Zindagi ke safar mein
Song: Zindagi ke safar mein – Aap Ki Kasam’ 1974
Lyrics: Anand Bakshi
Music: R D Burman
Singer: Kishor Kumar
‘Sorry’ is the five-lettered word on which the four-lettered word ‘Love’ thrives!
We are mere mortals; clueless whether we’ll survive the next moment and yet, we roam around like we carry tomorrow in our pockets! There are several instances in life where we can, and should forgive and forget, but we choose to tow along. To such meagre beings, Bakshi sahab offers a piece of precious advice- ‘Zindagi ke safar me guzar jaate hain jo makaam, woh phir nahin aate…’
The introduction music begins… and so does Kamal’s journey of repentance! The strings go an octave lower and another, taking him (and us) into introspection mode! The train moves…gathers speed…and all that he can do is simply watch it change tracks; intersecting and leaving behind junctions…of moments happy and sad…all which now form the past!
The first interlude begins and the guitar takes the train into a tunnel. There’s always light at the end of the tunnel and the one here shows him a long chain of bogies…only to realize that it’s going to be a long way ahead…and he’s flying solo! As the train passes stations, the stoker fuels the engine’s firebox, and thoughts fuel Kamal’s mind…which is now all set to scorch him like the Sun!
‘Phool khilte hain, log milte hain; magar patjhad mein jo phool murjha jaate hain,
wo baharon ke aane se khilte nahin.
Kuch log ek roz jo bichhad jaate hain, wo hazaron ke aane se milte nahin.
Umr bhar chahe koi pukara kare unka naam, woh phir nahin aate…’
We often take our loved ones for granted…and their love as well. They bring fragrance and bounties to our lives but we are hell-bent on making it a desert, and blame it, shamelessly, on destiny. People are aplenty, just like flowers; but when they leave, there’s abundant emptiness. The flowery and chirpy branches turn into horrid structures of eerie silence as Kamal reminisces his beloved Sunita!
The bells in the second interlude ring a bell! He finds himself facing the temple they had visited together, where he had prayed for a daughter and they had later danced with the locals after getting high on ‘bhaang’! The Church Organ and the Indian Flute have been so enchantingly interspersed in this interlude that it is a classic fusion in itself! Kamal seeks shelter from the pouring skies as Kishore da continues to pour agony into the next stanza.
‘Aankh dhokha hai, kya bharosa hai; suno, shaq dosti ka dushman hai,
apne dil mein ise ghar banane na do.
Kal tadapna pade yaad mein jinki; rok lo, roothkar unko jaane na do.
Baad mein pyar ke chahe bhejo hazaron salaam, woh phir nahin aate…’
Relations are to be treasured…carefully, affectionately, lovingly…and respectfully! Mistakes happen, to err is human after all, but rectifying them before they turn into a blunder makes all the difference. And this is precisely where Kamal has faltered! His life is now under the curse of a demon that he let in- the demon of doubt! There comes a time, when one realizes something was priceless, only after paying the ‘price’! He always knew that he was completely incomplete without her, and yet let her go. Efforts are important but it’s the timing that makes them worthwhile or wasteful.
As the song progresses into the third interlude, we see snow-clad mountains and a bench with a brown overcoat covered in snow. The violins go into a beautiful chromatic descend as Kamal emerges from under the coat, battling the sunlight; penance written in bold all over his face! The aggression in that descent suggests that he has reached his self; extremely sorry for his deeds and desperate to seek forgiveness. And then comes in the santoor…joined by the showers of abundance and hope! It’s lush green everywhere as if nature has revived itself! The Taar-shehnai and the Cello play a soul-stirring phrase together as the screen gets filled with flamingos! The search for that one opportunity to say sorry takes him to the road again as Bakshi sahab writes further.
Subah aati hai, raat jaati hai yunhi, waqt chalta hi rehta hai rukta nahin,
ek pal mein ye aage nikal jaata hai.
Aadmi theek se dekh paata nahin aur parde se manzar badal jaata hai.
Ek baar chale jaate hain jo din, raat, subah, sham, woh phir nahin aate.
As Kamal walks, a horse-cart overtakes him. When we succumb to ego, fear, hesitation, inhibition and lag behind, fate overtakes us and everything changes in the flash of a second. Time and tide wait for none. It isn’t just human beings; everything changes. Change is the only constant thing in life! Perhaps that is the reason behind Kishore da’s emphasis on woh, woh phir nahin aate.
Before I lost my father a year ago, I saw him struggle on the ventilator for six long days. I could not make out whether he was battling life or death! In hindsight, I feel there were many things we both wanted to say to each other but we couldn’t even manage a goodbye…indeed a silencing checkmate by destiny! That phase engraved my heart with the ultimate truth of life- live each day as if it were your last!
Zindagi ke safar mein guzar jaate hain jo makaam– Anand Bakshi, R D Burman, Basu Chakravarty, Manohari Singh, Kishor Kumar, and Rajesh Khanna- woh phir nahin aate…