Saturday, March 10, 2012

Na sumiran na kirtan koi, kewal kartvya mariyada!

Choda bhole ka choga maine Ram se preet lagayi..!
Bairagi bann maine jaane bhole se kya kya ratt lagayi!
Odh ke chola ghar ka, ab seeta banne ki aayi...
Bhuli beesri saari yaadein maine hawan-kund mein swuahi!

Aaj suhaga kanth mein dala maang bharayi maine...       
Pheron mein pag pag par, har pothi jhonki  agnee mein!
Raam millayi duniya saari, diye adambar bahute!
Gath-jode sang maine mann ke taar bandh liye saare..

Holi diwali aur navratre naam kar diye unke...
Shivratri ko bhang ke ghute bhar bhar gatke lote..
Mann bairagi na reh jawe prarn kar liya mann se!
Khaye chappan-bhog tod diye ab Shiv k vrat saare!

Durga baani ab tak baithi thi ab laxmi banne ki baari!
Naari hun na bhulungi main... yaad hai duniya daari!

Mile raajbhwan ya singhasan ya miljaye khandar
Reet suni ab manungi main chahe jaise raakhe Raghubar!

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Kaat Kaleja Dilli

A wish... 

One fine day, on the way to office, I was feeling very happy. Fortunately I was on time and I could see that morning was shining and the day was so refined. That day I  started my exercise routine and was feeling refreshing. It was a fine sunny morning of winter, in my Denims with full sleeves Hosiery Kurta and a long big buttoned Jacket I choose rickshaw to drop me at the Chandni Chowk Metro Station.  I must admit that I am not habitual yet I have accepted the odd scenes on the way to the Chandni Chowk metro station.

                                      So this is how it started: While I was in rickshaw near Old Delhi Railway Station Parking in front of Royal Hotel at fathepuri, I saw a pathan which I assumed from his clothing - a pathani suit, Muslim cap and that checkered cloth covering his both shoulders was ridding on his bicycle. He was carrying something on the backseat of his bicycle in a plastic white gunny sack. He could have managed two more rounds of his bicycle wheel, when with a sudden unexpected jerk from a passing auto made him to knock down on the road. I was in abrupt expression of – OH MY GOD!!! But before I could switch to my normal mode he left his cycle on the road, removed his black plastic slippers and took one in his hand and started running before the red traffic signal could turn to green. He managed to reach to the auto and banged the auto driver’s head with 4-5 bombs by his slipper. Such an out of the context reaction was unexpected but I was more surprised by the reaction of the auto driver who without saying a single word escaped in hurry and spectators laughed and clapped as he returned to the cycle, where another spectator was standing holding his bicycle, seemed impressed. I saw the pathan’s face who was still irritated by the whole episode did not bother to absorb the quick stardom, rode his bicycle and was off to continue his journey. I was smiling on this whole funny situation and yet I was thinking in my mind – “what a bad start that auto driver received, he was in such a hurry that he did not even halt to respond the ‘Pathan’. And even the Pathan, how short-tempered was he that he ran to the the auto driver to teach him a lesson in this way or he already started the journey with a weird start which resulted to this situation.

I was still occupied with my thoughts and started observing the daily shores of my journey to Metro Station covering Novelty Cinema, Fatehpuri Traffic Signal Chowk, Dr. Shayama Prasad Mukherjee Marg Market where there are many Travel and Tourism Small Shops which have recently reformed during CWG, they have recently segregated a lane for Cycle - Rickshaw where at times Municipality Men on Duty wearing MCD caps with lathi in their hands direct the escaping rickshaw wallas on the main road to stay in their lanes, where people on one side bathe in open and some young children in the groups discuss or share  the new object they have found like a radio, cigarette packets, used condoms and sometimes kachori and poori from some roadside Bhandara.  On a routine, I see two or three drunkards lay flat on their backs with loosen cloths and exploiting their dirty body (and sometimes they cross limits of nudity) many times I have seen dead bodies of such overdosed alcohol & drugs consumers on my day start which is sometimes covered by clothes and sometimes lay plain with flies kissing them on their last journey and people are hardly concerned and cross over them and resume the day. Daily remarks from the road side roamers and hawkers are complimentary with all these chaos. Surprisingly, it is the route to the entrance to Old Delhi Railway Station where every national or international visitor receives such a welcome just by stepping in the Capital of India and school children also pass from the same route. 

