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Thursday, February 21, 2013

I listen to a song.  Sometimes I fall in love with the melodious tune . Sometimes, with  the words .   I usually do not remember the words.  I am just happy , humming the tune.  And that is it.  I do not take the trouble to find out who the singer is, nor the music director.  After a while I forget all about the song, till I happen to hear it again.  

All through the school and college years, when the parents were a major influence, I got to listen to their favourite music.  Marathi Abhangas  in the mornings , Marathi Bhavgeete in the evenings and ghazals in the night. Bhimsen Joshi, Ajit Kadkade, Asha Bhosale,  Lata Mangeshkar, Usha Mangeshkar, Hridaynath Mangeshkar, Arun Date, Suresh Wadkar, Rajinder and Nina Gupta, Pandit Hari Om Sharan, Anup Jalota, Sonali Jalota, A Hariharan, Mehdi Hasan, Ghulam Ali , Bhupen Hazarika and my all time favourites Jagjit and Chitra Singh.

In my twenties I was introduced to the Beatles.  By friends.  The friends at work loved their Hindi film music.  I started liking some Hindi songs too, the dard bhare songs, which appealed to the broken heart.   :-)   That was the age of crushes and infatuations.  

English Pop took over in the early 90's. The husband had a good collection.  

As I grew older, and with newer responsibilities , music took a back seat.

It is only when the internet was introduced at home, that I went back to my songs.    Playlists were made.  Mp3's were copied.  The MTV  and Billboard hits were revisited.  Songs were downloaded. It was a happy time.  Some websites which catered to Hindi songs were identified.  While looking for Jagjit Singh Ghazals, I  browsed through Hindi Film music .  The Kishore Kumar and Asha Bhosale songs became favourites.  And I started noticing the music director.  All my favourite songs were R D Burman songs.  I also noticed that I was preferring the R D  Burman Gulzaar combination.

When our school gang connected in 2011 , it was a good time  getting to know each other once again. Most of them were musically inclined.  Bollywood music, Ghazals, Marathi Bhaavgeet and Abhangas, Bhajans, English Pop .... Some friends were partial to one or then there were some like me... who liked it all.   At all times we always have  somebody or the other in the group to gush ,   about our favourite gaaana..... whatever the genre!

This was how I landed at a screening of the documentary film , Pancham Unmixed, by Brahmanand Singh.  This film is a National Award winning film.

He had interviewed several members of the film fraternity and had gotten them to share incidents from their interactions with the legendary composer.  Sachin Bhowmick, Asha Bhosle, Shakti Samanta, Manna Dey, Shammi Kapoor, Gulzaar, Gulshan Bawra, Mrs Bawra,  Goldie Anand , his mom and his sister, Bhupinder, Shailendra Singh, Rishi Kapoor,  Vishal Bharadwaj, Shankar, Eshan Loy, Taufiq Quereshi, Manohari Singh and several members from R D Burman's group of musicians.  

Each one had fond memories to share, about the icon that was R D Burman

R D Burman or Pancham as he was fondly called, loved to use different sounds in his music, in his compositions.  So there was the clinking glass, the miniature dholak, the sandpaper, a gargle.  They spoke of how he would notice and hold on to a rhythm his musicans were playing while they were warming up for the music session and incorporate it in a song, if it appealed to him. It was indeed revealing -  the madness which was RDB.  The film gave an insight into what goes into the making of a song.  

One associates a flamboyance with a personality like Shammi Kapoor.  And here he was, with his clear , light eyes, peering back into the past, remembering  and picking out incidents from memory.

Then there was Gulzar.  One associates a soulfulness, a serenity, a calm with Gulzaar.  And here he was talking about his friend Pancham.  His buddy Pancham.  Sharing anecdotes of how RDB saved some compositions exclusively for him, adding, "kya karoon, tera thobda saamney aa gaya ".  He narrates how RDB teased him when he wrote the song from Ijaazat - "Mera kuch saaman", commenting that it wasn't lyrics at all.  R D Burman had further commented,  " kal ko Times of India lekar aaogey and kahogey iski tune banaaa do.."  Such incidents of the camaraderie between the two, brought a smile to the lips.

