The Wait

The train has arrived and the long wait over
on the station you have been in attendance
as always, every day to meet your beloved
did she consent to meet you one more time?

Quarrelsome that you were, with a bad past
you had made amends, now that you had aged
you survey the passengers slowly getting down
in the darkened dusk, wonder where she was?

All these days, with a distant promise from her
with all bliss, you came everyday to receive her
she was  sure to visit you, or so you thought
will I live long to see her just one more time?

With a heavy mind carrying a bundle of thoughts
now that the train had left today with all hopes
you start walking out when someone pats you
as you turn, are you surprised to see her again?

 

shutterstock
Pic Courtesy: Shutterstock

The tea maker

Seated on a wooden frame
at a table with a marble top
you would order cups of tea
every day and spend it here.

Behind the scene, I would wait
for your every order of tea
and wonder what makes you
addicted as you were to me.

One day, I made a special one
for you and served it myself
the glance at me after a gulp
was enough to serve you for life…

stea
Pic courtesy: Shutterstock

Solitude

I was gazing at your portrait till sleep took me
slowly feathers sprouted as I soared like a raven
over the bright town you had once long dwelt
looking into each nook and corner and lane
to get a fleeting sight anywhere of, dear you.

I dived into close quarters hoping to hear you
your soft voice that still sounded as nectar
somewhere I hoped to see a glimpse of you till
I came crashing down from my bed to the floor
and smiling at me still, was your beautiful face…

 

Sounds of a City

The tinkering of the milk man whose tampering

with your milk has broken all fresh water records.

The artistic chime of the cart  of vegetables

that the vendor has painted in the morning.

The gas cylinders getting unloaded nearby

when you had ordered one, a fortnight ago.

The newspaper thrown at your door by the

boy who vanishes into thin air everyday.

The school bus horn, when your kid’s

lunch box is still made by the half-maid.

The laundry man who comes for your clothes

and wears them before returning it to you.

The fish monger who pedals his bicycle

with lots of fresh ice in his long dead fish.

The mango pickle vendor carrying jars

having a mix of everything except mangoes.

The mat seller who drapes himself in the rugs

that he claims are hand-picked from Kashmir.

The fire engine that arrives at your back door

to contain the fire that is raging in the front door.

The ambulance that comes with a blaring horn

just as you slip into a coma with a glaring wound…

Ushering in the New Year

Take care wherever you are, for there are others who need your care
for the days are going to be challenging nevertheless in the New Year
With competition waiting to put you aside while you lose your focus
Take each day as it comes, play and live by its merits
Do not count on your past to live the present, as each day is a present
Accumulate glory and wisdom as you add each day to your age
Live life to the fullest and let no virus ask you to retire.

Wishing you the very best in the New Year

Divine barter

Unni lived with his grandmother for as long as he could remember. His parents had left for their heavenly abode, that is what his grandmother said, to be with Krishna. They would remain his guests for as much as they liked. So it was left to Unni to help his grandmother with the daily chores and long walk to get items in barter from the weekly market. The market was a good 10 miles away and their house was the only one in the area they lived. Nestled within coconut palms and a lot of cashew, jackfruit and mango trees was Unni’s house with a palm leaf thatch roof.

He had to visit the market every fortnight for vegetables and other grocery items. Since they did not have any other means of income, he had to barter the coconuts, tapioca and the fruits for getting other items from the market. So every fortnight, be it a sunny or a rainy day, Unni would have a gunny bag over his shoulder full of such produce and tread his way to the market and by late evening he would carry a bag of rice and other stuff back that he received in barter. Some of the times due to inclement weather, he would stay put at the market and reach the next day only.

One day his grandmother told him now that he was a big boy, he should visit the Krishna temple every fortnight near the market and get Krishna’s blessings and sweet offering. He took the advice and geared up to go on the first day of the month.. On his first visit, he travelled a bit early so that he would be in time for the worship and get the prasadam. The footwear was not helping him much since the old pair was worn out. He reached the temple in time put his sandals outside, entered and prayed for a long time but by the time he went to receive the prasadam it had finished since there was a huge rush of devotees that day being the first day of the new month. Sadly he came out wondering what he would give his grandmother. How would she believe that he did visit the temple? To his dismay, he could not locate his sandals among the scattered footwear of the devotees. There was really a good assortment of footwear, some new, some old, some costly, some cheap but not his. He made a few more inspections and still he could not locate his footwear.

