Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Dil, really jalta hai!


I have never been fond of the renowned singer, Saigal, with his nasal voice which reminded me of a man struggling with his ablutions! More so, after I was told and then heard with my own ears, my dear father’s voice which was just like him.

The man sat with his harmonium in the company of his friends, all playing different musical instruments. The saga started with the musicians first, tuning up and then setting forth with a medley mix of sounds that blended into each other, to make some musical sounds, until my father let out a sound emanating from somewhere deep, which probably was his large intestine and allowed it to find relief in the vocal exhalations, punctuated by a few ups and downs, like the choir singers at the Vatican.

This practice made me ponder on the meaning of deep itself, as to the physiological origin of the word, in a man’s biology. Arising out of this contemplation, came the realization that in so far as anything is concerned, which has to do with my father, my efforts would match his voice, to produce what I termed as the ‘Saigal Effect’. This meant that I would have to let out a similar pained sound out of my gut, or wherever, every time, I dealt with anything to do with him.

Now, I am not exaggerating I can assure you. Most of the people who know me, are aware of the strained relationship between my late father and mother and how there was no taalmil, compatibility between the two which resulted in one writing her own story and the other singing his own song! I stood on the periphery watching the tamasha, circus, as most children do in such cases and decided to take to my mother’s passion, which was words of poetry and story, precisely why I am here now to tell you the story of the latest version of the ‘Saigal Effect’ which  took over my life, only recently.

On my way to visit his place to sell a plot of land, which he so kindly left behind for me, only in his death, I was told at the eleventh hour, that the sale was not going to happen after all, because, the buyer, a man of the soil, who had been working on many other acres of my father’s land, when he was alive, did not have the money ready. But had he not told me, only in the morning and many times over in the last two months that the money was ready? Yes, of course, he had, but who can ever escape the long term adverse results of the ‘Saigal Effect’? Plans must be foiled; the family must do its bit to protect the land from going out to people who were merely labourers on my father’s land; how could they become owners; I who grew up with other pursuits of life must learn the hard way, that the zamindari system, the private ownership of land, is here to stay, as much as the caste system is, and that all efforts to sell the land, will meet with negation. And I must pay with time and money for being challenged enough not to understand that even my inheritance from my father, is necessarily, not mine, but belongs to my paternal house and all or a few male members of the family.

Yes, at these times, the ‘Saigal Effect’ does hit me hard and I know, where the frustrated, constipated sound came from – not from the gut, nor the intestine, nor what one might have held sacred as to cause anal retention, but way, way beyond that. The ‘Saigal Effect’ has its origin in a lost battle with sense and sensibility, fought by me and my mother, our whole life, with our counterpart, that being my father and his family.

Dil, really jalta hai! The heart really burns!  



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