Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Difficult Times

Abba, why do we wear a skull cap while we pray,
And why do we need to turn that way?
Why is that creature haraam?

And why do we fast during Ramadaan?

Abba, you asked me to pray 5 times a day,
Never to eat pork, smoke, drink and go astray.
You taught me to live and let live.
And that the only jihad to fight, was the one within me.
Did I not hold my promise to you?
Then why does Allah test me so much for doing so?

And why don't they get it?
Why do they call me a terrorist? A fanatic?
They, with their crosses, stars and sacred marks on the forehead
They, with or without faith,
Why do they call me a traitor? A liberal? A coward?
They, with skull caps like mine and guns and grenades
Why don't they get it that I just want to live and let live?

I can't please all of them.
I just want to be who I am.
To just live out the life that the one God gave me. 
It is so frustrating to live with so many labels. 
So hard when your faith is tested everyday, 
Would you blame me, my dear Abba,
If I strapped a bomb around my neck, and blew myself away? 

Monday, March 3, 2014

Love is tyrant

“Have you ever been in love? Horrible isn't it? It makes you so vulnerable. It opens your chest and it opens up your heart and it means that someone can get inside you and mess you up.” - Neil Gaiman

Love is terrible. I believe it is a juggernaut, hell bent on demolishing who you are. Love cannot create before it destroys. Love demands sacrifice. It needs blood. Your blood. Your old self must die at the altar of love. You cannot be you and be in love, truly and deeply. Your old self needs to perish and give rise to newer one. Love is humiliating. It wants your submission, your sense of self. It is a force that once you reckon with, will humble you. There is no sense of control but only surrender.

Consider the state of motherhood. You physically and mentally undergo a change. Painful change. The same goes for fathers and although the change is less obvious, it does occur. Parents change a lot for their kids. Most of them also love their offspring very much. The easy thing about it is that Mother Nature designed us for it. We have the blood connection to fall back on when the going gets tough.

However, when it comes to love between two individuals not related by blood, things get complicated. The old self refuses to die. The ego doesn't want to budge. Your sense of superiority or pride, take your pick, raises its ugly head. Change is hard, we already know that. Changing for love is even harder. Biology compels us to change for our offspring but Psychology meddles a bit too much when it comes to changing for your love. What if it doesn't work out? What if I have to change more than the other person?  Why should I give up being me? Isn't that unfair? But then, aren't you giving up me to be a, better “we”? If the very notion is revolting to you then what business is it of yours to even be in love? 

"To love and win is the best thing. To love and lose, the next best." - William Thackeray

It all boils down to the flexibility of your emotional self. How quickly can the two of adapt to each other to create a unified entity. I know it sounds so tacky. Haven't we heard this before? They became one in love. They are two bodies but one soul. Blah-blah-blah yada-yada-yada! You can only learn through your own experiences. No one can make you believe this.

What does religion says about love? Hindu philosophy states that becoming one with God involves letting go of your meagre, tiny, inconsequential existence, dissolving your ego and embracing the supreme consciousness. Can you imagine how difficult it must be? Can you imagine denying the perceivable reality of your flesh, bones, ego and self to acknowledge a greater and apparently invisible reality? How do even get there? I believe that is why we need to learn how to be in love. How else will you learn how to be one with the supreme if you can't be one with women and men?

Love is such a fucking tyrant! It has no sense of fairness or justice. It wants what it wants, and you are not getting anywhere without giving in to it. Damn all the sweet, sappy, cuddle filled notions of love! Love is beautiful. It gives meaning to life and a sense of purpose. But it definitely isn’t easy.

"Can there be a love which does not make demands on its object?" - Confucius

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Gangs of Wasseypur

Aren't you bored out the trite that is passed around as Cinema? Aren't you are tired of the milk chocolate covered, pink candy flavoured, perfectly shaped shit that is thrown in our face on a regular basis. I, for one, craved for an honest-to-God, real, kickass movie so full of badassery that it cannot but be of our own beautifully fucked up corner of the world called Bihar.

