As's my take on Do Kadam. Enjoy! :)

Do Kadam – A Sublime Journey and A Sorrow that Lingers

"If a music artist wants to blossom into a full-fledged person, it's not enough 
if he knows only classical music; nor is it enough if he is well-versed only in 
raagas and techniques. Instead, he should be a knowledgeable person interested 
in life and philosophy. In his personal life there should be, at least in some 
corner of his heart, a tinge of lingering sorrow."

When I first read this profound quote by ARR, it sparked, deep inside of me, 
something very sincere and beautiful; these words may have been that little 
pinch the sleeping artist within me, who I had forgotten due to the constant 
pursuit of survival instincts and was consciously trying to restrain by 
offering traditional societal expectations as excuses, needed to rub his eyes 
and wake up! I had a natural interest in life and philosophy; it was as if 
these subjects were written into my genes, and I was always grateful to my 
parents and to my Buddhist upbringing for inculcating that sense of 
understanding and intuitive wisdom so early on in my life which made my life a 
little easier and more balanced during the typically turbulent teen-ages, 
though it often seemed to outsiders a very difficult and restrained one. It is 
this same intuitive sense of balance and understanding, now I realize, that 
drew me to the naturally symmetrical music of my life’s early heroes - ARR and 
Yanni - at the age of 13 and made me appreciate and grow with their exquisite 
music. But, until the moment of reading this quote, I had not made the 
connection between these natural interests of mine and the awe-inspiring and 
divine profession of the true artist. What is lacking within this dormant 
artist that keeps him from getting out of his cozy bed? What is this tinge of 
lingering sorrow that ARR has in a corner of his heart? What sorrow could lie 
in the heart of this man, who, to me, embodies all that is beautiful, happy, 
and heavenly? Is it this sorrow that I lack?

Years passed as an uninterrupted supply of beautiful music and incredible 
artistry from the maestro continued to subconsciously alter my spiritual state 
of being for the better while I contently lived with my latent artist trying to 
figure out what this sorrow is and how and where is it that he is going to find 
it. Then, in early 2004, I bought an album I had anxiously awaited for quite 
some time; it brought together India’s foremost painter – M.F. Hussein – in his 
second directorial venture with India’s foremost composer – A.R. Rahman! I knew 
I was going to get magic from this album well before its release! The music was 
true to expectations, very colorfully crafted, and quite deftly and intricately 
woven with ARR himself attempting to reach the abstract heights of an M.F. 
Hussein painting in the two instrumental pieces; however, one song stood out 
every time I listened to the entire album. It was something very special and 
the sounds and emotions spoke to my heart directly; yes, this song was divine! 
Do Kadam gave me so many goose-bumps each time I listened to it that I started 
to skip all the other songs (except, perhaps, for Rang Hain) and play only that 
over and over again; that is a high compliment given the quality of the entire 
album! I did not understand the Hindi lyrics (by Rahat Indori) fully at first 
except for a phrase here and there, though it was enough, I thought, to put 
together a rough sketch of what the song was about. I was wrong! This song 
could not be enjoyed in its fullest being by putting together its pieces in a 
haphazard manner like I did. In fact, to this day, I find some deeper meaning 
to the creativity in this song. As with any divinely inspired song, the first 
few notes and sounds captured my attention: it was synthetic, it was mystical, 
and it was vintage ARR! Enter the classy Sonu Nigam…

Zindagi, haath mila; saath chal, saath me aa; 
Umr-bhar saath rahi

Life, take this hand; come, come along with me;
We will walk together forever

And a gentle synth base guitar lick in the background picks up volume lifting 
you up as if you were in a helicopter taking off from earth.

Do kadam aur, sahi, do kadam aur, sahi    II

two more steps, all right, two more steps    II 

…and a happily persistent string section leads the protagonist, (given the 
movie’s context, an artist: a writer), in a casual two step walk, guiding him 
down a sun lit path towards a golden land as the music bathes you in brilliant 
bright light.

Koi suraj ki dagar, koi sone ka nagar
Chaand ke rath pe chale, jahan tehre yeh nazar

Some sunlit path, some golden city
Walk in the path of the moon, where, this gaze would freeze

And the synth lead guitar applies a slight break along the way followed by a 
wonderful panoramic scan of the scenes, which beautifully sets up the next 

Dhoop Daryaon mein hain, phir safar paon mein hain
Dil ka awara diya, doosre gaon mein hain
Aaon, chale hum wahin
Do kadam aur, sahi    IV

There’s sunlight in the rivers, there’s journey in your legs
This wandering heart’s lamp is in a different village
Come, let us go there
Take two more steps, all right IV

Just listen to the magic created by the tangent chord that is touched just for 
‘doosre gaon’ before returning immediately to the base. And the same persistent 
string section, almost turning around toward his follower from time to time, 
gesturing with his hands to make haste, never stops saying come on, two more 
steps! All right? Now as they get closer to this mysteriously beautiful place, 
the grand Timpani starts to roar from a distance and the majestic horns can be 
heard trumpeting its glory. Leading up to the next narrative, the walk’s 
momentum picks up with a lively conga layering over the soft cymbals. 

