Friday, August 12, 2022

An idea whose time never came!

It was a day in making for many days now... Today, I tore off all my personal diaries. All 8 diaries. 20 years of writing. About a thousand pages. Everything. 

In between, I looked at some pages. Somethings were always fresh in memory. Some faded thoughts reappeared. Some forgotten names were recalled. Almost everything made me a bit of emotional, a bit of nostalgic, a bit of sad, and a bit of irritated. There were friends, strangers, estranged friends, friendly strangers, teachers, students, loves, laughs, moments, fights, loves, kisses, hugs, tears, and everything that had been there in the past 20 years! 

While tearing everything away, I kept some random pictures or thoughts in between. Like, in the struggling years, a page had only this written - "I am an Idea whose time has not come!". Another page had random thoughts written, like this one: 

And I wrote not on pages and margins only but sometimes, even the diary covers had some messages. Like this: 


And in between those pages, there were the stories of my Lucknow days, when life was shaping up, my IIMA days, when life was full of events and challenges, my longing for Lucknow and then, disenchantment with Lucknow, Indore and IIM Indore days, my travels to different places and for different purposes. There were the stories of all the love I got, all the love I missed, all the loves I kissed, and all the love that couldn't be. There were the lists of my happiest memories and the best moments of life and the best people in my life and the loveliest loves of my life and the superpowers I want and the places I wanted to visit and the milestones I wanted to cross.... 

In essence, like I wrote in this blog post here about my autobiography, today - I destroyed all the notes for that story. Pretty soon, I am planning on deleting on a lot of other stories and stuff as well. Why - you ask? Because I am an idea, whose time never came. And never will. At the end, all that remains is this - a bag full of wasted life, forgotten memories, and ideas, whose time never came!!!


Saturday, August 6, 2022

Nanaji

Aaj Nanaji ka birthday hai. 

It used to be a special day for all of us in the family. I don't remember when it ceased to be special. Nanaji is no more. I don't even remember when did he pass away. All I remember is that I was heading to take a class that morning when Didi called. I took the class, I took the lunch, and the day went on as usual. I did not meet him in his final few years. I guess it all went downhill after he moved away from this room, where the picture below was taken. After that, distances were huge and he was not himself ever again. I was not close to him in his final years and did not see him in his final days. I don't know what would we have discussed in those days, as he was more bitter than usual and forgetful too.


I am also forgetting things now, some by design, some by default. But I remember that growing up, he had a huge influence on me. He told me tons of stories, I asked him tons of questions, and we spent so much time in intense discussions that the others in the family often wondered what we two had to talk about. Today, I also don't know what we had to talk about but all I remember is that those were some of my best discussions. 

Somethings that I do remember are that he wrote accounts, exercised daily, had a poor childhood, dropped out of school after his mother passed away, rose to the middle class with hard struggles, and loved Raj Kapoor. In fact, he was my window to Raj Kapoor songs and also, to Kundal Lal Sehgal songs. That is why I learned a lot of RK songs in my early years.

Yesterday, I heard a lot of those same songs again.

Yesterday, I sang those songs till my jaw hurt.

Yesterday, I wish I could sing a few more songs with Nanaji.

Tuesday, March 8, 2022

जीत जाओगी अगर तुम हार जाओ

एक उम्र आती है जब व्यक्ति यह समझता ही नहीं, स्वीकार भी कर लेता है कि उसका जीवन, उसके अनुभव अद्वितीय नहीं।  यह सब कोई न कोई और जी चुका है, कोई न कोई और कह चुका है, कोई न कोई और लिख चुका है। जब भी अपने जीवन को देख कर कुछ लिखने का मन होता है, याद आ जाता है कि यह तो कोई और ही लिख चुका है। जैसे कि ये लिखा था उषा प्रियम्वदा ने पचपन खम्भे लाल दीवारें के पृष्ठ ११४ पर: 

"वह नील से यह कह न पाई कि तुम मुझे भुला देना, या समय सब भुला देता है।  सांत्वना के ऐसे घिसे पिटे शब्द उसके होठों पर न आये।  वह जानती थी कि कुछ रेखाएँ ऐसी भी होती हैं, जिन्हें समय भी मिटा नहीं पाता।  भूलना क्या होता है ? मन समझाने की बातें, कायरों के बहाने ! जो कुछ नील ने उसे दिया और जो कुछ नील ने उससे पाया, उस विनिमय ने उन दोनों को साधारण व्यक्तियों से अपांक्तेय कर दिया।  

दैनिक कार्यों में रत हो कर, नाते-रिश्ते निभाते हुए भी, अब वे पहले से नहीं हो पाएंगे, क्योंकि उनका कुछ अंश एक-दूसरे  जाएगा ... किसी छोटी सी बात, किसी की हँसी, किसी के देखने का ढंग या किसी अपरिचित की कमीज़ के रंग से नील फिर जी उठेगा।  अलग होने के बाद रहना राख के ढके कोयलों पर चलना होगा।  न जाने कौन सा अंगारा दहकता रह जाए और पाँव जला दे।"

तो अब बताओ, इस बात को दोबारा कहने से क्या ही होगा! इसीलिए जब कोई फेसवॉश हाथ आये तो, कोई जलेबी वाला गाना सुनाई दे जाए तो, या कोई डब्बा रख कर ढक्कन फ़ेंक देने की ही बात कर दे तो ... और ऐसे कितने ही मौकों पर एक अंगारा सुलगता सा लग जाए तो ... 

