Friday, August 24, 2012

Mannat Ka Dhaaga

WE, THE PEOPLE OF INDIA, having solemnly resolved to constitute India into a SOVEREIGN SOCIALIST SECULAR DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC and to secure to all its citizens…

I am not making a personal statement if I reiterate that the recent upheaval in Assam was not that of a religious nature.We all  witnessed the aftermath of an invidious misrepresentation and a  mass level misunderstanding ; especially by we, I mean - the larger drowsy India who wondered askance, when suddenly at midnight, the bulk SMS system got sabotaged. Such events are bound to make us stop and think for a while.No wonder, GOI still unites us under one order, just as it used to during the British Raj.

Such thoughts may as well , push us back to school textbooks . A few of you like me may have read about secularism as an idealist. Remember when we first  read an essay on Sarvdharm Samudaya Mandir (All Religion Community Temple) in  a Hindi text book, we inadvertently endorsed our first streak of secularism. Half of us may not even picture it as vividly as a few of us without  a special effort to recall reading about Akbar's Din-E-Elahi and the reasons - why Sikhism was found, the preaching of Sufi saints and Kabir and thus, Moinuddin Chisti in spirit and deed.

Do you remember visiting Ajmer? Have you heard about it? Are you planning a trip?
I intend to share with you my account of experience, just in the spirit of sharing. You may laugh, frown or wonder what makes me share such a tedious account , or may switch to the sub title that interests you the most. Do tell me how much do you like me for this circumlocution ;)...

Here it is -

The child in me desires a trip : Visiting Ajmer Shareef Dargah may have never crossed my mind until my first Phone Boy Friend mentioned it to me when I was all about 18. I did not find it weird let alone be flirtatious. It was very romantic to hear that. Then after five years, I heard about the famous Katrina Kaif’s much talked about visit in a skirt. Two years later, this May another close friend phoned me on a fine morning and persuaded me to accompany her to the much-revered place. We could not make it together since I had a then very special friend visiting India, who would want all my time and attention. I politely postponed my visit. Finally, the day happened in August. Ankita got busy and I had an urgent uncalled mental turmoil to clean up that compelled me to find solace at religious places  After taking permission from  sweetheart Ankita, I asked Sumit, another very kind  friend to escort me.

Just two days before my visit, I was pleasantly surprised to read about USD 1 million reaching Ajmer Shareef Dargah as a gift by Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari. It got me real curious for obvious reasons. I was further entertained to read about the expected reasons of delay in the donation. But I was bitterly surprised by the fact that the Anjumans entered into a tiff over the donation money being divided and utilized. Anyway, this news only catapulted my imagination further.

 A day later, I wanted to decide my ethnic wear for the day, so I used google. I would not say I got star dust in my eyes when I saw pictures of Katrina in black, Priyanka Chopra in white, Sharukh in white, Ajay Devgan, Amitabh Bachchan in white; pictures of Manisha Lamba, Ashmit Patel, Himesh Reshammiya. Emaran Hashmi, PM Manmohan Singh visiting the Dargah but surely I thought it seems to be a special place. Every friend I talked to about it, took its name with great respect.

I read about Moinuddin Chisti and his philosophy of simple living, high thinking and communal harmony to have real reasons to respect and feel the real excitement about my visit.

@ Ajmer station : After an interesting journey of eight hours by Porbandar Express,we reached Ajmer. A swarm of auto drivers buzzed around us. We paid a modest thirty bucks for a kilometer of roller coaster ride through the narrow and highly crowded streets of Ajmer. It reminded me of Chandni Chowk. And the fact that such a famous tourist place of attraction is so un-kept reminded me of Agra, the epitome of worst use of legacy of a monument as a place of international tourist interest as far as I know. Using the hustle bustle as a pretext, the driver tried his best to coax us to book a hotel he knew. He said that the Dargah is very crowded today. It will take long. He suggested us to stay at a hotel, rest and then come back next morning.  We deferred and continued walking. I savored the first kulfi I saw on the road. Believe me, it does not taste like the one they sell at Chandni Chowk. On both sides of the road, the decoration was meretricious. From small jewelry items to all sorts of toys and accessories - it had everything that once can expect from a country fare.We were here post Urs festival. Hence, we, were sure to miss out on the six day long procession and Bhadhaawa which is a recitation accompanied by only clapping. We bought our share of offering from a shop which deposited our bags and shoes.

