Saturday, January 10, 2015

Mirza Ghalib and Shakespeare - Tribute to the Bards

Two great bards from two different time periods, language and civilisations, left an impression on the culture of the times and for years to come. Even today, the world continues to be in awe and admiration of them. Both of them enriched the language by their writings, so much so that the language looks incomplete without them. This post is to celebrate the greatness of these two literary masters.

Taj Mahal is not the only marvel Agra has produced. But Alas! the city has been very unkind to its other Gems, foremost amongst them being Mirza Ghalib. Dec 27, happened to be his birthday. 2014 also happened to be 450 years of Shakespeare. Fortunately he didn’t meet the same fate. History and times have been more kind to him.

Mirza Asadullah Beg Khan, known to the world as Ghalib, a non-de-plume he adopted, was born in Agra on Dec 27, 1797. With his marriage at the age of 13, he moved to Delhi. That was a defining moment for him. His initial years were very comfortable and the later was the opposite, largely in penury and on pension. He showed his poetic brilliance while he was very young. Large part of his work in Urdu was done by the time he was 19 years, within 6 years of his arrival to Delhi. He later dabbled in Persian and 30 years later, returned back to writing in Urdu, when he was a courtier. He produced pieces, both prose and poetry, which were as brilliant as his younger years. It was due to him that this language of commoners attained poetic status.
The site below has more details around his life and captures the perspectives of the times very well.

The toughest part for any lover of Urdu poetry is to figure which are some of best couplets. It’s impossible to pick up a few. I have picked up a few, which I loved. There are many more, which I equally love, but want to restrict for this article. I don’t claim that these are the best nor do I have the competence to say so. Just enjoy them. If you love it, go for more on the net or buy a book.
The maestro had his own ‘signature’ style…andaaz-e-bayan aur..a class apart.. 

हैं और भी दुनिया में सुख़नवर बहुत अच्छे 
कहते हैं ग़ालिब का अंदाज़-ए-बयां और ..

That he challenged the widely held concepts, to the disliking of the fundamentalists, tells me that he didn’t hold an orthodox view of religion.

हमको मालूम है जन्नत की हक़ीक़त लेकिन
दिल को ख़ुश रखने के लिए ग़ालिब ये ख्याल अच्छा है ..

Here is another one which drives the same point I made before. It becomes clear to me that he was a true liberal and disliked practioners of orthodoxy, hypocrisy and narrow-minded approach…the same very preacher was seen coming out of the pub…

कहाँ मैख़ाने का दरवाज़ा ग़ालिब और कहाँ वाइज़ ,
पर इतना जानते हैं के कल, वो जाता था और हम निकले ..

This one is my favourite…

हज़ारों ख्वाईशें ऐसी, के हर ख्वाइश पे दम निकले 
बहुत निकले मेरे अरमां , लेकिन फिर भी कम निकले  ..

Have you seen a better romance with pain ...isn’t it true in real life…when pain goes beyond tolerance...that very pain turns into the balm …

इशरत-ए-कतरा है दरिया में फ़ना हो जाना ,
दर्द का हद से गुज़रना है दवा हो जाना   ..

The final one, I present to you, sums up the philosophy of life…mantra for leading a happy life...

कुछ इस तरह मैंने ज़िंदगी को आसां कर दिया ,
किसी से माफ़ी मांग ली, तो किसी को माफ़ कर दिया  ..

His compositions represented elegance and deep philosophy. He challenged the conventional.
His birthday comes and passes by as a non-event, even in his birth-town, Agra. Thrice I have been to Agra and the trip has by and large included the Taj, Akbar’s tomb, Red Fort and the little far off Fatehpur-Sikri. Never does the hotel or nor do the guides suggest about Ghalib’s birthplace. It has been left to the citizens who enjoy his poetry to celebrate the life of this poetic genius.

Well, looked differently, irrespective of how we treat our masters, his writings make him immortal.

