Thursday, June 23, 2016

Tu prabh Data... daan matt poora...

Every single time, when my heart is unsteady... these are the words I go back to..

Main kya maangoon.... kuchh phir na reha.. har deeje naam pyaari jio....

मैं क्या माँगूँ, कुछ फेर न रहा, हर दीजे नाम, प्यारी जीओ !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TbGqkRc8Ubw

After dad's passing.. I went back to this one a lot...

 

The BEST Dachi Valeya Mod Muhaar Ve

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vtA2ZI9ID1g

When Sukhwinder Singh sings Dachi Valeya Mod Muhar ve, you sit down and listen...

Koi Deewana kehta hai..

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Book Review - Dastakhat aur anya kahaaniyaan by Jyoti Kumari / पुस्तक समीक्षा : दस्तखत और अन्य कहानियां - ज्योति कुमारी



साहित्य में, कविता के बाद मुझे कहानी की विधा ही सब से अच्छी लगती है. इसी लिए, जब कोई अच्छी किताब हाथ में आये - तो उसे औरों से सांझा करने का मन करता ही है.

एक बात मैंने बड़े सालों के बाद समझी है. जब कोई औरत लिखने  के लिए कलम उठाती है, तो वो चाहे या ना चाहे, औरत होने का दर्द उस कलम में उतर ही आता है.

ये कहानियां रुकने पर मजबूर करती हैं. किताब रख कर सोचना पड़ता है.

 एक ३० साल की अनब्याही लड़की है - जो अपने नानाजी की परवरिश और अपने माँ बाप की अपेक्षाएं, दोनों नावों में एक साथ सवारी करना चाहती हैं. मन में बात आती है, 'अगर वो लड़की न  होती, तो ये नाँवें भी दो नहीं, एक ही होती.'

और फिर एक लड़की और आती है - जो अपने पति से बचती है, तो मामा के शिकार से निकलने का समय आ जाता है. मामा से भाग कर नौकरी करना शुरू करती  है, तो दफ्तर वाले उसके अकेले होने को, उसका सुलभ्य होना समझ लेते हैं.  कहानी इस लिए नहीं परेशान करती , कि कहानी है. इस लिए परेशान करती है, कि सिर्फ कहानी नहीं है. सच भी है.

एक लड़की और है, दादी से पुछती हुई, "पर समझौता हमेशा औरत ही क्यों करे?" इस सवाल पर मुस्कुरा कर किताब बंद करनी पड़ती है. सवाल ही गलत है शायद - समझौता तो शायद दोनों को ही करना पड़ता है. पर जो बातें समझाने की नहीं, वो कोई कैसे समझाए?

बड़े दिन बाद एक कहानी संग्रह, जो वाकई बांधता है.

प्रकाशक: वाणी प्रकाशन
 

Monday, June 13, 2016

The Little Prince in Hindi - Chapter 1

जब मैं ६ साल का था, मैंने एक किताब में एक बहुत ही रोमांचक तस्वीर देखी।  एक बड़ा सा सांप, अपने शिकार को निगल रहा था. किताब में लिखा था की ये सांप अपने शिकार को पूरा ही निगल जाता है, चबाता भी नहीं. और फिर, पूरे ६ महीने तक  रहता है, और उसका शिकार धीरे धीरे पचता रहता है.
मैंने इसके बारे में बहुत सोचा, और फिर, अपना काम ख़त्म करने के बाद, मैंने एक तस्वीर बनायीं. तस्वीर में वाही बड़ा सांप एक पूरा हाथी निगल गया  था,और हाथी साफ़ साफ़ उसके पेट में नज़र भी आता था. 
फिर मैंने वो तस्वीर कुछ बड़े लोगों को दिखाई और  उनसे पूछा की क्या ये तस्वीर डरावनी है?
मेरी बात सुन कर वो हंसने लगे. "भला टोपी की तस्वीर से भी कोई डरता है? "
पर वह टोपी की तस्वीर ही नहीं थी! उफ़! बड़े लोगों को तो कुछ भी समझ नहीं आता! उन्हें सब कुछ आसान कर के दिखाना और समझाना पड़ता है. इस लिए, उनकी बुद्धि के मुताबिक़, मैंने एक तस्वीर और बनायीं. इस बार, सांप के पेट के अंदर हाथी साफ़ साफ़ दिखाई दे रहा था. 
पर बड़े लोगों से तो किसी समझदारी की उम्मीद करना ही बेकार है! तस्वीर तो उन्हें फिर भी समझ नहीं आई, उलटे वे मुझे समझाने लगे कि मुझे ये तस्वीरें बनाना छोड़ कर , पढाई लिखाई में ध्यान देना चाहिए. 
और इस तरह , ६ साल की उम्र में, एक महान चित्रकार का करियर समाप्त हो गया. मैं जान गया की बड़े लोगों को कुछ भी समझ आने से रहा , और भला बच्चे कितनी देर तक बैठ कर इन्हे छोटी छोटी बातें समझा सकते हैं?!

