मैत्र

7 Jan

अडगळीच्या खोलीत कधीतरी खरडलेल्या ओळींचा कागद सापडला. आणि मग एक ओळ दुसऱ्या ओळीसाठी वाट मोकळी करू लागली..

आठवणींचा पसारा, जसा वळीव झिम्माड.

काही क्षण उंबऱ्याशी, काही डोंगर पल्याड.

*

कधी नकळत माझ्या, मैतराची पडे गाठ,

कधी ठेच लागली अन् कधी थोपटली पाठ.

अशा कितीक क्षणांच्या आठवणी त्या खटयाळ,

काही क्षण उंबऱ्याशी, काही डोंगर पल्याड.

*

कधी सुखाचा तो पूर, कधी दुखाची ही लाट,

कधी अंधारली रात, कधी उजळ पहाट.

साथ मैतराची आणावया किनारी अल्याड,

काही क्षण उंबऱ्याशी, काही डोंगर पल्याड.

*

अशा ऋणानुबंधांचा, जपावा तो ठेवा,

आपल्यासारखा आपल्याला ओळखणारा कुणी हवा.

दूर दूर असो तरी, घट्ट मैतराची गाठ,

काही क्षण उंबऱ्याशी, काही डोंगर पल्याड. 

**

The Thud

23 Apr

I sat by the fire alone,

Snug in my blanket of thoughts –

Incessant.

The wood turned Amber,

And then dark like the thoughts –

Unpleasant.

*

I looked out of the window,

At the snow-covered stillness –

Silent.

And a lone leaf clung on,

To the lonely tree in wilderness –

Resilient.

 *

I praised its resolve

To be connected, to stay –

Forever.

With every blow of the wind,

It grew stronger, unafraid –

Vigor.

 *

Then came the storm

Injuring the lonesome silence –

Blood.

A battle lost, a battle won,

The flinching fist left the leaf to fall –

Thud.

Revisiting Future

28 Jan

In his book Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury presents the possibility of a future where books will be deemed illegal and possession of books a culpable offense. Guy Montag, the protagonist is a ‘fireman’ whose job is to hunt houses that are hiding books and burn them. As I started reading the book, it seemed like an acrid comment on governance. But gradually the book unfolds a peculiar fear of the society about the perception of knowledge. In his world of the future, the society does not want to gain or retain knowledge, rather just wants it to be available whenever needed. Once the imperative fictional adorns of the story are shaved off, a very discrete and factual description of the problems and anxieties of such a world can be seen lucidly. In fact, one is bound to appreciate the realization of a lot of Bradbury’s dystopia in the current times.

Bradbury creates the gory image of a world driven by technology and deprived of contexts. A world where houses have touch screen walls, gesture recognizing robots and hearing seashells for the impaired. If you have already started thinking about these things being a reality in the present, this is just the tip of the iceberg. While we advertise technology to be a tool to connect with one another, Fahrenheit 451 mentions technology to be the cause of the disconnect. For instance, in an episode Guy and his wife Mildred are lying in the bed unable to speak with one another. They do not know what it is to communicate with each other in person. They are more comfortable and conversant through virtual means.

In my opinion, books are a metaphor for the disparate perspectives that exist in our world. They are endearing and empowering. Books make us think and make us believe. In a dialogue between Guy and his supervisor Beatty, the latter presents such compelling arguments justifying the act of burning books as they are the reason for all the misery in the world –

Colored people don’t like Little Black Sambo. Burn it. White people don’t feel good about Uncle Tom’s Cabin. Burn it.

If you don’t want a man unhappy politically, don’t give him two sides to a question to worry him; give him one. Better yet, give him none. Let him forget there is such a thing as war.”

Fahrenheit 451 also comes across as a critical remark on the civic responsibilities of the denizens of this world. When I introspect myself, I feel that I lean towards being apolitical. That deprives me of the right to complain about the state of politics. In a dictatorial polity, the kingdom enunciates the character of the king and in democracy; the king enunciates the character of the kingdom. It is not justifiable to blow the trumpet of my nonchalance towards politics. The merit of the political choices we have is certainly debatable. But, that does not give us the right to shun our political and social responsibilities.