Let’s move to the dramatist. William Shakespeare was born on April 23, 1564 and 2014 marked 450th anniversary of his birth. It’s impossible to study English language and literature without studying Shakespeare. The Bard of Avon captured complete range of human emotions through his histories, comedies and tragedies [and we can add Romance to it].
The Balcony Scene by a known painter
How can one not feel the churn within oneself after going through, the dark, The Tragedy of Macbeth or the depressing tone and tragic consequences of The Tragedy of King Lear. The tragic outcomes are life lessons of following an evil path or listening to flattery. Some of the tragedies are deeply ingrained and now part of popular folklore or are sort of the standard if there is a discussion on that topic. If you talk of tragic love stories, the discussion is incomplete without mention of the young, star-crossed lovers Romeo and Juliet. His writings had powerful visualisation. You can almost imagine the whole plot unfolding around you and you become a part of it, a character, as if you were around. The moment I think about Romeo and Juliet, I can see Romeo up in the balcony kissing the Juliet. By far, in my view, this must be the most popular of all his writings. Hundreds of thousands of adaptions [many of them modified to happy endings…] are doing the rounds all over the world.

As a kid, I felt very sad when a pound of flesh was asked by Shylock in The Merchant of Venice [ it also sent a social message against predatory lending practices, which by the way, todays Investment Bankers are accused of.. and even today Newspapers pick this up as headlines to make a point]. or felt overjoyed when Portia disguised as a clerk of the lawyer, made ingenious argument, that only a pound of flesh and not even a hair’s weight extra should be extracted and that not a drop of blood should flow!
Another very interesting aspect of Shakespeare was the commanding presence of the ghosts and jesters in his plays. In fact the supernaturals - ghosts, witches, prophetic apparitions etc. have been integral to many of his plots, having acted as catalyst for many of the actions. They have helped create the atmosphere and tension in the story, augmenting and expanding many of the scenes, characters etc. I cannot imagine The Tempest and The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark without them. And that would be true for jesters as well. How can As You Like it, Twelfth Night, or What you Will and The Tragedy of King Lear be complete without Touchstone, Feste and the Fool ? They were not just fooling around but very integral to the plays. The jester was only a mask and behind that was an intelligent person, who made his point with wit.

City of Verona
Locations in Shakespeare's plays played equally important part. While being an English writer, a third of his plays have been set in Italy [ Venice, Rome and Verona ] and within that three of them are set in Verona - The Two Gentlemen of Verona, The Taming of the Shrew and Romeo and Juliet. The romantic air, the beauty of the place, the culture appears to awed Shakespeare. Or may be Britain wasn't that liberal, the machinations were too much for Britain to digest. These locations helped him layout the scenes making it inseparable with the storyline. Some of these will be on my itinerary when I get visit Italy.
In the Indian context, he is more known for his tragedies, but he has churned out comedies with equal mastery. As you like it, his pastoral comedy has philosophical tones. Live your life as you like it. Find your own meanings to situations [love]. His works are probably the most quoted ones, one of famous ones comes from this comedy ‘All the worlds a stage and all men and women are merely players.’ Therefore don’t get serious beyond a point. Have fun, your way.

The emotions are as relevant today as they were in his times. It’s this relevance that his works have seen adaptation to film, television, opera, novels, variants, poems, comics etc. and draws full audience even today, though they have been continuously played for centuries. There is no one more celebrated and adored than him.
Closer home, I am totally in love with Vishal Bhardwaj’s adaption of Macbeth, Othello and Hamlet as Maqbool, Omkara and Haider each of the tragedy-trilogy, a masterpiece. The depth of Shakespearean characters have always enamoured leading actors who consider it an honour to play lead roles.

Well as is the case with Mirza Ghalib, there are many more masterpieces which I may not have quoted. It’s impossible with these two bards.
I have learnt a lot and enjoyed them enormously. Thank you for enriching our lives with your greatness. 

Monday, December 22, 2014

Loyalty Vs Performance ?