                                        However it is something I have always accepted as a part of our society, have just believed that all of them are different people which cannot change neither by themselves nor by the governance. Beside there are number of things which I love about Delhi, other than the reason that it is my Home. 

I reach to Kaudia-pull entrence of chandni Chowk Metro Station from where I entered from Delhi Public Library Gate I turned towards the elevator where I saw a school boy of 10th-11th standard coming out of the lift at a quick glance I saw him looking at me with improper astonishment which I casually ignored as it is something unavoidable in Delhi. At the same time, I realized that a middle aged man was entering the lift rapidly As I had started my exercise regime that day only, I  thought of switching to the stairs. I remembered that there were seventy-two stairs I counted sometime back and I was quickly stepping down. When I realized that it was the same school boy who left the lift few second back was besides me and he has slowed his footsteps as per my speed and came forward. Before I could realize he turned towards me and lifted casually his left hand and touched my torso on the right and started running. I ran behind him yelling, angrily but he ran and boarded the lift again and moved to the Ground level. Furiously managed to control my breath I moved towards the entrance of the metro gates, i noticed that people where gazing me awkwardly. I was red with mixed feelings of anger, irritation, embarrassment and humiliation as I could still feel the gentle touch of his hand on me. It was more the feeling of hatred! 

                                             I generally read books on my journey and sometimes carry my laptop too, I sometimes keep my wallet in hand along with my mobile phone but today I was feeling dishonored and scared what if he would have snatched any of my belonging I couldn’t have able to chase him. I couldn’t read a single word. 

Few days back I was at home waiting for my fiancée to return home he recently switched his job to a luxury car company in Gurgaon from where he commute via metro to Noida it is almost two hour journey I was waiting for him to reach home when I received a call from an unknown number.  It was him. He was kidnapped for 2 hours outside his office and was robbed by taking his laptop and other accessories. They made him withdraw his salary from various ATMs and then they left him somewhere in Gurgaon from where he managed to reach to a house and call us. After two days Haryana Police managed to catch those robbers in one of the encounters after another robbery. Where we came to know in last 3 months they have number of cases of robbery and women-molestation against them. I was unable to sleep for many nights after this incident, horrified with thoughts of what not they must have done or said to him. 

We have been hearing many cases of bike gangs, X Gang, Y Gang, this robbery and that murder. There were more the two dozen cases in last month of short temper resulted in murders and of young rapist. That school boy I encountered at the metro station was in his teen who was preoccupied with his lust in the morning. 

A month before these circumstances I was shopping in Chandni Chowk with my fiancée. When in a shoe store after purchasing a pair of new sandals I was told by the shopkeeper in friendly tone: “beta, be careful of your laptop bag, it is chandni chowk, you never know.”

I understanding that he is unaware that I belong to chandni chowk only, replied: “Don’t worry uncle I am also part of this chandni chowk”

I was joked by my fiancée later that I was commented by somebody standing in my chandni chowk to be careful with it and he made an absolute fun about  it and had a good laugh, knowing how I always get annoyed if somebody say something inappropriate about my Homeland. I was totally avoiding his reactions and was taking those casual jokes as sweet remarks between both of us. I knew, inside he was always aware how much our capital – my home mean to me.

But after all these ongoing reckless episodes I have asked my brother to call me when he will reach to metro station so that I will come out. I do not roam around and also taking special measures to ensure my safety. In short, I am scared, have controlled and jailed myself keeping my liberties aside. Although living in a middleclass Brahmin family we hardly stay late at night or roam around in abandoned places but my journey to the office and Sunday afternoon shopping have also reduced to locked, dependent and short-crossings. I admit that I am feeling unsafe in my Home – My Delhi.

This writing piece is not particularly about me but it is a wish: I know many people love Delhi the way I do and god forbid, knowing many such stories they have spared out to encounter any such situation but if they will, they can also feel they way I am feeling today. I really wish some miracle will happen and all this could end. Our Delhi will not remain to road side poor people who are habitual to their daily assaults or high-society, lavish-class who are unapproachable to these situations. I wish all of us who use Local Transports and walk on road could live freely in Delhi and will not feel unsafe like me. 

Thanks & God Bless You!!!

Friday, December 31, 2010

Gunahon ka Devta - My viewpoint - "A sincere prayer "

A big thank to Deepika and Trivikram for sharing this treasure of emotions by Dharamveer Bharti..

