जाने कैसी मुलाक़ात होगी

Marriage is the final triumph of societal life. All actions in public life stem from it, reach for it, and once the task is done, are set in motion again for the next generation. Nature has, of course, wired every species to seek survival. Man, thankfully, is the only one that makes such a show of it.

But since the show is there, it gives rise to many stories and many rituals. Cultures change them with great frequency, art celebrates it in all. In India, we have the arranged marriage – where parents get a couple together, having previously satisfied themselves of the financial, societal, and emotional state of the other family. The young (would be) couple meets in a public place with a great delegation of their relatives, and is usually given a little amount of time to talk to each other and get to know the person. At least a couple such meetings happen, usually more.

It is a process subject to great ridicule but has also considerable success. Anyone reading this in the West will probably be shocked by this way of going about the business of marriage, but they will of course appreciate that things change in other parts of the world.

But even when some things change, some remain the same.


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चलो कहीं डेरा डाल लेते हैं

This year has begun with great promise: one made by me, some made by life. After all the running around and hassles of the years gone by, there looks to be signs of peace.

There is hope that we can settle down (in more ways than one), let go of the trifles of everyday living, and rest.


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कुछ दिनों पहले एक ख़याल आया था जो कविता में बुन सकता था। यूं तो यह ख़याल अक़्सर धुंआ हो जाते हैं, यह रह गया कहीं।

फिर अगले ही दिन कुछ बेवजह, या शायद यूं ही मंज़ूर हो उसे जिसकी मर्ज़ी चलती है, मैं एक पसंदीदा कविता से आन मिला। लॉर्ड अल्फ्रेड टेन्नीसन ने लिखी थी, और मैंने हमेशा माना है की उसकी आखरी पंक्ति जीवन का आधार भी है और उद्देश्य भी।

जो मेरे ज़हन में था और जो टेन्नीसन के ज़हन में रहा होगा, दोनों ख़याल कहीं जाकर मिलते से लगे। जो लगा सो यह कविता लिखनी शुरू की। आशा है की यहां आपको भी मिलते नज़र आएंगे…

और हाँ, अगर आप उस कविता को पहचान गए हैं (और गर साहित्य और कविता में ज़रा रूचि है तो न पहचानने की कोई वजह भी नहीं), तो कमेंट्स में बताइयेगा!


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A New Deal

A New Deal (Click on the image for source.)

A New Deal (Click on the image for source.)

Each year, I believe, brings with it its own learnings. I don’t want to, as is my habit otherwise, to look past and reflect and write a quite incomprehensible memoir of what happened in the 365 days that just passed. What is the purpose of it? I am, just as we are all, very likely to make the same mistakes, enjoy the same shenanigans, and live the same truths again.

Nothing, largely, ever changes. Things just get draped anew.

So, instead, I’ve decided to look at the year ahead. While this is also in accordance with my habit otherwise, I think it is at least a tad bit more optimistic.

And a better way, frankly, of spending a month you’ve absolutely no clue what to do with or about.

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Nothing (Click on the image for source.)

Nothing (Click on the image for source.)

I don’t know whether there is a method in madness or not, but there sure is a bit of divinity in it. In fact, in that state of existence, when we are at our most primeval self, we are closest to all that is good in us, all that the Maker put in, and all that Man, despite his best efforts, hasn’t been able to defile.

And in a morning spent in such phantasms of Life, I came up with this. Do let me know, as usual, how you like it.

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Tangled! (Click on the image for source.)

Tangled! (Click on the image for source.)

There is serendipity, of course, in life. But for every event ascribed to it, there are ten that fall under the massive euphemism that is accident. Regrettably, we do not make as many fortunate discoveries as unfortunate blunders, and therefore live life in a perennial habit of criticism and moaning.

I must confess here that of this charge, I am guilty than most. The few friends I’ve managed to acquire – though a part of the Facebook generation, I still retain the mental faculty to distinguish between a friend and an acquaintance – in all my years on Earth will testify that I have the propensity to plunge into depths of gloom that would certainly equal, if not challenge, the darks of the Mariana Trench. It is not something I do on purpose, or that my life is a ceaseless Greek tragedy. It is, I guess, just the way I am.

To that end, then, something happened this last week. Something that brought me out totally in contrast to this above version of myself. So much in contrast, in fact, that till now I cannot believe that things came to pass in the manner they did.

Here’s what happened…

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The River

Today, on the 6th of March, 2011, this blog completes two years. For all the love; for all the times that you’ve been kind enough to look at these pages and read my ramblings; for all of the shares, the few comments, and perhaps fewer subscriptions – for all of it, people, a big, big thanks!

The last few posts have been humorous, and, sadly, not my own. However, in commemoration of this occasion, I present to you a poem.

I had written this a little while back. The feeling that it invokes, however, is one that continues to haunt me: mortality. No, I am not afraid of dying – well, to be honest, I don’t much think about it. We will all, after all, die one day. But what I am afraid of, what I am scared that I will end up being, is like the river. Which one? This one.

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The Hamlet Conundrum

To be, or not to be, that is the question:

Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer

The Slings and Arrows of outrageous fortune;

Or to take Armes against a Sea of troubles,”

– William Shakespeare: The Tragedy of Hamlet, Prince of Denmark

Not that these lines need any introduction.

Over the last week or so since I posted it, ‘Of Ol’ Calcutta and the Alphabet‘ has gotten me a lot of attention, positive comments, and, most importantly, visitors. Before I proceed, I must thank those who greatly engaged in promotion – through, tweets, Facebook updates, and even word-of-mouth. Most of the responses – verbal or written – were positive. One, however, was rather unusual. And so because it cannot really, at least in my mind, be distinguished as either good or bad. What the person in question said was that while the post was a total gas, it was fun to read such stuff once in a while, not regularly. I ought to rather stick to the stuff (shit?) I write.

So, without further ado, here’s starting off in that direction. I’ll, once again, say thanks to verbose witches and soft-spoken angels (sorry, couldn’t come up with a better word – hope this doesn’t scandalise you), who, I’m sure, have recognised themselves in these words.

Here’s going back to Hamlet, and that quote with which I started things.

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