Archive for ghazal

Madness

Wednesday – 22 Zilhaj 1428 – 13 Pausa 1929 – 02 January 2008

I do not refer to my unbelievably fickle nature with depression and sadness. Over the past couple of months I have been fighting very hard against my moods of depression. I would like to say that at any given time I am either a man of happiness and sunshine or of sadness and lamentation. And in that period of time I see only that particular taste of time till the end of time. Fickle I would agree. But, it adds tastes to life not expected by so many. And of course of the recently polled 149 friends, family, colleagues and acquantances 134 declared me absolutely insane and unpredictable, 10 said I wanted to seem different and hence overacted, and of course 5 wanted to go to the bathroom and said “To hell with your questions overly fat and irritating bitch, where the hell is the can???”. I rest my case.

The madness I refer to is what I see around me. My country, my society, my people, my land. I met with a very dear friend from Hyderabad. Yes, yes, I know, only people above fifty are allowed to use the word dear friend, but, fuck off, grow up, go kick yourselves in the nuts, I will do what I want to do. He was telling me about the absolutely insane violence that took place in his city. So did it happen in Karachi.

My cousins, who were in from the US forced me to take them out on the New Years Eve. I didnt want to go. I did. I saw everything. What had become of my city. The closed shops. The dark streets. The empty roads. I cried. I cried in the car. They asked me what it was. I stopped crying. They can not share in my pain. I needed someone who loved those streets as much as I did to be able to understand.

And here, I would like to share with you all something that went through my mind during a split second of the drive. I am walking across the India – Pakistan border.  When they try to stop me I run across it and declare “I demand political asylum because I am an Agnostic and the country behind me is a Taliban / Warlord hellhole”. The Indians do not say anything. They look at me with understanding eyes and let me walk on. I cross the guards. I look back. I look at the gate on the border with the Crescent and the Star. I know that my country descended into chaos. Another Afghanistan, another Baghdad. I saw it happen. And as I looked back across the border, I felt the pain of loss. Loss of each element of my existence. The sum of my being defined by a symbol that had restricted my world to what I ended up learning to love so strongly. Ghazal singers and Sufi Rock. Dawn newspaper and tv channel. As these images go through my mind I start walking back towards the Pakistani border. Something pulling me back. Towards destruction. Towards oblivion. But, the ability to think and process and decide rationally had left me. There was only one thing. Pleasure and pain, and the knowledge of eternal pleasure in the company of what I know and accept. And as I walk towards the border I am torn into two, one who wants to grasp at the last dying embers of what I love and cherish and hold above everything in the world, and the other who has the knowledge that seeing the destruction of a part of this whole would finish me. Yet again, as in my personal life, I am torn between two paths that both lead to oblivious destruction, I can not choose, and I can not decide, they are both right and they are both wrong. Am I only trying to run away from the questions by forcing so sudden a decision? As I walk towards the border, I fall down. I break down. I start to cry. A sound comes out of my throat like the primeval cry of an animal in pain. I dont know where it is coming from. Maybe it is coming from Pakistan. Maybe. And the images flash at me with increasing intensity. Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan singing Pakistan Pakistan. The Azan of the Muazzin from my old home. I fall to the ground. Old late 80s PTV song / jingle that was played before the Khabarnama. I start to pull my body across the gravel towards the border. Jinnah Mausoleum along the MA Jinnah road covered in a soup of Rickshaw vomit. I know that I am going to die. Sunset from the Clifton beach on a winter afternoon. I know that I must cross the border before the inevitable. The large pothole on the road to my house due to which I had to drive on the wrong lane each and every day. I scrabble like a mad man on the gravel, making a lot of effort but little progress. The Kabab Fry from Burns Road. The Indian guards who had tried to stop me have just now let me be; they understand. Nayyara Noor singing Faiz Ahmed Faiz – خیر ہو تیری لیلائوں کی. I think my hand has hit the border; and now, I can finally die in peace. I turn over, on the border. Saadat Hasan Manto. Pakistan Paindabad. And all is peace forever.

