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visarjan

झूठी लोक-लाज से डर के जिसने सीता को दुत्कारा था,
क्यों नहीं राम का चरित किसी अग्नि ने ललकारा था?

जब पांच नपुंसक बना रहे थे नारी का परिहास,
रचा जा रहा था भारत के घर-घर का इतिहास!

अब आस-पास सबको सबके चेहरे काले दिखते हैं,
पर झांके दर्पण में, हम खुद कैसे सारे दिखते हैं!

जहां युधिष्ठिर धर्मराज हो, अर्जुन को वीर कहा जाता हो!
रक्त-पिपासु धर्म-ग्रन्थ हों, मानव का लहू बहा जाता हो!

जहां राम को देव-पुरुष, उत्कर्ष बना रखा हो,
राम-राज्य को नीति का आदर्श बना रखा हो!

साहस का, धर्म का, नीति का फिर क्या पर्याय मिलेगा?
सीता! ऐसे समाज से तुझको कैसे न्याय मिलेगा?

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To Malala Yousafzai, to the girl from Delhi and to every other girl in our part of the world – We’ll murder you in the womb. If you survive that, we’ll stop you from going to school. If you manage to, we’ll track you down with a gun and shoot you in the head. If you still survive that, we’ll gang-up, 6 or more to 1 and rape you till your guts fall out – show you your place in our world! Will you still fight back?

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The sun begins to set over the Tungabhadra…

A fisherman hurries his boat, adjusts the wind against the sail –
before the night falls, he must return to his clan…

Meanwhile, the ruins begin to tell their melancholy tale –
of the passing of time and the passing of man…

The stones are silent, except, that they sing!
The stones are captives, except, they are free!

And nearby stands a Mango Tree
witness to promises and shared dreams…

Memories are made just as the lanterns glow-
etched in the lovers’ hearts, warm and slow!

The evening melts…

The river’s flow is now a mystic chant;
We meander our way through the banana plants,
watchful- lest a snake should somewhere lie!

Stars are the twinkling lights in the sky
And around us twinkle fireflies…

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It is an autumn afternoon, a Saturday, perhaps. Sitting by the balcony of the first floor apartment, one looks over the kids who have just come out and are trying to agree on a game they’d all like to play. It has just stopped raining. The scent of the moist earth evokes memories of the times bygone and one is suddenly teleported to a world where scenes from the past – distant and recent, real and imagined – come to life and serenade the senses.

It is the same poignant magic that Kazuo Ishiguro’s stories create as they meander through labyrinths of mementos. Mementos carved not out of extravagance or flamboyance but out of the monotony of everyday life. Not in Technicolor but in sepia! A cup of tea turned cold. A conversation oft’ imagined and rehearsed but never performed. Things left unsaid or undone because they seemed too out of place in the grind of the passing of days.

Almost nothing of significance ever happens in these tales. Nothing that can not be dismissed as ordinary. At least when put into perspective through the lenses of the ordinary man – a distant observer who considers it not his place to philosophize over the political, historical, ethical, or moral repercussions of what goes on in the world at large. There are no heroes in these stories and no villains. Just ordinary people going through their lives as ordinary people should. They don’t put up a fight – not in any obvious manner, at least. They don’t strive to change the world or even their own lives but carry on, accepting things the way they are. And there is nothing to suggest that this is not a good way to lead one’s life. The characters are not ashamed of who they are, not ashamed of their insignificance, happy to play their parts according to the script that has been handed out to them.

The stories celebrate melancholy. The passage of time. Twilight. Reflections. Experiences. Memories. Regrets. What ifs. Rued chances. Opportunities not taken. Potentials not reached. Promises not made, nor kept. Yet, lives well lived with simplicity, restraint and honesty! Like Mr. Stevens, when he remarks about the English landscape (in The remains of the day),

“I would say that it is the very lack of obvious drama or spectacle that sets the beauty of our land apart. What is pertinent is the calmness of that beauty, its sense of restraint. It is as though the land knows of its own beauty, of its own greatness, and feels no need to shout it.”

Or like Kathy, when she describes her fantasy (in Never let me go),

“as I stood there, looking at that strange rubbish, feeling the wind coming across those empty fields, that I started to imagine just a little fantasy thing, because this was Norfolk after all… and I half-closed my eyes and imagined this was the spot where everything I’d ever lost since my childhood had washed up, and I was now standing here in front of it… The fantasy never got beyond that –I didn’t let it– and though the tears rolled down my face, I wasn’t sobbing or out of control. I just waited a bit, then turned back to the car, to drive off to wherever it was I was supposed to be.”

These are worlds we can all easily imagine to live in. The world we all live in, the vignettes of a people we all are! Like Kathy and Tommy, we all look for our Norfolk – a place where everything we have ever lost in life is washed ashore and gathered for us to find! And like Kathy sums up,

“We all complete. Maybe none of us really understand what we’ve lived through, or feel we’ve had enough time.”

