Writer's Blog

Transient Thoughts

Tuesday, October 19, 2004

It's no good, is it?

I have suddenly picked up the 'is it' habit. I now use 'is it?' exclusively for all my question tag requirements. I have been conciously trying to kick it for a couple of days but in vain.

b.t.w lots of good posts coming as soon as I get sometime, and no poetry for sometime too :-), so keep visiting.

Friday, October 15, 2004

Memorable Last Words

This was supposed to be the previous post, but then I digressed.

The other day I was walking back from office singing, "Woh Kabhi Mil Jaayen to kya keejiye...raat din surat woh dekha keejiyee". As I sang I could not recollect one verse and I kept racking my brains for it. That sher was even more important because I could not sing the last verse, the one with the poet's name in it, without singing all the others. If I gave up trying to remember the missing sher and did sing the last verse and then remembered the verse that I had forgotten, it wouldn't be any good to sing it. It would be like eating the misplaced roti after dessert.

The last verse, I don't know if there is a technical term for it, is the ultimate thing in the Ghazal. It's the dessert, it's the climax, it's the summing up, the signature, it is so many things. To a singer, rather, to the person who is singing, it gives the maximum pleasure. One can almost feel the near organismic, unabashedly Freudian pleasure with which the poet had forged his name amongst beautiful words. Sometimes I don't like poetry when the Poet does not put his name in it.

Not just Ghazal, Bhakti poetry and Carnatic songs have this putting the name funda. "Kehet Kabir.." "Tuka mhane..." and "Purandhara Vitthala" and "Tyagaraja vinutha...". I only follow half of what follows "Tuka Mhane" but I enjoy the last words most all the same.

Okay, here follows some of my favourite last words of Ghazals, those that I can recollect now. I will give two or three verses from each Ghazal. One or two as a representation of the rest of the ghazal and then the last one. Believe me writing them down one after another is going to be a major self-indulgence. To start with "Woh Kabhi..."


Woh Kabhi Mil Jaayein to Kya Keejiye
Raat Din Surat woh dekha keejiye

Waada tha unke raat ke aanekaa ae 'Qamar'
Ab Chand Chup gaya unhe aajaana chaahiye


Qasid ke aate aate khat ek aur likh rakhoon (Qasid=messenger)
Main jaanata hoon woh joh likenge jawaab mein

Mujh tak na unki basm mein aata tha daur-e-jaam (basm=mehfil ; daur = turn)
Saakhi ne kuch mila na diya ho sharaab mein

'Ghalib' chuti sharaab, par abhi kabhi kabhi
Peeta hoon roj-e-abr o shab-e-mahatab mein (roj = day;abr=cloud; roj-e-abr=cloudy day; shab=night; mahatab=moon; shab-e-mahatab=moony night)


Na nigaah, nay payaam, nay vaada
naam ko ham bhi yaar rakhate hain

Phir bhi karate hain 'Meer' sahab ishq
hain jawaan ikhtiyaar rakhate hain


Ek ajnabi jhonke ne jab poocha mere gam ka sabab,
Sehera ki bhigi ret pe maine likha awaaragi (Sehara=desert)

Kal raat tanaha chand ko dekha tha maine khwaab mein,
'Mohsin' mujhe raas aayegi shaayad sada awaaragi


Kaisi chali hai ab ke hawa, tere shehar mein,
Bande bhi ho gayeein hain khuda, tere shehar mein,

Shayad unhe pata tha ke 'Khatir' hai ajnabi,
logon ne us ko loot liya, tere shehar mein.


Ji Dhoondata hai phir wohi fursat ke raat din,
baithen rahein tasavvur-e-jaana kiye hue,

'Ghalib' hamein na ched ke phir josh-e-ashk se
baithen hain ham tahayaa-e-toofan kiye hue (tahayya = determination)


Hai bas ke har ek unke ishare mein nishaan aur,
Karate hain mohabbat to guzarata hai gumaan aur ( gumaan= doubt, apprehension)

Ya Rab! Na woh samjhein hain na samjhenge meri baat,
De aur dil un ko jo na dein mujh ko zubaan aur,

Hain Aur bhi Duniya mein, sukhanvar bahut acche, (sukhanvar = poet)
Kehate hain ke 'Ghalib' ka hai andaaz-e-bayaan aur,


Ekla Chalo

I like to go for solitary walks sometimes and on these walks sometimes I sing. One day, I walked from Home to our old office, GVH, till CABS. On the way there I was singing -- all the songs that I like to listen, even some which sound good sometimes but I don't really care for. So there was this jogger who overtook me while I was singing, pretty loudly, "Yeh Doulat bhi le lo, yeh shohorat bhi lelo" (This is one of the songs I really don't care too much for, because it doesn't sound too believable - bachpan ke din and all is fine but I for one am not willing to part with what little Daulat and Shohorat I have) So this jogger crossed me and jogged all the way to CABS and on his way back he was walking and we crossed again. This time he was singing something. I was convinced that my singing had inspired him and I got a kick.

Saturday, October 02, 2004

Drinking Gives Me A High

I meant Writing, not Drinking. Drinking does too. But Writing does. I said Drinking in the heading just for kicks. See? I am high already.

