Friday, July 22, 2016

Haar Jeet Ka Faasla Hai Kitna Door?

Haar aur Jeet ke beech hai ek patli si lakeer
Kareeb kareeb chaltein hain haar aur Jeet
Ek hi sikke ke do pehloo hain haar aur Jeet
Phir bhi faasla hai bahut door

Jeete hue ko haara hua nazar nahi aata
Haare hue ko Jeet ke siwa kuch mayne nahi rakhta

Ek taraf khushi air jashn
Toh doosri taraf mayoosi aur maatam
Ek taraf Jeet ka shor
Toh doosri taraf haar ka sanata
Ek taraf khushiyon ke aanson
Toh doosri taraf nakaamyabi ke aanson

Haar aur Jeet ke beech hai ek patli si lakeer
Magar faasla hai bahut door
Doori nazar aati nahi hai Toh sirf haare hue ko
Jeeta hua doori dekhe kyun

O haare hue bandhe na sir jhuka
Haar aur jeet hain ek sikke ke do pehloo
Aaj ki haar koi manzil toh nahi
Raaste aur bhi hain Chalna aur bhi hai

Gham ki raat toh hai
Magar raat hi toh hai
Aanson toh baheinge behne do
Subha toh aayegi aakhir Raat hi toh hai

Utho haar ko jhatak kar
Haar se Jeet ka faasla tey karlo
Aakhir ek lakeer hi toh hai Haar Jeet ka faasla

Jab tum jeeto
Ek aanson na sahi ek dua haarne waale ko bhi do
Ek pyaar bhari muskurahat
Ek dua ki woh bhi uss lakeer ko paar kare
Aakhir ek lakeer hi toh hai haar Jeet ka faasla

Haar aur Jeet ke beech hai ek patli si lakeer
Magar faasla hai bahut door
Iss faasle ko tey karna hai kaamyabi ka hunar
Aakhir ek lakeer hi toh hai haar Jeet ka faasla

Ps: Since I do not know the Hindi script (Devanagri) this poetry will have to stay in English script....My first attempt at Hindi poetry or any form of writing in Hindi

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

The Night has a Thousand Eyes - Francis William Bourdillon

The Night has a Thousand Eyes by Francis William Bourdillon

 The night has a thousand eyes,
 And the day but one;
 Yet the light of the bright world dies
 With the dying sun.

 The mind has a thousand eyes,
 And the heart but one:
 Yet the light of a whole life dies
 When love is done.

Thursday, November 7, 2013

The Stag's Leap - By Sharon Olds

The Stag's Leap is a story told in verses, traveling through phases of catharsis.
I have never been a big fan of poems, a verse here a verse there was fine anything more most often was tedious. The Stag's leap has sure been an exception.
It sure helped that there was a story being told, with some very nice lines that tug at heart, make one for a moment wish 'if i could write like that'.
Sharon Olds
The content apart what I loved most in the book was the attitude and the persona of the author shown out clear. Any relationship broken at best of times comes with a fair amount of pain and most times bitterness and anger and not to forget sadness, regret and the like coupled with the mind incessantly throwing up 'what ifs'. Here is a relationship that lasted three decades and from the sound of it,a brilliant one it was. At the end when the parting happened to record it in verses the different stages sadness, longing,the love and through it not be bitter and angry to acknowledge and state since she is the writer and his story is untold, she tries to speak for both to some extent is truly outstanding.
What stood out for me was the narrative sans venom and acrimony which is by far common place in broken relationships. I could hear myself say, if I could feel this way when I part ways (in any relationship), I would be pleased. The spirit of looking ahead and moving ahead stands out with out a doubt
A book sure worth a read, highly recommend it even to folks who have always felt 'I don't like poetry, I cant read a book of poetry' this books is a lot more, it is a story of a relationship, it is a story of two lovely human beings.

By the way the book won the : T.S.Elliot prize for poetry 2012 & the Pulitzer prize for poetry 2013

A few lines from the book

'....... everyone dies. sometimes a beloved dies and some times love.' - from 'French bra'
'.... Maybe I'm half over who he was, but not who I thought he was....' from 'bruise ghazal'
'... And love said, to me, what if I, myself asked you to love him less.....' from Red Sea'
'..... I think he loved being loved...' from 'I'd ask him for it'
'.... we have always been going back, since birth, back toward not being alive...' from 'the shore'
'.... let's part equals, as we were in every bed, pure equals of the earth' - from 'poem of thanks'
'... And it came to me, for moments at a time, moment after moment, to be glad for him that he is with the one he feels was meant for him...' - from 'September 2001,new York city'
'.... We made with each other, a moving like a kind of music :duet ;then solo, solo. we fulfilled something in each other.................... I did not leave him, he did not leave me, i freed him, he freed me.' - from 'what left?'

