Life Lessons With Deepali

June 30, 2021 at 9:15 AMJun (Cinema, Friends, Media, Music, Musings, Poetry, Slice Of Life, Uncategorized)

Taking a seat, we recollected how we had first spoken to each other on the way to the very same Cafe almost five years ago. “We had come here on your birthday too,” I said and she nodded saying, “Yes, I remember.”

Deepali and I were meeting after 4 years and the time spent together, four years ago, looked distant and close at the same time. Memories smell fresh when you archive them in your heart with love. They appear so close that the distance traveled in time from those moments surprise you when highlighted.

We had decided the previous night that the following morning we would go to Good Luck Cafe for breakfast, and we did. Taking bites of bun-maska we continued to discuss our common love for old Hindustani film songs and arrived at the song Khaamosh Sa Afsaana from the unreleased film Libaas. I expressed how much I loved the line, “dil ki baat na poocho dil toh aata rahega,” for its simplicity of expression and complexity of experience and also the beautiful way in which that line has been composed and sung. That line took us back to our conversation around how emotions, often opposing, are interwoven and such interweaving holds the truth about us and about the complex nature of life; a conversation which had stemmed out of our session on updating each other about our respective lives in the last four years.

The whole of that day we kept singing that one particular line and kept wondering whether the line expressed fear, relief, hope, or disgust. We were also struck by how the line begins with a denial to engage with the question (na poocho) and ends with a kind of understanding/ surety (aata rahega) of things unfolding/ happening the way they ought to happen. That “aata rahega” also voices, we recognized, is a kind of giving in to life and a willingness to go with the flow. This denial to engage and the willingness to go with the flow with the understanding/ surety that things will happen the way it has to, we came to believe, is beautiful not because the truth lies between them but because the truth lies in their coexistence.

The previous evening, when Deepali and I sat at a restaurant with our friend Dharma, she had explained the tattoo on her hand, something which wasn’t written on her skin when we were studying together at FTII. This new tattoo which looks like her obsession with music, she explained to us, is actually more than just a reference to the icons on the music player. She said, “the rewind button stands for a past that exists, the forward button reminds of the future that is to come. The pause icon is a reminder of life/ relationships/ associations not stopping ever but only pausing temporarily. In my life there is no Stop button. There is also an icon of mix which indicates that life doesnt flow in chronological order. all these icons are there in black, which means they are not in motion though they all exist. The only icon in motion, hence in red, is the play button icon. life is moving on and I am moving on with life.”  

While returning to the campus from Good Luck, Deepali said she would like to record the song and it was decided that at night we would record the song in her voice. Making this decision Deepali started rehearsing the song in a very non-rehearsal kind of way, while we continued with our conversations, cooking, eating, and walking. As she kept rehearsing, I kept wondering at the similar undercurrent between what we conversed the previous evening and our conversation on the following day- about life, about humans, about relationships.

Life unfolds in its own way and probably the only way to be in tune with life is to go with the flow, dance to its rhythm, and breathe its air.

Every time she rehearsed, the line sounded different and I remembered what Sheila Dhar in an essay had mentioned about recording music/ singing. Sheila Dhar, I recollect from my memory of reading the essay, says that recording is only a reference to the raga and not the raaga itself. She says every raaga is like an incense stick and every rendition like the smoke that the incense stick exhales. The pattern, the formation, the movement differ every time though it is the same raaga. Similarly, though the same song it was different each time Deepali rehearsed it and sung it.

No amount of preparation can guarantee you that a song will be sung the same way as imagined in the mind. Probably it is the song which guides us each time and each time, we follow it differently. Maybe that is true of life too.

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