Tag Archives: Marriage

~नमक स्वाद अनुसार~


कभी मम्मी कह दे कि आज  ज़रा और  पढ़ लो, Exam नज़दीक आ रहे हैं।  तो लो ! पढाई वहीँ ठप  हो जाती; बड़ा ठेस पहुँचता स्वाभिमान को। अगले दिन सुबह के  तीन बजे, आँखें मलती हुई , गुनगुनाकर , नींद से लड़कर पढ़ती। Mummy  पानी पीने  के लिए  उठकर देखती और कहती, “इतनी भी क्या पढ़ाई ! पागल हो जाओगी !” फ़िर तो ! नींद गायब और चार घंटों  धुआँधार  पढ़ाई  शुरू !
 
उसे आदत  नहीं थी  कि कोशिश में उसकी कभी कोई कमी रह जाए। चाहे painting बनाने में हो, लोगों से मीठी बातें करने में या किताबों  में डूब कर अपने कल  का सपना देखने में। आस- पड़ोस  का आदर्श कहलाना, सबकी नज़रों में अपनी गरीमा  बनाये रखने  में… उसे खुद पर काफ़ी ग़ुरूर था।  अच्छाई की इतनी गंदी  आदत लगी थी उसको , की किसीसे न बुरा बोल पाती और न ही सेह पाती।  ख़ैर आदत भी अति ही थी। … 
 
वक़्त के पहिये पलटते गए,  किताबों  की भीड़ में टहलती -खोती , खोजती – ग़ुम होती। …अपने  राह कुछ चुने,  कुछ  बनाए ।  पर कोशिश हमेशा जारी रहती। 
 
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बावजूद इसके कोई खुश न था ! कभी बिंदी का आकार छोटा लगता , तो कभी हाथों में कँगन कम दिखते , कभी बहुत बातूनी लगती , तो कभी “चाय बनाने के लिए भी आलसी “… 
रसोई कभी आयी नहीं थी उसको।  अब आने की कोशिश पूरी थी।  डर और खुद पे भरोसे की कमी…कोशिश जितनी ही गहरी थी । 
 
पिछले कुछ सालों में कोशिश कुछ कम पड़ रही थी, शायद ; चाहे कितना भी जान लगा दे वो।  हर बार उसके कोशिश की मुलाकात किसी के सलाह से, मज़ाक से , नुस्खों से या फिर तानों से होती।
 
ग़ुरूर क्या ? यहाँ  हर सुबह अपने स्वाभिमान को टटोलती।  
 
“तुम कोशिश करोगी, तो कर पाओगी।  ये इतनी बड़ी चीज़ तो है नहीं। चलो आज की सब्ज़ी तुम अकेले बना लो। देखते हैं। ”  
 
हर दो मिनट में उसके एक चमच मसाले के बाद माँ  स्वाद चखती।  “अरे और ज़रा सा डलेगा शायद … अरे ये तोह तेज़ डल गया… ज़रा सा ध्यान देना ज़रूरी है। …”  हमेशा वो उससे भी सतर्क रहते, कि कहीं गलती से भी उससे गलती न हो जाये। 
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कहाँ वो यहाँ ज़िन्दगी अपनाने चली थी ! यहाँ तोह उसकी गलती भी उसकी अपनी नहीं हो सकती थी ! 
 
सलाह इतने सलीक़े से आते, की कब घाव कर निकल गए, किसीको पता भी नहीं चलता। हर बार वह कहती , “जी माँ , सही बताया आपने।  अगली बार फ़िर  कोशिश करती हूँ, पूरे मन से ।” कई बार तो इतना मुस्कुरा कर कहती कि मानो , किसीने मुसकान  को चेहरे पे  Fevicol से चिपकायी हो।   
 
मन!? मन तो दद्वं  में ऐसे उलझा होता , रोज़ खुद से ये कहता, ” तुम कह क्यों नहीं देती उनसे ? तुम सेह क्यों लेती हो हमेशा ? तुम्हारी कोशिश कुछ कम नहीं थी… बल्कि उनकी कोशिश पूरी है, की तुम्हारी कोशिश को नकार दें !”
 
