Preme Pora Baron – Sweater (Lyrics and Meaning)

Here’s the link to this lovely song: Preme pora baron in the mesmerizing voice of Lagnajita Chakraborty.

Preme pora baron, karone okaron
Aangul-e-aangul raakhle o haath dhora baron

It seems like I am forbidden to fall in love and there is no reason why
I can entangle my fingers around yours, but I am not allowed to hold hands
Interpretation: After years of rejection and loneliness I realize that I probably do not have the luxury of falling in love or being in love or being loved. I have to accept this as my destiny. I can probably entwine my fingers around yours but I cannot expect a commitment or hope that we can keep each other company for long.

Tomay joto golpo bolaar chilo
Shob paapri hoye gaacher paashe choriye roye chilo
Dao ni tumi aamaaye shey shob kuriye nevaar kono karon
Preme pora baaron, karone okaron
Oyi maaya choke chokh raakhle o phire takaano baron

All my stories that I wanted to share with you
Like petals, they remained, scattered all around the tree
You did not give me any reason to collect them (from the ground)
It seems like I am forbidden to fall in love and there is no reason why
I can gaze at your mesmerizing eyes, perhaps, for a few moments,
but I am not allowed to look back into them again
Interpretation: I wanted to open up my heart to you, share stories scattered throughout my past (the petals), happy and sad, moments that I cherish, difficult times, my childhood, my dreams, everything that make me who I am, so you can know me the way I know myself. But unfortunately, I wasn’t able to share any of that with you.
It could be anger – because I felt like you were never interested. Our relationship was all about you, and there was no room in it for my present, let alone my past or our future.
OR It could be separation – because I know we cannot be together for long and there isn’t enough time to share everything I wanted to, with you.
So even though I like the idea of being with you, I cannot allow myself to be trapped in this relationship, so I will do everything I can to not be tempted to return to you.

Shunne bhaashi raatiri ekhono guni
Tomar aamaar nauka baowar shobdo ekhono shuni
Taayi mujh lukiye thoth phuliye boshonter ei smriticharon
Preme pora baaron, karone okaron
Mone porle o aajke tomaay mone pora baron

I float into nothingness, still counting the nights
I can still hear the sound of the oars from when we used to row our boat
And that is why I hide my face and pout when I reminisce the days of spring (cheerful moments)
It seems like I am forbidden to fall in love and there is no reason why
And even if I miss you today, I am not allowed to remember you.
Interpretation: (This last bit I think stems from the pressure we all feel to explain ourselves) The reason I appear to be sulking and sad all the time is not by choice, but because I am still trying to get over the fact that we cannot be together. However, it is hard to do that when I spend my moments alone thinking about our time together and even the happy moments (spring) in my life make me sad when I realize you are not and you will never be a part of them. So even though I miss you terribly every day, I cannot allow myself to spend my days wrapped up in your memories.

A simple melody and a refreshing perspective on love or the lack thereof. It is most certainly not a happy love song that admires the beloved or reminisces beautiful moments of falling in love or being in love. It is also not a sad love song about missing someone, or one sided love, or where one pines for love (may be hint of that pining). What I felt is that this song is a culmination of years of rejection, of finding love but not the way you had imagined it, of being stuck in a relationship where there is some affection but not nearly enough to make you happy. The lingering feeling in the song (and in the movie until the end) is that of just getting the taste of something you like but not being able to completely indulge in it.

A few phrases I really liked in the song:
The part about may be holding on to fingers but not hands – I imagine this would be like making an innocent pinky promise to stay together or holding fingers as you walk with a beloved in a new blossoming relationship, when holding hands would suggest a more serious relationship, a longer commitment.
The analogy of the petals scattered around the tree to describe memories – The tree is your life and the petals – memories of a bygone spring. I imagine this would be like sticking a petal or a leaf into a book, because you wanted to remember a spring or an autumn afternoon and when the time comes share those moments with a special someone.

If you haven’t watched this 2019 Bengali movie “Sweater”, I would recommend it. It is a very simple story about discovering oneself – like a coming of age movie but may be for an older audience, one that makes you think and leaves an impression that will stay with you for a long time no matter what stage of your life you are in. There is something in it for everyone. At many points in the story, I could relate with the main protagonist of the movie, I think you will too. I am also somewhat biased towards the movie I guess, because I like to knit and crochet and I love misty mountains which are both beautifully woven (pun intended) into the story. Also the sort of small hill-town, slow-paced and carefree setting of the movie, where everyone knows everyone, there are problems but not complications and any strange behavior seems perfectly rational, is all so refreshing, charming and very attractive especially to the sort of fast paced and stressful world that many of us are living in.

