Snow!


It was soft. Feathery. Temporary.
The journey began from cloud number nine.
Dangling. Floating. Flying. It came down royally.
A tiny white snow flake.

He was waiting on the ground.
Eyes wide open. Arms out stretched. Hugging the eternity.
Wrapped up in multi-layered clothes.
Muffler. Gloves. Snow-boots.
A child radiant with glowing smile. 

The flake was thick.
It landed delicately on the waiting palm.
The child looked at it with utmost delight.
Joys were exchanged.
The child closed the fist gently,
whispered something to it,
raised the arms and opened the fist, letting it go.
But there was nothing left on the warm palm.
The flake had served its purpose.
A beautiful memory had been etched.


रात हुआ शोर बहुत

रात हुआ शोर बहुत
तूफान आया ज़ोर बहुत
चीखा आसमान
थर्राई धरती
बरसी ज्वाला
गुर्रायी सी गिरती
छाती फाड़ निकली साँसें
खून में बह गयी सब यादें
बरसा था पानी बहुत
खो गये मानी बहुत
आया था लेने कोई
काली रस्सी हाथ में थामे
दो पल की मोहलत माँगी
जाने किसके इंतज़ार में थी आँखें?
हाथ बढ़ाया
जिस्म गिराया
रूह का साया
पलकों तक आया
उड़ चला आज़ाद हो
जुड़ गया सबसे वो
उड़ चला आज़ाद वो
जुड़ गया सबसे हो
रात हुआ था शोर बहुत
तूफान आया था ज़ोर बहुत
नींद खुली तो दर्द फिर जागा
ज़हन की कशमकश से है कौन भागा..



Diwali wishes


May the light (at the end of the tunnel) enlighten you. 
May the joys be deep and sorrows shallow.
May you are blessed with the ability to ignore. And smile.
May you fly high. And fall. And fly higher.
May you see the divine within each one of us.
May your background score be filled with A R Rahman melodies.
May you not need lullabies to sleep.
May you be as humble as an old tree.
May the 'Wall' of your life be 'Liked' by all.
And may you never ever have to Like your own status messages.

Happy Diwali everyone. :)


कभी

इस कदर परेशान न रहा करो
कभी वक़्त मिले तो खुद से मिला करो

भूल गयी हैं ये आँखें चमकना
कभी किसी बच्चे संग खुल के हंसा करो

पंछी नहीं सोचते क्या सुर क्या ताल
कभी बेसुरा ही सही मगर गाया करो

माना अंधेरों से डर लगता है
कभी दर्द को भी गले लगाया करो

दुनिया का दोगुलापन खलता है सबको ही
कभी ज़रा खुद को भी आज़माया करो

रिश्तों के मांझे से उँगलियाँ लुहूलुहान हुईं तो क्या
कुछ से माफ़ी कुछ को माफ़ करते जाया करो

