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.

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

MORALITY( SOME SNAPSHOTS)

In a small town college
she kissed him back
her first love
the next day
the whole college
had an MMS.....

In her village
she stole her
mom's jewellery
to send him- a low caste
to study in a city,
killed, soon she was
a headline.....

In her attempt
to prevent bloodshed
in the family
she never told her father
what uncle did to her,
now she lives
in a mental asylum.....

In a relationship
of mutual trust
she shared her fears,
secrets,with him-
her best friend in office
after a weekend
her character was up
for public assasination.....

In the big city
she opened to him
her heart,her purse
her soul and her flat
next year,he found
someone younger.

In their love marriage
the only issue was
hiding the scars
she would cover,lie
and then one day
the wound was fatal......

In a swank clinic
the doctor told them-
it's a girl,soon he
he found a
butcher-house in
the back lanes
to get rid of the curse.....


What gender is morality?
Male like the patriarchy
that imposes it,
or female ,
like the ones
who are to follow
and propagate it?

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

THE DEATH


At the last and final audit
the accountant death
would examine 
all your stocks

memories -sweet and sour
neatly stacked away
in separate shelves

marks of indelible
people,places
and interactions
on the dusty
register of the mind

the soul soiled
by eternal desire
the body 
ashamed of not
matching its demands

Nightmares often
dressed up as dreams
and as they peel
years of their face
the end of all dreams
imminent !

Thursday, March 1, 2012

औरत हो कर भी !

औरत हो कर भी
कविता लिखती हूँ
नहीं काफी बस
घर का हिसाब- किताब
या बच्चों का होमवर्क
मेरे शब्द बांचने को


सब्जी-वाले,रद्दी- वाले
पड़ोस की माताजी से
जब महंगाई की बातें
हो जाती हैं


तब अन्दर झांकती हूँ
और नोच लेती हूँ
शब्दों के नाखूनों से
आत्मा को चूसने वाली
विचारों की जोंको को

आँचल में ढके रहने वाले
मर्यादा के शरीर में बसी
आत्मा की परतें उधेड़  कर
सबके सामने रखने के लिए


माँ, बेटियों और बहुओं ने 
सदियों से जो
हिम्मत का बाँध बनाया है
खोलती हूँ उसके
बाढ़ वाले किवाड़ 


और बह जाती हूँ
रचना की लहरों में
औरत हो कर भी !











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 !!!!!