Funny I read actor and former VJ Rahul Khanna’s fabuloulsy written post on encountering a cockroach just at the time when I am these days faced with similar problems – albeit involving a completely different species. Rahul’s tryst with a cockroach is funnily narrated. But my daily face-to-face with lizards hardly tickles my funny bones.
My enemies are not the cockroaches; I can bear them, buy information pills medicine and they look pretty mild, patient as compared to the animal that seems to be here, there and everywhere in my house – the lizard. When the mercury soared this month, I had to open the windows and doors; else I’d have died of suffocation and heat. But instead of any cool relief, all I got were these creepy crawly things running over the walls, and sometimes on the floors.
I have a total lizard-phobia; so much so that my heart stops whenever I see one in my room. It’s something from childhood, or probably inherited from my mother, who has an exponentially higher quantum of fear towards the reptile. When we lived in Delhi’s R.K.Puram a neighborhood lady once came up with a solid black mark on her cheek. “A lizard walked and pee ‘ed on it,” she explained ever so casually to my utmost horror, even as I struggled to catch my dropped jaw and dropped heartbeat. Whether she meant it as some perverse joke or no, but that night I barely slept, digging further into the flimsy sheet I had wrapped myself in. Then, there was a movie where a lizard jumps into the kheer. Lately, at Jim Corbett National Park, two passionate lizards – either fighting or making love, I didn’t bother to ask them – made a dive onto the bed with a repulsive plop; I stood watching aghast in a shocked stupor.
At home, my father is the lizard-catcher. I often look at him in awe as he goes about ‘the mission’ , doping the animal with an insect spray, picking it up between two brooms and throwing it out of the house all this, while I peep stealthily from a respectable distance! I tried doing this in Nepal (and here too) but the very sight of a live lizard wriggling at the end of the brooms is enough to freeze the blood in my veins!
It’s ok when the reptile stays within its bound territories far up the wall, in the drawing room. But when it assumes the role of a conqueror (or rather a CEO of an expanding company) surveying its territory and increasing its base, my own animal instincts valiantly arise and I have to protect my terrain (read my bedroom and bathroom!)
Now, I simply call a friend when I find the menace rising a bit too much out of control. Last week, he was here to do the cleaning up job, and I watched with amusement as he directed two perky lizards out of the drawing room with the tip of a broom – all along I jumped and pranced, like those extras behind a hero in a film song, and offered much sound, but no help!
Rahul gives a philosophical twist to his tale of the pesky cockroach:
I’m a firm believer in non-violence but I m also aware that we all have limits we can be pushed to. I have often wondered if driven to it, could I kill?
Frankly, I never gave it this deep a thought. But when I see the thing rushing all across the wall, I am sometimes ready to murder, though I don’t think I will be able to really give result to such a thought ever. Yes, it’s murder on my mind, but it simply remains there rather than transferring it into my hands. I don’t want a Lady Macbeth-ish guilt in my hands. Plus, a dead lizard’s sight is worse than a living one!
My moot question – when there are sprays and other assorted means to wipe out a mosquito or a cockroach (even a rat), why hasn’t anyone invented any such easy device to repel a lizard? My ideal would be some sort of a machine that I put on, and they miraculously disappear – no running after them, no dead bodies to account for!
I accept they are part of the grand food-chain and have an important place but can they (and their food, the mosquitoes) please do this great ecological cause out of the confines of my home?
Related Reading – Nocturnal Sounds – The Initial Nights in Kathmandu
A Snake In My House
Jaipur impressed me. While driving on the University Road leading up to Hotel Clarks Amer, seek it gave a feel of a mid-Eastern city (Dubai or Doha) replete with gigantic grunting construction machines peeping out of neatly-defined very foreign-looking boundaries ( I guess a World Trade Center is getting built there). The smooth wide road dotted with street lights (that actually worked) and lined by steel-and-glass architecture gave a very international feel. For me, this Jaipur is an old halt – I have visited it several times, done all the touristy things and even once got my car accidented. But it’s the first time I felt that the city has actually progressed well. Compared to Agra (the other angle in North India’s Golden Triangle), it came off as the bigger, neater and more responsible cousin. However, the drive to Jaipur didn’t offer anything smooth as this portion of the axis is still under construction – perhaps a couple of years down the line, Agra-Jaipur Highway will give stiff competition to the current Delhi-Jaipur one.
