Sunday, 12 June 2016

The eternal debate

Going through the pages of Hamlet in his courtyard, he was contemplating over each quote he had underlined during his previous reads of that eternal play. Hamlet by William Shakespeare. No introduction is needed for it. The most tragic play by Shakespeare which ironically was the most realistic according to him. Yes, he felt it was pragmatic. He saw the questions asked in the play as his questions. He felt his thoughts had a voice. Hamlet discusses the eternal debate:
To be or not to be-that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And, by opposing, end them.” The universal debate of every existence encapsulated in these simple words. Should he suffer silently or should he oppose and take arms against the sea of troubles? He found out about his father a few months ago, he knew his entire family had lived in deception. An illusion of truth and happiness. What would happen if he chose to face this sea of trouble and tried to end it? What would happen if this mirage ended? For all those years, every evening when he used to sit with him, his face lied. His face was deceptive. He wondered, can a face lie? A person sure can. But can his eyes lie?
He had always believed in the purity of the face. He believed in the truth that a face reflects. He was at a traffic jam once. Sitting in an air conditioned car, looking at the crowd, he had the idea how each single entity has their own story. He had the realization that each random passerby is living a life as vivid and complex as his own, possibly pondering over the same question, to be or not to be, populated with their own ambitions, friends, routines, worries and inherited craziness. He knew how little all his doubts and dilemmas mattered to the world and how many other people might have a similar dilemma which he would never know of. He would never come to know of their existence. He would be experiencing so less of the world. Although he would definitely be a flicker in someone else’s movie. Maybe a background character sipping coffee somewhere or a person in the crowd at the traffic. But does it matter? Guess not.
He saw a rickshaw puller standing on the side of the road looking directly at his car. He saw his face. The face which in his opinion never lied. A reflection of a person’s true self. An echo of a person’s thoughts. A manifestation of every incident that had shaped him. Every single line on his face told a story. Every flicker of the eyelids spoke of all those moments the face had witnessed. Pain, sadness, guilt, joy, wrath, disgust, trust, anticipation, surprise, kindness, love, envy, you name it, the face had experienced it all. The muscles of his face had contracted and dilated in every possible way. Each and every cell of his face had multiple stories to tell. He sat there looking at the rickshaw puller. He wanted to talk to him. He wanted to hear his story, he felt sympathetic, he felt empathetic, he felt human. How had his childhood been? How did his father react when he found out that his son smokes? What was his face like when he gave his first salary to his parents? How did his wife react when he asked her for marriage? How did he react when he took his baby in his hands for the first time? What was his face like when he cremated his parents? Now that he is looking at the car with such innocence, what of his ambitions. He must have had some ambitions. He would have thought when he was just a child that he would have own a car, his children would study in a big university and he would take them out on holidays in that car. He would have planned his parent’s first visit to his new home. Or did he? Was it the rickshaw puller’s thoughts he was thinking about or was it his own thoughts he was trying to impose on the poor rickshaw puller. He always thought about the portraits he saw at art galleries. He wondered about the beautiful pictures of people he saw which captured the instant. The expression on their faces in those portraits and pictures, were they reflecting the truth? Or only a small part of the truth. Or maybe nothing. Maybe it’s our very own thoughts that we want to impose on the picture. Maybe the portrait doesn’t say anything. Maybe we make it speak. It is we who give the picture a story and a life. What other reason can there be for a picture to have varied opinion. But what did he see on his face? Why is it this difficult to understand a person? Why can’t human beings be simple?
The frustration of not being able to comprehend the extent of human emotions was unbearable for him. Going ahead with the book, he saw a quote. Hamlet says to Ophelia, “God has given you one face, and you make yourself another.” Maybe it’s difficult to understand a person because you can never see his true face. Layers and layers of masks until there is nothing but ugly bare skull. The way we human beings are programmed makes it much more difficult to realize your true self. But then what had he seen on her face that day? It seemed like innocence and truth. The smile was genuine and pristine. The way she rolled her eyes away from him, the way her lips parted but no word could come out of them, the way she dropped her head and started searching for something on the ground, a way to end the awkwardness maybe, wasn’t that enough truth for him? Wasn’t that ample amount of honesty a face can reflect? Was her face not indicating enough candour for him to recognize what she was deep down inside?
Maybe he was trying to read too much on a simple face. Maybe it was just an amalgam of emotions that the moment had created. But the urge of understanding everything is ruthless. One tends to go crazy. One demands answers. There is a madness, an obsession of trying to complicate things. He was obsessed with things, emotions, feelings. The characters in the books he read were not enough for him. He wanted to get under the skin of the people he met. He wanted to know everything. He wanted to hear their story, maybe share his story with them too. He wished to have a diary. A human diary. He wanted to catalogue all his emotions. He wanted to articulate all the events that happened in his not so busy days. He also wanted a novel. Because every person was a collection of characters. He wished to read and comprehend to the fullest extent the poem called a person. Yes! He believed every human was a poem.
Poems are always beautiful, so are humans. A Human, just like a poem makes us feel multitudes of emotions. There are some of our most favorite poems and there some that didn’t touch us in a deep way. But that is a subjective opinion. And the face is like the poem’s title. It says everything about the poem. It encapsulates the entire existence of that poem in itself.
But which face is the real one? The one which we portray in front of others? In meetings, in presentations, in parties. Probably not. Possibly the one which we have when we kiss our child, when we see a smile on our lover’s face, when we see a sense of relief on our parent’s face. Why can’t we always have that face? Why do we have to change our face every single time a new entity enters our life? Why can’t our life be simple? Or is it? He believes it is simple, he complicates it. Complicates it with these thoughts. The battle between these two faces of an existence, between these two halves of identity; who we are and who we pretend to be, is unwinnable. This question is inevitable. The inevitability of the rising of this question is a routine. Every day, he wakes up a different man but somewhere, this question remains the same.
There is no way we can differentiate between these two faces. Maybe because of the fact that there aren’t two faces. There is just one. The one which has seen all, witnessed everything. The one which was a spectator of every positive incident one can think of. The same face was a silent observer of every evil deed done. This duality is what we need. This ambivalence is enough to drive us crazy, but we don’t become mad. We remain sane. Call it ignorance if you wish, but this sanity is what helps us remain ‘civilized’.