Gunaho ka Devta

Going through one of the bestsellers of Hindi Literature, I felt fortunate, shattered and numb at the same time. I was living the period of 50’s of independent India yet there are number of other reasons for feeling lucky. I love reading past though I know many people take it as complete waste of time, even though I am one of those small section of people who believe in sticking to the old days by reading, watching, listening and yes talking about past. So this is how I started reading Gunaho ka Devta by dharamveer Bharti. I was smiling when I read initial pages of the book and the names of the character: Kapoor aka Chandar, Dr. Shukla, Sudha, Ravindra Bisariya. We hardly hear such names now days and when we are living in Metros. I inclined to read it further and couldn’t stop for another five days. It worked as an addiction whenever in office or after office I used to get time I used fall in to those 248 pages book.

One of the best things somebody can absorb (I am using absorb because this is how one who want can actually take things by just reading) from this novel is “fursat” - Leisure which used to be around even 20 years back from now. Seating and looking at sky in the evening, feeling the freshness and emptiness after rain, lonely summer allover around and sitting quite in the company of those who know you well, listen & understand your silence. We hardly get time to sit with our dear ones sitting silently is something unbelievable in our running lives.

Moreover the dilemma which we often feel in our every relationship the story of Chander, Sudha and a character like Binti is such a milestone to achieve. Without taking much time I will directly come to the point. This Novel is about Sudha and her mentor, friend, companion, soul mate and her lord Chandar. Sudha met Chander when she was in her teen’s .Wild cat - without mom Sudha had no sense of emotions except anxieties which made her fall into loud cries.  Chander an ideal student of Dr. Shukla (Father of Sudha) always calmed her by scolding her with a protection of being around gradually made Sudha a dependent on Chander. This bond strengthens automatically with chander’s declaration of authority over-powered Sudha and Sudha confidently was covered around chander’s soul as an aura of a belief. A belief which was beyond - love, respect and any apprehension of physical intimacy but conviction and worship. Which states well the worshiping - a God and conviction by the god for his disciple.

While reading this novel I felt numerous jolts: How somebody who is supreme and a god of idealism can fall into traps of dilemmas of life and his devotee who is as soft as a petal is strong and can follow a command of his god like a endeavor of discipline, accompanying suffering and pain. When a witness of such bond who underwent the same pain of the god and his devotees incline to enter and wish to stand beside this relation such as Binti.  Turmoil of life which can split your heart in pieces many times.

Mr. Bharti himself said: "…While writing this novel I experienced same type of feelings, which one does, when one is praying with full faith in the time of deep distress.... It appears as if same very prayer has been ingrained in my heart and I am repeating it...."

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Memoirs of Diversity of a Chilly Capital

To my choti buaji, for inspiring me to express...

Delhi - people say it is the city of people with heart – “Dilli dil walon ki”. In my observation, after spending almost more than two decades in this city, Delhi is the city of changes and adaptation. Delhi keeps changing. Although Delhiites adapt all the changes easily nevertheless media shows their choices with their highlighted reasons only. Almost all the changes are predefined which help the people of the Capital to be prepared with upcoming changes, for example: Change in the ruling party, changes in constant Indian festivals (which lasts for 365 days on Delhi’s calendar with a new occasion everyday and as the city of the mix cultures, Delhi enjoys all the festive seasons), Change in legislative Sessions (Budget, Monsoon and Winter Sessions), Events such as: Commonwealth, India Fashion Week, Delhi Marathons, Cricket Matches, events at Pragati Maidan from Trade Fair to Textile Fair, Republic day Parade to Gay Parade,a number of Art and Culture Activities in Delhi Haat, IHC, Mandi House and CP, Delhi’s big fat Weddings and their Barat and what not. But here is one change which Delhi welcomes forever and always stands in good spirit for it - “the seasonal change.”

Morning Freeze
Change in the climate of the city is so obvious and beautiful that Delhi not only embraces every season with love but also celebrates all the flavours with pride. From springs to burning summers and then pre -monsoon showers, rains to Dengue, Chikungunya and Malaria and then comes autumn. After that begins the season of wedding and November’s pink winter which gradually changes to sheer white winters in December and January. 


