Part-2: The Japanese sense of Aesthetics

japan mono no awareThe Japanese sense of aesthetics is a fine combination of the awareness about the impermanence of things on one hand and appreciation of the inherent beauty of the moment on the other hand. The emphasis on the element of transience or the changing nature of things in Japanese culture and art comes from not only the influence of Budhism, but also from the furies of nature that devastates various regions of Japan from time to time in the form of earthquakes.

However, one must take delight in ‘beauty’ in spite of its impermanence. In fact it is the impermanence that should provide the urgency to appreciate life. The Cherry Blossoms, which is one of the greatest fascinations for the Japanese, flower just about a week in a year. They have a term to describe such delight which has an underlying tinge of sadness about its passing – Mono no aware.

Master chefs take great care to decorate food and to some extent take care in the choice of cutlery. But would they take care of the aesthetics when it comes to sending packed lunch? Well the Japansese do, whether it is food from a hotel or home cooked food. They take care not only of the art of the lunch box but also of the colour and arrangement of the food items inside the box called a Bento Box. There are also various types of traditional and modern styles of arrangement of food inside the box, one popular style being called kyaraben which is the arrangement of food in such  manner as to look like cartoon characters.

If great care is taken to bring in aesthetics into the art of taking food that includes the elaborate tea ceremonies, the complementary part of eating is not neglected. The traditional Japanese toilet is located away from the main building in a grove fragrant with leaves and moss to be in close proximity with nature. Unlike the modern toilets, the interiors of those toilets are not made glossy.

The traditional Japanese toilet is one example of Sabi which is associated with something that has aged and rusty. Things that have aged well and are rusty, desolate, and  tranquil have a beauty of their own. The following poem brings in its spirit the best:

Solitary now —
Standing amidst the blossoms
Is a cypress tree.

If there is beauty in grandeur, there is beauty in simplicity. If one can find beauty in presence, one may find beauty in absence as well. Wabi is exactly about that- finding beauty in absence and austerity. Sometimes a house would be built in such a manner that the walls will not have anything to hinder the appreciation of passing shadow of beams following the movement of sun rays.

Japanese writer Tanizaki captures the essence of Wabi when he describes the beauty of a traditional tea house in his essay, ‘In Praise of Shadows’ :

An empty space is marked off with plain wood and plain walls, so that the light drawn into it forms dim shadows within emptiness. There is nothing more. And yet, when we gaze into the darkness that gathers behind the crossbeam, around the flower vase, beneath the shelves, though we know perfectly well it is mere shadow, we are overcome with the feeling that in this small corner of the atmosphere there reigns complete and utter silence; that here in the darkness immutable tranquility holds sway.

(The second and last installment of free promotion of my book IDLE HOURS will be from 12 to 13 Dec 17. Please download it if you haven’t already done so. I will be glad if you could put your reviews on my Amazon and Goodreads pages.)

The Japanese Sense of Aesthetics

The word Haiku reminds me of millions of awful micro poetic compositions that pass for as haikus in the blogosphere. The other day I came across a couple of such alleged haikus. I don’t remember the wordings but one was about the miserable office wage and another was about the boss who was an asshole.

Come on dear aspiring poet. Any micro poem is not a haiku even if it fulfills the condition of being of seventeen syllables.  According to the Wikipedia page about English Haiku, the first element of a haiku is –  ‘A focus on some aspect of nature or the seasons’. Maybe, our aspiring poet, being a Chetan Bhagat and Ekta Kapoor devotee, interpreted ‘nature’ as human nature and ‘season’ as a series of episodes in the office soap opera.

In addition to being of seventeen syllables and focusing on some aspects of nature or season, the haikus of prominent Japanese poets like Basho evoke the sublime in you due to their meditative, contemplative, and philosophical allusions even though they may describe very ordinary events. Here are a few of my favourite  haikus (translated from the original Japanese)

Since my house
burned down, I now own
a better view
of the rising moon

Enviable leaves
becoming so beautiful
just before falling

Scarecrows are the first 
heroes to fall
in the rush
of the Autumn wind

What a pretty kite
the beggar's children 
fly high
above their hovel

He is unknown 
the poet who sings 
the greatest 
of all songs -- spring

Haiku and spring remind me of the Cherry Blossoms that flower in their fullness in Spring and are inspiration for a million haikus so much so that the word flower has become synonymous with Cherry Blossom for the Japanese.