और फिर मैं एक पायलट बन गया. उस से मैंने बहुत कुछ सीखा. जैसे कि , मैं आसमान से देख कर बता सकता हूँ, की ये चीन है या अमरीका।  अगर कोई पायलट रात को खो जाए, तो ऐसी जानकारी उस के बहुत काम आ सकती है!

इतने सालों में, मैं बहुत सारे बड़े लोगों से मिला हूँ, जो हमेशा काम की बात करना चाहते हैं. मैं उनके साथ रहा भी हूँ, और उन्हें बहुत पास से जाना भी है. लेकिन सच मानिए, इस से मेरी उनके बारे में राय बिलकुल नहीं बदली। बड़े लोग कुछ भी नहीं समझ पाते!

अगर कहीं मुझे कोई ऐसा इंसान मिल भी जाता है, जो थोड़ा सा भी समझदार मालूम पड़ता है, तो मैं उसे अपनी पहली तस्वीर दिखता हूँ,और पूछता हूँ, कि  ये क्या है?. हमेशा, हर बार, जवाब वही होता है - यह एक टोपी की तस्वीर है. 
 बस,ये सुनने के बाद मैं  उस से कोई भी महत्त्वपूर्ण बात नहीं करता - ना तारों की, ना बड़े बड़े ,साँपों की।  फिर मैं उस की समझ के मुताबिक नीचे उतर आता हूँ  और वो बातें करता हूँ जो वह समझ सके - जैसे कि खेल, राजनीति, अर्थशास्त्र। और वह इंसान बड़ा खुश नज़र आता है, कि उसे बड़ा समझदार इंसान मिला है. 

This translation is being done specially for the visually challenged - for the online audio library.

It can be freely shared, with credit.



 

Wednesday, June 08, 2016

Next time, when you want to shame someone for a dark episode in their lives...

सब के होते हैं 
 कुछ पन्ने स्याह, कुछ सलेटी , कुछ उजले 
कुछ सुर्ख, कुछ हरियाले
यकसां कहाँ होती है 
ज़िन्दगी की किताब  .

Everyone has
a few dark pages,
some grey
some soaked in bright white light
some pink
and some all green
The book of life
is not monochromatic.
 

Tuesday, June 07, 2016

Dear Diary...

३ घर, ३ बच्चे, ३ डायरी....

3 houses, 3 children, 3 diaries...

*********************************
 Dear Diary 

आज हमारे घर में लड़ाई हुई. बड़ा मज़ा आया. कितने सालों में, इस घर में लड़ाई ही नहीं हुई! मम्मी जो कहती है, पापा मान जाते हैं. पापा जो कहते हैं, मम्मी मान जाती है. जब नहीं मानते तो उन में से एक उठ के चला जाता है.

आज तो पापा मम्मी तू तू मैं मैं! पूछो ही मत!

अच्छा, बाकी बातें कल.