So praise be on the land of Balia, where Anurag Kashyap was born. And 40 years later, Gangs of Wasseypur was created.

This cinematic gem's brilliance has many hues.

It has such a cliched story line. Revenge. No-spoiler-alert. It is that simple. And within this simplicity lies its profoundness.

The profoundness that is revealed though the fabulously set backdrop, of Independence, Coal mining and an emerging Socialist/Capitalist economy. It has a subtle existence. Reminiscent of the ocean breeze, when you take a stroll on a star lit night.

And my oh my, is the night star lit! Most of us would not be able to name the many stars that light up GoW. All of them are ablaze with awesomeness. The characters are ferocious. They explode on the screen.

And the words. The sullied and bloody language. The mannerism. The nifty little nuances that delight. Is it real? Is that how it is? Or it was? Yes. Hell bloody yeah. As a true blue Bihari, dharti maiyya ke kasam, that is how it is.

And the promotions. The campaigning. The advertising, that you rarely saw on TV. But everywhere on the Social Network. Micro blog. Macro blog. Tweets and Updates. You tube promos. Dialogue promos. Crazy fans like yours truly blogging about it. And what not. Mind blowing! I have a penchant for Marketing. And I cannot but dream of doing what the GoW Team has done.

For those of you who don't know, I will be embarking on a 16 month long adventure in Phillipines, at Asian Institute of Management (Don't kick me in my lovelies at the last hour SBI) . It is also known as an MBA. I hope it is a Mind Blowing Adventure. And I have a new career goal : I want to be a Marketer/Sales Man for Anurag Kashyap Films Private Limited !

Apart from enthralling me to the hilt, GoW gave me something else. Nostalgia. Heart ache. Occasionally, a painful reminder of how things were or may be still are in the state where I was born and raised. But it also gave me a chance to re-connect to my roots. A reminder of how beautiful and soulful Bihari Culture is. I am talking about the folk songs here and not the swear words. I have never loved Bhojpuri music ever before. And for that matter, Chutney music ( The Hunter Song, which again has a bihari connection). And how lyrical ordinary bihari conversation can be!

"Aaap aaaaa gayyeeee jeee"
"Haaan. Abhiyeeee na aayeee"

Stretch and sing. It is funny. And beautiful at the same time. Even the invectives are delivered in a brutal but sing-song fashion.

Ah. Cinema is a source of abundant joy to me. I have watched the movie three times already.

Remember Sholay? This is my Sholay. Our Wasseypur. It is a lovely shade of dark gray. And the best part ? One half of this delicious movie is still left. August 10, I eagerly await.

p.s. Thank you Yayati Joshi. Your wonderful posts on Cinema inspired me.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Children of the Age

I have my own channel. And a news paper. And a magazine. My own media network. I can be heard. Be seen. And read.I can inspire. Collaborate. Communicate. Even conspire. With almost the entire World. When did ever a Person had so much power? Is there any doubt in your mind, that you do not live in incredible times?

It is interesting, if you observe, how power has been created through the Internet. The cynic in you might say that the Power resides with the ones who own the Telecom Companies, the Fiber Optic Cables, Social Media Platforms and Smartphone companies. But, they are in the business because we, the citizens of this modern, global, all pervading civilisation NEED power. We wanted the POWER to write, to photograph, to videograph, to broadcast , to sing our songs, to beat our drums so that it can be heard. The provider and the reciever are both empowered, this is a win-win situation.

There is an overpowering urge for it, we want more. It will only grow, and get stronger. Our voices are going to get louder. And there will be consequences. There already are some who are afraid of us wielding so much power. And they are going to try and take it away from us. But I will be damned if I let that happen. So will you. Can you let anyone take away the air you breathe? The water you drink? The earth that you walk on? Or the Sun that lights up your life? Never. And I believe this Power is going to be that fundamental to us, if you do not think it is already.

