Saturday, October 8, 2011

Lucky Ali Speaks

"I want people to be happy."
Says the singer-musician-songwriter-actor 'Lucky Ali'

Image courtesy: Vaidyanathan (ydntn photography)
I feel lucky at reproducing a few statements and quotes which were said by Lucky Ali over the years on various occasion.

Lucky Speaks on his solful music

"I'm not a trained singer, but I love singing,"

"I will sing what I want to sing," he says simply. "Just because I have a couple of hits, does not mean I turn into a full time playback singer. I should enjoy doing the work."

About his music, he says "I am not a trained musician. I play by the ear, by my instincts. And I've always been singing. It's been a serious hobby with me. And I compose my own music". "I met Aslam at a Jamaat. He wanted to write songs for me, so we got together and everything happened. We vibed well."

About his music he says "My music happens to me when I least expected it. I'm untrained and the style is free."

So how does he qualify his music? ''My music is 'Everybody's Music." I don't belong to any particular genre. But I don't understand what pop music actually is. There should be no categories. Everybody should express himself or herself in a way they feel best. I am doing what makes me feel good.''

"I discover music. I don't believe I create anything; I only discover things. I discovered my form. It may have been there all along. But I searched for it and found it; I discovered that I could express myself in it."

About the simplicity, he says, "It's the melody that is important to me. Music is not just about learning notes or playing an instrument. One has to understand music from within and then reach out. I don't like too many instruments, so I consciously try to keep it simple."

In the fast-moving entertainment industry, Ali broke away from music for few years. "I can’t churn out songs like a factory," he explains. "There has to be a reason."

About his music album he says "It's never just a couple of tracks strung together. There's always a connecting theme, even though I don't necessarily stick to it right through. First, the music arrives. I then sit with the lyricist and musicians, and tell them about the direction I am looking for – the ambience in my head. We just take it from there. I work with professionals, so the task is always an easy one"

His albums have the Sufiana feel "Yes. But it is not planned. You may get the feel of Sufi music in my songs because I am a God-fearing person. Whatever I do, I always think of pleasing God with my work," he explains.

"I’ve always held on to melody,"

About his kind of music, Lucky says, "My songs are an extension of my personality. It is music that everyone listens to. Everyone understands my music since it is simple and that's the reason why it worked. The moment I start doing difficult things for people to swallow, it will be the end to my music and my career. I come out with what I can understand and if I don't, I keep my mouth shut. My songs reflect the various relationships that I have gone through over the years, the impressions that people I met in the course of my travels left on me and generally, life itself,"

Lucky just ''walked into music, ''You have to do it yourself. You can't expect things to just fall into your lap. Do something to the best of your ability. If it feels right in your heart, it must be good. I felt that if music is divine why wouldn't there be a market for it.''

About the fierce competition in the Indian Music Industry Lucky says "Competition? I have not come to compete with anybody. I have just come to do my stuff and get out. I don't want to hurt or harm anyone. I have their good will and they have my good will."

When asked what inspires his creativity and his songs, the artist said "I think what inspires me is simplicity, life, creation among a few. Also people, parents, all things that are normal to life inspire me."

Lucky Speaks on journey and his nomad nature
''The concept of home and family was not for me. I had to leave ... ''
Lucky Ali apart from music takes interest in nature and traveling. You can call him born traveler. He says "The moment I get a chance to travel, I am out. That's the only time I can probably get to be one with whatever is around us. And you can find nature in anything. You don't have to go a hill station. People squatting on Mumbai roads are also natural."

Lucky Speaks on food he takes
"My ideal meal is a homemade meal shared with my family after thanking God for it."
"I wake up at 5 am. Even before I open my eyes I take God’s name. Later, I say my namaz. Then I have a cup of coffee. I walk around and watch the sun rise."

"My favourite vegetables are ladyfingers, potatoes, tomatoes, cucumber, green leafy vegetables, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, peppers, mushrooms and sprouts. But I am not very fond of salads. I don’t mind chewing on a few leaves now and then. When I am in a mood to binge I enjoy chaats. I don’t worry about my throat. I am very fond of seafood and vegetarian food."

