Thursday, 31 August 2017

Happy In Any Case

Those were the days. I used to wake up with the sunrise. My bed was at a vantage point. Near the broad window. Every morning the soft morning sunlight would pat me gently and the birds on the trees outside my window would strike a cheerful chorus. And I always fell asleep looking out at the sky with the stars twinkling at me. Between the two ends of morning and night, the day was filled with the drill of going to school, homework, meals, roaming around the garden adorned with flowers of numerous colours and sitting on the steps gazing at the long winding narrow road which connected our house with the main lane. I just sat there and looked as if I was waiting for someone to come.

Such was my life. Except that it changed a little for a few days. Someone did come down from that road.

One day I saw a cycle rickshaw heading in the direction of our house.A boy much taller than me with brownish hair sat on the passenger seat. There was a trunk near his feet and a school bag like sling bag on his shoulder. As the rickshaw drew near, my father came out to receive him. As the welcome ritual went on, I eyed the boy suspiciously and thought about why the boy came with a luggage and if he would stay with us long. Suddenly, my father turned towards me and introduced the boy to me. " Partho, this is  Neel. He is like your elder brother. He is going to stay with us for some time. Come on take him to your room and make him comfortable ! " 

I nodded and glanced at Neel who looked at me and smiled. Somehow, that smile allayed all my fears of a sabotage and invasion of my room's privacy. I clicked him okay mentally.

There was hardly any conversation that day as he took bath and settled down in the room....took his meal and went to sleep.

Later, my father told me that Neel's father was a military man and he was missing in a war. There was no one else in the family to take care of him. My father was a friend so Neel was going to stay with us till his father was traced.That kind of melted my heart. 

Neel hardly spoke but he always smiled at me. He used to go for long walks and would never part with his sling bag. One day I asked him if I could accompany him on his walks. He smiled and nodded consent amiably.

That day I saw the sadness in his eyes as he looked at the flowers and foliage growing around and explained things about them. Later, we sat down near a pond.Then I asked him, "You must be missing your father badly. Are you very unhappy ?" He thought for a while and then smiled at me saying, "No. Hopeful."

I admired Neel for the way he dealt with the complicated and scary situation. The first lesson I learned from him was to be always hopeful. Thereafter, It became a routine for both of us to wander and observe. To be happy in our surroundings. To wait and to hope.

Neel told me stories and poems he had learned at school and from his father. We talked about everything under the sun. He taught me to make useful things from scrap lying around. I actually loved to think of him as my elder brother and did not want him to leave ever. At the same time, I wished and prayed earnestly that he would soon be with his father.

The prayer was answered. It was time for Neel to leave. The day he was preparing to leave, I was both sad and happy. Happy for him. Sad for myself as my closest pal and actual brother was leaving. 

I was sitting on my bed trying to be brave holding back my tears. Neel sat down next to me and put a notebook on my lap. He said, "This is for you. Whenever you feel like talking to me, write in this notebook."

Neel went away. After one week, when I was missing him badly, I opened the notebook to write. On the first page, Neel had written...There is a Swedish proverb I learned at school - "Those who wish to sing, always find a song."  Whenever you miss me, look for me and for happiness in all the small and beautiful things around you. Life is a journey of discovering these keepsakes."

That was the most precious time and keepsake experience of my life that taught me to be happy in any case. I wish I could turn back the clock and bring the wheels of time to a stop. Be with Neel always.But since that is not possible, I go on living and discovering joy all the way.

Sunday, 27 August 2017


हमसे मिलिए !

हम इस सदी के 
महानायक हैं !
हम करुणानिधान, दयावान, 
सर्वत्र व्याप्त,
सबका भला चाहने वाले,
प्रेम से पगे
जगत उद्धारक हैं !

हम भावुक, 
सबके दुःख से द्रवित 
सद्भावना की मूर्ति हैं !
सोचिये तनिक  . . 
प्रस्तर प्रतिमा की 
बंद आँखों से 
आंसू बहते हैं !

