Tuesday, December 25, 2012

I ASK SANTA

I ask Santa
to add a dash of sensitivity
in the cakes
he leaves for Indian boys

and a huge chunk of strength
in the pies
little girls,including mine
bites

and for myself and friends
little cookies of hope
that make us believe

this too shall pass
and change for better !

Sunday, December 23, 2012

MARYADA- मर्यादा

मर्यादा -पुरुषोतम  भी
ये दुसाहस
नहीं कर पाए थे

सीता को त्याग कर
उन्होंने  ही शायद
नियम ऐसे सुझाये थे

उसके साथ अन्याय
हो जाये तो भी
उसको ही  दंड मिलेगा

आज भी दुसाहस
रुके नहीं हैं

आज भी नियम वही है
दुर्बल कहते हैं जिसको
वही आज भी

मर्यादा का भारी
बोझ उठाये खड़ी है !

Friday, December 21, 2012

RAPE is not just another four-letter word -"The ax forgets, the tree remembers." Maya Angelou


"The ax forgets, the tree remembers."
Maya Angelou, Even the Stars Look Lonesome, 1997


In the last decade or so Delhi has witnessed some horrible rape cases

2001 a 26 yrs old is raped in a Blueline bus which she boarded form Mathura Road in South Delhi
2003 A 17 yrs old is raped in the Buddha Jayanti Park
2005 The Dhaula Kuan rape of a student in a moving car
2010 gang-rape of a BPO employee

All the cases sparked debates,protests outrage and most importantly false promises by the Delhi Police which were never fulfilled.
The kind of support system we have for the victims is evident from these reports.

So after six months perhaps this uproar would die too,till there is another victim offered to be sacrificed on the altar of this woman-hating culture.The educated ,liberated,independent woman is so difficult to "tolerate" by the men she is quickly displacing in all fields.confining her in purdah and kitchens and "teaching her a lesson" if she doesn't confirm are covert ways of keeping the power structure intact.

Even those of us who raise voices at homes an in cyberspace are labelled to be "armchair activists" who have nothing better to do.The language in which we refer to women is still largely as "protectionist".

Till we raise our boys as privileged,more empowered and superior than our girls,the problem will persist.Men who enjoy these notions in homes and families will never be able to accept a woman as an equal and hence her right to everything as valid as their's.

lets not teach our boys to protect the women in the family instead RESPECT WOMEN,their bodies and their opinions.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Doomsday prophecies when fairy tales have gone horribly wrong

21/12/2012 has been in the limelight for long now as the supposedly last day for humanity on the planet,interestingly big daddy of the info world GOOGLE celebrates the 200th anniversary of Grimm's fairy tales in its doodle and a girl brutally raped and harmed fights for life in a Delhi hospital.

Humanity is already dead in every space where fairy tales have become nightmares for girls.Public outrage,candle light marches all happen after an incident.Oh please do they want us to believe that so many people are actually concerned,if they were the girl and her friend wouldn't be lying naked on the road till the police arrived.

We have had good public campaigns like justice for Jessica Lal and a few others but the root cause - how we perceive our girls,still remains more or less unchanged.

Celebrities,institutions,families,individuals,media all have to ensure this outrage does not die the death all our petitions and campaigns do.Let us hope that as NASA suggests there is no doomsday happening tomorrow and all of us have some more time to bring in the change and be better equipped to look after our girls,prevent crimes to a large extent and to handle sexual crimes like rape better as suggested by IHM in her brilliant blog post.

No law can guarantee a crime free,safe,equal society only you and me can do our bit in our homes,workplaces and wherever we are whenever we can in whatever way.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Are Rapists from Mars or Policemen from Pluto?


  • CHANDIGARH-A post-graduate student in a university hostel rushes into the common room in panic and starts crying she has just witnessed a man flashing himself,she did not know what to do and immediately rushed back to the hostel.When she narrates this to a few fellow hostel friends(all post-graduate or higher level students) a lot of joking and laughing happens.
  • KOLKATA-A middle-aged lady who teaches in a college takes a taxi to return home,but finds the driver is not following the correct route and is not listening to any instructions or protests,when she manages to force one of the back seat doors open and threatens to jump from the running taxi he drops her at a deserted spot and runs away.
  • LONDON-A young Asian woman,who is new to the city is taking a bus to her college.Its very early in the morning and the only other passenger of the bus is a young man who sees her alone,moves closer to her seat,passes a lewd comment and makes an obscene gesture.She is visibly upset and looks lost,the driver watches the scene and quietly drives the bus to the nearest police post.
These are not imaginary incidents,these are real incidents which have happened to real women,some of my friends in real cities.Don't they tell us a lot about gender sensitivity,social attitudes to sexual crimes and why RAPE still remains the ultimate threat to a woman,sometimes even worse than murder.


A list of a few of these common words is usually given in Gender sensitization workshops to participants to understand gender stereotypes:


Dependent - Independent
Weak - Powerful
Emotional - Logical
Supporters - Leaders
Fearful - Brave
Peace-makers - Aggressive
Cautious - Adventurous
Passive - Active
Gentle - Strong
Recipients-Providers

In most sexual crimes  like the recent gang-rape in Delhi all these stereotypes seem to play an active role in the causes of the crime.The rapists are not from other world,in fact statistics tell us that most of them are people the victims know and trust.Similarly the police personnel who are so insensitive to victims of sexual crimes are men and women from this very society.

The perpetrators of course need to be highly dehumanized and detached from he plight of the victim to assert their physical and sexual power so violently on them.Although no two sexual attacks are same and neither are the mental states of the attackers similar but RAPE for most criminals is essentially about showing the woman her place,punishing her for raising her voice,offering resistance and teaching her a lesson.

Remedial measures are required but I believe the real change has to start in homes,families,schools,bus stops,offices every where,whenever we see a woman being harassed,If we ensure that the society and the system stand by her and not against her would be a definite deterrent.

VIOLENCE,APATHY AND BLAME

I hold her little hand
and see her smile
in her sleep,I wonder
do I owe her an apology

for bringing her
into this world
where schools aren't
immune to guns
and streets are filled
with savage brutes

where they deify her
and then immerse her
constantly in the dark waters
of honor and shame

where she has to be
fair,slim and homely
wear decent clothes
need to be "protected"
and rarely really respected

What am I really thinking
when I tell her fairy tales
don't I know
the real stories of girls
are too horrible even to tell

still I will speak up
and voice these gruesome truths
let me introduce her
to new words
violence,apathy and blame !


This post was shared at http://fakeindianbbahu.wordpress.com/2012/12/23/second-thoughts-first-violenceapathy-and-blame/
and here http://twitter.com/fakeindianbbahu

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

HIPPOS SWEAT RED - IZZAT and RAPE in DELHI


Some believe hippos sweat red when angry or sad,the analogy is weird here I agree but apt for what we do  so often after a crime against a woman in India. Their is rampant outrage in media,social networks ,there are candle light protests and then there is the strong undercurrent of shame and immorality that we heap on the victim,irrespective of whether she is a teenager found murdered in her house or a victim of gang rape in a bus in the national capital.Then something else grabs eyeballs,TRPs and mental space and we  go back to our utopias or our shells.

A reputed fellow blogger asks "What do you think made these rapists in Delhi so fearless?"

The character of the victim is questioned,her upbringing is analysed and criticized and we conclude that she will live a hellish life afterwards if she is lucky to survive.Not wrong but instead shouldn't the afterward be made shameful for the perpetrators of such crimes instead of the victim.

