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The World as I see it

काल एक पल को थम जाए


Mahabharat

कठिन समय है. श्यामल बादल फिर आकाश में छाये;
उग्र वेग से पवन है बहता, सूरज दीख न पाये |
घोर ध्वनि में गर्जन करते, मेघ धरती को घेरे;
अनंत निशा में डूबी पृथ्वी, खो गए हैं सवेरे |

पर है यह संकेत कि निकट भविष्य में, भीषण युद्ध निश्चित है;
घोर तिमिर पर अखंड प्रकाश की, विजय पुनः निश्चित है |
रक्त की प्यासी काली माँ का, उन्मत्त नर्तन निश्चित है;
दानव-दल-वध करने दुर्गा का अवतरण निश्चित है |

तो हो जाए यह अंतिम रण,
जिसमें करने जीवन अर्पण;
हैं वीर खड़े उकसाए से,
न किंचित भी घबराये से |

फिर गांडीव की हो टंकार.
फिर पाञ्चजन्य की हो हुंकार;
फिर से सुन शत्रु की ललकार,
उबल उठे फिर रक्त की धार |

तीरों से तीर फिर टकराएं,
खडग-त्रिशूल फिर लड़ जाएँ;
पौरुष का ऐसा प्रदर्शन हो,
कि काल एक पल को थम जाए |

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The Sea of People


population

What’s the population of your city?”

This innocent looking question seemingly becomes one of the most frequently asked question in ‘foreign lands’. And if you are live in the west ask this question to an Indian, well I, being an Indian can guarantee you that situation will become humorously awkward in in a few moments. Why? Two reasons… Firstly, we generally don’t remember the population statistics of our cities. On the contrary I (including my friends) find it weird that people in the west actually remember their city’s population. So the most common answer that you would get any of the facial expressions expressing shock and confusion, a strange look, five seconds of pin-drop silence followed by a hesitant ‘quite large’. And I am telling you, he is being modest. Secondly if you meet an exceptional statics-crammer or a person who has faced this situation earlier and learnt from it; well then his answer will most probably blow your mind out. Believe me! Me and my friends have been asked this question many number of times in our short foreign tours and… there have been no exceptions… ‘Shock’ is the only word that can describe the situation of the person who asked the question.

Example required? OK… I am from Kolkata. And the population of Kolkata is… well infinite. No… probably ‘more than infinite’ is a better approximation. You may object to this claim and open up Wikipedia and say that it is ‘ONLY… 14 MILLION’… and then after a gulp, still defend your pride by saying… “Well that’s still not infinite.”

To that I would only say, “What matters is the feeling… Come to Kolkata and you would realise what I mean.” Upon that… it is not the population what matters is the population density. And you CANNOT beat my city on that. People seem to be crammed up in this city. Open up the list of densest cities in the world and you will find 5 out out of the top ten cities to be Indian. What is more surprising is that ALL of these cities are practically in Kolkata. Beat that if you can!

And if you really want to see the population miracle of the city; board the local trains. It would be an astounding experience for the newcomer to realise the various weird angles at which our human bodies can bend when crammed for space. And if you are a young boy; you might very well try hanging out from the doors of a running train. I have tried it (or have been forced to try it) several number of times and trust me… you can never get bored (my parents are not reading the post, right? 😛 ). And if that was not enough, your self-esteem will surely get a severe blow once you see a vendor with a huge basket on his head moving smoothly through a compartment which you thought could not accommodate a single more soul.

But all of this said, Kolkata is a city of its own kind. The cheapest, the vibrant and the nostalgic. quoting from my earlier post. There is something in the city which always captures your imagination. There is something in the city that it has produced so many greats in the world. There is something in the city that I just want to be a tiny drop in the sea of people… forever…

Through the Aroma of Your Pages


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Through my brief journey with words, I have realised the immense power they posses. The journey through written words is a journey not only through words said; but through the entire stories that each word hides. Those words take you to a new world. A world where you loose the identity of you, and become the person whose words are being read. To share his sorrows and tears and pain; you share his smiles and joy and pride. A journey though ones work is a journey through oneself. Its an attempt to stand in his shoes and look at the world in a way that he does…

 

Presenting an outcome of one such experience as I become the writer whose blog I have been following since… well a long time. And writing a piece pretending to be her in my own way….

