Wednesday, December 23, 2009
धुएं भरे कमरे में
कुच्छ भटके हुए सार हैं
जिनका सन्दर्भ खो चुका है..
ओझल हाथों से
पथरीली दीवालों को टटोलातें हैं
कि शायद कोई शिलालेख मिल जाये;
...लेकिन ये दीवारें नयी हैं,
इनसे सिर्फ हाथ पर चूने की सफेदी लग जाती है
...कोई चिन्ह नहीं, कोई उभार नहीं,
जो हमें हमारी खोयी आकृति वापस दे दे
शायद यदि एक दूसरे को छू पाते,
तो कुछ मिल जाता
...लेकिन यह कमरे बंद हैं, अलग हैं...
कुछ सुराख़ हैं, जिनके धुंधले दायरे से
एक दूसरे का निशाना पा जाते हैं
...और तब लगता है की हम
अकेले नहीं हैं...
...और भी बहुत से हैं,
धुंध भरे बंद कमरों में
अपना सन्दर्भ टटोले रहे हैं!...
Thursday, December 17, 2009
well... everything returns, when you watch the river (even though you never step into the same river twice!)...
स्वप्निल सा था साथ तुम्हारा,
छिप गया अँधेरा...
तारों पर मखमली बसेरा...
हाथ पकड़ कर
साथ चले तो
धरती पर उतरा
सपनों भरा यथार्थ हमारा...
A year later:
हाँ, याद है कोहरे भरी वोह शाम
सहमा सा अँधेरा
बर्फ की चादर सरीखा
ठिठका हुआ, उलझा हुआ, रुकता धुंआ
जो तार पर थम, सांस में घुलता रहा...
कुछ शब्द जो सहमे हुए,
बह कर अधर से रुक गए
जडवत लटकते शून्य में...
संदिग्धता थी ,
टूट जायेंगे सभी यदि गिर पड़े...
... मासूम से वे शब्द जो सहमे खड़े थे मौन में...
पर अचानक एक आँचल ने समेटा,
आह बन कर सांस दी
वो जी उठे...
कुछ शब्द जो तुमने कहे, जुड़ते गए
पग, पग बढे, पाते, स्वयं को खोजते
स्वर-शब्द के स्पर्श से
पग-पग मिले, मिलते रहे...
उस शाम से, इस शाम तक...
20-21 years later, it was the same time/month of the year... and the winter and mist took an entirely different meaning...
Wednesday, December 02, 2009
Around the same time, I had written these verses:
The solitary migratory bird
with a fire in the heart
burns itself out.
I tell myself:
learn a new way to fly,
a new way to sing...
you will re-enact
this eternal drama
rising from the ashes...
...and thus, I guess, around that time, I became a "twice-born"/Dwij... in the sense as William James described in his "The Varieties of Religious Experiences"
"The once-born souls go through life with an un-self-conscious attitude, happily ignorant of their own human frailties and mortality. They accept life as it comes, and suffer and prosper without pausing to reflect on forces - within them or outside them - which chart their destinies. The twice-borns, on the other hand, have experienced the taste of death, and emerged wiser and humbler to face life. Having become aware of their own mortality, they are accutely conscious of themselves and as separate and alone ... they consciously reflect upon, and critique and question their own choices."
Saturday, November 28, 2009
स्वयं का सार पाने के लिए...
जागते सपने सरीखा,
एक धुंधली रौशनी सा,
प्रश्न बन कर आज कैसा,
ज्वार यह उठता कोई आकार पाने के लिए...
बह रहा जीवन निरन्तर,
ह्रदय-गति पर साँस का स्वर
गूंजता अनजान लय पर
पा ना पाया एक लहर, उस पार जाने के लिए...
साँस में अंधड़ बसा कर,
ह्रदय में गर्जन समा कर,
पलक में वर्षा सजा कर,
एक बादल भटकता आधार पाने के लिए...
खोजता था कौन सी छवि,
मैं स्वयं में, भ्रमित-सा कवि,
रच रहा था भाग्य की गति,
भटकता था प्यार भी जब प्यार पाने के लिए...
क्षितिज पर सपना सुनहरा,
खींचने वाला चितेरा,
मैं स्वयं या रूप तेरा,
था, मचल कर जो बढ़ा अभिसार पाने के लिए...
