Friday, December 25, 2009

The Symphony of Nature

Do you sometimes have those moments? Moments when a general feeling of well-being suddenly whips up into something more potent. Quite like an ecstacy that completely engulfs the being. These are those moments when there was no yesterday, there is no tomorrow, there is just that moment and the luminous beauty of the moment.... I have those moments once in a while. Born mostly out of appreciation for music or nature, sometimes of both and sometimes of things far placed from either. Something like that happened to me a couple of months back.

Now, in retrospect it seems that whole 3 minutes and 31 seconds of experience was the scripted by a divine hand.

It was Sunday and a brilliant day in my part of the world. Spring was in the air, the breeze was fresh, and crisp. It felt that everything in the atmosphere had devoured a mouthful of breath freshner. The day was painted using a palette that never fails to stir - azure sky dotted with brilliant woolly whites, lush green on the ground, pastel pink on the trees and yellows in the crevices. A vigourous breeze had charged the atmosphere with an electric optimism. It is always that way in spring. Everything seems upbeat and ready for a new beginning. As providence would have it the AC in my car gave away and I had to do something I do rarely - open the sun roof. So there I was trundling down in my car with the windows all down, playful breeze in the hair, lung full of fresh spring air and music for accompaniment . With a setting like that even the most sullen of God's creations would find it difficult to escape the feeling of good cheer. I being of a fairly 'unsullen' disposition was feeling quite kicked and content.

The music that I was playing is a collection of SD Burman's songs, that I greatly cherish. It is cherished not so much for my love for the old monk brand of music, but more for the way the CD has been compiled. There are about ten songs, placed in such a sequence that with a little help from the ambience they can create a delectable mood that lingers long after the music stops playing. By themselves the songs are great but when played together they are magic. This post, however, is not about that sequence. It is about one of the most lumniscent songs in that sequence -'Phaili hui hain sapno ki baahen'.

I had stopped at a traffic signal when the initial low notes of this gorgeous composition started streaming. At that very moment a stray plastic bag caught the corner of my eye. It had come into my eye-view sliding up the road pushed by the light breeze. As the vigourous sitar strings in the prelude picked up tempo, a sudden gust swept the bag into the air and took it on a merry dance across the road and into the greens. There it was, the plastic bag, waltzing away in the breeze in absolute synch to the music playing my car! And that was the moment. Suddenly everything in the universe snapped into a perfect symphony. The music playing in my car, the plastic bag, the birds, the trees, the breeze outside and along with all of them - me. We all fused into a single rhythm, the divine rhythm of life.

The breeze took a momentory lull and then renewed vigour gave the waltzing bag a last nudge and like a seasoned gymnast it took a final somersault and bowed out of view, just as Lata's voice started picking up the first few notes of the alaap. My eyes having lost the plastic bag, ran up the branches of a tree that stood where I had lost sight of it. Lata finshed her alaap right at the moment my vision touched the tree tops. There they were, swaying away in the breeze. The spring green of the trees caressed the brilliant of the blue sky as nightingale's dew soft voice sang 'Phaili hui hain sapno ki baahen, aaja chal den kahin door'. The voice siezed me and took me along - far far away on the wings of ecstacy. It was sheer magic and almost an out of body experience that lasted for all of the 3 odd minutes the song lasted. An exhilarating flight, up to magical lands beyond the clouds, swinging on rainbows, playing hide and seek in the mist..... and then as if on pre-ordained cue, the last notes of the song faded away just as the wheels of my car rolled to a stop at my destination.

I have heard this song many times before and many times since and many a time the song has lifted me off the ground into a merry flight but never has the experience reached the lofty heights it reached that day. As an ode to that magic I present this song as a part of the 'Song of the Day' series.

Eloquence falls short in supply when one ventures out to describe the beauty of this song. What should one describe? The restlessness sitar prelude fluttering like a bird ready to take flight? The enigmatic 'dhundhli fiza mein kuch khoyen kuch paayen' ? The gentle of rhythm of life in 'sanson ki laye par koi aisi dhun gaayen'? Or the final burst of nirvanic energy in the alaap before 'jhoola dhanak ka' ? And then there is Lata's voice -pristine, pure like a drop of fresh rain. The moments are so many and that one feels stunted. I would suggest that you click on the link below and discover your own.

A philospoher had once opined, music is the only innocent and unpunished passion. The ecstacy that people search for in LSD, Ecstasy and other stimulants, is right there, within easy reach and with a power of rejuvenation that is in many multitudes higher than the power destruction all these external stimulants hold. All it requires is a moment of tuning your inner-self with the greatest symphony of all - the symphony of the nature. I am sure Sahir, Lata, SD Burman and all the accompanying musicians were tuned in when they created this song and I am eternally grateful to them for tuning me into the same magical frequency on that lovely spring afternoon.

.. aaja chal den kahin door...