The other day I was watching a program on NHK (the official TV channnel of Japan) about Cherry Blossoms. Its flowering during the spring season is the most celebrated national event in Japan.  No other country celebrates a natural phenomenon with such religious fervour.

I am yet to visit Japan. But my love affair with the country goes back to childhood days when Radio Japan was one of the  staple diets (along with Binaca Geetmala)  to ward off boredom during those long summer vacations.  Of course, I don’t remember any of the contents now, but I do vaguely remember the feel good effect.

Among Asian nations, Japan is not only the most innovative country as far as technology is concerned, it is also a nation with the most developed sense of aesthetics. I will cover more of my aesthetic impressions about Japan in my coming posts.

Meanwhile, you may think of spending the idle hours of your weekend with my book which is available for free download till 3rd December.

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Let’s hear it folks- in pristine form.

I am no expert in any kind of music. I don’t need to be . A connoisseur of food need know the details of the recipe.

Classical music and folk music are both  ancient in origin and have been carried forward by a tradition of pass over to the next generation, sometimes through family ties and sometime through Guru-Shishya Parampara.  I feel the main difference between classical and folk tradition is that while classical music is highly refined, folk music is music in its raw, virgin form.

Classical music has been adopted by maestros of music and patronized by people of high society. Whereas, folk music is a cry from the heart of people who lived very close to nature. There is a simplicity and spontaneity in folk music that can be highly  seductive.

Every mainstream language has many dialects. While classical ragas could take lyrics from main stream languages as well as dialects, folk songs are usually in dialects.

Even though I do not understand the dialects, my heart finds instant connection with the Rajasthani Folk music. Rajasthan is a treasure house of folk music. It is amazing to see people living in harsh conditions producing such sweet melodies. The other day,  when I came across this BBC documentary titled – The Lost Music of Rajasthan -on youtube, I could not but watch it without any break.

The above BBC documentary highlights the efforts taken by a few individuals to preserve folk music, not a museum piece but in its living natural surroundings. While the protagonists of the above documentary are apprehensive about the survival of the folk music, some lament that the purity of the folk tradition is getting compromised by the use of modern instruments and the influence of film and television.

With changes in the social structure, economic conditions and influence of other cultures certain level of changes are bound to happen. I only hope, the changes are for the better, without uprooting the traditions altogether.

Be it in any langauge, folk music can touch a chord in the heart instantly. India, being home to thousands of tribes and dialects, every state has a number of folk music traditions.

About four decades back, the song Rangabati –  a folk song in the western Odisha dialect Sambalpuri became popular not only in Odisha but also all over India. Imagine a song going viral all over India, long before the advent of internet ! Rangabati  continues to fascinate. The song continues to be a favourite. Some have tried to give it a modern make over in MTV Coke Studio,  to disastrous consequences.

(Poor video quality, but the song is original)

The above one is sung by  Sona Mahapatra, in her trained methodical style and voice and in accompaniment to  modern instruments.   When you listen to both the songs,  you can feel how folk songs get murdered when you try to refine it, or maybe, try to sing without feeling it. No doubt, the attempt by Sona Mahapatra created a lot of controversy. Sona Mahapatra has song many Bollywood chart busters. I like many of her songs. But sorry, Sona. I find your Rangabati attempt repelling.

You may also read : The Bouls of Bengal

Times Literature Festival Bangalore 2017

Attending a Literature Festival is a  beautiful way of spending an enlightening weekend.

Ideas float around, the air is filled with literary vibrations and the ambiance is charged with star presence.  The fever catches onto to you. The temperature soars to climax to a  rocking frenzy like it happened this time when the local rock God Raghu Dixit performed with his band to mark the culmination of the festival.

Indian BloggersBefore that,  there was this ‘Khullam Khulla’ session with Rishi Kapoor. Of course he had come to promote his book. During the panel discussion he was at his candid best talking about the advantages and disadvantages carrying the baggage of the Kapoor legacy and his real and reel life. Being a Kapoor son gave him the break. At the same time, he worked hard to make his mark as  a romantic hero in the era of the angry young men.

He is also well known for his unique and spontaneous style of acting.  The audience, comprising of young and old got its ‘tare zamin par‘ moment as they  crowded the venue to have a glimpse and listen to him.

