Lenia: Is the night not sufficient darkness
To cover the slight defect of my limbs?
And you who have lain with me often,
Is custom not fertile enough for your embrace?
I have not taunted you in your moments,
Nor shrewed you in the hours before the sun
When my body was hot with expectation,
And yours as impotent as a sterile man.
Tell me Marius why then tonight when
I have watched the crowd surge
Into itself, so that I am in heat
For the embraces of a lover,
You are cold. Have I suddenly lost
The beauty I am noted for?
Have I ceased to be Lenia,
More than the harlot of high places?

Marius: It’s not that, indeed it is not so.

Lenia: Do you find me suddenly coarse?
Am I not versed in the lore of the Hebrews?
Do I not worship the gods of Greece?
Do you find me coarse and unfaithful?
Could I not have had lovers,
Waiting for you?
Am I not a woman? And before you
Many have told me, men from Araby
And others, that the two scars on my thigh
Kindle them to a further desire,
So that they cannot resist my breasts
And must couple with me many times
Till they lie exhausted with the loss
Of their fluid: only I waited
With my wants not disposed of.

Marius: All this I know Lenia and i am weary-
Can you not understand that a man
Sometimes desires and sometimes not?

Lenia: Untrue, Marius, as untrue as your love-
Does it not even sateen your organ
To know that you alone in a single
Embrace completely involve me?

Marius: Listen Lenia, I shall explain –
Not for love of you for you are a harlot,
Even a witty harlot, but I must
Remove this heat of the sun
Of the City.Sometimes my thoughts
Take fire and as in verse
The lines turn forth. Listen then, Lenia
My beloved of the moment, and
Take your fingers away from my pouch,
For in the moment of relief I feel cool,
And your hand is irritating,
Not enkindling, and listen-

Three walls there were
And a road along them-
A weary road along them.
The walls and the vales
Were lined with women.
Below the cross was a man of thirty,
A wasted face of much beauty,
He was made indifferently well-
But nothing to me,
A lover of women.

Three hills there were
And a crowd between them
People spitting and cheering.
The hills and the vales
Were lined with women.
On the cross they nailed
This thief and sinner,
And I felt pity.
They had taken away his garments
He was made indifferently well-
Yet nothing to me
But an object of pity
And strangely, a little love-
But nothing to me,
For I, Lenia, am a lover of women.

Three nails there were
Two were bright and one was rusty
They went into his left palm
And his two feet and his right palm
A sweat was upon me
My skin pricked up
A lust as faint as the breeze
Of your stranger Samaria
Awoke me and left me.
Three nails there were
And the valleys below were mingled with
women.
I pitied this man,
Though my blood had beat faster,
For you know Lenia
That I am a lover of women, not men.

Thrice did I cry out,
And into my belly came
The gear of desire,
But I pitied the man;
Only that they hurt him inflamed me,
And I was a god, cruel and loving,
They raised him and he cried out
In thirst-
For pain and fear are thirsty things.
I wined a sponge of a god who is loving
And I galled it as a god who is cruel,
And gave it to him.
But he was not thirsty enough.
I grew angered, and my love
And his pain and the dark sky
Grew together, and I knew
I must enter this man
In sensuous pain.

Three hours passed-
In the vales below the women
Waited and watched him
And desired him
Till I too grew mad with their fire.
And I seized a spear
And entered his body- in my haste
Below his right side-
This cooled me
For I am a lover of women, not men.
He died crying strange things.
The women jeered him and the men
Cried out strangely,
And as he died, my mind
Grew clouded,
And i gambled with the soldiers
For his garments and won.
I seized them and in that barren
Place which you Jews call Golgotha,
Behind a rock I buried my face
In the lice-ridden cloth
In my madness I remembered
The beauty of women, their thighs
And waists and their hair,
Their breasts…

Lenia: Did you not think of me?

Marius: They were as nothing, as the
Dust, and I was no longer
A lover of women.
I went from that place
To the Jew whom we Romans call John,
And desired him and I have
Come here defiled.
From the body of John stroked my body
And the full lips of John
Stroked my body-
I am weary of delight.

Lenia: Look on me Marius, am I not desire?
My body is creamed and desireful.

Marius: The full lips of John
Stroked my body,
And the red nails of John
Did vile things and made
My body soft.

