18 September 2020

Friday evening … an attempt to get in touch with the soulful side

“Unki nazron ne kuch aisa jadoo kiya
Loot gaye hum to pehli mulaqat mein
Sharaab seekh pe daali,
Kabaab sheeshe mein
Jo baat thi unko kehne ki
Wo baat hi kehna bhul gaye
Gairon ke fasane yaad rahe
Hum apna fasana bhul gaye”

Roughly translated…

“Her mesmerizing glance had this magic on me
I got devastated the first time I met her

(/*so discombobulated I was by her beauty that */)

I poured the wine on barbecue skewers
And served the meat in the chalice

What I was going to chat her up about
I completely forgot to bring up
I remembered to tell the stories of total strangers
But forgot to tell her my own story”

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18 September 2020

The blot thickens…

This started in 1983. August of 1983 to be precise. My first letter that I wrote to my best friend – Avijit Bose. I had moved to a residential school for my last two years of High School and he had stayed back in our home town of Durgapur.

Now we are a bit further apart. He is in the Southern Hemisphere, I am in the Northern. He is in the Eastern Hemisphere, I am in the Western. He is in Perth, Australia. I am in Atlanta, USA.

If you notice the picture very carefully and zoom in, you will notice that both of us are writing with fountain pens. In fact, that is how the whole thing got a restart. Early July, Avijit had posted in Facebook about the three new fountain pens he had bought. I had suggested that it might be a good reason to get back to our practice from thirty seven years back.

So, towards the end of July, I wrote a hand written letter (you see the picture) to Avijit. Admittedly, thirty seven years back, I did not have a glass of martini next to me. That letter took three weeks to reach him in Australia. Fortunately, his response took only two weeks to reach me. Those days, he did not have an iPhone to take a selfie that would make him look like a southpaw either 🙂

So, why this rigmarole of communicating in a way that takes multiple weeks to reach (and daily checking on Whatsapp if it has reached 🙂 )?

Because tradition is not the worship of ashes… it is the preservation of fire!

14 September 2020

One of my favorite hobbies from the past…

Writing letters to all and sundry with fountain pens. Before the advent of emails and such, this was the way I kept up with all my friends and family. And even strangers!! In fact, in one instance, I met one of those pen-pals after 30 years of starting our pen-friendship!

For those who complain today that I write too many emails… well, even in those days, I would sometimes write a dozen letters a day!!

13 September 2020

Finally, some time to enjoy some Qawaali…

Meri nazar ko junoon ka payaam de saaqi
Meri hayaat ko laafani shaam de saaqi
Yeh roz roz ka peene mujhe pasand nahi
Kabhi na hosh mein aaun wo jaam de saaqi

To remind ourselves, “saaqi” refers to the (female) partner that is usually either pouring the drink or accompanying you in drinking.

Oh Saaqi! Give my eyes that vision of frenzy
Offer to my life that evening that dies, Oh Saaqi!
I am tired of this drinking every single evening
This time give me that drink that never gets me back to my senses.

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