Posts Tagged ‘Letters’

With you, without you..

May 1, 2018

[Following is a translation of a letter from a collection of letters “तुझ्यासह आणि तुझ्याविना” by Dr. A. H. Salunkhe.  A well-known figure in Maharashtra for his scholarship of Sanskrit and his work in the Bahujan Movement, Dr. Salunkhe is an acclaimed author of many scholarly books.  This collection is one rare book where he wrote about his personal life, his love for his wife, after she passed away of cancer.

To me, this book is even more special.  It was a book I had gifted to my girlfriend, who later went on to become my wife, on 14th April 2007, first anniversary of me expressing my love for her.  Also, having personally met Dr. Salunkhe, I know what a kind-hearted person he is, and bearing a loss of this magnitude must have been very painful for him.  I wish him immense strength to bear with this pain. I also wish him a long, healthy life so that we can get more of his guidance.]

My copy of तुझ्यासह आणि तुझ्याविना

Madhushree,

My craze for books was ever since I was a kid. I know, in the early days of our marriage, because I was crazy for books, you had to put in a lot of planning to buy household things. Many a times, you would create something useful from scrap, but you never came against my buying books.

You wouldn’t forget the story of our wedding ring. Indeed, as a wedding ring, I should have kept it close to my heart all my life. But I couldn’t stay attached to it emotionally. It was not even a month since our marriage that I sold it and reached International book store at Pune Deccan Gymkhana. From that money, I bought Siddhant Kaumudi on Panini’s grammar, Brahmasutra Shankar Bhashya, Nirukt by Yaskacharya, Rigved Samhita, Naishadheyacharit, Shishupalvadh, Raghuvansh, Dey and Dasgupta’s History of Classical Sanskrit Literature, and many such books from there and the stores nearby. In fact, I would have sold even your ring, but it was spared more than once because of your emotional connect to it. I understand selling the wedding ring within a month of wedding must have been real painful for you.

Many a times, I think I shouldn’t have done that. I should have cared for your feelings. But, Shree, what else could I do? I was trying to complete my M.A. in Sanskrit. As an external student, it wasn’t possible to access college libraries. There were no other libraries available. I had no option but to buy those books, and I saw no other way to buy them. It’s not that it wasn’t painful for me to sell the ring. Now that you aren’t here, with that ring in my finger, I could have imagined your presence, could have felt your touch. The pain of selling that ring, something that I couldn’t feel so much while you were alive, feels so much now behind you. But what can I do now but to ask for forgiveness?

But I tell you – I always feel grateful for that ring. Whatever Sanskrit I could learn in my future life, its base was formed on the books that I bought from selling it. If I couldn’t get those books at that time, perhaps I couldn’t even be an MA in Sanskrit; let alone all the achievements in the future. Whatever I am today, it is out of many such times when I crumpled and crushed your feelings. How can I forget this gift of yours? How much restrain you would have used? In that tender age, how could you bear with this craze of mine? Or it was that you were in love with this craze itself? That it was this craziness that kept you in love with me?

Even in the later days, you would tell many times to my friends, “my husband is not married to me, but to these books.” Apparently, it seemed like a complaint against me, but more often it was about immense pride and happiness. If there was any regret, it was very little. You never read any of my books in continuity, but you would say with pride, “I haven’t read any of his books, but I can talk about the contents of any of them.” It was true. You never needed to leave your chores and read them. It was only a printed form of whatever was discussed in the household, and it was natural that you never felt the need to read them.

But one of your complaints really hit me in the heart. It made me feel like a criminal in my own eyes. It is about this incident happened in the last 8-10 months of your life. I was looking for some reference; I was trying to explain something with it. You were sitting nearby. You needed something; you asked for it. I didn’t hear you. It’s not that your voice was low. I was so engaged in finding that reference, I didn’t hear what you said; like your voice didn’t fall on my ears. Your words lost into thin air. I don’t know what you might have felt that time, but it got you, and you said irritated, “my husband can’t think of anything but books!” This went straight to my heart like an arrow. I came out my trance, left books, pen, paper everything and came to you, and gave whatever you wanted. You became calm soon. In the illness of about 18 months, it was only two-three times that you lost your cool; it was one of those incidents. Perhaps that day you could no longer bear the pain; perhaps you could have strongly felt that I should come to you, talk to you, calm you, share your pain. Perhaps you felt hurt seeing me not even listening to you and it brought up that outburst. Of course, you were in all your rights and your anger was reasonable. But, Shree, what could I do? Mine was a hunger of a person starving from a hundred generations. From there, came this devouring, this harshness of ignoring you.

