Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli Haaye! 

Zindagi Kaisi Hai Paheli Haaye  

Kabhi To Hansaaye Kabhi Yeh Rulaaye 

These are the lines of a famous song by Rajesh Khanna in the movie Anand and sung by Manna Dey. I am surprised that for different situations in our lives, we always have an appropriate song available from Hindi movies!  

The meaning of these two lines is  

Our life is a great puzzle. Sometimes it makes us laugh, and at other times it makes us cry! Out moods change with the situations we face in life.  

Today morning, I was in a great mood as we had crossed the figure of 200 friends and spouses participating in our COEP batch of 1971 Golden Jubilee celebrations. We are going to celebrate this grandly and are trying to get as many confirmations as possible. We are planning for a date one year hence, as many of our engineering batch mates live abroad. Some have confirmed, already. Besides this, many of our friends stay far away from Pune-Mumbai area. They also need time to plan. Some friends go and visit their children staying in foreign countries. We want to increase participation as much as possible. Now we are targeting 300 nos. I was delighted and by talking to others made more plans. I was happy! I was on cloud nine.

An hour after this, a childhood friend from my Bombay days called. I had a sore throat issue, so I sent him a message that I could not receive his call. He called me again after half an hour. So, I took the call. He said, “Pramod, you don’t speak. I understand your difficulty, but I want to share something with you.” Then he shared the plight of a common friend from childhood. We were a group of about ten to fifteen boys, and our fathers were police officers. Our families had typical middle-class ethos. The idea of living life in the early sixties of the last century was play like hell, whatever game we could play. Outdoor games were cricket and football. Indoor games were carrom, table-tennis and badminton. During exam times, all of us would study (our parents thought otherwise), and we did reasonably well in our education. Many became engineers, some doctors and a few became bankers. Now, this friend did his bachelor’s degree in science and joined Air India.  

With the usual twists in life, our friend was blessed with a child. The child was perennially sick. The child’s illness was a significant drain on his finances and his family life. He took early voluntary retirement (or was he coerced?) in the first decade of this century. Maybe he got a lump sum which he thought may be useful. (He forgot about improved longevity) He moved from Thane to rural area near Pune; probably he did not have enough money to live in a city. He would rarely come to Pune, which was natural. But my friend (who phoned) was in touch with him.  

Ten years back, his daughter passed away. It must have been a blessing on his finances, but emotionally the husband-wife must have been stretched to the maximum. My friend offered to help him with psychiatristhe also suggested that he move to an older people’s home. (My friend was willing to support there financially!) Things did not work out.

My friend got the news that our man had started waiting near ATM’s and had started asking for alms! ( He was falling short on his quota of cigarettes!) Even hearing this news brought numbness in me! It is the tears part of the Zindagi! How could person from such a background reach a nadir in his life?  

Humans always say that childhood is the best part of life! There are no responsibilities, and there are no plans. We meander in childhood, collecting joyous moments most of the time. The saddest part of childhood is when parents would not allow us to go out and play or it could be a tragic day was when we could not pinch that four ana coin to buy a cola! Life was straightforward during childhood. When we get into the humdrum of life, but we are not aware of it. We get many lessons during childhood that we ignore. Now when I retrospect, I realise that our friend was not sharp like most of the others in the groupDoes it mean that if we do not absorb the experiences at all the stages of life, it is going to hit us badly at some time?  

I had spoken to this friend a few months back after fifty years. (We had lost touch) He has three siblings, but they are not supporting him. It is, of course, one side of the story! But had the siblings helped him irrespective of friend’s response, matters would not have reached this stage. (Maybe!)  

Writing this piece has been stressful, but nowadays writing is a therapy that I have found which brings peace of mind back to me. Some people get it by going for a walk, and some go and climb hills. Luckily, most of my friends have remained away from alcohol in such situations. It is a drain on your pocket and your body.    

The filming of the song displayed above is done beautifully. The hero is down with cancer and is taking a stroll on a beach. The song starts with the hero playing with colourful balloons but never showing the churning going on in his mind. The churning is indicated by the waves which break on the shore. In the last part of the song, the lyricist says we have enjoyed the fun and frolic of life together. But in the end, we must go alone. That final part of the journey is always done alone!  