Lenia: Listen Marius, you are no poet.

Marius: I will not remember those things
The white disease of the body of John.

 

 

The winds come down from
The mountains and Marius slept again
In the arms of a woman.

Sultan Padamsee,  from Yaraana, Gay Writing from India edited by Hoshang Merchant

 

Advertisements

City Girl

I’m a city girl.

I dream of living somewhere I can cycle where ever I want to go with my skirt flying in the breeze and only green around me, I’d like to live alone, in the mountains or beside the sea and always feel like I am part of something infinite — this fantasy is enough to tell you that I’m a city girl through and through. I’ve grown up in a several cities, and now once again, I am in a new city.

The two cities closest to my heart — not always dearest, but closest by choice and by faith — I would like to think I know well, but I do not know them at all. I am always getting lost, even a few hundred metres from my house. Everything looks familiar and at the same time chaotic, but I am sure it will be okay, because I must be part of this living, breathing organism. I remember these draws of cells from school, and how every little ribosome and mitocondria looked like a creature by itself. I fancy myself a centrosome in a huge cell, which is a tiny cell in something bigger that I cannot know. 

I realise an adventure I have had with all my closest friends — deciding to get lost. I am usually lost anywhere within five minutes. Infinity hasn’t gone anywhere in the city, it is just even more incomprehensible, while my brief visits to the mountains and oceans is fuelled by being completely overwhelmed (and all the Coleridge and Wordsworth that echoes in my head). Sometimes, of course, it – the city – is finite, I do not think about how endless the universe is every night in the city. And then it is also boundless but all concentrated in one small dot, some mathematical twisting which I can barely understand — this sense of being completely unknown but always watched, lonely but never alone, this wonder at human progress and this despair at all of humanity.

sinfulwaters.jpg
From William Booth’s illustration “In Darkest England and the Way Out”

I don’t know why I write so much about the city — I say now “the city” instead of cities because that’s what it suddenly becomes — every city is the same and completely different. I write more about the city than about lovers, maybe because I believe the city is my greatest lover, someone I can never know completely. Someone who makes me feel like a stranger sometimes, and then like no one could know me better in the world.

I’m in a new city now, and I spend a large amount of time reminiscing about the old. Anything can trigger it — an ice cream shop, a ring tone, an old Hindi song.

(T brings me ice cream in the middle of the night because I have cried too much, over what, I do not even remember. I eat it a slobbering mess while T laughs. S and I talk over the phone half an hour after saying goodbye at college, and I wonder how we have still not exhausted topics. P would ride his bike while I sat on the back dizzy from a little alcohol and he continuously hummed under his breath.)

Friends reassure me that I will grow to love this city, and I don’t yet know about love but it is creeping up on me. I now feel reassured that I will not die in traffic because I understand how vehicles move. I get lost almost every other day on my way to college, but I usually reach hoping that all roads will lead to Rome. And I spy on my neighbours every morning and every evening as they spy back on me. But what is that mundane profundity that love always surprises? So I have stopped waiting around for the precise moment that I fall love.

34424869511_79132be751_o.jpg
The Maps of Matrakçı Nasuh, Ottoman Polymath

15 August, 2017

rain in a drawer

12.36 AM

The cat tried to enter the house again. I had left the door ajar as usual and she popped out of darkness with her usual noiselessness (I should fix the bulb outside. This will be the fourth one in six months). Her movement is so noisy, but without a trace of sound. The first few steps are brisk as she hauls half her body in through the opening as thin and fat as her. Then the sudden halt, complete stillness save for the belly heaving under brown-white fur. Her ears sense that I am looking at her. With a quick jerk she turns left to find me in my usual spot. I look into her alert green eyes and wonder if she can see the dormant sleep in mine. I also wonder whether the rest of her body is as still as the present half pretends. I think especially of the tail. The inside of my right palm trembles invisibly as the image of a soft tail escaping my loose grip flashes for a second. Meanwhile, we are still looking at each other, testing waters. At times, without looking away, she takes a step forward and I lunge at her with a mock threat. Immediately the supple feline body folds back into darkness like half a wave. Tonight though, we were too tired for these games. She retreated gently into the night.

I wonder if she will come back tonight. Her surrenders are never final.

