Forward March

Suddenly I’ve started feeling envious of all the 24 year-old youngsters. Not that I’m old compared to them, but I wish I WERE 24 today to possess the same energy, liveliness and excitement to do things. With these thoughts I was reeking in a wee bit misery last night, when I ended up reading late at night, a seminal text from 1911 written by Emma Goldman titled, Marriage and Love. It’s an unfortunate reality that society even today in the second decade of this 21st century pressures people and especially women into undergoing choices that are out of their will. Goldman writes succinctly about the institution of marriage and child rearing as these were considered the only circle in a woman’s life back then. The difference between texts and essays written by feminists from all the decades from the suffragette movement is that each one of them clearly expresses their anger and resolve to create a new inclusive world for women instead of disappointment and helplessness at the slow pace of the events that changed the course of politics around the world. Imagine this changed world with little improvements yet for women who still have to fight for legislation for Abortions, Planned Parenthood, Reproductive rights and ownership of their bodies. What would these feminists had they lived long enough think about the current state of women in the world today? Certainly, not a very encouraging scenario from how they started the movement. Isn’t it tragic in a way that we as society still link marriage and love together in a vain connection whose onus solely depends on a woman’s conduct, both inside and outside the home? What are men doing if not put us under a burden of their patriarchal diktats further pushing us away from liberation and freedom for our individual selves? Even today, as I write here, I see and hear talk of marriage as the sole highest point of achievement for women. Not even urban women are spared from the third party decisions took on their behalf for their well-being by people who perhaps don’t understand the pace of their lives any more. If only, as society we let individuals be themselves without any inter-dependence on these age-old institutions and perceived moral cages of social order, the planet would be a definite better place to live for men and women alike.

My thought trail kept on treading too many a different topics. I realised that at age 24, I did not have the luxury of dwelling on the many ideas and ventures I do now. Also, don’t we always pine for the past days and long for them in the belief that it was the best time of our lives regardless of whatever else is happening now in the present? With every bygone year, I keep an account of my foolish and wise ways, of the many good and not-so-good things that have happened in my life, my emotional strength and mental spirit that carries me through everything. In doing so, I believe that we grow in our capacities towards being better than we ever are and could be. Every change is after all an ever-evolving process towards progress. It’s a forward march always!

बारिश पर कविता

This is an amateur attempt. One fine day, about three weeks ago it started raining and continued for three days. I slept one night to wake up to a scene of water everywhere in my locality. Trains were shut, people were forced to remain home. Everything came to a standstill. As I was sitting by the window at home, watching the raindrops refresh the potted plants on the window sill, it became apparent to me why people love rains. Penning my thoughts through this poem.

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Photo courtesy: Shreeta Nair

सोचा बारिश पर कोई कविता लिखूँ,
फिर सोचा की कविता की भीड़ में,
कही मेरे अल्फाज न गुम हो जाएँ।
चाहा तो बहुत के आँगन में जाकर
जी भर के बारिश में नहा लूँ।
जैसे ही बाहर जाना चाहा,
तूफ़ान ने अपना पैगाम भेज दिया।
रात भर नींद का भी साथ न पाया,
सुबह उठे तो पानी से भरा सारा नजारा देखा।
बहुत कुछ करना चाहां- भीगना, गाना, कविता लिखना।
जब स्याही से भरी उँगलियाँ देखी,
तो मुस्कुरा उठे।
बस याद करते करते अपने बचपन को ही सामने देखा,
जब आँख खुली तब बूंदों का सागर अपने चेहरे पर पाया।

Zalipie – Poland’s fascinating village that blooms every spring

In love with this blog. 🙂

stories are everywhere

A small ancient village in South-Eastern Poland, Zalipie, is home to a charming tradition and definitely one of the country’s top tourist attractions. Not because it has five-stars hotels or massive glass buildings, but on the contrary, due to its small wooden houses, which are painted in the most vibrant colors.

This lovely tradition started with more than a century ago, when every single female resident in Zalipie begun to paint her home with floral motives. Over the years, the flower patterns became gradually more and more sophisticated and the village literally bloomed! Currently, Zalipie is considered one of the most picturesque villages in Poland.

zalipie poland painted village flowers (19)

Although no one is completely sure why this tradition began, it seems the reason was the smoke from stoves escaped through little more than a hole in the ceiling of the house. Women would paint over the spots of soot with whitewash. Yet the spots…

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बचपन की यादें

I was reading an article by Gulzar in a sunday supplement last week. Therein, he mentioned of what drives him to write poetry. I was so influenced that I promptly took to penning words that came to me afterward. Lately, I’ve been reading a lot of hindi poetry and magazines, thus, my first two poems took shape inspired by Gulzar’s encouraging words. I’m posting a poem that’s essentially about my father and our memories from my childhood and later years. This is my first attempt at hindi poetry.


