Judging the judgments

Jumping into conclusions is one of the most favourite and most pursued habit of a lot of people. See, here when I make a statement full of judgement, I have already assumed something without even knowing the aforementioned ‘a lot of people’. That’s how easy judging others is.

When I recently got a chance to watch Khidkee, (thanks to Baithak at Kala Studio) a short film by Rohan Kanawade, it raised questions about so many things, but the most important being – judgements.

Khidkee is about two people staying across each other in different buildings. The common factor between then is the Khidkee (Window in Marathi) and what they see through it. Madhu – (Veena Nair), a middle-aged housewife stays at home to take care of her paralytic husband (Abhay Kulkarni). Their son is in the U.K. for higher studies. And across her flat, in the other building is Ashwin (Lalit Prabhakar), a filmkmaker working on his new script.

When Madhu is not taking care of her ailing husband, she looks through the window towards Ashwin’s apartment and can see how mostly how all the visitors are males, on the other hand, Ashwin looks through his window as sees multiple men visiting her and she offering them cash as they leave. Just these two things are enough for both of them to let their assumptions run wild.

In the times of prejudiced attitude towards everybody different from the mainstream, using deep and subtle visuals, the director has conveyed an impactful message and gets you thinking about how often and how easily we judge people knowingly or unknowingly. Madhu keeps talking to her husband in a leery tone about male visitors at Ashwin’s while Ashwin’s friend makes personal remarks on Madhu’s appearance.

We can connect immediately to both of the characters because if we were at their place, probably we would have been thinking in the same way. So, when we talk about judgement, it is always both ways. The one who’s being judged is also judging other people for some reason.

One of the best part about Khidkee is an excellent use of frames through out the movie. And I think those frames say a lot. Every scene has a frame and those perfectly represent our outlook towards people and life. Our upbringing, our social conditioning, our education forms the frames of our minds and those typical frames decide the way we look at the things that we come across.

The film ends at a perfect moment and provokes us to think and pushes our imagination. The movie is not over-the-top preachy, but it definitely makes you pause for a moment and introspect – about people, their lives, and our judgments.

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Basking in agony

1st August, 85th birth anniversary of Meena Kumari – an Indian actress known for her brilliant performances in tragic roles. Nobody has portrayed the tragedy and grief in Indian movies the way she has. She was acclaimed for the depiction of pain and tragedy through her acting and her dialogue delivery. It went to an extent where the sadness was glorified and celebrated and she became famous as the Tragedy Queen. I have seen only two films of hers – Pakeezah, and Sahib, Bibi, aur Ghulam and because I watched those at a very early age, I wasn’t able to understand the gravity of the story or the acting. But when I watch it now, I understand why she is worshiped! Legends say that there wasn’t much disparity between her reel and real – life, she brought her melancholy alive on the silver-screen, that’s it. I am not in the capacity to comment on her acting skills, but now I am sure that true artistes love the sadness, the pain that they experience.

In one of her interviews, Kishori Amonkar was asked about the Rasa (feeling) that is closest to her heart – She said it’s sadness, melancholy; and she explained how the melancholy brings out the utmost form, the deepest meaning of the art from any artist. To create something magnificent and heart-touching, you have to go through the pain and then mold that pain into a piece of art. Well, most of the masterpieces are the results of the pain that the artistes were going through.

What makes most of the artist inclined towards the sadness and the melancholy so much? Why do they think that it is one of supreme emotions that human beings can experience. For them, art is the way to express, their way of giving, artists are givers. And they say that you haven’t truly given until you have given till it hurts. Is that why that particular piece of art becomes a masterpiece?

Life is not about roses and smiles; actually those are just a small part of life. otherwise, it is full of other things which are not positive in a literal sense. But those are things which offer deeper meaning to life. I guess, those experiences shape us better than the happier ones. No matter how wannabe the quote sounds on the Facebook cover page, pain actually makes us stronger, and most of the times, a better person.

Since we are talking about art here, here’s something I was wrong about – sure, those maestros are capable of invoking the emotions in our heart which we might have never felt before, their music, their words, their brush strokes make us alive with the pain. But I guess, just like they can’t make the art without experiencing the pain, we cannot completely absorb their art without experiencing the similar pain. I am talking for myself, this is what I feel. To understand the beauty of melancholy, Maarwa might help you, but the Maarwa will only soak in through your pores when you are experiencing the similar emotions, so much so, that the Maarwa will make you a part of it.