“कब बोलना सीखेगी अपने लिए !?! बस कह डालो।  कि तुम्हें चुभती हैं ये 108 नुस्ख़े उनके…की तुम्हें भी तकलीफ़ होती है … “
 
रात भर उसकी अच्छाई -बुराई  उसके मन में जंग लड़ लेते।  और शहीद होती तो उसकी नींद, उसका सुकून। काग़ज़ पर लिख कर, Book Shelf  पर चिपकाकर वो सो जाती , ” लेहरों से डरकर नौका पार नहीं होती।  कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।  “
 
महीने बीत जाते  और उसकी कोशिश हमेशा कम पड़ जाती।  कभी चाय में चीनी कम  तो कभी सब्ज़ी में नमक ज़्यादा पड़ जाती। … 
 
फ़िर एक दिन , धैर्य हार मान लेता है।  कोशिश करने सी ही इनकार कर देता है। 
 
कमरे में चेहरा पोछते हुए इक खाली पन्ने पर वह लिखती , ” अति का भला न बोलना , अति की भली न चुप।  अति का भला न बरसना, अति  की भली न धूप ” इस काग़ज़ को पुराने वाले के ऊपर चिपकाती। महीनों तक वो उस काग़ज़  को पढ़ती… अपने रूह में उन शब्दों की सेना बनती। और कमरे से बहार निकलते ही उस सेना को भूला देती। 
 
रसोई से प्रेशर कुकर की सीटी और माँ की पुकार ,अब खाना लगाने की सलाह दे रहे थे।  नमक की डिबिया को वह मेज़ पर रख लेती- आज उसे मालूम था की सब्ज़ी में नमक कम था। आज तक न नमक उसका, न फ़ैसले उसके, न ही गलती ही उसकी हो पायी थी।  सब कुछ तो बस सलाह था !
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खाना खाते खाते दो चार सलाह और मिल गए थे , “Recipe Book में जैसा लिखा हो , बस उतना भी कर लेने से ठीक बन जाता है। कोई बात नहीं , अगली बार कर लेना। …” 
 
इस बार “कोई बात” ज़रूर थी।  इस बार सालों से सुना हुआ “अगली बार ” , कानों से गुज़र कर दिल पे नहीं , स्वाभिमान पे लगा था । 
 
Recipe book  की और झाँकती , उसकी मुस्कान अब Fevicol  वाली न थी। अपने कटोरे की सब्ज़ी में नमक डाल कर उसने नमक की डिबिया उनके ओर  बढ़ाई ….. आवाज़ में उसकी, गरीमा  लौट आयी थी…  
 
“माँ जी।  में नहीं कह रही हूँ। आपके Recipe Book में लिखा है , ‘नमक स्वाद अनुसार’ ! “
 
किसीके गले से निवाला उतरा नहीं और वो सुकून से अपना खाना ख़तम कर, थाली रसोई में रख, हाथ धोकर अपने कमरे में चली गयी। 
अपने डायरी के पहले पन्ने पर, भगवान् के नाम के नीचे, बड़े बड़े अक्षरों से लिखा , “नमक स्वाद अनुसार ” … 
 
और हँस पड़ी। 
PS: Excerpts of the two poems cited above are from Harivansh Rai Bachchan’s ‘Koshish karne waalon ki kabhi haar nai Hoti’  and from Kabir Das ke Dohe, respectively.
The characters bear no resemblance to the author, yet they bear all resemblance to all the women out there, who juggle with their aspirations in life and struggle with their rites of passage in marriage.
And one fine day, become the Namak Halal/ Haram (depending on whom they bear allegiance to ) and say it aloud, “Namak Swaad Anusaar”
Peace.
🙂
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De-Feet


Peach nail paint, sometimes beige too,
the White of her feet
and the same peep-toe shoe

Somethings never change
Yet somethings do…

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A decade back perhaps
the day I first saw her
Breeze blowing away her silk scarf,
and her long skirt floating forever.

