Sunday, August 09, 2009

Ae Zindagi Gale Laga Le

All of us have distinct equations with the different people in our lives. Don’t we? There are people we admire, people we adore, people we idolize, people we respect, people we beware of, people we take liberties with, people we are comfortable with, people whom we like to protect, people whose protective instincts we like to awaken, people we are intimidated by, people we want to impress, people we take for granted, people we feel responsible for, people we have expectations from, people we confide in, people we pay attention to, people we ignore, people we take seriously and others we don’t, … and so on.

So it is with life. We have equations with life as if it were an individual. And why not?
Life communicates with us. Just like people.
Life reacts to all our actions. Just like people.
Life responds to our moves. Life reciprocates. Sometimes it does not reciprocate. Life teaches us. Life has a message for us. Just like people.
For strangely, life is a living thing!

As I listen to this song today, I am predisposed to come to a reckoning with life.
I cannot say that the time has come to reconcile. I am not all that old :-)
But once in a way, unexpectedly, this reckoning happens. It is usually triggered by the least of ‘insignificant happenings’; a song that I listen to, a picture that I see, an old photograph, even a journey through an ‘old forgotten lane of the past’ in a rickety auto at ten in the night…

‘Ae zindagi gale lagale… Hum ne bhi tere har ek gham ko gale se lagaya hai. Hai na?’

This song is an appeal to life. Literally translated, it means, “Life, embrace me… For I too have embraced every one of your sorrows. Haven’t I?”

As I listen to this song today, I experience this feeling of having reached a resting place.
For this appeal, as far as my current equation with life is concerned, is not the truth of my present, but of a past. The truth of my present is that this appeal has been heard. Life has reciprocated.

Inevitably, a reckoning begins. I look back to understand the many different equations I have had with life and how the equation has evolved as I have grown…

At the dawn of history or the very beginning, the equation was one of harmony. There were no expectations and no complaints. Just acceptance. Most of us have a similar beginning. Don’t we?
As I saw a little more of life, it seemed like a puzzle. I couldn’t quite understand it. I must have been eight or nine then. Life was unfolding itself.
I let the puzzle be. I was not old enough to solve it anyway.

As I grew older, I saw that it was not just me and my life. There were many who came in between. And what more? Those who mattered the least started making the greatest difference! Much time and effort went into pushing aside all the clamour and clutter. Life and living became so distant and elusive! I reached my arm and tried to grasp life.

There were times when I was awed by what I saw and experienced. When life revealed her grandeur, her vastness and her enormity.
Other times, life overwhelmed me. My first encounter with estrangement, the first time I became philosophical (when I was too young for philosophy), the first time I stood disillusioned, the first time I fell in love…

For some time, l was all alone and life was the only companion. There was no harmony but a cold silence in between and an occasional accusative glance.

At a certain turning point, I accused life of betrayal. But when I looked back in calm, I realized that I had taken life for granted and it had firmly refused to accept that equation.

When there were challenges, problems and pain, life became an opponent to be conquered.
At a point, my struggle met with so much counterforce that I decided to write-off life. I gave up and my equation with life was characterized by a feeling of resignation.
I even became cynical and saw life as some monstrosity that liked to play cruel jokes upon people.

The convergent problems of life were conquered eventually but the divergent ones remained. That’s when life became a subject of analysis in retrospection.

Such an analysis of all that had transpired in the past led to a belief that life, among other things, was surely a tantalization.

After the analysis was completed, results assimilated and wisdom gained, there was a monotonous stretch and life became a puzzle again. The battle was over. What next?
All I could do was hope. That something would change.

Today, nothing has really changed. Except the need for change. Perhaps that’s why there is harmony. I have embraced life for what it is. I am grateful for all it has given me. I am hopeful for all that it has yet to give me. Like I said, it is as if I have found a resting place.

No, I don’t recline in my chair with a faraway look in my eyes, even though I am in a philosophical mood.
There is a spring in my step and a smile on my face for no particular reason.

