Saturday, December 24, 2011

Two years ago...

Any man whose errors take ten years to correct is quite a man.  
J. Robert Oppenheimer

Two years ago, this day -  I gave my thesis seminar. That went well.
Two years ago, this day - I made a phone call. That was not attended. 
Two years ago, this day, I sent an SMS. I got a reply.

But that reply... That reply closed a door. 
That reply gave me strength. 
That reply made sure that I had to move on.  

I left myself there. 
I moved on.
I wish something else had happened. 
उसकी उम्मीद-ए-नाज़ का 
हमसे ये मान था कि आप 
उम्र गुज़ार दीजिये
उम्र गुज़ार दी गयी !!!!

Friday, December 23, 2011

The Year That Was

कल फ़िर इक सुबह ऐसी आयेगी 
दिन नहीं बदलेंगे, तारीख बदल जायेगी

It happens like this only - dates and years keep changing, days don't. These commoners think that by saying a few happy new year wishes, their days will also change. Haa...!!

People want to believe that 2011 was specially bad because a lot of great personalities passed away. Osama Bin Laden and Moammar Gadhafi, for example. Hosni Mubarak didn't die but at least thrown out and this has entailed more than normal bloodshed in Egypt. Well, Osama and Gadhafi were there for population control and now, Post-Mubarak Egypt and Ante-Assad Syria are doing that job gleefully. However, demise of Donald Neilson, the English serial killer, made me specially sad. I think the English should dedicate their killing of EU countries 'serially' to the 'sacred' memory of Neilson. And Kim Jong-il - what had that innocent poor man did except tormenting the world to die such a young age of 69 (nice age to die BTW)!! So this was all where the bad stuff stops.
But 2011 had a lot of consolation to offer. For example, a 'Pirate of Silicon Valley' too passed away - he stole designs, abused people, charged for free stuff, overpriced paid stuff, and yet, thr morons who could never even dream of buying an APPLE product wept their eyes out. And undoubtedly, the worthiest news was the sad, lonely, and away from India death of Mother F***** Hussain - the bastard painter!!

However, irony lived closer home than one may imagine. People wrote long obituaries for Dev Anand, who copied Gregory Peck for long and then, was dead for about 20 years now. Well, after making 'Awwal Number' in 1990, all he made was poor cinema and great efforts at money laundering. That reminds me of our marketing prof, who told us a story. He asked his guide about a senior colleague and got a reply that he passed away a year back. When he contested the information by citing his meeting two days back, he was told that that senior colleague hasn't published a thing in a year; and hence, dead!

Anyhow, there were some genuine losses to mankind (and womankind too, gosh these Janana Aandolan wallas). For example, Shammi Kappor, who was one of the most original actors of Hindi cinema and was active till very last breath. Same goes for Pandit Bheemsen Joshi, who was absolutely lovable in looks and divine in singing. I personally felt sad for Vaclav Havel also, for no particular rhyme or reason, given the fact that I am almost unaware of the details of his contributions. Although Adam Gondwi, the famed Urdu poet was also inactive in the last few days but he was the last soul standing for Urdu poetry's progressive revolutionary spirit. And his deep UP, Lucknow, Gonda connections... I felt more bad than sad for the penury and apathy that surrounded his demise.

Anyways, people died before 2011 and a lot died in 2011. Others were not so lucky. Wish you more luck in coming years.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

कहानियाँ जो पढ़-पढ़ के रोया

बहुत साल पहले एक किताब खरीदी थी लखनऊ में - 'बचपन में याद रही कहानियाँ'। कुछ नामी लेखकों ने बात की थी उसमें अपने बचपन में याद रही कहानी के बारे में। जब भी सोचता हूँ अपनी "बचपन में याद रही" कहानियोँ के बारे में, वही चंद नाम हैं जो बाँध लेते हैं हर बार। मज़े की बात ये है कि इनमें से हर कहानी जितनी बार पढ़ी है, हर बार रोया हूँ - कभी चुपचाप, कभी फूट-फूट कर। एक फ़ेहरिस्त:

एक बारह बरस का लड़का अमृतसर के एक बाज़ार में एक आठ बरस की लड़की से पूछता है - तेरी कुड़माई हो गयी? और वो कहती है 'धत्'। और फिर एक दिन वो 'धत्' नहीं कहती।
पच्चीस साल बाद, लहना सिंह लाम में शहीद हो जाता है अपनी 'सूबेदारनी' के लिये।
आज फिर ये कहानी पढ़ी और फिर रोया। पता नहीं क्यों और किसके लिये। सूबेदारनी - वो तो जा चुकी हज़ारा सिंह के पास! और लहना - वो तो मैं कभी हो ही नहीं पाया।
ये थी चन्द्रधर शर्मा 'गुलेरी' की  "उसने कहा था"!

दूसरी एक कहानी है शिवानी की - लाल हवेली। ताहिरा वापस आई है पाकिस्तान से अपने बचपन के शहर किसी शादी में। जहाँ वो रुकी है, वहाँ उसे खिड़की खोलते ही लाल हवेली दिखती है और उसके सामने सुधा जाती है। सुधा, जो वो कभी खुद थी, मुल्क तकसीम होने और 1947 के दंगे से पहले। वकील साहब, जिन्होंने सुधा की गुमशुदगी के बाद कभी शादी नहीं की, सुधा जो सालों से ताहिरा बन चुकी है, और बिल्वेश्वर महादेव!

कुछ और भी कहानियाँ हैं, जिन्होंने सारी सोच और अस्तित्व को झिंझोड़कर रख दिया और तब भी बार-बार पढ़ने से रुक नहीं पाया मन -

डंगर बोली - मुहम्मद मंशा याद
बंटवारा - गुलज़ार
कज़ाकी - प्रेमचंद
सिकन्दर हार गया - अमृतलाल नागर
ओ हरामज़ादे - भीष्म साहनी

जल्द ही लिखूँगा अपने पसंदीदा उपन्यासों और व्यंग्य लेखों पर भी। वैसे, उपरोक्त में से कुछ कहानियाँ मेरे पास हैं जो मेल की जा सकें। अगर चाहिये तो हो तो यहाँ अपना ई-मेल लिख देना।

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Poetic geniuses - 3

Read Poetic geniuses - 1  and Read Poetic geniuses - 2

It's 80th birth anniversary of Jaun Eliya today. He was a genius beyond comparison across generations of Urdu poets, albeit much less praised than his fair share. Born in Amroha town of Ruhelkhand region of United Province of undivided India, he shifted to pakistan in 1957, after 10 years of independence. If we pose a 'What If' here, perhaps this may prove to be a bad move for his poetic career. Eliya was a communist, a radical, an anarchist, and as a consequence, not acceptable to the paksitani regime. Pakistan never bestowed upon him the deserved respect and instead, promoted mediocre but more acceptable poets.

He was a scholar of many languages, including Hindi, Sanskrit, Arabic, Urdu, Persian, English and Hebrew. After his divorce in 1984, he turned alcoholic, fell in depression, and spent many years of his creative peak in a mental asylum. That was also the time, when he created his best compositions and mastered his style of rendition. Perhaps the event which broke him the most also made him the most.

He had the freshest imagery in the new era of Urdu poetry, which replaced the great classical school of Urdu poetry. I find myself at a loss of expressions in fathoming the depth of the poetry of Jaun Eliya. It is amazing to read him and realize what a real shock his extreme simplicity can give. However, it is even grander to watch him reciting - he is a mad man; and such beauty of madness... I'd close with few couplets of Jaun Eliya.

