Sunday, May 19, 2019

भीड़ में अकेला आदमी

You know, last night, I walked up to that favorite spot of mine on this campus. As always, i just stood there for a while, watching lights floating in the dark.

That spot is a narrow road between a cut-rock on a slight elevation. When you are on one side, you have no idea what lies on the other side. It fills me with a childish excitement, which I have forgotten long long ago. And then, the road opens on this slight elevation, where I can perch. I can perch in peace and keep looking at those lights of vehicles floating on that long and dark road. As those lights appear and vanish in darkness, it feels nice that at least someone is reaching their destination.

Yesterday, I recalled why I love this scenario so much. Because 20 years ago, Parimal and I would find a similar spot beside Gomti in Lucknow. We would sit on those stairs on the bank, watching those lights appearing and vanishing on the other end of Gomti. I loved that whole scene - flow of water, stillness of dark, briefly interrupted by some flickering lights, someone to talk to, someone to stay silent with.

I had a similar spot in Ahmedabad also, where I would stand for hours. In the new campus, at the 132-feet road end of the academic block. I would stand there and people keep rushing, running, driving to somewhere.

In all those places, what I loved was that crowd is away from me without any idea of my existence. And yet, I could have the choice of being with or away from the crowd. I dreamt of my house in the same way, on an isolated, remote place.

I used to say, for me - one is company, two is crowd. I never thought it would become so true that I would just want to be away from everyone and everything and everywhere. You know, no matter how much I am surrounded by crowds... I am always alone - that's my secret.

Thursday, April 25, 2019

Lost in the lonely lanes

During a super short visit this time to Lucknow, opened my library at home today. The library, which has over 2000 books, collected since I was age 10, arranged with every possible care, each book read so many times, and I still remember each one of those, in every possible way. Each time, I'd enter the room, open some particular shelf, and I'd know where lies the piece that wishes to talk to me in that moment.

And yet, today, something strange is happening. I am trying to find some favorites and there is not a trace anywhere. I have scanned three thick collections over and over again but there is no trace, no recall, no clue of any sort. I'm not sure if I am unhappy, sad, pensive, lost, dejected, or .....!

And it happens often now... I think I know where have I kept those things but they are nowhere to be found. I think I know where that piece of poem was but there is no rhyme that meets that stuck and forgotten verse. I think I knew these roads and city and streets and places but I keep searching for familiar corners sans a resemblance. I think I know where I had left those people but they are not there either.

Seems that for all those things, poems, places, people - I remained waiting there for far too long and all of them moved on, leaving me behind without a trace, no recall, no clue!!

Tuesday, April 9, 2019

अजीब शख्स है नाराज़ हो के हँसता है

It's quarter to one in the night and I am in bed to sleep. I suddenly recalled something - and now I've forgotten that too - and I laughed. It was something ironic, something tragic, something very difficult... And yet, I laughed.

Well, not the first time... I remember those exam days, when I would be totally flabbergasted and thereafter, would laugh a lot. Everyone in the exam hall would be more flabbergasted though and thought of me as a genius to laugh at such a difficult exam. I wasn't but that is what they thought.

What was I laughing at? The exam? No! The situation? No! The irony? No! Myself? No!

Well, I laughed at the constant irony of finding myself in the exam like situations, where I would be totally helpless. I laughed at my helplessness. Because that is one feeling I hate. I hate being helpless truly, deeply, madly.

Just for your information, these days, I laugh a lot!!!

Saturday, March 16, 2019

Warped in a time-warp

10th day since reaching back the place which is designated as home. While the space is altered and reached, the time zone is warped somewhere in between. So I am regularly getting up at around 4.30 before the break of dawn. So I am routinely feeling sleepy in the afternoons by dusk.

But the jetlag has brought something more interesting and perhaps, nostalgically beautiful. As I got up so early daily, I either roamed around the house doing random cleanups or just sat out in the balcony, like right now. The morning breeze - cold, soft, and fresh - took me back to the days when I got up so early by choice. When I was in Lucknow, I'd get up at 4.30 and leave by 5 for a walk on the Gomti banks, in Rumi Park, or the stadium.

The same gentle and cold breeze with the same smell caressed me back then too. Just that, I was walking or running back then, not lazily sitting in a chair, writing a blog post which probably three people (including myself) will ever read.

Nonetheless, I am happy, for a change, to regain a chip of that nostalgia. Someone used to call me a long-term optimist. And here I am - finding joys of jetlags.

Monday, March 4, 2019

The life of Sisyphus

What would one do, when he is stuck in an alien country in a distant continent with no work, nearly non-functional internet, inclement weather, little inclination to read, and people one doesn't identify with anymore?

Wait!! Why does this sound so much like the usual life over the past few months? Ok, well, there is work but rest of that...?!!

Visiting New York with two friends-cum-colleagues for a conference. Weather has been harsh, conference has been boring, willingness to go on tours has been shaky, and energy to survive people even less.

Still about three days remain to reach the place called home. Although the willingness to run away from New York has been high, I don't know if I have craved for the return. Surviving one day at a time has become the norm. Constantly longing to be somewhere else, constantly willing to be someone else, and constantly wishing to be sometime else.

I wish if it was possible to just get lost or just hide. If it was possible to choose the company I keep or to change it to no company at all. I wish it was possible to be with those whom I wish to be with rather than those which social norms ask for. I wish it was as easy to avail as it is to write.

Someone in the hall just played the lines:

न उम्र की सीमा हो न जन्म का हो बन्धन...

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

फिर कुछ इस दिल को बेकरारी है...

For some days now, I am thinking of starting a poetry vlog.

Yes, yes... I know you remember all those dead, failed, or shut blogs. There were two on economics and public policy but I made those too rigorous and eventually, deleted them. Then there was one with my poetry but it became too popular and I deleted that too. The photo blog ran for, maybe 10 years and although tiresome, I still had a lot to post there. But then, I made a commitment - the next post there would be when we start a proper temple at Ram Janmbhoomi in Ayodhya. There was at least one more blog lost deeper in the memory lane.

But as always, this time, it's different. First of all, there are too many things to say to too many people in too many ways... And as you know, too many bridges are burnt now. So maybe, a bridge here, a step there will do the trick.

Also, it will be a video log (therefore called vlog) this time. There's a lot of my poetry, which I want to recite. And there is a lot of back story and context with each one of those. Somehow, you know, writing has been tedious and perpetually delayed lately. I hope it goes easier in video than writing. Another reason of video instead of writing is that I write mostly in Nazm (equivalent to free verse). While ghazal has a meter and therefore, rhythm of its own, nazm requires a rendition.

So the thought is bubbling and maturing in my head slowly. And as always, I'm running short of time because of all the other nothings I have occupied myself with. But this time, I hope to be vlogging better than blogging earlier.

Friday, December 28, 2018


Had a dream last dawn... or was it the same old nightmare? That I was to meet all the old friends... Old as in friends from primary school days! 3 people particularly - and none of them identifies me, none of them has any recollection of me, none of them is friends with me.

And that may all be true for today but it was a dream... (or was it the same old nightmare?). And that all happened in the past. I am alone today. And I was alone in that past of that dream too.

I was feverish, I sweated, and I woke up. Disoriented. I tried closing my eyes, tried telling those friends that I am me, tried recounting everything, tried recalling others (and perhaps they also evaded my memory).

I don't know why I see the same dream (or was it the same old nightmare?) again and again, where I am so alone in the past also. It's not that that I am any less alone now. But yes, nostalgia and past used to be a safe place. Where I was happy. Where I had friends. Where the time belonged to me.

Now, in that dream (or was it the same old nightmare?), I am alone in the past too.


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