———————————————————————————————–

Dear Diary

An year and counting… and the turmoil doesn’t seem to end. As I flip though your pages, I realise how long it has been. And in this long year and a half, how much has changed and yet remained the same. This city with which I had a love-hate relationship seems to attract and repel more strongly than ever. The desire to get out of the city has transformed into an unknown love in recent times. And now when time has come to say goodbye, the memories seem to cling to me even more. Memories of friends; memories of beaches; memories of giggles and laughter and smiles; memories of silence and tears and cries…

All these four years I thought I lived in this city. But now I seem to realise that somehow this city lives in me. And the day I leave this city forever; it seems the city within me too would depart. The city will leave with its local trains, the city will leave with its winter rains; the city will leave with its sea-shore breeze, the city will leave… silently… probably with ease. And so will the present become my past; and will stay in my heart till the memories last.

And you know what? As I leave this known, beloved past; I delve into the an unknown future. Changes are always like that I guess. But changes were never so hard… you know. May be it is a treasure of joys, but as of now, it seems uncertain. Fear… yes fear surrounds me as I jump across the trench. What if I fall?

But again… I can’t stay here. Agreed the city gave me friends, stature and identity; But how can I forget that this city… this city of past, snatched away me from myself. He, who was my soul mate, my love has been captured by the city to be a part of past. The more I stay in this sea of memories the deeper shall I drown, it is hence the time I jump off and leave the town…

Oh I hate you, you diary… I envy you so much. You weaken me… Who says you are a true friend? You are evil… Every time I flip through your pages, I find myself trapped in memories. Memories sweet and sour, experiences good and bad… And you know what the problem is? You don’t help. You just show the memories… And then what happens? The moments of pains and tears are re-lived; and the moments of joys and smiles are missed. How the hell does it help?

Thousands of words remain unsaid. Probably I shall share some other day. But I know dear diary, you know them already… After all you are the witness of my past. And each part of me is trapped within the aroma of your pages.

Having Lost My Powers… I Write


nostalgia

There was a time… There was a time when world around was simpler and more beautiful. Unfortunately, it seems that the world has changed while remaining static. There was a time when I was in Kindergarten and cried the hell out during an exam just because I just ‘didn’t feel like’ writing the exam. I forced the teachers to call my mother (our home was a two minutes walk away). As she stood outside the class, I forced her to come inside in the exam time, held her hand tight and said…

Haan… Likhiye… Likhiye na… Main bol raha hoon, aap likhiye… (Ya… Write… Write no… Write as I say)”

Tum likho na… Exam hai… main kaise likhoongi? (You write… It’s an exam dear… I am not supposed to write in the exam)”

Uff!! Mera haath dard kar raha hai… Aap likhiye… Likhiye… A… P… P… L… E… Likhiye na… Dekh kya rahe hain? (Uff! My hands are aching… You write… Write… A… P… P… L… E… Write no… Why are you looking at me?)”

Those were some moments that shall be cherished forever. Once I declared that elephant is a bird… Well not my fault… An animated cartoon series showed a flying elephant… and as we all know… ‘Anything that flies is a bird’ and so elephant – which flew – was a bird… Simple! 🙂

Another instance which I remember was when our school teachers gave us homework to ‘write all the English alphabets five times each without looking (bina dekhe)‘. Now the ‘without looking’ meant not to turn overleaf where the alphabets were already written (as classwork) and write them out of memory. But being a very ‘obedient’ kid in the class, I took the words ‘without looking’ literally and there you go… I sit on my bed, with my eyes towards the ceiling, probably closed, trying to write the English alphabets five times each in my ‘four-lined note book’ (I hope you remember them… Don’t you?)

And today in my hostel room, I recall those memories. Golden days. Days which define a natural, carefree, unrestricted life. One in which words like personal, private, ego, deceit and dishonesty don’t crop up. There was nothing to hide back then. When happy, we would laugh our hearts out, when sad we would cry as if hell has broken loose, and when angry we would swear never to talk to that person again at his face.