Generalizations are easy to make but most often I believe men involved in such crimes and women who patronize such men or blame the women victims are brought up in social environments where a girl child is often killed even before she is born and if born a daughter or a sister is always considered to be a liability for the family and the wives just owned objects.

So that leaves only two options for thousands of educated women in Indian cities:

  • Go outside,use public transport,work,study,watch movies,meet friends but constantly in the fear of getting teased,harrased,molested,raped or killed 
  • Stay inside the four walls,maybe in purdah,do not work,do not study and still be vulnerable to violence  of the worst kind.
As a woman,as a mother this is not a society I want to exist in.There are two Indias every where here,the imaginary new and shining only in terms of malls and colleges and the medieval and real inside our minds where power equations haven't changed much.Where the responsibility of IZZAT is still heaped onto the shoulders of the girls and it is enjoyed only by men.

Instances from every day life of being just elbowed in a bus or leched at in public places,of patronizing advertisements,films and TV serials where women are either devi or devils,where men have a right to presume NO as yes and we just laugh at "boys will be boys" need to change.

Crimes like these are not only about sex they are always about weak men trying to assert pseudo power,men who use abuses pertaining to daughters,sisters and mothers at the drop of a hat,men who believe women need to dress up and act in a certain way and they will teach a lesson to those women who do not confirm. 

They are supported by a system where they use violence in their own homes and the culture of silence prevails,where numbers of women are declining so fast that they are rarely seen and never ever heard.A set of politicians and experts who never use public transport,never walk on a dark street alone to and from work debate it in the comforts of news channel studios and then do not do anything about the lame laws that allow the criminals in such acts to  find a way around the legal system easily.
The rape capital is not going to change till we change our bedrooms,our kitchens and our classrooms.



Thursday, December 13, 2012

BIRTHDAY MUSINGS


Some day you will be old enough to start reading fairy tales again. - C.S. Lewis

Words have always been my friends,and stories my world.Initially a compulsion imposed by our almost solitary house on the premises of my father's work place- an electricity station and later out of choice because words talked to me better than people did.

But for the last four years I have been struggling to find a word or a few words to define the moment when I first witnessed that blinking dot on a screen and the doctor said," That's your baby's heartbeat."

How do you define happiness,anxiety,excitement,fear,love,panic all shooting at once through your heart? Probably the closest a word can define all of this is "overwhelmed".The months after that and then the four years with Priyamvada have all been overwhelming in one way or the other,smiles of all variety and tears of happiness,despair and sometimes just fatigue.

Why I write this today just two days before her 4th birthday because I guess there are so many moments every day,every year that memory might not preserve all of them accurately,so here are a few in no particular order.Some of my choicest moments with my lovely daughter in the last four years,lets see how many I get instantly:

  • answering her questions- can ants see planes in the air?, why do you make circle rotis?,who switches off the sun?,where is barbie's mom?,why is red not green? and on and on and on............
  • having her baby talc smell close to me
  • matching clips and socks with dresses
  • hoarding everything from plastic lids to broken toys and calling them "my stuff "
  • making stories about food,diapers,medicines and everything else
  • singing songs with garbled lyrics and rhymes with wrong words confidently
  • dancing in abandon to any kind of beat
  • pausing in the middle of a busy work hour and see her smiling back,just that instant
  • she becoming "chhoti mama" and I am the naughty baby 
  • saying O wow !!! at every little thing said,heard and seen
  • holding her hand and knowing she is mine forever
  • her classifying everything as boy/girl despite all efforts to break stereotypes
  • naming all her soft toys with her
  • less sleep,less me-time,less leisure,less work but a bigger heart,thanks to her !
  • trying to find the chef part of my soul to make her good meals and appetizing tiffins
  • making a code language with my husband to say things that she need not or should not hear
  • waiting for her to come back from school every day
  • holidays with her,looking at same places and same people with new eyes
  • giving her my things- books,chunky jewelry,pencils,lip balms.....
  • my husband's special smile when she says- papa I am like you !
  • watching my parents as grandparents loving her more than me- their only child
As i pause and look up she is right there across the room,playing doctor and I am the next three patients so will have to go but I hope she reads this some day,understands and knows I am because she is.HAPPY BIRTHDAY NUMBER 4 PRIYAMVADA !!!


Sunday, December 9, 2012

SUFI


About 33,100,000 results (0.26 seconds)
says Google when you key in SUFI

seek HIM quietly
no kilobytes needed
no light and sound

a calm descends 
and in the warm mist
of divine clarity

all wrinkles 
of the soul
get ironed out !

Friday, December 7, 2012

FAITH

When words fail
and thoughts rush

when the fear 
of an immense loss
terrifies

and a faith
is reluctant 
to take the leap

I think of
the majestic Dhauladhars
the monks in meditation
and the warm sun
in the courtyard
of the Namgyal monastery !

Thursday, December 6, 2012

LOVE

a little trinket
becomes a precious jewel

Rumi and Gibran
fade in the gleam

of a moment
worth a lifetime

such is love !!

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

search

the normal
and the paranormal

the thin line
of belief and experience

blurring in art
and life

in an attempt
to rationalize
a loss, or just to
regain some faith

the search is on !!

Sunday, December 2, 2012

TRADE

the asterisk points
-read the terms
and conditions carefully.

missing the fine print
is a bad idea
in a lifelong deal

commissions are fixed
terms negotiated.
deals commence

souls have
no role
in trade.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Winter

the sun is
truant again
cold hearts
frozen hands

look for
love mittens
buried deep
in a corner
of memory closets !

Monday, November 26, 2012

all rights reserved

special characters
punctuation
grammar
spellings

prose-poetry-prose
word w-o-r-d

all rights reserved.

Friday, November 23, 2012

GAMES

the simple joy
of cracking open
peanuts on her own

a cardboard box
becoming a bus
for paper friends

My little God
and her new games !!



Tuesday, November 20, 2012

A Winter Evening

The sun has poured
all its orange experience
into the open palms
of the evening

the dusk
is straightening
its sooty blanket
for the night

the stars
waiting in the wings
the clouds getting
the shades right



Monday, November 19, 2012

A QUESTIONNAIRE FOR GOD

I usually refrain from writing about God on this blog no because I am an atheist but because I am not religious.This time the inspiration comes from an unusual quarter- OH MY GOD ,the film.


Isn't it strange that over the years most of us lose the distinction between God and religion.We pray and worship,do the rituals,participate in the festivities ,basically are our religious best most of the times but we never really come close to God,we ask and apologize but never just talk or just listen.


I happened to be born into a Hindu home,had a christian missionary and convent education and am lucky to have friends from various cultures and backgrounds.So with due respect to all religions,the ones that I directly know and the ones I don't here are my set of queries for Mr.God :


  • Do we need loud blaring bhajans set to filmy tunes and glaring lights to show devotion?
  • Does God bother if a few human beings get inconvenienced by his over-enthusiastic devotees stalling traffic or being plain rowdy?
  • What would Jesus prefer, a cathedral full of candles or a quiet candle lit dinner in a needy home?
  • What would Krishna want more,a chapan bhog(56 course meal) alone in a temple or a handful of chanas shared with a Sudama?
  • What makes a Gurudwara grand,its highest or shiniest dome or its open doors for all?
  • Did Allah or Lord Rama actually permit violence in their names?
My list is very long but for now....a few answers would suffice.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Diwali


The smoke had a
burnt pungent smell
the noise was deafening

shouts could be heard 
from afar,too distant
to know happy or sad

the lights were
hazed out
in the smog

dead souls
celebrating a victory
almost meaningless

which world war was this?

