Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sketches of a Single Life

Why I am writing this in my blog I don’t know.

I really have no idea that any one would read it or not. Or even if you crushed the paper and throw it into the basket.But still I will write. Because writing has ceratin advantages. As here the person who is writing can dare to write the truth. In face to face conversations often it does not happen.Moreover while writing I can be totally my own too,not to think of anyone else,and I can face myself also while writing.It often is a challenge to write things which I don’t want to and I love to accept challenges.Moreover blog-writing sometimes depends on the mood the air around me offers.I sometimes can reject it,but now I feel like accepting it.Though here one disadvantage is I can not interact with whom I am writing but still when I am alone like now I can often find certain words which gets lost sometime.
I have found the words now.

And thus I feel I should try to hold different pictures of life.
As it Offers.
As It comes.
I should write..for no one may be..
But for me myself.
Travel is like my inherent hobby.

I travelled across the countries for official works..sometimes just for travel..and I come across ceratin sketches of life..

I remember that day when I spent the night in a park..I walked on for long..but I stopped..as in the busy Gariahat(a hub of Calcutta) road I saw a dirty boy wearing a torn shirt with no buttons licking an already drank bottle of Pepsi..with a beautiful smile in his face..for a moment it appeared to me that is the Face of God..one evening I saw a farmer walking through the streets of Sector V(IT Park) like a lost man..among the corporates he is almost looking like an unmatched paradox..a clown..but as he passed with grains of rice in heaps in his hands..I saw his eyes bearing an utter ignorance to all of us.. another day as I am returning from Delhi and the Rajdhani crossing the Ganges over Allahabad I saw from the window that a man..dipped in the Ganges praying with hands together..it was a moonlit night..the Ganges shining white in moon..the moving train..its designs of the moving windows and the yellow lights floating scattered over the white water..suddenly I shivered..as not only before me I saw an scene but it was life at its pure..there the vast nature in full flow..and there in the river a single man standing un moved as almost like a solitary soul in the holy river..I met a coolie in Shahjahanpur station who brought me a chilled cup of tea in a chilled night and as the train moved and I went to give him money..he said smiling.. ‘Nehi babu..ap mahman hai!’(You are a Guest Babu!)..from where this may be illiterate poverty-stricken old man got such philosophy..where from?I saw a lonely woman watching the train passed over a lonely station as it was all her life meant for..an utmost desire flashing in her eyes.. I saw a blind old lady everyday coming at Hazra more and sitting and waiting for his boy to come as from there he got lost..I saw a small boy climbing a tree just beside a plateau in Orissa..it is a very common scene..but the brown plateau with the green fields and the tree with red flowers and the half-naked boy climbing it in motion..the scene..startled me..in a early morning..when night still hanging and the dawn slowly blooming I saw a Baul walking with ektara in hand..over the Lalmati or red grains soil of Santiniketan..again a picture of a alone man making her way through the vastness of the earth..I saw the faces of the people of slums who overnight got shelterless..an uncertainty symbolizing their existence..but still they carried on with life..thus life surprised me ..shocked me..greeted me..and touched me in different colours and shades..all the pictures put together will represent its vastness and again if the pictures like fragments are kept scattered it would show the individualness and completeness of life still..life is a mystery and I love to get folded in that mystery..thus I also continued with my life..

And thus now I felt I should hold these in words..
These invaluable moments..
The sketches of a single life.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Lonely Smile

The evening sun has just touched the shades of pink.

Piesces of floating clouds sailing as a flight of pigeon dipped in white colour. A soft wind blowing with traces of warmth and also with a hint of cold. A chilled November night is approaching.

I swapped my jacket and zipped it.
I stopped.
In front, there lies four different roads, all sloping down the rocky path of the Amber fort. But all the roads appeared different to me. And slowly I realized the truth.

I have lost the road.
This is not the way by which I came to the fort. Though I came by walking along with others but now I must be in the wrong way.

I stood and thought for a moment.
A sharp wind swept me.
Temperatures dropping seriously.
I started walking the road that I am so long following.
I glanced at the watch.
No, the bus would not wait for me as already thirty minutes have passed than the scheduled time.
The road is sloping as like many roads to the fort. I calculated, the bus stop must be 4Kms from the fort gate.

So a long way to go.

But gradually I came to realize that this sloping road can end up anywhere else but not at the busstop, because what it looks, that I am gradually coming near to a village.
Straw thatched houses can be seen in the surroundings.
Though hardly any people around.
Must be all have gone for business near the market area and to the fort and would return at night once the tourist returns.