 

1.32 AM

I cannot sleep. I must remember this. Even if we spend every living moment of our days and nights together, doing the same things, together, we will never fall asleep, together, at the exact same moment. Even if we see the same dream, we’ll always be at different points in the story. I miss you terribly. The night is a torment. It’s raining. I don’t have to water plants tomorrow.

 

2.04 AM

The rain has turned furious and is crashing passionately against the corrugated plastic roof of the veranda. I have two towels. When it starts raining, I save only one of them. The rain is so thick tonight, that the one hanging nakedly on the wire, will remain soaked for a long time. Perhaps it will take till afternoon for it to dry. That is if the sun comes out. I hope it does. Hot water showers depend on it.

 

2.23 AM

All that sound and fury lasted for twenty puny minutes. I am sure the annoyingly slow but insistent puttering of droplets will last longer. I thought I’ll go through the text I have to teach this Friday. ‘Since brass, nor stone, nor earth, nor boundless sea’ Shakespeare, Sonnet 65. The copy of the textbook they gave me, is in tatters.

(British Literature from Chaucer to the Present Day: Tomes and Tatters)

This copy once belonged to Amina Kauser. Her handwriting, like her name, carries a guileless elegance. Diligent notes fill the margins of practically every page. Around the dark black ink of printed words, Amina has practically re-written the whole text, with the softness of her pencil and plainness of her language.

In Sonnet 65, she has no patience for Shakespeare’s tentativeness  : “How with this rage shall beauty hold a plea”. Her version on the side is more conclusive – everything can be destroyed by time beauty is temporary.

She complicates the last line though : “That in black ink my love may still shine bright” (Amina’s note: poem immortalised my friendship to my love (poem)).

 

3.00 AM

Tried sleeping but couldn’t. I felt like going through Amina’s book again, this time to find the more interesting notes – doodles, obscenities, declarations of love, nonsense conversations. There were none. As if Amina always knew that her book will end up in a library. As if she was performing a task, a duty of sanitizing Goldsmith’s dirty mind and containing Donne’s unruliness in her polite annotations. Or perhaps these words and thoughts are not her own, only the handwriting is. I did chance upon a few spellings that Amina is likely to have made up on her own – orthodocs, shasiated, disulutionment. And a question that I cannot decide is a doubt or a rhetoric – “Why is speech primary and writing secondary?”

The last page of the book with no printed word on it, Amina has used to write down all the phonetic symbols in order. Next to each symbol, she has recreated the sound in Urdu script. I think of that old hindi film song where the creepers on the wall, look like Urdu letters and words. This book now looks like an old house full of creepers crawling on walls.

I’ll perhaps listen to that song, while I try to sleep. The cat didn’t come back.

 

12.25 PM

I slept through the morning. When I woke up, a few minutes back, the day was so sunny that for a moment I forgot about the rains. It was raining in my dream though. There was rain, grass, mud and you. Our bodies were glistening and shivering, feet glazed with damp mud, hair as thick as rivers. We were wrapped in each other like coiling leafy creepers, and our hands moved with the elegance of verses written in longhand.

I woke up utterly disoriented. My whole body felt dry as a desert, inside and outside. A strange stiff shoulder and a blocked nose. I should not sleep naked in this weather.

 

1.38 PM

I haven’t opened the door since morning and all the windows are shut; the sun is warming their translucent glass panes. I slept through the breakfast hour, and now I am too lazy to cook. I plan an elaborate lunch for every holiday, but on the day itself, cooking seems like the worst idea. I’ll order something. Water is over too. I hope Murugan is not too lazy to bring it today.

 

2.00 PM

I feel like writing a poem to Amina Kauser. The title – to Amina Kauser is running in my head. I searched for her name on Facebook. The first profile that popped up, carried the picture of an anime girl with pink hair and doe eyes. The profile was empty save for a few pictures, with a string of comments by several men.

One of the pictures said – ‘Life is full of fake people! Trust no one’.  Amina in her book had put a curly bracket around the last two lines of “To His Coy Mistress” and added a note – seize the day. Another picture, another advice – ‘No Love, No Tension’.

The most recent picture was a still from a Hindi film – closeup of a teary eyed actress. The text on the picture said – ‘Don’t come visiting me after I DIE.  I needed you when I was ALIVE’.

