Saturday, August 4, 2012

गंगा मुझे भी तू खुद सा बना दे

गंगा मुझे भी तू खुद सा बना दे,
चली एक रस्ते चली जा रही है,
तेरी कुछ लहरें हवा की छूअन से,
छोड़ अपनी डगर को, चली तट से मिलने,
मगर उस जगह पर है क्षण भर ही रूकती,
पकड़ अपना रस्ता, चली मंजिल को मिलने

गंगा मुझे भी तू खुद सा बना दे,
खुद में समेटे ख़ुशी भी और गम भी,
अपना बोझा तू ढोती बिना इक सहारे,
तूफ़ान है अन्दर, माथे पर न शिकन है,
अपनी कमजोरियों को तू स्वीकार करके,
लिए अपने संग हर राही को चली है

गंगा मुझे भी तू खुद सा बना दे,
जंग लगी पुरानी नष्ट कश्तियों को,
आश्रय है देती, बिना कुछ भी मांगे,
देख उनके बेढब बंजर स्वरुप को,
न उनको तू कोसे, न अपशब्द सुनाये,
थामे है सहारा तू देती अशक्त को 

गंगा मुझे भी तू खुद सा बना दे,
निकल एक शहर से तू बढती चली है,
न मोह में तू पड़ती, न बंधन में बंधती,
बहे पुल के नीचे बहे जा रही है,
न रूकती किसी से, न रोके किसी को,
तू सागर से मिलने बढ़ी जा रही है 

गंगा मुझे भी तू खुद सा बना दे...

Monday, December 19, 2011

Dilli 'o Dilli

For someone coming from north India like me, the dream espoused since childhood is Destination: DELHI. This wonderful city that I call my proxy home, is mysteriously attractive. No wonder history is strewn with accounts of it being the capital of some empire or the other. From Indraprastha to the Lutyen’s Delhi, this city has always been a hub of activity.

The modern Dilli has grown to be a multi-tasking mammoth. Not only does it house the Indian Government, but, also some of the biggest corporations of the country. A paradise for foodies with all the makings of an enchanting haven for travelers, this is one place in India that you cannot ignore.

The most intriguing thing about this place is how anyone who comes and stays here for a while, invariably becomes a Dilliwallah. I know Punjabi Dilliwallahs, Gujarati Dilliwallahs, Pahari Dilliwallahs, Bihari Dilliwallahs, Bengali Dilliwallahs... They may belong to any place, but, they love to be Dilliwallahs.

There is an inherent energy about the city that is welcoming despite the maddening traffic, annoying crowds, ingrained bhrashtachaar and shor in the city. It is this warmth that makes Delhi different from other places. Delhi has place for all, rich and poor, young and old, neta and babu, anna and non-anna, somebody and nobody.

On its 100th Birthday as the Capital of Modern India, I’d like to thank Dilli for being my second home :)

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Umbrella

It was one of those usual Monsoon mornings in Delhi. Overcast skies and a mild wind making the branches of trees dance to their tune. Standing in the balcony, I saw everyone at their business; birds hopping from branch to branch, vendors selling vegetables, school children waiting for their buses to arrive and early birds pushing off to office.

Like everyday, I saw Mr. Bakshi carrying the school bag and water bottle of his 8 year old daughter, Sarah, on the way to the colony gate from where her school bus would pick her up. A disinterested Sarah trudged along gnawing at an apple.

As I idlely watched the squirrels caching away crumbs of food, it began to drizzle. Within no time, this drizzle had become a pour. The squirrels and birds rushed to their havens in trees, school children took shelter under the trees and others rushed to the porches of buildings to save themselves from the mega drops.

The roads suddenly stood deserted, and then, I saw a fully drenched Mr. Bakshi running towards the building. A half drenched Mrs. Bakshi was running towards him with a bright multi-coloured umbrella in her hands. Like the runners at a relay, they exchanged the umbrella like a baton and Mr. Bakshi started running back towards the gate. In the hurry, Mrs. Bakshi had neither got an umbrella for herself nor one to shelter Mr. Bakshi. All their senses had only one object - to have this red-blue-green umbrella reach Sarah before the bus left.

It was a wonderful sight.

What parents do for their kids falls beyond the rationality of reason. Hats off to all the moms and dads for being the umbrellas!!

And, a special thanks to my Ma-Pa :)

Thursday, September 30, 2010

From Globalization to Indianization

What is it that unites the vast expanse of our country into a Nation? Despite all the differences and variety, we still manage to stand as one and be recognized as one. You may travel to the north, the east, the west or the south, but you’ll always feel at home. So, what are the things that make us feel at home even in the far flung corners of India?

Culture, language, traditions, festivals and rituals may be considered some factors, but, all Indians do not speak the same language or celebrate the same festivals or follow the same rituals, traditions and culture. Then what else can it be?