कितनी कमीनी ही क्यूँ न हो जायें यार राहें
कदम ज़मीन पर रख उड़ते जाया करो ~

नज़र के उस पार ~


देखो नज़र के उस पार
कुछ घर बसे हैं सहमे से
चिमनियों में से उठता धुंआ
गवाह है कि रिश्तों की गर्माहट अब भी बाकी है
वक़्त की आंच पर पकने रखे हैं कुछ वादे
देखो नज़र के उस पार
एक पगडंडी है घरों से लगी हुई
जो दूर शहर को जाती है
आती भी है क्या ये पता नहीं?
मटमैले घरों की खिड़कियाँ मगर एकदम साफ़ हैं
यहाँ से नज़रें दिन में पगडंडी से इश्क लड़ाती हैं
इंतज़ार का दर्द क्या कम था जो इश्क मोल ले लिया?
देखो नज़र के उस पार
इमली के पेड़ों की टहनियों पर कुछ टिक-टैक-टो खुरचे हुए हैं
गर्मियों की वो दोपहरें दिखाई पड़ती हैं इन्ही पेड़ों पर से
तब जाने क्यूँ पैर नहीं जला करते थे?
और नदी पर देखो नया डैम बन गया है छोटा सा
मछली पकड़ने अब सब वहीँ जाते हैं
घरों से लगा हुआ ही एक कुआँ है
एक दिन तुम्हे ढूंढते-ढूंढते माँ ने उसमें भी आवाज़ लगा कर देखी थी
बूढ़ा कुआँ बेचारा आजकल पलट कर बात नहीं कर पाता
वहीँ कुएं की मुंडेर पर तुम्हारी बातों के सिलसिले पड़े हैं
कुएं से सटी हुई एक बगिया है
चहल-पहल के खाद-पानी में अच्छी सब्ज़ियाँ हो जाती थीं
ख़ामोशी तो बस खरपतवार जनती है
देखो नज़र के उस पार
बहुत कुछ है
खुरदुरे कम्बलों में लिपटी जाड़ों की रातें
धूल धुसरित बकरियों के झुण्ड
स्कूल के पीछे वाला क्रिकेट ग्राउंड
शाम के रंग में घुली पंछियों की हंसी ठिठोली
भूरी पहाड़ी की गुफा में सुस्ताते शंकरजी
बिस्तर के नीचे रखा यादों का बक्सा
जर्जर सहमे से घर
और कुछ गूंगी आँखें
सब उसी पगडण्डी को तकते हैं
जिसपर दौड़कर तुमने उड़ान भरी थी.

Prayer ~

Lord,
Please protect me from my wants.
May I not receive more laurels than I deserve.
Please take care of my needs.
May I meet beautiful strangers.
Please forgive me for not being thankful enough.
May I learn to carve out dance steps from falls in life.
Please grant me the rationals to 'believe'.
And may I never become the man I don't want to. Or want to.
Amen.

Fly ~

In the land of beautiful thoughts and mesmerizing sights
Of fearless escapades and silent symphonies
Where no one will ever judge you,
You will fly free among the birds - for you'll be the bird
Where there are no desires, no joys, no sorrows
Constant oneness is all there is, all there will ever be
In that land of love let me welcome you my dear
Close your eyes to see
Open your wings and jump
And fall to fly - for you're the bird.


Now ~

Monsoon.
A Green hill.
Clouds.
Wind chill.
Rain.
A Waterfall.
Hot tea.
A balcony.
You.
Me.
And the wordless whispers of now.

बस यूँ ही


These are the 1 liner shayaris / couplets / poems / observations that I keep posting on Twitter.

तुम क्या पढोगे किताबें और क्या सीखोगे तजुर्बे से / गिरकर संभलना किसी बच्चे से सीखो ~ 

हंसो जो दर्द में तो एहसास होता है / मुस्कुराना कितनी बड़ी बात होता है ~ 

दिन बेचकर रातें खरीदी हैं / ये भी अपनी ना हुई तो फिर कौन है अपना? ~

सूरज संग उगते लोग सूरज संग डूबते लोग / रातों को उठ उठ कर घर में घर ढूंढते लोग ~ 

बारिश की बूँदें हैं या लड़ी आसुओं की / खुदा इंसान की हालत देख मुस्कुराता तो नहीं होगा ~ 

मिलेगा दुनिया में सब कुछ गर चाहो इतनी शिद्दत से / किसी मासूम बच्चे के हाथ chocolate की ओर बढ़ते हैं जैसे ~ 

बरसों बाद आज दिखी वो तो होठों पर हंसी आ गयी कुछ इस तरह / किताब में सूखा पड़ा गुलाब खिल उठा हो दोबारा जिस तरह ~

सोच समझ कर लफ्ज़ रखना किसी की हथेली पर / छालों के कुछ निशां जाते नहीं हैं ~ 

रिक्शे वाले को लड़ लड़कर बीस रूपये दिए / और फिर मॉल में जमकर शॉपिंग की ~

थोड़े सफ़ेद अँधेरे, चार मुरझाये फूल, चंद अधपके ख्वाब / टटोला खुद को तो बस ये मिला / रूह के निशाँ जाने क्यूँ मिलते नहीं? ~

