Today, even before we have the time to reflect upon a movie, song, or series, we have five other shows pending to be consumed. But growing up in the 90s provided us the kind of luxury we crave today – the luxury to truly enjoy the art we consumed.
Perhaps this is why the songs and videos of the time still hold a special place in our minds and hearts – like Aiman Udas’ Janan Rawekhaoma, starring Najiba Faiz.
Most things, when viewed with a ‘nostalgic lens’, feel unequivocally charming. But Janan Rawekhaoma is one of those numbers that still leaves you smiling.
For starters, the music composition – that starts with gentle piano strains and continues in the same vein for the 5-minute long track – is inherently melodic. It’s the kind of music that perfectly suits the gentle rhythm of Aiman Udas’ melodious voice.
It’s the kind of music that you hum to on balconies adorned with raindrops or during evenings, lay in your bed and think about your janaan like a hopeless romantic, or attan with your dupatta up in the air and nothing else.
The lyrics also perfectly compliment the inherent softness of the track. Yes softness, because this is not the kind of song that passionately rouses you. No, it’s the kind of track that gently lulls you into thinking back about your first crush and the rush of ‘love’.
Even today the lyrics impart the same sense of comfort – making us reminiscence about the sense of wonderment our first love brought us.
Pa toro toro shpo ki, khwago khwago qiso ki, da mini pa naghmo ki… da zulfi kram taalona khpal ashna pe zangawoma… janaan rawekhaoma
But the cherry on the cake was the story in the video. The video shows happy Najiba Faiz in her room, doing seengar (make up), and dancing to the evergreen music; feeling her ownself.
But the whole story – of a handsome Pashtun boy – falling in love with the young and charming Najiba – was a reflection of the innocence of love. The kind of innocence that even today, despite multiple heartbreaks, we still look for. The innocence that coloured our slam books as kids – the same slam books we are still reluctant to part with.
The video started with an undeniably adorable scene – our handsome chad secretly looking though the door at Najiba dancing in her room.
*And, almost everyone fell for the video’s star and his torkamis-and-pakol vibes.*
The music video then went on to show how the elderly women are suprised to see young Najiba dancing; as elder Pashtun women expect their girls to be hayanaki with shyness and a sense of modesty. It wasn’t a unique story but it felt honest, warm, and relatable.
If I analyze long enough, perhaps I could come up with a reason of why the song still makes my heart constrict – not painfully, but with fondness. Of why, even today, it makes me go back to my kali (village) and search for people that I’d long considered forgotten. Of why, as it plays on YouTube and not Spotify, it still has me sitting patiently through the whole video.
But I don’t want to analyze. Even today, over 11 years after the song first released, I just acknowledge that it makes me feel. Perhaps – even as we turn cynics – some things will always leave a smile on our face. Like the words, pa speeno speno leecho shna bangri oshrangawoma, janan rawekhaoma.
And did I mention Najiba Faiz still looks as young as her 90s-self? Truly an epitome of everlasting beauty.
All images are screenshots from the video on YouTube.