Wednesday, March 25, 2009

One More Navreh

Different Navrehs bring with them different sets of emotions .Most of the time Navrehs in exile have been nostalgic. They bring back memories of my childhood. Of days, when the day begun with an obeisance to the mother goddess atop the Hari Parvat. As a kid, Sanskrit prayers would make no sense to me, yet there was this strange sense of achievement that I could recite them alongside my elders.
There are fond memories of collective recitations of various prayers but one prayer would stand apart. Whenever we sang “Maej Sharikay Kar Daya”(Oh Mother Sharika,be benign to us) it would move us all to tears: tears of communion with our higher selves; tears of joy, of being alive in a hostile Kashmir; Tears of her being our saviour and confidante.
Soon the action would move to the Devi Anagan where hundreds of revellers like us would lay their picnic paraphernalia. Over hot cups of Kahwa,the quintessential politician among us would uselessly discuss the situation in Iran,the diehard poet would bore us with one more of his Leelas’ but the day belonged to the children. The weather on most occasions would participate in the festival. Kids like butterflies were unstoppable. Festivity was in the air, in minds, in hearts and in souls of all those Brahmins who had been brutally murdered on this given day, many centuries before, by Islamic invaders. The Goddess would overlook it all.
The Badam Vaer’s (The Almond Orchard) bloom was divine to say the least. In Kashmiri folklore and poetry so much has been written about the bloom, yet so much is lost between what his eyes see and what his pen writes. The ephemeral nature of the Almond Bloom notwithstanding was a sight to behold and a divinity to be felt. Rides, toys, love, were abundant in the Vaer. Every child represented a free soul- fearless of present, unaware of the past and careless about the future. It was then that my grandfather would recite at the top of his voice-Abhinavgupt’s “Vyapt Charachar Bhav Vishesham”.
As I grow grey in Exile,Navrehs seem to carry different messages for me.Although I try to celebrate them with the same fervour as I would back home,I obviously cannot offer my daughter the luxury of a Badam Vaer or the Devi Angan.I rue the loss but am proud that I carry the legacy forward.A legacy of the people of the verge of extinction.Tomorrow as she sees the Thal(A ritual associated with the NavreH) she will in some way become the bearer of the ember of our existence that is fast turning to ashes.Will she be able to make fire(Reh) from it or will the embers turn to ashes is something we may not live to see.
Many years back in this Zaalim Vonth Ros Shaher(Cruel Endless City as my friend, a refugee from our land , Zahoor Zargar calls it) I was depressed on this day.I saw no hope,no fire,no refuge but my solitary words …..

Yi Kyuth Navreh,Kames chi reh
Na Che, ti ,na maey
Tale Kyuth Navreh

What Navreh is this
Inside whom do the embers glow
Not you,not me
Then What Navreh is this

It isn’t as if I have all these years been despondent and hopeless in exile but there have long periods when I saw no hope of return. But it wasn’t just about return. What depressed me more was our own hollowness or crumbling of our hope.

The message last year though was one of hope.
My solitary words did not fail me in the moment of hope and I sang…..

Ye chu nov Navreh,
vich prazlaan chay na chaney reh
chuy chane rahey,rang rotumut maey
chakh aash baneth vaen aamech chey,
kad valenje maenae,yus chuy vaeh
Aakash ti pataal sar kar aaz
chey prarran panchalech ,che divay
haeth pagahuk gaash,che aayak aaz
bar-e-chirninaev kin mae chaye divay
vanvas me mokelaav mahsoosas
aaz kaluk ravan karetan khay

Wonder what message this Navreh has for me….

Nonetheless Happy Navreh!

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Why Cant I escape reading your matter ?... Why I cant escape the Irony of Exile ?... Why I cant come out of it ? .. What is my destiny ? Your NAvreh puts bigger questions in front of me...? Either you stop writing or I get blind before reading them... But neither of them possible... But this suffering has to last ... When None knows.. May MAejh Bhagwaati show us the path to Freedom and this exile.

Dead End

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