Ghalib, Gulzar aur Gham


And of course there is a fourth – an Old Monk or a Jack Daniels or some substitute at the very best. I wonder what is it about sorrow, about sadness that brings out the best in poets and sometimes and not even a mediocrity of darkness in lesser humans, (judge me, as you will, but I do consider them poets to be a higher breed). The two men mentioned here, are stuff legends are made of. These men are legends indeed. And their words, they transcend time and space and fill the very core of your being with meaning, sadness, a twisted smile perhaps, and a lot of thought, you want to listen again and each time, a new meaning emerges.

No, this piece of writing is no literary crit on either the men or the emotion – just thinking aloud. So, if you are reading further, bear with me.

“thoda sa baadal, thoda sa paani, aur ik kahaani…”

You go figure if its a sad song or a sweet song but it touches a cord or two or three. If you’re untouched, then this is not for you to read. Stop and never return here.

“mat pooch ke kya haal hai, mera, tere peechhe,
tu dekh ke kya rang hai, tera, mere aagay”

Since poetry, there is always a thing about sadness, something that makes the subject fragile, vulnerable, not attractive in most cases, but definitely very interesting. Why is she sad, what ails her, why was her heart broken, why this hopelessness – a lot of unanswerable whys, and more enigma, more interest.  I was told recently, that people are attracted to happy people. True as it may be, I found the statement an insult, like a personal insult to be precise. Happiness, a faraway abstract idea, may not be what the poets are writing about anyway. How dare you ask me to be happy? And why would I want to attract people of all things? Its not like I’m a flame and people are supposed to be like suicidal moths attracted to the flame. My sadness is my protective cover. It ensures that I remain aloof, untouched by more insanity than a single lifetime can take. No, I’m happy being sad.

(I did not just write that! Sigh!)

Ghalib was always the big name, I thought I’ll never read, let alone appreciate his words, because, well, he’s the big guy, right? All the hype about greatness, no, I stay away from those kinds. Reluctantly, I admitted to myself the first time I heard his ghazals being sung in the soulful voice (I still don’t figure this word – soulful) of the late Jagjit Singh, for the old telly series from 1980s – Mirza Ghalib, there is something timeless about the sorrow, about loss, something charming about having had something once and having lost it forever, be it love, home, respect, friends, faith, something that makes you think, question everything that comes your way. You stop accepting. That is what sets you apart; you are marked, for life.

Gulzar has a similar charm, even for a song like aankhein bhi kamaal karti hain, personal se sawal karti hain – something fragile here too, something that can be easily lost to time or another person, or just lost. There is always a bittersweet thought for you to swallow and wonder what magical yarn these words weave for you to be lost in! I’m writing this because I need to get these attackers out. They swarm in each time I listen, read, and then am lost. Are you? Lost?


One Comment Add yours

  1. Deepak says:

    Like khatana bhai in Rockstar said – “Toote hue dil se hii sangeet nikalta hai”.

    Although I believe that I can express better when I am doing it for something that falls in the ‘happy’ zone rather than the sad one.
    Very nice read.

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