Monday, June 12, 2017

Songs of Life


I watched a film called "Meri Pyaari Bindu" last month. It is a rom-com and a badly made one. But there was a concept in the film, which stayed back in my mind. The lead couple has a playlist of certain songs which define their relationship. These are not necessarily good songs, or even their favorites. But songs that trigger memories. I had written about instances or memories that define strong relationships in this post. I felt like revisiting the theme, but from the perspective of songs.

So here is a list of songs (not in a chronological order) and the memories they bring alive even today. They are not necessarily great songs. But definitely associated with strong memories. 

Kullu & Manali Trips

Summer vacations were always fun. I used to love even the holidays' homework that came along with them. Making charts and scrapbooks was more a pain for my mother, rather than for me. I remember this particular stretch of three years, when my father took us all to Kullu & Manali for few days. Yes! same holiday destination, every year for three years. Of course, each time the group we went along with, was different. And each time we discovered something new. 

On one of these trips, I listened to the songs of film Mohra on loop in our car. And sang along loudly as well. The songs were risqué and had double meaning lyrics. But at that time, I didn't understand all that. Whenever I listen to these songs even today, the memories of those Kullu Manali trips, come gushing back. So here is the most played song of the album and most probably your favorite too, if you have grown up in that decade. Tu Cheez Badi Hai Mast Mast!!!


Cable TV

Do you remember the days, when you had to wait for Wednesdays or Sundays to watch your favorite film songs on Doordarshan? Rangoli and Chitrahaar must be getting all the TV ratings in those days. With advent of cable TV, all that changed for ever. Songs were now available on tap. There were umpteen countdown shows. And one song ruled the charts for many many months, in nascent years of cable TV. This song was part of a film (Hum Aapke Hain Kaun) that brought families back to cinema halls. So while this song has several associations for me, the strongest one is 24 X 7 TV channels. Go ahead and listen to Didi Tera Devar Deewana...


Antakshari

Antakshari is a game played in Indian subcontinent. The word itself is concatenation of two Hindi words - Ant (End) and Akshar (Letter). It is a game where people / teams have to sing songs starting with last letter of the song or verse sung by previous person / team. I am sure you have several memories of those school trips, college excursions, parties, family functions etc. where you played this game. Some people like me, sing really cheesy songs like "Bharo Maang Meri Bharo"or "Ki Ki Ki Mohabbat Ki Ki" which people remember for their sheer stupidity. But this one Antakshari changed the way Antakshari was played for ever. The moment some one sings the song "Aaja Aayi Baahar, " inadvertently you would guess the next set of songs till you reach "Kaate Nahi Kat te yeh din yeh raat". Watch this Antakshari to know why 😼 from the film 'Maine Pyar Kiya'.

My break-up song

It is the song associated with one of the saddest phases of my life. My girlfriend at that time, left India for ever, to settle in a cooler country. I was so much in love with her, that I listened to sad songs whole day long, and kept thinking about her. I didn't want to get distracted. I wanted to wallow in the pain caused by this heart break and her memories. And then this song came along (Mitran di Chatri By Babbu Maan). The lyrics felt so apt at that point of time. The song literally talked about a girl going abroad. Irony. Listen to my heartbreak song. In hindsight, it sounds funny. And I found love again. Many times over. 


Wife & Me

We were seeing each other for a year, before we got married. And I still clearly remember the first film we watched together - 'Welcome.' It was December of 2007. It is one of the funniest films we have seen together. It was an exciting date. We laughed a lot that day. And there was this one particular song in the film which my wife took a fancy to. I am not sure what she liked in it, the video, or the lyrics, or the fact that my wife is as tall as me. She looks even taller when she wears heels. The song alluded to the height of the girl. There is a sense of mischief in the song. So every time, I listen to this song, I think of my wife and that first film we watched together. 




There are several other songs and several related memories. Do you have a playlist too?

Monday, May 15, 2017

Self Respect

People have agendas and motives. There is no doubt about that. I have one. And you have one. But having an agenda isn't such a bad thing after all. A relationship - of any kind - must have an agenda. That will keep it exciting for both people involved in it. 

In fact, both entities in a relationship should have a motive to stay invested in the relationship. A relationship, where only one person has a goal to achieve, will eventually die down. It is not sustainable. And before you jump to any conclusion, let me also clarify what I mean by an agenda / motive here. It is not about some selfish need only. 

