Love letters from another day… | entertainment | Hindustan Times
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Love letters from another day…

Afew days ago, during the course of an interview on his recent film as an actor, Memories In March, that talks about loss, National Award-winning director Rituparno Ghosh recalled going through his mother’s almirah, after her death, in search of his academic certificates.

entertainment Updated: Apr 03, 2011 13:35 IST
Roshmila Bhattacharya

Afew days ago, during the course of an interview on his recent film as an actor, Memories In March, that talks about loss, National Award-winning director Rituparno Ghosh recalled going through his mother’s almirah, after her death, in search of his academic certificates. And then he chanced upon a sandalwood box. As he was reaching out to open it, his father’s hand clamped down on his, with a quiet “no.”

Rituda learnt later that in this box were all the love letters his father had written to his mother. Today, even after his father having passed away, the box remains unopened. “I just can’t bring myself to read the letters knowing baba wouldn’t have liked it,” he says.

However, we will soon get to read 66 unpublished love letters that Elizabeth Taylor wrote to her first fiancé, William Pawley. They will go on a week-long sale online on May 19. Two years ago, RR Auction of Amhearst bought the letters from Pawley, who never married the unforgettable Cleopatra.

They began dating in March 1949, a few days after the 17-year-old star and her parents left their vacation home in Florida to move to California where her movie A Place In The Sun with Montgomery Cliff was being filmed. Liz claimed she could “never love anyone else” but by mid-November, the letters, along with the passion, had dried up.

I don’t know if Bollywood’s Tragedy Queen, Meena Kumari, wrote any letters to the loves of her life. But she did write plenty of
verses that became her means of solace when her career nose-dived.

It all began when mentor, Kidar Sharma, whom she had shyly approached wondering how much a notebook cost and how someone who didn’t have eight annas could get one. He had presented her with a bound book that he bought for 12 annas.

After going through the blank pages, she was ready to return the gift because Sharmaji hadn’t written anything in it. Humouring her, he scribbled a ‘nazm’ that brought the ecstatic smile back:

‘Tera chupke se aake
khatkatana dil ka darwaza,
Mera aawaaz dena,
tera khamosh ho jaana…’

(You come secretly and knock on the door of my heart. I shout out and you instantly become silent…)

Soon after, Meena Kumari ‘Naaz’ started penning her own lines. She wrote about the beauty of nature and of memories scattered everywhere. She wrote about the meeting and parting of travellers on the crossroads of life. She wrote about love, loss and loneliness.

Some of these verses she sang in her voice to music composed by Khayyam in an album called I Write I Recite, released by EMI/HMV. Here’s a sample:

‘Aagaaz tohotaa hai
anjaam nahiin hota.
Jab meri kahaani mein
vo naam nahiin hota.
Jab zulf kii kaalik mein
ghul jaaye koi rahi.
Badanaam sahi lekin
gumnaam nahiin hota.
Hans hans ke javan dil ke
hum kyon na chune tukare.
Har shakhs ki kismat mein
inaam nahiin hotaa...

(I see no avail, no end, Often I don’t see his presence in my life.

When someone is deeply in love with someone. One may get a bad name but one does not go into oblivion. Why should not I collect with a laugh, the pieces of my broken heart? After all, not everyone gets the reward.)

The words break my heart and bring tears to my eyes like so many of her performances. And this pleasure and pain was real and make the verses more poignant than any love letter.