Saturday, December 5, 2009

मैं समय को रोक दूँगा पापा

(अथर्व के वास्तविक प्रतिक्रिया पर आधारित )

पापा जब मैं हो जाउँगा बड़ा

तो आप बन जायेंगे क्या

आप छोटे हो जायेंगे मेरे जैसा ।

तीन बरस के पुत्र को उठाकर गोद में

कहा पिता ने मोद में -

अरे नहीं पुत्र

तबतक तो मैं और बड़ा हो जाऊंगा ।

मैं आपके इतना बड़ा हो जाऊंगा जब

मैं बूढ़ा हो जाऊंगा तब

क्या होगा फ़िर उसके बाद

मैं मर जाऊंगा उसके बाद

मम्मी मेरी रहेगी तो

नहीं पुत्र , वह भी मर जाएगी बूढी हो ।

चुप हो गया पुत्र

चिंता की छाया उसके चेहरे पर झलकने लगी

फ़िर पूछा उकता कर

आप और मम्मी होंगे ही क्यों बूढ़े

क्यो जायेंगे मर

मैं बड़ा नहीं बनूँगा , बस्स।

पुत्र ऐसा भी कभी होगा क्या

समय का चक्र रुकेगा क्या

हँसकर कहा पिता ने -

समय आगे बढ़ता जाता है सदा ही

समय के साथ देह बूढ़ा होता है सदा ही

जो भी जन्म लेता है धरा पर

करे कुछ भी कोई

समय से सब निश्चित मरा पर

पुत्र हो गया उदास

उपाय नहीं कोई पास

अचानक उसके चेहरे पर दृढ़ता छा गई

मन की प्रतिज्ञा भा गई

ले खिलौने का हथोड़ा वह चल पड़ा

आँखों में संकल्प , तमतमा कर था खड़ा ।

चले कहाँ तुम पुत्र , पूछा पिता ने

मैं चला दुःख को जड़ से मिटाने

मैं सभी घड़ियों को तोड़ दूँगा पापा

मैं समय को रोक दूँगा पापा।

..........श्याम दरिहरे ........

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

मेरे घर की आजादी

आजादी की हमउम्र मेरी माँ

आजादी से अधिक बूढी हो गई है

आजादी बासठ बरस बाद भोग रही है

चिप्स कोको कोला चिकेन पिजा और बर्गर

पाकर दस प्रतिशत का ग्रोथ

उमंग से भरी है

अपना धन विदेशी बैंको में धरी है

करती है सब कुछ

विजय चौक पर पताका गाड़।

मेरी माँ सुई की छेद से धागा घुसाते

चौंधिया जाती है

माँ के सिर पर फटी साडी में

मुस्कुरा रही है उजली आजादी

मेरा सबसे छोटा भाई

बारह अगस्त से है व्यस्त

बेचना है तिरंगा उसे पब्लिक स्कूल में

करनी है खड़ी अपनी पढ़ाई की फीस

पिताजी सुबह से ढो रहे हैं लाठी के सहारे

खेतों में आजादी का गोबर

पाँव की बेमाई हंस रही है उन पर मुंह फाड़ -

आज भी उन्हें पेट की पड़ी है

गाने नहीं गए जन गण मन अधिनायक जय हे।

चौक पर

जहाँ १९४७ से स्वाधीनता दिवस खड़ी है

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Devil Blessed Us ( Maithili story by Shyam darihare, translated by Praveen k Jha )

The police chief had just left and the Supremo was about to retire for the day when a guard entered and saluted. Moving his neck-tied glasses to his eyes, the Supremo asked, 'now what'?
'Sir, B TV's owner has been waiting outside for long to call on', replied the guard politely.

'I won't see any TV guy right now. Ask him to come later. And with an appointment.' Said the supremo climbing stairs of his mansion.

'Sir, he is not here for an interview, but for a redressal. His nephew has been abducted.' the guard explained.

Supremo halted his steps. He turned his head, 'abducted? Nephew? How? When?'
'He didn't tell me all that', guard said humbly.
'Alright, have him wait into the outer drawing room. I will be right back'. Saying, supremo went upstairs, immediately called his brother-in-law and asked,'man! How could you kidnap B TV's owner's nephew?'

