The mystifying Muse
My Muse reprimands; it hauls over the coals
FREEZE FRAME BY SYEDA AFSHANA
Ghalib is easily and quickly reached. Why not! For he is among the very few who provide replies to many disquieting queries. His Deewaan usually lies around the corner. His Dil Hi Tow Hai Na Sang-o-Khisht is my favorite. And if it is blended with Jagjit’s dulcet voice, then there is no darling.
I wonder how Ghalib’s Muse could fashion such a literary symphony so meticulously. It is not simply the toil of a thinking brain and a sensitive heart but also something divine that makes Ghalib really Ghalib. That’s why it’s always bracing to recall-
Huvi Mudet Ki Ghalib Mar Gaya, Par Yaad Aata Hai,
Woh Her Ek Baat Par Kahna “Ki Yoon Hota Tow Kya Hota”?
Almost all great poets and writers seem to possess an extra thing : godly aptitude. Almighty is generous towards them. They craft masterpieces and turn immortal. They become example for others. Of course, their Muse is extra-ordinarily fine and superior. John Keats writes about them-
Bards of Passion and of Mirth
Ye have left your souls on earth!
Have ye souls in heaven too,
Double-lived in regions anew?
Yes, and those of heaven commune
With the spheres of sun and moon……..
Thus ye live on high, and then
On the earth ye live again;
And the souls ye left behind you
Teach us, here, the way to find you,
Where your other souls are joying,
Never slumbered, never cloying.
Here, your earth-born souls still speak
To mortals, of their little week;
Of their sorrows and delights;
Of their passions and their spites;
Of their glory and their shame;
What doth strengthen and what maim:-
Thus ye teach us, every day,
Wisdom, though fled far away.
I don’t know why but it seems these days I am frantically searching for my own Muse. I don’t claim to be any budding poet or a promising writer. How can I be!! Being an ordinary student of Journalism, writing is just a part of my profession. It is an obligatory exercise. There is little scope for sounding creative. What I write gives me just the feeling of being alive to myself and to happenings around me, and nothing else. It cannot qualify to be a part of active and pure journalism. It’s simply an adjunct of interpretation and perspective, but forms the reactive and important part of journalism, especially the contemporary one. My humble opinions and impressions make my columns. I’m not ‘fortunate’ enough to have a Godfather to promote me by chiseling my raw jottings. Neither do I’ve the ‘privilege’ of knowing any Ghost Writer to write for me and add bylines to my credit.
I confess there is no great writer within. My language is not rich. It fills the columns as it comes to me. I don’t brag of any particular writing style. Communication is the sole purpose, but not for every reader. What I write may be lucid to a very few and quite baffling for many. Nobody writes for everybody. There is a segregated audience for different things in each newspaper or for that matter any TV channel. I never read Business or Sports Pages. It is not meant for a finicky reader like me because it is not my cup of tea. I occasionally go through Jug Suraya’s Jugular Vein or Shobha De’s mumbo-jumbo. But I also know that they won’t stop writing simply because I am not able to get them! They enjoy a huge class of admirers and are established names.
And then, there is the all-pervasive question of popularity. Some columnists write mainly for being noticed and talked about. To write oddity and pour scorn on big names is their compulsive passion. For others, it’s a mere compulsion to get a byline somehow. Yet, for a few others it is only putting their viewpoint forward, least bothering about public prominence or recognition. They are unsung people; unknown to their own people. The selective readership of even only four or six persons is gratifying for them as their writings are eventually sold to renewable garbage pickers. Mind it, the writers belonging to this category are not language masters or diction translators. They are not prize or award winners. Their Muse is their Conviction; their Belief that world will never go nuts altogether; Reason will never be dead; and catholicity of attitudes will never be bushed.
Without debate, in our times it’s an unavoidable harsh reality that mediocrity attracts undeserved accolades and merit invites unwanted envy and cynicism. This is the rule of life. Success wins you true enemies and false friends. Rather it makes the distinction bare and clear. Your ‘admirers’ become your adversaries. Your ‘friends’ your critics. Your ‘mentors’ your competitors. Your ‘teachers’ your notorious rivals. Your ‘dear ones’ your dreaded ones. All discourage you to extreme. Doors of opportunity and expression are shut up on you. Leaving no stone unturned to show you down, they keep up their appearances. Their inflated egos and self-centeredness tries to hit upon your Achilles’ heel. You become an eyesore, and a policy of exclusion is experimented upon you. What a pitiable joke! Failure gifts you sympathizers. Success takes all of them back. Perhaps this is what life is all about. No issues!
Coming back to the matter of Muse, I am at a wits end to learn, re-learn and de-learn many a truth or ‘lesson’. I hear the frail voice of Muse emanating from somewhere. It tells me to stop treasuring anonymity, stop thinking about those who don’t carry any weight.
My Muse also seems unhappy with me over being freezed in the troubled frame which is going just so and so. My Muse reprimands; it hauls over the coals-
The trouble is
You’ve kept yourself on too tight a rein,
Giving the most concrete of acts an abstract name.
Yes, I’m talking about the inner climax of your mind ~
The darkness, the occasional storms and hate
And wounding rains.
You think you can leave the nest
You think you know best?
Wouldn’t you go
Wherever the wind takes you?
Of course, where ever you are,
Men will be persuading and estimating
They will be cynical.
But you could always pick a quarrel with the world,
Strike a combative posture without demur,
Treating serious matters with the frivolity they deserve!
You could also confront the world
With a set of attitudes,
Keeping another set in reserve,
Thoroughly prepared in advance of course ~
Or you could be just brazenly precocious!
I tell you, if tired and spent, you may
Find succour in a sanctuary from clamour,
Where only the clocks tick and the dogs snore.
But even then, if people were to trouble you,
Come to me.
We’d take asylum in alien countries ~
Find imaginary homelands,
Look for desirable alternatives on prohibited trees!
But mind you, there would be raving storms,
And no place to rest,
And me craving to be a poet or a writer,
And you then, refusing to be so,
Would sing a swan-song for
Your songs were profaned.
But that would be only for a while.
And years, and years after years,
Gods would perhaps withdraw,
Or, betray their trust,
And maybe Time would offer no solace,
And then whether we cared or
Did not care
A Euripedes of a different race
Would sing of our serene despair.
(The author teaches at Media Education Research Centre, MERC, University of Kashmir)
Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Sat, 27 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sun, 28 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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