Friday, January 09, 2004

Nissim Ezekiel - poet who toched with simple words

I am Alone

You are Alone

Let us be Alone together

Today, Nissim Ezekiel, marathi speaking Bene Israel Jewish community poet passed away.

During early 80's, I spent lot of time improving my english langauage fluency and would resort to reading articles on litearture in Times of India and Mid Day. Name Ezekiel often would figure on these pages where he penned his thoughts on various lierary work. He was one person whose english was easy to understand. What I liked about Ezekiel's poetry was his expression of simple aspects of life like love, loneliness, lust,human fallacies in simple and easy to read english. He defied my logic that your literary skills are judged by bombastic words you use. Only later, when i read his thoughts , I learnt his narration for his using simple indian english.

Quote : "It all started as a comment by a friend who said that you write in English no doubt and you write English well but you don't seem to even knowor realise that thousands of Indians speak what can only be called IndianEnglish, because you only meet people who are learning English Literature.So I said yes, it's true I have never thought in terms of writing what youcall Indian English. I have just thought it was bad English or wrong Englishand ignored it. He said no, no, no, you must listen to it. So from that timein all my train journeys from Mithibai College back home, I began to takesome interest in the way English was being spoken on the train. Every time Iheard an obvious Indian English phrase like, "I'm not knowing only", I wouldtake it down. When I had about a thousand of these, I thought now is the time to create a character, who will speak Indian English from beginning toend. A situation has to be created, you have to think of all those things. So several hours would pass before finally the poem would begin and perhapscome to an end. Then it had to be revised and cut down and the emphasiswould be on the Indian English that the character speaks. So naturally onewouldn't write a hundred Indian English poems either so if I would totalthem up, they would come to about six or seven. I think or maybe ten perhaps." Unquote.

This is another poem that brings so beautifully middle class indian ethos and feelings.

Remember me? I am Professor Sheth.
Once I taught you geography. Now
I am retired, though my health is good.
My wife died some years back.
By God's grace, all my children
Are well settled in life.
One is Sales Manager,
One is Bank Manager,
Both have cars.
Other also doing well, though not so well.
Every family must have black sheep.
Sarala and Tarala are married,
Their husbands are very nice boys.
You won't believe but I have eleven grandchildren.
How many issues you have? Three?
That is good. These are days of family planning.
I am not against. We have to change with times.
Whole world is changing. In India also
We are keeping up. Our progress is progressing.
Old values are going, new values are coming.
Everything is happening with leaps and bounds.
I am going out rarely, now and then
Only, this is price of old age
But my health is O.K. Usual aches and pains.
No diabetes, no blood pressure, no heart attack.
This is because of sound habits in youth.
How is your health keeping?
Nicely? I am happy for that.
This year I am sixty-nine
and hope to score a century.
You were so thin, like stick,
Now you are man of weight and consequence.
That is good joke.
If you are coming again this side by chance,
Visit please my humble residence also.
I am living just on opposite house's backside.

Sunday, January 04, 2004

RD musical genius


Even though RD is not with us for past 10 years, a day is not passed when his music is not part of our daily musical existence. His music mesmerism can only be exemplified with his fan following ranging from next generation kids to senior citizens. These days when every second day, so called ‘popular remix’ is churned out from his songs and played on FM with an ludicrous attempt to mount DJ on musical pedestal without due recognition to the original composer, it cause great anguish to genuine music lovers.

Few days ago I was part of our gathering in Dubai to remember RD on his death anniversary on Jan 4th. The impact of this nostalgia took me to check if there was any review done on RD on http://www.mouthshut.com/ . I was elated to find his name under category of ‘movie personality’ but was dismayed to find the place devoid of any remarks or comments.
It is too childish of me to write about RD and his music. I would like to invite music lovers on http://www.mouthshut.com/ to the website of http://www.panchamonline.com/. I believe this site sums up what RD and his creation is all about. I would be happy to see reviews on http://www.panchamonline.com/. Because such reviews can help this site more enriching enabling music connoisseurs to offer tribute to RD and his memorable musical creation.
Though much has been said about his musical scores, little do we find mention on his innovation of musical instrument and his voice.

Some of his improvisations of instruments were Hudka, Pedal Matka, Bell tree, Murgesh, Dimdi. These have been aptly described and demonstarted by his collegaues who assisted in his musical creation. Hudka is small dholak but with percussion in the center gives different vibration. Daiyya re Daiyya from Carvan has used this . Pedal matka has big leather cap with matka below and leather strings tied around with Pedal below. This was used in Samne ye kaun aaya from Jawani Diwani and Mutthukodi Kawari Hada from Do Phool. Mugesh is Ghatam with leather ring. Dimdi is like a miniature Duff.Bell tree had cycle bell caps of different diameter fixed on one on top vertically and played by stick by moving from top to bottom . This is used with in Tere Liye Palkonki Zalar from Harjaee. He also introduced the electronic organ in India for the composition O mere sona re sona in Teesri Manzil.

Another unique identity of RD was his innovative shrill intonations used in Duniya mein logon ko (Apna Desh), Monica O my darling (Caravan),Mehbooba mehbooba (Sholay), Yamma yamma (Shaan), Samundar mein nahakar (Pukar),Sapna mera toot gaya (Khel khel mein) and Dil lena khel hai dildar ka (Zamane ko dikhana hai). Despite creating chartbusters over 30 years, RD got few recognition in terms of awards.

Though he was nominated 14 times for filmfare awards but got only for Sanam Teri Kasam and Masoom . His composition of Ijaazat won Gulzar and Asha National award. Its ironical that stupendous success for his 1942: A Love Story too came just few weeks after his death on Jan 4th.