 پاکستان پائندہ باد

Clashing Sounds

Sunday – 09 Rajab 1424 – 16 Bhadra 1925 – 07 September 2003  

i was told that i am a freak 5 mins ago. by my mom. i was listening to my music. usually the problem is that childrean listen to NEW forms of music and parents dont like that. here. i listen to classical forms of music and my mom calls it a cacophony of clamourous sounds. go figure.

well i listen to classical and semi classical south asian music. the raaga. the ghazal. the thumri. the geet. now that the background is done i will proceed.

currently everyone at my home laughs at my music and calls me dead man. lots of eye rolling and messaging about it all the time. that is not it. except for everyone in my house. everyone i know in person laughs at it as well. it seems that my music is so strange that everyone laughs at it. my musical choice has been the topic of many a joke and comment even places where i wasnt present.

well this is ovbviously depressing. i havent come across any one after my university who is nearly my age by about 20 years and shares my musical taste. well i dont know what to say. their loss. a man screaming your loss in the face of 100 % of the other people his age and beloging to his country.

what the FUCK! is wrong with me. why the FUCK do i listen to classical or semi classical music. when people laugh at it and say who died why are you listening to this. and people have actually started laughing when i told them what i listen to. i mean come on. i think given a choice the social stigma will be more for me due to what i listen than due even to my sexual orientation.

oh he is gay … too bad … but he is a nice person.

WHAT !!! he is 22 and he listens to ghazals and raagas … KEEP AWAY FROM HIM !!! i dont want you mixing with people like that.

i am terribly depressed. i seem to be fond of something that can only be seen as an affliction. it is so horrible and terrifying that people shy away from it. it is so ridiculously funny that people laugh alond at its mention. what the FUCK!!!

i am very very depressed. i cant be gay. now i cant listen to my music. why the hell cant i get even a small break. what the FUCK!!! music DAMNIT it is only MUSIC !!!

Weather

Monday – 27 Jamadi ul Awwal 1424 – 06 Sravana 1925 – 28 July 2003

well brace yourself because this will be a long long post.

i come over to my cousins house last night. needed to get out of the house for a day or two. well so here i am all alone. he went to his college in the morning.

the computer is in front of me. the window is on my left. it is cloudy. overcast with uniform gray clouds. it is raining. there are a lot of thunder. not the shrieking type. the low rumbling type of thunder. there is a cool humid breeze blowing.

the tree right infront of the window is so wet. its leaves are dancing with every drop of rain that falls on them. rain water from the roofs of nearby houses is falling on the street and making a splashing noise. i can hear a mynah bird. with its cooOOO cooOOO. i can hear a sparrow with its chirp chirp.

oh so wonderful i am completely into this weather. it is so wonderful.

i have my favourite music playing. ghazals. and i have been like this for the last 2 hours. now playing ‘jab us zulf ki baat chali’ sung by mehdi hasan.

but there is one thing wrong here. i am alone. i wish if someone was here with me. well i wish if A was here. well i havent chatted with him for the last two days. although i have sent him emails. well i still hope he was here with me. it is cuh romantic weather. oooooooooo. wow lovely ghazal. now playing ‘aa keh sajjada nasheen kaisay hua merya baad’ sung by mehdi hasan.

chaak karna hay ishi gham say girayban e kafan

kon kholay ga teray band e qaba meray baad

i am just feeling so romantic and adventurous today. i dont know why but i think it is the weather and the music. i know that the weather and music have always had a very big effect on me. so is this day here.

i have been reading a lot of blogs lately. looking into peoples lives. looking at what they share. thinking about what they do not share. it is a fascinating world out there. it has so much to see and feel. reading blogs from pakistan to see what people are doing in my country. reading blogs from the world over to see what people are doing and seeing and feeling and thinking in the rest of the world.

it is a wonderful thing. bringing people closer. making them understand each other. with time the artificial lines made by government across the globe will get dimmer and dimmer. we will finally be able to understand each other better. we will finally be able to live like human and not territorial animals.

