A couple of days ago, I posted something titled Of Mice and Men (scroll down a little to read that in case you haven't). In that I presented an imaginary situation where I am seeking to, well, make love on the first night to a wife who happens to be a bookworm. People who left comments said they had a good laugh when they read my stuff, though one of them said I was stretching my imagination a bit too far.
To be honest, I was neither laughing nor did I have the intention of making people laugh when I wrote the piece. For me, the scenario of a husband making love to a wife who is totally immersed in her book, even at the time of the sexual act, can be very real life. I have seen at least one marriage break down because of the woman's love for books (a man professing his love for books at the wrong moment can be equally disastrous). This woman, a former colleague now, stacked up books even in her wardrobe. And once she had started reading a book, it was amost impossible to draw her attention away. Her husband put up with her for two years before deciding to file for divorce.
Today, another kind of indulgence came to light. A friend's friend, who happened to read this blog, confessed about being guilty of doing something similar. She confided to my friend: "I am not a bookworm, but you can call me a sleepworm." Her story: when her husband makes love to her, she dozes off occasionally. The husband panics, thinking she has passed out. He pats her cheek to make sure she is fine: she is fine enough, only that she is too tired and has fallen asleep.
While my friend was narrating the story, I imagined this scenario about her friend:
He (while still at it): Tum so gayi kya? (Did you fall asleep?)
She (waking up): Tum aa gaye kya? (Did you come?)
And they both go to sleep happily ever after. I mean they both go to sleep happily after that.
Anyway, enough scenarios about sex. I think one should just let people be. Only that I don't want my would-be wife to be a bookworm or a sleepworm. With that thought, I would like to sign off for a few days. I am going away to recharge my batteries. The persistent rains in Chennai have completely drained me out: I have never felt gloomier. The sole source of warmth during the wet season was this small family of bloggers I have out here. Thanks, all of you, for your kindness.
I do not know if any of you is going to miss me while I am away. But for those who are nice enough to spare a thought for me, I am going to leave behind a few thoughts about R D Burman, also known as Pancham. Pancham, as those who love him know, was not just a composer but is a way of life. There are people whose evenings are incomplete without Pancham, and people whose days are made because of Pancham.
Pancham never disappoints. For the day when it is raining, he has Rimjhim Gire Saawan, Sulag Sulag Jaye Man. For a romantic night, he has Aapki Aankhon Mein Kuchh Mehke Hue Se Raaz Hain. For teenagers, he has Khullam Khulla Pyaar Karenge Hum Dono. He has something for everyone. There are exceptions, of course -- people who think Pancham copied from the West. But these are people who are never into Hindi music in any case, and who set out with the notion that Hindi music is inferior to what those guys make in the West.
Well, Pancham did lift some of his songs from the West, but at least he gave those lifts an Indian ambience, an Indian touch -- no mean feat. In any case, Pancham is not remembered today because of those few songs inspired by or copied from the West. He is worshipped today because of the manner he blended the soul of the West with that of the East, blended tradition with technology, blended classical with the contemporary. A copycat dies a quick death, but Pancham, even 11 years after his death, remains the most popular music director of the country. He still sells more than anyone else. Ask your nearest Music World outlet and they will tell you.
Pancham, the human being, will be remembered soon, on January 4 -- his eleventh death anniversary. For a few years, year after after, I wrote a tribute every January 4-eve, more as an exercise to justify my admiration for him. Now I no longer feel the need to justify: the world seems to be agreeing with me. But nothing prevents me from reproducing what I last wrote about him -- just to celebrate that justification on the eve of the death anniversay. This is what I wrote in January 2003.