Monthly Archives: November, 2010

Western World:Finding Peace In Arms Of Religion !

 

Let's Not Ignore The Value Of Religion !

Let’s Not Ignore The Value Of Religion !

 

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A Short Piece That Was First Published In Newsweek, March 05, 2007.

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It’s not surprising that religion has once again struck chord with Westerners in a forceful way. After all, emptiness unleashed by the scientific convictions and shifting morality of the vile politicians which has turned the world into replica of hell have made them conscious of alternatives devoid of earthy flaws. The Rationalists should better keep their mouth shut since they are, more or less, responsible in pushing the earth towards doomsday.

 

Undermining  The Importance Of Religion Could Prove Lethal For Human Race!

Undermining The Importance Of Religion Could Prove Lethal For Human Race!

 

 Against this backdrop, there is no substance in raising a hue and cry over the Western world’s reckoning with glory of religion. It’s another thing that most of seekers fritter away their energy in meaningless rituals, turning into fanatics, instead of comprehending the essence of scriptures.

Better they get at the core of religious principles, enabling the world to get rid off monstrous perceptions. In sum, there is no harm in coming to terms with heavenly laws.

The Word Faith Should Never Lose Relevance !!

The Word Faith Should Never Lose Relevance !!

Pic Credit :

Pic One

 
 

 

 

An Undelivered Love Letter !!!!

A love   letter is reflection of soul !

A love letter is reflection of soul !

Some days back I got hold of a love letter written by me. As I read it host of strange emotions came to environ me. The letter has attained a personality of its own. Now it was no more a piece of writing falling under the genre of love letter. It was a medium to unlock so many feelings lying within my heart and mind. Strange! A piece of a writing that I once wrote was now being read by me as a piece written by someone else.

I was all smiles as I read the lines of the letter one by one. I came to remember the face of that ’serious girl” within the gallery of mind!! I came to remember my college days. I came to remember that I also use to write poems !! Finally, I came to realize that wheels of time never stop. It doesn’t stop either for you or for your love. It just keeps moving. However,once you move ahead the letters like this allow you to go back in time and make you remember that as the time passes by one comes to attain a different persona in a secret way.

Before I present the letter to the readers, I need to seriously thank the rats of my house for not reducing it into pieces !! I wish to inform that this letter was written when I came face to face with my beloved in an unexpected way. I just couldn’t say what I had hoped to convey in her presence. The reasons why I came to turn into representative of silence are given in this letter. Destiny never allowed us to come face to face again. That’s the reason why this letter as a stranger came to cross my life’s path once again.

Love in form of words !!

Love in form of words !!

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                                                                                                     Jan.12, 1996,
                                                                                                     Allahabad.
Dear Friend,

This was my first chance to enter in the beautiful world of uncertainties but I failed. Surely, my effort lacked something.  An element which makes such efforts successful was missing. Upon slight encouragement I went in for my maiden attempt to have conversation with you. It made me to think of affection for which the humanity craves. It made me to think of happiness which one can only dream about but which never becomes a reality. However, your reluctant attitude shattered all my hopes.  Anyway, I will still remember this brief meeting with you. You have given me an opportunity to embrace rejection. Yes, this rejection shall be my side as my prize possession. Rejection as award for my valiant effort to have a dialogue with you shall stay with me forever. The efforts mired in innocence came face to face with your dry response. My heart which is not accustomed to such painful feminine instincts which love rejection more than submission still dares to nurture fallen dreams.

The manner in which I anticipated you was certainly not the ideal way but I wish to make it clear that my feelings were noblest.Your heart failed to intercept them as it is. Some feelings need not require expressions. The heart catches them in natural way even as they remain unseen. These are the feelings which come to form the essence of life well lived !!

Do you think was it too easy for me to tell you in exact words as to why I need you in just few seconds?  How could I have said so many things in barely few moments? There are many affairs of life which fall in category of exceptions and they are the happenings above the laws of formality. There is no such thing as exactness when one is dealing with love. Though we have never met before, I still feel that we are close enough to turn into real friends. Yes, we never talked with each other but I am sure our hearts did share so many feelings.

