Friday, April 22, 2011

तेरी कहानी

Poet : FJB
Poet's note : I will go rambling if I try to introduce or explain this one. So just enjoy it raw.

इक अरसे से हम तेरी
कहानी सुनते आते थे,
कितनी सच्ची, कितनी झूठी, 
तू ही जाने तू ही ब्याने !!
                                                                                  सच्ची दिल को छू जाती थी,
                                                                                  झूठी सर पे चढ़ जाती थी,
                                                                                  कितनी प्यारी, मेरी रानी,  तेरी कहानी!!

इस जीवन की आनी जानी,
और इक यह दुनिया फानी!!
थोड़े पेड़, थोडा पानी,
खेत खलिहान और प्यार की वाणी,
                                                                                  चाँद को तकते रात आधी,
                                                                                  बाते करते भूली बिसरी,
                                                                                  आप बीती, नयी पुरानी,
सुनते थे हम तेरी कहानी,
कितनी सच्ची, कितनी झूठी, 
तू ही जाने तू ही ब्याने !!

तू शमा थी, हम परवाने,
इक कथा के कई अफसाने,
इस महफ़िल में सब दीवाने,
                                                                                  तू सोने का गहना थी गर, 
                                                                                  हम खुद को जोहरी कहते थे,
                                                                                  खरे खोते के हम पारखी,
                                                                                  यूँ ही बनते फिरते थे,
लेकिन थी तो तेरी कहानी,
कितनी सच्ची, कितनी झूठी, 
तू ही जाने, तू ही ब्याने !!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

The Freedom Fighter's Son

Author : FJB

Even today no smoke escaped from the chimney jutting out of the leaking roof on Rahim Miya's tin shed. Under the roof, his two children wailed from hunger, while his wife chided them and coaxed her fate. In a sheer bid to escape the morbid atmosphere Rahim got up from the corner where he was huddled and walked out the door, stepping into the narrow lane. He couldn't help noticing that everywhere in that slum the same morbid atmosphere prevailed, to avoid which he had come out of his own hut.
This had been their fate for the last seven months, ever since the mill in which they were employed had closed down. Work was the rarest commodity to get.  He had walked up this lane every morning for these past few months in his search for employment, only to return every evening, carrying his bundle of disappointment, frustration and worries, which only got heavier with every passing day.

As he neared the end of the lane and stepped out on the side road by the highway, the sounds of raucous merriment came from Raghav's house. Rumors went that he was mixing with the wrong sort and was indulging in various questionable acts on the other side of law. The stench of illicit gains made a lot of people avoid going this way. Just last month he had even bought a transistor from which songs blared morning and evening.

It was also rumored that he had been recruiting people from the slum to join him in his nefarious activities and share his new found affluence. But Rahim Miya would never be able to bring himself to do any such thing which his morals and scruples would not permit.
Raghav's compund jutted right into the middle of the road and Rahim had to encircle it to proceed. As he rahed the backyard, a piece of red cloth in the ground caught his attention. He bent down to pick it up as it looked like something he would never throw away. You should have somthing to throw it away, thought Rahim Miya as a cynical smile filckered on his wizened lips. The cloth seemed stuck in the ground and he had to pull hard, before the ground, damp from last night's downpour, released it from its clutches.
To Rahim's bewilderment, what he had picked up as a rag to stoke the fire in his now cold stove, turned out to be a small cloth bag, with a string tied on top of it, in which he knew people kept their valuables.

Rahim Miya abandoned the thought of turning back home and proceeded towards Subhash Park, named after the great leader, which not many years ago used to be the rendezvous of freedom fighters for their clandestine meetings and now served as a shelter for his ilk. He sat down on his favorite bench, obscured from the outside world by a huge peepal tree.

The first thought which coursed through his mind was that the contents of this bag must be the ill gotten gains of one of Raghav's dubious schemes. The next thought was how to relieve himself from this burden. That he could himself use some of this fortune could not be doubted. He thought of his children wailing from hunger and his wife's sullen face, by now resigned to fate. He thought of all that he could buy with this new found wealth. He thought of all the smiles that he could bring back to the faces of his dejected family.
But his conscience was troubled by these thoughts entering his mind and he thought of what his father would have done in these circumstances. There were no two ways about his father. He would have surely handed over the bag to the police and openly confronted Raghav. In fact he would never have allowed the shady activities in their locality.

But then his father was a brave man. And he had never been out of work.