Chokhi Dhaani is an ethnic village resort, on the outskirts of Jaipur, on Tonk Road. The place is extremely well built, presenting five-star rooms albeit inside ‘huts’, imparting it a rural touch. The entire place is in brown and ochre, the color of mud! ‘The Village’ inside the resort is a happening place. Even though I have stayed at the resort sometime circa 2001, memories had somewhat dimmed.
‘The Village’ has all the trappings one finds in an actual one, though of course, the setting is suitably sanitized. The ambience is feral and festive. There are several rides – elephants, camels, bullock carts and merry-go-rounds (typically wooden as found in rural fairs). You can try your luck and aim at the various ‘game stalls’ – shooting off balloons with air-rifles, or throwing darts and even using an exotic bow-and-arrow. Lose yourself in the mud labyrinth, and once you find the way out, play human ‘snakes and ladders’ with a large cloth-dice and your own selves as the counters. Alternatively, loose your wallet at the mini-shopping arcade selling local ethnic-ware.
To refresh, you can just watch the colorful ladies dancing to folk music, or better witness the flexible steps of little artistes (who’d move from the folk to the film music, depending on your interest).
The village’s further section is the most interesting. There you can taste a traditional hookah, and once high, dance with the ‘tribals’ to the beats of a huge drum placed atop a machaan. It truly brings out your inner wild spirit as you dance holding a stick atop your head in your hand, with your feet raking up the sand in a feral cloud. Climb the machan, and you can even beat the gargantuan drum with the sticks! Feeling naughty? Click yourself with a life-like statue of a traditional lady in bright Rajastani dress (complete with the veil). A little distance ahead is a ‘cave’ carved inside an artificial hill. Dark and deep, the end will surprise you as a ‘tantrik’ sits, enveloped in smoke from a fire that burns. (The fire is real, the ‘tantrik’ is a larger-than-life statue).
Tired? Return to the village square (or ‘chaupal‘), set up for those who need some rest. It’s filled with khaats (jute cots), and some cemented seats filled with thick mattresses and oblong pillows (the kind that the royalties used), under a thick banyan tree. Nearby, you can view the ‘puppet show’ and some meters away the henna girl applies the deep mehdi on the women-folk. Food is aplenty – from the syrupy ice-candies to the spicy jaljeera to the cool kulfi (ethnic ice-cream made of thickened milk) to the chatpati chaats.
If the village sojourn exhausts you, head back the tiny bridge to the main section of the resort to the Chandi Bar, and refresh yourself -no, not with some local spirit – but with the choicest brands available.
Related Reading – Rangeela Rajasthan
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Juneli tagged me (yet again!) and this time on a topic I am passionate about. But two small caveats a) Usually, prescription I don’t have ‘the’ favorite numbers; hence it is always a wide array of choices that I keep. So, side effects I will twist the rules in this tag; and b) lists like these keep changing; had I taken up this tag a year back the choices might have been vastly different; a year down the line, probably I might not agree with this list. So, these choices are for now, for this moment:
Your favorite lyricist and the lyrics you remember the most:
I am not too lyrics-oriented man, in the sense that I give preferance to the tune, the music, the interludes, the orchestra and the rendition. Hence, even a silly sounding Sunday ko bulaya (I Love You) finds a decent place in my collection!
Shailendra: He pioneered the use of simple Hindi in film music, without dissipating the weight of the thought or emotion he needed to express. His vast repertoire include such shimmering gems like the tongue-in-cheek Chhoti si hai duniya pahchaane raaste hain, the celebratory Aaj phir jeene ki tamanna hai, the philosophical Sajan re jhooth mat bolo, the sorrow-ful Ae mere dil kahiin aur chal, the pious Manmohan krishna murari, the titillating Ang lag ja baalma and the romantic Tum hi tum ho mere jeevan mein.