और वोह अभिसार का कल,
युग समेटे हुए कुछ पल,
स्वयं का भ्रम, भाग्य का छल,
चेतना विस्मृत हुयी, स्मृति बनाने के लिए...
पथिक भी मैं, स्वयं पथ हूँ,
चेतना का एक व्रत हूँ,
एक युग-गाथा अकथ हूँ,
निकल आया स्वर्ग से संसार पाने के लिए...
वासना, भ्रम, क्रोध, माया,
भ्रमित मन की ताजी काया,
आज फिर अपना रहा मैं,
पूर्णता की एक परिभाषा बनाने के लिए...
काल की अद्भुत प्रथा है,
हर दिवस गत की चिता है,
इसी धरा-हीनता में,
बाँध लूँ मैं सेतु पल से पल मिलाने के लिए...
कुछ अधूरे गीत हैं हम,
दो नदी के द्वीप हैं हम,
भटकते से बह रहे हैं,
एक दूजे में कोई अधिकार पाने के लिए...
स्वप्न नयनों को समर्पित,
ध्येय - मन के भ्रम - विकल्पित,
आस उर को दे, चला मैं,
आज जीवन के नए आधार पाने के लिए...
प्रश्न कैसे, अर्थ कैसा,
प्रेम का सन्दर्भ कैसा,
एक तुम हो, एक मैं हूँ,
फिर कहूं कुछ और क्यूं सीमा बनाने के लिए...
और कितने अनुभवों में,
सत्य की अनुभूति खोजूं,
साँस हो, संवेदना हो,
और क्या चाहूं स्वयं की थाह पाने के लिए...
स्वयं को खोया,
स्वयं का सार पाने के लिए...
These verses were written over a period of 3-4-5 years in the late '70s-early '80s - when I met my Mephistopheles (job, adulthood, responsibilities...) - took his offer, but told him that one day I will beat him, and take back my soul... so be it!!
Saturday, November 14, 2009
घनघोर बरसेंगी घटायें
टूट जायेंगे सभी सपने हमारे
बिजलियों की चोट खा कर,
बह चलेंगे अश्रु बन कर,
क्रूर हंस देंगी हवाएं
आज बन हम फूल जो मुस्का रहे,
कल सूख कर तिनका बनेंगे,
उजड़ कर उपवन हमारा
जलेगा शमशान जैसा
कली के आंसू बहेंगे...
कल तुम्हारे आंसुओं के साथ मैं भी बह चलूँगा,
आज तो लेकिन बुला लो,
अश्रु चाहे कल बनूँ, पर आज तो सपना बना कर,
प्रिये! आंखों में सुला लो...
३० मई '७४ Lucknow
Thursday, November 05, 2009
इन्हे ढूंढ ही लूँगा इक दिन,
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन...
साँसों में जीवन की हलचल,
लम्हों में खोती स्मृतियाँ,
इन्हे बाँध कर एक कहानी,
कभी लिखूंगा मैं इक दिन...
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन...
एक कारवां के हम राही
ढूंढ रहे थे अपनी मंजिल,
क्या खोया था, क्या पाया था
शायद सुना सकूंगा इक दिन...
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन...
पथिक स्वयं हूँ, पथ भी हूँ मैं,
अपने पथ-चिन्हों के पीछे
खोज रहा हूँ अपना साया
शायद मिल पाऊँगा इक दिन...
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन...
सागर के साहिल पर बैठा
लहरों की हलचल को सुनता
गीत बनाता हूँ, ख़ुद सुनता,
तूफ़ान भी आएगा इक दिन...
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन॥
जीवन के कितने ही पथ हैं,
हर पथ पर, कितने ही राही,
साथ चले, बिछुडे, कितने ही
मिल पायेंगे शायद इक दिन...
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन...
पंछी भी हूँ, दरिया हूँ मैं,
वन में छुपा हुआ पर्वत हूँ,
धरती हूँ मैं ? या अम्बर हूँ?..
शायद जान सकूंगा इक दिन....
'गर रहे सलामत ये पागलपन...
Saturday, October 24, 2009
सभी जो साथ थे वो पा गए अपने किनारों को
हम्ही बस हैं की जिनकी उलझनें अब भी दिशायें हैं...
