Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Just Generally Excited

In advance, of course
Its my birthday in about two hours from now. In a very usual, nonsensical fashion, I await this day with a lot of excitement. Its not that my birthdays are massive celebrations which the whole city comes to know about. Its not that my birthdays are those unique occasions when all my acquaintances converge at one place and profess how special I am to them. They are just average days; but they are average only on the outside. Inside me, a whole feeling of rather justified but inexplicable happiness is galloping. I find it so fantastic to be existing, even more fantastic that it was 'this' particular day I saw the world, and the world saw me. It is easily one of those amazing days I can call my own, my exclusive, and keep flashing those wide silly smiles which I just like to flaunt forever, most of the times without reasons.

No one paints the town red for me, but yes, everyone does go one extra mile ahead to make me feel loved, to lend me that extra smile. Teasing and taunting does, for once, take a back seat- my birthday is a day none can find faults with me, none can mock at me. Contrary to tradition, I don't treat friends, they treat me; as if in their own subtle way communicating that they would unburden me whenever life becomes to cumbersome. There are people sitting in distant corners of India, who effortlessly, and remarkably make me feel intimate to them merely through power of their enchanting words. It happens just once a year, on my birthday, that everything that everyone speaks seems to be trimmed to perfection for me. My usually restrained friends do not stop my from uttering lame (but meaningful) 'I love yous' to them. Rather, despite my day being totally non alcoholic, the most amazing mushy and cheesy, and all of my most coveted words are thrown in profusion at me. Yes, this is perhaps the sole day I am not ridiculed for being ultra cheesy. My cheesiness is, ah well, if not appreciated, is at least tolerated with grace. 

All this, and much more. If I try the grand perspective, my birthdays are just ordinary. If I try the humble perspectives, birthdays cannot get grander than this. As a little child, I was starved for the attention which my other friends got while they celebrated their special days in school. They distributed toffees to my classmates, we sang an ill chorused 'Happy birthday to you', and the teachers blessed them, often gave them little chocolates out of their purse, leaving me enormously jealous. My birthday, falling at the height of summer, never entitled me to such pleasures. Summer break. However, my parents adequately made up for it. My mother prepared the most sumptuous delicacies, all my favorites, all made with the culinary dexterity uniquely attributable to my mother. My day has been always blessed with those characteristic power cuts which nearly everyone in Delhi starts dreading at the very onset of summer. If there is one thing that has not altered all these years, it is the consistency with which power cuts try their mighty best to hinder our routines. But nothing would dampen my birthday. Now in stead of candles just on my birthday cake, there would be candles all around in the house. Candlelight birthdays during the cruelest of summers are not exactly a romantic prospect. But they were what I got, and I made sure I enjoyed them

Yes, I did not have a lot of friends to share my day with, as most of them were away on vacations by now; but what I did have on my birthday was the company of my cousin brother, the only definition of a friend I had known for fairly long in life. Summers would mean his annual visits to Delhi from Mumbai. My birthday would mean an excuse be treated as I wanted to from him. 

A delicious nostalgia climbs its way right into my eyes now as I remember those days of carefree childhood. I, then, did not associate much with my birthday, except for the once a year opportunity to be with him, be with my best friend. Funny how we drifted apart, but such things are inevitable and uncontrollable. Now the world, and its dimensions are altered, enlarged. My birthday brings a hundred different expectations, excitements, and a lingering smile. But perhaps, that time was more special when my birthday brought nothing but him to me. 

(Back from nostalgia. First call for my birthday. It has to be my Mausi, one blessing in my life. She is habituated to wishing people a day in advance for their birthdays, and she does not forget to wish anyone, ANYONE. Ever.)

Below- few frozen frames from my childhood. 

Me and Ayush. He looks incredibly cute.
The banana just spoils it for me.

He was the first love of my life.

Finally, me.
Trust me, I have much better pics.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Kate Nahi Raat Mori

A majestic smile, and some fond tears in my eyes.

