December 8, 1943- July 3, 1971, 27 years and that’s when the story begins..
Before I explain the above dates and years, let me stop you there and give you a summary of what this blog is about and after that it’s up to you to read it.
It’s definitely not mainstream, not about travel, not about life- well maybe a little about that. Yet for the first time I can’t categorize what this blog is all about. So again, read on if you have 5-10 minutes to spare.. Open up to something new..
We all connect to music. Be that Classical Western, Classical Hindustani, Carnatic or old Hindi songs. Sometimes it could be Jazz, Rock’ n’ Roll or the mainstream Madonna and Michael Jackson Pop.
Why am I saying this? Because Music has long been established time and again that it speaks a universal language.
I don’t need to understand Swahili to appreciate African beats nor the intricacies of Ragas of Hindustani music to get carried away by Pandit Jasraj’s voice or Ravi Shankar’s Sitar.
I had explored music from a young age like any other kid . Initially there was the old Hindi and English Songs as I grew up and as I entered into what you call the rebellion adolescence I moved naturally towards Rock. But no, am not getting into specifics of it as that’s not the intent of this blog.
A couple of months ago I and a friend Bhim spontaneously tuned into listening to some classic Rock music and it started with the usual ones. With Whataspp being the biggest messenger, we shared what we discovered along the way.
It could be any kind of music, but it led us primarily to the 60’s music era, yes for those who are not aware, the 60’s were defining in a whole lot of ways than you can ever imagine.
It spawned an entire new generation that revolted against War, Establishment, the rigidity and strong morality conduct that was shoved down people’s throats.This all was discussed as we explored the music, life, struggles and rebellions of those times.
Specifically, we both got hooked onto The Doors – one of the most popular Anti establishment American Bands of those times and it’s iconic Front man Jim Morrison.
Yes I was aware of the Doors and knew their ‘popular songs’ like Roadhouse Blues, Light My fire or Love Her Madly, but more and more when we went deeper, their lesser known songs conveyed more than just the pure thrill of it.
It was deep, dark, intense and it spoke a language that could only be felt, so deeply felt.
The lyrics were heavy, made me dwell into those corners I was afraid to to touch. What was this? What was happening to me? And this was 1960’s music damn it, it was unlike The Beatles, The Rolling Stones or any other ‘different’ band of those times. I couldn’t even use the phrase, ‘It was ahead of it’s times’. It was unique, it looked forbidden.
The lyrics explored many themes, Death as a beginning, Pain, Oedipal lyrics, love that could only destruct, loneliness by depicting a city as a woman, Love as a painful experience, chaos, disorder, disengagement…
It was addictive and intelligent, one could get obsessed with the lyrics, the music that seemed out of tone and yet blended together, one couldn’t resist it. It grew on like a layer, like an impenetrable layer you couldn’t shed.
And that’s when I wanted to know more, read about the people behind it, the controversial Man who was behind those lyrics- Jim Morrison.
Who was this man that incited curiosity, excitement, controversies and urban legends even after 46 years? There was mystery, danger, aura, craziness around him even now. Right from his beginning to the end..
Long story short, I avoided all Random Internet searches on him that bordered on crazy to downright bizzare stories (I don’t trust it). I got as many books on him as I could get.
The legit books – Right from his Band mates Biographies to his friends heart felt accounts of their experiences with him ( 7 books in total), His brilliant interview tapes, short films and finally books of his poetry.
And no, I am not here to give a critical analysis on his poems either. But here is what I got. A brilliant, highly sensitive young man who wanted to just BE. To go with the flow and take what comes in life, a man who could sear your heart with his poems as well with his aura and looks.
A man who tested the limits to the very end, be that to himself or to the others around him. Always reaching the edge and ready to let go, in a second, in a blink.
A man who wanted to be listened to, to go beyond his rock star Adonis Looks and truly look into the struggles and despair we all have through his writings.
His words strike you hard because it’s so real,”Pain is meant to wake us up. But People try to hide their pain, but they are wrong. Pain is something to carry, like a radio. You feel your strength in the experience of pain. It’s all in how you carry it’.
Here was a 25 year old going way beyond his years and urging, pushing,screaming at whole new generation(s) to push the limits and make that change.Not a change for the loftier ‘greater good’ of the society but to change themselves, each one of them. To acknowledge the fear and pain.
And what I learnt was this. This man, yes this very man taught me to dismiss shame over suffering and to fight fear of pain. And it came at a time when I needed it most and I still do.
Every day comes with a struggle, mostly within the self because in the end it’s your own self you have to deal with, the rest is all periphery be that family or loved ones.
He shattered me with my notions of ‘freedom’ through his writings and thoughts. And it hit really hard when he said ‘I think it’s a lie- people claim they want to be free. Everybody insists that Freedom is what they want the most, the most sacred and precious thing a man can possess. But that’s bullshit! People are terrified to be set free- they hold on to their chains. And they fight anyone who tries to break those chains.’
Isn’t that true? For the first time I questioned myself on the idea of Freedom and the answer came like a resounding slap. In spite of all that I claim, to want to be free, to say I am free, there are those shackles I hang onto, those chains of attachment, relationships, dependency.
Right from birth till the end, when are we free really?
So James Douglas Morrison popularly known as the Lizard King, Sex symbol, Young Lion, screaming for attention through his voice, his smouldering looks, his poems influenced and changed the perceptions of someone 46 years later after his end.
27 years old, in a bathtub in Paris,a beatific smile on that beautiful face, looking upwards, his heart gave up just like that. The excesses of life and alcohol caught up with him. And he became greater and bigger in death. He finally became limitless, Infinite. The last true poet..
And as I write this, I feel a mix of feelings that one usually feels as a follower. Nostalgia,awe, a pang of sadness, pathos and missing it all.. His words continue to echo in those who are young at heart and old in soul..The saga continues..
I end this and leave you with the words of the Man himself, something for you to ponder because in the end, it’s your journey and you form your life with what you see and perceive..
Freedom Exists – James Douglas Morrison
Did you know freedom exists
In school books
Did you know madmen are
Running our prisons
Within a jail, within a gaol
Within a white free protestant
We’re perched headlong
On the edge of boredom
We’re reaching for death
On the end of a candle
We’re trying for something
That’s already found us