Nepali Kalasahitya Dot Com Pratishthan


Ashok Silwal

Musical Talk

Interview / Ashok Silwal

Flowery World in Flower’s Eyes… -Durgalal Shrestha

[In the early days, the moment I listened to ‘flowery world in flower's eyes’ my heart would leap up.Lyrics, vocal, rhythm, music and the scene broadcast on the television. All of these phenomena would cause a deep silence to me. So, I wanted to fathom Durga Lal Shrestha’s depth more. Similarly, I wished more proximity with Ani Chhoing Dolma who sang this song penned by Durga Lal. I went through the book In Flowers Eyes twice which incorporates Dolma’s life.
However, I had known Nhew Bajracharya, the composer of this song for a long time. One day, some years back, I reached to Durga Lal’s residence.]

Ashok: Some time back, in Bhrikuti Mandap, a poetry recitation program was organized. My daughter Aditi followed me to attend the program. The way you recited poem, it was so impressive to me that I realized a poem was not only words, not only pronunciation but physical gesture, too. These days, sometimes, both of us, father and daughter, recite poems in your style.
Durga: Is it so? Okay!

Ashok: You recited poem invoking vira rasa like a trembling soldier about to go to battlefield. So interesting!
Durga: Okay!

Ashok: I had seen you on television screen many times earlier but I got startled as I listened to you in person.
Durga: Okay! Thank you.

Ashok: Many people, at present, know you in the form of the lyricist of the powerful song. 'flowery world in flower’s eyes…' But we realized your poem recitation style is tremendous. Both of us, father and daughter ,are fascinated.
Durga: Yes...!

Ashok: I want to know which your best poem is. And let me know how the poem was composed.
Durga: You can say likeable. But I don’t think I have ever been able to write an excellent poem.

Ashok: It’s your greatness to say so.
Durga: Perhaps I have been travelling through the path that leads to the philosophy of the best type of poem because I am not fully honest but try to maintain honesty. In this process, where honesty maintained, I would like to call it poetry. However, I am not fully sure about it. In fact, I encounter with poetry only at the moment when I honestly get lost without any false acting. The moment I feel my every breath is poetry. It’s not any exaggeration what I am telling you. My dissatisfaction is not quenched yet. My devotion in poetry is still insufficient but I am unknown about the reason whether this is my fault or circumstance has caused so. Hence I have not received the grace of prototypical poetry. Many people call me a poet. Not to tell a lie, I am not a poet in fact. I think there is a lyricist within me. From the very beginning of my career, I was an artist of gai jatra drama. I would write dramas. In course of time I was compelled to write lyrics. In the primary phase I copied the melody of Hindi songs. Later on, I came in touch with many composers and my habit developed to flow with their melody. Nhew Bajracharya is one of them. During our talk he gets me to listen to melody. I try to concentrate on it and feeling emerges. My weakness is my hands don’t function properly due to old age. I orally translate my feelings into words and he notes it down. I continue flowing. He captures it.

Ashok: Well, I got it.
Durga: This is the way and so was in the past, too. Melody of song keeps vibrating within me. Along with the melody I try to materialize my feeling in lyrics.

Ashok: In your case, first music and only then lyrics either in poetry or song. Am I right?
Durga: Yes. Others may write poem when they have chhanda (a verse pattern). I can’t do so. I need something else. Therefore, I am emphasizing that others might call it poem, to say frankly, it’s no more than a song to me. This is what I feel from within.

Ashok: Nevertheless, a poem in itself is a song if it is composed and sung. Again a poem doesn’t exist poem if it lacks musical quality.

Durga: No, no. Let’s not say so. A poem is possible without music but it is difficult to be a song.
Ashok: Now, let’s talk about the song ‘Flowery world in flower’s eyes’.

Durga: The whole nation was at the phase of political transition and terrible violence was going on everywhere. People, who were undergoing such situation, had a deep sense of ontological insecurity in their psyche. Terror was reigning whether you lived in huge mansions or poverty-stricken huts. One day, out of the blue, two people came to me without pre-information. I am a simple guy. People need not maintain formality to see me. My son is like my friend, too. Nhew directly came to my room. He had carried a guitar. A young lady followed him. She introduced herself, “It’s me Ani Chhoing Dolma.” Then Nhew said, “She is going to sing a song. I have melody and tuning as well. Only lyrics needed.”