Links to buy the book if you so want to
paper back edition on flipkart
On Amazon - Kindle India
paper back on Amazon india

Friday, August 24, 2012

Life - Give it all!!!
"Most things in life seem beautiful only coz of the distance between the observed and the observer... Go too close, and the beauty diminishes, the blemishes are more clear, and the earlier allure will disappear... This is true for everything, including friendships and relationships... If you wish to keep them beautiful and buoyant, never be too close to anyone, or let anyone get too close to you... Keep a 'critical distance' always... This critical distance has to be decided by you, but it has to be there, if you do not wish to be repelled by the symbolic warts and all... :)" - N Sampath Kumar

Something I stumbled on Facebook, a sentiment i agree in large measures.

A variation of this sentiment i once heard from a friend who fell in love easily was. Give any person enough time, they will give you reasons to fall out of love!!! Cynical as it maybe, can happen. I heard Sal Khan or was in Randy Pauch say the opposite. Give people time, you will find some thing you will like about them. (None of the them  the exact words, the sentiment remains true though on both counts) 

Agree completely on account of the fact that when one does get close and for a long period of time, warts and all come into play. where i seem to have an alternative is in the solution. though on deeper thought i do draw lines. With time i have terminologies that have evolved, I have what i call now my inner circle of people. People i believe with whom i can be me and they them. A bunch of people who are liberating and not constricting and one does hope that one has is the same to them (else they will do themselves good to relegate me to their outer circles).And as the circles move outwards distances and gates start playing their roles. None of this is a conscious effort. For now with regard to this piece am going to stick to my inner circle. For in some ways i seem to do just what is suggested in the primary statement or maybe a hybrid of that and what I do for the inner circle. A combination of distance and acceptance again not by conscious design, more aided by the lives that we live that ill affords getting close with too many folks. 

The way I see it here and now is, true love, relationships, growth, all of them flourish when one sets oneself free not when one is calibrating and calculating. One needs to let go and just let be, take things as they come. the warts and all that we encounter when we get close enriches rather than blemishes. This is not to say the path strewn with petals. The imperfections and their acceptance there off make the relationship richer. Have always found people i love extremely good-looking, it obviously has less to do with the way the look and lot more to do with what i feel for them. Same goes with imperfections and the warts once we love some one accepting them as a whole is so much more natural. To me then it is less about drawing line and keeping distance, it is more about getting close and embracing the person. Like the contrary view in statement two with that level proximity also come that many more reasons to embrace and be happy. None of this is thought off, they just come about and so far have not had reason to wish otherwise.

If we could do that with every relationship and entity guess then we would in a different league. 
A comment to the primary statement i saw on facebook got me contemplating further. 
" i defy doesnt hold good for all things. A mother is the closest n most beautiful creature......n so is true love.....even the blemishes look so beautiful!!!!! its all abt love, that particular feeling or the feel that has no quantum......"

To me that statement has two parts to it - One that reaction is born out of deep-set social conditioning over god only knows how many thousand years, and would happily debate that point. For as we grow we do become critical of our parents the sheen does come off and what ever respect or love that is left or newly born are less out of obligation - (anyways a different topic for a different time). 

In the time frame that statement is true, why is it so? Couple of reasons. (1) Children by far live in the moment, if there is anger or disappointment they express it, feel and do not try to rationalise it as much - so live the moment and flush out the emotion. Nothing brushed under to come back another day or leave scars that magnify the warts and cause pain. (2) The acceptance of the other person so complete that the warts do not matter as much. 

Which to me could work pretty much the same way in our adult life. Why this whole thought process, for at some level i do believe one needs to give it all in a relationship or in any pursuit. Does not that open us up to risks and make us vulnerable. Maybe yes, but is the same traits that give us strength and unbridled joy. Ye bit of gamble one could say. Given what life has given, i rather throw the dice with gay abandon, for every snake that brings me down am sure i will find ladders that will take me up. Funnier so the snake and the ladder could be the same person at different times!!!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Gender Dynamics

The case stated at the two ends of the spectrum are, women have gotten assertive given their new found economic strength, they treat men shabbily. The other end being men are being boorish, don't give women their due, today she is at equal footing and then why is she still expected to carry out chores which have traditionally been on her plate, whence she is doing as much if not more than the man is.

