Wednesday, December 08, 2010

What does a flower desire?

Came across this beautiful poem composed by Makhanlal Chaturvedi who was not only a poet but also a writer, essayist, playwright, journalist and was also part of India's national struggle for Independence.

He was awarded the first Sahitya Akademi Award in 1955 for his work, हिम तरंगिनी (Him Tarangini) though he is better known for छायावाद (Chaayavaad) and most Indians will recognise the poem that I have reproduced below. If you are around my age you would remember the poem being recited on Indian TV in the 80's.

पुष्प की अभिलाषा

चाह नहीं मैं सुरबाला के
गहनों में गूँथा जाऊँ

चाह नहीं, प्रेमी-माला में
बिंध प्यारी को ललचाऊँ

चाह नहीं, सम्राटों के शव
पर हे हरि, डाला जाऊँ

चाह नहीं, देवों के सिर पर
चढ़ूँ भाग्य पर इठलाऊँ

मुझे तोड़ लेना वनमाली
उस पथ पर देना तुम फेंक

मातृभूमि पर शीश चढ़ाने
जिस पर जावें वीर अनेक ।।

For readers in English, here is the translation.

The Yearning of a Flower

Desireth not to be on the young lass’
Tresses…living twice all over,

Desireth not to be in a garland
Binding, enticing young lovers,

Desireth not to rest on the mortals
Of Emperors – aren’t we equally God’s own?

Desireth not to be on the heads of Gods
To take pride in mere fortune,

Pick me out, O Gardener!
Strew me on the path that the Brave tread

To sacrifice for Motherland!
Let me, in obeisance, bow my head!

Does it bring back memories? From your childhood and about India's struggle for freedom? It does so for me.

Sunday, August 01, 2010

At the brink of change

As promised in the previous post, I am trying to chronicle my thoughts about my current state of affairs on this blog. Tonight, I am thinking back to the time when I wrote the previous post.

In the month that has passed by, I have tried to slowly and steadily tried to get ready for the change that I have been thinking about for almost a year. I am past the point of no return and it though I know that there is no turning back, but it makes me think about the impact these few months will make on me and on everyone who is linked to me.

I am aware that this will change things drastically. For better or worse? Don't ask me. I have absolutely no idea. I ask myself that question all day and night but no answers.

Don't you just hate it when your mind (which, in my experience, has always had answers) just decides to stop responding to your questions and instead hums to itself throwing you off to random directions which oftentimes have nothing to do with the problem at hand?

What's surprising is that my mind and myself are no strangers to such drastic changes. We have partnered through many such situations without so many deliberations. It effortlessly steered me through the doldrums that many an Indian students go through when they step out of school and are to decide what they want to study in college. It steered me through a drastic change that I suddenly made in my career about 6 years ago. About the last one, sometimes I am still not sure whether that was a good thing to do or not. It screwed up a lot of things, but some of the few things I gained have been worth so much more.

But then why am I in such a muddled state of mind this time around? Is it age (sic) that is causing me to lose the sharpness of my mind? Am I afraid of taking risks because of the presence of a better half? Or am I simply becoming indecisive?

I don't know what my destination is. I don't know which road to take. But I still have the support of my family, my better half and my friends (for which I am very thankful to them). I don't know what they see me as, a big fool to be laughed at or someone that they have faith on. I really have no clue.

Friday, July 02, 2010

Change is the only constant.

If there was one rule that I could say I have followed in my life, then that would be to embrace change, or rather seek and at times bring change in my life, forcibly if so required.

I have, throughout my short life, been changing different aspects of my life every few years. Most of the times it is out of sheer boredom and sometimes due to my sheer disgust of status quo.

I am putting my thoughts on screen today because once again I am standing over an abyss looking down into what seems to be a bottomless pit. I can see a few hills far off into the distance but as of now I can't figure out the way to reach them. I don't even know which hill I want to step on to next, or even if I want to step on to any of the hills that I are in my sight.

Faced with such a prospect, it is hard to not feel a sense of vertigo.

I will be making some drastic and unexpected changes in the next couple of weeks, preparations for which have already been started. Let's see what I finally decide to do...

I will keep you posted..

Friday, May 07, 2010

Explaining my absense (to no one and everyone in particular)

In the outset, I am gonna state that this is another of my rants. So if you’re one of those people who don’t like that sort of thing, then the red button to close this page is on the top right corner (or on the top left corner, depending on which OS you are using).

