Another attempt at Hindi Poetry

कुछ बेहतरीन कलाकारी दिखाई थी कभी

सालों पहले

एक तस्वीर बनायीं थी

कई रंगों में

ख़ुशनुमा याद है उस जुनूँ की

वह नशा

बेखुदी छायी थी जैसे

मेरी रग़ों में

इतनी शिद्दत से उसे संवारा था सराहा था

मेरी पेंटिंग

घंटों बिना रुके उसपे काम करता

घंटों बस घूरता

जाने क्या क्या सोच चल रही थी

दिमाग़ में

कुछ तो याद भी नहीं

कैसा सुरूर था!

आज-कल रोज़ फिर घूरता हूँ यूँही

मेरी पेंटिंग

पर अब अजनबी सी है… जैसे

किसी और की हो

वह कौन था पेंटर बनायी थी जिसने ?

मैं ही था ?

एक अजीब अलगाव है

कुछ उसे कुछ मुझको

जब मैंने बनायीं थी मेरी यह पेंटिंग

यह सिर्फ मेरी थी

जैसे मैं बनता जाता था

वैसे बनती थी

आज इसे हर कोई देखता है अपनी निगाह से

अलग अलग

इसका वजूद, इसके माएने,

अब मेरे अपने नहीं

जब बच्चे बड़े हो जाते हैं तो हमें

कभी कभी

कुछ नापसंद से आते हैं

अजनबियों की तरह

यक़ीं नहीं होता वह हमारे ही हैं

कभी कभी

उनके अपने विचार अपना लहज़ा… बस

कुछ कुछ हमारा

जब भी मैं देखता हूँ अपनी यह पेंटिंग

तो मैं खुद

पहुंच जाता हूँ सालों पहले

के उस ज़हन में

उस वक़्त की मेरी सोच मेरी यादों पर

कब्ज़ा कर लेती है

और वह जो मैंने सीखा वह सब

भूल जाता हूँ मैं

जनरेशन गॅप है बीच में मेरे और मेरी

इस पेंटिंग के

जैसे जैसे औरों ने इसी निहारा यह

आगे निकल गयी मुझसे

अब यह मेरी नहीं सुनती। कहा नहीं मानती

इसकी अपनी सोच है

अपनी ज़िन्दगी में पूरी तरह आज़ाद है

बिछड़ चुकी है मुझसे

अब इसे देख नहीं पाता उसके पेंटर की तरह

बस एक अजनबी

कुछ ऐसे पहलू निहारता हूँ जो पहले कभी

नज़र आए ही नहीं

कुछ तब की ग़लतियां क़ुबूल की हैं और कुछ

जो ग़लतियाँ  लगती थीं

उनको अब नयी नज़र से देखता हूँ

तोह लगती हैं सही

मुझे मेरी पेंटिंग पे फक्र है लेकिन

हर माँ-बाप की तरह

मुझे जाने देना पड़ेगा उसे

अपने अहम से

खुशनसीबी कह लो या मेरी कामयाबी

या शायद दोनों

और बनाऊंगा मुझे बनाने वाले

के रहम से

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31 (contd..)

Woh din bhar sona

woh raaton ko jaagna

woh roz roz late ho ke

(kuch logon ka) college bhaagna

woh exam ke dauraan

khaane peene ko tyaagna

woh aakhiri raat ko

jagah jagah notes ki bheekh maangna

woh bun butter woh omlet

woh MA hall ki chai

exam ke tension mein ban jaate

jaani dushman bhi bhai

padhai mein jud jaate

na jaane kitne log aa ke

exam mein hi mazboot hue

kitne dosti ke dhaage

woh 10 baje tak ladkiyon ko

hostel pohochane ko bhaagna

aur phir room pe aake unhi ko

message pe message daagna

kya din the hostel ke

kya raatein thi yaar

agar andaza bhi hota ki yaad itni aayegi

toh fail hote hum na jaane kitni baar

(Still dedicated to all the pilgrims who ever paid homage to the sacred room of S.P.Hall of MSU Baroda.)