Monday, November 5, 2012

DIWALI


Oblivious to the
dust rising from
the busy road

and all the
other real and imaginary malice
that kids inside the cars
are made to be scared of

she dips her small muddy fingers
in the rice pot
to quickly push
the cold lump
down her throat

she'll have to sell
a lot of earthen lamps
to make the next meal happen

its Diwali
in a few days.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

The Moon

the moon
the moon is
is the moon

the moon looks lonely
the moon looks lovely

worshiped
poemised

the moon was
is,will be
the moon.


Friday, October 26, 2012

MOTHERHOOD : A SONG FOR LIFE

Who chose whom
can never be resolved

there she was
on a screen
just a blinking dot
my baby girl !

the wriggled raisin face
was my gift from GOD

the days were long
and the nights longer
here she was
my closest stranger

I help her
write alphabets now
and know the world better

she makes me smile
and holds my hand
and makes my life matter !

This is an entry for a contest by Women's Web in association with Mom and me.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

DECOUPLE

splinters from
memories,new facts
and associations
collide

words disintegrate
to letters
who decouple
re-pair and mingle

to make
new meanings ! 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Kerouac's soup for the writer's soul


Jack Kerouac's "Belief & Technique For Modern Prose: List of Essentials" is one of my personal favorites in all of modern literature for its fresh insights into the writer's mind.Here are some of my connects/comments/reactions to a few of these essentials(in brackets).The original text is in italics.
  • Scribbled secret notebooks, and wild typewritten pages, for yr own joy (the most important word in writing is joy,your writing should be your joy,if it isn't that forget about it.
  • Submissive to everything, open, listening (erasing your slates often to make space for new words,experiences and writing.)
  • Be in love with yr life ( life is the canvas,the blank space and the mosaic its both,love this amazing thing.)
  • Something that you feel will find its own form (form is incidental to content,it will come if you have the content to fill the shoes of form)
  • Write what you want bottomless from bottom of mind (let the thoughts flow from where they are coming,don't put check posts,they dilute the essence.)
  • The unspeakable visions of the individual (if you are a writer worth your salt,find a word,make a word for the unspeakable and ensure it fits and conveys.)
  • Remove literary, grammatical and syntactical inhibition (the world will not end with a spelling error but it might be less meaningful without a worthy thought expressed,so let the technical loose,if not all,a few.)
  • Struggle to sketch the flow that already exists intact in mind (the poems,novels and plays are all there,you have to strive to make them tangible on paper and screens)
  • No fear or shame in the dignity of yr experience, language & knowledge ( every context you bring to your work deserves due respect,your craft would be lesser without it.) 
Original extracts from the text - Jack Kerouac. "Belief & Technique For Modern Prose: List of Essentials" from a 1958 letter to Don Allen, in Heaven & Other Poems, Grey Fox Press, 1958, 1977, 1983.] 

Monday, October 15, 2012

GOD

Soon the decorations will be up
even the god's homes
in a kind of competition
to look better
than the other

what do we really
celebrate?
do electric lights
dispel real darkness?

the bards who
talked about the wasteland
get labeled insane

and the pseudo-religions
fabricated for materialism
have become pious

be GOOD
should be better
than GOD
it has an extra O !


Friday, October 12, 2012

THE BEATS

they heard the
cosmic vibrations

and believed
in cosmic visions

nothing was
labelled DANGER

Ginsberg phrases
Kerouac babbles

the twisters
and the tornadoes
of the mind

rubbing sanity wrongly
against the grain

the only ones
to witness
"the libraries full of tears"

the only ones
who understood
*conditions apply !


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

GROWING UP

Imitating the
pseudo power of
grown-ups

dressing up
and sometime dressing down

making,unmaking
deciding and pretending
to be in control

all is so attractive
to her eyes

in a hurry to
grow-up she reads and writes
eats the veggies

and thus
makes uncomfortable
the child in me !

Monday, October 8, 2012

Women speak or just English -Vinglish

The story of this Sridevi comeback is a quilt work of my story and the story of every mom and wife in India or else where.Luckily for me language was never an issue,the important and the non-important all was said in English because of my English medium education ,but nevertheless the issue of VOICE is as much mine as of all women every where.

All spaces including marriages have a power center and a margin,this time its refreshing to see a Hindi movie address the margins in all homes so effectively.There is no revolution brewing in the movie or homes,but it is nice that finally there is a woman who can tell with a lot of confidence what she wants and what we all want- Not just love,respect.

must watch !!




Sunday, October 7, 2012

ROOM

going through
pages of poetry

written across
continents and centuries

poems of resistance
fear,conflict and love too

repeating the same story
looking from different windows
breaking down different walls

all converging in the same
one room of your own !

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

SINGING/READING

Diligently she shapes
alphabets
and sings a rhyme along

still untouched
by the corrosive complexity
of words and contexts

the rush is
to read all the
"mummy books"

and I struggle to sing
while I read !!

Monday, October 1, 2012

MODERNISM

shards from Picasso
fragments from Stein

modernism
all in vain.

Sunday, September 30, 2012

परिवर्तन

परिवर्तन तो है तय मगर
क्या जर्जरता से अभिशप्त  हैं

सारे सपने
कविता,कला और जीवन भी

जैसे बुड्ढी होती आँखों
के काले घेरों की परतों
को दिन की चमक
भी बेमानी है

क्या वैसे ही
घुल जाना ही
सर्वस्व का अर्थ
है परिवर्तन 

Friday, September 28, 2012

Redemption

exhumed from a carton
they lie scattered--
moments and experiences
some filed,dated,remembered

others just there-
as random afterthoughts

papers,books,poems
word-souls

waiting to be redeemed !

Thursday, September 27, 2012

moment

the moon on the
hammock of
the azure autumn sky

looking at
whatever looks back at it

no word,no poem
can define this moment !



Sunday, September 23, 2012

Daughter and Mother

Time flows by
on one bank
I am rooted in my mom

on the other
attempting to stand firm
for her- my daughter

two shores
ages apart

I am the bridge
that creaks and sways
but holds on
because she is the link.

Friday, September 21, 2012

CURRENCY

Sentiment or language
or a bit of both

meaning or ambiguity
or a tug of both

conclusion versus confusions
the line is often blurred

This is who I am
This is what I do

my currency is poetry
what is yours?

Thursday, September 20, 2012

READING POETRY

The jargon is out there
and so are the terms

reading,re-reading
close-reading
over-reading
reading words and rhymes
and in between the lines

the poem staggers,
a huge load
of critical analysis
on its back

the essence dissolved
in a thousand watery
imitations of
a divine sip of verse !!

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

back to school

Having experienced both the teacher and the student roles in the traditional classrooms for years and also brief stints with conventional distance education programs,very recently I hopped onto a new mode- MOCC(Massive Open Online Courses) at Coursera .

The apprehensions of relearning and unlearning were huge but so was the anticipation of going back to academics after so long.As most of my close friends would know me and technology don't function well in each other's company this was a real challenge.

For me being a learner is not difficult ,that is my mode most of the times even when as an adult and especially a parent to an equally curious pre-schooler I pretend to have all the answers.

There are no final answers always was one of the lessons poetry taught me long back,and there is more meaning in every meaning that we perceive is what I have always believed.

In a class of of thousands of people across nationalities,age-groups and even purposes of coming to a poetry class I kind of got back in touch with a very subtle part of me that had gone missing as an adult- the thrill of sharpening a new pencil and writing in a new notebook,the expectation of discovering something new with a teacher and peers.The adrenaline rush of deadlines,the hurried joy of being on schedule for a class.

