The Artistic Sabbath, Ghalib and Taj Coromandel

21 12 2007

This is going to be a long post. At least longer than what I am used to post. Many of my readers have no doubt come here a lot often in the past two months only to return disappointed at no new thing here. Or in Web 2.0 speak “no-fresh-content”. Well although it certainly is not beneficial for your online presence to have such long hiatus of inactivity, yet surprisingly it does oneself far more good than bad.

Let me come to the point right away, and let me start explaining all those small questions which pop up in our heads often, when we see something inexplicable. I had been blogging actively for some time, bringing forward to some poetry and prose, which I would like to believe was enjoyed by one and all. But I guess, thats the beginning… isnt it? You start off with your heart’s sorrow pouring out in front of the world, and suddenly you see that those lines are so well appreciated that, you blow yourself up. Not literally, but in pride, satisfaction and other such altruistic feelings you start feeling on cloud 9. But then you indeed blow up, not yourself but your artistic pursuits. People pour in, take a morsel of the dessert here, try a ladel of the sauce there, reject the tofu yet lap up the soups, and life goes on. Yet after the party ends and you retire to the sanctum sanctorum of your heart, you feel a void. A sudden void which crops from the release of long pent up feelings out in front of the world, and a stronger void in the lull after the ‘party’ . Now you want your friends to drop in some more, most often to give you company, yet you want to make the tofu, which they refused to even touch last time. You know you can make the tofu and the sauce much better this time, far different than what they have ever tasted, far more exotic yet you again go back to the soups and dessert and convince yourself that tofu will be for the next time. So this carries on, you want to try out unchartered territories in your artistic skills, yet you have to carry on with the facade which everybody loves putting on. So what do you do? I think at the heart of this, lies a very basic question about artistic survival? What do you do? You keep on trying new things and risk rejection (albeit after some time they will vehemently take that thing up, and you know its a good thing the others have never tried out) or you keep on whipping up the different sweet variations of the same old things. Well I believe nobody can answer it. What do you think?

Well something similar happened, yeah my prose suck (somebody said that πŸ™‚ ), my poetry is heart tugging, yet somewhere I was feeling a gaping void build up. Couldnt help it, could I? And when you stagnate, things dont flow(cliche). Your words refuse to flow and then you get frustrated, get up and leave or keep convincing yourself that it will get better. I took the first choice. πŸ™‚ .

I left. I left and took a long Sabbath. Stopped commenting on others blogs. Stopped visiting poetry blogs. Didnt reply to any mail which came to me, inviting me to poetry blogs. Well I had all, and left all those things. Whooff! Two months… yeah two months quite some time. My daily online activity just had checking my mails and visiting orkut. Nothing more, sometimes less. I needed to clear my head. Feel passionate about things again.

Well so here I am πŸ™‚ . A lot of things have happened in between. I have been actively involved in many things. Professional life has taken quite some interesting turns. May divulge to you sometime later. Had been following the financial markets actively, started investing too. Predicting and expert commenting, I had it all. Doing some extensive technical work on my end, (personal although and completely). Reading quite a bit. Had a cursory walk through The High Performance Entrepreneur by Subroto Bagchi, for whom I would have ended working if not for my present employer. Had been dabbling with Perl, and VLSI Testing very actively, my list also contains a Python (heard a lot about it), Javascript, My SQL and PHP(dont know if I can pull the last two).

So what made me come into it all over again. Well, I came across an article today in The Economic Times, Chennai Edition about Tom Alter, a Plebystrian Christian living in India, yet knowing Hindi and Urdu better than perhaps the natives(me too included). He has a Gold medal from National School of Drama, active theater artiste and..and ..and , guess what, a Ghalib enthusiast.

I discovered Ghalib at a tender age of 12, and wow! the poetry and prose he wrote. Before I continue with the thread of Alter, let me tell you something about Ghalib. Ghalib had a tumultuous childhood and being the royalty he was, the apparent poverty on young Ghalib’s family was sort of a black cloud. Born and brought up in Delhi,at the close of 18th Century Delhi Sultanate, the apparent grim childhood gave him a much stoic mental makeover. Married at the tender age of 13, he had seven children yet none survived. In his twilight years he even adopted one of his nephews, but kismet had other plans. At his ripe age, his adopted son too passed away. Although a witty man, yet his poetry seems to reflect his hearts pangs and some more.He self taught himself to Persian and Arabic(to a certain extent), he was a man who wore many hats. In fact his masterpieces came at the time when he was devastated with pain and sorrow. He is today remembered as one of the most prolific writers of Urdu. For all those who understand Hindi and Urdu, Ghalib is one of those beacons of Urdu literature which winds of time cant fade out. (You can find a wiki entry here and a much more comprehensive entry over here ).

Yesterday Tom, co hosted along with Juhi Babbar, in Taj Coromandel an exclusive evening on Ghalib’s shayari in Taj Coromandel. The guests were requested to come dressed in Mughal attires, and were made to sit on the gaddi-s on floor (in true Lucknowi Gharana stlye). Flowers adorned their wrists and Chivas flowed copiously as Chennai braced itself for another rainy night. Tom and Juhi along with some heart rendering back ground violin, recapped some of his best works, interspersed with the incidents in his life which made him write such heart rendering stories. As I write, I am finding myself increasingly transported to those days of Lucknowi shaan.

Jaate jaate arz kar raha hoon-

Naqsh faryaadii hai kis ki shokhi-e tehrir ka

Kagazi hai pairahan har pekar-e tasvir ka

Ghalib (age of 19 yrs)

kismet :fate

gaddi :cushions

Lucknawi shaan: A golden period in Lucknow(a city in erstwhile United Provinces in British India) where the best in every material tastes were associated with the city.





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