I have no hesitation in admitting that Allahabad (ancient name Prayag) redefined my beingness.It made me down-to earth, allowing me to view life in its true shades. Although I tried my best to capture all the shades of Allahabad, I am sure I would have missed some beautiful locations. I hope future writers would explore these untouched places in a colourful way. However, in the last part of the photo feature, I have shifted my attention from modern landscape of Allahabad to areas which still remind of the ancient times. Infrastructural bottlenecks prevented me from using state-of-the-art technology in capturing the images and that made me bit depressed. However, now in the aftermath of the publication of photo features, I feel pretty satisfied that I still came to do some good work. These photo features are a tribute to great city Allahabad- my birthplace. A city that taught me how to emerge successful in rising above contradictions to have glimpse of the Absolute!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
Many find Allahabad a very tough place to live an honourable life. That’s because even though it came to enjoy a wonderful divine legacy, it never ensured a desired vibrancy for average souls. It never created any scope for living a truly fun-filled life, being all the time involved in dry intellectual activities. Lack of proper encouragement on the part of city towards its vast pool of talented brains have now given way to brain drain sort of affair. Many great souls remained an unsung hero in this city. However, what’s amazing is that it keeps on producing great souls at a regular interval! In nutshell, it’s a city of true beauty, real romance and mysticism. The city teaches you how to remain true to life in a real way, making it very clear to any conscious soul that life is not a bed of roses and it is meant to discover new mysteries of nature. Naturally, average souls running after money, fame, beautiful girl, big house, big car and many other cosmetic affairs would always feel disappointed to be part of this city. Having said that, I hope this city learns to truly honour its exceptional souls and also learns to be bit more blissful!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
Allahabad: A City Wedded To Realism (Photo Feature Part One) Allahabad: A City Wherein Global Salutes The Local (Photo Feature Part 3)
Allahabad enjoys a glorious legacy. It’s a city that has been dominated by best minds since time immemorial. Its ancient name Prayag is associated with Rishis (saints) and Devas (demigods) eager to have an opportunity to live in this city. Sri Rama, incarnation of Lord Vishnu, and, Sri Shankaracharya, incarnation of Lord Shiva, both came to interact with this city in their own ways. Needless to state about Kumbh Mela, which provides it a global appeal. And who can forget its role in Independence movement? And in post- Independence era, it still continues to dominate the course of this great nation by giving birth to remarkable thought patterns. Leading politicians, top bureaucrats, great literary figures and etc. all belong to this city. This city wedded to realism is very very slow in embracing ultra-modern changes, but now it has started accepting bizarre changes all in the name of being in tune with time!
P.S. :- The copyright of these images rests with the author of this post. Anybody making use of them without prior permission of the author, or without giving due credit to the author, could be penalized as per legal norms.
It’s a matter of great satisfaction that prominent publications related with mainstream media have begun to embrace issues related with men in a fair way. The various bodies working for the cause of men across the nation have decided to ferociously protest against the recent amendments made in Hindu Marriage Laws which are not only anti-male but also do not augur well for the cause of society. I must appreciate The Times of India and its correspondents some of them whom I know personally quite well for being sympathetic towards issues sensitive in nature. The complicated issues cannot be dealt with in a proper way unless we know both the sides of story and this type of fair reporting allows us to be more informed about aspects which remain neglected owing to lack of dissemination. Right now some of the well known Men’s associations based in Bangalore, Pune, Nagpur and elsewhere are working hard to create awareness regarding misuse of laws, which they call legal terrorism. The activists right now are engaged in having dialogue with Members of Parliament with a hope to apprise them of with concerns of Men’s Associations. I am sure the day is not far when gender-neutral laws would get introduced to provide a better shape to Indian society now on the verge of disarray due to blatant misuse of power by the feminists, enjoying support of negative powers operating within the nation and in foreign lands.
The political party which has no sound policies cash in on populist measures to gain power. If such a political party somehow manages to register its presence in corridors of power, it proves to be an ominous sign for the growth of democracy. Uttar Pradesh is facing similar crisis in the regime of Samajwadi Party. Right from series of communal riots in various parts of states to administrative failures in various major cities the state has been held hostage to dangerous elements masquerading in various forms. The Samajwadi Party wooed young voters by promising laptops and nobody questioned the utility of launching such scheme at cost of taxpayers’ hard earned money. Look at the irony involved that state is reeling under worse power crisis. It appears laptops provided by this government get recharged by darkness! The same money spent on laptops, tablets and etc. could have been diverted to improve the infrastructure involved in production of power. It’s no secret that most power houses operating in state are operating with help of worn out machinery. However, you can’t expect such measures from a government run by unethical minds.
Allahabad, most important city after Lucknow, which is on paper getting 21 hours power supply, is facing huge power crisis. Let’s take into cognizance working of one of the power substations operating in Allahabad, which is home of eminent intellectuals, bureaucrats, writers, poets, judges and journalists. One example is suffice to have idea of how the system is operating under this government’s rule. Kareli power house, an important substation, which supplies power to Kareli and other adjoining areas like Bhavapur, is in total disarray because of its incompetent officials and poor management. It’s now very clear that may be in Mayawati’s regime there were huge scams at ministerial level, the bureaucratic machinery still remained under awe of strict punishment in case of non performance of duty. Under this regime absence of such threat of getting punishment has led to lawlessness and haughtiness on part of officials.