A recent event prompted me to ask this question. What is the nature of relationship between the firm and the employee - is it of Performance or is it of Loyalty?
Well I asked this question to my peer groups within the industry. The answers I got were equally polarised with a bias towards loyalty [well the sample size consisted of senior folks doing fairly well]. I wonder what it would be if I extended this question to the entire spectrum of employees.
Will the answer be different at two different time periods, junior vs senior, retained vs fired or at-risk, geography to geography, expanding or contracting economy etc. etc.? Thinking through this prompted another question, Is Loyalty a fallacy? Or the earlier clamour when professionals saw large scale retrenchment in US, that ’Loyalty is dead’?
Let me put forth some scenarios …
1.       You have been in the firm for years. Toiled hard. Sweat. Have done fairly well. You have had 2 bad years in a row. You are asked to move on.
2.       You have been doing extremely well. The firm promotes you. You quit the firm for a better opportunity.
3.       You are doing extremely well. Have been with the firm for years. Toiled hard. Sweat. Turn of events-Economy contracts. Assets have to be sold. Firm decides to exit your business line. You are at-risk and eventually asked to move-on.
4.       You have been with the firm for years. You are doing extremely well. Firm decides to exit your business line. You are taken care of and placed in a different department. You do well. You have now received a good offer and you move on.
5.       You have been in the firm for years. Your performance isn’t up-to the mark. Firm continues to support you. Other high performers emulate you. Firm goes down in performance. Profit goes down and so do the Taxes paid. Society is hurt.
6.       You have been a star performer. You keep moving up. You find a very good offer where you can create more value. You move on and actually create more value in another firm. Others emulate you in that firm. The other firm does well. Pays higher taxes. Society is benefited.
7.       You get hired from campus. Firm spends couple of years in training you. You have been consuming value so far. You are now in a position to pay back and deliver value. You receive a good offer from competitor and you move on.
What if in above scenarios the person who moved on had opportunity to move-on on earlier occasions but had stayed back [may be at significantly lower salary] ? I can create many more from actual life examples. By the way, all the above are inspired from real life.
Some of them will resonate with you. May be the you mentioned is YOU? or your friend ? and the firm could be one known to you, your current firm or your earlier firm?
Does expanding economy and contracting economy produce different results ? In growth, tolerance is high, performance coupled with loyalty may fetch you senior roles. In recessionary trends tough choices have to be made to save the firm and manager most likely will vote for consistent performers?
Has globalisation had an impact? Has employee mobility had an impact?
Or is it that both are aware that, 1. You are not expected to be here lifelong; 2. Firm may/may not (be able to) keep you lifelong[ job security is dead], but both are maximising their positions?
Legally both of them signed a contract with option to resign or terminate with notice period?
Has the definition of long-term changed? Should one have long-term awards?
Is Loyalty and Tenure being seen interchangeably by the Employee? Who is more loyal – tenured under performer or recent top performer?
Loyal but discouraged, new but motivated? Who is more preferred? [Research suggests that happy and motivated employees create more value]
Interestingly when I spoke to Headhunters and leading B school professors, they were quite unanimous in their answer, the relationship is of ‘Performance’. If it’s coupled with Loyalty, its great but fundamentally its of Performance.
The answer is still a difficult one. So I have to put you in a spot? Here is the voting machine with only two buttons – Press 1 for Performance and Press 2 for Loyalty [ there is no don’t-want-to vote button ]. Initially I too had pressed the button no 2. But having stayed with this problem for some time and debated with myself, I finally pressed 1.

Which one will you press for ?

Friday, August 09, 2013


The last couple of months have been quite tempestuous for me. One can always feel the storm and turbulence it brings along within, when it’s anything to do with fulfilment. If you are not happy, whatever be the reason, it’s bound to convulse your mind. It keeps going back to that issue. No matter what starting point of your argument is, subsequent arguments are framed to your line of thinking and you reach the same conclusion yet again but with increasing intensity.

My situation took me to extremes; there was hardly a moment when I was thinking of something else. It almost paralyses you, so much so that I took a complete break from the situation. I then revisited the challenge. The question haunts and pounds heavily. If it’s not that intense it’s not a big real problem. One also needs to stay comfortable in that uncomfortable zone. That zone could run into days and weeks. The violent shake and prolonged stay in that zone helps one carry out some real introspection. You then cannot afford to stay at the surface. You are forced to peel off layers and the process reveals deep insights. And those insights are priceless. Traditionally held notions are tossed and ones appeared to be on sitting on periphery make their value felt and emerge stronger. Overall you are able to differentiate between variables basis what is truly important and of value.

