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SERENADING THROUGH THE MOODS OF LIFE.
( 00 )
(Indian ragas exist from early morning till late in the night and portray emotions suited to a specific hour. Morning, afternoon, evening, night ..... isn't that what life is all about.
This poem attempts to connect the notes of ragas with the moods of life.)
A raga has life, and life has many
Ragas reaching out to all its hours
Like amorous glances speared out from
Harems, hordes, habits, and happenings.
All we see, all we do is echoed
In the sounds that we call music ---
Thus piercing darkness like the notes
Of ragas sung in the morn,
Until the fusing notes and night,
Our life explores its varied moods.
What then is it that life must be ?
An ectoplasmic mood
But those laid out as notes for moods ?
( 01 )
Raga : Lalit.
Time : Before dawn.
(This first melody of the morning signifies the intense expectations of the sunrise. This raga is performed when darkness and light come together.
Morning never ends, it simply gives way
To more and more until the light
Makes eyelids heavy and darkness comes
If you were here, we were together ---
Darkness would still be there differently
But your letters would not chaperon morning
Our partings, like the tender night,
Prepare me for the wisdom of
Rhapsody that never actually will end,
( 02 )
Raga : Bhatiyar.
Time : Early morning.
(The early morning colours in the sky that seem to be erupting from the horizon blend in this raga which has an inspiration-dose in classical and folk music.
Sensually devotional -- preparing to step-out.)
Mine that were
Part of the night.
Sun on the sky-line
Just tells me through its colours
That I must look, lust, and love
That there must be laughter, lilt
And that I must loaf, try to lure
Then the latticed and laced lair of joy.
Do what I want ? No dreams are mine that were
Part of the night.
The soft joyful flavours of all times stir
In me this might.
( 03 )
Raga : Ahir Bhairvi.
Time : Early morning.
(It is a variation of the dawn raga -- Bhairav .... devotional element has by now acquired new earthy friends and the notes have started dating folk rhythms.
The drama begins.)
You are in
Go and spin
A yarn that will hold attention spans.
Must not stir
Vigils nor any other devotional stance.
The world sings
Through the wings
Let the lights highlight my prayer --
We must start
With a part
That is, must not now be a slayer
Just the voice
Of truth is retained in folded hands.
On the stage
Starts a rage
So wake-up, wander between two lands --
One thats gone,
One thats born ...
Why philosophise when love is sighted
Though yet far.
Orb and star
Simply say : Life is ignited.
( 04 )
Raga : Jaunpuri.
Time : Late morning.
(Jaunpuri is almost like viewing sand-dunes from a beach. This raga, incidentally, is not mentioned in the ancient texts and is comparatively new.
Picture evolution prostrate to a deity with a melancholic back-ground .... and you'll know why this raga was created in modern times.)
I discovered the magic of fission
And fused it with idyllic possibilities
While my head was still bent, intent
Like a child believing the flag
On the sand-castle will furl forever.
Late morning dreams
And the noon rush of heated arguments
Clash, and crush sand-castles
Like the first explosion of the first
Atom-bomb. All knew that life
Would not be the same somehow. Steps
Forward form worlds that are unrecognizable.
Worlds that are yet tender and would duct
Cooling emotions to exploding sands
And new words that have been alloyed
Must stay with yet newer words emerging.
( 05 )
Raga : Madhmad Sarang.
Time : Noon and early afternoon.
(Who isn't childish, self-confident, and hungry for attention? This raga has simple joys and pleasing emotions. The bold movements of its notes don't even try to reach-out to philosophical nuances floating in endless chasms.
The noon of life, like this raga, is one such drunken phase.)
Life is a festivity and I must
Immerse in it.
But there are other tasks waiting --
Like the laughter, on the verge
Of thoughtful glances.
Friendships, like cousins after marriage,
Develop confidence and say :
See you later !
And turn back to drug themselves
With reciprocal titillations.
That must be true
For that is what I do too.
( 06 )
Raga : Sugrai.
Time : Mid-day.