उस की याद की बाद-ए-सबा में और तो क्या होता होगा,
यूँ ही मेरे बाल हैं बिखरे, और बिखर जाते होंगे
किसी लिबास की ख़ुशबू जब उड़ के आती है
तेरे बदन की जुदाई बहुत सताती है
क्या तकल्लुफ्फ़ करें ये कहने में
जो भी खुश है हम उससे जलते हैं
अजब था उसकी दिलज़ारी का अन्दाज़
वो बरसों बाद जब मुझ से मिला है
भला मैं पूछता उससे तो कैसे
मताए-जां तुम्हारा नाम क्या है
साल-हा-साल और इक लम्हा
कोई भी तो न इनमें बल आया
खुद ही इक दर पे मैंने दस्तक दी
खुद ही लड़का सा मैं निकल आया
रिश्ता-ए-दिल तेरे ज़माने में
रस्म ही क्या निबाहनी होती
मुस्कुराए हम उससे मिलते वक्त
रो न पड़ते अगर खुशी होती
शर्म, दहशत, झिझक, परेशानी
नाज़ से काम क्यों नहीं लेतीं
आप, वो, जी, मगर ये सब क्या है
तुम मेरा नाम क्यों नहीं लेतीं
ज़िन्दगी किस तरह बसर होगी
दिल नहीं लग रहा मुहब्बत में
अब फकत आदतों  की वर्जिश है
रूह शामिल नहीं शिकायत में
गिला है इक गली से शहर-ए-दिल की
मैं लड़ता फिर रहा हूँ शहर भर से

Monday, December 5, 2011

Another Voice

Thinking of starting another blog about economics and policy matters. I remember I had started one and couldn't be regular on that, hence deleted it pretty soon. However, progressively, I feel that I have less and less to share about my personal thought process and more and more to say about such matters. Not that there is any dearth of activities and events in personal life.... just that words and thoughts are more elusive than ever. Same way, not that my thoughts about economic matters matter... but writing may help me in formalizing structurally some thoughts.

Lets see when this lazy bum moves to do anything on this... for starters, any suggestions for the title of that blog? :)

Monday, October 31, 2011

LBC se Mashvira se Qarvan se jaane kahan tak

The story goes back to the days when I had recently moved to Ahmedabad and was nostalgic about everything related to Lucknow. In those heydays of homesickness, I discovered a group on Orkut, which had some four members and called itself Lucknow Book Club (LBC). Since I love Lucknow and I love books, I love any derivation of the two as well. So I joined the group and for two years, members kept on increasing and we kept on blabbering all the while. I deleted my account on Orkut many times and reincarnated because of LBC only.

And then, some of us decided that it is the time to meet up. Out of many promises, four of us turned up - DokSaab, Sid Basu, Masto, and me. Eventually, more meets took place and then we began talking of bringing LBC from virtual to physical world. That was when nine of us became a signatory to the society of LBC - Shinjini Singh (the culprit of establishing the club in first place), DokSaab Dr. Manoj Singh (who was perhaps the only sane member and hence, was forced to become the president of LBC), Nitin Prakash (who has a printing press business and hence, we exploit him for all our posters and pamphlets), Rajat Mukherjee (a lawyer, for we hoped of doing some book scam sooner or later), Prashant Soni (who reads books and has fathered a child), Nabila Zaidi (a social worker, journalist, and student), Siddhartha Basu (the youngest in the lot with the most serious face), Gaurav 'Masto' Srivastava (the usual engineer, who does everything excellently except engineering), and yours truly (who was away in Ahmedabad and could fake intelligence primarily due to distance).

Now since we had registered a club and had collected some money from some others also (apart from the nine wise ones listed above), we had to do something also. So we kept on meeting and inviting and talking and participating and doing things, which we would have done absolutely in the same manner had we not registered a society. Eventually, we organized some sincere events also, including a five day long 'Hablar'. But all that was primarily due to few dedicated ones who chose to be in Lucknow - DokSaab, Masto, and Nitin. Rest of us mostly kept on with our online wise advices only.