Sense and Sensuality

Yesterday and day before there were pictures of the Tam actress Shalini in the Bangalore times. She is dark, has thick long hair and large, drunk (I don't mean nasha-inducing, but actually drunk) eyes. She was so sensuous in Alaipayuthey, in that song 'Snehitane Snehitane'(many of you had to remain content with the not so sensuous, if at all, Rani Mukherjee in the Hindi remake -Saathiya).

Sensuous. Dark women are more sensuous. Fair women are more likely to be pretty, cute, beautiful - their appeal is in the sweetness, like kulfi. The appeal of dark women is more substantial, like kababs.

Friday, October 01, 2004


Badly written but do read till the end.

:-) Those of my friends who 'hate linguistic people' are requested (but not really) to skip this post. I don't want them to like me less (-:

It gives me great pleasure to announce that my study of the Urdu script has crossed a few significant milestones. I have just finished reading three thrilling short stories, "Aalsi Naukar" "Andhe ka chiraag" and "Jhagade ka nateeja" and the next time I pass through Bhatkal on the bus home, I will read up all the signs from 'Best Mutton Shop' to 'the new Fashion Tailors' in Urdu.

I can write too. But not that well yet. I am still struggling to find out which s's z's and ta's to use where. I can't identify the gutturals because I am not used to saying them or writing them in Hindi. But I will get there. The writing doesn't look as neat as in the 'Learn Urdu in 30 days-national integration series book'. Of course those were printed with a special pen and I am using reynolds. But I will not give that as an excuse.

I have always wanted to learn the Urdu script, but I don't remember why. Ten years ago in school, it might have been because of my stamp and coin collection with all those stamps and coins from the middle east. It might have been from the entirely differnt look that Urdu has compared to the other Indian languages.(My mom went to Bhendi Bazaar,I think it was, in Belgaum and got me a thin book on learning Urdu. It was a difficult book to learn from and I had given up hope. Last year on a sudden inspiration I thought of the National Integration Series). Oflate it has been because of my fancy (I want to use a stronger word here but dont want to say obsession -somewhere between fancy and obsession) for Urdu poetry. The other day I got a major kick out of reading 'Mirza Ghalib -Peshkash-e-Gulzar' on the cover of the casesste I have. I remember in college of being jealous of one of my mallu friends (Rap, if you are reading this) who went to school in Quwait and was taught arabic. I remember a scene in a recent movie with Vinod Khanna and Dimple Kapadia and Deepti Naval in it (the movie was the name of a woman, can't remember which) where Vinod Khanna, a famous poet, is writing to Dimple Kapadia a beautiful letter in Urdu and his pen making those beautiful marks on paper. I remember among the first few scenes of the partition movie 'Pinjar' (based on Amrita Preetam's book) and a screen full of Urdu billboards with pamphlets in Urdu flying around in the dust. I remember wondering why Bollywood have stopped announcing Film Names in Urdu.

The day before, I was in my cubicle, intermittently getting away from the comp screen to write something in Urdu, sometimes in my notebook, sometimes in the air : 'Kaisi chali hai ab ke hawa tere sheher mein' 'we suurat-e-ilahi jis des bastiyaan hain' 'jaane ab tujhse mulakaat kabhi ho ke na ho'. (I am suspicious about the 'ho' I have written; have to look it up. Urdu is not a modular script; there are many more rules to remember and I suspect sometimes that some rules might be bent in the interest of calligraphy. I also suspect that the 'i' ke maatra and the 'u' ki maatra are sometimes dropped when obvious. You wouldnt do that in Hindi.) Then I thought of one of my fovourite half-verses 'Ghalib sariir-e-khama navaa-e-sarosh hai' (Ghalib the scratch of the pen is the sound of angels) and I wrote it down.

Sometime ago we had received a email marriage invitation by a colleague who is called Kamran. That time I had stopped learning Urdu after a small start. I read his full name on the invitation 'Kamran-nabi-khan'. Couldnt read his wife's though. Now maybe I can.

In school I had made my dad get me a book on shorthand (If not typing atleast shorthand was my illogic). I did not persist till the end where it got to the pages where they invented a compressed symbol for almost any word. But in the beginning it was a script like any other with easy to write letters. I used to think that Pittman seemed to have borrowed heavily from Hindi or any other Indian script ( Short hand is a phonetic script with a letter/symbol for every consonant or vowel sounds - a dot here means 'i', a darker dot means 'ii' a tick here means 'a' etc). Now I know that he had been inspired by the Urdu script. P,B,th,ta come one after the other in both Urdu and short-hand. Letters are hammered into shortforms when they appear in words in both)

Mir Ki Ghazal kahun tujhe main, ya kahun khayyam ki Rubaayi Someday I will learn the Persian tongue and Read Omar Khayyam in the original. Now I will read Mir.

The other day I made a near perfect TI logo. I had never been able to control my drawing like this before. I am convinced it is the effect of practising all the 'meems' and the 'kaafs'.

While writing from right to left, the question mark symbol is also flipped about the Y axis. Ha!

Next stop Sanskrit: the other National Integration Book I bought the same day - a kind of good omen I think. Then I will consolidate my Mallu script and language, then Bengali, then German, then French....Mallu and Tam becos. I already know a bit. Bengali because I want to read Tagore and Bankim Chandra. German and French maybe,maybe not. All is in God's hands.