उँगलियों पर गिन लेते हैं खुशियों को हम / हमसे तो अनपढ़ अच्छे ~ 

आँखों में ईमानदारी, साँसों में सच, रूह में गुलाबी खुशबुयें / बहुत खूबसूरत है चेहरा तुम्हारा ~ 

चाँद को मरोड़कर रख लिया उसने जेब में / ससुरा defective boomerang निकला ~ 

नर्म गद्दे पर AC की ठंडक में पड़े पड़े अक्सर सोचता हूँ / कि नींद छोड़ आया हूँ उसी कच्चे आँगन में पड़ी टूटी चारपाई पर ~

इस शहर का ये अजब उसूल है / जो ना हो सका अपनों का वो सबको कबूल है ~

नन्हे बच्चे से पूछा उसकी दोस्त मछली ने / घर के बाहर बड़ा अच्छा लगता होगा ना शाम को? ~

इन उथली आँखों में जाने कितने गहरे राज़ छुपे हैं / साथ बर्बाद किये वक़्त में यादों के शहर कई आबाद छुपे हैं ~


Home ~

Warm shower with raining grace.
Dreamless sleep in mother's embrace.
Boisterous laughs while kids play.
Dried tears on the clay.
Short rendezvous and lessons learnt.
Long drives with miles burnt.
Serendipitous evening and lucky retreats.
An old photograph smilingly greets. 
Rays of hope from despair and gloom.
Many a fragrances happily bloom. 
A beautiful person and the reasonless love.
That feeling of belonging from up above.
It matters not how many symphonies you miss,
What awaits you is pure bliss.
It matters not how much you roam.
One day, you shall too, be at HOME.

College की कमाई

एक कागज़ का टुकड़ा Degree. 
कुछ बेमानी courses.
अंग्रेज़ी गानों का शौक.
चंद बुरी आदतें. 
डेढ़ quintal नर्म यादें.
पचास ग्राम maturity.
Hard drive का movie collection.
कुछ मीठे कुछ नमकीन किस्से.
पहाड़ी हवाओं की दोस्ती. 
Hostel के कमरे में बंद बादल. 
आंसुओं में घुली चार मुस्कुराहटें.
कुछ कमीने दिल अज़ीज़ दोस्त.
और.. तुम. 


Vicious cycle ~


You are an object of misery. Your DNA is made up of hopes and expectations. Hopes that keep your darkness at bay, and expectations that mask your world from seeing light. You are stuck in a world full of dilemmas doomed to love, doomed to expect and doomed to suffer. Freedom for you has become a lost concept. In pursuing your peace, you forget that happiness actually lies in the pursuit itself. There is nothing when - and if - you reach there wherever you are going. Destination is a myth. You walk and you are not happy because you want a bicycle. When you get a bicycle you are not happy because you want a motorbike. When you have a motorbike, you want a car. When you have a car, and you are stuck in traffic jam, you think bicycle was better. Life revolves around one long miserable vicious cycle. Your yesterdays are laughing on your wasted todays

Crossroads ~


Choices that spoil us
Surprising like a genie from the lamp
Confusing like corporate policies
Shocking like a truth
Humbling like a shattered ego
Matters not whether you dislike them
Who are you to matter after all
Paths: Black, white and mostly grey
Life swings between some hard decisions
From one crossroads to another.

