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Friday, December 23, 2011

From a Community dinner to a 'community' film!

In NID, after every big festival there is a community dinner organised, where the dishes of that particular region are served to the whole community. It was the Onam Community dinner in 2010.
I happened to sit next to one of my seniors, Sanaa. The conversation started with pleasantries and moved on to specifics,
"So what is your next project?" asked Sanaa.
I replied, "I am looking for subjects for my documentary. I am confused."
Sanaa thought about for a moment and asked "Have you heard about this 'criminal' theatre group which is based here in Gujarat?"
That sounded very new: ' a criminal theatre group'. The subject sounded very interesting because I knew very little about it. This conversation at the community dinner started the process...
I looked it up on the internet...I came in contact with people working on this issue. Then I visited the community in Chharanagar. The tribe is called 'Chhara' and the group is called 'Budhan theatre. I made good friends there.
 For the next 6 months I kept visiting them on weekends and 'Budhan Diaries' was the final product which came out. It's a 24-minute documentary which I am sharing with this post.

So, from that one random conversation at the community dinner at NID, it went on to become a community's film! Thanks Sanaa :)

('Budhan Diaries' has been screened at the Jeevika Documentary film festival-2011, Delhi, Cine Fresco International Film Festival-2011, Kolkata, Madurai International Film festival-2011, Madurai, Infocus Film fest-2012, Loyola Hyderabad and Mumbai International Film Festival-2012. The film also got picked by the video channel 'India Docs' on youtube. It won the 'Special Jury mention ' Award at Jeevika.)
Watch it...



वो जुगनू


“न होती उलझनें, तो न मिलते हमें सच के और पहलू,

न होती अंधेरी रात, तो न दिखते हमें वो टिमटिमाते जुगनू।“

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What’s Up!


It’s nice to get back to this space, sharing things with a
space which is yours, yet very public. I am enjoying the Delhi winters, which I
missed for the last two years. The winter is just beginning to get painfully
cold, but still it’s not what it used to be in the December of may be 3 years
ago. Just hoping that the temperatures continue to fall down!

My schedule these days somehow reminds me of school. I leave
for office at 8:45 and come back home by 7 pm. When I drive to the office in
the morning, through the fog, it is a great feeling to see other bikers leaving
for their offices, battling the fog with me; everyone wrapped around with
jackets, mufflers and what not. It somehow looks like a uniform: Jackets, hand
gloves, mufflers, hand gloves and backpacks carrying laptops. Then I reach the warm
office. It is energetic to work in the first session, with energy levels
dipping considerably till lunch. Lunch is a nice time to leave work and have
food. Food or a meal in particular, has never been so exciting for me ever!

The best time of the day is the time I come back home after
office. This is where it is quite different from school days. No homework, no
exams, no assignments…it is time just for ME. Two things I have been doing a
lot are writing and reading. There is so much I spend on my desk, that it is very
satisfying when I get up for dinner.

Talking about books, I had always been interested in buying
books from cart-book stalls in local markets and similar spaces. But now when I
have started reading those books, I realise how fortunate I have been to get
such good books, just as a matter of chance.

I bought ‘Miracle in the Andes’ for 50 rupees at a sale in
CG Road, Ahmedabad. I had no idea about this incident. In 1972, the airplane ‘Fairchild’
crashed into the Andes. It was carrying a Uruguayan rugby team to Chile. It is
a story about how the survivors of the crash survived for 70 days with no
external support at all. For food, they ate the flesh of the people who died in
the same accident: their friends and relatives. The human struggle to survive
is quite strange at times. There are feelings and emotions with which we bond
with each other, but at the end we are all just bodies interacting with each
other. The author, Nando Parrado happens to be one of the survivors and he along
with Roberto walked for about 70 miles to reach the closest human civilisation.

‘Burnt Shadows’ is another book I picked up from the old
city in Delhi (for 100 bucks!) which has a story which begins from the bomb in
Nagasaki, to the Partition of India…moving to 9/11 and the Afghanistan of
post-9/11. It is amazing to think of such events happening in the same world,
leaving behind similar stories and similar tears. The author Kamilla Shamsie is
a Karachi based writer. And now when it’s been years after the partition, it is
tough for me to imagine that we were the same country once. There was a time
when going to Peshawar from Delhi was like going from Delhi to Nagpur. We were
one country!