“बचपन की यादें”

किताबों में खो जाना

पाया विरासत में उनसे मैंने।

खो कर भी सचेत रहना

जाना उन्हें देखकर मैंने।

बचपन में शेर की आवाज

निकालकर खूब हँसाते मुझे,

फिर हवाई जहाज की

कहानियों में ले जाते मुझे।

स्कूटर पर जाते हम दूर

शहर के बाहर,

फिर सड़क के किनारे रूककर

दिलवाते गुलमोहर के फूल मुझे।

गन्ने का रस पीतें

हर गर्मियों के इतवार हम।

फिर शाम की सैर के बाद

खाते गरमा-गरम जलेबियाँ हम।

उनके साथ रोज सुबह

रेल्वे स्टेशन तक की राह,

कट जाती इतनी जल्दी

मानो वक्त की सुई तेज भागती।

धीर- गंभीर आवाज में उनकी

जब सुनती कोई कविता मै,

मन के पटल पर हमेशा के लिए

हो जाती रेखांकित मेरे।

कभी उनका मनपसंद गाना

टि.व्ही. पर सुनते,

तो ऊँचे स्वरों में हम दोनों

हमेशा गाने का लुफ्त उठाते।

ऐसी कितनी यादें है

जो मन के छोटे-छोटे कमरों में है बसी।

कभी आँखें मूँद लूँ सुकून से,

तो झट मेरे सामने हो खड़ी उठती।

– शरयू सुभाष गांगुर्डे


Anti-Semitism Cannot be the Response to Israeli Attacks on Gaza

WE ARE BARBARIANS! And, nothing can stop this hatred unless we clear our heads about our sick notions of supremacy over a piece of land.

KAFILA - COLLECTIVE EXPLORATIONS SINCE 2006

Extremely disturbing reports of anti-Israeli sentiments spilling over into generalized attacks in France have been coming in lately.  This is completely unacceptable. The just cause of the Palestinian people is about occupation of their land by Zionists and all Jews are by no means responsible for the brutality that Israel is exhibiting in its attacks on Gaza, sparing no one and even specifically targeting small children. This is not a religious or a racial issue but one of political justice. Let us make no mistake that any attempt to make it into either a religious or race issue will only harm the Palestinian cause in the long run. Here is an extract from a report in Huffington Post:

France’s politicians and community leaders have criticised the “intolerable” violence against Paris’ Jewish community, after a pro-Palestinian rally led to the vandalizing and looting of Jewish businesses and the burning of…

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Why Modi will become PM of India: Uzair Belgami

Seek truth in sarcasm!

KAFILA - COLLECTIVE EXPLORATIONS SINCE 2006

Guest post by  UZAIR BELGAMI

I have been reading around of late and was surprised to see that there are actually still some people who think there is still a chance that Narendra Modi will not become PM of this country in 2014. Hah! Must be those minorities, or those Secularists, or those Communists who are saying and thinking this – all are Pakistan-lovers, Leftists and anti-nationals. I felt it is necessary I deal with these people through this article, in order to deal the ‘final blow’ before the elections.

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Northern Europe to-travel

I wish to visit Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. And then, turn west to Sweden and east to Russia.

Why?

For the Gabled roof houses and Castles and the shores of Baltic Sea! The mosaic of hills, fields, sandstone cliffs and mineral-springs.

Fun-fact: Latvia has one of the fastest Internet download and upload speeds in the world. Bah! That’s no concern for me. Their Environmental Performance Index alone wins me over everything.

Lithuania for the sand dunes and Vilnius University (one of the oldest in N.Europe). And, for Czeslaw Milosz– May he rest in peace. His Three winters is on my search list since years now.

  • I swear, there is in me no wizardry of word.
    I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree.

Meaning (1991) probably sums up best my fondness for him.

When I die, I will see the lining of the world.
The other side, beyond bird, mountain, sunset.
The true meaning, ready to be decoded.
What never added up will add Up,
What was incomprehensible will be comprehended.
– And if there is no lining to the world?
If a thrush on a branch is not a sign,
But just a thrush on the branch? If night and day
Make no sense following each other?
And on this earth there is nothing except this earth?
– Even if that is so, there will remain
A word wakened by lips that perish,
A tireless messenger who runs and runs
Through interstellar fields, through the revolving galaxies,
And calls out, protests, screams. 

Some say his poetry is depressing. It could be. Two world wars are enough to suck life out of anyone. Still when I read this, I fall in love , more and more, with him.

Death, you say, mine and yours, closer and closer,
We suffered and this poor earth was not enough.
The purple-black earth of vegetable gardens
Will be here, either looked at or not.
The sea, as today, will breathe from its depths.
Growing small, I disappear in the immense, more and more free.

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