In this ‘mansik manthan (mental churn)’, I learnt a lot. I came out awakened and alive to myself, my loved ones and my friends. It reminds me of the ‘Samudra Manthan (churning the ocean)’ talked about in Puranas. I always saw that as pass-time folklore. I am now able to better appreciate what our forefathers were trying to convey. The jewels which manthan released were nothing but insights. The ultimate output couldn’t have been anything else but Halahala (most lethal poison), which is akin to succumbing to the thoughts and sliding into depression or Amrita (nectar of immortality), which I think is ‘absolute clarity’ or ‘truth’. ‘Truth’ and only ‘truth’ has the power to stay immortal.

The biggest of all insights was value of my relationships. Relationships I took it as granted and at times ignored - what it means and how important it is in my scheme of life. The experience helped me re-value them. I was able to see through clearly what it meant. It made giving up big money and title a simple affair.

It was also about the confidence on oneself, the power and strength to stick to the truth, irrespective how you get perceived at that point, the conviction in the immortality of the Truth and act on it. In my case it was about entering into a new relationship. I could not have started on false foundation and still believe that it would take me far. Staying with truth brought me inner peace, which is immeasurably more important than anything else. Staying with truth helped me stay comfortable with trade-offs and not repent, then or ever. Stay with Truth helps you hear ‘the inner voice’.

Life of Truth is life fulfilled. My Manthan, my Amrita.

Sunday, January 06, 2013

2012...Tipping point for India

Everyone I talk to tells me that 2012 was not a good year. The never-ending scams, persistent high inflation, slowdown in industrial activity, lay-offs, impact of global events and towards the end, the savage rape of a young girl. The gravity is not lost on me, but I still hold a different view, I believe it’s was watershed year for India. It may have not have been a great year in economic sense, but probably the best in social sense. This year could be termed as the year of awakening of the average Indian powered by energy of the young. Citizens gave a titanic jolt to the ineffective political class by making its roar felt. I am certain that this year will serve as a tipping point in the modern history of this nation.

India has undergone colossal change over decades and obviously so have Indians. With urbanisation of India, the struggle and aspiration of an average Indian changed as well. A new social-strata called urban (middle) class was born. They transcended the primal caste boundaries and were united by their routine drudgery of day-to-day struggle. It was slogging hard to make ends meet and generate resources to secure its future in this cut-throat world. So much so that it would typically show up on work in the very next-hour of high-intensity disturbances because it couldn’t afford to and was euphemistically called as resilient class. A good majority also got exposed to the western world and saw themselves no-less smart and intelligent and therefore worked even harder to achieve satiate its craving.

This class stayed mute for reasons above but was seen as stoic. It never really engaged with Indian political tamasha, something which Indian politicians of each shade understood very well and exploited this silent majority. The worst part is that they kept increasing the degree of insult over years and absence of any reprisal, gave them confidence to try out increasingly bizzare stuff including complete disregard. The bureaucracy-police which should have held its ground, led itself degenerate into a master-servant relationship and went the same way. In-fact they scratched each-others back and this nexus prospered, forcing young India to take charge of their destiny.

The past decades also witnessed change in demographic profile. We now have a large educated young pool - energetic and restless. Two-third of India is now less than 35 years of age. They are willing to slog and earn their way to decent life and expect leaders to do the same and not live in the world of entitlements. While economic forces saw this as an opportunity – the sales pitches identified it ‘demographic dividend’, the impact it would have in social context was underestimated.

The problem was despite having similar thoughts, challenges and asks nothing connected them. It’s no surprise that internet-mobile devices provided the platform for the like-minded group to connect and share. The facebook-twitter networks started as a casual social network eventually metamorphosed into a potent force, a groundswell, a tsunami which no one could afford to ignore. This connect went beyond metros to all cities and villages. It is a bit surprising that while this played out loud-and-clear in the context of Arab spring, why the political elite failed to see this coming in our own country. It helped this new social class to connect and react to situation on real-time basis. For once ‘going-viral’ had a positive connotation. I have never been a bigger fan of this network.