There was something about her smile
and those eyes which defied
a black and white frame,
the endless banter- I hardly listened,
It got me insane! Insane!!

Oh Boy! she made me coy!
As her voice into my ears drift,
my gaze stuck to her feet,
my eyes, I could hardly lift!

Those feet peeped through the patialas
They were careful of the grass they tread.
They wouldn’t kill those ants
or trample the flowering reed.

Those feet walked miles,
miles into my world of imagination.
Those feet walked miles,
miles away from my contemplation.

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Years later, I would hear the voice again.
Only, it’s no more a banter.
There’s still something about those eyes,
that makes one wonder…

“Do years get into a man,
or a man gets into the years gone by…?”
They fill each other so perfectly,
without asking ever a why!

Those feet peeped through
the pleats of her saree,
the peach nail paint
on the feet of the fairy.

And the brown peep-toe shoe
Somethings never change,
Yet somethings do.

A dragonfly struggled, stuck in the mud
those feet shuffled, careful not to hurt.

The mad crowd jostled by,
oblivious of the ground.
Those feet silently guarded
the little winged thing they’d found.

I bent down to pick it up
and saw her smile again.
She would never know,
those little things on her feet
have caused my heart so much pain…

Although knowing it couldn’t fly ever,
I set it free on a shrub.
Like 10 years back one day,
I had set free my love.

I asked, “Happy Now?”
those lips twinkled,
those eyes smiled.

The peach nail paint
and those toe rings few
the white of her feet
and the peep toe shoe

I wish I could ask,
“Why somethings never change,
Yet somethings do??”

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PS: In India, the Toe-rings are considered as a symbol of marriage. Most of the single women do not wear those.

Who? She? She’s a Housewife.


She wakes up at dawn,
Relinquishing her yawn.
Slips out of the blankets,
No sounds from her trinkets.

So that she doesn’t disturb your sleep.
She would choke her giggles and quieten her weep.

She prepares the breakfast,
and bites the crumbs at last.
“Parantha again!”, she hears you blast.

She’s forgotten she likes Ginger tea.
She’s forgotten who is she.

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She warms the water for you to bath.
She warms her heart to endure your wrath.
Chooses your clothes, presses them hard.
If at all that will make you glad.

She turns the newspaper
and you snatch it from her hands.
She doesn’t know what’s inside her,
Why may she worry about unknown lands!

She goes to the grocer, the laundry and the milkman.
With you in your office.
she can no more stay a “woman”.

But you will return soon
and show her her right place.
She wouldn’t mind,
She has learnt to accept fate with grace.

Dressed like a maid,
Turmeric tempered hands,
Garlic smelling fingers,
hot oil burnt palms.

You feel ashamed that she stinks of sweat.
Messy, untidy and wet.
Wait!
She will take time to match your attire.
She has burnt her identity in the kitchen fire.

the house-wife

She cooked your favourite dish today.
Just ignore if its salty and please say,
This tastes so good you know.
And she can crumple all her dignity beneath your ego.

Hobby? She can’t have those,
kids and hubby she can.
Who question her intellect,
bully her for “trying to be a man“.

She has all the time in the world for you.
You can watch the NEWS for hours in lieu.
“After all hunger deaths in Somalia,
are more important than her.
What does she know other than home?
Nothing before. Nothing after.”

She has no Sundays.
She can never fall ill.
Just give her a little love.
that’s her real pill.

A little love

She utters her name. You don’t recognise,
It’s not your fault, you are too wise.
She’s forgotten to tell you whose “Mrs” she is,
How on earth would you know her! doesn’t she know this!

She smiles at your guests,serving them tea.
You frown at her, thinking she’s stingy.
You don’t realise she had no money with her,
“Where on earth do you spend all that I offer?!?”

On your make-up, clothes and jewellery?
She smiles.
Bills. Laundry. grocery.

Huh!
The electric bill is high.
She’s the one lazying at home.
Can she deny?

