Guzar na jaaye yeh khwaab sa safar...

Often I indulge in questioning my existence. This isn’t a Descartes-like moment, this isn’t an Enlightenment moment, but a retrospective look at how life has transpired and a quest to unearth whatever and whoever conspired so that I end up at this point in life where I stand today, writing this piece.

I have no shame or shyness in accepting that I’m someone who yearned for love, found it in many ways in 32 years of my existence and list pretty much all of those forms, to an extent even the parental love that was once abundant in life.

I have no shame or shyness in accepting that I’m someone who prefer watching a good romantic drama over Bollywood masala action. The song and dance movies, especially of the 90s, the ones I grew up watching at the turn of the millennium and with the access to cable TV, have come to affect my view of the world in a big way. Not to say other movies haven’t. Some of the 80s parallel cinema, a handful of Hollywood movies and even cinema from other parts of the world have had a major impact on me. Whether my values are cinematic, liberal, utopian, traditional – I haven’t caree much.

Tere is jahaan mein aye khuda, woh nahi to lagta hai kuch nahi..
Nahi hoke bhi hai woh har jagah, karoon kyon yakeen ke woh ab nahi..

Deriving from the movies, learning from them as well as life experiences, I have come to build my own value system that may not be different from that of many others. I believe in integrity, love, compassion, equality and even secularism for that matter. 21st century and some of my own previous selves have shook these values at their foundations, injecting this kind of self-inteospection into my thoughts. Most of these values don’t exist anymore the way they did a decade ago. Secularism is mocked and considered a failed project. The yearning for love, the hard work in building, repairing and rebuilding relationships, the quest to grow together as people, as friends seem to be disappearing as I have already decayed into my half life. I cannot blame the world for changing things around me, it’s not the new values, it’s not modernity or the value systems that have come to replace the ones I believe in that are to be blamed. I may have to blame my own value system. The ones that were built on day-dreaming watching movies, built on finding hope that the movies provided about life, success, modesty and the eventual triumph of love against all odds. Heck! Hindi film music of 70s, 80s, 90s and early 2000s were the bridges between two of my ex-girlfriends and me. Much of our romances were acted out by singing these songs, by listening to them together, by talking about them. I’d even sing them in their absence.

Pyar dharti par farishton se, kiya nahi jaata,
Khoobsoorat hai woh itna, saha nahi jaata

Urdu influenced poetry, lost love, yearning.. There’s something beautiful that links these. There are few languages probably that can express these feelings other than Urdu – the prominent language withing the songs of ‘those times’. ‘These times’ in which English and even Punjabi has taken over the mainstream Hindi film songs, romance is no longer the same. The yearning is gone, the moment is in. The heart is gone, the ass is in. The pain is not relished but feared. Relationships are not repaired, certainly not rebuilt, they’re left behind for new ones. Not that there’s anything morally wrong about it.

And that’s what I wonder about. Are they screwed up or am I screwed up? Often it feels like Karan Johar, Aditya Chopra and many of their contemporaries including David Dhawan screwed up a whole generation. The generation which believed in the world that the movies and music from the last decade of the 20th century and the first decade of the 21st century put across, a life which we envisioned for ourselves but remains elusive.

There’s half life left, but there isn’t the energy or zeal to learn the new ways. For these mediums have fucked us up to an exent that the likes of me are stuck in limbo, in a space where we can hurt ourselves to unimaginable extents listening to the same set of songs over and again, yet we only relish the resulting pain. The pleasure, after all, lies in that pain. It’s in the longing, it’s in that which is absent. The absent girl, the missing guy, the long lost love.

Maine dil se kaha, dhoondh laana khushi.. Nasamajh laaya gham to yeh gham hi sahi...