The Kareli substation under Maywati’s regime was one of the best substations operating in the city having a smooth supply in both Hindu and Muslim colonies, even in peak hours during some important festivals like Dussehara or Eid. A telephone was always there to register the complaint of aggrieved consumers and the fault was dealt with in a conscious time bound manner. The same substation is now working in most shabby manner. The employees stationed here are rude while dealing with consumers besides being incompetent. They are not bothered as to how to ensure smooth power supply. Many linemen/technicians on condition of anonymity stated that there is nobody to check huge power theft in this area. As a result of this power theft as many as 20 transformers have blasted in one single month. The staff operating at power houses often gets beaten at the hands of angry public. Prima facie one always blames citizens for such display of violence and angry reactions but if we delve deeper into the cause of mob violence one would realize that ordinary citizens are not that guilty.
For instance at Kareli substation during some critical faults there is no one present to register the complaints of consumers. There is also no telephone, and thus, one living at a distance has to travel many kilometers to reach this substation. Imagine the state of the mind of such consumer if he/she finds that gates are locked from outside during working hours! If the same consumer tries to contact with higher officials over telephone, the officers at the other end don’t give much importance to his/her problems. So what options do power house officials leave for aggrieved consumers other than to react violently? Bhavapur area which is major Hindu colony having distinguished citizens faced 18 hours power failure for two consecutive days which included Dussehara day. Can one imagine the level of collective anger of such residents?
Most of the areas, falling under this substation, for past one and half months are facing huge power cuts. Earlier it was informed that feeders were being changed along with replacement of incoming panel. The residents of this area kept quiet but people lost their cool when even after removal of major faults the areas like Bhavapur, Nihalpur and etc. remained dark for more than 10 or 12 hours at a stretch while the adjoining Muslim areas like Akbarpur remained above such power cuts! The whole Navaratri celebrations along with tableau exhibition was marred by absolute darkness. In fact, this substation is working in a dangerous way too. That’s because no employee of higher rank is placed at this substation. As a result of that staff which is comprised of linemen and few technicians are either missing in night schedule or if that’s not the case they are involved in drinking of beer. Just few weeks ago, a lineman involved in repairing work at Kareli substation in inebriated state suffered serious injuries.
This government has failed to realize that citizens are not impressed by populist measures. To win their hearts the government needs to improve the functioning of public administration. What prevented it to improve the quality of services provided by government bodies? Instead of doing that it’s engaged in divisive policies, which involve huge wastage of taxpayer’s money. It’s time for the electorate to realize that during voting it’s better to have in their view right aspects instead of being swayed by flawed populists measures of parties devoid of vision and sound principles.
लैपटॉप बाटती उत्तर प्रदेश की सरकार को शायद इस बात की परवाह नहीं कि बिन रौशनी के ये लैपटॉप कूड़े के ढेर में फेंकने लायक चीज़ है. इस सरकार को शायद ये एहसास नहीं कि जनता इस तरह के वाहियात स्कीम से खुश नहीं होती। जनता तब प्रसन्न रहती है जब जनता से सरोकार रखती आवश्यक सेवाए सुचारू रूप से पहुचती रहती है. लेकिन जिस सरकार में मंत्री और अफसर दोनों बेलगाम घोड़े की तरह हो गए हो वहा फरियाद करने का क्या औचित्य? इलाहाबाद एक महत्वपूर्ण शहर है ये बताने की जरूरत नहीं लेकिन यहाँ जिस तरह सरकारी संस्थाए काम कर रही उससे लगता नहीं लखनऊ में बैठे आकाओ या इलाहाबाद में खुद इस सरकार के नुमाइन्दो को कोई फिक्र है यहाँ के हालातो से. इलाहाबाद में जब सारे शहर में दशहरे की धूम थी शहर का एक ख़ास इलाका भावापुर जो करेली पॉवर हाउस से संबद्ध है अँधेरे में डूबा रहा दो दिनों तक लगातार। सिर्फ दो दिनों तक अँधेरे में डूबे रहता तो कोई बड़ी बात नहीं थी. ये इलाका पिछले ढेढ़ महीने से बिजली की समस्या से जूझ रहा. हद तब हो गयी जब दशहरे के दिन और उसके अगले दिन १८ घंटो से अधिक बिजली बेवजह गायब रही. और यहाँ का एक मंत्री को ये सफ़ेद झूठ बोलते लाज नहीं आई कि इलाहबाद शहर में तो २१ घंटे बिजली आती है!
मायावती के शासन काल में कम से कम सरकारी अफसरों में एक जवाबदेही का भय था. यही करेली का सबस्टेशन सबसे बेहतर पॉवर हाउस में से एक था मायावती के शासन में. पब्लिक की समस्या को सुनने के लिए एक टेलीफोन भी था जिससे कम से कम शिकायत तो दर्ज हो ही जाती थी. समाजवादी पार्टी के सत्ता में आते ही इस पॉवर स्टेशन के अधिकारी निरंकुश हो गए. टेलीफोन कहा गया पूछने पर कर्मचारी बत्तमीजी से बतायेंगें कि खो गया है! दशहरे के अवसर पर किसी इलाके की बिजली अट्टारह घंटो से अधिक काट देना एक जुर्म है क्योकि शिकायत करने पर कुछ घंटो में बिजली देने का प्रावधान है.लेकिन इस करेली पॉवर स्टेशन में फैली दुर्दशा इस सरकार में फैली अराजकता को स्पष्ट दर्शाती है और ये दिखा जाती है कि इस सरकार की कार्यप्रणाली किस प्रकार की है.
