February 23, 2016

Golden Era of Gujarati Ghazal’s

My friend Pranav Tripathi took me to a book launch last Friday. It was at Bhaidas hall in Vile Parle West, which is a famous place for Gujarati plays and events. I could see a huge number of Gujarati’s which indicates our love for literature and art. This was a different kind of book launch of poet Khalil Dhantejvi. His book ‘Sayba’ which is a collection of Gujarati Ghazals was followed by a Mushaira (a social gathering at which poetry is read by different poets)
People buying the books in the foyer of Bhaidas hall

Khalil ji launched his book and spoke of some incidents which had left a mark in his life. He has studied only till the fourth standard, in his village near Baroda, but that’s where he started writing Ghazal’s organically. He would be told by others that what he has written is called a Ghazal. He shifted to Baroda eventually and got a job as a manager in a company wherefrom he was trying to get an advertisement for a small magazine that he had started. He asked his boss after a few months that why was he hired as a manager in spite of being a school dropout. The reply given to him by his boss is an inspiration in itself: “If you could sell your lame magazine to me, and get an advertisement from me for something that I wouldn’t even read, you can definitely handle my clients well.” Amazing isn’t it? So that’s how he supported himself financially while also following his passion of writing. He was a manager to thirty-three commerce graduates that time and went on to become a reputed reporter and wrote books and even wrote and directed Gujarati movies.
Khalil Dhantejvi
There was a short intermission after the book launch followed by the Mushaira. Gujarati’s love food and they have this fetish of popularising different places for different dishes. Bhaidas is famous for ‘bataka vada’. The host announced, “So we have a 10 minute break – you all have to buy the book, eat vada, buy one more copy of the book for your friends and come back – make sure you do it all in 10 minutes as we will start the Mushaira dot on schedule.”
Bhaidas auditorium 
I asked Pranav bhai, “Eat vada? Is that also some Gujarati phrase meaning something else or funny though literally it means eating a vada?” Well, he was helping me understand few words and their meanings in Gujarati as they were heavy for me. He laughed and said, “No beta, you will see soon what he meant. Let’s go outside.”

We came out in the anteroom of Bhaidas and saw around 500 people of the house full hall buying and relishing bataka vada. I relished this sight too! I laughed at the sweet spirit we have of eating the most famous dish of any place and trying out new cuisines. Pranav bhai bought a plate of this really tasty, oily, and crunchy from outside and soft from inside delight for me. While he was busy socialising with his friends, I sat in a corner and relished it mirroring the people around.


The poets and actors
We got back on our seats and the Mushaira started. Some new and very talented poets like Anil Chavda and Bhavesh Bhat recited their Ghazals followed by a great rendezvous wherein some endowed actors who came dressed up as the all-time classic poets, who are no more alive. The actors recited the poetry and Ghazals in the same way they poets would. While Dharmendra Gohil recited Mareez, Chirag Vohra recited Shayda. They gave some brilliant performances, taking me back to the Golden Era of Gujarati Ghazal’s. 

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