He made a firm resolve and was beginning to get up when a heavy hand fell on his shoulder. The local constable stared down at him and the cloth bag slipped away from his hands, revealing its rich contents.

Things happened rather quickly after that and were but a blur to him. Having been bundled down to the police station, he was put in the lock-up after a preliminary round of questioning. All his protestations of innocence were waved away and ended in a tight punch to his face leaving behind a bloodied nose.
In a daze, Rahim Miya took in his new surroundings. He grimly thought that it was at least more spacious than the shed he had stepped out of less than an hour back.

Something else on the far wall caught his eye. He saw that all the previous visitors had scratched their names and the reason for their esteemed visit on the wall. Hardly aware of what he was doing, he picked up a stone lying near the window and was about to scratch his name and supposed profession on the wall, when what he saw on the wall opposite sent a chill down his spine.

For there written in a bold hand were the words -

Saturday, February 12, 2011

सोने की नगरी

Poet: FJB
Poet's Note : Here's the original hindi version of my last week's post on the poetry page - "The Sea Of Plenty"

इस सोने की नगरी की,
एक पत्थर की फुटपाथ पर,
                   पड़ी हुई थी वह,
                   मर रही थी वह,
चाहिए थी उसे,
                  थोड़ी दया, माया,
                  थोड़ा सा साया||

न आशा की कोई किरण,
न जीवन की कोई आस ही,
                 दुनिया से याचना करती थी,
                 पत्थर से दुआएँ मांगती थी||

उसकी कोख से निकलती शिशु की सिसकियाँ,
खाली भगोने में सिक्कों की झनकार,
                न वो सुन सकते थे,
                न वो देख सकते थे,
               वे एहसास ही कहाँ कर सकते थे||

न उसके जीवन में कशिश,
न उसके शब्दों में कोई कश,
                न मरती थी, न जीती थी,
                बस पड़ी रहती थी,
इस सोने की नगरी की,
एक पत्थर की फुटपाथ पर ||

टूटे हुए ख्वाबों का,
अनकहे अरमानों का,
              एक महल बना कर रहती थी,
               .. क्या जन्म से ही सहती थी?

किसी की बेटी, किसी की मा,
               पड़ी हुई थी,
बेबस, लाचार, वंचित,
               उस दुनिया से, जहाँ वह भी कोई हो सकती थी||

इस सोने की नगरी की,
एक पत्थर की फुटपाथ पर,
               पड़ी हुई थी वह,
               मर रही थी वह,
ठंड से, भूख से,
               इस दुनिया में पड़े,
               प्यार के अभाव से||

Saturday, February 5, 2011

They All Made A Sacrifice

Title : They All Made a Sacrifice

Author : FJB

Author's Note : Some stories one reads or hears get somehow interconnected and intertwined. Here's a view on the many meanings of the word - SACRIFICE. Very noir towards the end.

In the receding light, two men - one young and the other old, made their way through a cluster of hutments towards a thatched hut.

Reaching the hut, the young man went towards a woman sitting outside the hut, her face creased with lines that time had etched on it. The young man spoke first. "Amma, this man here has organised a band of brave young men, pledged for the freedom of the Motherland. I came here with him, only to seek your permission.

The old man thought that the woman would surely faint or break down at such a blow as this. For, did he not know how a mother feels to let her son go on a path leading to death or gaol? But she surprised him by saying "The mother has given him to me. Why should I grudge giving him back to her?"

The night was bleak. The news was bleaker. The young man had died serving the Motherland. The mother was not not even allowed to give her son a decent burial.

A mother had made a sacrifice. And mankind hailed her for it.


Kaikeyi was sleeping peacefully in her shayankhand when Manthara sneaked upto her, very excited and upset over something. Kaikeyi asked her what the matter was and why was she agonized
at such a joyful time. Manthara said "O Queen! You have surely turned blind. The King has sent away your son Bharat to faraway lands and is preparing for Ram's coronation."

The taunt found its mark and stung the Queen in the manner it was intended to. From that moment on, the palace was in a grip of chaos. The King was made to remember an old promise made to Kaikeyi, and what did she ask for? A kingdom for Bharat, an exile for Ram.

She had sacrificed one son for another son's sake, and mankind despised her for it.


The godman had come in for tea and stayed on for dinner. At the family's insistence of course. And why not, for he was telling them about hidden treasures. This was the chance of a lifetime. Their years of poverty and suffering seemed to be coming to an end.