इस पॉवर स्टेशन में पिछले डेढ़ महीनो से समस्या चल रही है. पहले पहल पूछने पर ये बताया जाता था कि फीडर बदले जा रहे है और उसके बदलते ही इस इलाके में ट्रांसफार्मर फूंकने इत्यादि की समस्या हल हो जायेगी. इस बाबत अधिकारियों के बयान कई दिनों तक अखबार में छपते रहे और जनता धैर्य धारण किये रही. बिजली के अधिकारी लोगो को आप अक्सर सुनते मिल जायेंगे कि साहब फला केंद्र पर कर्मचारियों को पब्लिक ने पीटा. अधिकारी इसके पहले अपनी करतूतों को जाहिर भी कर दिया करे तो बेहतर रहेगा! इस करेली पॉवर स्टेशन पे फैली अराजकता को देखे और ये पाठक सोच कर बताये जब पानी की किल्लत, गर्मी और उमस से जूझती जनता की समस्या को पॉवर हाउस के कर्मचारी/अधिकारी संज्ञान में लेना जरूरी ना समझे तो क्या हो? यहाँ के इलाके के अधिकतर ट्रांसफार्मर फूँक गए है. क्यों? क्योकि यहाँ के अधीनस्थ कर्मचारी नाम न छपने के शर्त पर ये आपको बता देंगे कि अफसरों ने कितने अवैध कनेक्शनो को कम क्षमता वाले ट्रांसमिशन पर डाल रखा है. क्या नतीजा होगा इसका?
आप पूछेंगे क्यों नहीं अधिकारी इस बात को ध्यान में लेते? तो इस सबस्टेशन की कहानी ये है कि इस पॉवर हाउस में कोई अधिकारी तकरीबन ना के बराबर बैठता है. इसका नतीजा ये है कि लाइनमैन टाइप के लोग रहते है जिनको अगर कोई हादसा हो जाए तो ये भी नहीं मालूम कि करना क्या है. क्योकि कोई अधिकारी भी नहीं बैठता लिहाजा नीचे के कर्मचारी या तो आपको मिलेंगे नहीं या अगर दिखे भी तो ड्यूटी के वक्त दारुबाज़ी जैसी हरकतों में लिप्त मिलेंगे. अगर कोई बड़ी फाल्ट आ गयी तो ये सबस्टेशन में ताला लगाकर भाग जायेंगे. इसी सबस्टेशन पर कुछ दिनों पहले एक कर्मचारी नशे में पोल पर चढ़ गया और बड़े हादसे का शिकार हो गया. अगले दिन इलाहाबादी पत्रकारों ने पत्रकारिता के गिरते स्टैण्डर्ड को दर्शाते हुए इस घटना को गायब करते हुएं लिखा कि हाई टेंशन वायर टूट जाने से करेली सबस्टेशन की बिजली गुल!
ये पॉवर स्टेशन मुस्लिम बहुल्य इलाके में पड़ता है. इस वक्त इस केंद्र में अधिकतर इसी वर्ग के कर्मचारी भी तैनात है जो कितने काबिल है वो आप अगर ऑफ द रिकार्ड अधीनस्थ कर्मचारियों से पूछे तो खुद समझ में आ जाएगा! ये बताना कोई बहुत जरूरी ना होता अगर इस इलाके में इस बात की सुगबुगाहट ना होती कि इस दशहरे में इस तरह के लापरवाही सुनियोजित थी. जाहिर है ये बात इस केंद्र से के कर्मचारियों के बीच से ही उठी है. इसी शहर में कुछ दिनों पहले अखिलेश यादवजी का आगमन हुआ. जिस करेली केंद्र को अधिकारी अभी कई दिनों से बुरी तरह फाल्ट ग्रसित बता रहे थें उसी से अबाधित २४ घंटे बिजली आई. उनके जाने के अगले दिन बिजली फिर चली गयी. केंद्र फिर फाल्टग्रस्त हो गया!
खैर मै सुनी सुनाई बातो पे कम यकीन रखता हूँ. दशहरे के दूसरे दिन जब बिजली सब जगह आ रही थी (भावापुर से जुड़े मुस्लिम इलाको जैसे अकबरपुर इत्यादि में) पर भावापुर में बिजली नदारद थी. फ़ोन करने किसी अधिकारी के पास सिवाय बहानेबाजी के कोई ठोस जवाब नहीं था कि क्यों ऐसा हो रहा है और ऐसा कब तक होगा. ये इस सबस्टेशन की कहानी नहीं है. ये इस सरकार की विकृत और बीमार मानसिकता की निशानी है. शायद इस सबस्टेशन के लाइनमैन दबी ज़बान में कडुवा सच कह रहे है कि इस तरह के गैर जिम्मेदार अफसरों के रहते आप किस सुधार की कल्पना कर सकते है! तकलीफ इस बात की भी है कि इसी इलाके में हाई कोर्ट के अधिकारी, अन्य विभागों के अधिकारी, हाई कोर्ट के जज भी रहते है. शहर के अन्य उच्च अधिकारी अगर इस बात को संज्ञान में नहीं ले रहे है तो ये क्यों खामोश बैठे है? इस इलाके की साधारण पब्लिक जो अब बहुत गुस्से में आ गयी है वो शायद पीटने पाटने के सिवाय कुछ ज्यादा ना करे लेकिन हाई कोर्ट या इस शहर के अन्य अधिकारी तो इस करेली केंद्र के कर्मचारियों/ अधिकारियो को उनकी इस लापरवाही पर कड़ी सजा दिला सकते है. यही करने का वक्त आ गया है. सुधार ऐसे ही आता है.