I have always been a literature student and I believe that literature just doesn't stop where the poem or the text ends,that is where it begins for the reader.We can't learn poetry like arithmetic but poetry helps us to learn life,to see things from another point of view or to see different things from the same point of view.

Similarly I believe every new experience is not just that it might be just another piece in your puzzle,it might be overwhelming,taxing or plain confusing sometimes even disappointing but its worth taking just to know the difference.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Word Crutches

The chicken and egg riddle it is
I guess of the literary world

did word follow meaning
or meaning followed word

a thought without
the words to express
is it a valid thought

or a word without
a valid intention
is it really a word

this tough terrain of poetry
baffles my soul so much

there are no fixed directions
and words my only crutch !

Thursday, September 13, 2012

I COMMIT POETRY

It is like
an invisible worm
gnawing at the core

digging words,memories
making mountains from
mole hills of meanings

when the flood
becomes difficult
to contain
in the closed
chambers of the soul

I commit poetry !

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

To Emily*

They use big words
in the class
proto-modernists, transcendentalists

and call for a close reading
of her art
they tear her words apart
to get a fleeting glimpse
into her elusive charm

I speak only to her-
Emily I am there
only because
I understand your 'slant',

and am the nobody
just like you
- the one you looked for !


* Emily Dickinson the famous American Poet.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Resilience

the ant
carries the load
dutifully to the hole

from where I see
the grain
rolls the ant
helplessly
round and round
the same spot

ant tests life
life tests ant
we put labels -
resilience !

Thursday, September 6, 2012

रेसिपी

लेबल लगे डिब्बे-बोतलों  में 
काश भर सकते 
सपने  तमाम 
सारे अनुभव भरे जा  सकते 
इनमे ग्राम और लीटर  
के हिसाब 

सब पर लिखी जा सकती 
स्पष्ट , सटीक समापन तिथि 
और एक निपुण भंडारी जैसे 
सजा सकते सब 
अपनी जीवन-पाकशाला 

जब जो चाहा 
संघटक निकला 
तिथि जाँची ,मापा मसाला 
प्रयोग किया 
और यथावत निश्चित 
स्थान पे उसको 
वापिस संभाला 

जीवन प्रयोगशाला में 
हर व्यंजन की
कसौटी है 
शायद उसकी जटिलता .

Monday, September 3, 2012

A Gold Nugget from Melbourne


Once not very long ago a young girl in India had her first close brush with the mystical land far away in the southern hemisphere -Australia.She was a scholar required to write a thesis about Australian aboriginal women writers.
Surprisingly her fascination with this amazing country and its multicultural heritage didn't end there.Any link,book,article with the mention of Australia or its cities,people and culture would catch her attention and she would hope and imagine to travel there some day.

The very fact that this island nation was initially perceived as a very difficult place to live in,but had now some of the most sought after destinations in the world,increased its charm for her manifold.Sydney was the poster city of Australia and Canberra was its political center but what intrigued her artistic soul much more than these two was the cultural capital - Melbourne.

As an avid cricket fan she had often seen glimpses of Melbourne skyline and landscape during matches there.She couldn't help but dream being there one day to watch a Test match live; sitting right under the highest light towers in the world at the Melbourne cricket ground.

The Melbourne Commonwealth Games  in 2006 secured Melbourne's place on her list of places to visit before she died.Its diverse population,multilingual communities,and multicultural feel made its magnetism unbeaten.The interesting and heady mix of cultures in Melbourne's architecture,cuisine and landscape was so alluring.

Sadly the monotony of common life jaded some of these ambitons but they kept simmering and she never completely gave up on them.A summer Christmas was what she asked Santa Claus to give her soon !

Her job as a writer offered little time and almost no money to have dreams of listening to the loud chatter of seals in Phillip Island.Yet she would often conjure up images of herself beating the waves or watching the sunset from the sky deck at eureka towers, riding a bike along the Yarra river,or watching dawn unfold its wings from a hot air balloon ride across the city.

In the most live able city of the world and the city of literature,she was sure she would find a lot to explore and devour along with the wide variety of cuisines in its small discreet cafes and elite restaurants.

She would picture sitting among the highly charged up crowd at the Australian grand prix or the quiet and tense one at the finals of the Australian Open.In this veritable melting pot of world cultures she would fill her bags with artifacts and gifts for people back home,and her heart with memories for a lifetime.

Every morning she would wake up and believe '' it's your time to go to Melbourne NOW!" and hope that in her quest she may even find a gold nugget ! !

The girl here is almost me and the story may come true courtesy Tourism Victoria

Thursday, August 30, 2012

कबाड़

राशन की पर्चियों में
बेमतलब रसीदों में
दवा की आधी भरी
आधी  खाली  रंग-बिरंगी
शीशियों में
ज़िन्दगी उंडेल रखी है

पुरानी किताबों की
अजीब महक में
लम्हे क़ैद कर रखे हैं
पुरानी डाईरी के
पीले पन्नों में
सावन संजो के रखे हैं

चिट्ठियों के घुलते लफ़्ज़ों में
इश्क दफ़न कर रखा है
कैसे में यह तय  कर लूं
क्या कबाड़ है
और क्या अच्छा  है !

Monday, August 27, 2012

ABYSS

Falling into an endless abyss
I claw at the darkness
for some semblance
of gravity

no compos mentis logic
explains it
at the brink of hope
I think of you
holding my hand

and I let go !

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Ruskin Bond

The moment he smiles at you
there is no escaping the aura
his memory as ruddy
as his complexion

the wrinkles on his hands
each a testament
of his lifelong affair
with the hills and the slopes
every furrow in his cheeks
a timekeeper for the Himalayas

His eyes shine
and the calmness of his soul
reflected in the soft voice
in which he greets all visitors

he smiles into
his cup of coffee
and I sense he senses
a tale brewing

he the oracle
of childhood longings
heartbreaks and more

the old man of Landour !!


Monday, August 20, 2012

FROZEN

The frozen sea of memories
waiting for a summer of words
or a shower of salt tears

something,anything
that may melt its core
the labyrinthine layers of
meanings,understood
yet misconstrued
versions of personal truths

life doesn't offer
the convenience of a thesaurus
of neatly sorted
synonyms and antonyms
even references
smudged in our paraphrases of reality


I give up and
let this embryo of a poem
qualify itself to be verse !




Friday, August 17, 2012

संवाद

कोरा कागज़ भी एक कहानी है
उन बातों  की  जो
शब्दों की खोखले  जिस्मों
में समा  न सकें


वो जो सत्य तो है पर
फिर भी परिभाषा
की पहुँच से परे

वो जो मान्यताओं में
हो निषेद
असीमित अभिप्राय


सफ़ेद पर काले -नीले
निशानों के बीच
के  श्वेत निशब्द  संवाद  !





Tuesday, August 14, 2012

aazadi

आज़ादी अपनी बात कहने की
पर यूँ नहीं की दब जाये
विरोध करने  वाली
हर आवाज़  हमारे शोर में

आज़ादी बेटियों को
जन्म लेने की
आज़ादी  औरतों की
दलितों की ,गरीबों की
मजदूरों की ,उन सब की
जो टी.वी  पर भाषण
नहीं दे सकते

जो कानून नहीं
खरीद सकते
जो ट्विट्टर पर
घोषित नहीं कर सकते
अपनी हर उपलब्धि

मिले ऐसी आज़ादी न जब  तक
कैसा स्वतंत्रता दिवस ?