during the monsoon season (the one we are going through) people bathe in the rain. it is a nice temprature. not hot nor cold. but slightly warmish coolish. the perfect temprature. you do not feel it to be cold despite the wind. you do not feel it to be hot despite the temprature otherwise.

right now. about 5-10 children are bathing in the rain. runnig around. splashing water. jumping in the small puddles. singing songs that children sing during the rain. i remember all of this. i used to do it too. its the same street. the puddles are in the same places. the songs are the same. the houses are the same.

yadish ba khair (oh sweet memory … signifying a deep sense of nostalgia)

well now it is the perfect combination. excellent weather. excellent music. and i am feeling romantic and nostalgic. what more can one want. it is the state of blissful nirvana.

oooooooo. another mehdi hasan classic. this music is giving me an orgasm. baat karni mujhe mushkil kabhi aisay to na thee. jaisi ab hay teri mehfil kabhi aisay to na thee. uffffffffffffff.

i heard that mehdi hasan is in canada. he is undergoing medical treatment there. he is on his last breaths. it is so unfortunate. that a man of his calibre. the shahinshah of ghazal (emperor of ghazal) is dying.

his magical voice enchanted millions for decades. his grasp of music plucked the strings of millions of hearts all over the world. his alaap would send shivers of delight through millions of souls. his voice was an instrument in itself. it was the most beautiful of the instruments. he has the voice that will be remembered in legend all over south asia for ages. along with amir khusrau and tansen.

oh the rain is getting heavier all of a sudden. the children start shrieking with joy. heavier still. heavier still. WHOA WHOA WHOA. wow it is REALLY raining now. i better publish my blog before the power gets cut off and i lose it.

Weekend

Sunday – 26 Jamadi ul Awwal 1424 – 05 Sravana 1925 – 27 July  2003

last night was the first saturday night of my working life. although i love my work i like the idea of going out over the weekend. this weekend there was no such plan. well i thought id go over to my cousins to spend the weekend. he lives alone so we could behave like guys and hang out and stuff.

i get there and he tells me we are going to a concert. now. i hate concerts. i hate them. i dont know why but i get extremely depressed in concerts. well he insisted so i decided to go. we went with our friends of the neighbourhood (in pakistan is the completely straight for a group of friends to go out together even for a concert). all the way i prayed that it wasnt a concert and that it was a ghazal evening(pakistans equivalent of the opera). no. i am not a boring person. i just like ghazal evenings.

on the ticket we had a concert at 2200 hours. but when we got there at 0000 hours we saw that it was a ghazal evening. WOW!. all the other guys who forced me to come had to be bored as hell for an hour and a half. and i enjoyed myself so much. my cousin told me he will never force me to go anywhere as i will jinx that too. awwwwww. that is so cute.

also i had a hit today from someone coming from this address “http://search.yahoo.com/bin/search?p=what%20rains%20mean%20to%20pakistan&ei=UTF-8” which is a yahoo search for what rain means to pakistan. well if i am that popular that my blog is dealing with social issue. wow. thats all i can say.

Ghazal

Monday – 21 Jamadi ul Awwal 1424 – 31 Asadh 1925 – 22 July 2003

the reason for todays post is to share with you all something that i enjoy. something that is capable of giving me orgasmic pleasure. it is poetry and music. since these specific artforms will be new to you. i will give you a background.

i just thought this post should be about a few cultural things from here. such as poetry and music. to start of with pakistan india and bangladesh form a cultural unit. perviously known as india(greek, english), hind(arabic), hindustan(persian, urdu) and bharat(sanskrit, hindi). so the poetic and musical traditions that i will talk about today will be from this region.

one of the many forms of poetry(‘shaairi’ in urdu) is the ghazal. it is one of the most popular. most rhythmic. most beautiful. and most liked forms of poetry in south asia(india+pakistan+bangladesh). it is made up of couplets. which join together to form the ghazal. every couplet has two lines which are about the same subject. different couplets in the ghazal can have different themes making it more independent and deep.