If not for anything else, I want you to experience the melancholy so that you can truly revel in the beauty of Aarti Prabhu’s

“आलो होतो हासत मी काही श्वासांसाठी फक्त
दिवसांचे ओझे आता, रात्र रात्र शोषी रक्त

आता मनाचा दगड घेतो कण्हत उशाला
होते कळ्यांचे निर्माल्य आणि पानांचा पाचोळा”

Or Julie London’s soulful voice and Frank Sinatra’s Ghost of them that clings! At least once, you must endure the painful moments that life throws at you.

Go ahead, embrace the pain!

 

A butterfly that creates a storm in your guts

Some movies hold you by your collar, slap you hard, and hold a mirror in front of you, from which you try to hide your face – La Lengua De Las Mariposas is one of such movies. But before it does all of this, this movie transports you to the beautiful town of Galicia, Spain of 1930s, a shy young boy Moncho who’s hesitant to go to the school because of his fears, and his life amidst the political tension in Spain.

Sometimes, while walking aimlessly at the shore, you find some beautiful shells – same was the case with this movie. I came across this piece of art by José Luis Cuerda while randomly surfing YouTube. I stopped at picture that reminded me of Fandry, an equally amazing 2013 Marathi movie.

Image credits - documentamadrid.com
Image credits – documentamadrid.com

The movie starts with an asthmatic 9 year old Moncho (Manuel Lonzo) anxious about going to the school and the strict teachers; he discusses the same with his elder brother. Next day, his mother takes him to the school and leaves him with an elderly teacher – Don Gregorio. Moncho pees in the class because of fear and runs away to the jungle out of embarrassment, only to be found by his brother and the search party late night. The next day, his teacher comes home to take Moncho to school. Soon, the impression of Don Gregorio as a strict teacher wanes from the mind of Moncho and what follows is a beautiful coming of age story, where I think, Moncho represents the caterpillar. Oh by the way, Mariposa means butterfly in Spanish. The process of the blooming and learning is picturised so beautifully, that not a single scene or a character seems unnecessary. Eventhough the story is about Moncho, there are lot of undertones, there are lot of parallel stories happening in the movie – it talks about the era of Spanish Civil War, conditions at Moncho’s home where his father follows a liberal, republican mindset whereas his mother is a staunch catholic who insists that the family should go to the Church regularly.

In my opinion, what makes this coming of age story special is the way the outside world and the inner thoughts of the character are so well-coordinated. I mean,  the political & social circumstances and the inner battles of the characters are so beautifully depicted that it forms a wholesome, introspective story that grips your mind and asks a lot of questions that might make you speechless.

There are movies in which you can empathize with some characters and totally detest the others, these are the movies where the writer / director themselves set a distinct black and white border and make you watch the movie through their mindset.

You can personally connect with each and every character in this movie- their feelings, their confusions, their opinions, and their way of reacting to things. So when the mother burns the Republican magazines in the stove, you can actually relate to her, rather, you want her to hurry up and save the family.

While watching the life of Don Gregorio, somewhere I was reminded of Pinjara – another classic Marathi movie revolving around the life of a school teacher. The much loved and admired school teacher, his passion to teach his pupils how to think instead of just pushing the syllabus down their throats, his love for the nature of idea of taking classes outdoors – Don Gregorio is an example of what the kids of that age really need. He shows them the river, the ant hill, the flowers, and catches butterflies with Moncho.

The teacher who believes in learning more than education. Image - 3.bp.blogspot
The teacher who believes in learning more than education. Image – 3.bp.blogspot

What wrenches your heart is the end, when the family has to choose a  side between the Republicans and the Nationalists and because of the mother, and their safety, whole family sides with the nationalists and joins the protesters who are present at the court where the Republicans are paraded and publicly shamed and put in the truck –

The expressions of Don Gregorio are splendidly presented by Fernando Fernán Gómez. So much so, that they pierce right into your subconscious and make you uncomfortable.  – Those expressions remind you of the many times you’ve been neutral, the times when you had taken a strong stance, or the times when you had stood up for what you really wanted instead of giving in to the pressure of society, peers, and family.