What happens when you don't get love?

Our hearts were familiar to each other even as our meeting in real world never took place. Wasn’t this reason sufficient enough to turn into friends? Most beautiful things enter in life when we are not in a position to acknowledge them as we often don’t have the guts to welcome them with open arms. Time is the ultimate judger of trust and courage-the things required to keep the relationship intact. And certainly,  I cannot boast of expressing all this qualities within few minutes. Only time can reveal these virtues. However, you wanted a proof of it within a second !

You are someone who I feel is a suitable person to shape up my dreams and give bent to my aspirations. It was this trust in you which forced me to enter in your life as an intruder. I couldn’t answer what you asked. I was lost in anticipating the beauty of your face dipped in anger. Did you notice that our meeting took place at such an odd time of the day?  Did you notice how strange was the place where we were standing? Fast moving vehicles zoomed past us after every few seconds. Your anger which you were trying hard to suppress, the crowd and the fast moving vehicles turned my mind into a blank page!!

The only striking thing about your persona is your admirable simplicity, which is so serene and pleasing to mine eyes. I have had a look at you many times and all the time I came to be swayed by your remarkable simplicity.

The eternal feelings of love can only be obtained through prayer and so I pray!! Though the path of true love seldom runs smooth but I hope that one day we would share the path of love together with never ending feeling of togetherness. Let’s hope my dreams come true !!

With Love Always

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Memories of your play with my heart
And like hiding sun they fade away;
Night breeds sorrow
And pierce my heart its fiery arrow.

Dreams which lit the lane of night
Brings to me your rarer sight;
But rosy world of dreams shatters soon
Oh! It’s like changing images of moon.

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Love leads to realization !!

WHY DO WE NEED RELIGION ?

Krishna sits peacefully with His cows.

Krishna sits peacefully with His cows.

The essence of religion is beyond the realm of people in league with dull intellect.

All religions are journey from ”God with attributes” to ”God without attributes”.It’s journey from ”God with form” to ”God devoid of form (read formlessness)”.

Before you realize that life is nothingness or pure consciousness there are several stages.Religions merely let you know the steps but realization is beyond religious scriptures.

Small children are taught that ”A” stands for Apple even though it’s not the ultimate truth.However,it serves the purpose.Religions, customs, beliefs etc.also do the same.They give you the elementary knowledge , making us capable of apprehending the highest truth-NOTHINGNESS.In other words, don’t ignore the importance of religion in our lives if we are really interested in shattering the illusion called life.

Child Beggars: The Children Of A Lesser God !!

Nowhere To Go !

Nowhere To Go !

(A report about beggars including child beggars that I got published in Hindustan Times on Nov.16, 2000. In these past ten years since the publication of this report nothing much has changed. The Child beggars are still present in almost whole Allahabad.)   

The beggars are a common sight on the roads of Allahabad. You can locate them almost in any part of the city.  Be it railway station,theater halls,hospital, posh residential colonies or busy market you can always find one. As you alight from the train at Allahabad station,  the beggars start pestering you. And you are left with no other option but to put a penny on their hand. These beggars cannot be fixed into one fix age group but generally they are between 5 to 45 years.  On Tuesdays and Saturdays, when devotees throng in huge number at the Hanuman Temple in Civil Lines,beggars also gather there. It creates a lot of embarrassment for the devotees as the beggars block their way when they want to avoid them.

India is progressing !

India is progressing !

Here at this temple small children ,who are bare-bodied, get the job done for their families as it is for them to generate sympathy.Their innocent faces melt even the most stony hearts.The child beggars, while facing the odds of the weather, undergo every kind of exploitation. They are often harassed by the police on suspect of being involved in drug pedaling whereas girls are often sexually exploited.

During Kumbh Mela, if one happens to visit Sangam, one notices sea of beggars !! They come here with full preparations since they know that Mela (fair) stretches for more than a month. They stay here for months and slowly leave as the Mela (fair) ends.  Sources say that these beggars, who at first sight appear to be victim of vicissitudes of life,in fact, have their own bank accounts. Yet, there are many among them who really need attention and care. Many are handicapped while a few suffer from some incurable diseases which cripple their body movement.

