Saturday, September 14, 2019

चाँद में परियाँ रहती थीं

On a Saturday evening, sitting in the office, writing endlessly to meet the self-set impossible goals and not meeting them. And yet the good things are to take several walks in the constant drizzle, sipping multiple cups of flavored teas, and playing random songs.

The day started with SD Burman tracks (the ones composed AND sung by him). The day is went through the 90s' pop and film songs. Like there was a pop song with some 5-6 twins dancing throughout to celebrate their 'Yariyan', then there was one with some IITian band dreaming to make more 'Paisa', then there was the melodious Yes Boss, the naughty 'Minnat' from Paheli, and also, the freakish one from Road.

And now, the day is probably going to end with some soft Sufi melodies, like 'Tu Maane ya na Maane dildara, assa to tainu rab manya' or some long-forgotten ghazal of Jagjit... to celebrate the nostalgia and to celebrate the god ol' lost days, like:


मुझको यक़ीं है सच कहती थीं जो भी अम्मी कहती थीं

जब मेरे बचपन के दिन थे चाँद में परियाँ रहती थीं


एक ये दिन जब अपनों ने भी हमसे नाता तोड़ लिया

एक वो दिन जब पेड़ की शाख़ें बोझ हमारा सहती थीं


एक ये दिन जब सारी सड़कें रूठी-रूठी लगती हैं

एक वो दिन जब ‘आओ खेलें’ सारी गलियाँ कहती थीं


एक ये दिन जब जागी रातें दीवारों को तकती हैं

एक वो दिन जब शामों की भी पलकें बोझल रहती थीं


एक ये दिन जब लाखों ग़म और काल पड़ा है आँसू का

एक वो दिन जब एक ज़रा सी बात पे नदियाँ बहती थीं


एक ये घर जिस घर में मेरा साज़-ओ-सामाँ रहता है

एक वो घर जिस घर में मेरी बूढ़ी नानी रहती थीं

Friday, September 6, 2019

It ain't over till it's over!

It was around 1999 or so when I would wake up quite early and jog to the stadium or to the parks or to the Gomti riverbank to watch the sunrise. In those days, there was an old man, who would sit along the same riverbank, singing all along for alms - 

क्या जाने कब भोले भण्डारी, आ जाएँ खुद बन के भिखारी 
कहीं द्वार से लौट न जाएँ, आ कर के भगवान् ... 

So what reminded me of him and his song today? Well, the inspiration or the emotion may appear from anywhere, and most often, from the most unlikely places... 

I know I am pretty late in watching this but finally, I reached the final season of The Big Bang Theory. As I was watching an episode (S12E3), Raj had an epiphany. He was meeting a girl for an "arranged" marriage. He was interested in talking about flowers and the decorations but the girl was interested in talking about the taxes and finances. In that moment, Raj fell silent and said, "I can't do this... There is something you may not know about me but... I am a hopeless romantic.... And this isn't the story I want to tell my grandkids." You see, the inspiration or the emotion may appear from anywhere, and most often, from the most unlikely places! 

In that moment, I too had an epiphany. I would tell you another funnily ironic bit now. Today morning only, after eons, I started the old favorite playlist of Kishore Kumar sad songs. And as I am writing this, our good ol' KK is singing - ख़िज़ाँ के फूल पे आती कभी बहार नहीं... 

P.S. - Did you notice after how many years I am writing so many posts! Now don't guess why...  the inspiration or the emotion may appear from anywhere, and most often, from the most unlikely places...

Thursday, August 22, 2019

कहाँ पे आ गए हैं हम

Today, someone told me to write stories because I wove something for that someone. Before that, an old blog-friend told me that my writing reminds them of someone big and admirable.

Some days ago, for the Nth time, a student told me to have a stand-up of my own. Before that, an old friend met after a long gap and asked if I had published my poems yet.

Sometimes, I wonder, if that is what I should be doing? Perhaps, yes if so many feedbacks are taken into account. Sometimes, I wonder, if I will be happy writing and writing for pleasure like that? Perhaps, yes if my inner-response is to be believed. Sometimes, I wonder, if that is where my expression, my liberation, my repentance is? Perhaps, yes, if the lightness of my being post-writing is weighed in.

And then, I wonder, why don't I? Because life is too demanding? Because some short-term goals are too close? Because I am chasing the other mirages for now? As always, I have no answers. Or perhaps, as always, I have the answers but I am too scared to look at those honestly. Or perhaps, not only my answers but also my questions are wrong too.

Alas! Someone has already written what I am feeling right now -

न ज़िन्दगी विमुक्त है न मृत्यु का कसाव है
कहाँ पे आ गए हैं हम ये कौन सा पड़ाव है।  

असत्य है न सत्य है विशिष्ट द्वैतभाव है
कहाँ पे आ गए हैं हम ये कौन सा पड़ाव है।  

Saturday, August 3, 2019

आज डायरी में लिखना पड़ा !