@ The Dargah : Hardly a five minute walk, from the auto and we stood right there - entering the Dargah. Thank you driver for the hotel stay suggestion!  The whole event looked so ordinary and lackluster to me that I stopped for a while to enquire: Is this The Place? The Dargah staff in a matter of minutes rushed us inside. We were voraciously greeted by two men who gently patted on Sumit’s back - forced us, to give into to a man, - who without wasting any second asked Sumit-his name and signed a receipt in his name saying prayers on our behalf. Vow! That was gratuitous! Such invitations were repeated by everybody who looked at us with a smile and we a little in hesitation, in fear, in contempt and in the praise of capitalist nerve of religiosity ignored and kept moving ahead. We could hear such staff-dictating people to cover head, to be in the barely visible line as if more than discipline seekers, they were mere attention seekers with each a pen and a receipt book in hand.( I mean no harm or insult to anyone with a special mission from the God Almighty!)

Inside the main Dargah : As I stepped into, I was nostalgic about Vaishno Devi trip of 10 years ago. On entering the door, I could hardly see who I am bowing down to. I could only figure out later that it was a very small stone idol among the various images of goddess, which are sold outside, at the exit zone. So, this time around, I made sure to check in advance – what to expect. Finally, we grow up ha ha! As we moved inside, we saw the staff tying a religious thread on the wrists of people who were trapped unalarmed and in the same moment were readily and, authoritatively asked to pay for that. Whoops! We squeezed and  successfully managed to sneak out, just in time. He he. The Dargah opened into a marbled premise with Patterns on the windows and walls, where women tied Mannat ka dhaga.  I saw a man weeping in penance at one corner and another woman weeping out loud with open hair, rotating her head and requesting a son to compete her husband’s mistress. Although I naively laughed out loud in the middle of premises at this moment while Sumit looked grim and somber, I have my deepest respect for the free flowing plain and innocent human emotions. Further, I cannot explain this part. It takes a heart, knowledge and a little more as a writer to talk about such scenes.

In the exit area, there was a small water tank, where people sprinkled the holy water on them and tried their best to ignore the religious beggars asking for money for use of the tank water. There was a huge deep pot at a height of a few steps. People were peeping inside with curiosity. As I went closer, I found – it was a pot of charity called Bagi Deg filled with mainly coins. I wondered whether they kept the USD 1 million they recently received!!!

Post Dargah Visit : All this, we could accomplish in just 15 minutes! It was 5.30 and we were out to explore the banal looking Ajmer! Our train was scheduled for 2.30 a.m. and it appeared not before 4.10a.m. We walked around to find a hygienic place to eat. Call it our ignorance, our impatience or a lack of tourist sense and spirit of us and the city - we stayed at Dominos for 5 hours and rest 6 hours on the station playing  a dozen matches of Chess. Since Sumit may also read it. So I would not really tell who won most of them! 

Note: Better go there by car or have more than one place to visit on your list when you visit Ajmer! It is important to remember that there is no good cinema hall within 3 kms and Dominos may just be out of stalk for that destined day without a cold drink or say a regular size pizza. You may expect waifs and strays at the railways station who are high on Marijuana! Finally, offer your prayers and look for spiritual pleasure within

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

'It might have been'

For all sad words of tongue and pen, The saddest are these, 'It might have been'. ...

As an English Language Teacher, I make it a point that when I teach past tense, I tell my students that learning from the past is important. Nevertheless, living in the past is fatal.