Thursday, August 9, 2012

KRISHNA

सांवरे  के  देस में
सांवलापन है सजा

प्रेम का वो देवता
पर प्रेम करना भी मना

धर्म ,जाती ,वर्ग
में ह्रदय अपना बाँट कर
कोई सुदामा कृष्ण से
कैसे करेगा मित्रता  !

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

Notes from the sabbatical

रुकी हुई है ज़िंदगी
जैसे काग़ज़ की नाव से
कोई अचानक उसके
भंवर छीन ले

सूखी रेत में
धंसते-धंसते
दूर तक किसी बादल
की उमीद भी ना मिले !

--------------------------------
प्यार इंद्रधनुष जैसा
क्षण भन्गुर,अल्पायु
और याद फफूंद जैसी
आत्मा को सालती,गलाती


बारिश बड़ी बेरहम !
-------------------------------
घिस घिस के लम्हों को
बार बार
आँसुओं से धोया
कुरेदा,खरोंचा
दिल के लहू में भिगोया

यह इश्क़ की सियाही
की छाप छूटती ही नहीं !

Friday, August 3, 2012

WORDS/THOUGHTS

There is always so much to say
about so much- love,life,lessons
there is always a word drought
to get it right,perfect

some words ill-fitted
like a borrowed shirt
others vague,confused
like a blindly followed trend

the shoulders of some words
droop on my thought
and others bursting at seams
a size too small
for a grand one

my thoughts are shopping today
for the perfect costume
of well-knit words !

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Monumental Love

Its dreams and hopes


rising brick by brick

reaching the last possible edge

like the pyramids at Giza

and its intense conflicts with

norms,logic and self

fierce like gladiators

in the grand colosseum

fighting for life



the secret pleasures

delicate and intricate as the

complex lanes of

glorious Babylon or Jerusalem



and its passionate longing

similar to the desperation

for one last gulp of life

in Auschwitz



every word turning into poetry

and every carving a verse

like the singing marbles

of the legendary Taj



know this is

the monumental love

across centuries !


This poem now part of a beautiful anthology Musings : A Mosaic



Friday, May 25, 2012

COLONIZATION


Trees are poems that earth writes for the sky; we fell them down and turn them into paper, that we may record our emptiness. –Kahlil Gibran

There it was
in the neighbour’s compound
leaning against my backyard wall

the curious tree
peeking into many homes
with its unruly branches
whose strange fruit
invited the parrots
the sparrows and the noisy crows
the chew-chew-chew squirrels
running up and down
its coarse roads

the chatter that filled
many uneasy silences
and kept the kids and pets amused
the thick leaves like gossiping ladies
whispered and murmured
a thousand secrets
and then at dusk huddled
their green heads together
to sway with the temple bells

the breeze it sent forth
never claiming its due
in making hot afternoons bearable
the breeze inspiring songs
in these lifeless urban homes

now there is a stump
of memories, breeze, green joys
and so many little nooks
which were homes

The tree was guilty
of being uncivilized
of giving without asking
so now they have
asked for its life!


Thursday, May 24, 2012

GRANNY (NAANI)

The stream running through
the apple orchard
the slate roof
through which
wafted her love
in the smoke
of mountain delicacies
she cooked for us

the cows grazing free
the stacks of dried grass
the no phone
no TV evenings
listening to her tales
of Sahabs and memsahabs
of the Raj

The tin roof has killed the smoke
and the recipe
they now have LPG
the stream channeled
to be a concrete drain
what was the pasture
is now the parking
grandchildren glued to
some electronic fantasy

no tales, no mystery
when my granny died
she took the
charm of the hills
from me !



A few LITTLE LESSONS FROM MY LITTLE ONE


As my little one completes almost her first year at a montessori school, I am sure there is plenty she has absorbed from the school environment ,from teachers and friends. I can imagine how fascinating the world of the written word may seem to her now and simultaneously how complicated the nuances of language and signs and symbols are every where.
I think she now understands:

  • there is school most of the days and then there is holiday !
  • books have words which have meaning
  • numbers are used to count 
  • pretty dresses don't make friends ,friendly gestures do
  • washing hands kills the germs
  • laptops are not people



Another student who has learned some valuable lesons in this journey is me and what I learnt from her during this is :


  • The vessel has to be empty if it wants to be filled and so UNLEARN TO LEARN.
  • Ants repeat,bees repeat, babies repeat,only grown ups get bored.PRACTICE MAKES US PERFECT.
  • SMALL JOYS.Big joys happen now and then small joys happen everyday cherish them.
  • The easiest thing is to give up,label be prejudiced.DON'T JUDGE.
  • FORGIVE AND MOVE ON.Things will break,moments will be lost,people will hurt or just look the other way.Don't carry the hurt.
  • LOVE,DON'T EXPECT.When you give a hug it might not be returned always,so what ,you give it anyway.
  • RESPECT IS ALSO A KIND OF LOVE. Often we can't give gifts or write poetry but by just listening we show that we love and care.


Wednesday, May 16, 2012

भाई-बहन


एक ही माँ ने
बुना था  एक ही ऊन से
हमारा बचपन

और एक ही संदूक में
उसने संभाली थी
 हमारी यादें

 पहले दोस्त
और पहले दुश्मन हम
एक दूसरे  से न जाने
कितनी बार निजात पाने
का होता होगा मन

लेकिन फिर जब कोई
ठोकर लगती
तो तुम ही याद आते
बचपन के खट्टे-मीठे
राज़ एक दूसरे को बताते


बचपन की निशान छोड़ने वाली
यादें  और चोटें
जब पीछे  छूटी
तब हम दोनों सीख गए
बिन आवाज़,बिन निशान
की चोट पहुचाना

कभी खुद को अच्छा साबित करने में
तुमको बुरा साबित कर जाना
और कभी प्यार के नाम पे
केवल ओपचारिकता निभाना

फिर कभी एक फन्दा तुमसे छूटा
या फिर धागा मैंने खींचा
बचपन की स्वेटर
उधड़ने लगी और
दीवार पर लगी
माँ की फोटो जैसे
सारे रिश्ते फीके हो गए
सारी यादें
धुन्द्ली पड़ने  लगी !

Sunday, May 13, 2012

मदर्स डे


साल दो साल में
एक -आध बार होता
किताबों के सारे बक्से  खुलते
चुनिन्दा साडीयाँ, चुनियाँ निकलती
एक-एक चीज़ को माँ  घंटो 
छूती रहती ,और पीछे बजता
एक पुराना गाना- मेरा दर्द तुम न समझ सके....

मैं झांकती दरवाज़े से तो
वो मुस्करा देती,पर नहीं छिपती
आँखों के कोनों की नमी

आज बरसों बाद
नहीं बिखरी मेरी किताबें
नहीं निकाले मैंने कोई चुनिन्दा कपड़े
छू के देखा ,आँखें भी नम नहीं मेरी

फिर भी मानो
मन ज़रा गीला सा लग रहा है
और जैसे कानों में वही गाना बज रहा है
मेरा दर्द तुम न समझ सके

आज शायद मदर्स डे है !