कल रात बारिश होती रही और कई बार मन किया कि बस भीगते हुए चलना शुरू कर दूँ उस बारिश में। उस समय लगा कि चलता रहूँ समय और दूरियों के पार। उस समय लगा कि सदियों और शहरों की दूरियों के पार जाकर तुमको बाहों में भरकर चूम लूँ। 

फिर सवाल जागा कि तुम हो कौन जिस तक मैं ऐसे ही चलता हुआ चला जाऊं? अब तो कोई भी नहीं, जिस तक मैं ऐसे बारिश में चलता हुआ चला जाऊं सदियों और शहरों के पार, समय और दूरियों के पार। फिर मैं वापस घर लौट गया, बारिश में बिना भीगे। खाली तन के भीगने से क्या होगा,  जब मन सूखा ही रह जाए। 

रात को बिस्तर में लेट कर बारिश को सुनते हुए, कुछ पुरानी कवितायें ढूँढीं। उनको अपनी ही आवाज़ में रिकॉर्ड कर के सुना। तब जा कर मन कुछ शांत हुआ। और आज सुबह तुमने फिर से शांत होते पानी में पत्थर फेंक दिए।

आगे की बात जानना है अब तुम को ना ?!! लिख तो देता मजाज़ के या जॉन के या बच्चन के या दुष्यन्त के या पवन के शब्दों में.... लेकिन कभी कभी जो होता है, वो अपने शब्दों में लिखना पड़ता है। और वो सब ब्लॉग पर नहीं लिखा जाता।
आज डायरी में लिखना पड़ा !

Monday, July 22, 2019

रूह लखनऊ में अटकी है, देख गोमती तर जाएगी

I often ask people in my class, where are they from? For often, it reveals a lot about them. Yes, it may lead to some stereotyping but well, clichés become such because they survive the test of time.

However, at times, I received a puzzling response. People couldn't pin-point because their families shifted a lot. Each such time, I felt a little pity for those because they are rootless ones. They don't belong to anywhere. I wondered and pitied the nomads the same way.

In fact, I read somewhere that when Punjabis shifte to much sought after Canada or UK, they do not sell out the land in their pind (village) for generations because that is where they belong to. That is where their roots are.

I always have known that I belong to Lucknow and Lucknow belongs to me. Although, for a long while, I've felt a bit irritated with the place and somewhat disconnected too because all my friends have shifted away, home is shifted to a new one, and city has also gone on without me. But something more happened today.

Someone asked for some antique shops in Lucknow and I couldn't recall anything. Someone asked for some routes and I couldn't recall anything. In that moment, I understood what those Punjabis would have felt when they sold off the land in their pind. In that moment, I didn't know where do I belong to. In that moment, I felt that tremor of rootlessness.

P.S. - it doesn't matter where and how it happens but when I die, I want to be cremated beside Gomti because no matter where I live... that is where I belong. That is where I have always belonged to.

Monday, July 15, 2019

दिया दूर नहीं जात

I may have told you earlier, maybe somewhere on this blog or some day in thoughts... that I often live my life by simple adages... some simple rules or some simple ideas to live by. One of which is this - दिया दूर नहीं जात ! The full couplet (दोहा) from Bihari (बिहारी) is as follows:

ऋतु वसन्त जाचक भया, हरस दिए द्रुम पात 
ताते नव-पल्लव भया, दिया दूर नहीं जात। 

It means - when the season of spring comes as a vagrant, the tree parts with (as if donates) its yellow leaves with glee. As a result of this largesse, the tree gets new leaves when spring comes in full glory. So whatever you give doesn't go away from you, it comes back.

It is this last phrase - whatever you give doesn't go away from you, it comes back - that has often stopped me from doing wrong and often inspired me to be the better person than I would have been otherwise. So why this sudden recall? Well, on one of my worst professional days' morning, when nothing was moving and old despairs were haunting back, someone knocks on my room. That someone just wanted to say thanks and a few good words for what I had done for that someone a while back. While there was no expectation of any thanks when I guided that someone, it felt good to know that I have not totally wasted my time here.

If you noticed, I may have told you earlier, maybe somewhere on this blog or some day in thoughts, that before I die, I just want to make some positive changes in the world... well, if not for everyone like a superhero, at least for some individual's worlds! And when I finally die, I just want to leave in peace, leaving people with a thought that he was a good man, not totally in vain.

In that moment, that day, I although smiled but I almost cried somewhere deep inside... for in that moment, I knew that I have not lived in vain. For in that moment, you see, whatever I had given, came back to me! 

Friday, June 21, 2019

सुनोगे?

मेरे पास बहुत सारी कहानियाँ हैं। बहुत सारी कविताएं। ढेर सी नज़्मे। हर नज़्म के पीछे की कहानी, हर कहानी में एक ग़ज़ल, हर कविता की कई कहानियां।

किस्से, शेर, छंद, इतिहास, समाज, धर्म, शास्त्र, विज्ञान, गल्प, जीवनी, हास्य, व्यंग्य ... और भी बहुत कुछ।

कभी तुम जो साथ आ के बैठो और ऐसे ही बात चल निकले तो तुम्हे हर शहर से जुड़ा कुछ सुनाऊँ। हर उम्र से, हर दौर से, और हर दुख से जुड़ा कुछ। कुछ सीख वाला, कुछ शरारत वाला, कुछ मुहब्बत वाला, और कुछ बिल्कुल बे-सिर-पैर वाला भी।

इतनी कहानियाँ और सुनाने की इतनी हसरत। इतनी कहानियाँ और सुनने की इतनी हसरत। काश हमारे पास थोड़ी सी फ़ुरसत भी होती।

जब फ़ुरसत हो, आना। जल्दी आना। तुम्हे सुनाये बिना ये कहानियाँ मैं भूलना नहीं चाहता।

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