Are you  going to ignore her at a corner ?

Are you going to ignore her at a corner ?

Thus, it becomes a hard task for them to manage two square meals. To meet unnatural death is their fate. Apart from these type of beggars,  who somehow manage to survive, there is another class of mentally deranged beggars. In Allahabad you can find them sitting at roadside.

Till now, no social organisation of the city has shown interest in their cause. At the same time, there exists no specific guidelines for rehabilitation of beggars. Unlike in other countries, where begging is an offence and governments pay monthly allowances to put them off the road, in India, it’s still a distant dream.

Thinking About Arranging The Meals !

Thinking About Arranging The Meals !

To prevent these children of lesser gods from begging, the authorities should come up with concrete plans for betterment. In Allahabad, like other cities, child beggars get trapped in flesh racket.Others seem to have devised innovative means to catch the attention of passers-by. A beggar, who sits near railway over-bridge at the Allahabad   Junction, melodiously croons latest songs. Another one,who sits at the same place, pretends to be in great pain but as the person is out of sight, he becomes normal. Later, when nobody is around,he could be seen smoking at leisure. However, the authorities need to take immediate steps to curb the ever -increasing number of beggars.
Who will ensure him  a better future ?

Who will ensure him a better future ?

Will Indian police ever be people friendly ?

 

God's Devotee Beaten By Police

God's Devotee Beaten By Police

  The way Indian democracy has failed to take note of the concerns of ordinary Indians despite being hailed by foreign political experts as mature and successful democracy in the Asian region,I am least hesitant to suggest that monarchy is better than corrupt democratic system of governance!The latest example is fiasco that marred the political landscape of Karnataka! A constitutional head involved in cheap political interests ! Shame !! Just take note of the corruption level in recently concluded CWG games.

The judiciary that instilled faith in democratic institutions is also now tainted by corruption.That’s what I came to assume in the wake of the allegations made by Former Law minister Shanti Bhushan who highlighted the fact that how most of the Chief Justice were “definitely corrupt”.If we determine the standard of services offered by the various government bodies we find that most of them are offering poor services.I mean when you take note of them by contrasting their work with prevalent global standard !!

We have trains that do not run on time.The railway station or bus station are often in bad shape.We wish to run super fast trains but look at the quality of rail tracks !! We have government run schools but take note of the quality of education offered by them.We have state of the art schools run by private bodies but they are meant only for students belonging to rich families.The institutes meant for higher learning lack the infrastructure besides lacking the idea to compel students to pursue quality research work !!! As a result the institutes like IIM and IIT have become a mean to produce students whose main goal is to serve the interests of capitalist forces. 

 

 

 

 

That's Indian Police In Action !

That's Indian Police In Action !

I mean the whole country is being plagued by all sorts of complexities that in the end have widened the gulf between haves and have-nots. Forget about tales of corrupt politicians and bureaucrats.They both being hand in glove have set new standards of playing with the hard earned money of common citizens.I am not a chap who loves pessimism but it really hurts me that our system has nothing to offer to real good people interested in making real changes.They are being constantly marginalized being hailed as impractical souls and that makes the future more murkier !!

Coming to the main theme of the article I wish to throw light on the role of Indian police.It still evokes fear in the eyes of common citizens. Why ? For how long will the image of policeman be of troublemaker than peacemaker ? It would be waste of words to remind how corrupt the Indian police is.Even the most poorest vendor who earns a petty sum of money each day has to grease the palm of men in uniform each day !! A recent raid on women constable’s residence revealed illegal assets worth nearly in many crores.That says all.

Will Indian police ever be people friendly ? Long lectures to improve the face of police are published day and night by the media.The police officials unashamedly enter into rhetoric about improving their relations with common citizens but the equations between police and common people is deteriorating with each passing day.Tall claims to honour human rights of person in cutody as laid down by Apex Court in D.K Basu case – D.K Basu v. State of West Bengal (AIR 1997 SC 610- are openly trampled upon within the Police Stations !!! 