“The new curtains,the sofa and the crockery?
You buy them all,
with whose permission?
whose salary?”

Permission, certainly she needs to seek,
she doesn’t earn even a penny a week.
If her husbands’s status she wants to show.
It isn’t her own, she should know.

She starves her desires
and saves a bit.
Not for her saree,
but for your birthday gift.

She complains you didn’t do a few errands,
“Mad woman! Does she think you have a million hands?!
She’s the one who sits at home
all the while idle, she has the guts to groan!”

People say she does nothing,
but gossip all day long.
After all an “idle-mind” is a devil’s workshop,
where all malice shall throng.

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C-A-T isn’t Saaaat, It’s Kaaat“, she tells.
You know nothing Mom. Or you would have gone to offishh“, he yells.
Even that seems like melody to her loving ears.
Letting the flesh from her womb, innocently pierce-
her identity, her being into a million holes,
Such that a soul cares for a million souls…

He grows up to correct the world,
“She isn’t a house-wife, she’s a home-maker.”
But does this logic convince himself as its taker?

The in-laws are asked what does she do,
They say, “she does nothing, but a house-hold jobs few”.
The husband is asked, what does she do,
Embarrassed he sites her qualifications and says ,”she knew,
she wouldn’t be able to handle so much pressure,
Her world is her family, her only treasure.”

Her family is a treasure for her.True.
But does it consider her a treasure too?

After each fight she’s reminded.
She is fed and clothed by them,
she better not be blinded.

“What’s her worth?
A grain of sand.
It’s time,
She must understand.”

Yes.She has understood well her value.
hence sacrificing that grain of sand too.
To hide it in her womb and nourish it with care.
Into a pearl drop- flawless and fair.

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She sees her dreams through your eyes.
Knowing what if she didn’t shine,
But you must certainly rise.

She goes to the temple,
Prays for your success.
She forgets without fuss,
she too had a few wishes.

A mothers prayers

Never mind!
Whatever makes you happy,
That makes her happy too.
But what brings her tears,
does that bring tears to you?

The world points at her and curiously asks.
You say,”Who? She? She’s a House-wife.”

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If Ignorance is Bliss. It has to be This!


In a country like India, a Twenty Point program is a sine qua non for all planning and ‘Pursuit of Happiness’. So when today I suddenly noticed how unhappy I was with my awful awesome Life, it struck me to have my Twenty point program as well.

Being a twenty-nothing myself, I jotted down some of the ‘facts’ I believe to be true.
And I would be utterly obliged if you did too. 😀

Because howsoever it may be a cliche,
I can’t deny that Ignorance is Bliss! 😉
So in search for that peace,
I started off this piece…

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1. I am unemployed By choice and not by compulsion. I am a Software Engineer with hardwired intent to master in Humanities. Hence a Post Graduate in Human Rights Law and a Post graduate in Sociology too. I am just a PhD away from teaching at Oxford 😛
This is frictional unemployment. Even globalization couldn’t  find me a suitable role profile to match my excellently erratic back ground! Shame on it!

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2. I have always worked hard. All that I have achieved is a direct consequence of it. All that I have not- Blame it on my Luck.

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3. I am not a cry baby. Courageous people reflect their true emotions. I am courageous to cry 24×7, without worrying about your tolerance levels.

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4. I am not fat plump. I am healthy. But If you are not convinced, you  should know..My clothes shrunk, I didn’t expand.

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5. If you still think I did! My recent increase in diameter and circumference are directly proportional to my dedication for my Husband. He cannot lose weight, so I am catching up. Indian women are epitomes of sacrifice.

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6.My husband is tall.
I don’t wear heels because they are bad for my back bone aaand I think Elephants are cuter than giraffes.