The song in the movie plays when Tuku the girl around whom the story revolves, has recently broken up with her long time boy friend (who is a disgusting character), had started falling in love with another guy (who she learns is in the final stages of a cancer), and she just successfully completed the first and only thing that she set out to do in her life, which she is proud of (she knit a sweater, a simple yet mighty accomplishment for someone who has been told she is good for nothing all her life). Though she was forced into learning knitting which was the one and only condition from her future mother in law for marriage (an arranged marriage), in the end she has an awesome teacher and decides to do it for herself. And when you do something, because you truly like it, true joy automatically follows. In the story, at this point, Tuku’s happiness, her accomplishment, that feeling of falling in love, is shadowed by the memories of her old boyfriend, and as she realizes that her new found love is also not going to last long, and that she will ultimately have to go back and get married to a guy who she has never met. It is like a storm of conflicting emotions that crowd her thoughts, all of which is beautifully portrayed in this song both with its soulful lyrics and music and its lovely picturization.

I actually liked all other songs from the movie too. Here’s a link to the other songs if you like soft, free flowing bengali songs in general, with a Tagore song thrown in the mix and appropriately so.
Sweater Movie Jukebox

Thank you Shiv for introducing me to the movie and the song.

Unsent Letter: A bag of excuses

Dear Stranger Friend,

It has been a while. I am not sure I know where to start, and when I do, I will probably not know when to stop. But I hope you understand when I tell you, Alice is out of her wonderland, the rabbit hole is covered, with weeds and grass, the garden unkempt and she does not remember how to find her way back into that wonderland anymore. May be some day she will…but that some day is still a while away. 

I can tell you how I have been busy at work, piles of deadlines staring down at me from every corner of the cherry wood desk that was once covered with origami paper and swans and stars and sharpies and yarn; how my doodles are now just never ending to-do lists scribbled frantically on the stack of paper clinging to my clipboard, that used to be filled with the whimsical patterns of floating hearts and swirly skies; how articles, budgets and reviews have inconsiderately replaced the nonchalantly woven day dreams; how my fingers, that used to run along stacks of parchment paper looking for the next pressed flower that I could stick into the card that I was making, are now exhausted from working relentlessly on mouse clicks and keyboard buttons typing one work email after another.  May be someday I will muster the courage to put it all away, the deadlines, the to-do lists and fall into my usual reverie, but that some day is still a while away. 

I can tell you how the my days that used to start with a tweeting chickadee by my bedroom window now begin with the jarring beeps of the alarm clock on the bedside table; how the mornings of sipping coffee leisurely in the front porch waving at neighborhood kids on their way to school, are now mornings of hurriedly gulping down a bowl of cold cereal as I scroll through the mostly sickening news headlines on the phone; how the afternoon strolls on that trail by the lake are now brisk walks from one meeting room to another; how the evening rides out of town chasing sunsets and moon rises are now just traffic packed yet lonely drives trying to get home with an occasional stop at the gas station or the grocery store; how the romantic silence of the night, when I dove into a sea of nostalgia and collected moments and memories to weave poems, notes and letters, is now just a much awaited quiet to rest my tired eyes, feet and soul. May be someday I will figure out how to break away from this humdrum and fill my days with the adventure life used to be, but that someday is still a while away.

I can tell you all this and more, many more excuses for not writing to you, for not responding to you as often as I used to, but I want you to know that I think about you, about how your days have been. I wonder if you still enjoy the songs we used to discuss at length, if you still enjoy the quiet sunrises and sunsets with a hot cup of tea and a book by your side, if you ride into the storm just to feel the rain on your face. I wonder if you remember me as a stranger who was once a friend, or a friend who was once a stranger. I think you are a stranger now more than ever, but you are also a friend now more than ever, because strangers don’t complain when you lose touch and friends don’t judge when you take a pause, and I know it is too much to ask, but I hope you will understand. I don’t think our journey ends here, I don’t think it is that time yet. Some day it will, but I think that some day is still a while away.



Bhindeshi Tara – Antaheen (Lyrics and meaning)

This song is from one of my all time favorite bengali movies Antaheen. Here’s the link to the song: Bhindeshi tara

Amar bhindheshi tara, Eka raateri akaashe,
Tumi bajaale ektara, amar cheelekothar paashe
Theek shondhe namaar mukhe, tomaar naam dhore keyu daake
Mukh lookiye kaar bookhe, tomaar golpo bolo kaake
Mine is a distant star, that shines alone in the night sky
While you play the ektara, close to my terrace
Right around the time the evening sets in, someone calls your name
Who do you go to, to seek comfort, who do you tell your stories to?
(Literally, whose chest do you hide your face in?)
Interpretation: I am lonely (or single) and looking for some company. I heard someone call out your name the other day. Do you live close by? Are you lonely too? or do you have a companion who comforts you when you are worried or sad, a confidant who you share your secrets with.