We, the protagonists of our very own personal ‘Hamlets’, are a product of centuries of programming. This sanity is the gift to us by our ancestors. It’s our choice which would make our play climactic or anti-climactic. It’s we who has to choose, to be or not to be. 


It has been months now since he last smiled. He was troubled. Not physically, not even in the professional life. When with his ‘friends’, he curled his lips to make the edges arch upwards with great difficulty, revealing a couple of teeth at times just so he can avoid a conversation about his life. ‘Smile’, what does that act truly mean? He was oblivious to the joy of having his lips automatically curled. The joy which came to a person when a lover holds your hand, when a dear friend puts his arms around you and you find comfort in the warmth of his hugs, when you talk to your parents about their experiences after a long time, or when you just walk in a park in a warm breezy day with your favorite book of poems in your hands. Was he incapable of doing all this? Possibly no. Man is fully responsible for his nature and his choices. So why was he so miserable?
He was ‘happy’, once upon a time. But define happiness for me if you can. A better statement would be, He was ignorant, once upon a time. He ignored the decisions he had to take, he ignored people who wanted to be a part of his life, he ignored his ideals, he ignored his ideas, he ignored friendships, and he ignored friends. And none of it was deliberate. This was all automatic. He didn’t think for a second to look back to all the things which mattered. Why? You may ask. Possibly because he was fed up of all the rejections he has had in the past. Rejections and failures break a person. And honestly, he was not that strong to rise from that fall and start believing in people again, to start believing in humanity again.
He used to read books, a lot of books. Maybe because it gave him a refuge, an escape route from all the obnoxious stuff taking place around him. Intentionally or unintentionally, he was drifting further away from what we know as the real world. He used to talk to characters of his favorite books, he used to portray himself as the protagonists of his last read novels. He ceased to have a character of his own. “What am I?” he used to ask himself. Not who, but what!? Was he a human? Was this being a human? He believed in nothing, only his skepticism kept him from being dead. He saw people around him who had a feeling of being eternal. He saw it not as a feeling, but as an illusion. As Sartre said, “Life has no meaning the moment you lose the illusion of being eternal”. Was he alive? Or was he just layers of tissues and cells occupying some space. A log of wood perhaps, lying in the world without any purpose or without any instinct. This was probably because of him never failing or maybe not recognizing his failure.
He didn’t celebrate his birthdays. He locked his room on his birthdays and pretended to be asleep, just so he didn’t have to encounter other layers of tissues or cells, the only difference being, they were ‘happy’. Unsurprisingly, his door was not knocked. He drifted into light sleep reading the book he has been reading for the past 3 months. It was War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy. Every day, he came back from simple existence to a divine experience. He felt alive while reading those printed words. He felt real. He felt human. The mental turmoil which the characters go through, especially Pierre, was so real for him that he felt elated when he tried to put himself in the characters’ place. Every single quote struck as a bullet against his preconceived notions about humanity. Each monologue struck as a hammer against the anvil of his fake prejudices. He had driven people away from him. He knew somewhere deep down that those people would probably never come back. Even if he could go back in time and try to change his each action, still, he could never get those people back. Was he in despair? No! He was not sad. He was miserable. And he did this to himself. He was ‘unhappy’.
It was a Saturday morning and he woke up very early; to exist. Do nothing, meet no one, experience nothing, just exist. He picked up the book again and read a monologue by Prince Andrew. “It would be good," thought Prince Andrei, glancing at the little image that his sister had hung around his neck with such reverence and emotion, "It would be good if everything were as clear and simple as it seems to Princess Marya . How good it would be to know where to seek help in this life, and what to expect after it, beyond the grave! How happy and at peace I should be if I could now say:" Lord have mercy on me! But to whom should I say this? To some power indefinable and incomprehensible, to which I not only cannot appeal, but which I cannot express in words: The Great All or Nothing," he said to himself, "or to that God who has been sewn into this amulet by Marya? There is nothing certain, nothing except the nothingness of everything that is comprehensible to me, and the greatness of something incomprehensible but all important!” All those questions and queries rushed back in the void he had created in his head. He was helpless, and he couldn’t ask his God to help him. Because his God was dead.
He was constantly trying to communicate something incommunicable, to explain something inexplicable, to tell about something he only feels in his bones and which can only be experienced in those bones. He was having doubts now. Doubts about his decisions, doubts about his life and his own existence. Was it the right thing to do to push her away? Was it the right thing to do to disregard her love for him? Was it the right thing to treat her feelings that inconsiderately? Was it proper to blame all of his actions on his selfish behavior? Was it ethically right to blame his surrounding for everything he had become? Maybe, maybe not. He wanted answers. He wanted to sort everything between the two extremes of the spectrum. He wanted things as white or black, as right or wrong, as true or untrue, as proper and improper, and correct and incorrect. But things, emotions, feelings, thoughts, even people can seldom be categorized in these discrete points.