"I am a dessert person, my favorite desserts are gulab jamun and kulfi. I like Indian sweets. I relish the aam ras Gujaratis make. My fruit platter would comprise apples, mangoes, litchis and cherries. My favourite cuisine is Indian food. When I say Indian, I mean the entire sub-continent including Arabic, as their food reflects a lot of our influence. European food would come a close second. It is pretty light. Chinese, Malaysian and Thai would rank third, fourth and fifth. In Indian food I like patli yellow moong ki dal with roti and raitas."

"For a recording I don’t carry my own lunch but I avoid eating outside food as far as possible. If I am hungry in the evenings I eat whatever the kids are eating, potato chips and stuff like that."

"Dad was a great cook. He always cooked something for us. He was an ace at Arabic and Iranian food. I have six brothers and two sisters and all of them are good cooks. Strangely enough though, none of us know how to make biryani. Since we all like to experiment, our artistic bent of mind finds expression in our cooking talents. My wife makes excellent stir-fried vegetables. When she’s cooking I just add my own two bits."

"Boarding school food was good and not difficult to adjust to. Besides, my mom never spoilt us. I like anybody and everybody’s cooking."

"Food should be simple and clean and made with love. The person cooking it shouldn’t treat it like a chore. I don’t like restaurant food I would rather have homemade food. When I am in town, I ask my chachas to send me khichdi. In Bangalore I like the food at MTR. I am fond of idlis and wadas. South Indian food is quite healthy."

"I don’t drink, I am a teetotaler. My favourite beverage is water. But sometimes I just forget to drink any. I don’t carry my water from home since mineral water is available everywhere. On a hot summer day ideally, I would skip a meal. Or else, eat a meal of dal rice and dahi. Coconut water is always available at home. If not, a glass of nimbu pani, would be just fine. During winter in England I like drinking café latte (coffee in milk). In the rains I love chai."

Lucky’s musical recipe for lassi
"Take a patila of milk, put in a little curd, let it go to sleep, say goodnight. In the morning, good-morning, take it out, Patiala turning curd. Put in little sugar, then put it in madani, then dhar-dik, dhar-dik dhar-dik = lassi = paise assi in India."

Lucky Speaks on his work
"I trained as a horseman in America. It was sheer physical labor and it made me feel good to make a living from hard work", He used to like that experience and he even says.

He moved on to 'Pondicherry' where he worked on an 'Oilring' for one whole year. He even cleaned tanks there. When asked about his experience at Pondicherry, he says "I was there for a full year and I enjoyed it very much. It was like excising without having to go to the gym. But after sometimes I realized that my ambitions in life were different from those of guys out there who wanted to be crane operators after 14 years! So I quickly got out".

Horse breeder, singer, carpet seller, oil rig worker, actor… how does he done so many avatars? "That’s because my plans have never worked. Everything that has happened has never been planned. I don’t want to get stuck in the rut and do only one thing. I would rather do what I feel like doing and things I feel right about. I am a nomad at heart."

Lucky Speaks on his acting and bollywood
"Bollywood was never a career option for me. That’s not my kind of music. I just do it if someone simply asks me to do it…otherwise that’s not something I really enjoy doing."
"It is just another aspect of my ability to work in a creative environment, another facet of myself as an artiste."

"As far as doing something was concerned," says Lucky, "I always assumed I would be an actor. As did the people around me."

He was actually never fond of acting. Lucky remarks, "The films I wanted to do did not earn me any money. It was a hard life and I desperately needed to earn. I wanted to get married. You cannot do that on art films and my heart bled every time I thought of doing a commercial movie. I kept asking myself: Can you do that, man? Can you do that convincingly? The money was tempting but I knew it was beyond me. So, finally, one day I stopped this battle with myself and decided to move on."

