Thursday, June 26, 2008

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

An encounter of a different kind

I walked out of my office to take an Auto to the bank.Since the bank is less than a km away it is difficult to find an auto rickshaw.One really has to haggle sometimes to get the right fare.I saw an auto standing outside the Satyam Cineplex.A pleasant looking middle aged Sardarji with a saffron Pagri said, come in please.I asked how much he would charge.He said pay me only after you get to where you want to go.Aap se hee bone hogi(You are my first customer for the day).
We had hardly traveled 200 meters when my phone rang.It was Masood Taing,my friend from Shopian,Kashmir.The decibel levels of traffic at the Nehru Place traffic signal were so high that we could hardly converse.Soon the light turned green and the auto turned towards GK-I.The Sardarji stopped the auto rickshaw on the side of the road so that I could talk properly.When the conversation finished I asked the Sardarji to move.He was smiling and said in chaste Kashmiri”Aaz booze varraye veher pannen zaban”(After many years have I heard my mother tongue today).I asked him which place he belonged to and he said (again in Kashmiri), I am from Barrahmulla(Varmul).He too was a refugee like me.He had a small spare parts business back in Kashmir but was now drawing his sustenance from driving an auto rickshaw .He and his family lived in a rented room ,in Kalkaji.
We arrived at the bank.I got down and paid him his due which he proudly accepted.Like long lost friends we talked about our land,our shared past and an uncertain future. I felt as if we knew each other for a long time and this meeting was just that, we were meeting after a long time.In meeting him, there was a strange sense of excitement & sorrow,pain & pleasure. We hugged each other and I kissed his hand.
As he drove on, he kept looking back and I stood there till he got lost in the maze of the traffic

HOPE by Brijnath "Betab"

I have tried to translate some of the verses of the poem titled HOPE written by Kashmiri poet and broadcaster Brijnath Betab.

Muday Gande gande chu rozaan aasmanas
Muda Yamesund chu vatun la-makanas

In unwavering gaze, he stares the sky
Certain of finding a way, back home

Naves doras ander pake bronth suy akh
Chu rahbar nav javaan yas kaarevanas

Will see the dawn of the new firmament
The caravan of who, is by the precept of youth,

Pazzar posheich chi prakrat mushqe chatunuy
Tagun gache sag ti dyun tat bhagewannas

Nurse the buds of your dreams and reveries
In veracity will the fragrance blossom

Zamanay Gardeshan yaem laeg safaras
Timay havan pagah vath nov zamanas

Addresses of those lost in the upheavals of time
Will lead the future to horizons anew

Naves gaashas andar naev aash zotan
Oobur hyotmut chalun chun aasemanas

In bright light, fresh hopes simmer
Clearing are the clouds of despair

Pholan tith guel gachan sartaaze aangan
Lagan vaen parde naev praenes makaanas

Afresh will the courtyard be in bloom of flowers
And adorn will the new curtains, the old house

Tawarikhuk Kasam Betab aese Zenav
Phutan kothe gach che vich paanay tufaanas

Destined we are to win,Betab
Storm itself will be doldrums then….

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

She yelled at him. You don’t have a way with people. You annoy people so easily. All the good work that you do often ends up in a dustbin because of the way you handle people. Everyone hates you for one reason or another. This isn’t going anywhere. As long as you don’t learn how to work and manipulate people all your art and knowledge isn’t worth a penny. You have to learn to be quiet even when you know everyone around is lying. Maybe it is time you learn how not to speak, how not to react, how not to speak truth, how not to express yourself. And who the hell told you to be so involved in anything at all? Do you really think you are going to change the world or for that matter whatever shit you are associated with. Emotional fools don’t go anywhere. They are like trees whose roots are so stuck to their ground that they simply dig deeper their own graves.
He didn’t say anything. He was already trying to put into practice what she was saying. It wasn’t as if he hadn’t heard it before. A lot of his friends had found his emotional trait as an asset that only others could use; his detractors had found this an alibi for attacking him. They often branded him unstable, stubborn, hyperactive and frenzied. It wasn’t his EQ that actually worried them. He was passionate to the point of being insane and thats what scared his foes and friend alike.

Enough is enough. I have suffered a lot because of being too involved. He made up his mind that this is it. This is the last time in my life that I have had myself involved in a cause,he said to himself. Yet he knew he would be back again to what gave him pain and ecstasy. This was the pleasure of the pain. This was the only shred that kept him connected to his void. Holding on to it was painful, getting out of it -complicated.
In days such as these he would often turn to his past to cheer him up .He recollected the day when his would be wife had asked him about the ten most important people/causes in his life. She knew what the first one would be and he didn’t disappoint her either. It wasn’t she. It was an affirmation and not a surprise for her. She had many times seen tears rolling down his cheeks the moment anything related to Kashmir came up.
Reason had never been his cup of tea. I have often heard him say”Aap kab akal ke madrsse se ishq ke mahqade main aa rahee hain”.He closed the door behind him. He sang aloud

Shola hoon bhadkne ki guzarish nahee karta
Sach munh se nikal jaata hain koshish nahee karta

He sat on the solitary rug in his study. The rug looked beautiful with its red fairies and blue flowers. He was extremely fond of the rug because it never had any complaints against him. Even today it welcomed him as it did always. Like a man intoxicated ,he sang to the rug

Aap kyon hain saare duniya se juda
Aap bhi dushman meray ban jaaeye

The rug didn’t reply. It never did.

Monday, June 9, 2008

My first brush with Translation

This is an attempt to translate one of the poems of Arjun Dev "Majboor".He is a great Kashmiri poet and scholar .Here is an earlier piece that I wrote on him.

Charer hyu aaz chu basaan nov baharaes
Nachan Aalav che bekas yath shahraes

A strange void enshrouds this spring
Helpless and astray our prayers are

Chu Cholumut choor-e-Kustyaan doore shaye
Masheth gomut chu maechar naag-e-haraes

In somber silence, his quiet flight to a distant land
And forgotten is the virtue of sweetness to the spring of love

Mooshq nyumut muhit chukh aaz zamanas
Tavay Aaamut chu khur maa gaatejaaraes

Lost to us is the essence of fragrance
Entangled wisdom is in the mesh of frenzy

Amar-ek-val to chasmen hind samanbal
Dilek Achbal niyam kus baaleyaaraes

Like a dream, I behold meadows, where blossomed our love
In vain I yearn, for someone, to take them to you.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Khuda ke liye'

She laid there numb. She was constantly receiving the thrusts on her body. With all his aggression he was fucking her. He was taking out on her what he had received during fifty years’ of Indian aggression in Kashmir. He was accomplishing a holy purpose of planting a seed of faith in an infidel whore. Occasionally his beard would scratch her face. She wouldn’t move or react. There were no tears, no sorrow, no fear of it happening all over again.
That evening the soldiers of God went to hunt the remaining infidels. What could have been a better night than the one they chose? When the faithful were praying in the mosques the soldiers of God cleansed the village of the remaining infidels. The youngest dead when buried had 23 bullets in his petite body .He too showed no signs of sorrow, no fear of death and no tears. The first bullet had put all that to rest.

Dead End

Dead End
The road to what was once my home in Kashmir....zuv chum bramaan ghare gachehae..