~Begin~


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It’s late. It will always be-
to begin something, to be someone.
Pause you may. Procrastinate too.
But don’t you shy away.

Just Begin.

To learn a new language.
To speak a new tongue.
To pick up a guitar and strum.

To accept you can do better.
To write an apology letter.
To raise a new pet.
To let go & not regret.

To look at dry grasslands,
and find beauty.
To do chores with love,
& not because it’s duty.

To be a little more kind,
yet seem a little more tough.
To keep walking,
when the road seems rough.

To sometimes forgive yourself,
To be the first to offer help.
& expect nothing in return.
To give up wrong beliefs; unlearn.

To dream of doing fancy things,
perhaps playback singing or ice-skating!
To know that you may never do so.
Yet believe that you wouldn’t simply let go.

To spill your creativity as you leave,
to write, to doodle,
to dance or weave.

To begin to ensure you value “YOU”
’cause if you don’t,
the world wouldn’t too.

Never look back. Never feel shy.
Never should you ask, “Oh Why?”

Just begin!

To be a ‘Different You’,
if time asks you to.
to Change; Molt;
Introspect; Revolt!

You may be scared of the noise,
especially if its from you within.
But sometimes you ought to raise your voice.

Trust me. Just Begin!

Begin! Begin!
To cut off toxic ties,
before you choke on living lies.

Muster the courage within.
You’ve taken enough dirt from the world.
It’s about time you begin!

Begin you must,
even when you know-
what you’re beginning,
is the Beginning of an End.

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खाली घर में नींद क्यों नहीं आती है ?


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घर भर में इतना शोर है।
कभी किचन से कुकर की सीटी ,
तो कभी डैडी के न्यूज़ का ज़ोर है।

कभी बेवक़्त के डिलीवरी बॉय की घंटी ,
तो कभी मम्मी से मिलने बगल वाली आंटी।
कभी मेरी शैतान छोटी के नख़रे –
नींद को मेरी जो बिखरे।

इक मोटी सी नॉवेल हाथ में लिए,
आँख मेरी जो मूंदती हूँ ,
इन ड्रामेबाज़ों के रहते ,
फ़ालतू ही दोपहर की नींद ढूंढ़ती हूँ।

आँखें बंद हो जाती , पर साँस की फ़रमाइश नहीं।
“साथ में ये नई वाली ख़ाना खज़ाने की एपिसोड देखेंगे।
देखते देखते संडे की दोपहर , ससुरजी के दो मेहमान आ टपकेंगे।

थक हार के बीच रात, आँखें नींद से मजबूर  हैं।
पर हस्बैंड ये कम्बख़त करवट लेता भरपूर है।
आधी रात तक मोबाइल पर लगा रहता है।
उसके रौशनी से परेशान, मेरा रूह जगा रहता है।

हे भगवान ! बस देदो मुझे एक सर्दी की रात !
यही रजाई , यही तकिये।
बस कोई न हो साथ !

निशब्द हो घर और
में सुकून से सोऊँ।
खोई नींद के लिए,
रोज़ रोज़ न रोऊँ !

ठंड की कई रात मिली,
या मिले कहो कई साल।
मगर मिला नहीं बस नींद मेरा ,
अब भी हूँ बेहाल !

मेरी करवट कुछ ज़्यादा ही शोर मचाती है।
घडी की सुइयों की दौड़ सुनाई देती है।
बाथरूम का खुला नल , रात भर ढोल बजाता है…
छिपकलियों की गुफ़्तगू मेरी नींद को सताता है।

बीच रात तक फ़ोन पर , वीडियो कॉल अब करती हूँ।
बिन बातें किये कहीं सो न जाऊँ , इस से काफ़ी डरती  हूँ।

कोई चिंता तो नहीं है। कोई ग़म भी नहीं।
कोई शोर भी नहीं है। कोई शोर मचाने वाले भी नहीं।
पर जाने क्यों भगवान् ,
नींद भी नहीं ??!

