The fleeting moment of immense possibilities

Sudhirendar Sharma*

I often wonder if we value a ‘moment’ (पल) as much or more than every other aspect of existence! While time does hold due importance, पल disappears before we even think about it. But it is a spur of a moment that separates life from death, and hence immensely valuable. I am sure we each have had miraculous moments in our lives, that we narrate with awe and thankfulness. Although technically each ‘पल’ is considered to be worth 24 seconds, in reality it could be as less as a micro or a milli-second. Its significance is what matters, and nothing else.

पल is what makes all the difference between ‘Love’ or ‘Separation’, ‘Joy’ or ‘Misery’, Failure’ or ‘Success’, ‘Certainty’ or ‘Risk’, and ‘Life’ or ‘Death’. Who may know it better than Milkha Singh who lost the Olympic Medal by a whisker at the Rome Olympics in 1960.  And, ask those who fell in love at that moment, and they will marvel at the thought of that ‘पल’. But the ones who have been on the other side of it may want to forget that पल. Such is its range that पल means different to different people at different times.

पल has been used by poets to evoke multiple emotions and expressions. The sheer mention of the word पल reminds us of two popular songs: Sahir Ludhianvi’s autobiographical expression in film Kabhi-Kabhi – मैं पल दो पल का शायर हूँ, पल दो पल मेरी कहानी है. पल दो पल मेरी हस्ती है, पल दो पल मेरी जवानी है; and Kalyanji-Anandji’s memorable composition from 1973 film Blackmail– पल पल दिल के पास, तुम रहती हो. These songs touch two ends of the spectrum, first evokes ‘vulnerability’ while the second reflects ‘eternal hope’. Both are touchy numbers worth every word, beautifully composed.

Rajesh Roshan composed Lucky Ali’s disco number from Kaho Na Pyar Hai draws philosophical sense in saying एक पल का जीना फिर तो है जाना, खाली हाथ आए थे हम, खाली हाथ जाएँगे. Gulzar seeks all to make the most of each moment in his Kishore Kumar song from 1979 movie Golmaal with it’s rich and meaningful lyrics आने वाला पल जाने वाला है, हो सके तो इस में ज़िंदगी बिता दो – पल जो ये जाने वाला है. Poets and lyricists have used पल to express deeper meanings of extentialism. 

However, पल can be fleeting and yet enjoyable. Majrooh Sultanpuri captures protagonist’s swinging moods through पल भर में ये क्या हो गया, वो मैं गयी वो मन गया in 1977 movie Swami. When it comes to being together with uncertainty on being together the next moment, there is nothing better than Sahir’s पल दो पल का साथ हमारा पल दो पल के याराने हैं इस मंज़िल पे मिलने वाले उस मंज़िल पर खो जाने हैं from the film The Burning Train

Let me leave you with a romantic song on पल that is youthful and ever green. Sung by none other than inimitable Kishore Kumar for composer duo Kalyanji-Anandji in 1970 blockbuster Johny Mera Naam, it has ever young Dev Anand and dream girl Hema Malini in it. While watching this naughty and colorful song, do count the number of windows Dev Saab opens during singing it.

*Sudhirendar Sharma is a environmental journalist and a development professional. His interest in music is related to his childhood that lay immersed in musical memories.


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