Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ah ! Hope!!

Hope ushers with stealthy footsteps like the Dawn amidst dark. The hopefulness changes the texture of things small and routine. The buzz of an alarm in the morning seems welcome; the getting -ready-for -the -walk looks like preparing for the celebration of the day; the steps on a walk become swifter, more brisk; the breathing resonates the music of steps; the target landmark gets stretched probably to enhance the joy of inhaling-exhaling.

Hope leaves behind the heaviness of despair and cajoles one to join and sing the very fact of being.

Hope makes possible the existence of Dreams. It strengthens and enables their fulfilment.

We need so many things to live but only Hope is suffice to make us cross vicissitude of life and survive.

Hope has serious competitors in Joy, Love, Beauty, Peace and Abundance. Without Hope accompanying and implicitly abound,  none of them possesses any sheen, significance, meaningfulness, isn't it?

When Hope reins, small joys fill. Even a state of penury cannot shatter and wide armed Peace holds and safely keeps in its secure fold facilitating sleep even when the rough storms howl and Time seems adamant to play foul.

Love enables Hope find its feet. When Despair looms large, engulf, sinks, dooms, it is Hope that lifts, heals and like the benevolent Santa Claus keeps beneath the pillow the gift wrap of a tomorrow.

Hope abounds in beauty, shines in Love, symbolises Abundance. Peace follows naturally, spontaneously and fills the chinks and sooths the bruises that Despair, at times, leaves behind.

Of all the things, sentiments created by the Master, Hope stands apart, taller. The beauties of the world get the meaning of their being from Hope. Devoid of Hope's blessings, Joy, no wonder, has always has its 'hands on his lips, bidding adieu'.

Sumedha Kataria

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Certainties in this uncertain world

Certainties in this uncertain world

The only thing certain about life is : it is uncertain.

We plan for the posterity and not a moment we are sure about.

Most of the uncertain things are beautiful and the certain dreadful. Life offers all the charm, romance, joy with its know-not-what's-going-to-be- next.

World sustains only on uncertainties-hopes, dreams, imagination.

I heard : 'Retirement from work is as certain as death'. I was shocked and found the comparison unkind. Meek, whisper like murmur submitted : 'It is more sad that retirement preceds death'. It left me aghast. I had never thought of retirement along those lines. With grey hair asserting and weight loss not much obliging and motivation levels lying low with little outcome, I was not really prepared for the hurt when queried: 'must be two three years left ? ' Took me a second to gulp down the quizzing as I found it very insulting like directly asking the age from a woman.

All working people, I feel, think a lot, plan so much for the life after retirement. Mostly it is in terms of financial investments, pension and medical plans, insurance policies, calculation of PF and PPF and pension plans. Do we really prepare ourselves for the real, heavy, mind boggling emotioanl upheavel which is immanent fall out of retirement ? I don't think so.

Hard to believe but it has been thirty one years that I have been working. Cannot imagine what my life could have been without my work. I have loved my work whether it was teaching or as a civil servant. It is a passion with me, mo gain saying the fact. On it hinges my life's meaning, significance and purpose. Literally with blood, sweat and tears I have worked, put my heart and soul into it. Such huge investment!! Naturally, once deprived of it, it is going to be catastrophe !

But o k a y, its fine... Life is more important than work, isn't it? Do we give life as much importance ? To healthy, happy, comforting, meaningful, joyous life? Life full of music and charm, grace and grandeur, substance and meaningfulness and not just full of 'looking before and after' and pining for 'what is not'. Honestly, there has never been much of time to give serious thought to it. And then it may be too late to 'think', they say.

Work is life force and I think, we are afraid of whole lot of time at our disposal and not having to go to place of work. Besides, its ageing, too that we are afraid of. As long as we are able to deliver, keep moving on, it is respectable and basis of our self esteem. But then handing over the whole of credit for our own esteem to the work that we do, perform is being unkind to ourselves. We, for sure, are important and must matter as such.

There is basic tendncy to do something worthwhile and remain busy like an ant so shall be even when the 'Governor is pleased to retire...'

Why should one wait for what is certain? It will come when it will. True, I am yet to visualise the place where life after retirement will be spent till His pleasure and what the living would be like. In course of time, this aspect, too would get addressed once the dye has been cast. Right now it feels good to live one day at a time and when each day passes joyously, contentedly and peacefully, its silent thankfulness to Him at the end of the day. Amidst horrifying revelations of what rough weather can do to multitude of humanity, this moment we breathe is the only certainty. Rest is only history in the making, isnt it?

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Pain, pain go away....

