Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Music is the language of love.....

I am writing this blog for #MusicDilSe Blogging Contest at www.funkaar.in

For rules, and details, see this link http://funkaar.in/contest.html

The prompt I have chosen is Music is the language of love.


"You're too well known, Wladek. And you know what? You musicians don't make good conspirators. You're too...too musical."                                    

                                                                                                  Jehuda Zyskind in The Pianist

In the movie, The Pianist, there is a beautiful scene. The protagonist of the film, Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Jew, has been discovered in the ruined city of Warsaw, by the German officer Hosenfeld. In a gripping plot where suspense over his fate looms large, Szpilman plays Chopin's Ballad in G Minor. The officer listens quietly. The music reflects the agony of the pianist in ways words cannot describe. The effects of the brutality of the war, and the utter hopelessness that human race has been subjected too, are well-countered by the sound of music. The harmonious impact of music melts the officer's heart. Instead of exposing Szpilman to his mates, the German officer aids him in hiding and keeps bringing food for him later in the film. Mind you all, this is not just a scene in the film. It is part of the real narrative of the life of the pianist during the second world war. He plays on his music while everything around him dies. Yes, he is lucky to survive. But yes, his music helps in a major way too.

Image Source

In another real life instance, Jack Tueller, a war veteran from World War II narrates an incident where love conquers the savagery of war. A German sniper is hiding and ready to attack. Amidst all the tension and in the face of possible death, Tueller thinks about his trumpet. That moment makes him realize the loneliness of his enemy. He picks up his instrument and plays a German love song Lili Marlene. The lyrics of the song go like this :

Right next to the barracks by the main gate
there stood a lantern and stands there up to date
We're going to meet there again
Next to the lantern we will remain
Like then, Lili Marlene
Like then, Lili Marlene 
(For full song translation, click here)

The sniper comes out crying - a young officer, undone like many others, by the illogical, heartless war. The thrust of the trumpet's tone has shaken him to the core. His hearts beats for his beloved again, and all he can think about is not, war or death, but love. That is the power of music.

Image Source

The two instances I describe here are important because of the time and situation in which they occur. What hope can there be from a bloodthirsty and merciless war? Not all those who fight in wars want it really. Music brings out their humanity. Words cannot reflect the miserable pain they feel due to the circumstances they are trapped in. Music brings them out from the coma induced by the barbarity of war. Music in a way, conquers war. And sends across a message of love - universal love, a shared brotherhood that unites all humanity.

Image Source

Pete Seeger says it right when he says that songs can change history. The power of music is something that can only be felt as words fall short in conveying the depth or the intensity that music creates. The magic of pitch, the spell of melody, the bewitchment of rhythm, the dynamics of the instrument used, and the enchantment of the voice that is lost in the incantation are mesmerizing and enrapturing features that place music above everything else. Throughout history, songs have been used to build bridges, to consolidate communities to a cause, to fortify the feelings of patriotism. Music is medium that connects the devotee to his/her God. It is the language of love, the language that needs no translation, the language that surpasses all barriers.

If I were to think of a song that has touched hearts across time and history, a song that has moved generations, a song that has impressed upon each one of us the importance of unity and love, then it would be We Shall Overcome. The song has its origins perhaps in the Civil Rights movement in US. But it has been adopted as an international anthem of peace. It is a straight song with not much twists or complexities and yet, it manages to captivate hearts and transmit a message of hope, love and peace. It is just one example of how a simple song with an easy melody can empower people and strengthen their beliefs. It is not just a song of protest against the injustices of the society. It is a song of promise. It believes that love and unity are the only way things will change. Martin Luther King, Joan Baez, Robert F Kennedy, Roger Waters are just a few popular names who used the song in support of their cause. They all supported peace and stood up for universal love.

Image Source

What role can music play in one of the most violent cities of the world? I am talking about Caracas, the largest city of Venezuela. And yet, Jose Antonio Abreu chose this city and its kids to spread music and counter the ill-effects of the extreme poverty they live in. His organization El Sistema works with the underprivileged children. They are taught music. They sing, they play instruments, they work together in an orchestra. The power of music enables these children to think differently, to be more humane, and according to Abreu, to fight against "poverty and inequality, violence and drug abuse".