 

 

 

Man Or Woman Police Remains The Same !

Man Or Woman Police Remains The Same !

 
My one of the relatives is fighting a marital dispute case in the lower court.The other party belongs to men in uniform.When I assisted my said relatives by giving them legal advice,not professionally but only on human grounds,I was threatened by the policemen to implicate in the false case !!! If they can dare to threaten a legal counsel this way imagine the methods carved by them to silence the ordinary citizens !! I remember a case when an innocent teacher of government college was presented as a drug dealer in the court when he dared to punish the son of a cop due to bad behaviour in the class !! Now I wish to know is offering a legal advice to a harassed lot some sort of crime ? I know the answer.However, the local police thinks otherwise.It’s a crime in their eyes !!! As a result of that crime I should be ready to face the heat !!
 

 

You can imagine the plight of ordinary citizens It’s really ironical that even the likes of us who belong to legal fraternity have to constantly face the ire of policemen amidst bombardment of cheap allegations and abuses hurled upon us by the men in uniform.Recently,I heard a petty constable hurling cheap abuses over telephone to senior Standing Counsel making statements like “Kya ukhad loge mera ” (you can dare not touch me ).

 

Isn’t it ironical that they present innocent teacher as drug dealer in the court while in state like Goa they suggest ways and means to the big drug dealers to keep them away from the long hands of law ?

 

  In the video, Atala speaks about his drug operation and how Goan police on his payroll advised him of ways to avoid getting caught – don’t buy a cellphone in your own name and change phone numbers frequently because your calls are monitored. “This is the mafia,” is how Atala describes the confederacy of crime between the police, politicians and the drug cartels.”

 

Israeli drug peddler revealed that policemen supplied him drugs stolen from a police godown. His arrest led to Goa’s first drug-related gang war.

 

 

 

 

Give Money To Work !!

Give Money To Work !!

 Recently,in Allahabad father and son ,both lawyers, were badly beaten by the police for no reason at all.It’s not the first time such an incident has occurred. Long time back S P Awasthi a lawyer at Allahabad High Court died in police custody due to alleged torture at the hands of policemen.The lawyers then went on rampage leading to breakdown of normalcy in the city.I remember the policemen were ordered by the court to follow code of conduct while dealing with lawyers and other eminent citizens. However,nothing has changed.The scenario remains grim even as the Human Rights Commission never fails to remind the State government to sensitize the police forces.

I just wish to know for how long innocent people be punished by the men in uniform ? Who will ensure that men in khaki turn into saviours than acting as chosen representatives of hell ? Any answers ?  

 

 

 

Police Always Gives Troubles To Lawyers Worldwide !

Police Always Gives Troubles To Lawyers Worldwide !

 

References:

 

 

 

 
 
 

 

 

From Kashi With Bliss !!!!

  
Lord Shiva's Abode

Lord Shiva’s Abode

 

Gangaa Taranga Ramaneeya Jataa Kalaapam

Gauree Nirantara Vibhooshita Vaamabhaagam

Naaraayana Priyamananga Madaapahaaram

Vaaraanasee Purapatim Bhaja Vishvanaatham.

Adore Shiva who is the Lord of city named Varanasi,

Who is the lord of the world,

Whose tress-locks are held together by the beautiful waves of Ganges,

Whose left is side is adorned continuously by the presence of Sri Gauriji,

 Who is dear to Narayana,

 And who absolves the pride of Kamadeva (Ananga).

(From Kashi Vishvanath Ashtkam) 

 

 

 

Kashi Vishvanath Babaji

Kashi Vishvanath Babaji

I have always had a deep desire to have an intimate view of the city so closely interwoven with the attributes of Lord Shiva.  Yes, I am talking about Kashi or Benaras or Varanasi which is one of the most sacred and ancient cities on this planet. The city that is closest to the heart of “Bhole Baba” (Lord Shiva) who loves aimless wandering here and there rapt in his own thoughts, caring a damn about life around him. No wonder, the denizens of this city have developed more or less the similar traits.Full of life and masti (happiness) we can find them enjoying “Kachauri and Jalebi ” (hot favourite dish of localities) at every nook and corner of the city side by side representative of Lord Shiva-the bulls.

