Ek sunheri raat…

Ek arse ke baad mile yeh dono in sitaron ke tale,
Kitna kuch kehna hai ek duje se,
Phir bhi hain dono ke hoth sile,
Mann me ek hi sawal ‘Kahan shuru karu, sun ne batane ko hai kaee kisse !’

Par lafzon ka kya kaam yahan,
Jab aankhe khud hai is Dil ki Zubaan,
Bina kuch bole, dono hain nayi yaadein batorte.
Par afsos, Dunya ka hai dastur ki guzarjati har aisi sunheri raat,
Na chahte hue bhi chhodna hoga dono ko ek duje ka saath.

Par mayus nahi hain dono aaj yahan,
Kya pata kis mod pe, kis raah pe,
Fir miljaye yuhin kabhi dono inhi sitaron ke tale…

Image credits – Benjamin Davies

Galiyaren

In galiyaron ne dekhe hain kaee kisse,
Kuch the bichadte doston ke,
Kuch the naye bante rishton ke..
Inhi galiyaron se guzre har ek musafir ke kadam,
Koi hai ek CEO aaj, to koi aur, ek likhti Kalam…

In galiyaron ne badi shiddat se sambhale hain inhi bisri hui yaadon ko,
Har naye bande ko sunati kisi guzre hue lamhon ki Dastaan ko…
Fraz hai mera, karu kuch to anokha,
Yeh galiyaren bhi kahen yeh kissa to humne bhi nahi dekha…
Kyonki, inhi galiyaron ne dekhe hain kaee kisse…

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— @isbco2020 @isbindia #indianschoolofbusiness #lightswillguideyouhome #shadowandlight #nightphotography #nokia61plus #hindipoetsclub #hindipoetry #hindipoems #hindipoetryisnotdead #hindipoem #hindipanktiyaan #isbco2020

The long night

A wistful smile here,
A tight hug there..
His signs of leaving were everywhere.
.
.
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Each day feels like an eon since he left,
Even if it’s only two-score moons nonetheless.
The days seem endless,
The nights are long,
She awaits the return of her lover long gone.
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Tonight is another such night beneath the crescent moon,
her gaze lingers far into the gloom.
“Come back…” she whispers into the caressing wind,
Even as it It carries back the soldier’s undaunted response…
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.
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“I will” says he, soothed in the tiny nightingale,
And so ended another night of wait,
Even as the fading stars heralded the coming of another day…

At your own peril…

Vikram wandered the corridors of the fort unattended. He was already bored of the constant droning of their guide and had decided to move on from the group. He already regretted coming to this small obsecure fort. All he had constantly heard was a long list of local kings who had uneventfully succeeded each other. No battles, no glory, no conquests. Especially no lascivious accounts of lecherous rulers who abducted princesses or subjugated maids in the palace. Ofcourse he would never voice his fascination for such tales loudly, but the gloomy corridors and dimly lit passages of this fort were giving wings to his most inner desires.

