Tag Archives: india

Elon Musk, Ramjas Jan Sunvayi, and, Alexander Pope.

I was watching an Elon Musk interview yesterday, and he said several things, that I believe, all of us, as the human civilisation need to think about. I take the liberty, here, of paraphrasing him, and using his argument to further my own interests. He says, that we need to think of ways to wonder, to continue looking forward to the future, with happiness, and with gaiety. In between the larger disarray of the modern times, there remain only a few moments that present themselves adorned with potential, and I strongly believe, that, in science, as in the regular lives of our political selves, these moments all contribute towards building of the future of the human civilisation. Such an event was the Ramjas Jan Sunvaayi, on the ninth of February, this year. There had to be a larger irony in play, for the date to be the same as that of the Jawaharlal Nehru University event, two years before. I entered late, as the meeting was already underway, because I wasn’t expecting much. Not to say, that I didn’t look forward to it. I did, just not ‘much.’ The turn from the Ramjas canteen, took me by shock because the usual dotted appearance of the Amphitheater, and its surrounding area, was not to be seen.

And instead, for the first time, in a long time, the architecture was being put to use, in its proper sense. As students, sat, curved into a circle, crowding towards the center, as the eye of a hurricane, or the froth, on the surface of a colding tea, unmoved by the stillness of a summer day.  Ab- was talking, and so were the people around, and the people within, the circle, that stood out. A strange return to the images of Athenian democracies, and images of Socrates, and men, of greater self hoods, painted in the varied colours of a, superficially, consumer-oriented economy. All was well, and in several ways, the national melancholy that hung over my vision, like eyelids heavy for the want to sleep, dissipated into nothingness. A strange sense of activity, tremors from a disturbed repose, instead, took its place. The problems that were being discussed were problems associated with a long and timely culture that had somehow been allowed to creep into the pipes and veins of Ramjas, and this country, invisible but ubiquitous. Invisible, hence ubiquitous. In the sole expression, the culture was called out, and to the expunging of any sewage, to recognise the scent and call it out, is the first step. Only years and years of democratic despondency, sewage, will, of course, take years and years of, first, calling out.

The merriment of democratic discussion lasted for a while, before a lady, M-, from the crowd, got up and mentioned, that A-, who then was boldly talking, of ladies and their right to pee, in equality with men, that A-, who was voicing opinions of noble spirit, dressed in subtle politics of his own self-interest, painting those in power, in negative shades, to further his own brand of the same colour, had at once, messaged the lady’s friend, on Instagram. And on Instagram he had, asked the friend about a wound on her nose, or something other. To imagine that men, of the modern day, would pass their while, in staring at girls, is a strong comment, on the manner in which women are made aware, of their appearance, the superficial, the visible, and in that pursuit, pushed beyond the precepts of reasonable creation. But simultaneously understand, how the human has fallen into considerations of such sorts, while the mind has been forcefully pushed into decay, into animal-like behavior, removed from civic virtue and order. Anyway, A-, then felt attacked, and pounced back, and slowly the froth, dissipated away, the cloud of national melancholy, returned with its placid acidity: a hurricane dead, a mist again . I didn’t stay for long after that, because I had a debate to go to, at Kirori Mal, and I could do without a larger share of that common disposition, the doleful haze. I had enough of my own.

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The slight trouble, though, revealed a larger question to me.

We often find ourselves in the critical position of being able to question our hard-held beliefs, and the manners we have impersonated off of the general social structures, in the course of education, and often with that understanding, comes the responsibility to utilise that reason towards the betterment of the united whole. But any questioning of the same, results in recoil, in retaliatory violence, and doubt. The human and the humane resist change, but change also happens to be the core tenet of humanity. In this situation, how do we pursue change, without being disturbed or destroyed? In this situation, if there happen to be errors of the graver, and the slighter kind, how do we pursue change, without one at the cost of the other? These are questions that came to me when the M-’s questioning urged further progress, and deeper reason, but for the cost of which, the established sense of calm and peace, at the Ramjas Jan Sunvayi, against the crept in culture of a corrupt and sleazy administration, against the authoritarianism of the (Officiating) Principal,  had to be, momentarily, sacrificed.