कभी जब ऊब कर अपने बनाए आज से बच कर,
पुराने रास्तों पर फिर भटकते अजनबी बन कर,
किसी सुनसान झुरमुट से, हमारा ही कोई साया,
निकल कर पूछता है, व्यंग की मुस्कान-सी भर कर,
"मुझे क्यों भूलते हो जब मुझे ही खोजते हो तुम,
तुम्हारी आत्मा हूँ मैं, शुरू मुझसे हुए थे तुम!"
सहम कर हम ठिठक जाते, उसी सुनसान झुरमुट पर,
स्वयं को आंकने की चाह से यह पूछ लेते हैं,
"सभी ने पा लिया सन्दर्भ अपना, एक हम ही क्यूँ
अभी तक ढूंढते, दोहरा रहे अपनी पुकारों को?
कहाँ तक ज़िन्दगी में भटकने की विवशताएं हैं?॥"
Thursday, October 22, 2009
It was dusk, and a murky, heavy darkness was gradually replacing the pale fading light of the tired day. We, two of us, strolled back, tracing our steps to the half-lit, half-dark building of The School.
"Would he be there?" she asks me.
"I hope so."
Actually, I was no surer than her. Yet, the situation was almost a test of my spurious confidence in my luck and myself. I prayed to the powers that be, for his presence tonight.
As a matter of fact, far from knowing him, I had not even ever met him. But today was the Jumbler's Night, and I was told that he would be there. She was with me because she thought I knew him, a misgiving for which I was to be blamed.
During my visits to The School, I had heard about him and his peculiar qualities. One day, during one of our regular rendezvous, I had mentioned these things to her and she had got interested. I don't know what had come over me, but I had also told her that I knew him personally, and thus, had entrapped myself into a commitment of introducing her to him.
The durban at the gate saluted me. He had grown accustomed to my unaccounted presence in The School campus. I remember the first time I had loitered through the school gates. The durban had tried to stop me with a routinised intention of asking for my credentials. I had casually waved him aside with a contemptuous gesture of hands - so characteristic of me in such a situation. That had subdued him into a respectful obsequiousness, from then on. He had never again questioned the bases of my entourages to The School.
Perhaps, even I didn't know the reasons for my visits to The School, except that it was a peculiar and interesting place to go once in a while. I was neither a teacher nor a student, but would move around the campus as I please, with no one to ask me for an explanation. I would peep into the classrooms, visit the library, sit in the Staff Room, or just roam about. Somehow, the place seemed homely and familiar.
We entered The School building and walked across the tube-lit corridors towards The Quarters (The Quarters, as they are called, are an assemblage of old, now abandoned, residential buildings, which the school authorities had recently got converted into laboratories for him. However, they still retained their obsolete context and the inappropriate name).
The corridors, I had noticed earlier also, undergo a metamorphosis after sunset. The darkness walls up the open sides and they start giving the impression of a hazily-lit tunnel, almost like the labyrinths of the dreams. At night they an uncanny aura of mystery, and arouse an urge to traverse them and to discover their beginnings and the ends. My earlier explorations, however, had taught me that they had neither a beginning nor an end to themselves (I would always end up where I started from). They only connected all the buildings of The School to each other, and if one knew one’s destination, one only had to travel across them following a set of learnt or guided directions.
Our ‘destination’ was The Quarters, and so I knew which corridors to choose and which to leave. We walked on the mosaic floor, which was originally designed to create some kind of optical illusion of uneven depth. But time had deprived it of its originality and the shuffling of soles of countless foot-wears had weathered off its design.
Her wooden heels click-clacked on the floor, and echoed through the silence, that hung between us. As we turned once left and twice right, I mused over the immediate future, and my stakes in the encounter with him.
The verandah of The Quarters was large and open. It was dimly lit and the pale fog which had floated through, gave an impression of immense unexplored spaces. I looked at the door of The Lab. It was partly open and one could see a few articles through the two inch crack. I looked at her. She was pale and tense. I had hoped that she would propose our going back and thus, save me and herself from the ordeal. She disappointed me by nodding her head towards the door. This affirmation of her intention to meet him was, it seemed, less an act of courage and more a kind of hypnotic response to an unusual situation.
I took a deep breath and knocked at the door.
“Come in,” a confident and amicable voice came from behind the half-open door. I was somewhat taken by surprise. I had expected a gruffy and eccentric voice. This intonation hinted as a much more resolved and likeable person behind it. I looked back at her again. She looked slightly startled. We waited for about two long seconds, re-orienting ourselves, and then opened the door and entered.