He imagined how in a different era he would have chased Nikita in these corridors, and forced her to do his bidding. She was to blame ofcourse. He had only tried to kiss her, as was his right as her boyfriend. Weren’t couples who were committed to each other supposed to indulge in frolicking. She had slapped him in midst of the party in front of everyone. She was apparently disgusted, that he did not take her consent and assumed she was ok with it. ‘Consent’ was such an abused word these days he scowled. Had she not already given her consent, when they agreed to be a couple three weeks ago. The slap still stung, and more than the slap was the humiliation. He would have to teach her a lesson.
‘STOP’ echoed a voice behind him, “Go no further”. Vikram engrossed in his musings, had not being paying attention. His wanderings had brought him to another one of these dimly lit corridors, except this one had reddish hues to it, as if lot of blood had spiller into the soft lighting. His morbid imagination was already at play.
The voice was closer this time. “You are stepping on hallowed ground. Go no further. Men are not allowed beyond this point”. Vikram turned. The voice was of a sprightly old woman of his grandmother’s age. His interest was mildly piqued. He asked haughtily “Why aren’t men allowed further? What part of the fort am I in”.
The woman squinted at him. “This corridor leads to the Sanctum Sanctorum of the Devi” she put it simply. “Males cannot proceed beyond this point”. Vikram was irritated. “You are repeating yourself budhia. I asked why?”.
“This was not always so. The temple was open to all till 300 years ago. But it was defiled in the 500 years ago in the 17th century. The crown prince, fell in love with a local courtesan. He wooed her, but she did not feel the same for him. She explained that she did not desire him. The prince could not stomach this rejection and he chased her through the fort even as she pleaded him to let her be. The courtesan finally, took refuge in this temple assuming that the sanctity of the place would shame the prince into not following through with his plan of forcing himself on her. But to no avail. The prince raped her in the Sanctum itself right below the altar of the goddess Durga, ignoring the pleas and sobs of the courtesan. Having satisfied his lust, he hung her by the temple bell, as an example to other women who refused his advances.
It is said that the Murti of the Devi shed tears of blood that night, and it does so every night since then. The prince died the next day in tremendous agony. The story goes that he had gone hunting tigers in the forest. When he did not return, his companions abandoned the hunt and began a search for him. He was found sprawled on the forest floor, his gut torn apart by a tiger, eyes gouged and the tounge bitten off by a crow. Since then all men who entered the temple, died the next day under mysterious circumstances. So it has been our family’s obligation to warn wandering males if and when they reach this part of the fort”
“Old wives tales don’t scare me budhia. If it were so dangerous, the management would have blocked this place up. A simple minded old woman would not be there to warn people”
The woman gave a toothy grin,” to believe or not what I said is up to you. Enter at your own peril”. Vikram brushed her aside and entered the corridor. The silence seemed to deepen as he went further. He could see an arch in the distance. It was pitch black ad if it seemed to drink up all the surrounding light.
He entered the arch, and into the Sanctum proper. He could see it was round in shape and in the centre was the altar. It was sufficiently eerie to even make him look around his shoulders for a while. It was when he paid attention to the Devi’s Murti, that his attention was truly arrested. Hadn’t the hag said that the Murti was of goddess Durga. On closer inspection, he realised it was, but in a very twisted way. The color of the skin had turned pitch black. The eyes were red and there were definitely carved markings of tears on the cheeks.
The red saree seemed as if bathed in colour of blood. Even the tiger’s mouth was shown chewing on red meat, with blood dripping down its chin. The trishul was not pointed upwards as was the customary position, but pointed straight at the visitors once they entered the statue’s presence. It was blood red in colour. Interestingly the place of Mahisasur at her feet was empty. The Devi was neither Kali nor the benign Gowri, nor was she the warrior Durga. She was something that Vikarm had never seen.
He was truly intrigued by the story and now the quite different statue of the goddess. An interesting day, finally he thought. A splendid story and a gruesome ending. Ofcourse it was embellished, but quite a tale. Maybe he would bring Nikita, here in some pretext and they would have a nice roleplay of the prince and the courtesan. Ofcourse he had no intention of forcing himself on her, but a slight dose of fear would do good and make her toe the line.
He returned through the passage. The woman was no where to be found. He did not give it a second thought. He rapidly descended the fort and reached the town. He began to search for an auto, to take him to the station. As he waited for one to approach, he leaned on the lighting pole for support.
“Zap” the electricity hissed, even as Vikram’s back arched and a soundless scream escaped his mouth. The locals rushed to push him away from the pole, but the damage was already done. Vikram suffered an untold amount of agony. His eyes had burst due to the electric discharge and he had bitten his tongue in half in the aftermath of the pain. His skin off his extrmeties was already peeling off. The locals rushed him to the hospital, where doctors managed to save his life. But it would be a life which would be worse than death.
Far away in the sanctum of the Devi, the bells tolled, the tears of blood again flowed, but these were of happines not of sorrow of old. A daughter had been saved today. A thin smile carved itself on the Devi’s otherwise frozen face. She had learnt to adapt to the newer times, slowly but surely. The old woman outside the sanctum heard the tolling of the bells and her voice cackled ” may the Devi’s will be done. Tathastu” even as she remembered the prince who had brutally raped and murdered her ancestor from an era gone by.