Pain has all the components that beauty and joy and love imbibe: intensity, ability to affect not just mind, heart and body, but, soul, too. It has the ability to touch, sweep anything that comes in its ambit. Adroit Pain loves to penetrate, permeate and pervade.

Pain loves privacy, safety of a cocoon, withdrawal unto oneself, isolation and self-indulgence, luxury of brooding.

Its childlike nature shirks to meet the love-ful eyes that have the capacity to bare it, melt it, wash it and shoo it away. Naturally, it fears annihilation.

Weathers of any and every kind possess ability to sprout Pain and make it grow, enhance, bloom.

Pain seizes like scorpion’s tentacles and one gives up, letting the hold tighten further. It wrings all energy. Life sustaining hope is its first casualty. It halts time, brings life to a standstill, freezes time and the most natural thing as breathing requires an effort when Pain reins. Regular and repeated attacks of authoritarian Pain limp, close, shut and still.

Sometimes it is accompanied by a reason-a loss, an end but sometimes it comes from the backdoors of mind, hits on the back and causes a hard fall. Its complex behavior chagrins, annoys, maddens, agonizes, hurts but it doesn't stop. It can stoop to levels to cause a heart ache human mind fails to fathom at times the justification for.

Sometimes like an unplanned conception, the seeds of pain grow in the deepest recesses of heart and when it grows, it’s difficult to abort it. The process as such causes huge sense of irrevocable loss. Also, something dies within.

Nature has umpteen examples by which it glorifies pain by enabling sweet melodies blossom from thorn-birds and their likes amongst humans. Nevertheless, the charm, beauty and music emanated from Pain is accompanied by loneliness and isolation in love. On the contrary, Joy too renders music, beauty and depth to its creation and this paradox is the hardest to understand. It has baffled mankind since times immemorial.

It is not matter of choice but perforce that one awaits Joy, shuns Pain but like a reckless being, it cares the less and asserts its being where it finds the weak spot, the vulnerable hole to pierce through, shred, tear apart. And who bothers how long it takes to seal the wounds, patch things, co-join, make it workable.

At the fag end of my life I want to learn to 'say NO' to Pain in all its hues, varieties, colours, textures, forms and shapes. Have lived with it, loved it, nourished and nurtured it, seen it flourish and drown me in its unstoppable deluge.
No more. Now,no more.

With passage of time, I have seen its modes, moods, elements and components. Now I can see it coming from the distance afar. I feel Pain has realized that it is unwelcome; therefore, it hesitatingly approaches me, stalks me at times but cannot attack me from behind now. It has to come to the front, face me, challenge me, give me fair opportunity to counter it, prove my mettle and only when I give up after the fight; it takes over me-not before that.

Monday, June 3, 2013

Thanks Is Such A Small Word

'Full many a gem of the purest ray serene
The dark unfathomed caves of ocean bear;
Full many a flower are born to blush unseen
And waste their sweetness on the desert air'.
(Thomas Gray)

In this our dear world where inconsistency and its-undergoing - continuous-changes are the hall marks, some things, nay, some people stand apart. Involuntarily and unknowingly they enrich it, add meaning to the lives of a few by just being there.

I feel so fortunate and blessed to have such people who have stood by me in thick and thin, absolutely selflessly giving and caring and showering affection unconditionally and thereby have made my life's journey smooth, convenient, comfortable. I am feeling acutely conscious how callous I have been to hardly ever acknowledge their contribution in making me feel special, valued, loved and above all so much respected.

Over two and half decades they have been there almost noiselessly with their inconspicuous presence made conspicuous only on my birthday or with congratulatory compliments on my having got some recognition-social or official. Most noteworthy has been their presence when the going was tough, traumatic, tiresome and when darkness loomed large with all its frightening apprehensions, they were there like the unseen strength, holes of light and by being there in the thick, they handed me hope and courage to go on unfailingly.

Uncountable are the gestures that they asserted their being with me especially in my hours of need and deprivation and hopelessness. At the same time numerous are the instances when an unexpected call or a visit with a bouquet or a gift would bring cheer. Honestly, I cannot even recall how often I have turned to them for a small errand or a big job without deliberating much nor expecting either but they have n e v e r let me down. I know they must have gone out of the way often only to facilitate the fulfilment of my that particular hour's wish and requirement howsoever mundane and routine or impending, urgent.

I confess I myself have so often forgotten their birthdays but they would gently remind me-sometimes the next day without a complaint and I used to feel guilty as to how on earth I could forget it!!

In their own hour of personal injury or trouble I have hardly ever been of any help and more often than not I would come to know of it only when the unkind tide had passed.

