Hope Springs Eternal !

Silent loudmouth is back to blogging after a gap of more than a year. Many have represented in their blogs, that as an exercise, it can be but narcissistic, and so be it, if there be no other view.  All literary output is a manner of engaging with oneself, as well as with others.

Soliloquy, as it’s termed, may well be cathartic. In the Madhur Bhandarkar movie Fashion, which has a very endearing moral, in that in the all-encompassing pursuit of the high point of being the show-stopper, ( Meghna, played by Priyanka Chopra ) one must well try to carry along with him or her, and provide every human consideration, to those who have fallen by the wayside, in their pursuit of success ( Shonali, played by Kangna Ranaut ) . Beauty may well be only skin-deep, and the business of beauty, like representing commercial products, in this case, Panache,  calls for more thick a skin of homo sapiens than that of any hippopotamus, but there’s plenty of room for the human element, as Bhandarkar concludes towards the end. The songs and lyrics, always an embellishment that can captivate the audience than mere verbalisation, like Kuch khaas hai, kuchi paas hai, and Aashiyana, and then Mar jawa, terey ishq pey, seem largely in the domain of soliloquy.

But there is brief one-liner soliloquy in the movie – Bhandarkar has Meghna coming down the elevator, after she is no longer the successful show-stopper, where she observes, ” It’s funny, but true, that one gets to meet the same people as one falls from power and success, that one met during the heady days when one climbed the same ladder “. Touche !

Priyanka Chopra

Kangna Ranaut


Madhur Bhandarkar

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That kind of one-liner soliloquy is about the maximum one can go by in the fast paced life of the 21st century. The giant who really made this genre, a style of it’s own, as far as English is concerned,  is by far the Bard of Avon, Shakespeare, with long-winding, even rambling, stuff in most of his plays, as well as incomparable lines like ” Now is the winter of my discontent ” …” To Be or Not to Be ” ….” ’tis madness, but there is method in it “, and so on, that do not pall with time, even if it saw print close to four centuries ago. One suspects that the Bard made a valiant attempt with his Sonnets, seven-line stanzas of love,  observing once how vain his tries are in this, when even an ordinary mirror does greater justice to the lady, than whatever he could ever write, and gave up in favour of the soliloquy.

Nor is such soliloquy exclusive to English.  In Urdu, the incomparable Mirza Ghalib:

Na tha kuch to khuda tha, kuch na hota to, khuda hota

duboya mujh ko hone ne, na hota mai to kya hota

hua jab gham se yoo behis, to gham kya sar ke kat ne ka

na hota gar juda tan se, to zaano par dhada hota

huyee muddat ke ghalib mar gaya par yaad aata hai

which translates into English largely as:

When nothing was, Almighty was, If no thing were, Almighty would have been

Becoming has drowned me, Had I not been, then what would be

When, as it is became lifeless like this by the suffering

Then what of the pain at the head’s being cut off

More of Ghalib:

Dil hi to hai na sang-o-khisht dard se bhar na aae kyun
Roenge hum hazar baar koi humen sataae kyun

[My heart is not made of stones(sang) or bricks(khisht), it is full of emotions, it is sensitive…
Then why should i not be crying, if it suffers any pains
You do things,  utter words thinking that my heart is of stone and they wont make any difference …Thats not done, even i have a heart heavy with sentiment and emotion, and i do feel pain
I will cry, …. i am a human and will express my emotion whenever need be, whenever they get stimulated]

Dair nahin haram nahin dar nahin aastaan nahin
Baithe hain rahguzar pe hum gair humen uthaae kyun

[I have nowhere to go…
no temple(dair), no mosque(haram), no gate(dar), no doorstep(aastaan) to go to
I am all lost, i am all alone…. I have no one to support me, no home to retort to, not even God to go to
I am sitting on the road.. everyone  passing by me…
Someone pities me and helps me get up… and u complain why i took the help of a stranger….
You object to me taking help from a stranger…
When i have no one (taunt that even u r not mine) if i get any help that has got to be from a stranger
So dont complain, i am a human and i need support, and when i have noone to go to, to place to call mine, no God supporting me, then the help of a stranger is most welcome…]

Haan wo nahin khudaparast, jaao wo bewafa sahi
Jisko ho deen-o-dil aziz, uski gali mein jaae kyun

[Fine that person is not a follower of God(Khudaparast), and he is a bewafa….
What difference does it make…
Such a person is actually better
He is better than the person who gives priority to religion(deen)
He does not falter with emotions(dil)
A person who does not follow god and/or who is bewafa is better than a person who is too much stuck with (in the love of – deen-o-dil jisko azia hain) religion and emotions…]