31

woh peela darwaza

woh neeli deewarein

woh pankhe ki aawaz

jaise marte hue kauve ki

aakhiri pukaarein

pankha bandh kar nahi sakte

kya pata phir chalu ho na ho

first come first serve basis pe

so jao jahan sona ho

swagat tha uska

yahan jo aata

ek baar aa ke

yahin ka ho jata

sab se pehle the 3 yahan

mayur main aur qutbi

par end tak toh kitno ka tha yeh

kise pata hai ginti

adda toh nahi tha

ghar bhi nahi tha

us waqt toh us kamre ka

aisa asar bhi nahi tha

par college ki yaad ka

ban chuka hai aisa hissa

facebook par toh bayan bhi nahi kar sakte

Room No. 31 ka har ek kissa!!

(Dedicated to all the pilgrims who ever paid homage to the sacred room of S.P.Hall of MSU Baroda.)

sCOOLs

I remember my class teacher in 9th standard (yeah we used to have standards not grades) asking us on our first day of school, “Why do you come to school?” A lot of obvious answers, along with a few wannabe-profound answers, ensued, to which she seemed to have a nonchalant, “But you can learn that at home!” kind of response. And that wasn’t even the age of the smartphone or tablet PC. Parents were pretty much the best source of information. (Theres a lot of subtext in that fact)

I can’t put my finger on it but for some reason schools don’t appeal to me as fun learning any more than they used to when I last attended one. That can’t be right. I know better than to just deem school boring out of sheer laziness. Unreasonable competitiveness, undue pressure on children to excel in every walk of life IN ORDER TO GET INTO A SCHOOL, unbelievable conditions laid down by some private schools and unimaginable conditions of some public schools are all realities of today that weren’t there 10 years ago. Or maybe they were, if you look at it from our parents’ perspectives. But that would be another debate.

The only argument for anyone now to not homeschool their children (discounting the “Who’s got the time?” kind of parents) is that child will have a better experience of bonding with other children if she/he goes to a school. Everything else, as that teacher of mine pointed out, can be learnt at home, now with better ease than ever before. Schools have far from adapted to the need of the hour when it comes to education. Subjects like personal and family finances, religious studies, political studies, sex education, how to treat everyone with equal respect, how to have a hobby, How not to push yourself to excel in everything till you crack and hang yourself 101, are simply not taught. These are far more important than most of the subjects taught at school level. Most of what is included can be taught at university where the child can use the understanding gained from the above mentioned and learn whatever she/he wants to.

Schools should teach subjects that matter to every individual. To build a foundation based on ethical logical and practical values. Children today are smarter and faster to learn anything given their early orientation to advanced information technology. That doesn’t mean they are all super-human. They are children. They want to play around and learn everything they can at their own pace in their own way. We can safely let them do so without endangering the future of the world. They don’t need advanced knowledge and ability of everything shoved into them before they’re fifteen.

At the end of the class the teacher told us the answer. I couldn’t have agreed more. Schools are meant to teach you how to learn – from teachers, from friends, from experiences. They’ve distracted from their job a little. Time to bring them back.

Issue who?

Theres so much I don’t understand. I say that not so much as a form of complaint or self loathing but rather as a disclaimer. See, I have a tendency to ask questions and think out loud… or in this case.. type out my thoughts. Sometimes these come off as offensive. Other times they come off as stupid. I’d like to call them naive but then no one would take it seriously enough. I read an article on human trafficking and as usual I began to wonder. How does one sell a person. its a PERSON. actually its often DOZENS OF PERSONS. The idiot in me imagines there are three people. one of them says to another one of them, “I sell you this person (the third one).” The buyer gives the seller money and thats the transaction. Its almost a rip off! of course I understand that the reality of it is not the least bit humorous. I understand there is a good deal of violence and fear that is employed in the business and the psychological and physical trauma is often enough for people to succumb. So whats my confusion?

To be honest I have never worked for the cause of human trafficking. To be even more honest I haven’t been involved in any sizeable amount of work for any social cause. Part of the blame goes to a general social indifference. It’s not a daily routine to be part of a cause for “everyman” and while I am more than happy to use any talents and opportunities I have to help out indiscriminatingly, I don’t seem to have the necessary rage to give up any of my dreams in the process.