Amar raat jaga tara, tomaar onno paraaye baadi
Amar bhoye pava chehaara, aami aadote anaadi
Amar akaash dekha ghuri, kichu mitthe bahaduri
Amar chokh bedhe daao aalo, daao shaanto sheetol paati
Tumi maayer motoi  bhaalo, aami ekla ti poth haati
Mine is a sleepless star, but your house is in a different neighborhood
And I know I have a scared face, and I am habitually a fool
I have a kite that has roamed the skies, and some misplaced courage
Can you cover my eyes with some light, and give me a peaceful refreshing mat
You comfort just like a mother, and I walk the road all alone
Interpretation: There is really nothing fancy about me, and you seem way out of my league. I am just an ordinary person, scared, foolish. I have experienced life’s hardships or I would like to think I have, which gives me some confidence (maybe misplaced), that I have something to offer to our relationship. I can tell you all about my adventures (and misadventures) and all the things I have learned along the way. I live a lonely life but with you around, I think I will finally find the comfort and peace that I have been after all my life. 

Amar bichiri ektara, tumi naao na kotha kaane
Tomar kisher eto tara, raashta paar hobe shabdhaane
Tomar gaae laage na dhulo, amar du mutho chaal chulho
Raakho shorire haath jodi, aar jol maakho dui haathe
Please ghoom hoye jaao chokhe, amar mon kharaaper raate
My ektara is really bad, don’t listen to whatever it plays
Why are you always in such a hurry, please cross the road carefully

You are the one whom dust does not touch, and I survive on two fistfuls of rice
But if you can just place your hand on me, and dab my hands with some water
And (please) bring some sleep to my eyes, on the nights that I am sad
(I will be forever grateful)
Interpretation: Well if you think I am not worth it, it is okay. Just forget whatever I just said, and move on. I am sure you will have a wonderful life, just tread carefully and take care of your self. My life is that of a commoner and you probably live and dream of a very lavish, fancy life, something that I cannot promise. But it would be nice if you could just be that friend to me, who I can call on the days that I need a comforting word or two. 

Amar raat jaga tara, tomaar akash choa baadi
Aami paayi na chute tomaaye, amar ekla laage bhari
Mine is a sleepless star, and you reside in a luxurious house (literally sky high)
I try but cannot reach you, I feel lonely (sad) without you.
Interpretation:  It is probably silly of me to think there could be anything between us. Our worlds are so far apart that we may never cross paths.  I will just have to settle for a life as a loner.

This song is an artfully woven tale of love, which begins with the excitement and mystery surrounding courtship, unfolding unto charmingly honest confessions that are the foundation of any lasting relationship, followed by words of concern and comfort – the endearing emotions that make up love and ends on a lonely note of an incomplete love story. The straightforwardness throughout the song is delightful. Definitely a one-sided narrative but beautiful nevertheless. The guy goes through a series of emotions of – curiosity, hope, love and eventually despair as he realizes he can never be with his beloved because they are worlds apart.

SPOILERS: At first glance this song may seem like a few random tidbits about stars and love and relationships put together to make a composition,  unless you know bengali and appreciate the choice of words woven together to create it. But in the context of the movie (and even otherwise) I think it is deep and thoughtful and pretty much sums up the movie’s main story line ( either that or may be I habitually read too much into lyrics of songs). One of the main story lines in the movie is about a cop (Abhik) and a journalist (Brinda). They meet online as strangers who decide to keep their identities a secret. Online, they discuss their philosophies about love, about life, share their interests etc., and fall in love. They happen to cross paths in real life too, and seem to respect each other and enjoy talking to each other. Then, one day the online friends realize they have fallen in love with each other and decide to meet soon. In the real world, Abhik and Brinda have a phone conversation where Abhik brings up a phrase that they used online, and that is when Brinda realizes, Abhik is her mystery online friend, and that is the day she is killed. And that is when this song plays, as Abhik now is waiting endlessly (‘Antaheen apekha’). It is unclear if Abhik puts two and two together, or if he is still in the dark, waiting for his online friend as this song plays, but now do you see the connection.

MOVIE:  I would be amiss to conclude this post without telling you what a beautiful , delicately made movie ‘Anthaheen’ is.  I have watched this movie several times, and every time I have fallen in love with it all over again. I do like Rahul Bose, so there may be some bias there (I find his movies somewhat off- beat and his acting , effortless).
Anyway, ‘Antaheen’ has an elegant storyline. I find it hard to bin the movie into a genre. It has drama, love, action (may be not so much) wrapped up in a nice little package,  but then again it is not your typical masala movie either, it is very realistic, almost like following the stories of a few people in real life. To me, watching this movie is like watching a sunset by the beach,
it is beautiful; full of life; stirs up emotions that are hard to put into words; and towards the end there are some closures which make you feel at peace, but there is also a sense of emptiness that haunts you long after the last of the credits have scrolled by…
much like that spectacular sunset by the beach, when as the night sets in, the endless darkness in the foreground may be unsettling, but there is peace in listening to the sound of the waves and knowing that much like the waves that constantly approach and recede the shore, life goes on, and that tomorrow is another day and the sun will set again, because that is what it does, every evening…the evening will just not be the same one.