I am still not very sure how my friends’ life will move forward. At this stage of life, a shortage of funds, the stretched relations between husband and wife can create a tough situation. 

It looks like I am in a filmy mood today and the situation reminded of another Hindi song from the movie Guide. S D Burman sings it. I am giving below part of the lyrics. 

No one is there awaiting you 
No one is looking forward to your arrival nobody felt your pain, and no one shed a tear for you whom can you call your own? 
so where will you go, o traveller 

The video link of the song is below. 

I am awaiting my friend to give me the update, but honestly, I am not very hopeful. Once a person gives up hopes, it is difficult to bring him back.  

The latest update that I got is not very encouraging. Our man may require institutionalisation. Who would have thought that the situation will reach such a stage in life!

Regarding another blog of mine, a friend commented, “Pramod, we have crossed the threshold where we make can many changes to our life.” But maybe he is right or, maybe he is wrong too! One should keep on trying. Friend, some younger people also read my blogs so it may be useful to them to do the course correction.  

One thing for sure, this episode has churned my mind! The beauty is I consider myself a big optimist!  

Q’s? 

Qs1

When Quand– कधी. Who Qui कोण. Where- – कुठेWhat– Quel– काय 

These words are Q words– the Question words! 

I was talking to my daughter Priya, who now lives in Montréal, CanadaFrench is the first language in the state oQuébec. As a doctor, she must learn French to take her license to practice. Her daughter Rhea goes to a French medium school. Her Husband, Nikhil, works in an IT firm; he is not mandated to learn French, but he knows that it will be useful to know the language. So he is also learning the language. That is how the French language came into the discussion. 

I have considered four commonly used words in three languages English, French, and Marathi, our mother tongue. The surprising part is all these words start with the common letter in each language. Priya told me about the similarity. I liked the coincidence.  

Many times, we face all these questions in life, and I am beginning with “When”. When do we mature in life? When are we able to absorb pressures and changes in life? Probably, never. When we are young, it is straightforward to shout, howl, or cry when you are not able to handle the pressure. Can’t see the momma around shout, cry! She comes running, leaving everything aside. You have enough of whatever you are doing, walk out, consequences are for others to face. 

Our tempers cool down, and we learn to absorb a few pressures that are a part of life even if you don’t like it, but we are never fully prepared for all the events. As you leave home, things start becoming complex as you enter the bad, bad world. You find your way through the maze called life. Next stage is when am I going to settle down, marry, and so on. 

We get marriedraise a family, then we go through the same cycle that we have gone through. At every stage in our life, we face a question when are things going to stabilise? When will I get peace in life? The only time you are at peace is when your life ends!  

Who is the next question that we always have in our life! Who am I? Who is going to support me? Who are you to advise me? Such doubts keep on coming in our mind. When we meet someone new, we introduce ourselves as, “Hi, I am Pramod! People call me Pramod because my parents called me Pramod. But my official name is Shrikrishna. Now that is getting complex. Why a persons official name is something, and the name by which he/she is known is different? It can lead to some funny incidents as I had gone to a meeting in a large organisation. I go there quite often. But they had changed their gate entry rules. When I reached the window, I gave my business cardBut the lady asked me for a driving license as the identity proof. I gave my driving license. The name on the license is Shrikrishna. She refused me entry. I had to talk to the concerned person and change the get entry mentioning my name as ShrikrishnaNow it became even more complicatedThe lady finally went to her boss and showed him my business card and the license. He came out and smiled at me. As he knew me, he smiled and said, “Ok, sir! You may go inside now!” Finally, the mystery is still unresolved. Pramod or Shirkrishna! Who am I?  

