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January 2013

आज फिर


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आज फिर वही दिन; फिर वही बात है

जज्बे और जूनून की अरमानों से मुलाकात है ।

आज फिर तिरंगा गर्व से हवा में लहराएगा

हर बच्चा प्रफुल्लित हो राष्ट्रगान फिर गाएगा।

फिर निकलेगी मतवालों की टोली; राजपथ मुस्काएगा;

कला संस्कृति के प्रदर्शन से हर राज्य आज इठलाएगा।

आज फिर बलखेगी अमर जवान याद कर परवानों को ;

होंगी आँखें फिर नम याद कर उन बलिदानों को।

पर फिर आएगी रात नए दिन का आगमन होगा

शहीदों की कुर्बानी का पुनः जब विस्मरण होगा।

दैनिक कोलाहल के बीच कहीं गौरवान्वित भारत खो जायेगा

आज का प्रगतिशील भारत मानवता को भुलायेगा।

फिर दब जाएगी वह करुण चीख गाड़ियों के शोर-शराबे में;

और इसी तरह फिर चढ़ेगी भेंट नारी पौरुष के उग्र प्रदर्शन में।

फिर भी विषाक्त होगी गंगा कल कारखानों के दूषण से;

फिर भी दौड़ेगी फाइलें यहाँ नोटों के ही पोषण से।

फिर भी लहराएगा तिरंगा; पर न उसमें गौरव होगा;

फिर भी गाएगी हवा यहाँ; पर उसका राग भैरव होगा।

समस्याएं होंगी अनगिनत; फिर भी हम उन्ही पे इतरायेंगे ;

गण होंगे पर तंत्र न होगा; फिर भी हम गणतांत्रिक कहलायेंगे।

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Running Around to Keep the Chariot Still


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Reading is a pre-requisite to writing. While I must admit that I am not a voracious reader of ‘highly intellectual literary material’, since my entry into the blogosphere I have been reading and enjoying (otherwise I won’t read) thoughts and views by people around the world. So in this regular routine of reading blogs, I came across this interesting piece by my friend priyom…

Recollections

Dad accompanied and insisted on waiting with us for the school bus. We didn’t want him there, (certain issues regarding inappropriately-handled-teenage-trauma) we were perfectly capable of waiting on our own and we were already shaking with nervousness in our new grey skirts with matching grey stockings.

And it was in those quiet few minutes of silent anticipation that we saw a man with khaki pants and loose chappals. The man was making loud hand gestures and was walking around in circles. We smirked at the behavioral ridiculousness and wondered if there was something wrong with him. Our dad however did not even reciprocate by a small hu-ta-tu.

After that, we would see him there almost every single day, same routine of course. We pronounced him to be unhappily senile and yet crazily amusing. On perfectly good days, he would sometimes sit down to talk to himself from perfect hollow memory. At times, he would simply march to and fro. However if there were in fact more fitting conclusions to this daily show, we never did know because our bus timings did not allow us the opportunity of any more such clarifications.

In the afternoon, we would see him perched on this bench outside a tiny tea shop, staring into the distance. We speculated on an extremely sad family history and on his whereabouts during the night, if he actually had any place he could call home. We saw him as weak and uncared for.

We made it a point to shamelessly stare at him each morning till the day we allowed ourselves to grow up and till there was no longer a bus at 8.30 anymore. We gave ourselves the permission to forget about him simply because we didn’t care enough.

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It was some time before I came back home for my college holidays. That day, they were sawing the huge birch tree near our lane. But that old tea-shop was still there. And sitting with the same vacant expression, was the same person that I had lost to memory some years back.

It was not like he was a part of an exciting story and deserved any specific remembrance. But somehow, on highly dramatic grounds, the fact that he was still there, unchanged, unaffected had me feeling triumphant.

His being there told me that he had survived changes and time. Because I sure as hell hadn’t.  Yes, he was a consolation. He was still there.

