Sunday, May 25, 2008

Musings - Spa for Mind and Soul

This week while Anu and kids were away in Surat, I got some time to visit my old love. Obviously I am talking about Classical and Sufi renditions and other Urdu and Punjabi ( more Sufiyana ) poetry which is sublime and sensuous to your soul. Its like Spa to destress the soul and soothe it.

This led me to various new blogs which have cropped up. Couple of them very neatly presented and arranged. One feels happy that the new generation is still interested and in some way connected. How long will it continue who knows ?

Anyway for this post, I want to concentrate on one person who has left an indelible imprint on me - Amrita Pritam ( and her connection with Waris Shah).

Amrita Pritam - What a towering name in Punjabi Literature on both sides ( India and Pakistan ). This beautiful face changed the face of Punjabi literature with her revolutionary thinking and writings. She defied the traditional image of women. The fertile soil of the land of five rivers provided the richness to her genious mind to bloom. Born in undivided Punjab, the carnage partition brought about left her devastated. Its during these days, she wrote - Ajj Aakhaan Waris Shah Nu ( Ode to Waris Shah ), arguably her most famous piece. So heart rending is this masterpiece, that it will leave you speechless and tears will flow naturally. I am producing couple of lines below ( since I am using google hindi converter, some words may appear distorted - please see the essence).
आज आखां वारिस शाह नु, कीटों कबरां विच्चों बोल,
ते आज किताब-ए इश्क दा, कोई अगला वर्का फोल
इक रोई सी धी पंजाब दी, तूं लिख लिख मारे वां,

आज लखां धेआं रोन्दिआन्, तैनूं वारिस शाह नून कहें
English Transalation
I call out to Waris Shah today, to speak out from the grave. And open another leaf from the book of love. When one daughter of Punjab had wept, you wrote a million dirges. Today a million daughters are weeping and they are looking up to you, Waris Shah, for solace.
That her pen captured the depth of pain so effectively, tell us that she fathomed the depth of trauma herself and had felt the sorrow of fellow citizens. Many singers have lent their voice to this masterpiece. I have heard the one from Wadali Brothers - the one they sung for the celluloid version - its supremely beautiful. Even I have recorded one in my voice and I feel proud of that.

She was at her best in 'Pinjar' ( Skeleton ). A novel, later a film ( by Chandra Prakash Dwivedi ) , of Pooro ( a Hindu Girl - enacted by Urmila Matondkar in film ) and Rashid ( A Muslim Boy - enacted by Manoj Bajpai ). Its about sufferings, the girl Pooro, goes thru due to her abduction, shunned by her own parents, and then the partition, which takes her to the other side. Rashid who gets caught in this, due to acts of his chauvinistic parents, later, together with Pooro, helps out in saving other Hindu girls from Muslim abductors. Post this, she accepts Rashid, for so long her body which was skeletal, gets flesh. A must read novel and must see film. Its thru these works that one can feel the trauma, lacs of people went thru during partition.

She wrote more than 100 pieces ( together with Novel, poems etc. ). Padma Shree, Padma Vibhushan, Jnanpith Award, Sahitya Academy Award etc. came along as she travelled her literary journey.

Just capturing the high points of her biography, as this space is insufficient to talk about this queen of Punjabi Literature.

The literary giant left for heavenly abode on 31st Oct 2005. A casual search on the net, shows glowing tributes and obituaries, from all over the world, every media, which confirms that she belonged to the world and not just India. I pay my respects to her with my rendition her 'Aaj Aakhan Waris Shah Nu'.

Click the link below to hear the streaming audio

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Do What you think is right ?

I am not a frequent blogger, but I always wanted to be. Need to build some discipline around it. So what brought me back. In early days, had posted a one line blog titled 'Do What is Right'. For very long I didnt find anyone practicing this. However couple of things happened in quick succession and here I am.

The CEO of the company I offer my services for, GE Capital Services India, Mr Vicky Bindra did two things which brought cheers to my heart. We were debating introduction of two new products. I wouldn't name them as they are company classified. Many arguments were being put in favour and against both. He came back thundering that it doesn't really matter which is tough to implement or what RHQ or HQ thinks, whether its acceptable to them or not - but think 'what is right for the company'. Align your thoughts accordingly without any bias of easiness to implement. For a min there was a deafning silence. Something like this had fell on ears after a very long time. It had the desired effect.

Was this one off incidence...and I was very delighted to be proven wrong on this. We were deciding about a candidate, who had sent in his acceptance to our offer, albeit a bit late. We had certain constraints around hiring. We could have technically said no to him ...but again Vicky put in a question for the team..... do what is right....not willing to tread path of technicalities, escape and look good to RHQ.

It was very heartening to demonstrate within our spheres with full integrity to do what is right.

On the fictional side, I happened to see 'Shaurya' *ing Rahul Bose, KK, Javed Jafferey and Minissa Lamba which had similar overtones. I loved it. Two close friends pitted against each other as prosecution and defence attorneys. One of them was deeply indebted to other for various favours he frequently asked for. He landed in a situation where he could stay quiet and helped the other, which is what his friend wanted. He chose not to. He did what was his duty, what was right. Best part is without truly jeopardising the friendship.

I also liked this movie as I have been in similar situation in my professional life where I have been on the sales side whereas my very close buddy was my risk counterpart. Without compromising, we did what was right, in the process ending up fighting on deals...but the friendship was intact...infact the bond was firmer and foundation grew stronger.

May be its more a coincidence. I also happened to buy DVD of 'Halla Bol'. Halla Bol is a street cry, used by street theatre artists to convey issues of importance - socially relevant, current happenings, malaise in public life, issues threatning the national fabric etc at times requiring mass consciousness by creating awareness amongst them. Off late people have responded leading to a public movement, most recent being the Jessica Lall murder. Here again the protagonist, who temporarily strays, comes back to the path of righteousness, given his strong roots and upbringing on the principle of 'do what is right'. Obviously the path was shown by his Guru.

Its tough, its painful, its full of thorns but its immensely satisfying to the soul. I really believe that we do have'Raja Harishchandra's' amongst us. We are answerable to Supreme power and more than that we are answerable to ourselves. For sake of that " Do What is Right".