Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Am The Entertainer

Thanks to a gentleman who makes me wish I could write like him and whose real name I do not know, I am hooked to Billy Joel's The Entertainer these days. In the moments of self-doubt and low self-esteem -- they seem to be occurring more frequently these days -- this song acts like an invisible hand that runs through the hair and automatically straightens out the eyebrows raised with worry. It goes like this:

I am the entertainer,
And I know just where I stand:
Another serenader,
And another long-haired band.
Today I am your champion.
I may have won your hearts.
But I know the game,
You will forget my name,
And I won't be here
In another year,
If I don't stay on the charts.

He knew the game obviously. After all, he managed to stay on long enough to be nominated for the Grammy 23 times and to win it six times.

The Entertainer was written sometime in the 1970's. Around the same time, an Indian lyricist also happened to express exactly the same sentiments in a song that went on to be a legend. The song is Main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon from Kabhie Kabhie, written (with a fountain pen, most probably) by Sahir Ludhianvi. To quote from it:

Kal aur ayenge naghmon ki khilti kaliyan chunnewale
mujhse behtar kehne waley, tumse behtar sunne waley
kal koi mujhko yaad karey, kyon koi mujhko yaad karey
masroof zamana mere liye kyon waqt apna barbadh kare
main pal do pal ka shaayar hoon.

My translation of Sahir's lines: Tomorrow, there will be new writers and new connoisseurs / there will be poets who will write better than me and listeners who will be more appreciating than you / why should anyone care to remember me tomorrow / why should the busy world spare it's precious time for me / I am a poet only for a moment or two.

Sahir, without doubt, is the only literary lyricist that Hindi cinema has ever had. He was a genius: his lyrics needle your mind even today. It was not for nothing that Amrita Pritam, once he left her home after paying her a visit, would light up the cigarettes stubbed by him in the ashtray and smoke the leftover tobacco, just to feel him in her lungs. For further evidence of his genius, you must listen to the songs of Pyaasa and Aa Gale Lag Ja at the same time.

The two films belong to two different generations, but Sahir effectively demonstrates that it does not matter which era you live in -- it feels all the same when you are in love or when you have been ditched. But Kabhie Kabhie, since it concerns the life of a poet, would go down in history as Sahir's landmark film. A long time ago, I wrote a lengthy post on the songs of Kabhie Kabhie, but back then, not many people read my blog. I hope you will be kind enough to read it now.

End of the day, be it Billy Joel or Sahir Ludhianvi, they mean the same thing: Keep it up, before they forget you. Unless your favourite holiday spot happens to be a town called Oblivion.


Paresh Palicha said...

BG, you are in top form for the last few days, maybe it is the heady feeling induced by completing your second book or getting a new job. Whatever the reason it is a pleasure for us readers. :) And, should I tell you one thing? You need not link your old posts because they remain fresh in the memory as if you'd written it just yesterday. :)

Unless your favourite holiday spot happens to be a town called Oblivion..

This line of yours took me back to the poem Lost that I'd written a few centuries back.

pat said...

Hey that was great keep rocking.............


Sepiamniac said...

trust you to link Ludhianvi and Joel. Enjoyed this post, totally.

Between the other post, too, is a favourite.

Anonymous said...

So, The train has started moving again. Please don't let the rhythm of last few days be disturbed.
Where is the post on Gulzar as you promised in your link post. He is, for me as good as Sahir.

Rushina said...

Like a necklace of beads, words strung together aesthetically on a beautiful line of thought can be poetry and inspiration. But haphazardly impale them onto a string of negativity and they can be weapons of abuse and degradation. Ironically both can outlive those who utter them, outlive existence itself... Those who realize the power of words are writers of worth. And for them words unfurl themselves in their full glory.

You string thoughts together so beautifully, you will be remembered by them...

Whatever you are on these days BG, stay on it.... keep the fab posts coming...

Ardra said...

Delighted to see you post regularly...

Desi Babu said...

Dear Ghosh Babu:

In my opinion, you are a great writer, and destined for much more greatness than we have been able to see so far. Your first book was a delight, and I am eagerly looking forward to the second.

If it makes you feel any better, I have a science fiction story in the making. On my blog. And you find a mention in the twenty-fifth century, in that story! So, oblivion is definitely not for you.


Anonymous said...

no longer evident is the zest that existed in your enteries eons have become a mere recorder.Is that 'stability' of marriage to blame?

Sepiamniac said...

oh no! What happened to the comments post earlier. Nonetheless, like I said, enjoyed this post, thoroughly:)

The other post, too, is a favourite...

Desi Babu said...

Dear Ghosh Babu:

For some reason, the previous comments were lost, and so, I am writing again.

I just wanted to say again that you are an amazing writer as we have seen from your first book, and I am eagerly looking forward to your second.

And since you mentioned oblivion, let me say that you are quite famous in the twenty-fifth century as well, as you will find out from a science fiction story I am working on. It is on my blog.


Bishwanath Ghosh said...

Desi Babu:

For some reason Blogger made the post disappear for a day or so; and in the process the older comments disappeared too.

How can I ever repay your kindness! Looking forward to the trip to the Himalayas (not Kurukshetra) once your agyatvaas is over.