10 Years!

I wrote my first post on Nov 16, 2005 on this blog, which makes this blog 10 years old (or young, however you may like to see it). What started as a regular journal and compilation of reviews, soon turned into a place where i publish my poems. I'd like to thank all the people who read and take the effort to drop their valuable comments. Peace.


कहते हैं सुदूर हिमालय में
कैलाश पर्वत के पास
मानसरोवर झील है

दुनिया की सबसे पाक चीज़ों में शुमार
मानसरोवर झील की तलहटी में
कंकर-पत्थर के साथ
आरज़ुएँ और माज़ी भी साफ़ दिखाई देते हैं 

इंसानी लम्स से लगबघ अछूती
कोई दाग नहीं, कोई दर्द नहीं
कहते हैं मानसरोवर की ख़ामोशी में
धड़कनें तक सुनाई देती हैं
और कभी खुद का 
तो कभी खुदा का एहसास होता है 

मानसरोवर के सुकून के किस्से
तो लोगों से सुने हैं
लेकिन सिर्फ मैं ये जानता हूँ -
जो तुम्हे एक बार और देख लूँ
लगा लूँ माथे से तुम्हारे खुरदुरे पैरों को
तो ये रूह पाक साफ़ हो खुद मानसरोवर हो जाए. 


सुहाने वो दिन थे 
जो बीते थे गलियों की गोद में 
खेलते कूदते भागते
कभी सर पर पैर
कभी पैर पर सर
ना आगे का होश 
ना पीछे की खबर 
गेंद जो उड़ती
हम गेंद हो जाते 
बल्ला जो चलता
हम चलते जाते
भागते भागते 
आसमान पे उड़ते जाते
विकेट जो गिरता 
एक पाले में कभी मुस्कुराते
एक पाले में कभी झुंझलाते
इस सब में 
खेल के संग 
एक हो जाते
ना आगे का होश 
ना पीछे की खबर 
बस होते हम
उस लम्हे में 
उस लम्हे से 

Diwali for me

It's that time of the year again. Few lucky ones get to be home to celebrate the festival of crackers lights, for those majority of us who don't get to be home, all we can do is soak ourselves in nostalgia, remember the good old days and try to get in touch with people on social media. Here's my share of soaking in nostalgia.

Diwali for me used to be about crackers, annual home cleaning, whitewashing, decorating the house with lights, delicious food, the ceremonies on Diwali eve, the wait to get done with those ceremonies so we kids can go out and get started with our crackers, and so much more. It all began a month or two in advance when the whitewashing and cleaning started, with a few folks from Prakash mamaji's mandali (Prakash mamaji - a short, lean, super calm (how he managed all that chaos is beyond me) tobacco chewing person - was the whitewashing contractor who became very close to the family over the years) working day and even nights as Diwali grew closer. Ever wondered how some smells and fragrances transport you back in time - once such smell for me is a mixture of dust and varnish and paint and evenings.

My school declared generous holidays for both Dusshera and Diwali. Navratri, Durga puja and Dusshera deserve a separate post so i'll skip that part. Prior to school holidays, the ritual of giving handmade Diwali greeting cards to teachers was also completed. As Diwali approached, the kid circle started discussing the kind of firecrackers each one bought. One time one of father's friends gifted a box full of crackers, other time we got big rifle style shooters for crackers. Once the crackers were bought, another custom was to dry them in sun (so they burn better) over the course of few days prior to Diwali. The usual cracker arsenal included fuljhadi, anardana, chakri, different kind of "bums" (including atom bum, sutli bum and laxmi bum), ladi, saanp ki goli, hunter, tikli and of course different kinds of rockets (like multicolored, regular, parachute and one that made a whistling noise). We were ever so eager to try our hands at few of the crackers, that we often sneaked out to test some of small ones before Diwali eve.

Diwali is a 5 day festival. Dhanteras, Narak Chaudas (Chhoti Diwali), Diwali eve, Govardhan pooja and Bhai dooj. Another fond childhood Diwali memory is from the time when we celebrated Diwali in my village, on Narak Chaudas I used to accompany my uncle and cousins to the river where we washed the tractor and other vehicles and bathed our cattle (yes, that's right!). On Diwali eve, the pooja consisted of lighting up a LOT of diyas and placing them throughout the house (in balcony, rooftop, verandah, garden, outside gate, kitchen). As soon as the pooja was done, I used to devour the delicious sweets in the name of prasad. Ma ensured that we kids ate some of the regular dinner (which was grand in itself) as well. All the colony kids used to gather at the street corner in front of my uncle's house for lighting up the crackers. The show usually lasted a couple of hours until we ran out of major firecrackers. Another unique thing that i and my sister did was to go on the rooftop later in the evening, to see the different fireworks in the sky.