I would like to tell them that they have made me feel very rich and at times complacent, too, for I had them to count for sure as friend, mentor. It feels good that undefinable relationships nurtured over years become assets one can only feel proud of and grateful to God for.

Thinking reveredly of two persons -both of them may be too shy to be named herein. To one of them I am wishing happy birthday and to another a belated happy birthday after ten days.

Thank you-both of you-for being there. Bless you. Pray for your well being, health and happiness.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

An Extra Mile

Only last evening my study table arrived-a simple, matter of fact, small, economical thing but a piece of beauty that I have gifted myself. After perhaps ages my- this- pampering-of-myself has enabled me sit and write. shall I not say thanks to it? I sure do.

Once a mentor-a voracious reader and a master spinner of words -during a discussion on when we lack self-confidence et al said: 'when you are not confident,wear it.' And it really helps!! Sometimes we literally wear it. Gone are the days when I worked in FC College, Hisar and wearing a smart dress would bring instantaneous enthusiastic compliments-something that doesn't happen in male dominated work environs.

My niece Mira had just turned teens. I saw her standing before a mirror, looking at herself from varied angles and suddenly she said stylishly: 'M e e ra, you are so beautiful, I love you'. I was initially taken aback, amused and whenever that image of hers flashes before my eyes, it brings ample smiles. It was pleasant learning experience that oft stands in good stead.

'Dare not treat me here any less than you would a queen'-a cute small hanging when gifted to me was an eye opener! I realised I was and I am a queen-pampered, spoilt to the core, wayward, moody but of course a very special person to myself in my cocoon!

It does mean going an extra mile to gift oneself an expensive hair-do or a facial, an exquisite stationery or an enviable electronic item but whenever an initiative as such becomes a reality, it for sure boosts and makes one feel deservedly pampered and cared for.

Friends and kin do it more, more frequently and surprise us with their uncanny ability to touch where it matters so much. Be it through the choicest food preparation or a secretly kept packed box before departure which one gets to open only after the journey starts and I tell you, it so often chokes me with joy and blessedness and only the moistened eyes and choked throat silently utters: Thank you.

Infact He, the master planner, too goes an extra mile at times to boost the morale and brings cheers like 'happening' of my daughter becoming mom of a healthy baby !!

The very fact that when mercury plays Lara and amidst heat of scorching sun we find blooming 'amaltas'-its His protecting pampering, isn't it?

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

The Transition

Its one of  the most commonly used phrases: change is the law of Nature. All things born must undergo the constant process of change. Change is a phenomenon that touches time, space, age. When it occurs it brings along the mix of energies-both negative and positive in all things, events, persons' lives witnessing this the most constant of all factors-the transition.

Transition affects. Yes, it does. On one hand it un-settles, sort-of uproots, jerks, sometimes hits like a bolt from the blue, thuds, shakes, makes it all hazy with uncertainties at physical, emotional, personal, professional levels looming large. it feels like undertaking a journey to the unknown ill-equipped, packing difficult to be done. On the other hand there so much of romance in a transition with a change in weather, ambience of a place, faces one is going to meet, paths beckoning to traverse. It feels as pleasant as getting up one fine  morning and finding new leaves having sprouted all of a sudden and replaced the leaf-less branches of a plant or the tiny seasonal flowers blooming and wishing one 'good morning' with a smile unmatched, cute,unexpected,too.

When Nature brings about these changes, they are partially expected and also waited for. We are often prepared for these and also tend to believe the dictum 'nature never did betray the heart that loves her.' The change from foggy early mornings and freezing winters  to pleasantly sunny
Spring to heat of summers to the approach of autumnal blues and 'seasons of mists and mellow fruitfulness'- the chain of changes are part of our lives, we accept them almost un-complaining.

When destiny does it with a frown, it chokes, has the capacity to close us, shut us and put us in dungeon of grief.  It  bears the brunt of non-acceptance as the transitions as such in life, life patterns, people around, relationships are not always welcome and more often than not-unexpected like rude shocks. When destiny smiles, it fills lives with elation and gratitude. 

The transition is imminent and whether favorable or not, it has to be accepted stoically. There is nothing much which can be done about it. Like transition from childhood to adolescence does see a Phatik in all of us from whom everything contrary to what he does is expected.

The transition may seem unwelcome and test our resilience, patience and maturity but its essential to shake our complacences, make us grow further through exposure to different environs, auras and challenges. No gainsaying the fact that it also helps us outgrow our own fears as well as notions of stability and satisfaction at a work place.

So Transition dear, I welcome you with hope of a better tomorrow. 

