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March 22, 2011

Of poems, memories and music

Are memories aromatic? Mine are. Sometimes, it is a smell that triggers a memory, at others, a memory brings in an aroma. Some of my fond memories smell of food and poetry. Yes, poetry has appealed to every sense of mine. I have seen the poetic stories unfold in the air. I have heard the clink of every word against my mind. I have found words appetizing. I have felt lyrics dance around me. And I have smelled the ecstasy that poems trigger in my heart.

Words appealed to me for as long as I remember, and poetry, rhythmic or otherwise, made more sense to me than anything else. Many mornings were spent reading aloud something Baba wrote. As our family of four gathered around Baba's office table with the chai and biscuits on the tray, we analyzed Baba's poetry, tried to understand the thought that lay its foundation. The discussions often stretched for hours with Baba praising poetic geniuses and recalling his interactions with some poetic stalwarts. In one of such discussions, Baba had mentioned Nirala's lines on the origin of poetry.

वियोगी होगा पहला कवि,
'आह' से निकला होगा गान |
उमड़कर आँखों से चुपचाप,
बही होगी कविता अनजान |

I was twelve when I first heard this. I have carried these words with me since then.

Then there were those songs. Beautiful, lyrical hymns. I emphasize on the word 'lyrical' because I have come to realize (thanks to M) that I love a song more for its words than for its music. Many a times when Baba hummed alongside a song playing on TV or on the radio, I wished I could sing along. I have felt so helpless, so restless realizing my vocal chords don't do justice to music.

But I could dance. I can dance. Even if it is in my room, with all curtains down, my arms and legs rock to the sound of music. I experience the words and I dance. I need no audience, not only because no audience can partake in my celebration but also because I am uninhibited when I am with myself.

A few days ago, A and I went to attend Shubha Mudgal's concert. I didn't realize I knew so many of her songs as she sang uninterrupted for two hours and a half. New songs bonded with me while the ones I knew came back to embrace me. One of my friends out there was Maati, a song I have pranced to in the comfort of my room back in Dhanbad. It's been eleven years since I lived the song. Crossing the barriers of time and space, I found myself being serenaded by Prasoon Joshi's words in the room darkened by closed windows and doors. A ray of the sun sneaked in through a crack in a window as I swayed across the floor. With all senses being caressed, I was euphoric.

As Shubhaji sang and spoke to thousands of people, she brought back to me pleasantly-smelling memories. Of my time with Baba watching cricket matches and listening to ghazals, of evenings that smelled of pakoras and poems, of the time when being happy was all it mattered in spite of the means.


Anala and Megha said...

Likho aur likho.. likhate raho... this is ur true style!

Sri said...

beautiful writeup of your feelings :) I loved the verses... Kp writing; looking forward to some poems of urs :)

Ritesh said...


Chip said...

this post is "lyrical"

Anonymous said...

This post is prettier than the writer..

Anuradha Sinha said...

@Megha: Likhti rahoongi as long as you keep reading me. :)

@Sri: Thanks so much, Sri. I haven't written poems in a long time. I will try to dig out some from my archived journals. :)

@Ritesh: Wonder what your comment means. :)

@Chip: Thanks so much. :) Do share your blog if you write.

@Anon: Well, thanks! :)

Mrinal said...

Now that I do understand Baba's poetry...I so wish I could go back in those times and actually contribute in those discussions. The pakoras seemed more appealing then.

Anuradha Sinha said...

@Mrinal: Agreed. Or it may be just nostalgia adding to the taste.

Anonymous said...

Poetry is not actually a result of calculative brainwork,rather that unseen,abstract 'heart' we often talk about is the real source. They say a poet's life is as interesting as his/her writing..and you have to know the poet to comprehend his/her verses thouroughly. Do write more about your dad or you may start writing a biography. All the best.

Anonymous said...

A beautiful beautiful piece! Aromatic memories, clinking of words, lyrics dancing around...the imagery reminds of Gulzar's poems. And I have always felt myself that I love songs more for the words than the music...great to know you feel the same way! Also my biggest regret is I can't sing. It's been a long time since I heard from you.

Anuradha Sinha said...

@Anon: You are so right about a poet's life being as interesting as his/her writing. Thanks for visiting the blog. Do you too write?

@Abhi: Hey! Where have you been? Yes, I wish I could sing. And there is something about the word that attracts me more than the tune.

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