Friday, 24 February 2017

Give Oneself a Break

I read in a book that a very famous columnist was associated with a premier daily. He was there for years. Readers looked forward to his immensely readable columns. But as we say, 'every individual is eventually a bore,' so is every columnist and every writer. That famous columnist's popularity began to wane and a day came when the editor had to tell him very politely to resume his pieces after some time. He got the hint that his days with that publication were over. This happens to all writers and frequent contributors. Even the most prolific writers' ideas become somewhat stale. Unless one is Shakespeare or Munshi Premchand, monotony is bound to creep in.

How much can you produce day in and day out? You're bound to churn out the same identical stuff. We say that human mind is boundless. So is the thinking. Granted, it's. But it needs constant nurturing (in solitude) which is possible only when a writer or an artiste keeps himself / herself away from public gaze and goes into a 'creative hibernation' (Marcel Proust's phrase) for some time. It's imperative for every atriste to give himself a break and introspect. In a bid to produce something or the other every second day, one produces mediocrity.

Productivity is not always the assurance of creativity. A truly creative person may not be very prolific, but whatever he creates will be immortal. In the final analysis, class eclipses crass. " Ek hi aansoo ho magar ho jaane-e-hayaat/ Us-se kya haasil, agar lakh dariya bah chale" (One drop of tears is the essence of life/ Who cares, if a river of it flows?). In his 72 years, Mirza Asadullah Khan 'Ghalib' (1797-1869) wrote only 235 ghazals and immortalised himself. He seriously started writing at the age of 16, but wrote only 235 ghazals in his 52 active years of great carftsmanship. In one of his Persian ghazals he wrote: "Choon ast rawani-e-qalam na shudam baraynaam" (I don't write just for the sake of writing).

This is the point to remember. People nowadays write for the sake of it. There's no quality but only quantity. And quantity soon fades into the oblivion. Chetan Bhagat and Shobha De's new titles keep hitting the stands. But does any serious reader remember any of their pedestrian books? Pick up any great writer at random and have a look at his/ her oeuvre. You won't find a number of books: Only a few, but all masterpieces.

Gabriel Marquez didn't write too much in his 84 years, but he's the greatest living novelist and the doyen of 'magic realism.' Composer Muhammad Zahoor Khayyam Hashmi, though slightly monotonous to some, composed music for 50 odd films in his relatively long career, but all the compositions still warm the cockles of the hearts of music lovers. Can you ever forget his, " Jaane kya dhoondhti rahti hain ye aankhein mujh mein" (Shola aur shabnam, 1961, Muhammad Rafi) and " Baharo, mera jevan bhi saanwaro" (Aakhri Khat, 1967, Lata Mangeshkar). Jaydev composed for hardly ten movies, but his songs in 'Hum Donon' (1961) and 'Ye dil aur unki nighaon ke saaye' (Prem Parvat, 1973, Lata) are deathless gems. Genius, like celery, thrives in obscurity.    
                                                                                   ----
Sumit Paul

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