He was sitting one a chair, peeping into a cage which had all its walls covered by a thick black paper. He was middle-aged clean-shaven person, with his hair neatly combed back. His face had a likeable flexibility, though the deep creases on it, accumulated through experience of having lived an intense life, had a confidence-inspiring firmness. He looked at us and his face lit up with geniality. Stretching his hands, he came to us. We shook hands.
“Welcome,” he said. “I was expecting you two.”
Obviously, he had mistook us for someone else – which was good, since it made my position more secure, requiring less explanations and justifications.
“Please make yourself comfortable,” he waved us to the two armchairs in the corner. “I will be just through with The Beast.”
The Beast was what had brought us here tonight. He has created quite a sensation when he had synthesized this creature, which was said to have no parallel in the physical world. What probably was most intriguing was the aura of mystery which surrounded Its existence. While almost everyone knew about It, only a handful of people were believed to have seen It. And these few, invariably, refused to talk about what they had seen. I was once introduced to one such person. When I asked him, he made a rather cryptic remark, “The Beast is only your imaginary reality.” He never explained the remark.
It is not surprising, therefore, that over a period of time, everyone had formed their own impression and opinion about what the Beast was like. These impressions were so different from each other that instead of resolving the mystery, they had only further deepened it.
As we waited for him, I looked around the room. It had a disorganized appearance. The plaster on the walls had worn-out, and one corner advertising the vestiges of an old wall-paper, sticking to it like a glorious thought faded past. A low-power bulb, hanging from the ceiling, emitted yellow oppressive light, which was further accentuated by the lamp which was beside him, and was focused inside the cage. There were some similar cages cluttered on the top each other in one corner. Another corner was occupied by a large table with books stacked on it. Apart from these, some small pieces of items, like ash-trays, papers, empty tea-cups, etc., were littered over the floor. And of course, in the center of the room was this uncomfortable stool on which he was sitting, peering inside the cage with deep concentration and enthusiasm.
I shifted my attention to her. Apparently, she was much engrossed with what he was doing, and was oblivious of the time and the world. The somber atmosphere of the room forbade me from speaking and drawing her into any kind of small-talk. In a way, the situation was welcome, since it obviated any awkward questions from her.
Suddenly, with a gesture of content and satisfaction, he stood up. With a last glance inside the cage, he came to us, giving us friendly and what seemed to me, a mischievous smile.
“I believe you have come to see The Beast?”
We nodded, expecting an invitation to have a peep at the synthesized specimen of human fantasy. He looked at us as if he found our curiosity quite natural.
“I am afraid, that would not be possible today. But I will tell you something about The Beast which nobody else knows."
He drew his stool near us and sat down, as if to tell a long story. That he had disappointed us had seemed to go unnoticed by him. I was plainly disheartened, and waited for an explanation for his refusal. He lit a cigarette and inhaled the smoke. The silence lengthened the suspense. At last, he spoke.
“The Beast, as it has been nicknamed, is not new to the mankind. In fact, It is not even a creation. It had always existed in the mind of the people. I have done nothing, except having given It a form and a shape. And even now, it is less tangible than the impression people might have given to you. I am still trying to decipher its nature. To some, It may appear as insightful and seductive as the snake in the Garden of Eden; while to others, It may be plainly mischievous and amoral as Loki. The Church would have named It Lucifer, and Freud was probably referring to It when he talked about that “cauldron of bubbling impulses” – the unconscious Id. I suppose, it all depends on people and their personal and historical sense of evil.”
He paused. He had still not given any reasons why we could not see the Beast. However, in terms of what he said, the omission seemed immaterial. Aware of my own sense of evil since the evening, I tried to conjure up the image of the Beast.
"In one of my experiments, I learned something very insightful about It. I believe, you will find it interesting”, he paused for some time, looking at me. "I had known that It doesn’t like bright lights and open spaces. I reasoned that, left in the open, It would try to dig a shelter for Itself in the ground. So, on day, when I put it out in the broad daylight, something significant happened.
"As expected, in the beginning, It was uncomfortable and reacted violently. It struck out at everything within its reach, with an almost blind rage. For almost an hour, I watched this display of Its ferocious energy from a safe distance. And then, it suddenly grew calm. I could sense that something had changed within It. Almost with a sense of purpose, it started digging into the ground. Very methodically, It dug a rather large hole, and descended into it. I followed him maintaining a safe distance. The dust raised by it helped me in keeping Its track. My feeling that its course of digging was guided by some purposeful instinct was even stronger now.