He moved ahead, he saw a quote he had underlined, “What is right, what is wrong? Nothing. If you are alive, live. If you want to be happy, be.” Such a simple sentence. If you want to be happy, be. The solution to everything lies in this simple sentence. He knew this. He had known it for years that he was responsible for his actions and his condition but can he get happiness from within? Probably yes. Didn’t Siddhartha find that happiness within and attained salvation? He had always believed there are three phases of a person’s life. First is the phase of ignorance, which generally is very prolonged in most people. He had come out of it at a very young age. Second is the phase of realization. The phase he was in. The phase where he came to know how evil human society can be to a stranger. The third and final phase was the phase of acceptance. The phase Buddha attained. The phase where you tend to accept that people lack self-awareness and you’ll meet such people at every stage of your life. The best policy is to accept their existence and be content. Just believe in your own conscience and contentment will reach you sooner or later. 
He had a habit of not being able to resist some good books. Every time he read a long novel he started some other small book along with it. This time it was ‘The picture of Dorian Gray’. The picture of Dorian Gray talks about beauty and how we perceive beauty. What is our perception when it comes to beauty. How a simple act of kindness can make you much more beautiful and a simple evil act can make you much uglier. This ugliness is not only of the soul but also of the physical reality. He read the book twice reading each and every sentence slowly and carefully. He had heard that sometimes things just fall into their places. You don’t have to try to get something, it is just given to you by some divine intervention. It sounded so unrealistic, till that day. A colleague of his sent him a picture in which on the left side was his picture from the first year of college and in the other was his picture in the fourth year. He saw that picture and tears swelled up automatically in his eyes. He could see how ugly he had become. He could see how the once beautiful shining temple was full of lines now. He could see how his cheerful face of his youth had wrinkles now, formed due to all the evil he had done and thought. He cried. He cried like a baby who had lost his parents. He cried like a lover whose love had died in his arms. He cried like a mother whose son had died in war, he cried like a man whose existence till date was false. Yes, it was screwed. His entire being cried.
But this doesn’t end here. There is a special kind of attraction which pain and suffering and misery gives us. There is a weird sense of sublimity that distress provides. When you’ve made yourself suffer for a prolonged period, you tend to get attached to that suffering. It defines your being, your ideas, your thoughts. And we humans, if we are humans, are the worst at accepting changes. The only thing we resist is change. He knew he had to change. He knew it was necessary, he knew it was inevitable but he couldn’t. Something was stopping him from changing. This inertia would doom him. He knew it but he resisted.
Days later he reached the epilogue 2 of war and peace. He started it at around 9 in the night and read those few pages for like 4-5 hours. The epilogue explores the idea of freedom. It’s based on the ideas of freewill and necessity. What was freewill to him? He never felt dependent. All his actions according to him were free. Free in their own way. But this part of the book broke all those mirages. He was not free. He had no freewill. He had never been free. Everything he did was somewhere a necessity, a compulsion. A lady steals a piece of bread from some shop. You say it’s bad because it was free will. She was free to do the theft, she had a choice and she chose to steal it, hence, she should be punished. Now if someone tells you that she had a small baby who hadn’t eaten for three straight days, will the theft still be called an action of free will? Probably not, she had a necessity to steal. Whatever he did till date, was it his own free will? Was this punishment which he was giving himself appropriate? Should he be punished? Was the ugliness that he believed he brought upon himself as an act of free will actually his act? Or was it a necessity? A necessity to be able to recognize the true meaning of life. The whole story comes to the point where we started. Was it white or was it black? Was it freewill or was it necessity? Answer: None. They were an alloy of both. There is no black or white. There is only grey. Multiple shades but only grey. Every action is an amalgam of necessity and freewill. And one can’t punish himself for his condition.
This thought left him astonished. He was so amazed that some written words can have such an impact on a person’s identity. He was so mesmerized that he didn’t get out of his room for the next 3 days. He didn’t eat, didn’t attend classes, didn’t meet a single person for three days. He was just there, contemplating over his 21 years on this planet amongst the other humans. Humans, a mixture of emotions, a mixture of ideas, consciousness, actions, freewill and necessity. It’s strange how a single book can change someone’s entire thought process.
3 days later when he got out of his shell, when he dismantled the wall he had created with the bricks of fake prejudices and rigid beliefs, he was a new man. A happy, more beautiful, more genuine person. He felt beauty, he saw beauty, he admired beauty, he loved beauty. The world was beautiful, the people were beautiful, the human existence was beautiful and the beauty lied in its unpredictability. It lies in the amalgam that different emotions, thoughts, actions and feelings create in a person. From that day, that person had changed.
That person was I.