Anywhoo… If any of you care to look through the archives of this blog you will notice that I had stopped writing here years ago. When I started this blog, I used to enjoy writing. The Internet had been around for a few years and blogging etc., was very new. No one even knew of Web2.0 for Zark’s sake. All I knew was that I liked writing and that this was a good medium for me to actually write at a platform where there might be some readers. I taught myself the basics of managing the blog, took me a couple of days to think of the blog’s title, the description that you see under it was deliberated on only for a while though, the title was the hardest part. The choice of the colour to be used was very simple. I love black. HTML was gibberish to me (it still is) so I never messed around with the template; I still don’t intend to. The Picasa and Twitter widgets are pretty recent and oh, this image behind the title was put up on the 5th of May 2010. I was hell-bent on taking a photo of the rainbow during a trip to McLeodganj last year. I wonder if you can see the faint rainbow. Can you?

Then there came a time when my job started to require me to write on a daily basis. Yeah, I moved to a quasi-journalistic job (something that I still do) but the whole idea of being forced to ‘perform on demand’ killed all the fun out of writing and writing became a chore, an extremely boring one at that. I realized that I was ignoring my blog but then I rarely had time for it because of the long hours spent at work and the even longer hours spent commuting. As time passed I noticed that I couldn’t write for myself even if I tried to. In desperation, I started posting interesting news pieces partly to keep the blog active and partly with the hope that it will also get me to write some day soon.

But no! It was not meant to be and the blog was just a URL that I would post in my online profiles. I was afraid that it was being turned into one of those things that I started doing with a lot of gusto and left midway.

Days, months and a couple of years went by. Blogging really caught on but I kept ignoring it despite having made quite a few friends who had blogs of their own. I kept myself busy with the whole social networking thing. Then I also found out that all this stuff has been labeled Web2.0 et cetera, et cetera, all very dreary stuff.

By the end of 2009 I had become an acolyte of social networking and micro-blogging. I was on Facebook and Twitter throughout the day, tagging, sharing, re-tweeting and @ replying. Yes, I admit I am addicted to the whole thing. And yes, I am one of those people who check their e-mail, facebook and twitter accounts first thing in the day when they open their eyes. If you really know me, you will not be surprised at all. Just to put all this in the right perspective, I am one of those people who have more people recognizing him by his IRC handle than his real name. (Quite a few of those people are on my Facebook too; ha ha.) I know a lot of people who do the same thing, and many others who would do this if they could.

Then one day a very special person sashayed into my life and as she got to know me, gently nudged me towards writing for myself once again. A lot of people had been telling me to do so over the years but she somehow got through my tough skull and today, approximately 8 months after meeting her, not only am I once again starting to enjoy writing for myself and reviving my blog, but have also joined hands with her to start another blog on a topic that interests us both. We have been working on that blog and will be making it public very soon.

Thank you Princess, for inspiring me to write once again. You’re the one who saw this in me when I thought, for years, that I had lost the love and desire to write. Thank you so much.

And you, the readers, if you like what I write, thank her. If you hate my writing, you are welcome to hate me. Your hatred will only make me stronger ;)

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Relationship matters

Why do people get into relationships? Love? Sex? Money? Power? Insecurity? Loneliness? There are many answers to this question. Most of us are brought up to believe that you get into relationships or marriage for love. Every culture has icons who have put their lives on stake for love. Hollywood, Bollywood and so many other movie industries around the world fill their coffers by faring out these idyllic stories to us. The ideals cut across genres in the literary world. The same goes for music, no matter which genre you listen to, its really hard to avoid music that doesn't talk about love in one or the other form.

When all of our popular media is full of these stories fed to all of us from childhood, I'm left to wonder why so many of us decide to chart the path that is destined to bring unhappiness and breed distrust.

You might say that if both parties involved are adults then they are just exercising their right to choose. Point well taken, but we all know that age is not the indicator of maturity. If even one partner is immature about the whole arrangement, or worse, selfish (which, considering the case, goes hand in hand) then what would you say?

Then there is another class of individuals who are in a relationship with someone because they otherwise feel insecure. A recent encounter with such a couple got me thinking, does the other half of the couple not see what was so clear to me? Or has this person intentionally turned a blind eye to this because the relationship also fulfills a superficial need of theirs? In which case should I then not bother about any of this at all?