Monday, September 12, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
Saturday, May 21, 2011
He had been watching her for quite some time. Those huge brown eyes attracted him like magnets. They were like a pair of snow white lotuses in a ripple less pond. He did not know whether the example fitted the object of admiration or not. But he was again and again reminded of the picturesque water body, calm and still, mirroring the greenery around, with the lotuses blooming just in the midst of the blue-green waters. He had been staring unblinkingly at her from the moment he made himself comfortable in the Food Court.
He did not know who she was. It was whiling an aimless afternoon in the mall that he felt the pangs of hunger. Locating the eatery, he had ordered to his choice and sat down with a plate of hot chowmein when his eyes fell on her. Two or three tables away she sat motionless like a fairy that had just descended on this Earth in the midst of the crowd and was busy gathering her wits. He chuckled to himself. In a spotless white chikan salwar suit her dupatta trailed down brushing the floor. What else could she be compared with? Such serene beauty! Such placid but haunting expression! She was quite oblivious of her surroundings – the many eyes that rested on her. A few silky brown curls fell waywardly on her smooth forehead. She did not wave them away. Her eyes stared unseeingly at the wall opposite. But there was a hint of a smile in them. They glowed like fireflies in a dark, moonless, night. Now how did the fireflies come to his mind? He just shook his head with a sheepish smile. He was afraid he was becoming poetic.
Poetic and he? He was surprised. He could not believe himself. Where was his mechanical genius, his rationale, his analytical acumen gone? He was an engineer and not a poet. But engineers were not immune to beatific portraits of innocent beauty, were they? Thought he. Engineers also possessed hearts which could sprint, somersault and skip beats when occasions heralded such reactions. His analytical mind was in the fourth gear. She was not glamorous. She was not wild. She was just an angel in repose. There was a timeless quality about her. The way she seemed lost in thought far removed from the hum drum of life. Even inertia could be so fascinating! He could not help but admire.
He let his eyes feast every inch and angle of her body. Now she looked like a flawless mannequin in an idle posture. Her hands lay on her laps. The delicate, slender fingers were an artist’s delight. He wanted to take her hand in his and kiss the tip of each finger till the soft pink of her skin became golden red. He wanted to take her in his arms and make endless promises of lifelong togetherness. He wanted to memorize her name under his breath. What was her name? He wished fervently that he could know her name. No, not only the name but everything about her. He suddenly realized that this was not mere infatuation. This was something more than that.
He could feel her pulse within him. She wanted him to reach out to her. She wanted that he should come closer though she had not signaled to him. There was no outward manifestation of her desires or her repeated but wordless calls to him. But he just knew. There was a strong, undying bond between them. Philosophers spoke about the sublimity of love which took one to higher planes. He did not know whether this was that divine experience or not. But the one thing that he knew and felt for sure was a fatal temptation to touch her very being with exploring fingers. How could anybody affect him so easily and so quickly in such a short time? He had not even spoken to her yet. He nodded in stern resolution. Yes, that was exactly what she wanted him to do. Speak to her. But before that he had to acquaint himself with her. How to go about that?
On an impulse, he snatched a paper napkin from the holder and jotted down a few lines on it. Thank God he always carried a pen. When he finished scribbling he was not sure that those lines were written by him. How could he? But there was no time to judge his poetic abilities now. While he was penning his ardour a short, plump girl had joined the angel. They had got up and were about to leave hand in hand. He had this odd feeling that he missed something. Something which he should have noticed!!!
Never mind that. Now his eyes were reverted to her approaching figure. She walked with a swan like grace. A little haltingly. A little unsure of herself. But there was such rhythm in her every movement. She would surely grace the dance floor of any party.
As she passed by a few tables, gazes followed her with odd expressions. A few lips muttered half whispered comments. She just smiled and walked past them with a quiet resolution which was becoming and dignified at the same time. He could not follow the meanings in those cruel eyes or the whispers of those vitriolic lips. He was only interested in her.