Friday, January 18, 2013

A Journey By Bus

I really donot know why I had not undertaken  a bus journey for such a long time. I have always loved travel by train. Thr moment I board a train, I feel so free, relaxed, away from the humdrum, with myself and feel  totally at home amidst alien faces. That feel fills me partly because I have generally gone by train  only on long journeys.

A bus journey is different as its for shorter duration most of the time. I feel like a child who claps at every jump the bus makes with utter disregard for a speed breaker leaving behind a shaken hoarding of ; Attention: Speed Breaker Ahead. Who bothers for a vulnerable back as its presumed that in Haryana especially we all have strong backs.

With hordes of audio messages on railway stations,one tends to feel Railways having some  time sense but roadways buses ply on the principle oft scribbled on back of trucks: ey to yun ee chaalegi.  A HR bus stops and moves at the whims and fancy of its driver solely. If he is happy go lucky natured, its speed matches a loudly played fastamfast filmi song and (God forbid!) If he is angry then one may end up reading numerous rounds of Hanuman Chalisa or Mahamrityunjya mantra!!

Thanks to our ever on the rise religious inclinations and swelling number of devotees, there is never any dearth of bhandaras or chhabeels nor shobhayatras and prabhatferis on the vast expanse of our National and state highways. I bet every season is a festival season with few exceptions.

Bus journeys provide quite a relief from cell phone communication as there is no way you can listen or the receiver may hear a meaningful word or sentence with constant honking of horn for the outsiders  in neck to neck race with loud music for the insiders.

Interestingly, all the messages scribbled inside the bus are supoosed to be flouted only with a vengeance e.g. Just above driver' s seat-speed limit 65 km; no smoking, 1,2,3 seat par sona mana hai, please give seat to lady passengers etc. Only exception is the  reminder: 'passenger is responsible for his jaan, maal' -very true, indeed.

A bus gives more protected feeling than a car journey-may be because of number of people in it or due to its giant size-any guesses?

I think a bus  or train journey offers exclusive space amidst crowd  and that can be really creative if only it could be minus unnecessary loudness.

And see! It costs one tenth the amount we incur on a car journey. Tell me if a bus journey is really not  worth undertaking once in a while?

Friday, January 11, 2013

From Despair to Hope

'From despair,thoughts lead only to one direction-hope
'. Dr Christian Bernard

There is a very thin thread between hope and despair (and vice versa). I have seen the citadel of positivity crumbling to zero energy at the flick of an eye, a tone or a tenor or the psychic impression gathered at the subtlest level so hard to define and pinpoint. I feel there is no way one can ever be complacent about being always-positive. Even the people who seem to be negativity incarnate can at times be a real support to a kin in despair !!

It bewilders me often whether I was more positive, full of hope, faith when I was growing or now when I am though more than half of my life and have seen it in its varied hues and colours-bright, shining sometimes and sometimes dark, gloomy: have witnessed stoically (and waited patiently) for the victory of the righteousness and honesty over the vicious and false in the land of dharma. I remember vividly how my father hated words  of despair and he was positivity personified. Had seen him oozing with hope amidst deadly testing almost devastating circumstances on social, economic and emotional fronts. His outlook on life was infectious and we inherited this virtue. I have witnessed the truism of the dictum: 'my faith, my trust  that tomorrow will be better/ even the bullets cannot shatter.'
True, I have been in pits of gloom at times and surrounded by the darkness but invariably I have clung to hope of better next day. This I deem as my sole strength.

I endorse to the Christian belief that despair is a sin. I pitied how Dr Faustus failed to 'avoid despair' and 'call for mercy'. ('I see an Angel hovering over thy head/ with a veil full of precious grace/ ready to pur the same into they head/ then call for mercy, avoid despair'- Christopher Marlowe)

And I also feel its easier to get into but so very difficult to get out of. It hurts me when young people/ students commit suicide and sets me athinking whether we as teachers, parents are not responsible for this somewhere having failed to inculcate the appreciation for the positive and rejection of the negativity. There, for sure, is a Chiquitita alive is each one of us who can see that 'sun is still in the sky and shining above' us and this can sail us through.

Many a green isle needs must be
In the deep wide sea of Misery
Or the mariner, worn and wan,
Never thus could voyage on..