He said "Acting is hard work. You incorporate the character's personality into your own. In my experience, it has been the directors prerogative to decide what part suits who, anyway, you live and breathe the character for a long time after the work experience, which is tough because everyone keeps wondering 'what's wrong with you'. In the Indian commercial film scene you probably get desensitized because the system does not want you to think it's geared towards the unthinkable."

Lucky speaks on his life, dreams and beliefs
"Because I don’t let my success go to my head. I am always aware of the truth that no matter how big a star you are, one day you have to go six feet under the ground,"
Lucky Ali has strong belief in God, "I believe in the doing of anything that is contrary to the will of creator, for me I understand faith."

When he was asked does his being of a staunch Muslim get in the way of his music, he replied "For me music is not a Nasha, rather a gift given to me by creator, the Ulema are divided on this issue and although there were quite a few fatwas for and against I decided I didn't want to be confused and I do music in order to generate a feeling of communication, friendship, peace etc."

When his mother died in 1993, he was completely shattered. He even went on to say, "For me everything died when my mother died.”

He is very laid back kinda man and take life as it comes. He has never involved himself in planning for future. "Can't say. Not because I don't want to but because I Don't know."

He goes on to say "I can't plan. Each day bring its own glories, own sorrows and I take things as they come. I don't know how long I will have this talent. At the end of the day, whatever I might have reached, I come back home, go to sleep and the next day, it's back to square one. One has to start the day all over again. All I know is who I am. All I know is that I will never journey away from myself. I have no illusions about life. I hope, Inshallah, that once this phase is over, I am able to move onto something else. Something nice and productive. Even now music is jus a serious, passionate hobby, not my career."

He talks about his future "Futures are built on experiences of the past. What is important to me is 'now' because dwelling in the past or thinking about the future is as furtile as the other. If the 'now' is uncomplicated. The future will take care of itself."

His dreams??, He explains "I want to learn to do 'Kiart', that is the recitation of the 'Koran'. That's my dream."

"That’s home. That’s where my farm is. I am an agriculturist who grows wheat, rice, fruit…."

When asked if he was to tell his fans just one thing, "This what I would tell my son "Keep is simple and work hard."

He is one man who is always on for some search. He is "The only thing constant in nature is change" type of guy.

"God has been kind. We get our three meals a day, and I have managed to do a lot. There is no long-term plan in mind. I simply take it as it comes."

Today he has well over 54 years of experience. He has been an 'Oil Ringer', 'Carpet Cleaner', 'Horse Breeder', 'Farmer', 'Software Professional', 'Traveler', 'Singer', 'Musician', 'Actor', what not but he still feels that he has not achieved his destiny. He says
"Not till I die would I have fulfilled anything."

For more Lucky Ali stuff, Do check the LuckyWorld.pps by Kapil Chandak. It's An X'clusive Presentation containing almost everything about Lucky Ali in 163 slides

Thursday, October 6, 2011

इक रहिन भिखारी, इक रहिन डीप्स्या और इक रहिन हम (कहानी)