The other point of discussion that keeps cropping up is the comparison of India with the western world. If they can, why can’t we? Are they not better off? Why is the Indian man being defensive and in a state of denial when compared to his western counterpart?

Let’s get the easier piece out of the way. Comparison beyond a point is meaningless. If we know where we want to be, where the rest are should not matter to us. Where it could add value is to set benchmarks and aspirations. The challenge is, a large part of our perception about the western world is formed from popular entertainment and brief cursory peeks into their world. This can result in flawed views of their world. Another divide is the urban and non urban, just as much as our social values/norms and acceptance of deviations from them are a lot higher in urban India, so is the case with the western world. They too have the divide leading to different levels of acceptances to deviations and levels of freedom to operate purely based on individual choices. Hence when making comparisons we might want to keep this factor in mind. The challenge of society readjusting to an assertive woman who demands equality and the right to make the choices she deems fit is by far faced world over. Each society is at different stage and the degree of acceptance of the woman being an equal varies, not just in between Countries/culture but within these geographical confines, in terms of urban and non-urban. Socioeconomic parameters and structures play a significant role.

Are man and woman equal? See no reason why not. They are different and have carried out for a long while distinctly different functions. They are not the same is obvious, but does not make them unequal. Are they equals in today's world? No they are not; I doubt any sane person would even try to debate that. Where lies the rub then, it is in the degrees. It is by and large the man's attitude - 'it used to be a lot worse, count your blessings....’ or ‘I have given up so much of my power, yet you’re not happy'. Power shift is at all times a messy affair, the one in decline trying to hold hard - for remember though in a decline, it remains the more powerful and hence is likely to resist. On the other hand the emerging force will do its best to unseat. Given this nature there is bound to be chaos.

Society is at all times in a flux; it is in a transition given the dynamic nature of life. The woman is finding her place and today is beginning to find the strength to assert and hold her ground. From an Urban India perspective, I would call this the first generation of working women. For many of us in their late 30s, if one looked back at our childhood a working woman was the exception not the rule. Today in urban India it is a lot different, a large number of women do go out and work and make enough monies to support them-selves. Slowly but surely a small percentage of them are finding their way to positions of power. Many of them are in a position of financial independence with which come, the freedom to be able to make choices. Does not mean that the deep set social conditioning vanishes, for the few who are able to transcend that conditioning they find that they are in a position to make choices.

My sympathies are for this generation at large, men and women. I as a 'man' grew up in a time where clearly the 'man' called the shots. The social landscape I grew up in told me this. If I the man told so, the woman would do it. The man put the money on the table so he pretty much set the rules. If he did not beat his wife up, it was his benevolence. Most of us grew up watching Daddy ask for tea and Mommy making it. Father just sat at the table mother brought the food. Division of labour one could argue, but the point remains I grew up watching the man order and the woman listen. Depending on various parameters the ordering might have varied from autocratic and harsh, to an order sugar coated as request. Without dwelling on the reasoning or being judgmental, suffices to say that it was the social norm of the day.

Today now when I am grown up and it is time for me taking over the baton, ain’t I likely to replicate the old order, and more so given it is an order convenient and kind to me. But hey here is where I am in for a shock, the order is changing (Like in 'Who moved my cheese' Hem and Haw did not see this coming - and some of us are still in an empty cheese station howling and ranting). Today the woman is in the process of finding power, given her financial independence and the belief that she can look after herself (at least in many parts of urban India) and does not have to take all that is dished out to her. Now here lies the crux the issue, the shifting power and two entities finding themselves in places they are not used to being in. It will take the man a while to realize that the order he grew in, no more exists and that he has to move on and live in a new order (like the mice and men in "Who moved my cheese (pdf)" - the men take a lot longer to learn then the mice) and in this period of learning, he is lashing out hard and making it difficult for himself as much as for her. He needs to realize the old order had inherent flaws; it treated the woman as being subjugated to the man which is not tenable in today's world. As for the woman who has this new found power in hand, she is not sure how best to use it. Given the generations of oppression she is likely to be hitting really hard at every small and big issue, though understandable it does a fair share of damage. This phase brings with it, its own sets of challenges. Compromises don't come easy with both sides hardening up. Many more small fights are fought with same uncompromising fervour of the large. From the man's point of view the woman has a lot to celebrate. From the woman's point f view the man has a lot of growing up to do, lot of insecurities to shed, and lots more work to share in areas he will never have dreamt off. The woman has many a rightful grudge. If the man entered the kitchen it was like he lifted the Himalayas, where as he was just sharing work load. A man looks after the baby, and 'Awwww he is babysitting so sweet of him', heard of a retort from a not so pleased wife ‘He is parenting his child not babysitting' so no big deal. These are milder anecdotes. Many of the stories, many of us have heard cease being anecdotes and are nightmares.