 Gulzaar, R D Burman, Shammi Kapoor are all great personalities.  But  one got a glimpse of the person behind the persona and found them more likeable.   More closer to  you than when they were while on the pedestal  you had placed them on.  And in all this, the respect for them had only multiplied.

Taufiq Quereshi and Zakir Hussain.   For me, Zakir Hussain in concert was sheer magic.  His mastery over the tabla,  the joy he radiated when he played the table, the wild hair flying, the sweet and almost mischievous smile.... Taufiq Quereshi had always seemed dull in comparison.   I knew he was a master of percussion.  But  I was never as awe struck by him as I was by Zakir Hussain.  How ignorant I was !  In this documentary, he speaks so passionately about R D Burman's musical genius, he demonstrates some intricacies so effortlessly and clearly.... Taufiq Quereshiji - hum aapke gunehgaar hain !

There was one common sentiment that ran through each of the  reminisces.    They all spoke wistfully,   fondly and longingly of R D Burman, .. almost willing him to spring to life, before their eyes once again. 

It was a good experience sitting with a bunch of  Pancham fans and watching this film.  The collective energy was palpable.

One thing is for sure...whenever I will listen to a R D Burman song now , I will be feeling differently.  The ear will be picking out sounds, nuances... which make it a distinctive R D B song.   The song will sound different now.

tthe pain in their gulzar etc eyes...eys... the joy on the fan's faces remain with u long afttethe movue ends


Through a casually opened door, enters love !

-  Pranayam .

In that unguarded moment.  You don't know how, You most certainly do not know why...  it does.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

My parents stay with me.  They are in their seventies.   To them , I am still the child  and they have to play the responsible ones.   Between themselves, they have taken over some chores in the house.  When I protest, they say it makes them feel useful and helps them keep active.

Then there are some things they don't trust me with.  They  feel . I am gullible.  They are convinced I am not good at keeping accounts. So some of the monthly bills - the milkman's , the newspaper vendor's, the istri-walla's  the 'haar-waala's - are all cross checked and tallied by them each month .  These bills are presented at the doorstep each month, and that is how the parents get to them.

They keep a hawk's eye on the gas burners.  Each time I am out of the kitchen I can see or hear my mother rush in  to stir the curry, or lower the flame to a simmer.  Similarly about the washing machine.  The moment they hear the whirring stop. they rush to put off the main switch.  I only have to step out of the room to answer the phone and the TV is turned off and the lights and fan in the room, switched off. 

My father locks the door and windows of the house, each night.  He first double locks the safety door.  Then comes the main door.  He bolts the  tower latch at the top of the door, and then double locks the door    and also turns the small lock by the side .  After that he shuts the floor length sliding glass windows of the balcony.  He  draws the grill shutters .  The grill shutters are then secured   with a padlock.  The curtains are drawn and the lights in the drawing room are switched off.

This is his  'before going to bed' ritual.

And I have mine.....just before I turn in for the night. It could be as late as 4.30 am, fully aware that  in another hour, at 5.30 am  dad will be up and he will undo this entire process with the same precision and in the same order. 

I cross check the doors and the padlcks , tugging at them.  I check each sliding window for gaps.  I am paranoid of rats entering the house through these gaps.  There have been instances.

So tonight I  was at the main door . I  felt a cold breeze hit my hand as I turned on the lights near the main door.  I  was surprised.  Dad had retired for the night.  The doors had been locked   and yet I could feel the light gust.  Where was the gap?

I tugged at the door knob of the main door and the door  opened. It hadn't been shut.  Had dad   forgotten? 

 I  checked the safety door. It had been secured.  Secured with double locks, bolts and all.  I shut the main door.   It didnt click shut.

So I shut it again and instinctively raised my hand to secure the tower bolt at the top of the door. I found it drawn open.