Anjaani raahon mein – Lucky Ali (Lyrics and Meaning)

Throwback Thursday? may be..
I was lost in the youtube blackhole devouring one suggested video after another of songs from the 90s when suddenly this song started playing, and I was surprised not only by how much of the song I still remember but also that I almost relived the moments from the time I first heard it. It was in a different place, at a different time. Some songs are just timeless, I guess. Here’s the link to the song :
 Anjani raahon mein .(As long as youtube lets it stay there (read as –  let me know if and when the link is broken :))
**Here are two updated links from a generous reader (as of Oct 2021)  (i) Original video but bad audio , (ii) better audio, but not original video .
Lyrics and translation below:

Anjaani raahon mein phir kya dhoondhta phire, 
Dur jisko samjha wo to paas hai tere
Saans mein hawa, jaan mein zameen, dil mein khula aasmaan
Pyaar hai khuda, pyaar hai khushi, pyaar se hai dono jahaan
Tera ye aashiyaana, mera bhi aashiyaana*
What do you go looking for on unfamiliar paths?
That you seek and think is out of reach is actually close to you.
You have fresh air to breathe, some land to live, and the freedom of the open skies in your heart.
(And you have love) Love is god, love is happiness, love is what creates all the different worlds
What you call your home, is also my home.

Anjaani raahon mein phir kya dhoondhta phire, 
Dur jisko samjha wo to paas hai tere
Ghoomta raha, dur tu kahin, udate baadalon ki tarah
Kahin se tujhe, aayi hai sadaa, laut ke aa ab zaraa
Tera ye aashiyaana, mera bhi aashiyaana*
What do you go looking for on unfamiliar paths?
That you seek and think is out of reach is actually close to you.
You keep wondering far and wide, like the floating (flying) clouds
Listen to the (familiar) call (of a loved one) and return to where you started your journey.
(Because) What you call your home, is also my home.

Wo jhilmilaati aankhein, wo bholi si adaa, 
Wo dheere dheere chalke lehraati hawaayein
Humko le jaaye wahan 
Jahan ho ghar apna, teri yaadon mein paaya hai aaj to 
Milne ka din hai aaya aaya,
Those twinkling eyes, those innocent gestures
And the slow-moving breeze
When I follow them, they guide me to the home,
that I have only visited in your memories
And (today, or one day) I hope I will finally get a chance to meet you again (be where I belong)

I highly recommend watching the video of this song that compliments the song very well and its simplicity is charming and delightful. The song is beautiful in itself, and that it was part of a patriotic album celebrating 50 years of Indian independence makes it even more special. It is a very different flavor of patriotism, one that replaces pride with love – and that is an important distinction, because (and maybe this is all just in my head), pride has an underlying tone of arrogance, whereas love, an underlying tone of acceptance; pride breeds isolation, love breeds connection. And this song is a reminder of love, of longing, that is universal.

*I do not fully understand what the line “tera ye aashiyaana, mera bhi aashiyaana” truly means in this context. Who is it referring to? The song seems like a conversation with oneself and in that case who is referred to as “tera” ?

Chandni ki paanch paratein (Lyrics and Meaning)

A friend  shared this poem by Sarveshvar Dayal Saxena, with me. The poem is beautiful no doubt, but in the voice of Surekha Sikri, this poem really comes to life. Here’s the link.

Chandani ki paanch paratein, har parat agyaat hai 

Ek jal mein, Ek thal mein, Ek neelaakash mein 

Ek aankhon mein tumhare jhilmilaati

Ek mere ban rahe vishwaas mein 

Five layers of moonlight, each seems like a mystery (or each is oblivious to the other)

One in the water, one on land, one in the blue sky

One that I see twinkling in your eyes, 

One that exists in my evolving faith

Kya kahun kaise kahun, kitni zara si baat hai

chaandani ki paanch paratein, har parat agyaat hai

What should I say, and How should I say it? It is such a trivial thing 

The five layers of moonlight, each layer a mystery 

Ek jo main aaj hoon,

Ek jo main ho na paaya,

Ek jo hone nahi dogi mujhe tum,

Ek jo main ho na paunga kabhi bhi

Ek jiski hai hamare beech ye abhishapt chaaya

One that I am today,

One that I could never be, 

One that you will never let me be, 

One that I will never be able to become 

And one that like some cursed shadow lingers between us

Kyun sahun kab tak  sahun, kitna kathin aghaat hai

Chaandni ki paanch paratein, har parat agyaat hai

Why should I endure, and for how long? It seems like a very hard blow 

(From) The five layers of moonlight, each one a mystery

I am sure there are many different ways this poem could be interpreted, and that, much of the interpretation is left to the imagination of the reader, makes this poem a brilliant one. There is the obvious literal meaning, but the lines put together seem like a mystery waiting to be unravelled. Here I give you one way of looking at it:
I think it is a journey from childlike innocence to the guilt that comes with age, from the naive love at first sight to a story that does not seem to have a happy ending,  leaving it to the reader to fill in the blanks. This is how I imagined the poem:

He looked out of his window on a full moon night,
to find fragments of moonlight scattered in the water, a puddle, a pond, a lake , a river,  shimmering silver,
the moonlight also soaked the land and everything on it in a soft white glow,
the sky sprinkled with the same moonlight, like a gleaming giant white umbrella,
and there she was, gazing at the night sky, staring at the moon,  those eyes shining, with the reflection of the moon in them,
and there he was, taking in all this beauty, the moonlight filling his heart with its light and a growing fondness for her. He pondered upon ways to tell her how he felt wishing she also saw things the same way he did.
The five layers of moonlight, each beautiful in its own way, each oblivious to the other, each a mystery. 

And then there was another time, when life has hit him hard like something jolted him out of that beautiful dream, and now on another full moon night, looking out of that same window,  this time, not with an affectionate heart but a regretful soul, he thinks
about how things turned out,
who he is now, what he had become, how did he get here,
about things he could have done differently, but now it is too late
about the things he did not do, because she would not let him
about the things he will no longer be able to do,
and then when he looks through that window, he no longer sees the soft white glow on the land, but all the shadows that it casts, the darkness that separates him from her.
The five layers of moonlight spanning his existence, each oblivious to the other, each still a mystery. 

As for the link between the lines, (this may be a stretch) but I imagine may be he is a vagabond, or may be he left and came back when it was too late, or he never expressed his feelings to her and regrets it now.
He identifies his present self with  : the moonlight in the water, dazzling but fleeting,
The one that he could never be : the land fixed, still, resilient
The one that he could have been only if she had let him :  the sky –  a protective envelop, loving and caring
The one that he can now never become: the twinkle in her eyes (may be because he missed his chance, or she is long gone)
And that same moonlight that kindled his love seems to have dwindled it too,  throwing it into the darkness cast by the shadows that are present even when there is light. 

“She” could be a beloved, or it may refer to “his life” or “time”.  The moonlight possibly represents “his thoughts” – that come from the same source, his mind, and yet they are so different, hidden, indifferent to each other. And as he grows older his youthful enthusiasm is overpowered by a more mature view of the harsh realities of life!
The first paragraph comes from a younger self, looking  forward into the future, at all the promising possibilities that the future holds, at all that can be accomplished, looking at the brighter side of things.
The second paragraph comes from an older self, looking back into the past, at all the promising opportunities that were let go, at all that could have been accomplished, at times blaming life for it, and now it all looks like the curse of time, that there is no way to go back and fix it.

My two cents.
Krithya 🙂


Amma ki diwali happy banao :)

I had to share this one, a little late for Diwali, but it is a ‘new’ year right!  This is my second blog post on a commercial, the first one was that of Ambuja cement which is brilliant too, with excellent words from Gulzar, and a beautiful video that goes with it.

(Here is the link to the video. I skipped the narrative and dialogue exchanges but the video says it all!)

Nikle jo tum aaj ghar se farmayishon ki phehrist saath leke

Batuve mein leke wo note hazaar, tum nikle bhari dopahari khareedne bazaar

You left the house today with your wish list

A thousand rupee note in your wallet, you left for the marketplace on a bright afternoon

Is chakha chaundh is dhakka mukki mein, shayaad tum lena bhool gaye

Is kachchi mitti ke pakke diye, tum saath le jaana bhool gaye

But in the midst of all the pomp and show and the bustling crowds, you probably forgot something

You forgot to buy those earthen lamps baked from soft clay

Bhool gaye bachpan mein kaise inse ghar roshan karte the,

tum zidd karke baar baar do diye zyada liya karte the

Did you forget how you use to light your house up with the earthen lamps

Did you forget how you used to insist and take a couple extra ones home 

Isi aas ki mitti lekar main aasha ke diye banati hoon

Aur har diwali zarra zarra main isi bazaar bikhar jaati hoon

Every year,  I mix some of this longing  (that you will take some extra lamps to light up your house) into the clay to make these hope filled earthen lamps 

and every Diwali, with my lamps I try to sprinkle a little of my hope  (pieces of me) over the marketplace

Arse baad wo aaj fir yahan aaya hai, saalon baad usne in diyon ko gale lagaya hai

Bujh gayi thi umeed ki jo aakhri mashaal, is diwali kisi ne us andhere mein ek halka sa diya jalaya hai

And today, after a really long time, he has returned, and after years today he has embraced the earthen lamps again

That last hope that was dowsed, this diwali someone lit a small a lamp which melted away the darkness (of hopelessness)

Is diwali aap bhi umeed ka ek diya jalaye, kisi aur ki diwali ko bhi roshan banaye

This Diwali, go light a lamp of hope and brighten up someone else’s Diwali.