Santlal was stunned. Said,'what you sayin, Monsieur? My team got only a doctor in our custody and Monsieur has already been informed of that. We know nothin 'bout no B TV's owner's kin. My team don't touch no one without my permission, monsieur. Me sure some other team gotta done that.'
Supremo's eyes turned red. Said he,'Only your team has the wherewithal to pull this kind of a job through. No other team is authorized to lay their hands on such a figure. Contact B team, C team, D team right away and let me know within ten minutes who has him. Meanwhile, I will meet the B TV's owner and engage him in conversation.'
Angrily, supremo inserted three pints of paan instead of usual two and started downstairs grumbling,'these bastards want to gulp all the ransom all by themselves. Which is why didn't tell me. What they don't understand is they can't challenge the master.'
Supremo brought down his glasses to hang onto his chest from upon the eyes. Spitting a load into the spittoon outside the room, he entered the outer drawing room. B TV's owner and accompanying news editor and senior photographer got on to their feet and greeted him. After the supremo took to his seat, the owner started,' sir, I am B TV's CEO Suresh Bahal...'

'hnn-hnn what, CO?' interrupted the supremo.
'no sir, CEO' Mr. Suresh clarified.
'What's that?' Supremo asked diverting the talk.
'Sir, Chief Executive Officer'.
'Oh that! That what Pakistan's President calls himself and some of the chief ministers here also take pride in doing that' Supremo displayed his treasure of knowledge.
'Yes sir...yes sir' said Mr. Suresh Bahal pleased with his success in explaining. Introducing his colleagues, he said,'Sir, this is our news editor Mr. Mohan Bhatia and...'
Supremo interrupted yet again,'So, Mr. Bhat! What kind of news editing do you do - always finding fault with my state? My family is especially targeted by your TV. Why don't you show something positive once in a while?'
'Like what, sir?' Asked Mr. Bhatia.
'Like what? Why are you asking me that? Can't you see all the healthy fish growing in my pond....? Fisheries industry can be encouraged by that. Potato, onion and cabbage...high varieties of these are grown in my mansion. You won't find such varieties elsewhere. In my dairy, one cow can give thirty liters of milk! All these you can't see! All you do is to criticize!'
Mr. Bhatia was speechless. Understanding that arguing on this matter right now might be extremely harmful to the kidnapped, he folded his hands,'Sorry, sir! I will keep it in mind now on.'
'Yeah, these things should be kept in mind. Who is this third, Mr. CO?, Supremo asked.
'My name is Prabal Mishra. I am a senior photographer with B TV.' The third person introduced himself with folded hands.
'Ohhhh, so it's you, Mr. Prabal Mishra! Isn't it you who came to cover my rally and snapped photos of people squabbling for snacks and fighting each other instead of listening to me! You had interviewed shopkeepers about how my party people extorted contributions from them. What have you come here for today? Wanna snap something spicy? All of you are hands in glove with opposition. Media folks are bent on conspiring to discredit a government of poor and downtrodden...'
Supremo was lecturing them in his signature fashion to terrorize them earlier on so they won't much open their mouth later. Whereas, Mr. Suresh Bahal was shaking to his very core thinking he may have to return empty-handed.
Supremo's dissertation continued,'...especially people of your caste are dead against my government. But photos would do nothing. My government of poor and fallen will go on. Don't dream that I will ever allow a government of your caste in this state. Biggies pundits are falling at my feet in my court and you are out to disrepute me with a mere lens...!' Paan's spit was pouring out of supremo's mouth. A guard ran out and brought a spittoon. He put it along supremo's mouth. Supremo spit it all out along with a piece stuck in his throat. Keeping the spittoon in one hand, the guard passed a napkin with the other. Wiping the red saliva drooling out of his lips, supremo tossed the napkin towards the guard. Using his training skills, the guard caught the napkin with one hand. He looked at the guests anticipating an appreciation of his feat. He couldn't read the disgust and fear splattered on their faces. It didn't matter to him anyway and gloomily he went his way.