Then I checked the  safety lock on the door.  All  were drawn open.  Even the tiny lock had been locked in place. 

And I realised what had happened.  My father  had drawn all the locks, secured them.  He had simply  forgotten to shut the door before he did that.  So though all locks had been turned., the door had remained open.

My first reaction was of surprise.  Then it was  one of  scoring a point.

The next  reaction was of extreme sadness.....They were growing old.

I see them every day.  I  see the gait slowing, I see the wrinkles, I see the hair greying,  the bald pate  widening,  and yet in the mind they are the  parents.  And I am still the child.  Even at 44. 

They are ageing.

It is unpleasant truth to accept.

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Of the Daughter , the Mother and Ninja Hattori !

After years.. several years... the daughter and me  joined hands . On  a project. Project Nina Hattori Shoes

My niece's son, will be 6 this weekend. His current fancy is Ninja Hattori - the cartoon character.   Last year it was Chhota Bheem.

Each January, the niece decides the theme for her son's birthday party and we put on our thinking caps. With my kids having grown up and being out of the Birthday Party circuit , I am at a slight disadvantage when thinking of games, decor and food for the party. Googling helps sometimes. A little bit of creativity (yeah, yeah, sometimes I sprout those creative horns ) and many minds ticking together, help in putting together a rocking party.

Ninja Hattori. I had never heard of him. The niece said, "Watch Nick, on TV".   I did better. Caught an episode on You tube.  I had had similar issues with Chhota Bheem. I had thought it was a cartoon show based on the childhood of Bheema of Mahabharata!!

Ninja Hattori. He looks quite cute. Doesn't seem very popular on the theme party scene though.

I was wanting to buy  a gift for the birthday boy.  ... something related to  his current  favourite cartoon.

Last week I was looking up a website which has a lot of DIY ideas. And inspiration struck. Conferred with the daughter and we decided to paint him a pair of Ninja Hattori shoes.   We decided to draw and paint a picture of him on a pair of canvas shoes.

I bought a pair of white canvas shoes from Bata. It was fun to handle those small shoes. I downloaded an image of Hattori for the daughter to copy on the shoe. She did admirably well.

The next day we decided on the colour combinations and bought the Fabric Paints.

She loves drawing and painting. Is very confident too. She quickly painted the cartoon. One on each shoe. And she asked me to do the background.

I couldn't help but be amused at the reversal of roles. Once upon a time, not so long ago,  as the mother, I would take responsibility for the finer   and intricate parts, leaving her to do wield the wider brush . Here she was in charge.  She coaxed a reluctant me to get on  the job.   She offered   to do the outlines and left me with the wider background areas to paint. She was reassuring , when she told  me not to worry in case of any smudges,saying ,  "I will touch it up later" . She was gentle  with her  comments -  "amma, concentrate on the phinising , Phinising.... do a good job".   Phinising = finishing.

  She did not rebuke or reprimand.

Yeah,  I know of rebukes and reprimands. I was good at dishing them out.

The daughter is proving to be the better teacher.

Project Ninja Hattori !  Take a look.

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

So I was returning home from the  Parla market.  Waiting at the signal . It was sunny and warm. Yet it was a smoggy dull looking morning.  It reflected on my mood too. Was looking at the cars alongside and the people inside. All had the same dull expressions , exactly like mine.

"Tya zhaadaala bagaa, kitee kairyaa laaglya aahet", said the driver, suddenly. "Kuthey ?" I asked. He was pointing out to a tree across the road. " Tey baghaa" .....I looked that side. And yes, the tree was laden with bunches of  tender  mangoes. कैर्यांचे झुपके sounds better.

I rolled down the windows. Wanted to take a picture, but the phone camera is a lousy one. Our animated conversation and the wonderstruck mug of mine got some others in the cars alongside to peer in the direction we were looking at. and soon atleast 10 of us were smiling . sharing a "haaan, maine bhi dekha, achha lagaa" , kind of a happy look amongst ourselves .