तो ऐसे में बहुत कुछ याद आता है, बहुत कुछ मन से हो कर गुज़र जाता है, और बहुत कुछ कहने का मन कर जाता है है।  और फिर एकदम से याद आता है कि जो कहना था, वो तो पंकज बिष्ट ने लिख दिया था १९९२ में अपनी कहानी - उस गोलार्ध में - 

"तुम ठीक ही कह रहे हो।  'टाइम इज़ द ग्रेटेस्ट हीलर।' असल में, समय के साथ कुछ हद तक सब ठीक ही हो गया है।  हम अपनी - अपनी दुनिया में हैं।  पर हम पेड़ नहीं हैं कि इस पतझड़ के बाद फिर से वसंत आएगा।  बीता समय अंग-भंग की तरह है।  उसकी क्षतिपूर्ति नहीं हो सकती।  स्थितियों के साथ समझौता ही किया जा सकता है। अगर रहना है तो स्थितियों के मुताबिक़ ढलना होता है।  अपनी कमी को स्वीकार करना होता है।  अहं और आक्रामकता ज़िन्दगी नहीं है।" 

मैं अपनी पुरानी डायरी खोलता हूँ, इन सबको पढ़ता हूँ, और फिर कहने को कुछ रहता ही नहीं।  फिर खुद से भागने को रेडियो खोलता हूँ, गुलज़ार का एक गाना चल रहा है - 

तुम्हें ये ज़िद थी कि हम बुलाते, हमें ये उम्मीद वो पुकारें 

है नाम होठों पे अब भी लेकिन, आवाज़ में पड़ गयीं दरारें ..... 

उसे भी बंद करना पड़ा। यहाँ से भी भाग कर एक किताब उठायी है। गणित की किताब और पहले पृष्ठ पर लिखा मिला है - जीत जाओगी अगर तुम हार जाओ।

Wednesday, January 5, 2022

कहा था ना ...

 कहा था ना - मैं मरूँगा नहीं

So sample these - It is only me who is holding back myself, not you. The moment I decide, I can compose beautiful poems. The moment I decide, I can click wonderful birds. The moment I decide, I can change lives for good. The moment I decide, I can ...!

जब भी चाहेंगे ज़माने को बदल डालेंगे, 

सिर्फ कहने के लिए बात बड़ी है यारों 




Saturday, December 25, 2021

उसकी ऑंखों ने झूठ बोला था

You know how, there are times when you idolize someone and then... you don't! Well, I've been that fallen idol and I have had a few as well. 

Driving to my office today, a Gulzar song was playing these lines:

लिखते रहे हैं तुम्हें रोज़ ये मगर,
ख्वाहिशों के ख़त कभी भेजे ही नहीं....

I felt that. 
You know how, there are times when you idolize someone and then... you don't! Gulzar is one such fallen idol for me. Although I still like a few scattered lines and thoughts by him here or there, mostly I feel like resenting. And how do you resent to a fallen idol? By a retort perhaps. Like it happened the other day, I read a couplet by Gulzar:

ऑंखें थीं जो कह गईं सब कुछ,
लफ्ज़ होते तो मुकर गए होते। 

and retorted as follows:
उसकी बातों का गिला क्या करते,
उसकी ऑंखों ने झूठ बोला था। 

Friday, December 24, 2021

The year of Brutus

As the year dies, I decided to have an evening that would put some make up on the wound that the year has left.

I sat in the balcony with my camera and a book. I finished a bottle of wine. I imagined my utopian worlds again. I reminisced your touch again. I heard my favorite voices again - of Regan, of AB Vajpayee, of Kishore Kumar, of birds, of yours, of mine.

It was a good ending to a terrible year, albeit a week too early. As I lay in my bed, half drunk, half asleep, half hurting (for, you know by now, I'm more than one man)... the only thing still hurting is that knife. Can you please take it off my back now?!!

हाय ये तक न कहा मैंने कि "ब्रूटस, तुम भी?!!"
मेरे दिल में ये रहा दोस्ती बदनाम न हो।
बैठ कर देर तलक सुनता रहा ख़ामोशी,
इस इरादे से कि इसमें तेरा पैग़ाम न हो।।

Monday, November 22, 2021

After 20 years

There was this O. Henry story in our class 12 textbook, where two friends decided to meet at the same spot after 20 years. Inspired by that, I proposed to some close friends to meet again. At that time, 20 years seemed too long, so I proposed a date of 14 years later for all of us to meet. Thankfully that was immediately shot down by an importantly close friend because within 3-4 years, I did not want to meet almost any of those "friends".

I got reminded of that 20 years deal because tomorrow, it will be 20 years of a significant event. 20 years ago, a friend met an accident and the car causing that accident was badly thrashed by us, the university boys. While that accident was scary and unfortunate, that was also the beginning of a different bond for some of us. So important a bond that the main protagonists of that story got married eventually. 

And today, when I look back, those 20 years seem to just fly by. When I was 17, the period of 20 years seemed scarily long beyond a foreseeable time horizon. But now, 20 years seem a small time. It has been almost 20 years of that evening talk, which turned me from business to higher studies. It has been more than 20 years for some friendships. It has been more than 20 years since I saw Emma for the first time. It has been almost 20 years since I saw Emma for the last time. It has been almost 20 years of so many loves, crushes, flirts, romances, losses, breakups, betrayals... and what not! 

Some day, it will be 20 years of another love. Some day, it will be 20 years of another loss. Some day, it will be 20 years of another romance. Some day, it will be 20 years of another betrayal. Today, 20 years seem scarily long. And I don't want to go there anymore, where another 20 years seem a small time.


Exactly like 20 year ago, Jagjit Singh is singing Mirza Ghalib - 

क़ैद-ए-हयात-ओ-बंद-ए-ग़म  

अस्ल में दोनों एक हैं

मौत से पहले आदमी 

ग़म से निजात पाए क्यूँ 

दिल ही तो है न संग-ओ-ख़िश्त 

दर्द से भर न आए क्यूँ !

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