Then I got a book from the Sunday market in Ahmedabad, ‘The
Mountain of Silence’ for just 20 rupees (The MRP printed on the book is 520.
Can you beat that!). This book, like the previous books turned out to be a
surprise package. The Cypriot author Kyriacos C. Markides questions the
existence of religion in a society which was started by man, and not God. Then
he slowly moves into things like meditation and similar things yet unknown to
mankind, figuring out that the idea of God is not what many people imagine it
to be. There are so many unanswered questions we live with. There are questions
about ourselves, questions about what’s beyond what we see.

I think… to buy knowledge you don’t need to go to those big
bookstores. It is right there on those little wooden carts, with the sellers of
the books, looking at the book’s thickness and judging the price.

So, apart from these wonderful explorations, there’s a new
short film I am editing about all the journeys I took in 2011, there’s a new
play called ‘Sanak’ I am writing and there are plans to travel to a new place,
soon. Sometimes it is nice to make plans, irrespective of the fact they work or not!

There is so much more to know. There is so much more to see…



Saturday, December 10, 2011

SANAK


When I see a mad man, it is his mannerisms; it is the way he
eats or talks that is a new show for me. Then I wonder madness is!
What exactly is madness? How do you define madness?
Someone is termed ‘mad’ when he or she stops behaving like
the population. But then can’t this be possible that the population might be
mad and that one person is sane. This is all about perception. Who actually is
mad?

Thousands of years ago, when man started, we were all mad,
with no clothes, no plans for the future, no societies and no rules. Then we
started going ‘sane’. We learnt languages, we learnt how to write and we learnt
something which we call today as ‘Culture’. And then we made rules, of eating,
of reading, rules of sleeping, and as a whole, rules of ‘good’ living. We
declared what is right and what is wrong. And we started a race.

The race followed all the rules and we continued to follow
the rules blindly. Today our life is governed by strict rules. We keep
following them because we have learnt to follow, we rarely ask “Why?”… We
started as a mad man, then we became sane and now we are mad again. So, today
being in touch with nature is considered something cool and new, out of our
lives. May be, in a way mad!

Madness is just a perception. Nothing’s wrong or right, it’s
just perception. If the media makes something ‘wrong’ we believe it just
because we follow the media’s perception. When we watch a film some person is
the hero, and someone is the villain. That is the director’s story, his perception
which we watch and enjoy. But in real life, you are the director, so you need
to make your perception. You need to question other perceptions. You need to
know who is madder. In fact, you need to be MAD yourself…

These days, everyone wants to break the rules. That’s the
latest rule. When someone breaks the rules just because he/she wants to break 'the rules, then they are actually not. They are actually following a new rule
called ‘Break the rules’… So, what’s a rule…and how important is breaking it?
If you look at it clearly, you’ll realise that the whole idea of human civilisation
is actually madness. Rules were made to get out of madness and be sane, but now rules have created their own zone of madness, which is miles away from sanity.

We just need to think simple before watching a complex
situation. Being simple is tough these days. But that can also be a kind of
madness.

I leave it here for you to ponder upon… and ask what SANAK or madness actually
is…

That Young man...


A young man
every day on the border of Afghanistan and Pakistan,
Wakes up and
tells his father in Pashto,
“It seems to
be a clear day, no American and Pakistani army vehicles around.”

Another
young man wakes up in Africa, picks up his rifle,
Which is
almost half his body size and is happy
that he did
not have to wake up,
With sounds
of gun shots.
In Swahili,
he mutters “It’s wonderful to wake up in PEACE!”

A tired
young man in Mankulam, Sri Lanka,
lies down in the afternoon, thinking of how
his uncle had killed
that Sri
Lankan soldier who had abused his mother.

That Tibetan
young man hugs his sister,
as she
starts crying at the taste of Thupka,
Which
reminds it of her mom, who was killed by the
Chinese
soldiers years ago.

That fair
young man in Gaza,
Kneels down
to offer prayers to God,
A God who
had done nothing to help him till date,
The war
still went on with no winners, no losers, no parents,
Only
Israelis everywhere!

That
Kashmiri young man leaves home early morning,
With a kiss
on his mother’s forehead,
Assuring her
that he’ll be back in the evening.
He’s not
going for war, he’s just going to his college,
But what if
some Indian soldier catches him,
Using the
Special powers Act.
As he cycles
down to college,
He wonders
how FREE towns look like!