The trees were dusty , but the sight of those plump green "Kairi" had woven their magic.

The windows were rolled.  I took a deep breath . And found the tangy fresh fragrance of the Kairi tickle my nostrils. The mouth puckered automatically, imagining the sourness on the tounge . The mouth watered :-)

The signal turned green, and we were driving once again. My face was glued to the window looking out for Mango trees And I noticed atleast 15 more . Most of them, heavy with the fruit, while the others had a lot of blooms. There was one which had the 'totapuri " kind of longish kairi.   So many mango trees and I hadn't noticed them until now.

I found myself looking forward to getting home.  Scraping  out the last big glass jar of the last bits of last years Pickle. Getting them washed . Sunning them. Seeing them sparkle in the sun as they rested upside down on their bright red pastic dhakkans. Seeing  their glassy transparect glistening shadow  on the wall....

And , wait...

To bite on the season's first kairi - a mix of salt and red chilli powder by the side. To take a gulp of the chilled, " velchi" laced Panha . And for the last to arrive ... the big round "lonchyachi kairi".

Am looking forward to the summer.

I love this  feeling...." of looking foward to ....."

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hey you,

Free me.

Loosen your stranglehold on me.

You let me live and relive my happiest moments.
Over and over again.

You helped me shed those unshed tears.
Cleansed me.

I clung on  to you,
a little too ferociously.
It  was so easy to revel in the past.
To be wistful.

Ungrateful, I am not.

But, I have to give my today ,
its due.
A fair chance.
To work its spell on me
Just as you have.


Shooing you away  as I am..
Do not turn your back on me


I will want you
by my side
again, someday.
With newer stories.

The stories
I am writing  today .

Saturday, February 9, 2013

A Goondoo Tale.

Goondoo will be 10 this August

Studies  in class 3.

He called me up, a couple of minutes ago.  He had had his Open House in school  and had got his marks from the Unit Test conducted in January.

"I have got a A grade" he sang.  "This is the first time I have got one."

His school is not generous with marks.  And his mother takes studies and examinations very seriously.   A bit too seriously, I think.

I  have  been guilty of this too.  Being the "MARKSIST MOMMY"., to  my first born.  Once, while nagging him to return to his books, I have said to him, ""You know your only fault is that you are intelligent."  And I always had expectations from him.  To do well.  To shine, To outshine.

With my younger one, I am  a relaxed parent.   Realisation struck that MARKS are not the be end and be all.  I need to appreciate  her just the way she is and shouldn't be burdening her with my expectaions . Or probably I had had my share   of fulfillment from the older one. My only advice to her has been  - Do your best.  Do not  lack / lag in effort. !

Coming back to Goondoo.

I was happy for him.  It was a proud moment for him. 

I told him, he deserves a treat now.  "What can I get you?"  I asked.

As expected, he said "nothing".

I prodded him further.  But he stuck to his answer .  "Nothing".

And then , as expected, I got my answer.

"I want a remote controlled car.  But I don't want one, because I have too many."  He whispered into the phone , fast and furious. My sister was probably lurking around , I could hear her voice  in the background.

I smiled.

Dear Goondoo, you will have your remote controlled car. A chakaa chak remote controlled car.

Thursday, February 7, 2013

I want to fall in love once again.
love once again.
be loved once again.

I want to feel the rush
of the stolen glance

I want to feel the flush
the blush

I want to hear the tremor
in my voice.
as we talk.

I want to hear the reassurance
in his tone,
as we talk..

His   voice,
husky with emotion,
laden with love.

I want to look at  those eyes
and  find them  filled with tenderness
for me.

I want to see the longing
in  his eyes,
as they meet mine.

I want to feel the goosebumps
on my arm,
as they brush
against his.

want to rest my head
on those shoulders.
on his chest.

feel it swell,
with longing,
with love,
only for me.

want to feel
his  warm breath,
close as we are.