Seeing all that gurgling and spit Mr. Suresh Bahal was feeling a little dizzy. Bending his head down he tried to regain his composure and said, 'Sir, we haven't come for an interview today nor to cover any news.'
'Then why are you here? Don't tell me you came to negotiate a marriage because my son is too young and invitation I haven't extended any!' Supremo roared in laughter.

Ignoring the implied insult in his remarks, Mr. Bahal said, 'Sir, my nephew has been abducted. We came to ask for your help.'
'Hnn your nephew has been abducted? When? From where?' Supremo pretended to be surprised.
Pushing in a couple of pints of paan in his mouth out of the bowl kept besides, and topping it with some jarda, the supremo took to digging his ears with a Johnson bud. Mr. Bahal continued, 'Sir, My nephew came to the capital day before yesterday to prepare a special report. He was abducted moments after he came out of the hotel. In front of Mr. Prabal Mishra's eyes four gun-totting men forced him to their car and spirited away.'

Washing off his ear-dirt into the ashtray, the supremo asked,'Did you file a report with the police?'
'No sir.'
'If it happened in front of your photo-man Mr. Mishra, he must have seen the number on the license plate?' Supremo asked apprehensively.
Mr. Prabal Mishra concealed the truth,'no sir. Couldn't catch the no. in all that hustle.'
Supremo heaved a sigh of relief. Mr. Bahal et al became a little hopeful with this sigh. Mr. Bhatia presently said,'Sir, you have such a standing in this state that all bureaucrats and police administration tremble with fear before you.So we thought that reporting the matter to police will unnecessary publicize it and endanger the life of the victim as well as bring disrepute to your government. We suggest you personally ask the police to create a pressure...'
Mr. Suresh Bahal interrupted,'Sir, we haven't even got any call for ransom yet. Had it come, we would have resolved it then and there and wouldn't have bothered you sir.'
'My botheration is immaterial. After all, terrible it is that a journalist has been kidnapped. All this is a conspiracy to discredit my government. I ask you to have faith in me. Yet, it is not a low hanging fruit which you can enjoy immediately. You have to be a little patient.' Supremo assured them.
A guard came in and saluted,'Sir, Madam is calling you upstairs.'
'Can't you see, we are talking?', Supremo rebuked.
'Sir, the Patron has called up' the guard replied unaffected.
'Oh, shouldn't you say that.' saying supremo hurried towards the stairs.
Mr. Bahal looked towards Mr. Prabal Mishra and Mr. Bhatia. Uttered Mr. Prabal Mishra,'The supremo doesn't talk intimate on this phone. There are phones in his bedroom for special conversations.'
Then they all fell silent.
After about ten minutes, Supremo reappeared in the room and said,'All of you should now go. Be patient. I have asked the police chief and have also taken the station officer to task. We should get some information by the evening.'
'When should we come again sir?' Asked Mr. Bahal.
'Call before you come'. Supremo stood up.
No sooner had they left than supremo again ran upstairs. Elder brother-in-law was seated in the upper patio. Supremo yelled at him,'You speak such things on phone? Whole story you started narrating on the phone. You are aware that my enemies are all around. But you don't think. Now tell me what you have found out.'
'Monsieur, me inquired from everyone of my team. The boys swore they took no one except that doctor' Replied Santlal hesitatingly.
'Could you talk to the other teams?' Supremo was turning red.
'Yes, Monsieur, total five targets are in hand – two traders, a doctor, a girl and an unknown big figure.'
'Who did you talk to about that unknown guy?'
'To Nalkatta, monsieur!'
'And he said what', supremo was losing patience.
'He knew not the total thing. But he sure blurted out that his group has laid their hands on a fat target.' Santlal informed.
'Where is this asshole Nalkatta?' Supremo lost his temper.
'Me asked him to find everything and come here straight, monsieur'.
Supremo was not calming down. Shouted he,'Now this bugger Nalkatta is lifting billionaires and you are sitting on your ass. When every team has been alloted their areas then how come this B team has touched this target? What the hell have you been doing? If you are done with it then let me know.'
Santlal was panicking. Couldn't speak a thing.
Supremo's wife presently entered. Sitting besides the supremo, she asked,'What's the matter? What are you yelling at him for?'
'Go mind your own business. Don't you interfere in everything. We are talking something very important.' Supremo was extremely angry.
An orderly came in and informed,'Sir, your cousin is waiting downstairs.'
'That's Nalkatta, monsieur', Santlal spurted happily.
'Since when did he become Nalkatta?' Madam was laughing.
A thin smile came upon supremo's face too. Pinning it towards his wife, he directed,'You should go. I have to reprimand Nalkatta.'
Wife stood up and left.
Nalkatta appeared and laid prostate. Supremo remained unmoved like a stone.
Santlal asked,'What did you find out?'
Nalkatta's voice got stuck in his throat. He started choking. Supremo got up and slapped him hard on his face,'Bastard, now you are grabbing billionaires! Can your ass handle it now?'
'Monsieur, they got him by mistake.' Nalkatta spoke massaging his cheeks.
'How come by mistake?' Santlal inquired.
'Monsieur, they had the information that a hotel owner from Delhi was staying in that hotel and that he had come to attend a wedding. But they held the B. TV man instead by mistake.' Nalkatta gave his explanation.
Supremo again hit him with his foot,'And now do you have the capacity to handle it you motherfu..! Operate only as far as your infrastructure permits.'
Pretending to be Nalkatta's saviour, Santlal proposed, ' Monsieur, they cannot handle such a target. They don't have such large scale arrangement. Pray ask him to transfer the target to my team. I promise there won't be any disparity in sharing the goodies'.
'What share and what goodies! My government may even fall due to abductions of such parties' Shouting, the supremo turned to Nalkatta and ordered him,'Transfer the target to Santlal's team within two hours. Or else each one of you will face encounters'.
Trembling with fear, Nalkatta said,'will do, Monsieur. Right away.'
Nalkatta and Santlal both stood up and started out. Supremo asked from behind,'I will take the next step only after getting confirmation about the transfer, remember that.'
When they left, Supremo was so ecstatic on his skillful diplomacy that he laughed out,'These assholes think they are chiefs. I would let them take away this party of forty-fifty million and and I will always be on thirty percent? Give me all of it this time, you bloodyfools.'
It was just over half an hour that two party members of parliament and two assembly members came over. Supremo was going to have his lunch. He said to his wife,' These suckers don't understand what hour it is. Wandering around all the time. Must be some transfer-posting recco. Wait for a few minutes. Let me drive'em out first.'