They had to pass his table in order to move towards the exit. As she neared him he faltered. For a few seconds he thought he had lost the moment. Sweat erupted from every pour of his body. There was hollowness in the pit of his stomach. His throat felt dry. His eyes burnt. He did not know what to do. The paper napkin shivered in his hands. It was now or never.
Just then she came over to his table then circumventing it turned towards the door. Before she could move past her dupatta caught on to something. What stroke of luck he exclaimed in his heart of heart. She stopped for a moment. Just a moment! And that moment was priceless for him. As she struggled to free the end of her dupatta he took a step towards her and shoved the napkin into her left palm. Startled she fumbled with her dupatta more. For once he thought she would drop the napkin. But she did not. Then it was all over. The magic of the moment was gone forever. The dupatta was freed by the nimble fingers of her companion and they glided on.
He gritted his teeth. Why did the other girl have to spoil the moment? She would have been there a few more minutes had her friend not helped her. He sat down heavily on the chair. He remembered why he had come there. To eat!!! But the chowmein seemed so tasteless now.
On the other side of the Food Court as the two figures walked out the girl in white smiled to herself opening her palms. She could figure out what that crumpled piece of paper might contain. She nudged her friend without looking at her. Extending her arms in front she said knowingly, “Perhaps this is for you, Renu.” Her companion looked at her questioningly. She felt the question digging her skin. The girl smiled to herself looking straight ahead of her. Without a trace of remorse or pity in her voice she concluded,” He thinks I am perfect. I know I am not.” Hand in hand they crossed the road.
Saturday, April 30, 2011
अंधेरों में सिसकियाँ भरता है और उजालों में डूब जाता है
दीवारों पे लिखता है नाम और आंसुओं से मिटाता है
घर का पता पूछो तो बौखला जाता है
लोग पागल करार कर तो दिया है उसे
पर मुझे पता है वह सच तलाशता है
The man wanders in the labyrinthine gullies
Of life kissing dust hovering like the clouds
In dark ditch of mind he finds a quaint solace
And pales in fright as day light seeps through the windows
He has erected walls around him scratching names on them
And rubbing these off with tears
I ask him his whereabouts he looks lost and queer
They say he is a mad man who seeks the truth in the debris of time
I know he is a seeker, has come a long way and shall
Melt away with time nameless, clueless, sieving the truth out of
Ages of illusion
I chase thee unknown in my dreams and poems
Friday, April 15, 2011
Friday, April 01, 2011
A scorching summer noon! Our car screeched to a halt at a traffic light. The car AC was ineffective in the boiling heat. Sun’s sizzling rays struck the charcoal bed of the road like lightening and shot back thousand prismatic shards dazzling the eyes. The tinted glass windows were a lame excuse for the heat and the light not to sneak into our car. We sat inside the blast furnace sweating and fuming as the signal took its own sweet time to change.
From the wordless gesticulations I could make out that the man behind the steering wheels refused to give her money on the pretext of not having any change. All of a sudden the man threw back his head and laughed. The girl smiled too and headed towards the other cars. I wondered whether it would be correct to hand over a few coins in those soft palms. This was not begging. She was asking payment in lieu of her performance though uninvited. I wished some resourceful entrepreneur or NGO could explore the possibility of utilizing the untapped potentials of such nameless artistes going waste at traffic signals. In this country of teeming billions such unidentified talents were not rare. Perhaps giving them alms might crush their desire to move further forward. Was there really any future of these unknown performers who scalded their limbs on seething asphalts to earn a few coins from an unwilling, impatient audience?
