• Thursday, March 05, 2015


Our songs of heartbreak

When she you call your universe, your starlight in the darkness of your night, decides that she does not wish to be seen with you any longer, you can only fall back on that ancient expression of heartbreak. Nothing can be more poignant than recalling all the songs of old that speak of rejection. Hemonto's jabar aage kichhu bole gelena is a perfect expression of the way you feel. You do not complain, you do not ask her why she has taken leave of you. It is her wish, of course. Remember Tagore's amar praaner porey chole gelo ke / boshonter bataash tuku'r moto? If you do, you will know of the gaping hole that has suddenly been drilled in your heart with the departure of the one whose love you cannot do without.
But she will not return. It has happened in your life earlier too. No one has come back, which is when you empathise with a rather inebriated Dilip Kumar when he sings, through Mohammad Rafi, koi saghar dil ko behlata nahin / bekhudi mein bhi qarara ata nahin. After all the seasons spent in her fragrant company, when your poetry sang paeans to her, she now does not need you. No, you do not complain. But you do recall, again through Rafi, that heart-cracking song, hum to samjhe thhe ke hum bhool gaye hain un ko / kya hua aaj ye kis baat pe rona aaya.
Or reflect, in your all-consuming loneliness, on Manna De's borho eka laage ei andhaare. Rejection in love is that rare, unwanted moment in life when every single feeling, every sensitivity, comes alive in you. In the lugubrious ambience fast building up around you, you are able to see every blade of grass, hear clearly the song of the crickets, feel the tragedy-laden breeze on your back. Tagore's shey ashichhe boley chomokiye chaai / kanone dakiley pakhi is a song whose substance you understand better when you have lost in love. Only a few days ago you were speaking to her of Abdul Jabbar's lines, je haathe tomar boron mala / shey haathe abar moron jala. You did not know then that irony was around the corner, that Mahmudunnabi's andhaare chand-er moto shurer shagore baan / ek din aami-o to jagiye chhilam would come back to you, to tell you she is no longer beside you.
You are listless. You wonder how she is doing. Is she too going through pain? Does the heart break in her as well? You watch the moon rise in the heavens even as the night deepens. From a distance of time, it is Talat Mahmood, brimming with sadness, who comes to you: hum ne to chaaha bhool hi jayen / wo afsana kyun dohrayen / dil raeh raeh ke yaad dilaye / raat ne kya kya khwab dekhaye.
You sing all those songs. Unmitigated sadness drips from them. Pankaj Kumar Mallick sings Tagore's excruciating lines, amar priya'r chhaya akashe aaj bhaashe.
You have lost your world. The lights have all gone out around you. She does not wish to be seen with you.

The writer is Executive Editor,
The Daily Star

Published: 12:01 am Saturday, May 31, 2014

Last modified: 1:48 pm Thursday, May 29, 2014

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