 “I read a book one day and my whole life was changed.” – Orhan Pamuk

Thursday, 5 June 2014

Project Mayhem

The clocks were striking twenty-three and it was pitch black outside. It was a dark night with no stars visible skyward. I was strolling to and fro on my terrace with my subconscious rambling in a parallel universe. A large number of people perceive the presence of an alter ego in them which is nothing but an individual’s secondary or alternative personality. All the ways you wish to be, that’s your alter ego. Well, then I suppose I have a multitude of alter-ego’s which mostly tend to bother my mind.

I have always been a keen spectator of political on goings. The presence of power and the manner of its wield has always been a salubrious amusement for me. Every time there is a political episode in the country’s chapter of constructive existence, be it national elections or state assembly elections or even the municipality elections, I always wonder how these politicians crave for power and once they gain it, how easily they embezzle it. Men are so simple of mind, and so much dominated by their immediate needs, that a deceitful man will always find plenty who are ready to be deceived. The same happens in every election in our country.

That night I had some thoughts which may bother the Hippocratic democracy loving sections of our society. No! it was not strictly anti-democratic. I was in bafflement of which is better: democracy or dictatorship. The difference between democracy and dictatorship is that in a democracy we first vote and then take orders, where as in a dictatorship, we don’t have to waste our time voting. The main cause for the failure in democracy is the mere presence of observers when there is a need of participants. The original idea was: In a democracy the poor will have more power than the rich, because there are more of them, and the will of the majority is supreme. But it is not the situation in the present scenario. The rich have the money, and also the power over every single individual in this country. This reminds me of Salman Rushdie’s reference to kali-yuga  in his Midnight’s children: Kali-Yuga, in which the cow of morality has been reduced to standing, teeter-ingly, on a single leg! Kali-Yuga-the losing throw in our national dice-game; the worst of everything; the age when property gives a man rank, when wealth is equated with virtue, when passion becomes the sole bond between men and women, when falsehood brings success. So, its certain that we live in the kali-yuga.

What good is a democracy when it is not by the people, for the people and of the people? What good can such type of democracy do which only permeates feelings of hate and detestation? The rich get richer and the poor get poorer.

There is an acute requirement of amelioration in the present system. India has a big past to boast of, a sanguine future to look at but with the current system, our present is very precarious. There is an expeditious exigency of a Project Mayhem! The obligation of a struggle against the powerful, hungry, rich bastards who don't give a damn about the white collar working class people is immense. Now it may sound very discomforting to many people. The inception of the idea of breaking up the civilization so that we can make something better out of the world is very strenuous. We need a proper mechanism and a “Constitutional” way to make sure this controlled demolition thing can be completed. Till then we can just wait for some Tyler Durden and Jack (or whatever’s the name of Edward Norton. Well wait! He doesn’t have a name!) to arrive here out of the blue and form a fight club.  

Monday, 26 May 2014

An eye for an eye makes the whole world blind!