And whenever this viral phenomenon hit through course of this year, it left the incompetent political-bureaucracy-police fumbling. This year, exposed the extent of ineptness. A sample bungled response to recent viral outpouring - lathi-charge and water-canons on students, Sec 144, shut-down metro, call young Indians as Maoists, urban women called as dented-and-painted, never-to-be-heard Maun-mohan Singh living up to his reputation and woken up from slumber after 7 days only to say ‘theek-hai’, top-rung women political leadership Sushma-Mamta-Sheila-Jaya-Maya making customary statements and finally so called young-connected political leadership of Gandhi-Pilot-Scindia-Deora not to be seen anywhere. Their why-should-I-go-to-you-you-come-to-me attitude smacks of entitlement mentality which this demographic-profile disapproves of.

Whether it was the Anna Hazare led protest against the corrupt-disgusting political class or impromptu getting together to express solidarity with the Delhi girl and demonstrating against sycophant-incapable bureaucracy-police, seeking justice, these events mark coming of age of this new social class. It’s no more willing to tolerate the taken-for-granted attitude and willing to hit the streets, flexing its muscles, demanding its rights and exercising its franchise.

The rot is deep enough, hence the diseased body will need multiple such protest-therapy sessions. 2012 saw just one dose of medicine. The youth led social-surgery stands a good chance to cure the patient. Yes - it will not be easy, Yes - it will painful, Yes – it will be long-drawn but YES – it will tip the nation to its greatness and glory. Yes, we are at a tipping point and part of that historical transformation!

The ‘Arab Spring’ could very well give way to ‘Indian Summer’ and ‘Tahrir Square’ to the ‘India Gate’.

Time to welcome the new year...welcome 2013!

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Bal Bal Jayoon Main Tore Rangrajwa....Rangrej Mere..

While all languages are great, Urdu, I feel enjoys a special place amongst them. Its elegantness flatters you and its expressiveness romanticises you. I am love with many words within that language, and wish to explore one of them in this blog post.
When you talk about colors (रंग), ‘Rangrej  ( रंगरेज )’ or related expressions like ‘RangRajwa ( रंगरजवा )’ crop up in mind. Though its literal meaning is ‘the dyer’….but is often poetically substituted for GOD, Master ( Guru ) or as the Lover,….जो उन्हे उनके रंग में रंग दे …..someone who can color them in their colors.
The Sufi Songs or the ones with Sufiana soul or bent have most expressively used this word. In most usages you will find them easily substitutable, beyond the obvious Dyer, GOD, Master and Lover. When you think of it as the GOD or the Master ( Guru ), then it’s the color of spirituality and when it’s the Master (Lover), then it’s the color of love…both the colors permeate through the mind, body, heart and soul …in a very sublime way… and leaves you intoxicated…in that state, that’s the only color left….and leaves both in unison…it’s the ultimate unison…which uplifts you and transports you to a different world…a world which is much more expansive than the one we live in…a state of forgetfulness, beyond the worldly pleasures…a world in complete trance…a world which is boundless… infinite…this intoxication has to be experienced..
I have picked up a total of three compositions, two from earlier writings and one recent Bollywood song, for detailed treatment, which gracefully captures the expressive essence of the word. I have also added the English translations. Though the translation always doesn’t do justice to original writings …nevertheless…
The first is from the writings of Kabir Sahib (Satguru), the 13th century, mystic and saint. I have translated the same…the translation is not literal…but what lines try to convey …

साहिब* हैं रंगरेज , चुनरी मोरी रंग डारी
स्याही रंग छुड़ाए के रे , दियो मजीठा रंग
धोये से छूटे नहीं रे , दिन दिन होत सूरंग
भाव के कुंडी , नेह के जल में , प्रेम रंग दई बोरी 
दुःख देह मैल लुटाये दे रे , खूब रंगी झकझोर 
साहिब ने चुनरी रंगी रे , प्रीतम चतुर सुजान 
सब कुछ उन पर वार दूं रे , तन मन धन और प्राण
कहत कबीर रंगरेज पियारे , मुझ पर हुए दयाल
सीतल चुनरी ओढ़ी के रे , भयी हों मगन निहाल 

