Monday, June 10, 2013

Mid Life Crisis or Mid course correction !!!

Averee’s post on “Man” is very intriguing since most of what she says, applies irrespective of gender – or so I think.  But for now let us stick to the Martians, and discuss the conflicts of our friends from Venus later.
I was more enthralled by the former part of her post –
when men decide what they want / should do. In fact, as I get acquainted with most, I steadily feel that more men are geared to choosing what they should do / ought to do than choose to do what they want to. Is it the dogmatic society driving actions?

one must stand for what one wants….
The confusion is very REAL – do I do what is “expected” or should I do what I want? Question asked time and again. Krishna told Arjun – Do what is right, and not what you want, and both were considered to be men enough….. surely the best in their times……….or as the Hindu Mythology  / religion bestowed the title “Purushottam” – The Best Man, on someone who essentially (at least in the Hindu context) defined that doing what is expected or correct defines manhood more than what one wants… at times even taking the wrath of his beloveds.
Now I know that Averee’s post was not to say that manhood essentially would mean doing only what one wants because then morality or lack of it will cause more chaos than order. Imagine everyone literally doing what they want. Thus if we were to concur that in the end “doing what is right” is more important or required, then the questions arises that who knows what “right” is?
Does the world know better than you OR are you better equipped to know what is right? Making it more interesting is the fact that “right” or wrong itself is based on a frame of reference which is essentially sociological – and to quote Averee essentially dogmatic .
But keeping gender and religion aside, should we really do what we want?
Philosophically I guess everyone does – it is just that we are “afraid” or “ashamed” at times to admit it. In any case that brilliant post from Averee and a few other concurrent incidents, thoughts and conversations led me to think on what actually does one want? And for the purposes of this discussion the question is more metaphysical and not about “Should I take that extra scoop?”
Mel Gibson tried to tell us what women want and Averee alluded to the not so fair sex…
My conundrum is on this repetitive phase of realization (sometimes self realization and sometimes forced) where we assess, reassess and repeat the oft asked question
“What do I want?”
Not only does every person differ on the response, but also I believe that an individual responds differently in different phases of life. As a school going kid, I had “kidish dreams” to be a bus conductor, a Spiderman, a spy, a time traveler, one of the Hardy Boys. It shows my lack of creativity and desire to be someone I could not ( I mean “cool” – I could have always become a Spiderman had it not been for lack of radioactive spiders in our school labs).
As years passed and I developed a delusion of I know better, my wishes (now called goals) became more about careers, colleges, jobs, bikes,  girls, (in the reverse order of importance and correct order of likelihood) . Then came the phase of “ambitions” about promotions, stability, roles, money etc.
Now as I approach what people refer to as “Mid life” based on average human expectancy, I am allowed – rather expected –  to have a “crisis”  returning to the same question “What do I want?” with answers more about deep rooted wishes, bucket lists, purpose of life etc.(side note -  This is no attempt to show how I am progressing on the Maslow’s need hierarchy !!)
Now onto my midlife “crisis”. A few days back, I mentioned to a certain someone “who-must not-be-named” how I was seriously thinking about writing – either publishing something over a period of time, or a play or even a movie. And lo behold, I got a smirk, and an animated discussion about how this is my midlife crisis.  But as I mentioned somewhere on this blog
But write I should
And write I shall
 For I got to hear
 What I think !!! “
What got me thinking was how if something does not fit in the norms, it is considered to be a crisis. I am surely not the first and definitely not the last who will be scorned for his or her midlife crisis.  The question that begs to be answered is that that is it a Midlife Crisis or actually a Midcourse correction – something needed to ensure that all is not lost in running aimlessly !!!
And signing off with few of my favorite lines (which someone will say are mid life “crisis” of Sant Kabir”
Bada bhaya to kya bhaya
Jaise Ped Khajoor?
Panthi ko chaya nahi
Phal laage ati door……

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Musical friends -- Kaise Kategi Zindagi, tere bagair.....

The joy of landing on something rare randomly is exhilarating. On a recent flight, while casually listening to some songs I chanced upon this very nice Madan Mohan composition which I must say is a pure Rafi gem.

If you are the type (rare but priceless) who like the melancholy of slow but serene music then this surely is worth the “add on your playlist”. And if you have been unfortunate like me to have not heard this like me before, please join me in enjoying the discovery. This one was recorded by Madan Mohan for a film that never saw the light of the day. It lied unheard in the archives until a few years back when his family found it and thankfully for us, released it !!

Without much ado, here it is.

Frankly, there is no need to read any further as I always feel that music is a very personal experience, with each song touching each one of us very differently - and rightly so.