I would have liked to be there from start to finish on both the days to soak in the ethereal world of ideas and stars. But, then there are worldly duties. So, I could attend only part of the sessions on both the days- 11th and 12th Feb.

Even if you attend the festival from start to finish you cannot be part of all the happenings as events took place simultaneously at three venues. Sometime, when two of your favorite programs clash, or just for the sake of curiosity, you have to shuttle between venues half way through a session.

Let us check up what is happening at those other venues.”

In India, in terms of literacy men may outnumber women, but when it comes to matters literary it is the other way round. At least literature festivals makes one think so. And it makes women qualitatively better than men. (Even in an earlier literature festival while a congregation of women writers were discussing various issues, a bunch of girls in the audience were heard making a loud statement all of the men are idiots)

It was nice to see authors and stakeholders from diverse fields like fashion, sports, food, cinema, music, technology etc. congregate and share their points of view, sometimes to ignite the dormant passion in us or sometimes to see things from a different angle. While, the dismal state of sport administration in India was highlighted in one session, in another, concern was expressed about Coorg tribe the Coorg cuisine facing the danger of extinction, maybe in not so distant a future.

Here are some of the photos of the event. For more titbits of the event visit the facebook page or twitter handle of the Times Literature Festival, Bangalore.

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William Dalrymple talking about his new book ‘Kohinoor’
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Talking of cuisine and culture: Ranveer Brar, Anoothi Vishal, Shazia Khan and Mithun
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The audience under the Peepal Tree getting enthralled with Ila Arun (below)

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Rishi Kapoor introducing his autobiography – ‘Khullam Khulla’ to Bangalore readers
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My wife manages to get her copy autographed by the author
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The hands that can rock the cradle can rock the stage too – may be better

Bangalore Literature Festival 5.0

Right at the moment of start I was stuck by the usual fear:  “Will I get a place for parking? Even if I get it how far will it be from the venue?”.  Added to this fear was the feeling of loss as we missed a couple of interesting sessions caused due to poor judgement of Saturday Bangalore traffic. So, it was a pleasant surprise when the hotel staff offered valet parking even though neither was I going to stay in their hotel, nor was I going to eat anything dished out by their chefs.

But for some pressing personal engagements,  I would have liked to attend all the sessions of the Bangalore Literature festival held at Hotel Royal Orchid on 17 and 18 December. Then of course the events took place simultaneously at three venues. If you sat through one, you missed two others. Or, you had the option to be a casual bystander at each of the venues hopping from one to the other. It is like you have a number of  marriage functions to attend on the same day and you cannot afford to miss any of them.

Indian BloggersIn this post I am not going to give a journalistic narration of what happened. I will give some glimpses into the events, some titbits and my ruminations spurred by the discussions that happened among the panelists.

It was for the consecutive second time that the BLF was conducted at this hotel on Old Airport Road. I wanted to suggest the organisers to shift the venue every year, preferably to a venue in North of Bangalore (where I stay :D) so that it would be convenient for those who were coming from outside via Bangalore Intentional Airport. In fact a similar suggestion came up during the discussion on ‘Askew- A short Biography of Bangalore’,  where in one of the panelists suggested that an event like this could be held at a heritage site to create awareness about the golden Heritage of Bangalore.

There was this session with the representatives from the famous publishing houses. In a literature festival it could be expected with a fair degree of confidence that a large chunk of audience would consist of wannabe writers. It was heartening to note a few of them petitioning, cajoling, praying to the high priests and priestesses of publishing industry to consider publishing their books which they have already published through self publishing route.

Somewhere I had read that if you are a first time writer, you have to write better than the established authors to make any impression on the publishers. Moreover, if you read the guidelines of the publishing houses they make it clear that if Salman Khan writes junk, they would prefer it over your brilliant book that may turn out to be a turning point in the history of literature. Of course it is understandable. The roti, kapda and makan needs of he owners and the employees of the publishing house depends upon the ‘sale-ability’ of the books.

Sometimes I wonder what do the publishers learn from the history of some of the books that made history,  yet were rejected for publication umpteen number of times. Take this extreme example of the comic novel called, “The Confederecy of the Dunces”. Now the book is among the all time top ten comic novels. But the author was so much depressed by the consistent rejection of the book that he committed suicide. A decade after his death the book was published due to the initiative of his mother and the interest taken by another publisher.  It won the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction in 1981.