Entering the meeting hall, the supremo inquired,' came all the four musketeers together?'
'Sir, the matters have gone to such an extent that it forced us to be here today.' An assembly member replied.
'Why, what happened?' Supremo asked.
'Sir, this abduction industry is growing thick and fast in the whole province' A member of parliament expressed worry.
Supremo roared with laughter and said,'Ain't that better! Opposition says that our government is not allowing any industry to come up. Go and tell'em don't we have the abduction industry growing fast and furious!'
All these four people's representatives have been known admirer of his witty remarks. But presently they all maintained their sorry posture.
Asked the supremo again,'Why these long faces?'
'Sir, just two days ago, a gangster forced one Mr. Mishra's daughter out of her home and forcibly married her. The girl kept howling horribly but no one came to her rescue out of fear of the stengun.' Spoke one member of parliament.
'Yeah..yeah the police superintendent mentioned this to me yesterday only. The search is on. Now he has married her and has kept her for the last two you think she would be pristine by now that you folks are getting so distressed? Now she has to live with him be it a gangster or a gentleman like you. These brahmins can even turn an impure one to a pristine one. You guys close your eyes and ears and relax. There will be some uproar for a few days and then all will be calm. People do not have more time than that.'
'But the media is bellowing with rage' Second assembly member said.
Supremo gave him a hard glance,'if you were such a coward then why did you join politics? Thicken your skin.'
'But some response has to be there', said the first member of parliament again.
'Response has to be there so let it be there! Say that when Veerappan was abducting people no one showed any concern. And in this rule of the poor and downtrodden, the moment there is a crime, everyone starts shouting. This is a opposition conspiracy. People of this state are closely watching how they are bent on discrediting a government of the poor and the downtrodden. The exploited and troubled people will definitely avenge this of those conspirators.' Thus providing enough armor to his representatives to fight the media, the Supremo moved out for his lunch.
The representatives too went their ways satisfied praising their leader's offensive politics.
As they were leaving, Supremo had assured them further,'Folks, do not be afraid of the media. Our voters don't read newspapers, so let them write whatever they want to. Nevertheless, I have instructed the superintendent to hold a press briefing in the evening.'
Two notable things happened in the evening. The superintendent declared to the press,'the girl was not abducted, it is a love lorn case.'
The media asked,'But the girl was wailing and the stengun-totting criminals forcibly took her away. It's been two days. What has the police been doing?'
The superintendent had replied,'Even a super power like America has not been able to catch Osama Bin Laden despite all their efforts, how do you expect us to catch the kidnappers so quickly? We are trying. Please wait.'

