Saturday, April 28, 2012

Death of a beautiful blog

Isi gali mein maqbul hum aur yahin bdnam hue 
Isi gali me charche humare sar-i-aam hue.. 
Kbhi goya aftab hum ne salaam pae 
Kbhi saazo saman ki tarah neelaam hue 
Mat keeje yaqeen nabs-i-ehad ka 'aashie' 
jo maseehe the unke bhi mujrimon se anjaam hue 
Fareb saare acchi soortein leke aae 
Har Maya ke hazaron Gulfaam hue                          -  Maya 

It’s neither a memoir nor a requiem, rather a request for resurrection of the blog that died recently. It’s been four days since I came to know about it. And every time I think of it, I can’t help feeling sick all over again.

It came to me very suddenly. From the dashboard of my blog, your posts were peering at me, and I wanted to read once again that ode of yours which was unofficially dedicated to me, and that beautiful ballad of silence. I clicked on a recent post ‘Communist Digesto’ to display the blog; and there was an error.

Blog has been removed.”

I am used to seeing ‘webpage cannot be displayed’, ‘DNS lookup failed’, ‘error 404’ etc, but this error message was strikingly new. It was incomprehensible. Google was ‘Sorry (that) the blog at has been removed’ and offered to help -

Did you expect to see your blog here? See: 'I can't find my blog on the web, where is it?'

With my grief reserved in the wake of false hopes, I followed the link with a click of my trembling fingers.

Custom domain settings? Search visibility settings? Policy or Terms of Service violation?

Damn you, Google! We are artists. We don’t know much of all those technicalities, and hence we think it best not to interfere with any of these settings. The blog has been there for 4 years; how could there be any such problem with the settings now!

Accidental deletion? Yes, we are a bit careless but not so careless that we search for the ‘delete’ button first and then press it by mistake. No! We know what ‘delete’ means, don’t we? With the probability to find it again somewhere ruled out, the realization slowly seeped into me. The grief began to heave its toll on my heart.

‘The Think Tank’ has dried.

Could you think of a sheet of paper with a poem written on it getting burnt? The paper turns to ashes but the poem doesn’t essentially get lost as it might have been written on some other paper or Word document. If nowhere, it might be occupying someone’s memory. And what if the poem gets removed from the memory as well? The poem still remains. It’s just that no one remembers it. I guess that’s why the furnace holes through which documents are pushed down in 1984 so as to remove the traces are termed memory holes. Even though the reality of the past doesn’t change, yet the reality gets lost because there is no remembrance. Similarly, the poem could never die out, but it gets evaporated into thin air.

And the fumes of your blog’s burnt out web pages nauseate me. Even the thought of all those colours, images, photographs, thoughts, poems and articles being quarantined, with the image of a dustbin forming in my head, is creepy. I hope that they haven’t emptied the dustbin yet, and the undelete button could relieve the burning sensation of the fingers which pressed the delete button and retrieve that kaleidoscope. I keep my fingers crossed about the alternate probability that you have it somewhere kept neatly in a folder in Your documents in Your computer. When someone as careless as me could remember to keep an offline copy, why won’t you? Even though I am almost sure that you would have, yet I can’t assume it because I know that even if you might be less careless than me, but still, you would win over me in terms of artistic erratic swings. And so, butterflies agitate my stomach to no extent. Of the other nine followers of the blog, I am acquainted with no one. There is no one to brief me about it or share this sentiment with. It’s just me and you. The loss is not yours’ but mine too.      

It’s not just this. There’s something more to this grief. Something more virtual about a physical loss. The loss of the blog where the content had been staged rends my heart all the more.

I know that technology has suffered from an inferiority complex in Gulzar’s poems where he ruefully remarks that the relations owing to falling and picking of books are a thing of the past. I know that these are the times when we have just switched from sheets of paper to word documents for convenience, which has not attached much romanticism to itself so far. I also know that even Google must have conceived blogger primarily as a medium to host one’s content to readers worldwide.

Nevertheless, the excitement in your voice over phone around 3 years ago still echoes in my ears when you had asked me to have a look at the blog which, you had claimed, would have been of the ilk of Ann Frank’s blog if she ever had one. Naturally, the now almost-extinct Internet Explorer had opened that URL for me to have a look and explore. The amazement of that first look is still in my eyes. I didn’t know by then that those templates, skins and background colours were an offered feature and one of several others to choose from. The second look gave me a peek into the depths of the mind of the mystical Maya about whom I knew so little. Since then, each and every look at those pages has been special.