From the list above, the word Where has always put me in difficulty, since childhood. In school days, we would go out to play in the evening. Sometimes we would play cricket, football. At other times we would play Table tennis and Badminton. Reaching home on time was a difficult task. My mother would always ask me, “Where were you?” It meant, “Why are you late?” But I would follow the literal meaning of the word and give different stories every time. In the end, I would go to my mother. I would say, “I am sorry! From tomorrow, I will come on time.” I would go try to embrace her, but she would smile and push me and say, “Go wash. You are smelling of sweat.” Most of the QA sessions would end smoothly. But once in a couple of weeks, these sessions ended in my Father taking over from my mother and then…. 

I tried a similar stunt of coming late a couple of times after I got married. But nobody had told me the consequences of coming late when one is married. Starting within four weeks of marriage, I am at home five minutes before the expected time! 🙂🙂 

The next complex word in life is “Where”Where is my English notebook? Where are my trousers? These and such questions were raised regularly by me in younger days. Not that I have changed much, but now I have learned to locate the missing stuff discretely. In younger days, the question was meant to prod my mother to help me. But after marriage, one does not get generous help as mothers give. 🙂🙂  

The question “Where” is sometimes ignored. Other times the response is, “When are you going to be neat? Why don’t you keep your stuff in the right place?” In the end, the better half will still be generous and keep the missing stuff on the table again discretely.  

In olden days while looking for addresses and locations, Where was the question that was asked many times before we finally located the place. But now the communication between people has reduced, and Google baba is adding to itBut let me tell you, sometimes Google baba is not as smart as we think!  

“What” is the last word from the list. By now, you must have already thought “What the hell is Pramod writing about?” “When” is he going to stop writing?  

By now you folks must have understood that the meaning of words, question words changes with context. For me, this was more of a fun blog. The mere coincidence that three languages have the same first letter for four different question words in the respective language encouraged me to write the blog. would now like to study the science of etymology, the science of words. In the future, you will read more on this subject. Cheers!  

 

Chalo Ek Bar Phir Se अजनबी बन जाये हम दोनो!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cE5q9kst-Zc&w=521&h=391

This song is the best song rendered by Mahendra Kapoor, who was known as Mohammad Rafi clone, till then. (I had met him when I was in 9th or 10th grade, he used to play badminton in our club in Mumbai. (silk shorts and all!) The song is from 1963 movie Gumrah directed by legendary B R Chopra.

Sahir Ludhianvi was a poet who came to Bombay, to earn his bread in Bollywood. I don’t know what compromises he might have been required to make for movies, but I feel that in some of the songs the poet in him, comes out predominantly. A unique trait of Sahir was that he was very forthright in what he wanted to say, sometimes to the point of bluntness. The way he used the Urdu words was unbelievable. Many a time it so happens that for the Urdu words used by him, other languages don’t have the right words, with required lyricism, to explain his real feelings. Sahir Ludhianvi, who was indeed one of the most gifted poets, ever, to have written for Hindi cinema. Known for his cynicism and disillusionment with society, Sahir Ludhianvi wrote lyrics that reflect a great deal of emotional complexity and maturity. In contrast to his contemporaries, Ludhianvi chose to remain unhindered by the constraints set by the Bollywood love songs; many of his songs are refreshing to hear for their expression of biting political satire, heartfelt grief, or outspoken anger.

In this song, the two lovers are caught in the social situation which prevents them from fulfilling their romantic desires and living life together. It is supposedly his real-life situation where he and poet Amrita Pritam could not stay together though they loved each other. This song is an outpouring of their accidental meeting at a party with her new husband, in Bombay. He was never an idealist; hence the first two lines show his pragmatic approach to the situation.

Chalo Ek Baar Phir se, ajnabii ban jaayen ham donon 

Come let us become strangers again!

na main tumse koii ummiid rakhuun dilnavaazii kii 

I shall no longer maintain hopes of compassion from you

The last four lines are those of a protagonist. He feels that it is counterproductive to pour energy into a relationship that is doomed. His words indicate that sometimes it is good to put an early end to a love story which cannot end in happy circumstances, ever!

taalluq bojh ban jaaye to usko todnaa achhaa 

Should a relationship become a burden, then it is best to stop it.

voh afsaana jise anjaam tak laanaa na ho mumkin 

For that tale which cannot culminate in a conclusion,

use ek khuubsuurat mod de kar chhoDna achhaa

it is best to give it a beautiful turn and leave it be.