In a very interesting way, Bradbury presents the predominantly opposing thoughts about modernization. Guy’s neighbor, Clarisse is a young and jovial girl who detests the technological invasion of human emotions. Her character is significant in that she makes Guy aware of his true sensibilities –

“You’re not like the others. I’ve seen a few; I know. When I talk, you look at me.”

Clarisse’s character shouts out the apprehensions that we see around us today. We cannot tolerate discrepancies. We are filled with facts and quantifiable insights. We are so engrossed in our own individual worlds that we hardly find the need to open a slit of the door for someone else.

Bradbury was certainly not a proponent of the digital age. However, he does not take a fundamentalist stand against technology. He looks at it from different angles through his characters and makes us ask the questions that he wants us to ask – incessantly – Will we be able to appreciate the fragrance of the first rain, the touch of the cool breeze, the beauty of the dew drops caressing the lush green grass, the magnanimity of the mountains, the incomprehensible vastness of the ocean, the careless chirping of the birds, the rainbow in the sky and the golden sunshine glorifying it?

श्रावणा रे…

6 Jan

Re Vasanta

श्रावणा रे तू तरी, मजला जरा बिलगून जा.

कोरड्या माझ्या किनाऱ्या, तू जरा भिजवून जा.

.

रिक्त ह्या माझ्या नद्या, ओशाळती तुझिया मुळे.

सागरा आलिंगण्यासी, प्राण त्यांचा तळमळे.

याचना त्यांच्या मनीची, तू जरा ऐकून जा.

श्रावणा रे तू तरी, मजला जरा बिलगून जा…

.

रुक्ष ह्या माझ्या दऱ्या, नवजीवना आसावती.

पक्षी ही आभाळ लांघून, उंच जाऊ पाहती.

पर्वतांच्या श्रुंखलांना, खूळ तू लावून जा.

श्रावणा रे तू तरी, मजला जरा बिलगून जा…

.

आसवांच्या गलबतांचे, नाट्य तू वर पाहशी.

स्वप्नवेड्या ह्या जीवाचे, मर्म ही तू जाणशी.

कोसळूनी तू तरी, स्वप्न ते विझवून जा.

श्रावणा रे तू तरी, मजला जरा बिलगून जा…

मेरी पेहचान….

31 Jul
I remember this journey. I was traveling to Mumbai in a bus and as I took my seat, I saw an old woman holding a little boy in her lap and a big suitcase in the other trying to get into the bus. I went ahead to help her get her luggage and escorted her to her seat. As she sat down, settled her son and breathed a heavy sigh, she thanked me and said (in Marathi) – “I guess I can’t do anything by myself!”
I could sense a weird concoction of helplessness and hopefulness in that statement. Probably she had desired something so badly that the failure made her crestfallen. Or probably she just had a million dreams which were never fulfilled. But what inspired me the most was her enthusiasm. As this famous quote by Winston Churchill goes –
“Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm”
I found the lines that I had then scribbled in my notepad a few days ago and decided to complete the poem. A tribute to the failures and the successes hidden behind them!
*
ना कभी मैंने धरी इस हाथ में तलवार हैं,
ना कभी इस दिल से उमड़ी शौर्य की ललकार हैं|
भयभीत सा मेरा मुकुट, असहायता ही शान हैं,
आम से भी आम ऐसी ही मेरी पेहचान हैं|
.
ना कभी किसी जंग में, संघर्ष का हिस्सा बना,
ना कभी किसी जीत के जयघोष से सीना तना|
ना ही मेरे आंसुओं में मोतियों सी जान हैं,
आम से भी आम ऐसी ही मेरी पेहचान हैं|
.
मैंने बस जीवन में मेरे रिक्त स्थानों को भरा,
और मेरी सोच को भी बंधनों ने हैं धरा|
मेरे मन में न कोई अंगार हैं, तूफान हैं,
आम से भी आम ऐसी ही मेरी पेहचान हैं|
.
बंद मुट्ठी खोल दूं, या बादलों के पर बुनूं?
या क्षितिज की अंतहीन लालिमा को लांघ दूं?
खोल दो पिंजरा भी लेकिन, पंख में न जान हैं,
आम से भी आम ऐसी ही मेरी पेहचान हैं|
**************
P.S: I apologize to those who do no understand Hindi. I will certainly try to come up with an English translation. If anyone wants to volunteer, please feel free!

