Intezaar- The Feeling Of Longing!
“Jaanta hai ki woh na aayenge,
phir bhi, masruf-e-intezaar hai dil“
We spend time in longing, the time sells us in its wait. But this lustre of Intezaar never fades. Our being is made of these speckles of Intezaar interspersed with the non-wilting of hope. This endless gyre of wait, when read across literatures, time and space hasn’t failed to spread its wafting effervescence. The sweet of tinge of longing has kept us on tenterhooks, would it be wrong to say?
"Our spirits, indomitable.
Our courage, unsurpassed.
Our resilience, unbreakable.
Our fulfillment, Intezaar!"
We have no destinations to reach, no roads to leap, no rivers to cross, and mountains to conquer. Intezaar is our destination, the journey and the onset. There is no dearth, no ending in intezaar, you flow into its abyss.
My first brush with the idea of intezaar was when I started learning Bharatanatyam. In one of the Varnam (a repertoire of Bharatanatyam) that I learnt was based on a story of the Nayika lamenting on this longing she pines for her beloved, Lord Murugan/Kartikeya. The entire piece is set in this intezaar for their union, which she thinks would happen soon, but never does. She waits, thinks, cries, mulls and has multitude of thoughts. Similar to her longing, is her appreciation for her Nayak, it is magnanimous and never-ending. Nayika finally exits the stage in her longing, when she realises that her wait is endless, and that Nayak would probably never arrive. And, then the curtains draw. I always thought that the story is incomplete, that the Nayak has to arrive, their union is to be made. But I learned with time.
Nayak doesn't necessarily have to arrive for their union to be completed. The union lies in this intezaar that occupies Nayika's attention, this rustling of emotions that she experiences, the love she holds, her being is one with her lover without them needing to be physically united. Similarly, who can talk about Intezaar without the mention of Farida Khanum's mellifluous voice.
"Haaye Marr Jayenge
Hum Toh Lutt Jayenge
Aisi Baatein Kiya Na Karo"
This heightens the impending wall of intezaar about to be drawn between two lovers at the crack of dawn in the form of Hijr (separation). Even in the present moment, the poet, though wistfully, soaks in the yet to arrive moments of separation, the intezaar. This circle of wait due to begin doesn’t scare the lovers, for the memories would tenderly wrap them in the embers of love as it slowly sends out the warmth called intezaar!
In one of Meera bai's bhajans, where she writes:
"किणु संग खेलूं होली,
पिया तज गए हैं अकेली"
She is not oblivious to the wait and longing, rather has accepted this intezaar and revels in its colours!
One cannot go without mentioning the most recent adaptation of the folklore Laila Majnu (2018) on the 70mm screen, apart from the stellar performances by the lead. The secret to its success lies in the theme of intezaar around which the story-telling has been layered. The slow descent of Qais into Majnu is not because of love, but the lack of it. The ‘dance of madness’ is not in the desire for Laila, but in this glooming intezaar that keeps them apart. Ultimately, as fate has it, Qais as Majnu wanders not alone, but with Laila, now, his omnipresent deity. It is all he thinks and breathes. In one of the dialogues he says,
“Intezaar....Lamba intezaar....Bas thoda aur intezaar....
Divorce ka intezaar....Fir iddat ka intezaar....
Saamne khadi hai, fir bhi intezaar....
Bas intezaar....yeh intezaar pagal kardega mujhe”
And so it happens. Such is the junoon of intezaar, the wise cannot escape and the fools wouldn’t want to.
The enormity of intezaar is immense in its propensity of even making the fruit laden trees bow, in their wait of being plucked. To end with, I would quote Parveen Shakir, “Woh na aayega humein maloon tha iss shaam bhi, intizaar uska magar kuch soch kar karte rahe.” The intezaar has usurped generations, wand ho’d understand it better than the ones living in the pandemic times!
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