In  November, cool breeze and winter fragrance on the roads, in the mornings & nights, start giving a shiver in the spine and warm jackets and woolen shawls start creating their spaces in our wardrobes. Our mothers start sending woolens to the drycleaners meanwhile blankets and quilts are to be seen hanging on Terrace parapets for sunny rays to take away that naphthalene balls’ smell that stays in our nostrils for days. I still remember when in school, we were supposed to wear pullover because of those circulars, the only thing which kept me sneezing was not that morning freeze but the naphthalene smell from my woolens.   
People I have known for years wait for Giani to release Gaajar Ka Halwa every season in November and so do I. While arranging possibilities to visit Trade Fair we ensure we’ll grab almost everything best and new this year from the fair, related to food, household stuff, wall hangings or handlooms.

In the same month, with Devuthani Ekaadshi the season of wedding starts and almost every banquet, Farm House, Dharmshala, School & colony grounds and even the Gali next door is also ready with shamiyaana for small weddings, engagements, ladies sangeet and DJ Parties. Many new love-stories or to be precise short love stories start and end in these 2-3 days family functions. More or less every 3rd fufaji in these weddings turns off for any such issues related to their pride and in some cases, Jija jis, maama jis, bade tauji or groom’s father or anyone with such a status serves the purpose to add a spice in Indian Marriages while drinking coffee on the sofa in the late night Phere-ceremonies.

Steadily, we move to December. When the planet takes pledges for World’s Aids Day, we are still busy in buying expensive stuff for our marriage functions. Somehow, thinking of December few things strike in my mind - Pink & Red Color , Christmas, Candy floss, Sweet Corns, Songs from Kal ho na ho, Wedding, Angithi, Snow (though I haven’t seen it myself), fog, lights, Carols, wreathe, Mungfali (Peanut) ki Gajjak, shopping for new woolen stuff and Oranges while enjoying winter’s warm sunny rays. We can buy everything from new colorful socks to boots and overcoats from chocolate cakes to coconut cookies from M Block GK Market to Janpath and Sarojini Nagar everything from anywhere, we do not even spare road side popcorn seller by waving 10 Rupees Note from cars’ windows. New movie releases are generally talk-of-the-town as big budget films with exclusive star-cast try to create their marks at the end. Boiled eggs, omelets, Aallo ke Paranthe, Garma-Garam Chai and Coffee compliments our breakfast and Gaajar Mattar, Aaloo-methi, Panner ki Sabzi, Egg curry, chicken and mutton share their own spaces in the menu during lunch and dinner.

Mid December is however exclusive for Romance, Mid -Term Exams, Christmas Day rehearsals in Convent Schools and our darling “Mungfalis (Peanuts)”. If anywhere in DMRC they are segmenting the report of garbage elements, charts related to peanut flakes should increase in this  month. In schools, girls usually fold their skirts twice to decrease the skirts’ length above their knees and boys generally wait for breaks, sports periods for additional sports activities in the sunny grounds where girls too join them to watch their extra-curricular talents. At homes, we enjoy our quilts and television where we do not intend to switch except TV channels or ourselves for uncontrollable natural calls. However, Mungfali comes here too in the form of Gajjak, Roasted or salted.  And by this time our lips and cheeks start complaining the temperature for the need of Lip balms and cold creams.

Late December, increases the fog and chill in the atmosphere. News related to road accidents increases in the newspapers. I remember, we often use to crack jokes in the school bus for non-existence of our school building because of fog and now we suffer late comings in offices which is the result of heavy fog and traffic Jams that is quite a foggy revenge. 
By the Christmas, Churches in Delhi look beautiful with light, decorations and Christmas Carols. Group of friends, office staff, event Management companies and small DJs (like Rinku music party for Dance party, Mata-di-Bhetein and Ladies Sangeet) start arranging for New Year’s Celebrations. The variety of theme parties and new years’ resolution of celebrities spreads everywhere on entertainment channels and newspapers whereas liquor shops celebrate their maximum profits in these days.
Lohri in Delhi

Republic Day Parade @ Rajpath

 With one night celebration of New Year, we keep greeting every one on SMS’ and while shaking hands with everyone for first-two weeks of January, and then Delhi gets busy with another celebration on the tune of "sundar-mundariyun" on Lohdi. I forgot to add, wedding season does not end even in January. It lasts till early March. However, the art of celebration in Delhi is always on the peak. In another 13 days Delhi will again rejoice with republic day celebrations. Rajpath smiles in pride and every Indian salutes Indian constitution and our defense forces even after number of speculations through-out the year on the system. Delhi again decorates like a newly-wed-bride for three days however, not that every Delhiite exclusively enjoys all these small and big expressions, events and celebrations but it is something which is now part of Delhi’s Culture. We, as Delhiites do not celebrate all these occasions as a pride of Delhi yet it is an integral part of ethnicity that we stagnantly ignore or enjoy. Nevertheless Delhi is nothing without this diversity.