God must have said to the common man long long ago, “Come ye to me, but only thorough a priest”. Following this dictum one of the panelists suggested that new authors should go to literary agents in stead of coming to them directly to better their chances of getting noticed. I wonder why the publishers cannot have some policy and a dedicated section for new authors in their own set up. Of course, even in this route things are not easy. JK Rowling got a simple rejection letter from the first literary agent that she sent the book. The next one sent it to twelve different publishers, before it was selected. The rest is history.

At another venue, there was a melee around and a long queue. Wondered what might it be? After a little tussle with the crowd, discovered that the queue was to get the books autographed by the author  Shashi Tharoor, whom I spotted on Day 2 as well. This time he was on the first row of the audience along with his relative to cheer his son Kanishk Tharoor. Kanishk read out a few paragraphs from his book – Swimmer Among the Stars. Found the paragraphs quite humorous.

Next to Sex in the taboo index in India are discussion of topics concerning Hinduism and Evangelism. It was heartening to note the open  and non-hostile discussion on these topics involving both the panelists and the audience. For the entire session I was engrossed in the discussion on the ‘Clash of Civilisation’ between Mohandas Pai and Rajiv Malhotra. Since the media houses in India are sold out to various vested interests for various reasons, Rajiv Malhotra suggested that we should more and more depend upon the social media to counter misinformation and the bias of the mainstream media. Here again the problem is that most of the social media organisations are controlled by the west. Hence he suggested that Bangalore being the hub of IT activity the Bangaloreans should take the lead in developing desi social media apps in line with China who have their own version of Facebook and other social media apps.

It was equally heartening to see the enthusiasm of people to buy books (in hard copies) at the venue even in this age of Kindle, Amazon and Flipkart.  The queue to pay for the selected books was as long as the one to get the books autographed by the authors present.

And this gentlemen who shifted from venue to venue reminded me of the jesting Pillate who would ask what is truth and would not wait for an answer. This gentleman in question would be missing through out the duration of the discussion and appear from nowhere towards the end of the session holding a mike to ask a question. Actually he did not have a question to ask.  Nevertheless, the compassionate panelists  would somehow guess what he wanted to ask and answer it. And how he managed to appear holding the mike to ask questions consistently events after events and venue after venue was a miracle, because, there would be more than thirty candidates vying for the honour of asking one of those those three to four questions permitted towards the end of each session.

Did not have time to hang on to the last event to listen to Piyush Mishra. However, we had enough time to attend the first half of the the penultimate session when Shatrughna Sinha regaled the audience with his inimitable style and humour.

It was anything but, Khamosh.

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Premila Paul in conversation with Aishwarya Rajnikanth Dhanush
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What’s cooking? The future of Indian Food – Antonie Lewis, Sanjeev Kapoor, Manu Chandra with Surewsh Hinduja
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The Art of Heart : Vasudev Murthy in conversation with Sabah Currim, Kanchana Banerjee, Nandita Bose, Kiran Manral
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Finding answers to a question or the other way round?
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Guru Charan Das
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G Sampath with Kanishk Tharoor
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Listen Papa – Mr Sashi Tharoor and his relatives in rapt attention to Kanishk
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India-Reclaiming our Civilisation’s Heritage: T V Mohandas Pai and Rajiv Malhotra

The Bhajiwalli’s Husband

wowbadge

Someone pressed the calling bell- ting, tong.

 “Who might it be?”, asked my guest.

 It was a kind of automated response and he seemed to have forgotten the question the  moment after he asked it as he turned his gaze towards the wall painting. May be my taciturn guest  had nothing better to speak at that moment.

 “It must be the bhajiwali’s husband”, I said gleefully.

Bhajiwali’s husband?”

My guest seemed to be really interested in the visitor now.

“No body knows  his name. There is no need to. He is just a side kick at the Bhajiwali’s shop. But he is a presence, a presence not to be ignored. A presence that has utility. So every one calls him the bhajiwali’s husband.”

“But he has come so soon. It is hardly ten minutes back that you ordered the snacks. Better than the Pizza guys”.

My guest burst into short bouts of  laughter, stopping abruptly as if to take stock of the situation  and ponder why no one could get at his humour.

The bhajiwali’s husband does not have a name. He may have one, but nobody seems interested to know it.

My guest has a name. He is Raj, my lost and found classmate. We used to be classmates in primary school.  Thanks to Facebook, I found him after 24 years and also found that we have been living in the vicinity of ten kilometers for the last five years.