All these
young men,
Are not
different,
They are in
fact one young man.
That young
man,
Who has
never felt what FREEDOM tastes like.
That young
man who wants peace,
But is
wondering when will the world understand him.
That young
man,
Who has
heard stories of living ‘happily ever after’,
But never
seen them in real.
That young
man,
Who is much younger
than you and me,
But is old
enough to understand what life and death are.
That young
man…


Monday, December 5, 2011

My worlds, my life

We talk of so many lives in one world,
But little do we talk of so many worlds in one life.
I live in diverse worlds, in the same life.

One world has my house, my parents, and memories.
Then there’s one which has my love, my friends and places and people I miss.
There’s my college, my dreams of a job or two or more,
Then there’s a world of good things I have done,
Then there’s one which has all the embarrassing moments of mine.
There’s a world which I want to be in, and there are a few I hate to be in,
Some worlds start and end in a moment, some last a lifetime, or may be further.
Some worlds I want to leave behind and move ahead,
Some I want to enter with smiles.
Some worlds which are pure nostalgia, enclosed in those old photo albums.
All different and wide apart, but my worlds.
I can’t divide these worlds by drawing lines,
In fact one leads magically into another.

I am presently traveling from Delhi to Ahmedabad,
From one world to another.
There are journeys which introduce me to worlds which were always there,
But I never saw them.
Loving these journeys, taking me from one world to another,
All in one LIFE…

(Wrote this in Ashram Express, journey from Delhi to Ahmedabad, Oct 2011.)

Monday, November 21, 2011

crows n us!

For those two crows sitting on it, it was just another wire,but for us, it was the BORDER...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

The world's a beautiful place!


I write,
because I think.
I think,
because I see.
I see,
because there is so much more to see.
The world's a beautiful place.

I know,
because I listen.
I listen,
because I travel.
I travel because there are so many journeys left.
The world's a beautiful place.

I pray,
because there's God.
There's God,
because there's man.
There's man,
but how much of 'man' do I actually know?
The world's a beautiful place.

I bathe,
because I'm dirty.
I am dirty,
because I was clean once.
If I am clean,
then how clean is clean and how dirty is dirty.
The world's a beautiful place.

I stand,
because I'll walk soon.
I'll walk, because I'll run soon.
If I run,
will I actually fly soon?
The world's a beautiful place.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Better!

The fish FLY deep in the ocean, the birds SWIM high in the air... No one knows who's better!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

The crows again!

Me: See, Gaddafi is dead. Now, Libya is free. Learn something from us.
Crows: Libya was always free for us!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Not many left...Act!



The Delhi Nostalgia


It was a usual weekday. The time was somewhere between the end of a tiring afternoon and the beginning of a fresh evening. I was done with my work at the office for the day, but it was too early to go home. I was confused. I started calling my friends- Anshuman, Nitish, Vikram, Happy and Nishtha. They were all busy in one thing or the other. This was tempting enough for me to go back home for a nap, but I somehow stopped myself. I didn't want to waste this time. I decided to spend the time with MYSELF. I left for Mandi House.

Mandi house is quite far away from the place where my office is (Gurgaon). In the last two years I have spent in Ahmedabad, I have driven very little, almost none. The bike rides this week , majorly for work, reminded me of that time when I stayed here in Delhi, during graduation. The wide roads, the rude fellow-drivers, the 'green Delhi clean Delhi' boards, the unreasonable honking- they all came back to me. As I drove towards Mandi House, these thoughts made me feel happy that I was back in Delhi. Delhi is a city where I have spent good enough time to be called a 'Delhi-ite', but still I don't consider myself one. Undoubtedly, I love the city. Every nook and corner of Delhi has a story to offer. And strangely enough, you would never get bored of these stories.

I reached Mandi House and parked my bike in front of Sri Ram Center , a very important venue for the staging of plays. This drama school has it's story- quite reputed, and has a list of celebrities who have passed out or performed at the venue. In fact, Mandi House is known for 'theater', or the performing arts. On one hand, this place is house to formal drama schools like the prestigious NSD (National School of Drama) and SRC (Sri Ram Center) and on the other hand, there are innumerable independent theater groups which work here, coming up with new plays every now and then.

I sat there with chai thinking about how I had missed this location. Two years ago, my theatre group would rehearse here, I would spend the winter evenings with the same chai. Nothing much had changed. As I thought more, I felt more nostalgic. May be the early winter smell combined with the taste of chai, took me back to that time. And going back felt good.