If Alexander lived in the glory of his first accomplishment, would he conquer so much of the world? If King Bruce lived with the failures of his past, would he move on?
 If Gandhi gave up when he was first humiliated in South Africa, would he rose to become the talk of history? It is another thing, that there is controversy hovering around each one of them,especially posthumously.When has fame not invited envy?

 Well, we quote famous names or names of people who are revered as great because we think we can save time telling their stories to the person who probably needs a better account of what he/she should do in the times of delusion. Not that, we want this person to act great or aspire to be great, but that we out of affection, care and love want him/her to get an insight into the misery. At the outset, misery clouds our clear thinking.

Who is not affected by bouts of irrationality, anger, frustration and such vices? Perhaps,that is the reason why S.M Taylor theory of rational man was debated so much. We all are humans. We all are mortals. We die. We make mistakes. We all do. Not a single person on this Earth is spared. That is why at times, we understand them from the perspective of John Gray  - Men are from Mars and Women are from Venus.

I like the balcony of my room. My room has two large windows and a door. I keep the three usually open. Though I keep it curtained until a few guys living opposite my house play Padosan on weekends. ( A kitten sneaks into my room every once in a while. It soils my bed and runs away. I have never that much liked cats for a given phobia. However, I would not turn into a maniac and kill it. I simply shoo it away, close the windows and clean my room ,when it happens. Will I shut the window and doors of hope and light for ever for the fear of past? I mean cat here.

My point is, it is not fair to live in the past. We do not deserve to live in the past. I remember a few of my friends calling me after their happy hours. They would often come up with stories like – She and I could not be united? I could not improve my business because my parents were not supportive. I do not have anybody to take care of me. Indeed, to be honest, I have myself lived in such moments of pessimism. But I am happy for those who could stop after a while and come out strong and declare – Well, that was past. I realized that I was wrong. I was weak. But no more. I will not switch on my I pod, laptop or play music which is sad because I can live my past in it. But just to appreciate the human emotion and be kind to those who would need me in their moments of weakness.

Phew! Imagine, if your boss got stuck with you for just one mistake! Similarly, in relationships, why do we have to bring up the past? Why cannot we have the desire to work out? Why do we use boring words like compromise? Moving on with a better approach is wise and not a compromise.

I know a few people who are opsimath. I know a few people who learn only by stick. I know a few people who never learn a better way and die in oblivion, contempt or regret. I know a few people who live with the past. Now, I know someone who says he chose to live with the past then with his love.
I am in a fix to help the above-mentioned category. I appreciate the late learners. I pity the second category. I simply ignore the third group. I sympathize with the fourth. I can hardly believe the last. I think, he is just making an excuse. All that he need is some break and he'd better grow up. If it is not so, then I care less to know more.

If life were to be lived in past, we would not have had the present of Present. If Usain Bolt took critism of being called laid back and relaxed seriously, would he set the indelible record this Olympics? 

Even the Dark Night Rose again -

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


Given to her adventurous zeal,
She explores life with open arms.

For years, she tracked the desert.
In vain hope, to find the most extra ordinary oasis.

She was naive, gauche and fallible.
Year after year, she tried a lot.

Over and over again.

With bruised knees and parched lips,
She treaded hard and alone.

Passers by and natives requested her to quit.
Her home asked her for a retreat.

Stubborn, she did not stop.

Given to a whim,
She thought -
The best things come with the best price.

This was the time,
This was it.
After being duped several times by the false sea.
She breathed deep.

When she was awake, alive and conscious
The reflection on sand she could see.
From the beauty of perfect timing of the sun,
And the golden soil,
The illusion that it created was irresistible.

She was tired and yearning thirsty.
She walked closer to observe.
The artist in her,
Provoked her more and she stopped there.
As she lay there –
She dreamt.
She dreamt of her oasis.
Then she fainted out of fatigue.
Woke up, realized -
The mirage had vanished,
Left her only more thirsty and dying –

She is hopeful it will rain soon.
Either the mirage like a dream will change,
Or in the hope to still find The Oasis
She will walk more,
She will walk more,
Carefully, with saved soul and humanity
And all the love inside her heart
To understand the difference
And not lose sight of the real Elixir of her life.

