Defining the indefinite

Sitting outside our #HouseInTheHills, the air fragrant with the scent of dope growing wild, listening to this technological wonder called Carvaan that I tote around the house like Linus would his security blanket, we watch Dusk settle her deep mantle around the sleepy village we are fortunate to call home. Almost on cue the fireflies start appearing to decorate the gloom. One little guy doesn’t manage it, so he calls scores of his friends and together they embroider the dark with the mukaish of their lights.

And as though it were a well rehearsed play in a 4D theatre of the senses, the dulcet tones of Mohammed Rafi enquire lazily, Hum aap ki aankhon mein, is dil ko basa le, toh? And Geeta The Voice Dutt snaps sexily, ‘Hum moond ke palkhon ko, is dil ko sazaa de, toh’? That teasing, questioning ‘Toh’ at the end of each sentence, does me in. Very high quality romance this. The easy familiarity of two consenting adults playing a high stakes game of seduction, knowing fully well that the end is going to be a rather happy one. The tone is always conversational, of equals, indulging in an innuendo-laced, poetic foreplay. My favourite part is when Rafi mock threatens, Hum aapko khwaabon mein la la ke satayenge, and Dutt sniffs unfeelingly, Hum aapki aankhon se, neendein hi uda le, toh? I want to translate just this one verse for my non-hindi speaking friends,

He- What if I were to drag you into my dreams every night?

She- What if I never let you sleep?

In the post-romance age of ‘No-means-no’, I find myself treading carefully to defend this exceedingly gorgeous song written by Saahir for the 1957 film Pyaasa. Bollywood has done a great disservice to the notion of consent with scores of songs of the Pyar-Takraar-Inkaar-Ikraar variety where a stalker boy chases virgin girl around town as she spiritedly refuses his advances until the very end when she simpers gratefully, into his arms, the fight inexplicably having left her. While an external protocol set in stone, that No Absolutely Means No, is wholly necessary till an entire generation comes of age, but is it at the cost of losing nuance, which is an internal compass, a whole body experience, where all senses are required to be alive in anticipation of all the cues a partner might provide?

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