किसी की कथा-व्यथा 
जान कर,
हमारा मक्खन-सा  
मुलायम दिल 
झट पिघल जाता है !
और पट हम 
सोशल मीडिया पर 
साझा करते हैं ।

हम चूकते नहीं !
अपनी सामाजिक ज़िम्मेदारी से 
मुँह मोड़ते नहीं,
तुरंत कार्यवाही करते हैं !
हम सबको बताते हैं,
क्या करना है !
जैसे  . . हम 
अथक परिश्रम करते हैं !
हम लगातार 
बिना रुके 
सोशल मीडिया पर 
शेयर करते हैं !


Thursday, 24 August 2017

बहनें ऐसी होती हैं

बहनें ऐसी होती हैं । 

बड़ी हों तो, 
हाथ के बुने 
स्वेटर के नरम फंदों जैसी, 
उम्मीदों के 
बेल - बूटे बुनती हैं ।
शीत के दिनों में, 
आग तापने जैसी , 
ममता की 
ऊष्मा देती हैं ।
बहनें ऐसी होती हैं । 

छोटी हों तो 
वर्षा की बूंदों का 
जलतरंग बन ,
जी बहलाये रहती हैं ।
खट्टी - मीठी गोली जैसी ,
जीवन में 
स्वाद बनाये रखती हैं ।
बहनें ऐसी होती हैं । 

हमउम्र हों तो 
हमजोली होती हैं ।
झूले की पेंग होती हैं ।
मन के ताल से छलकती ,
जीने की 
उमंग होती हैं ।
बहनें ऐसी होती हैं । 

दिन में सूरज की रोशनी ,
रात में चंदा की चांदनी होती हैं ,
बहनें बहुत अपनी होती हैं ।

अबूझ पहेली होती हैं ।
चुपचाप बलाएं ,
अपने सर ले लेती हैं ।
अच्छे दिनों में 
शीतल छाँव सी ,
आड़े वक़्त में 
ढाल बन जाती हैं ।
ज़िंदगी भर लड़ती - झगड़ती 
तंग करती हैं ,
और ज़रुरत पड़े तो 
दुनिया भर से 
लड़ पड़ती हैं ।
सुख में ठंडी बयार, 
दुःख में 
मीठी लोरी होती हैं । 
बहनें ऐसी होती हैं ।

Sunday, 6 August 2017

We Shall Overcome

Ever thought why the morning sunshine is so rejuvenating and even the mellow twilight is so reassuring .. if you choose to look at the half glass full ? Makes sense ? Yes. It does. It is as if after a hard day, your inner strength hugs you and says - If only you believe.. We shall overcome.

The faith that if we just hang on, we can beat all the odds, can make us do unbelievable things.It is a promise to ourselves that we will sail through the storm if we stick on a little longer. Sometimes it is with your family, sometimes co-workers, sometimes neighbours, sometimes friends and sometimes complete strangers. The common denominator is the indomitable human spirit.

It is the zest, love, and passion for life that keeps you going, Whether it is disease, poverty, old age, poverty or heart break; any adverse circumstance can be countered with grit and courage. And can be overcome.

Scriptures, great literature, and experience .. all instill in you a belief that the tide can be turned, difficulties can be surmounted and sorrow can be overcome with the will to prevail and never let it go.

Every father, mother, and teacher in this world teach their child and student to never give up, come what may.  For they know, there will be bad days and nobody can be trained or taught enough to deal with every dead end they will ever come across. So they teach them to believe - We shall overcome.

The Bible says, Even This Will Pass Away. Buddha says, "In the confrontation between the stream and the rock, the stream always wins.Not through strength, but through persistence."  Whether it is one of the most loved tales of the world - O Henri's "The Last Leaf", or it is one of the most inspiring songs of our times - Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore's "Ekla Cholo Re" ; the thought that resonates from the great works is - We Shall Overcome.

The anthem of a well-lived life is - We shall overcome.