Sunday, 26 February 2017

episode 124 of faraq and zaroori

"yeh humari sagai ki angoothi hai"

his face lost all structure almost, all the hardness, the set jaw, the sharp gaze, the imperious lips, the utter certainty, the air of dominance. this is my engagement ring, she'd just said, and even if the echo hadn't been added to her voice, the music hadn't been tweaked, the slow (yet almost instant) wipe and falling away of all expression from a face, captured by a staggered pan would have told the tale and more. there was a crashing sound in it and it was picked up by my heart. i felt the draining of everything in him. a wind rose somewhere far away in a desert and blew across the wide expanse in seconds to sear through him; a howling, hot, merciless phenomenon of nature, swarming around, entering his heart carrying the dreaded words and tossing it everywhere, reaching his mind, his soul, his being. was there no escape from it.

i had been wondering for a couple of days, when i was forced to take a break, if indeed all was well in my ipk and barun world, or was my fantasy world crumbling. was the boy really the actor i thought he was? did i still feel the dhakdhak? yes, this too did happen, believe it or not. because not only were there the demands of family and ad, there were the mood swings of dailymotion. days went by without my watching anything. so many attempts to see 124, only to get stuck in the middle of backless choli scene. finally, the stars aligned and i saw the episode. again i realised, it is one thing to remember content, but another to actually watch the performers in action.

when this scene came, i knew the gold i thought i'd found was indeed that, no sign of dross in it. and i knew it straight in my heart as that expression hit it where it ticks. there are several brilliant actors in this world, many much more proven in their art and experienced than the young man i was staring at. but not one has reached my heart the way he does. every single time, har baar.

six months since we saw anything new from barun sobti. many rumours about the film he's made. no idea when it will be released. shooting for the 22 yards project pushed back by rain. sometimes a strange thought in my head. was it just a mirage? that shaking up of my reality by someone on a screen, that talent one could almost touch, that startling energy? 

all the doubts and worries gone in an instant. he will be back. would like to dedicate 124 to barun sobti, and pay tribute to his talent. this was his episode really.
his eyes seemed to bore into her, shocked yet entreating. tell me it's not true, they seemed to say. how could you do this, how could you... no. in episode 4, with glance icy cold he'd spoken of the world that was "bedard," heartless, where only money and power mattered. how hard he'd strived to give his heart this shell, this protection of material things, yet here was dard. again. she was engaged. she whom he couldn't fathom, who broke through his thick fortress walls every time, who got right under his skin, she whose every tear hurt him, with whom he could get angry, upset, completely besotted, bedazzled, but could never ever remain indifferent... what was this she just said.

the dhakdhak stayed long, rumbling quietly within, gradually melting through and becoming a part of heartbeat.

the day had begun with an altercation. they'd walked into each other, his papers had flown all over the place, he'd demanded an apology from her, she'd refused and said no way. of course, the argument had continued till she stomped off with a won't apologise, and to you... never. what was it with khushi. didn't she know that that's exactly the kind of thing he couldn't leave well alone? he'd find a way to retaliate. or maybe, one of her layers, that dupatta girl, wanted precisely that? oh, such lovely understanding of our contrary and striated characters by the writers.

curiously, and reflecting the same contrary thing in us, he'd dropped his phone in sheer surprise when he saw his nani dance to placate khushi, but he hadn't raved and snarled at the scene. instead a little quickening in his eyes when she reciprocated la's little flirtatious overture and decided to give in. got to say, sanaya was so fluid and lovely in that bit of oo la la swing, anyone would have succumbed. he'd actually gotten quite caught in the moment and smiled as he watched his fam go bonkers and so happy, also this exasperating woman do her loving giving thing. but of course, when their eyes met, he had to return to a closed look and walk off.

in the meantime, the ring is back with him... and he knows it's hers. she'd all trepidation walking into his room. he looks at her, remembers her yelling, "haan haan hume pata hai ki aap arnav singh raizada hain..." yes, yes i know you are asr, but i will not apologise to you, i will say sorry to anyone but never to you, "
aur aap se toh bilkul nahin magenge." had he not remembered that, i have no idea what would have transpired. but he did. and the most wicked expression ever came into play. he was gonna have some fun.

a sweet smile planned revenge... "toh yeh tumhari angoothi hai." so this is your ring, he demurred, starting the game.

