Monday, January 28, 2008

Quasimodo's utopia

Zihaal-e-miskeen mukon ba-ranjish,
Bahaal-e-hijra bechara dil hai,

Sunaai deti hai jiski dhadakan
Tumhara dil ya hamara dil hai.

As I watch Disney's Quasimodo sing from the bell tower of Notre Dame, wanting and wishing for that one day to live "out there," I can't help but think about how it must be to live trapped in a single, lonely, tower all one's life.

But then I do not really have to guess, for loneliness does not really have many flavours, no matter where you pluck it from. As the cold settles outside, and creeps through the walls into my quilt, I find myself thinking about love. Again.

In that tangential, normalish way everything seems to reek of love. That is just me, I know. But how does one not fall in love with Esmeralda. That wild free spirit that one wishes would see the human behind the hunchback. But animated adaptations rarely follow the story of yesteryear's on which they are based. The years that stand on the wisdom of appearances being the sentence one is dealt with sometimes, from birth.

Life smirks, and takes a bow. And as I learn to spread myself so thin that I can be beaten into any shape possible, I smirk right back. Spirited? Foolish? But what is the shape of foolishness and what is the taste of spirit? Oh, I digress. The topic was love.

Do you hear laughter in the ranks? In the air? Love. Poor love. What am I pitying love for? Well, tell me someone else who takes more beating for all the stupidity that takes place in this world. For all the perfection in the world, perfect men and perfect women. For all the riches in the world. For all that burns and twists the insides of hearts. For all that and more, there is some fool, some where, pining.

For what, you may ask. A lover's utopia? And what might that be? To be loved back, of course. With equal fervour, with every iota of passion that flows in one's veins, with a touch of dreams and a dash of colour. But perhaps we shouldn't foster such impossible utopias.

I see Quasimodo cringe as Esmeralda kisses Phoebus and I wonder. I wonder at the only flaw in the utopia. For you can love whoever you want. You have been blessed with that gift. What you cannot do, is make "whoever" love you back.

What rubbish! We always knew that, you'll say. Well, try and remember it then, when you are being driven mad with the flames from hell that devour your heart. Remember and find peace. Remember and let go.

And to all the Quasimodos of this world. Stay in love. Your utopia will complete itself one day.

The lines in urdu/persian/hindi at the top are from a song from the film Ghulami, written by Gulzar and sung by Lata Mangeshkar and Shabbir Kumar.

Sunday, January 20, 2008

Usi ki talash kyun?

Tez bhagti zindagi ke peeche
Hanfta hua mai,
Saanse jo is zindagi ko chalaye
Woh kahan hai lekin.

Phir ek din dil ki khidki par giri
Kuch madmati baarish ki boonden,
Jaise pukaar kar keh gayi
Main hoon, tumhari zindagi.

Par yeh kya! Woh aayi par
Bijli nahi kadki,
Hawaon me ek bheeni mehak jaagi,
Dhadkane chal padhi, lekin daudi nahi.

Kuch jadoo ki tarah asar to hua
par nazar nahi aaya,
Zamane ke shor me jaise ghula ek dhua
Sannate ka ek kona dhoond raha ho.

Tabhi, hoton ke kisi kone se nikalkar,
Ek hansi god me aa giri,
Aur usne kaha, jis zindagi ko ji rahe ho
Usi ki talash kyun?

Thursday, January 03, 2008

A year of strangeness over...

I planned on doing a post before the 1st - a sort of round up of the year that went by - well its still officially New Year season so I guess it's not too late. Besides my MTNL dial-up seems to be behaving somewhat so I'll probably take the chance and try to pen (What's the electronic equivalent of a pen? A keyboard? Can I use that as a verb?) this while being on line.

Last year, or rather just before the beginning of last year I uprooted my life from the city I have called home for the past three decades (well, nearly three anyway) and moved to another city, country and continent, all in one day. If I ever had cribbed about lack of strangeness in my life - here was God - being most generous - for I landed in a land of strange people, filled with strange languages and strange food, and something that would take any Dilli-waala by complete surprise, clean air!

Since then nothing has seemed to be unachievable - not a climb up the Alps (on a cable car though), not cooking daily and not killing anybody in the process, not sharing a house with two cats, a charming old lady who doesn't speak a word of any language I know, a hot Austrian babe, a gentle Korean dude and a very eccentric Dutch guy. This in addition to a very happening professional life but then that is off limits for the blog.

A very good thing about staying alone, far away from anything you have known all your life, is that it clears up your head about a lot of things. Who one cares about, who one can't live without and who one can, what kind of work does one want to do, what does one want to work for, what is one afraid of, how much stress can one handle alone and how well can one cook (this one is actually a sensational discovery).

One is happy to be financially self-sufficient enough to be able to deport one self home, once annually, and to have been able to satisfy one's desire of having a sterling silver Mac as a first laptop and a Canon DSLR as a first camera. Now I am not boasting here, for one also went bankrupt for a day - a pure zilch in the bank account - before one started getting the salary. As a result of that of course, now one is better planned.

There is much more happening in life about which I can only write in cryptic verse.

Familiar smells in a movie hall,
Being at someones beck and call,
Beds, such welcoming, generous hosts,
Empty houses filled with ghosts,
Of rare visitors and waiting that,
Never ends, dollops of uncouth fat,
Dressed to kill with two left feet,
Mystery work causing the colour of beet,
Confusion reigning unchecked, supreme,
There are many uses of whipped cream.

To put it in one word, one has survived. About nine more months of survival training left. After that we deliver the baby (I am telling you clean air causes such genetic mutations).

So, Happy New Year everyone. Keep visiting, because the year promises to be choc-a-bloc full of more strangeness.


PS: The arcane reference to MTNL in the beginning was to indicate that I am visiting home for sometime, before I become Alice again.