 

3.50 PM

Murugan brought water. When I opened the door to collect the canister, he was grinning at me like an idiot. It took me a few seconds to realise that he was grinning because he thought I was an idiot. I had left the garbage bag out last night and by now it lay it tatters, its contents strewn around gloriously on the cement floor. “Abhi poora saaf karna padega” Murugan said, still grinning with his overly white teeth.

Bloody cat!

 

Nari’s transistor radio

The only celebration for me was the leaf itself, I’m sure Paru would agree. Ummoos had used the long ladder to twist, coax, cajole the large leaves from the tree only that morning. It was the first thing I would see every birthday morning while I brushed my teeth under that very tree, a mixture of Colgate and saliva that made the tree grow too tall for Ummoos to pull down its branches.

I loved her passionately, my saviour and friend. Ummoos was brought from Tirur five years ago to look after Ammamma. Achan had insisted she get some help after her arthritis got so bad that she had a nasty fall from the mango tree. No, really. Ammamma always climbed the mango trees in summer, in full mundu and veshti, completely unabashed. She fought with Achan about it for months until Ummoos made the perfect sour mango curry and then her religion was forgiven. Now ammamma and I couldn’t imagine our ripe mango and plantain leaf plucking summers without Ummoos. When mangoes were at stake, ammamma always found a way to make peace with her gods.

The leaf was bright green in colour, dotted with white, yellow, red, black and a lighter green. I started moving around the rice to form the chutti first, thick and white lining the boundaries of the face. I let the green of the leaf pour in, before drawing the black of the eyebrows with Ummoos special ginger-tamarind chutney. The eyebrows rose in a perfect arc. I stared at the half formed veshakaran. “Stop playing with your food, kutti!” Ummoos never called me by my name, just kutti. I looked up at the roof leaking more songs. “ Should I go upstairs and call him amma?” Ummoos asked tentatively. No one spoke about Nari in the house except us kids and ours was more with the transistor radio than Nari himself. The thing had to die, and it was our yearly mission to provide it the best possible death. “ I’ll go, I’ll go. I’m done anyway, I’ll take the food to Nari and come back for my payasam.”Appukuttan regularly punctured holes into Nari’s long, song-filled afternoons.

I pleaded silently with amamma  to let Appukuttan leave. There was an evil gleam in his eye when he wished me a happy birthday in the morning, I knew the familiar “Nannaku vechitundu di” look. Appukuttan firmly believed that ammamma was partial to me because I was from ‘outside’ and he sought revenge for every extra teaspoon of Horlicks and special hot water baths. My birthdays were always occasion for an elaborate prank. Usually involving a good degree of public humiliation, terrible frights or just some physical pain when in an uncreative mood. But amamma asked him to sit back down and eat his payasam off the leaf, “ And don’t let me hear you call him Nari again, he is your uncle. Show some respect child! Have you taken bath today?” Ammamma always asked him that question when he got into trouble, one that inevitably landed him in more trouble. “ The water was cold.”

I quickly folded my leaf and slipped out before Appukuttan caught my eyes, baths were a sensitive topic with him. Ammamma took a bath once at 3:30 in the morning and once at 5:30 in the evening. She took bath silently and in complete darkness, as if in secret. I discovered ammamma’s secret one achingly embarrassing night two years ago. I could never get used to having a toilet outside the house and the dark dingy little hole into which unspeakable things went into was impossibly worse at night. On that particular night, the urge was tremendous and all dingy holes and darkness was to be suffered, if suffer I must. On my right there was Appukuttan, to my left Unni and above, Nari’s transistor radio bleating steadily into the night. In the darkness, the radio sounded like a wailing banshee stuck behind the walls. I paused for a few seconds in complete fright, willing the urge to go back the way it came. But it was one of those nights. I made a sudden dash from one door end to the other.  Now if there was no moon that night, the darkness would have been so complete that I wouldn’t have seen her. But in the narrow gleam of the moonlight, a frail shrivelled up figure with a bright halo covered in white had a stunning effect on me. Again, the effect was so stunning that I could have remained silent, but in between two creaks of Nari’s wretched radio the figure looked up straight at me. I managed a scream of the likes that overcame all singing and all sleeping in the house. My urge found a way out and by the time the entire house had found its way to the ghost, ammamma had slapped me twice and whisked me away to get cleaned up complaining about having to take another bath. By the end of that summer my ears had turned a permanent burning red.