I bought a ticket for a play which would start in an hour. 'The Tale of the Taj' was the play and I was quite excited about it, but I still had an hour to kill. So, I started walking across Mandi house. It was nice to see theater groups rehearsing,

I shifted from one chaiwala to another. I sat at those 2 sops next to Sri Ram Centre which sell hot chai and hot samosas. This place is always crowded and there are various conversations taking place in various volumes. I looked around and I saw one of my lecturers from my graduation college. We met and spoke for a couple of minutes. Again, it was nice to go back.

I sat down with 2 hot samosas and wondered how much conversation this road (Safdar Hashmi Marg) would have seen for years. Safdar Hashmi was this theater artist who was killed while he was performing his famous street play 'Halla Bol' in 1989. Another story! The samosas were too good and the evening had begun to get cold.

I was pretty lost in the story when I heard "Harish". It was Ankit, a member of my previous drama group. We were meeting after 3 years. We spoke. He was with a group in Mandi house and he invited me for his next play, to be held after two days.

It was nice that all my friends were busy. It was nice I left office early. It was nice that I came to Mandi House. It was nice that the samosas were hot and the evening was cold.

It was nice to go back.

I left to watch the play...



Wednesday, October 19, 2011

खुशियाँ

उँगलियों के बीच छिपी थी खुशियाँ,
बंद मुट्ठी से कभी बाहर न आ सकीं।
बस ज़रूरत थी तो उन खुले हथेलियों की ...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

The crows again

I bribe, I cheat, I lie, I fight, I pollute, I cry,
Look at the crows, they just FLY...

Friday, October 7, 2011

It's all about...

It's not about the diary you write in,
not about the pen you write with,
it's not even about the place where you sit and write.

It's all about WHAT YOU WRITE...

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The race


I stand at the crossroads,
looking at all the 4 directions,
offering me a good position in the race.

Do I need to analyse so much?
Do I need to make a 5-year plan?
It is all about instincts I guess,
I take the road which suits me the best now,
I take the road which I like.
It's all about the heart.

There are people who talk of the race,
let them.
I don't like the idea of races,
the won who comes first is called a 'winner'.
But what about the others who worked equally hard,
what do you call them?
LOSERS?
Are you serious?

I think the only parameter which guides your pace,
is TIME,
stronger than any of your opponents,
stronger than the race itself.

So I go for the road which I like,
I think it's not about which road I take,
but it' all about how I perform on any road,
That's the race, I guess...
Racing against myself!

(Photo by Marti Liebermann. Original pic:  http://www.flickr.com/photos/liebermann/580181284/)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

At home...

I am at home in a state of 'total rest'. I have all the time in the world to think, to watch, to waste. So, I thought why not use this precious 'gold' with some care. So from now on, one film per day, one upload per day (write up) and some reading everyday.

I feel really lucky to be having this phase of nothingness, which is refreshing. I don't know when will I get a similar break next.
(I must thank Sambit here, for inspiring me with his daily blog 'Rozana'! http://chandlafzrozaanaa.blogspot.com/)

:)

देख

क्यों बेसब्री से बैठ सूरज का इंतज़ार करता,
ढंग से देख,
इस अँधेरी रात में भी,
कमी नहीं प्रकाश की...

Sunday, October 2, 2011

My flikr account


I thought I should share my photographs...my flikr photostream...
http://www.flickr.com/photos/27389026@N03/

Saturday, October 1, 2011

FROM THE 'MY-CROW THINKING' ARCHIVES

I put an alarm on my cellphone everyday, but I usually miss it. Look at the CROWS...always up on time. They have no technology, no machines, no clocks...just the sun and the breeze. Bloody birds!

A new look

I reached home today, in the morning. After a tiring month of diploma in NID, it was nice to enter Delhi, which was itself entering a new season...the winters.

In the morning, the moment my train entered Rajasthan, that pleasant early morning smell of the winters struck me. It was so strong, so nostalgic... It somehow had every element to remind me of the fact that I AM GOING HOME... It filled me with immense joy.


This happy change in the atmosphere compelled me to change the look of my blog. Let me know if it is readable or not. Till then I get lost in the nostalgia...

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

With TIME...


In a debate with time,
I lose, with a smile.

I know the big plan,
but not the daily answers.

In the debate, time laughs at me,
but like a satisfied loser,
I smile.

I might work hard,
and be a winner all the way,
but some answers,

are always with time,
just with time.

Like a guilty loser,
I wait,
with a smile...

(11:45 am, at the Knowledge Management Centre, NID.)

Some chai clouds!