Secondly, Supremo was informed by Santlal that the B. TV target has been moved to a safehouse. No police or media can ever trace him there.
Supremo immediately counseled Santlal,'Now don't forget that you are also a people's representative, so do not ever bring the target to your own house and yes, negotiate the ransom yourself by phone. Do not start below seventy million. Hide the vehicle used in the abduction in a secured garage. This Mishra must have read the numbers.'

After sunset, Mr. Suresh Bahal alone presented himself in supremo's court in this high-security zone. When in private, he informed,'Sir, someone called on my cell from a public phone a while ago. The kidnappers are asking for seventy million.'
Supremo expressed surprise,'I can't believe how shameless these criminals have become! Seventy million! Who asks for this kind of a figure in a ransom! Don't you worry. I am calling the police chief right here in front of you. They will beat the hell out of them. Never seen so daring criminals. Oh my God! This is now crossing limits!'
Mr. Suresh Bahal stopped him,'Sir, please do not tell anything to police. I am sure I am being followed. If you tell police the abductee's life will be in danger.'
'Then what kind of help do you want from me?' The supremo asked. He didn't expect a mediaperson to agree to a ransom so fast.

'Sir, seventy million is too much for me. You are an influential person. You know all kinds of people. You are familiar with all intricacies of this province. Please just let me negotiate through someone. I am ready to pay forty million.' Said Mr. Bahal.
'You are a mediaman. Don't give up so easily. If you pay ransom, they will be even more encouraged. If you hold your ground, I will have the police of entire state go after them big time. But of course, there are always some risks in this kind of campaign. You must be prepared to accept that. If something goes wrong it will be you guys raising all hue and cry.' Supremo extolled the strengths of his administration.
'No sir, we will not raise a voice. Please let me negotiate. It will be a great favor to me. I am arranging for the money.' Saying so, Mr. Bahal left.
How the negotiation took place and finally how much was bargained for, remained a mystery but on the third day Mr. Suresh Bahal's nephew returned safely. The same day, the whole team packed up and escaped out by next flight.

where lies the fault (maithili story by shyam darihare translated by Praveen k jha

High school started from grade eight but there was no high school in my village. Most would study until grade seven but one would have to walk four miles to another village for any further education. You had to cross the same creek twice and the same canal thrice or take a detour of another four miles. So no gals from my remote hamlet would ever go beyond grade seven. Nor many lads. After seven it was mostly farming. But that year I found myself among the few lucky ones who got admitted. If I visualize today how I used to look then in my class, it would be a picture of a ragbag. A corded pant and a namesake shirt. Didn't even think of any footwear. Books bound with farm strands and notepapers sewed with threads.

The first day I was amazed to see so many students in the class. We had only thirteen in my last class in my village but look here, a hundred and three! There was a girl as well sitting in the front. Students grouped themselves as per their villages. Kerwar's student in one, Itahar-Ajnauli in another and Barha's the third one. Tisi Balia was fourth and Simri-Rupauli-Nahas were fifth and sixth. But the group from Persauni and Muralia Chak had the maximum clout. Being local they had the largest numbers.

The first topic of introductory talks was who has topped in which villages and who will top this joint class. My village fellows were trying to intimidate me saying that the girl on the front bench was the topper of Persauni middle school and will undoubtedly break my run at the top. But I was lost somewhere else. The photo of Mrs. Chatterji in the seventh grade english book 'Free India Reader' had exactly the same look as this girl. Same beauty and the long hair. I named her Mrs. Chatterji in my mind. Howsoever those guys tried to provoke me, I didn't feel any jealousy or competition with her. Oh, only if she could befriend me.....! Then I thought of my own dereliction and how I would just look like dirt in front of her. Whatever.