I was in Varanasi to meet my sister in law working at BHU(Benaras Hindu University). Back at Allahabad I was dying to take a break from the hectic writing schedules. So when I got the invitation from my sister I was on cloud nine. Sometimes we need to break the chain of episodes of monotonous life. I should tell my readers that my relatives belong to Varanasi but missed connections and rush of life prevented me from landing in the city. I have been to the city numerous times but failed to mingle with happenings there owing to concerns of life.The city that I admired and loved a lot was still a stranger until the present visit.

 

 

The oldest living city of the world

The oldest living city of the world

The train journey was a fascinating one. I love to visit via passenger trains and not express trains in short journeys. That allows me to have a glimpse of the simple life of ordinary citizens. Most beautiful was the sight of Ganges as the train crossed the Jhunsi Bridge. The serene waters of Ganges was quite a rejuvenating experience. The greenery that prevailed on this route was another thing that gave me undistorted pleasure. I really enjoyed various eatables on various stations be it “garam aaloo pakodas” at beautiful Gyanpur station or hot tea at Madho Singh Station!! The train compartments on this route are full of interesting activities with sellers selling one eatable or the other.

The most beautiful thing about these cute small stations is that they take you back to India of 19th century. They have retained their rustic touch amidst the currents of globalization. The stations still use old mode of ensuring smooth departure of trains.  Some of them still have mud made platforms instead of the cemented ones. The arrival of the Varanasi station put an end to this short and beautiful journey.

 
Jhunsi Bridge Over Ganges

Jhunsi Bridge Over Ganges

The auto ride from Varanasi station to BHU make me realize that face of city has changed a lot. The rustic touch I intercepted in the train journey gave way to hi fi glamour initiated by the waves of globalization. The big shopping malls selling branded jeans etc.,  the big car showrooms, the high profile restaurants and girls in trendy dresses driving fast latest brand of vehicles with or without male partners were enough to make me realize that the city has given way to latest changes. It was on the way to become a clone of any Western city. Thanks to ancient roots in form of huge number of temples scattered in the city the switch-over is a slow one.

My sister was happy to see me. She informed me about the monkey menace. She told me that a pack of “chura and matar” (Poha-Green Pea Dish) was lifted by the monkey some days back. She had brought it to prepare morning snacks for me !!! That’s why I found most of the main doors in her locality closed !! However, this explanation was a facade.Varanasi, of late,  has become hunting ground of Mafias. The daughters and sons of wealthy citizens are abducted by them and are left only after being delivered a huge ransom. The impact of their menace has made the citizens to be extra cautious. The doors remain shut ! 

 

 

 
Ganges Belongs To Everybody

Ganges Belongs To Everybody

I had an opportunity to visit Sampurnanand Sanskrit University there. The auto ride from BHU to that university was pretty melodious one !!! I came to hear many interesting so-called bhojpuri (local dialect in Varanasi region) songs like “lagai deeha cholia me hook rajaji ” (fasten up the blouse hook) with passengers that included pretty girls as well !!!! It was a pretty interesting sight to note huge crowd outside a theater showing a Bhojpuri movie !! After all, visiting a theater in disc age is not at all a a desirable option. Anyway, the mind came to recollect the taste of delicious Benarasi Chaat(an edible made of mashed potato) which I came to taste on landing in the city. I am great lover of Aaloo Chaat. Not a single shop be it in Lucknow or Allahabad has missed my eyes !! However, to be honest, the taste that Benarasi Chaat offers is simply nonpareil.

