In the early sixties while I was in college, (pre-university course), we had an English lecturer, a suave, dignified, strict, smart-looking, tall, dark and handsome young man, who dressed himself in spotless white most of the time, whom we called just ‘P.S’. I do not remember his exact name.
I normally used to sit on the second or third bench especially, for the English class, it was a treat to listen to his impeccable but clear English, (oxymoron, eh? But true in his case.).But that day I chose to sit on a way-back bench, for I was felling groggy, after having seen a late night movie the last night, and after that,, stayed awake some more to boot, to do some arrears of math homework.
I remember, PS, sir, was teaching, “The Happy Prince” of Oscar Wilde. It was lovely and soothing , to hear him utter, “swallow, swallow, little swallow “.
Then I awoke startled from my ‘delicious slumber’, and find to my dismay, the tall teacher bearing down on me, and feigning benevolence, mimic in K.L.Saigal’s immortal voice , “soja, soja, soja Raja Kumaraa, So Ja.”
I mumbled my regrets and offered my lame excuses, but the unrelenting mentor advised me politely to go home and there, again, “Soja, Raja Kumaraa! Soja.” to my heart’s content. He gave me leave from another session of his which fell on the next day, too. Here is a link that takes you to ‘The Happy Prince and His Little Swallow” http://www.online-literature.com/poe/177/
I remember to have a book, entitled, ‘Aspects of Wilde’. It was about, the miserable life of a wretch, that Oscar Wilde had led in a hovel in France, far off in time, place and station from the glitter, pomp and glory he was used to, in his hey day, after he was discredited for his misdemeanour.The book contained several episodes, mostly about his piteous condition, but also about his famed wit, which did not chose to leave him in his adversity, as the little swallow persisted with his happy prince.
Check out the following , labour -of-love video clip about Kundan Lal Saigal’s song, Soja Raja Kumari, and its re-rendering by Lata Mangrshkar, posted on the YouTube by one mbssayed10. The blurb written by him in relation to the song is as enchanting.as the visuals. Many thanks to him. I quote the blurb, now,
“1.”So Ja Rajkumari” — an old Hindi movie song. Movie – Zindagi (1940). Singer – K. L. Saigal. 2. ”So Ja Rajkumari” –Singer – Lata Mangeshkar (1994).
The ‘Pic of Princess’ used in this video — Painting of ”FLORA”, the Roman goddess of flowers & seasons. This painting demonstrates the death of this goddess which brings the winter season in nature, The whole nature mourns on her death, the leaves of the trees fall down like tear drops! Rebirth of this goddess results in ending of winter & season ‘spring’ starts!!! The english term ‘flower’ originated from this goddess’s name.”
Here is another YouTube clip of the same song along with a seventy year old, instrumental rendering of the melody.