Wednesday, November 03, 2010

Winds of Change

(O WILD West Wind)
Drive my dead thoughts over the universe
Like wither'd leaves to quicken a new birth!
And, by the incantation of this verse,

Scatter, as from an unextinguish'd hearth
Ashes and sparks, my words among mankind!
Be through my lips to unawaken'd earth

The trumpet of a prophecy! O Wind,
If Winter comes, can Spring be far behind?

-From Ode to the West Wind by P B Shelly. The entire poem is

I will not attempt to write about the poem over here, you know how much I fear poems. I only know this poem because of the famous last line, which is often used to dispel gloom. In the above poem, the poet is seeking a rebirth, a renaissance with the help of West Wind. Wind is used as a metaphor for change in poems, movies, fiction etc. It is rather the catalyst for change. Wind would bring in new things, whether good or bad, does not matter, but it does what it does. Wind blows away the dead matter. Language, be it English or Kannada or Hindi, spoken as well as written, has undergone a tremendous change in the last two decades. Whenever my mother lamented about degeneration of Kannada, I would argue that what has to go will go. If it lacks staying power then it will be swept away by the winds of change, was my argument. Man developed languages, he set rules for them and hence he should have the freedom to change the rules as well. Discarding things in the face of opposition can give a great amount of satisfaction. And there can be beauty in the new way also. So I admired slangs in English or Kannada, they were 'cool'. Later when texting/smsing/short text messaging became a rage, I liked to use them extensively. To send cryptic emails using standard abbreviations, inventing new ones was fun. B.Russel used to correspond in old English it seems, using 'thou' 'thee' 'thyself' etc in his letters. So using abbreviations, alphabets instead of words gave me a weird feeling of liberation, because you were flouting the rules of grammar, spelling etc. It was as if they were the 'thee' 'thou' of modern age. But I don't know what wind has blown over me now, I am done with the new form. I cringe whenever the columnists, especially in TOI, use lower case for I and use other abbreviations. Since the new language is shaped by the necessity of sending an sms or a twit using limited characters, it should be used for those purposes only. Why use it in newspapers where space is not a constriction? Language is not a mere means, an embellishment for thoughts. Whenever I read anything nowadays, I see myself looking at both the content as well as the form. Earlier grammar, syntax etc didn't matter much. But it makes a difference now. So much so that I have digged out Wren and Martin which was given to my sister when she got in to IV Standard! I don't know how long this phase will last. I should wait for another wind perhaps!

PS: A post about Wind was supposed to follow the water, fire posts. But I don't follow rules even if it was set by me or may be if it was especially set by me! Anyway two images from movies which  have windy element associated to them that I have been able to quickly recall is mentioned below. 

a) Vianne played by Juliette Binoche in her red shoes standing against the Wind on the dock, perhaps waiting for the return of Roux played by Johnny Depp is one of the poignant images from the movie
Chocolat. There are other intense scenes associated with the wind in the movie for eg Vianne and her daughter answering the call of the north wind, wind blowing through the fields, Vianne boldly throwing the ashes in to the wind etc. But Vianne standing against the wind to quell the storm raging in her head is the most remembered scene.
b) I would have gladly forgotten Kamal Hassan's (1) badly scripted, badly directed, badly acted movie Hey Ram but for the last scene in the movie where Tushar Gandhi opens the windows with the picture of Gandhiji in Saket Ram's room. As he opens one window after the other, the whole outside world emerges. This instantly reminded me of Gandhiji's famous words 'I do not want my house to be walled in on all sides and my windows to be stuffed. I want the cultures of all the lands to be blown about my house as freely as possible. But I refuse to be blown off my feet by any.”

(1) I think Kamal Hassan is the most overrated actor in India. I have liked him in
Sadma, Mahanadi  and to some extent in Pushpak and Sagara Sangam. But I think I liked Sagara Sangam more because of Illayaraja's music than widely appreciated story and performance of the lead actors. The innocence of Balu in this movie gets personified again on a larger scale by Kamal in Swati Muthyam. I was completely put off by that movie. In most of the other movies Kamal's acting is to be tolerated. He just goes overboard. In Mahanadi its the subdued yet a strong, intense performance which overshadows the usual Kamal Mannerisms. I don't know who directed it but its an extraordinary film with a great climax which compensates for all the terrible things that might haunt you forever.


Atoorva said...

yes this phase will last till next round of wind. Interesting topic to write a post. Its funny how we associate with the elements of nature according to our moods. Winds that will blow all the traces of past and breeze that will lull you to sleep. May be wind that will remind you of something/someone.( Remember"Jhoomti chali hawa yaad aa gaya koi" ) and also the very peaceful contemplative wind..........Am glad you are writing regularly these days. Will wait for other posts.

alice said...

:-) Thanks for regular in reading me!
Bollywood and Wind! There must be so many songs. Sridevi's Hawa Hawai. No, it was not that hawa! Chupke chupke chaliri puruvaiaih. I will think about it.