I've been maintaining this blog (for better or for worse) over the last eight years. Over these years, its natural evolution has led it into becoming something of a niche place for discussion of music in general and Qawwali in particular. Rather than trying to return my existing blog to its pre-Qawwali eclectic roots, I decided I’d start anew on Tumblr. So if you’re interested in music, Qawwali and subcontinental culture, keep reading/listening/watching/commenting here. For all of the above and everything else under the sun, head on over to my Tumblr page .

Sunday, April 20, 2008

...Of Men,Old And Old

(This is the second in a series of posts written in a single sitting to make up for lost time.)

-"In my heliotrope pyjamas with the old gold stripe..."

Read that line.Read it again and then tell me if it isn't the finest line you've ever read.Evelyn Waugh compared it to the best passages of Hamlet,Hilaire Belloc called it's writer "The best living writer in the English language".Plum wrote it.P.G. Wodehouse.

I sat down to write tonight after two horrid weeks of examinations.There had been divers things that needed writnhg,but, a) I didn't have time during the exams and b) they were tiny snippets of fleeting thoughts and afternoon-slumber-dreams that didn't warrant a full post.But the one thing they had in common was that they all were,how shall I put it....gentlemen advanced in years.

Old men.

This is a bit complicated.Most of the people I'm going to write about must have been young at some point in their lives (?),but my memory of them developed as old men.Take Plum,for example.Born in 1881,he must have been young till,shall we say 1921 (stretching it to breaking point),and I've got photographs to prove it.But the Plum I remember is ninety one years old.Living peacefully in Remsenberg,NY;working on his ninety-sixth novel.Aah well,that must be what Pavlov meant about conditioning.

What follows is a series of snippets about various men who have been profoundly close to my heart,and still are.Men I've grown up seeing,or discovered after they had passed away.Let me start with the youngest one first.

-Dildar Pervez Bhatti.I hope somebody still remembers him.I had a dream about him five days ago,during what might be termed as a power-nap.Strange,but not very out-of-the-ordinary,considering the fact that he was one of my childhood heroes.I was born a bit too late for his "Takra" days on PTV,(aah what stage shows they had on PTV in those days,sigh),but I was old enough to watch "Panjnad",and what a show that was.

Fronted by Bhatti,always in a blue Shalwar Kameez-dark waistcoat combo or something similar,looking half like a stock mad professor from a Hammer film,with his half bald-half Jewfro hair,this show was the tops.Considering it was considered part of the regional broadcast timeslot,the quality of the program and the guests that were on it were unbelievable.My favorite memory,also the funniest is of the time Munnoo Bhai was on the show.

I'm pretty sure it won't sound half as funny in English,but the exchange went something like this.

Dildar,"Tell me,what does your wife call you at home? Munnoo ??"
M.B,"Nope.She calls me.....dildaar !"

I don't have much to remember Bhatti by.There's a fourteen years old "Women's Own" magazine lying about my village home with Bhatti on the cover.

And then there's my crazy dreams...

......This series will continue intermittently,laziness permitting......

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