It's 02:30 am, I am sitting in my room, tired after a happy day of work. The room's silent with this Abida Parveen song playing in my computer. The cool breeze coming from the balcony, is making the ambiance quiet and peaceful.
I want chai and unfortunately there's none. This urge to have chai is driving me more inquisitive, more curious, may be more crazy. I am in this crumpled cloud of imagination, which I am enjoying. I am sleepy and 'comfortably' tired, which takes me in that cloud to these questions which are not mine, they are everyone's. I thought I should share them.

When I get into these chai clouds, I see that we're all surrounded by so many smiles, so many joys, so many secrets which we hide and share throughout the day. These are rays which keep hitting our heads every hour. We choose to show interest in some, and choose to ignore some. Sometimes, we don't even realise and these 'joys' become more important than our existence. We don't know how.

Sometimes, we sit in a conversation quietly trying to make out what is actually the 'cause' of the conversation! We build up answers to questions which were never important. We keep on writing dialogues which take the script no where. We specialise in complicating silly things. If we look around and analyse, the major political disputes are those silly 'dialogues'!

We compete, we win, or we lose...We compete harder. But in the process we forget about the big question: "Did I LEARN?" It's as simple as that.

This fresh late night breeze from the balcony brings me back to the room from the chai cloud. Though I end up reading a thousand books on the existence of God, but I read nothing about the existence of ME! The breeze is nice and soothing. May be, these questions have no answers. Or I think the breeze is the answer to all such questions. Nice and soothing. It doesn't say anything, but still conveys everything.

I look around and there's no replacement for chai. Funny liquid! I write stories, I give birth to characters, but I am sure someone's writing my story too. So, this is an interesting case of many narratives within a narrative. Many lives in one life, or may be just many characters within one character.

The simple joys of life are right there, sometimes we plainly ignore them in the process of being 'cool'. What will the neighbour say, what will the colleague say, what will the seniors think... If there is so much thought behind a joy, then it isn't a joy anymore. Joys stay in clouds, clouds which you make. Clouds which take you to a position where there is this sensation of that lovely breeze (pretty much like the one in my balcony).

Joy has no languages, no conditions, no boundaries. It only has smiles, that too honest ones...SIMPLE ones.

It's 02:55 am, I am tired after a happy day. There's no chai but the chai clouds are making me think more... Abida Parveen is too good. It's late. Time to sleep. The joy diaries continue...

Saturday, August 20, 2011

MORE OF MY-CROW THINKING

As I kept speaking of democracy, corruption and freedom, the CROWS kept ignoring me. I shouted, "You are irresponsible citizens!". One of them replied, "You talk of freedom? We are already FLYING..." They disappeared into the skies.

Friday, August 12, 2011

That fog


It has been a long time since I visited this space, or in many ways, since I visited 'my' space. I had been busy shooting my diploma film, 'The Uljhu Journal'. hat was one journey which taught me a lot. Those 10 days we worked really hard, with good results.

But on the last day of shoot, we got to know that we have lost a day's footage. This was too big a shock to get on the last day of the shoot, when the actors would be leaving soon. For the next 2 days I took a break fro the film to figure out what to do next. What was really painful was that even after planning so well for months, I lost the footage because of someone's carelessness. Over the next 2 days, I realised that it was no use wasting time thinking about it, so I started editing the film.

Over this period I came up with the alternative of the lost footage. So, as I was editin, I would reshoot with my cinematographer and the available actors. This taught me a new thing. Before this, whenever I would finish shooting, I would never go back to the camera. But this incident opened that avenue. I didn't only shoot scenes which were a replacement for my lost footage, I also reshot a few shots which weren't satisfactory.

As I was getting over with this, a strange headache attacked me. I always had these headaches where the left part of my head would get attacked by a bunch of imaginary nails, piercing into it. The more I edited, the more it ached. After about 2 weeks of editing, I decided to rest. I let the headache take over. The pain remained forever, didn't let me sleep, didn't let me work, didn't let me think...

Meanwhile I got to know that I have Sinusitis. It was during this phase when the news of my film (Budhan Diaries) being short-listed in Jeevika film festival, Delhi came as a big relief. Sometimes, good news is more powerful than medical and physical pains.
It was time to go home to take the train (from Delhi) to Kolkata to attend a festival which was screening 2 of my films. I had made up my mind that I would go home and edit well for a week before going to Cal. I had also thought of going to the doctor to get a proper check up for the headache.