I have embraced life. Life too has embraced me. And that’s all.

(You can help to improve the lousy translation below)

Ae zindagi gale laga le
Hum ne bhi tere har ek gham ko
Gale se lagaya hai, Hai na?
Ae zindagi...

Life, embrace me… For I too have embraced every one of your sorrows. Haven’t I?

Hum ne bahane se, chhupke zamane se
Palkon ke parde mein, ghar kar liya
Tera sahara mil gaya hai zindagi
la ... la…la…
Tera sahara mil gaya hai zindagi
Ae zindagi ...

I excused myself from the crowds
And created a world of my own
Within my eyelids,
In a cover of imagination…
There I found your shelter, Life. You have given me shelter…

Life, embrace me… For I too have embraced every one of your sorrows. Haven’t I?

Chota sa saya tha, aankhon mein aya tha
Hum ne do boondon se man bhar liya
Hum ko kinara mil gaya hai zindagi
la... la... la… la…
Hum ko kinara mil gaya hai zindagi

There was just a patch of shadow in sight…
I contented myself with just two drops of water
But I found the shores, Life. I have reached the shores

Life, embrace me… For I too have embraced every one of your sorrows. Haven’t I?

Ae zindagi gale laga le…

Movie Name: Sadma (1983), Singer: Suresh Wadkar, Music Director: Ilayaraja, Lyrics: Gulzar, Year: 1983, Producer: Raj N. Sippy, Romu N. Sippy, Director: Balu Mahendra, Actors: Kamal Hassan, Silk Smitha, Sridevi, Theme: Art/Offbeat, Love


Anonymous said...

So nice of you to write in a way that's truly inspiring.

Rishi said...

Gulzar makes this difference. My favorite is "Jane Kya Sochkar" from Kinara.

Lyrics are great but somehow to my ears composition doesn't go with the lyrics for this song. The composition by itself is beautiful but the two don't sync for me.

Sowmya your presentation of the song is great as usual.


Sowmya said...

Thanks Anonymous.

Thanks Rishi. I too am a person who is sensitive to the incongruity between lyrics and music, between audio and video.

But somehow I think the lyrics and the music, as far as this song is concerned are in perfect congruence; especially the 'Tera Sahara Mila Gaya Hai Zindagi' and 'Hum Ko Kinara Mila Gaya Hai Zindagi'...
I havent seen the video though.

Satish said...

Sadma is a true masterpiece.... It will move anyone who watches it... Couple of other songs which i could relate instantly was .....

1)First one is from movie Zameer...
Zindagi hasne gaane ke liye hai pal do pal
Ise khona nahi kho ke rona nahi......

Life and its uncertainties.....

2) Second one is from movie Masoom... one of my all time favorites..
tujhase naaraaz nahi zindagi, hairaan hoon main
o hairaan hoon main

Sowmya said...

Thanks Satish :)

The moods of your two songs are different. I have yet to listen to the song from Zameer...

Anoop ASCL said...

I bounced to this blog as i was planning for my Leh-Ladakh tour in sometime.

Your comments and especially this one pushed me to sincerely appreciate your courage and brillance poured in your writtings.

More than pleasure i saw myself in those experiences and expressions of yours, especially this one "There is a spring in my step and a smile on my face for no particular reason."

Seriosuly, Life is to be lived in all seasons and reasons we may develop. And the truth is Living destiny is crude reality for all humans and it opens only one page each day so aggressive efforts to peep into future or to regressing yourself to change what happened in past is just futile.

Long back, accepted and adapted to the fact that with God just ask "OK, i am ready tell me what next". Asking "Why me?" is just loosing faith in Him which resides in you. :-)

Yet Again, really enjoyed your writing. Thanks.

Sowmya said...

Welcome Anoop,

Thanks for all your kind words :)

We all seem to know how to live but yet find it difficult to actually live that way...

And surely, you must visit Ladhak now... It will add to the spring in your step and the smile on your face :)

Keep coming ...