It was not the notebook on whose last page I am into the habit of scribbling my vague random thoughts. It was not a personal diary which could have only two objectives – either to become impersonal by letting someone sneak into, or to get burnt to ashes. It was not the facebook status update which gets liked, commented upon and ultimately rendering itself redundant within a week. It was not Amitabh Bachchan’s blog which helps him air his opinion and connect to his millions of fans. It was not the official page of an institution which saves money by hosting an independent domain on blogger rather than the web.

It was our means of communication. We have never met each other. We have never claimed that one day, we will. We have spoken over phone 3-4 times, and that too was around 3 years ago. In times of Facebook status updates, likes and comments, Twitter tweets, Skype Voice chats, webcams and cell phones, we were still talking through the windows of our blogs. I would take a dip in the think tank, and you would occasionally stride through Utopian moors. Satire could pour out from a few external spouts that we were just intellectual friends. But the truth is that these wanderings prevented you from ever asking my state of affairs publicly on the facebook wall with a ‘How are you’ and in times of utter misery, I didn’t have to say ‘I am fine’, thus adding another voice to the billions of worthless superficial ‘How are you? I am fine, and you? Me too’s exchanged in the world every day. We never questioned the worth of each other’s existence asking what you are doing these days. Rather we knew the more important part - what we were thinking deep down through those occasional strides. We used to listen to the deafening voices in each other’s head. What’s more, we fought with each other so creatively in our stories and poems. This constant connection was what didn’t require us to start a conversation afresh when we would meet by coincidence once in a long while on yahoo messenger.     

Tum padhte raho main likhti rahungi 
fiR tum likhna aur main padhungi 
tumhari hatheliyon par ek kitaab likh dungi 
aur tum kuchh kisse likhna meri diwaaron par 
fir kuchh der hum dono chup ho jaenge  
Aur door ho jaenge 
fir ek dusre ko khat me khamoshiyan bheja krenge.. 
Tum padh paoge na ?                                                     -  Maya

Instead of being a podium with a mic, it was a quiet walk on the sea beach fronting the foaming waves, where the instinctual shouting out loud to the sea has not the primary purpose of being heard, rather to be merely let out. Purpose is, in fact, a demeaning word for that instinct. It’s an urge that makes one enter the blogging sphere and jot down intensely the anger boiling inside on seeing a tree felled down, the angst at the curb of individualism, the clouds of nostalgia at the remembrance of a mystical character of an old man with medals from our childhood, the guilt and regret at breaking a child’s promise, the disgust at the perverseness rampant in the society, the budding of romantic ideas for design of literary cafe, the tranquillity felt in the magical hues of an evening and what not. It is an urge which would make us curse the damned internet connection when it would deaden in the midst of this outpour. It was where the turmoil found a clearing space not only for venting but for analysis, expression, sharing and discussion.  It was this unleashing of the subconscious in an otherwise lonely world which preserved the senility in us.                                              

It was a canvas with a pallet of coloured templates, backgrounds, themes, blog title, taglines, editing profile, font settings, layout, blog picture and much more, which thankfully required little technical knowledge, and refurbishing the blog to render it a new look was a long joyous activity. The graphs and stats were one of the few statistics in the world which evoked from us a good enough amount of attention span.      

And the joy of creation! The satisfaction felt at the nurturing of an original idea. The sweet struggles with the paraphrasing. Notwithstanding the fact that Adsense didn’t yield us any dollar cheques, being a blogger was being something, all the more considering that our community is not well aware of the monetary implications, which were nil though, of blogging. It bridged the gap between scribbles on last page of notebooks to carefully done pieces with additional presentation through transliteration, hyperlinks and pictures. It was something that made me look at those genuine pieces over and over again. Almost every time I would enter the utopian moors, I would surf the think tank as well even if there were no new posts. And my statistics would tell me that someone had been reading the posts on Utopian moors of last year. That joy of creation inched us away from mundane existence. It was something that we created, neatly composed and preserved, which has a chance of remaining long after we end our life span.

The blog saved us the trouble of having to provide useless answers to people’s and sometimes our own futile questions about coming up with a published book, as if unpublished were all junk and published were all gem. We never cared enough. May be we should, but it just doesn’t make me feel so eager. Damn! We were getting published on the web. It was there for anyone sitting anywhere in the world to have a look.

How could you not see what all it was! Do I not remember your enthusiasm at telling me that you go through each and every post? When you commented that more and more people were reading my blog, instead of it sounding to be a motivation, it rang to my ears a rejoicing for both of us. And why not, I am not acquainted with any other prolific blogger. It’s only you and me especially in this indigenous sphere of blogging that we have carved for ourselves.  