India has always been in a religious tumult initiated by political rationale. Religion based riots are nothing new in Indian context. We have been witnessing it ever since India became independent and even prior to that. The violence that these riots unleash is both chilling and mind-numbing. In an orgy of blood-letting and murder, thousands die, are injured and lakhs are rendered homeless. The religious riots let the strident fascism rise to the surface. The two communities Hindus and Muslims hanker for each other’s blood. Hindus thirsting for Muslim blood. Muslims thirsting for Hindu blood. Revenge begets revenge, begets revenge.
These religious riots are triggered by radical authoritarian nationalism that tends to distress both the communities. We have seen in the past how an idea of religious extremism gravitate to more violent means of proving one’s religion better than the other. How some religious leaders assemble a squad of gullible and credulous individuals who once brainwashed just crave for a simple excuse to kill others. People in this country are either too busy or pretending to be too busy to disregard such critical complications that could bring our country to ruins. They take no interest in discussions which will open our mind to reasons why such things happen in our country every now and then.
Now, it’s not about blaming any religious community for broadcasting such schemes. Islam and Hinduism are and have always been in confrontation. They don’t need excuses to hate each other. Most of the riots have been between these two communities. Be it the all-India riots of 1947, or the Bombay riots of 1992 or the Gujarat riots of 2002, one of these communities’ radical conception have been the major reasons for its launch.
Talking about the 1992 riots which resulted in the Bombay stock exchange blasts in 1993 was majorly triggered by the political impingement in religious matter of Ayodhya Ram-janmabhoomi babari masjid conflict. Many kar-sevaks from all over the country under the leadership of RSS and Shivsena and also BJP climbed on the 460 years structure and demolished it. The excuse given for this action was that the place where the Mosque was built was the same place where Lord Ram was born and that it monument was just a structure and not a mosque because the Muslims never offered prayers in it. Maybe it’s true, and maybe it’s not. No one amongst us was present at the time of Lord Ram to scrutinize this statement. This action by the hardcore Hindus was followed by the riots all over the country when the Muslim community retaliated. Thousands of Hindus were murdered and tormented by the people from Muslim community. The Hindus were no less. They too murdered and injured thousands of Muslims all over the country. Muslims being a minority in India got both media and political sympathy. It finally resulted in the Bombay blasts of 1993 which was regulated by some Muslim leaders who swore and oath to show the world the strength of Islam under the guidance of Dawood Ibrahim. Thousands of innocent people lost their lives and were rendered homeless after the blasts.
In 2002 Gujarat riots, it all began with the incident that trembled the whole nation. 57 Hindu returning from Ayodhya in Sabarmati express were burnt alive by the people from Muslim community. Burning alive is the worst death anyone can suffer. The agony and rage that materialized in the Hindu community was immense. They retaliated. Gujarat being a Hindu dominant area and with a Hindu nationalist leader at the top made life miserable for the Muslims. They were killed everywhere in Gujarat. But then it was all a result of the 57 people burnt alive by the Muslims. This matter was greatly politicized and every political party in India went after the then chief minister Narendra Modi. He was blamed to be responsible for even beginning the riots. Muslims being in a minority in Gujarat again found political and media sympathy. Many documentary movies were made which explained how genocide occurred in Gujarat that year. All were sympathetic to one community. I saw a documentary which says,
“59 hindus die in a clash with Muslims at Godhra on their return journey from karseva in Ayodhya.“ “Hindu mobs raid Muslim settlements killing over 2500 people.” Now are you kidding me? Is burning someone alive dying in a clash? Really?

Point is that it’s all about the involvement of political and media people in religious matters that result in such devastation. I can very easily say that the rage is not yet over. There is still some pain and agony which can be felt when you think about our past. Our present is very precarious. Any day now there will be another riot. No city in whole of India can preclude itself from being involved in it. I don’t know any solution to this problem. But what if we can overlook all that took place in the past and try to amend our present in a hope of propitious and amicable future. We don’t have to forget that AN EYE FOR AN EYE MAKES THE WHOLE WORLD BLIND! 

Friday, 23 May 2014

How does it feel like to live in ‘darkness’?

The last book I read was ‘The White Tiger’ by Mr. Arvind Adiga which unfolds the unforeseeable cruise of the protagonist Munna aka the white tiger aka Ashok Sharma, a boy born in ‘darkness’  who was destined to be a halwai or a sweet maker but amazingly makes his way to become an entrepreneur in a city like Bangalore. It narrates the journey of a simple, faithful servant who later becomes a ‘murderer’ and an ‘entrepreneur’. Just read the book if you want to know more. Worth reading.

 So how did this influence my blog? I was born in a middle class family in the city of Gorakhpur in North-eastern Uttar Pradesh. Now when you read this book, you can very well relate the characters in it with people you see around in a place like Gorakhpur. I can say that Gorakhpur is still in the ‘darkness’.  And I do find people like Munna and Mr. Ashok and Pinky madam around me.

Uttar Pradesh was once the city of cultures. Mini-India was the title given to it. There are historic cities like Varanasi, Allahabad, Meerut, Kanpur and many more. Every city in Uttar Pradesh has its own historic significance. Even my city, Gorakhpur is known for the very famous chauri-chaura kaand which possesses its own importance in our freedom struggle. There are three IIT’s in Uttar Pradesh itself in Kanpur, Roorkee and Banaras. Besides, there are several other proficient universities for technical and management studies in U.P. The cities like Lucknow, Meerut, Noida, Ghaziabad et cetera are the specimens for development that has been going in India. So why am I grumbling?