I am sure that it is a tough call to bring into practice what Sahir has preached. What Sahir has achieved is one of the best songs he has ever written! The lovers during their love phase and later when that love is broken, are highly emotional. It is entirely possible that sanity may be lost in their actions. But Sahir has suggested a very mature way of handling the situation. Let us be strangers again!

The middle stanza of the song is a practical way the poet is suggesting how the love needs to taper off.

na main tumse koii ummiid rakhuun dilnavaazii kii 

I shall no longer maintain hopes of compassion from you 

The poet is indicating to his love that he no longer would be compassionate in the relationship nor does he expect his beloved to do so.

na tum merii taraf dekho ghalat andaaz nazaron se 

Nor shall you gaze at me with your deceptive glances. 

na mere dil ki dhaDkan laDkhaDaaye merii baaton men 

My heart shall no longer tremble when I speak,  

Poet suggests to his lover that the misleading and furtive glances will not make his heart to flutter. Nor would his words will reflect feelings of the heart.

na zaahir ho tumhaari kashm-kash ka raaz nazaron se 

Nor shall your glances reveal the secret of your torment. 

Over a period, my love, your glances will not display the pain in your eyes!

Friends I am amazed at the way the artists express themselves. Painters’ expressions are seen in the paintings, and the singer will express through the depth of his voice. These days even cricketers say that they want to go and express themselves. By this, they all mean that they want to show their feelings. But in Sahir’s case,  it is simply amazing that he can find apt expressions and perfectly fitting words. The word Ajanabii hits the bull’s eye. From lovers to the other extreme, strangers! Somebody may have said, ”Let me walk away” or “let us forget each other”! But the word Ajnabii hits as if a dagger is plunged inside your heart! How can lovers become strangers in a broken relationship? But that is Sahir for you. Was this song the result of Sahir’s personal experience? Was it the wound to his heart that brought out the word Ajanabii from the depth of his heart?

The last line in the poem (ok it’s a song) is also equally impressive.

use ek khuubsuurat mod de kar chhodna achhaa

it is best to give it a beautiful turn and leave it be. 

Sahir says now that our relationship is getting over, why not give the situation a beautiful turn, as if he is driving a car and he wants to take an unexpected turn on the road which will never bring him back to his lover. Is it as simple as making a U-turn? khuubsuurat mod to me is a metaphor where he wants to walk out but expresses it as only Sahir can!

Sahir Ludhianvi is the pen name of Abdul Hayee (8 March 1921 – 25 October 1980) who is popularly known as Sahir, was an Indian poet and film lyricist who wrote in the Hindi and Urdu languages. His work influenced Indian cinema, in particular, Bollywood films. Sahir won Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for Taj Mahal (1963). He earned a second Filmfare Award for Best Lyricist for his work on Kabhie Kabhie (1976). He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1971. But lest you forget, his best work was in 1957 Gurudutt film,  Pyaasa!

 

Dil Puakre aa re aa re!

These are the tag lines of a lovely romantic song from a Devnand movie “Jewel Thief!” He was the Romantic hero of Bollywood. This is a song about two young lovers opening their hearts out to each other. The romantic pairs in films change from movie to movie! But in real life, it does not happen that way. In life, one gets married, produces progeny and life goes on. How many of these pairs continue through their life with same affection and love? It may not be love of the youth but in some couples, it can be compared with a doubles team in badminton or tennis! They are just there for each other as and when needed!  

Life in movies and in real life are totally different; one is scripted by a story writer and other by Him! The cliché goes that “Marriages are made in Heaven” but to maintain relationships is totally left to you. If you look at the life’s journey after marriage, it is Honeymoon to routine to more routine. This many time turns into individual routine where partners are not involved. The life of Jodi, who have vowed ” Till death Parts us” live in the same home but become individuals who have their own ways, their own circles, their own system of living life. In most cases there are no visible differences, at least to the outsiders, everything appears to be hunky dory! But if you just scratch on the surface, you will notice the differences. Why this stage is reached? Why can’t the couples who married, many times in a love marriage or most times into arranged marriage, as called in India, “remain a couple”? They become two individuals living legally together. Why does this happen?  