Moncho’s father bursts into tear while shouting atheo! (Atheist) at Don Gregorio! The climax brutally demonstrates the obligations of taking a side instead of being a fence-sitter, no matter how hard it is. Moncho joins the stone-pelting kids who run behind the truck carrying the captured republicans, but at after a few moments, he halts, and says that he didn’t mean the abuses he hurled at Don Gregorio. The actor has beautifully showcased the helplessness of Moncho that unknowingly makes you cry!

Maaher

It was still raining when someone knocked on the door. I could hear the pitter-patter on the aluminium shades of the windows downstairs. Was it really raining or just the noise of exhaust fan in the kitchen? I thought to myself, while taking off the sheet. I was still half-asleep and confused.​ I could still hear the jangling of utensils – rattle of the milk lid on the burner. Strong smell of the tea that Aai made passed through the wall… She was home after almost 3 weeks. I tried to devour that aroma as much as I can.

For the time she was not here, I used to make tea, but that was just a drink to dip something in, to start off the day. What Aai creates, is an experience – right from pouring the water, to adding heaps of sugar that makes water look like a full-bodied Verdejo, and then adding tea, till the bubbles invoke an aroma that fills up the home. It’s like a refreshing prelude of the tasks she carries out throughout the day.

I was not completely out of my slumber yet. I wrapped the sheet around my waist, and got out of the bed, and opened the window. The room is usually dark, so I had to peep out; oh yes, it was really raining, and dark.

I started to pour the tea in a cup while brushing. I took the cup, and some pohe in a plate. the clinking and tempering sounds continued as I switched on my phone.

The ‘good mornings’ gushed in, on WhatsApp. And when I was checking the stories, I could see a lot of videos and pictures of pre-dawn thunders and lightning bolts. I quickly checked Twitter – #MumbaiRains was already trending. At 7:30 in the morning. I scrolled through. A lot of people had captured and shared the stunning, yet terrifying lightning bolts; it seemed like the half of Mumbai was awake to share these updates, I asked everybody at home if they’d woken up – nobody had. Baba just knew that it was raining heavily.

A little clonk is enough to wake me up when I am sleeping alone, or sleeping at an unfamiliar place. Last night, during this entire clangor, I was dreaming about cocoa – ebony skins and starry thongs all over me on a sunny hillock in the places unknown. Perhaps, my deep-happy-sleep (and the tropical dream) was a result of the fish curry and rice that Aai had made the earlier night. My friend was expecting me to shoot a video and upload it on Instagram, because I’m always the one to show them the bright orange ish moon rise, and the golden haze, or the first rain clouds. Hell, I even get up when it rains in the middle of the night to see how the rain looks like in the street-lights. But no, I didn’t even have a slightest feeling of the uproar that retreating rain had caused. I slept like a log. Or a bear – they generally sleep for 8 hours, matching the solar cycle – just like me!

When I was fully awake later, I realised why I didn’t wake up – I was not alone, I knew that my parents were with me. It sounds absurd, even immature when it comes from a guy who’s in his late twenties – saying that he could sleep well because his parents were home. But honestly, that was true. When they are around, I’m not afraid. Leave the fears, I am not even worried about things – right from trivial chores such as taking out the garbage bag, keeping the refrigerator clean – to taking care of the bills and installments. You know what; I am selfish when they are around. Selfish and carefree; or even careless – to leave all my worries to them and minding just my own business. But they are the only ones with whom I can be this way – I can be a little immature, where I can throw tantrums. To whom I can demand things and most importantly, they are the ones from whom I can expect a few things, without any qualms.
However, these things might paint my picture as a finicky & diffident Indian guy who doesn’t do things unless his parents nod in approval.

In many Marathi abhangs, the poets refer to Pandharpur as Maaher – parents’ home. The place where they go and forget all the woes and let go of the burdens. This term is generally used with reference to married girls in India. Maher, or Baaper Baadi as they call in Bangla – reserves a special place in heart of every woman. Well, it has also been a butt of jokes in Marathi language because of some movies. But what people conveniently forget, is the fact that most of the abhangs that describe Pandharpur as maaher have been penned down by men. They have entrusted their feelings and deepest fears to the God, whom they refer to as their parents; they’ve surrendered to the divine love. Submissiveness is often equated to the feminine virtues, but when these saints did it, their accordance became their prowess, and they evolved to create the works that guide us till date. Many a times, men avoid to admit the warmth of home and armour of parent’s love, under a facade of masculinity.