My wife opened the door, settled the payment and after a cursory check of the items inside the packing, shut the door.

After snacks and tea, I suggested to Raj, “ Why not go out for a stroll,  leaving the ladies to spin their gossip and the children to settle their tab war.”

“Yes, why not for the old days sake.”

 Raj’s house was five blocks away and after school it was our habit to go out for a walk. I do not remember Raj ever playing those childhood games. Most of the time, he would be absorbed in his thoughts. Of course,  I never figured out what he was thinking about. During our walks together, he would hardly talk. It is I who would be doing the talking knowing fully well  that Raj was nodding his head without being interested in what I was saying.

As soon as we landed on to the  street in front my house, we heard loud noises coming from the end of the street.

“That must be from the bhajiwali’s theatre”, I remarked.

Bhajiwali’s theatre?”,  Raj was surprised, But you told she has a shop.

“Oh! Don’t  take it so literally. Sometimes, in the evening, it turns into a theatre. Come, we will go there.”

It was a small shop at the  end of the street that touched the road surrounding the boundary wall of a temple.  There was  a grocery shop to one side and in front, there was a liquor shop. Half of her customers were drunk.  While two drunks were shouting at each other, the bhajiwali  was shouting at them to keep quiet or go away. There were a dozen other customers who were oblivious of the chaos around, may be being  used to such spectacles on a daily basis.

The bhajiwali continued with her multitasking activities, putting pakoda in hot oil, settling a customer’s bill, making small balls of mashed potato, while all the time shouting at the drunk customers to behave or at the other shop  boy to go and  ask the requirement of the newest customer.  In spite of being  small in stature and very ordinary dressed in a sari that seemed to have been salvaged from a dump yard, she held centre stage. Surprisingly, she never shouted at her husband who stood at a distance waiting for her next instruction.

She called him near and told him something very softly in a kind of respectful way. He dashed off again, perhaps on another errand.

After sometime the situation improved. The two drunks fighting had become friendlier, most of the customer demands had  been met. She spotted me from behind the boiling oil in the pan and smiled. It was the smile of a young maiden with a tint of a blush. The old stern matron in her was gone.

“How were todays items sir. If you needed anything you could have phoned  me.”

“Oh! As usual the items were superb. For today, it was enough. We are just out for a walk.”

Slowly we stepped away and took the bend by the temple wall to another street.

Unlike the walk of our old days, this this time Raj started the conversation, “Surprisingly,  the bhajiwali too does not have a  name and I have a feeling that her husband is not her type. I mean they are not of same social status. Did you observe, even though he wears simple clothes- just a light shaded ill-fitting pant and a shabby shirt, there is something majestic about him, particularly the way he carries himself around. ”

 “I don’t know how far these are true. There are some rumours”.

“Rumours?”.

Raj seemed to be interested  to hear word for word of  I what I was going to say, as if suddenly and at one stroke to compensate for his display of lack of interest in my talks during our walks in those childhood days.

“Yes, there are rumours.  Ok I will tell you what I have heard.  It seems, this lady was a temporary housekeeping staff   in a bank where this gentleman worked in a good position. The gentleman had some soft corner for this lady and used to help her financially to tide over her family’s financial difficulties. Some say, the gentleman embezzled money. Some say, he was innocent but had to pay the  price for the wrongdoings of his boss who escaped without harm . This guy was suspended and was imprisoned for some time. After this incident, his family disowned him. Then, it is this lady who came to his rescue. This incident happened in another city. They moved in to this city as the lady had some contacts through her distant relatives. Together they set up this shop. Nobody knows if they are actually married. Now nobody bothers to know. Nobody is interested to probe further.  They seem to be quite a nice couple and the snacks she prepares are hot favourites for many. “

“Yes, now nobody bothers to know. That is the beauty of it”- sighed my friend as if relieved of some heavy burden.

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‘This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.’

Your Sweet Absence

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The invitation is yet to come

But I am ready,

Shameless in my lack of discretion.

To rise up with you.

Falling again and again.

 

 

For your lips of nothingness

My ears are no flute I know,

Yet they ache,

Waiting to ease

My neighbour’s serpentine whispers.

 

 

It is still a distant dream

To lie side by side

By the black Yamuna,

Half dissolving into the white sands

So fine like diamond dust.