P.S.

Nocturnes – a collection of five stories of “music and nightfall” was my introduction to the worlds and stories of Kazuo Ishiguro. ‘The remains of the day’ and ‘Never let me go’ followed (both of which won the Booker prize and have also been made into movies with ‘The remains of the day’ being one of the finest adaptations I have ever seen). I’m currently reading ‘An artist of the floating world’ & ‘A pale view of hills’.

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शमा को रोशन करे, वो लौ नज़र आती नहीं
अटकी है सिहर के साँस यूँ – आती नहीं, जाती नहीं
सर्द है मौसम कहाँ आलाव तापे जिंदगी?

नम है लक्कड़ आस की, ख़्वाबों की लपटें बुझ रहीं!
पाला पड़ा है ज़ोर का, नियति से तेरा ज़ोर क्या?
पर जब तलक चिंगारियां धू-धू के सुलगती रहे,
राख बनके भी सनम, जलते रहो, जलते रहो!

रात का काला पहर, तम् और गहराने लगा;
जबकि था जिंदा अभी, कोई मातम मनाने लगा!
मोम के इन होंसलों से कैसे कटेगी रात ये?

सोच के, “होगा सवेरा कोख में ही पल रहा”
देखो सूरज, है क्षितिज पर, डूब के भी लड़ रहा!
बाकी है जब तक आत्मा में तेल की इक बूँद भी,
दीप बनके ख़ुद तिमिर में, बलते रहो, बलते रहो!

पथ पे रिश्ते टूटते और पथ पे ही जुड़ते रहे
थे चले जो हमसफ़र हो, हर मोड़ पर मुड़ते रहे!
हर दिशा से हर दिशा यहाँ हर दिशा में मिल रही!

छुट चुके उन साथियों की याद लेकर साथ में,
स्वप्न और संवेदना की मशाल लेकर हाथ में,
खत्म जब तक हो ना राहें, मक्का मिले न सामने,
रुकने की सोचो नहीं, चलते रहो, चलते रहो!

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कितने दफे मुझको लगा तेरे साथ उड़ते हुए,
आसमानी दुकानों से ढूँढ के पिघला दूँ मैं चाँद ये!

तुम्हारे इन कानों में पहना भी दूं बूँदें बना,
फिर ये मैं सोच लूँ, समझेगी तू, जो मैं ना कह सका!

पर डरता हूँ अभी, ना ये तू पूछे कहीं,
क्यों लाये हो ये? क्यों लाये हो ये यूँ ही!”

(Yun Hi – Tanu Weds Manu)

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How many times, in my flights of fantasy,
you by my side, have I wondered…

What if, in the baazaars beyond the horizon,
I found a shop selling tiny pieces of the moon
I could melt them and mould them for you –
Earrings fashioned out of molten moonlight!

Hoping that, as I helped you with them,
and the glow from those danglers adorned your face,
perhaps, you’d understand how I felt for you!

But then, I fear,
it wouldn’t really turn out this way, would it?

Perhaps, instead, you’d chuckle and innocently ask,
“Why did you get me these?”
“Why did you get them for no reason at all!”

And, ofcourse, I wouldn’t know how to answer!

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Would the world be a better place if we, for once, stopped emphasizing how we were different from ‘other people’ and instead, started celebrating our similarities? What if our opinions of others were not based on a single, cliched’, story we had heard about them? What if we realized how our ignorance slowly gives way to disrespect, suspicion, fear and hatred and made a conscious effort to give love and peace a chance? Adichie proposes a beautiful means – by hearing others’ stories and sharing our own!

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चेहरों पर मुस्कान के पीछे कुछ चेहरे हैं!

 

धुएँ में घुल रहे हैं कुछ नज़ारे,

लेकिन पहचान की रेखाएं, ये धुआं नहीं मिटा सकता!

श्रद्धा मेरी कम न होगी, ‘प्रेरणा’!

लोग जो इतना पास आये, वो नहीं भूलते!

 

मेरे मानस पर यादों के चिह्न बड़े गहरे हैं!

रुके नहीं वो लोग, पर उनके शब्द तो ठहरे हैं!

 

चेहरों पर मुस्कान के पीछे कुछ चेहरे हैं!

 

आगे जाने वाली मुझको राह दिखा कर,

विदा मांगते हैं मुझसे मेरे हमराही!

भूल नहीं जाना, मैं इतना कहता हूँ!

क्या मेरी विनती कानों तक पहुँचेगी?

 

चेहरों पर मुस्कान के पीछे कुछ चेहरे हैं!

 

आज नहीं रोको, ये आँसू अंधे-बहरे हैं!

अपशब्द कहो, फटकार लगाओ, कुछ न ये सुन पायेंगे!

नज़र नहीं आओगे तो भी तुम तक बहते आयेंगे! 

 

 

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