Things of the past

Dwelling on the past is one of the most loved and easiest activities that humans do. I’m guilty of it too. You’ll find many people like me who feel they’re born in a wrong era, who get lost in the beautiful Indian architecture, vintage cars, jazz from the golden days, retro fashion, pocket-watches, fountain pen, charm of Dean Martin and the heavenly beauty of Madhubala. It’s all fun and games until it starts reflecting in your work. Especially if you’re into media & arts – you develop a special affinity towards certain font and you compare newer ones with your favourite.

The art is dynamic, the media is changing every second. The problem starts when you start dwelling on the glorious past. And it limits your ability to be able to be contemporary / futuristic.

That is one of the reason it’s hard to read / watch something in your mother tongue. For instance, I’m born in a typical Marathi household. So Pu La, Kumar Gandharva, Vasantrao, Lata Mangeshkar, Ranjit Desai, V. Shantaram are common names when it comes to art & literature. You grow up reading, listening, watching their work. But what about the present? How many contemporary Marathi writers, singers I know? Very few. I don’t remember the last Marathi book I read which is not written by oldie goldies. And one of the reason for not being in touch with literature in my mother tongue is because the literature is not in touch with the present.
Well, there are a few exceptions, but very few when compared to English / International literature. Or even if it is, it is clearly failing at marketing & endorsing itself.
Just like people, the literature also basks in the glory of past. That is why YouTube series feel closer to us- they connect to us instantly. They talk about the problems and scenarios we are going through. Most of the Marathi movies / TV shows try to paint an ideal picture with same old story-lines, and people who are stuffed in the boxes of good and bad. It’s exactly like when you’re talking to your parents / other elders in the family and they say something peculiar, and you go – “Oh no please, this is sooo typical. Oh no not again, I’ve heard that story so many times before.” 
Fortunately, I watched Muramba recently – A film by Varun Narvekar starring known faces in Marathi film industry. It’s a lovely film, but what I liked the most that it is about the present – our generation, our struggles, our confusions, and our way of handling things. It’s set in Pune and revolves around Alok and his girlfriend Indu. Both from well-to do family, and educated parents. But the problem starts when they decide to end their 4 year old relationship. If it would have been just another Indian film, the reason would have been opposition from the family / infidelity by one of them and so on.

But in Muramba, the reason was something I could easily connect to – internal confusion and insecurities. Indu is working in an ad agency as a designer. She goes on with her work just like any other 20 something would. And Alok, is still fiddling with his career goals and choices. He’s finding it hard to focus on one thing, and the options are confusing him. Moreover, the rejections and failures is what he’s afraid of. Looking around at his friends going on so easily with their personal and professional lives frustrates him more. I can totally imagine how that feels because I’ve been at home for some time after I left my first job. and yes, it is indeed depressing. The way this process is portrayed in the film is something worth watching. For the dialogues, for the cinematography, and the music. Everything is just a right amount of fresh yet sensitive. Not just glamorous outfits and sets, The way parents try to comprehend the whole process and try to figure a way out is really cute. When Alok is going through all this, his parents understand his problem and his dad finds a way to communicate. He peps him up which can be summarised as – ‘Not failure; but low aim is crime’.

So well, I am happy that Marathi movies are speaking our tongue and getting out of the same old.

Raising a toast to the best new-gen couple I know

Every day, there’s at least one conversation in my chat box, a post on social media, or in random discussions that talks about how relationships are hard these days. About how people don’t have time to dedicate to each other, and a little whining that how they want the old-school romantic relationships back. There is not even 1% exaggeration above.

Shraddha Aniket PRe-wedding shoot

Whenever there’s a discussion about love, commitment, relationships, and the way new generation deals with them, one of the very few couples that come to my mind is Aniket & Shraddha.

Plato, a Greek philosopher had said that according to Greek mythology, humans were originally created with four arms, four legs and a head with two faces. Fearing their power, Zeus split them into two separate parts, condemning them to spend their lives in search of their other halves.

If you want to know the people who have actually found their other halves, meet Shraddha & Aniket!

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

Some friends are almost like your family and this couple is one of them. I met Aniket in my first year of degree college and while everybody was discussing their crushes and affairs (Well, because teenage, and because what else do you talk about!?) Aniket was the only one who said – I have a girlfriend! Later he introduced us to her – Shraddha. Turns out Shraddha stays very close to my home, and after a few years of our introduction there came a point when I used to be more in touch with Shraddha rather than Aniket.