Those were the days… Today when happy, we no longer laugh, we are grown-ups, we smile; when sad, we no longer cry aloud, we are grown-ups, we sob silently inside a pillow; and when angry at someone, we no longer shout off at his face, we are grown-ups, we remain silent, let the anger grow and ultimately seek revenge.

Oh we do a lot more as grown-ups. We start having our personal lives (oh god… I hate this word so badly). We make a point not to intrude into ones personal space (you see, the same thing has two names) and get outraged if someone breaches our privacy (now it has three names).

But yet in this grown-up world we try to preserve our childhood via friends. Well my definition of friends is a very strict one… Friends… a group of people where ‘good morning’ or any general salutation is replaced by… well… you know what. A group of people who fight so hard that they forget that they are friends. A group of people who care about each other in ways unspeakable, who share joys in ways indescribable, who share tears in ways inaudible.

I have always been extremely selective about friends. But yes, I do make friends, the real good friends. But sometimes… just sometimes big words like ‘personal space’, ‘personal life’, ‘privacy’ seem to mist the transparent air around. Those times, I seem to loose my childhood, I seem to loose my power to make friends – real friends; and in those times I write…

Bird that Sings


bird-flight

Have you seen a bird fly
Fluttering away to touch the sky
Across the rivers, and trees and sands
Flying away to unknown lands?

Singing songs at heart’s solace
Measuring lands at its own pace
Welcomes the sun with its melodious tunes
And seeks adieu from the evening moons

I am the bird that flies too high
Enchanted by the glittering sky
Too far off from my small nest
In the airs which I know the best…

And flying high I sometimes wonder
In pensive moods I sometimes ponder
Of songs of joys, courage and hope
In which feelings unsaid, elope.

In moments of sorrow, gloom and despair
When all you need is love and care
We embrace you in those caring songs
And take you beyond rights and wrongs

When shattered you are and lost is life
And you give up the endless strife
Trapped you are at life’s dead end
We become your comrade, your true friend

But flying high I sometimes wonder
In pensive moods I sometimes ponder
Amidst the tunes of the joyous lanes
Do you ever feel some tears or pain?

In moments of sorrow, gloom and despair
When all we need is love and care
You refuse to hear our saddened voice
You move on with your life, you do rejoice

When shattered we are and lost is life
And we give up the endless strife
Trapped we are at life’s dead end
You never come to rescue, O dear friend?

So flying high I sometimes wonder
In pensive moods I sometimes ponder
Is the world so cruel, cold and mean
Or the fault lies within, unnoticed and unseen?

Maybe we are not made to cry
Maybe all we can do is fly
And search for a broken heart
And join the pieces torn apart

Maybe our sorrows, minuscule or grand
Are themselves too sad for you to withstand
Or maybe too insignificant for you to understand
And so amidst tears alone we stand.

And so flying high I sometimes wonder
In pensive moods I sometimes ponder
Maybe our songs are not too great
So hoping against hope we endlessly wait.

Another Heart Does Ache


tears2

With great care did I collect all the pearls of my dreams; with great aspirations did I polish them bright. Each breath of his made me alive. His happiness was the reason I lived. For years did I live for one reason… and then I was gone.

His innocent smile still rejuvenates my heart. His tears… well, they do moisten my heart but somewhere deep inside they foster a sense of relief… A relief that he is still my own. Oh time! You are way too cruel. You walk at your own pace. Traitor! You did rush around when he was here… didn’t you? And now when he is gone, you don’t seem to move at all! There was a time when I was happy running around the whole day… remember? And now my life has been so stagnant that it is eating me up.

“What do you do all day? Once dad has gone off to work, you stick to the TV… don’t you?”

Yes, my dear, I did stick to the TV all day. And magically does the havoc that you create each morning does restore back to peace. And the food that you demand – claiming full right – each day after you come back; that food is magically prepared by angels, right? Stupid! And why should I explain this to you now? Now you know it better. How long does it take to wash the clothes dear?

But… you know… in a sense you are right for my current situation. There is no one who creates havoc in the house each day. The sofa covers remain unwrinkled for ages. The same food is eaten for days. There is no one to scream to for not having lunch in time. Basically there is nothing to do.