Of course to lay their hands on this fabulous treasure and untold riches, they would have to appease the gods. And they could only be appeased by a sacrifice. The gaze of all three, the godman, the father and the mother shifted to the one month old sleeping peacefully in the cradle made of the mother's saree.

The mother resisted, but the father readily agreed. He was too drunk in by the talk of the riches awaiting him, to think of anything else. He would have gladly sacrificed the whole world to obtain the treasure.

He snatched the baby from the cradle and followed the godman along with his wife, the cries of the baby piercing the peaceful night air. Reaching the clearing in the forest where he carried out his tantric rites, the godman placed the baby on the altar and handed the dagger to the mother...

.... The altar was thoroughly washed and not a trace remained of the ghastly and dastardly act that had taken place there.

She had made a sacrifice and mankind never knew a thing about it.


Friday, January 28, 2011

The HoneyMoon - Some Things Never Change (Like Love)

As the evening progressed, grey clouds had begun gathering on the horizon, with warnings of an impending downpour hanging around in the gloomy atmosphere. Kavita had returned an hour earlier from office and sat there in the balcony staring at the eerie orange glow exuded by the setting sun enveloped in the clouds. A strange feeling of excitement and trepidation clutched at her heart as she thought of the developments of the afternoon. She gave a start as she heard Samir entering the apartment. He headed straight for the balcony, perturbed.
“Not feeling well? You left pretty early today. I was just busy in a conference call, else I would have accompanied you.”
“I’m ok. There’s something I need to talk to you about.” She spoke almost too fast. Samir sat down next to her and held her hands. “What’s it dear? You look so flustered. Hope everything’s all right.”
“Well, it is and it isn’t. You know I wouldn’t have known how to broach this subject if it hadn’t been for last week. We have become so close to each other since then, I know you will understand.”
“Come on. Don’t talk in riddles. Tell me what happened.” Samir said, really concerned by now.
“You know last week while Pathak was in Mumbai as his wife was not feeling well, he also had a meeting with a customer there. It was to finalize a deal for the .net implementation for this customer and today they announced that we have won the deal and I’m leading the project.”
“Wow! And you had me so worried all this while. That’s really good news. You’ve been waiting for this opportunity for the last one year after you got your certification. See how lucky I am proving for you.” Samir joked, feeling relieved.
“The first phase is in Lucerne for six months.”
“Oh! And you are worried about what I will feel about you staying away from me so soon after our marriage. Look we accepted that this is going to be part of our job when we decided to get married to each other. So this is not something unexpected. So when do you have to go?”
“10th May.”
“WHAA…..!!! How is that possible? That’s just the day after our marriage. Come on. You can surely extend it till at least after our honeymoon. I’ve made all the arrangements. You can’t be serious about this. Go on. Tell them you’ll be there after another ten days.”
“I’ve already spoken to them. There’s no extending the date. Actually I was supposed to start immediately, but they did consider our marriage date and agreed to the 10th as the last date I can start. You yourself know how much I wanted this project. But at this time…”
“Hold on.” Samir brightened a little, struck by an idea. “We can still have our honeymoon. My leave still stands. I’ll just change the tickets and instead of Darjeeling, we’ll both go to Switzerland.”
It was Kavita’s turn to be surprised. “Are you sure that’s a good idea? I mean the project will be just kicking off then. Can you manage that?” “Sure I can. We’ll get at least one weekend to ourselves.” “Oh Samir. You’re great. I’m so happy for us.”