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

They say that the God plans the best for the people he loves. That perfectly fits for Aniket & Shraddha. They were in same college, live in the same town, have a common group of best friends, and same taste in many things. However, it is not just about the ideal conditions that they had for their relationship.

What I like the most about them is the fact that they complement (and compliment) each other. They have grown up together, as teenagers with a puppy-love to responsible adults who know that a fruitful relationship needs efforts from both the sides. They didn’t fall in love, they have risen in each other’s love. They complete each other, so much so, that whenever I meet either one of them, I feel like I’m missing something.

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

I am all for PDA, but many couples fail to understand their limits and nauseate people around them. Aniket & Shraddha know where they are and how to maintain the decorum, so even before they’re married, they are like this Adarsh couple that all the elders in the family love. Though because of this, it was very hard to click their pictures. I call them Vanilla couple! 😛

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

Even though they are this cool couple, there are a few old-school rules they follow that I am fan of – Never wash your dirty linen in public. A lesson that is taught to everyone, yet seldom followed. Aniket and Shraddha are very particular about it. In spite of being close to them, I’ve seen them fight only once. They know the meaning of never go to bed angry, the thing I’ve seen in my Aai-baba, and many couples from their generation!

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

I like them for the way they care for each other, the way they make each other happy, the way they plan little surprises for each other, they way they complete each other.

True love makes you do crazy things, which you wouldn’t even imagine doing in your wildest dreams otherwise.

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shootI remember this incident when we’d been to Khed together – We went for swimming in a river nearby and water was running in full force, the rocks in the riverbed were slippery and though it was not deep, walking without footwear was risky. While coming back, Aniket’s shoe got stuck in middle of the rocks and there was no way to see those because of the strong current. Aniket’s dad tried, but he couldn’t find it. Suddenly, Shraddha put her hand inside the rocky crevices and somehow managed to pull out the shoe – A girl who’s scared of even the pictures or thoughts of cockroaches, put her hand in the riverbed to pull out his shoe. God knows what lies inside – fishes, crabs, worms, and even snakes!

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

I remember another moment when we’d been to Hyderabad for our college IV. We were out for site-seeing. Aniket was trying to call Shraddha but couldn’t get through because of the network issues. He was restless. I said – “It’s okay, call her tomorrow!” He said – “I can’t. I’m so used to talking to her on phone everyday, it has become part of my routine now. I need to talk!” Fortunately, it got through and he spoke to Shraddha! And that was not just during the college, it is still the same! ^_^

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

They are the best couple I’ve seen in my generation. They’ve been together so long that I feel this wedding is just a ritual for them; they’re a couple long before that, and more importantly – Soulmates of the real kind!

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

One fine day last year, they called me and Mayur to a coffee shop and announced the news. We were happy, but also felt that it’s too early. Mayur suggested that they should get married in 2018. But they had already told their parents and they were okay too.
While Shraddha and I had been for a walk one day after work, I asked her – “I hope you guys are not getting married because your parents want you to.” She said – “No, no! Now we actually want to get married, we don’t want to meet and then say bye anymore, we want to go home together, live together!”

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

I’m sure their married life will also be as amazing as their dating life, they will lead the path of their life together. Even if rocky and hard, they’ll make it a cakewalk.

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

My best wishes & love is always with them. I know they’ll make this journey beautiful and full of memorable moments that they can cherish for their lifetime.