I discussed with a friend who really feels the drive to go out there and be part of something that she thinks would matter. Make some noise about an issue neglected far beyond its due. Be the voice of someone who society turns a deaf ear to. I admire her zest and I really feel inspired but my problem is not the willingness. It is the choice.

I feel for children who are denied education. Irrespective of the reason. Irrespective of whether they’re boys or girls. Irrespective of whether they live in cities or villages. But I am still confused about what can safely be considered education. Schooling is necessary but who decides the curriculum. I do believe child labour is detrimental to a person’s development but I also understand the value of a traditional craftsman or even an accountant for that matter introducing his or her child to his or her profession at an early age. Where do you draw the line? Is that not education?

I feel for rape victims. I don’t claim to understand anything about rape. I have never known anyone who has experienced this horrific ordeal. I wouldn’t wish it upon the worst of my enemies but I also wonder about the rapists. We all want them punished. How many of us even think about treating them? May be preventing people from resorting to rape is a possibility. Sure, harsher punishments are warranted but are there other ways? I read somewhere that a study showed that legalising pornography in Japan reduced the rape rate. I’m not offering this as a necessarily valid solution to a problem everywhere but rather to bring to attention the possibility of alternative solutions. If one is willing to give up the “I chose to be a Hypocritical Flag bearer of Morality” card. Studies say legalising prostitution would have similar effects. Not to mention the wonders it would do for the prostitutes. Again I don’t know much about them. I suppose its not a first choice, career wise, but it’s a reality we aren’t soon going to do away with. People keep complaining about how they’re exploited and objectified. The least we could do is treat them humanely under the law and give them the necessary protection.

Pedophelia… I honestly don’t know what to make of it. It’s as much a crime as it is an illness I suppose. I really don’t know what to say about it.

I feel for people displaced by the building of a dam. I feel for people dying of thirst before the dam was built. It’s tough to take sides in a situation like this but it is also not a matter of taking sides. They’re both genuine problems. Both need to be solved.

Corruption in government, Corporate exploitation, flood relief, and an unlimited number of other issues that plague our society and make us feel so utterly helpless. I could do anything for all of them. Or could I?

I find sanity in understanding this.

I have a set of abilities. I need to put myself in a position and keep myself in a position where I can use those abilities to benefit as many people as possible. What issue they are affected by is not relevant to me. Everyone has problems. Some problems of other people appear to us as way bigger than our own while some appear trivial. We are never really in a position to judge what the other person is really going through. But we are always in a position to generally do the good we believe in. And trust in that good… whosoever it helps!

E…i…e…i…O

With a tweet tweet here and a like like share…. Ol’ McDonald had just a farm… and he died a happy man! May his soul rest in peace!

What a simple life it would have been. I remember my grandfather writing letters – postcards – to relatives. And not just on occasions. Regularly! He’d asked me to post them a bunch of times on my way to school – a whole dozen or so. And it was normal. Today, to see someone hand write a letter is like watching someone use stone tools. Sure it has some romantic value to my generation. But most of us too are now slaves to the smart phone. Whats more, I should say sadening, is this. Used to be, it took a while for communication to travel long distances. And for the most part we were ok with it. Our hearts didnt stop if a letter arrived a day, or, under normal circumstances, even a week late. We wouldn’t asume the worst if we didn’t get regular updates from loved ones. We wouldn’t hold a grudge if we didn’t receive instant replies from our friends. What’s more? We used to be in touch with neighbours and fellow citizens because talking to our cousins half way around the world was a rarity. Now that the possibility to reach out to any one any time has materialised, so has the obligation to be reachable. But there’s a much more sinister effect that this day and age of technology has had. And it has targetted most – THE CHILDREN

As a 6 year old I had a phone that smiled at me and squeeked when I pushed its big red nose. Oh! And it had wheels so I could cart it around.

Where I used to teach 6 year olds a year or so back, they’d bring iPhones and blackberrys and they were far more savvy than I am even today.

As a 6 year old I was taught to seek out an adult in any situation… As an adult I still seek that solicitation of those I consider wiser. But I find the childeren now, atleast the ones I’ve been fortunate to get to know, are far more independent and grown up. Sometimes, even when I’m in the room, they’re the grown ups. So where have all the children gone.