I want to experience  the quiver
in my spine.
the tingle

I want to feel his arms
around me..
Envelope  me
in security.

want to feel the gush
of warmth,
the warm feeling
of belonging.

want to feel my mouth ache,
because of the smile.
that has been lingering there
for the longest time..

The smile of contentment...

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

The name is Anjali.

Actually , it is not.

My name is not Anjali.

Call me Anjali.

I did not come up with this name randomly.

There is a story behind it.

My mother wanted to name me Anjali.

My father had a well wisher, who was more like a mother to him.  He sought her blessings  and requested her to bestow upon his first born,  a name.

She gave me my name.

To my sister, she gave her name.

Mum must have been hurt.

She kept that hurt within her.

When I was 10 and in class 4, we had a Mathematics teacher by the name, Anjali Karnik.

She was . beautiful .

She was a good teacher.

It was then that my mother  told me.

She had  wanted to name me Anjali.

And now,

When I want to share ,  yet want to keep a part of me for myself,

I take refuge in Anjali.

" Your daughter is really cute. I am surprised she remembers me. She has met me only on two occasions.. Once when she was barely 3 , in 2001 and then last year. Yet, she remembers. Thinks of me.   I am touched. And thanks for calling", said Jayashri.

Jayashri is family. An aunt to my daughter.

Yesterday evening was one of the rare evenings when the daughter came to me, asking me to go through her marathi homework. I was only too happy. These days I  am happy at any chance of communication with her. There is a reason. maybe I will share it one of these days. I say ,MAYBE 'coz it highlights one of my weaknesses and my pride might come in the way.

OKk... so it was her Home Assignment sheet. It was a letter writing exercise. A letter written by a Rajashri Joshi to the Mahanagarpalika complaining about the pothole ridden street outside her house.

I read the subject and then moved on to her letter. The daughter wrote -- - "mee Jayashri Joshi patra lihit aahe." I picked the first mistake. She had written Jayashri instead of Rajashri. I called her and pointed it out to her.

She burst out laughing. "" haahaa aha,,, amma I read the name right, but suddenly thought of Jayashri maami. and I ended up writing Jayashri instead of Rajshree.   The names, they are so close "

Her laughter was infectious . I laughed along with her.

While trying to live our lives, relations and relationships sometimes take a back seat. 

But, we do not forget the people in our lives. We remember them. We think about them. Fondly too.

We simply forget to tell them we haven't forgotten .

I am glad I made that call to J yesterday.

Like I read somewhere....... With all our problems, it becomes all the more necessary to highlight , play up and make a din about the happy parts.

Cheers  !!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

I am star struck . ATUL KULKARNI.... are you listening ??

I am a sucker for love stories. for romance. and Atul Kulkarni in one such role - of a romantic, in "Premachi Goshta"... ..I had to see this one.

Barely made it to the movie in time.
The credits were rolling.

And then I saw him.
In the "wadda" screen  glory .

Felt a warm flush on my face.

I found my lips curving into a smile.
I wiped it away,
It came back again.
I looked around.
It was dark in the theatre .
and there was  nobody else in my row.
I relaxed
and let it be.

Heeheeeee.... yeah... that issmile stayed put. till the end of the movie. till the time I came home... what the hell, even now !!

The story was just about average.  A little less than that. It  had some redeeming moments though. Some dialogues, conversations were really nice.

I wish I had seen this movie with my friend.. my usual partner-in-crime. would have enjoyed gushing over this movie.

Mr Kulkarni, My dil goess mmmmmmmmm ! (blush ! blush !!)

Saturday, February 2, 2013

I met a FB friend a couple of weeks ago.  She is a gynaecologist by profession.  She and her  husband, who is a surgeon, own  a hospital in a town in the North of India.

We met on Facebook, through a common friend.

What I had liked about  her was her sensitivity.  Her sense of humour.  . She could laugh at herself.

I had found her extremely pleasant.

She  noticed friends who had  gone inactive on FB and gently nudged them into action.   She was  generous with Pokes , Hugs and Smileys. 

