Archive for the ‘Love, Life, and Literature’ Category

Kashmir.

July 9, 2016

I feel for you my friend.

I don’t know. I’ve never lived under a constant watch. I’ve lived with a habit of feeling like a free man forever.

How does it feel when you go out for something while guns pointed at you? It must not be fear I know. Fear doesn’t live forever. Defiance, is it? A helpless defiance for the most, perhaps?

Kashmir. I’ve heard it’s beautiful, looks stunning in photos. I think I’ll perhaps go there some day (and then I google for the state of insurgency in Kashmir). I feel afraid of my life; I don’t want to be among the ones at wrong place on wrong time.

But you? I fail even to imagine it. Homes, surrounded by guns. Guns watching the homes.

I know it means nothing, but I genuinely feel sorry for you. I know you don’t need my sympathies; you’ve learnt to live under the situations. But I want you to know I stand with you. I don’t stand with the State when it decides it has a right to keep you under a watch 24×7.

My dear friend, do I even have a face to tell you things? I don’t know. It’s like you get a scolding for something you never did, and I feel so bad I can do nothing for you, and worse when I think that those guns are pointed at you in MY name. This makes ME feel helpless.

Can I even expect you to understand me?

P.S. This is all while a fraction of my tax money buys bullets in the guns pointed at you.

A village without Muslims

July 1, 2016

So it happened. My native place, a village of 700, had 5-6 Muslim families. It was early 1990s and the people lived in good harmony. Muslims were Muslims like Marathas were Marathas, Kunbis were Kunbis, Dhangars were Dhangars, and Beldars were Beldars. My uncle was Sarpanch, an RSS volunteer and BJP position holder. Village had a daily baal-shakha.

So, those were the 1990s and Ram Mandir movement reached our village. There were mini-Rathyatras around too and one came in our village. In those days, we heard that the Muslims in our village were “good Muslims”, for example, Rauf Seth gave his golden ring to one of those the Ram raths.

But then the Muslims started to leave. The village had to migrate due to an upcoming dam. People were allotted plots at a place nearby. Marathas, Kunbis, Dhangars and Beldars shifted from old village to new village. Muslims left the village altogether. They didn’t come to the new village. They moved to another village, some 20-30 km away, that had sizeable Muslim population. We heard that they left because the Muslim community was not willing to marry their girls in a village where Muslims were only a few. Perhaps, they didn’t feel it safe anymore, after the Babri masjid demolition, to live in a village with such strong RSS influence. Perhaps, being “good Muslims” for an RSS village wasn’t good for them. I don’t know the reasons. I was a kid of not even 10.

One elderly couple stayed. They shifted from old village to new one with the Marathas and Kunbis and Dhangars and Beldars. They lived there till the old lady died. My uncle, the RSS waala, took up all expenses of her last rites. Afterwards, the husband left village too.

No one talked of an Exodus. My village itself never had any communal tension, but perhaps the whole atmosphere changed after the Babari. Perhaps, the “good Muslims” saw the villagers as “good Hindus”, but there was something they weren’t sure about — “Will it be good enough to be just good ‘despite being Muslims’ in the changing scenario?” I don’t know. I was too young to think of these things. I only knew RSS are good people, Muslims in our village are “good Muslims.” I, perhaps subconsciously, knew that the term “good Muslims” itself implies existence of “bad Muslims” too. At that young age, Rashtra was Hindu Rashtra and Rashtrabhakti was what I learnt from my uncle. In hindsight, when I see, I see my uncle was a “good RSS waala”.

So as it happened, my village has no Muslims anymore. Neither have the 3-4 villages in the vicinity. The kids born after 1995 in my village have not seen any Muslims neighbors. We haven’t been to any Muslim households. I myself hadn’t been to a Muslim household till I visited Shams bhai’s place in 2014.

I don’t know why I’m writing this, but I wanted to write about it for long. It’s sad. People, who were living there for generations, felt it wasn’t prudent to stay there further. We were a tiny village. But those words – Ayodhya, Babri – reached us, for no reason. My parents still talk reverently of the elders in those Muslim families. Many of those died. Some of them, the younger ones, sometimes meet the village oldies in town on market days and they talk like relatives met after a long while: ” Chachi kaisi hai? Sharif kahaan hai ab? Sharif ki ladki ki shaadi? Baap re..” We, the newer generations, don’t even know them.

What was it that happened? Who gained from it? Who lost? No one knows. As it stands now, we have no Muslims in the village.

P.S. I wrote it as I saw it as a kid of 10. Please don’t take out conclusions.

There is no Second Coming

May 31, 2016

Days and days pass.  Nothing happens and everything slips out.  What was promised that it would stay?  And when there was nothing, what was it that one kept holding all the time.  Someone drowning would look for a straw to hold.  One gasping has nothing to hold on.  The air is heavy.  Or so sparse.. I’m dying.. I’m dying..

Turning and turning in the widening gyre
The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
The best lack all conviction, while the worst
Are full of passionate intensity.

There is no Second Coming.. There is no Second Coming..

Ishq ek Meer bhari patthar hai..

May 30, 2016

A beautiful evening this is.  I came home early.  Sitting on terrace with my laptop.  The heat has cooled down.  It’s breezing gently.  It’s end of May.  Perhaps we have already past the hottest days of the year.  Monsoon will be around in a couple of weeks.

I can call it a perfect evening.  I’ve switched off my phone.  No one around to break my peace.  A perfect weather to scribble some random lines.  Peace, ephemeral, yet heavenly.

What are the worries that hung around all the day?  Not a trifle certainly.  Like Meer calls it, “ishq ek ‘Meer’ bhari patthar hai, ye kab tujh naatawaaN se uth’ta hai..”  Those worries stay around.  Despite this peace.  Just waiting for this peace spell to wear off..