निशब्द अँधेरा कमरा , प्यारी सी रजाई ,
बढ़िया सा बिस्तर मेरा , पर जाने क्यों नींद न आयी !

महीने में कुछ दिन अब शोर वाले आकर चले जाते हैं।
करवटें , टीवी , ख़र्राटे , कुकर की सीटी साथ लाते हैं …

फ़ालतू के हँसी की ठहाकों से परेशान ,
मैं तकिये के नीचे सिर दबोचती हूँ ,
फ़िर अगले सुबह हीं  काफ़ी देर से जगती  …
बच्चों जैसी नींद मैं सोती हूँ।

शोर वाले जब चले जाते हैं ,
निशब्द अँधेरा कमरा , प्यारी सी रजाई छोड़ जाते हैं।
पर नींद भी उनके साथ ही चली जाती है …
कोई मुझे ये समझाए , ” खाली घर में नींद क्यों नहीं आती है ?”

 

बात क्या है !


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बात ऐसी है नहीं , जैसा तुम समझती हो।

छोटी छोटी बातों का बतंगड़ क्यों बनती हो ?
हर एक बात को पकड़ कर उलझती हो , उलझाती हो।

अब बस !  मैं समझ ही नहीं पाता  हूँ , जाने तुम क्या चाहती हो !

हाँ। … सही कहा।
बात बस अब ये है कि हर बात को समझाना पड़ता है।
छोटी बातें मायने ही नहीं रखती अब।
कुछ बड़ा हो तो नज़र आता है।

उलझना उलझाना …इक इक बात को पकड़ कर
उस से इक शायरी चुराना ,
पहले वहीँ तो भाता था !

पर बस ये समझ नहीं पाती हूँ …
अब क्यों तुम समझ नहीं पाते वह बातें ,
जो तब समझ ख़ूब थे आते ?

बात बस अब ये रही, कि
अनकही बातें समझने से दूर ,
आज कही-सुनी समझने समझाने की नौबत आ गयी…

चलो जाने दो !
फ़िर तुम मुझसे पूछोगे ,

“बताओ तो ! बात क्या है ?”

 

#Post 2 :UnOfficially Her – #nofilter


Rose-tinted glasses

I got down from the car
& walked towards the NREGS Site.
The women wage-seekers till then squatting,
got up in fright.

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As I hopped through the field- dust & sand,
my ‘Attender’ ran behind;
my goggles, a bottle and umbrella in hand.

“Amma! Amma!The sun is blazing hot.
Here, wear this! don’t forget
the fever it last time brought.”

Hesitant, I put on the sun-glasses.
My PA spoke to the workers,
a whisper hushed the masses.

“Madam has come to review your work,
you draw your wages, but duty you shirk.
Your productivity is so low,
as you squat and go.
Don’t you care that Madam will know?”

Beads of sweat trickled down their head,
Beads of sweat on my cheeks now so red.
I fumbled as I admonished them,
feigning anger that had vanished then.

I removed my sun-glasses
& looked them eye to eye.
I didn’t know what to speak & why.

An infant wailed,
inside a made-up swing
hanging from the tree.

Its mother was confused,
whether to quieten it
or pacify me.

Old plastic bottles with muddy waters within,
cuddled up with broken tiffin boxes,
beneath the only tree in the scene.

I started walking back,
my head covered with my saree pallu.
sun-glasses in my hand,
as I forgot to reprimand.

Wait Amma! Wait Amma!! Our vehicle has managed to come half way.”
“But Why ?!? I can walk like all of you do”
No No Amma. It’s not a ‘walking distance’. We’re used to it, but not you.

As I sat in the vehicle & pulled down the window,
smiled slowly, waving at the women- my mind still in limbo.

I gulped down the mineral water,
put the AC on high.
Introspecting the Officer in me,
I heaved an irritated sigh.

May be I should be more ‘practical’.
Feel from the heart, yet work from the head.
My sentimental self is unsuitable,
for the road that I tread.