The trouble began on the second day of their trip. The marriage had been hectic. The rites ended quite late and they left almost immediately for the airport after preparing for the early morning flight. On reaching Lucerne, Kavita had rushed off to office after freshening up, leaving Samir to settle down in their hotel room. She returned in the evening totally exhausted and feeling the jet lag only now. Both of them were too tired to go for any sight seeing that evening and ordered their food in the room.
The next day after Kavita left for office, Samir tarried for a while in the hotel and then set about exploring the environs. He had been in Zurich for a project earlier and was taking in the similarities that Lucerne had. Samir was in high spirits and was eagerly awaiting the weekend when they could go around together for two whole days. He was already planning the schedule and route they would take. He returned to the hotel in the early afternoon as he couldn’t make himself go around those beautiful sights alone. He wanted Kavita to share every moment every experience with him. Kavita was facing a tough time at office as the project team had already run into some rough patches in the earlier week when she wasn’t around. She returned quite late to find Samir loitering in the lobby waiting for her. “Hi Samir. Tough day at work today. I am going to have to redo the entire work the team has done last week. You know we found….” “Hey Kavita. Let’s not discuss work at least on this trip. I’ve been waiting for you to come back so we could have gone around at least in the evening. You know the lake area is really beautiful and there are some really good spots we must take in before the weekend, as we will be out of Lucerne the whole weekend.” “I really don’t feel like going out now Samir. After the day I have just had, I just want to relax a bit.”
From that point on, things just went downhill for them. The next three days they found themselves griping over small things, getting into each other’s way and there were a few hours they were not even talking to each other. Samir was caught up in his frustrations of being in such a romantic place but having to wander around alone. That too on his honeymoon. The poet in him just couldn’t help but marvel at the irony of the situation. And that depressed him even further. Meanwhile Kavita couldn’t help but wonder what had come over Samir and why he was behaving in such a boorish manner. There was hardly any communication between them that week. Samir used those three days to make day trips to nearby Bern, Zurich & Basel. Kavita had taken full charge of the project by now and discovered some major gaps in the design that she had to re-do by the end of that week. It looked like she would have to use up the weekend just to bring the project back on track. When she returned to their room at night, Samir would be immersed in a book or would be writing some notes. Kavita did not dare ask him if that was a glimpse of poetry she saw him writing one night.
On Friday evening, Samir returned very early from the Rhein fall near Schaffhausen in a more melancholy mood than ever. The beauty of the falls contrasted so deeply with the anguish going on inside his mind. The mist from the falls, the nature around, the lovely bridge over the river had all conspired to make him miss Kavita who should have been there by his side at that moment at that spot. He entered the empty hotel room and lay down in a stupor neither asleep nor awake, the turmoil of the last three days taking a toll on his senses.

At 4 p.m. in the evening, Kavita emerged from the last meeting of the week with Janderb, the project owner from the client’s side. There was still a good day’s work to be put in before the design could be signed off with them on Monday morning. It was the weekend and the client’s office had started emptying out. “Have a nice weekend” – Rosa, Jan’s secretary cooed on her way out. Kavita threw a “You too” in her direction pre-occupied with her task list. There was a lot to do in those next two days before she could face Janderb on Monday. When she rose after another half an hour to get herself a coffee, there were hardly two or three stragglers left in the office. The emptiness of the place got to her and resonated within. She wanted to cling on to Samir’s arm and wanted him beside her at that moment at that spot. She discarded the coffee and left the office.

When she entered their room, she saw Samir lying on the bed facing the window. His eyes were closed and he seemed to be asleep. She sat down beside him and ran her fingers through his hair. Samir shifted on his side and nestled his head on her lap. He opened his eyes a few moments later only to look up into Kavita’s moist gaze. The turmoil of the past few days, the anguish & misunderstandings, the harshness said and unsaid between them all melted away in the stream of tears that now flowed freely from her eyes. Samir got up to wipe the dampness from his eyes as well. There was no need for words any longer. That touch, that look, that feeling pervaded both of them.

They went out for dinner at the Stadtkeller that evening. When Kavita laid out the plans for the weekend trip to Lugano & Interlaken, Samir started protesting. “But what about your w….”
“Shhhhh ….” Kavita cut him off. “Another time…. another day”
A week after Samir had left to resume his work in India, she received a letter from him. She smiled as she saw that he had finally completed the poem she had seen him writing one of those nights.

As she stepped out into the balcony and read out aloud the words within, she could feel his presence beside her at that moment at that spot.

Mere haathon mein tera haath ho
Aur jeevan bhar ka saath ho

Tere thirakte labon ko
Mere hothon ki talaash ho
Meri pyaasi nazron ko
Teri eik zhalak ki aas ho

Aao eik aise atoot bandhan mein
bandh jaaen hum tum,  tum hum
ke janam janam ka saath ho,
aur phir milne ki baat ho…

Tere dil ke eik kone mein basi
jab meri hi yaad ho…
to phir mere mashook tum,
baithe kyon udaas ho

Ho aaj tum mujhse duur to kya,
Kal itne karib aa jana
Ke mein tujhme samaa jaaun
Aur tum mujhme samaa jaana

Hoge jab tum paas mere to
Honge haseen yeh din saare…
.. aur jawan who eik raat ho.
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FJB Blogs by Fakhruddin J Bandukwala is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported License.