"And then suddenly, It stopped. I could neither see the dust being raised, not hear Its effortful panting. I thought that It must have got tired – or must have across some impenetrable rock. I crouched in a corner for It to start digging, or to return. But time went by, and nothing happened. It was as if I was alone in the tunnel. I was getting uncomfortable, and started crawling forward…"
He stopped and bent down to stub his cigarette on the floor. I noticed that the floor was littered with stubs and ash.
“What did you find?”, she asked, her yes widened, unable to conceal her curiosity.
“You know that, my dear”, he smiled and winked at her. “In fact, you know that better, for you came from there yourself.”
I was puzzled at this turn of conversation. I looked at her, and then at him. Her eyes were still widened, but more out of insight and realization, than out of curiosity.
“You mean, the time has come?”, she asked.
“Of course, it has. After all, it was he who led you here, isn’t it?”, he said, pointing at me....
"Hey! What’s going on!!", I was feeling uneasy. "What are you two talking about? How do you know each other?"
"You’ll know. You’ll know soon", she patted me on the shoulder. "Come, I will show you."
She got up and started moving towards the door. I looked at him, but he seemed to have concluded the interview. He nodded, as if asking me to follow her. For a moment I hesitated, then moved to follow her.
When I came out of the door, she was stepping down from the verandah into the darkness. I took a few strides, and was by her side on the steps. I was too perturbed and perplexed to ask her any questions. But I knew that. Come what may, I had to get to the roots of this enigmatic situation.
I had expected us to step on the ground after a couple of steps. In the darkness, it was difficult to see where the steps were leading to, but I had no reason to doubt my daytime memories of the building’s structure.
That’s why I was taken by surprise, when we kept on descending into the darkness. It was all murky black surrounding us, and the ground seemed to have disappeared. Even she was not visible, though I could feel her presence by my side. When I tried to look back, she stopped me.
"Don’t look back! The dizziness of depth is far more unbearable than the dizziness of the heights."
Her voice now had a calm and confidence, which somehow soothed my anxieties. I felt the ground firmer under my feet, and the eerie feeling I had been having, evaporated. As we continued our downward journey, I noticed the darkness giving way to a soft blue phosphorescent glow. We had entered into a sort of cavern. The atmosphere was gradually growing more and more tranquil and nostalgic. I had, I noticed, grown accustomed to this peculiar situation. In fact, I was feeling quite relaxed and excited.
The cave suddenly opened up in, what appeared to me, an architectural dream. It was like a three-dimensional maze. All around us were multitudes of arches, staircases, paths leading in all directions. The richness and symmetry of the structures was overwhelming to the senses. The place had an air of illusion and anticipation about it.
She seemed to know her way, and chose a flight of stairs, ascending in a spiral.
"Where do the other paths go?" I enquired.
"Same place where we are going", she said, as if that was self-explanatory.
"Then why did you select this very path?"
"Maybe it would suit you better", she said with a smile.
In a way, I understood her, though it was difficult to pin-point the exact meaning of what she had said. Her words were comforting, and that seemed to enough justification to trust her judgement. I followed her with a sense of wonder.
We climbed up the stairs, and then crossed over a series of bridges, tunnels and stairs, traveling at a leisurely pace, as if time didn’t matter. I was too much overcome by a feeling of awe and humility to really care where she was leading me to. I was content to be with her, mindless of the beginnings or the end of this journey.
That is why when, while passing through the tunnel, she suddenly disappeared through the solid wall on the left, I was shaken out of my trance. In panic, I took two long strides to reach where I had seen her disappearing. But she was there, standing in a well-concealed opening in the wall, which led to a kind of platform. There was a closed door at the end of platform. She was looking at me intently, with a kind smile.
"I have led you up to this point", she said. "But now you have only yourself to rely upon to experience what lies behind this door."
"Are you going to leave me?" I asked.
"No, I’ll be with you, but that will not really help you much."
She bade me to follow her, and turned. Almost reverently, awed by the mystery behind the door, I fell in step behind her. We crossed the platform, and with almost no effort, she pushed the door open.