[सर्वप्रथम 03 जुलाई, 2004 वाराणसी/इलाहाबाद से प्रकाशित सम्मानित दैनिक "आज" में प्रकाशित। ये लेख ऑटोमैटिक रूप से प्रयाग की धरती पर भटकती पूर्णता को प्राप्त रूहों से मिलन के बाद लिखा गया था एक दम फटाफट।]
आज का मनुष्य विरोधाभासों का पुतला बन के रह गया है। जिधर भी देखिये आज ऐसे ही मनुष्यों का समूह पायेंगे। तमाम तरह की विरोधाभासी प्रवृत्तियों को इस तरह अपने में समेटे रहते है कि ऐसा लगता है कि व्यंग्य की कृतियों ने मनुष्य का चोला धारण करना आरम्भ कर दिया है। कुछ उदहारण देने से बात समझ में आ जायेगी। आज के अधिकांश राजनैतिक दल जो क्रन्तिकारी परिवर्तनों की बात करते है अगर हम उनको ध्यान से देखे तो पायेंगे कि गली में घूमने वाले टामियों, मोतियों और शेरूओ और इन दलों के बीच का फर्क बिलकुल समाप्त हो गया है। अब इन कुत्तो को देखिये। दूसरी गली में कोई कुत्ता किसी कारण से भौंक रहा हों तो मेरे दरवाजे के पास बैठे काले कुत्ते को भौकना ना जाने किस वजह से अनिवार्य हो जाता है।
फिर तुरंत ही सारे कुत्ते इकट्ठे होकर सामूहिक रूप से अपनी उर्जा समाप्त करके अपनी अपनी जगह लौट जाते है फिर ऐसी किसी प्रक्रिया को क्षणिक विश्राम के बाद दुहराने के लिए। कोई कुत्ता यदि भिन्नता लिए हो या फिर कोई कुत्ता अजनबी गली से आउटसोर्सिंग की वजह से गुजर रहा हो तो वह अन्य कुत्तो की आलोचना का अर्थात “भौकन क्रिया” का शिकार हो जाएगा। वह आगे आगे और अन्य गलियों के काले, भूरे, सफ़ेद, चितकबरे आदि रंग के तमाम कुत्ते उत्तेजक रूप से भौकते उसे गति पकड़ने पर मजबूर कर देंगे। कुछ इसी बीच नई माडल की गाडियों पर टांग उठाते चलेंगे।
आप संसद या विधानसभा की कार्यवाही पर गौर करे तो लगेगा कि आप ये सब पहले कही देख चुके है! बात निवेश की हो या आर्थिक सुधारो की कुछ लोग जो ऊँघते या अनुपस्थित न होंगे तो आप उन्हें हरदम “साम्प्रदायिक सरकार नहीं चलेगी, नहीं चलेगी” या “फ़ासिस्ट हाय-हाय” आपको नियमित रूप से उच्चारित करते हुए मिलेंगे। अब पता नहीं किन अनुभवों के आधार पर आर्थिक सुधारो को साम्प्रदायिकता से जोड़ लेते है ये तो खैर इनकी प्रोग्रेसिव आत्मा ही बता सकती है। और इस उच्चारण को जब और सारे दल सुर में सुर मिलाते है तो वाकआउट नाम का जिन्न प्रकट होता है जो तत्काल सबको एक बराबरी पर ला पटकता है। और इसके बाद कुछ मुद्दों पर इधर-उधर की कह कर अर्थात टांग उठाकर अपने ठिकाने की तरफ बढ़ चलते है। विरोधाभासों के मंच के सशक्त केंद्र बन गए है संसद आदि स्थल।
अपने इलाहाबाद शहर के एक व्यस्त चौराहे पर अखबार की रसीली दुकान है। विरोधाभासों के कई सशक्त हस्ताक्षर यहाँ दिन भर डेरा डाले रहते है। ऐसे ही एक सज्जन कई अखबारों के पन्नो को यूँ ही उल्टा पल्टी करने के बाद टीका टिपण्णी के बाउन्सर फेकने लगते है। एक दिन मुझसे ये बोले हिंदी में जरा आप लिखे तो कुछ बात बने वर्ना अंग्रेजी लेखन के जरिये तो आप कभी राष्ट की चेतना से सम्बन्ध नहीं बना पायेंगे। पता नहीं अंग्रेज़ क्यों अपनी अंग्रेजी कुछ लोगो के हवाले करके चले गए। अपनी मिसाईल दाग कर वो चलते बने। अफ़सोस इस बात का नहीं था कि अंग्रेजी लेखन को निशाना बनाया गया था पर इस बात का था कि अपनी दिमागी जड़ता को राष्ट्र की चेतना के विकास से जोड़ गए। क्योकि मै अच्छी तरह जानता हूँ कि अगर मै इनसे ये कहता कि मुझे हिंदी की श्रेष्ठ कृतियों से लगाव है तो मुझे ये संस्कृत से जुड़ने की सीख देते, संस्कृत से भी अगर जुड़ा पाते तो फिर ये कहते आप भोजपुरी से क्यों नहीं गठबंधन करते आदि आदि। खैर मै आपको विरोधाभासों के बारे में, विचित्र प्रवृत्तियों के बारे में कुछ बता सा रहा था।
अगले दिन मुझे बड़ा आश्चर्य हुआ जब मैंने इन सज्जन को फेमिना, कास्मोपोलिटन इत्यादि अंग्रेज़ी मैग्जीनों के पन्नो को पलटते देखा। मैंने उनसे कहा कि लगता है आपने अपना पाला पलट लिया है। अभी आप कल ही तो स्वाभिमान वाली बात कर रहे थें। उन्होंने ये सुनकर कहा कि आपको लगता है तो लगे पर मै स्पष्ट कर दूँ कि मै पढ़ नहीं सिर्फ इन्हें सिर्फ देख रहा हूँ। आप की अंग्रेजी पर इतनी पकड़ नहीं तो फिर आप इन्हें देखकर क्या प्राप्त कर रहे है? इस सवाल पर उनका चेहरा तमतमा उठा पर झेंप को छुपाते हुए बोले देखिये निरुत्तर बनकर मुझे अपूर्णता का शिकार तो होना नहीं है। इनके पन्ने पलटने से तो ही मैचोरिटी आती है। संक्षेप में मंत्र इन्होने ये दिया कि राष्ट्र की चेतना का विकास भले हिंदी में लिखने से होता हों पर पूर्णता अंग्रेजी के मैग्जीनों के पलटने से ही आती है।
