I love Facebook Memories! Today I got this pop up in my memories from 2014, the year we took a trip to India. My husband had a work trip and I HAD to tag along! My major interest in India was – Mumbai for Bollywood, Delhi for Shopping and Agra for seeing my family roots (yes, that was my top agenda, more than the Taj Mahal! My grand father’s great grandfather has a tomb there, he was supposedly a very well known man).
There are numerous stories I can tell you from my trip, like being on location of Bollywood movie shoots and meeting movie stars, visiting old Delhi and the cycle rickshaw ride to go to Mirza Ghalib’s haveli, or actually seeing my ancestral home in Agra (Let me know if you want to know more about those as well). It was a SUPERB trip, and its hard to pick what I enjoyed the most.. but one of the most significant ones is the experience of meeting Gulzar sahab at his home in Paali Hill, Mumbai.
Thanks to our lovely hosts, who arranged a meeting with the legend himself, at his home. Though who doesn’t love his poetry, but my husband and brother are crazy fans of his work. And unfortunately my husband, Mohsin couldn’t make it to the meeting because of some unforeseen immigration issues! (Couldn’t mess with that! we had to come back home too :)). My brother, on the other hand, gave me a letter to give it to him and he said if I can make him talk on the phone with Gulzar sahab, it will be as sacred for him as doing a hajj. Urdu literature is what he breathes and lives in and Gulzar is one the Gods of his world! (Please don’t judge and bring religion in here.. its just an example to show how passionate he is about Urdu literature).
So I went alone, nervous and excited, both at the same time. I had NO idea what to say to him.. I mean.. I felt at a loss of words in front of a man who makes magic with his words!
The driver pulled off in front of a very humble house in Paali Hill, Mumbai. As I stepped out of the car, I saw Gulzar sahab’s son in law, who we had met earlier and I felt so much at ease that I knew someone! He walked me in the drawing room and made me feel comfortable, while we talked about what a shame it was that Mohsin couldn’t join us!
It felt surreal! Was I really sitting in Gulzar sahab’s house? Is there where he wrote the movie Ijazat? or the songs we grew up on?? And then he entered the room, in his crisp white signature Kurta Pajama, and my heart probably skipped a beat or two.. the man, the legend, Gulzar sahab was standing right in front of me. I said ‘adaab’ to him and he greeted me warmly! All my fears vanished, as he talked to me like he knew me since forever!
Such a warm, down to earth and amazing person! He spent half an hour with me .. we talked about Ghalib, our visit to the haveli, his timeless song ‘ladki ki kathi’, his movie ‘Ijazat’ and much more..
He listened patiently to my brother’s and my husband’s love for him and his work. He read the letter my brother sent for him and even wrote him a reply! He spoke to my brother on the phone as well. I told Gulzar sahab, what it meant for him and now I can call him Hajji sahab :).
I took a Mirza Ghalib’s DVD for him to sign for Mohsin, but Gulzar sahab went in and brought two of his collection of nazams and songs and signed it for Mohsin and my brother as a gift.
I told him that there is no children’s song as eternal and timeless as ‘Ladki ki kathi‘. I grew up listening to that song and now my kids love it as much.
He said, “bachoun ke ganay to aise hi hotey hain..”
I said not all of them and no song has been going on for generations and generations like this one..
” aap ke aur aap ke bachoun ke liye hi likha hai mein ne woh”….
I was so overwhelmed, I could cry!
Definitely one of the most memorable days of my life!