As my mind raced from one thought to the other, from one possibility to the other, from one regret to the other, the traffic lights changed colour and our car swiftly swerved towards the left. I tried to see the summer flower blooming on her own, without the love and tenderness of careworn hands in the midst of thirst ridden, sun baked dunes. But she was busy kissing the fiery roads bent on all fours oblivious of a pair of misty eyes which were riveted towards her. As our car dashed through the traffic I gradually lost sight of her but her burning image stayed with me for a very, very long time reminding of many more summer flowers that I had seen strewn carelessly on the road side by unknown hands who had scripted their fate with charred quills.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
My house fronted
A wild meadow
With groves of huddled green
Raising long arms to
A limitless horizon of
White washed blue
On which lazed
Pillows of crystal clouds
The sun shine so bright
Dazzling the eyes
Embalmed in the night by
The daub of a rotund moon
Piled with frozen ice amidst
A sprinkle of glassy stars
Melting into a smiling rainbow
Soon after a happy shower
Maddeningly gleeful in
The barmy breeze blowing in
Fragrances of faraway lands
Caressing rows of flowers blooming
Like the well scrubbed cheeks of
The baby boy just across the street
Serenely ambling past the tranquil abodes
Without a bump, a hole or a
Once upon a time
Today as I shade my eyes
With my wrinkled hands
And squint up
The sky seems lost
The clouds smudged
The sun shine prickly
The moon hazy
The stars dull
The rainbow stolen
The showers sporadic
The greenery faded
The breeze harsh
The flowers withered
The cheeks sunken
The infants stooped
With adult worries
And the meadow browbeaten
By tall, black, sooty chimneys
Standing arrogantly by a sluggish, slovenly drain
Murky in hue slimy in texture
Dark in contours wallowing in stench
Once though was a giggly light feet joyful stream
I blame it on a myopic sight
But they say the world now
Has a jaundiced view
Is that true?
Sunday, March 27, 2011
B-I-L ne aao dekha na taao, now, now, please don't ask me to translate that in English because my colonial legacy is not so stretchable after all. So coming back to B-I-L - he mobiled "A" to give his fatherly piece of mind , oooh. thankfully, at last, well that's not me saying but it's my sister who said that while recounting the whole tempest in the tea cup to me later in the day with the appropriate background noises and score. The next thing we knew was a drowsy "A" knocking at the door.
The celebrity couple were ready to dish out a pair of their pieces of minds together to their off spring when they were quietened by the most important and buzurg like figure of the house, Mr. Snow Boot, who barked, howled and hollered at "A" from the car park to the door with such ferociousness that the family for once could not help but think he'd most probably be tbe long lost judwa who went his own way in the local mela last year and not the humble gentlemanly Snow that we all knew of.
Later in the day, in a calmer mood, "A" confided in me that the experience was exactly like listening to Jab We Met's Dadaji (Darji) LIVE. Remember the ever horizontal Dara Singh whose opening dialogue was " hamein ek nazar mein hi pata chal jaata hai ke ladka ladkii ke beech mein kya chal rahaa hai." Wellll! It was when "A" was just about to leave the room that lightening struck my blinking intellect (and not internet, my dear friends) and pop came out the query, "Yeh ladka to theek hai par yeh ladkii kaun hai?" My nephew who by that time had realized that he had blabbered quite a lot just let a fleeting smile yell on his tightly pressed lips like Tom (of Tom & Jerry fame) when trapped under the window shutter and exited leaving a thick fog of suspense behind.
I was going to pursue the matter with him like a nagging, inquisitive aunt that I was but suddenly one of my rarest brainwaves shook me guts up,"Why not ask the omniscient Snow who knew ek nazar mein...........and all that blah blah" But one cocked left eyebrow from me and Snow just growled a hmmmmmmmmmm and walked quiet sedately out of the room. Just like the censor board with thickly knitted brows issuing an 'A' to some cunningly -cooked-up-controversy-ial movie. Snow might as well have brandished the sickly green certificate at me. Tujhe bhi dekh lenge Snow!!!!Acting elderly unh huh?????
