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Thursday, February 27, 2014

Musical Miracles

It is a well-known fact that you don't need to be a great singer or dancer to appreciate music. So, as a patron of music I have come to realize that some songs are powerful to the extent that they can touch our spiritual side.

People who have started following my writings might have noticed that after some regular updates to Soulful, I did not write. I should be honest. I am not a writer. I just write because it simply makes me happy. My mind often goes blank as what to write. And once again recently, it went totally blank! I badly wanted to write but couldn’t. Frustration mounts with each passing day. After a week or two of writing drought, my creative side completely goes into coma. So, today while still in the coma phase, I pulled my earplugs and played a new song. I listened to it once, then twice, then again and again and I must say it was doing magic. The fact that this has happened with me for many beautiful songs many times before prompted me to write about it.

Now coming back to this magical song- it’s the latest rendition by our nation's gem- A. R. Rahman. Yes, I am talking about 'Patakha Guddi' from Highway. Should I talk about just this song or Rahman's prowess in spiritual music? We know him to be a great musician. But anyone who has listened to 'Piya Haji Ali' or 'Kun Faya Kun' or 'Arziyan' or 'O Paalan Hare' will realize how mystical this gifted guy is. These songs are enchanting. You must be thinking what is so special about it. Everybody knows Rahman is a good composer. After all, he composed 'Jai Ho' or 'Tu Hi Re' or 'Sasural Genda Phool'. Here is the catch. An average person in his everyday life has no time to be spiritual. Many of us may follow our religious customary prayers in our busy routines but how many of us actually stop, meditate and try to connect to our own souls. But almost everyone is connected to Bollywood. We don’t listen to likes of Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan or a M.S. Subbulakshmi unless they compose or appear in a Bollywood song. 

For such a wayward life, songs like 'Arziyaan' are a whiff of pleasant breeze. These are ageless compositions which grow on your senses with time. They say with great power comes greater responsibilities. If talent can be believed as a power then Mr. Rahman is doing a great job. Especially, for people like me who believe in a divinity but refuse to follow blind rituals to appease it, these songs provide a way to communicate with it. So, whenever you get confused, or sad or angry or frightened instead of rushing to your religious abode to find solace, just for once sit in complete silence and play these songs and listen intently. I bet you will be at peace and feel soulfully elated. 

You can begin here: Soulful @ Saavn

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Bitter Sweet Life

 A very hectic week with changing weather, illness, maid gone! But this post is not to infer that I am a super Mom or how Mommyness is a divine experience. I am trying to take the challenges and the rewards of motherhood just like any other experience in life.

But yes, this is about the simple lessons of life I have learned from two very simple people in my life- my young daughter and the other is my maid. Manju (name changed), my maid, has returned to her village. I am not sure whether she'll be back or not. But I miss her. Not only because she is very good at her work but also because she is a very strong woman whom I admired a lot.

Manju was working at my home since the beginning of my pregnancy. For me she was just another maid until the arrival of my daughter. Pihu, while growing up, started noticing her without any prejudice. The little one would try to win her attention as she would be busy finishing her household chore. To my amazement, one day Pihu forced herself on her lap. The innocent baby would not differentiate between people. But Manju would hesitate in holding her in my presence. However, I could see how it aroused her motherly feelings towards Pihu. After all, she was a mother of five children. Manju who would not talk much to anyone of us, started smiling and playing with her. Slowly an unspoken bond formed between me and her as I realized how similar women are as mother irrespective of status, region or language. 

She had issues with other households where she worked as she would not like when anyone scold her or treat her badly. She quit a house because of that. She had self-esteem. I appreciated that and became very careful not to hurt her feelings that way. We hired her full-time as she was very sincere in her work and Pihu loved her. That solved her problems as well as ours as I started working. She was very warm with Pihu and the elders. She would never take leave without informing us and so I would gladly manage in her absence. 

But as fate would have it, few months ago she told us about an unfortunate episode in her family. I should not divulge the details as it is her personal matter. We were very concerned for her. In her time of distress also, she would come to work as if nothing has happened. No one would have been aware of her misfortune, until someone had noticed her silent tears. It made us realize how we crib about petty issues when people like her are bravely fronting the real challenges out there. 

We helped her in our best possible ways. Her family decided to return back to their village. She told me about their plans and I agreed that it will be best for her children. She was feeling bad that she is leaving me without any notice period but how could I complain about not getting a maid for my household chores when her whole life is suddenly upside down. I smiled and said, ‘don't worry’. She replied, "Insaan hi to insaan ko samjhega!" (To empathize is human!). May God bless her and her family!