Thursday, February 11, 2010

Death of a poet
An obituary to Girish Puthenjeri

I have grown up listening to music since my parents were music lovers. I heard malayalam music on tapes they bought or on AIR. When I started living in Kerala since my marriage five years back, I for the first time got in close contact with the language, the culture, the music particulary the fabulous flim music. My love affair with malayalam music has grown steadily over the years. And that is how I came to hear of his name - GIRISH PUTHENJERI. Every other song on radio seemed to be written by him which indicated the popularity of the songs he wrote . His was the only name among songwriters that I was familiar with other than the geat Vayallar.The name had such a nice resonance befitting a poet.
Though unfamiilar with the language I grew to appreciate whatever little I understood of his lyrics.
Amma mazhakaaril kannu nirenju Aa kaneeril nyan nanenju
The clouds of motherhood swelled with tears drenching me in the deluge
I was shocked to hear of his demise particularly since I had no inkling of his recent illness. As I watched the news coverage of his death I got to know the genius that he was. The whole Film Industry seemed to be grieving. I felt a sadness, inexplicable, since I did not know too much about him or his work. It saddened me to learn he died too soon at 48. He probably had so many more years of great work ahead of him. Or may be he did all that he could have achieved in his life time in a prolific career spanning 25 odd years. As Queen sang, "Only the good die young"...Freddie Mercury, Curt Cobain, JIm morrison. Outstandign muscicians or poets. They left too soon. Making us yearn for more. They chose to burn out rather than fade away.
The sky darkened as if in gloom. uncharachteristically at this time of the year. Perhaps nature mourned the demise of its favorite spokesperson.
A little after his cremation which the media covered like hawks, they moved on to other fresher subjects with an ease I found hard to duplicate. The chirpy songs on the radio seemed incongruant. Like we hadn't mourned enough. Like the world should stop for some time and grieve an irreplaceable loss a little while longer.
Ghalib knew what he was saying when he wrote
Ghalinb e khastha ke bagair kaun se kaam bandh hai
Roiye zaar zaar kya keejiya hai hai kyon

So thats it. Death, the most significant moment in our lives is just another event in the lives of others. Few tears are shed. Few lives of near ones will be altered irrevocably. A few sighs and then everything is back to where it was.
But a poet never dies. For he lives on in his verses delighting us, moving worlds, shatterring dogma, stirring up emotions... shining like a beacon showing us the way ahead.

As your heart bled
And you stripped your soul naked
The dripping red droplets
Became verses on the page
Clothed in music
They adorned a lover's lip
An aeon away
Burnt to ashes now
Find the peace
Your heart yearned for.
Sleep now
On Earth's bosom
Heavy with tears shed for you


Arun Meethale Chirakkal said...

What a tribute to the outstanding lyricist. My favourites are "Soorya kireedam veenudnaju..." from devasuram and "pinneyum pinneyum aaro kinavinte..." from Krishnagudiyil oru pranaya kaalathu.

OT: You seem to write a lot nowadays and very good stuff as well. Great!

kaalpanique said...

@arun. thanks again. you know having studied outside kerala i dont understand literary malayalam too well. so thats a handicap. i wish someone could translate his songs! i like soorya kireedam too..
one of those phases when u have a lot to tell.. and it all comes out!
take care