Saturday, October 1, 2011

Rise, Shine and Spring - Champako Jaago Jaago

Many suns, moons, springs and falls ago, I was in school and we had to write essays. They were a staple of the growing up years. As I lazily finger dust off random spots of memory on this languid Saturday afternoon, the gentle revelation is that not all memories around these essays are pleasant.

Writing was not one of my preoccupations in childhood and these essays - they were all over the place. You had to write them in English, you had to write them in Hindi and horror of horrors you had to write them in Sanskrit too! Since I never got around to learning how to construct a straight sentence in Sanskrit that part of my education basically contributed to honing my 'ratafication' skills.

The Gods who defined curricula and set exam papers in those days believed that an essay was a critical component which contributed to making the future citizens of India informed, opinionated and articulate. No wonder essay writing accounted for atleast 20% of the total marks for the paper. For someone who wanted to be an astronaut, explorer, architect or sometimes just a person who could read Enid Blytons for a living, writing essays was a fundamental distraction from mission life. At that point in time, it was the preciseness and unambiguity of the science subjects that appealed. After all you could write what you considered the best ever piece on 'Cleanliness is Godliness' or 'Festivals of India' or 'My Summer Vacation', the teacher could still strike off and give you a 2/10. It was too whimsical and I just got by it.

I know what runs in your mind at this moment. You are wondering, why in the good world, upon surfacing after two years of hibernation, I would want to dwell on a topic as dry as elementary school curriculum. We all know that I threw away any intellectual pretensions very early in the game of blogging. This is not even a 'sunshine ' childhood memory that makes a good nostalgic blog post. Then why?

Well, my dear friend everything happens for a reason. Let me help you understand by revealing an intimate moment to you. Today morning as I sat over my morning cuppa browsing over musical tributes to SD Burman in the born-again Facebook avtaar of my old hangout Sangeet Ke Sitare, a sudden well of inspiration sprung from God knows which crevice of my being. It was this strong and now almost alien urge to write something. I had a laundry list of chores and activities sitting and waiting to get going but somehow they all went flying out of the window as I rummaged through my long neglected blog links to get to this blog composition page trying to start a new post. And immediately following it I was with struck a stab of introspection - when did this writing become such an intimate part of the being that it could turn up unannounced one fine day and consume my attention quite like a childhood friend turning up on facebook after years. How did this happen?

Rewinding to early life only reveals a strong disdain for essays and any form of 'creative writing'. The only sojourn I had as a writer in school was for a class magazine imaginatively named 'Bang' where I wrote a Spook Corner which was a collection of all the ghost stories we exchanged on dark summer nights lying on the terrace. That effort is best relegated to the 'dark room' from where those ghost stories first originated. Very forgettable. After that there was no writing. I remember getting through the essays one has to write for B-School and and other post-grad courses with less than passing marks. They were quite uninspiring and even while writing them I knew I could not count on them for getting me anywhere!

Then suddenly about seven eight years ago life took a turn. I got deeply involved in an interest which was on the side-burner till then - music! Slowly this interest flowered into a strong passion. As I started frequenting music forums, exploring musical opinions, discovering musical Gods and fighting battles for them, something happened. What was once a chore became a pleasure. I actually started to enjoy writing! In the early days it was just about writing posts on newsgroups. But one fine day I nervously toyed with the idea of writing a full-fledged article. I started writing a series on the Music in Navketan films and posting it on SKS. The first few chapters got favourable response, but that effort petered out somewhere. Even now I have it lying unfinished somewhere in my files.

The first full fledged article that saw the light of the day was this one : Bondhu Rangila -Inimitable

It was a tribute to SD Burman, which wonder of wonders actually got accepted by an online music magazine. It was a gushing tribute from a totally besotted fan and carries long term appeal only to die-hard SDB fans. But it was a beginning, that saw me grow into this new passion.

And here I am today, consumed by the same urge to put pen to paper all over again (or maybe I should say finger to keyboard, since I never put pen to paper successfully). I believe it is more than co-incidence that it is SD Burman's birth anniversary today.. his hundred and fifth!

To commemorate the occasion, let me leave you with a song that talks of awakening in more ways than one and holds special significance to the moment. This is a beautiful Bengali song, sung by the Dada in the 1935-1945 timeframe - Champaka Jaago Jaago. It is a song where spring gently cajoles the fragrant champaka flower to rise, shine and flower.

Thank you Burman Dada for this lovely meldody. It has brought a beautiful feeling back into my life today, I feel all fragrant....