"ji, hume de dijiye." yes, give it to me, she returned not gauging mood, a little imperious in her choice of words.

not acceptable. "tumhe kya laga, tumhara jab man chahega tum iss kamre mein aaogi aur mujhe order dogi ke ring de do... aur main lauta doonga?" what did you think, you'd walk in whenever you like into this room and order me to hand over your ring and i'd do that?

this is asr, do not mess with him. whatever his feelings for her, he will not take that tone from anyone lying down, especially from her precisely because she matters; he so wants her to be his, hanging onto his every word, and there she goes defying him. unbearable. basic personality, hard for him to fight it. the duel begins in earnest. "kya kaha tha tumne, tum kissi se bhi mafi maang logi par mujh se nahi... socha arnav singh raizada se badtameezi se baat karke bach jaaogi? ring chahiye? sorry bolo." what had you said, you'd ask anyone for forgiveness but not me? thought you could be rude to asr and get away with it? want your ring? say sorry.

it was still somewhat playful, shards of the famous temper, but shades of naughty too. the little girl of 8 and boy of 14 never too far way when the two are together.

"sorry? kis baat ke liye?" sorry? for what? oh she's in no mood to give in.

how adroit the handling of escalation of war by writers, it's not in one jump ever that they reach a point of no return. always a to and fro, a provoke and attack and a rise of pace. i remembered the moment when he dropped her from his office... also had come on the back of this dueling they engage in no matter what when where. the only time they've both lost their heads and let it be what it longed to be was diwali night. but through many harsh words and hurtful encounters aren't they really always articulating just that very longing? that frantic desperate need for each other?

his anger pushes up. "sirf sorry nahin... kaan pakad kar maafi magogi." just sorry won't do, you'll hold your ears and apologise.

she storms off. keep waiting for that apology in which case. he'd said the ring was important to her. but it wasn't. not really.

the ring was important to them. it was meant to bring them to that moment in the rising hot sahara wind, when a man's world would fall apart and he'd make a connection that his tongue would not have the courage to utter, not because it lacked guts but because a heart had hurt too much and feared getting shattered again. and she would look into his eyes seeking answers to questions she'd not even asked herself yet knew they were there, she wanted them answered as though life itself depended on it.

he'd have thrown the ring... had it not been for the knock. beside himself with anger now, he was brusque, "kya hua, ab kyun ayee ho?" what happened, why have you come now?

"kya chahte hain aap?" what do you want. the tone has gone more tense now, thick... adults in place.

"main kya chahta hoon tum acchhi tarah jaanti ho... maafi mango." you know very well what i want... apologise. he is insistent, flint in his voice.

she begins to answer, but he cuts in, he wants his pound of flesh... "uh huh. kaan pakad ke..." uh huh, hold your ears.

devilish smirk... he's winning.

"sorry." she was humiliated but helpless, that ring she must get back. that ring not important to her.

and he was just settling down to enjoy his victory, when the tear in her voice caught his ears. he looked up... and in less than an instant, a shift in his eyes, so quick, the smile didn't have time to adjust. just the eyes... and a leap of emotion... a complete change.

"kitni baar bolna hai?" she was nearing hysteria in her pain...

"sorry sorry sorry sorry... sorry sorry sorry..."


he was up, and before her in a trice, holding back her hand from catching the other ear. he couldn't take that hurt in her voice, eyes, face, everything. the game had gone too far.

"sorry..." she went on like an automaton.


he couldnt see her like this. how could he bring her to this state. that easily awakened gussa of his... he picked up the ring and returned it. rabba vey took note of the intensity, the remorse of the moment. a man and a woman in a place where nothing is as it should be.

then a beautiful thing happened. 

as she struggled to slip her ring on, hands trembling, unsteady, he took her hands in both his ever so tenderly to help her. she watched mesmerised. perhaps her heart wanted this moment, this putting of ring on her engagement finger by him to be true. but had he not said he was marrying another... so what could she do but agree to that alliance not of her heart... the one that meant nothing?

and she remembered, and pulled her hand away, "aap yeh angoothi nahin pahna sakte," you can't put on this ring.

he was surprised, taken aback at the vehemence in her voice. perhaps all he wanted to do was slip it on, on to her delicate finger, absorbed, engrossed, wanting just that. this was perhaps the first time ever he'd held a girl's hand like that and taken a ring in his to make her wear it. tenderly, patiently, lovingly. he hadn't even done it for the girl he said he'd marry.

but she said "yeh humari sagai ki angoothi hai," and the whole world blew away, leaving a deafening silence, a suffocating emptiness, a death almost of breath.

the ring slipped from his leaden fingers and plunged down. like his heart probably at that moment. the low angle shot transited to a close up of a club foot in black shoe under a lovely pink saree walking into frame exactly where the ring comes to rest, a delicate hand with manicured nails picked it up slowly. di had arrived.

perhaps someone had sent her to save him from this slow constriction of his senses. he returned to reality and walked away, she turned slowly toward di, numbed by all that had happened, emotions in turmoil, storm within.

a beautifully laid out scene.

anjali, with characteristic gentleness, put on the ring for khushi ji, admonishing her sweetly for dropping off this ring so valuable to her all over the place. khushi choked back tears as this whole world tumbled around in this crazy game of rings and engagements. rabba vey entered frame.

she looked at him, for her eyes just wanted to seek him now, now that she'd said the words and he was looking the way he was, what was happening to them her gaze seemed to ask as she watched him watching her. he turned away. no one was allowed to see him so vulnerable, he would hide all his pain, he would take care of it all. only the song seemed to know how far deep in he had been cut. 

we are not perfect... certainly asr is far from it. but the heart surely is pristine. haanh, nahin hai dil asr ke seene mein, he'd told her the day she had come trying to patch things up between him and la. but there was always that heart in the man. that heart that yearned, that longed, that wanted to fight with a girl and then wrap her in his arms and never let her go, kiss her by the poolside, lift her to his heart, never let her be hurt, yet tell her she meant nothing... didn't she know he said it because she did mean so much... some might say, she meant everything.

