Sunday, November 19, 2017

Saturday, October 28, 2017

170. Passing Phase

Not long ago,
I was full of leaves,
Then came flowers,
I looked so beautiful,
I was in envy of myself.

Birds flocked to me
To sit on my branches,
Some made nests in me;
Lured by nectar of flowers 
Bees came humming to me.

Now, all is gone -
Leaves, flowers, bees and birds,
No eyes to feast on my beauty now,
No traveller to sit in my shade.

I know, a day will come
When leaves will grow,
Flowers will bloom,
Birds will return,
Bees will hum,
When onlookers will marvel at my beauty,
Travellers will sit in my shade.

I stand alone,
Abandoned and ignored,
But not sad and bitter,
I know, my current misfortune 
Is just a passing phase.

Sunday, October 08, 2017

169. Threat from within

These days, I don't talk much,
I want to protect my tongue
From my teeth which seem ready
To pounce on her and bite her.

My tongue is one,
But my teeth are thirty two,
My tongue is soft,
But my teeth are cruel,
I must keep my tongue reigned in
Lest she may be harmed.

I tell my tongue to be wary
Not of others, but my own.

Sunday, September 24, 2017

186. Durga Pooja this year

Navratras have started and Durga Pooja is round the corner. The weather is gradually turning to the better as if to add its bit to festivities. It is neither too hot nor too cold. 

Navratras have their own unique cuisines. Kuttu ke aate ki roti, makhaane ki kheer and a lot more delicious dishes which are otherwise not to be seen during the rest of the year. Dandiya, Garba, Ramlila,devotional music - all form part of Navratra celebrations. The celebrations will culminate into the much-awaited Durga Pooja.

Newspapers are full of preparations for the big occasion. Idols of Goddess Durga and preparation of pandals are integral parts of Durga Pooja festivities. This is the time when artistic skills of Bengalis are on full display. What I find very interesting is their ability to relate the festival to contemporary social issues. Every year, they come up with new ideas.

In Kolkata, a long street alpona ( traditional Bengali art of colourful designs and paintings done on the floor) was unveiled on Mahalaya day. Over 400 people including 300 students from art colleges created this masterpiece. The one kilometre long alpona had vivid colours and beautiful designs. Since we have such decorative traditions ( e.g. Rangoli) in other parts of the country as well, it will be nice if this experiment can be replicated in other parts of the country. This will be a good link in the Swachh Bharat campaign and will be an added attraction for tourists from abroad.

Another interesting aspect of this year's Durga Pooja is uniqueness of themes of pandals. In Chittaranjan Park, mini-Bengal of Delhi, the theme of the pandal this year is confluence of the culture of Bengal and the north-east. The idols will be draped in attires from the North-East while the pandal itself will be of traditional Bengali pattern. Organizers of the Durga Pooja at Matri Mandir in Safdarjung Enclave have decided to focus on women empowerment in their pandal. They will showcase life-size cutouts of women icons like Everest climber Poorna and Boxer Mary Kom. This gels very well with Durga Pooja which symbolises the power and strength of women.

People seem to be waiting with a lot of eagerness and zeal for Durga Pooja. This year's festival promises to go much beyond the traditional. 

Sunday, August 27, 2017

185. Fondness for jail

This is quite interesting. In Akola, Maharashtra, a restaurant has been opened recently which looks like a jail.Those who serve food here wear the uniform of prisoners. There are jail-like grills in the restaurant.  Pictures of Hindi film villains and their dialogues adorn the walls. As per reports, the restaurant is doing brisk business.

Now that so many big people are going to jail, common people also seem to be tempted. They also want to know what is so soothing about jail that high and mighty are making a bee-line for it. What comfort is there inside which people fail to find outside? Is it so that moments of silence and peace are available only inside jails? Or is it so that the experience of eating good food behind the bars is thrilling. Unfortunately, most common people seem to be unaware of what they need to do to land in jail. They have to make do with jail restaurant.

I am not sure if so many people would visit the jail restaurant if there was no guarantee that they would be allowed to come out after meals. Jail can be a good experience for a short period. Beyond a point, there are temptations of jail-break. Luckily, restaurant-break is not as big a crime as jail-break.

I am quite impressed with Batook Maharaj who discovered the hidden desire among common people to be in jail and eat there. He has proved to be quite innovative. I am not sure, if this bright idea originated in India. I am sure, this is going to be emulated on a big scale. I only hope, the customers don't get carried away to the extent that they refuse to pay for food  they consume inside the jail restaurant. If this happens, the innovative business model may die an early death.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

168. Don't

Don't humiliate me so much
That I start developing thorns,
Pricking both worthy and unworthy,
Losing sense to separate
The right from the wrong...

Don't make my skin so thick
That I start rebounding what I get,
Hitting you, the culprit 
Or someone I love
Who is an easy prey.

Saturday, July 29, 2017

167. Flowers in wild

Flowers bloom on a wild plant,
Growing in a forlorn forest,
With no one to watch them,
No one to savour their fragrance.

Hardly are flowers bothered,
Hardly do they feel worthless,
Their aim is to spread beauty,
Their mission to impart fragrance,

They will keep blooming
And withering away in hope
That someone will come some day
Who must not return empty-handed.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

184. What is in a name?

Shakespeare was dismissive of the importance of names when he asked, "What is in a name? A rose by any other name would smell as sweet." If he had been alive now, he would have known better. Imagine someone trying to send Osama Bin Laden(and not a rose) to his girl friend on the Valentine's Day. With the same smell, the results would be totally different.

Recently, I read the story of a marine engineer from Jharkhand who was finding it difficult to get a job, because he was named Saddam Hussain. Despite worse academic records, his peers got plum jobs in multi-national companies while he was left high and dry. The former Iraqi President was hanged long back, but his ghost continues to survive. Immigration authorities at any international airport would go into a tizzy at the mention of Saddam Hussain. They will do their best to satisfy themselves that the Iraqi dictator did not enter the person lock,stock,barrel and name.

When Kareena Kapoor and Saif Ali Khan named their son Taimur, there was a lot of hue and cry in social media. Those who had never read history in their school life searched internet to find out who Taimur was and decided that it was dangerous for the society to name someone Taimur. They found mere mention of the name ' Taimur' threatening and had the spectre of yet another invasion of their motherland.

In the matter of names, Americans seem to be much more adventurous than Indians. As per a report, American parents are increasingly giving intimidating names to their newborn babies. Danger, Arrow, Pistol, Arson, Gunner, Cannon, Trigger, Blade, Dagger, Chaos, etc. are some shining examples. Their babies may be the most innocent in the world, but their names are enough to scare anyone away. Imagine someone saying," I will visit your house tomorrow with Dagger."

I think, time has come to bring out two separate collections - one of the names to avoid and the other of names which inspire awe. Let us hurry up with these collections and make our choice before the recipient grows up and is in a position to protest.