A boy sitting next to the temple gate was watching all this and when Unni once looked up to him, he said, “why, you should take one of the many here and get going. It happens sometimes, and that is the only solution that I have if you are asking me”, he said with a mischievous smile. “No no, that is not fair, how can I take one that does not belong to me?”, said Unni in all innocence and started walking to the market bare feet. He reached the market with his produce for barter and many others like him came to him for exchanging his items for theirs. After the initial hustle had subsided, one old man came to him and asked for a bunch of bananas. He looked very poor, almost on the verge of fainting. But he had nothing to offer but a small portion of prasadam from the temple wrapped in a banana leaf. “Would this suffice for that small bunch of bananas that you have?” It was at this point Unni noticed that the poor man was wearing the sandals he had lost at the temple gate.

He took the prasadam in barter for the bunch of bananas that he had among the other fruits in his bag. When the old man found Unni looking at his footwear a few times, the old man asked whether he had visited the temple to which Unni nodded in confirmation. I am wondering if they are yours since I lost my footwear in the temple today, said the old man. So I looked for the oldest worn out sandals that I could wear since my feet are full of corns, I came across this old pair and took it. It has many holes in it, but it was so good for my feet after wearing them. Since you are not wearing any footwear, maybe you can keep it if it is yours? Unni said no to the offer and kept his silence. The old man thanked him profusely and went his way wearing his footwear.

Unni had to sit till evening before he could barter away all his items and that is when he decided to stay at the market and go home the next day morning, as he could sense a thunderstorm brewing. The next day morning, carrying his sack he was thinking of walking back the long way home when he met another old woman at the market asking if he had some food. He gave her the remaining prasadam of the previous day, took her blessings and continued his walking. He saw some one was following him. There were two horse carriages handled by able bodied men. The carriages stopped and the rich man and his wife in one of them asked if Unni wanted to come along with them, but he refused the offer saying his house was just a mile away and continued walking. The carriage went ahead but he could always see them as they travelled very slowly in front of him. Again when he caught up with them, he told the same and continued walking. The horse carriages disappeared into the distance when he was minutes away from his home. He felt so famished in mind and body when he reached home as there was nothing to offer to his grandmother. He told her of his trip and how he lost his sandals and could not deliver the prasadam though he had got it from the poor man.

The grandmother embraced her child and said she got to know all about it. “You are such a lucky child that Krishna took note of you on your first visit to the temple”. There is a pot full of prasadam for us and a pair of special footwear for you, said his grandmother pointing to them. How could she have received it. Unni thought. Let me narrate my part of the story, she said.

“A rich man had had an ailment that was refusing to go away inspite of all the medications he took from many physicians. Then he consulted an astrologer who asked him to visit the Krishna temple and sit in prayer for 21 days. On the eighteenth day he should fast for the next three days by taking water only. On the twenty first day, he should dress like a poor man with worn out clothes, after prayer, take prasadam and wear the most worn out footwear from the temple and walk to the market and break his fast from the most poor looking trader by bartering the left over prasadam for a bunch of bananas. After eating the bananas, he should continue walking like a poor man wearing the same footwear back home to get respite from his ailment”.

She then led out Unni out of the house. There, at a distance the horse carriages were standing. The rich man standing next to his wife walked over to Unni and embraced him and said with tears in his eyes, “for years I have enjoyed being rich thinking that all the riches I have earned is through my hard work and never parted or helped anybody. Then I suffered from this ailment, and took good advice. I was taught a lesson and I have made amends. In you I saw a role model that I can follow for the rest of my life”. Unni could recognise the old women he had met early in the day at the market in the rich man’s wife and smiled at her. She came near and blessed Unni. “I wanted to meet such a divine boy that I heard from my husband, you have been instrumental in curing him and you are no less than a god to us. Since my husband came to me without the prasadam, I though of partaking the divine offering if you still were in possession of it today morning and like charity personified you gifted the portion that was intended for your grandmother. I then suggested my husband to visit your house after going to the temple to make up for your loss”. “As a gift, I got you this footwear for the one I took”, said the rich man. “Please accept this horse carriage also for transporting your goods. I have many others in my stable like these. I have learnt the fact that for every goodness you barter, multifold goodness would come to you”. Saying so, he and his wife saluted them once more and took leave.