Image Source

Music is magic. Music is remedy. Music is probably the most powerful way to bring unity. It is a language even a baby relates to right from, or even before birth. Music speaks in its own way, whether we know the language of a song or not. And that is why, it bridges the chasms of prejudice. Many people around the world have used, and continue to use music as a means of bringing change within their communities. I was amazed by the whole range of results my google search came up with when I started reading about music as a means of change. It just proved my belief that Music is undoubtedly the language of love.

Written for #MusicDilSe Blogging Contest at www.funkaar.in

For rules, and details, see this link http://funkaar.in/contest.html

Wednesday, November 9, 2016


Indian Bloggers

Dear Zindagi,

कहाँ से शुरू करूं ? Ruth Ozeki की किताब A Tale for the Time Being पढ़ रही हूँ।  कहानी में Nao , जो प्रमुख पात्र है, इस ही सवाल का जवाब सोच रही है और उसको जवाब मिलता है कि जहाँ हो, वहीँ से शुरू करो।  बात अच्छी लगी तो मैंने सोचा की क्यों न ये करके देखा जाए।

तो नवम्बर की मीठी ठण्ड में सुबह ५ बजे उठ कर नाश्ता और lunch-box तैयार करती हूँ।  सारा काम ख़त्म  होते ही अदरक वाली कड़क चाय और bread के दो toast बना कर बैठ जाती हूँ, तुम्हे ये letter  लिखने के लिए।  India में होती तो मम्मी और भाभी भी चाय के साथ कुछ गप-शप लगातीं और चाय पीने का मज़ा दोगुना हो जाता।  पर New Jersey के शहर Edison के एक apartment में बच्चों के उठने से पहले ये चिठ्ठी लिखने का मज़ा भी अलग लग रहा है।

बाहर बिलकुल अँधेरा है। खिड़की के blinds हटा के देखती हूँ तो आस-पास बस छोटी-छोटी टिमटिमाती lights नज़र आती हैं।  न कोई चिड़िया अपने घोंसले से बाहर आयी है और न ही कोई इंसान।  Blinds बंद करते हुए ख्याल आता है मम्मी की kitchen की खिड़की का।  पिछली बार जब India गयी थी तो वो खिड़की तो जैसे मेरी दोस्त ही बन गयी थी। जब भी बाहर देखो तो, Dear Zindagi , तुम अनोखे अंदाज़ में मुस्कुराती इतराती नज़र आती थीं। कोई गाय अपने झुण्ड के साथ जाती दिखती थी, तो कोई scooter वाला ऑफिस जाने की जल्दी में तेज़ रफ़्तार से निकलता नज़र आता था।  कहीं स्कूल uniform में बच्चे bag और पानी की bottle उठाये बस का इंतज़ार करते दिखाई देते थे।

खिड़की के बाहर, सड़क के किनारे एक पेड़ था। मम्मी ने माली से पूछ के बताया कि वो kigelia का पेड़ है - हिंदी में बलम -खीरा कहते हैं। न जाने मैं कितने साल उस पेड़ के नीचे खड़ी हो के अपनी स्कूल बस की wait किया करती थी।  उसी पेड़ के नीचे पापा ने एक चबूतरा बनवाने की सोची।  गर्मी के दिन बहुत थकान वाले होते हैं India में। पापा ने सोचा की बहुत चलती सड़क है , तो क्यों ने राहगीरों के लिए एक पानी की प्याऊ बनाई जाये। पक्का चबूतरा बनवाया गया।  मिटटी के मटके रखे गए - आह क्या खुशबू होती है मिटटी के मटकों के पानी की ! आते-जाते प्यासे राही जब वहाँ रुक कर पानी पीते तो लगता था कि प्याऊ का होना जैसे सार्थक हो गया।  पर ऐसा बहुत देर तक नहीं चला।  जानते हैं क्यों - क्योंकि शायद पानी की प्यास पूरी करने से ज़्यादा ज़रूरी कुछ और लोगों की अनजान पर महत्वपूर्ण ज़रूरतें थीं जो मटके या मटके के ढक्कन को चुरा कर बेचने से पूरी हो पाती थीं।

