Monday, May 19, 2014

For the love of Ghazals

I really admire well meaning poetry but "Ghazals" being a piece of rhyming poetry in complicated Hindi or Urdu never made any sense to me. While people around me would discuss passionately the great ghazals sung by the "Ghazal Maestro Jagjit Singh", I would sit back quietly and wonder what is it about ghazals that appeal so much to them. To me, It was simply some sad poetry sung in a very classical way where the subject suffering in love would explain his emotions in complicated metaphors. I always told people out loud that I don't like ghazals because of their base concept lying in the fact that love is a painful thing. They would look back at me kindly and would say, "Lala, you will appreciate ghazals once you will grow up." For a long time in my life, I never gave ghazals a chance to make any impression on me. I would switch off the radio channel if they were playing ghazals and my own mp3 player never had the room to accommodate this genre. This is how I used to be till I was 21.

And then, I grew up.

Ghazals are now essential to my short grey days and long sleepless nights. They accompany me during my clueless strolls in the city and creates for me an illusion within which I feel at peace knowing that these great poets behind the ghazals have also felt more or less the same emotions I am feeling in my life. It's amazing how often in those well sung melodies I have found just the right words to express my state of soul which I never thought I would ever be able to explain. It's like a sense of belonging to this special clan of people in this world who are expert at smiling big and bright in an attempt to shrink their eyes and push back the tears before they spill and reveal their pain.

I don't enjoy sad miser love songs because I always believed (and still do) that if love truly exists then there is no room for misery to co-exist. My general perception of ghazals being related exclusively to miseries caused by so called Romeo Juliet kinda love and it's unfulfilled destiny was corrected when I heard some of the great pieces of ghazal melodies by Jagjit Singh. I won't try to explain how this genre effects me and on what many levels of my personality and emotions because if only I was able to do that, I wouldn't have had felt the need to find my peace in ghazals.

However, in my opinion, to be able to understand and appreciate ghazals, you don't have to grow up. You just have to be true to yourself because when you are truest to yourself, you feel the loneliest even in the crowds. And when no one seems to understand even a slightest bit of the pain that you live with each passing moment and when that metaphorical pain starts becoming your reality and the world starts calling you "idealistic", ghazals may prove to be a good imaginative refuge. I feel that one can tell a lot about another person just by knowing his/her favorite works of ghazals.

I am going to leave you with some of the ghazals which are very close to my heart in this season of my life. I think these ghazals will stay with me for life like a good comforting friend does. Don't worry if you don't manage to understand them because in a way that means that you don't know what sorrow is and that makes you a very fortunate person. Trust me, I am a ghazal appreciator!

1. Ghum ka khazana.

2. Main nashay main hoon.

3. Kahin dur jab din dhal jaye.

4. Tum itna jo muskura rahay ho.

5. Mujhe hosh nahin.