अगर सेंट्रल लाइब्रेरी में घटी घटना का उल्लेख न करू तो बात अधूरी रह जायेगी। मै वाचनालय में किसी लेख को पढने में पूरी तल्लीनता से रमा हुआ था कि किसी के कदमो की आहट ने मेरा ध्यान भंग कर दिया। देखा कि एक साहब आदिमकाल के मनुष्यों में पाए जाने वाले गुणों को अभिव्यक्त करते हुए चले आ रहे थें। दुर्भाग्य से ये आके मेरे बगल में खड़े हो गए। आँखे इनकी अभी भी दरवाजे की तरफ ही थी पर इनके हाथो में अंग्रेजी का अखबार आ चुका था। फिर जिस तरह कैशिअर नोटों को गिनता है इन्होने इसी अंदाज़ में पन्नो को तेज़ी सें पलटना आरम्भ किया। केवल मुंह की तरफ हाथ थूंक लगाने के लिए उठता था। कुछ ही सेकेण्ड में भारत का नंबर एक अंग्रेजी का राष्ट्रीय दैनिक अखबार पढ़ा जा चुका था।मुझे इनकी शक्ल कुछ जानी पहचानी सी लगी। भाई साहब लगता है मैंने आपको पहले कही देखा है। इन्होने मेरी तरफ देखा फिर अटपटे लहजे में पूछा कि आप क्या करते है? इससें पहले कि मै इनसे कुछ कह पाता ये जिस तरह मेरे पास चल के आये थें उसी तरह से ये दरवाजे की तरफ बढ़ चले थें। चलिए ठीक है अब मै किसी जानी पहचानी शक्ल से मिलूँगा तो यही से शुरुआत करूँगा कि आप क्या करते है ? आप की शक्ल कुछ जानी पहचानी रही है। अब तो ठीक है न। शायद मै परिपक्व और पूर्ण हो चला हूँ।
Carvind, belonged to the world of naughtiest kids. This image of innocence, a pure-hearted spirit, was always found involved in some sort of mess by his parents, who were quite a character in themselves. Naturally, Carvind was natural ally for all disturbing elements. One day, the Lord appeared in his dreams at an unusual hour and said:” My son, I want to visit earth to see how it fares in Kali Age.” “Lord I have heard that you give darshana (appear) at auspicious hours and so I am really surprised to find you at such an odd hour,” said Carvind.
Carvind had slept late in the night. “Vatsa (my dear son), what can I do! You people have given way to strange habits, which defy my system. I waited for you to sleep at proper time but you never did so,” answered the Lord. Carvind felt really embarrassed. “My son, I would come tomorrow and be visible only to you. Though you have often entered in nuisance of all sorts and defied my mode of life as mentioned in the scriptures, it’s quite pleasing to see the temple of innocence prevailing in your heart. I am glad that you find time to remember me.”
Carvind was now fully awake after being in that trance like state. He started recollecting the episodes. How beautiful Lord appeared! The one infinite blue-bodied Narayana was clothed in his “yellow garb”. In his four hands, he carried the conch, the discus, the mace and the lotus. A soft but impressive golden light environed the Lord. He soon became sad as he failed to greet Lord with folded hands and also did not bother to touch his feet.
Carvind decided to rectify his mistake. This morning he extended the duration of his pooja, performing it with greater concentration. He planned to greet Him methodically on His arrival. Carvind got involved in preparations to receive Him and the day soon gave way to evening. He went to bed soon but since he never slept that early, the sleep remained elusive. Anyway, his mind was full of excitement-something that kept sleep at safe distance from the eyes.
He woke up at 3 am. It was dark outside and others were still in deep slumber. Carvind had his bath, which created noise sufficient enough to awaken his mother from deep sleep. She saw Carvind shivering and lost her cool. “So it was not cat but you who were producing such strange sounds in the middle of the night!” “You have become the agent of problems for us” she said before marching towards her bedroom.
Carvind ignored her wrath and sat down for meditation. Today, he attained the divine state very soon. The various zones of his brain got filled with divine consciousness.” Now I have attained a perfect state of mind to receive Him” spoke Carvind to himself as he waited for the Lord’s arrival. He was becoming quite impatient. “Has the Lord forgotten his promise? By now He should have arrived.” Then under the impact of past tendencies, his mind got focused on beautiful girl, whom he had seen at magazine shop near his home.
“Dear son! Please regain your sense. It’s time to break your sahaj yoga (spontaneous attunement), “a familiar voice hit the ear drums of Carvind. The Lord was standing in front of Carvind and His smile said all! Carvind, for a while said nothing, just the way a child gets caught by the mother stealing food from the kitchen. He bent down and touched His Lotus feet, offered some flowers which he had stolen from the garden of his neighbor guarded by a dangerous Doberman, and then washed his feet with holy water, which her mother had warned not to use at all; after all, she had brought it from quite a distance.