We had a cook whose 5 year old attended tuitions for 5 subjects appart from school so that she wouldn’t be left behind! Behind WHOM?

I have a cousin who has parents bringing in 3 year olds so she can teach them Katthak.

I know 6 year olds who attend multiple classes for drawing and painting.

An 8 year old child’s parents are obsessed about why he drew an orange line across a fish that he painted.

9 year olds who are too fried to create a craftwork because of all the beating from tuition classes and school

AND THIS IS JUST THE KIDS WHO PEOPLE THINK AREN’T BEING ABUSED

I’m no parent. I’m no expert in child psychology. I’m not even particularly good with kids. I don’t have charts and facts and figures that I can present to justify this jaw dropping stupor combined with rage combined with empathy.

The ability to be in more than one place at a time, as harmful and addictive as it is for adults, has taken over the lives of children. they look at us and want the same devices we use. Not so much because the devices are awesome, which I admit some of them are, but because were so busy with them that we don’t give our time to our children. And now they know everything about everything through the internet and arent willing to experiment and be creative and make mistakes. And the parents are too afraid to let them walk for fear of falling!

Pen > Swords/guns/tanks/bombs/missles/WMD

At times like these the phrase keeps bothering me. Those 12 people are dead. We’re talking about the entire lives of not just the journalists and cartoonists but their families. And all we can do is make more cartoons! its frustrating how easy it is for someone to pull a trigger and finish off my entire existence just because they disagree with me.

The pen may be mightier but it seems to be losing! In the wrong hands, both pen and gun are life screwer uppers. presidents can declare war with a pen. Terrorists do it with guns. Journalists, cartoonists, novelists dont declare any war. Sure some of them are silly and resort to sleazyness but it doesn’t harm anyone. And frankly if an article or a cartoon or a painting or a book or a movie is enough to offend your faith, I’d seriously question your faith. Not what your faith lies in, but rather your commitment to it. If you’re a true believer you would have the balls to argue a point without holding someone at gun point. By a show of force you do nothing but tip your hand to everyone who stands against you. It is not only shameful but idiotic. You won’t win this way, not because your cause is wrong, but, because your means are wrong.

Political Satirists and cartoonists are clever. They use humour not so much as a form of entertainment but as a form of distraction. They build up a really entertaining story or picture to actually push their own opinions. The wit and the way the story is told makes us agree with them. Its very similar to how religions came into existence in the first place. They tap into our subconcious and rewire our thoughts and we don’t even come to know. It is tactful. Subtle.

Violence just doesn’t do that. Violence is too loud, too in your face. Even a profound truth shouted out so raucously turns to noise and instead of listening to it, people look at you like you’re crazy! The urgency and volume make it sound like desperation. It feels like a lot of pressure.

Stories have an allure. They seduce. They use sinister and cunning means to send the message. You may disagree with it but it won’t go unheard.

And finally, religion, art, ideology, philosophy, all of this is meant to be taken with a pinch of salt. Sure be true to your faith. I wouldn’t dare to presume to tell you how to practice your faith. But being open to disagreement or atleast discussion isn’t going to harm anyone. Thats just the fun of it. All these things evolve with time. different generations have different ideas and you neednt protect them from those ideas. Religion, Art, Philosophy etc have all been there since before you came and they’ll survive just fine after youre dead. You just worry about what you’re doing with your life.

Real allegiance

Politics has become synonymous with deceit and malice. But it is quite impossible to escape this most basic aspect of humanity. We do not realize it most of the times but we’re almost constantly a part of it.

Why am I talking about politics? I thought I was writing about religion. I think that the idea of religion needs to be re-thunk! Yeah.. Not re-thought – because most of us haven’t thought about it in the first place. But we thunk. As kids we thunk that the stories told to us about God and gods and goddesses and all their miracles are real.

Now I’m not a prude. I know most of us after growing up know better than to actually think they are true. But we dare not be the first to say something. If we do we may raise eyebrows – not to mention questions that we don’t have answers to.