(Blend clear lines and forceful, uncomplicated structure, and the resultant joy that romps around full of verve and bright energy is SUGRAI. Like my son on skates or a ship tacking on high seas.)
Waves wave but do not move
They simply have a show of zest --
Needle-like in a groove
Will neither see nor show its best.
Weave in, weave out, run around
And in the noon some zest you show,
Tacking ships will be found
To find the base of gusto !
Like my son on his skates
Who loves to luff, to heel or reef --
Ship-like he then translates
The long noon to a yawing brief.
Pick up waves for your weave
For what is life if left unbroached ?
Navigate, do not grieve --
Frap, and furl, spill or strike. Plowed,
The course is set. You learn
To pull-in your smiles when you reach --
And reaching, you must turn
To careen, and fiddle on the beach.
( 07 )
Raga : Multani.
Time : Late afternoon before sunset.
(A restless, busy raga that blazingly, brazenly shimmers the vanity of human wishes. Why is it that when the day's activities are at its peak, the number of ragas is thinnest?)
This bright day
Is here now with us to stay.
My eyes can see all that be --
The worlds' free; go, go away
That were sung only to pay
Tributes. Uncertainties are
Just as far as nights' away.
Sunrise and sunset, a green
Canvas lies in front of me
Though it be barren, mean
As this wasteland -- fathomless,
Urging us to sing all day
That we stay sane and ask less
This bright day,
Ask less, ask less this bright day --
Is it that we ask for less ?
Pray for less, or less we pray
This bright day ?
But forward march makes my day
Climb up a ladder or a graph
And then laugh at the vast grey
That is no
Golconda. Not a wave to flow
Me away with it to where
I could stare at truth, say hello !
( 08 )
Raga : Bhimpalasi.
Time : Late afternoon, before sunset.
(It brings the afternoon to a close but without ushering-in the evening ragas. Bhimpalasi kneads thews and sinews with 'I pray thee' entreaties -- very human.
Almost like our bike- trip to Dehradun years back.)
Summer afternoon ---
with our love for roguing
you and me
aiming to climb-up
to escape the climb
Delhi to Dehradun.
Immersed, also in thought --
of what we were attempting
Power of entreaty
mingling with the power
of a machine
is what took us then, from
Delhi to Dehradun.
( 09 )
Raga : Shudh Kalyan.
Time : Evening up to early night.
(Literally, it means ' pure salvation '. Catalyses a harmony in the environment and this raga slowly paves the path through tranquillity for the more lyrical and romantic ragas later.)
The slow descent of snowflakes on the ground
Covering the slouching cold-wave now down,
Long after memories of the last clown
In snow has melted, and even the sound
Of the last post-snow slush has eased, I found
No complaints marching along some fiery frown.
He stood on his bike, hands stretched, trying to crown
The heavens. We stood and watched his world dance round
And round -- Sa ni dha, pa ma ga -- the notes
Sliding across in threes in throes of joy.
Who cares if it is light or dark, the ploy
To hold time within snowflakes gets all votes,
And eyelids with time-sponged flakes rock like boats,
Joyous to be laden. Remain, enjoy --
Despite the strictures of life. This small toy
Wafts us from smile to smile like musical notes !
( 10 )
Raga : Marwa.
Time : At sunset and just after.
(This raga is associated with saffron -- the colour of renunciation and of sunset. Loneliness, anxiety, and expectation merge with a wish for a philosophical canopy...just like the onrushing darkness.)
Your bright eye,
My bereft I.
Let there be a somewhere for me.
Today is gone
Will be reborn.
Do I need lust though it be free ?
I am there
Where the care-
-ful hoardings of smiles has brought me.
What lies ahead
As I'll be there where I am, free
What may come.
All my hopes, steps and jumps have led
My dreams but
As I cut
Them free now, my windlass stands dead.
All colours merge
In saffron surge.
Science is mourned. Art is mourned. I am
The only one
Who shall run
To rescue me. I must stay calm.
( 11 )
Raga : Pooriya.
Time : After sunset up to night.
(Evokes a poignant mood. In essence there is a total acceptance of sorrow in dignified and mature flash-back.)