Love is one huge stone, O Meer!  How could you weak lift it up?

Of love, regret, and misery…

April 25, 2016

I am not my own self tonight; feeling like a pressure on my temples.  I close my eyes, I try to think of you, I fail miserably.  Each time I close my eyes, I feel the headache all new again.

Why are you so much far away?  I think of that poem from Gitanjali:  “O fool! Try to carry thyself on thy own shoulders!  O beggar, to come beg at thy own door!  Leave all thy burden on his hands who can bear all, and never look back in regret.”

Why me?  I was a fool, but I did seek to leave all my burdens in your hands.  Never did I regret.  “Sab daagh haiN is dil mein, ba_juz daagh e nadaamat..”  Then.  Why.  Me.

Alone and lonely, I sit here waiting for a single glance of benevolence from you.  To bring me out of this misery.

Under the infinite sky when we stand…

April 24, 2016

Under the infinite sky when we stand, with nothing but stars above, and the milky way going across, silence becomes the word of moment.  We feel.  We fill our hearts with the infinite love our Lord has endowed upon us.  We feel, in silence, what we don’t speak in words.  Peace so serene that even an embrace is unasked for.  With hand in hand, we look up into the sky, walking on the milky way with our gazes.

Why does it feel so real? So real to brings tears to our eyes?  Tears of fulfillment?  Tears of joy?  Tears of separation?  What?  The sky is dark, the stars are shining, the breeze is gentle.  When do the desires creep in?  Why does the mist turn so dense like it’s a bar on lungs?  Like we’d choke up with a pang so miserable that our hearts will stop here and now.  A sudden heaviness; a half-tear under the eyelid.  Why?

My Lord knows of my heart.  When we two — the two eternal souls — stand beneath the sky, speaking no word, with hearts leaping with happiness of being found by the other, the good Lord watches awestruck, taking immense joy in the serenity of the moment.

And do we cry? No, we don’t!

Of shining pearls and a flying peacock

April 15, 2016

Content I am.  With a smile on my face and a glow in my eyes.  That I had just been in a dream. Moments flew on feathery soft wings.

We smiled for no reason but for being happy.  We gleamed.  We shone.  Not like a firefly, nor like a diamond, but like a pearl.  Soft and milky white.

That we rode in parching heat, like it was a breeze of early summer mornings.  That we pulled off the road, so that the time should halt.  That we fell into embraces like how much we belonged there.  That we tasted the nectar like our lips had never tasted love before.

How would it matter what we were? The two eternal souls randomly collided in the complex machinery of existence?  Why would it matter?

That we existed is truth. Like the peacock that flew right above our head and no one else but we two saw it.  If we two had not noticed it, would it mean that the peacock never existed? It did.

Lose. How else would you live?

February 23, 2016

“Say I am sad.”
“Said.”
“Did it help any?”
“Don’t know..”

He knew nothing of it.  He was lost.  He was not dead.  He survived.  He was still surviving.  He existed; he was not present.

“Thoughtcrime is death,” he muttered.  He needed not worry.  If thoughtcrime were real death, he would be dead already.  But he was alive.  At least, he existed.  He wished he did not.

Being unpersonned.” The word struck to him as something.  He wished he be unpersponned.  “Is that even a word?

Surrender.

And who will lose? You? No, you won’t.  An occasional evening of feeling down is not losing.  Neither will I; how does an unperson lose?

Losing is not not-being somewhere.  You keep on living afterwards. That’s what it is.

A caravan of mourners

December 4, 2015

I am afraid of this wretched evening.  Sitting in a corner of a whole emptiness is me.  Clock ticks its seconds.  Evening passes by.  “Waqt ke sog mein lamhoN ka juloos, jaise ek kaafila e nauhaagaraaN..”  In sorrow of time, this procession of moments, like a caravan of mourners..

Things need not be this bleak always.  But evenings are not things.  Evenings don’t understand.  Perhaps, evenings are like people trying hard to make you happy.  Evenings don’t know to leave you alone when you need to be left alone.  Evenings are hell in the same way as Sartre said “Hell is other people.” Evenings are not nights.

I woke at 1 a.m. last night.  It was the same room, but the emptiness didn’t feel empty.  It rather felt serene.  Why can’t we have all nights and no evenings?  I’ll perhaps need some other evening to find an answer.

Last night, when I was awake, I was actually feeling calm, at peace with myself.  If I think of it now, it feels like it was a complete different person.  Perhaps, it was me; a me very different from a me I am at evenings.  I checked my twitter.  I read my book.  I hummed my poems:  yuuN gumaaN hota hai garche hai abhi subah e firaq, dhal gaya hijr ka din, aa bhi gayi wasl ki raat.. It feels like – even though it’s a morning of separation – the day of staying away has just gone, here comes the night of togetherness..  At night, even separation doesn’t feel like a separation.  At least, it didn’t feel like that yesterday.

But it’s not a night yet.  It’s an evening, and a wretched one at it.  I am sitting in a corner of a whole emptiness.  The clock is ticking its seconds.  The moments are passing in a procession, like a caravan of mourners.

A nightmare that didn’t even come true

November 22, 2015

We are together. Then falls night.  Everyone goes sleep.  The house has four rooms, a whole house quartered into four rooms from the centre.  I’m sleeping in the front one, with several others.  You are sleeping in the side back room, on a “baaz.”

Morning.  You wake up and come in the front room; normal.  Master asks, “She LIVES here?”  I am affirmative.

No one likes you in the house.  I loved you even when it was morning and we were awake.