However, thanks to LBC, I achieved  some biggest feats of my life. That was when I was (not) studying in IIM Ahmedabad. One fine weekend, Masto called me to inform that Sheen Kaaf Nizam, Gulzar, and Nand Kishore Acharya will take a poetry workshop in Jaipur under the banner of 'Aabshar' (meaning waterfall). I 'adjusted' some of my work and decided to jump in.I had a wonderful time in Jaipur and have boasted a lot about it with pictures, so let that take a backseat for a while. But what happened there inspired me to take a leap of faith back in Ahmedabad. IIMA Chaos, the annual cultural festival, was on when I returned. I offered a Hindustani poetry workshop there, which had a small number of twelve participants. But two of my professors there encouraged me to make it a regular forum. That is how 'Mashvira' was born. Prof. Rajeev Sharma, a communication professor with deep interest in poetry, became a mentor for the forum.

I chose the name Mashvira because in one of our conversations, Sheen Kaaf Nizam sahab told me that there are three parts of understanding poetry - Mutalia (study or contemplation), Mashq (practice), and Mashvira (consultation). And consultation was what we intended to do in that forum. We had some meetings and, thanks to the good words spread by Prof. Rajeev Sharma, I even got to take some workshops outside IIMA campus also. Mashvira ran successfully for about one and a half years before the time to graduate fell upon me. After that, a very capable friend, Manohar Singh Chaaran pursued the club for a while before it came to a complete halt.

Since I had shifted to IIM Indore as an Assistant Professor by then, I started a poetry forum here as well. The title 'Mashvira' was frowned upon then, I chose the name 'Qarvan', suggested by our initial signee - Jaipal Charan. Since our first meet, Qarvan has gathered many budding learners and writers.Since I am the mentor of the club now, I have started learning Urdu script and exploring beyond the written poetic words - the history and critical evaluation of works. As always, I have been fortunate here also to get some wonderful support from various corners. Prof. Pawan Kumar Singh brought in various facets of the eras of Urdu poetry; Akhtar Parwez, the librarian, assured of any help in Urdu learning; Nishant Uppal, the FPM student, pushed me to keep the effort alive despite initial setbacks; Alok Singh brought Hindi Poetry to the forum; Hussain Haidry shared beautiful Urdu Ghazal writings of his own and collections; Bishakha Majumdar brought Bengali literature with her; Himadri Basumatary and Tejaswini Mantha shared English poetry; and many others shared, listened, contributed, participated, and boosted our collective morale. This time, it is proving to be a real 'Qarvan' of people, genres, and languages.

And some six years later, on a night of meteor shower, a beautiful budding poet - Himadri Basumatary- dedicated this to me during a Qarvan meet:

Everything around him inspires him to write
be it a grave or just a tiny ray of light
he writes of love, he writes of loathe
with equal sincerity; he's loyal to both.

Even silence finds her voice in his lines
and in despair, from his words, hope shines.
and tonight again, to listen to him, as we sit,
let alone stars, even meteors've come to be a part of it.

I am glad for all that came my way - one of the founders of LBC, shared parts of Aabshar, Gulzar Fans, Lovers of Literature, Josh, and Jaipur Literature Festival; and initiator of Mashvira and Qarvan. I hope to attend many more meets, to write many more poems, and to share many more lives :)

Friday, October 14, 2011

So many books had a man with so little time

I had shared My Library at home in Lucknow long back. Those shelves were already full then and with two shelves-full sent back from Ahmedabad, there is more than an overflow now.

And if that was not enough, I have one handful in Indore too.The office shelf is fuller than the picture below suggests, the home shelf is crowded, and there are some more books pending for delivery.

My Philosophy:
Wear the old coat and buy the new book.  
In life, this is the only place, which I love to be crowded. After all, as Groucho Marx said, "outside of a dog, a book is man's best friend. Inside of a dog, it's too dark to read."

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

From Sir, With Love!!

Last Saturday, I finished teaching my PGP first year first term course of Microeconomics. It was a 20-sessions and two-sections experience stretching over 2.5 months. By the time the course was over, I was thoroughly exhausted - teaching, evaluation, preparation.... In fact, by the time only three quarter of the course was over, two of my elective courses began and some travel also came my way.