She made an effort to connect with all her FB friends.  Whenever she could.  On phone, or by meeting  them when she visited their cities, or when they visited hers.   I used to be surprised  that she would wish to connect on a personal level with her virtual friends.  She has a long list of friends.

She has  a beautiful garden, with flowers of every kind, of every hue.  Peacocks are regular visitors to her garden. Each morning she posts pictures of blooming flowers from her garden. She posts pictures of the peacocks prancing on her terrace.  "roz savere, garden mein paudhe dekhne jaati hoon... i click some pictures then.  waqt hee kitna lagta hai."

She posts her thoughts.  Some I understand, some I do not. Each day her posts are commented upon, discussed, liked. She is applauded and teased.  She takes it well.I used to marvel at the conversation her posts generate.

Nearly each morning she posts a  picture of herself as she braces herself for the day ahead.

She also paints.  It is a hobby she says. But she could well be a professional.  The colours, the strokes the composition do not look amateur.  "mere table par canvas , paper aur colours hamesha hote hain... jaise hee patients aane lagtey hain, painting neeche push kar deti hoon."

 I had often wondered how she managed to pack so much in a day.

She and her family had survived a very bad road accident where they were nearly left for dead.

That explained her zest for life.  She was glad and thankful that they had survived with  broken bones and  scars.  Broken bones healed.  Plastic surgery took care of most of the scars.  But she did not let these break her spirit.

We met over lunch .  She spoke and she spoke. About herself, her family, her work , about her father whom she lost at a young age , about her mother who passed away just a couple of years ago. about her hobbies, and about our mutual friends. 

She said to me, "you see my face, I have had 14 surgeries here.  My cheekbones and most other facial bones are being held together by wires.  The plastic surgery has left some part of my skin insensitive to touch.  " 

I value her smile all the more now!

She visited my home.  Met my family, my parents.   On the way back , she commented, "you are lucky to have your parents around.  Aise kitnee baar hua hai, ke main phone leke baithi rehti hoon, kissise  baat karna chahti hoon.  Poora contact list scroll  kar leti hoon .     tab I wish, mamma hoteein.  Unheeko phone karke baat kar letee." .   She was lost in thought . For that fraction of a second. 

She looked up at me and  smiled.

As our eyes met,  I felt I  understood.    With all our achievements , with all our  loved ones around,   we are but lonely.  At all times, battling our personal demons.  How we come out of it,  defines the kind of person we are. 

I wish I could be like.......

I wish I could be like ME.  The ME that I was 23 yrs ago

So there I was.  All of 20.  The shy introvert.    Staring at the world around her  with wide eyed curiosity.

The spirit  of youth.  The enthusiasm of youth.   A freshness of perception.   ....  Soaking  in every new experience.

I was enthusiastic .      I had a zest for life.

I was without guile. I trusted wholeheartedly.  I was honest .

I was happy.  Found a reason to smile always  . Guffaw  a full throated laugh.

I was carefree.  I felt secure. Was convinced nothing could go wrong with my world.  Was convinced that good happens to good people.  I hadn't wronged anybody or  hurt anybody.....only good things would happen to me.

I  put others before myself.   I put out myself for others.  It felt good.

I  looked forward to the experience called life.

I wasn't really ambitious.  Was agreeable to follow the course charted for me by the parents.     No, I didn't have any career ambitions.   I didn't even want to keep the  job  forever.  After a point I wanted to share myself  with my family alone.

And things did go the way they had been envisaged.  No complaints there.

Then I changed. 

Cynicism  crept in.   The curious wide eyes are  now narrowed with suspicion more often.

Family  brought attachment.  The mind which was fearless, is now a worried one.  Worried for the loved ones.

Honesty is coloured by diplomacy.   The heart seeks acceptance , approval .  It expects.  It has become selfish and  is not willing to give unconditionally.

Pros and Cons are weighed. The easy spontaneity has been lost.


Honestly , if   I could be like anyone, I  would would want to  be like the ME   that I had set out to be.