बहुत दिनों से कुछ नया (अज़ीब) कार्य नहीं किया था। इसलिए सभी बच्चो का इकठ्ठा किया और एक उद्यानभोज (पिकनिक) की घोषणा कर दी। उस समय मैं कक्षा आठ का विद्यार्थी होने के साथ-साथ छात्रनायक भी था। लगभग सभी सहपाठियों जोकि हर समय पढाई को नज़रअंदाज़ करने का अद्वितीय तर्क ढूँढते रहते थे ने इस प्रस्ताव पर अपनी अस्थायी स्वीकृति दे दी। मैंने हाथों-हाथ इस महायोजना की रूप रेखा तय कर ली। ठेठ राजस्थानी भोजन "दाल बाटी चूरमा" को सर्वसम्मति मिल गयी। यथासमय लगभग सभी सहपाठियों से उनकी योगदान राशि एकत्र कर ली गई। कच्ची रसोई का अधिकांश सामान हमारी ही कक्षा के एक छात्र प्रकाश खंडेलवाल* (जिसका नाम बहुत ज्यादा मोटा चश्मा लगाने के कारण डीप्स्या रखा गया था) की दूकान से यह कह कर ख़रीदा गया की बचा हुआ माल वापस कर दिया जाएगा। हालांकि इस बात पर गंभीरता से विचार नहीं किया गया की पका हुआ भोजन भला वापस कैसे होगा। समय बचाने के लिए हमने खाना घर से ही बना कर ले जाना उचित समझा। रामकुमार धोबी ने कहा की मैं सारी बाटी बनवा लाऊंगा, सुमित शर्मा* जिसको हम लोग उसकी हरकतों के कारण प्यार से भिखारी बोलते थे (गुस्से से भी भिखारी ही बोलते थे) को बेसन और गेंहू का चूरमा बनाने का काम इस बुनियाद पर दिया गया की वह अंशकालिक रूप से अपने घर में खाना बनाया करता था तथा उसके पिताजी चूरमा बनाने  में निपुण थे। दाल बनाने का जिम्मा मैंने लिया और मिर्च का ताराशंकर वर्मा ने। पत्तल-दोने, नमकीन आदि खरीद ली गयी। चटाई, दरी और अन्य सामान नियोजित तरीके से कुछ छात्रो के घर से मंगवा लिए गए। सुबह सात बजे विद्यालय के सामने सभी का मिलना निश्चित हुआ। सभी व्यवस्था करने के बाद जब मैं रात को घर पहुंचा तो मेरी बहन जिसको मैंने दाल बनाने के लिए राज़ी किया था ने बताया की कोई रामकुमार धोबी गुंथे हुए आटे की बाल्टी ये कह कर दे गया की आज वो किसी अपरिहार्य कारणों से बाटिया नहीं बनवा पायेगा। करीब चालीस बच्चे जिन्होंने अपनी जेब खर्च का बहुत बड़ा हिस्सा मुझे इस गोठ का हिस्सा बनने के लिए दिया था, कल सुबह सात बजे विद्यालय के बाहर मेरे लिए घात लगा कर बेठे होंगे और मैं यहाँ रात के नौ बजे इस सोच में हूँ की अब करीब 150-200 बाटी कौन बनाएगा। :-(

भिखारी का घर पास में ही था मैं उसके घर गया, सब कुछ बताया और अपूर्व बुद्धिमत्ता का ढोंग करते हुए मैंने उसे सारी बाटिया बनाने के लिए अभिप्रेरित किया। भिखारी ने डीप्स्या को भी इस गोपनीय और आत्मघाती योजना का अंश बनाने का प्रस्ताव रखा। यहाँ यह बताना सारगर्भित होगा की भिखारी और डीप्स्या ख़ुदग़रज़ी के कारण सशर्त अच्छे मित्र थे क्योंकि दोनों ही विद्यालय के शीर्ष उपेक्षित छात्रो में आते थे। करीब तीन घंटे तक बिना किसी महान अप्रिय घटना के हम सारी बाटिया बनाने में सफल हो गए। सुबह पांच बजे उठ कर तैयार होकर में भिखारी के घर पहुंचा जहाँ पर डीप्स्या पहले से ही अपनी उपस्थिति दर्ज करवा चुका था। भिखारी ने एक ठोस दावा किया की चूंकि उसके पिताजी ने चूरमा बनाते समय थोडा सा घी अपनी तरफ से और मिलाया था इसलिए उसका छोटा भाई  गंजू*  भी बिना योगदान राशि के गोठ में चलने का हक़दार बनता है। डीप्स्या की आरम्भिक आपत्ति के बात मैंने बेमन से अपनी सहमति दे दी। डीप्स्या के घर से बाटिया लेते समय मौका देख कर उसने ने भी दांव चल दिया। डीप्स्या के अनुसार उसका छोटा भाई  सुरेश*  भी बिना योगदान राशि के गोठ में चलने का स्वत्वाधिकारी हैं क्योंकि उसने भी कल रात रहस्मयी तरीके से कुछ आटा बाटियो में मिलाया था। बात पूरी होने से पहले ही भिखारी और डीप्स्या में महासंग्राम छिड़ गया। भिखारी ने कहा की कपिल तुम्हे पता नहीं कल रात को तुम्हारे जाने के बाद डीप्स्या ने कुछ बाटिया खा ली थी। डीप्स्या ने भी प्रत्याक्रमण करते हुए कहा की कपिल तुम्हारे जाने के बाद इस भिखारी ने भी कुछ चूरमा घर के लिए अलग से निकाल लिया था। चूंकि मेरे लिए इन दोनों की ये हरकते नयी नहीं थी इसलिए मैंने इसे गंभीरता से नहीं लिया।