When I went to the classroom for the final session, I was so enthused and desperate for a whiff of relief, I could not even prepare for the class fully well. The class was also, perhaps, tired and exhausted with the same old face. As I announced the course close and thanked the class for bearing with me, the class gave me a standing ovation with a long round of claps :)

I was glad, dumbfounded, and humbled by the class response. That was the moment of a lifetime... made me love my job even more despite all the hectic schedules and frustrations attached!! The class, actually both the sections, reminded me why I came to this job!!

About my after-class thoughts and reminiscence of my own first term at IIMA soon.

P.S. - That round of claps and the standing ovation might have been a celebration of the end of the torture as well but then, I am an economist. I assume a lot of things for good!!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Teachers' Day Special

Although I admire all my teachers and I love my job of economics professor,
there are times I feel like this:
(A.S. - it would sound good if you know the tune of the original song of this parody)

Bhaiyya hum to hain professor
be-sir-pair ka ek lecture
classes bhi.... fundae maaro to chalen

economics ki aisi ghutti,
paisa, fursat, aur chhutti,
teeno_n hi.... fundae pelo to milen

ye classroom tension hai, students maali hain............
chakkar me acads ke life ka ho gaya poora-poora foam... foam... foam.... om!!!
om om hari-om hari-om hari-om om om hari-om hari om.....

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Writing for fighting the writer's block

Experienced the new blogger... has some really good features, including making the google analytics setup useless now.
Checked stats for both my blogs. For some reason, which I didn't get, some random blogs and sites are the highest feed providers to my blogs (including long lost Orkut and a website on sleep terror in children)!!

Read my old blogs - some of the high-traffic ones. Reminded me of Phoebe from F.R.I.E.N.D.S., when she sang for money and she felt bad upon 'smelly cat' getting 40 cents only against $1.55 to some other song.

Remembered those days and those days of love, life, and loneliness... Missed a lot of people for all kind of reasons.... Read some long-lost but all time favorite couplets... here is the one which I referred to for blessing my idiot-self!!

दुआ देते चलो उनको
जिन्हें जीना नहीं आता
जो अपने आप से मिल कर भी शायद
खुश नहीं होते!

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Talking to the other I

I have watched the entire seasons of F.R.IE.N.D.S. so many times in the past 5 years and yet, I have been watching the friendship day special all-day long F.R.I.E.N.D.S. marathon on Star World all day today. Similarly, I've written so many times about F.R.I.E.N.D.S. and yet, here I am again... leaving all the work pending, to steal a smile from time - for me and for F.R.I.E.N.D.S. or rather, for friends!!

Although, This is how many times I have written about F.R.I.E.N.D.S., something else warrants at the moment... I need to talk to the other I.
Friday 7 March 2008  Thursday 11 September 2008  Tuesday 16 December 2008  Friday 6 February 2009 Sunday 20 June 2010  Monday 11 October 2010  Tuesday 19 April 2011

So you'd remember all those friends' names, right - all the ones I can take and also the ones I cannot? I know you would. After all, you are the only one, who has been with me from, like, forever!! And I know you held up really great yester-night, when I got high! I cried a lot and I talked a lot. I missed all the ones whose name I can take and also the ones I cannot.

I know that you were standing firm within me and you held me in your arms real close. I really wanted to break down then but you held me up. I remember I wanted to break down once or twice years ago and you held me up then as well. I don't know whether to curse you for holding me up to live again and die again and again or to say thanks for holding me up to die again and live again and again!! You know the other I, whatever it is, I love you and I hate you in the same breath... just like all the ones whose name I can take and also the ones I cannot.

I know it makes for a very bad, sad, and confusing reading on a happy F.R.I.E.N.D.S.H.I.P. Sunday but there is a reason to it. Remember once someone had said that if I ever want to get high, they will not let me!! Remember once someone had said that if I ever cry, they'll come and hold me!!  Remember once someone had said that if I ever talk a lot, they will talk more!! Well, I am still waiting for them... there is no sound... there is no sight... there is no hope... there is just me and there is just the other I.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

हमारे ज़माने में तो....

