Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Poetry, Thy Name Is Woman

Perceptions. Tastes. Sensibilities. Beliefs. How they change with time. At least in my case they have. When I now think of the days when I was, say, twenty-five, I cringe with embarrassment.

When I was twenty-five, I believed one should marry only a virgin; considered it my birthright to know all about the past lovers of my lovers; was happy wearing Titan watches; drank only rum; always wore formals to work; hero-worshipped Khushwant Singh and envied Shobhaa De; disliked Bengali women; and hated the singer Bhupinder Singh.

But Exposure and Introspection are two angels who hold your hands and lead you out of the darkened cell where society had condemned you to live. Under the sun, you see things in a different light, besides seeing new things.

Take Bhupinder Singh, for example. The ghazal singer started his career in the film industry as a guitarist for the music director Madan Mohan (Bhupinder played the guitar in Tum jo mil gaye ho from Hanste Zakhm, the famous car-drive-in-rain song featuring Navin Nischol). He also sang small bits for Madan Mohan and S.D. Burman before he became a guitarist for R.D. Burman, who gave Bhupinder his first real break as a singer in Gulzar's Parichay, in which he sang the immortal Beeti na bitaaye raina.

Somehow, I could never bring myself to liking Bhupinder Singh. To me, he was a singer who suffered from a perpetual nasal block. I often felt like holding out a handkerchief to him: "Please blow your nose, you will sound better." And being a fan of Kishore Kumar, who threw his voice straight out of his lungs into the microphone, there was no way I could like Bhupinder. I pitied his fans -- including my father, who loved the song, Do deewane sheher mein.


That was then. Today, readers of Ganga Mail know what a great fan of Bhupinder I am. If there is ever a fire at home and I am allowed to save only 10 songs, the top two would be Bhupinder's: Raat banoon main and Aawaz di hai. Kishore Kumar's songs I can find anywhere, but these are two songs I had to work really hard to trace. They have entered my bloodstream and I simply cannot do without them.

So what brought about the change of heart? How did a singer, who I thought always suffered from a bad cold, come to possess a voice that I now think is silky and lilting? The answer lies in the song you see at the bottom of this post. The song, written by Gulzar and set to tune by R.D. Burman, changed forever the way I listened to Bhupinder Singh. Only Gulzar can write poetry that can detect sensuality in the commonest of things; and only R.D. could have whipped such static verses into a song.

And today, fifteen years after I first heard this song, it has also changed the way I look at women.

Women are the most wonderful thing to have happened to mankind -- we all know that. From time to time, poems have been written about the depth of their eyes, the lusciousness of their lips, the fulness of their breasts, the curves of their hips, the warmth in between their thighs, and so on. But are they really poetry or just lessons in anatomy?

The woman deserves greater tribute. How closely have you observed her when she:

Wakes up in the morning;

Makes you breakfast;

Comes out of bath, her face glowing and hair wet;

Pulls out a set a set of clothes from the wardrobe to decide what to wear for work;

Turns to you for advice when she can't decide what to wear;

Waves at you as she drives away;

Chops vegetables for dinner;

Changes the bedsheets;

Arranges the flowers before the guests arrive;

Buys nothing for herself but something for you whenever she visits the mall alone;

Takes ownership of the child so that you're not distracted from work;

Is pally with your drinking buddies;

But frowns when you drink too much;

Forgives you even if you get drunk?

A man is all about reality, but a woman -- even in reality -- is poetry. You just have to observe her -- the smallest things about her -- like Gulzar did in this song:

21 comments:

Anonymous said...

I'm amused because, it is my understanding that more women (than men) read/ leave comments here, for the simple reason that the blogger twangs womanly hearts. Which is probably why this post - on the surface, addressing men, asking them to observe women - is a surprise... is the blogger actually talking to fellow-men? ;P But, as a woman, I must tell you how this post made me shiver... the little things that you list are often the first ones that are taken for granted; the 'anatomy lessons or poetry' question that you raise - I think every relationship starts off as poetry and ends as a sum of body-parts. Obv, the only ones that will and do survive is where poetry still blurs the anatomy... and that reminds me, poetry, thy name is also Bishwanath Ghosh :-) Btw, I do not 'get' the songs/ writers/ singers listed here. But I do 'get' words a little bit. And if just the words do this to me, I wonder what will be the case if.....

Anonymous said...

