Thursday, July 13, 2006

The subject of Rabbi's affection?

It first occured to me when listening to Tere Bin (lyrics) for the nth time while trying to code a custom-made HTTP Proxy at work. It's a love song all right, beautifully and melodiously composed with a hint of Tabla; the words are quite touching if you pay attention to them. I wasn't feeling too good; Delhi is my home and Bengaluru, for all its green glory; doesn't match up to the relief of killing the Delhi heat with Mom's chocolate shake.

Mom! That's it! It's Mom!

I felt like I had cracked the Matrix. Tere Bin was written for a mother. I was sure as hell. Then I heard this...

ve main sare ghumm ke vekhia / i have gone and seen it all
amrika , roos, malaysia / America, Russia, Malaysia
kittey vi koi fark si / there wasn't any difference
har kise di koi shart si / they all had some condition
koi mangda mera si sama / some asked for my time
koi hunda surat te fida / some were fascinated with my face
koi mangda meri si vafa / some demanded my fidelity
na koi mangda merian bala / none wanted my demons

Mom! That is so Mom! I mean, frankly, who'd want your demons?

milia si ajj mainu / i found today
tera ik patra / a note of yours
likhia si jis 'te / on which you had scribbeled
tun shayr varey shah da / a varis shah couplet
park ke si osnu / upon reading which
hanjnu ik duliya / a teardrop fell
akhan 'ch band si / what was locked in the eye
seh raaz ajj khulia / was revealed today
ki tere bin / that other than you
eh mere hanjnu / these tears of mine
kise hor / won't be kissed by
nahio chumna / none else

And that was it for me. Sealed. Nothing more touching than a mother's letter.

Amazingly, someone somewhere else had the same thought. I received an email yesterday from a reader, Sahil:

... I just wanted to know the history behind ' Tere bin'. I've heard its written for his mother. I've even heard its not written by Rabbi but by Varis shah himself(whose name features in the song...just like Kabir writes bout himself in his dohas and bulla too mentions his name in his composition).

The song is definitely not for some girlfriend. It may be for a guy as well. Maybe for a best friend. But somehow i have this inkling that it is for his mother.

Could you please enlighten me?

Well, I don't know if he wrote it for his mother. But I know that Rabbi composed it. Maybe he didn't compose it for anyone in person, maybe he did it for more than one person. But my inkling goes with Sahil; I think it's a subtle suggestion, the 'undercurrent' that is more common in the world of bigger literary compositions; the Arrow in the FedEx logo. Some see it, some don't.

Drop in your comments.

UPDATE (29 OCT 07): Well, I change my stance. After reading the scores of comments on the original post, I think its one of those things from which everyone takes what they want. It reminds people of their father, mother, close friend, sibling, and others. In short, it reminds them of the person they most want to be reminded of. 

Lets not try to restrict it to one person, because it probably was never meant to.