Shraddha Aniket Pre-wedding shoot

Kishoribai – taking mere mortals closer to the divine

“बाई नाही रे, ताई, ताई. किशोरीताई म्हणतात त्यांना!” माझे मित्र लगेच बोलायचे. पण मी पहिल्यांदा ऐकलं तेव्हा किशोरीबाई असं सांगितलं आणि तेच डोक्यात फिट बसलंय.
रात्री मित्राचा मेसेज आला – अरे ताई गेल्या रे! मी हातरूणात होतो, सुन्न झालो, फोन बंद केला, डोळे मिटून झोपायचा प्रयत्न केला तर त्यांचाच चेहरा येई समोर. आणि मग सगळ्या आठवणी जाग्या झाल्या.
लहानपणी शाळेत जायची तयारी करत असताना रेडियोवर गाणी लागलेली असायची. नेहमीच्या भावगीत, भक्तिगीतांमध्ये एकदा ‘जाईन विचारीत रानफुला’ ऐकलं. लता, आशा, सुमन कल्याणपूर ह्या नेहमीच्या आवाजांमधला तो आवाज नक्कीच नव्हता. आईला विचारलं, तिला नव्हतं माहित. “किशोरी, मोगूबाईंची मुलगी.” कोणीतरी सांगितलं.
मी जास्त विचारलं नाही पुढे.
रात्रीच्या वेळेस रेडियोवर शास्त्रीय संगीत लावायचे, तेव्हा एकदा केदार चालू होता. “किशोरीचा आवाज ना?” मी विचारलं.
“किशोरी?!? शाळेत आहे का ती तुझ्या? किशोरीबाई म्हण; साधं काम नाही ते, येता जाता नाव घेण्याइतकं”
नंतर जसं इंटरनेट वापरायला लागलो तेव्हा जास्त गाणं ऐकू लागलो त्यांचं. लहानशा गावात असून सुद्धा माझ्या सुदैवानी मला लहानपणापासून चांगलं संगीत ऐकायला मिळालं; पण किशोरीबाईंचं  गाणं हे मी ऐकलेल्यापेक्षा खूपच, खूपच वेगळं  होतं. मला अजूनही शास्त्रीय संगीत कळत नाही, घरात भजनाची परंपरा असूनही मी कधी शिकलो नाही गाणं, पण किशोरीबाईंचं  गाणं ऐकताना नेहमी वाटतं, निदान गाणं ऐकायला शिकलो तर आत्ता जे अनुभवतो त्यांचं गाणं ऐकताना, त्यापेक्षा भरपूर काहीतरी मिळेल. पूर्वी कधीही थोडं low वाटलं कि मी समुद्रावर जाऊन बसायचो, सोबतीला फोनमधली गाणी. त्या प्लेलिस्ट मधलं  एक फिक्स गाणं म्हणजे – जाणे मी अजर – ज्ञानोबांची ओवी आणि किशोरीबाईंचा आवाज. उत्कट, भव्य, दैवी.
त्यांचा गाण्यातले शास्त्रीय बारकावे, technicalities वैगेरे हे सगळं संगीतातली तज्ज्ञमंडळी सांगतच असतात. पण देवत्व, दैवी, divine, heavenly ह्या शब्दांचा नेमका अर्थ काय तो किशोरीबाईंचं गाणं ऐकताना कळतो. मी त्यांची शेवटची मैफिल मकरसंक्रांतीच्या दिवशी IES च्या ऑडिटोरियम मध्ये ऐकली, संध्याकाळची मैफिल… त्यांनी झिंजोटी गायला सुरुवात केली. माईक, लाईट्स वैगरे सगळं अड्जस्ट होऊन, त्यांना नेमका सूर सापडेपर्यंत थोडा वेळ गेला. पण जेव्हा सुरु झालं, तेव्हा तो एक प्रवास होता, शंकराच्या देवळापर्यंत. हे शिव गंगाधर’ हि बंदिश गायली त्यांनी. जसं त्या गात होत्या तसं शंकराचं विराट, पण शांत आणि योगी स्वरूप समोर साकार होत गेलं. sure, मला शास्त्रीय संगीत नाही कळत, पण हे जे अनुभवांचं सोनं मिळतं किशोरीबाईचं  गाणं ऐकून, त्यासाठी मी ऐकतो.