*******************
Dear Diary

My parents fought today. Again.
All this cacophony really drives me nuts. Why can't they be quiet for just ONE day? In this house, either they are quiet or they are fighting. I don't know what normal talking feels like!

Any day, ANY DAY AT ALL - my birthday, their birthday, Diwali, Annual Day.. there is always a fight. And God save us if Dadi or nani is here. Then they fight even more bitterly. If dadi is here, papa fights more because dadi keeps telling him all the wrong things mom has done. If nani is here, papa fights more because he hates having nani over.

I don't get it. I just don't get it. I hate my life!

*************************

Dear Diary

हमारे घर में आज लड़ाई नहीं हुई. कितनी अच्छी बात है! आज मेरा रिजल्ट आया था. मैं कक्षा में अव्वल आई हूँ न... तो पापा और मम्मी दोनों बड़े खुश थे. पापा ने हमें फ्रॉक दिलाई और मम्मी ने चॉकलेट ले के दी.

दोनों ने एक दुसरे को ताने भी नहीं मारे. मुझे तो यकीन ही नहीं  होता। ये मेरे ही मम्मी पापा हैं!

अब से मैं हमेशा अव्वल आऊंगी. तब पापा मम्मी नहीं लड़ेंगे. मम्मी कहती है, की मैं न होती तो वो पापा को छोड़ कर चली जाती. मैंने उनकी ज़िन्दगी ख़राब कर दी. पर अगर मैं अव्वल आऊंगी, तो पापा मम्मी को प्यार करेंगे. तब मम्मी गुस्सा नहीं होगी. तब लड़ाई नहीं, और लड़ाई नहीं, तो मम्मी की ज़िन्दगी भी ख़राब नहीं!

कभी कभी मुझे लगता है, की मैं बड़ी जमझदारी की बातें करती हूँ. और तुम्हे?

अच्छा, कल मिलेंगे!
*****************

Sunday, June 05, 2016

You are reading one of the best blogs from India

Every year, a small, eclectic, non commercial bunch of people get together, work hard, and release a small list - the best Indian blogs. The list is released with no fanfare. Yet, this is the list I, as a reader, wait for. Each one of these blogs is a gem, and reading each one a pleasure. 

On this list, there are no blogger events, no contests, no promotions, no page rank based scores. There is only one way to make it to this list - write well, and provide good content.

You are reading one of the blogs on that list :) 

Friday, May 20, 2016

The Punjabi that I am not

Ok, so this is a personal post. Somewhat.

I come from Western Punjab. Shekhupura on the father's side and Gujranwala from the mother's side.

I was brought up by my grandparents. Paternal grandparents. So my Punjabi is very Western Punjab Punjabi. Its softer, way more polite and just.. different.

The growing up years were very cocooned. No interaction with the outside world. Very Shekhupura upbringing. We came from a farming background and both sides had to deal with a huge sense of loss as they left everything behind and started life afresh with literally, the clothes on their backs.

The only person whose words feel anything like the "Punjabiyat" I grew up with is Gurdas Mann. Honestly. Everything else, feels like a different country being called "Punjabi"

Today, when I look back, I don't quite identify with a lot of things that are typically "Punjabi". It has led to huge confusion in the head for many, many years. Finally, last week, was able to crystallise the emotions and put them into words. This, then, is the reason why one doesn't quite feel "Punjabi" in the way that term is understood today.
  • Punjabis are show offs who love to flaunt their wealth.
What I grew up with:
कज के खाओ  - Cover what you consume. (Do not show off your wealth to others)

तली थल्ले नहीं, उत्ते होनी चाहीदी - The palm should be on top, not below. (Be a giver, not a taker)

किसे दी रीस, ते अपनी वडिआई नहीं करिदी  - Never copy another person, and don't praise yourself.

मन नीवा ते मत्त उच्ची - Let your heart be humble and your intellect/ ideals be high.