Friday, May 11, 2012

आज माँ की बात करती हूँ

चलो आज माँ की बात करती हूँ

ऊनी मोजों की नर्म बुनाई 
आज आत्मा पर पहन लेती हूँ
गर्म पकवानों की मीठी खुशबू
आज दिल में फिर भर  लेती हूँ
आज माँ की बात करती हूँ 

पापड़,अचार, चटनी और दफ्तर 
पति,बच्चा ,ससुराल और घर
इसी भागम-भाग में बीती
माँ की हर दोपहर की बात करती हूँ

मैं सीखूं वो भी जो
उसे सिखाया  न  गया 
मैं वहां तक उड़ पाऊँ
जहाँ उसके सपने से भी
जाया न गया
आज मैं माँ की 
उस उड़ान की बात करती हूँ 

मुझमे जो घोल दी 
कतरा-कतरा माँ ने
बूँद-बूँद अपनी उस  पहचान 
की बात करती हूँ

वो जो दुःख न मैंने कभी बांटे
वो जो शिकवे न उसने कभी किये
माँ-बेटी की ऐसी हजारों बातें 
अब मैं कुछ-कुछ समझती   हूँ
अब मैं माँ की बात करती हूँ

गुस्से में जो था उसने उगला
रूठने का मेरा झूठा बदला
आज उस विष-अमृत को
साथ - साथ  चखती हूँ 
मैं जो उम्मीदें  पूरी कर न  सकी 
मेरा भी कुछ खालीपन जो 
वो भर न सकी
आज वो  तोल-मोल करती हूँ 

मेरी बेटी और मुझमे
फिर से जीवंत हुए 
उसी रिश्ते को
आज नयी आँखों 
से चलो तकती हूँ
आज फिर माँ की बात करती हूँ 

ऊन नहीं है बस  माँ
मैं तो शब्दों के कम्बल बुनती हूँ
तुम्हारे जैसे लज़ीज़ तो नहीं
पर कुछ-कुछ व्यंजन रचती हूँ
मेरे तुम्हारे सपनों से भी आगे
उसके लिए आशा करती हूँ 

वो जो मैंने कहा नहीं तुमसे कभी
एक बार शायद एक ख़त में लिखा 
मेरी बेटी वही आई लव यू माँ 
हजारों बार दोहराती है

तुमसे कहा नहीं कभी यह भी
की जब-जब वो मुस्काती है
अपनी नन्ही को देखकर
माँ मैं तुमको याद करती हूँ

आज मैं माँ की बात करती हूँ  !




Sunday, May 6, 2012

DISADVANTAGES OF BEING AAMIR KHAN AND TALKING ABOUT GIRLS

Marshall McLuhan said -the medium is the message and when the medium is as larger than life as a Bollywood  star in India the message does create a huge roar of support and criticism alike.Yes there is no denying the fact that we live in a commercial capitalist setup where even sympathy is driven by the money it can eventually make.But isn't that true for every click we do on our cell phones and every packet of wafers we buy. We the people are now fodder for the number of likes on Facebook or the figures of shares on Youtube.
In television lingo we are the foot soldiers for the battle for the eyeballs and the so called TRPs which decide the fate of TV programs, the number of plastic surgeries by Mihir Virani"s and the generation leaps with no change in age or appearance,the oh so important breaking news about politicians with their pants down or the kilos of weight put on by a celebrity bahu..
We gulp it all ,and so when the much-hyped ,create-demand-manipulate-supply superstar promises a cry from his heart for his country backed by a huge TV network ,the largest mobile network and his own mammoth production house ,we anticipate a big show(down).
A few years ago DCP Ajay Singh Rathore played by Aamir in SARFAROSH says - yeh mere ghar ka mamla nahin hai ,yeh mere desh ka mamla hai.A few years later he is the art teacher taking up the cause of  a dyslexic child in TARE ZAMEEN PAR, and then as the genuine genius he makes us review our education system in 3 IDIOTS.What did we do? We, you and me thronged the theaters ,but now the issues have come knocking into our drawing rooms , a bit too close for comfort ,so are we afraid of miniature revolutions brewing in kitchens,or are we scared that the oppressed might also get a peek on Doordarshan  and begin asking uncomfortable questions.
Oh aren't we the evolved audiences of the dirty picture fame, you see we now are alright with open displays of emotion so if we can be open about sexual issues I do not see why we can't wash this piece of very dirty laundry in public too.It may not bring any change but it is stirring the stagnancy a little if not much.
OK lets assume the stories are exaggerated,the audience reactions are paid,the social zeal of a film star is a farce but contrary to what a lot of critics have argued THE ISSUE IS NOT A NON-ISSUE.The graphics are glossy but the figures are real ,the girls not allowed to be born are real and I can vouch for that.The unsolicited pity given to parents of only girls is a fact we can't deny.The partners in crime- wives and mothers who have chosen to remain quiet still outnumber the few who were brave enough to save their girls at the cost of their marriages and the so-called false honour.Can't we see that the mothers on the show who chose to save their girls paid a price as if it was a crime to stand up for their child who was not of the right gender,if I may say so.
I am very skeptical about armchair activism too,but if there is an initiative for awareness via advertising why not,don't we devote as much time if not more to advertising about fairness creams,soaps,lotions, colas and
double meaning film songs.
Aamir Khan is India's new OPRAH, yes he is because like her his show is about 'rapport talk ' but only for 90 minutes per week where again you and me have a remote we can use,what about the rest of the week- the dubbed dumb cartoon shows we feed our children,the overdressed repressed soaps now graduated to talking about extra-marital woes,childless couples,homosexuality in a cliched shh shh fashion,the unasked for soft pornography on music channels,why not say something about them too, or did I forget that it is fashionable to criticize a celebrity and look for my own 15 minutes of fame.Aren't we the culture who make celebrities so huge only to enjoy tearing them down later?
This boring show about a film star's political ambitions and a TV network's marketing ambitions as many say must die its own death if it is not worth it like the citizen activism that we were so gaga about a few months ago.
But I want to give it a chance a fair chance at least, and may this" social pornography" as critics call it rub shoulders with the wide variety of other pornographies on sale  and emerge only if it is worth it.
He might have messed it up big time,only time will tell, but are we not becoming a nation of status quoists?Or is being a celebrity and not talking about only award shows and IPL teams a crime too?
We question all new initiatives,and we must by all means, but in a country which spend mind boggling money on a silly T20 tournament every year and crores on movies and TV soaps that are soulless lets give this informed discussion a chance even though it is backed by the same dirty money.
Cynicism about the system has led us nowhere, lets give optimism a chance.don't SMS if you don't want to be part of the commercial aspect of this program but don't participate in whatever small way you may be in preventing girls from coming into this world.



Monday, April 30, 2012

Ek Aawaz Ki F I R

कौन सा युद्ध था यह लगता
या कौन सी दुनिया
बदल देने वाली क्रांति
जो ले आये तुम
अपने सारे अंनत ज्ञान
के तोपखाने को
उड़ेलने इतनी भड़ास
की दब जाये उसमे
दूसरी हर आवाज़

क्या इतनी कमज़ोर है
तुम्हारे अपने सत्य
पर तुम्हारी पकड़
या फिर विसम्मत आवाज़
के कम्पन से ही
हिलने lagta है
तुम्हारे तथ्यों  का साम्राज्य

की तुम चढ़े  आते हो
लेकर पूरे लाव-लश्कर
कुचलने उस आवाज़ को
जो नहीं करती
तुम्हारा जय घोष

तुम्हारे दंभ के किले से
देश-विदेश के चर्चे करते
नहीं दिखते तुम्हे
अपने आंगन के घाव
जिनसे रिसते लावे से
रोज़ लिखी जाती
मेरी किस्मत

झूठे  तमगे हों
या फिर तुम्हारे
कटाक्ष के बाण
सस्ती धातु के
बेमोल  टुकड़ों से
कब तराशा गया है
इतिहास का हीरा

मैं कवि हूँ
बस कविता लिखती हूँ
और तुम कितने भी
मारो ज्ञान के भंडार
से तिरस्कार में
लपेट-लपेटकर
तर्क-वितर्क के पत्थर

मैं यहीं  हूँ
और जानती हूँ
इन्ही जख्मों से आएगी
मेरी आवाज़ में खराश
और इन्ही छालों से
बारूद बढ़ जायेगा
मेरे लफ़्ज़ों का

जलती आग में
रोटियां सेकने वाले
कब जाने
सदियों की जलन
लगती है
चिंगारी  को
सुलग कर
अंगार बनने में !









