Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Commemorating today.

Impulsive writing can bring forth a lot of things. Here's some of it.

दुनिया से जब नाराज़ होने क बहाना ना रहा
आजकल खुद ही से गोया परेशान हूँ मैं

जिसके आँसूओं का सैलाब भी सूख गया हो
ऐसा ही एक खंडहर-ओ-वीरान हूँ मैं

खुद पर भी अब किस हद तक तरस करूँगा
अपने ही ग़मों की जीती जागती खान हूँ मैं

जिस शहर में चलती थी कसमें मेरे ईमान की
उसी शहर में आजकल बदनाम हूँ मैं

ज़िन्दगी से हारे हुए बहुत देखे होंगे तुमने
मौत से हारा हुआ पहला इंसान हूँ मैं

जिन कूचों से निकला था काफिला मेरे जश्न का
उन्हीं गलियों में अब अंजान हूँ मैं

मगर इस बात का गुमान आज भी है ...

मिटाने से भी जो नहीं छूटेगा तुम्हारे दामन से
ऐसा ही एक बेगैरत निशान हूँ मैं

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Kabhi Kabhi

This is the original version of the sher by Sahir Ludhiyanvi that inspired the beautiful rendition of one of the most heart rending verses I have heard lately.

(Note : A self-attempted glossary follows for words in blue)

Kabhi Kabhi

Kabhi Kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai
ke zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chhaon mein
guzarne pati to shadaab ho bhi sakti thi
ye tiragi jo mere zeest ka muqaddar hai
teri nazar ki shuaaon mein kho bhi sakti thi

ajab na tha ke main begaana-ilm hokar
tere jamaal ki raynaaiyon mein kho rehta
tera gadaz badan teri neem baaz aankhein
inheen haseen fizaaon mein main ho rehta

pukarteen mujhe jab talkhiyaan zamaane ki
tere labon se halaawat ke ghoont pee leta
hayaat cheekhti phirti barehna-sar aur main
ghaneri zulfon ke saaye mein chup ke jee leta

magar yeh ho na saka...

magar yeh ho na saka aur ab yeh aalam hai
ke tu nahin tera gham teri justajoo bhi nahin
guzar rahi hai kuch iss tarah zindagi jaise
ise kisi ke sahare ki aarzoo bhi nahin

zamaane bhar ke dukhon ko laga chuka hoon gale
guzar raha hoon kuch anjani rahguzaron se
muhib saaye meri simat bhar aate hain
hayat-o-maut ke pur-haul kharzaron se

na koi raah na manzil na roshni ka suragh
bhatak rahi hai khalon mein zindagi meri
inheen khalon mein rah jaaonga kabhi kho kar
main jaanta hoon meri humnafas magar yunhi

kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayal aata hai ...

Shadaab : Taaza
Tiragi : Andhera
Zeest : Zindagi
Shuaaon : Roshni
Begaana-ilm : Jaankar bhi Anjaana bhi
Jamaal : Husn
Raynaaiyon : Adaaon
Gadaz : Mulayam
Talkhiyaan : Kadwi baatein
Halaawat : Chaen
Hayaat : Zindagi
Barehna-Sar : ...
Justajoo : Longing
Rahguzaron : Raaste
Muhib Saaye : Bhayawah Parchhaiyaan
Hayaat-o-maut ke Pur-haul kharzaron se : Zindagi aur Maut ke dardnaak kaanton se
Khalon : Khaalipan
Humnafas : Dost

By the way ... Here's the much simpler Hindi Version

Kabhi kabhi mere dil main khayal aata hai
Ki zindagi teri zulfon ki narm chhaon main guzarne pati
Toh shaadaab ho bhi sakti thi.
Yeh ranj-o-gham ki siyahi jo dil pe chhayi hain
Teri nazar ki shuaon main kho bhi sakti thi.

Magar yeh ho na saka ...

Magar yeh ho na saka aur ab ye aalam hain
Ki tu nahin, tera gham teri justajoo bhi nahin.
Guzar rahi hai kuchh iss tarah zindagi jaise,
Isse kisi ke sahare ki aarzoo hi nahin.

