. Swati’s Kitchen is my newest baby. It lists the recipes of food I cook and the site getting a good response.
The plans for this year are set. New things to do, and to boldly go to places where I did not venture earlier I will enfold them as and when I start working on things.
The Thumris of Nawab Wajid Ali Shah are known for their simple language and the emotions that they convey. He was the last Nawab of Awadh and while his administrative skills were average, his love for arts was well known. He was a poet, singer composer and a dancer.
As his wealth depleted, his popularity increased. His subjects loved him and rejoiced on the streets of Lucknow, singing the songs that he wrote in simple Awadhi dialect. The kingdom of Awadh was at it’s cultural peak during his short regime.
It is said that the Nawab lived lavishly, he was also known to be generous, kind and compassionate towards his people; so when the British deposed him to exile in Matia-burj near Calcutta the entire town drowned in sorrow. The entire region grieved, cried and bade farewell to the composer king who at the time of exile wrote and composed a Thumri in Raag Bhairavi which is sung even today “Babul mora naihar chuto hi jaye…” My favourite rendition of this Thumri is the one sung by KL Saigal’s for the movie Devdas (1936)
Thumri, which is a semi classical form of Hindustani music, flourished under the regime of Wajid Ali Shah and bandish ki thumri (or Band bol ki thumri) became popular. One of his compositions “Neer Bharan kaise jaaun” has been beautifully arranged and presented in the movie “Khuda ke liye”
Another very famous composition is “Tarap tarap sagri rain guzri”. This composition has been used very effectively in Satyajit Ray’s movie “Shatranj ke Khiladi”
About 14 yeas back Tarique posted this on his blog with a story of how this simple poem, Maya jaal na toda jaye was written by his mother. Just two years back, his father had passed away and all the works of Ammi were left for their children to take care. Barring a few that my Father in law read out to me while I transcribed them in Devnagri, everything was written in Urdu Rasmulkhat. Helplessness overcame us as at that time, I as well as Tarique felt very helpless at not knowing the Urdu script. That was also the time when our business was picking up and our son, Aasim was growing up and neither of us had time to spare for learning the Urdu script.
Things changed about a few years back when I found time and resources to transcribe Ammi’s poems and books from Urdu Rasmulkhat to Devanagari. That took care of all the printed and published works but still a large number of notes and hand written poems that I could not part with remained with us. Helplessness was at its peak when Dr. Tejinder Singh Rawal decided to teach Urdu Rasmulkhat to all who loved the language. In a matter of days, I could recognize the characters and read small words, even write a bit in the script that looked alien a few years back. A year of practice of reading and writing and I can now read and write decent amount of Urdu. I still have miles to go but with I can now type using Urdu Keyboard and have started typing Ammi’s work in Urdu Rasmulkhat.
Here’s the Nazm that Dr. Zarina Sani wrote when her (then) 10-year-old son, Tarique complained that she should write in simple language for the common man.
For those who can not yet read Urdu script, I am also giving the Devanagari transcript of this Nazm.
مایا جال نہ توڈا جاے
لوبھی من مجھ کو ترساے
مل جاے تو روگ ہے دنیا
مل نہ سکے تو من للچاے
مےرے آنسو اُن کا دامن
ریت پہ جھرنا سوکھا جاے
شیشے کے مہلوں مےں ہردم
کانچ کی چوڈی کھنکی جاے
پیار موحبّت، رشتے ناطے
ثانی کوئ کام نہ آے
मायाजाल न तोड़ा जाये
लोभी मन मुझको तरसाये
मिल जाये तो रोग है दुनिया
मिल न सके तो मन ललचाये
मेरे अाँसू उनका दामन
रेत पे झरना सूखा जाये
शीशे के महलों में हरदम
काँच की चूड़ी खनकी जाये
प्यार मुहब्बत रिश्ते नाते
‘सानी’ कोई काम न अाये
In our day to day, noisy, hyperactive and high frequency world there is little time left to just sit back and experience the simple joys of life; rejoice in the simple fact that we exist. We so often forget how it is like to take a stroll, with an old pal, on green hills and watch the leaves drenched in rain and flowers being kissed gently by dewdrops.
We get so comfortable in the race of life that we strangle our emotions even before they get a chance to be expressed. We forget to delve into the realms of our dreams and fantasies, stop listening to the music of streams, chirping of birds and forget that there is a song to be heard, a tune to be hummed and a beautiful verse to be read.
We forget how rewarding the company of a trusted old friend can be. The freedom to talk and not be misunderstood or misjudged. The careless laughter and endless banter that once came so effortlessly takes time now.
It takes forty and a few more years. Yes, it takes those many years to realize how we can un-complicate our lives and experience the simple joys. At least for me it did take those many years get out of a grey world and watch the rainbow go over the hill and dunk in the stream beyond.