Farewell, 2016! You Killed ‘Liberal’ for Me

As the year 2016 draws to a close, many will rush to call it the annus horribilis. From Brexit to Trump, from the migrant crisis to Aleppo, much went wrong with the world. Like the many others before it on these topics, there’s probably no point in this post. Still, I feel a need to say something out loud.

So here goes…

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Upon Dreams and Thoughts

Today is August 15th, 2016. India, the country, celebrates her 70th birthday. Of course, it is my firm (uneducated, uninformed, bigoted – to use the terms en vogue for folks such as ourselves) belief that India the civilisation can’t be dated.

Anyway, each year on this day, everyone and their uncles start harping about the “dreams” of a billion Indians. Right from the nation’s political leaders, the media, and increasingly, brands. What space you can find is plastered with proclamations of fulfilling said dreams, in whatever manner they can, by each of these entities.

And I have a problem with this…

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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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आज छोड़ चलते हैं…

2015 is coming to an end, and with that a phase of life draws to a close. In wishing you all a very happy 2016, and indeed, the rest of your life, I also wish goodbye to the days that have passed… This poem is a celebration of the era that draws to a close today – childhood, with all its vicissitudes and victories, with all its charms and challenges, with all its memories.

I hope you had a great 2015. I wish you all the love, hope, strength, and fulfilment in 2016!

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Winter in the City

Here’s something I had written earlier, forgotten about completely, and rediscovered recently. Since summer is still marauding us these days, I think publishing a poem about winter still makes sense.

After all, aren’t we all in a perpetual yearning for the beautiful days of the past or the beautiful days of tomorrow? Aren’t we all just looking for an escape even when we know there isn’t one?

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All Vacations Must End

At times, your words don’t come from you. They are too powerful to belong to one voice, their meaning too deep for one tale. Recently, I uttered some of this sort. They were said to someone I know in a jovial tone, without much thought gone in their formation.

And yet, when I reflected on them, I was saddened. Extremely. By their weight, the lost possibilities they spoke of, the grief of demise they had. Moved, I wrote this poem, and made those words its title. Let me know how you like it.

 

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मुलाक़ात

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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दोबारा

रिश्तों की उम्र कौन माप पाया है?

कुछ सदियों ज़िंदा रहते हैं, हमें शेरों-कहानियों में मिलते हैं। कुछ पूरी ज़िन्दगी अपने पैरों पर खड़े होने में लगा देते हैं, कुछ पूरी ज़िन्दगी हर दिन जीते हैं। हर एक की अपनी उम्र होती है। हाँ, कहानियां सबकी एक ही लगती है मुझे।

काफ़ी रिश्तों को क़रीब से देखा है मैंने। पाया है की जहां ख़ुशी है, रंग हैं, वह सब लोगों के अपने हैं।  पर जहां कलह है, दुःख, रुस्वाई है, उन सबकी एक सी पहचान होती है। ऐसा लगता है की मानों एक को देख लिया हो, तो सबको देख लिया। हम उन्ही मसौदों पर रूठते हैं, वैसे ही बेगैरद लहज़े से बात करतें हैं, उसी दर्द से बिछड़ते हैं, वही आंसू रोते हैं… सब वही है, हमने कुछ नहीं सीखा है। इन्ही उलझनों से गुज़रने का नाम हमने ज़िन्दगी कर दिया है। यही चेहरे, यही मोड़, यही सब चलता रहता है, एक के बाद एक, दोबारा…

इन्ही किस्सों, कहानियों, दोस्तों, और लोगों के ग़म को देखा है मैंने, और उसे संजो के ये कविता लिखी है। उमीद है कुछ पसंद आएगी।

 

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