Ab Ke Baras Bhej

Ab Ke Baras BhejDo we live in a society where isolation and alienation is rife? This in spite of the innumerable ways that one is ‘connected’ ?  I look at the world busily and constantly ‘communicating’ around me and wonder if it really does make people feel connected! Perhaps it is just me, but all this communication rushes over me like water over a duck’s back. I remain untouched. Isolated. At times even alienated.

My thoughts are triggered by a recent message I received from a batch mate from school. He invited me to join a whatsapp chat group that he is forming. I promptly declined. You see, a few years ago I had joined an email group of school mates,  foolishly expecting a meeting of minds. Instead, most of the mails were just re-distribution of junk mail. The communication on most social media sites follows the same pattern. People call themselves ‘friends’ but seem content to remain the most superficial of acquaintances. Is it only me who clings to the old fashioned meaning of a ‘friend’?

What happened to conversations where one talked of everything with mates, from the very personal to the very public? What happened to sharing of real feelings and emotions? What happened to ‘adda’ sessions when one talked of nothing but felt so connected nonetheless? I honestly don’t remember when I last had a conversation which left me intellectually or emotionally stimulated. What happened to me? Why cannot I not connect with anyone anymore?

In comparison, my husband has a much more nourishing circle of friends. His mates from university are not only in touch on a daily basis via various media, but they talk on the phone and even get together every couple of years. This is not as easy a matter as you may think as his friends are spread around the globe. From what I have observed, they have somehow managed to hold on to a connection which goes beyond the superficial. I am envious! So today’s post is in honour of his friends, especially his ‘Pal’ who I hold in great esteem, and who says he misses my features on Hindi film music.

My song choice of today is a perfect little gem from the Hindi film Bandini (1963). Composed by S.D.Burman with lyrics by Shailendra, it is sung by Asha Bhosle. It is a song from another time when women married and left home, sometimes without being able to go back for years. But even in today’s time of facetime calls and whatsapp chats, it strikes a chord. The song talks of the longing for family, of the sadness for innocence lost, of the grief for a time that will come no more, of the need for re-connection. But under it all, it is a song of alienation. It is a song for all who struggle with the changing roles that life throws on them.

Asha is perfection in this song. Listen to the oh so gently done vibrato over the word ‘talE’, the almost abrupt enunciation of ‘chalkE’ in contrast to the wringing of the word ‘kaskE’, the lovely transition to the next phrase in the word ‘churAyI’…what singing! And while you are about it, look at Nutan’s swan neck and perfect profile..a timeless beauty!

(28/4/2015 : Sorry, the video has been removed for copyright seasons; I found an audio only version below)


Footnote (Lyrics) :

Language : Hindi

अब के बरस भेज भैया को बाबुल सावन में लीजो बुलाय रे
लौटेंगी जब मेरे बचपन की सखियाँ दीजो संदेशा भिजाय रे  ||

अम्बुआ तले फिर से झूले पड़ेंगी रिम-झिम पड़ेंगी फुहारें
लौटेंगी फिर तेरे आंगन में बाबुल सावन की ठंडी बहारें
छलके नयन मोरा कसके रे जियरा बचपन की जब याद आये रे ||

बैरन जवानी ने छीने खिलोने और मेरी गुड़िया चुराई
बाबुल थी मैं तेरे नाजों की पाली फिर क्यों हुई मैं पराई
बीते रे जुग कोई चिट्ठिया ना पाती ना कोई नैहर से आये रे ||

Transliteration

ab kE baras bhEj bhaiyA kO bAbul sAvan mE.n lIjO bulAy rE
lauTE.ngI jab mErE bachpan kI sakhiyA.n dIjO sandEshA bhijAy rE

ambuA talE phir sE jhUlE paDE.ngI rim jhim paDE.ngI phuhArE.n
lauTE.ngI phir tErE A.ngan mE.n bAbul sAvan kI THanDI bahArE.n
chalkE nayan mOrA kaskE rE jiyarA bachpan kI jab yAd AyE rE

bairan javAnI nE chInE khilOnE aur mErI guDiyA churAyI
bAbul thI mai.n tErE nAjO.n kI pAlI phir kyO.n huI mai.n parAyI
bItE rE jug kOI chiTTHiyA nA pAtI nA kOI naihar sE AyE rE

Translation

O Father (bAbul), do send (bhEj) my brother (bhaiyA) to fetch me (lIjO bulAy) this year (ab kE baras) during monsoon (sAvan mE.n) . When (jab) my childhood (bachpan) friends (sakhiyA.n) return (lautE.ngI), do send (dIjO bhijAy) news (sandEshA).