We do it often, don't we? We all have our favorites, we swear life long fealty to them, we promise to keep them forever close to our hearts; and then, as we encounter newer things on the path of life, we leave them behind, without so much as a glance back. Actually, we never realize we've left these things behind. Things we can call our ultimate favorites are perennially present in our hearts and minds, but are locked away in some obscure corner of our being. Books, pictures, songs, scenes, quotes, dresses, dialogues, silly childhood memories, and even people- all capable of becoming our favorites, all capable of being lost.

Anyway. This post is not to become philosophical. This post is to express my mirth at discovering one such long lost favorite. Its a song, one that I would hum all day long, no matter how much it irritated the hapless listeners. The first time I heard it, I did not just like it, I knew I wanted to listen to it over and over again. A contestant of Indian Idol sang this mellifluous track originally sung by Ustad Sultan Khan (as I later learned), the Sarangi maestro whose charisma in singing is as good as his uncontested dexterity in playing the Sarangi. While she (Indian Idol contestant, season one, Aditi Paul I guess) managed to serenade the audience with her rendition of this song, she left me restless. I wanted this song. Technology which makes things accessible at a mere click was elusive to me at that time. This automatically led me to harry my friends continuously till one of them, equally fond the same song gave it to me on a CD. Some years back, I lost the CD. And with it, the song.

Today, I found this song back while surfing some random videos on YouTube. It felt like meeting some old friend again. Understandably, I was beyond happiness. Kate nahi raat mori....piya tore kaaran. Some memories of school days were rekindled. I remembered loathing my best friend for choosing to sing this song in the Annual Talent Hunt conducted in our school. I wanted to sing this song myself, but had to compromise and sing some ludicrous bollywood number. I won the talent hunt, but winning by singing this song would have been more special. I made a silly resolution that day- when my would be in-laws ask me to sing, as my naive brain thought that was customary, I would sing the same song. And, the song is so awesome, copious accolades would be the only natural thing to follow.

Am listening to this track still, and then as now, my eyes are a little moist. They always become when I hear the second and last stanza of this song
Bheega bheega mausam aaya,
Piya ka sandesa laya,
Manwa ko chain na aawe,
Tarse hai mori raina

These lines are a perfect example of how a fantastic song can lift you above your present surroundings, and transport you to some ethereal world, infinitely more pleasant and pleasurable than the place you are in. Preceded by an interlude which breaks to accommodate sounds premonishing rains and thunderstorms, these lines, set to a heart warming tone, in the rustic voice and accent of the Ustad Sultan Khan, always make my heart grow a little fonder. I can feel the rains. I can feel the pain, the bereavement. Beauty, I can confidently say, lies in the simplest of things. This song is a simple composition, very easy to hum, but it will refuse to leave your mind for quite sometime after it enters.

The song definitely stirs up some sad emotions within me. The perplexing thing is, those sad emotions are always accompanied by a warm and comforting smile on my face. The song makes me want to miss someone, miss him without any acrimony, miss him with love.

Wonder where I had lost this beauty all this while. Now that I have it back, I am searching for another song which holds almost the same significance for me. It is by the same singer, who sang and composed it in his debut vocal album, Sabras. The problem is, I do not remember the lyrics, but I can distinctly remember the music, the notes of Sarangi are playing in my head even now....

(Link to the YouTube video of this song. Not much of a video, but a lovely melody indeed.)

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Loving...The Artistic Way!

"The more I think about it, the more I realize that there is nothing more truly artistic than loving someone."

I had used this line somewhere last year, on a birthday note of a very special friend. As he tells me, this thought left a profound impact on him. Earlier, he used to be a little dry in terms of dealing with people, which is just to say, that the kind of principles he followed prevented him from getting attached to people, or reciprocating their attachments. This would often result in a quandary. Attachments hold people back. So, although, he has immeasurable respect for all people around him, he likes to lead a reclusive life- him, his books, his ideals and his dreams. It was his life, and I had no business meddling into it, till one day, we randomly discussed about his sister-- and that was when I realized that this social pariah, whom I thought very nearly incapable of exhibiting and feeling human emotions, was crazily in love with his sister. And obviously, she with him.