खैर, प्याऊ का अस्तित्व बनाते मटके गायब होते गए।  हार कर मटके रखना छोड़ दिया।  बेचारा चबूतरा तनहा हो गया।  एक सुबह खिड़की से देखा कि zindagi  एक नए रूप में चबूतरे पर सजी थी।  प्याऊ की जगह चाय का खोका खड़ा था।  सर्दी हो या गर्मी, चाय पीने वाले मौसम नहीं देखते।  धीरे-धीरे जमघट बढ़ता गया और चाय वाला तुम्हे, Dear Zindagi, एक बार फिर से ख़ुशी से जीने लगा।

कुछ दिन बीते। जाने चाय वाले की चाय ख़त्म हुई या फिर उसको zindagi ने कुछ नई राह दिखा दी, वो भी चबूतरा छोड़ के चला गया। पेड़ की हरियाली चबूतरे के खालीपन को कुछ दिन तक भरती रही।  कभी दोपहर में खिड़की से बाहर नज़र जाती थी तो दिखता था कि दो बंधु पेड़ से कुछ तोड़ रहे हैं।  बलम-खीरे का उपयोग जोड़ों के दर्द, गठिया के उपचार आदि के लिए किया जाता है। शायद घर के किसी वृद्ध के दर्द दूर करने के लिए बंधु पेड़ पर चढ़े होंगे।

एक दिन देखा एक सफ़ेद गाड़ी से एक आदमी बाहर निकल कर चबूतरे पर कुछ कपड़े रख रहा है।  सस्ती टी-शर्ट्स, जो न सिर्फ कीमत में पर देखने में भी सस्ती लगती थीं , उनका खरीददार कौन होगा, ये सवाल मन में उठा।  पर जवाब जल्दी ही मिल गया जब सुबह, दोपहर और शाम, कई दिनों तक, चबूतरे पर लोगों की भीड़ लगी रहती।  साइकिल सवार हो या बड़ी गाड़ी चलाने वाले अंकल, सबको उन टी-शर्ट्स में कुछ तो बात लगती थी।  समय बीता और zindagi का ये रंग भी किसी और गली-कूचे को रंगीन करने निकल गया। 

पर चबूतरा तो मानो सबको मोहित करता था।  कुल्फी वाले भैया ने वहां खूब कुल्फी बेचीं।  लोगों को गर्मी से राहत मिलती और भैया की जेब थोड़ी गर्म हो जाती। 

हम खिड़की के इस पार  खड़े यही सोचते थे कि अब ये जाएगा तो कौन आएगा। जैसे कोई मंच  हो मानो , जिसमें एक पात्र अपनी भूमिका निभा के जाता और फिर दूसरा आ कर उसकी जगह ले लेता। 

zindagi आगे चलती रही।  पर चलते चलते कभी पैर थके तो कभी जूते फटे।  चबूतरा सब देखता रहा। जहाँ कभी कपड़े , कभी पानी और कभी चाय या कुल्फी थी, आज वहां जूते रखे गए।  लोग आये।  जूते पहन कर देखे।  किसी को भाए तो लिए नहीं तो आगे बढ़ गए घड़ी की उस सूईं की तरह जो किसी का इंतज़ार नहीं करती।  

Dear Zindagi , कितने रंग हैं तुम्हारे!  तुम्हे जीने के लिए इंसान क्या नहीं करता। क्या हो तुम - एक उम्मीद , आगे बढ़ता एक कदम, एक छलावा, या एक भटके हुए राही की आखिरी मंज़िल ? उस दिन जब वो शराबी, जिसे किसी ने पागल कहा और किसी ने तिरस्कारा, क्या वो तुम्हारे आँचल में छुपा तुमसे कुछ सवाल नहीं पूछ रहा था? चबूतरा शायद उसको एक पालने के जैसा लगा होगा तो वो नशे में चूर हो वहां सो गया।  kigelia के पेड़ के तले कुछ गहरे सपनों में खो गया।  सब ने दूर से देखा और कहा कि शायद कोई पागल है, नहीं तो कौन भला ऐसे सो जाएगा।  कुछ पल बीते, कुछ घंटे और फिर पूरी रात।  शायद तुमने उसको बहुत थका दिया होगा zindagi .... तभी तो इतनी देर तक सुषुप्त रहा। सबने सोचा की शायद मर गया।  नींद में चबूतरे से नीचे सड़क पे भी लुड़क गया।  भीड़ जमा हुई।  सबकी साँसें थमी थीं कि जाने कौन है , क्या हुआ है।  कोई हमदर्दी से पास नहीं गया शायद, पर उत्सुकता ज़रूर उसके पास खींच ले गयी - सब जानना  चाहते थे कि ज़िन्दगी ने उसका साथ छोड़ा या नहीं।  