The university had now arrived. It’s a Sanskrit University but I found that “Mukhya Bhavnam” (main building ) is old British age building !!  Just after that main building there is the statue of one of the British principals R alph T. H. Griffith !!! As per historical records the Britishers passed a resolution in year 1791 for   establishment of Sanskrit College. This college in the year 1958 attained the status of University via the efforts of Sampurnanand. The place still retains the charm of ancient age !!! The university’s office is devoid of basic facilities but the staff tried its level best to solve my problem !! I returned back from there with pleasant experience to see students discussing whether they should go in for “Jyotish ”(Astrology) or “Vedanta” (Branch Of Upanishads) or “Sahitya” (Literature) under a Vata Vriksha (Banyan tree)? Even the Benarasi Paan (betel leaf) that I was now chewing could not prevent me from smiling !!!  

 

 

 

 

Sampurnanand Sanskrit University

Sampurnanand Sanskrit University

The sight of huge Vat Vriksha with students under its shade discussing the Sanskrit tales made me remember the Vat Vriksha of our college at Allahabad. In our college days when the scorching sun teased us lot, the shades of Vat Vriksha provided us much needed relief. In the morning session during free periods we discussed lot the philosophical principles.The huge debates involving serious issues were dealt with in lighter vein. So right from “Advaita “( Non-dualism )of Sri Sankra to Vishishtadvaita Vedanta of Sri Ramanuja Baba( Advaita with uniqueness) we discussed all in our own fun filled ways !!!
 
 

Benarasi Paan.....Khaike Paan Benaras Wala :-))

Benarasi Paan…..Khaike Paan Benaras Wala :-))

 

On the second day of my stay at Kashi ,  attended a lecture on Srimad Bhagavatam held inside the premises of BHU. My brother in law who works at BHU hospital made a memorable remark that you rarely find busy souls like doctors and senior medical college professors involved in making of such functions. The thought that “it happens only in Varanasi “flashed though my mind once he finished his remark !!! On way to Malviya Hall I  noticed that attendants who have arrived with the patient were sitting in open at the premises of OPD. The hospital authorities at both Medical College in Allahabad and BHU Hospital in Varanasi should make proper arrangements for people who arrive with the patients.They should not be left at the mercy of Lord.

At the Malviya Hall where this lecture was organized is a very well maintained building.I was informed that Pt. Madan Mohan Malviya -the great Hindu reformer- used to stay here. I must say that doctors did a brilliant job. I found one group involved in musical rendering of Srimad Bhagavatam in Ram Charit Manas style. I was informed that it was first such attempt to sing it in that style !!  A prominent citizen of the city recycled Sanskrit shlokas into language used by the Ramcharit manas !! The other group was taking care of the refreshments.

  
 

 

 

Benaras Hindu University

Benaras Hindu University

The students from music department of BHU made the evening quite a musical one.Someone from them sang this beautiful bhajan: Ek Radha Ek Meera, Dono Ne Shyam Ko Chaha,  Antar Kya Dono Ki Chah Me Bolo,  Ek Prem Diwani Ek Darash Deewani ( There are two lovers of Krishna Radha and Meera, Both are in deep love with Krishna,  Now tell the difference in love of these two noble ladies ? One seeks deep love and the other seeks constant presence of the beloved ! ).The bhajan led to the lecture, whose essence was that ultimate aim of lower self is merger with the Greater self via the path of knowledge or path of devotion.

After attending the lecture not enough time was left to have the darshan (view) of Bhole Baba at New Vishvanath Temple inside the BHU premises.In fact, Lord Hanumana was more interested in seeing us than Bhole Baba (Lord Shiva) !! I was having a deep pain in one of my legs but I asked my brother in law not to miss the darshana of Hanumanji at Sankat Mochan Temple. Soon we were there. It was Saturday so there we a long line of devotees. 

  

 

 

Beauty Personified

Beauty Personified

I  remembered that some years back when blast occurred at this place it must have killed many peoples !! What have we done to stop the menace of Islamic terrorism ? Nothing. Anyway, I was happy to be at this temple. After we offered our prayer and went to drink the tap water I found a long queue of monkeys was already ready to drink the water !!! All of sudden not less than hundred monkeys appeared before our eyes.  One of the devotees remarked that allow them safe passage as they are on way to destroy the kingdom of Ravana !! Safe passage was provided and we all managed to come out of the temple !! The pain in leg had now vanished !!
 