(P B Shelley)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 

पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 
 वतन सच! बहुत याद आया   
बहुत याद आई धूप यंहा की 
रंग मौसमी और रुख हवा का 
वो गर्मी, पसीना, बरसात अपनी सी,
वो तम देर सांझ का 
वो रूहानी रंग सुबह का 
पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 
अपना वतन सच! बहुत याद आया   

बहुत याद आया लाड उमड़ता माँ का 
छुटपन अपना सा ,बड़प्पन उन का 
ख़त पिता के , वो युग डांट डपट का 
रूठे से बचपन को मनाता 
इसरार  उन का 
पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 
अपना वतन सच! बहुत याद आया   

बहुत याद आई यंहा की माटी 
सोंधी सी खुशबु 
यूं ही बरबस आँख डबडबाती 
खुला आ आसमान अपने घर की छत का 
बरसात से भर आया गलियों में समंदर अपना सा 
और कड़कती सी सर्दी में चूल्हे का जलना 
मिलजुल के खाना गस्सी गस्सी फुल्के का 
पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 
अपना वतन सच! बहुत याद आया   

मन की हम में कमियां बहुत हैं 
पर हम सी अमीरी भी कंही नहीं है 
नहीं है परिजन का प्यार  कंही ऐसा
स्नेह की छाँव का फैलाव जैसा 
नहीं हैं यंहा जैसे रिश्तों के ताने बाने 
न झगडे, न किस्से नए न पुराने 
हर इक कोइ अपने में मस्त पड़ा है 
कंही अकेले हैं वृद्धजन 
तो कंही अकेला सा बचपन पड़ा है 
पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 
अपना वतन सच! बहुत याद आया   

सीखने को तो घूमना है ज़रूरी 
इच्छा कंही रह न जाये अधूरी 
धुरी की माप लो चाहे दूरी पूरी 
पर सच है की जब वतन से होती है दूरी
 तभी अपनत्व की कद्र पड़ती है पूरी 
अपनी माटी सा नहीं कोइ सुंदर सरमाया 
पश्चिम के पाले से पाला पड़ा तो 
अपना वतन सच! बहुत याद आया   

Saturday, January 5, 2013

कैसी हो तुम /और क्या ही तुम्हे है हमने बना डाला 

कैसी हो तुम 
और क्या ही तुम्हे है हमने बना डाला 

खूबसूरत कृति दाता की प्रेम  से सृजित 
अपनत्व से सिंचित संवेदनाओं से सजीव 
स्नेह में लिप्त 
भाव आवेगों से उधृत 
और पिघली जब जब 
आहात, उद्वेलित 
 कैसी हो तुम 
और क्या ही तुम्हे है हमने बना डाला 

आगमन गर हो पाए सुलभ 
तो कहलाती हो लक्ष्मी स्वरूप बाला 
नन्ही सी कुदालियों से तलाशती ज़मीन 
जब जा पाती हो विद्या शाळा 
हिरनी सी बढती चली जाती हो  उम्र में  
उड़ानों में जी लेती हो जैसे गीतों की माला 
कैसी हो तुम 
और क्या ही तुम्हे है हमने बना डाला 

जुगनुओं से रंग भाते हैं तुम्हे 
और तितलियाँ  भर देती हैंजैसे उजास तुम में  
पर बस कभी यूँभी होता है 
काट लेते हैं पर वहशी बाज़ बन कर 
लील लेती है कभी दरिंदगी  बेखौफ 
छीन लेती है  संवेदनहीनता
 तुम्हारे पाँव के नीचे की ज़मीन भी कभी 
और कभी तो घर की छत भी बन जाती है 
क़ैद , सघन सा जाला 
कैसी हो तुम 
और क्या ही तुम्हे है हमने बना डाला 

पर सुनो, न सही 'नार्यस्तु पूज्यन्ते' चाहे 
और हो 'केवलश्रद्धा हो तुम' की रटी सी जाती रही माला  
न हो चाहे अमृत पान इस जीवन में 
और पीनी ही होसच!
चाहे सिर्फ हाला ही हाला 
जीना है, जीना है, हर हाल में है जीना 
सर उठा के, सम्मान के साथ 
दिखा देंगे जाता देंगे विनम्रता नहीं है कमजोरी 
है मजबूती ही संबल हमारे होने भर से 
जाता देंगे जब भी पड़ेगा  संवेदनहीनता से  पाला 
नहीं हो तुम अकेली, हूँ मैं भी, वो भी 
सब तुम्हारी हीं तो सहेली ,
जियेंगे पल पल छिन  छिन ऐसे जैसे रहे ज्वलंत जोत 
और फिर उस से जलेगी और और जोत
कि रह न पायेगा तम  असुरक्षा का 
न अँधेरा डर का काला 
आत्म सम्मान से सहेजी जाएगी, होंसले  और उत्साह से 
अखंड सी जीवन ज्वाला !