The reason behind it is the inadequate, substandard, amateurish and an unpleasant atmosphere that has been created for the women. Not only the women, but honestly speaking, a boy like me with a strong built and 20 years of age would also be nervous to go to the outskirts of the city in broad daylight. Let me get this straight. I have many friends in my college who are cool hanging around with girls. But it’s not the case with me. I experience uneasiness once I am in company of women. It is so because I have never been in such an atmosphere back there in darkness. You can’t have female friends back there. Even if you have a few, the people are not cool with that. They start making repudiating faces when you talk about it. I have a few female friends now and whenever we go back to Gorakhpur from our colleges, we propose for a meeting. But every time, it’s the same nervousness that hovers in our minds. Where to meet? When to meet? Is it suitable to go to a particular place with girls? How to rescue them if we are confronted by some thugs? I don’t know the reason behind this kind of ambience. Maybe because these goons were devoid of any female influence in their lives and they think of women as just a commodity.  They do disrespect women and it is them who make our lives miserable in public places. Whomsoever I meet, when I tell them I am from Uttar Pradesh, there is a strange expression on their faces as if I will be an unpleasant company. But let me tell you my friends, this is not the case with everyone in U.P. I am different and certainly a large percentage of people are civilized even in the darkness.

Now I have a political animosity with S.P. and B.S.P. and I have no worries writing this that they are one of the major reasons for this kind of ambience. The samajwadi party is packed up with lowlifes and street thugs who think that their Netaji will cover their back for every offence they carry out. Same goes with B.S.P. They are the ruling parties in U.P. and they are solely responsible for such conception of the state.

Although, it is saturated with discourteous, rude, uncivil, ill-mannered, ungracious and inconsiderate men but still it has deferential, humble, respectful and grateful people who will climb out of the darkness one day and will have prominent positions in the existent framework. They are the ones who have to make their city and their state proud. They are the ones who can bring about a change much needed in the present framework of Uttar Pradesh. Certainly, they are the ones whose presence you can enjoy and they will show you the real essence and genuine ethos of Uttar Pradesh.  

Wednesday, 14 May 2014

मौत तू एक कविता है

ज़िन्दगी और मौत तो ऊपर वाले के हाथ में है जहाँपनाह,
इसे तो न आप बदल सकते हैं और न मैं,
हम सब तो रंगमंच कि कटपुतलिया हैं, 
कौन कब कैसे उठेगा ये कोई नहीं जानता |