When the B.Sc. Mastersaab Fekan Thakur was teaching in a chemistry class about the three states of matter – solid, liquid and gas, my mind got fixed on the liquid. And when he said, ' In liquid state, the matter takes the shape of its container. It doesn't have its own shape. Put it in a glass, and it becomes like glass, in a bottle, like a bottle and in a bucket, like a bucket.'.
Immediately the thought came in mind, ' yeah, like my mother, aunties et al – My mother like my father, the elder auntie like my uncle, the auntie from Uchhal like Lutti uncle, and my maami (maternal auntie) like my maama. No shape of their own. Shaped as whoever they are married to.'
If there is any shape of their own, its hidden. Lest 'He' would see. Lest 'He' would come to know that she did anything on her own. Or her chastising will be there for all to see. So I concluded that they are all liquids and my uncles their containers.

This thought followed me to the college. When I read about liquid's 'Bhiscosity' in college, again I was reminded of my aunties. If the husband was a muscleman, the wife's stature was of a hustler. A timid's wife was bullied by everyone. A rich one's wife was a celebrity and a poor one's place was in the corner. Means more viscid the husband, more acclaimed the wife. Viscosity. Whatever.

In the annual of eighth, that girl Champa gave me the drubbing. She was first and I came second. Just by two marks. But then first was first. Her roll no. in the ninth became one and mine, two. Now I was jealous. At the same time a little happy. I was closer to her. Oh, Mrs. Chatterjee. At least my name will be written just under yours!

A year gone had taken out all shyness and formalities. All groups disbanded and it was now one class. Village identities were gone.
I started sitting in front. Champa 's right behind. Even if I was late, folks would give me the seat. There was now great competition between the two of us. I didn't know about her, I was dying of jealousy and competition and the fact that a girl beat me.

In the semi-annual of Ninth, I turned the table and snatched the top position. And that remained my position since. Until the very board exam of eleventh.

Her face was so shining that I was like a faint shadow compared to her. My clothes were not even shreds compared to her dresses. Overall she pretty much fit in the frame of Mrs. Chatterjee in my mind.

Anyway, she had become friends with me after I topped the class in ninth. I wasn't that bitter either, I was already the topper.
We remained friends for two more years. Being local, she used be before time and I was always late. Champa would keep a seat for me right behind hers. However, our friendship remained only friendship till the very end. Being close to someone like her was good enough for me. I told her about Mrs. Chatterjee. She burst out in laughter. I wouldn't ever forget that laughter. Every once in a while I used to call her Mrs. Chatterjee. I thought she felt good.
Unlike today, the schoolkids those days weren't so savvy. We were no exceptions. After the matriculation she had been married. To who and where I don't know. Nor did I need to.
By the time I landed in the officialdom of Bihar Government, it was sixteen years since my matriculation. About five years in service, I got an opportunity to visit Calcutta in on the occasion of Durgapooja. The kids were excited about visiting Calcutta and my wife about Durgapooja. On reaching Calcultta to my brother's house, I found his in-laws also there. I advised my sister-in-law,'My orderly can help in cooking.'
'Why? Don't I have my own hands.' Said she.
'No, no, I just proposed. So many people are there. If all you do is cooking, when will you enjoy the festival?' I insisted.
'Get out of your chieftanship mind here. I don't have your orderly any other day around, do I?. If I have invited you over I have made arrangements as well. I am not siting here waiting for your help.' Said she again.
'Alright! Do as you wish. God!' I looked at my brother.
My brother explained,'There is Munni's mom, someone from our place only. She will assist. Which is why so much aplomb. Or else alone what can she...''
'Yeah, right. Its you who does everything around here.' she murmured again.
Anyway, everything was going as planned. Ritual sacrifice was performed on the eighth day of the pooja. Mahaprasad (preparation of the sacrificial goat) was being cooked in the backyard. That Munni's mom was swamped with work. My wife was instructing her.
I went in and asked my wife,'how longer for dinner?'
'Just a little. I will bring you guys some fried liver in the meantime.' she replied.
'What's this covered in this corner?' I asked turning the caisson over.
'Oh, leave it alone, would you? Why do you have to look at everything anyway. Men don't need to poke their noses in everyhting now, do they? Go and wash your hand. Its impure now.' wife boasted.
'What is in it anyway?' Dithering I asked again promptly putting the cover back on.
'There is no treasure trove. There is the skin and some Mahaprasad. For Munni's mom. She asked for the skin. So its put aside for her. She will take it after we are done here.'
While my wife was explaining, Munni's mom brought water for me to wash my hand. Seeing her veiled, I whispered to my wife,'she is veiling herself from me as if she is a newcomer bride in the house.'
Wife whispered back,'just go away. Don't...'