Goddess

goddess

Goddess, whenever I  look to you
I know you have known me
all my trials and tribulations
you wore them as a garland
to keep my worries at bay.

My offerings are to please you
but so trivial as they really are
when compared to the lovely gifts
countless that has been bestowed
these years on me by your good self.

In all my walks and moments
haven’t you walked with me
watching my every step that I took
correcting as a loving mother should
you were at my every beck and call.

I am greatly thankful to you
for having kept me company
I only wish you would hold my hands
lead me to places where I go after this
As I tread my steps now weary with age…

 

Happy Navratri and let Her blessings be upon you.

Jagjit Singh.. A Salute

It was in 1990, a student of mine, Alpa Vasant, who handed a cassette of him titled Live at Royal Albert Hall, that introduced me to the saga of Ghazals. Even though I had heard Pankaj Udhas before him, Jagjit Singh’s voice and music stuck to me as an aroma of a musical fountain. It is true I had heard his music in films though never knew about him at that time.

After the introduction, I slowly had my collection of his audio cassettes which I still have and play on my JVC player. The best part, as all would agree, was his voice and music..never had a ghazal singer giving so much importance to background music. It never went high and always played to soothe your nerves that were stressed out at work and in the traffic back home.

In Films, with music director Kuldip Singh.. he was unbeatable and always had a following of his own, though he may not have rendered more than 50 songs during the eighties and the nineties.

Though we have lost Jagjit Singh 10 years back on 10th October, but thanks to technology, Jagjit Singhji’s immortal voice and delightful music is secure till the end of times..

Album – Mirage
Release Date – 1 February 1996
English translation courtesy of Reality views.in site of the Ghazal song Apni Marzi Se Kahan Apni Safar from the album Mirage by Jagjit Singh is in Red Color.
Lyrics –
Apni marzi se kaha apni Safar ke hum hai
Our journey our path is not planned as per our wish desires
Apni marzi se kaha apni Safar ke hum hai
Our journey our path is not planned as per our wish desires
Rukh hawao ka jidhar ka hai udhar ke hum hai
We travel go in whichever direction wind goes
Apni marzi se kaha apni Safar ke hum hai
Our journey our path is not planned as per our wish desires
Pehle har cheez thi apni magar ab lagta hai
In past it felt that everything was ours, mine but now it feels that
Pehle har cheez thi apni magar ab lagta hai
In past it felt that everything was ours, mine but now it feels that
Apne hi ghar mein Kisi dusre ghar ke hum hai
In our own home we feel that we does not belong to this home we are staying in the house of someone else
Apne hi ghar mein Kisi dusre ghar ke hum hai
In our own home we feel that we does not belong to this home we are staying in the house of someone else
Rukh hawao ka jidhar ka hai udhar ke hum hai
We travel go in whichever direction wind blows
We travel go in the direction in which majority travels
Apni marzi se kaha apni Safar ke hum hai
Our journey our path is not planned as per our wish desires
Waqt ke saath mitti ka Safar sadiyo se
Sand, time are together traveling with each other from centuries unknown times
Waqt ke saath mitti ka Safar sadiyo se
Sand, time are together traveling with each other from centuries unknown time
Waqt ke saath mitti ka Safar sadiyo se
Sand, time are together traveling with each other from centuries unknown times
Kisko maalum kaha ke hai kidhar ke hum hai
Who knows from where we come which place we belong
Kisko maalum kaha ke hai kidhar ke hum hai
Who knows from where we come which place we belong
Chalte rehte hai ke chalna hai musafir ka nasib
We keep walking, traveling, traveling is the travelers, wanderer’s fa
Sochte rehte hai kis raah guzar ke hum hai
We keep on thinking from which road or turn we came we belong
Sochte rehte hai kis raah guzar ke hum hai
We keep on thinking from which road or turn we came we belong
Rukh hawao ka jidhar ka hai udhar ke hum hai
We travel go in whichever direction wind blows
We travel go in the direction in which majority travels
Apni marzi se kaha apni Safar ke hum hai
Our journey our path is not planned as per our wish desires
Apni marzi se kaha apni Safar ke hum hai
Our journey our path is not planned as per our wish..