Friday, January 29, 2010

Winter days are going away....

Already the sun seems to shine too bright. Already the mist seems to have disappeared. Already the tea feels too hot...

We've had a lovely winter here in Delhi this year and I think such a winter has come in quite a long time.

Trees disappear into the fog
Those lights look like they are beckoning me
...Asking me to tread the unknown path?
A path where the mist hangs close to you and the branches touch you
I see the smoke rising...
Is it from the huge pan of lovely ginger tea?
Is it from the beedi that the rickshaw-walla has just lighted?
Is it the voice within burning away in mediocrity?
Is it just the mist trying on a new form?

Ah...nice ginger tea in a glass, yummy mathris
And another theory to be articulated and shared
Will the modern man ever be truly liberated?
Will Bach be appreciated?
Do the Santros always become accomplices in crime?

Winter evenings, the lovely fragrance of those unnamed flowers
Tea and warm woolen hands
Comfortable black socks and colorful traditional shawls
Even red is nice to the eyes
And even four is not a crowd

I will miss you winter mornings and winter nights
and all the time in between on these long winter days.

Do come back again with all your promise of all things beautiful

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Happy Republic Day!

Today is 26 Jan of the year 2010, and yes - i know - to most of us it is a welcome break in the middle of the week! What bliss!
Yet, what I wanted to talk about was the Republic Day and all that the word means to me. As a child, I always used to wonder as to why we have more fun activities and colorful pageants on the Republic Day, while in contrast, the Independence Day is quite a dry affair. I think that realization dawned on me today. Let me share the pearls of wisdom :). Though independence is important, we wouldn't know what to do with it unless we had our rules and laws and our constitution. And that is why being a Republic needs more strength than being a free country. It is only with a sense of purpose and an even greater sense of responsibility that we can really be free. So, I guess that decides it for me.
After a long time, I woke up early enough to watch the entire parade on TV. And better, I also watched that everlasting, timeless piece of heaven (which they call music) - the shehnai recital by Ustad Bismillah Khan. No words can describe that beautiful melody that the great man could create! I sat enthralled. And it brought back old memories...
I also watched quite a few of the nationalist campaigns a la Bharatbala creations! There is so much beauty and strength in those audio-visuals. All done to such a perfection that each person feels integrated with the the larger idea of India. Again, I remember that these campaigns used to be aired on National TV very often and each one of us would know the song by rote, even when we didn't understand the language.
Today was a nice, perfect Delhi winter morning with all the fog creating a beautiful aura around the Rajpath and India Gate. When they showed shots of the Amar Jawan Jyoti and the image of the reversed rifle crowned with a soldier's helmet came up, it all looked so ethereal....so beautiful, so poignant.
That was my favorite moment of the celebrations - the two minutes of silence for all those people who fight and defend our country and who are no more human than me or you. But, i guess they are super-human. There has to be some power in them - be it a voice in the head or a belief or a tradition - some power that pushes these people into the armed forces where they know that they will face dangers and ward off "evil" for the common man and woman. Isn't that selfless?
Another bit about the Republic Day celebrations that always moves me is when they announce the winners of the Ashok Chakra or the Bravery awards. It makes me feel so humble ...I know that they did what I can never. Such is the spirit that moves me!
There is so much to see - the forces marching past, the daredevil riders, the flypast, the dancers, the schoolchildren, the tableaux....all of it makes for such a beautiful way to celebrate not only the existence of our nation, but it's very identity!
Happy Republic Day to all of you!