Ashok: Then after?
Durga: I keenly observed the young lady. I understood many things about her by observing her spiritual-looking dress-up. Nhew sat there where you are sitting now and Ani on the side. I listened to the melody while the entire nation was bearing fright. The lady indistinctly pronounced something. My eyes stuck on Ani’s appearance. Ani was beautiful. Moreover, her dress-up perfectly suited her. I couldn’t know what impact of the dress-up befell on me. Perhaps the impact of her apparel is reflected in the poem. Had she been merely a beautiful damsel my poem would be romantic. The attire of the damsel and its beauty perhaps transferred in my poem. I don’t know such explanation. The whole poem completed within five to seven minutes. In fact, I haven’t written the poem as though Ani’s face and her appearance was such a tree in which feeling was sprouting in the form of words.

Ashok: Oh my goodness!
Durga: Really speaking I just collected the words; I don’t think I wrote it. I felt as if I collected fruits ripen on the tree. ‘Flowery world in flower’s eyes’ is a flower bloomed on Ani’s face and appearance.

Ashok: Sound was revealing over yonder. Nhew was playing the guitar. Ani was mixing her vocal.
Durga: Ani was humming the melody. At first, Nhew thoroughly sang the song along with the music. And then Ani followed him. She didn’t sing at first but just gave company. However, in Ani’s vocal the song became lively. Her vocal was so impressive I got surprised. Can a composer sing? Nhew also practiced vocal but I didn’t find musical element in his attempt. I sensed music when Ani sang it. The element in the song that could touch everyone I haven’t knowingly put. Perhaps I unknowingly attempted to take a bit farther to the people terrified amidst frightful surrounding.

Ashok: Is it unknown to you?
Durga: Yes, unknown. But this feeling is vested in the song. However, I didn’t realize this sense of responsibility prior to its writing.

Ashok: Do you write almost all of your songs this way?
Durga: I don’t say all but some poems I wrote that way as a result of getting extremely romantic. Sometimes having been involved in politics I have written ‘I am burning fire’ type of things as well. My experience of playing roles in drama is strange. Many people have suffered while acting roles with me in dramatic performance. I have ruthlessly beaten the tenant farmer in connection to playing the landlord’s role. Good or bad habit? Such habit repeated while playing drama, too.

Ashok: The first line rose that way in ‘flowery world in flower’s eyes’. How about other lines?
Durga: The entire poem did sprout spontaneously that way. But I don’t like to tell it. The lyrics was prepared. That’s all. Anyway, the reality is what I said. You ought not to understand Durgalal said everything for his self-appreciation. In fact, I never needed hard labour in lyrics. It was all inspiration.
In the past, I was a little accustomed to take hard drinks. I know when people have to take some advantage from me they got me involved at drinks along with them. To me, it opens a way, through which, the creator within me proceeds ahead.

Ashok: Were you slightly drunk from the early morning on the day you created the lyrics of ‘flowery world in flower’s eyes’?
Durga: I don’t think so at all.

Ashok: Only in the past you drank?
Durga: Yes, almost sixty years back.

Ashok: Did you start drinking while writing?
Durga: Not in the beginning. Habit developed in friend’s circle. When you write after taking drinks it feels like smoking. In the past, I wrote many poems watching the wriggling movement of cigarette smoke. Later on, I gave up smoking and did hold the pen and in absence of smoke I felt as though there was no firmament in the firmament.

Ashok: Don’t you drink these days, while writing?
Durga: Not these days.

Ashok: Did you drink while writing ‘in flower’s eyes’?
Durga: No, I didn’t.

Ashok: How do you write poetry?
Durga: There are many poets and poems. Other poets might write when frenzy overpowers them. I am different from them. Merely frenzy doesn’t let me write poetry. Additionally, I need music and melody.

Ashok: You mean to say that might be bird’s chirping or human commotion.
Durga: Whatever it is- I need a melody.

Ashok: Do you recall your first poem?
Durga: I have to say sorry.

Ashok: Did you write thousands of poems?
Durga: Why not? But it sounds like exaggeration. So much I wrote.

Ashok: Beyond your calculation?
Durga: I wrote many dramas. Much more lyrics. I don’t have record. I write almost everyday but nowadays I feel difficulty. My handwriting was more beautiful than poetry. An anthology of my poems has been published on my own handwriting.

Translation: Suresh Hachekali

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Transcreator :
Mahesh Paudyal 'Prarambha'
Kumar Nagarkoti
Suresh Hachekali
Keshab Sigdel

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