Romantic Duets

Missing those days

Walking in the park closest to our home every day early in the morning is a habit we recently added to our routine. After doing it for months now, it is interesting to see

A 3 legged canine hop across the lane that leads to the park, chasing  felines that dare to invade his fiefdom,

The old man with the exophthalmos who appears to stare at everyone passing by through watery baleful eyes while doing a stepping and stretching routine on a slab of stone in a corner dressed in cricket flannels,

The couple with the man’s short tee which allows him to scratch his exuberant and rather enthusiastic paunch that cannot be draped by his tees which are 6 inches too short and gleefully steps out from under it,

The old ladies group that collect on a group of serendipitously placed benches to carry out the latest episode of “Gossip with Ganga” to make up in part, I suppose, for the lack of a sympathetic ear at home,

The beetle browed old man whose eyebrows would surely put Leonid Ilyich Brezhnev’s fungus on the forehead to forlorn shame,

The old man who once owned a petrol pump whose idea of exercise seems to be hitting himself all over with cupped hands,

The corpulent young lady who gets a personal trainer ( that’s trying his hardest not to show his disdain and frustration for his recalcitrant ward on his face  and who is more aptly dressed for the cold climes of the Everest Base Camp rather than the verdant park) but barely turns a muscle before she sits panting on the bench, her limbs flung askance and reaching out for the bottle as if she will die of dehydration,

The ladies in the open gym twisting ever so gently and one on the cross trainer who is vigorously doing her splits,

The young lady who drops her kids off for tennis and cricket coaching and walks gingerly as if she is afraid she will miscarry her paunch which is now akin to an 8 month gestation all the while yakking on her handsfree set, her shoulder bag paradoxically talks of an adventure that awaits,

The old man who sits on his usual bench rubbing his knobby knees with a faint smile on his face, waiting for the next human who will acknowledge it and smile back,

The man who walks backwards on the grass in accordance with some mythical belief that it is better exercise than a brisk walk forward ( I asked him the reason and he told me)

A small group of constant variables that are together separately…

After we returned today, Aruna discovered it is the 15th remembrance day of one man who typifies the class of immensely talented individuals who are unfortunately condemned to a life bereft of recognition that’s due to them by virtue of their unmistakable class but never given in due measure for no other reason but that the dice didn’t quite roll right for them : they are the Paddy Shivalkars and the Rajinder Goyals of Bollywood who didn’t quite get their moment of fame and adulation.

Dattaram Wadkar is one such unheralded and undercelebrated unmistakable genius. ( can’t say was to a man whose creations from the few opportunities that did come his way in a tough life full of hard work are truly immortal and a great everlasting source of joy) A man who hailed from Goa and came to Mumbai in the search of the great Indian dream. He joined Prithvi Theaters  as a percussionist and subsequently became one with Shankar Jaikishan, and later taking charge of their percussion section. His mentors unsurprisingly were Shankar-Jaikishan who magnanimously not just encouraged his talent but also allowed him to take on independent projects, which he did, and executed with aplomb and much felicity too. I remember three movies off the top of my head: Parvarish, Zindagi aur Khwab and Ab Dilli Duur Nahin. Outstanding quality in all three. Listen to this fabulous duet from Zindagi aur Khwab between Suman Kalyanpur and Manna Dey. Sumantai is one of the enigmas of Bollywood that typifies how unkind, unfair and unjust the industry was to those within its fold. She suffered due to the hegemonistic reign of the siblings and never got even an iota of what she deserved. Yet she never came across as an embittered person. So was Manna Dey, the man with the most diverse set of capabilities in his singing oeuvre that I’ve seen in my life, yet always condemned to be the best man, never quite the groom in the walk up the aisle to the altar at the nuptials.

The movie Zindagi aur Khwaab had a hackneyed story by Kamal Amrohi , surprisingly. Meena Kumari is an orphan who is married to the cruel brute Jayant (who achieved a second round of fame later as Imtiyaz and Amjad “Gabbar” Khan’s pater) . Jayant the truck driver kills a kothewali and escapes in his getaway truck. He has of course been cruel to his much younger wife (Meena Kumari ) driving her to tears all the time and the audience is happy to see the trunk diving headlong into a river while he is legging it. The Cop investigating the case is our friendly neighbourhood batata wada ( aka Rajendra “Jubilee” Kumar) who unsurprisingly (& very unprofessionally) flips for the lady- not just empathizing, but actually displaying pots of l’amour and getting adequate amounts in return (as you can see from the lovely duet). Dattaram (who never used the Wadkar part) composed a fabulous score. I was surprised to see the lyrics for this very romantic duet written by a bard more known for writing nationalist and/or devotional poems (And even singing some in his high pitched bleat that really didn’t deserve to be recorded for posterity): Kavi Pradeep.

Today is Dattaram’s 15th remembrance day. My respect for hard working geniuses who stayed almost all their lives in the background, not coming out of the shadows for too long, dazzling us with infrequent flashes of their brilliance and sadly receding almost immediately back into a world of relative anonymity. Bollywood is unfair .

I won’t use the B word, I love canines far too much to do that. Stay safe, folks. Stay healthy and happy.


By abchandorkar

Consultant Interventional Cardiologist, Pune, India

9 replies on “Missing those days”

lovely song👌👌👌👌👌

With a very interesting and hilarious write up..
While reading the description of the park, I was amused and also had a hearty laugh….guffawed.. While reading, the whole morning scene of the park was painted in my mind….

Liked by 1 person

Moved to see your kind words for a genius I love so much 👌👌👌👌👌👌👍
Wonderful song you chose… Parvarish will b his everlasting album I feel👌👌

Liked by 1 person

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