Na koi raah, na manzil, na roshni ka suraag
Bhatak rahin hai andheron main zindagi meri.
Inhi andheron main reh jaoonga kabhi kho kar
Main janta hoon meri hum-nafas, magar yunhi

Kabhi kabhi mere dil main khayal aata hai.

And while I am at it, if you would listen to the song, here's the best stanza

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai
Ki jaise tu mujhe chaahegi umr-bhar yun hi
Uthegi meri taraf pyaar ki nazar yun hi
Main jaanta hoon ki tu gair hai, magar yun hi

Kabhi kabhi mere dil mein khayaal aata hai.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Random Thought No. 001 : Brutal honesty eh?

"Being too honest reflects a serious lack of tact"

[Reader warning : Rant coefficient almost unity. For most of the visitors, the quote above should be all that they take away from here. Still the whole story follows for the inquisitive ones.]

One need not be too honest, neither with others, nor with one's own self. This has been pointed out to me time and again by a lot of people around. I am told that being honest just for the sake of telling the truth as it is is really not the name of the game. Or rather than calling it a game, we have a very good word for it, it's called TACT.

One needs to have tact, to be able to put things across in the most slightest of manner, and in a way that they would be noticed and still not be taken offence of. That cannot be achieved by a single minded quest for the truth itself. No sirree, that's not the way to go about it at all! All it requires is a little thinking on your part and a little knowledge about the other party in the vocal or physical transaction.

For a person like me who is definitely *tactless*, let me try to analyse what this attribute really is. I'll start with some questions and build it up. Let's see where we go from here.

1. Is it about being dishonest? Not so. I wouldn't call a tactful person a dishonest one. But at the same time, would I call him/her guileless? No, I wouldn't (Yes. You might, so what, we can always disagree!) The way I see it is, its like using the truth as a tool to reach an end.

2. Is it about being smart? Very much so. If one is smart, one WILL be tactful. If one is not tactful, then one is dumb. At least that is what is on the face. I'm blunt, and I'm called an idiot on multiple occasions, and yes, I'm on first hand familiar terms with the word dumb! I don't know how to treat people well, and I hurt them for no reason at all, but for my philosophy of serving the pie as it is. And it is true to a large extent. One should have enough brains to know what to say when and to whom, even though it is the truth, but one should exercise some restraint sometimes. So, yes, it IS about being smart. Which I do not claim to be.

3. The technical alibi. I had noted back there, that tact is basically empoying truth as a tool to reach an end. Whether the end is good or bad, selfish or selfless, right or wrong for that matter ... all that is very subjective and depends on how one approaches the whole thing, but as long as you are on the right side of humanity (whether or not the right side of morality, which itself has its own unique definition to every individual), you're allowed to use the truth to reach that end. The means of using the truth to your advantage might not be morally correct, but then at the end of the day, you are not dishonest, you are not hurting anyone, so you come clean.

4. (Most interesting) Does one really need to be tactful? Well, I have survived 22 years (minus two) sans tact. I have had rough time, paid my share of dues for not having this "vital" component on today's sociehety and it is now that I am having second thoughts about this which is precisely the reason why I am writing the post.

<Diversion 1 : Why this post?>
So I am sitting in my room, and just randomly thinking when I think about how tactless I am and how blunt I am taken to be. For the past few months, I have been using what I later discovered is called 'mindwriting'. Umm, not exactly mindwriting, but the concept is similar. When I am brewing over with some philosophical dilemma, or just some question troubling me, I start writing, spew out everything I have in mind on the paper, or the keyboard. Most of the time, I start seeing some way out of the dilemma or the problem at hand. The trick is to write everything that comes to your mind and then read it. As one writes, as one's thoughts are formed, one starts analysing the good and the bad, the strong and the weak, and then the situation clears up by itself.

So the reason I am writing this random thought is to clear up my stand on my being tactful, or the lack of it. Let's see how it develops. I have no idea as I write this. True, once I am through, I shall edit it out and remove the really crappy things, hehe, but yes, I want to record this process of clearing up my mind as an overall exercise in mindwriting.