हम पांचो (मै, भिखारी, गंजू*, डीप्स्या और सुरेश* ) सारा सामान ले कर विद्यालय के सामने पहुंचे। थोड़ी ही देर में सभी सहपाठी एकत्रित हो गए लेकिन सुनील सामरिया जो की वर्तमान में भी मेरे  अभिन्न मित्र है वहां किसी गूढ, गहन और गुप्त प्रयोजन से नहीं आये। चूंकि सुनील सामरिया के बिना ज्यादा मज़ा नहीं आता इसलिए मैंने कुछ छात्रों को मान मनोव्वल के लिए सुनील सामरिया के घर भेजा। घर पास में ही था कुछ ही देर में सुनील सामरिया दूर से आता हुआ दिखाई दिया। ये देख कर भिखारी और डीप्स्या का सब्र कब्र में दफ़न हो गया। दोनों बोले की ये तो बिना पैसे दिए गोठ जाएगा हमने तो पैसे दिए है जाने के लिए, अगर ये जाएगा तो हम तो नहीं जाने वाले । इतना कह कर दोनों ने खाने के सामान का थैला नीचे रख दिया और कहा की हमारे हिस्से का खाना हम को दे दो और हमारे भाइयो का भी दे दो। एक बार फिर मुझे सत्य का ज्ञान हुआ की क्यों इनको लोग भिखारी और डीप्स्या कहते है। इस से पहले की मैं इन दोनों की हरकतों के बारे में कोई दूरगामी फैसला लेता, सुनील सामरिया ने दूर से आते हुए अपने हाथ में एक नोट निकाल कर हवा में लहराया। नोट देखते ही दोनों ने अपने दृढ विचारो में तब्दीली लाते हुए खाने के सामन का थैला उठाकर कहा की चलो भाई पिकनिक के लिए देरी हो रही है।

हम सभी वहां से लगभग चार-पाँच किलोमीटर दूर स्थित रामनिवास बाग़ पहुंचे। पास में ही चिड़ियाघर और अल्बर्ट संग्राहलय था। तय हुआ की दो लोग रूक कर सारे सामन का ध्यान रखेंगे और बाकि लोग चिड़ियाघर और अल्बर्ट संग्राहलय देखने जायेंगे। भिखारी और रामकुमार धोबी रुके। वापस लौटने पर हमने देखा की कुछ अमरुद और केले जो की हमने विद्यालय से रवाना होते  समय रास्ते में ख़रीदे थे के टूकड़े वहां  ज़मीन पर फैले थे और दुसरे फल भी कम थे। अनुसंधान करने पर भिखारी ने बताया की हम लोगो को नींद आ गयी और शायद कुछ गिलहरियों और चिड़ियों ने इन्हें खा लिया होगा। उनकी इस  परी कथा को ना मानने का कोई उपयुक्त कारण हमारे पास नहीं था । हालाँकि ये आज भी एक अनसुलझा रहस्य है की जो छिलके वहां बरामद हुए थे वे किसी चाकू से छीले हुए थे और गिलहरियों और चिड़ियों ने उन्हें चाकू से कैसे छीला होगा?

*परिवर्तित नाम

रचियता: कपिल  चाण्डक 
Author: Kapil Chandak

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