Ummoos and I went to feed Paru our leaves, “ Look at her, she can both shit and eat at the same time. Who does she think will clean this up for the third time today!” From what seemed like right behind us, a ringing shriek and a thud sent Paru mooing into Ummoos’ midriff.

tHe SToryTEller and The IntRodUctioN

 

Like many people, my relationship with my father has been a complex one. Or atleast, for the sake of telling a story in a storylike way it is best to describe the relationship that way. One cannot deny its complexity, which I alone can verify in any case. The complexity of our relationship comes from both of us being objects of fascination to each other, often becoming caricatures of our roles as daughter and father. But not the good sort of caricatures of daughter and father but the poor sort, one always lacking in feature to be the good sort.
The good sort I believe comes to some use as reference in this particular tale of telling. The sort that has acquired the cringworthy comparison of Princess and Hero. Daughters as princesses and fathers as heroes of the daughters who are princesses. The reason I say this may be a useful point of reference is not to simply signify that my relationship with my father is far from any princess-hero rubbish, which it most certainly is- far from, that is. In an odd sense of term however this father of mine has played a particular kind of hero in many stories I have told. Mainly because it is the hero himself who has narrated many of the stories I simply repeat- and admittedly not relayed that they were all from another source. With this attribution, I must comment on how many times heroes narrate their own stories as heroes. One may say that this is a particular trait of heroism- to sing of one’s own valour, lest another may hesitate.
My father is a gifted storyteller. In that, I have secured my opening line to a story of my own telling which characterises him as the storyteller. This ploy has worked one too many times if I may say so myself. To what may face some derision if he were to be in the know, everytime I use this ploy it is to cast this father of mine as the unfortunate anti-hero to justify my politics. He becomes a villainous casteist, the ‘benevolent oppressor’, the misogynist, the patriarch, the manipulator and the easily manipulated. Now you see what I mean by not fitting into the princess caricature. At this point, my father who is a gifted storyteller would turn up his nose and tone filled with condescension point out to me that a story written in complicated sentences cannot be much of a story at all. Which mine are. His stories are long and end in other stories, but one may notice that his sentences are not long. They also have that particular feature of daddies who are heroes and are not, where the sentences trail when imbued with some emotion. To find completion would be horrendous and end in abrupt tellings of tales.
As the object of my stories, this father has played hero in all stories where I make a case against said heroism. I imagine that in all his long hours alone at home, he spins tales of me as the object of his stories as well. A princess who is anything but. He must in his long stories put me in various scenarios where I have not been a princess to illustrate how I must not be seen as one. In these tales I imagine, that as a gifted storyteller with an immense talent for description he will dress me in flowery pants and red lisptick. My red lipstick has become a source of some worry to him. The flowery pants were a mistake he made on my 10th birthday. In these tales he concocts while sitting on the dull grey sofa cover he chose, I must have long arguments about communism, economics and the best way to cut mangoes in the English he resents my command over.
The few times our eyes meet reluctantly over discussing steel plates at lunch, our individual tales of princesses and heroes collapse into the mindless mundane. My relationship with this father of mine is complex I imagine, because we are used to our distaste of each other in flowery pants and misogynist triumph.

*image from The Storyteller, Evan Turk

Sujata

An iron bucket screeches as it is dragged against the cement floor.

This was the sound of summer while Sujatha was alive… Or at least till she was packed away to the hospital, when for the first time a maid set foot inside her home. Until then, Sujatha was adamant to keep the chores of her home to herself.

I’m four, five, six or seven years old. The iron bucket wakes me up every summer morning… mornings soaked in the vacuous lull of the vacation… soaked like an old tattered cloth in Sujatha’s hands. Awake but unwilling to wake up, I listen to the cloth as it infiltrates the surface of the water in the bucket, drowns, and is suddenly pulled out by Sujatha’s noiseless hands – triggering the pitter-patter grumble of the dripping water.

Noiseless hands, noiseless feet and a ruined damp cloth mop the floor so unobtrusively that every morning I feel that Sujatha has slipped away suddenly. Hers was a noiseless presence. Small, firm, noiseless presence.

Bent over the red-oxide floor, she is painting it with successive damp strokes – each vanishing as soon as the other appears. “Sujatha?” I mutter, failing to see her bent figure, though aware of her presence – noiseless, invisible. “Hmm” she says silently. And I sink deeper into the thin blanket, prolonging the comfort of the bed and Sujatha’s presence revolving around it.