The motive could be as simple as, putting a smile on your partner's face. Every time. Every day. Simple. Yet profound. 

Also I am not only talking about personal relationships. The motive could be reading different books and sharing your knowledge with each other. Imagine, if only one person reads books and other doesn't. Eventually, that relationship will wither away.

So the problem is not that people have agendas. Problem is when people are not transparent about their motives. Problem is when people are in a relationship only to fulfill their motives with no intention to help fulfill the motives of 'the Other' in the same relationship. Such people are vicious and if you have to maintain your self respect, you should end that relationship at the earliest. I am no expert in relationships neither I am a philosopher to tell you what are the signs which will help you identify such people. 

Also, sometimes, you could be at fault in not understanding the other person or his / her motives. That shouldn't be a reason to end the relationship. You should be fully sure, that you have made all efforts to unearth the agenda of 'the Other' and you have given 'the Other' also full chance to understand yours. People are complex but motives are generally simple. So talk, discuss, ask questions. Do everything which will help understand each other better. But define a point in your mind, after which you will know whether it is working or not. 

Recently, I left a job. I moved cities. My equation with few people changed. I was no longer a colleague to someone. I was no longer a boss to someone. I was no longer physically close to some one else. It is a kind of hot cauldron situation in relationships. People who were associated with you for a motive which was purely work related, will drift away. There is no point holding on to that relationship. It also helped me identify those people, whose motives were earlier not clear to me. Maintaining a relationship with them felt tiring. And stressful. All of a sudden people will not get your jokes or they will have an excuse to explain their changed behavior. Let them be. That will help you maintain your sanity and self respect. You can not let your self worth be decided by those people, who never had the integrity which any relationship should have. 

I moved from a city, I loved, after 12 years. I changed a job after 10 years. And change brings with it pain. It brings with it a sense of reflection of past. This change isn't going to be as simple as changing a job or a city. This will bring with it demise of some friendships, which I valued. Simply because, I stopped serving a purpose for 'the Other' now. It is time to re-calibrate and move on, rather than holding on to someone for whom you are no longer useful. 

Change also brings with it freshness, new people and new opportunities. Focus on that. If a relationship makes you feel tired, let it go. 

On a lighter note, there are few things which are always reassuring. People who bonded with you over drinks and alcohol are very transparent about their agendas. Either their agenda to be with you is drinking, which is really a good thing. As it is highly sustainable till the time either of you damage your liver permanently. Or their agenda is obvious due to drinking. So you can always count on such friends. 

You can also count on those relationships, where swear words and profanities are used without inhibitions. You both have gone through pressure situations together in past and survived. 

So if you want to stay happy and maintain your self respect in this world full of turncoats, pick up a drink and shout Cheers Bhenc**d!!!

# for non Indian readers - Bhenc**d ~ Sisterf****r


Sunday, April 30, 2017

Z : Zebra / Jebra

My mother-in-law pronounces Z / Za as J / Ja. I always have fun with this fact, at her expense of course. When she comes to our place, I often ask her, what would she like to eat. And I wait for her to say Pijja (Pizza), for cheap laughs. Now she knows my routine, so she doesn't respond. She is one spoil sport.

In fact, every time I see a Zebra Crossing, I ask her to tell me what it is. Some times she obliges me, by blurting out Jebra crossing and I laugh out loud. But over the years, she has become conscious and thus Zindagi became Jeevan (Life) and Pizza became pata nahi (I don't know). My wife thinks I deliberately needle her. But she doesn't know, that such linguistic jokes have always been source of cheap laughs for me. I remember the time, when my younger brother had to write an essay on "My Mother" in school. In that essay, he was supposed to write one line that went like, "My mother runs the house very wisely" . Instead he wrote, "My mother runs in the house very wisely." For many years, I kept pulling his leg for this hilarious error. 

My own writing isn't that great. And when I read my old posts and mails, I cringe at the mistakes I had made. 

Coming back to my mother-in-law's pronunciation issue, let me give one clarification here. If a person, in India, has not learned Urdu or English, they will pronounce Z / Za as J / Ja. Because in Sanskrit and Hindi there is no letter Z / Za. 

Therefore I promise to my wife through this post today, that I will not crack jokes on her mother's pronunciation anymore. But that doesn't mean I will score her high on cooking. You can't have it all. Haha.