The Layered Love Song: Anthem #4

There’s no such thing as a romantic.

Wait. Scratch that.

There’s no one way to say if someone is romantic or not. Like so many other things in this world, there’s no single, commonly accepted characteristic of a romantic. Every romantic is different. I think you get the idea.


I was introduced to Paul Simon, way back in school, by a friend who isn’t a friend anymore. If we start delving into the purpose of someone’s life in our life, I guess he fulfilled his purpose. But, thankfully, this post is not about that, or him!

I am a bit surprised that the first post of the Anthem series was not about Paul Simon. He is my favourite musician, singer, and songwriter of all times. When I take time and think why his song didn’t feature earlier in this series, it is actually easy. Almost all of his songs would end up featuring as an anthem, by the nature of this series.

This one’s a love song.

In the sense that it is a song of love. It is not a love song in the sense that it expresses love for someone. It does not glorify love. It does not venerate a loved one. If you ask someone else, they may say it is a sad song. Perhaps. Quite a few fans may say, it autobiographical. Perhaps. I’ve been listening to his songs since the mid-eighties and I long gave up trying to find the exact meaning of his songs.

But then, Paul Simon is a stellar songwriter.

There’s never a single layer in anything he creates. I always think of him a weaver of emotions and leaves it to you to feel whatever you feel. He is a true artist in that sense — the kind I like — who allows the audience their own meaning: meanings, actually. In terms of the number of times I have played this song, it may not amount to much. When I think of the number of times I have felt this song, however, this song for me is an anthem, in every sense. This song has been with me more than thirty years and it is the most evocative song of love — it’s full of love and bereft of lovers, if that makes any sense. To me, it makes perfect sense.

Here’s the aptly titled song, which I carry in my heart and feel it in my bones.


No Offence

I am tired of the outrage and the taking offence that is going around almost everywhere. It is taxing. At the same instance, we are learning to look at all that is good, make positive affirmations, and such; and we are getting angry and upset at every ad copy, or a statement by a Tier 6 politician or a celebrity. Humour is almost impossible. The punchline has always been at someone’s or something’s cost, and since there is at least one of us who belongs to the someone or the something, there is offence. This, however, has been true for a long time. What has changed in recent times is the ease with which information flows and the number of people accessing this information. As each one of us becomes a publisher (or at least a curator of some sort) our self-importance has grown.

The problem lies in the media (e.g. a tweet) but it seems that there is no escape, unless we exit the medium (e.g. Twitter). One may argue that the problem really lies in the person creating the media, but, hey, same difference. Such media has little content; lot of anger.

0405: Neptune and Triton - 10

How much does our life really change by a word that gets out? Not much, some would say; a lot, others may argue. Either way, we always have a choice. We can choose to be influenced by what is said. All over the world, especially in India, newfound publishing tools are being abused to give undue importance to otherwise trivial matters. I hardly see folks calling for a debate or a conversation on issues that matter. Often, they take an extreme position, enter an argument, and don’t yield.

The gap widens and we become further apart.

0420: Monument to Emily Georgiana, Lady Winchilsea

No offence; I am disengaging from this anger and cynicism.

Be-ing: Anthem #3

I am continuing with the Anthem meme that Paul started. This one’s a little different from the earlier two. In that it is a popular song, or at least I think it is. I generally do not like contemporary Bollywood music because it is all about discos, late nights, alcohol, sex, and such. Not that I am against any of those things. My problem is with the music: it is transient, it hardly penetrates my skin, forget the heart or the mind. Not all contemporary Bollywood music is like that however, if you listen through all the trash, you will find a few gems.

There’s music that appeals to many senses, some that appeals to some senses, and some, rare type of music, that appeals to a specific sense.

I call this: my energy song.

Unlike the previous two Anthems, I do not have a story about this song. This is a new song (from the movie Highway which released early this year, and which, I don’t recommend, BTW) so I haven’t found time enough to have a story for this song. Yet, it is on #3 of my “most played” songs in my music library. Perhaps, that explains (at least for me) that the kind of music we seek in life, is an indicator of what we seek in life.