When dining, commented my brother,'Munni's mom's hands are some kind of machine, eh! What a great Mahaprasad!'
I nodded in agreement.
Munni's mom had left with the skin for her home. I asked my sister-in-law,'What would she do with the skin?'
'What else? She would carve a drum out of it and send it to you to play!' she got irritated.
'Why can't you answer anything straight?'
'You talk rubbish, that's why. The skin will be boiled. Hair peeled out and they will cook and eat it for a couple of a days. I can't believe what kind of officer you are if you don't understand such trivia.'
Tipped my brother,'why, is he a leather department officer.'
Everybody burst out laughing.
Changing the topic I asked my sis-in-law,'So have you engraved this bedsheet yourself or bought it somewhere. Its nice.'
'You can take it if you want it. I will get another one done. Very skillful is Munni's mom. She has done it all.'
'Wow! Look's like you got yourself a genie in her.'
'That's actually right. She is always ready to do whatever is told. No greed she has. So nice. Its just her devil husband...'
'Why, what does he do?'
'What can he do? I have fixed him as an bookkeeper with a contractor. He is alright now. Earlier he had wrecked it all in drugs. Luckily my driver got to know and told me everything and so I could act in time.' explained my brother.
'What had happened?'
'He started a shop in Shyam bazaar in partnership with his in-law. Invested a lot. Business was good too. But then came the bad company and drugs and he ruined it all. They fought among themselves, him and in-law. Brawls, litigation, everything. Lastly, the in-law took hold of the shop and threw him out. He came virtually on the street with his family. Didn't even have a day's meal. From there, he has finally improved a lot. Quit the drugs. Somehow he is managing. I give clothes for all in his family like my own in the time of festivals. This lady is very admirable. Like the beauty in the hands of beast. She maintained her dignity even in the face of great adversity. No greed for anything at all. Works her back out to earn.' Listening to my brother's story, I was feeling sympathy and admiration at the same time.
I wasn't feeling well on the day of Dashhara (the tenth and final day of the pooja). When everyone else left for the festival, I bolted the door and fell asleep. I woke up on the sound of the ring-bell. Looked at the watch- it was half past five. Lying on my bed, I said, 'who's there?' No response. The bell rang again. I got up murmuring and opened the door. Munni's mom was standing. For the first time I had seen her from the front. Very exhausted looking face. Hair looked thin. The lips looked blackened. She was wearing a bengali shred saari. Hastily she covered her face. But behind this battered face, I could see what a stunning beauty she could have been once.

Moving aside , I said,'No one is there. Everyone is out to the festival'
'Yes, I know, Sir. Sister had told me to make tea for you on time. Can I?' Munni's mom said.
Her voice gave me an electric shock. I felt like I would fall down. I didn't say anything just down on the chair right on the patio. I couldn't notice when she went inside, made tea and brought it over. I was absorbed in investigating that voice.

'Tea is getting cold.' She said from inside the house.
Now I came round. Instead of taking tea, I asked her,'Could you come here in front of me?'
She came and stood on the patio.
'Where are you from'? Asked I.
'And native place?'
She didn't respond.
My suspicion increased.
'Where is your native place?' I asked again.
'Why would you want to know, Sir?'

'Don't call me 'Sir', Champa! I recognized you!' I screamed.