यहाँ ~


इन कायदों में इन पेचीदा क़ानूनो में
इन काँच के मखमली मकानो में

इन समाजों के दिखावटी रिवाज़ों में
इन धूल खाते बंद दरवाज़ों में

इन दस्तूरों की गिनती है हज़ारों में
इन होशियार लोगों की शातिर निगाहों में

एक पंछी आसमान को तकता है
यहाँ उसका दम घुटता है ~

इन बेतरतीब चमकती इमारतों में
इन बेहोश नशीली हरारतों में

इन मतलबी ज़रीन धागों में
इन हंसते नज़र आते अभागों में

इन सलीके से सजे मेहमानो में
इन ज़हरीले लज़्ज़तदार पकवानो में

एक पंछी उड़ने के सपने बुनता है
यहाँ उसका दम घुटता है ~

इन बेमतलब से आम सवालों में
इन सहमे से मासूम ख्यालों में

इन धड़कनों की बेतरतीब रफ़्तारों में
इन रूह में जलते गुबारों में

इन खिलखिलाते शैतानी सायों में
इन अपने से लगते परायों में

एक पंछी बारहा टूटकर जुड़ता है
यहाँ उसका दम घुटता है ~


तुम

एक प्याला चाय 
कुछ रुई से मुलायम बादल 
पहाड़ों में बारिश की आवाज़ 
सुदूर वादियों में अलसाता हुआ सूरज 
ठंडी खिसयानी हवा 
कुछ अधपके ख्याल 
सूखे सुर्ख गाल 
पैरों में गुदगुदी करती चीटियाँ 
खोया हुआ मैं 
सूजी आँखों से वादी की नमकीन सुबह 
और चाय का चढ़ता नशा ~

What if ?


What if real life is not real? What if you wake up when you fall asleep, the dreams that you see are the world you belong to, and what you consider reality is just a dream gone wrong. What if all your fears, all the pain, all those heart wrenching moments, all the suffering is just a part of your imagination. And all the smiles, those long lost hugs, memories to cherish, photos you never clicked are just an extension of your true self belonging to the world behind closed eyes. What if every truth you know is a lie? What if love is all there is, all there was and all there will be? What if when you close your eyes forever, you start dreaming forever?

Desire ~

Have you ever felt a kind of uneasiness, the kind when you're under water a split second longer and you long for that one breath,  that one deep quick drag of life. In that brief moment, every fiber of your existence only seeks one thing. A kind of fatal passion - where you become one with your 'want' - sweeps you away. Have you ever felt that kind of inexplicable desire for something, or someone? 

Some Haikus

Found this webpage online which has compiled the #haikus posted by me on Twitter on a beautiful page. Haiku is an ancient Japanese zen poetry form which has only 3 lines with 17 syllables(5-7-5 pattern).They are deceptively simple and often involve nature, my understanding on nature's involvement is that they were written by monks who had nothing else to observe but nature (how lucky and blissful). The beauty of haikus lies in their simplicity and subtlety, but they often have multiple dimensions. I am presenting my haikus here. 


Lush green monsoon hills
A waterfall flowing carelessly 
And a train coming out of the tunnel.

~

Darkness flows through the moon
Enchanting symphonies of the night
Sun breaks the silence.

~

Flow like a river
Just for a while
The pain needs a medium.

~

River caressed the sides
Playing with it
The boat moved on.

~

Sudden bursts of smiles
The kid kept giggling
Mysteries unraveled.

~

Whispering mornings
Sleepy grass
frozen tears.

~

Faded colors
Of the green leaves
Freedom.

~

Rise up and raise your arms
Ask
Embrace the shower.

~

They fluttered at the edge
Anxiously waiting
Birds cannot hide from the sky.

~

Like the iron, Like the man
Everything decays
Just a matter of time.

~

After a while
You start asking questions
From the paths.

~

A kind of numbness
A kind of love
Eyes sometimes, suffer a lot.