I reached Delhi. It was nice to meet my parents and Nish. But right after 2 days, on a sunday, I started vomiting. I would have have water i would puke. The whole day I kept puking...about 9-10 vomits. And there was gigginess... chakkar hi chakkar... I couldn't even sit. The doctor said, this is all because my body was tired. So he told me to sleep for a few days.

I wanted to sleep. But the way I was puking those yellow digestive fluids made my parents take me to the hospital. There i was put on saline prip- 3 bottles of Glucose. They said my body had lost a lot. So I needed to eat and sleep again. I was happy again. The doctors said it was because of lot of strain which my mind and body had taken over the last month or so. This brought me visuals of my shoot, my edit, footage-loss and many such things where I ignored my health (not to forget the scary headaches).

It's been one week since I got that check up done. This week, i have had a ball. I have been sleeping continuously, just waking up to eat or other equally important things. I am much better now, but there's little giddiness still there. Today I could look into the computer without any trouble in my head.

But I am seriusly bored of thid huge cloud of fog which forced me to sleep. I want to get out of it now and see the sunrise and sunshine. I need to get back to work now. Sometimes big-breaks kill the whole motive of a break. But good this happened, made me see a lot, learn a lot.

Meanwhile, I am meeting Nish tomorrow. I am planning to start my edit toorrow. Cheers :)

Monday, July 18, 2011

shaam

"Ek gum-sum dhalta din,
woh bheeni si shaam ki khusboo,
labon par chai ka woh meetha zayka,
na ho isse behtar andher raat ka intezaar."

Sunday, July 3, 2011

darr

"Dar toh hamesha andhere se hi lagta tha...Par jiss din aankhen kholi, toh UJALA khud khaufnauk sa ho gaya..."

Friday, June 10, 2011

My-crow thinking!

I said,"We live on lots of money,very expensive medicines, very high GDP's and other high stats! Do you have any of these? We're rich..."
The crows replied," We live on the never-ending skies, we breathe the unlimited supply of breezes, and we drink the never-ending water bodies. None of this can be counted. Now who's richer?!" The crows flew away and I kept thinking...

Friday, May 27, 2011

The Fight

Some told me to fight for the poor man, be a communist,
some told me to fight for more money, be a capitalist,
some told me to fight for allah-ram, be a fanatic,
some told me to fight for lost village lands, be a naxalite,
some told me to fight for the country, be a soldier,
but I just wanted to fight for what I liked, I just wanted to be a human-being...

I wrote this and then my friend Sambit Kumar Pradhan came up with this brilliant Hindi/Urdu translation of the same piece...

वो कहते हैं ग़रीब के लिए लड़ो- साम्यवादी बनो.
वो कहते हैं धन के लिए लड़ो- पूंजीपति बनो.
वो कहते हैं अल्लाह-राम के लिए लड़ो- कट्टरपंथी बनो.
वो कहते हैं छिनी ज़मीन के लिए लड़ो- नक्सली बनो.
वो कहते हैं देश के लिए लड़ो- सिपाही बनो.
मैं तो मगर अपनी चाह के लिए लड़ना चाहता हूँ,
मैं सिर्फ इंसान बनना चाहता हूँ

:)

Monday, May 23, 2011

THE MOUNTAIN TEMPLE








Years ago, the world saw the GODLY mountain,
the peak covered with heavenly clouds,
the slopes holding the purest of breezes.

Men and women worshiped the freshness of the mountain,
the beauty of the flowers,
they worshiped the honest heights,
so, they built a TEMPLE at the peak.

Seasons passed, men and women came from miles away,
to see the mountain temple.
There were innumerable people,
the breeze was pure no more,
the heights were honest no more,
there were just people and their greedy faith.

Today, centuries later,
there's a HUGE temple,
there are a million shops on the mountain,
there are guest houses and business plans,
but unfortunately, there's NO GOD!

(Images: Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, Andra Pradesh and Vaishno devi mata, Jammu and Kashmir)

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

My dry pastel experiments


That's my hand (first image). Then I did this (second image) with soft pastels. Felt good :)

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saturday, April 9, 2011

THE SEA

We do little deeds, and make a lot of noise.
Look at the sea, it's HUGE, still so full of peace...


(Wrote it in Feb 2011, sitting at the shore in Diu.)

Monday, March 28, 2011

25 years of celebrating Unity



Work and other things have been making me lazy enough not to upload stuff on this space. This piece has been long overdue.