We were taught specifically to NOT show off, brag or praise ourselves. EVER. Even today, I find it very, very hard to talk about self. Much less praise self or show off. There was a very strong focus on teaching us to get our self worth from the quality of our work and not from how much others praised it. Children were never praised in their presence. Only behind their backs. We were always taught to self evaluate our work and to be grateful if the work met our standards, because that was the grace of God.  - मेरा मुझ में किछ नहीं, जो कुछ है सो तेरा। ..

I once fell in love with a frock that was ultramarine blue. I asked for it and was told, sternly, that I was not a "Miraasi" (a community that uses music and dancing for its livelihood) to wear such garish clothes. The clothes had to be the finest fabric, but plainly stitched, soft hued, and unostentatious. Unmarried girls were not allowed to wear makeup.

Modesty was very important. Tight clothes were not permitted - for men and women. Men wore a long kurta on their trousers because the shirt was considered 'indecent'.Imagine my shock when i went to Punjab and saw the tight 'kameez' on women.

We got good food to eat in the house, but no junk food or outside food. We invested in gold, not cars. There was a tradition of buying gold at every auspicious occasion in the house. But the house itself was never richly decorated.
  • Punjabis spoil their children and give them a lot of freedom.
We had the concept of "Gaddi" - the seat. This gaddi belonged to "Darji" - the father of the house. All children obeyed the parents. The children were allowed very little independence and were part of the household work very early on. They got the responsibility, but had to earn the authority.

We were never "too young" to do anything. Part of it could be because we had no money to allow our children the luxury of a labour less life. The other part was that, in a farmer's house, everyone is doing something as early as possible in their lives.

This whole idea of letting children drive cars, talking to their teachers if they get bad grades - its just not thinkable in my part of Punjab. In Punjab as I knew it (and as is depicted in the movie Milkha Singh) - if you made a mistake, you feared your parents, not the other way round. You were expected to work hard. And you respected your elders just because. Till the day she died, my grandmother had not heard anyone in the family answer her back. I mean that.
  • Punjabi food is standard rich fare.
Nothing, and i mean, NOTHING could be farther from the truth. The food in our house was simple, always home cooked, and varied greatly by the season.
In summer, my grandfather tells me, they hardly ate cooked grain. They survived mostly on the melons from the field, with an occasional 'lassi' when thirsty.

Food was meant to be sparse. There was great emphasis on that. They truly believed that rich food was the fastest road to ill health, as was wrong food for the season.  We either had dal chawal or vegetable and roti for a meal - never both. Fruits and salads, however, were aplenty. We could snack on seasonal fruits and salad vegetables at all times. I don't remember seeing biscuits or processed foods at home as snacks. Even today, when hungry between meals, my stomach refuses to accept anything other than fruit or cucumber in summers.

Cooking and eating was highly technical - there was a different technique and a different set of spices for each vegetable combination, and then it varied by the season. My garndmother considered a girl a poor cook if she did not know all the different combinations by heart.

Sample this:

  • Heeng is used in winters but prohibited in summers. When used, it must be the first spice to go into the ghee and nothing must be added until it is fully fried.
  •  
  • All vegetables in the house were cooked in ghee, except okra, which was cooked in oil. 
  •  
  • When cooking okra, the spices must be added at the very last - after the vegetable has cooked fully. When cooking dal, the opposite is true - the dal much not be boiled without the spices.
  •  
  • When the masala is being made for rajma, we add spices in this order - salt, then red chilli powder, stir for 5 minutes. When the masala has a nice red color, then add the turmeric. In every other masala, the turmeric comes first and then the red chilli is added, after the turmeric has been assimilated by the masala. 
  •  
  • Turmeric is NEVER added raw to the dish. It must always be roasted in the masala or fried before hand. 
  •  
  • When adding ginger, it must not be cut. It must be crushed on a mortar and pestle and added to the ghee with its juice still dripping from it. (In my house, we have 2 tiny mortar and pestles - both in marble. Ginger and garlic are both crushed - never cut. They are added to the masala with the pungent juice dripping into the ghee.)
  •  
  • Every vegetable must be added according to its cooking time. For instance, when making peas and cabbage as a vegetable, the peas is added to the pot a good 10 minutes before the cabbage, then steamed. After this, the cabbage is added. Even today, i don't understand how we can add all vegetables together. When cooking in my house, the vegetables are sorted according to their cooking time and added in that order only. 
  •  
  •  Amchoor is allowed for tinda but not for lauki (gourd) - they are close relatives from the gourd family, yet this subtle difference makes a world of difference to the cooking. 