It’s not always that I would call her “Sujatha”, by her name.

“I don’t mind, but you can’t call me Sujatha in front of others. Amamma is fine’.

Amamma… Amma’s amma.  For me, just Sujatha. Who lived and passed away in graceful noiselessness.

An iron bucket screeches.

बैनेड्रिल और नेरुदा की याद

बैनेड्रिल का हैंगओवर कहाँ किसी शराब के हैंगओवर से कम होता है. आधी नींद में आँख खुली तो फेसबुक अपना वही निष्ठुर कार्यक्रम शुरू किये हुए था. मेमोरी वाला. स्मृतियों से ज़्यादा कठिन क्या होता है? फेसबुक मेमोरी पर क्लिक किया तो बहुत सारी अनचाही स्मृतियों के साथ नेरुदा आ टपके. आज उनका जन्मदिन है. वही नेरुदा जिसे मार्केज़ ने बीसवीं सदी का सबसे महान कवि मुक़र्रर किया था. वही नेरुदा जिसने सत्रह साल की उम्र में चेक कवि और पत्रकार जान नेरुदा के पागलपन में अपना नाम नेरुदा रख लिया था. अपने तेरहवें साल में वह खुद को नेफ्ताली रेयेस कहता था. इसी नाम से उसने अपनी पहली कविताएं लिखीं लेकिन जवान होने तक वह पाब्लो नेरुदा के नाम से पहचाना जाने लगा. हालाँकि उसका असली नाम रिकार्डो बासोअल्तो किसी को याद नहीं रहा. न ही उसे याद रखने की किसी को ज़हमत उठानी पड़ी. खुद नेरुदा को भी नहीं. अगर नेरुदा ने अपना नाम नहीं बदला होता? या नेरुदा पैदा ही नहीं हुआ होता? या लातिनी अमरीका का कोई आतंरिक युद्ध उसे लील गया होता ? तो क्या यह पृथ्वी ऐसी ही होती जैसी है? उसके मरने के चव्वालीस साल बाद भी हम मोटे से हरदम पाइप सुलगाने वाले आदमी को क्यों याद कर रहे हैं?

मुझे कभी नहीं मालूम था कि पाब्लो नेरुदा कौन है. जयपुर के केंद्रीय विद्यालय – 3 में थर्ड पीरियड मिस मीनू बांदीवाल का होता था. मैं दो बार ग्यारहवीं करके आया था और चाहता था बारहवीं जल्दी निबट जाए तो स्कूल से छुटकारा मिले. मीनू बांदीवाल क्लास में आईं और ‘कीपिंग क्वाइट’ कविता मुझे पढ़ने को कहा गया. मैं कीपिंग क्वाइट पढ़ रहा था और मुझे लगा कि कवि मुझ ही से बात कर रहा है. वो मेरे बगल में बैठे कुशाल से बात कर रहा है. वो हम सभी से एक साथ नहीं एक एक कर बात कर रहा है. राक्षसी प्रवृत्ति की मेरी क्लास पहली बार इतना मौन धारण किये हुए थी. किसी ने हमें इस तरह मौन रहने की हिदायत कभी दी ही नहीं थी. जिस तरह की कविताएं स्कूल में पढाई जाती रही हैं, सभी कवि तो उठने, जागने, लड़ने, कुछ तय करने को कह रहे थे. यह पहली बार हुआ जब किसी ने कहा कि मौन केवल चुप्पी नहीं बल्कि वह दृष्टिकोण है जससे सतह के नीचे जो घट रहा है सामने आएगा. हम जीवन में बेहतर निर्णय लेने में सक्षम होंगे. मार्केज़ को मैं थोड़ा पढ़ चुका था. जब पता चला कि मार्केज़ से लेकर चे तक सब इस कवि के मुरीद हैं तो जितना बस में आया पढ़ डाला गया. दिल्ली आने के बाद नेरुदा की महँगी किताबें खरीदने के लिए जेब में ज़्यादा पैसे नहीं थे तब इ.एच कार की ‘व्हाट इस हिस्ट्री’ कमला नगर में बेच कर ‘ट्वेंटी पोयम्स ऑफ़ लव एंड अ सांग ऑफ़ डेस्पेयर’ खरीद ली थी. अब लगता है कि ई.एच कार का ही श्राप है जिसकी वजह से ग्रेजुएशन के बाद इतिहास नहीं पढ़ पाया. पहली नौकरी लगने के बाद सबसे बड़ा सुख यह था की नाईट शिफ्ट्स में जितनी किताबों के प्रिंट निकाल सकते हों निकाल लिए जाएं. तनख्वाह जो इतनी कम मिलती है उसका हिसाब नेरुदा के प्रिंट आउटस ने पूरा कर दिया. नेरुदा नहीं होते तो किसने नमक, जुराब, टमाटर, बिखरी चीज़ों, टूटी चीज़ों, खिलौनों, नीबू, जीन्स और न जाने किस किस आम चीज़ पर कसीदे पढ़ उन्हें इतना ख़ास बनाया होता? वे नहीं होते तो कौन माचु पिचू के शिखरों पर ग्रन्थ लिख डालता? कौन अपनी प्रेमिका के लिए सदी की सबसे उदास पंक्तियाँ लिखता? कौन अपनी प्रेमिका को हज़ारों हज़ारों उपमाएं देता ?