Hasrat Jaipuri: Shailendra’s lyricist-partner in majority of Shankar Jaikishan films, dipped his pen in the ink of sheer unadulterated romance to come up with such heart warmingly loving songs as Jiya beqaraar hai chhayi bahaar hai, Jiya ho jiya ho kuchh bol do, Ehsaan tera hoga mujhpe, Aye gulbadan phoolon ki mehak kaanton ki chuban, Dil ek mandir hai, Yeh mera prem patra padhkar, Ek ghar banaaoonga tere ghar ke saamne, Pankh hoti toh udd aati re and Tumne pukara aur hum chale aaye. His last most popular work was Sun sahiba sun in Ram Teri Ganga Maili, though he wrote quite a few indifferent pieces for his nephew (Anu Mallik) in the eighties.
Raja Mehndi Ali Khan: Madan Mohan’s beautiful compositions found a willing soul with Khan’s beautiful lyrics. Lag ja gale se phir yeh haseen raat ho na ho, Aap ki nazron ne samjha, Agar mujhse mohabbat hai and Aap kyun roye are some of his glittering works.
Rajinder Krishan: An underrated lyricist, he wrote for such hits like Aa jaane jaa (the stupendous cabaret number by Lata Mangeshkar!), Woh chup rahein toh mere dil ke daag jalte hain, Itna na mujhse tu pyaar badha ke main ek baadal aawara and that monumental number from Sanjog – Woh bhooli dastaan lo phir yaad aa gayi.
Anand Bakshi: The unparalleled, the unrivalled and the unsurpassed master of tukbandi , he could write a cabaret song or a bhajan at the snap of his fingers. His work with Laxmikant-Pyarelal might not win him many fans or accolades, but I simply love the way he impossibly rhymes the words- in fact, for him words were like naughty children whom he knew how to streamline in a sensible queue!
Gulzar: If Bakshi used rhymes, Gulzar broke it with abandon. And, his imagery can be from anything to everything the moon will be a balloon, the roads will be fast or tedious, relationships will hang precariously on life’s tree or the eyes will emit fragrance! Whether it is Urdu or Hindi or even English he can use any language to full-on effect. Personally, I feel his non-film album Dil Padosi Hai is criminally un-heard, and in that Rishte bante hain bade dheere se banne dete is outstanding!
Sayeed Quadri: A lesser known writer, who has written some splendid lyrics for Saaya, Paap, Jism, Rog and Murder.
Your favorite song on friendship:
But I liked the music in Yeh dosti tujhse hai from the newer Dosti, though I found the lyrics extremely corny! I don’t mind Yeh dosti hum nahi todenge (Sholay), but cannot really say it is a favorite . In Desh Premee’s O bekhabar bedardi there is a lovely line Dena na yaaron yaari mein mauqa varna. Lastly, Dost dost na raha is awesome (especially it’s scintillating piano), except for the self-piteous aspect in it.
Best song portraying life’s emotion:
Zindagi pyaar ka geet (Souten) sung by Lata Mangeshkar, written by Saawan Kumar and composed by Usha Khanna is a great number underlining both the pain and celebration of life, without being heavy or overtly philosophical.
Other numbers I adore:- Zindagi ek safar hai suhaana (Andaz), Oh re taal mile nadi ke jal se (Anokhi Raat), Kisi ki muskurahaton pe (Anari) and Andhe jahaan ke andhe raaste jaayein to jaayein kahan (Patita)
Which song are you humming today?
Currently, I am listening to Tara Rum Pum and I am alternating between Ho agar koii gham toh and Saaiyan ve.