बोलो



एक पागलपन में जकड़े बेवजह जिए जाते हो 
भीड़ से भागने के लिए, भीड़ में समा जाते हो
कहते नहीं कभी लेकिन कितना कुछ सह जाते हो 
मकान को घर बनाते हो, और फिर घर तोड़ जाते हो
रिश्तों को दाँव पर लगा जाने क्या आज़माते हो
रोज़ रोज़ मरते हो आख़िर इतनी हिम्मत कहाँ से लाते हो
बोलो ~
सवालों के लिए जवाब, जवाबों के लिए सवाल तलाशते हो
भागने की कोशिश है सरपट तेज़, इतना किस से भागते हो
अंधेरे से डरते नहीं और उजालों से थर थर काँपते हो
प्यार पता नहीं किस चिड़िया का नाम है, और डीगें हांकते हो
टटोला नहीं रूह को, और दुनिया को हरदम इतना छानते हो
अपने दामन में ये उम्मीदों के नाग क्यूँ पालते हो ?
बोलो ~

बूँदें

अभी कल ही की बात है
दरख्तों पर बारिश की बूँदें नाचा करती थीं
टपक टपक कर मचलती हुई
सावन की ताल पर थिरकती हुई
पत्तों से उतरकर, फिसलकर, गिरकर,
संभलकर फिर ज़रा दूसरे पत्ते से होती हुई
पानी से पानी पर पानी लिखती हुई
वादी से बहती हुई आज ये सीधे
आँखों में चली आई हैं
आबशार बन ढल जायेंगी
अभी कल ही की बात है
जब इन बूंदों के मानी अलग हुआ करते थे ..

9 floors down the memory lane : JUIT



I have been wanting to write about my alma mater JUIT since a long time. I would have written this piece much earlier, only if I had enough motivation or the right words. Recently on a free wasted weekend, I loaded my photo collection DVDs from college and spent a good time re-living the moments. That sorted out the motivation part, words came instinctively. This post is a slightly longish read, hence I recommend reading it in your FREE time aaram se and if you ever make it till the end and like it, please do share it with the ones who were a part of your grand journey. Our grand journey. :)

9 floors down the memory lane

I see clouds. Lots of clouds.
Embracing the mountains like lovers cuddled up together.
You can't tell one from another.
I am mesmerized. Awestruck. And yes, terrified.
This is how it started.
A journey of four years that I would later remember as the best four years of my life.

I enter the hostel 15 at JUIT. It is newly built.
The smell of dust, cement and dry paint fills the void that silence creates.                                                                                           
It is a long walk down 9 floors to my room.
I arrange my luggage, and meet some people.
They are at the same podium, as nervous as I am, as open as I am.
Misery finds company, we become friends.
A lot has been said about being bullied and ragged by Seniors.
Not that it isn't unexpected, still the fear is overwhelming.
We go for meals to Junior-Mess in groups.
Passing through senior hostels, ever aware of the watchful eyes upon us.
We try to ignore it. Look away. Try to camouflage.
Nobody is spared.
A tender hand comes around the shoulders and whisks me away into the slaughter houses.
Inside the room, a flock of predators has gathered to enjoy the show.
After one hour of dancing, cussing the fan, loving the wall and all along trying not to laugh, or cry; we're freed.
Angry. Shocked. But relieved. Ragging isn't that bad after all. The fear subsides a little.

It is 8:50 AM. I'm having tea at the tuck shop, having thrown out of the class again.
A new found joy sweeps in upon hearing the magic words these days : "get out of the class".
It means getting the chance to soak up the morning sun. The sun feels nearer in the mountains.
It also means not missing breakfast that day.
We are sitting in the Mughal gardens. Copying the assignment for Microprocessors class.
Academic block stands tall as if mockingly announcing to the mountains, 'I'm the boss here!'.
A bunch of 4th yearies are playing Cricket on the Basket Ball court.
Envious. I think how "lucky" they are to have so much free time. I'm wrong.
Coming back to my assignment, I realize I don't have stapler here.
We go to the library to ask for one. Librarian gives his usual curt look before giving it to us.
Microprocessors is followed by preparing a lab file followed by coding Fibonacci series.
Funny how life becomes so intervened in certain activities that you forget to breathe,
Making the occasional deep gulps of the thinner but pure Solan air vital.
Dhabas have been discovered. Monthly Shimla trips have begun.
Trekking is the new craze where more than the terrains we explore ourselves.
I now know what it means to be a JUITian. I'm wrong. Not yet.