It was a pleasant February afternoon. I had just finished my lunch
and was sitting under the mess (hostel). Medhavini walked up to me with a newspaper cutting from the Hindi paper Hindustaan. She had carried this story from back home (Sitapur) and now wanted it me to post on my blog so that more people from this space get to know it. I appreciate this effort of hers. So here goes the story...

Lucknow, 23rd December 2010
At the look of it, it seemed that the Akhara at the Alambagh area of Lucknow was gearing up for some procession, some fair or some wrestling championship. That's what Akharas are used for- wrestling or Kushti. But this one had a different story. On the contrary, it was gearing up for a day to celebrate PEACE.

Lucknow is the capital of the same state which has witnessed Babri Masjid which led to riots accross the country. In a time when we are still thinking about the recent Court verdicts on the Babri issue and the Godhra case, this akhara comes accross as a special space. The story goes back to 25 years.

Jaykaran, a Hindu farmer's son lived in the Bhilawa area of Alambagh area. He had started learning wrestling or Kushti as a part of his family tradition. At the akhara, Jaykaran became friends with Usman Khan, who was the son of Lucknow's renowned wrestler Nanhe Khalifa. They practiced kushti together at this very akhara. Then came, Sardar Kanwarjeet Singh, their third friend into picture. Singh was a not a wrestler himself. His family had shifted to Lucknow in 1947 during the partition. This bearded Sikh used to serve lassi to the wrestlers at the akhara.

Over a period of time, these three became very good friends, irrespective of their different religious backgrounds. In the time of communal differences, the friendship of Jaykaran, Usman Khan and Sardar Kanwarjeet was like straight out of some work of fiction.

But in December 1983, Sardar Kanwarjeet passed away. This untimely death of Sardar Kanwarjeet, left a deep impact on Jaykaran and Usman Khan. They couldn't get over the news. Over a period of time, this sad news affected their health, and both Jaykaran and Usman Khan passed away soon.

In the memory of their friendship, the akhara started organising a function every year since 1984. In this great example of communal unity, there was no representative of Christianity. Therefore, it was decided that this function would be organised every year on Christmas, the 25th of December.

This year the celebration of their friendship completes 25 years. Many people attended the function on Christmas of 2010. Sardar Kanwarjeet Singh's son Tejpal Singh Kohli, Jaykaran's son Dr. Desh Deepak and Usman Khan's son Taj Moahammad have been working hard together to keep this 'celebration' going.

They don't take any corporate sponsors or funds from the government. They collect funds from the people in the form of donations (chanda) to keep it going. The soil on the akhara is changed with these funds and a wrestling competition is organised. Many pehelwans or wrestlers from accross the country come to take part in this competition.

During the crisis

This annual 'celebration' at the akhara has always helped people come together during communal riots or tougher times. When it was organised for the first time, it was just 2 months after the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi was assasinated and the anti-Sikh riots were going on. But the organisers went ahead this, and this helped to a big extent in promoting peace.

In 1992 when the Babri Masjid was demolished, the then DM-SP of Lucknow did not allow the function to be organised, because of the communal riots in the country. But the organisers convinced the authorities, and went ahead with it. That year, the 'celebration' was very successful, and brought many people together. That event at the akhara in 1992, is still considered to be one of the best examples of communal unity in Lucknow.

Thanks Medhavini for getting this story to us. In this era, when politicians are hypocrites of the highest order, it is important for WE, the people, to respect each other as human-beings first, and let our religion, community and nation take a BACK seat.
May Jaykaran's, Usman Khan's and Sardar Kanwarjeet Singh's souls rest in peace.
Congratulating the organisers on the silver jubilee of this beautiful 'celebration' of communal unity.

(The story was originally published in Hindustaan, Sitapur edition, on 23 rd Decemer, 2010. Covered by Dayashankar Shukla Sagar. Medhavini Yadav is a batchmate of mine, studying PG Textile Design, at the National Istitute of Design.) (c) K. Harish Singh 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

शौक है

गुत्थे सुलझाने का,
धुँध में गुम हो जाने का,
शौक है

किस्से सुनाने का,
गीत गुन-गुनाने का,
शौक है

गिर के उठ जाने का,
बस चलते जाने का,
शौक है

खुशियों में डूब जाने का,
मीठे आंसू बहाने का,
शौक है

माटी पर नंगे पैर चलते जाने का,
बाँए से दाँय मुड जाने का,
शौक है

लम्बी साँसों में खो जाने का,
उड़ते-उड़ते सो जाने का,
शौक है

बेदखल लिखते जाने का,
लफ़्ज़ों में खो जाने का,
शौक है

और शौकीनों संग मुस्कुराने का,
कहीं दूर पहुँच जाने का,
शौक है

अँधेरे में दिख जाने का,
उजाले में छिप जाने का,
शौक है

सूरज को छू जाने का,
बेवजह थक जाने का,
शौक है

और शौक़ीन हो जाने का,
मुस्कुराते जाने का,
बस, ज़िन्दगी जीते जाने का,

शौक है
शौक है
शौक है...