You'd often hear people saying that these are such bad times and that "हमारे ज़माने में तो...." - in our times, everything was hunky-dory. I always try explaining that it is not greatly so but mostly to no avail. Few days back, I again got in a similar argument with a senior. And that was when I decided to put it straight on record. Since the argument was about indecency in Hindi films these days, here is what I had to say:

Kissing - The latest kissing scene in 'Zindagi Na Milegi Dobara' or cheap 'chumma-chaati' of Imran Hashmi, from where it all originated? Take a guess - 2005? 1995? 1980s? What about 1929??

The first Indian film to have a kissing scene is from the pre-talkies era. Here is what it looked like - Seeta devi and Charu Roy in "Prapancha Pash" of 1929
And how many Indian films have a four-minute long kissing scene? Well, I don't know how many but I know the first one - Devika Rani and Himanshu Ray in "Karma" (1933) had a 4-minute long kissing sequence.

hmmm.... so that was about kissing. What about short dresses - Mallika Sherawat or Mamta Kulkarni? Zeenat Aman or Parveen Babi or Dimple Kapadia? The first bikini in Indian films was from graceful, sophisticated, and established star - Sharmila Tagore, who sported a bikini in 1967 for "An Evening In Paris" and later, posed in a bikini for Filmfare magazine also.

Need I get started on 'nudism'? Besides all the lovable great flicks (like Awara, Anari, Shree 420, and Jaagte Raho), Raj Kapoor is also credited with actively promoting nudism in Indian Cinema. For example, near-nude Simi Garewal in "Mera Naam Joker" and Mandakini in "Ram Teri Ganga Maili"or semi-clad Dimple Kapadia in "Bobby" and Vyjayanthimala in "Sangam".

Enough about scenic beauty... next crib is always about music and songs. I guess there is no denying that the old Hindi film music and lyrics were different. But that is that. Purists raised their voices then upon mixing Hindi and Urdu, much the same way they do today upon mixing Hindi and English. Although I am no great fan of contemporary Hindi film songs, I cannot accept a blanket conclusion like all the new songs are bad and all the old ones are really poetic beauty. But since these old-ass "हमारे ज़माने में तो...." -walas won't accept it, let me quote some examples.

C-A-T CAT, CAT Maane billi - Dilli Ka Thug (1958) must be a real poetical voyage, isn't it? What about the song that goes like - Aana meri jaan meri jaan Sunday ke Sunday (Shehnai, 1947) and has lines like "aao haathon me haath le walk karen hum, aao sweet sweet aapas me talk kare hum" (read / watch full song here). So unnecessary mixing of English in Hindi songs cannot be blamed upon the Hinglish generation, right?

Further, Aarambh Hai Prachand - Gulaal (2009) or Goonje Gagan Goonje - Godmother (1999) is really deprived of any valor, isn't it? The real poetic songs were written by Kavivar Pradeep only. Let's see what he wrote for Nastik (1954) - "Dekh tere sansaar ki haalat kya ho gayi bhagwan". What a beautiful composition... the only problem is, it goes on like - "aaya samay bada bedhanga / aaj aadmi bana lafanga / kahin pe jhagda, kahin pe danga / naach raha nar hokar nanga". If this is not 'tukbandi' of lowest order, then what else is?

Simply put, there are as much rotten apples now as were back then. Over time, we have weeded out the junk and happily forgot about that, whereas all that is latest is yet to be weeded out. If you still don't appreciate the difference, let's listen to few more songs (click for youtube links) and then judge for oneself!!

Meri bhains ko danda kyon mara - Pagla Kahin Ka (1970)
Cheel Cheel Chillake - Half Ticket (1962)
bekaraan - 7 Khoon Maaf (2011)
Tere Sawalon Ke Wo Jawab - Manorama 6 Feet Under (2007)


Related Posts with Thumbnails