Qaid-e-hayat-o-band-e-gham asl mein donon ek hain
Maut se pehale aadmi gham se nijaat paae kyun

[Qaid-e-hayat means The prison of life
Band-o-gham means the chains of pains and sorrow
They are actually one and the same thing
If u r living u r bound to be in pains
You gotta be surrounded by sorrows
Something like – dil hai to phir dard hoga, dard hai to dil hi hoga
Zindagi hai to gham honge, gham hain to zindagi hogi
Zindagi ke qaid se azaadi maut ke baad hi mil sakti hai, aur ghamon se chutkaara bhi maut ke baaad hi mil sakta hai]

‘Ghalib’-e-khasta ke bagair kaun se kaam band hain
Roiye zaar-zaar kya, kijiye haae-haae kyun

[Ghalib is a poor / wretched / downtrodden / unfortunate character (Ghalib-e-khasta)
The world will not stop for him
His absence doesn’t make any difference to anyone
He is all but a useless person, whose presence or absence does not affect the world a bit..
So why cry {haae haae karna / zaar-zaar (phoot phhot ke) rona} for him….
There is no need to do so, he is simply not worth it….]

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The Bard of Bengal, Rabindranath Tagore,  now the legacy of the Bengali diaspora spread across the globe, legitimately claiming their antecedents to two nations :

Bengali
jadi tor daak shune keu naa aashe tabe ekla chalo re
tabe ekla chalo, ekla chalo, ekla chalo, ekala chalo re

jadi keu kathaa naa kaya, ore ore o abhaagaa,
jadi sabaai thaake mukha phiraaye sabaai kare bhaya
tabe paraana khule o tui mukha phute tora manera kathaa, ekalaa balo re

Translation:

If they answer not to thy call walk alone,
If they are afraid and cower mutely facing the wall,

O thou of evil luck,
open thy mind and speak out alone.

If they turn away, and desert you when crossing the wilderness,
O thou of evil luck,
trample the thorns under thy tread,
and along the blood-lined track travel alone.

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Now this is credited to Shehanshah Bahadur Shah Zafar, popularly known as the ” Last Mughal “, who is said to have given this literary gem, before being incarcerated in Rangoon:

Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon Na kisi ke dil ka qaraar hoon Jo kisi ke kaam na aa sake Main voh ek musht-e-ghobaar hoon Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon Mera rang roop bigad gaya Mera yaar mujhse bichhad gaya Jo chaman fizaa mein ujad gaya Main ussi ki fasle bahaar hoon Na kisi ki aankh ka noor hoon

not the light of any one’s eyes,nor the solace for any one’s heart

of no use to anyone,I am that one fistful of dust

I am not the song infusing life,why would anyone want to hear me

I am neither anyone’s friend,nor am I anyone’s rival

the one that is ruined, I am that fate, the one that is destroyed, that land

I am the sound of separation,I am the wail of much distress

my complexion and beauty is ravaged,my beloved is parted from me

the garden that got ruined in autumn, I am the crop of its spring

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Late last year, in the US of A, the numero uno rock legend of all time, went unrecognised – virtually a Prophet in his hometown – in New Jersey. His lyrics have been ranked top of all rock music, ever…..” Like a Rolling Stone “. Better the US pass on his legacy to all countries but their own, – as a friend told me recently, human memory is very short in the US – the Land of the Free and the Home of the Brave ! More precisely, his legacy should move to Shillong, where he is not just revered as a cult figure, but could move the entire town with a monosyllable from between his lips.

Bob Dylan:

How does it feel
To be without a home
Like a complete unknown
Like a rolling stone ?

 

You’ve gone to the finest school all right, Miss Lonely
But you know you only used to get juiced in it
And nobody has ever taught you how to live on the street
And now you find out you’re gonna have to get used to it
You said you’d never compromise
With the mystery tramp, but now you realize
He’s not selling any alibis
As you stare into the vacuum of his eyes
And say, do you want to make a deal?

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So did Jawaharlal, always the poet-politician, have his Robert Frost …The woods are lovely, dark and deep, but I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep ” ,

and the Mahatma, his Hound of Heaven … of Francis Thompson:

I fled Him down the nights and down the days
I fled Him down the arches of the years
I fled Him down the labyrinthine ways
Of my own mind, and in the midst of tears “

And now for the icing on the Cake. Has to go to Omar Khayyam. Err, dunno if you get the impression, you read this here verse, and wonder if he is musing on the futility of this whole here exercise in blogging, centuries ago:

The moving finger writes, and having writ, Moves On,

Nor all thy piety nor wit, shall lure it back to cancel half a line,

Nor all thy Tears, wash out a Word of it ……

Well, dear Reader, Muse, but Judge Not….

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