Wednesday, February 23, 2011

हुक्का !

A friend of mine wanted me to write a couplet for an illustration of hers on the 'Sunday market' of Ahmedabad, selling artifacts and vintage stuff...

था जो शाहों-नवाबों की शान को क़ुबूल,
आज बिक रहा है चौक पर वो हुक्का फ़िज़ूल।

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Ek-rekh-er! (my one-liners)

Whenever I jumped to CATCH the stars, I didn't realise that I have LEFT the ground!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Hope you 'LIKE' this!


Coming back to my blog after a huge gap. I have been busy shooting my documentary ('Budhan Diaries') , have been working on a play for sometime ('Naam-enclature'), and then did some travelling too.


Feels nice to be back on this space. Over the last few months, the computer has taken another meaning, or should I say, the internet has acquired another meaning.


Every evening, I go back to my hostel room. After freshening up, I sit down on my PC. I switch it on, connect the internet, and the first address which I type is 'facebook.com'! This happens everyday like a default setting. Seriously it does!

After logging on to my account, i check the number of notifications I have. More the number, happier I am. It can be as random as your friend's friend liking your 100 year old picture, or some-sort of a stranger tagging you in a picture in which you are not even properly visible, but ya, it works!

And I am sure this is just not my story. Many people of my age group feel the same about similar things. This is not an addiction, as addictions can be fought with and you can get rid of them. This is a HABBIT, which you can't give away so easily. There have been debates and discussions that this is bad. But I am not sure if it is actually that bad.

A couple of weeks ago, our batch at NID decided to show our films to the whole NID community. We thought of putting up posters around the campus, but one of us made a 'page' on facebook about our event.
We uploaded posters made by friends and we got a great response. All friends and friends of friends or may be friends of friends of friends could see our film posters and they got to know about the event. People not even living in NID or Ahmedabad got to know about the event and were interested in it. This truly is the power of social networking.

The screening was successful with a jam-packed auditorium.

Then we were performing a play and in a seriies of hasty decisions on 9th Feb, we decided to do the play on 10th Feb...just on the next day.
Again, facebook came to our rescue. Just in 24 hours, we had posted so many status messages and posters, that the amphitheater during the play was full.

In a culture where word-of-mouth is the best mode of communication, things like facebook are a big boon. From uploading your best friend's picture for the world, to publically 'liking' random things, it gives every aspect of freedom which one wants.

But there's just one problem. I think this is the right stage to stop ourselves...may be to step back and think. When it started, facebook was a part of the world, but now the world is a part of facebook. That's scary.

If i say that your profile picture is nice, you won't believe me unless and until I 'comment' on your pic. Our walls on facebook have started to represent what we are. Unfortunately, we have started believing too much on 'walls' which don't even exist; on 'likes' which are not meant to be likes. They can be just any emotion. That's dangerous.

I know who are friends with me on facebook, but don't even smile at me when we meet personally. That's what 'walls' do to us. You can hide behind them and still operate.

Sometimes we don't even mean what we click or post. Recently I posted something on these lines "With Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, a whole generation of Indian classical music passes away."

It got 24 likes! I know they didn't mean it, but by 'liking' it, they made meanings unconcsiously. I know most of them meant 'RIP', but I don't know how to put it. There was something wrong when I saw 24 likes on the news of Pt. Joshi's death!

We're all in the same boat and we 'like' it.
There's so much of facebook in us these days that sometimes even in real life, we start searching for the 'like' button. I have heard people saying now they can't live without social networking.

I still don't know how much of it is wrong or how much is wrong. But to solve it I went back to my best friends- THE CROWS.

Going back to my My-crow thinking-

'All crows know each other, they know about all the surrounding communities of birds, they have events; they all communicate, they all comment. They all like or dislike each other...They do all this without being on Facebook!'


©K. Harish Singh 2011