Mohsena Reza Shopna
If it ever happens, while you are strolling back from work at midnight, you hear a voice crooning, 'Such a feeling's coming over me/there is wonder in most of everything I see/ the reason is clear/it's because you are near/you are the nearest thing to heaven that I see', your footsteps slow down and suddenly, you realize that indisputably the heart that belonged to you now belongs to someone else! Go home, check the calendar and you will find, that the following day surely is Valentine's Day!
Love has always been the pivot upon which the world has moved. Someone has rightly said, "The most profound form of love comes in silence, in moments when the man and the woman share twilight moments, in swiftly gathering winter." Anna Akhmatova and Isaiah Berlin listen to each other; he bore into her eyes and she imagined the song in his pulsating heart. That was their togetherness.
When poetry accompanies cards, romance becomes magical. When you bring in nature symbols to express your admiration, it turns out to be extremely sublime. "Ami jamini /tumi shoshi hae/ bhaticho gogono majhe".
Then again, when you happen to open the box of bangles your paramour has sent you, a voice whispers… "Tar churitey je rekhechi mon shona korey/churitoh jane na, shey nije bajen na/shey je amar hridoye baje/rini jhini churiroh shurey".
Shifting years back when one was not brave enough to express his/her love, one had to resign to fate, and then sit back against the hard rocks in the twilight of life and reflect… "Prem ekbar eshe chhilo nirobe/amaro duyaro prante". There is in these lines the story of ages-ago romance. But why rake up the past? Destiny is part of our life and does not always cater to our desires, so cheer up and sing, "Jo bekhudi hai aankh mein tere/wo bekhudi sharaab mein kahaan?/jo taazgi hai husn mein tere/wo taazgi gulaab mein kahaan?/jo shayari hae jism mein tere/wo shayari kitaab mein kahaan?"
Cupid has always been hovering around young men and women. In olden days, an exchange of glances from one balcony to the other was the only achievement! This said it all, " Chokh je moner kotha boley". The man would sometimes sing out a few lines to express his deep feelings, "Sau saal pehle mujhe tumse pyaar tha/aaj bhi hae aur kal bhi rahega".
The girl would respond… "Sau saal janam lenge/saw saal fanah honge/ae jaane wafa phir bhi hum tum na judaa honge". If caught, the golden cage was her destiny! If on any occasion they were to meet again, he would softly tell her "yoon toh kharosh hae dil par/lekin hus deta hoon tujhe dekh kar". Decades ago there were exchanges of letters which the pigeons carried. Later, the postman or 'Runner' was the only hope! "Runner choleyche khobor er bojha haatein". Some of the 'khobors' or news read something like, "phuler kaaney bhromor eshe/chupi chupi boley jai/tomaye amay shara ti jibon/nirobey joratey chaye".
Then came the most potent promoter of love affairs - the telephone. Hours passed without interval or even fatigue in conversation. It was as if they were 'possessed', giving them energy beyond comprehension! Bills piled up for the frustrated parents but of no avail! Then with the advent of mobile phones they found the "Aladdin's lamp"! Love stories began to shoot up. Relations were made, relations broke.
Tears of joy, tears of bitterness began to well up. Mobile phones became a bombshell for concerned quarters as there was no way to monitor their ward's heart! But this was only a small shock, the bigger coming, with the use of computers, with its countless options.
Now they could see each other as well, by the help of web cam. They made Facebook, a popular medium of selecting friends. The style of conversation was beginning to alter. Instead of saying, "Anondo dhara bohiche bhubone", they would rather say, "Man, am I feeling lucky today!" Or a more romantic person would tell, "Sing a song, make it simple/to last your whole life long/sing of love that could be a song for you and for me".
Since young people are too straightforward, there is always a lack of intellectual material and artistic sophistication. If late, one would blame the traffic jam. But, in the long lost days, one would come up to say, "humari toh har pal zikr huya fasaney mein/kya huya jo der huyi anemein?"
Too many choices have nowadays adulterated genuine relationships. People are not sure any more, whether it is a crush or love or whether an extramarital affair. One might feel, "I just want to spend my life with you/suddenly everything has turned me inside out/suddenly love is a thing that I cannot live without". We sing along with Jennifer Lopez, "You've got me hooked with your love controller, I feel lucky like a four leaf clover".
Like every year, I cajole this generation to look back on Shirin-Farhad; Laili-Majnu; Mumtaaz-Shahjahan, who left their footprints on the sands of time with their immortal tales of love. We still reflect and express our emotions in words like, "Ek taj mohol goro hridoye tomar ami hariye gele". Sometimes I wonder what happens to the vows you make and how deep and strong are they, that it does not take seconds to break them.
At this juncture of life do not forget Bob Marley, "He is not perfect/ you aren't either/ and the two of you will never be perfect/but if he can make you laugh/at least once, causes you to think twice/ and if he admits to being human and making mistakes/hold onto him and give him the most you can".
You yourselves feel special when your words carry expressions like "You are my timeless love, you are my Dido, and I your Aeneas". These give your love a new face, like old wine in a new bottle. Let us today celebrate with happy notes coming from Chris Brown…
"Say you care for me/you know that I care for you/you know that I'll be true/you know that I w
ould try to be your everything/I will never try to deny that you are my whole life/cause if you ever let me go/I would die".
Mohsena Reza Shopna is a social activist and writes poetry
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