How could you take all of it away from me just like that? What is it – an erratic retreat, a silent hibernation or a phoenix rediscovery? I am aware of creative blocks having suffered from them myself. I also have an experience of the uneasiness sprouting from people’s comments about questioning the importance of writing or anything similar unless it pays, and unknowingly it seeps inside you making you too restless to sit down and write. I know that it’s no use for anyone asking of you or me to write. We are not professionals. It’s never been a need, rather an urge or a naazil (dawning).

Well, don’t write anything; don’t post, but why delete whatever there was. There are millions of useless pages on the web – either worthless or redundant. Leave alone the web; there are millions of blogs on blogger, a sizable number of which are either extinct or dormant. Still, they remain. On the contrary, The Think Tank adorned the web. Each and every page was so eloquent. It had infused into me probably the same as yours or new sensations. The blog which inspired me partially to define my utopian moors in the form of a blog, whose posts stimulated and set my mind in turmoil, whose colourful photographs transpired into the inside of me myriad emotions, which provided for that exclusive discussion room, was deleted. And all those sensations, conflicts, emotions, feelings, stimulations, anxieties, anger, passion, all those pages are no more? Gone? Just like that?  

When Momin wrote

Tum hote ho mere paas goya
Jab koi doosra nahi hota
(When no one else is around me, it feels like you are here with me.)

Ghalib was so impressed that he offered to exchange his entire deewan-e-ghalib for this one sher. Poems and writings have been written by you, but they are not only yours’. Not even only yours and mine, rather they belong to the world. Please don’t take it away. The ‘Undelete’ button must still be working, which is yet another dimension of the romantics of a blog.

I have been checking out the URL time and again since then but to no avail. I happen to think of the famous box inside box blooper. Someone opens a box to find another box in it. Then he opens the second box to find yet another box in it. And this continues until the last box. I am not touching this last box. I am leaving it for you to open.  

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

गधे की बच्ची

'झूठ बोल' की बाज़ी चल रही थी. मुकेश ने दो दुग्गी डाली. रामनिवास की एक दुग्गी, एक दुग्गी रमेश की भी. ऊपर से मुकेश की तीन  और दुग्गी. पत्ते खत्म.

"झूठ बोल रहा है पक्का. चैक  कर." रमेश ने रामनिवास को उकसाया.

"ये क्यूँ करे? ये पास बोल देगा, तू खुद कर ले चैक. इसे क्यूँ फँसा रहा है?"

"हाँ, मैं तो करूँगा ही. अबे, या तो चैक कर ले या पास कर दे मुझे."

रामनिवास ने डरते डरते हाथ  बढाया. पहला पत्ता दुग्गी, दूसरा भी दुग्गी, और ये तीसरी दुग्गी. मुकेश ठहाका लगा कर हँसा.

"और मान ले इसकी. उठा अब सारे के सारे पत्ते."

ॐ नमः शिवाय, ॐ नमः शिवाय, ॐ ॐ ॐ ॐ नमः शिवाय.

'नीलम. कॉल हो रही'.

"भाईसाब, आपका फ़ोन बज रहा है." सोनू ने साथ वाले कमरे से आवाज़ दी.

फ़ोन . नीलम का होगा. मुकेश ने चलते हुए कोशिश कर के अपने चेहरे से हँसी-ख़ुशी के सब भाव हटा कर माथे पर त्योरियाँ चढ़ा ली.  

फ़ोन चार्जिंग  से हटाते हुए हल्का सा खाँसा, आवाज़ में रूखापन लाने के लिए.


"फ़ोन किया था?"

"हाँ. कहाँ चली गई थी?" उसने डाँट कर पूछा. 

"गोबर डालने गयी थी."

"कुछ काम-धंधा करने देगी या नहीं?" धीरे धीरे उसकी आवाज़ में तेवर बढ़ने लगा. 

"क्यूँ, मैंने क्या कर दिया."

"वो तो तुझे ज़्यादा पता होगा, रोला1 तो तू ही कर के आई है." 

"ओहो, उन अनपूते ढेडों2 में से किसी ने फ़ोन किया होगा तुझे." 

"गधे की बच्ची, ज़ुबान को काबू में कर ले अपनी...तेरे पंजे काट दूँगा." 

"हाँ हाँ, तू मेरे ही पंजे काटेगा, और करेगा क्या. और किसी पर तो तेरी पार बसती3 नहीं."