I always loved advertisements as a kid, so much that my parents tell me they had two VHS video cassette tapes (go google it millennials!), full of ads that they diligently recorded right before the 8:00pm news for a week  or two on Doordarshan (the national TV broadcaster of India) long before cable and internet.  Anytime they played it, they tell me I would sit still like an angel, glued to the TV, make no fuss about food, require no attention etc.  and even enact some of the ads on good days. And I guess old habits die hard!

I still find ads entertaining, all commercials actually, though ads from India will always hold a special place, it could be nostalgia, being able to relate with the culture, or may be it is the emotional factor which makes them special.  I think they are cleverly made, and now with the flexibility that comes with posting content online, some of the the ads can now show what seems like a beautiful short story instead of just bread crumbs that the extremely short commercials have to deal with.

This  is one such video, it took me a while to gather that it is an HP printer ad and though I may not go and buy a printer after watching it (which is what ads are supposed to do, sell the product), I sure would go and get some earthen lamps from that old lady who sits in a forgotten corner of the cross roads amidst the fanfare of the electric lights and lanterns, spending scorching days and the chilly nights light selling the almost forgotten earthen lamps. And well may be when I go buy a printer though, I will probably remember this ad and give HP a thought 🙂

The ad does stir up some emotions of sympathy for the old lady, of admiration for the kid’s thoughtfulness, of love for the traditional ways of celebrating Diwali. The sentimental me wants to hold on to all those emotions, and yet the practical me thinks at some point, holding on to the past, to old ways is not going to stop the present from advancing into an unknown future!

I sincerely hope though, that no matter how much we love our fancy, colorful, blinking, dancing strings of electric lights and LEDs, there will still be room in our homes for that flickering earthen lamp, and in our hearts for those who earn their living selling these tiny rays of hope and spreading the true spirit of Diwali, even long after the floppy disk, audio and video cassette tapes , Doordarshan generation is replaced by the phone clinging, internet savvy, online streaming generation. I sincerely hope!



Sooha saha – Highway (Lyrics and Meaning)

A  lullaby from the movie Highway (2014). Here’s the youtube link to the song: Sooha saha.

I think Highway was a well made movie in many ways – the cinematography is beautiful, the storyline is simple but emotionally engaging, the acting natural, but the music tops it all. I liked all the songs from the movie, Mahi ve – a different flavor of a romantic song, Kahan hoon main – a song trying to make sense of one’s life, Pataka guddi – a lively free-spirited song to name a few. The songs also blend in well with the story. I like sooha saha in particular because with such simplicity this song manages to describe the complexity of the emotions that Mahabir (the antihero of the movie) is experiencing. Halfway through, the song switches from innocent dreams to the unpleasant reality and then back.

Mynah ni sooha saha le jaana khoye ki meethi meethi kheti mein kehlan ho 

Totha bole pedon pe, pede se poodi se, sooha saha neendan mein bhookha na ho 

sangi saathi hum soone thaare ho na ho, sooha saha amma ka 

Oh red rabbit, take the mynah (bird) with you to the milk sweet farms to play 

Where parrot sings from the trees, like dessert and bread, so the red rabbit does not feel hungry in his sleep

There may not be friends to accompany you, (but the birds should keep you company)

Red rabbit so dear to his mother

Raina, kaari kaari koylan si raina, neendi tula tula sii lena* 

taaron ka bichauna, chain se sona,

gota gota gudhadi mein ghoomega ghaamega  sooha sahaa mynah ni le jaana ho **

The night is as black as the koyal (a black bird), stitch your nap (or sleep) a little at a time 

Sleep peacefully in the bed of stars

When you roam around amongst those shiny sequin fabric bundles (probably referring to the stars), oh red rabbit, take the mynah with you. 

Toota, tara sa, chota sa, taara sa, toota re 

Pooche wo dekho tere hi baariye 

Kyun na soye, kyun to roye, kyun to khoye yun pardes mein ho 

Kyun tu rootha, kisse rootha, kya hai chootha tera des mein ho 

Broken, a star, a small star, a falling star 

It asks about you, 

Why do you not sleep, why do you cry, why do you wander around in a foreign land ? 

Why are you annoyed, who are you annoyed with, what did you leave behind in your land? 