Swings (jhUlE) will be set up under (talE paDE.ngI) the mango trees (ambuA) while light showers (phuhAr) will fall (rim jhim paDE.ngI). The cool (THanDI) breeze (bahArE.n) of monsoon (sAvan) will return (lauTE.ngI) again (phir sE) to your (tErE) courtyard (A.ngan), father (bAbul). My eyes (nayan) spill over (chalkE) by the squeeze (kaskE) of my heart (jiyarA) when (jab) I remember (yAd AyE) my childhood (bachpan).

Youth (javAnI), my enemy (bairan), snatched away (chInE) my toys (khilOnE) and (aur) stole (churAyI) my dolls (guDiyA). Father (bAbul), I was brought up tenderly (nAjO kI pAlI) by you (tErE), why then (phir kyO.n) have I become (huI mai.n) an outsider (parAyI)? Ages (jug) have passed (bItE) without my receiving any letter (chiTTHiyA nA pAtI), nor has anyone (nA kOI) come (AyE) from my natal home (naihar sE).

16 Comments

Filed under Asha Bhonsle, Bollywood 60's Music

16 responses to “Ab Ke Baras Bhej

  1. murali

    i was deeply touched by this post .i am a regular admirer of your posts which i feel is is not only musically informative but very enlightening musically.here i have a spl mention to make . pl take it in the right perspective. i am 74 yrs old .i lost my only son when he was about 33 yrs and was working in delhi . somehow all the ethos that is expressed in this song like being wanting to be with ones own past like language food friends local flavour is not limited to just married off girls . by the way my son was married to a delhi girl .pl take me seriously when i am talking about a boy or man or girl or young woman i am saying with some experience in todays times whether its a boy or girl the feelings of wanting to be with his or her own backyard inpite of being academically or finanancially sound is very common i want to add humly that. i have had the oppurtunity to attended concerts of stalwarts like gnb ariyakudi sheemmanagudi to bhimsen jjoshi to mehdi hasan to hariaran and not to forget ravishankar or bismallah . pl forgive the old man for bragging . but the fact of the matter is that i was blessed by god to be able to be privy such legendary concerts because my background my son got inculcated to musical background . he had a fabulous liking for gazhals a was more than a decent ghazal singer . his knowledge of urdu an diction an rendrei-ng was really promising . but some cruel fate snatched him from us.. why i am being nostalgic about now is because in todays post you have highlighted about agirls predicament when she leaves her parents after wedlock . i am unashamed to say todays times whether its a boy or girl their longing to be back with their old familiar surrounds is very very natural notwithstanding their official or financial status

    • Thank you for taking the time to write of your feelings regarding this song. You are absolutely correct – the feelings of longing for old times, old friends, family etc is a universal experience. The lyrics of the song are from the perspective of a woman who has left home after being married, but the emotions she experiences are the same for a man who travels far from home and hearth for work or study. It a song of loss. My heart goes out to you for your own loss; the pain of your loss is greater than any pain a human has to endure. May God give you strength..

  2. As I was reading this, I kept telling myself … but wait my friends are different; we even share stuff that our wives sometimes don’t know!

    And then I read Suja’s reference to her husband’s friends (us) and his ‘Pal’ (that’s me). Thanks!

    This deserves a longer reply; will do so once our lunch guests have gone and the moussaka is eaten.

  3. Ramesh

    A most wonderful post. Everything about this post is how a post ought to be. Thought provoking beginning – are we really connected, in spite of being easily connected ? I am not so sure as you have observed too. Perhaps we all have a few really meaningful connections and a lot of superficial ones. I have also felt how “groups” on social media have descended to simply chain mails getting forwarded.

