Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Reasons for being partial to one of my all time favourite classics, Gaanola by Suman Chattopadhay

Just before another concert of the legend, let me share a historical garbage. Way back in 1994, when a skinny boy of class seven [or was it six?] tried to pen down his feelings, after listening to the album "Gaanola", words [and vocabulary] failed him. This post is my tribute to that boy, and to the wonder that he experienced.

A flurry of memories stream in through the bathroom window, a sense of impending adulthood, a certain pang of being severed from the Blake-esque innocence, a floating sensation of being in love for the first time, and the derision of not being able to continue that spell of gloating lovesickness. I experience all these random feelings at once, whenever this particular album is mentioned! Yes, I know, "Gaanola" is that "PERSONAL".

And like all things personal, I cannot possibly remain coherent while talking about this album. It's raining, I am sitting in front of my computer, listening to "jawto durey jaabey bondhu", perhaps for the umpteenth time, and, it is doing magic to my most vulnerable chord. Memories, deep beneath the scar of indifference, are creeping up like zombies, lost moments are trickling down the impregnable wall. They taste hot and, aye, they taste salty!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

A conversation

"How does it feel actually?"

'Nobody knows.'

"Not even Zimmerman? Surely. you are joking Mr Know-it-all?"

'No, I’m not. He can make you feel the heat, and the rain, and the snowfall, and the seawind. But, he, even he, doesn’t know the feeling. He can create the feeling, suffer from it, that’s all.'

"Don’t you, I mean, surely you do know about it? That feeling?"

'You think it’s fun?'

"I don’t, believe me. When the breeze ceases to blow over the face of deserts, and the whole becomes part, I feel a sudden chill, and wonder if that is the feeling. And, then, then, the chill fizzles out like contaminated water down the gutter. Once again, I become extraordinarily chaste, wonderfully vacant."

'I see. Sort of cloud in pants, you are. Warm and delicate and plastic to the point of humane reality. Genteel.'

"Oh, I hate it when you pass on these snide remarks."


"Not again! Like you, I also crave to have this feeling, I want to explore it’s exclusivity. But, look here, I’m only human. After waiting like a dying dove on gunpoint, when I realise that nothing has changed, and that it is not dark yet, I feel a strange and strong sense of harmony. Well, kind of."

'To understand even the contour of this feeling, you need to be vulgar, and sinful, my dear. Lovely pieces of rhetoric find it not. Jump into the abyss of dead metaphors, fondle every dead word, breathe the smell of restless lines that no one even dares to listen to, and you’ll get the basics. Try the other highway, rather than the diamond-studded one, see the dried bones talking with each other in powdery moonlight, get battered by love under the naked wonder of lightening. Perhaps, after all these moments of pure agony, and occasional ecstasy, you’ll suddenly touch the nerve-centre of that feeling. Until then, get off. I gotta clean my ears.'

"How does it feel actually?"

'Nobody knows.'

And the conversation goes on like before………….

Saturday, August 2, 2008

On "Awborodh", a song of Kabir Suman

All we need is love and love is all we need.

Even when you are sitting pretty in front of your computer screen, calculating this and that, with wary eyes, a Kabir Suman song can break open the dam, without any prior warning.

Every album, based on a particular theme throughout its entire listening span, faces a steep challenge. It must overcome the risk of self-repetition, more so, in case of a relevant social issue. This album is not different. On Suman’s part, it looks more like an intentional take on contemporary reality, and at the same time, a passionate quest for the holy grail of unadulterated love!

It’s thrilling, when you listen to the same singer, years after his rendition of “Swadhinota”, where he so casually had touched the nerve-centre of establishment with-- “Traffic aatke chumu khawar naam swadhinota”! Later, in “Jaatishmor”, the thrill became a rainbow-coloured longing-- “Bidroho aar chumur dibyi shudhu tomaakei chai”!
Eleven years later, it seems the singer has become all impatient with the working of our well-oiled habit of acquiring indifference. His voice has drowned into the drawl of despair, with a sense of urgency interplaying between the words, especially when he utters-“aamaar shomoy aar aamar shorore/ kaara chumu khaabey pawth awborodh kore”!