What is poetry? If looked at from a literal and basic sense, it is quite easy to say that it is just a string of words streamed together in verse, keeping in mind a few norms of writing, and staying in a certain rhythm. However, if we go deeper into the meaning, poetry can be described as a flow of ideas presented through the ink of the poet's feelings, ideas and maybe even some hypothetically posed questions.
It is not an easy task to put your deepest thoughts, sentiments and desires on paper, and it is even more difficult to put these pieces of a person's mind out into the bare public view, for everyone to read. In the case of film lyricists, the situations and subject of the verses are already provided for, but even then, a part of the poet's or lyricist's own sentiments always accompanies the fabricated lyrics on set situations of cinema. One such person, who has shared his most profound lines of verse with us, through several decades of Hindi Cinema is an undoubted poetic genius, Gulzar.
His life and works can be found anywhere on the net, so here i'm just gonna share my feelings towards his words. I was recently analyzing the kind of music I like. I got out all my favourite songs, and lined them up. Then, one by one, I went ahead and googled the songs up. What I found out wasnt unexpected exactly, just a little surprising. At least 95% of my absolute favourite songs had one thing in common: They had the R.D.Burman-Gulzar combo. Starting to list all of those brilliant songs would require no less than an eternity, but then, I just cannot resist myself from listing at least some examples. Songs like "Ek Akela Iss Shehar Mein"(Gharonda), "Roz Roz Aakhon Tale"(Jeeva), " Seeli Hawa Choo Gayi"(Libaas), "Jaane Kya Sochkar"(Kinara), "Mera Kuchh Samaan"(Ijaazat), "Tujhse Naraz Nahi Zindagi"(Masoom), "Tere Bina Jiya"(Ghar), and many more, are just examples of the exceptionally talented duo.
People say Gulzar's lyrics were/are unconvetional and too "off the mark" to really understand. I mean, when do you usually hear such unusual metaphors like "Seeli hawa chhoo gayi, seela badan chhil gaya". True, these words are not the ones that people just humm and sing for the heck of it, and then forget before you even get to the next line. These verses really compel you to stop, go back to what you just heard, and try to comprehend the profoundness of the meaning. Every metaphor or simile, every little play-on-words, used has a meaning so deep and so enchanting that once you really understand it, you just cannot help but giving in to the sheer beauty and brilliance by which such simple thoughts are presented. The ideas of love, longing, joy, dismay etc, have been used time and again, but every single time that Gulzar saab has presented these very ideas in his choice of lyrics, even the most trivial of ideas becomes so deep that they find their way right to the heart!
If i was ever told to pick out my absolutely most touching Gulzar song, it is needless to say that I will find myself at a total loss! But, yes, i can say there are some songs and ghazals which have touched me more than others. Maybe because, some words and ideas have been able to tap my sensibilities more than others, or maybe that i have lacked in the maturity to really comprehend the meanings behind some poetry. Nonetheless, I guess that is the beauty of Gulzar's lyrics, they affect you in different ways through different stages of life.
One such example that i can dig out from my memory is "Dil Dhoondta Hai"(Mausam; Music: Madan Mohan ). I've heard this song at different phases of my life, and every single time, i've been able to derive entirely new meaning out of it. While, some years back, i just heard it for the pleasant tune, some years later i actually began to understand the first stanza and its meaning. Some more years down the line, i could actually interpret the ambiguous meanings of the words, and it wasnt long ago that I actually felt myself attaching my own personal memories to the pearls of Gulzar's mind, the sheer greatness of the poetry. It was as if, that one song and its words were enough to submerge me into my own memories and swim in the flowing rhythm of the music as words softly carried me into the oblivions of the most hidden portions of my soul...I find myself rather insignificant to be able to end this post with my own words, while i'm talking about a poetic genius. Here are words...which have moved me time and again...and give full justice the poet I truly respect, Gulzar.
jeene ke liye socha hi nahi,
dard sambhalane honge
muskurayen to, muskurane ke karz utaarne honge
muskuraoon kabhi to lagata hai
jaise honton pe karz rakhaa hai
tujhse naraz nahi zindagi ...