So coming back, does one need to be tactful?

Well, that depends.

That depends on what kind of a person you are. One thing that I can definitely say, if you are not tactful, you'll not be able to befriend everyone coz you'll be too blunt to make everyone happy, but the ones who do become your mates, will have very deep bonds with you. On the other hand, a tactful person would always have a couple of people around to share a joke with, have a laugh and move on in life. They are the happier lot. Or at least, they do seem to be.

Furthermore, if one is a puritan, then any form of manipulation of the truth is a falsehood, an illusion and an attempt to deceive. Whereas for a practical person, truth cannot be manipulated, but it definitely can be shown to someone in a manner he or she wants to see it. That's tact.

It's like advertising and marketing. You need to sell what they'll buy. If you don't have the goods they need, package them in a way that they are tempted to buy. If even the packaging doesn't lure them in, offer a discount!!! There's nothing wrong in that as long as they are buying it out of their own free will, isn't it? For the salesman, its just ringing in the cash registers that is important ... for the consumer, consuming is important. In this age when individual demands are much more important than societal development, this automatically becomes the thumb rule. Sell and buy. I've been told that this is how the human mind works. Everything's a transaction. Is it? Well maybe, but why isn't it so for me? Was I made differently? I can't believe it to be true. I think we are just closing a channel because its either too difficult to follow, too unrewarding in this present world, or maybe yes, too impractical!

But I believe in absolutes. The fact that there are no absolutes per se, doesn't hold here because I believe that every human being knows where to draw the line between moral and immoral, the right and the wrong, the truth and the lie. Everyone of us knows what is the truth and what is not. Sometimes though, we just grow up and teach ourselves new definitions. Maybe we brainwash ourselves away from it. But yes, ab initio, we all know. I don't sell, I don't buy. I don'r market. I don't advertise. I just cut the truth up in little little cubes and ration it out to anyone and everyone who cares to notice.

At the same time, one needs to be careful in distinguishing ideas and opinions from the facts. In being brutally honest about the facts, one cannot be very judgemental about one's own opinions, that would definitely be unjust. Opinions don't count. The facts do. Maybe later than sooner. They hurt, they pinch, they remain static for long after they have been put forth, but they are just that, the facts. Nobody can deny them. That is why an argument based on facts is solid as a fortress. So, being brutally honest has its own takes as well.

All said and done, its basically about your own comfort. The only person you have to be comfortable with after all, is your own self. One may be comfortable by stating the truth on an as-is-where-is basis and then leave it to the sensibilities of the other party. For someone else, their viewpoint of being comfortable might to see to it that everyone around them is happy and they have a role in it. That's a very genuine concern as well. Its basically a difference of ideology. While the first one is more like a traditional reformatory approach, the other one is like a modern indulgent soft approach. Both work. Both are acceptable. It depends on you. It also depends on whom you apply it to. As well as when.

Hmm, now for the results.

Honesty? Yes.
Brutal honesty? Umm, maybe not so brutal.
Tact? Not really my piece of cake.
Self regulation? Definitely.
Solution? Look inwards, introspect and improve. Once through, then look outwards and demand a better world. But first, one needs to prepare oneself to be able to be justified in making that demand.

On the opening quote, 'Being too honest reflects a serious lack of tact', I agree.
Couldn't care less though!

That's it for now.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Child's Play

"This should do it. Another couple of cupfuls of sand and this would be complete." He had marked the boundaries of his castle with shells he had come across his strolls on the beach. The castle itself had been made by his little hands, decorated with all the things he had loved. Everyday he had brought along one of his favourite things and given it a place in the castle. He himself imagined moving into his 'home' very soon. Not that he did not realise it was very small for him. But still, when he slept at night, he could see himself living in that home, with all his favourite things around him. All his toys, his books, his playthings. He was building a home for himself in the sand. Life would be so wonderful in that house. Such were his thoughts!