She walks more.
She walks more.
And as the world watch her with mixed feelings.
She does not feel alone.
She walks more.
She walks more.
She walks more.
She walks more.
She walks more.

Thursday, August 16, 2012



O,night! Wish you could never fall,
If you were to send my lover to someone else.
I was already afraid of you, always.

He assumes I sleep,
With the beads of prayers in my hand
Every part of my soul weeps.

He assumes he is right,
Now that he is carrying out our love's demise.
The stars around him shine so bright.

He feels he takes care of himself.
Does he feel how love cares for him?
Was that then his obsession?

I only know
If it was true love,
It will be back!

Epilogue - To he, who said : I have a mom. Her love matters more. She is old.
She said : I have one too. She brought me up with a guarantee that I can learn a new language, cover myself head to toe, endorse the boundaries my future home has, love my immediate new elders, just as I cared for my own & even more. And so much more. I come from a thinking bourgeois family. So, do not you give me that alibli , just because you got bored and wanted to explore more ha ha ha ha. I would pretend that I bought your logic soon - just because cupid struck me blind. If love is about having the guts to deliver, love is also about forgiving. May you have a good one ahead! Since, I do not want you to get ridiculed,I say - I respect that you care so much.Your mom deserves it. But please keep the story untold.
Where a world laughs at my silly jokes and at me,I laugh with them.In the private quiet of dark sleep visits the fragrance of our doubly impaired love.It was blind earlier.It is dumb and deaf now...I just wake up from my sleep to feel arms of love around me and the redolent memories of the past dance in the watery stuff around the corners of my eyes and a tear hesitates to drop on the phone that says - O now c'mon u little monster, u had better sleep...:)

Girls- Beware of addictive, psychopaths : they can be just everywhere. I was shocked to find out that a 27 year old close friend was almost saved from getting hooked to a 36 year old married men.O god, these people can be called the Illusionist! They are such glib talkers that all the MB stuff looks like coming true.And blessed are those for whom the earthquake never reached its highest on Richter Scale.Though, some tremors continue to shake them. Yet such high sounding filmy affairs end like a damp squib...U understand what I mean lol... U see I do not like sermonising:)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Barbaric Lore

How would it feel to a girl at the stake of her life,
If her punishment is death - by pouring of hot oil by her beloved.
She has the choice to wait till the hot oil pourer exhausts,or

Or, die a spiritual death by embracing another man, 
Who she knows can never love her as did the other.
Not that she is not lovable
But that right now she wants just ONE.
He whose clear thinking has been jeopardized by the non-existent devil,
In the dreaded hour of impulse, pessimism and delusion.

She chooses to die through hot oil asphyxiation.
She prays her lover would care to save her delicate skin he loved so much
And now secretly, silently, helplessly desires to preserve.
In the moments of hope against hope -
She looks at the sky.
Her cry reaches HIM.
And pressingly to her Demi - God on the Earth.

She whimpers to HIM
She will rather die in hope that he will realize
That true loves comes once.
He would hold her dearly again when she drops & fossilizes
Or, perhaps

He would simply lift her up now & shower her with splash of his soothing love & save her burns.
And say - I realized how Devil occupied my mind for a while.
She waits for the oil pourer's hands to stop...

Sunday, August 5, 2012


Yeh kahani hai shama aur parwane ki

Stage per mashhoor geet bajta hai

Shama kahe parwane se to paas mere na ana….
Usko to jalna hota hai,jalta hi karta hai….
Pyaar dewaana hota hai….

Prologue (Narration)
Ek bar aise hi ek dewano ki jodi thi
Vo sheher me rehne nikale the…

Bhartitye ho kar pashchatiya sabhyata ko jab koi
Pehli baar azmata hai….
Apne sanskaro ke dwand me fansta jata hai…

Scene I 
Ek baar parwana ne thani
Kahi aur dur jane ki…
Nay pachimi choro ko aajmane ki.
Idhar uski shama akeli thi….