"चुप रह जा तू, हरामजादी. एक पंखे के ऊपर इतना डरामा रच दिया. पंखा बाबू से ज़्यादा है क्या. वापस आने दे, तू जितने कहेगी, उतने पंखे फूँक दूँगा तेरे पास."

"मैंने कहा क्या है. पंखा पूरी सांझ, पूरी रात चलता रहा. सुबह श्यानी4 भिगोने घेर5 में गयी तब बंद किया है मैंने. वहीँ पर संजय और उसकी वो रांड थे. तभी बाबू आ गया. मैंने बस इतना कहा था की बाबू, जब सो कर उठो, जाने लगो तो पंखा बंद कर दिया करो. कहते ही संजय मेरे सिर पर गया, मौका ही देख रहा हो जैसे, और ऊपर से उस रांड की खट-पट. बता ऐसा क्या गलत कह दिया मैंने." 

"आग लगने दे उस साले के पंखे को. खाली चल जाएगा, फूँक जाएगा तो कौनसी आफ़त आ जाएगी. बाबू अगर आ भी गया था... गाय भी गऊ माता होती है...एक दिन  गाय के ऊपर चल गया, बता तुझे क्या फ़र्क पड़ गया." 

"हाँ हाँ, मिल6 चल रही हैं ना तेरी तो. चलने दे, फूंकने दे मेरे लक्खे7. आज के बाद ले, कुछ भी कहूँ तो. और तेल छिड़क दूँगी उसके ऊपर."

"गधे की बच्ची, तू हो जा चुप. कहीं ना इतना फन्नाएगी8. यहाँ ये 3 दिन का और काम है, घर आते ही तेरी सोड़ सी भर दूँगा9. आई समझ में?" 

"चुप होने को मैंने कहा क्या है? इतना ही तो कहा था कि बाबू - "

"तू कौन होती है कहने वाली. मैं लाया था ना पंखा खरीद के, अगर फूँक जाएगा, नया लाना होगा तो भी मुझे ही लाना है. तेरा क्या दाखिला10 है इस में?"

"मेरा दाखिला तो इस घर की किसी भी बात में नहीं है. मैं कल सुबह ही अपने घर जा रही हूँ."

"हाँ हाँ, जा ना फिर, जाती क्यूँ नहीं. गधे की बच्ची, धौंस क्या दिखा रही है. तू अगर अपने बाप की जाई है तो जरूर जाइये अब. और सुबह क्या होगा, तू ऐसा कर, अभी अपना सामान बाँध और निकल. ये याद रखियो कि सूख जाएगी, पर लेने नहीं आऊँगा इस बार. बहुत सह लिया है. मुझे दो टीकड़11 खाने है, कहीं और खा लूँगा."

"हम्म, जरूर मिलेंगे तुझे मांडे12 मेरे पीछे से." 

"हाँ, बस तू ही है ना जिसे - "

"बाबू के खाने का टाइम हो गया. माँ बुला रही है. रखती हूँ अभी."


कपडे इस्त्री करते हुए भी सोनू के कान उधर ही थे. पूरी बात तो सुन ही चूका था, फिर भी इसे अपना नैतिक फ़र्ज़ मान कर पूछ लिया, "क्या बात हो गयी भाईसाब? ज़्यादा ही परेशान लग रहे हो."

"क्या बताऊँ यार, बस यही घर के रोले. अब एक ही घर में रहते हैं, तो सब से बना कर तो रखनी पड़ेगी." मुकेश फ़ोन के कीपैड की नीचे वाली कंट्रोल की दबाते हुए बोला. संजय 9218059507   

"हाँ संजय, तुने कुछ और बात बताई, तेरी भाभी कुछ और कह रही है....उसने यूँ थोड़े ना कहा था कि पंखा मत चलाओ....इन दो बातों में तो बहुत फ़र्क है...ना ना ना, ठीक बात नहीं है भाई ये... खैर, मैंने समझा दिया है उसको.....अरे कह रहा हूँ, करड़ी13 कर दी है, आगे से वो अपना मुंह भी नहीं खोलेगी, और बता ; पर तू अपनी इस को थोड़ा काबू में रखा कर.. ना ना ना, नहीं वो कोई बात नहीं होती.....हाँ, ग़लती तो थी उसकी, इस तरीके से बोलना, मैंने खुरका14 भी दी है बहुत, पर बात गलत नहीं थी उसकी....तू उस से कैसा ही मत बोल, ना अच्छा, ना बुरा, बात खत्म, उसकी जिम्मेवारी मेरी है.... हम्म हम्म, मैंने बता दिया ना  इलाज..... हाँ, कोई नहीं, चल छोड़, हो जाती है बात, अब दोबारा कोई रोला नहीं होना चाहिए, ठीक?....ठीक है, मुझे भी बुला रहे हैं, रखता हूँ फ़ोन अभी, शांति से रहना अब..." 