Khwaab dalte hain jahan, dil pighalte hain jahan
Aaon chalte hain wahin, woh zameen door nahin
Dosti hogi wahan, roshni hogi wahan
Us ujaale ke liye, jal chuke laakhon diye
Ek hum aur, sahi
Do kadam aur, sahi    IV

Where dreams are fulfilled, where hearts melt
Come, let us go there, that land is not too far
Friendship will be there, light will be there
to light this place, many lamps have been burnt
We might as well be one of them
Two more steps, all right    IV

After this narrative, the string section returns with the conga drums, but the 
background synth sounds fade out almost to a nightly silence, quite 
appropriately setting up the mood for the next verse.

Kisiki awaaz hai? Sun. Yeh naya saaz hai, sun
Koun rehta hain sada? chalke dekhen to zara
Raah viraan, sahi, raath sumsaan, sahi
Har ghadi saath rahe, kitne gham saath sahe
Thor ghum aur, sahi
Do kadam aur, sahi    IV

Who’s voice is calling us? Listen. This is a new melody, listen
Who goes on forever? Come, let’s go see
The path is lonely, agreed. The night is silent, agreed.
We have been together all along, we have suffered so much
Just a little more suffering, all right
Two more steps, all right    IV

The silence of the first two lines is nicely contrasted with the conga beat 
picking up the momentum again for the difficult final stretch where ‘the path 
is lonely and the night is silent’ providing the additional impetus and 
enthusiasm needed to carry on the remainder of the journey; but, the most 
beautiful moment of the song comes during ‘kitne ghum saath sahe’ when a high 
pitched synthetic harmonica lingers almost clinging by a thread to the artist’s 
soul, as he reaches this worthy final destination; and now loud and clear, the 
horns blow majestically, the timpani crash triumphantly, and a choir of angels 
welcomes him to this mystical place of infinite grandeur, sublime beauty, and 
immortality; and he knows that he has achieved every artist’s dream, and that 
all his struggles are well worth the reward: he has created his own heaven in 
his mind!

It took me, at the very least, a year to interpret all of this mind-blowing 
creativity and truly come to grips with the deeper meaning of the song; but 
after I had fully understood the lyrics and listened to the lingering harmonica 
sound during ‘kitne ghum,’ I knew I found the answer to my question: what is 
this lingering sorrow which ARR has in a corner of his heart that is essential 
to being a great artist? To create such heavenly beauty, divine feelings, and 
immortal masterpieces on earth, the true artist and the sincere creator has to 
remain pure and warm at heart no matter how vicious and cold the rest of the 
world may seem, he has to use in its fullest capacity his imaginative powers, 
which he knows he is blessed with, but requires him to let go of himself and 
find, and many-a-time, wait, for those moments of divine inspiration, knowing, 
still, that after all that mental and physical energy is spent, there is no 
guarantee that somebody would have seen, read, or heard his creation and had 
been able to enter his heart, mind, and soul and become one with him; for that 
is his divine duty: to create a spiritually beautiful heaven on earth so that 
even a single person, searching for a higher spiritual state, or maybe, hoping 
for a way out of some meaningless existence, or even just looking for a 
momentary escape from a hard day’s pain, will see, hear, feel, and begin to 
wonder, how is it possible? Where is this possible? I certainly did; and to 
express my heartfelt gratitude, for ARR’s 40th birthday, I wrote him this poem. 

A Sorrow that Lingers 

I look through the window; it's another cold winter morning. 
The skies are so gloomy, and I see no flowers blooming. 
I pour myself a hot cup of coffee and turn on the TV, 
but I see nothing of hope I was hoping to see, 
and when I sip my coffee, it is as cold as what I see! 

So I get into a hot shower, ponder the day ahead as it draws near, 
but I snap out of it before the hot water runs clear. 
I jump into my driver's seat, crank up the engine, 
and while it warms up, I slip in my favorite CD. 

Tinkling drops of water, a saccharine female voice, 
little splashes of water, and then a Ghattam grooves with spice. 
I feel a cool shake on my shoulders, and a snappy tap on my fingers 
my heart is full of warmth and I am already in motion. 

Then a moment comes which words cannot describe: 
a man leaps in joy and I feel its vibe. 
I too cry my heart out for I long to feel that joy, 
it sends a thrill up through my spine, and I know very well why 

I see a 13-year old boy in shorts and shirt on a new day to start. 
He's got a spring in his step, and a cassette in his hand, 
no, he had a Rose in his hands, and it had bloomed in his heart. 
He puts it in play and says, 'dad, that's A.R.Rahman!' 

I wake up to the calling of a soothing voice, he says 
'Zindagi haath mila, saath chal saath me aa, umra-bhar saath rahi he.. 
Do kadam aur sahi, do kadam aur sahi, 
do kadam aur sahi, do kadam aur sahi' 

And I am in motion again as I hear them beckon, 
those crashing timpani and those majestic horns, 
to a golden land where there's friendship and light 
and to the peppy conga beat, I forget life's plights 
and take two more steps with renewed delight 

I never knew a sorrow that lingers 
could bring this much happiness 
until I heard the beauty of your wonder 
and felt the depth of your greatness

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