You do know about my fully immersing in my reading and writing. At home or at some public place, in trains or in bus, wherever I think of something of note, I write it down then and there; it’s what I always do. Even while I rode scooter, if there was something to note, I would stop the scooter, note it and then go ahead. I have been doing this for long. I’m always worried lest I forget and lose that point later. At times, if I forgot to note something and then it got lost, I could do nothing, but to regret that I didn’t note it. If the noted chit gets misplaced and lost, it pains a lot, like I have been robbed of something valuable. Once I was thinking of something while in bus, Hyderabad to Nanded, 7-8 hours continuously. What is the exact nature of ‘self’; a lot of thoughts were pouring like heavy rains that day. I was noting the whole thing in a diary. Later some day, I was at an STD booth in Dhule and lost the diary there. I could never remember those same points again and I lost them forever.

I can’t tell where some thought would occur to me. For this reason, I always take care to keep paper, pen with me. You know that. Even while sleeping, I keep paper, pen under my pillow. If I had to write something, I would pull out my hand under your head without breaking your sleep and note down the points. I have done this for years. Many such points that I wrote after taking my hand under your head are scattered across many of my books. These points occur even today. Even now, I keep paper, pen under my pillow. But now I don’t have to take out my hand under your head. I don’t have to worry about breaking your sleep. Everything else is the same, only you are not here. You are not; neither to dote on my craziness, nor to complain about it. If you had stayed, not only to make playful complaints against me, but even to make serious complaints, or to make harsh criticism, or to protest against me, or even to condemn me, my heart would have been filled with flowers of joy. I would have drenched myself in the showers of happiness. But you didn’t.

[Original letter titled as शंभर पिढ्या उपाशी असलेल्या माणसाची भूक in the collection].

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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.

Have we already stopped writing emails?

July 14, 2014

It has been long since I got a mail in my inbox – a personal email. Spams, notifications, promotional emails is all what I get these days. Have people already stopped the practise of sending mails?

Letters are a thing of bygone days. There was a charm to it. I’ve written letters sometimes as long as 40 pages. Even a 4-line letter is a rarity now. I won’t complain about that. Lifestyles have changed over years.

But mails? Is it because of social media and instant messaging that we are ignoring this classy and more elaborate form of communication? Can a whatsapp message ever take place of a mail? An email is an email – a virtual letter. A Whatsapp/Facebook message is nothing.

It’s my birthday today. I’ve got a couple of phone calls. I made some mandatory phone calls. I am getting loads of birthday wishes on Facebook – a formal ritual that it is. I am missing a mail.

Short letter to X

December 17, 2013

Dear X,

One shair of Ghalib for me, rather just one line of it. “ Aashiqui sabr_talab aur tamanna betaab..” Love asks for patience, and desires are uncontrollable. What shall I do of my heart until it ends all?

thinking of you,

Ganesh

Letter to Nagpurpulse for copyright violation

August 20, 2012

Online copyright violation is quite widespread.  Some do it in ignorance of law; the others with just a callous attitude of “no one’s gonna sue you back!”  But is it fair to use someone else’s work as your own?  Wouldn’t it be more appropriate if you just attribute the work to its original creator, not because it is legally mandatory, but because it is their moral right to have an attribution?  It’s an age of Creative Commons.  People are open enough to let others use their work for free; isn’t it the responsibility of the media users to give the attribution at minimum?  It takes nothing, but people don’t even do that little thing!

Nag River reflecting urban polutionA local news site “Nagpurpulse” has used one of my Wikipedia photos on their site without any attribution.  I asked them in a comment to attribute the photo to me; they didn’t.  They didn’t even reply the comment.  I tweeted them; no reply.  Then, I wrote a mail; no reply again!  It has been 15 days now I have gotten no reply from them.  Now, I am free to work in my way.  Though I am not going to play dirty, I have no respect remained for those who “do not care!”, and now I do not need to care about their “online reputation.”

Here, I am releasing the mail to public:

(more…)

Dear Windows Live Writer

July 30, 2012

Dear Windows Live Writer,

Why are you giving me so much trouble? You were such a good friend of mine and I depended (and still depend) heavily on you for all my blogging activities.  But now when I try to publish any post, you show there is some xmlrpc error, why?  Everything is the same as it was when you were working great!