शास्त्रीय संगीत म्हणजे कठोर तपस्या, प्रचंड अभ्यास, कडक शिस्त हे मी ऐकलं आणि अनुभवलं होतं. बऱ्याच मोठ्या गायकांनी शास्त्रीय संगीताला जवळ जवळ कर्मकांडाचं  रूप दिलेलं. मला त्याबद्दल आदर नक्कीच होता, पण आपुलकी वाटली ती किशोरीबाईंमुळे. त्यांनी शास्त्राचा अभ्यास भरपूर केला, पण शास्त्रीय संगीत हे मुळात भावसंगीत आहे, आणि जर तो भाव जागा होत नसेल तर ते फक्त एक शास्त्र झालं असं  त्यांचं म्हणणं होतं.
भिन्न षड्ज ह्या डॉक्युमेंट्री मध्ये त्या म्हणाल्या होत्या – आपण जे करतो ते देवासाठी, ही समर्पणाची भावना ठेवून करायचं. त्यामुळे त्या गाताना एक तपस्या म्हणूनच गायच्या. पण जेव्हा त्या गायच्या, समोर बसलेल्या प्रत्येकाला असं वाटत असावं कि ह्या आपल्यासाठीच गातायत, निदान मला तरी असं वाटायचं. गाताना एखादी तान  किंवा सूर व्यवस्थित नाही वाटलं कि टिपिकल कोकणी स्वरात- छे! असं  म्हणून पुन्हा एकदा तीच तान परत घ्यायच्या.  mediocrity ला जागाच नाही कुठे, right from the amount of lights in the auditorium to the seating arrangement for the audience. She looked at it that everything is perfect. लाईट जरा जास्त झाल्या कि म्हणायच्या – “अरे दिवे कमी करा रे, इकडे तुम्ही गाणं ऐकायला आलायत, बघण्यासारखं काही नाही!”

Her music had a strange power, she was like a mentalist who could reach to the deepest corners of your mind and heart and the simplest of her notes would hypnotize you, creating an ever-lasting memory.

त्यांनी रागातला भाव कधीच कमी केला नाही, कितीही कठीण राग किंवा बंदिश असो. त्यामुळे मारवा ऐकताना नेहमी डोळे पाणावतात, शिवस्तुती ऐकताना गावातल्या शंकराच्या देवळातल्या काळोख्या, थंड जमिनीवर मंद दिव्याच्या प्रकाशात बसलोय असंच वाटतं, भूप ऐकताना शंभर समयांचा सुंदर झगझगाट होतो, मल्हार ऐकताना मुसळधार पाऊस पडल्याचा अनुभव येतो, आणि अभंग आणि भजन ऐकताना साक्षात पांडुरंग समोर उभा राहतो. कधी पंढरीच्या वारीची अनुभूती घ्यायची असेल तर त्यांनी गायलेला गजर ऐका – ज्ञानोबा माउली तुकाराम. फक्त तीन शब्द, पण त्यांच्या सुरांच्या जादूमुळे दिंडी, रिंगण, चंद्रभागेच्या वाळवंटातल्या दिंड्या पताका आणि नाचणारे वैष्णव, सगळं समोर दिसतं.
बागा बीच वर पहाटे ३.३० – ४.०० ला मी त्यांची भैरवी ऐकत चालत होतो, समुद्राचा आवाज, चांदण्यांनी भरलेलं आकाश आणि हे गाणं, हा अनुभव शब्दात सांगून नाही कळणार. तांबडी सुरल्याच्या महादेवाच्या मंदिरात बसून बहादुरी तोडी ऐकलेला – पार्वतीपती महादेव. खेडला मुसळधार पावसात चालताना अडाणा मल्हार ऐकलेला – आयी बदरिया कारि कारि. आजूबाजूला जोरदार सरी आणि हेडफोनमध्ये ह्या स्वर्गीय स्वरांच्या सरी. घरच्या पडवीत बसून ना. धों. महानोरांच्या कवितांसोबतच किशोरीबाईंचा गौड मल्हार ऐकलेला. त्यांनी मला काय दिलं, तर हे सगळे सोनेरी अनुभव जे शेवटपर्यंत माझ्या सोबत राहतील.
काहीजण विचारतात मला, अरे तुला कळत नाही शास्त्रीय संगीत मग कशाला उगाच जातोस ऐकायला? सौंदर्य, भव्यता, उत्कटता, परफेक्शन म्हणजे काय,चांगलं गाणं म्हणजे काय, डेडिकेशन, कमिटमेंट, तपस्या, अभ्यास म्हणजे काय, हे मला किशोरीबाईंच्या गाण्यातून कळतं. म्हणून ऐकतो. त्यांचं  संगीत काही क्षणांसाठी मिळतं, पण तो जो अनुभव असतो, तो आयुष्य उजळवून टाकणारा असतो, म्हणून मी ऐकतो. त्या गेल्या नाहीत. सगळ्या सुरात त्या भरून राहणार, त्यांचे सूर राहणार. माझ्यासारख्या साध्या माणसांना देवत्वाची अनुभूती देत.
Taking us mere mortals one step closer to the divine.