  • Saunth (Dried ginger) is not used during summers. 
  •  
  • In all vegetables cooked during summer, add 2 grains of cooking saunf. This will ensure that there is no acidity or gas.  
  •  
  • When cooking parathas, no ghee must be added to the cooking until the paratha has truly cooked all the way. Ghee must only be used for roasting, never for frying.
 And this is only the set of rules that i can remember off hand.

Punjabi cooking was minimalistic, highly technical and very specialised. This point of "Rich Punjabi food" totally is alien!

  • Punjabi men cannot control their hormones and will lech at and misbehave with anything in a skirt. 
Really? Seriously? Because in my house, my uncle and brother were not even allowed to stand around the street corner with their male friends. If you were a young boy, you should be out playing or working. Standing in the street and talking/giggling was for the women and girls. Not the boys. 

What i grew up with: 
धीयां बेहनां सबदियां सांझियां हुन्दिया ने.  - One person's daughters and sister's are everyone's daughters and sisters.  (It is everyone's responsibility to respect all the women of the community). 

This was not just said - it was followed in more ways than one. If you were a young boy and you were caught even staring at a girl, God save you. The girl would have hit you right there, and then- your mother, your father, his brother, their second cousin, your neighbor, neighbor's daughter.. everyone would have joined to admonish or even hit you. And you were made to apologise to the girl. No one stood up and asked the girl, "What were you wearing, beta?" This really happened. Less than 70 years ago. That's why our movies had dialogues like "Lanvaan jutti?" (Should i take off my sandal to hit you?) 

When a girl from the village was to get married - the entire village would come to welcome the bridegroom's party. At the milani, at least 20 to 25 people from the girl's side would come forward to meet the corresponding relative from the boy's side. That was not just a meeting of relatives. That was the girl's family saying to the groom's family - she is not alone. If the girl faced an issue at her in laws' house, it was not left to them to sort out. The family elders sat from both sides to sort out the issue. It was not left to the in laws to propose a solution. The girl would call people from her family - and the extended family would come.
  • Punjabis are "Jugaarus" - people who will do anything to get results. The ends justify the means, and ethics is not a strong part of the equation.
In my house, there was no such thing as a "small lie". The biggest sin in that house was a lie. You simply could not do it.

To my father, the most important thing in life was "zubaan" - his word. He did not promise easily, but if he did, he would do anything at all to fulfil that promise. My father would say proudly that in all his years of business, a written paper has meant nothing to him. It is only the "zubaan" of a worthy person that he did business with.

He taught us to value the person, not the designation. He said, "Invest in a good person. He may be a janitor or a big official. It doesn't matter. Invest in the good grain, even though the chaff appears to be flying higher."

There was NEVER any question of bending the rules, much less breaking or bypassing them.

हक़ दी रोटी - honestly earned bread - was the cornerstone of our existence. We believed that a dishonest man finds his hell right here on earth. And he never sleeps well. And is never trusted. There were such horror stories of things that happened to people who used dishonest means, that in all my life, I have never cheated in the smallest test or exam. I have also topped almost my entire academic career, lending credence to the concept of "Hak di roti" - so important to our family.

Our way of dealing with dishonesty of others?
करेगा सो भरेगा, तू क्यों भयो उदास?
- The one who sins will pay for them, why do you worry?
So if someone cheated us, we simply did not interact with them again. We bore them no ill will, leaving them to deal with their own karma.

Till date, the biggest sin in our house, is a lie. You just cannot do it.

How can I identify with a culture known for its ability to bypass the rules to get the results?

So now you know, why I don't quite understand the word "Punjabi" the way its used today...