I recently found a, somewhat, unexpected answer to this question of mine. In fact, I realized that there is an entire genre of things that makes all the different cities in India so different and yet so similar. You might visit any town in India, but if it boasts of a Barista, you’re sure to get the same lip-smacking Corn and Spinach Sandwich there. Every Oxford Book Store is celebrating the 150th Birth Anniversary of Rabindra Nath Tagore this year and you can find his entire collection at all of these. Music World has a similar collection of CDs in every store that you may visit. Fabindia displays the same kurtas on its mannequins be it in Ahmedabad or in Kolkata. One can find high rise buildings flaunting familiar tags of IBM, TCS, Accenture, Aricent in every big city. Plus there are malls that showcase pretty much the same brands of clothes, accessories, bags, shoes, jewellery and what not.

Now that’s what we call Globalization to Indianization :)

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Word Play

A friend of mine pinged me today to say 'hi'. In a playful Sunday mood, I replied 'fi'. My friend then responded with a 'wi-fi'. I replied 'wi-max' and the chain started. We went on and on from 'cli-max','cli-mate', 'room-mate' and finally after more than a dozen transitions reached 'certainty', where we finally decided to call it quits. What we were doing was keeping a set of syllables in the word constant and changing the remaining part to construct a new word. It was interesting how we could come up with words that would fit and that too by merely thinking.

At the end of this exercise, I realized what wonderful gifts we, humans, have been gifted by Nature. We rarely realize the importance of the blessing called articulation. What if primitive man never learnt how to speak? There would be no means to communicate our thoughts and ideas. We would never have been able to express our love, joy, anger and sorrow in words. We can't even be too sure whether we would have existed in our current form.

The other thing that we often forget to give importance to is our power to think. 'Think' sounds a very abstract word, but, it encompasses much of our entire existance. Our thoughts drive us, frame us, define us. We think about our past and call it memory. We think about our future and call it a dream. We think about our present and call it analysis that drives our actions. I believe in destiny and that there is already a plan in place for everybody. This sometimes makes me feel that all our 'thinking' is of no use. We think for hours and hours and then what happens was destiny. But, at another level, I feel that all this thinking is our little contribution in the Big Plan. We want to put in our bit, so that when we get something, we can justify our deserving it. So much so for Human Folly.

This reminds me of the two contentious phrases:
"I think, therefore, I am" and "I am, therefore, I think".

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Carefully Careless!!!

At first glance the title of this post sounds oxymoronic, but, after reading this post you might get a little convinced that its not so oxymoronic. Most of us know how it feels to bear the tag of being Careless. Our parents have scolded us for being so, our teachers have been disappointed with us for being so, our friends have consoled us for being so, and sometimes, we've been resentful of ourselves for being so.

The underlying truth is that no one wishes to be careless; no one behaves carelessly on purpose. We all know this! Of late, I have come to understand that most times we are meticulously trying to be so careful that we end up being careless. I'd like to put this statement into perspective with some examples.

1. Being extremely careful in locking the doors and closing the windows of our car and in the act leaving the keys of the car inside.
2. Reading and re-reading the content of an important e-mail before sending and then sending it without attaching the attachments.
3. Revising our answer sheet a dozen times before submitting it and then submitting it without writing the roll number.

Sounds familiar? These were just a few that I could randomly think of. I am sure you can think of more.

In each of these cases, it wasn't that we weren't mindful, it was probably that we were preoccupied with something we thought was more important. The fault may not always be in the amount of "care" we take while doing something but may, in fact, lie in the way we "prioritize" the different micro-actions involved in doing it. I like calling it the Improper Prioritization Syndrome (IPS).

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Looking below the Cover

I was on my way back from office and was waiting at a signal. There were two little boys selling magazines at the crossing. They were going to every car and reading out the long list of magazines they had in an effort to sell a few. None of the people at the signal seemed particularly interested in their magazines.

The two boys came to me and started repeating their long list of magazines. Like all other people at the crossing I too shook my head. They kept standing by my car for a little longer than usual and then slowly moved ahead. Surprisingly, they did not approach the car behind mine and stood at the rear of my car. I heard the younger one tell the older one, "Go ahead! Ask her. She won't say anything." The older one hesitated a little but then came back to me. "Isn't this the Nano, the cheapest car?", he asked. I was quite amazed at the awareness of the boy. I smiled and answered, "Yes, you're right. How did you know?" The boy pointed to the magazines in his hand and said, "I read it in the magazine." He then told me that he went to school in the morning and sold magazines at the signal in the evening.

Somehow I felt very happy that this little boy could read the magazines that he was selling. He had empowered himself to read, study and be aware. Though he did not have much, he was still making full use of the meagre resources that he had.

How many of us would have made a similar choice? Would we have had the inquisitiveness to look below the cover or would we have just blindly sold the magazines and earned a few bucks? Is it about being too busy to learn something new or is it just not feeling the need to learn any more?