Tuesday, December 08, 2009

मन का रेडियो बजने दे ज़रा...

Recently, I heard C’s friend hum one of my current favorites: aaogey jab tum o saajna…but her next line made me fall off the chair laughing, ab na phool khilenge! When you come beloved, the flowers shall never bloom!! Whoa!

Funny thing is they now have a google that just swabs off your query to come up with all possible answers that you are looking or not looking for. So in a few seconds you have the lyrics nicely decorating your screen and you can play the song as many times as you like to ‘by heart’ it.

The radio gen did not have it this easy. Our big rectangular box sat on a wooden rack in a corner of the drawing room. It had two big knobs – one for volume and the other that had to be touched ever so lightly to set that frequency which blared into a loud crackle even if touched by a flying bird’s dropping feather.

All the four girls in the house were fond of singing. Now catching the lyrics on such a sound system wasn’t easy and most of us then had notebooks with our favorite songs painstakingly handwritten. My notebook was divided into filmy, non-filmy and ghazals - neat triangles of folded pages segregating the three genres I understood. So we had to stand really close to the radio and hear really intently and write very fast. The constant ‘shut up’ by this one and that trying to hear, punctuated all house chatter. I had a brilliant knack for blurting excitedly during such and ‘shut up’ meant get lost.

Small wonder then that Vandu was caught singing ‘kaho Mati Chand kidhar chale?’ for ‘tohmatey chand dil pe dhar chale’!! and ‘thandi hawa ke jhonke chalten hain halke-halke, aise mein dil na todo, baatein karo na tan ke’ for ‘asie mein dil na todo wade karo na kal ke…’!!!

Now my  munchkins sing ‘hal ghadi badal rahi hai…jo hai samaan kal ho na ho!’ really it’s all stuff, isn’t it? Kal ho na ho! So as long as the heart sings, sing along…flowers will bloom. 

My earliest radio-memory is of the whole family joining in when ‘Badan pe sitaare lapete hue…’ played and everyone smiled at me for it was considered my song. Massi Aunty and Mummy got me a short black shift dress with silver sequins so I could imagine myself wrapped in stars. Yes C, mum wore an LBD back then :)

ना तुम हमें जानो , न हम तुम्हे जाने...

I’m known for such goof-ups – yeah, all of you who remember and want to recount can, leave the really embarrassing ones out of the public domain please (what would that leave us with though). And don’t hold your head like this, Mr Slightly Bald.

Today is Jash’s birthday. I have never met him. He will be seven or eight today. He does not know me. But before he was born I saw him vividly in my dream and told his father that it would be a boy. I came to Jash through Sunil and to Sunil through Papa. Bangalore, new job, new home, new friends, I was emailing Papa about all that every day. One day I got a mail from one Sunil Tripathi gently telling me that some of my mails to my ‘Mummy and Papa’ were going to him instead. Papa was tripathisn@...and he was sntripathi@... Mortified, I apologized. Sunil discerned my embarrassment and wrote back that it was perfectly okay. He may have read me and I saw the gentleman in him. So we continued writing – to each other. It’s almost ten years now. We have never met. But he’s been with me through a lot – my new jobs, friends, travels, writings and very importantly Papa’s illness and his going away. During these years he married, had a son. In 10 years we’ve never forgotten to call each other on birthdays and other days. Both of us agree that Papa meant us to stay in touch. And we will.

But the hilarious ones far outnumber. Topmost – Chotu and I traveling from Delhi to Bhopal by the night train. In those days it was common for the train to stop somewhere in the middle of nowhere like the dacoitful Chambal. The power failed. It was hot and dark. Chotu was on the berth above me. Now he was sitting across the berth from me and we started to talk about how hot it was and how sleep was impossible. Then casually looking up, in the darkness I saw Chotu leaning out from the top berth shocked to find me chatting up a complete stranger!