He lifted up his eyes and saw that the sun was setting, its golden rays bouncing off the silent waves of the ocean and tickling his vision. "Time to go home." His mom's voice rang in his head. He pulled out the big cardboard box which read in all the English he could scribble. "Varun's hause. Pleze do not distrub" and covered the castle with it. Inside his mother had made cookies. Munching the fresh and hot confectionery, he switched on the television and watched Popeye beat up Bluto. His father came back from office soon, and then he spent the evening chatting to him about the new factory that he was setting up. Not that he understood a lot, or at all, of what his father used to say, but he liked talking to him that way. After all, he was grown up. Very soon he will be 10 years into the world. He was definitely a grown up now.

The next evening, he lifted the box to resume the castle work. It was just a few days away from completion. Today, he was going to put in his most cherished toy in the castle. He opened his bag and pulled out his little red ferrari. He placed it at the entrance gate. To him, it never seemed illogical as to what a ferrari would be doing in front of a castle. But all the same, it was his house, and this was his car.

That day before leaving, he saw the skies turning red. It occurred to him to raise the fence. He had ample shells with him. It would have taken him only half an hour to scatter them all around the castle, safeguarding it from the waves. It could get stormy in some days, he had thought. Deciding to do the reinforcement the next day, he ran back to his mother, who was waiting for him with snacks.

That night, the storm hit the sea. Giant waves made their way to the house. He saw from his window how badly it was raining. The winds blew away the cardboard cover. The castle was all at the mercy of the wind and the water. He wanted to run out to the courtyard and protect his "home". His mother had forbidden him to do that, fearing he would catch a cold. He had shouted out to his father to cover the castle as he drove in after work, but he couldn't listen to the boy's voice above the thunderclaps.

He saw from the window as the "fence" crumbled. "I should have raised the fence," he thought. The castle's top was blown off the next. And then to his horror, a large wave approached the castle, menacingly as though it was determined to crush out all his dreams tonight. He ran downstairs, pleading to his mother to let him out in the courtyard. She didn't know why he was so desperate and crying. His father took him inside to the television and switched on the cartoons. They didn't interest him anymore. All he could think of right now, was the castle. A giant splash at their doorstep made him rush frantically to the window.

The castle was gone.

So were the books, the GI joes, his ferrari. Everything.

His mother called out to his father to take care of the porch. He heard him talking, "Its nothing, it'll soon be over. Don't worry. It was in the weather report today. Just a minor tropical disturbance, it'll be over by the morning."

He was sent to sleep. He couldn't sleep. He couldn't believe it was gone. He went to his mother. Climbed alongside her in the bed. She could see the tears going down his cheeks.
"What happened beta?"
"Mamma, the house is gone. MY house is gone."
"Don't worry beta, it was really very bad weather. It could not have survived."
"No mamma, I should have raised the fence"
"It was only a castle made of sand. Raising the fence would not have helped. It had that fate."
"No mamma, it was my house!" She just couldn't understand!
"Arrey beta, it was only a week that you have been building it. Tomorrow, we'll start again, OK? Now sleep."
Only a week? It was 7 days of his work. Full seven days! The mother could not understand the difference of the duration which she had perceived and what it meant to her little boy.
We'll build it again? But what will I put inside the new one? My GI Joes, my ferrari all went away with this one. What will we put in the new one, mamma?

He knew he could not make her understand all this. He sulked back into his room.

The next morning, he woke up and rushed out. The place was flat. No signs of the castle, or its inhabitants. No ferrari, none of the books, no toys. He suddenly felt a rage. At himself, for not raising the fence, at the weather for being so ugly, at his mother, for talking as if it was just another sand castle. He just felt very angry.

When you are 10, and very angry, you cry. He ran towards the ocean, screaming that he had taken away his house, tears running down his cheeks, his hands trembling with anger, his feet working up a sprint and then tiring themselves on the sand. He kept shouting and cursing the ocean. His mother looked at his father. "Child's play," they nodded to each other in affirmation.

The ocean just moved to and fro, smiling at the little kid.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Time cannot be turned back, and words cannot be taken back.
I am not what I was, and I hate what I am.

But I'll no longer hurt anyone. I'll just shut up till I get back to myself.

I'm sorry.