Epiphany

Hamare man ke andheron me kuch khwahishen thi,
Hamare man ke andheron me kuch tamannaein thi,
Man hi man sochte rahe gaye, bina sukarm kiye inhe haasil karne ki guzarish thi,
Bhul gaye ki roshni dene ki aas me khud suraj ko jalna padta hai,
Ichhaon ko pura karne ke liye man se nikal kar chunoti se do do haath karna padta hai

Vengence will be hers …

The leaves preened in the morning light,

“It is us who put the food on the table, without us you would shrivel and die”

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The branches looked down on them in disdain,

“You are barely hanging there at our mercy, a slight twitch, and you will be flying adrift in pain”
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The trunk’s baritone silenced them for long,
“You two are nothing but quibbling children, for it is I who protects you by braving the swelling storm”
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“But I am not done yet ” wheezed in the ancient roots, “for I am the father of you all, to the boot”
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And so continued an eons old argument, through trees of every size and breed, Until… there came an unknown storm – a biped out to destroy every trunk root and seed.
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“So who’s the master off ye all?” scoffed the man, brandishing his bloodied Axe…
The nature’s spirit rumbled in the bowels of the nether world, “the tree is mine and so is every storm, “I suffer neither fools nor braggarts, so be warned”
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For every downed tree, the spirit groans in pain, until there would be a day when it’s dam of forbearance will wash away …
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Beware, beware, beware the coming of that day…

Choice!! It’s an illusion, but wait…

When the 18 day war of Mahabharata is about to commence, Arjuna is struck with an uncharacteristic despondency. His mighty Gandiva discarded, Arjuna questions his Sarathi i.e. his ‘Guide’ Krishna about the merits and demerits of this great carnage and his role in it. A discourse begins which is known around the world as ‘The Gita’. Amongst many other pearls of wisdom, Krishna implores Arjuna to give up this self defeating attitude, concentrate his focus on his karma and surrender himself to the supreme being (i.e. Krishna in this case). Krishna convincingly argues that it is to him that all beings return and it is from him that all beings come forth. Krishna is the Adi and the Ananta i.e. the beginning of all and the end of all: the supreme Brahman. It is therefore Arjuna’s hubris if he believes that he is striking the enemy down, cause they all are already dead for Krishna. Arjuna is just a means of accomplishing the lord’s vision.

As is known, Arjuna follows Krishna’s advice and fights in the 18 day war. He is crucial to the eventual victory and Yudhisthira ascends the Kuru throne.

Now here is the interesting part. 36 years after the war, due to certain strange circumstances Krishna and Balaram are forced to destroy the entire Yadava clan (this is a separate story). Balaram tired by this endless bloodshed, gives up his earthly existence. Krishna on the contrary is killed like a wild animal by a hunter who shoot him with an arrow through his heel.

Yudhisthira sends Arjuna, to securely escort the 16000 wives of Krishna and the scores of women of Dwarka who were vulnerable, now that the men were dead. Arjuna reaches Dwarka. He takes the responsibility of ensuring safe passage to the women and begins the return journey with them traveling under his protection.

En route to Hastinapur, bandits attack the Kuru camp. They kidnap the women. Ironically, the mighty Arjuna who could vanquish entire armies on his own, could not string his Gandiva, let alone draw an arrow. It is said that when Krishna died, the pandavas lost their near mythical martial prowess and spiritual strength.

For some this thought process, may raise a question about whether there is any meaning to all the actions that we take in our day to day lives, if everything is preordained from the start. Why should I reskill myself;why should I work hard; why should I put in effort for anything, if in the end the outcome is never in my control.

For someone like me who has always enjoyed reading our mighty epics as stories, analysing and trying to join dots between disparate events was always a subconscious process; The Mahabharata is a fertile ground of multitude of stories masterfully tied to each other to form the longest poem in the world.

To everyone the epics speak differently and that is the epic’s beauty. For some the Mahabharata will signify how the lord steered his child towards the right path and may instill in them a faith for a supreme being who will guide them too. For some it could be a study in political science, as they keenly observe the cunning manoeuvres between Krishna and Shakuni.

For me this story is a call to action. It signifies through out to me that it is ALWAYS our choices and responses to the events around us in the present that define our future; Not a supreme being or a metaphysical being who has pre ordained my destiny. The answer for this too lies in the Mahabharata and it is shown beautifully.

Even before the war begins, both Arjuna and Duryodhan visit Dwarka to beseech Krishna to join their camp and fight against the enemy. Readers would know, it was Arjuna who CHOSE Krishna and not vice versa. It was a conscious decision of Arjun to choose the unarmed Krishna and not his invincible Narayani Sena, and for the good or the bad of it he was more than happy to face the consequences of his choice. That is what I CHOOSE to take away from this immortal story.