Changes in society takes time coming, in individuals it could be faster, generally an intellectual acceptance to the need for change will be the first step, once that is made one needs to undo the deep set conditioning of the mind, an act easier said than done. Hence the dichotomy we see in people. In principle I would accept many things. But my actions are not driven only by my intellectual understanding but also by the conditioning of the mind. No wonder it is so common to see a person you think is strong and will have the strength to stand up for herself and make the choices she deems fit, falter time and again. So many times we see them not making the choices they want to in-spite of being convinced it is the right thing to do. Leaves us wondering 'she is confident, can look after herself and yet takes the shit she does'. This plausibly comes from the deep social conditioning, reaffirmed over generations until now, stating her place in society based on the old order. Same would apply to the man, where in theory he sounds perfect, and liberal, believes all are equal yet his actions might not match up.

We say the urban western world is way ahead of us, they are possibly in the second or third generation where the working woman has been the norm and hence they have learnt a lot more (They too continue to face challenges). Can we not learn faster? For that there has to be a primary acceptance that women are equals and hence any act that serves the purpose, needs to be seen as a correction and not an act of charity or concession. The systems / laws of the land need to reflect this consistently. Social norms and values will follow. In time the man will, or rather one hopes he will find the confidence to be himself and let got the old crutches of power that help him oppress. The woman in time would learn to wield that new found power better. Yet lot would depend on how well the man readjusts to the new order and in the interim we are going to see gory stories strung out to justify extreme reactions on both ends of the spectrum.

This upheaval is not true only for gender; probably the mechanisms remain same for all social inequalities old and new.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Every Crest Has A Trough

Every crest has a trough
Every high a low
Every rise a fall
Life does ebb and flow
So is the rule of life

A straight line, sans the highs and lows
Wouldn't life be a boring ride?
Aren't we better, with twists and turns that life begets?

Does one not need to experience darkness to appreciate light?
Does not the vanquished understand victory better than the victor?
Does failure not teach more than success?

Life seen through a looking-glass is a full of warts and all
Every trouble, a magnified
Fly up, look down from a thirty thousand feet above
If you have reasons to smile, what more could you ask of

As for me, it is a smile that spans from ear to ear
More blessings to count than curses to mourn

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

A bunch of elections with positive take aways

After a long while saw reasons to be happy at the end of a bunch of elections...

Abhishek Mishra
To start with the early impressions from the three states that gave a clear decisive mandates are higher voter turn outs. In the case of UP (Utar Pradesh)  for possibly the first time a higher turn out of women voters, which could augur well for the Indian polity. Looking at the results in UP, Goa, Punjab and Uttrakhand the old divides of caste, regional groups seem to be factors on the decline, old traditional bastions seems to be going away. Goa where the BJP has swept the polls seem to have had the support of a wide cross-section of the society, the same goes for UP and the Samajwadi Party and in Punjab for the Akali (shiromani akali dal). There seems to subtle change in guard, Akhilesh Yadav, Sukhbir Singh Badal add to that an  Omar and a Naveen Patnaik.... are positive signs (not necessarily the dynastic part of it). Add to that an IIT grad in Manohar Parrikar as the CM of Goa and a MLA in UP Abhishek Mishra, who is PhD from Cambridge and a faculty in IIM A

Sukhbir Singh Badal
UP is most heartening given they are a large state and without debate one of the more backwards states. When one sees signs of old divisive factors taking a back seat, the woman coming out to vote and the mandate seeming to reflect a wider cross-section, they are all a positive take-away.

Punjab from most reports, it seems without much debate, that the Akali did not use the religion (the panths) again possibly for the first time. The mandate seems to be clearly one for development and governance. Indian legislative governments have struggled to fight the incumbency factor (given their lack of work one would assume) they being returned to power with the support of a wide cross-section with out the influence of religion is more than welcome.

Goa once a again a clear mandate with a leader (Manohar Parikar) who is believed to be capable of delivering good governance and known to be not corrupt. Once again a mandate from a wide cross-section including a strong catholic christian base. That is a support base the BJP would cherish given their communal tag (Rightfully or otherwise, a tag that exists). 