    And then a wonderful wistful song. Who can not have all sorts of emotions when listening to Bandini songs.

    Rounding off with your trademark scholarly explanation of the lyrics and meaning.

    And a lump in the throat reading Murali’s comment above.

    • These are compliments indeed, thank you Ramesh🙂 Bandini is a treasure trove of unforgettable music…one day I will come back to some of the others.
      Cheers. Suja

  4. K.Lalitha

    Suja
    What a poignantly moving choice of an old song that strummed the strings of ethos in many of our hearts. Your write up on the nuances of Asha Thai’s singing is masterly observations. Very few in today’s arena have this ability of touching your heart! Very moving post
    I want to tell Mr.Murali… Turn all these feelings on a positive note recalling your son’s ghazal singing and revel in the good times you spent in his company. We are mortals after all. Let’s face it. We share your grief.

    Lalitha

    • Welcome to my blog Lalitha. Thank you for your kind comments🙂 Indeed this is a song which has touched many hearts over time and, I guess, will do so for a long time to come.
      Cheers. Suja

  5. Lovely and poignant – you know how much I care for Nutan and Bimalda. Yet she isn’t directly the centre of what the director is doing here. In a move which made his films so enjoyable, he’s deflecting the dirge away from her, because it is sung by a fellow inmate, and creating an ancient chorus effect, where the action was transmuted into poetry and served to deepen its motives. Bandini is seen only once in the song, looking up to the unattainable walls of her prison, and the feeling we have is certainly exile and alienation, as you rightly say, yet softened by the pity which comes from the fact else is here present, and singing about her plight. Thanks a lot for the translation Suja!

    • I do indeed know of your great affection for Nutan and Bimalda🙂 Thank you for adding the perspective of the film as well. I have, as you have no doubt noticed, talked of the song on a stand-alone basis, divorced from the cinematic story. My comments pertain simply to the lyrics themselves and the emotions of the melody, the setting, the presentation. The filmi songs have two personalities, identities – the one in context of the film and the other when listened to on their own. It is the latter that I shall be focusing on in my blog as I present filmi music in the future. The truth is, that is how I (and many others) listen to filmi music in general, just as pieces of music, nothing to do with the story! And you are welcome for the translation🙂
      Cheers. Suja

  6. AKM

    That is the land of lost content,
    I see it shining plain,
    The happy highways where I went
    And cannot come again

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saudade

    I was much moved by Mr Murali above, expressing his own connection with loss.

    A lovely song, especially in the context of the movie. And an excellent post. Perhaps it requires posts like these to unlock our own memories of joy and mourn their passing.

    • Thank you very much for introducing me to the word Saudade – my art loving heart immediately adores this word and all that it encompasses- it really speaks to me! And yes, the exact emotions expressed by Ab Ke Baras!! I love what you have said ‘unlock our memories of joy and mourn their passing’, as I was in exactly that mood when I wrote my post. I’m grateful for you comment.
      Cheers. Suja

  7. T.Santhanam

    Suja’s response to this song is really heart warming.There is so much longing,pathos and a craving for what is not in this melodious piece that any person with a bit of sensitiveness is bound to react witha a tear drop.I would like to have Suja’s comments on the songs of Anuradha a Hrishikesh Mukkherjee classic with Ravi Shanker’s music. Also Rahe na Rahen from Mamta. I am well versed in Carnatic music too, addicted to Hindi Shairees and Urdu language. Looka like our wave lengths are in the same symphony.Iam an old octogenarian bachelor,physically challenged but always optimistic and cheerful.

    • Thank you, and welcome to my blog🙂 Indeed our wavelengths are running the same pattern – it is an extraordinary coincidence that just yesterday I was thinking about Haye Re Wo Din Kyoon Na Aye! It is indeed eerie that of the millions of movies there are, you should mention just that one! Both songs share a melancholic nostalgia for the past, a want for what is past and can be no more. Lata’s voice is young and unblemished and the composition is infused with such pathos that our heart is caught up in the same nostalgia. I will keep Anuradha’s songs in mind for a future post for sure.
      Cheers. Suja

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