आहुती

उषा की निमर्ति
निशा की आहुति
तारों का टूटना
गिरना ‌और बिखरना
सपनों की आहुति
पत्थरों की पूजा
धरती की ठोकर
गिरती हुयी मंजिल
उडती हुयी राहें
जिन्दगी की आहुती

अश्क

गमों की रहगुज़र पर जब अश्कों ने भी साथ न दिया
तो हम चल पडे अकेले ही मंज़िल की तलाश में
आंख की कोर पर बूंद मानों लटक कर रह गयी
और धीरे धीरे हालात की आंधी ने उसे भी सोख लिया

मैं!

मैं निराशा की गर्त में डूबने वालों में नहीं
आशा की कोर को छूना जानती हूं ।
यथार्थ को जी कर सपनों को पालती हूं
इस छोर पर खडी हो उस छोर की
बाट जोहने वालों में नहीं
मैं अंतहीन होना जानती हूं ।
विध्वंसक न सही
मैं हौले से आंचल के कोर से
खुद अपने आंसू पोछना जानती हूं ।
शब्दों की गहराइ में उतरकर भी उथले कीचड को पहचानती हूं
ज़रा सी ठेस से टूटने वालों में मैं नहीं,
अपने टुकडों को समेटना जानती हूं ।
निराशा के अंधेरों में डूबने वालों में नहीं
मैं आशा की हर सहर बिताना जानती हूं ।

Return of the King

Yesterday was a day which we will not forget all our lives. Returning back from the new home (site) while I was driving at a breakneck speed of 75-80, Tarique told me stop the car immediately. “STOP STOP VULTURE!!!” Tarique almost shouted.

I shushed him “ stop day dreaming! vulture, here? you are crazy!!, must be Osprey or something”. But, by then I had already slowed down a bit and I stopped a little ahead. I spotted something too. Sitting on an almost bare tree, along with black kites, was a form that looked much bigger than the black kite and the form did look like a … (gulp) Vulture.

So, while Tarique stood guard, I rushed back home to get the camera (our current home is just 1.5 kms away from the sighting place) I made a few phone calls to city birders thinking if it really is a vulture, more pair of eyes should see it, I reached back 15 mins later, to see the bird still sitting there, Tarique took over the camera, while I parked the car and followed him. The clicking begins, and we see the results, IT IS A VULTURE!! WOW!!! more frantic phone calls and I found out that people have already left their respective work places and residences to reach the spot. We prayed, this bird should wait here for some more time atleast till some of the birders arrive.

We also discovered a carcass down below , black kites were troubling the vulture and we were perhaps approaching nearer to its comfort zone, the vulture flew, right over my head, but the sun shone in my eyes so could I not identify which vulture. We left the identification to later and kept clicking. The bird then flew away far after being with us for a good 35-40 minutes.

Jaimesh, Mr. Gopal Thosar (Hon.Wild life Warden ) and Dr. Pimplapure arrive and see the photos, discuss the carcass (it was a calf freshly killed by someone and thrown) and while we all were gloating over the find when all of us shout again almost in unison IT’S BACK! the majestic bird, as if to prove a point, came back and circled for about 10 minutes and then vanished.

So which vulture was it? Long billed ? White back? No! it was the Red necked Vulture AKA the King Vulture

Hot Sams

It was 9:15 AM and I was hungry, having skipped dinner the previous night. I stepped into Haldiram’s to pick up a loaf of bread for breakfast and nearly drowned in nostalgia looking at the fresh Hot Samosa’s being laid into the trays at the counter.

We had morning college, 7.30 AM and during winter its darn early in Nagpur to be in the college at 7.30 -but still a bunch of us were very regular – we would attend first two classes, get thoroughly bored and hungry by 9.30 .

Our respite was a small chai-samosa thela in front of the college run by a “Kaku” and “Kaka” (a middle aged women who we would call kaku and her husband). Alpana insisted on calling her Maushi though showing her true kokonast breed 😉

So four of us I, Pattu, Alpana and Shishir would invariably find ourselves gorging steaming hot samosa’s -straight out of the kadahai sipping ginger tea. Alpana in her trademark style would ask for more mirche and then say the mirch is too hot. We would tease her for riding her bicycle on the footpath instead of the road and generally pull each others leg eating atleast four samosa’s each…

Samosa!! I use to love them -I still do, but I rarely get to eat them now 🙁

main swati tum chatak

I wrote this sometime in 1986

All of 18, I was envisioning a future – a dream that I wanted to live.

A dream that came true for me

::

मैं ज्योति, तुम उजियारा
मैं नभ प्रतीक, तुम सूरज हो
मैं सौरभ, तुम हो सुवास
मैं हूँ प्रार्थना, तुम बने शिवि
मैं प्रकृित निश्चछल, तुम उज्जवल मानव
मैं पूर्ण, तुम हो संपूर्ण
मैं सरिता कलकल, तुम सागर सम
बहती बहती पवन हूँ मैं, तुम मंद हवा का झोंका हो
मैं गति, तुम हो ठहराव
मैं हूँ नभ, तुम ब्रम्हांड हो
मैं प्रेरणा, तुम कल्पना
मैं बूंद बनी प्यासे तुम
मैं स्वाति, तुम चातक

::

She a window flower and he a winter breeze… …

She was a charming girl, always smiling, always had something nice to say, she was my best friend.