I haven’t found the answer yet, but I did happen to come about a few lines of verse, in Alexander Pope’s An Essay on Criticism, that can aid us in understanding the nature of knowledge disparity, and dispensation. I do not claim to make any sense out of them, and I do not know if the current times allow for Pope’s privileged position, but regardless, his discussion, in the 1700s, of the questions that haunt me now, becomes a source of comfort that has stood the test of time; looks into the past, for answers to questions that build the future.

“ ‘Tis not enough your counsel still be true;

Blunt truths more mischief than nice falsehoods do;

Men must be taught as if you taught them not,

And things unknown proposed as things forgot.

Without good breeding truth is disapproved;

That only makes superior sense beloved.”

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The Confounding Nature of Infinite Spaces.

insideoutside

walls, doors, window frames,

cordoned graves,

humayun’s tomb

grand, untamed,

extends out to the edges

of Delhi’s constrained

infinities;

sandstone bathed

in blood and pain;

columns that seek to break

out from in between the teeth

the Sky keeps clenched

to not let the renegades

escape into his infinities.

 

Infinities within infinities—

histories within histories—

and I hide several within

which tremble at the strain

of those larger than themselves

whenever I visit

did I say where

Humayun’s tomb.

 

A testament to the reign

of the second in command

of those that had

the World prostrating in their trail;

a testament to the failed

grandeur of the name

that now lies crumpled on

pages of rewritten history;

a testament to dragged—

through—the—streets—

she—paved irony.

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Eid In India, 2017.

A message from the Moon

Was just received,

That this Eid, he will arrive

A little later than believed,

For that silver man is yet confused

About what to do,

If Indian railways can’t be used.

 

I tried to converse with him for a bit,

And question what left him this perturbed,

To allow the sumptuous delights

To be served,

Under an unlit sky,

And to this he very eloquently replied,

 

Sir, this happens to also be

The first Eid,

Where even Allah can’t say with surety

If those that hang on seekhs,

Are carcasses of poultry,

Or the body of an innocent man,

A Muslim, who enjoyed his share of meat,

Being roasted till cooked just right,

while the keepers of our democracy fan

The fire of the tandoor.

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Love, Old And New.

The monuments that were so crafted to stand as witnesses to the beneficence 
and magnificence of the rulers that ruled over Delhi, for however long, have
become the favorite playgrounds of the young lovers of the city. If you walk
through Lodi Gardens, or Humayun's Tomb, at any time, even in the scorching 
heat of April, you're more likely to run into a couple whispering sweet 
nothings to each other, under the shade of a tree, than a tourist appreciating 
the meticulousness of the architectural wonders. This poem is in regard to 
the same idea and is, in parts, inspired from Ravish Kumar's absolutely 
delightful collection of nano-tales, 'Ishq mein Sheher Hona'.

I don’t understand Delhi.

Why do we come to buildings

The walls of which, reflect

The Sun, with a funerary gaze

And allow Amaltas to bloom

in their shades, like only

Planted to be displayed

On biers of glory

That doesn’t remain.

Leave the tombs

To the dead, and let us

Craft our own infinities

In squalid alleys that

Reek of sweat, spit and

Alcohol-laden morning breaths

That went to sleep, very late.

Come, let us build our own

Shrines of love, in between

The corporate rubble of

Gurgaon, and on the glass

And concrete inscribe our

Tales of gentle caresses

Stolen from this city

Of callous denizens,

And dreary dreams

[verses to match Khusrau’s]

somewhere under the

Moolchand Flyover.

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Kailash Colony, languidly reflecting the Sun on a Sunday morning.

 

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To Amma, From Chennai.

J Jayalalithaa was an actress, a politician and a figure revered as ‘amma‘ by the masses of the state of Tamil Nadu. She was the Chief Minister of the state for five controversial terms and passed away on the fifth of December, 2016. She was buried, in a sandalwood casket, at the Marina Beach, on the sixth and the hurricane-cyclone ‘Vardah‘, which means ‘rose’ in Urdu, struck Chennai, soon after.

Amma,
Remember when I was young and 
you would take me in your arms 
and read to me, bedtime stories, in varied voices:
turning your pitch up, one minute, 
to sound like a wailing mother 
and lowering it to imitate a fisherwoman 
clutching the rudder of a sinking ship, 
trying to keep it afloat, in another?