Pain, come let me immortalize you for posterity
By penning the tale about how you destroyed me
Both give a feeling of embracing warmth and coziness
But Jarring and scorching when at the maximum
Tranquil and enjoyable if minimal
Scorching summer noon
Clings motionless to the bleached grass head
Saturday, March 26, 2011
There’s a river tripping down the rugged, uneven terrains of a mountain in a fit of joyful descent coursing its way through pebbled path, narrow in perspective, almost narcissistic and very, very light on feet, disbursing its joyous spree in innumerable rivulets, turning a bend it draws the reign and slows down its pace to a trot, galloping on velvety, lush grounds, it is confident at the same time sedate, serene, introspective even morose at times and at others spirited, delighted, playful perhaps with the air of a vagabond but not Bohemian, of course not, not at all, till it crashes in million aplomb, it is naughty but not mean till suddenly it does discard the zest, the zeal, the fervour, the buoyancy, the vibrancy of yore and takes a more sluggish path of slow paced brood, ambles down the gentle slopes, in an insatiable quest for the unknown and at one point it obliterates the past, blots out the vagaries of aimless reminiscences, freezes the present and oblivious to the fears of the future, traipses past its tributaries to go mingle and get lost into the depths of the bottomless blue fringed with infinite, tumultuous, torrid, impassioned waves pacified into the sage like, silent, ocean stunned into eternal peace. Just like life. Isn’t it?
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
We fought like cats and dogs over a trivial issue. But trivial was such a trivia that it was forthwith discarded from our dictionary. Blinding rage wore a magnifying glass shielding clarity of vision, dilating a molehill into a rugged mountain whose peaks were invincible. Lucidity was so pathetically ordinary that we brushed it aside with impatient hands. We had excavated layers and layers of such extra ordinary interpretations to the myriad cornucopia of the very mundane, the very common place.
As a result, we scratched and scarred each other with thorny barbs, sarcastic snide, provocative jibes, sanguinary sneers, razor sharp tongues, and all such means which were more brutal than any other deadly weapon or devastating missile challenging human sovereignty. The apple of discord seemed so important at that point of heated arguments, when we spit mud and gore at each other, that our octaves reached the super sonic till we decided to bang down the phone into each other’s ears and resolved never to speak again.
As the temperature cooled down pity bordering on contempt for the opponent overtook guilt of rubbing salt on each other’s wound. An inflated ego refused to acknowledge faults in behaviour or flaws in perspective. As time passed the moment of insanity receded back to history gradually letting rationality brighten up the day.
On hindsight, winning the argument seemed more important than the actual contention which could have had a simpler solution, a more tranquil rejoinder and also a more amicable finale. But when the mind is fuzzed by the overbearing concern of proving one self right, intelligent handling of an accidentally manhandled situation takes the back seat.
Yes, all word wars are accidents and as the term goes avoidable or with a little care and ease amenable to circumvention. But the ego is quite a fool and rushes in where angels fear to tread resulting in aftermaths which may at times prove beyond repair.
I wish the mind was gifted with more alacrity so that we could clutch in the brake and shift gears escaping the obstructive visual well in time before headlong bumping into it. I wish we could brace ourselves before giving in to torrents of tongue lashing. I wish detached, impartial logic and cool, contained rationalism had the better of us and not snore in one remote corner of our cerebrum or salivate over the discord greedily when these were most needed.
I wish…………..but every such wish is always on hindsight……..isn’t it?
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Friday, March 18, 2011
Thursday, March 17, 2011
Friday, March 11, 2011
मुड़ के देखूं तो ज़िन्दगी बुलाती है
आसमानों से आगे बादलों के पार
पर रास्ता मुड़ जाता है
वीरानों में , बंजर वादियों में कहीं
और कदम लडखडाते हैं
सिसकियाँ आवाजों में गूंज के कहे पुकार
पथिक राह भूले तो नहीं हो सुनसान गलियों में ?