The fragrance of His body left him spell bound, rejuvenating his dull senses. “Will Lord, tell me the name of the perfume He uses? If I get hold of this brand of perfume, it would make him instant hit amid his boring girlfriends, always complaining about his choice of clothes and perfume.”
“ Won’t we move out, little angel?” asked the Lord in pleasing voice. “Oh! Definitely Lord” said Carvind, once again found caught on the wrong foot by the Lord. They were now on the road to Sangam(Confluence of three rivers at Allahabad: the Ganges, Yamuna and the mythical Saraswati). The tempo in which they were sitting was nearly chock-a-block with passengers. The record player was on and devotional songs, based on latest chart-busters echoed inside the tempo. “If I am not wrong, these songs in some way seem to be connected with me,” remarked the Lord with displeasure. “Lord, very few people in the world remember you in the ways prescribed by you in ancient times. Human beings of modern times have attained new means of attaining intimacy with you. They are no longer interested in going by your likes and dislikes.”
“My son, I find iron rods on every roof top, connected to strange Chakra (discus) like round object. What purpose do they serve? Are they some sort of safety device, which prevent you people from dangers?” “No Lord! They do not save human beings from dangers; instead, they drown them deeper into ocean of heinous crimes and problems. This is known as dish antenna, which is connected with a device called Television, watched by human beings the way Yogis fix attention on your form during meditation!”
They were now on the banks of the Ganges. The unhygienic condition that prevailed there left Lord in bitter mood. Dead bodies, bones and waste material were floating on the water. “Whom are you trying to locate?” asked Carvind. “Vatsa, in my previous incarnations I always found people meditating and performing tapas at the banks of Ganges. I am really surprised that nobody is engaged in such pious activity. Where have these people disappeared?” “Lord, they are all sleeping. They are all lost in deep sleep after having watched late night movies, and people like my father and mother, who usually work till late hours of the night, and then go to sleep, just cannot leave bed too early.”
The Lord was pleased to find a Shiva temple. They entered inside the temple and found dogs roaming there. One of them was busy in searching leftovers there; another one was comfortably sleeping over the Shivalinga. I looked at the face of Lord to notice His reaction but He seemed to be lost in some different world.
“Lord, it is not the fault of these dogs. These hungry dogs arrived here in search of food, and entered inside the temple” The compassionate Lord produced food and offered them to the hungry dogs. Carvind’s attitude towards animals had please the Lord. After performing pooja there, they moved out of the temple. In the way, they met some cows. The Lord rushed towards them. He was visibly very happy on seeing them. “Do you love cows?” asked the Lord. “Yes, since they remind me of my mother. She has cow like eyes and when she is angry I also notice same pointed thorns on her head as I come to notice in these cows.” These cows had very little fat on their bodies and most of them looked quite weak.
“Don’t you people take care of creatures? Have I not provided you enough resources and, in some cases, more than enough? In fact, the case is that you people have become greedy and do not believe in charity at all.” The cows standing there suddenly vanished. The Lord sent them to unknown destination, having grass and safe water in abundance. The Lord had suggested Carvind to take him to the needy people. They moved towards slums located close to the rail tracks. The Lord was eager to cross these tracks to reach to the other side but Carvind prevented him from doing so.
“But why?“ asked the Lord. “The signal lights are bright green and so let’s wait. Let the train pass.” He thanked Carvind for providing such valuable life-giving information. The train passed and they moved to the other side. Carvind was amazed at the simplicity of the Lord. The Lord was moved to see the bare bodies of the starving children. The labourers living there were getting ready to leave in search of work. It was a noisy scene. The pungent smell of garbage, scattered around us, entered inside our nostrils, which forced us to leave the spot.
The Lord seemed to be lost in some thoughts after witnessing such a scene. “Lord, that‘s the condition which prevails in the whole nation. The wealth has been distributed in an unequal manner. The rich people have got everything; the poor people have been left at the mercy of fate. The poor person always finds himself in all sorts of troubles. Lord, you sound right that greed is cause of sufferings. “Is nobody working for the cause of poor people?” inquired Lord. “Lord, nobody is working sincerely for their cause. Some organizations, which in the beginning worked in whole-hearted manner, became political in their approach, and thus, deviated away from the cause of the poor people.
They had now arrived near a school. God wished to see the activities inside the school. Unfortunately, it was a government-run school. The teachers were nowhere in sight. The blackboard was barren like a dead river. Some senior students were busy in discussion revolving around good and bad points of latest movies running in the theaters of city. The junior ones were seriously trying to make their paper aircraft attain the maximum height, and also attain the perfect aerial route! Some girls have already opened their Tiffin boxes and were in great hurry to finish the lunch! We found one section of boys getting ready for cricket match and so heated discussion regarding the format of the match was in full flow.
They had moved out of the school and now walking on the road in leisurely way. They came to anticipate a large gathering of people and they turned towards it. It was a meeting organized by the rationalists to create awareness in society and motivate people to develop scientific spirit. The chief speaker asked loudly, “Has anyone of us seen God? No. Then why do we believe in His existence? My friend, you people should not waste time in adoring abstractions by strengthening faith in Lord. I request you all to be more realistic by giving way to scientific explanations.”