*Sahib is generally used for ‘Guru’, as I explained earlier it can also be used for ultimate Lover…
Master has colored my mind, body, heart and soul.
He has removed the existing stains and applied fresh color of love

The beauty of this freshly applied color is that…rather than fading ..with every wash ( each day ) it gets brighter and more lustrous…
In the bucket of feelings, which is filled with water of affection...he has mixed

the color of love… and when I bathe with this water…it has cleansed the dirt of sorrowness…and now I look even more splendid…
Its my Master who has colored me, he is great..I surrender my everthything onto him…even my ‘self’…my own being

Kabir says, the Master, the benevolent, has blessed me.
With his cover of kindness…I feel myself at peace...settled…pure …fullfilled…in a blissful state…
The above composition has been delightfully rendered by Smt Shobha Mudgal Ji and is produced below.

The second one I have chosen is Amir Khusrau’s composition. Khusrau, the 13th century Indian poet, musician, scholar and mystic, has written this for his Master (Guru), Hazrat Nizamuddin Auliya.. As earlier, I make no claims of literal translation…but have kept it crisp…as these compositions have so much ‘bhaav’ in it.

छाप तिलक सब छीनी रे, मोसे नैना मिलाइके 
प्रेम भटटी का मढ़वा पीलाईके, मतवाली कर लीनी रे , मोसे नैना मिलाइके 

गोरी गोरी बहियां, हरी हरी चूड़ियां 
बहिंयां पकड़ धर लीनी रे, मोसे नैना मिलाईके

बल बल जाऊं मै तोरे रंगरजवा
अपनी सी कर लीनी रे, मोसे नैना  मिलाईके

खुसरो  निजाम के बल बल जईए 
मोहे सुहागन कर लीनी रे, मोसे नैना नैना मिलाईके

छाप तिलक सब छीनी रे, मोसे नैना  मिलाईके

A mere glance by you has taken away my ‘self’ ( my looks and my identity )..
I am now intoxicated by drinking the mixture produced by furnace of love and by your mere glance…
Your mere glance has clenched my fair delicate wrists ( which has Green bangles...Green bangles are worn in Saawan ( Spring Season), and is symbolic of season of love..

I totally bow unto you (walk on my knees.) Master….I have merged into you ( got dyed by the dyer )…by your mere glance…I have become your bride ( my soul has become yours spiritually ) by your mere glance..

The no of people who have lent their voice to this composition is astounding. That speaks volumes about it. The one below by Ustad Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan is my favorite.

The most impressive recent usage has been the number 'Rangrej Mere…’ in the film Tanu Weds Manu. The lyrics are by Rajshekhar and the song is composed by Krsna. There are two versions – one sung by Krsna and other by Wadali Brothers. While both are good, the latter is pure and magical.

The song takes the word ‘Rangrej’ to profound heights. It explores the words in all possible forms, shades and hues.

I must confess that though I have been thinking about this blog for some time, but it was this song that pushed me to work on this blog. The translation I am quoting below is also done by Krsna.

ए रंगरेज मेरे, रंगरेज मेरे , एक बात बता रंगरेज मेरे 
ये कौन से पानी में तुने कौन सा रंग घोला है 
के दिल बन गया है सौदाई , और मेरा बसंती चोला है 

O dyer of mine, Dear dyer of mine, Please reveal your secrets divine,
What concotion have you created, Of your colors and godforsaken water
My heart's all blue in love so profound, My cloak's soaked in saffron unbound

अब तुमसे मैं क्या शिकवा करूँ, मैंने ही कहा था जिद कर के,
रंग दे चुनरी पी के रंग में ,पर मुए कपास पे रंग ना रुके रंग इतना गहरा तेरा की जानो जिगर तक भी रंग दे... जिगर रंग दे

How am I to complain of my tale ?
I like stubborn asked you to color my veil,
Oh! Your colors penetrated my fabric, insane
Deep within my heart n soul everything's dyed of your stain
Color my heart away, Oh this feelin'...