Valley of Thoughts

11 May

It was just one of those solitary moments when I was immersed in the past – reminiscing and relishing. It often surprises me how the ‘self’ and the soul lay apart. It is this subversive conflict that palpates the drama which sometimes is fascinating and at others frustrating.

Nature at its bounty or when barren is capable of putting a mirror in front of us and make us look deeper into this conjecture of self-conflict. It is just impossible for poetry to not happen using nature and its elements as a metaphor. As I chanced upon this thought, a few lines came to my mind which I scribbled on a scrap paper near me. Here is the story which the valley in my thoughts told me…

Through the serpentine turns it lay,

With it’s arms open wide.

Is it yearning for ripples or rain?

Or just a mere tide?

The mountains surround with brawn,

Yet shorn of their pride,

Like the paradoxical challenges,

That keep the joy aside.

The clouds eclipse the Amber,

Turning it to the dark.

Igniting a fire somewhere within,

As elusive as reality stark.

And yet again the night recedes,

Breaking the spasm of dawn.

The twinkling dew drops witness,

The ruptured moments by gone.

***********************

Photograph Courtesy –  Abhishek Bhattacherjee (The Oasis, Austin, TX)

Movie Review – Where Do We Go Now?

25 Apr

Like everything else, movies too are big in Texas. The past weekend wrapped up the ten day long Dallas International Film Festival. Needless to say, yours truly with his partner in crime hopped on to every opportunity possible to catch some good films at the festival. I can confidently say that if movies were to be taken out of my life till now, I would have been quiet for more than half of my life!😛

Click here for the promo.

Where Do We Go Now? is a film which is as endearing as thought provoking. The Lebanese film directed by Nadine Labaki (Caramel fame) is based in a small village which is literally connected to the rest of the country through a narrow valley bridge. The village has Muslim and Christian inhabitants and due to the overall political unrest, maintaining harmony between the two communities is like a tight rope walk. The essence of the film is in the resolve with which the women of the village, who are tired of mourning over their dead sons, which is to not let the political tension impact the peace in their village. The icing on the cake is the humor which is seamlessly woven throughout the story. For instance, when the women anticipate disturbance among the men of the two communities, they get a group of Ukrainian girls to distract them while the women execute a rather interesting plan to balk the unrest.

The narrative has a lot of subtle highlights throughout the film. The village or the country is unnamed. I perceive it as an attempt to make a more generic statement about communal prejudices. The urge to maintain peace has been given prominence in the script over the emotional upsurge within the women of the village revolves around the anxiety of losing their men – sons and/or husbands to the atrocities of communal war. There are several instances in the film which enunciate this notion strongly. While the priest and Imam concoct stories to avoid communal conflicts on petty issues instead of being religious jingoist, the mother of a young lad who gets accidentally killed in the riot outside the village hides her sorrow under the pretext of her son not being well.

This gives a fresh perspective and falls out of the parenthesis of the hackneyed story of misery and death. The film gives us a glimpse of the rather unnoticed yet basic issues of women in Lebanon which have not been glorified in erstwhile attempts.

Music has been used as a character in the story in a brilliant manner. The story maintains a constant pace throughout and music plays a crucial role in doing so. For instance, the use of music to show the love story between Amale (Nadine Labaki), a Christian girl and Rabih, a Muslim lad is austerely beautiful. However, I must mention that the love story gets a little fuzzy and lost in the narrative. All said and done, I am certain that when you finish watching the movie, a couple of those numbers are going to resound in your mind over and over again. Kudos to Khaled Mouzanar for such a wonderful soundtrack!

The film is audacious with its script and the sparkling presentation. It does not strike the melancholy strain entirely, yet conveys the misery of a jaundiced society. The crucial difference lies in the fact that the script actually tries to evaluate the possibilities to resolve the issue rather than lamenting over the socio – political aspects of the issue at hand. It is a venturesome attempt and certainly a praiseworthy one. For all those who want to catch something pretty bohemian, go for it!

My rating:

Click here for the previous movie reviews on Through the Looking Glass..

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