Manohar Parrikar
Uttrakhand to does not seem to have voted along the traditional 'phari vs plains' patterns. Only state where one did not see a decisive mandate. An element of sadness / disappointment given that B.C.Khanduri (who was undeniably clean / anti-corruption) lost and Nishank (clearly corrupt) won. Khanduri to his credit had his hands tied. BJP replaced Nishank (who had done significant damage) with Khanduri.  He took charge around the same time as the Election Commission's model code of conduct kicked in, which ensured he could make no drastic changes or carry out any significant welfare initiatives. The irony apart of the good man loosing it is a wonder that the BJP did as well as it did. complete credit to Khanduri. One is hearing reports that his campaign was internally sabotaged given the feud with the Nishank and the band of corrupt. If by some chance they do form the govt will be good to see Khanduri back on the seat. At any rate not Nishank or the likes..

Manipur: a clear mandate a story of not too many viable options yet a point ot be noted (not sure happily or otherwise) is the early signs of Trinamool congress there. They went it alone, choosing to stay away from any political grouping the seven seats they won would sure bring cheer to them. Another regional party with pan India aspirations which Derek Obrien (TMC) seem to articulate.

These apart also was refreshing to see many leaders on the electronic media, display  humility and being civil. the lack of arrogance was a refreshing. Here the trendsetters were the young leaders. Some of the older folks sure found it difficult to shed their age old habits. Stand out was Akhilesh the message was clear that they were grateful for the mandate, was generous to looser (when asked specifically about Rahul  and cong liked his response where in he said they (SP) too had lost earlier and today they had won implying one had to take it in the stride with some level equanimity.) The assurance that return of SP will not mean return of 'gunda raj' (rule of the mafia), the message that the focus would be development and not a witch hunt of Mayawati. Overall the man came across well. Even if they  do manage to to walk the talk a 50%, they will have done an impressive job. More so given the complexities of UP both social and political.In terms of connecting to the people.

 Rahul 'G' might not have done as well. His interaction with the press was graceful, he made it a point to give credit to SP and acknowledged and took responsibility for the failure. which I thought was the right thing to do. Though i am no big fan of Rahul or the Nehru family one does see  the fix Rahul is in Damned if he does, damned if he does not. Until the moment he took responsibility you had the BJP (a party i tend to support) baying for his blood saying he had failed, and that the congress was protecting him by having others a la Digvijay singh taking the fall. Once he did come out and take responsibility one saw a Chandan Mitra (BJP) say, he did not have much of a choice. why can not a simple "it was the right thing for him to do" kind of statement be made, why do our leaders tend have a negative tilt.

Khanduri's address to the press was quite refreshing the same thread of gratefulness and the lack of arrogance stood out (including him starting with an apology for having the kept press waiting). 

Of the two national parties the congress and the BJP - where ever the congress put young face on the tube they came across reasonably well, acknowledged flaws and the need to work (Pilot jr, Scindia jr) the old guard were just as boorish as always. As for the BJP their performance and their attitude both were sickening. All their faces who came on the tube were very happy to talk about the woes of the congress, there were very few who wanted to acknowledge or face their own decline in seats and vote share in UP, Punjab(though as a coalition what they lost Akali won). They seemed to rejoice from congress's poor showing in UP rather than be worried by their own. Every time a TV anchor directed a question to the congress and BJP about their performance, pat would come the reply from BJP on how badly congress had done ( and that to a long never-ending tirade) the least they could have done was accept their poor showing. (Sudhindra Kulkarni - might have been the exception - had not a badly articulated statement on regional parties vs national parties kind of  diluted and also got his message misinterpreted). 

Overall the decisive mandates, higher voter turn outs, early signs of a reducing influence of divisive factors such as caste and religion, the younger faces carrying reasonable voices, which were articulate, said the right things,lacked the arrogance one has got used to seeing in politicians... were all reasons to be happy..

The cynic in me is saying that all of this is a hog wash, it is all lip service, they are far far away from walking their talk... the eternal optimist says, so be it, even that (the lip service)would be a start, a worthwhile start. 
We are the first to raises our voices (rightfully so) when things go wrong. So let us rejoice for however short a time at a few positive signs and hope they go farther than the cynic in us will have us believe.

Ps: Come election time NDTV still rules - though IBN was not bad, also their phesologist significantly got  Punjab right