Remember when I lost my way and 
ended up on the path that lead to 
tempests and belligerent waves and 
you held my thumb, with an unlikely 
zeal for aiding me, your blood, and 
a conviction in my abilities, 
to show me what turns to take 
to save myself from carnage 
and, humbly, grow out of my temerity?


Remember when they called you names 
for doing me wrong and inflicting pains 
of beastly order on my withering entirety 
and also, when they blamed you for 
adultery and infidelity, but I held you close
and allowed myself to heal in 
the warmth of your invigorating bosom?


Ever since those days, you’ve 
never let me leave your side 
and have, gladly, helped 
in weaning me off your love and care 
and standing, on my own two feet, independently.


Now that the Sun has set and 
the waves have retired to their sombre corners,
your favourite tale, to tell, comes back to me—
A sandalwood tree, slightly bent at the knees, 
lent some scent to a forlorn seed 
that arrived with the monsoon winds 
and nurtured it for twenty years and 
as the tree neared its end, the nurtured gifted 
the nurturer its first blossom, fortuitously, 
of vibrant roses that held in them 
the passion and perfume to unearth towers 
and free the reckless and the rebellious waves 
that had, for long, been trapped and chained.
Vardah, the rose, had always fancied
magnificent endings and storms-untamed.

 

 

 

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A Pointless Translation – Agar Tum Sath Ho.

Pal bhar thahar jaao
Dil ye sambhal jaaye
Kaise tumhe roka karun
Meri taraf aata har gham phisal jaaye
Aankhon mein tum ko bharun
Bin bole baatein tumse karun
‘gar tum saath ho,
Agar tum saath ho.


Wait for a few more breaths, a moment more,
stay by my side till the sun comes out,
till the World isn't so cold anymore,
stay till the night's long gone,
and my heart has seized his unapologetic thumping against my fragile bones.
How do I make you stay?
Why don't you realise?
When you're gone nothing but trouble abides,
and yet all sorrows slip away, when I have you in my eyes.
we don't talk and yet we say a thousand words,
when you're there with me, when you stand by my side.

Behti rehti. Nahar nadiya si teri duniya mein Meri duniya hai teri chaahaton mein Main dhal jaati hoon teri aadaton mein ‘gar tum saath ho.


I keep flowing like a wave of water,
astray and disheveled,
looking for a rock to finally rest my head upon,
but my rock, the castles I'm meant to ruin,
is in your love and your magical song.
I crumble, deconstitute in your habits and your ways,
when you're there with me, when you stay by my side.


Teri nazron mein hai tere sapne
Tere sapno mein hai naraazi
Mujhe lagta hai ke baatein dil ki
Hoti lafzon ki dhokebaazi
Tum saath ho ya na ho kya fark hai
Bedard thi zindagi bedard hai
Agar tum saath ho
Agar tum saath ho

You dream of me, and in your dreams you see me happy.
But, darling, that's not the way it's meant to be.
To me all that the heart sings,
is but a subtle betrayal,
How does it matter, if you're there or not,
the world was always ruthless and unapologetic, and it'll always be.

Palkein jhapakte hi din ye nikal jaaye
Bethi bethi bhaagi phirun
Meri taraf aata har gham phisal jaaye
Aankhon mein tum ko bharun
Bin bole baatein tumse karun
‘gar tum saath ho
Agar tum saath ho


My eyes, they flutter and the day's long gone,
I sit and run around,
waiting for you to come along, but you don't.
Why don't you realise?
When you're gone, nothing but trouble abides,
and yet all sorrows slip away, when I have you in my eyes.
we don't talk and yet we say a thousand words,
when you're there with me, when you stand by my side.

Teri nazron mein hai tere sapne
Tere sapno mein hai naraazi
Mujhe lagta hai ke baatein dil ki
Hoti lafzon ki dhokebaazi
Tum saath ho ya na ho kya fark hai
Bedard thi zindagi bedard hai


You dream of me, and in your dreams you see me happy.
But, darling, that's not the way it's meant to be.
To me all that the heart says,
is but a subtle betrayal,
How does it matter, if you're there or not,
the world was always ruthless and unapologetic, and it'll always be.
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