Ek samay aisa hua…
Shama ke chote shehr me
Vidhvansh ka tandav saza.

Apne pyaar par sharminda thi
Ya khud par…
Badboo aa rahi thi jab har taraf
Ilzaamo ki,gunaho ki,shoshan ki.
Vo apni vivashta aur apni chuppi ka shikar hui.
Apna gum apne parwana se chupa na saki.
Kyunki chahti nahi thi.
Parwaane ke lotne par usne apna dil halka kiya.
Parwana pyaar ka ashwasan de kar
Fir pyaar ki sunehari sez saja kar
aur kuch naye purane geet ga kar
Fir ud chala.

Scene 2
Uske bade sheher me
Kai neon lights thi.
Vo shama ki majboori ko uski bewafayi samjha tha.
Ek aur galti kiye bina bhula na saka.

Kabhi jo keval uska tha tan se.
Aur uski baato me man se.
Vo bhi peeth peeche kisi aur ka masiha bana.

Us nai chamak ne aaj jane anjane uske pyar ko aajmaya.
Vo bhi gusse me apne shareer ki pyaas ko
Apne man ki agni samjh kar
Neon light ke age nachne chala.

Kabhi jo khud ko sabse sachcha parwana kehta tha.
Vo aaj Shama se bola…
Ab shama me bhi vikalp hai.
Tu rukegi, jab tak yeh peheli suljhegi
Ya fir nai sadak par rangeen chamkli roshni
Ki aur ud me chala.

Do shama ka luft utha kar.
Aaj parwana swachand bina jale 
apni udaan madhosh bhar chala.

Kyunki light pollution ke zamane me,
Shama zyada aur patange kam the.
Kuch Hybridised patango ne utsukta me uski shama ki sharm chini thi.

Scene 1 Flashback
Vo shama sharm aur dard
Fir ghin ke aehsas me kamzor pad rahi thi.
Apne sache parwane ke lotne par boli,
Tum thoda deir se aye
Aur me hybridization ki khudgarzi se peedit ho gayi.
Shoshan hua hai, per me zimmedaar hu,
Ki us se pehle me kyu nahi bhuj gayi.
Vo aas pas mandraye the
Kyunki nakli the, is liye ashiki unse ho na saki.
Aur me, ab Sita hone chali.

Scene 3
Aur us shama ke patange ne,
Aaj sharm ka sauda kiya…
Shama is wakt aur dheemi jal rahi hai.
Neonlight abhi bhi full beam me dikhti hai.
Patanga samajh nahi pa raha antar.
Aur shamma ki lou judai ki peeda
Aur charitrahinta ke natak me,
Zindagi ke manch per
Sheher ke dwand me fasi hai…
Patnaga bhi wapas aan ki hod me…
Par man me ghor vyatha ghar kar rahi hai…

Jinko milna hai vo milenge,
Is natak me vo apne Amar Prem ki kahna zarrur fir se rachenge…


Sab kuch bhula kar bus ek sapne ko pane ka dwand,
Kuch khoti hu aur kuch pati hu
Par fir bhi hai dwand.
Khud ko talshne ki hod me,khudko mitane ka dwand.
Mit jane par fir ban ne ka dwand….
Dwand vidhwansh machata hai
Par akhir kar jeena bhi yahi sikhata hai.

Dwand peeda deta hai
Par zaruri hai.
Kis dost ko yaad rakhu
Kis ko bhul jau
Is me bhi dwnand hai
Par yeh na ho
To sahi galat ki pehcan kaise ho
Kya sahi hai kya galat hai
Is me bhi hai dwand.
Acha lagta hai yeh antarwaad
Yeh antardwand...


Sometimes I enjoy my frailty
But almost all the times, it ends up punishing me...

I wanted to be a part of IAC...
Sad, I kept procrastinating...

But I so much hope,
Despite jeopardizing its identity as a civil society,
It is honored by me, when it stands in the election.

Hope every single vote counts...