one of the many forms of music(‘mausiqi’ in urdu) is also the ghazal. it is the art of singing the ghazal. the poetic form i just talked about. it is made upon raagas. so it contains a heavy element to south asian classical music. there is a way of singing a ghazal that makes it much much more meaningful and pleasing. since the topics can range from love to life to society to romance to loss to anything whatsoever. it is interesting to see how the ghazal developes with time.

i love reading ghazals and feeling them and contemplating upon them. i love listening to music especially the way the ghazal is sung. i am more of a classical music guy. so i have a form of poetry that is very beautifully woven into music. it is a collection of two beautiful things. poetry and music.

everyone likes certain voices. everyone finds certain individual to be more melodious. everyone had a favourite voice. and usually in 98% of the cases people say that their favourite voice could be better. i mean to say they think it isnt perfect. well my favourite all time singer is mehdi hasan. he is an excellent ghazal singer. his is the best voice that i have ever heard emanating from a throat. also he is very adept in his art. he knows every little thing of what to do with his voice to send shivers down peoples spines. summarizing, he is perfect. i cannot imagine someone better.

so now i have ghazal being sung by mehdi hasan. i cannot tell you how much of a plesure it is. there isnt one ghazal sung by him that will not pull me to the source of the sound. be it my home, a party, a bazaar or an airport. i cannot resist it. i will move towards the sound like a zombie. there is not one ghazal sung by mehdi hasan during whict at one time or another i will not close my eyes just to let all my sensations focus only on that one sound. and be swept away by it. i never listen to him in the car. it is too dangerous.

since i have been rambling on so much i will stop now. in the hope that the love of my life (who also has to like mehdi hasan VERY much) will read this post. and stop. and realize that he has also found the love of his life. and we will live happily ever after. listening to mehdi hasan.

as i type all this mehdi hasan’s ghazals play in the background. this one is one of my favourites and one of his best works. since i cannot tell you how it sounds like i will only type the ghazal here. the poet was. faiz ahmed faiz. a wonderful wonderful poet. who also has the capability of pushing people into orgasmic pleasure just by the power of his words.

this poet of this ghazal is faiz ahmed faiz, it was sung by mehdi hasan. any south asian with an interest in music and poetry will tell you that ‘this combination must be excellent’. period. this ghazal will instantly be recognized by the people i was talking about earlier. let me write the ghazal for you along with a few of the stresses during mehdi hasans musical version.

gulON meiN rang bharE, bAd-e-naubahAr chalE

chalE bhi Aao ke gulshan ka kAr-o-bAr chalE

qafas udAs hai yArON sabA se kuchh to kahO

kahiN to bahr-e-KHudA Aj zikr-e-yAr chalE

jo ham pe guzri so guzrI magar shab-e-hijrAN

hamAre ashk terI ANkh but saNwAr chalE

huA jo teer-e-nazar neem_kash to kyA hAsil?

mazA to jab hai ke seene ke aar-paar chalE

maqAm ‘Faiz’ koI rAh mEIN jachA hi nahIN

jo kU-e-yAr se niklE to sU-e-dAr chalE

now the translation. since i am translating this it is very very very flawed. also it is just a prosaic translation.

spreading the colour in the flowers the early spring breezes blow

do come here now so the business of the garden should start

the prison cell is very lonely friends say something to the wind

would not that somewhere o lord the topic of my beloved comes up

what has befallen us is past but o night of lonely seperation

my tears have made better your eyes and your own self

what is the use when the arrows from your eyes are too weak?

pleasure will be when it will cross my heart and chest

no place faiz did i like in the way

when i left the street of the beloved i went straight towards death

i hate myself horribly for mutiliating this beautifuil ghazal by this ghastly translation. sorry to everyone who i hurt extermely by this display or boorish barbarism. it is so so so so so much better without the translation.

well i will not obsess about it. i will leave now. let god be kind to you.