Thursday, March 10, 2011
Wednesday, March 09, 2011
मेरे खिडकियों से झांकता एक सुर्ख आसमान और चिड़ियों की चहचहाहट गूंजती कानों में । पेड़ पौधे अंगडाई ले जाग उठें हैं और कलियाँ पंखुडियां खोले इशारे करतीं हैं । हवाओं ने आवाज़ देकर बुलाया है, "आओ भोर के साथ दिन की शुरुआत करें"।
Tuesday, March 08, 2011
में रात पी गई चाँद के प्यालों में। आँखें लबरेज़ है ख्वाबों के सितारों से । एक कांटा फिर भी चुभता है शरीर सी देह के गलियों में। एक झोंका सा दबे पाओं आता है जूही की खुशबू लपेटे । अब नींद कहे सो जाओ। अलविदा ।
Friday, January 28, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
बड़ी विडंबना थी । एक ओर मित्रता का तकाजा था तो दूसरी ओर उपयुक्त ब्लौग न मिलने की हताशा । भरसक कोशिश करने पर भी अपेक्षित ब्लौग साईट न मिला। समझ न आ रहा था कि क्या करें । परिश्रम करने पर भी जब नाकामियाबी हाथ आती है तो विवशता और भी बढ़ जाती है। वैसे तो दो चार ब्लौग के "लिंक" मैंने शीघ्र ही इ-मेल पर भेज दिए थे परन्तु जब माथुर साहब का कोई जवाब या दूरभाष न आया तो मैंने समझ लिया कि मेरा पत्राचार से प्रेषित "लिंक" कोई काम का न होगा ।
सोच ही रही थी कि क्या करूँ कि छब्बीस जनवरी का दिन आया। इस दिन मनोरंजन का कोई भी साधन उपलब्ध न होने पर, सही अर्थ में छुट्टी मनाई जाती है। आतंकवाद के भय से बाहर जा नहीं सकते, दुकानें वगैरा बंद रहती हैं, टीवी और रेडिओ पर राष्ट्रीयता बोध से ओतप्रोत गानें सुनें या फिल्में देखें अन्यथा ब्लौग लिखें। मैंने आखरी विकल्प को ही चुन लिया। एक पूर्वलिखित लेखनि में कुछ चूक नज़र आई तो उसे ठीक करने लगीं। ओन-लाईन सुधार करते वक़्त अंग्रेजी शब्द "होम" टाइप किया तो वह अनायास ही हिंदी लिपि में आने लगा। कई बार उसको मिटाकर ठीक करने लगीं तो वह हठीला सा अपने जगह से हिलने से मना कर दिया। पहले तो गुस्सा आया फिर क्रोध आश्चर्य में और अंत में आश्चर्य आनंद में तब्दील हुआ।
अब और बस क्या था ! जिस "मित्रता पूर्ण" ब्लौग की अपेक्षा थी वह मिल गया। अब सिर्फ माथुर साहब को बताना बाकी था तो इससे बेहतर बताने का उपाय और क्या होगा कि एक हिंदी में ब्लौग लिख कर बताया जायें। तो यह रहा ......माथुर साहब सिर्फ आपके लिए।
Monday, January 24, 2011
I had my maiden lecture session in one of the units of the Corporation in Karimabad, which though located in the State of Uttar Pradesh, fell within the ambit of the NCR. The bustling district on the periphery represented the industrial segment of the National Capital Region. But for these smooth machines rolling on the shiny metallic strips, accessing my destination would have been difficult which was otherwise considered “remote” by urban standards. My comfort level increased further when I realized that I was not a lone traveler to the location. I met Deepa, my colleague from another Department, in the train quite accidentally. An engineer by qualification, she had a more lengthy technical assignment on hand. Exchanging notes, she concluded that one day at the unit would be sufficient for the job. We both decided to take the late afternoon train back home that very day.
Exactly two hours later, the train chugged into Karimabad station. De-boarding, I suffered the first jolt. There was no proper platform. The train appeared to have stopped in the middle of nowhere somewhat resembling an untended field. In the distance, groves of ancient trees could be seen huddled together giving the hint of denser vegetation not afar. The rail tracks seemed to vanish into this wood. The forlorn station building, cropping like an outgrowth a little away from the grass beds lining the tracks, looked dilapidated and not much in use. I remembered reading in the papers that DMRC, in a bid to economize on the budget, had agreed to use the discarded stations (en-route) of the Northern Railways in the initial phase of expansion, which they later promised to renovate in line with international parameters. Deepa, a happy-go-lucky sort of a person, was impervious to the deserted surround. She had visited the place earlier. “What matters most is that the trains come dot on time here”, she said cheerfully. I could not help but agree.