हम सब जो विचारधाराओं के धंधे में फसे हुए लोग हैं उन्हें नेरुदा का 1971 में रेडियो कनाडा को दिया गया इंटरव्यू ज़रूर पढ़ना चाहिए. नेरुदा ने गरजते हुए कहा कि ‘मैं आपको बता रहा हूं कि मैं राजनीतिक कवि नहीं हूं. मैं उस वर्गीकरण से नफरत करता हूं जो मुझे विचारधारात्मक रूप से प्रतिबद्ध कविता के प्रतिनिधि के रूप में नामित करने पर जोर देती है. एक लेखक के रूप में मेरी महत्वाकांक्षा, यदि कोई महत्वाकांक्षा है, तो मुझे उन सभी चीजों के बारे में लिखना है जिन्हें मैं देखता हूं. मुझे पता है मैं प्यार करता हूं या मुझे नफरत है. लेकिन मुझे “श्रमिकों की दुनिया” की ओर इशारा करते हुए, आप मुझे नकली और उदार तरीके से जनता या संगठित श्रमिकों के दिग्गजों की चिंताओं के लिए प्रवक्ता बनाते हैं. वह मैं नहीं हूं. मैं केवल लैटिन अमेरिकी दुनिया की चिंताओं के समकालीन दुनिया की चिंताओं की मेरी कविता के एक निश्चित भाग की गूंज भर हूं. लेकिन मैं एक राजनीतिक कवि के रूप में वर्गीकृत होने से इनकार करता हूं. मैं चाँद का कवि हूं, मैं फूलों का कवि हूं, मैं प्यार का कवि हूं. जिसका अर्थ है कि मेरे पास कविता की एक बहुत पुरानी अवधारणा है जो मेरे द्वारा लिखी गई संभावना का खंडन नहीं करती है. मैं वह लिखना जारी रखता हूं जो समाज के विकास और प्रगति और शांति की शक्ति के लिए समर्पित है.’ नेरुदा सदी से सबसे महान प्रेम गीत इसलिए लिख पाए क्योंकि वे जानते थे कि उनकी कविता का जन्म पर्वत और नदी के बीच किसी जगह में हुआ है. बारिश की बूंदों से उनकी कविता को आवाज़ मिली है और वह घने अरण्य में छिपे किसी पेड़ से लिपटी रहती है.

नेरुदा को पढ़ना कभी इजाज़त में नसीरुद्दीन शाह और रेखा को रेलवे स्टेशन के उदासीन वेटिंग रूम में बैठे देखना होता है. कभी पक चुकी कढ़ी में मेथी का तड़का लगाने जैसा. नेरुदा की भाषा लोर्का या बौदलेयर की तरह चूसनी नहीं पड़ती, वह अपने आप आपकी जीभ पर पिघलती चलती है. आपकी भौहों को खुजाती चलती है. आप उसे हथेलिओं में आए पसीने की तरह महसूस कर सकते हैं. एक ही कविता में नेरुदा पूछते हैं –

मुझे बताओ, ये गुलाब यूँ ही उघाड़ा रहता है
या यही इसका श्रृंगार है?

