A Sufi Celebration of Life, Inspired By Urdu
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Aankhon Se Aansuon Ke Marasim Purane Hain
Mehman Ye Ghar Me Aaye Toh, Chubhta Nahi Dhuan
The relationship between eyes and tears is old and steady
When these guests (tears) are home, even the harsh smoke does not irritate
For the longest period of time, Marasim for me was the legendary Gulzar-Jagjit Singh album that was the background score of a significant part of my childhood and the single most defining influence that shaped my love for Ghazals, and Urdu. And of course, made a lifelong fangirl out of me of both Gulzar and Jagjit Singh.
It is only fitting that the couplet that opened this piece has been taken from a Ghazal (a poetic form of rhyming couplets, usually set to music) from the album Marasim.
Literally, it means relationships.
For once, I don’t think I need to wax eloquent about how poetic Marasim is, how gorgeous and how moving in its subtlety.
Say Marasim, aloud. Let your tongue caress the M, let that R roll around like a melting snowflake and let that A stretch out like a long form poem.
Do you get what I am saying?
Marasim speaks of relationships that are older than the mountains and deeper than the oceans. Marasim speaks of indefinable bonds, relationships that defy conventional boundaries and definitions, and connections that are forged in soul deep love, and bone deep respect.
Ab Aur Kya Kisi Se Marasim Badhaen Hum
Ye Bhi Bahut Hai Tujh Ko Agar Bhuul Jaaen Hum
— Ahmad Faraz
Now with whom else do we go and forge bonds with
For now, all we wish is that we can forget you
Marasim is not about romance. Romance is all about dreams and fluff; unicorns and cotton candy. Marasim on the other hand is solid and real, fraught with all the complications and troubles that tag along with everything real. Romance is that passionate wave that hurtles towards the shore, only to crash and die out. But Marasim is like a deep, silent ocean — deceptively calm and quiet, but enduring treasures and secrets and foundations that hold everything together. Romance is like a bright, loud, fun firecracker, that is here one moment and gone the next, exploding into nothingness. Marasim, however, is like the Sun that burns and burns and burns; lighting up our days (and nights by proxy) and giving us the life force that sustains us and keeps us alive.
Romance is a transient illusion. Marasim may or may not be transient, depending on whom you have your Marasim with, but it is neither an illusion nor a dream. For as long as the Marasim lasts, and often even after, Marasim is a solid weight that shapes and re-shapes your very existence. Even the shadows of a Marasim can carry the weight of the world — sometimes as an enticing dream, sometimes as a haunting memory, and sometimes, if you are so lucky, as a treasured remembrance.
Marasim is not just about romantic liaisons and soulmates; although those are the kind of Marasim that tend to occupy the most fascinating places in our imaginations. But in fact, Marasim is a deep and enduring bond, any bond. Marasim may be lasting friendships, parent-child bonds, or a mentor-mentee connection. Marasim may be your bond with your pet. It may even be a High School crush that was never really forgotten and eventually became a subconscious defining idea for your life and personality.
The last part maybe just me. But you get my drift.
Marasim in every shape, form, version and format is a life changing force. Sometimes because it is healing. And sometimes because it is heartbreaking. Sometimes because it is transient. And sometimes because it is not. Sometimes because it happened. And sometimes because it didn’t.
Marasim is desire. Marasim is longing. Marasim is finding what you dreamed of. And Marasim is losing and realizing what held your life together.
Marasim is an idea, a virtue, a treasure that is more relevant now than it has ever been. For this is a strange world we live in — where tinder is preferred over lasting connections; where it’s complicated is an answer to every relationship dilemma we don’t want to solve; where speed and dating occur together in a phrase and nobody blinks an eye; where our presences are more absent in relationships than our absences; where we are busy with everything except the stuff that matters and where making time is a thing and yet we are unable to make it to have a cup of tea with our aging parents, or have a playdate with our kids or go meet that childhood best friend we have been meaning to catch up with, or just cook a meal with our spouse.
In this world and in these times, Marasim is a gentle but intense reminder of the things that we are losing sight of; of people who matter and bonds that need to be nurtured before they crumble under the stress of our hyper-busy, ultra materialistic existence.
It has been a running theme with this series — that we all need to slow down and take a real hard look at ourselves and our lives; that we need to take stock of what really and truly matters to us and that we need to rethink the way we have been living.
Marasim is just another addition to the long list of things that we need to remind ourselves of again; just another essential that has been slowly and imperceptibly fading in front of our very eyes; another human treasure, another reason to be alive, that is on the verge of extinction, unless we do something about it and do it now.
It is not too late yet. But it will be. And soon. Marasim is just another wake up call for us all to go ahead and recapture the bonds that we have been losing, slowly but steadily. It is an urge and a reminder that we have to take care to never lose out on people; especially not the people who care for us and who we care about.
Because when all is said and done, people are all we got; and our relationships are perhaps the only thing that make living worthwhile, whether we realize it or not. It is high time that we start giving people and relationships, the ever valuable Marasim in our lives, the respect they deserve. Along with our time and energy and attention.
We owe it to them. And we owe it to ourselves.
Pahle Se Marasim Na Sahi Phir Bhi Kabhi Toh
Rasm-O-Rahe Duniya Hi Nibhane Ke Liye Aa
— Ahmad Faraz
Maybe there never was a relationship between us before
But come o love, if only for the sake of our worldly ties and to keep up the appearances
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