I love him dad, he has asked me to marry… …. On her brief visit home she spoke to her father about the boy who she was friends with in the town she studied. She was inclined towards the proposal, the boy had always made her feel special, he made her feel like a woman he deeply cared for her . Her father was not sure of her choice, the boy belonged to a different community, different religion, a background totally different from theirs. Somewhere in her heart she too had the same fears but the fears were far less and took a back seat in comparison to the happiness she was seeing ahead.

Her dad finally agreed to meet the boy and told the boy very confidently, I know my daughter. He said to the daughter , its your decision, its your life you have to take the step forward if you want to marry him and bear all responsibilities of the action.

It was a good meeting, the boy was happy, the girl went back to her hometown back promising to return in a month.

Weeks passed, I saw him every day, we would sit and talk for hours about life about her about the lives they will live, it wasn’t easy for him to talk to his own dad about the marriage, but he had done that, he was ecstatic.

The month passed away, she did not come, her letters came periodically but they were non committal she was now between yes and no.

31st December 1990 was the cut off date if she did not come by then or at least give a firm commitment, he had said he will forget her… the wait was getting to be too much.

She did not come, a letter arrived saying it is best that they do not marry each other she further said that her father stands by his words that she can marry if she wants to, but it is her decision and that she has decided not to get married to him.

He was heartbroken. he woke up sad everyday, mornings are the toughest, he once told me.

Days went by, the boy missed her he felt he did not deserve this. All he had given was love, all his love and all he wanted in return was love, just love. Its so unfair to be left alone like this.

Years passed, she married the boy who was her father’s junior in office.

14 years is a long time I remember it all as if it happened only yesterday.

Most of all I remember the meeting her father had with the boy I was not there but I know what transpired in great details.

Had her father insisted and resisted his daughter marrying the boy, I am sure she would have put up a fight did everything she could to marry him. They would have been together if there was an opposition from her family.

Things changed when she was allowed to take her own decision and bear the consequences.

What happened to him after she left him is another story.

Aasim’s poem on planets

Aasim’s Summer Holidays started from yesterday and as expected, the first day of staying home he got throughly bored -here’s a creative result of his boredom- he told me to write down (as he can’t write himself) a poem he made on planets

Mercury is the hottest planet
Venus is molten and very hot too
Earth is the third and we just live there
Mars has storms and no body can live there
Jupiter is medium temperature
Saturn is very little far from the sun
Uranus is cold planet and so is Neptune
Pluto is coldest planet and nobody can live there because they will freeze
Sedna is a very small planet
and Quaoar is a planetoid

P.S Aasim is 6.5 yrs old .

Sisyphus Shrugged

You are free and responsible for your own destiny. Trust in God and you are doomed, I have never found him when I needed him the most.

Sisyphus pushed the rock up hill everytime, only to find it tumbling back to its original place. The night had no end and he just had one task, to keep it pushing up till it came tumbling down, crushing him, only to push it up all over again.

I once tried to push an obstructive rock down the hill only to find that the rock takes me down with itself, so much for all that work. It would have been better if I just went past the rock, change the course and have the wonderful view again.

Not that I won’t find my burdens again. They will spring up at unexpected places, in absurd ways at un-wanting times Happiness and absurdness indeed go hand in hand. The struggle to remain happy in itself is so absurd, the moment you stop struggling, happiness follows you. The moment you stop desiring, all your desires get fulfilled, but does one really want that?

Men and women struggle and desire not for the end result, but for the road it takes to reach the goal. The moment the goal is achieved, its futile.

This universe without its creator seems so impossibly sterile to the them, that they wont even think of alternate ways. They keep on carrying the burden uphill and downhill, every time getting squashed by the rock in the process and still refusing to look beyond the rock.

Think for yourself Sisyphus, and you will find an alternate world without the rock, without the burden and without the absurdity of state of mind.

Forever hopeful – Diary of 1998

Yeh raat beet jayegi, sawera ayega
apna dil bhee kanhi basera payega

Khushk labon pe phir nami chaa jayegi
pyar ka dariya dil tar batar kar jayega

Sawan ke baadal jhoom jhoom phir barsenge
palak palak, phool phool phir moti dhalkenge

phir deep jalenge aangan me, chaand sitare chamkenge
phir dil dulhan ban jaega, phir naya sawera aayega

(June 16, 1998)

“It is not enough to be busy … The question is: What are we busy about?” Henry David Thoreau

Its not that I couldnt have taken out even five minutes to update on whats happening in my life, its just that i did not feel like. Being busy was a good excuse.
A lot happened during past couple of weeks but it wasnt anything out of ordinary. Not that I have anything specific to write today, its just that i have the inclination to write.
When I was 16 I would keep filling pages of my diary with any thought that came to my mind, i was an introvert and the most easy way to express myself was to write. I wrote best of my poetry at that time – as i finished college and became a “mass communication” professional – I started talking more, the need for writing to express lessened. I had willing ears to listen to me, I wrote less and less..
Today I feel i have gone back to being that 16 year old and am just writing whatever is coming to my mind – i love it this way – writing not for anybody to read -writing for myself.

I will not utter a word
still you understand
My eyes speak
and you reciprocate
Silence resonates
its the language of caring and
sharing the bond of love
Silence is not a barrier
we walk this bridge