In my nomadic life voyage so far, I have made a lot of friends, but very few with whom I can discuss and enjoy all kinds of music, more so music of this genre. It is rare to find someone who does not enjoy ANY music at all, but most have a specific genre that appeals to them more than the others. There is always a set of folks with whom you are comfortable discussing every type of music. I have always had a very diverse set of friends and every group has had its own taste of music...... Guns N Roses.... Madan Mohan... Beatles.... C Ramchamdra.... John Elton.... Nadeem Shravan....Shankar Jaikishan…One direction

With these friends we had these little mehfils, just listening to something, enjoying its effect, humming it, then discussing the song, its lyrics, the composer, the shayar, and the singer and so on..

I think my urge to write on this particular song emanates not only to share it but more so from missing some of those really rare friends who would have enjoyed listening to this collectively.

We would have started with the lyrics by Raja Mehdi Ali Khan. Simple, meaningful and apt, which was always his style like “Naina Barase Rimjhim Rimjhim” or “Tum bin jeevan kaise beeta – pooch mere dil se” or “vatan ki raah mein vatan ke naujavan shaheed ho”.  No chaste Urdu or heavy words unless required . We would talk about how he stays true to the spirit through to the end. Longing conveyed without a lot of dramatization in the song, which makes the magic of this song an actual team work.

The opening line itself completes the thought of the song

Kaise kategi Zindagi, tere bagair, tere bagair
Paunga har shay me kami... Tere bagair tere bagair.

We would listen to the song again and then come to the real magic of this song - Madan Mohan and Rafi. We would rewind to just enjoy the way the "tere bagair" is sung at the end of the mukhdaa… pure magic….. Or we would discuss and sample the ..”jaise bujhe chiraag hain” the frist antaraa.... We would try humming it....

I am not trained in music, to know if this based on something classical, but knowing Madan Mohan, this is undoubtedly in his inimitable style. Soft, simple, serene yet divinely classical. He will always remain the Ghazal king, and I will continue to miss my friends who could have enjoyed this with me… not to say I don’t have friends now in Dallas who don’t like Music, we all enjoy music every weekend too…. Just not this genre … Yet

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Dilemma of the Dreamer

I rarely write about movies, but there must be a first to everything in life. Righto ! So this is just a mirage of what all I felt post the effect - the profound questions that disrupted the smooth flow of absurdity otherwise ! The movie in question is Baz Luhrman directed wonderfilm - The Great Gatsby.

Where do we really draw the line between real and surreal ? How  does our consciousness wake up enough to demarcate the strict borders with rigidity, monitoring heart and head ?

Great Gatsby spoke about the 4 pillars of love, lust, faith and dreams. To it all , it added a vague fifth pillar of convenience, who's stature grew as the plot progressed.

We speak so highly of love and all its treasures. However, reality be, in the end, its all indeed measured - quantified against rationality absolute, set against parameters of want, desire and life - to choose the optimum fit.

Therein lies the dilemma of the dreamer - the dreams he / she has are ultimately not the pathways to the future. Future remains a steady goal in everyone's life, where no random variable must disturb its structure. Future thus must be one concrete whole.

So maybe, that's why it was difficult for Daisy to settle well in Gatsby's dreams - though her part was well defined , her path seemed unsure to her. To which, further I may add, she lacked the courage to make the change.

Maybe , over time hopes and dreams lose their shine - specially when the end is questionable. Dubious minds thus seek the next best option that's more readily available to make do with, and let their loyalties stretch than stray. Hope be doped / duped, minds and hearts are bound to cross-function, yet find their curious harmony when comfort is sought.

Waiting on the watch is thus perhaps a euphemism for shifting to another target - the time must not be wasted. Life must go on... minus the perils. One must seek shelter in the cocoon of convenience than further fight on for what's apparently a lost cause or a delusion. When the end is nowhere in sight, the easy path to one's peace is to follow the route of amnesia and attract another new end. Goal is always constant thus - evergreen happiness which cannot be shortchanged at the willing desire of another.

Long term vision is always compromised with one's immediate gain, when specially belief in another's actions and dreams are concerned. Inherently then, as shown in the movie, we don't allow ourselves to be swayed by others' vision of the future, as the clock comes in vision. A friend recently told me -
 " uncertainty steps in when time comes into play."

True that. To avoid such uncertainty, therefore, we must follow the wise adage of ' let go or be dragged.' And it so happens,  it's at this point , that the mind and heart refuse to be drugged enough to be dragged and let go - for what's available next. It maybe a remote second best - but logically its still something versus nothing.

So essentially, the questions that crop up are - what indeed is 'love' ? Is it nothing but numbers pit against each other ?

Where is the place for a dreamer today? Should he too be garbed and cloaked in the shades of logic and emotions be rationalized ? Where indeed do we draw the lines between a cognitive and an intuitive stance? What indeed is that point of absolute must, when let go becomes the leitmotif ? In this numbersome and cumbersome world, therefore, do we lack the courage to be dragged - specially when time and its essence require our time and understanding ?Do we ever question our beliefs or question why had we believed in certain wordly dreams earlier ?