Wednesday, October 11, 2017

A Sunrise in the West

“Aaj Suraj kidhar se uga?” (or, where did the sun rise from?) was the first thing I was asked when I reached Kamati Baug early on a Sunday morning to celebrate a friend’s birthday. I assured them all the celestial bodies were on their defined course & it was only the lure of a cake that made me wake up at 7 am. Also present was this guy (let’s not name him) who is a fitness freak. He is so obsessed with fitness that he wants to transform every person he knows, and that person’s neighbor, into a fitness freak.

Including me. He quoted (his other weakness) Jo Walton (whoever he is/was) to me – “There's a sunrise and a sunset every single day, and they're absolutely free. Don't miss so many of them.” I knew what was coming next & shot back with this pearl of wisdom by Mindy Kaling – “There is no sunrise so beautiful that it is worth waking me up to see it.”

This ended his attempt (before it could begin) to make me board the fitness wagon. But this also made me think of all the proverbs & sayings that are inspired by sunrise. And I went in search to ashram of Sri Sri Google Baba, the universal source of knowledge. Here are a few of those I found:

Debasish MridhaEven if you cover the whole world with darkness, you can never stop the sun from rising. (Going by his name, I feel Debasish hasn’t read the Bible. Or if he has, he wasn’t too impressed with the achievements credited to Moses.)

AnonymousEach new day, a gift to be opened, sunrise slowly unties it’s ribbon of hope. (True, but I like it when the gift is untied & opened. The process remains the same & I don’t feel the need to witness it day after day.)

Victor Hugo: Even the darkest night will end and the sun will rise. (Is the source correct in assigning these words to Victor Hugo? Every kid knows this & I can’t think of a reason why VH made this profound observation. Maybe they didn’t till VH pointed this out. For, isn’t Newton supposed to have discovered “Gravity” though it existed right from the time the earth was formed?)

Munia Khan: The sun can rise anytime in your dreams. And there night may fall anytime as well. (I think Munia was responding to Victor Hugo. This should also be my response to those early risers who want me to emulate them.)

But, no one has ever described a sunrise better than William Shakespeare:
The heavenly-harness'd team
Begins his golden progress in the east.

Of course, not everyone is in awe of a sunrise. One being last year’s surprise winner of Nobel Prize for Literature, Bob Dylan. He has his preferences clearly spelt out:
There's beauty in the silver singing river,
There's beauty in the sunrise in the sky,
But none of these and nothing else can match the beauty,
That I remember in my true love's eyes.

Or the Congress party (and many others), which is shouting from the rooftops about the Sonrise in Gujarat.




Quotes sourced from:

Pic sourced from:

Friday, October 6, 2017

Moochhein ho to Nathulalji jaisi

Not many would have heard of Ram Singh Chauhan. Well, he holds the Guiness record for having the longest moustache which was measured to be 4.29 metres (http://www.guinnessworldrecords.com/world-records/longest-moustache). To understand the scale of achievement, the tallest Indian is just 2.42 metres in height.

Moustaches have been dear to Indian men since ages. In fact, Wikipedia informs that a traditional Indian belief is that a man's facial hair is a sign of his virility”! And the clean shaven British army officers had to grow a moustache to stamp their authority on Indian soldiers. I now believe this was the 1st psychological victory that ultimately led to our independence. And an end to British imperialism globally.

While on moustaches, can we forget the loveable Bhavani Shankar of Golmaal, played by Utpal Dutt, who considered men without moustaches as lacking in character? Poor Amol Palekar was busy the entire length of film attaching & removing his false moustache. It was only at the end of this hilarious film that Bhavani Shankar realized a moustache does not make a man, but we had good fun during those two hours & a half.

Then we had the funny guy with a funny moustache, Charlie Chaplin. His moustache complemented his comic mannerisms & the over/under sized clothes he wore. But the same mustache was also worn by Hitler, who was the opposite of Chaplin. Now, Hitler was a great dictator. But I have always wondered how he grew to be so powerful without being able to twirl his moustache. As the dacoits did in the good old black-and-white days of Bollywood. Maybe, it was because he never had the good fortune to stay in India & observe the diversity of facial hair styles.