The meaning of this song is multi-layered, so I will definitely not leave a translation here. But for my readers who do not know Hindi or Punjabi, here’s a link of the direct translation. If you can peel off the words and delve in, I will call you lucky (or smart; you can choose). At each play-count, a small opening allows me to get deeper into the song, but that’s just me (and I have the advantage of having studied in Hindi and having many Punjabi friends in my formative years).

This #3 Anthem of mine, is sung by the Nooran sisters. I was first introduced to them in their Coke Studio performance.

In Patakha Guddi (Female) — the title of this Anthem — the kind of energy that the sisters and A. R. Rahman have cooked in the cauldron is no less than the magic potion by Getafix. I hope you enjoy it as much as I continue to.

Mind the Gap

Some people should write more often. Definitely more than a post every two months, on an average. It means a lot to the readers. But, perhaps these folks should not write more often. Supply demand economics will come into play. I am not sarcastic by default, but I can be sarcastic when I feel the need. I am not being sarcastic at this time. The Ides of November called into question (and answer) much that this year has been about.

This year died a long time ago for me. I am just dancing on its corpse, awaiting January, so that I may alight. I would elaborate on this thought, but much has been said about the tone of recent posts (Go to Archives, and read all posts in 2014) on this blog.)

<start:pet peeve>

Each entry that you write is a post and this collection of posts makes your blog. That one entry that you make in your blog is not your blog. That’s a post or an article. That entire collection of your entries? That’s a blog. Each of those entries in your blog? That’s a post.

<end:pet peeve>

I like the “gap year” concept in the post (post; not blog) that I have linked to, above. It makes so much sense. What’s interesting is that it is never obvious and we end up writing about it in November – the fag end. If you have read my blog for a while, you will know of my love/hate relationships with dates, especially rounded numbers and milestone dates, as well as the conflict I face with social sharing. That notwithstanding, after I read Amit’s post, I’ve decided this has to be the gap year (for me) that he so wonderfully describes. I didn’t need the post to inform me about it; his post just confirmed it, in a way.

9240: Small Gaps

Which, in a funny way, means that I have less than two months of left, of the gap year.

There’s this notion of point of no return. It has always intrigued me. I always measure distance in terms of the time it takes you to go there “and” return here. So, in my head, the point of no return has to be more than half of getting there. It’s like middle-age. People say, Oh, I’ve hit middle age. I always wonder how people can say that. To be able to say, you are in the middle age, you have to know when you will die. Else you are just statisticalising (Yup, I made up that word)

The one risk I face, come, end of December, is that I do not learn from this gap-year. Irrespective; if I chose the learning or it was imposed on me. The next year will have to be different. Either we will board the train or we will exit the platform.

Else, we risk another gap year.

My Earthly; My Heavenly Family

There are things I am afraid of. Some I succumb to; some I stand up to. The situations that I succumb to are my own doing. The one’s I stand up to are my own doing. Technically, not my own doing — inspired. The standing up, i.e.

I have been thinking I should write a post, about my grandmother (my mother’s mother) for a while now. The more we talk about who we are and who our family is, reduces the privacy we potentially have, on the internet. I have not tried to hide my identity on my blog for a while. I have been wondering if it makes sense if I have the right to “expose” the identity of my family members, without their consent. Especially, of my family members, who are dead, and I have no way of asking consent.

I care less when I post photos of the dead people on my Facebook profile — I wonder why I hesitate writing about them on my blog. Do dead people have privacy issues? Will they, from heaven frown upon my blog? I think it really boils down to the people looking down from heaven. In my head, they are the same people as they were on earth.

For now, I am withholding writing about my grandmother. Some other day, I may not think too much, and may write about her. Not today.

Grandmothers, grandfathers, grand-uncles, and grand-aunts, part of our parents, non-grand uncles and aunts, very young cousin sisters and brothers. At least one of each is in heaven. Each one of them is watching me, not judging, but kindly. I have loved them and they have loved me. And knowing each one of them intimately, I am curious about what they want me to say about them; and I am sure they are curious what I will say about them.

Yesterday was a wonderful evening, spent with (alive) uncles, aunts, brothers, sisters, cousins, nephews, and nieces. We never, for a minute mentioned our heavenly relatives. Yet they were with us.

We are alive and dead at the same time, some times. The reality of the gravity binds us to where we are, but we are able to travel, for that one instance, in the netherworld, and our happiness of having spent moments or years with those, who are absent, multiplies.