 

 

So long

Have you played that elusive flute.

Let me reverse it now.

So that nothing else remains –

Only your sweet absence.

Happy New Year – When Writers / Directors Run out of Ideas

When singers/music directors run out of creativity they bring out remix albums. When writers /directors run out of original  ideas, the product is ‘Happy New Year’.

The movie has just the right remix to entertain the Indian audience, particularly those  who are not great fans of Holllywood movies, or so the director thinks. And the producer, as if to make a statement . – ‘Mere pass paise ki kami nahin hai’ has shown her largess in lavish sets and exotic locale. The hit jodi of SRK and Deepika are backed up by Sonu Sood and Abhisek Bachchan and seasoned actors like Boman Irani and Jackie Shroff. Then there are attempts to raise the patriotic fervor. The only ones who would be disappointed are those looking for some originality and depth.

So there are clichés and clichés – in dialogues, jokes, scenes, acting and themes. The film is a remix of Ocean’s Eleven, The Italian Job, Step Up, Comedy Nights With Kapil, DID, SRK’s old movies and may be many more. Rather than copying one movie, it is safer to lift from a number of sources. No one can accuse you of plagiarism.

Only I wish, Farah Khan had been as adept in stealing  as her heroes in the movie, or rather avoided copying shamelessly some English movies to do justice to the main song of the movie ‘Dushman ke chhake chhuda de hum Indiawale’.

Nevertheless, the producer is laughing all the way to the bank carrying on with latest  trend in Bollywood that irrespective of the quality and originality, movies breach the 100 crore mark riding on branding and aggressive marketing.  Let us see, how long does this trend continue?

Happy-New-Year

The lunatic, the lover and the poet, are of imagination all compact

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“The lunatic, the lover and the poet, are of imagination all compact.”

The statement appears in Shakespear’s play ‘A Midsummer Night’s Dream’

Somebody who does not confirm to our logical mind, we call him/her mad. Love is beyond logic. So is poetry. Love is so much beyond logic, some say love is blind. So one factor common among premi, paagal and kavi is that none can be understood or judged by our logical minds.

Take the example of the Bauls of Bengal – a group of wandering mystical singers. Baul has been derived from the Sanskrit word ‘Vaatul’ which means the mad person. They are some of the greatest lovers – lovers of life, lovers of human values and lovers of divinity in us, which are expressed through their enchanting songs.

One thing common in all three is their wild imagination. They may see things that do not exist and may create something out of nothing.

According to some versions of the stories about Laila and Majnu, Laila was so ugly people wondered what made Majnu maddeningly fall in love with Laila. May be, he saw things in her that others missed.

It seems these type of people do not care for the world. To the contrary, these are the people who make the world a beautiful place to live in. Take the example of the Bauls. They never accumulated wealth for themselves or their family. They incessantly travel from place to place to sing the song of humanity, urging people to rise above petty differences of religion, caste, creed and other man made divisions. So have been the great poets. In fact another name give for the ancient seers (rishis) of India is kavi – the poet. And what beautiful poetry they created in the form of Vedas, Upanishads and Puranas. In fact these are the people who laid the foundation of Indian Civilization.

Of course there are also mad people without any love or poetry in them. They are filled with hatred, fanaticism. The world has much to fear from these kind of mad people, who do not have any iota of love in their hearts. Or, their love for a particular imaginary cause has been distorted into hatred for those whom they consider not belonging to them.

These fringe elements are killing the poets and the lovers. The Sufis, who like Bauls can be said to be lunatics, lover and poets at the same time, continue to face prosecution and extinction in Pakistan and elsewhere by the radical elements. In recent times even the Bauls in India have been targets of fanatic Hindu and Muslim Groups in Indian and Bangladesh.

Now coming to the dialogue of Theseus from A Midsummer Night’s Dream, Act V, scene I, here it is:

Lovers and madmen have such seething brains,

Such shaping fantasies, that apprehend

More than cool reason ever comprehends.

The lunatic, the lover and the poet

Are of imagination all compact:

One sees more devils than vast hell can hold,

That is, the madman: the lover, all as frantic,

Sees Helen’s beauty in a brow of Egypt:

The poet’s eye, in fine frenzy rolling,

Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;

And as imagination bodies forth

The forms of things unknown, the poet’s pen

Turns them to shapes and gives to airy nothing

A local habitation and a name.