The problem was that while her life remained centered around her brother, he had wider horizons to chase. She made little efforts to make him feel her love, and even though he valued her efforts, he failed to acknowledge them in front of her. This would lead to a mini shattering of her heart. She knew her brother well, and she knew precisely what not to expect from him. Still, the human heart would nurture its fond, unreasonable expectations...the kind which came with a bubble reputation- the time of their creation would portend an inevitable and unfortunate burst. His inexpressiveness would often hurt her, but she knew she could not change her brother- and why should she? She loved him for being so focussed, so admirable and always available as an elder to advice and comfort her.

Things were going great till this day I met him, and he was visibly upset. Apparently, he had shouted on his sister about an hour ago, and he could not forgive himself for it. The silly girl's fault- she had stepped much outside her comfort zone to send to her brother a gift, an arbitrary gift, sans any occasion; and what this doting brother did was only to locate futility in her action and accordingly scold her for it. The girl, predictably was heart broken. And, she ended up apologizing for her act of infinite sweetness. Now, let us not misunderstand the brother at this point. He was enraged at the fact that the girl had taken so much trouble just to make him feel special. However, this undercurrent of extreme care did not prevent me from shouting on him, taunting him and giving him a good piece of my mind. I did not care if passers-by actually stopped, and smirked and speculated if we were a couple indulging in one of those routine altercations. I gave him a lengthy monologue, replete with sharp, hurtful words, and stopped only at the point I saw genuine repentance in his eyes. He had, unknowingly hurt his sister; but he was not the sort of person who would know how to make up for it, rather, he did not know even if he had to make up for it. He told me later, it was the sentence quoted right in the beginning, which is scribbled in a pretty handwriting on his exquisite birthday card, which made him feel immensely guilty in the first place.

That night, when he finally apologized to his sister, expressed his deep love to her and felt immensely better, he gave me a call to thank. He thanked me for the hand made card I gave him, and confessed that the numerous things wrote in that lethargically long birthday note end up guiding him in his most perplexing moments. In good humor, I scolded him a little more, and then, smugly, slept off.

Last night, I was recollecting to my diary this incident, after a unexpected call from the same friend. He had an issue to resolve, and upon its resolution, he thanked by reminding me the same quote with which I began this post. It kept me thinking for a long time. I still am. Loving someone is an abstract concept. It is unique to each. People have their distinct ways of making their special someones feel loved. It does not require a great amount of care, instead, requires a fair amount of instinct. If you do truly love someone, you will know instinctively what the person wants from you, expects from you and what makes him/her infinitely happy. Throw in a little bit of unconditionality from your side to accessorize your love, and that will make your object of love feel not just special, but blessed. Try and be there, be available, and your love will experience a sense of security which will erase all his/her fears. Your object of love does not have to be your partner/spouse/companion, but any and everyone who has added some amount of beauty to your life. Making others feel special is simple, and one should keep it that way. Complications arise when we think to much. Honestly, if we close our eyes, and imagine the most awesome smile on the face of our loved ones, will we not also be able to ascertain what could possibly cause that smile. And in that little smile lies perhaps one of the most triumphant moments life can give us.

Think about it.

PS- If I may add, only as a jest, you do not have to think hard, but try and be unique. Gifts are a good way of expressing you care, but they are not the only way, definitely not the unique way. Ask me. People know that I have a fondness for writing, and hence, since the beginning of the year, I have been gifted THIRTEEN diaries, each more beautiful than the other, but please, thirteen diaries?!? Also, I love coffee, and hence coffee mugs just do the trick for my amazing, loving and caring friends. Christmas, New Year and now even my birthday presents are raining coffee mugs, my collection at seven so far. Last I heard someone told me coffee is injurious to health. Sorry folks! Will not be able to use them all in the near future.