I thought about again turning back and go to the path through which I came but the idea seemed to be in vain because then also there is no assurance that I will be finding the right path.

Another chilled wind passed me.
November cold is really grasping.
At that moment I saw a group of local Rajasthani girls passing .They are wearing colourful Rajasthani dresses and holding some in their clothing bucket , it appeared that they sale these dresses with other utensils and jewelleries to the tourists.
I approached them at once and asked “ Bus stop ka rasta idhar hai keya?”(Where I can found the road to the bus stop?)
The group of girls stopped.
But no answer came.
I gain asked the same question.

Now a girl replied.
“Sab, ap galat raste pe aa gaye hai..Busstop us par hai..”
(The bus stop is on the other side)

I was about to turn back when that girl came forward and said, ‘Chaliye, main apko dikhata hoon!”

She took a totally different path and soon we again entered the fort from the back side.

A light blue shade of the crescent shaped moon slowly spreading through the evening as it is becoming ripe. Wind,with sharp teeth blowing at regular intervals.

We turned another lane of the fort.
Yes,now I can follow the map of the fort which I explored so long and which led me to miss the bus and lost the road.

There..just right is the Dewan –e-Aam..further left..the Ganesha Poll and straight from that within the royal palace chamber is the astounding Sheesh mahal.
The marble floors of the fort in this soft moonlight looking like a flowing river.

The girl went on.
I asked her, “How long will it take?”
“Aur dus-panra mins sab.”

She is walking fast. She is a young girl , hardly 20-22, her neglected strips of hair floating in wind over her forehead,her green skirt also sailing in wind and her yellowish rajasthani choli glittering sometimes in moonlight.

We passed the Sheelamata Temple.We again walked straight and then again left.
I can see over the sky the large walls of the fort over that in dark the towering shade of Aravalli range.I can also see the Maota lake far down and the whole Jaipur city below which looks like now in night as a strings of emeralds with a mesmerizing pink.

‘Beautiful’ I acclaimed almost in silence.

The girl went on.And then asked “Hamara sahar acha laga sab?”
“Khubsurat” I replied.
She went on walking.
She look like an open spirit of nature..simple..pure and in full flow.

Now we are sloping down, the narrow rocky road beside which the roadside stalls with various commodities can be seen.
We passed them.
Again we came to a bushy rocky path where the girl once stopped and said “ Sab zara samalke aaiye..aage rasta toota hai..”(Just careful the road is broken in front).
I stared at the girl. She looked really sincere as a guide.

Within five minutes I came to the bus stop. Though now almost 8.20 PM , no buses are available, though some arrangement can surely be done.

‘Bahaut Shukriya’ I turned to the girl and then took out my purse.
‘Nehi Babuji..mujhe kuch nehi chaihe..”She raised her hand in protest.
I looked at the girl. She may be right. Money can’t buy everything, now it appears almost like an insult.

“Shukrira” I once again uttered and then took out my mobile and clicked it for a snap.
‘Keya sab?’ The girl got amazed.

I said her in hindi that I want to remember the girl who has showed me the right way and then showed her the snap in my mobile.

At that moment, must be the moon reached her climax..
All clouds disappeared from sky..
The winds became tender..
The five hundred years old city of Amber became all quite for a moment..

I don’t know what exactly happened.
But I saw the girl before me..her eyelids trembling..so her lips..and her eyes holding an ocean of happiness and then for a moment she touched my palm and said, “Shukriya sab, shukriya!”

I got stunned for a moment.
Sometimes a moment can make you so special.
The girl was about to turn when I asked her once again her name.
The girl turned towards me and looked at my face.
And smiled again.
Just like the snap of the mobile.
And then said in a soft voice.. ‘Jhimli’!
And then turned back and went away.

I stood for a moment and then rented a jeep and came back to hotel.

The whole night I thought about the moment.
A snap,can appear such valuable to someone?
A snap can give such happiness to someone?

Next morning I came back to Amber fort again. I need to find the girl. Because I want to give her the print out of the snap.
A thing which she can only treasure.
This time I cautiously followed the road and came to the spot where I found the girl.

But the girl was not there.
The thatched houses were there.
I asked someone, even the security guards of the fort but no one can tell anything about her.
I waited till afternoon and then till evening.
But there was no trace.
Only when, I was about to comeback a shopkeeper asked me.. “Keya nam bataya apne?”