For a while they listened to him with great attention but they soon gave way to peals of derisive laughter. They said enough is enough and made sure, as they moved away from that spot, that his words fail to hit their ear drums. Carvind was now feeling hungry as he had not eaten anything since morning. The sun was now shining above their heads. Carvind brought two cups of tea and some pieces of bread from nearby tea stall.
“Vatsa, I find its taste unique. I wasn’t offered this flavor during my previous arrivals on earth. I need nothing, and, therefore, I come to taste this drink, sheer out of grace, as an offering on part of little Bhakta (devotee) like you” said the Lord in a hilarious tone.
“Lord, please forgive me! I am ruled by my desires. That‘s why I dared to offer you tea. However, Lord, if tea vanished from our lives, millions of people across the globe would never get out of their beds! We have become slaves of very things we have discovered!”
They did not drink the tea even as the Lord was eager to empty the cup totally. They arrived at a juice corner and sat there on a bench in a relaxed manner. The staff at the juice corner was asked to serve the juice. The person, who was told to serve the juice, was surprised that I needed one extra glass even as I was all alone! At a close distance was a busy bus stand. Some college going girls had been waiting for the arrival of buses. Like previous days, arrived some youths and started making obscene gestures at them. There were many people present at the bus stand but they preferred to remain mute spectator. But toady something unusual happened. Some men in uniform appeared from nowhere and beat these youths black and blue. They were arrested and taken to police station. The girls and others were quite taken aback as they never found men in uniform intervening in such a timely manner. They like, filmy cops, were used to arrive only after the criminals have left the crime scene.
Carvind stared at the face of Lord and a big smile appeared on his cute face. He realized why the cops had appeared all of a sudden. “Lord, these grown up modern youths do not believe in living life based on values and principles. At next corner, you would find girls and boys consuming cigarette and beer. The cut throat competition has murdered their sensitivity.”
“ My son, every age has got its own peculiar tendencies. The cycle of good and bad actions never stops and as it rotates, it unleashes various effects. You are an enlightened soul, Carvind! You must be aware that Gunas(attributes) constitute character of a human being. When Sattva increases, it brings peace and knowledge. The increase in Rajas creates desires, leading to hectic activities and rise of Tamas creates ignorance, bringing pain and misery. One should always try to increase ones sattva portion in the personality. That also ensures peace and stability in the external world. The change is inevitable and so one should not worry too much about particular condition or happening.”
“Vatsa, now I wish to return back to my abode but before I disappear I would love to meet a real devotee. Carvind took him to home of man in late 40s. He had a wife and three daughters. Though he wanted to have a male child, he had only daughters. He had no source of income and yet he and his family were always found smiling. The girls went to government run school and were talented in many ways. Since the person had gone outside, Carvind and Lord were welcomed by his wife and daughters. His wife was always delighted to find Carvind at his door step and sudden visit has surprised them all. Lord had a close look the home. It lacked many articles required for sophisticated living yet the home looked complete. It had traces of bliss in the atmosphere. Meanwhile, his wife told Carvind that his husband is retarded in terms of worldly understanding. He has no idea what it means to live life in practical terms. The people around him treat him to be a fool but it appears he doesn’t feel bad about it. Meanwhile his youngest daughter, Gauri, interrupting the monologue of her mother, sang for us a beautiful devotional song. Her amazing voice left all of us spellbound. What Carvind really liked about her was that she never said no to singing, even in front of strangers. However, she disliked film music unless it had classical base or really sweet melody. His father has now arrived and seeing Carvind became really happy.
Carvind told him that Gauri had just now sung a beautiful bhajan for us. His father seemed to be pleased but said that she was least interested in refining her voice through regular practice sessions. He stated that Lord has given him enough and though he cannot manage all, he is always in a relaxed state of mind. He never felt he is the actual doer. Lord is driving this body and he noticed that instead of me, Lord has taken better care of his family. Lord’s effort brings greater results than his own individual effort. And so whenever he has to leave home all of a sudden for a long distance journey, he leaves leaving everything on Lord’s shoulder and when he returns he finds home in lesser mess. At that point, his wife informed him that, like always, person acting as in-charge of their fields has cheated them by giving less share of the produce! He received the news with smile. At that point, Carvind and Lord left his room after seeking permission from his family. However, before leaving, this man didn’t forget to compliment Carvind about his eyes and smile and told him that today he found him unusually attractive! “My mother called me this morning son of monkey,” said Carvind. Hearing that not even Lord could prevent himself from giving way to loud laughter! Others were naturally in grip of incredulous laughter.
“Before leaving do teach fitting lesson to my mother. No time for me and not even for herself. She all the time works and just works. And my father! He is like you in a sense that he is always lost in some thoughts. When he is not thinking that way, he is always writing something. They are always pretty conscious about my monkey business. Is it a crime to steal guavas from someone’s trees? If I do not steal them, they soon fall on ground and become unfit for eating. I am preventing the fruits from getting wasted and they all perceive it as a monkey business and give me a bad name.”
Lord heard the tale of Carvind with great attention. He noticed that Carvind has become extremely sad on hearing that he was about to leave. “Do not lose heart. I promise to reside in your heart forever. I would always remain one with you. I know everything, and, therefore, such visits do not mean anything to Me. I come on earth to meet extremely cute children like you-monkeys with sensibility found in cows! So promise me that you would not act as monkey with a razor not only for this world but also for your parents!”
“ I had to say something to you. You would never drop me from your memory and your heart as you come to live a life based on virtues. In nutshell, move in this world freely with an unbroken remembrance of mine” said Lord as He embraced Carvind in His divine arms.