In spite of our carefully chalked out plans, we were late. It was early evening when exhausted we reached the station. Needless to say, the afternoon train which we were supposed to take had departed by then. The sky looked a bit gloomy with dark clouds hovering in the horizon. A prelude to a rainy night! We could still reach home might be a little later than expected. But contrary to Deepa’s earlier forecast, the evening train was running late.” It will be wiser to spend the night at the station as the crowd in the evening train is not always genteel”, she quoted a few incidents of boisterous factory workers trying forced entry into the ladies’ compartment after a drink or two. There was no point in going back to the unit as it would be closed by the time we reached. The unit workers were all daily commuters and did not have much knowledge of the locality. There were no respectable hotels too in the vicinity for overnight stay especially those fit for ladies. In short, there was no other option but to follow my colleague’s experienced advice.
But one look at the retiring room, I took a u-turn. It was dank, smelly and ill-lit. A dim 10 watt bulb threw depressing shadows onto a red and black tiled floor. The walls, a typical yellow coloured, looked damp with fluffy plasters peeling off at places. But the double bed in the middle of the huge space looked unusually comfy with clean sheets and matching pillows. Otherwise, it was just a room straight out of some yester year novel wherein the victims met shady strangers before getting murdered.
I was about to tell Deepa so but she had already unpacked and did not seem to mind the unhygienic environ at all. A veteran in touring God forsaken areas, where our Company boasted of outlets sans transit accommodation, she had developed a much required stoicism which I completely lacked being an infrequent visitor. There was something about the atmosphere in and around the room that disturbed me. In the half light I could even see something crawling in the corner. I pointed it out to Deepa. She laughed. But I insisted on leaving immediately pretending a lapse of memory. I had just recalled that my sister was going to leave station tomorrow early morning and it was important for me to pass on certain urgent instructions to her before she left. I tried to mobile her but unfortunately the network connections did not seem to work. SMSing would not help because these were detailed missives. Half truth! The sister episode was bogus while the disabled mobile was true.
Deepa was reluctant. She was supposed to leave for Ludhiana the next morning on extended assignment. She had already found out a suitable connecting train with easily available seats that stopped at this station. Going back home would be an unnecessary detour. However, given the circumstances, it was not desirable that either of us pursued our respective programmes without the other. Disgruntled, my friend agreed to take the next return train home. It would reach us by ten-ish in the night but still safer than spending the night here, thought I.
But Deepa was taking so much time to re-pack her possessions. It was her resistance to leave or something else I could not figure out. Reclining on the bed, the only piece of furniture in the room, a wave of tiredness swept over me. I closed my eyes. A child appeared before me. A child not more than four or five years old with a crop of soft, curly hair, an anemic face with round, astonished eyes, his thin body covered in a rust coloured blazer and a pair of bottle green trousers, hands in pocket, he scanned the room with a lost look. I suddenly recollected a news paper article read a few years back. “A dead body of a boy found under mysterious condition in a retiring room”! From where did he come, how and why nobody knew. He was discovered lying still on the bed eyes closed by the station sweeper quite late in the evening, by then rigor mortis had obviously set in. What was the name of the station? K-a-r-i-m-a-b-a-d! I opened my eyes with a start.
The room was pitch dark. I must have fallen asleep. Where was Deepa? Why did she not wake me up? The train……has the train left? Most probably Deepa must have thought it better not to wake me up. She wanted to spend the night in the station itself. It suited her pre-planned itinerary so well. But the stillness in the room was daunting. I softly called out, “Deepa! Deepa!” No response. I stretched my arms to feel her by my side on the bed. Something silky and curly tangled around my fingers. A soft head of a child came to touch. He lay by my side. Horrified, I tried to jump out of bed. But a pair of bony hands had already reached out. And then ten tiny fingers crawled over and gripped me in their iron clutch.
I woke up with a strange heaviness in my chest. It was my room. 3.45 am. Oh it was just a nightmare! But I failed to feel relieved. The molesting little fingers had left their indelible imprint all over my skin!!!!