A couple of years back, Jaya and I were planning to take Alaska cruise. We checked up with friends and acquaintances who had taken the cruise which is 7 to 11 days duration. Most asked us which group of friends are you going with? When we said that we are not going with friends, only two of us plan to take the cruise, they were surprised and some were dumb struck. In fact, one friend said, “What will you do with your wife for such a long duration? I jokingly told him, ” Someone else’s wife is not ready to come with me hence I am going with Jaya”. They were not sure, what we were going to do in the confines of the cruise for such a long period?  For them only two of us going on a tour was a surprise but for us the question was a surprise? 

This made me think why this change happens with such a large percentage of couples; for any relationship to prosper or remain at a good level of interchange, efforts are needed from both sides. These could be sharing of daily tidbits, asking for suggestion in one’s work. Your partner may not be from the same field but then do not ask for technical solution from the other but one can always touch base to find opinion on things. Remain involved with each other; it can so happen that wife has not taken up any profession but has taken decision to remain a house wife. Does it mean that she may not be able to give opinion or suggestion? Of course not. About 20 years back I had bought a bunch of flowers and while going towards my car, I met a friend of mine. He asked me looking at the flowers, “Are you attending some marriage reception?” He expected that flowers were for that purpose, when I told me I had bought the flowers to take home. The expressions on his face told me what he felt! He must have thought that Pramod is stupid guy, buying flowers for his wife!  

When we start getting busier in life, we need to take efforts to find time for each other. We get busier, we have children, our parents get older, some additional family responsibilities are on you, as you grow older. It is very easy for husband and wife to say, “Oh, we just don’t get time, we are so busy!” In some cases one of the spouses or both are required to travel for work. It is very easy to get bogged down, this is where real skills of both individuals need to come out. 

How about a surprise date with the spouse? How about a surprise gift? Why not a surprise hug or a peck? Do you need a reason for that? Why not encourage each other to have independent programs with their groups? Join them once in a while with their group of friends, if it is practical. If you are lucky enough to be in the similar field of work, discuss small anecdotes from work with each other! Why not decide to just go and have coffee at a Barista? Why not buy a special package of teas for the other? All these are so called “small things”. But mind you they are not small! Our life’s journey is a pleasure; and it is sum of “small things”! All of us have friends but make sure that spouse is your closest friend! I have seen couples where a spouse does not discuss or inform the other of major things in life! This too with a person with whom you have shared minutest and innermost things in your life and your family.  

We ensure that we do anything for a friend why not do something more for a friend who happens to be your spouse? We remember friend’s birthdays and anniversaries but forget our own. You may think I am just cooking up something but I have seen this happen with a statement, “So what if I forget?” Respect is another thing we forget. As we become close to each we start taking things for granted, and in some cases, we disrespect the other. That is the last thing expected! Respect your spouse’s opinions, thoughts and persona. They may be different from you. This is accepted once we accept that the spouse is also an individual!  

Gajara

Come on folks buy her a Gajara next time on your way home! By a packet of cookies, he likes, of course Sugar free! Don’t forget he has diabetes! Suggest to him a dinner at a restaurant which is his favourite for chicken, though you eat chicken only to give him company! Suggest to her an outing for window shopping in her favourite market. It’s not eating or window shopping that is important, it’s what other likes is important. After all you are the best Jodi He has made but we tend to forget this in life’s complexities!  Don’t miss on life’s most important gift!

I take this opportunity to wish all of you a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year for 2018 with a wish that your Jodi reaches great heights; but you have to make efforts! Don’t forget this! 

Last evening, I was waiting in my window to attempt taking photos of birds who fly back home! They deceived and took a different path! But the Sun God was as true as ever. I have made a small video of the photos I took, watching Him go down in 2017 for the last time. Hope you folks enjoy it!  

 https://1drv.ms/v/s!Aq4ckSwupy2SmZ1YBAwIuK-FmuIVMA