सोनू कुछ कहना कहना चाहता था पर समझ नहीं आया कि किस तरफ की बात कहे. इसलिए फिर वही बात कह दी. "क्या बात हो गई भाईसाब? इतना गुस्सा मत खाया करो."

असल में मुकेश को सीधे संपर्क सूची में जा कर संपर्क निकालना नहीं आता. वह फिर से कीपैड की नीचे वाली कंट्रोल की तेज़ी से दबाने लगा. नीलम 9813729506. हाथ रुका. उसने सोनू की तरफ देखा. 

"सोनू, सच बात बता रहा हूँ. तेरी भाभी घणी सीधी है. घर का सारा काम करना, सबकी देखभाल, डांगर-ढोर, तुझे पता ही है कितना काम हो जाता है घर में, किसी से फालतू नहीं बोलना, और ऊपर से ये रोले सहने.... मुझे ही पता है कि वो कैसे गुज़ारा कर रही है अपना... इतनी सूधी औरत बस कहीं कहीं मिलेगी...." 

कहते कहते उसका गला रूंध गया, आवाज़ भर्रा आई. उसने आँखें फेरी, कॉल का बटन दबाया.

"हेल्लो... हाँ, हो गया काम खत्म?"

फ़ोन कान से लगाए हुए वह कमरे से बाहर निकल गया. अपनी गधे की बच्ची से बात करने के लिए.
1 rola - झगड़ा, शोर-शराबा                                            2. anpoote - childless ढेड़ - badmash; derogatory words, said in anger 
3. paar basna - to have control                                 4. shyani bhigona - to make fodder for cattle 
5. gher - the other house in villages, where the cattle are kept, has a kitchen garden etc. 
6. mill - mill, factory                                                      7. mere lakhe - meri taraf se
8. phannaegi - to act smart                                         9. sod - quilt ; sod bhar dena - to beat someone fiercely
10. daakhila - interference, to have a say               11. टीकड़ - rough thick bread
12. maande - small, soft, thin bread                         13. kardi kar dena - to tighten someone
14. khurka dena - to scold

Saturday, April 7, 2012

पूँजीवाद के समय में प्यार

अमेरिका की किसी कंपनी के कंप्यूटर में
कुछ गड़बड़ हो गयी
तुम गई उसे ठीक करने के लिए
और फिर वहीँ रह गयी

यहाँ तुम्हारे पीछे से
उस झील को काई ने ढक लिया
जिस झील के किनारे बैठ कर
हम चाँद को निहारा करते थे
घास धूप में जल गयी
और वह बेंच जिस पर
मैंने तुम्हें पहली बार छुआ था
बस्ती के बच्चे
उसकी फट्टियाँ उखाड़ कर ले गए
कुछ दिनों बाद बेंच ही गायब हो गया
कोई उसे कबाड़ी वाले को बेच गया

तुम्हारे अमेरिका जाने के बाद
इस जगह पर अब एक
शोपिंग कॉम्पलेक्स बनने वाला है
पूँजीवाद हमारे प्यार को निगल गया

उस बेंच के लोहे को
भट्टी में जलाया गया, पिघलाया गया
ठंडा पड़ा, कठोर हुआ
फिर ठोक-पीट कर
उस से ताजमहल बनाया गया
जो आर्ट गैलरी  के शोकेस में सजा दिया
ऐसे ही पचास ताजमहल की कतार में
कीमत थी चार हज़ार रूपये
लेकिन वह ज़ंग खा गया
उसकी एक मीनार टूट गई
और गुम्बद में दरार पड़ गई
मैंने देखा नहीं पर मैं जानता हूँ.
वह साँचेकार
मेरे सपनों में आता है बार-बार
और मुझे गालियाँ दिया करता है

मैं न कॉम्पलेक्स की योजना बनाने वालों में हूँ
और न उसकी दीवारें बनाने वालों में
मैं बंजारों में शामिलात हूँ
मेरे पास ज़्यादा रूपये नहीं
पर विदेश जाने पर, सुना है,
बहुत से अलाऊंस और इनसैनटिव मिलते हैं
अपने उस महंगाई भत्ते में से, हो सके तो,
पुराने प्यार की खातिर
कुछ रूपये उस साँचेकार को दे देना