Delhi on the eve of National Days
Special Thanks to My dearest Pal Pooja M Khushaldas for her time for reading the final draft of the blog and to my Delhi for keeping me lively just as she is...

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Two Bottom Line Story

To my chotti buaji for inspiring me to express...

I was very happy and keen to join a company which is doing a social cause and working closely with rural women of India and improving their living standard. I just dressed in my Kurta and Pajami for another office day when I agreed to appear for an interview in this NBFC (Non Banking Financial Company). I met the most humble HR in my career. He was a little shy in talking and I thought that he didn’t like me. Already annoyed for passing through Azadpur area, I noticed that their office was in somewhat 30 to 40 years old building, which in first sight was ready to collapse. When I was asked to go back and wait for the final call I became furious and I blasted on my consultant for dropping me from an established IT firm to this Municipal office. After I received a call from them to reappear for the final round I thought of taking some notes on the term Microfinance. From this moment my life took a turn. Spending an hour on Wikipedia, Grameen Bank, Ford Foundation, CGap and few more Microfinance Institutions’ websites I realized it is a web of such institutions working on this social cause.

The day I met their CMD on the day of my final Interview, I realized how keenly people are working on providing financial assistance to these low income people. On my way back to home I told my family that I have reached to the right place and this is the right job for me and I will be able to give my best contribution to this sector. I wasn’t wrong, every day in past 3 months have taught me something more and have boosted me with some more energy. I was hired to head the communication department and to form a new department (Social Performance Management). I expanded the team; thankfully my boss and my subordinates are extra-ordinarily humble, enthusiastic and creative humans. I started reading about this sector more and realized that lot of media critics have lot of speculations, number of stories on high rate of interest, big institution entering into IPO and couple of communities - supporting social goals. By that time I was still relieved in my mind that it is all the social cause and nothing more.

One such evening after office, I was talking to a friend who carelessly commented on my work profile “people have amazing ideas for profit making.” Then it clicked in my mind – yes, that’s the story, while people were busy in calculating their figures for profit the idea of social responsibility slipped. Two decades of Microfinance Sector, by reaching and providing financial services to millions of people for their productive needs, still critics are only making stories with all no-no-no and not good thoughts, still there is a need of reminding them that this sector is providing a social contribution as well.
                                        This is how the need of Social Performance came into existence: All such Microfinance Institutions (MFI) were requested to report to standards for their social performance, just like they have annual audited statements and financial reporting for Banks, funders and their investors. They were requested to notice how responsible they are to their employees, clients, community, society and environment. It worked; many big and small MFIs approached to seminars and started reporting to measure their Y-O-Y growth on social performance. There are many delusions in the process and yet it is amazing from common man’s point of view, this is how my mother puts this whole sector in her words, “I am thrilled by just realizing that how small groups of 5-6 rural women form a center of 25-30 women and choose their group leaders and center leaders under the supervision of the loan officers, they qualify themselves as a client and request for their financial requirement on their productive needs. They ménage and in discipline follow the sessions before loan disbursement and meanwhile learn to write their name, undergoes training on financially literacy for managing their funds. She waits and repays patiently week by week for a year. Also, she returns after sometime for new loan or after few cycles she graduates her from below the line to above the national poverty line. It is a great example of learning, discipline, leadership, patience and unity”

On the lighter note I agree with my mother and also from a broader perspective on this sector I see it as small and big MFIs are stretching their hands working professionally for profits, reaching to the remote areas for the new clients and employment generation for the village people and knowingly and unknowingly spreading a message of two bottom lines for many enterprises they are supporting – Financial Growth + Social Responsibility
I sum up the whole matter in the last question - I read somewhere while reading many article on this social Business: “Do social business require a special breed of entrepreneurs, or can they be easily implemented by entrepreneurially minded individuals guided by a social passion.” I don’t have an answer to this question but whoever fits into the above mention categories should work and spread the message of this two bottom line story and do their contribution to this sector for creating a world without poverty.