Jo bhi hai rookha sookha mann mein wo bolo to,

kholo raahein baaton ki baahein ho, 

Whatever it is in your mind, that is bothering you, share it (with me)

Give way to the words, open up your arms (and your heart)

Totha bole pedon pe pede se poodi se, sooha saha neendan mein bhookha na ho

sang saathi ham soone thaare ho na ho, sooha saha amma ka 

Where parrot sings from the trees, like dessert and bread, so the red rabbit does not feel hungry in his sleep

There may not be friends to accompany you, (but the birds should keep you company)

Red rabbit so dear to his mother

The song starts off as a lullaby about sweet fields and starry beds describing the unconditional care of a mother for her young child as she sings to him, and ensures that the child has everything (food, friends) for a good nights sleep with the sweetest dreams.  Later however,  though still about unconditional care, this time it is not for a kid wandering around in dreamland, but for someone who has wandered for so long and so far away from home, that comfort and familiarity seem like a distant dream.

I especially found the “starry” connection 🙂  appealing. How, the stars – the friends from dream land seem to have come looking for their long lost companion (the red rabbit) in the real world – “taara sa, toota re,  Pooche wo dekho tere hi baariye

The lullaby is cute, adorable – words I would not typically use for a musical composition. The latter part of the song definitely has its tear-jerking moments.  If you live away from home, if its been a while since you talked to or visited your family, if its been a while since you had a heart to heart conversation with someone, anyone or if its been a while since you slept peacefully, you can probably relate.

And at the expense of sounding almost preachy, if you are not the lost restless soul in need for comfort, you can probably be the shining caring star that can comfort the lost restless soul, if you get what I mean. 😀

SPOILERS: In the movie, this song describes how Mahabir (the antihero of the movie) reminisces his happy childhood, just another innocent kid, loved by his mother, happy and playful,  which is in stark contrast to where he stands now several years later, the bad guy, feared by everyone, lost and lonely, which he is convinced is a point of no return, while Veera the rich girl who Mahabir has kidnapped, and who now has developed Stockholm Syndrome tries to convince him otherwise. (By the end of this song, you almost feel sorry for Mahabir, you want to forgive him, comfort him. Of course! kudos to Randeep Hooda and Alia Bhatt for delivering this emotion packed song so flawlessly :))

*Some other sources online with the translation of the song use “coal” to describe “koyalan” – it could be either I think, coal or the bird, but with all the bird references earlier in the song, I thought “koyal – the bird” may be more fitting.

“Tula” refers to a small unit of weight (~11g) , used to measure valuable metals like gold etc.  So the line -“neendi tula tula sii lena” could mean take small naps as you sleep, but if you sleep in short bursts how do you sleep peacefully (the next line :)), so I thought ‘sii’ here could mean “to stitch” instead of  “like tula”

** “gota-gota gudhadi mein” – can also mean sequin studded clothes that the kid (red rabbit) wears as he roams around, but again with the previous line about the bed of stars, I thought shiny sequin fabric bundles is more fitting.

Chathon se koodna by Gulzar (Ambuja Cement Ad 2018) – Lyrics and Meaning

“In love with this Ambuja Cement Ad” – that is such an odd thing to say you would think, but – “Gulzar Sahab’s narration and a fitting video”, how can one not fall in love ? And if you ever lived in a neighborhood with a maze of terraces connecting not just houses but also the people living there, you would understand the true essence of this four minute video!

Chathon se koodna chat par, chathon se chat pe chad jaana

Palon pe paanv rakhkar kood jaate the zamaana,

Wo ghar na the gharaane the, chathon ke wo zamaane the

 Subah se sham karte the, dopaharein raat karte the

Chathon se jod kar chath, jab mohalle baat karte the

Chathon mein sootha maanje, udaana guddiyaan penche ladaana

Wo ghar na the gharaane the, chathon ke wo zamaane the

 Chathon se saadiyaan dariyaan uthaa lana,

Badi chath par lagakar parde, chath par raam leela khela karte the

Jinhe hanuman ban na, wo karke tel maalish, subah se chat pe aakar ek sau dadh pela karte the

Anu ki shaadi mein khaala ke golgappe chalte the, baja karti thi dholak aur din bhar tappe chalte the

Chathon se jod kar chath, jab mohalle baat karte the

 Nahaakar geele baalon mein kisi ka chat pe aa jaana, ujhak kar rassiyon par geele kapdon ka sukhana

Hamesha yaad aayega kisi ko dekhkar dadhkan ka badh jaana

Chathon se koodna chat par, chathon se chat pe chad jaana

Palon pe paanv rakhkar kud jaate the zamaana,


Springing from one roof to another, and climbing on one roof from another

By stepping on moments we could leap over the world (below)

Those weren’t merely (roofs over) houses, (they were so connected) they were like families,

there was a world that lived on those roofs

Mornings would become evenings, Afternoons would turn into nights (on those roofs)

When roofs were glued together and when neighborhoods used to chat

Strings would be prepared on terraces, to fly kites and compete with friends

Those weren’t merely houses, they were like families,

there was an entire world that lived on those roofs

Sarees and carpets would be brought to the big terrace from all the other terraces, used for making curtains and setting the stage, for the ram leela play

