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Sunday, December 26, 2010

गीत नया गाता हूँ

बचपन से ही मेरी राजनीति मैं काफी रूचि रही है। ९० के दशक मैं भारतीय राजनीति मैं खासे उलटफेर हुए, परन्तु उनमे से सबसे रोचक क्षण तब आया जब अटलजी ने प्रधानमंत्री का पद संभाला। बचपन में मैंने एक दिन पुस्तकालय से एक किताब उठायी, अटलजी की जीवनी जो रोचक भी थी, और काफी कुछ सिखाती थी। मुझे उनकी कवितायेँ पढना भी काफी पसंद आया। उनके बारे में समाचार पत्र में पढना, दूरदर्शन पर उन्हें सुनना काफी अच्छा लगा करता था।

अब जब में उन दिनों को वापिस देखता हू, तो पाता हूँ की राजनीति से सारा रस ही छीन गया हैं। परिवारवाद और घोटालो से घिरी यह राजनीति में उन अच्छे वाद-विवादों, रस भरी कविताओं, अच्छे वक्ताओ, और इमानदार लोगो की खासी कमी है। ऐसा नहीं की उन दिनों स्त्थिथि कुछ बेहतर थी, परन्तु अटलजी जब तक इसका हिस्सा थे, तब तक एक उम्मीद थी, और भरोसा भी था। अटलजी का राजनीति से दूर होना, मेरे और मेरे कई मित्रो का इस विषय से रूचि खोने का भी कारण बना।

२५ दिसम्बर को अटलजी ने अपना ८६वा जनादीन मनाया। मैं उनकी लम्बी आयु की कामना करता हूँ, और उम्मीद करता हूँ की भविष्य मैं हमें उन जैसे कुछ निर्विवाद, भरोसेमंद और प्यारे नेता मिले। अभी मैंने उनकी किताब मेरी ५१ कवितायेँ पढ़ रहा हूँ, सोचा मेरी पसंदीदा कविता के साथ इस लेख का अंत करू,

टूटे हुए तारो से फूटे वासंती स्वर,
पत्थर की छाती से उग आया नव अन्जौर,
झरे सब पीले पट,
कोयल की कुहुक रात
प्राची में अरुणिमा की रेख देख पाता हूँ।
गीत नया गाता हूँ।

टूटे हुए सपने की सुने कौन सिसकी?
अंतर को चीर व्यथा पलकों पर ठिठकी।
हार नहीं मानूंगा,
रार नहीं ठानूंगा,
काल के कपाल पर लिखता-मिटाता हूँ।
गीत नया गाता हूँ।

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Remembering Her

As everyday I reached the school gates on a cold winter morning in Korba. The rush of students, tens of buses (the one which stood out was always the Coal India township buses, white covered with layers of Coal dust), kids with their hair well-oiled, the sight of green blazers all over (a few scholar ones-red and blue), and the pink lady-birds and the black MTBs which had become so popular on those days welcomed me. As always Dutta bhaiya was on top of his voice, screaming on the gates and always giving that awesome smile when I entered the gates. That day I had not entered, I was standing at the front-gate with few of my friends, a green FIAT halted near the gates. Her green fiat is something which I distinctly remember, just like her red-shawl (which wa snever to be missed during winters), her commanding voice, and her accent which was very unique and just stays on with us. She got off the car and said, "Deshpande, clean your blazer properly before you come", and she walked away.

I was a four year old when I appeared for an admissions interview to DPS Korba, I vaguely remember a young handsome Thapar Sir (very little imagery, but I think its mostly constructed from the conversations I had with her) accompanied by her. She was the in-charge of junior sections and the interview was held at the Pragati Nagar campus. I was asked about my favorite cartoon character and I had danced all over the place like HE-MAN, and the panel had a nice laugh. I was given chocolates and an entry to DPS Korba- 8810 it was.

I met her last in 2004, she had lost a lot of weight, well that was the only thing which had changed, she looked the same, her eyes were still as expressive as always. She had made coffee and as she was talking about her new home at SADA and the change from the Yamuna Vihar home she suddenly mentioned, "Nowadays you don't watch He-Man, they don't show it anymore I believe?".