There is so much that could be written here. There is so much to be said. No matter how much i try, i'll fall short in expressing the immense joy that Diwali brought to me as a kid. Now - scarred permanently by time and life - Diwali will not be the same. Yet, i'm sure, there are new meanings to be found, in this Diwali and in the ones to come. 

Wish you all a very Happy Diwali.


उस रोज़ जब
तूने अपनी उँगलियों में गंगाजल लेकर
छिड़के थे कुछ छींटे मंतर भरे
और बंद आँखों संग बुदबुदाया था कुछ
ज़्यादा नहीं माँगा होगा तूने माँ
बस यही कि मेरे लाल को नज़र न लगे किसी की 
और इस बार तो कम-से-कम पास हो जाए इम्तेहान में;
तेरी उन दुआओं का ही असर है शायद
मैं वहां हूँ, जहां हूँ...

और अब मेरी बस यही दुआ है कि
एक बार उतनी रूहानियत
उतनी शिद्दत
और उतने ही जतन से
तेरे लिए कुछ मांग पाऊँ...

The girl who never smiled

"The girl who never smiled"

It was one of those rainy days
When the fragrances from damp soil, crispy-roasted-corn and life intermingled
I was on a street side waiting for the bus
When i saw her for the first time
Pretty and sad, yes, it was her
The girl who never smiled.

Days flew by
the sights became regular
my initial glances turned into little conversations
apparently we had a lot in common
our destination was the same
so was our journey
We used to come almost at the same time
At the same bus stop
I had found a friend in her
so had she (i hope)
But there was always this one thing
as beautiful and lovely she was
She was still the girl who never smiled.

One day i asked her
Why do you not smile
or laugh or grin or beam or chuckle
Are you not happy?
Is everything okay?
She didn't say anything
just looked outside the window of our moving bus
I knew somehow not to ask this question again.

Despite not smiling
She wasn't hesitant to talk
I mean -- she never started a conversation
but always answered my nothings
"Do you like that song?"
"Do you like that actor?"
"Who is he?"
"Do you like to dance?"
"What did you get in lunch today?"
"I don't know!"
"Do you like rain?"
"Who doesn't!"
"Should i stop talking?"

I think i had taken a liking for this girl
or was it love? Who cares anyway what you call it.
So what if she never smiled
Everyone smiles -- sooner or later
We all find a reason; the reason.
I knew i will see her smile
Some day.

After many more days
That day arrived
It was another rainy day
just like the one when i had first seen her
She was as always on time to the bus-stop
I was a little agitated by rain until i saw her
She was smiling
Ah! What a sight it was
Better than a million rainbows
Better than a billion sunrises by the sea
I wondered what was different until I noticed
On this day
Unlike other days
Her mother didn't come alone to drop her
(Oh! Did i forget to mention that we go to pre-school together?)
Her father was there too
She told me later that her father worked somewhere far away
And that now he had come back to his little princess.

And thus she smiled, and laughed, and beamed with joy
The girl who never smiled! 

वो पहाड़ी रास्तों सी नज़्म

वो पहाड़ी रास्तों सी नज़्म
कभी गिरती ढलान सी
कभी चढ़ती उठान सी

कभी "मानी" झांकते लफ़्ज़ों में से
सतरंगी फूल खिलते हैं जैसे वादी में
- झरोखे किसी दूसरी ही दुनिया के -

कभी "माज़ी" झलकता किसी मिसरे से
लहरें जैसे उठती-बैठती हैं किसी झील में
- ना आता सामने, ना जाता ज़हन से - 

दायें मुड़ जाती कभी
बाएं मुड़ जाती कभी
टेढ़ी-मेढ़ी नर्म-पथरीली
औंधी-सौंधी गर्म-बर्फीली
अपने संग जाने कहाँ-कहाँ ले जाती 
रुकती न वो 
थमती न वो 
मेरे संग चलती जाती
बादलों में उड़ती जाती
वो पहाड़ी रास्तों सी नज़्म.

[*मानी = Meaning]
[*माज़ी = Past]
[*मिसरे, मिसरा = Line]