I was hit by the force of some supernatural energy, which sort of sucked me inside. I was blinded by the bright benign light, and the music was driving me into wild paroxysms. I tried to keep my eyes open, but it was like looking into a whirlpool of gigantic energy. I was feeling dizzy, and tried to get hold of myself.
And then I fell.
It was like a tunnel, a sucking whirlpool, which gradually became darker and darker. My hands stretched, wildly seeking a support, waving blindly in a helpless panic. Darkness parted, leaving space for me to go down and then closed in on me. Deeper and deeper… irrevocably deeper. I was engulfed by the murky monolithic black, was coloured by it. My own boundaries were blurred. What remained of me was a bunch of mythical, imaginary, nebulous body sensations. Merely a darkness, encapsulated by another. There was no ‘I’, just an all-pervading stretch of eternal darkness. I had dissolved. The blind, shadowy, vaccuuous had become me.
The falling had ceased. I was everywhere, flowing around in the entropic, structure-less static nothing. I was nowhere.
No form, no motion, no light, no time. An eternity passed away.
The movement started as a slight tremor, a gentle sway, a ripple in the dark primordial pool. It passed through me, and restored the sensibility of a mass, which I could recognize as ‘me’. I gathered my lost sentience, trying to define the architecture of my split-out being. The explosion, the blast, the ensuing revolutions was sudden and unexpected. The deafening flood of a Titanic energy, the unbriddled fury of the unknown, lying dormant of eons, burst forth. An enormous gush of savage intensity caught me lost in structuring myself. I blew into pieces, and scattered around in the storm. The tempest hit me in a ceaseless succession, tossing me around, wave after wave, with an overwhelming force. I tried to resist, to recapture and to maintain my naïve vanity in my sense of being. My efforts were redundant in the face of that tireless momentum. It pierced my will, and blew me helplessly along its vertiginous course. I resigned myself to its power to dictate my directions.
It was then that they appeared. The Images. From the dark, swirlling, zooming haze which had engulfed me, they emerged and disappeared in an incoherent succession. Formless, shapeless figures, they screamed, laughed, shouted, wailed, and sang at a deafening pitch. I watched their demonic, chaotic movement, mesmerized and unaware of their affinity with me. And then dawned that awareness, slowly seeping through me, and along with it, a chill, a horror, a nameless repulsion for these alien beings. I fought in defense, and tried to hit at these cruel indictments of fate.
"We are the ghosts of your own making", they cried and eluded my panic-stricken blows at them. I realized that they were right. Vague, formless memories of the sins of the wandering soul lit up and acknowledged and confessed their existential guilt. I had sinned, had forgotten and had neglected. And had taken that as a way of life… which life? I tried to recall and peeped through the blind corridors of my memory. Through the dim, misty sense of a life lived –and forgotten – something emerged. And what emerged was an unlived life and countless debts of living. I shuddered and turned away.
They squealed in delight. A saddistic, revengeful delight in my agony and regrets. They revelled in my misery and danced around me – an infernal rhythme of diabolic fascination. They closed in on me, drawing me, possessing me.
"Please", I pleaded. "Save me, forgive me for my sins. I want to live again. I want to free myself of you."
Magically, the dance ceased.
All of a sudden, there was a silence. A piercing, deep silence. I turned, but they had disappeared – and a dark, nostalgic void had replaced them. The movement, the spiralling thrust from nowhere, had also ceased. I was again hanging lose in a vaccuum. The dark sordidness had taken shape of a benign grey mistiness.
I floated aimlessly, waiting for something to happen. I was feeling light and cleansed. It was like being nearer to Home - a nostalgia – not for a life back there, but for an eternity to be there for mine. That was always there before the Fall.
A grey point I was looking at for some time, gradually started becoming lighter. Something was happening. I waited in anticipation. It grew brighter and brighter, a cherubic soft aura radiated from it whose intensity grew with each moment. Streams of emotions – of love, of piety, of a kind of and wonder, of surrender – rushed out from within me, and tripped over each other. Enraptured, I watched this unfolding of the light. I bathed in Its intensity and felt an unaging affinity to It. As if this was the Home, the Mother, the Source of all that was me and was not me.
"My child", a soft mesmerizing Voice echoed in the grey primal pool and touched the core of my being. I felt transparent, and yielded to an archaic instinct of relatedness to this Being. My soul lay itself bare to absorb Its benevolent essence. "Do you still want to live?"