And then the one who would play hanuman, would oil his body and go to the terrace and score a hundred pushups (to look strong for the part )

 At Anu’s wedding, aunt would set up her snack shop on the roof, and the drums would play as everyone danced to its tune all day

When roofs were glued together and when neighborhoods used to chat

And when she would show up on the terrace after her shower with soaking wet hair, and she would raise her heels as she reached the line wire to hang the clothes for drying

How can one forget how the heart would beat faster at just a glimpse of her on the roof

(How can one forget) Springing from one roof to another, and climbing on one roof from another

By stepping on moments we could leap over the world (below)

The punjabi lyrics and the meaning (very loosely):

Dendi munder gawaayiyaan pal pal di , Galaan kardi chathey beete kal di

The parapet is a witness to the passage of time , The terrace talks about the days gone by

 This translation as is the case many a times does not do justice to the elegance of the words but I tried.

There are so many little things in the video that grab your attention even as  you are drifting away into a reverie, relishing Gulzar Sahab’s words sprinkled with that Punjabi folk song, like the kids watching the baby birds that have just hatched, or neighbors coming together to play cricket on a leisurely afternoon, the shout out for the rising moon at Karvachauth, the ladies of the house sitting together, rolling out dough, kids playing hide and seek, holi celebrations….

I have spent many summer evenings and winter afternoons with friends, neighbors and family on the terrace of the house I grew up in, sometimes working on a homework, or reading a novel,  pointing out distant constellations that seemed to fit into our small palms , discussing who or what we aspired to be, our big dreams,  skipping stones into the pond nearby, enjoying the sunset , the sunrise, shaking the branches of the bordering mango tree  as my sister waited patiently below to collect our prized possessions aka a few half ripe fruits, leaping, jumping, leaning to gather those cotton seeds from the nearby silk cotton tree as they flew past our terrace, feeding the birds and chipmunks, having candle light meals and sleepovers (when there was a power cut) and I can go on and on..

And as I look out of my frosty glass window now, at the frigid snow coated gables spread over houses that seem so close and yet so lonely, I wonder, if they will ever know how roofs and terraces come to life in what seems like a distant memory from another life in some other world that I left behind.

Have you ever lived in a house with a functional terrace? What is your favorite terrace memory / terrace story?

Ek ghadi aur – D-day (Lyrics and Meaning)

I heard this song after a really long time (sung by Rekha Bhardwaj), thanks to the shuffle mode on iPods (does anyone still use iPods?). It is a song from the movie D-day. ( youtube link to the song) – did watch the movie a while back, but I forgot what its all about, but this song, I still remember. 🙂

Ik ghadi aur teher ki jaan baaki hai, tere hothon pe mere hone ka nishaan baaki hai

Stay for a moment longer as there is still some life left in me, the proof of my existence is still on your lips

Shab ke chehre pe chada rang savere ka to kya, dhalte khwaabon mein abhi apna jahaan baaki hai 

The night may have adorned itself with the colors of  dawn (literally morning), but our world still lives on in the sinking (setting) dreams. 

Yun bichad ke tu mujhse na sazaa de khud ko, abhi haathon se tere jurm-o-gunaah baaki hai 

Don’t punish yourself by parting ways with me, there still remain some sins to be committed by you (literally by your hands) 

Khilte phoolon ka fasaana to bas bahana tha, bujhte sholon ki dastaan abhi baaki hai 

The tale of the blooming flowers was just an excuse (to start a conversation), the story of dwindling flames still remains to be told

Aankhein suni hai, meri maang ujadi hai to kya, abhi haathon mein mere rang-e-hina baaki hai 

My eyes may be empty, my hair (literally the parting of my hair) may be ruined, but my hands are still covered with the color of henna 


Do not leave yet, because when you do I might die. I am still alive because you are around. I know its already morning (time for you to leave), but may be there is still some time we can spend reminiscing our night together which now seems like a sinking world of dreams. Do not punish yourself with the burden of separation already, you haven’t committed enough sins to deserve that yet. Our conversation may have started with the stories of blooming flowers (probably sharing happy anecdotes), but I would like to share with you stories about dying flames too (about the difficult times). I may not look as pretty as I did when we met, but if you look closely there may be thing or two that you may find charming enough to stay back a little longer.

In the movie the song plays on the radio as Rudra (Arjun Rampal) is about to bid farewell to Suraiya (Sruthi Hassan), a prostitute. This song celebrates and elaborates the brief moments right before having to bid someone good bye, hoping against hope that,  that someone stays just a little longer. There is an undertone of the sexual relationship that Rudra and Suraiya share as complete strangers trying to bond as lovers, throughout the song,  every line is as beautiful as the other, playing with the complexity of the situation and  the different emotions that accompany farewells and goodbyes.

I enjoyed listening to the song after a long time, I hope you do too 🙂