Monday, August 24, 2009
Haunting Tagore...enchanting songs
Paint and brush on paper, 10/04/09
I always get shocked how for every special emotion or awe there is always a rabindrasangeet that speaks the best. Just when you are confused trying to gather the exact words that suit it the best, unconsciously you will start humming a line and yes that’s what exactly you mean. I often feel I am being haunted. The old man with white beard and hair with a black long dress moves about all around me. And just when you are too surprised, lost, happy or sad and too dumbstruck to utter a word, he stands quietly in some corner and moves his wrinkled hand to spell out the magic verse…and well that is it, after that the day is not in your hand. The magician takes over.
He makes me pack my bags and call it a day, the reason being celebrating my emotion… I am alive for that in fact! And as the music is being played and you sing out with it enacting with every possible gesture or sit as quiet as a rock, you could feel, that was the moment, to live which you were made. That was the orgasm of your entire being and conscience. Those exact words with that exact tune were all that you needed since the time you took the first breath.
I grew up in a Rabindranath-haunted environment where seeing my father’s eyes swelled with tears and drip down with these tunes was something I resonated with without ever questioning. He made us a vagabond questioning again and again the worth of life and he saved us again with his mystical answers and brought us back to track. If I am told he was a poet who died much earlier even before I was born and a person I never met, I would actually be surprised. How can such a distant person know me so closely and well, that he steals my awes to frame the exact words I would otherwise speak out any moment?
In so many confused conversations I overheard, ‘You Bengalis have one Rabindranath…and you put him everywhere.’ I smile and think, ‘I wish you knew why.’ I am told so many times, ‘It puts me off to sleep’. I smile and think, ‘Must be the yog-nidra then.’ ‘Well, the tune needs to be changed to suit modernity’--And I can’t help a laughter. I laugh so much in my mind hearing this that sometimes I get choked in my heart.
There had been sleepless nights I lived with these tunes. It carried me to the space and universe, it triggered a conversation with God. I met Him, sat by Him, looked at Him and was lost. “Anonto ei deshokaale, agonno ei diptoloke, tumi achho more chahi, ami chahi toma paane…” What could more appropriately express?
I remember reading in Shesher kavita, a novel by Tagore where the hero, Amit is against Tagore himself and says, ‘As long as old poets like him keep holding poetry…what role would youngsters play…’. And I feel the reason why he is still holding the scepter is because he has done the absolute. He has managed to transform the inexpressible-emotional-state into the word-state with the least dissipation of energy during the transformation.
Through rabindrasangeet I lived the Monsoon, I flew up to the dark clouds and heard its thunder, I lived the Spring, singing in the swing made with flowers, I traveled the forest, dived in sea, explored the planets and lived in stars. I walked the land of something to the space of nothingness.
When I was too young I called him to guide me in my meditations. Disturbed, I walked towards him as he sat meditating in a silent mountain. His eyes so wide and closed, his beard and hair swayed recklessly in the wind. He then slowly opened his eyes and I sat at his feet. He and I together then traveled, in the world of mystery and poems, metaphors and similes…where the blue lotus attracts all beings, where the dark skinned woman calls silently for death, where the golden dear beckons and we run and where the boat of life again and again sails.
I have now grown up a little and visit him less but a ghost once called doesn’t go with ease. As, I work, get busy, imprison spirituality in the shelves with books and live life ignoring all that I ever read, he stands on my way some days, makes me put my work aside on a rainy day or forces me to listen to him again and again withdrawing my senses from reality. I lose my time to work and complain, I suffer later for the waste of time and regret but he drags me away for a lazy walk to his ‘path of red clay’ to a land far far away..."Doore kothae doore doore, je poth shokol desh paraye, udash hoye jae haraye, je poth beye kangal poran jete chae kon ochin poore…doore kothae, doore doore………..