I forgot! About the 'marrying a virgin' - ha ha, really? ;P
Well, I must say this - my perceptions have also changed over the years. I thought everybody WAS a virgin when they got married; that it was the default state; I've learnt over the years that it is not the case and also that it reallllllly does not matter. The past (anybody's) is just that - the past. The present is delicious; and of the future - it's pregnant with a million possibilities.
:-)

Dreamer said...

Lovely post..it made me feel all kicked and special about being female.

Anonymous said...

Wow.. Blessed with a post from BG almost everyday! :)

Zig

Sepiamniac said...

How about penning a few verses yourself on that note? Been a while, I guess

Anonymous said...

Really liked this one...after a long time, could't resist leaving a comment....awaaz di hai...

Evelyn Ratnakumar said...

Wow. The things you say, the things you say!

Anonymous said...

What a pity that Gulzar couldn't observe any of these things in beautiful Rakhi, Dharamendra in Hema almost immediately after their marriage.Do perceptions,tastes...change so fast.:(
A layman is for better than an intellectual/poet/writers who doesn't observe her closely but cares for,forgives and respects his woman.

Peace

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm……. The woman of the household must be in a romantic bliss …had their man so poetically observed them through the monotonous routine of prolonged married life...… but then its only you who is blessed with the magic to turn routine into prose which feels romantic when I touch.. smells of poetry ….
P.S: Every song !!!….. you never miss it…cheers…Bhupinder+gulzar….am I high? You bet..
P...

nam said...

beautiful as always!!!!

Nilu said...

That such a man exists on this earth, who can observe these things about a woman, even if I never see that man ever...just the thought that he exists brings me immense joy & satisfaction!

Desi Babu said...

Dear Ghosh Babu,

Agreed. If it were not for women, we men would be a bunch of humbugs sitting around a fire drinking, whatever drink we would manage to ferment.

Dhanno ki Amma often tells me that God's best birth control plan would have been to make just one man go through a full term of pregnancy and give birth. After that, the population of the world would come to a grinding halt.

To all women, everywhere, let us raise a toast of whatever it is that we could brew today -- Salud!

And, peace!

Mom with a Dot said...

Your obsession with The Feminine makes me wonder if you think of little else. But the fact that you do, and express keeps bringing me back.

PS - Bet you read that twice LOL !!

Ardra said...

Reading this post reminded me of a story I had read long ago...

http://www.storiesfromindia.com/story4.htm

Nivedita said...

It is indeed quite amazing how time makes us revise certain perceptions or opinions or tastes, even very radically often. I experience this very often. Just goes to show that we can't even take ourselves for granted.

Anonymous said...

Women carry emotional baggage.hence better if vigin when they marry.Do men remember their first crush and quiver with delight too? Keeping fantasy aside,virginity is desirable to a certain extent in both sexes,leaves you feeling good when you know your lover in body and in mind belongs to you.
Thoughts,Bishi babu?

Anonymous said...

Again,very good writing BG.Kudos!Keep it up.Your writing is both realistic and poetic at the same time.In a way I am reminded of Arthanari...Blissful state of being...Also your words are very true ...!

Anonymous said...

True,every man has a great opportunity in front of him,in front of his eyes,in front of his senses to feel/cherish/enjoy the poetic value of his woman,or the value of that element of poetry his woman tries to add to his life...life is romantic,poetic,if only one can afford the luxury to wield a (free)mind to recognize the opportunities/moments that are always in front of him.Having noted the above,Im not sure,how much this modern world allows a man to indulge with his uncluttered mind the luxury of recognizing the poetic value of his own woman....Great BG...Soul stirring writing...If you dont mind would like to make a personal remark..Im sure your woman(wife) is one of the blessed women on this earth in having you around her...Hope you enjoy the bliss of life as close as that of being an Arthanari....Having commented the above though being anonymous please dont mistake me for lovelorn woman but very much a middle-aged family man trying to catch/behold the bliss of being an Arthanari myself...Im sure your this piece of writing helps me in that direction...

Anubhuti said...

I think in our country & culture, Bengali men love and respect women the most in all forms, from Durga to kali. What joy, I live with one such man and am reading another such man !

Anonymous said...

hiii... SPARKLING MAN..

reality is always "bitter" and poetry is ever "magical" (right from baby to grandma").if a real "man" patiently observe the "magic" , will learn innumerable wonders of life...
-sam

Anonymous said...

I could not play the song that you have mentioned. Can you let me know which song it is?