The author does not state what he had he been doing in the earlier days. Neither do we know whether he was successful in his quest. But the story reminds me of people around me who seemingly achieved nothing all their lives. You might very well say that they wasted one great chance over their cynical acts. Delve deeper into their lives, only to realize how they have meticulously succeeded in what they aimed for. In most cases their rarely appreciated contributions are instrumental in consolidating ground for things which can be appreciated.

Hats off to the wheels of the chariot of success on which our heroes ride; for they are the ones who keep running around to keep the chariot still…

Through the Curtains of Fog


Here are some snapshots from around my hostel, taken early morning…

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Lifeless Life


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I remember those eyes brimming with tears

Innumerable doubts and unknown fears

Firm in belief that heLi would earn fame

But when he comes back, will he be the same?

The world is cruel and harsh and mean

But for him it’s mainly unseen

What if his friends don’t cooperate

Or if he is lost at night and it’s late?

Confusion and chaos fill up her head

And then I saw the lines unread

What happens to her when I bid adieu

When things to do are a countable few

For whom would she prepare; with no one to eat;

The wonderful delicacies and the occasional treat?

Whom would she talk to when on a low;

Won’t her life become way too slow?

No one to talk; no one to hear

No one to share, joy or fear

No grief to be lost, no joy to be found

How lifeless will be life, with no one around?

Before the Sky turns Orange Again


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New horizon welcomes with arms wide spread

The sky is orange with a tinge of red

Uncover your blanket as time doesn’t wait

The road is neither short, nor smooth and straight.

Eyelids are heavy and weather too cold

Yet get out of bed just to behold

The warm mild sun clearing the fog

And jolly men out for a jog

Out you go, and never turn back

In search of jewels you think you lack

Explore the woods, enjoy the rain

Before the sky turns orange again

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With aspirations new and a novel song

With unending faith, a determination strong

With emotions that no word can bear

May I wish you a Happy New Year.

The Exam of Life


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Why are you so restless, my mind?

Is peace that you seek so difficult to find?

Why do you tumble through ups and downs?

Why do you care about the smiles and the frowns?

“Sir! Please! For my Children…” (Bhaiyya! Bachchon ke liye kuchh de do). These words awakened me from a nap, only to  see a pair of hands been spread out in hope of money. I raised my eyes to see a lady, very poorly dressed along with a child, maybe in his tens. I took out a rupee coin and gave it to her.

It was a lazy afternoon and waiting for a train on the platform made it even boring. And after a very busy Christmas, one requires a short nap for sure. But as my sleep was already broken, I decided to take a walk down the platform. Then I saw a bunch of coolies (the people who carry heavy luggage for people) discussing the recent India-Pakistan cricket match. They seemed to be enjoying the rare respite from the work they do.

The jolly mind of mine turned pensive. I was happily rejoicing the long awaited results (which stated that I was amongst the toppers of the class), the eagerly awaited holidays and the ever delicious home-made food (one of the two reasons I want to goto home – the other being sleep). But now I was filled with questions.

“Look at yourself, Arindam! What do you do? Feed yourself over a huge scholarship! And why did you get the silly scholarship? Because you cleared an exam. Does clearing an exam make you so eligible that you make your living virtually without efforts for the next 5 years of life? Where does the money of your scholarship come from? From the government. More precisely, the tax payers. That includes the coolies sitting there, the vegetable vendor who comes to your house daily, the auto driver who drove you to the station.”

Very true! It is eventually they who let me study throughout at subsidised rates. And for all these favours, what do they expect in return? Development. Why is it that the lady had to spread her arms in times of need? I believe that I still have something to do to make the people here proud.

The problem of the country starts only when the brighter lot of the country flees away from the responsibilities. If I use the advantages given by my people for my own benefit and luxury I would be a parasite, a cheater.

So what, if you were born in a dirty lake? If you run away from the lake into a cleaner one, the lake remains to be dirty. Why not clean the lake instead to make the lake realise its true true identity?

“Try to make others happy; happiness for you is born out of the happiness they get.”

Yes I topped my class and a handful of people congratulate me on that. But I await the day when I die – May the world congratulate me on succeeding a exam – the exam of life…

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