Life has gone by and I see now
Vignettes connected ( they were so far away
From each other when they were ). The past
Splices back to me
All that is mine
Though flash-backs come in freeze-frame with
No panning. The landscapes are lost
Though I do not now recollect any mists, however
Romantic, but I accept this
For I know those days of glory and beauty
Did exist. I can hear my trendy gloss, my
Sedate uncertainties, my fluttering idylls, my
Flirting tributes, my jean-clad pretentiousness, my naked
Cover-ups --- all laughing with me in my biopic. This
Life comes to me in its rushes and I blush
Even though only I can feel
The nakedness of some of these zooms. My journey,
Like a split screen, connects
The logical to the unthinkable
And edits the mundane that was
So important then. Is that the reason that I see now
My glory as meends ---
Unbroken melodic lines -- bitterness is voiced over,
Just acceptance fades-in
Dissolving the meanderings of turbulence
Into a montage of my choice
To continue with a consistency that fills
Me with the joy that was
( 12 )
Raga : Sankara.
Time : Late evening and night, up to midnight.
(This raga is derived from the tranquil Kalyan scale but there is a noticeable vigour, confidence, and a resonating quality. Combines the heroic and the amorous.)
This joy is ours, why miss this joy
The day was ours, the night is ours
My heart beats young as in a boy
I survey love in all my hours
My field of view gets enraptured
By all the tangrams I assemble
In victory my joy seems captured --
I climax at such ensemble.
Then moments are brave and lovely
O Sankara ! O Shiva ! Come, come to me.
( 13 )
Raga : Shudh Nat.
Time : Night.
(The beauty of this raga is beyond the realm of mere words. In the world of moods we are moving deeper into the shringar or romanticism of later night ragas. 'Poise and style' is the nearest definition that can be dared.)
What is it that will hold
Back the tears and will fold
In layers, put in a mould
Of purity like of gold --
And then sings
Silent songs that are rolled
In life-long care ? Old
Parting is hard but harder the part
That will connect new to the start.
A touch, a glance will not
live long but ties a knot
Through the day -- dry and hot,
Over bumps, and a lot
And planes and then gets caught
In whats a civilised rot :
Holding back to hold her back -- is it ?
Caged thoughts beam out, love comes bit by bit !
( 14 )
Raga : Bihag.
Time : Night.
(When desire has an expression that transcends the normal humdrum of life, it takes the shape of this raga. Desire sans eroticism. Desire minus devotional undercurrents. Desire threading the white of purity and existence in the subconscious of a beloved -- even when distance parts, so to say.)
in a blush of
up and go
and we bathe together in each other's words, scrub
each again and again --- pa ma ga, ma ga --- we rub,
we touch words that
get much music that
i am .... ...you are.
Raga : Bageshwari.
Time : Late night.
(The ecstasy of togetherness and the pain of being apart are both equal in emotional strength, equally memorable, and uncannily similar in their romantic content...and this is what this raga is all about.
Sounds so much like a writer, a poet.)
When I met her on the road
She seemed so much like the rest
But then, slowly, like an ode
Her quintessence awoke, arose
Came to me at my behest,
Plotted itself in my prose.
Our ludic twosome then began
A soliloquy that at its best
Premiered songs of love and then
The eidetics froze into words
Leaving a place in my breast --
Words of love and love for words
Merged, as pain and ecstacy will.
What remains is but a nest
Of wilful love, and love's will.
( 16 )
Raga : Malkaus.
Time : Midnight and after.
(The notes of this raga create nuances of spiritual calisthenics that blend reverence and subliminal wonder at the facts of creation.
Depth of night. Magic. Mystery. Lost, and yet feeling very safe.)
It is night and the night
Is here to stay
Though the light of the stars
Pierce their way through to me
Though the light on the other side
Wonders why its ever night.
But the star-light of the night
Sings to me of what lies there
Where the light comes through their night
And all the light everywhere
Decadent, persues fusion
With the classic shades of night.
And the light cloaked in night
In its fear of loneliness -- so much
Like us. Is that why we like
Our fears to fuse with depths
of night ?
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