She was like that, she would recall the tiniest bits which would have happened, and bring them back to conversations. It was strange that despite being for my entire life in school I never got a chance to be her student. But I was fortunate it happened during my last year in school, Class 12th, it was just a coincidence that it was her last year too at the school. And as expected she was awesome, it was fun attending her classes, her voice modulations as she went through the English Literature stuff was brilliant, I vaguely remember the details, but it was a great feeling.

And in that year came a forgettable day, where for the first time she became so angry at us (I don't remember what had happened), she made the entire section stand and then she went and started punching back, this was not like her, she had become very angry with the behavior of few students in my section. Then as she finished the first column of benches, she came to one student and then she stopped (I believe it was Shameek or Swapnil) and then she cried. She then apologized for her actions, but conveyed how bad she had felt about the entire thing. Our entire class was not able to face her directly for a few days to come after that.

She was strict, but she was much more loving than that. Her touch was extremely special, she knew everyone's family in and out. Once in a while she would catch hold of me and ask me about home, about how my sis is finding the place, and am I enjoying my studies. She kept a tab on my studies as well that of 1000s others. I remember in Junior school Shameek used to be her favorite (or at-least that is what we presumed) and everyone wanted to be good in front of her. But she was never biased, she loved every student and really cared for us through all those years.

Also few things which I have memories of are that of her speech during Annual Function (she used to present an update of Junior school), she leading the assembly in case B Singh sir was absent (or later our other Principals), her screaming out for Kalpana Didi and Dashrath Bhaiya (that was actually funny, both of them were always scared when they reached her), her annual trip to U.S. and stories from her trip during assembly (I remember her talking about Yellow Stone national park, and Disneyland).

The last I had a really long conversation with her was in Dec, 2001. I was along with my family on a trip to South India and met her on Raipur airport. She was on the same flight with us to Mumbai (from where she was supposed to catch an international flight to Qatar maybe) and I took a seat next to her. This was my first flight ever, the first time I ever sat in a plane and I was lucky enough to experience my first flight with her. She talked about her trips, the years passed by in Korba, about her family in U.S. and a lot of other things. Even that was winter and she was wrapped in a red shawl.

I sometimes feel that over the years I should have tried to connect back with her, I think I called her once in 2006, to tell her my engineering was done and I would be joining job at Bangalore. Be it the meetups with school friends, or teacher's day or sometimes just like that, I would remember her and think that I should contact her. But I didn't do it for a few years, something which I would always regret.

We would all remember her, always...

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Wedding Bells!!!

This weekend came with a strange feeling, its not that I haven't attended a few weddings offlate, but this one was different. I have spent a considerable part of my life with him, those childhood days, stupid teenage discussions, my weird spin bowling and his super quick pacers, and just staying next to each other for so many years. And then we moved to different places, but those letters (one of which almost got me into superbig shit at school), STD calls, mobile calls, mails, and then reuniting properly after so many years at Gurgaon last year.

I don't think I will ever think about stupid concepts which have been introduced to the friendship lingo off-late with him, like having personal space, having a connect or a disconnect, the need to meet each other every other week, or to discuss the same old crap, it just stays simple and nice as it always was.

And I was nervous, I don't know why, but from the time he climbed the ghodi I suddenly had this feeling of how much things have changed, he is getting married, we have grown up, things have started changing. And even during the wedding when I was with him, we just needed a couple of words to convey whatever is going on, I hope it stays so nice and uncomplicated with everyone around me. The period between the jaimala and phere was full of nostalgia, lot of thoughts, tonnes of pineapple juice and mega tonnes of awesome Indori food.

And by the time it ended, I had realized maybe its time to change gears, maybe not marriage, but something which as we discussed brings isthirtha to life.

I don't know, with so many people around me getting married, how much more will I think, maybe Feb'11 in Kerala would be another such affair, I am clueless about the changes happening around me, maybe its the age for change, maybe its just that one desires a break from the routine, or maybe its just the way wedding bells have been ringing all around which makes me think. I meet a few people around me and I feel there life is changing, the topics of discussion are changing, and they are changing for the good. They have moved a couple of steps ahead in life, I am as always on the same page.

Whatever it is, its a fascinating and a happy period for me and my loved ones, and I hope it stays forever happy.