Lets accept the truth.
At the most,
A compassionate crocodile tear is all I may shed.
But they must toil hard for their daily bread.

If I have to do justice to this job & my people,
I’ve got to work tough & stop feeling feeble.

Yet, as I got down at another
such site for inspection.
Lessons that I had learnt
from self introspection,
Suddenly vanished somewhere,
into the thin air.

I subconsciously removed my sun-glasses again.
doing so somehow I felt I shared their pain.
My saree pallu quickly covered my face.
All ‘Practical’, ‘Rational’ disappeared without a trace.

Now, the unforgiving sun burnt all of us,
sitting with them & fighting my sentimental fuss,
hiding my weird emotion,
beneath a layer of sun-screen lotion…

I reviewed their works with all my might,
shunning my creature comforts,
somehow felt right…

Because as beautiful as it may seem for a while,
rose-tinted glasses sometimes blur the truth.

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UnOfficially Her – #nofilters


#1 Why Write? Why not Write?

LBSNAA TABLE

People often flood me with questions and requests regarding “strategy” and “tips” to ‘Crack UPSC ‘ , to become IAS.  And with all due respect, I rightly refrain. Not because it’s some valuable trade secret that I’m zealously guarding, but because it is not one worth emulating for sure. UPSC was an experiment I did on myself, patiently testing my own strengths and shortcomings, one after the other. I have hardly been in the ‘UPSC Mode’, a dedicated 24 X 7 student, revising and re re  revising. Never giving up life nor its many celebrations, trials and tribulations on the go. Hence, my experiments with myself will hardly be of any help to anyone , rather will mislead and blur you with illusions about what to do/ not to do.

I am one, who dreads an “Instruction Manual” of any kind.

Nevertheless, if one can take away something valuable from it- it is being a Reckless Optimist, a Patient Believer who improved an iota each day and didn’t worry about how much time it took, also most importantly loving the journey with its kachcha and pacca roads alike.

Also, I believe ‘tips’ and ‘strategy’ is not the quintessential element for this exam. On the verge of sounding arrogant, I would confess that I hardly tried to befriend any successful candidate, hardly sought any advice. Thus, I strongly believe, it is ONLY YOUR OWN work and self-motivation that helps you get through. No advice/tips however valuable, can become your guiding lights.

Having said so, I would like to share that I used to browse for pictures and stories of LBSNAA, of hardworking Officers on the field, of what they did after they became what they aspired to be. And that surely made me work a notch harder.

Today, as I wake up in the morning, I look forward to the day- of the opportunities that it holds, of the risks that will come my way, of the people that I will meet, of the problems that I might help solving, of the little change that i shall bring in myself and in my surroundings. And I rejoice with gratitude- for there’s never been a dull day- either there’s storm or there’s sunshine.

So, I believe my journey now, may be of some value to someone looking for a little nudge to work a notch higher than they are. And thus I shall share small chunks of my life now and then, as I metamorphose into a different individual in an entirely different land, far away from my own family & friends, speaking a language that I picked up just as I turn 30 and evolving into a inconspicuous cog in the Public Service machinery.

My blog has been my constant companion in times that were tough and lonely. I believe most of us have a bit of what is called “Athazagoraphobia”, or the fear of being forgotten by the people. Some people aspire to leave behind extraordinary legacies , other ordinary folks simply try fighting their Athazagoraphobia, putting effort to remain relevant in this fast moving world. I am the latter and so I write, to satisfy myself that I am doing my bit for not being forgotten .

Also a very crucial DISCLAIMER. This is no attempt to showcase how ‘ Efficient, Compassionate, Ethical or Upright’ I am. I go by my work, with all my imperfections just like most of you. And this page shall just be a crude consequence of my fingers hitting the keyboard carelessly, mostly at midnight. All thoughts… unabridged and raw from the days that left some mark on me. There shall be no “Precious Takeaways” only plain experience sharing with #nofilters .

Yes-  No Instruction Manual. No Bottom Lines. No Filters.