It was neither a question, nor a statement. Or perhaps it was both. It was also a decree, a judgement exiling me from my Home, which entailed an assent and a grateful acceptance.
"Yes, you will live", the Voice continued. "but you will live under the curses you have created for yourself. You will live with them and learn to live with them. They’ll be part of your life as they have never been before. They will permeate your existence and save and contradict it. In your journey, they‘ll be your guides and obstacles. Your final freedom will also be your imprisonment to them."
I paused, as if to let my Karmas sink within me, and then said, "Would you like to meet them?"
"I have met them", I shuddered.
"No! You have seen them and feared them. Feared them for their alien familiarity. You’ve pleaded with them, and they have been merciful", It paused. "No, you have to meet them and know them and accept them. Come!"
And I felt being helplessly sucked from within that benign aura. It didn’t matter any more. The will, the resistance against life was futile and redundant. I was happily absorbed and lost.
Image... the Essence of life, floated by. And I absorbed their silent commentaries of their re-introduction into my life. What was to be me – the playground, the arena of archaic forces – was being written...
…“I am your Rationality. I’ll help you not loose yourself. I am the tyrant who will impose sanity on you, and imprison you in my clutches. I’ll enter all your relationships and breathe them hollow and soul-less. You’ll love me and hate me for never letting ‘meet’ others and yourself..
…”I will wage war on Rationality. I’ll fight with it and tear you asunder. You’ll yearn for me, for the sense of belongingness, for love and intimacy. I’ll entice your wandering soul and suffocate it within the confines of the commonplace mediocrity. For I am the Life you’ll contradict in the process of living…”
…”And I am your insights and confusions. I am the Words, that will guide you and misguide you. At my will, I will make you superficial – or push you down into the overwhelming gamut of the Unknown. You’ll try to conquer me, and I will lead you into blind corners, and tear you apart, reducing you to wrecks of insanity. And yet, I’ll save you from losing yourself to the insanity of Reality….”
…”I am the First Principle, the violent, free wild energy. You’ll lack me and love me and fear me. I’ll implore you, seduce you and yet elude you. I am the contrast you’ll try to emulate and fail. I’ll join the Words and build up images you’ll worship and succumb to…”
…”And you’ll run after me, sketching my images, and losing me. You’ll interpret me and re-interpret me for I am the Reality that’ll haunt you and yet remain nebulous and hazy. I am the illusions you will paint on the horizons, and dreams you’ll cherish for yourself. I’ll negate your existence, in order for you to find yourself. I am waiting for you, my lost traveler!...”
…”I’ll make everything vulgar and plebian in your life. I’ll cut your wings and bind you to earth. I’m the Time that’ll make everything look critical and important. You’ll try to imprison me and I’ll flow out of your fingers. A sense of passing away, of loss, will hypnotize you and you’ll whither away – futile, mocked at, alone…”
…”And I am the end, the final aim that’ll dog each of your steps. I will contradict Life. But you’ll never be able to recognize me as separate from Life, for I’m Death. My shadow will be your shadow. I’ll fascinate you, and haunt you in the long hours of loneliness. You will live through decaying feelings and faces. But I’ll help you to live and grow, and will thrive on your own sense of mortality…”
They came and went by. Awe-struck, I listened to the drama of my life, unfolding and being preordained. Cursed benedictions, harmonious contradictions, the amoral blend of good and evil, being rolled into a pattern, which was to be me – and my cross to bear…
I felt tired. A sense of lethargy, negated by a promise, crept up and possessed me. Absorbing, I waited for the curtains to go up…
Saturday, September 26, 2009
Over the years, I have psychologically "adopted" him as a person you look upto, admire/ try-to-be-like-OK!hopefully!! (like, I am sure, many others), and "take care of" as much as you can... difficult to explain - but that is how it is/ has been!!
I knew that he has not been keeping well - was in Jamshedpur (from Bhubneshwar) for treatment/recuperation...
Today, I met him in the Admn Block - he had hobbled over (he has an an artharitic knee) from the Tome's Residence....
"Ah, I was looking for you!" he said.
"How are you, Fr - I heard you are not keeping well?"
"old age! kya karoon!... I have problem in breathing now... but just came to tell you, I have seen your mails - have seen what the students are doing to make life better for others - it is worth their efforts - they must go ahead... Just keep up the good work going!"