Tuesday, April 10, 2012

SUMMER RAIN

Early morning
first summer shower
a million drops of love
crashing against
the parched heart
of the earth

and suddenly
the other woman-
west wind blows away
the brooding lover clouds

the day as long as
a lonely life
crawls ,its breath faltering


the longing earth
with sad evening eyes
stares into
the sunset !

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

NOBODY

The solo plant on my

window sill waits for me

every evening.


A curious pigeon sits

at the same spot

and observes my tea

and reading.


Long ago Emily*

said " I am a nobody , are you a nobody too?"

Now I know

what she meant.



* a reference to Emily Dickinson.
THIS POEM IS NOW PART OF RUPKATHA JOURNAL OF INTERDISCPLINARY STUDIES IN HUMANITIES,ISSUE 3,NUMBER4,2011.
CLICK ON THE LINK BELOW TO VIEW THE JOURNAL


http://rupkatha.com/V3/n4/25_Poetry_V3N4.pdf

Monday, April 2, 2012

SHIMLA

Like a cherry
on the colonial cake
the summer capital
of the empire
where the
sun never set

decades later
the fragrance of history
tudor,gothic and native
still as fresh
as its mountain air


The pearl necklace
of the Himalayas
gracing its proud neck
the serpentine paths
and the stalwart conifers
embroidering its
royal ensemble


The mighty Hanuman*
overlooking from
the Jakhu Peak**
while the numerous streams
singing melodies
for the queen of hills.


* the huge statue of the hindu god whose ancient temple adorns the peak.


**the highest peak in Shimla town.

Friday, March 30, 2012

अष्टमी

इसके पैदा होने की
खबर आते ही
पाप के खून से
रंगने पड़ते हैं
मजबूरन  अपने हाथ

और फिर भी
दुर्भाग्य से ये
आ ही जाए तो
कूड़ादान,ट्रेन या नाला
ढूँढने की परेशानी
भी उठाओ

नहीं छोड़ा तो
बोझ सालों-साल
बढता ही जाता है  इसका

फिर गलती से या तो
यह ले भागेगी
किसी के साथ तुम्हारी
सारी इज्ज़त
या फिर ले आएगी
कॉलेज,सड़क या नौकरी से
किसी की हवस की कालिख
सारे खानदान के मुंह
पर पोतने को

और अगर इस सब से पहले
कच्ची उम्र में
ब्याह करना हो इज्ज़त से
तो क़र्ज़ लो,
घर-खेत गिरवी रखो
और हर हाल में
झुकाओ अपनी पगड़ी

और बावजूद इसके
नहीं सह पाती यह
थोड़ी सी मार या अपमान
फिर जलाई जाएगी
या कर लेगी आत्महत्या
और पुलिस ,कोर्ट -कचहेरी
में घसीटे जायोगे तुम
बेमतलब ही तो

यह शेहरों की
परकटी औरतों की
बातों में
मत आ जाना
बेटा बेटी एक समान
कब हुआ है?

कल अष्टमी है
पूरे विधि-विधान से
कन्या-पूजन करना
कहीं तुम पर
आ ही न जाए
ये विपदा !




Tuesday, March 27, 2012

DEODARS


The tall royal deodars
perched near the peaks
looking down on their
humble counterparts
the pines huddled
together like commoners

while these majestic aristocrats
like devout yogis
seeking solitude and self
their proud straight spines
swaying just a little
at the humble request
by the cold wind
seeking passage

their sturdy roots
locked firmly on
the hill's contours beneath
like a passionate lover's
lips meeting the
beloved after long !

Friday, March 16, 2012

A PEBBLE DOWN THE STREAM

I have always believed in stories, the famous ones told over and over,the fairy tales of childhood,the romantic legends of youth and the tales of wisdom as you age.But these are only the stories that are told, I also believe in the untold incredible stories hiding in every nook and corner of mundane lives in small towns,rigid routines of remote villages and common people just like me.
Our stories might not consist of what legends are made up of,but they do have their heroic moments and deeds,their personal giant leaps of faith generously interspersed with their every day failures that tear the heart apart.
More than three years ago, in the sleepy lanes of Daryaganj in Delhi, among the bee-hive publishing houses and printing presses , I was doing my job of content editing mundane academic books and enjoying every day in the heavy intoxicating smell of fresh books being loaded and unloaded in the basement storehouse and the cheap but amazingly tasty culinary delights at lunch-break.I had traveled quite far from my small town roots in Shimla,from the highly guarded childhood and youth of a hilly town to the bad predator roads of Delhi,from the back benches of literature classes to the noises of strict deadlines in big offices,from the carefree single days to the responsible pedestal of a wife and soon-to-be mother.
I was happy most of the time,and by my own standards had done quite well for myself - personally and financially.I had a life of my choice and by divine grace all was going well.Yet on some occasions there was a strange nagging echo somewhere,as if I was carrying a vacuum inside waiting to be filled by some sudden stroke of destiny or coincidence.Most of times I managed to curb this uncomfortable itch in my soul and blame it on the surging hormones of pregnancy,failing to recognize that while my body was expecting my first biological offspring my mind had been pregnant too long with so many ideas and experiences that it needed a voice.
A couple of months after my baby girl was born,and as I was settling into the tough terrains of new parenthood,I gave birth to my second child -my blog- this blog.
And that is not where the story ends ,that is where it all begins.The story of how a blog became a friend and mentor as if I was not writing it but it was writing back to me as well.It is here that I delved into the hereby ignored crevices of my mind and soul,it is here that I traveled to my ancestral town of Rawalpindi (now in Pakistan) and to the many destinations of my dreams.It is here that I would stumble upon hence unacknowledged emotions for my parents and the surge of dreams for my young daughter.
It is here that my poetry found its words,its skeletal frame began to be filled in by the flesh and bone of shared experiences and thoughts,eventually leading to some of them being published and more importantly winning the time,attention and mental space of many friends and several esteemed fellow-poets.
My incredible story is still on,so I am sorry there is no end to this one at present,but this is MY INCREDIBLE STORY of metamorphosis ,of finding myself and connecting with the wonderful world, of a small pebble that accidentally falls into a rushing stream and years later downstream ,after all the polishing and rubbing has become a piece of art.
I hope that as this story progresses its plot thickens and gets interesting,the present characters grow and welcome new ones with open arms and this open-ended story keeps charting its unrestricted course.