"lagta hai yeh ring aapke liye bahut his special hai... bataiye na iski khasiyat kya ha," di wants to know what makes the ring so special.

he looks at her as though asking her to break his heart again and again with those most hurtful words she has said... 6 words and his world reels, his heart aches... his breath stops... he can't focus... he can't...

"aapki shadi hone wali hai..." di is delighted, you're about to get married. he is struck by the meaning of sagai again, it means marriage...

two people, apparently not meant for each other, in fact now beholden to others, what is the thing that makes them ache so much for each other. does this have a name this intolerable feeling?

di leaves, and a long long moment in that difficult evening. two people stand looking at each other, pain and complaint in their eyes, yet who can say anything, now that they find themselves here in this forlorn juncture. rabba vey has never sounded more lost.

the phone rings, but...

"khushi," he needs to call her, he needs to be angry again. now.

"haan, buaji," she answers her phone, not him.


"angoothi mil gayi," she's found the ring... he grabs her phone abruptly.

"yeh aap kya kar rahe hain.. hum baat kar rahe the..." what are you doing, i was speaking... she's angry, perhaps this time she too is using anger to mask the pain.

"main bhi baat kar raha tha..." i was speaking as well, his voice is throbbing with pent up something.

"aap kya kah rahe hain hume samajh mein nahin..." i don't understand what you're doing... he stands there, arm swung back holding her phone, face tilted looking at her with a question and something else in his eyes, just looking. an emotion enters his irises, his face begins to show things he rarely does, a pursing of lips, a flaring of nostrils, emotions he is trying hard to control but they will not listen. she is moved, confused, shaken by what she's seeing.  

soaked, salty voice, "kya kar rahi ho tum..." what are you doing. the edge of surf, white foam, touch of salinity, all guard down.

"humne kya kiya..." what have i done?

"tumhari sagai ho gayi... kaise... tumne mujhe batana zaroori nahin samjha? why... kissi ko pata kyun nahin hai ki tumhari..."

and it's all torn out of him, tide rising higher, gushing uncontrollable, submerging dry land, you are engaged... how? you didn't think you needed to tell me? why... how come no one knows that...

oh my sweet arnav singh raizada, "tumne mujhe batana zaroori nahin samjha" you ask. how is she to know that she needs to, even if she wanted to? didn't you tell her she means nothing to you? don't you understand she's too young, too inexperienced to know when you say that you mean the opposite. yet how you long for her to understand exactly this, don't you. someone to understand you as you are? someone to love you no matter what. and that someone is this girl right before you. khushi. the one whose name sounds different on your lips, the one you dream of, and fear losing. father betrayed you, maa went away, the world broke trust. you barricaded your fragile dil and said to h with it. yet something inside always wanted that one. the one who would release you. be yours. and you'll be hers forever. khushi.
"tumne mujhe batana zaroori nahin samjha?" he'd ask her that on a ravaged bridge months later again. always that need to be important to her. mean something.

though she knew he hurt, she felt her own pain too keenly still. she flung back:

"aap ko isse kya faraq padta hai..."

angry, ferocious cry from a girl hurt by him too many times. what difference does it make to you? the classic question.

he caught her and jerked her close...

"mujhe kya faraq padta hai?!! mujhe faraq padta hai, dammit, kyunki ..."
i can translate the line all i like, but i'll never catch the tone, the texture, the velvet under the fire, the desperate wanting wrapped in violent words. what difference does it make to me... makes a difference, dammit, because -

and the struggle starts... to finish a sentence... to release the heart into the emotion... into this moment. faraq padta hai. makes a difference. he has said that at least. at last. and as she stares at him speechless and he holds her gaze but can't say a word, yet that slight swallow of his says it all, rabba vey now racing pounding insisting yearning loving submerging.

the ring had a job to do and it's kept its promise.
brilliant writing. for asr to get to the point to say, yes damn you it makes a difference, one had to have a situation as harsh as this.

"khushi ji..." anjali came and took khushi away. she did look back of course, he quickly hid his face, but did she see it?

he stood there, aching. then his nostrils flared a bit, he tried to control himself, just the slightest swallow... yes, it was there... a tear in his heart.

rabba vey.


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