"One by one, I lost my nation, my religion, my state, my language, my financial status, my whines, my lust, my ego, my dress - my identity," writes Tapan Mozumdar.
Call it coincidence, the rain started with its full might after the audience had, mostly, reached and Snehadeep’s voice had begun casting its web on them. Kafeel had introduced Mirza in his inimitable style with that immortal paragraph by Gulzar Sahib from the tele-series, Sarvottam was tapping at his table with the nimble touches of a maestro, and the sombre sky broke open on the magical terrace of Lahe Lahe. The roar on the metal roof created an illusion of an ocean surrendering its waves, laden with hopes, on the shore. A hundred lamp-lit stage, and darkness elsewhere, created such an apt homage to the maestro.
The ambience stripped me. One by one, I lost my nation, my religion, my state, my language, my financial status, my whines, my lust, my ego, my dress - my identity. Slowly, I was reduced to my bare essentials. My eyes were closed, my ears desperate not to miss a note from Snehadeep or an anecdote from Kafeel. I felt I was reduced to a point.
How I wished it was the point of no return! How I hoped the realm of magic to transcend the delivery of the gifted artistes and get absorbed in my daily life. Maybe then, I would wish less. Maybe a touch of magic would make my sufferings marginal. Maybe the daily can touch the eternal and stay perfumed at the rendezvous, intoxicated it was with the lilting melody of Ghalib’s poetry.
The challenge before Nishu’s production must have been tough. Our generations, and many succeeding ones, see Ghalib in Naseer Saab and hear his poetry in the voice of Jagjit ji. Gulzar Sahab’s narration remains etched till date in our memories. With the trepidation of a powerful nostalgia of a classic presentation, I was worried lest the new team should make the show lighter than it's worth.
It was so pleasant to be proven wrong. Snehadeep’s rendering of the ghazals was remarkable, pure and fresh. Kafeel’s playful narration brought alive the mischievous spirit of the bard, though I would hope that he gets a longer format the next time and weaves the pearls of Ghalib’s songs along the silk of the poet’s colourful yet illustrious life. Sarvottam remains worth his name, the best!
Ghalib, along with Kabir and Tagore, had made my sense for good words and music in my formative years. Out of the three, I think Ghalib’s words are the most personal. I can feel the pulsating nerves of an intelligent and audacious man, far too ahead of his times and deemed to be immortal with his words. Such people often had friction with their times and the people living in it, be it Van Gogh, Bukowski, Amrita Pritam, Manto, Ritwik Ghatak or the enfant terrible of the Urdu poetry, all had their flames lit brighter with such friction. The lights they spread by turning the blood through their veins bleed as tears into spiritual ashes illuminate us till date.
‘The world for me is a meadow where children play
Farce is what happens before, every night and day’
‘In nothing, there was God; if nothing, there would be Him.
Being Me pulverizes; Me not being, what else that’d bring?’
‘A thousand wishes such that each strangles me breathless,
Many desires laid to rest, but many yet to find their place.’
These words of Ghalib have lived with me for a long time. I have found my way humming them to myself when I lose it. Good art makes you Quiver, else it is all sham, so said the other rebel of the words, Bukowski. Today, I realised it, thanks to the young energy of Nishu’s team. Bravo!
The event was organised by Quiver Productions on 6:30, 23rd June, 2018 at Lahe Lahe.
Tapan Mozumdar is a Bengaluru-based writer and storyteller.