So you know what do I do? I remain in illusion each day. After your dad leaves for the day, I imagine that you too have left for school. I wait for you. Each day, the clock ticks 2:30, I go out to see you coming; chatting with your friends. The school bus leaves, many children come back laughing and giggling. But you are not among them. Then I calculate the number of days left for your arrival. Unfortunately they are not days… they are months… sometimes a whole year. Well at least they say it so. For me, it seems to be ages. All blames on the bloody time. It doesn’t move at all. And then I sit back and cry sometimes… well most of the times. And then rush up and down the house doing nothing. Like a ghost in a haunted house.

And then in the evening when your dad comes back from work, we ask each other if you called. Mostly you don’t. “He must have been busy”. Then we again talk about you. What else can we talk about? I don’t understand his work. Then we mutually decide on a time to call you, or wait for your call. “He might have just returned.” “He might be sleeping.” “Today is Monday, he has a busy schedule on Mondays.” “Don’t call now! He might be in the canteen.”

And then, suddenly the phone rings. And then for a few minutes do we live. We live our whole day in a few minutes. And thus does rejoice our hearts. We laugh at your jokes, smile at your memories, cry at your loss and scold you for you nuisances. And hence thoughts, and thoughts alone do remain and hence ends our day; probably an era of living without you.

I know you have gone to reach the stars, to fulfill your dreams. But what can one do when the reason to live has gone away? One goes along with him. So here am I living a dual identity. Well… single to be precise… The only identity I have is with you. When your wounds bleed, so does my heart. When you cry, another heart does ache.

अपनी माटी


indian-national-flag-images

जहाँ सूर्य की पहली किरण से
हर सवेरा अपनी माँग सजाता;
जहाँ अनंत नील गगन
असीम समुद्र में लय हो जाता;
जहाँ लहराते हरे खेतों पर
स्वर्णिम सरसों मुकुट चढ़ाती;
सब रंगों से सजी हुई
सतरंगी है वह अपनी माटी।

जहाँ ईश्वर को साथ पुकारें
मस्जिद की अजान मंदिर की घंटी;
जहाँ प्रभात का स्वागत करती
कोयल की वह मधुर बोली;
जहाँ आज भी रास रचाती
राधा की पायल कान्हे की बंसी;
अमर रागों को सुनती-गाती
सुरीली है वह अपनी माटी।

आज वही सूरज वही गगन
वही कोयल है पुनः पुकारती;
दिल में लाखों प्रश्न लिए
आर्य-पुत्र को है ललकारती।
गीत शौर्य का गाते हुए
बलिदानों की याद दिलाती
महापुरुषों ने देखा जो सपना
वही स्वप्न है पुनः दिखाती

बहुत कुछ है पाया; बहुत कुछ है पाना
लम्बे कठिन इस मार्ग पे तुम कहीं थक न जाना।
मार्ग कठिन है; देखो देश कहीं भटक न जाए
कीचड़ से कली फूटी है; बिन खिले सूख जाए।

Happy Republic Day to all Indians… 🙂

Translation is not possible (yet again)… However, I present the Roman transliteration for some of my dear readers…

Jahaan surya ki pratham kiran se
Har sawera apni maang sawaarta
Jahan anant neel gagan
Aseem samudra mein lay ho jaataa
Jahaan lehraate hare kheton par
Swarnim sarson mukut chadhaati
Sab rangon se saji hui
Sanrangi hai wah apni dharti

Jahaan prabhaat ka swaagat karti
Koyal ki wah madhur boli
Jahaan ishwar ko saath pukaaren
Masjid ki ajaan, mandir ki ghanti
Jahaan aaj bhi raas rachaaye
Raadhaa ki paayal, Kanhe ki bansi
Amar raagon ko sunti gaati
Surili hai wah apni maati

Aaj wahi suraj, wahi gagan
Wahi koyal hai punah bulaati
Dil mein laakhon prashn liye
Arya putra ko hai lalkaarti
Geet shaurya ka gaate hue
Balidaanon ki yaad dilaati
Maha purushon ne dekha jo sapna
Wahi swapn hai punah dikhaati

Bahut kuchh hai paayaa, bahut kuchh hai paana
Lambe kathin is maarg pe; kahin tum thak na jaana
Marg kathin hai, dekho desh kahin dhatak na jaaye
Keechad se kali phooti hai, bin khile sookh na jaaye.