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7. I can buy clothes, cosmetics, shoes, bags, accessories… and the world. I am Rich.
But I don’t buy them. Not because the “housewife-allowance” is meager to me. But because I hate the culture of consumerism. 😛

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8.I am beautiful. I was born to feature in fairness lotion ads. But Hard work and  the Tropical Sun tanned my modelling prospects 😛

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9. I am a good cook. I like what I cook. And more importantly, I can eat what I cook. My husband eats in his office cafeteria because he is fond of fast-food more than his wife.
Sometimes I accidentally cook well mess up. It’s because while I cook, my MIL (Mother in Law) instructs, My SIL (Sister in law) OVERsees and like you know- too many cooks spoil the broth!

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10. I am not lazy.
But All I make is salad  and oats because- I like to eat healthy, Live longer. Also its the best way to censure unnecessary expenses and growing tumm
ies ( there are 5 of them, including mine)

Funny picture of four panda bears eating bamboo together

11. I am a master of all trades, jack of some more. Singing, writing, painting, gardening, cooking(under improvement),dancing(to my in-laws tunes)… I do it all!!
I am famous for nothing specific though, because I am yet to decide, which art I would like to be famous for.

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12. Especially, I am a prolific poet and a terrific author. But nobody reads my blog (inspite of zealous requests) because- Every successful artist is rejected a trillion times before being inducted into the Hall-of-Fame. I am no exception!

F.A.ME – Forever Away from ME! huh!!

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13. I cross the road with difficulty. But I can ride the scooter, drive the car, manoeuver the MiG and sail the ship.

I have the confidence. But so does my father. He is confident that it would turn out be an expensive affair. ( My last accident cost him Rs 25000— 5000 for an artificial tooth, 20000 for the braces. It was a scooter accident and the scale of damage was limited to one tooth. On a larger scale, with a larger vehicle and all of the 32 teeth… oops! perhaps I would rather agree than pay 32 x 5000 + 25000 !!!) 
Oh my God! I wish I were a dentist. They bite a hell lot of money on your bites! I might try pursuing that someday too 😉

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14. I am not slow- in reading, reacting, reflecting, reaching…
I finish 40 when you flag off 400 because- I am a perfectionist. I believe in quality, not quantity. Mind It!!!

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15. I am usually a silent, tacit person who doesn’t speak unless the need arises. It’s not my fault that the need arises so very often.

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16. I am an amicable soul. People don’t like me? It’s because they are Jealous! Now,who wouldn’t!! 😉 😛

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17. I am a little too angry, impatient, unpredictable and emotionally turbulent sometimes. But don’t you think it can be a Genetic disorder? Now that’s called Manufacturing defect! 😛

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18. Despite this my Parents love me more than Honey, their Pet dog.

(My nick name is Rocky and her’s is Honey. In India, 99/100 people assume, I am the Dog and  she’s the daughter! x-(  )

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19. I am not worried or desperate. This is just a prolooooonged bad phase.
After every dark winter comes a bright summer.
(and I would certainly be alive to witness it without being frozen to death! Hoorray!)
Until then I would wait and meditate.

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20. I am not Greedy. All I want is everything.
God!! Is it too much to ask for?

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As YOU sow, So shall THEY reap


You draw with henna on their hands
You braid their hair with colorful rubber-bands.
You dress them up sometimes, as a tiny bride.
You caress them to sleep in peace,by your side.

You giggle as you watch them grow,
From nursery rhymes in kindergarten.
to poetry in school.
From crushes in college
to a Love-smitten fool.

You teach them to be a wife,
A daughter, a sister,
and a Mother like you.
Because life’s tests would be many later,
But, the lessons very few.

You sow them with love..
You water them with tears..
You nourish them with culture
You teach them to face their fears.

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So that one day when they grow bigger than you ever thought..
Spreading their branches away from your flowering pot..

their flowers blossom,
their fruits bloom.
But in an unknown garden
leaving you behind in gloom

Gone is your little Bride
Someone else claims her,
She is someone’s big pride.

Now, you are a mere spectator Mother,
THEY are the owners of your Treasure.

(470)

Gone is your lifetime investment,
Gone is your masterpiece,
Gone is she,
robbing all your bliss.

This is what is life you accept..
As YOU sow, So shall THEY reap..

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