But not all men like a moustache. Take Jeeves, for example. In “Jeeves & the Feudal Spirit”, he manages (in his inimitable style) to get Bertie Wooster to shave off the moustache.

Off late, this feudal spirit has been on display in Gujarat too where the dominant community has not taken kindly to Dalits sporting moustaches. But the means are different. These include physical assaults, stabbing, etc.

Bertie had no choice, but the Dalits think otherwise. They have started a social media campaign, posting selfies featuring Dalits with moustaches (#RightToMoustache). What one would call a Gandhian protest, or Gandhigiri in action. But I am not convinced this will work. No, I don’t think a smooch can ever replace the moochh & upset the prevailing social equilibrium. I think this Dalit response will only escalate tensions, especially as the election fever hots up. I suggest the Dalits ditch Sanjay Dutt of Munnabhai & follow Amitabh Bachchan of Sharaabi. They should start chanting “Moochhein ho to Nathulalji jaisi, varna na ho” online & offline. This will shame most of the Darbars to shave off their facial hair, for how many can stand up to Nathulalji when it comes to a moustache?



P.S.: Another Indian to hold the Guiness record for longest moustache earlier, Karni Bheel, was killed with the attackers going away with his head (http://articles.orlandosentinel.com/1988-01-05/news/0010030211_1_mustache-prison-book-of-world). Fortunately, nothing of the sort has happened to the Dalits. Yet.


Pics credit:

Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Behind the Curtain

I escaped civilisation
To seek communion
With the reclusive mountain.


The leaves rustled
And the branches swayed
As the trees danced
To keep in step
With the gentle breeze
Playing a merry tune.
The melody soon
Floated over the horizon
Submerging all around.
The sun, mild for once,
Caressed the earth
Setting alight its blushes.
The cloud descended
To hug the mountain
Like parted lovers
Together again.
The playful waves
Were frolicking
And raced ahead,
Jumping over
The objecting rocks
Slowing down
Only at the foot.
Where I stood.


I traced the rivulet
Back to the top.


The burdened cloud had
Descended
To seek solace
With the mountain.
And its tears flowed
Down in a stream
Trying to wash away
The pain within.
The sun tried its best
To bring cheer
To its soulmates below.
The wind sang
On the harp of sunbeams
To keep beat
With the fleeing waves.

Young Again

The boulder
Perched on the bank
Saw the stream passing by
And felt the energy,
The vigour of youth
As the waves
Flirted with the bank.


The boulder
Perched on the bank
Meditated on
The sedentary existence
Frozen to its position
Immobile, unchanging,
As the world swept by.


The boulder
Perched on the bank
Contemplated
On its static life,
When the passing wave
Brushed by it.
Waking it from its
Reveries.


The boulder
Perched on the bank
Saw its world falling
As the ground beneath
Crumbled slowly.
Slowly the soil,
That lifelong companion,
Cracked.
Dissolving in the web
Created by the waves.


The boulder
Perched on the bank
Was, too, thus ensnared
And tumbled into
The newfound destiny.
The passing waves,
Those playmates of the wild,
Were all over it.
The boulder acquiesced
To be the icon of its new world –
Smooth, malleable.

Hide & Seek

The first ray of light
Finally broke free
And found
The fleeing darkness
Hiding beneath the tree,
Seeking safety
Within the shadow lines
Crafted by the leaves above.


Emboldened by the rising sun
Breaking through the shield
It caught up with its foe
In its shrinking sanctuary,
Who,
Following its playmates
Recalled the night before
When it lorded over its world,
But gave in to the embrace
Of the adversary.




Its shapeless faceless
Unknown past,
Now given a form
By the friendly mate
It paused to reciprocate,
Ever grateful
To its new companion
For an identity.


It joined the game
And danced to the breeze
As the light advanced
And was all around.


The light awoke.


The day soon followed
Leaving none untouched
In its all-devouring path.


The again abandoned shade,
Its brethren long gone,
Too escaped
Into oblivion.
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