Friday, June 29, 2012

Parveen Shakir

Kafas mein hoon mujhe azaadiyaan awaz deti hain
Mere par khol do, purvaaiyaan awaaz deti hain

Kulsum was typing in Urdu for me when we spoke on the phone and she suggested this particular ghazal by the Pakistani poetess Parveen Shakir. I looked at the words and across the phone line this young woman was telling me that whenever she read this poem she felt so inspired.

I could see the yearning in the soul of the lady- and her simple desire to be free and soar like a bird. And as I sit down to make this blog-entry I am reminded of one of those poems which was my greatest inspirations in my long years of illness and soul solitude. It was one of the greatest Russian poets- Alexander Pushkin's words

Captive alone in a dungeon I dwell
Entombed in the murk and stillness of my cell
Outside in the courtyard in wild, frenzied play
My comrade, an eagle has pounced on his prey....(imagine me writing from memory!!!)

And then again I am reminded about my own poem- whose essence is that I am that falcon on the gular tree...So when I see the universal symbols of birds, freedom, heights, soaring, captivity, womanhood...I cannot but be moved enough to set it to some music. The music was set just by me looking at the words- as if it just rang in my ears and I just had to play the notes on the harmonium to bring them within the ambit of a particular raga. Never composed something whose music I heard in my ears before I touched the keys.

It was a great experience. And now I am wondering, whether the poetry was already carrying the music in its own folds, or how the melody came to me just by looking at the lyrics. Amazing experience and of course I shared it with Kulsum within twenty minutes of her suggesting me to sing this particular poem. Thanks my little friend.

There are two other Parveen Shakir ghazals in my repertoire and am sure more would follow, as I start looking for more women poets. Oh yes! the other ladies now are Zakya Ghazal and Dr.Naseem Nikhat (three ghazals this month)

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