There are times and days that are etched in your memory for almost forever. I have been quite lucky to have been able to put together such memories that are usually more of a thing of dreams. Two years ago, I met Pandit Birju Maharj ji whose name in itself is enough to have the lovers of dance and art bow their heads in respect and I had the privilege to learn and nurture kathak under his majestic guidance. He is my guru and will always be. Last year I sat in the humble presence of Ustad Amjad Ali Khan where I learnt a completely different side of modesty. Day before yesterday I came face to face with the legendary lyricist Javed Akhtar sahab. I am never star struck because these men are to be revered and respected in all their glory.
Monday evening Javed Akhtar sahab launched his bible of poems In Other Words at Oxford Book Store, Connaught Place, Delhi. I was all prepared to stand for hours because there would be only a handful who would want to miss his witty anecdotes and satirical comebacks for all the questions thrown at him. But what I hadn’t imagined was that I would have to climb up a ladder to get a glimpse of Akhtar sahab and also capture a few memories of him. It was worth the effort!
In Other Words was first launched at the Jaipur Literary Festival this year and has been garnering raving reviews from critiques since then. However, for rest of the world the official launch of the book was Monday evening at the bookstore. There is a lot to be said about Javed sahab but there aren’t enough words in this world to define this legend. He made me fall in love with his beautiful lyrics for the movie 1942: A Love Story even when I was too young to understand the depth of the words. But decades later I still sing that one particular song with a feeling so strong, which is hard to decipher. I again fell in love with the poems he penned for the movie Zindagi Naa Milegi Dobara that were recited by Farhan Akhtar in his baritone voice. Honestly, there was a war inside my head and I couldn’t decide what I loved more the words or the poem and well in the end obviously the latter won.
I would like to share with you one of the poems from In Other Words and you too will end up cherishing every little emotion behind the poem.
Perhaps I should forget you
This is now the proper thing to do
But even if I wish to erase you from my mind
How can I forget?
After all you are real
Not just a dream
What can I say
About this wretched heart
That could never forget
The rapport that never was
That idea, that one idea
Which was never expressed
That word, that one word
Which I could not say to you
Which never existed between you and me
I remember all those things
Which never happened
The depth, intensity, and the power behind each word is undeniably overwhelming as they carry you to a world of their own. I think it will take me a while to float back to the ground because his poems combined with the beautiful rendition of ‘Kucch Na Kaho’ playing in the silence of the night is enough to keep me entranced.