You must understand.  I love you and I cannot even think of blogging without you.  But it has been a headache over the last couple of months as I write a post with great efforts, and then you show the error uploading.

Please be sensible.  I cannot afford losing you, neither do you!

Lovingly yours (still),

Ganesh

Gone are the days when I used to…

May 31, 2012

I am not writing these days; not even little updates.  I am not feeling that urge.  Maybe, I have nothing to write, or maybe I am too busy to write, or maybe just because I am not happy with myself—I don’t know.  I am not writing these days.

Letters used to be a common means of conversation between Master and me.  I have written him letters as long as 40 pages.  About a month ago, I brought a new notebook and started writing him a 200-page letter—it is still at it’s 4th page.

I’m a very possessive nerd when it comes to writing.  I can’t write a single line if someone is around.  Maybe, I’m not left alone these days.

I’m ending this post on a very discordant note, with a couplet of Mirza Ghalib, one of the most accomplished and famous poet of the subcontinent.  It is certainly not as discordant with the post as I am with myself at this moment:

ग़ालिब वज़िफ़ाख्वार हो दो शाह को दुआ,
वो दिन गये के कहते थे नौकर नहीं हूं मैं

Ghalib, you are a pensioner now, bless the King;
Gone are the days when you used to say “I’m not your servant!”

I feel blessed to have you as my friend

January 4, 2012

Dear Master,

I am extremely and honestly sorry that I could not talk to you today. I have already given you a bunch of excuses. I know you don’t need them.

I miss you, and I miss you in everything I do. For example, I miss you while doing my work on Wikipedia and Wikisource. I missed you while I was reading Freedom at Midnight. I missed you while I was humming “O basanti pawan pagal” yesterday or “jaag dil e diwana” today. I miss you in whatever creative I do. I need to share all those things with you, for you are the one who can understand how important those things are for me. I know perhaps you know nothing of “O basanti pawan pagal” or “jaag dil e diwana”, but your appreciation for whatever I do and the understanding you have of those bizarre things is the one thing I can find nowhere else, and I miss you. (more…)

My love…

May 2, 2011

In his first letter to Victoria, Tagore writes with amazing candour, “it is difficult for you to realize what an enormous burden of loneliness I carry about me… My market value has risen high and my personal value has been obscured. This value I seek to realise with an aching desire… This can be had only from a woman’s love and I have been hoping for a long time that I deserve it.”
Tagore, November 24, 1924

Tumhari, Saffo

April 25, 2011

Following is a part of letter written by Safia Akhtar to her husband Jan Nisar Akhtar! Read it, and feel the longing…

My love, I cannot bear to be separated from you in this way and travel in foreign lands for almost two years! You are a poet. And if you can say, “I won’t love you if you don’t want me to,” then you can love in the manner of Shelley, that is, love me not in flesh and blood but only in your imagination. But I am not made this way. I am in love with you and for that reason I need you in my life. How can I put myself to such a test for my career? Akhtar, if you were to go away from me for fourteen years I would live by the strength of my faith in you, but I cannot wrench myself away from you, beloved!

My love, what is this you have asked me? For that I do not have the will to comply. Akhtar! It is enough for me to pass through this life at your feet. This means everything to me. There cannot be greatness waiting for me now without you. If I have a job it is not for the sake of honor or to add to my dignity, but rather to make our lives easier. The day your financial situation becomes stable I will leave this job and devote myself wholly to serving you. My M.Ed. degree will be of no consequence then. Think about it once again from my perspective, feeling the way I do, and if your decision is irrevocable, after that I will have no misgivings about striving for the fellowship.

Savera arrived at the college address yesterday. I will write to Taban and to Bhai Zafar too, though he must be angry with me for not going to Khairabad. The weather here has turned exquisitely sensual. Nights are crispy cold and days so pleasant! Being in Bombay you can’t imagine how it feels here. The hills are lush and green and the fields are verdant whichever way one looks. “If you were here why would the eye wander.”

Come Akhtar! Let me flow in your veins. I have prayed long and hard to make you mine. Seven years have gone by and for the most part we have been separated. My yearning grows with every passing day. I cannot live away from you much longer. Akhtar, I desire your companionship and you want to send me a million miles away! I am truly scared of your lyrical style of love. My very own Akhtar! Come, take me to you, hide me within you in such a way that I may not exist outside of you. Let there just be you and me within you.

Your Saffo,
Bhopal
21 January 1951