खूनी हस्ताक्षर


1282111942_Netaji_Subhas_Chandra_Bose

In memory of the great man who created an army to free his motherland…

The very famous (and one my favorite) poem by Gopal Prasad Vyas…

Happy Birthday… dear son of India…

वह खून कहो किस मतलब का
जिसमें उबाल का नाम नहीं।
वह खून कहो किस मतलब का
आ सके देश के काम नहीं।

वह खून कहो किस मतलब का
जिसमें जीवन, न रवानी है!
जो परवश होकर बहता है,
वह खून नहीं, पानी है!

उस दिन लोगों ने सही-सही
खून की कीमत पहचानी थी।
जिस दिन सुभाष ने बर्मा में
मॉंगी उनसे कुरबानी थी।

बोले, “स्वतंत्रता की खातिर
बलिदान तुम्हें करना होगा।
तुम बहुत जी चुके जग में,
लेकिन आगे मरना होगा।

आज़ादी के चरणें में जो,
जयमाल चढ़ाई जाएगी।
वह सुनो, तुम्हारे शीशों के
फूलों से गूँथी जाएगी।

आजादी का संग्राम कहीं
पैसे पर खेला जाता है?
यह शीश कटाने का सौदा
नंगे सर झेला जाता है”

यूँ कहते-कहते वक्ता की
आंखों में खून उतर आया!
मुख रक्त-वर्ण हो दमक उठा
दमकी उनकी रक्तिम काया!

आजानु-बाहु ऊँची करके,
वे बोले, “रक्त मुझे देना।
इसके बदले भारत की
आज़ादी तुम मुझसे लेना।”

हो गई सभा में उथल-पुथल,
सीने में दिल न समाते थे।
स्वर इनकलाब के नारों के
कोसों तक छाए जाते थे।

“हम देंगे-देंगे खून”
शब्द बस यही सुनाई देते थे।
रण में जाने को युवक खड़े
तैयार दिखाई देते थे।

बोले सुभाष, “इस तरह नहीं,
बातों से मतलब सरता है।
लो, यह कागज़, है कौन यहॉं
आकर हस्ताक्षर करता है?

इसको भरनेवाले जन को
सर्वस्व-समर्पण काना है।
अपना तन-मन-धन-जन-जीवन
माता को अर्पण करना है।

पर यह साधारण पत्र नहीं,
आज़ादी का परवाना है।
इस पर तुमको अपने तन का
कुछ उज्जवल रक्त गिराना है!

वह आगे आए जिसके तन में
खून भारतीय बहता हो।
वह आगे आए जो अपने को
हिंदुस्तानी कहता हो!

वह आगे आए, जो इस पर
खूनी हस्ताक्षर करता हो!
मैं कफ़न बढ़ाता हूँ, आए
जो इसको हँसकर लेता हो!”

सारी जनता हुंकार उठी-
हम आते हैं, हम आते हैं!
माता के चरणों में यह लो,
हम अपना रक्त चढाते हैं!

साहस से बढ़े युबक उस दिन,
देखा, बढ़ते ही आते थे!
चाकू-छुरी कटारियों से,
वे अपना रक्त गिराते थे!

फिर उस रक्त की स्याही में,
वे अपनी कलम डुबाते थे!
आज़ादी के परवाने पर
हस्ताक्षर करते जाते थे!

उस दिन तारों ने देखा था
हिंदुस्तानी विश्वास नया।
जब लिक्खा महा रणवीरों ने
ख़ूँ से अपना इतिहास नया।

Arise! Awake!


Arise! Awake! And stop not till the goal is reached!

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उत्तिष्ठत जाग्रत प्राप्य वरान्निबोधत |

A part of a verse from Katha-Upnishad. Translated and popularised by youth icon Swami Vivekananda. Belated National Youth Day to all Indians.

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