Sunday, May 13, 2007

Timeless Demystification

Its like water in the palm,

left open feels cool and calm,

childish of me to try to possess it forever,

tried to close the fist, forgetting it will seep and will stay there never.

Its like the beauty of the flower,

beauty filled in the air trying to defeat the beauty in the color, to get higher,

infantile of me, plucked it, desired to keep it with me,

it spread its fragrance only with its roots, as crafted by its Saviour – Thee .

Its like the play of a child,

described by innocence and steps that go wild,

childish of me to confine it in the discipline defined by emotion,

forgot that though small and frail , the child is an impression of His execution.

Its like the river that flows swiftly,

supported by the mountains, holding them tightly,

infantile of me to ride on religion to take Ganges in a container,

for it was Ganges only with the stream and I remained as always, a mere complainer.

Life has always been beautiful,

only the emotion tank has been at times empty, half or full,

childish of me to measure life in terms of happiness and satisfaction it gave,

for it was meant to be cherished let free, allowed for its own ways to pave.

O Lord, Life seems to be Demystified,

the mist has cleared and nothing feels like sacrificed,

I have grown up to reality now,

childish was I, help me improve, make me understand how?

Gursharan, 10th June, 2006.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

The Great Uprising and the Parliamentary Mutiny

In the late afternoon of 10th May 1857, Mangal Pandey, known as Amir Khan amongst the younger generation of my India, was the man who rose first against the invaders. And it marked the beginning of a seemingly endless struggle. It was nice to see the 150 year commemoration ceremony in the Lok Sabha, with the members in full attendance; a rare event. Gulzar Sahib read a beautiful poem on the free yet held India: held in religion, hatred and obstreperous politics. The Lok Sabha television also showed a 10 min documentary on the revolt. It was well scripted and cinematographed: background narration by the Lal Quila itself.

I had two qualms after the whole 2 hour program. First one is more serious. There was no originality, vigor, passion and respect in our parliamentarians. Somnath Chatterjee, the hon’ble speaker(please allow me to say) gave a rotten speech. It seemed that whosoever writes his speech hasn’t been paid from long, and he also discovered it amidst the words. The members of the house yawned, laughed, chatted with the neighbors, and did everything, but listening to Chatterjee felt like a dog bite to them. He took 15 minutes to relieve the crowd. Next was our Vice President, Bhairon Singh Shekhawat. His poor health didn’t allow him to speak much, and he leveraged the fact pretty smartly. I can’t, even in my dreams, imagine on this earth that how somebody can be so dotingly lost while talking about the 1857 Revolt! They were 85 who initially revolted, and this was a house full of over 800 people. Sitting in the House of India, wallowing in all luxuries of life, were the sons and daughters of the Mother paying homage to their brethren of 150 years ago. Dr. Singh, Dr. Manmohan Singh I should say, failed to moh anybody’s mann. I am finding it hard to say anything for a man of that intellect, but it hurts to realize that he ordered his speech with a class 8th history text book to the writer. With almost no content of substance, he finished by saying something like: I call my countrymen to align their vision towards the development of Our India. Independence Day and Republic Day also hear the same line every time, just that its position changes in the speech. Now comes the Son of this land, the person who should actually be called punjab da puttar (and not Dr. Singh), His Excellency,Dr. APJ Abdul Kalam. This man is a bombshell. Azad, truly. He is. His words can really ignite something under you. Only 10 words spoken, and everybody woke up to a thunderous applaud. He addressed initially in Hindi, struggling a bit. When he came to form, he switched to English and Oh my! I was all stoned. My dear friends, especially my younger friends, there lies a responsibility in front of us, more so in front of you, to realize the dream of my father, Rabindranath Tagore, who said: I dream of an India where the mind is without fear, and the head is held high. Note that he addressed Shri Dr. Tagore as his father. With the longest speech from amongst the multitude sitting on the elevated stage, with a jack under their butts, he finished in an emphatic voice with his face red, smiling and shining with pride.

Secondly, I was thinking after the speech, that the first revolt of Indian freedom was rooted at religion. The beef oil cartridges and the pork sheath kindled the fire. In terms of Sabhayata and culture, religion seems to have some pros on what India today is. But, the cons outweigh the pros by tonnes of ignorance, darkness and feuds. Though the voices of the man made sects known as Hindus and Muslims were in unison at that time, but why is this so important to say that Hindus and Muslims revolted together? Why not, every son of this land revolted for his Mitti? It appears that it is hard for us to jettison communal inspiration. If every kid of India grows up as a Hindu/Muslim/Sikh/Isai, it would be the ill-fate of nobody else, but the Mother and Her children.

Thursday, May 03, 2007


After an 18 hour long air haul (yes that seems like a haul, time fails to pass and you feel like being dragged), I touched on Land, my Motherland. With a thought of kissing the land after getting off the jet, it was a moment of dismay for me when the transfer was directly into the lobby from the jet. No worries, the aanchal is a span outside... Picked up by family, it was ecstatic to be back home, home, that Is. Everything was same, the sweet hot weather, the raunak on the Delhi airport (that I missed at the philly airport) and of course, the family receiving me. The sultry play between the smiling moon and the moving clouds, the not so cool breeze trying its best to make you feel cool and the car passing by on the road that shakes off your sight when you try to find the horizon. Yes I am Home.

Albeit it has only been close to 9 months since I left home, I was floating on oozing joy after stepping into the same house where I spent the formative years of my career. Ma, keeping it neat as ever. It was a strange feeling to meet parents after some time. I had never stayed out of home for more than 3 weeks. The inexpressible joys were not fathomable. Dad, calm as ever and mom emotional, as ever. Soon, a strange feeling started gripping me, I am *visiting* my home? Countable days. Sad. I am writing this post sitting in one corner, trying to make no sound from the keyboard, so that nobody wakes up and says, "are you jetlagged" and make me feel like an outsider. Life is strange. Hits you with a brick on head at times, and makes a bed of roses some other times. And this human is even more strange - writes his fate with indelible strokes of stupidity.

Am I so limited by thoughts and vision? Is Jonathan Gull correct in saying that don't believe your eyes, they always make you see the limitations? Am I really limited by space and time? Is this body - reckoned to be the best of all creatures on earth, really so tied? I think I am evolving, realizing, growing and this Mitti has always been auspicious for me.

-G Singh, New Delhi, 4th May 2007, 4:20 AM.