Slowly, one after the other this earthly family members will leave and join my heavenly family. I dread that day. We will miss “being” together, but we will never miss “being together.”

I will, I hope, learn, not miss you.

What is love? : Anthem #2

I am continuing the #TenAnthemsChallenge that Paul offered, us bloggers. Here’s a quick context about this challenge: Due to an English education, I don’t read/write my mother-tongue very well. English happens to be the language of communication, Hindi, my national language, happens to be the language that I use to think and feel, Marathi, my mother-tongue, unfortunately is the language where struggle, yet find myself.

2525: Garden


I am somewhere in college. It’s vacation time, or teachers have gone on strike. Irrespective, the college is closed. I take of to my Aunt’s place — an industrial town. My aunt’s husband, my uncle, works there. Absolutely nothing beckons. If there was ever a definition of being lazy, this was it. I have absolutely nothing to do. The town I live in revolves around the factory that the town survives on. There are sirens going off; life in the town revolves around the shifts. The factory never closes down, because the furnace never sleeps. Unlike me. I sleep all day long and indulge in laziness.

Except, when I play cassettes of Marathi songs in the hot afternoon.

My aunt has finished her chores for the day. I even help her out, somewhat. in the boombox, I insert a cassette, and play a song. I ask my aunt, what the song means. Some words in that song do not belong to my vocabulary. She explains the meaning. She is smart enough to give me the meaning without context. I build my context. I ask her, did I understand it right? She says to me, you have understood it in your own way.

The one song that I play over and over is a song of love. The kind of love that normal human beings will never experience. I ask my aunt the meaning of each and every word, hoping she will give me a context. She answers all my questions, without ever giving a context. I end up making my meaning for that song.


It is a song that is the epitome of being in love; of the expression of love.

I dare not translate this song, like anything else that I dare not translate. So I Googled the “translation” of this song. I made a few edits, and here is what I can offer you as the essence. But, what follows is so much less than what the song is all about.

All the directions seem foggy on such an evening
As the moon is rising in the sky…
On this lovely moon night my sweetheart is with me
And my emotions are overwhelmed

Both of us are speechless in a sweet puzzlement
Like confluence of rivers, (we have) become one
The air is filled with the fragrance of “Raat-Ranee” flowers
And the flowers of love are blossoming
Can hear the romantic songs play
Even though there are no words in the song

Unknowingly we are tinted with evening glow
By playing the strings in heart …
By singing the duet and by becoming one
Let us show our true love …
By becoming one; let’s show our love
The romantic picture is visible in impressive colour combination
Even though there is no paintbrush.

All the directions seem foggy on such an evening
As the moon is rising in the sky…
On this lovely moon night my sweetheart is with me
And my emotions are overwhelmed

And the only reason I add this translation, is that some of my readers will not understand Marathi. The translation you see above does less than 1% justification to the intent and feel of the song that you heard. Yet, I hope, you all can feel the same sense of pure love that I feel when I listen to this song.

I am proud that I am born into a family that descends from great artists, poets, warriors, and administrators; it is unfortunate that my English education distances me from my heritage. It’s late, but I am making amends.

Paul, I have to thank you for this meme. You are extracting some amazing stories.

Happy Diwali

The great festival is upon us, and I wish you all, all the benefits and graces that may be bestowed upon us during this time.

9422: Light Burst

Diwali at once is a festival for rejoicing, and for activism. And if you indulge in both, try to find a balance. New realities are upon us, and we feel the need to curb traditional activities because of our new-found wisdom. If it is wisdom, let the wisdom prevail. Whatever the traditional stories of the festival may be, it is a time for friends and family to be together. Experience happiness with each other. In your effort to protect your pet from the sounds of the fireworks, do not forget to share, increase, and experience the happiness.

The almanac this year provides for a day each, during this week for us to share our love and gratitude with our wives or husbands, our parents, and our sisters or brothers. If the thought behind the gift really matters, then, a simple hug will suffice. Or a phone call or a message expressing your love will suffice. Expensive gifts bought in an online discount sale will matter much less.

Eat good food, be merry, with those who matter the most.

Wishing you all a very Happy Diwali and a very Prosperous New Year!