... and before I could thank him for his blessings, he turned and hobbled out from the corridor...
This will be a moment which will remain in my memory... when you just get 'blessed'
(and yes!... we will, as much as we can "keep the good work going")
Wednesday, September 09, 2009
बिजली के भीगे तारों पर
बारिश की बूंदों के जैसे
फिसले, फिसले जीवन के पल
चलते, चलते गिर जाते हैं,
ओझल हो कर खो जाते हैं..
i.e., it brings out the poet - of some sort - in you out of boredom
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
... there were 3 of us (now 2)... who grew-up together, and would meet every other evening, discuss and debate the "world issues"... - we were the "romantics", dangling between GB Shaw, Oscar Wilde and Jean-Paul Sarte/ Albert Camus... essentially, trying to find ourselves... and sometimes we will also throw a gauntlet to each other...
One of these, I recall (and it still stays with me) was when we decided to make poems ending with "क्या जीवन का ध्येय यही है"
one of us (not me - Binnoo) who made these verses
"मुझमें है मष्तिष्क ह्रदय है
मुझमें काम क्रोध और भय है
जो अपना है, उसे भुला के
रूप देवता का कर लूँ मैं!
... क्या जीवन का ध्येय यही है?...
... these verses still remains with me...
Saturday, August 15, 2009
लहजे में वो नफासत, वो रंग-ओ-बू कहाँ है?
वो दिल फरेब बातें, वोह गुफ्तगू कहाँ है?
था जिसपे नाज़ हमको, वो लखनऊ कहाँ है?
वो खुश्बुओं के रेले, दिल्कश हसीन मेले
दिल की जवाँ तरंगें,वो ख्वाहिशें उमंगें
जैसे बरस रही हो, रस रंग की फुवारें
अब तक बसी हैं दिल में,लव लेन की बहारें
अब भी है काफ़ी हाउस, लेकिन था एक ज़माना
जब शायरों अदीबों का, यही था ठिकाना
सिगरेट का धुआं जैसे हर फ़िक्र का बादल था
यह गंज यूँ तो अब भी चाहत है लखनऊ की
बदली हुई सी लेकिन रंगत है लखनऊ की
अंदाज़ वो नहीं हैं आदाब वो नहीं हैं,
आँखें वही हैं लेकिन अब ख्वाब वो नहीं हैं
इखलास की वो बस्ती वीरान हो गई है
इस भीड़ में शेहेर की पहचान खो गई है
तहजीब मुख्तलिफ है माहौल भी जुदा है
अब कैसे कह दें हम लखनऊ पर फ़िदा हैं
- verse of remembrances about the Lakhnau by Khushwant Singh on the eve of Hazratganj turning 200 next year in Oct 2010
Monday, May 04, 2009
I have an immense of admiration for this gutsy lady - my Mom! - ... she still keeps on writing for the magazines – keeps herself alive and active…. Which is really a remarkable feat if you are around 85yrs!!
Last time - about 5-6yrs back -, she visited us… and in one of the conversations she said: “this world is changing too fast for me…”
It was like an era slipping through her fingers…At that time - about 5-6yrs – back, this didn’t make sense to me
Though, now, some times, it does!.... “ya! Maybe one needs to keep pace to keep up with the technology” –I tell myself
And, I do try to decide if it is really worth it!!
I mean…. it may be more realistic to accept that “you were there once!”
And you did what you could!... that’s it!!
Sunday, January 11, 2009
...to remember & pay tribute to a person, who was so much a part of that time and era in my life...
The Theme, then was
भटका भटका भटका दिया है प्यार ने फिर प्यार पाने के लिए...
here are some of the verses which followed...
जब कभी इस साँस का स्वर
मौन हो जय बिखर कार
पवन के संग गीत बन कर
बहेगा मेरे लिए...
साध खो दूँ जब स्वयं की
छांह में तपते बदन की
अधर पर भाषा अधर की
लिखेगी मेरे लिए....
किसी जलती दोपहर में
थके जीवन के सफर में
लड़खादृंगा डगर में
किंतु मत रोको प्रिये!....
गीत साँसों का मिले
dhadkanon का काफिला यह
ruk saka naa silsila यह
kshan मरे, pal-pal jiye...
s**t!! technology defies.... can't manage "transliteration".... giving up :(
का काफिला ए