In Corona times – bahon me chale aao

Sudhirendar Sharma*

In the corona times of social distancing, to remain calm while strengthening human bonding is critical. But how to do so when no one even dares to shake hands leave aside any attempt at offering a hug. Need it be said that power of touch and an offer of embrace has no substitute to comfort one-another for reducing anxiety and stress. After all, we need hugs to remain happy and healthy as it helps the desired level of ‘oxytocin’ flow in our bodies.

Nature has gifted all primates with limbs to embrace, be it the newly born or an adult. Each of the species run into each other’s arms which poet Mazrooh Sultanpuri has versed to mean बाहों के दरमियाँ, दो प्यार मिल रहे है. This 1996 duet from ‘Khamoshi’ by Hariharan and Alka Yagnik has melody, but my sense is that though the music captures the pain of loss but the rendering falls short of conveying the deeper meaning of ‘words’. To me मिल यूँ के दौड़ जाएँ, नस नस में बिजलियाँ reflects poetic expression of what we call oxytocin, but I doubt if listeners feel that way. Do you? (

Dadasaheb Phalke laureate Majrooh had teamed up with RD Burman earlier for a direct invitation for ‘embrace’ from the beloved – बाहों में चले आओ, हमसे सनम क्या परदा. Without doubt the music uplifts partly seductive or pleading lyrics. This 1973 number from ‘Anamika’ remains frontrunner among songs of this genre, and has been recomposed for one latest movie too.

For those of you who might be wondering what I am trying to convey when we can’t even come close to eachother, need no less than an imagination to feel the power of ‘embrace’. Listen to Shailendra’s lyrics on a Shankar-Jaikishan’s composition for 1963 film ‘Ek Dil Sau Afsane’ to get a sense of it. How a mother is showering love and affection on the child by seeking an embrace with a celestial body ( Don’t miss listening to this soft composition that conveys the deep feelings of bonding.

Back to the romantic embrace. Can we deal with this subject without the mention of eternal romantic Sahir Ludhianvi? His lyrics for multi-starrer classic ‘Waqt’ (1965) हम जब सिमट के आप की बाहों में reflects the unbelievable power of embrace लाखों हसीन ख़्वाब निगाहों में आ गए. I am sure it will let many of you go down memory lane to replay those moments of yore. Don’t stop this from happening. You will see your muscles relax and mind calm (

In this note I am leaving you with few songs to feel the range of emotions. And, finally I leave you with another of Sahir’s reflective lyrics on a Rajesh Roshan’s composition – modern in reflection and racy in rendition. Till social distancing remains the norm, let the exception of imagining moments gone by be our oxytocin…….

Dr Sudhirendar Sharma
7 Triveni, A6 Paschim Vihar
New Delhi 110063, India
09868384744 : 91-11-47070392


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