कुछ पल बीते।  साँसें चल रहीं थीं।  चेतना लौटी और शराबी/पागल अपनी मंज़िल की ओर बढ़ गया।  देखने वालों को कहानी मिली सुनाने के लिए और देखने के लिए मिला zindagi का एक और रंग। चबूतरा चुप-चाप एक मज़बूत मंच बन डटा रहा, जैसे कह रहा हो कि कोई भी मौसम क्यों न हो , मैं zindagi को बुलाता रहूँगा , कोई गीत गाता रहूँगा। धुन कभी दर्द देगी तो कभी हंसाएगी, पर ज़िन्दगी यूँ ही चलती चली जाएगी। 

ये सब लिखते हुए न जाने कितने पल बीत गए।  लगा कि मैं  फिर वहीं उस खिड़की के परदे खोल रही हूँ।  पर परदे उन यादों के खोल रही थी जिन्होंने मेरी ज़िन्दगी को सजाया है।  कुछ खट्टी यादें, कुछ मीठी यादें -  नम आँखों से टपकती यादें, मुस्कुराते होठों से छलकती यादें।  कहानी तो चबूतरे की लिखी पर स्कूल से सफर करती हुई आज के पल में आ के ठहर गयी।  कितना कुछ खोया इस सफर में - पापा की हंसी , भाई की शरारतें, बेपरवाह बचपन।  और कितना कुछ पाया - भाभी के रूप में एक पक्की सहेली, मम्मी की निकटता, बच्चों की मासूम शैतानियां। खेल खेलना खूब जानती हो तुम zindagi , कुछ लेती हो, कुछ दे जाती हो।  

क्या शिकायत करूं तुमसे.... मालूम नहीं।
सोचती हूँ बस चलती रहूँ। 
मंज़िल कहाँ है, क्या पता।  पर ये जानना शायद ज़रूरी नहीं। कुछ रास्ते छुपे रहें तो ही अच्छा है।  न जाने किस मोड़ पे कौन सी  खिखिलाहट रू-ब -रू हो जाए।  रही बात आंसूओं की, तो उनसे बातें करना तो तुमने सिखा ही दिया है। 

स्नेह सहित 
zindagi के मंच की एक पात्र 

“I am writing a letter to life for the #DearZindagi activity at BlogAdda

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Fever Catching Up with the Challengers at Funkaar.in

Touted as being the director’s most mature film to date, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil released to eager anticipation of Karan Johar’s fans across the globe. Not only was the film shrouded in a great deal of controversy but had a story-line which could put the director and his film in trouble due to its subject matter. Rumor has it that last moment changes proved to be the film’s saving grace.

Unlike KJo’s previous attempts, this movie lacks the soft romantic fluff which was his trademark for more than a decade. This is more like a coming of age movie where love is not all sweet and romantic. It’s all those things but it’s harsh, it’s bitter and it’s sexual as well.

A perspective on what all modern love stories are like, Ae Dil Hai Mushkil's story is one which would stay with you long after the movie is over. It’s almost like taking a walk down the memory lane.
The heart break of unrequited love, the melancholy and the wistfulness all come rushing back as you see the characters on the screen undergoing similar situations.

Ae Dil Hai Mushkil Songs a Firm Favorite with Challengers at Funkaar.in

The music of Ae Dil Hai Mushkil is one of the reasons why you must actually go and watch the film. Besides having a great story line, it has haunting music, the notes of which linger and pull at your heart strings making you hum along. The winning combination of Pritam and Amitabh Bhattacharya’s composition has always been a sure fire hit and works well for Ae Dil Hai Mushkil as well.