Carvind bent down to touch his Lotus feet and soon forgot everything. Carvind regained normalcy after few hours. Carvind desperately looked for Him but in vain. Lord had returned to His abode. As he closed his eyes, Carvind, felt deep peace within his mind and heart. It was sign of His eternal presence. He had vanished to become one with Carvind!
Pic Two (Internet)
I am no party animal. On top of it, the streak of introversion often keeps me at a safe distance from mass gatherings of any type. So when my friends learned about a party from my side, the news generated a sense of disbelief among them. Anyway, the party did turn out to be a reality instead of becoming a figment of imagination. Well, let me tell my friends that I love their company a lot. Few moments spent in their company are some of the most cherished moments in life. After all, life is never kind enough to provide such blissful episodes at a regular interval.
I realize that nature takes just few seconds to shatter all your dreams, shatter the order of things, leading to revelation of shades which one could have hardly conceptualized in the chambers of mind. That’s why I feel one should not miss to be part of some happy moments with near and dear ones if there arises some occasion. That was one of the prime reasons as to why I came to organize this event. My friends treated the event as some sort of occasion organized to celebrate the professional success but the only reason, if they could believe, was to see them together at one place after a long time.
So instead of getting trapped in “to be, or to not to be” dilemma, I decided to make it a reality. One of the participants, who lives in my neighbourhood, Arun Prakash Srivastavaji, District Librarian at Deoria, suggested that restaurant named Bikanervala, situated in the heart of city, Civil Lines, would prove to be an ideal location for such an event. His advice turned out to be perfectly true. I must appreciate him that he not only offered meaningful suggestions but also ensured that party remained above any unpleasant incident. He remained fully involved in happenings at the party besides enjoying the good meal. He deserves special thanks on my part.
Anyway, some of my friends arrived right on appointed time instead of obeying the Indian rule of never arriving on time, especially at parties. I am a disciplinarian when it comes to event management. So I was too happy to see Sudhanshu Pandey, Advocate at Allahabad High Court, and Ashish Nigam, Advocate at Allahabad High Court, right on time. In fact, Sudhanshu covered a long distance to be on time, and that too, when I had informed him barely few hours back. So to see busy professionals making the presence felt on time really made me happy.
Since Asish was on time he found time enough to look at my recently published articles. I respect him for the fact that he really works hard to emerge as a good lawyer at a time when legal profession has been hijacked by blockheads. I remember he was one of the most serious students in our batch. It’s a matter of great satisfaction that he has retained that seriousness until now.
My namesake Arvind Kushwaha, who also happens to be qualified computer professional besides being a lawyer, happily decided to play the role of lensman at the party. The images which grace this post have been clicked by him and Ashish Nigam, who suggested some new angles to have better pictures. Arvind who never misses an opportunity to act as “Hanuman” for me in times of crisis is always seen in the company of Satyadhar Dubeyji, who besides being a lawyer plays several other roles with quite perfection. He is one of the few persons to offer most pragmatic advises in critical times- a reason why I am a frequent visitor to his home.
Few words about Sampanna Kumar “Sangharsha” and Pinto Jaiswal as well. They are the ones who became part of my life the moment I entered in Allahabad after a long stay in Lucknow. In fact, Pinto has been with me since Nursery days. I have shared with them some sweet and sour moments. It’s also a bare truth that both of them bear no resemblance at all to my approach towards life, the principles which form my life, the mannerism I advocate, and still, they happen to be part of my events. It’s mainly because I hate to avoid people who once shared the road with me and partially because nature sometimes dictate the course of events making you move with people diametrically opposite to your views. They also happen to be lawyers but Sangharsha, I must say, is a political lawyer, being more engaged in political activities, and Pintu, the shortcut lawyer at District Court, is always engaged in ensuring that laws do bring money whether or not they ensure justice. Avinash Srivastava, the lawyer flirting with spiritualism, and Rambabu, Advocate, remained silent for most of the time as their common friend Sangharsha’s nonstop chattering left little scope for others!
The sight of Rajesh Pandey, Advocate and Legal Correspondent for The Hindustan Times, at the party provided me great happiness. The get together was organized on working day but Rajeshji ensured that he arrives on time after day long tiring schedule at High Court’s Mediation Center, and later, finishing reporting task at The Hindustan Times office. He was my colleague for a brief period at The Hindustan Times office in Allahabad during my early days of journalism. I left the office soon but our friendship remained intact. He is extremely hard working and always running short of time. So he avoided the dinner and instead enjoyed the big glass of Lassi, which we enjoyed after the dinner but just the half glass since our tummies were already too full.
My parents had a good time with their granddaughters, who luckily did not throw any tantrums that day. Or else, they are genuine versions of naughtiness. They happily watched the sequence of events at Bikanervala in the company of his father and my parents. My brother and parents enjoyed the evening in an alien company which happy expressions on faces their clearly revealed.
The dinner was comprised of typical Indian food served at Indian parties like Dal Makhani, Paneer Curry, Pulaav, Raita, Paranthas, Sweet Dish and etc. Later we all enjoyed Lassi, which was very delicious but quite heavy weight one. I mean there was little space left inside the tummy to enjoy the big glass of Lassi prepared in special way with help of dry fruits.
The party ended on a happy note. It was a matter of great satisfaction for me since I came to share some good moments with my friends. Even in small city like Allahabad, the busy life of ours is not that kind enough to make friends see each other often. Obviously, a get together with close friends proves to be oxygen for relationships. This meeting with my friends shall stay in mind for a long time. As the time passes by, these are the moments which bring smile on our faces when we ever have a look in the olden days.