Why Not Share This Rainbow?

Zindagi ke rang kayi re saathi re…

Zindagi dilon ko kabhi jodti bhi hai

Zindagi dilon ko kabhi todti bhi hai

Zindagi ke rang kayi re saathi re…

Zindagi ki raah mein khushi ke phool bhi

Zindagi ki raah mein ghamon ki dhool bhi…

Zindagi ke rang kayi re saathi re…

That’s what Sahir was saying through the singing of Asha Bhosle in Aadmi Aur Insaan (1963). True, because we all know that if we live long enough, life will paint each of us with its many emotions of colour, of happiness and sorrow—and several shades in between.

As for the kayi rang he speaks of, it’s like when a rainbow becomes visible to us, when sunlight hits a collection of raindrops. That sight is always wonderful. But at a deeper level, when does our soul see a rainbow? Maybe when it ‘sees’ through a collection of teardrops? No one expressed the idea as metaphorically and delicately as did the English poet Alexander Pope: The soul would have no rainbow, had the eyes no tears.

Crying is such an integral part of everyone’s life—and yet look at the way our culture pretends to wish it away, at least socially. This should not be if we cry out of happiness at least. How sad that we overlook the power, even the necessity of tears. Yet, society sends us message after message that tears are bad, and at best reserved for women, because ‘real’ men don’t cry, don’t you know. It’s unmanly. Stop crying, we keep hearing mothers admonish their kids. It’s bad social etiquette. It’s a cheap way to get attention. These thoughts are bombarded into us from our childhood. Ad infinitum.

Countless young people looked up to Rajesh Khanna as a role model in the early ‘70s, and you can bet he hammered a huge nail in the coffin when he said ‘I hate tears’ to Sharmila in Amar Prem. It’s another matter that his reel and real life later must have ensured he wept buckets too.

As for us, when we are overcome with tears, we try to look away when someone is around, or pretend we have something in the eye. We know too there are these upper-caste women in Rajasthan who are as if programmed not to cry because it is seen to be below their status, even if there’s a death in the family. When they need to grieve, they hire a professional ‘crier’, a woman who will mourn for them. Such a mourner is called Rudali, and they did make a movie on this subject in the early 1990s.

In the west too, it’s the same thing. For see, the legendary Charlie Chaplin is appreciated even for this observation of his: I always like walking in the rain, so no one can see me crying.

Regardless of all the above, crying is human. And by the way, tears are an equal opportunity employer, engaging both men and women in generous doses, as also seen from the random sampling of the Hindi film songs coming up soon. We exempt the idea of crocodile tears in the following songs, a huge subject by itself, and crafted so beautifully by Qamar Jalalabadi for Talat in Farmaish (1953): Muhabbat ki hum chot khaaye hue hain…Udhar tere aansoo, idhar mere aansoo, Wo laaye hue hain, ye aaye hue hain!

Here are some songs on the idea now, from many moons ago, when people were not so afraid to cry or talk about it:

  • ·         Na aankhon mein aansoo (Shamshad/Aag, 1948)
  • ·         Rote-rote guzar gayi raat re (Lata/Buzdil, 1951)
  • ·         Meri yaad mein tum na aansoo bahaana (Talat/Madhosh, 1951)
  • ·         Nainon mein saawan (Geeta/Anand Matth, 1952)
  • ·         Rula kar chal diye ik din (Hemant/Badsaah, 1954)
  • ·         Ashkon se teri humne (Asha/Dekh Kabira Roya, 1957)
  • ·         Aansoo bhari hain (Mukesh/Parvarish, 1958)
  • ·         Aaj rona pada to samjhe (Kishore/Girl Friend, 1960)
  • ·         Aansoo samajh ke kyoon mujhe (Talat/Chhaya, 1961)
  • ·         Ye aansoo mere dil ki zubaan hain (Rafi/Hamrahi, 1963)
  • ·         Yoonhi dilne chaaha tha rona-rulaana (Suman/Dil Hi To Hai, 1963)
  •           Ashkon mein jo paaya hai (Talat/Chandi Ki Deewar, 1964)
  • ·         Teri aankh ke aansoo pee jaoon (Talat/Jahan Ara, 1964)
  • ·         Naina barse rimjhim rimjhim (Lata/Wo Kaun Thi, 1964)
  • ·         Tukde hain mere dil ke aye yaar tere aansoo (Rafi/Mere Sanam, 1965)
  • ·         Aapke pehlu mein aakar ro diye (Rafi/Mera Saaya, 1966)
  • ·         Rula ke gaya sapna mera (Lata/Jewel Thief, 1967)
  • ·         Safal hogi teri aradhana kaahe ko roye (SD Burman/Aradhana, 1969)
  • ·         Rona kabhi naheen rona (Kishore/Apna Desh, 1972)
  • ·         Hasne ki chaah ne itna mujhe rulaaya hai (Manna Dey/Avishkar, 1973)
  • ·         Aaj socha to aansoo bhar aaye (Lata/Haste Zakhm, 1973)
  • ·         Dil ke armaan aansoo-on mein beh gaye (Salma Agha/Nikaah, 1982)

Sometimes crying feels beautiful

It’s really strange there’s so much embarrassment associated with tears. Strange, considering we all have felt so healed after we have had a cry. Perhaps then it’s time we thought for ourselves deeply on this one. I hope you do.

Meanwhile, if you want to listen to learned opinions, here is one from a book called Emotional Freedom by Judith Orloff, MD: “For over twenty years as a physician, I’ve witnessed, time and again, the healing power of tears. Tears are your body’s release valve for stress, sadness, grief, anxiety, and frustration…To stay healthy and release stress, I encourage my patients to cry. For both men and women, tears are a sign of courage, strength, and authenticity”. One day a patient of hers curled up on the floor of her clinic, depressed and weeping over a failed relationship. She then apologized to Dr. Orloff, who responded immediately, “Your tears blessed my floor. There’s nothing to apologize for”.

Way to go, ma’am!


(Photo: Rula ke gaya sapna mera)

Originally published: 10th August 2014

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