1972 कि सुपरहिट फिल्म "आनंद" कि इन पंक्तियों में जीवन कि सच्चाई को बड़े ही आसन रूप से समझाया गया है | जीवन का सत्य : मौत | हम मौत के बारे में बात नहीं करना चाहते | इसे बड़ा ही निराशाजनक स्वाभाव मन जाता रहा है | ये जीवन कि एक अहम सच्चाई को देखने का एक गलत नजरिया है जो कोई भेद भाव नहीं करती | ये राजाओं के पास भी जाती है और भिखारियों के पास भी, अमीर के पास भी और गरीब के पास भी, आस्तिक के पास भी और नास्तिक के पास भी | बच्चा, जवान या बूढा, मौत किसी के भी पास आ सकती है | आप अपनी आँखें मूंदकर यह नहीं सोच सकते कि मौत हर किसी को अपनी आगोश में ले लेगी पर आपको बक्श देगी | ऐसा नहीं होगा | इसलिए बेहतर है कि हम इसके लिए तैयार रहे और जब यह आये तो अपने चेहरे पर एक मुस्कान के साथ इसका स्वागत करें |
कुछ दिनों पहले मेरे साथ एक ऐसी घटना घटी जिससे मेरे अन्दर मौत को लेकर एक उथल पुथल शुरू हो गयी | मेरे पिता बड़े ही आस्तिक हैं | साल में दो बाद वैष्णो माता का दर्शन करने और हर नवरात्री कामख्या देवी के मंदिर ज़रूर जाते हैं | इस बार भी यही हुआ | वो कामख्या देवी के मंदिर से वापस आ रहे थे | गाड़ी रात के साढ़े ग्यारह बजे गोरखपुर स्टेशन आती है | समयानुसार गाड़ी 11:15 पर सरदारनगर रेलवे स्टेशन पे पहुँच चुकी थी और मैं अपने पिता को लेने के लिए घर से निकल चूका था | हलकी बरसात हो रही थी | मैं 11:30 पर स्टेशन पहुँच गया था पर ट्रेन अब भी वहीँ खड़ी थी | मैं वहीँ रूककर इंतज़ार करने लगा | समय बीतता रहा पर गाड़ी के आने कि कोई सूचना नहीं मिली | अपने पिता को फ़ोन किया तोह पता चला कि गाड़ी का इंजन जल गया है और शायद एक घंटा और लग जाए | मैंने सोचा कि वहीँ रूककर इंतज़ार करना ही बेहतर होगा |  
मैं वहां खड़ा ही था कि मेरे ठीक पीछे एक एम्बुलेंस आकर रूकती है और उसमे से एक वार्द्ब्याय निकलता है | पीछे का दरवाज़ा खोलकर वो एक आदमी को अपने कंधो पर चढ़ाता है और बड़ी मुश्किल से उसे पार्किंग कि जगह के पास लाकर छोड़ देता है | बड़ी तेज़ी से वापस एम्बुलेंस में बैठता है और उसी तेज़ी से बारिश कि वजह से सड़क पर लगे हुए पानी को उड़ाते हुए एम्बुलेंस गायब हो जाती है | मैं इधर उधर देखता हूँ तोह पता हूँ कि किसी ने भी शायद ये नहीं देखा था | हर कोई अपने काम में व्यस्त था | लोग आ-जा रहे थे |  बाहर खड़े लोग बस अपनी घडी पर नज़रें गडाए थे | मैंने नज़रें घुमाईं तो देखा कि जिस आदमी को वहां छोड़ा गया था वो अब धीरे धीरे रेंगना शुरू करता है | 
करीब ५०-५५ का एक दुबला पतला सा आदमी | फटी पुरानी लुंगी और बनयान पहने हुए | चेहरा सिकुड़ा हुआ, आँखें उसी सिकुड़े चेहरे में धसी हुई | माथे पर एक सफ़ेद पट्टी थी और उसमे से खून का धब्बा साफ़ दिख रहा था | हाथ पैर बिलकुल काम नहीं कर रहे थे | रेंगता हुआ कीड़ा देखा है ? पेट के बल किस तरह रेंगता है वह | किस तरह हाथ पैर चलाता है | वैसा ही कुछ देख रहा था मैं | मेरा दिल बैठ गया | अचानक से मेरी साड़ी इन्द्रियां उसी कि ओर आकर्षित हो गयी और मैं गौर से उसे देखने लगा | क्या मानव जीवन इतना ही तुच्छ है कि रेंगते हुए कीड़े और एक मनुष्य को हम एक ही श्रेणी में लाकर खड़ा कर सकते हैं ? इतनी लाचारी और बेबसी आखिर क्यूँ है इसके जीवन में ? उसे रेंगता देख नहीं पा रहा था मैं | मैंने जानने कि कोशिश कि कि ट्रेन कबतक आएगी | पता चला कि ट्रेन अभी भी सरदारनगर में ही थी | मेरे पास और कोई विकल्प नहीं था सिवाय उसे यूँ ही रेंगता देखने के | मैं दूसरी तरफ घूम गया | पर कुछ ही देर बाद "या अल्लाह, या अल्लाह" कि दबी दबी दर्द भरी आवाज़ सुने दी | मैंने मुड़ कर देखा तोह वो आदमी अब रेंगते रेंगते एक खम्बे तक आ गया था और किसी तरह पीठ टिका कर वहां पड़ा हुआ था | बारिश होने लगी थी और वो वही पड़ा पड़ा भीग रहा था | 
"मर जाएगा ये तो", मेरे बगल में खड़े किसी ने कहा | मैंने इस बात का कोई जवाब नहीं दिया | चुप चाप खड़ा तमाशा देखता रहा | 
"ऐसे नहीं मरेगा तोह बारिश कि वजह से मर जाएगा", मेरे बगल वाले व्यक्ति ने फिर एक कोशिश कि मुझसे बात करने की | 
"हाँ भाई, ये सब ऐसे ही पड़े रहते हैं सड़क पे, कोई गाड़ी चढ़ गयी होगी, भला हो हॉस्पिटल का जिसने मरहम पट्टी तोह कर दी |" पीछे से किसी ने मेरे बगल वाले के सुर में सुर मिलाये | 
