Sunday, November 28, 2010

Aaj Phir

आज फिर ..

रात की शराब का
नशा उतरा नहीं है अभी
पेट में खलिश सी है
और होंठ भी सूखे हैं अभी

घनी शाम का ये सर्द आसमां
फिर वही डर सा लेकर आया है
पतझड़ के सूखे पेड़ तले
उन्ही सवालों की सेना लाया है

ज़िन्दगी के कोटि जो थे
स्वप्न उनका क्या हुआ
जोश में भीगे हुए
अरमां उनका क्या हुआ

ढूँढनी थीं राहें तुमको
उन रास्तों का क्या हुआ
जीवन कड़ी के अर्थ को
पहचानने का क्या हुआ

आज फिर से वो सवाल
खिड़की पे ठक-ठक करने लगे
आज फिर डर से ठिठुरकर
हम बाथरूम में छिपने लगे

आज फिर उसी हताशा में
सर को लटका हुआ पाया
आज फिर इन्ही पैरों को
कहीं-कहीं से कमज़ोर पाया

थोडा सिसके, थोडा सकपकाए
फिर यकायक
शीशे में खुद को देख
उसी पुरानी ज़िद में बड़-बडाये -

"अभी बूढ़े नहीं हुए हैं .. ,
बस दो तीन बाल
सफ़ेद हो चले हैं "

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Morality of a Natural Disaster

It was strange when watching those distant fountains of fire and that silent but meandering lava against the pitch black mountain of Eyjafjallajökull, in the above video, gave me a sense of solace, a feel of the ‘sublime’. Stranger was the fact that I was not the only one. Can a natural ‘disaster’ be associated with beauty and aesthetics?

Eyjafjallajökull didn’t kill anyone. Natural disasters which manage not to kill anyone are peculiar. For one, they enjoy much more dignity and acceptance than their other less fortunate kins. This comes naturally from the realization that one can’t really convict them of killings and massacres. Thus, in public perception, it is not considered inappropriate to derive a sense of allure and even something as deep as the pleasure of the sublime by watching them. By themselves, even the calamitous disasters might be beautiful. After all, they are just natural happenings, grand and magnificent. It is our prejudice against them that doesn’t let us see beyond the wrath that they bring to us and our fellow beings. I myself am guilty of that. Whatever times I see the videos of the Indian Ocean Tsunami, I can but only see those helpless bodies being swept away. While I share in the pain of humanity, Is it right to demonize the disasters that are fatal, and deem them ugly.

Socrates said that beauty is a reflection of the virtue. I partly disagree. In theory, virtue is moral while beauty is amoral. Morality is in fact nothing but the beauty of mind and soul. Beauty is more general. It is perceived, not adopted. It is appreciated, not judged. It is generally present as an attribute of an art, and is neither appropriate nor inappropriate. Art and Morality must always be kept separate in the interest of artistic freedom and social progress. Morality of the sublime, however, is much trickier and still unresolved. The reason being, while art might stimulate either happiness or concern, sublime always brings an inner sense of joy besides respect, awe and fear. Deriving joy out of a fatal calamity is ‘considered’ to be sadistic in general. And this shuts down all the doors to subliminal explorations of such disasters.

While philosophers unearth the moral dimensions in the sublime, I do feel that it might not be immoral to derive subliminal pleasure out of a lethal disaster. Of course, only if the subject of the sublime is the nature and not the fatalities. I understand that it would not be trivial to segregate the two. I can’t do it. You too, might not be able to. But some of us might definitely be. The real question, however, is if 'we' are ready for them i.e. would we still be questioning their sympathy for the victims or genuinely appreciating their empathy for the king-kong’s, if you will, who happened to fall on the wrong side of us.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Afternoon Sun

Afternoon Sun
of a winter month,
light breeze
through bougainvillea fence,
A marigold
by my side
and a good book
in my hand.

Sitting under
the guava tree,
Fresh, cold grass
under my feet,
Suddenly a squirrel
chirped in our lawn,
I lifted my head
but it was gone,
I stared into nothing
and smiled
and realized
how lovely ..
all this is :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Nation of Passion

Watched Rang De Basanti again today. Alone and in dark. I remember the last time I watched it. We were in Final-Year Undergrad. Been about 4 years. It made a deeper mark on me this time. No, I don't support violent means for any end whatsoever. And this is not a film review either. What I want to pick from the movie is something else. Its passion. Or the very idea of having a passion. A passion which is dearer to you more than your life. For the revolutionaries, it was Azadi. For DJ & friends, it was ensuring that their martyr friend gets his due respects and that his culprits are punished. What hit me the most was when Aslam said "मुझे तो हमेशा लगता था हम किसी चीज़ के लिए लड़ जाएँ, ऐसा कोई जज्बा है ही नहीं हमारे अन्दर "

Why dont 'we' have a passion for something ? A passion which would bring a welcome change to our nation, our people, our next generation. Wars are not just fought on borders. They are also fought inside our societies, our cultures, our own minds and mindsets. War against corruption, war against inequality and injustice, war against tyranny to environment, are wars we all have to fight. We all are soldiers in these wars. Will we run back or nail the fight to the finish ? hmm..depends on how much passion we harbor. The way life is going right now, I for one, seem to be sitting on the fence :-(

क्यों सो रहे हैं लोग मेरे
देश के बेसुध हुए
क्यों आज भी मैं हूँ यहाँ
इन आसुओं को पीते हुए

ऐ ज़िन्दगी तू तो मेरे
अहले वतन काबिल नहीं
अब यही ख्वाहिश है मेरी
मौत से कुछ तो मिले

जी रहा हूँ दर-ब-दर
एक गैर से आसमान तले
चल ज़िन्दगी, चल ज़िन्दगी
हम भी कुछ करने चलें
और जब रुखसत करें
तीन रंग का कफ़न मिले

Why are people of my nation
sleeping so aloof
Why am I still here
crying by myself

O life ! you don't seem to
be worthy of my country
I wish my death
can be of some use.

Living door-to-door
under an unfamiliar sky
O life ! O life !
lets go do something
To depart this world
in a tri-colored shroud.