रंगरेज तुने अफीम क्या है खा ली,
जो मुझसे तू ये पूछे के कौन सा रंग ?
रंगों का कारोबार है तेरा,
ये तू ही तो जाने, कौन सा रंग 

Dyer, Are you so intoxicated on Opium!
Why ask me, what shade now to come undone !
Color and stains is your business of things
You only know, what should you be coloring

मेरा बालम रंग, मेरा साजन रंग, 
मेरा कातिक रंग, मेरा अघहन रंग, मेरा फागुन रंग, मेरा सावन रंग,
पल पल रंगते रंगते, रंगते मेरे आठों पहर मनभावन रंग
एक बूँद इश्कियां डाल कोई तू , मेरा सातों समंदर जाये रंग

Oh! Your colors penetrated my fabric, insaneMy Beloved hue, My soulmate shade, My spring, My autumn, My Monsoon
You color all my seasons with your palette
A single drop of your love ingredient, Just a single drop of your romantic blend
Colors up my seven seas in a second

मेरी हद् भी रंग, सरहद भी रंग, बेहद रंग दे, अनहद भी रंग दे 
मंदिर मस्जिद मैकद रंग, रंगरेज मेरे रंगरेज मेरे,
रंगरेज मेरे दो घर क्यूँ रहे, एक ही रंग रंग में दोनों घर रंग दे
दोनों रंग दे 

Color me off limits, Color my boundaries, Color me extreme, Color my unceasing infinities
My temple, My mosque, my entire world indeed

Oh Dyer, why must we separated by two different spaces,

Paint just one single shade to both worlds with your embraces,

पल पल रंगते रंगते रंगते रंगते नैहर पीहर का आँगन रंग
पल पल रंगते रंगते रंगते रंगते मेरे आठों पहर मनभावन रंग
नींदे रंग दे करवट भी रंग
ख्वाबों पे पड़े सलवट भी रंग
Paint every moment, The courtyards of my maternal and marital heavens
Drape in one single shade all my 24/7 s
Color my sleep, Color my rolls
Color even the creases of my dreams

ये तू ही है, हैरत रंग दे आ दिल में समा हसरत रंग दे फिर आजा और वसलत रंग दे, आ न सके तो फुरक़त रंग दे दर्दे हिजरा लिए दिल में दर्दे , हिजरा लिए दिल में दर्दे  मैं जिंदा रहूँजिंदा रहूँ, जुर्रत रंग दे 

Color my amazement of you, Come paint the desires of my heart too
Color away our union, and if you can't, forget not to paint our separation,
Even with the pain of being apart, I must live on,
Must live on, Color my dare to carry on,

रंगरेज मेरे, रंगरेज मेरे, तेरा क्या है असल रंग, अब तो ये दिखला दे 
मेरा पिया भी तू, मेरी सेज भी तू, मेरा रंग भी तू, रंगरेज भी तू
मेरी नैया भी तू, मजधार भी, तुझमें डूबूं, तुझमें उभरून,

तेरी हर एक बात सर आखों पे 
मेरा मालिक तू, मेरा साहिब तू, मेरी जान मेरी जान, तेरे हाथों में
मेरा कातिल तू मेरा मुंसिफ तू 
तेरे बिना कुछ सूझे ना, तेरे बिना कुछ सूझे ना,

O dyer of mine, What's your own real color ? Reveal your shine,
Oh you're my lover, my resting ground is you, My color and my colorful dyer too,
My sail, my centre of ocean, I sink in you, I come afloat under your beacon
Your every word is my Supreme given
You are my owner and my dearest friend, My breathing soul is in your able hands,
Oh my murderer, my justice giver
I'm clueless without you foreever,

मेरी राह भी तू मेरा रहबर तू मेरा सरवर तू मेरा अकबर तू
मेरा मशरिक तू मेरा मगरिब तू जाहिद भी मेरा मुर्शिद तू

अब तेरे बिना मैं जाऊं कहाँ ,
तेरे बिना तेरे बिना तेरे बिना 

My journey, My travel mate in sight, My riddance, My genesis, My guiding light,
My lord is you, my disciple too, I found found a sage and divine signs in you
where could I go without you, where could I ever go without you,
Without you, Without you

रंगरेज मेरे, रंगरेज मेरे , एक बात बता रंगरेज मेरे

ये कौन से पानी में तुने कौन सा रंग घोला है
के दिल बन गया है सौदाई , और मेरा बसंती चोला है

As I conclude, I also came across some very recent composition in Peepli Live, where the word has been given a very different treatment. Here it talks about our nation as Rangrej and how it has colored us with its uniqueness. On our 66th Independence Day, this number is a very grim reminder that we have a long way to reach 'Purna Swaraj'.