I'm a senior now. Life on campus looks much better.
Now that I can be on the other side of the bargain, I still don't like ragging.
It is not in my nature to have a false sense of power, I yearn for respect instead.
Academics has taken a back seat. True college life has begun to flap its wings now, so have I.
Late night LAN games are a hip. Freedom and JAP are our answers to Cyberoam.
I now know almost everyone in my batch. A walk from hostel to 'academic' never goes by without a few Heyys.
From blank multicasts to groups to latest movies, IP messenger gives 'sharing' a new meaning.
On weekends Wakna, Kanda, Shoghi, Solan, Shimla, calling Baldev bhaiya and the likes for cab,
Clubs and societies, events, competitions, tuck, cafe, and McD dhaba,
"Kaushal bhaiya, samosa crush kar dena..", "1 ka sikka nahin hai, ye lo Eclairs le lo.." are now a custom.
One night stands with books and notes help us sail through the exams. Well, almost.
To take a break from celebrations, we celebrate even more.
Le fiestus. A few weeks of preparations for three days of non-stop lunacy.
However hard I try I cannot become sincere enough for the exams that follow the fest.
Thanks to relative grading. We all do equally bad, and hence are equally happy.
As placement season approaches we try to become 'serious'.
One by one almost everybody gets placed.
We are ecstatic. No pressure whatsoever on the remaining days at college.
The best semester of all has started. 
Classes are rarely attended. Final project is going on at a snail's pace.
We have become lazier. I want to soak every ounce of this beautiful dream.

And then the 'lasts' begin. The last shimla trip. The last trek.
The last photo session. The last CS game. The last class. The last exam.
The last birthday bumps. The last joints. The last drinks. The last celebrations.
Documentaries are made from SENTIest movie songs. Farewell messages are scribbled.
The blue shirts become home for cliched goodbye messages and some creative erotic drawings.
The 'last' week is the toughest, more so if you're leaving in the end.
The empty hostels with their monstrous claws and paws tend to rip your soul apart.
The door that welcomed you a million times, now only has a graffiti - parting - message, and a lock.
Roaming blankly on empty hostel floors is followed by another daunting task that I vehemently hate : Packing!
Rotten socks, fungi laden mathri-boxes, empty deo bottles, seal packed shampoo, new crisp 1st year books,
Stack of old newspapers, Ultra stuffed dustbin with Maggi packets, Eclairs wrappers -- and what not!
I don't know where to begin, so many loved attachments to throw, so many memories to stuff in these bags,
So many moments of infinite joy to be taped. Forever.
I have learned a hell lot in these 4 years. Most of it outside the classrooms.
Affairs, crushes, FRIENDSHIPS, fights, chaos, apprehensions and inane dramas have taught invaluable lessons.
I now comprehend that the bold letters on the 'Thank You' gate are a dedication. From us to the alma mater.

I am standing at Waknaghat.
At the same spot on the other side of the road waiting for my 'last' bus to Kalka.
Acquaintances at the chemist shop, Paradise hotel, the salon and the general store --
Unbothered, are busy with their regular work. They have witnessed heavy hearts leaving hundreds of times.
The bus comes.
I am lucky today, I get a seat.
The last journey begins on the same winding Shimla-Kalka NH-22 which is notorious for giving sickness to many.
Sardarji from Punjab Roadways are driving the bus with the same nonchalant concern.
Twists and turns and slides and roles begin.
After a few minutes, the bus passes through a turn, known as TOI in Jaypee parlance.
And then I see it. For a last time like this.
In the lap of Shivaliks, nestled on top of the hill, standing tall like a barren fortress with sparkling neon diamonds.
I wave towards my JUIT, and it smiles in return, like an old granny adjusting her glasses to have a good look,
And instructs the hill and the trees to join in the farewell, my fortress subtly waves its tall hands,
I am not sure whether it is saying goodbye; or calling me back.


p.s. Here is a collection of some photos of JUIT on flickr.