‘Ha, abhi pehchana lekin whoh to sab ek banjara thi, aaj hi nikal gayi aur koi jagah ke liye’(She is a nomads or a ‘Banjara’ and she today went out for some other place.)

A Banzara!
I thanked the shopkeeper and then came back to Jaipur.
I never found her again.
I met numerous girl after that,came across much beautiful faces but none of them ever appeared to me such innocent such beautiful like that one face captured in my mobile in a moonlit night beneath the foothills of the old Amber Fort.

Thus sometimes when I am alone and when I feel like loosing the road to life or in a verge of loosing mood I slowly open my mobile and that snap.
The snap of a most beautiful girl.
With a lonely smile.


Tuesday, January 6, 2009

A Letter from Santiniketan

The Original Santiniketan 100 years ago

A Shepherd with Cattles The Chatimtala

The Road to Asram

My Love,

Back to roots.
It is may be a long time again that I felt like writing a letter to you. I know questions can arose but I have also answers. Letter is truly a product of emotion and senses. And I can only write when I feel. Because my letter to you, my love is not just only a letter but also a kind of freedom to me. As well a kind of surrender. Thus now at this moment I think I can truly surrender myself. And the first line should be these three words.

Back to roots.
As nothing else I can think about my trip to Santiniketan. The place of Rabindranath Tagore. A place where nature offer herself in abundance, a place where monsoon halts itself as if in a debt of uncherished promises, a place which saw a transformation from a large tract of village plots to now almost a town, a place where Tagore gave his everything of himself in order to create an Ashram a place of solitude where people from all over the world can come and gain peace.
The Home of Peace.

But to me Santiniketan means a lot more. When ever I come here I found the place in different shades, different colours. People say the place has lost its glamour and became commercial in affect of globalisation but still I found the place an abode of nature, a shelter of peace. Santiniketan means….
….where the red soil invites you in its own local village tunes..where the crescent shaped moon sometime shines like the bends of Khowai..where vast blue sky kisses the green fields and the number of trees..where a wonderer almost like a monk plays flute in local train..where thin masses of fog spreaded itself slowly over the tip of the grains of rice..where straw-thatched huts in a silent night represent the theme of old Santiniketan..where sounds of unknown night birds fill up the air..where Santhal girls stroll in a group through the red mudded soil with heaps of straw in their heads..where each day sun light kisses its first ray on ‘Udayan’ and spreads through ‘Uttarayan’ , ‘Konark’, ‘Shyamali’ and ‘Udichi’(the houses where Tagore lived)..where Chatimtala still reflects the spirit of ‘Ashram’..where the landscapes of forgotten days still get portrayed in rejected wrecked thatched huts and through the path of ‘Bhubandanga’, ‘Paruldanga’, ‘Bolpur Dakbanglo’, ‘Sriniketan’ ..where the sculptures of Ramkinkar stands immortal..where the dark narrow road gets flashed in car light offering a flavour of a forest..where a shepherd carries his herds of cattles through a lonely unbuilt red grained path..where students of Viswabharati Universty in white sarrees ornaments in dance and songs the arrival of spring or ‘Vasantutsav’..where the rail lines like the last spot of the earth halts beside a desolate station called ‘ Prantik’..where still slender Kopai river flows in a melancholy tune..where the winter or ‘Poush’ is greeted through the festival of fair (Poushmela).where still music and lyrics..themes and tunes..songs and words are scattered in every grains of red soil..where in regular intervals a ‘Baul’ like a wondering monk sings..
“ Khnachar bhitar Achin Pakhi kemne ase jai
Dhorte parle mon beri ditem tahar paye..”

( “How can that imprisoned unknown bird can fly
If I can ever catch it I will surrender myself in sigh!”)

Indeed this is Santiniketan.
As Tagore has written:

“ But how great my surprise at the day’s end
I emptied my bag on the floor to find a least
little grain of gold among the poor heap.
I bitterly wept and wished that I had had
the heart to give thee my all!”

( One should have the heart to surrender all, thus the beggar who just gave a single grain of corn to the King (God) found at the end of the day the single corn has turned into a piece of gold!)

Thus I always try to open my heart and surrender completely to the world.
More so in this place of Rabindranath.
Where one should just follow his heart.
And his uncherished dreams.

“ Is there no joy in the deep of your heart?
At every footfall of yours,
will not the harp of the road break out
in sweet music of pain!”

Thus one should walk on.
May be through a lost road.
May be through an unknown road.

I too keep on walking.