One song which brings tears to your eyes:
Music moves me tremendously. Often, even the complete song does not, a portion of orchestration or a line in between or simply the singing can have a strong impact. Sometimes, when I listen to Lata Mangeshkar s voice in her sad numbers, I am left speechless wondering from which depth does she pull out the shattering pain which hurtles itself onto the ears and from there the lava melts into the heart and the soul. Her single haaye can pack in several layers of despair and despondency for example in Toone haaye mere zakhme-jigar ko chhoo liya (Nagina), the haaye is the emphasised emotional fulcrum [even though it is toone ,which is architecturally stand-alone, on which the mukhda presides].
Woh bhooli dastaan lo phir yaad aa gayi from Sanjog is one such number. But there are more numbers that have the intensity to shaken up the heart Woh dekho jala ghar kisi ka (Anpadh), Raat andheri door savera barbaad hai dil mera (Aah) (those tight violins rub against your ribs and haunt you), Suno chhoti si gudia ki lambi kahaani (Seema) (the veena plucks not the instrument but your heart), Shikayat hai and Aawarapan (Jism), Iss dil ki haalat kya kahiye jo shaad bhi hai nashaad bhi hai (Anhonee), Kahan tak hum uthaaye gham (Aarzoo) Maine dil se kaha dhoondh laana khushi (Rog), Aaj socha toh aansoo bhar aayein (Hanste Zakham), Hum na samjhe the baat itni si (Gardish) and Kabhi humne nahi socha tha (Lalkaar), etc.
The desperation in Roj akeli aayi chaand katora liye bhikaran raat (Mere Apne) and the despondently sloshed Humko bhi gham ne maara (Aas Paas) leave a sorrowing hang-over.
A song which gives you hope, a reason to try again and again, a reason to say that life is beautiful
Recently, Ho agar koii gham toh bilkul na ghabrana (Tara Rum Pum) is a very motivational song which I heard. Other than this, Ae dil tujhe qasam hai tu himmat na haarna (Dulari) and Hans tu hardam khushiyan ya gham are nice.
When you want to be with yourself, silent and content but with music, which song would that be?
Any song sung by Lata Mangeshkar, preferably composed by Shankar Jaikishan or Madan Mohan!
If you have to express love with a song which would that be?
Pure expression of love- Humein tumse pyaar kitna yeh hum nahi jaante/magar jee nahi sakte tumhare bina (Kudrat)
Sentimental expression – Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai (Kabhi Kabhi)
Seductive expression – Aaja re aa zara aa lehraake aa zara aa/aankhon se dil mein samaa/aa jaa re aa zara aa(Love In Tokyo)
Foot tapping expression – Juneli raat chha jun chha/ timi jawaani timro saath chha/haathan ma mero timro haath chha/sangeet ko ani meetho dhun chha/Maya ma aao haami naacho gaaoon, do you wanna dance tonite/kshitij ko jun jaste haamro milan/do you wanna hold me tight! (Non Film; Deepak Bajracharya)
Pure romance – Yeh raat bheegi bheegi (Chori Chori) or its counterpart Woh chaand muskaaya sitaare sharmaaye (Aakhri Dao)
Inspirational expression – Jeet jaayenge hum tu agar sang hai/zindagi har kadam ek nayi jang hai (Meri Jung)
Rebellious expression – Pyaar kiya toh darna kya (Mughal E Azam)
Five songs which you listen to the most:
Difficult to list, so I will follow what Juneli did – list five singers I listen to the most (in no particular order):
1. Lata Mangeshkar – The Fifties
2. Lata Mangeshkar – The Sixties
3. Lata Mangeshkar – The Seventies
4. Lata Mangeshkar – The Eighties
5. Lata Mangeshkar – The Nineties and The New Millenium
Mohd. Rafi, Mukesh, Udit Narayan, Alka Yagnik and Asha Bhonsle are others.
A song for the person who tagged you:
Since she hails from the mountain country and since I love Lata Mangeshkar’s voice the best I could do is to combine the two, and the song for her is the same that she gifted me: Timi laai laakh laakh vandana timi laai shubh kaamna (Maiti Ghar)
I want to tag
Leaving this open to all music lovers!
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