The title track sung by Arijit Singh is melodious and has the right amount of pathos. What starts with a softly flowing piece of music slowly gains crescendo and proves Arijeet’s prowess as a singer.
However, the challengers at Funkaar have tried their level best to sing this beautiful song with the same gusto for the #MusicDilSe contest. Check out the harmonious rendition of this beautiful number by Sarabpreet Singh from Jammu and Kashmir. He is an aspiring singer who dreams of making it big in the world of music and Funkaar is the perfect platform for him to showcase his talent. To listen to his song, click on the following link.

The second song Bulleya isn’t far behind. Its unforgettable music and lyrics have made it a firm favorite of just about everyone who has heard it. Check out its rendition by Ankesh Sagar for the online music contest by visiting http://funkaar.in/challenge/music-dil-se-new/arijeet-chakraborty-38

Another track from this film which has a haunting poignancy is Channa Mereya. It is a song about heart break and pathos when a lover sees his beloved being betrothed to someone else. The fusions of western beats with the desi musical instruments like the dholak and shehnai give this song a universal appeal.  No wonder Arijeet Chakraborty gives us a flawless performance all the way from San Diego, CA. It’s a beautiful mash up of Channa mereya and Phir le aya dil. To listen to his unique version, click on the following link:

Looks like there is no dearth of Indian music fans, no matter wherever they are from. That is exactly what Funkaar is all about, bridging distances and bringing people closer together.

Make sure you check out all the entries from the talented challengers across the world. Also take note of your favorite singer and don’t forget to vote for them. The more votes they get the better are their chances of winning. Though the prize money at the moment is Rs. 20,000, it is going to increase based upon the participation in the Music Dil Se contest.

Stay Tuned....!

Saturday, November 5, 2016

Calling all Singers and Music Lovers for #MusicDilSe Contest - Launch of Funkaar.in

All singers and music-lovers, age no bar, are invited to participate in the #MusicDilSe contest being held by funkaar.in .

Prize - Rs. 20,000 (or equivalent in local currency). The best part is that the prize money will increase based on the participation of the artists!

A few words on funkaar.in

Not everyone is blessed with a great voice. Anyone can be a bathroom singer but it takes a great deal of guts to actually sing your heart out without a care in the world. Some of the best talents often remain unrecognized due to the absence of the right kind of platform.
However all that is a thing of the past. The internet has made life easier for everyone. All the time, you get to hear success stories of how people became overnight sensations just by showcasing their talent and uploading it on the web for the world to see.
Have you ever wondered if there is someone who could discover your true potential as a singer? Well if you have been thinking about it, it’s time you put your best voice forward and let the world judge you for how good you actually are!

The Launch of Funkaar

Diwali 2016 marked the launch of the singing platform at Funkaar Beta. Some of the entertainment world’s most renowned personalities graced the event with their presence. The brightest and the best in the singing fraternity attended the event.

To gather a number of people to perform on a single place can be a great deal of hassle. However, if the platform is web based it becomes easier to connect to thousands of people. Those thousands then in turn help spread the word. So if you are ready to become an internet singing sensation, make sure to upload a video of you singing your favorite number. The more votes you get the better are your chances of winning.
The additional plus is the prize money which would keep on increasing as the days go by. Fame and fortune abound for those who dare! So make sure you dare enough to get your voice heard and let everyone know the great singer that you are by uploading your singing video on funkaar beta.
After all what is a song which isn’t sung with the heart. This is exactly what Music Dil Se is all about, singers showcasing their talent for the world to see. So what are you waiting for, make sure you keep your vocal chords in perfect order and perform to the best of your abilities.

It’s all really simple, juts make sure you sing your very best and upload the video on www.funkaar.in.
The best thing about this contest is that people anywhere in the world can participate. There are entries pouring in by the dozen from across the world. When are you entering yours for the world to see?

What’s more you don’t have to worry about any sort of bias. This is a contest for the people and the judges would be the audience who views your singing talent. Why let a handful of judges decide who wins. Winning by popular vote is the name of the game!

Share the information....Spread the Word.....!!!