"हाँ लेकिन मर तो यह जाएगा ही", बगल वाला अपनी बात पर अडिग था | 
मैं वहां खड़ा होकर, आँखें नीचे करके उनकी बात सुन रहा था | मुझसे कोई उत्तर न पता देख दोनों निराश हो गए और मुड़ कर जाने लगे | मेरी अनेक कोशिशों के बावजूद मेरी आँखें उससे हट नहीं रही थीं | अचानक उसने आँखें उठाई और मेरी आँखें उससे जा मिलीं | एक दर्द, निराशा, और पीड़ा दिख रही थी उसकी आंखो में | जैसे किसी ने जीने की इच्छा छोड़ दी हो | उसे उसकी मौत अपने सामने दिख रही थी | और वहां से आने जाने वाला हर आदमी सिर्फ यही सोच रहा था कि कहीं बारिश में आने कि वजह से उसकी घडी या मोबाइल तो नहीं ख़राब हो गया | हर कोई बस इसलिए चैन कि सांस ले रहा था क्यूंकि उन्हें लग रहा था कि मौत तो उसकी होनी है | हम तो सुरक्षित हैं | हर कोई एक धोखे में था कि वे मौत कि इस चादर को नहीं ओढेंगे |  एक मायूसी छा गयी थी मेरे मन में | मैं सोचने लगा था 
ज़िन्दगी के सादे पटल पर में क्या लिखूं ,
मौत कि कविता खुद-ब- खुद अपनी छाप छोड़ जाएगी |
मैं नास्तिक होने के बावजूद प्रार्थना करने लगा था | मुझे असली इश्वर साक्षात अपने सामने दिख रहे थे | एक सच्चा इश्वर | और उस इश्वर से हम सब एक ही विनती करते हैं 
"आज नहीं!!!!"
वहां खड़ा होकर मैं सिर्फ सोच रहा था | मेरे हाथ उसकी मदद के लिए आगे नहीं बढ़ रहे थे | आते जाते लोगों को भी शायद कोई फरक नहीं पड़ रहा था | हर कोई अपनी धुन में मस्त था | अचानक से करीब १०-१२ पुलिसवाले उधर कि ओर आते हैं और राहगीरों को हटाने लगते हैं | उनमे से कई ने उस आदमी को भी देखा पर किसी ने उसकी मदद करने कि कोशिश नहीं कि | एक लाल-बत्ती वाली गाड़ी आकर वहां रूकती है, उसमे से एक महाशय निकलते हैं और चेहरे पर एक मुस्कान के साथ सीधा स्टेशन में प्रवेश कर जाते हैं. | उनके जाते ही सब कुछ पहले जैसा ही हो जाता है | उनकी लाल बत्ती चली जाती है | वहां तैनात पुलिसवाले बिखर जाते हैं | कुछ बच जाता है तो वो है एक मरता हुआ इंसान, उसकी पीड़ा, और मौत का तांडव देखते हुए कुछ नपुंसक लोग | 
समय बीत रहा था और आखिर ट्रेन के आने का संकेत हो गया था | मैंने घडी देखि तोह पाया कि 1.30 बज गए हैं | बडी हिम्मत करके मैंने एक बार फिर उस आदमी कि तरफ देखा और उसे निर्जीव पाया | मैं वहां खड़ा होकर यही सोचता रहा कि वह ज़िन्दा है या मर गया | मैंने हिम्मत जुटाई और उसकी तरफ बढ़ने कि कोशिश कि ही थी कि ट्रेन प्लेटफ़ॉर्म पर आ गयी | मैं वहीँ खड़ा रहा और अपने पिता के स्टेशन से निकलने कि प्रतीक्षा करने लगा | मेरे पिता आए और हम दोनों वहां से निकल गए | जाते जाते मैंने एक बार फिर उसकी ओर देखा और पाया कि वो बिलकुल हिल नहीं रहा है | मेरा दिल बैठ गया | कुछ न कर पाने कि एक विवशता मेरे मन में घर कर गयी | लेकिन इस घटना ने मुझे बहुत कुछ सिखाया | मौत को देखने का नजरिया ही बदल दिया | साथ ही साथ मांस और चमड़ी के कवच में बंद कुछ हड्डियों के ढांचों से भी अवगत कराया | अब मुझे मौत से कोई डर नहीं रह गया है | भला ज़िन्दगी से कोई डरता है ? तो मौत से कैसा डर ?  
-मौत तू एक कविता है,
मुझसे एक कविता का वादा है मिलेगी मुझको |
डूबती नब्जों में जब दर्द को नींद आने लगे,
ज़र्द सा चेहरा लिए चाँद उफक तक पहुंचे,
दिन अभी पानी में हो, रात किनारे के करीब,
न अँधेरा न उजाला हो,
न रात न दिन ,
जिस्म जब ख़त्म हो और रूह को जब सांस आये ,
मुझसे एक कविता का वादा है मिलेगी मुझको | 


शोर यूँ ही ना परिंदों ने मचाया होगा,
कोई जंगल में शहर से आया होगा |
कल तक तो सभी किकोल रहे थे,
किसे पता था आज अंबर पर लहू का रंग छाया होगा |
कौन है जो राहों में हैं खून का रंग छोड़ते,
आख़िर ऐसी होली खेलना इन्हे किसी ने तो सिखाया होगा |
क्या है इनकी धर्म, जाति, क्या है इनका सोचना,
किसने इन्हे ज़िंदगी का यह गंदा रूप दिखाया होगा |
आज लोग है खड़े, क्रांति लाने पर डटे,
क्या पता किसी ने इन्हे इनका ईमान खरीद के बुलाया होगा |
नबस बुझती है, भड़कती है, एक मामूल है घबराना भी,
कल रात अंधेरे ने अंधेरे से कहा, एक आदत है जिए जाना भी |
रात फिर सब घर चले जाएँगे, रोटी तोड़कर सो जाएँगे,
इस इंतज़ार में की कब फिर एक और जंगल कटे,
कब फिर कुछ और परिंदे शोर मचाए ,
विद्रोह को क्रांति का नाम दिलाने कब यह जानवर फिर शहर से जंगल में जायें......