देस मेरा रंगरेज ये बाबू , घाट घाट यहाँ घटता जादू ..

Thinking of colors also takes to me patriotic numbers  - Rang De Basanti Chola, which I have not dealt with in this post.

I am so enamored by this word, that I just can’t stop thinking about and admiring it. 
Concluding thoughts in my words,

ओ रंगरेज, मुझपे तेरा रंग चढ़ गया है 
जो मैं अब तक था अधुरा, मुझे पूरा कर गया है 

हज़ारों सवालों से तपते हुए इस मन को 
तेरे रंगों से उठती ठंडक से, शीतल कर गया है 

ज़िन्दगी जो अब तक काले और सफ़ेद रंगों में बटी थी 
तेरे इन्द्रधनुषी रंगों से , एक रंगीन सफ़र में बदल गया है 

जो मैं अब तक था अधुरा, मुझे पूरा कर गया है
रंगरेज, मुझपे तेरा रंग चढ़ गया है

Friday, December 30, 2011

We don’t remember days, we remember moments !

We don’t remember days, we remember moments – Pavese, Cesare ( 1908-1950), Italian, Poet, Critic, Novelist and Translator
2011 had many such moments. Beginning of the year, I commented upon start of the new decade bringing new promises along with it. Even though, in general, 2011 was a very tough year, especially people connected with the finance world, I still hold on to my earlier comment.

Each year when we look back and evaluate, we end up looking at our failures, at things which turned out contrary to our expectations or liking. And what that inferno of thought does, is further depresses us, building a kind of negative spiral, which engulfs and ends up strangulating us. Unless one makes a conscious attempt to stay positive, it’s very difficult to remain so given the surrounding ecosystem is so much volatile and uncertain. The coming decade will be a decade with ‘new normal’ - the earlier extreme / tail positions becoming the norm of the day.

So let me sit back, relax and look at the moments which buoyed me up, experiences which brought smile and satisfaction - those beautiful moments. The beauty is that when you start thinking you will suddenly discover many. That’s true with me as well. Starting with elevation at the beginning of the year, opportunity to learn a new line of business ( also helped me forge new relationships and build networks across the globe), Dad’s graceful retirement (July 2011 after 25 years of glittering service with Indian Diamond Institute taking both the industry and IDI to newer heights), a family vacation to US (something I had been dreaming for years), bought a house and more importantly staying in it, Aadi obtained his golf handicap, Nav improved her tennis skills, Anu’s untiring dedication to make it happen for kids – to count a few ! I urge each of you to do the same.

At a national level, countrymen got together to chop off the ugly head of corruption. Whether the movement was successful or not, it did bring out the issue of corruption in the forefront. It did give the confidence that masses which have stayed agnostic so far to the pressing issues can come together for a worthy cause. I personally do not subscribe to certain proposals of Team Anna or believe that a bill can cure all the ills, but to me the whole run-up was a beautiful moment which further strengthened our democratic set up.

Internationally while US and Europe tripped, Arab spring brought out the thirst for democracy.

2012 – the world is not going to end, as Mayans predict. That prediction is only good for the moviemakers. For the rest, it will bring new possibilities. The context is changing so fast, that we need to continually retool ourselves at a faster pace and shorter intervals. And if we keep doing that, we will be in a position of advantage to exploit the opportunities it will throw. Staying 'agile' and 'collaborating' will be the key to staying successful and happy.

One will need to learn to enjoy not only the 'destination' but also the 'journey'. The journey will be full of those ‘moments’.

We all have our time machines. Some take us back and they are called memories. Some take us forward, they are called dreams – Jeremy Iron, British Actor
Let’s take our time machine forward ( or may be fast -forward ) and dream. And work towards translating those dreams. Welcome 2012 !