When I rethunk about religion I began reading. One of the most interesting writers I found was Devdutt Pattanaik. His ideas about subjective truth clear up a lot of clutter when it comes to understanding most of the stories in mythology and their implications. So I thunk on. I realize these stories are quite fantastic – full of magic, music and mystery. We can look at them as metaphors or lessons or the truth or pure entertainment. Either way they were a distraction. In a day and age where business is conducted at the speed of thought and schedules are filled with activities that occupy our mind, body and whatever’s left of our souls, we cannot begin to comprehend what the good old days must be like. Nature’s bounty was bountiful. People didn’t own much and didn’t need to. But they had 24 hours a day to kill. Imagine not having a job for 6 months, having more than enough wealth but absolutely nothing to spend it on. Insecurities about who we are and why we’re here are bound to creep in.

The solution – mythology. Just mythology. Not religion. In India, back then, it was Dharm. Dharm doesn’t mean religion. Religion is a western concept. It comes in when there is more than one of them. Dharm is doing what is right. What is right is what is prescribed as right. What is prescribed to be right is what the stories are about. What the stories do is prescribe what the storyteller thinks is right in a sneaky, indirect, clever (sometimes not so clever) and quite a political way.

Today there are many stories.

Stories of business, where the religion is the large companies the directors are the Gods and their employees are both followers and priests.

Stories of Sports, where every sport is a religion, the champions are the Gods and the fans, the followers.

Stories of Brands, where the religions are the Brands their logos are the icons of God and the consumer is the follower.

Stories of Politics, where the political parties are religions the leaders are the high priests and the votes are their followers.

Stories of Art, where the boundaries are rather blurred but the industries are the religions, the stars the Gods and the fans, the followers.

In every case, it’s political. In every case there’s a motive malicious or benign depending on your own political bias. In every case it’s both good for some and bad for some. In every case, somehow, all of us are part of it.

Who’d a’thunk it?

So…2015…So

What does one say….? Happy New Year i guess.. Tis the season for short lived resolutions! One of mine is this – Blogging. Its quite an old blog. Can’t even remember when I made it. But if I wan’t to practice writing and put up sketches and ideas that are not for commercial purposes, I guess its a good habit. I’m not used to it though so I’m gonna give myself a break and ease into it with short pieces to begin with and then aim at better written stuff.

I began reading in 2014. Not that I planned it that way but somehow just picked it up. Im now at a point where I dont need to set goals to get through a book. I can sustain by the sheer enjoyment. Hope I reach that point in everything else I do professionally or otherwise.

I was thinking of all the things I plan to do in 2015. I thought if I had enough resolutions atleast a few of them would work out. Lets see how that goes… 😛 Won’t mention the others… don’t wanna jinx them!

Say What…?

Its been a while since I created this blog and all I’ve put up so far is a sort of an introduction. The truth is no amount of words or pictures can completely define me… or anyone. So what do I have to share that no one else does. Even this question is probably on a number of blogs already. I think so many things all day long. My thoughts are somewhat visual, somewhat auditory and somewhat literary. This is just the way I think. The subject of my thoughts are far too many to name or even categorise. I fancy myself a painter, an illustrator and a writer. These are phases I go through. most of the time its not simultaneously that I write illustrate and paint. I dont know if in future I’ll be doing any or all of these activities and many more. So this was an ambiguous enough introduction again.

I thought up a story to tell about myself. So far NO GOOD! Nothing exciting about MY story yet. I dont know how or why MY story would make for an interesting book, but I think if eventually it does, I’d be a happy man regardless of any kind of success.

Whats clear is probably this.

My story will not be a chronology of events, achievements, joys and sorrows, ups and downs. But rather parallel stories. that dont necessarily fall in sync with each other. Because that is how life is. Random things happen at random times and when it appears favourable to us we feel happy and when it doesnt we feel sad. this is why there is the up and down cycle in the first place. It doesn’t feel like some devine plan but a series of events that are following their own cycles. like stars and planets. and one day when they are aligned favourably we think its fortuitous.

So my book of stories is gonna be a bunch of my personal experiences that may or may not have anything to do with each other. But each story will serve as a series of events that shaped one part of me. And the overall character of the book, will be my protagonist!