Monday, September 3, 2007

Songs of loneliness...

“Can you write a song about loneliness?” asked the producer.

“What kind of loneliness?” The poet asked back, enforcing absurdness in the environment. The producer had a big question mark on his face as if he wished to ask – What the hell do you mean by kind of loneliness? But he didn’t ask and said, simply, “Loneliness is loneliness. Simple. Plain.”

“A hopeful or a hopeless one? A happy or a sad one? A desired or an imposed one? A bored one or a creative one? Loneliness caused when the world leaves you? Or the loneliness caused when you part with your soul?” The poet elaborated his question ignoring the answer as if it was never offered.

Now the puzzled look on the producer’s face was turning into annoyance which he successful hid.

The poet went on, “When the world leaves me, I can hope that someday it will return; it will revoke its imposition. I can be happy if I try to be, if I realize that no one’s but my own company is all I need to lead a happy life. That’s hopeful loneliness – An optimistic idea. When I sell my soul, I buy lifetime loneliness. And how long can I sustain without my own soul, my own spirit? How can I kill the permanent sadness it breeds? That’s hopeless loneliness – A pessimistic reality.” He paused to study the listener’s mind, and continued, “If one parts with the world to be with his soul, that’s fantastic. If he part with his soul to be with the world, he is the loneliest person in the crowd… So what you want?”

By now, the producer was totally irritated. He said. “Look Mister… What ever your name is! I don’t understand what all shit you are talking about. I am producing an album with all genres of emotions and thought if we could have a song on loneliness - A simple, sweet song. But it seems, for you, loneliness is a fairly complex emotional state than it appears to me. And in such case, I would not like to use any of your rubbish philosophical poetry. You can please leave.”

“Thank you, sir. You saved me.”

The poet left. The producer did not understand why he was thanked, but he was feeling better. He called in the manager.

“What kind of people you invite these days for the interview?”

“Why? What happened, sir?”

“Damn!! This guy is a bastard who makes every thing complex and thinks he is a genius.”

“I am sorry, sir. But he was recommended by a friend of mine who is a culture critic in The Indian magazine, the best Indian daily. Besides, I read his poems. I did not understand much, but they appeared to be good. Also, this guy needed a job so…”

“We are here, not for charity, my dear manager. We are doing business with a sole reason of making profit, and that can’t be achieved with something that just appears to be good. Please keep this in mind before you call for the next guy. Ok?”

“Yes, sir.”

“You can leave.”

The producer released his album after two months. It could only become an average album, generating too little profit. It did have a song on loneliness.

A year passed since then. It was a sunny Sunday morning. While going through the various segments of The Indian magazine, the producer found one man omnipresent. His name was Aftab Khan.

“The nation goes crazy over Mr. Aftab Khan,” reported the front page.

“Aftab Khan – A real gem in the world of Indian poetry,” said the culture column.

“A good product always generates good business. This has been proved, once again, by Mr. Aftab Khan,” informed the business page.

“I felt like committing suicide while listening to the first song but the second song made me the happiest person on earth. Thank you, Aftab,” a bachelor, in his early thirties, said in the city column.

And the page three was full of the functions organized to felicitate Aftab for his first album. The album was named ‘Loneliness’. It had just two songs, first – The Pessimist, second – The Optimist.

The producer phoned the manager.

“Why I never heard of this guy, named Aftab, before?”

“You did, sir. Some twelve months ago.”


“And you said, ‘This guy is a bastard who makes every thing complex and thinks he is a genius.’”


The producer hung up the call.

In one of those countless page three parties, the producer happened to meet Aftab, who looked quite bored and a bit uncomfortable. The producer approached him, “Hello, Mr. Aftab. I am very sorry for that day. I tell you I was in a real bad mood. You know how hectic the job of a producer is. Please accept my apologies.” And he grinned like a kid who has committed a silly mistake and waiting to be forgiven by his mother.

“Which day?”
“Oh! The day we had a chat over the matters of loneliness.”

“Have we met? Oh, please excuse me. I have a really bad memory. Yesterday I forgot to put on my socks and came like that to the party. I was so embarrassed that I made a point to take care of it today.” Aftab pulled up his pants to show the socks with a feeling of achievement over his forgetfulness. He had black in left and brown in right feet. The producer wished to laugh but avoided.

Aftab was embarrassed again. To change the topic, he asked, “By the way, what were we talking about?”

“We were talking about the day we first met, sir. You narrated your concept of loneliness a year ago. What a wonderful concept it is. Unfortunately we could not do the album together, then, for some technical reasons. But I would love to work with you the next time you are ready with your concept. I give an absolute freedom to an artist’s creativity.”

“I think, I can recall that day, sir.” Aftab smiled, letting the producer feel ashamed of the fact that he tried to use one’s forgetfulness to his own profit, and continued, “To detail is not to increase the complexity of a concept. It is to make things clearer, more accurate, more absolute. Good that you said no that day. Its better not to create something whose use you don’t understand, to produce something whose meaning remains a vague concept to you.”

“But we are the best in this business. I suggest you should take up our offer.”


“We will make you richer.”

“And that is what your business is - to make money. I am sorry; I am not motivated by money. My only motivation is my work. You may be great in the business of selling poetry but you are a handicap when it comes to producing a right creation. And what is the purpose of a good seller if there is no good object to sell?” he said, in such a toneless manner that the producer could not feel offended how hard he wished to.

Aftab smiled and turned to the party. He looked around to find a person who was least hypocrite in the whole gathering and he saw a kid sitting on a bench near the fountain, lost in falls of water. He walked up to him, smiled and said, “Hello”. The kid smiled back.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

The blue Umbrella

One Saturday evening we had nothing much to do; hence we decided to go for a movie. When we tried we could only get the tickets for this movie called The Blue Umbrella.

On first thoughts it looks like a children’s movie but if seen with a thought, it tells a deep story - a story of generic human behaviors, of desires to own something we like, something which symbolize our status in the society we live in. It beautifully depicts how something which is a simple appreciation of beauty for someone can be a fanatical greed for the other.

While watching the movie some questions popped up in my mind -
Did I ever feel like owning something which is of no great use to me but brings in certain pride associated with it? I did.
Were I ever so compelled by the desire that I even didn’t shrug off a negative emotion (theft… murder… cheating), if I perceived that as the only way to get it? Sometimes, that happened too.

What I realize is, in the whole process of collecting things through out our life, we forget the reason. We randomly buy things that we rarely need in life. If ever questioned, we counter question to justify our unreasonable acquisitions. (When Khatri was asked by his subject, why he wants the umbrella so desperately, he uses some very random questions as his points for justification.) At last our life is recognized more by our possessions than the soul within. Most of the time, this soul is killed, murdered, sold or lost. But can someone ever live truly happily without a soul? When happiness is a derivative of social recognition and that too for something that we did not create but just possess by the virtue of all the money we hold, it has to be short lived.

One’s desire to own should be driven by the need for a beautiful life and not for the purpose of vanity. When ever we feel like having something, if we ask ourselves - why do you want it, we will realize that there are thousand such things that we want for sheer display than use. There will be things which are useful but we don’t want it for the use but the status it carries along for us. That’s where the error lies.

The way story progresses is the most beautiful part of it - From the unreasonable desire of possession to jealousy, and from jealousy to crime (theft), from crime to the punishment for the crime, from the punishment to realization of guilt, and from guilt, it end into forgiveness and restoration of self-pride.

The movie scores a hit on almost every account of film making; be it cinematography, casting, characterization, sound, script, dialogues and acting.

In these rains, I must say, Blue Umbrella is for everyone.