और

बारिश में खड़ी ,गतिहीन रेलगाड़ी से ज्यादा उदास
दुनिया में और क्या चीज हो सकती है?

इसलिए नेरुदा की कविताओं को आप पायजामे की तरह पहन बाजार से आध पाव नीबू खरीदने जाएंगे, तो कुछ शब्द रेहड़ी पर ज़रूर छोड़ आएँगे.

– मलयानिल

k1

There are two reasons why you’d find a crowd in front of a shop in Kerala. One, it’s pouring: aunties with their big black umbrellas, hold up their sarees as the roads turn into rivulets; men with their well-oiled hair and their lungis tucked above their knees, won’t risk riding their bikes in this rain. The only other reason is that there is a strike/ a hartal, and there’s a queue of men outside an unassuming looking rickety old shop, with a small board in yellow that reads TODDY. Today it’s both. In the peak of the monsoon season, Kerala rid of its tourists and its sweltering heat takes a break and watches the rains. Life comes to a standstill. Nothing here works when there’s a strike and no one moves when it rains. In a country that celebrates religious holidays every other week, communist Kerala depends on the rains and hartals for a celebratory glass of toddy and fish fry.

Kerala, a small coastal state in the south of India is a place of indescribable beauty, and describable cliches. There’s green everywhere, in every possible shade- the green of the paddy fields, the green of the mango too raw, in the peacocks, in the hills, in the moss on the streets, in the ponds and the luridly painted houses. It’s an artist’s muse. But that is the tourist’s Kerala. The Kerala that is my native place and feel forced to visit every year is that of pettiness, party politics, overbearing relatives and houses that reek of fish and wetness. A place that rings of familiarity while still being completely alien to me. My romance with Kerala, comes from a nostalgia that doesn’t exist. Nostalgia for a past I created through stories.

My father is a brilliant storyteller. His stories of growing up in his hometown were coloured with the idea of growing up in a large ancestral home- a joint family household that owned most of the land in the village. He had 5 brothers and two sisters and numerous cousins for company, they played in mangroves, had little interest in school, and had servants to cater to every need. He also spoke of times of strife, of experiencing poverty as the landlord system changed after Independence, the caste system being abolished, the family separating. Having grown up in a big city and never having seen his ancestral home, this was the Kerala I dreamt of. The reality only disappointed me year after year. I wanted an elephant in my courtyard, a temple in my backyard, and to walk down streets my family owned. We merely retained the name, as new houses were built on old land and old servants became the new elite— nouveau riche, if you will. It was class over caste.

excerpt from Vidooshakan- the Harlequin

 

kahlilgibran_spiritoflight

 

Somewhere in the hills, there is a cottage without our name on its door front. My love, you and I will find our romance in daily chores and shades of silence.

When it is cold, we will dust old sweaters and discard them for blankets and the warmth of our bodies. When it is wet, we will go outside to hold each other steady in wet mud. You can write and I can read and we will make our lives of book shelves and papercuts.

There will be ink on your fingers, on my neck and my waist. Green glass bangles will break when we cook.  Rain to wipe our sweat, salt to satiate the spice.

smoke and mirrors. smoke and mirrors.

“super rude ashoka already homage Erika” (or, honest YouTube subtitles)

 

गाना – Title: दिल के झरोखे में तुझको बिठाकर – I’ll make you sit in the window of my heart
चित्रपट – Film: ब्रह्मचारी – Bramhachari
संगीतकार – Music Director: शंकर – जयकिशन – Shankar Jaikishan
गीतकार – Lyricist: हसरत – Hasrat
गायक – Singer(s): मोहम्मद रफ़ी – Mohammad Rafi
नायक, नायिका, खलनायक – Actor(s): शम्मी कपूर, राजश्री, प्राण – Shammi Kapoor, Rajshree, Pran

उपशीर्षक – Subtitles: अंग्रेगी स्व उत्पन्न – English Auto Generated

 

1 dil ke2 dil ke3 dil ke5 dil ke6 dil ke7 dil ke

*song starts8 a dil ke8 b dil ke8 dil ke9 dil ke10 dil ke11 dil ke12 dil ke13 dil ke14 dil ke15 dil ke16 dil ke17 dil ke18 dil ke19 dil ke20 dil ke

*end of song21 dil ke