Purab aur paschim

I remember when I was in school, during those adolescent years there was a huge clash of values at home. For those who dont have much of an idea of what it was all about, let me start of by saying, we lived in a joint family of ten members where I was the youngest.

Being a daughter of a self-made man, we were bound to do things our own way. I think starting 6th or maybe 7th standard, my dad used to make us watch a few old flicks during our summer vacations. Where Purab aur paschim was a regular apart from Kal aaj aur kal.

I didnt quite understand why he made us watch them, but I somehow always liked the ritual per se. I know many times while watching Kal aaj aur kal, he would often subtly remark that his position in the house is like Raj Kapoor, torn between his older and younger generation. Trying to blend tradition with modernity. Oh, and he was so great at that. We did understand. A job well done.

My grandmother being a traditional person like any other person beloning to the older generation, had this ritual of not having non-vegetarian during navratras and shradh (I am sure not many of you would have heard of this). Navratras in April were no great shakes, 8 days, and you wouldnt know. But the ones in september – october actually used to be looooong specially since they followed shradh and there would be essentially about 20 or more days at a stretch which would mean no non-veg!!

Everyone in my house was a non-vegetarian except for my grandmother. I remember so vividly this incident, wherein, dad took us to Dees ( in defence colony) for having biryani and made us promise that we wont utter a word at home, which means grand mom wont get to know of it at all!! 🙂 He played the role of a good son and a great father with such a finesse! Oh I love him for this.

Coming back to the title of the post. I think I never saw this movie once I got out of school. Today, I saw it playing on tv and couldnt help but sit and watch it all over again. It seemed so different. Either I have matured, or perhaps I have been watching some other version of it till now.

There is a great meaning behind it. It ofcourse highlights the importance of our culture, but also stresses the power of love. The way love can change people, the way it can cleanse people, the way it can make them give up on their habits for the one they love. The movie seems so ahead of its time. Even today the film makers shy away from showing 10 minutes of a scene on a bikini clad woman, but you could see that in the movie. Anyways that is just not why I am talking about it here. I like the movie. In the crowd of love flicks, animation movies or spiderman kinds, I think its one of the few movies that I can watch over and over again and feel good about.

What do I like about it? I think, the significance of faith in the almighty and power of love. Well, I am a self-exclaimed no-religion follower. I do believe in god, but I dont believe its mandatory to visit a temple to pray. I think I have a very personal relationship with him. But still if you would ask me, which is my favourite deity, I think it would have to be Lord Ganesha. And if you would ask me a soothing bhajan? I dont think its any one, but still it would be the continuous chanting of

hare rama hare rama
rama rama hare hare
hare krishna hare krishna
krishna krishna hare hare

I dont know why but I have been very fond of it. Not many know this secret. Cos on the face of it I appear to be an atheist. But mind you, looks can be deceptive. The reason could also be that I have been to mathura and vrindavan quite a few times with my family and have thoroughly enjoyed the aarti at the Eskon temple. Its out of the world for the pure reason that everyone out there just keeps chanting this mantra and feels one with the god. They smile, they dance, they sing it out loud for hours at stretch. I love to sit at the strairs in that temple watching them sing with joy, while I relish the peace of being one with the almighty.

I have felt at peace at very few moments in my life, which I can recall oh so clearly. Sitting on the stairs of Eskon and watching someone wake up with a smile for me, top that list.

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