She sat down right there. I thought she was crying. I remained quiet for a few moments. I was stunned. Her ruinous story I already knew. I just had one question,'Champa, didn't you recognize me?'
'I could recognize you the very first day.'
'So why didn't you come out to me'?
'I don't have the capability anymore to equal with you.'
My courage was failing. I had no energy left to say or ask anything. She rose and left for her home.
I remembered the two lessons of school – 'Free India reader's Mrs. Chatterjee and the shapeless state of liquid. Put it in whichever vessel and it will take its shape. Marry Mrs. Chatterjee off to whoever and her 'viscousity' becomes like him.

The very next day, I left Calcutta.

Friday, April 10, 2009

एन आर आई पिता पुत्र संवाद (२०९९)

पापाजी देखने छियैक अहाँ
गाछ चाउरक
कहूत' चाउर ऊपर फरैत छैक गुलाब जकां
की मांटीक तर मे
पापाजी आंगुर राखि ठोरपर
सोच मे परि गेला
की कहथिन बेटा के लाजे गरि गेला
तैओ साहस स' बजला
अच्छा पूछह दोसरो प्रश्न
सबहक जबाब देबह एके संग
ठीक छै कहूत'
गाय आ मंहिसमे की छै फरक
जखन दूनू छै दैत मिल्क आ काफ
केहन लगै छै गाछ मे फरल
जामुन आ आम
भुखले पेट कोना सुतै छै लोक
आ बाढीमे कोना भसिया जाइत छैक गामक गाम
कोन देश मे लोकक पैर मे बेमाय छै फाटैत
आ एखनो कोन लोक सब रद्द -दस्तस' छैक मरैत
सड़क पर जायब टॉयलेट देखि कतय नै छै सजा
कीचर भरल गाम मे केहन छै मजा
पापाजी कंप्यूटर पर लगेलनि गूगल सर्च
लगला ताकय जबाब
पुत्रके लगलै ख़राब
कंप्यूटर पर हमरो बुते जबाब भेटिए जेतै
जखन अहुं तकबई गूगले पर
तखन बाप भइएक' की हेतै ?.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

ओबामा ओबामा ओबामा

ओबामा ओबामा ओबामा

हंगामा हगामा हंगामा

जीतल ओबामा हारल अछि मेकन

हारि गेल पालिन आ जीति गेल बैदन

अमेरिका त सहजे सुकराती नचइये

दुनियाक लोक सेहो फगुआ गबैये

गोरकिक ऊपर करिक्किक भाव बढ़ल

व्हाइट क अखारा मे ब्लैकक दाव लहल

उजरत इराक नै

फ़नकत इरान नै

डूबत ने बैंक कोनो एआईजी की लेहमन

दुनिया मे समताक डंका पिटायत

लादेन के गोरकास इरखा मिटायत

फुटत ने बम कतौ मरत ने लोक कतौ

सस्ते मे तेल आ सस्ते मे गैस भेटत

मरर के बेटा आब नैनो चलायत

सुकनी के देह मे एंजलिना फुलायत

चिबायब ने रोटी खायब आब कूकी

गंगा के बदला पेप्सीए मे नहायब

गेनमाक बेटीके चान पर पठायब

बुधना आब घोंघाके माला ने पहिरत

गीधना ने कहियो भैंसी चरायत

चंडे भाई किनि लेता जींस आ टी शर्ट

भौजी के परसुए हॉलीवुड घुमायब

थीर रहू धीर धरू मोन भरमाऊ नै

पानीए मे माछ अछि कुट्टी लुटाऊ नै

अब्दुल्ला कतेको बेर नाचल अछि

अनठिया बियाह मे

हरबरी मे खेयाली पुलाओ बरकाऊ नै

देखल छथि कार्टर

आ देखले छथि क्लिंटन

देखलहुं अछि बुश आ देखलहुं हुनकर फुस्स

ओबामा के दीया मे तेल कते राखल अछि

ता ओकरे अटकर लगाब त दीअ

ओबामा सनक हाथी परेखए त दीअ

खाइए कते आ बहैये कते

दुलकी चलैये की सरपट भगैये

सम्हारत पाकिस्तान की ढुकत इरान

कोरिया खेहारत की चीन परतारत

काबुल बचायत की पछारत ग रूस

की लेने देने परि रहत हरो पालो थुस्स