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Tito and the spirit of Satsang

Tito and the spirit of satsang.

“You want me to do WHAT?” I asked in a calm voice. Those familiar with that voice, recognize is as the Early Tsunami warning signal. Tito ignored the warning and blithely carried on.
“Why not! After all you claim to be a poet, so I thought, maybe it is more Your cup of tea than mine. I want it by this evening by the way, if you can manage it please.” That ‘Please’ was an after thought I could see.
“There is a difference between writing poetry and writing a Hindi bhajan to the tune of a film song you know! H-how could you even ASK me to do such a thing!” I sputtered. “And anyway, what do you need a bhajan for? If your mom having a satsang, My dad has loads of bhajan cds. Take any one of them. “
Tito looked mulish. His heart was set on a filmy bhajan.
“Ok, so take any bhajan from movies. Like Alla tero naam. That is a good one.
I have the CD right here.” I started to rummage thru my collection.
“ Nooo. That is a boring old bhajan. Everyone has heard it for hundreds of years.
I will look like a beggar singing that. Next, you will ask me to sing that beggar song from Dus Lakh. No way!”
I was a little mortified because that was the next song on my list. I decided to investigate a little. I had not noticed any spiritual leanings in Tito before.

“Tell me a little about it. I am not saying I will help, but call me curious.”

As I had suspected, it involved a girl. Her mom was known to hold a satsang every Friday night. Tito had attended last week and was planning to be there again this week. Realizing it will not be an easy task to dissuade Tito I asked him, what kind of bhajan he was looking for.
“It’s very simple! Do you remember the song from Jab We Met? Yeh ishk Hai, baithe bithaye.” All that might be simple enough, but a bhajan to the tune of Yeh ishk? Mind boggled.
“See, it goes this way, you hum the tune and start adding appropriate words to it. Like- maiyya hamari, sabse nirali, darshan dikha de maa! O rama !!!” Tito crooned the line repeatedly for my benefit.
“See how simple it is? I would have written the whole thing myself but got stuck after the first line, so thought that you, a poet can do it better. Will you? Please?”
“NO I won’t! This is no poetry! I do not know what to call this! Bastardization of poetry perhaps. But not something I would like to do!” I tried to slide out of the whole predicament.
“So what! What is a good song ? Good music and good words. When the good words are devotional, we call it bhajan. It is Your job as a poetess, to give good words. That is how most music Directors work anyway! So... write!. Please write this for me !”
“Oh Well! I will do it just this once. I do not want to see your face next Friday and you better find a girl friend with better taste than this, like Lit circle chicks or someone like them. I will be most happy to write a love sonnet for you.”
I had finally caved in. Tito had won and I was rewarded by a loud WHOOOOPIE! and a bear hug.
Completely ignoring my woebegone expressions, he took his leave,
“ Will come by around 8-ish. Keep it ready. I will need a little time to practice.”
“ Remember- you owe me one!” I shouted to his back.

I sat at my desk feeling mighty sorry for myself. I rued the day I wrote my first poem. Nay- I rued the day I learnt my alphabets! Why did I have to boast about my poems, and all that talk about my writer’s circle! In addition, just see where it had landed me! I strove to forget every word of every poem I had ever read as I kept humming “ Maiyya hamari” to myself, waiting for the spirit to come to me.
It was mortifying to see that this was not a difficult task at all! Within half an hour, my bhajan was ready. I tried humming it and found the words, which fitted perfectly in the tune. With grim satisfaction I messaged Tito” The Deed is done”. He messaged back- “Thankee thankee O bardess.”

Tito turned up around 8-ish as promised. Never before having seen him in a spiritual mode, it took me a few moments to recognize him. I do not remember if I have mentioned it before, but Tito is a good-looking dude and a natty dresser. Today he was his spiritual best. In long kurta and chudidar, he could be modeling for Fabindia.
He walked in, giving me a slow benevolent otherworldly smile. For a second thought I saw a halo around his head. It turned out to be the lamp behind him.
He sat on the sofa and asked me gently, ” Where is it?” In a trance, I walked to my room and got the paper with the lyrics. His mood was rubbing on me. I wondered if he was on some substance. His smile has stared to look eerie by now. He was by this time sitting with his eyes closed, his face serene.

With a slight nod of his head, he took the paper, scanning it started humming the words. The old Tito had emerged again. Sitting up straight, he said-
“WOW! This is GOOD! I never realized just how good a poetess you are! This will knock their socks off!”

Maiyya maine saare jamaane ko thukra diya,
dekho mai chala aayaa!
Chhode maine moh- maya ke bandhan sabhi,
Hai tuney jo bulaayaa

Dekho na dekho mujhe kya mila hai teri chhayaa mein aakar.
Poochho na poocho mujhe kya hua hai tere charnon ko chhookar

Maiyya hamari, sabse nirali darshan dikha de Maa.
O Ramaa

He continued to hum as he put the paper safely in his pocket.

“My advice to you is, that you must start doing this professionally. Forget about the sonnets and stuff. There is a big market for this thing. Every auto and cab will be playing your songs. You will mint money!”
And before I could throw a book at him, he walked off.

Next week I wrote one more bhajan. Tito had become a star of his satsang. The girl and her mom are now his adoring fans. Like a tiger who had tasted blood, Tito kept coming back for more and I kept delivering a new bhajan every Friday evening.

Currently I am working on a little song, which I am sure will become a chartbuster.

Maa tere charan, hum nahin chhodenge...
Chhodenge dum magar teri bhakti naa chhodenge!!


Banno said…
Where the hell did you find Tito? And how did you ever become friends? Chaddi pals?

Your new profession is certainly lucrative. Tito's right, as usual.
manisha lakhe said…
...todenge dum magar, teri bhakti na chhodenge!

took me a minute to figure out what song it was you ended with but now i'm stuck. teri jeet meri jeet, laal phoolon waalan pehnaaooon haar, sun ai meri maa...
suniti said…
Banno, Manisha, Thank you . And as a mark of my appreciation I am adding that line to my story :)
sbjcal said…
Fighting maturity?
As if maturity (of mind) is inevitable (with age)!
Jhumur said…
A cynically interesting take on the age old pursuit of women Suni :).

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