The Internet is evolving into a fundamental right of sorts. And it has the power to esnure that all your other rights are not encroached upon. I am blessed, to be aware and alive in the World of today, inspite of all its shortcomings. I am grateful, to be a Child of the Internet Age. Long Live the Inter Network.

Monday, March 12, 2012

A modern day Warrior Poet

The following is an excerpt from an article published in the Times of India , "Traffic park as entertainment avenue and khau galli. Why not?"  .

Santosh Pandey, who writes under the pen name of Badal, is a cop with a difference. He wields both, the cane and pen with elan. A head constable at the Kotwali division, Pandey's two latest compilations - 'Priayadarshini' and 'Beti' - is ready for release on the occasion of the International Women's Day and the programmes associated with it.
'Priyadarshini ' is based on the life of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi while 'Beti' is on the evils of the female infanticide. Pandey also has eight other titles published and an equal number ready for publication.
The cop has authored books on myriad subjects ranging from childhood and its innocence to dowry and its evil affects. Among the awards that Pandey has won includes the ministry of environment and forest's 'Medini Puraskar Yojana' in 2008, Maharashtra State Hindi Sahitya Academy's Sohanlal Dwivedi award in 2009 and many others.
Excerpts from an interview:
Q. What made you choose the subjects for 'Priyadarshini' and 'Beti'?
A. Indiraji's life, on which 'Priyadarshini' is based upon, had always intrigued me, especially during my visits to her ancestral place Anand Bhavan in Allahabad. There was an unexplained force that used to always drive me every time I visited the place. 'Beti' was an outcome of a Sadhvi Rithambhara sermon. I had often championed the cause of environment and female infanticide as a social worker. My duty as a policeman also helped me to realize the pain when a female baby is found abandoned or discarded. Also, I am a father of a daughter which also helped me to express my turmoil.
Q. Have you experimented in the new books?
A. They are simple, easy and understandable. I did not have a scholastic approach but rather ensured that message reaches deep within the society. Often a poet is confronted by the challenge of sending his message to the masses cutting across the cross-section of the society and I wanted to achieve just that rather than experiment with forms and patterns.
Q. Is there any controversial episode in 'Priyadarshini'?
A. I have consciously steered clear of any controversies. I do not have any intention of getting entangled in controversies. Healthy debates are OK, but not controversies. One should not drag controversies into literature.
Q. Is there any aspect or episode in the life of Indiraji that left you intrigued?
A. There have been several, each one fascinating. But, there was one period in her life that I feel shaped her into what she was in the later part of life. In her school days, Indiraji had formed an active unit of youngsters, labelling it as 'Monkey Brigade', who would act as couriers between satyagrahis during the Independence struggle and help in exchange of vital information by dodging the information networks of the British. This underlined her intense patriotism and unquestionable leadership quality which reflected in the later part of her life.
Q. How do you balance your job as a cop and poet?
A. My job as a policeman has given me an intriguing opportunity to delve into those arenas of life which I would not have got had I been working elsewhere. Various issues, different facets of our society and human life unfurl before me while I am attending my duty. This department is more of a social organization and government pays us salaries for this noble work which I do dutifully. When I am not a policeman, I am a poet and author. I devote most of my leisure time to literature. There are no other distractions in my life.
Q. When are you planning to write about your colleagues?
A. A collection of 120 poetries 'Police: Ek Kavi' is slated to hit the stands soon. In this book, my 25 years' experience and observations as a cop have been brought out in the form of poetry.
Q. Does being a government employee create any hurdles for you as poet?
A. The creative pursuit of an author or poet finds its expression wherever there is a thrust for it. Police or any other department's disciplinary restrictions cannot bind creative energies which flow despites hurdles. My books have been mostly released by our seniors in the department who have also encouraged me.
Q. What is your motivation?
A. The ambience at home is very crucial for a creative person. It is very important to enjoy support from one's family. My sole inspiration was the Late Mahadevi Verma who was an extraordinary Hindi poet and freedom fighter. I had once composed a parody of her celebrated work and she was impressed with it. It was she who had christened me as 'Badal'.