Click here to know more about the contest this entry is a part of.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

उतरन

अक्सर उसकी साइकिल
हमारी स्कूल बस के
पीछे-पीछे दिखती
जैसे बस के पहिये में
उसे दिखता हो
भविष्य का कोई
रहस्मयी मानचित्र

उसकी लम्बी चोटियाँ
मुझे अच्छी लगती
और जब वो उँगलियों से
अपने कच्चे आँगन में
घंटों कढाई करती ,
मैं देखती उसे पहने हुए
मेरी पुरानी फ्राक


फिर जाने कब
उसका चेहरा गुम गया
मेरे बचपन के साथ
बस पुराने कपड़ों
की सलवटों में शायद
मिलती रही हमारी
कहानियाँ

कॉलेज की दहलीज़ से पहले ही
पार कर ली उसने
ब्याह की सीमा रेखा
"अमीर तो है पर बुड्ढा भी"
दो दिन अफवाह रही बस
फिर उसकी कहानी
बन गयी मानो
हमारे छोटे शहर की
लोककथा


आज मिले यहाँ
तो बस औपचारिकता ही थी
क्यूँ पूछा मैंने "तुम खुश हो?"


और उसने गिना दिए
अपने हीरे के हार,
बंगले और भी
न जाने क्या-क्या

जैसे एक -एक कर
वो मेरे मुंह पर मार रही हो
मेरी उतरन  के टुकड़े
और उतार रही हो
दो बचपनों का ऋण !!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

TIME TO CHANGE- Anyone looking for the missing girls of India?

*He is the only son of a wealthy family,he marries the daughter of a rich man and ten years after their marriage they still don't have any children,because they have terminated three pregnancies carrying girls.
*She is the fourth daughter of her middle-class parents,the last before they resigned to their sad son-less fate,they marry her to a man 20 years older and unfit ,because they have no dowry to give.
*In a swank city a girl returning from her job is raped,the police suggests all girls should be home before 8 p.m.
*Whatever the dispute,issue or rivalry- land,politics or just neighborhood fight,disrespect women of the other side and settle the scores.Incidentally most of the abuses only for the mothers sisters and daughters ,none for men really !

So much has changed for better in India in the past few years,hasn't it? Technology has made new leaps,education is spreading its wings into the remotest villages,better health care has ensured longer lifespans,the economy is thriving,awareness against social ills like corruption is on an all time high,citizen's movements and consumer awareness indicate that we are gradually changing into a more aware and advanced country in the true sense of the word.
Yet there is one dirty secret in our closet that doesn't change,that we choose to ignore - the missing girls of India- those who are not even allowed to be born or if born die at a young age due to neglect and malnutrition.
If there is only one thing that I could change about India,it would surely be  its GENDER RATIO.
Imagine a world where the blessings are not only "putravati bhav"(may you bear a son) but also at times"putrivati bhav"(may you bear a daughter),where the birth of a girl in the family doesn't spell gloom and sympathetic messages by family and friends,where they don't insult the very womanhood of a woman by suggesting her to hope and pray for a son next time.
Imagine if the girls in rural India are given equal opportunity to go to schools and not treated as only additional farm hands,where they are not married early and made to suffer the existence of a veil on their bodies and minds.
Imagine cities where our girls are safe and the crime against women on a decline, imagine our girls being given their due -equality not preference being the principle.Imagine our country minus the million individual tragedies of our girls,walking in full strength towards real change.
There are numerous causes for protection of animals,trees and even monuments and in our homes itself our girls suffer neglect,abuse,discrimination and sometimes even death,the accounted and unaccounted numbers now large enough to be termed a well-planned genocide.The last census in 2011is indicative of all us quietly letting the killings happen leading to the worst ever gender imbalance in India.
I am no demographer,and  so I don't know the scientific details of it all but I am very sure that one major leap that we will have to take if we really want to call the Indian society a civilized,advanced nation - our gender ratio needs to change.In almost all socially and economically empowered countries gender ratios are favorable to women, hence indicating it is not an unrealistic goal.
Common sense tells me that whatever is less in numbers or quantity becomes precious or rare and is valued highly ,unfortunately even common sense fails the girls of India.Their ever decreasing numbers have not made them any more precious only closer to being extinct, and if there are no more girls....how long do you suppose the human race would survive!
The contest page on Facebook

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Nonsense verse....

Computer जब से जीवन में आया
सबने virtual संसार बसाया
Internet के हो गए वासी
कोई भी हो अब बात ज़रा सी
status हम  update करेंगे
armchair से ideate करेंगे
online हम activist हो गए
मित्र तो अब एक list हो गए

चिट्ठी जब से e-mail हो गयी
प्यार की बातें खेल हो गयी
chat करो जब चाहो जिससे
अमर प्रेम के रह गए किस्से


सखियाँ पनघट पर
थी बतियाती
अब वे केवल
facebookयाती
और उसकी कोई साख नहीं है
जो कम से कम
न हो Twitterati !

Monday, March 12, 2012

BASHO HAIKUS IN HINDI - 2

Basho Matsuo(1644-1694) is the most well-known Japanese poet of the haiku tradition worldwide.Here is a hindi translation of a few of his famous haikus.Any accuracy would be wrong to claim as these stand twice removed from the original (Japanese-English-Hindi),the aim is to capture the essence and maintain the form in Hindi too, as far as it is possible without distorting the meaning/essence.


Husking rice,
a child squints up
to view the moon.
धान कूटते
बच्चा कनखियों से
चाँद को देखे !
------------------------
lotus pond
as they are plucked
Souls' Festival
कमल ताल
से वे तोड़े जाते हैं -
आत्मा का पर्व
---------------------------
moonless night...
a powerful wind embraces
the ancient cedars

चन्द्र-रहित रैन
सशक्त वायु बाहुपाश
प्राचीन देवदार
------------------------------
Whore and monk, we sleep
under one roof together,
moon in a field of clover
वेश्या ,साधू
एक छप्पर में सोए
दूब के खेत में चाँद !
--------------------------
taken in my hand
it will vanish in hot tears
autumn frost

हाथों में लिया
लुप्त होगा अश्रुओं में
हेमंत तुषार !
-------------------------

Friday, March 9, 2012

I CELEBRATE MYSELF ! ( click the title to see the details of the contest )

Write poetry
and be labeled
eccentric

Speak your mind
and be called
too free-spirited

Ask questions
and be
the defiant rebel

Wear a short-dress
or high heels
be scandalous

Decide to work
despite kids and family
be called selfish

Manage your own money
and be called lavish

I am the every woman
and now I don't live
only upto the
stereotypes

Curse or accuse
show no support
despite all odds
I celebrate myself !



http://www.womensweb.in/articles/celebrating-myself/?utm_source=ww_ad&utm_medium=ww_ad&utm_content=ww_ad&utm_campaign=bww_ad

PATRIARCHY


Across
ages and classes
masters, rulers
friends and slaves
relishing some
tangible pleasures,
good wine, smoke
and music
The ladies
royal and common
the marginals in margins
behind the walls
looking from
the outside in
and the inside out
never brought here
other than
for the
forbidden pleasures
holding the
invisible facade
of tradition
men celebrate patriarchy.

POOJA SHARMA RAO ©2012


This poem will feature in the online magazine EI.

Orange Flower Awards

@IAmSufiZen

COMPANIONS CALLED BOOKS

To Kill a Mockingbird
The Catcher in the Rye
Animal Farm
The Alchemist
One Hundred Years of Solitude
Romeo and Juliet
Frankenstein
The Odyssey
The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn
The Count of Monte Cristo
Eat, Pray, Love
Lolita
The Da Vinci Code
The Kite Runner
The Silence of the Lambs
The Diary of a Young Girl
Pride and Prejudice
Jane Eyre
The Notebook
Gone With the Wind
}

I WILL RING THE BELL.WILL YOU?

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario

The Human Bean Cafe, Ontario
my work on display there !!!!!