 
 

On the final day of the stay at this sacred city, I had planned to eat Kachauri Jalebi but my sister was adamant on making me taste home made Chola-Bhatura.She is a great cook.I had to give way to her delicious Chola Bhatura but since I had woken up early in a mad desire to eat Kachauri Jalebi I decided to have a morning walk on the streets of Varanasi. They say mornings of Kashi and evenings of Lucknow are awesome !!! True. The bells of temples added new dimension in the morning period !! The divinity seem to reverberate in the atmosphere ! !

However, the kid inside me asked the brother in law ,” The city’s landscape is filled with modern buildings but I fail to understand why the civic authorities have failed to construct proper roads ?” Some of the main roads are in very poor shape. Imagine the plight of new comer having a ride in overcrowded auto moving in fast speed on these routes.  I saw one of the lady passengers asking the auto driver to take care of the potholes but that stupid driver cared a damn for advice !!  My brother in law didn’t answer my question but asked me to take note of the fact that Varanasi has fallen in love with hospitals ! ! In his area alone there were numerous huge hospitals offering quality treatment !!!! The morning walk ended with some jalebis (sweet dish) minus kachauris within my belly !!! 

 
Sun Gets Blessings Of  Ganga Mai

Sun Gets Blessings Of Ganga Mai

 
I wish to say that all these years having been part and parcel of both Lucknow and Allahabad in intimate way I still can’t decipher what exactly makes the evenings of Lucknow and noon of Allahabad so special ? However,  it took me just few seconds to intercept the uniqueness of mornings of Varanasi. The humour element involved here is the fact that when I used to live at Lucknow I took special trips to Hazaratganj during the evening time. In fact, be it Aliganj area or Indira Nagar area the evenings were spent walking on the streets of Lucknow with friends. May be the romantic waves that prevail there especially during the evening make the evenings so special.

Varanasi In Night Time

Varanasi In Night Time
 
 
The Lucknowites are very romantic creatures who love to demonstrate love in style !!! They demonstrate it in cultured poetic way as well. Visit Bhool Bhulaiya and you will come to know all. Have a close look at inside walls of Bhool Bhulaiya.The darkness inside will not prevent you from taking note of the artistic inscriptions such as “Arrow Pierced Heart” , “I love you Jaaneman (sweetheart)”,”I love you Teena ” and etc.!!!That’s ample proof. A Lucknowite would easily beat everybody when it comes to demonstrate love for their beloved.
 
 
In the same manner I tried to unlock the mystery of noon time at Allahabad.The only thing I came to notice that be it scorching summer days or extreme winter days the Allahabadis are quite busy during noon time.The city is quite lively during this period.Visit Civil lines you would find many busy souls, belonging to different working arena, sipping juice or coffee !! The city seems to be hyperactive during noon hours !! Some sort of “Zindabad”(to hail) or “Murdabad”(protests) is always taking place at one  prominent corner or the another !!
 

Ganga Aarti,Varanasi

Ganga Aarti,Varanasi

In the evening that followed my great wish to see Ganga Aarti(prayer offered to Ganges) got fulfilled. We were soon at Dasaswamedh Ghat- one of the oldest and holiest Ghats of Benaras.  The atmosphere there was so heavenly.The serene waters of Ganges,the chants of shlokas, the bright and beautiful faces of people gathered there and the spiritual stillness that permeated the ghat all combined to give an unique experience that’s very hard to define in words.

People from distant lands also looked so involved in the happenings there. I saw many of them in state of meditation !!! Some of them were busy clicking images while some of them were eager to drop a burning diya into the Ganges !! The Ganga Aarti was indeed a breathtaking one !! Such a pleasing sight for the eyes !! What else can eyes have more better than that ? When the Aarti finished, I felt a journey to paradise has ended !! 

 

 

  

Godowlia

Godowlia

We were now at Godowlia.This is close to the Dasaswamedh Ghat. A wonderful place so full of life and colour. There was a huge crowd involved  in various activities !!!! I was taken aback by the sight !!It appeared to me that whole city has arrived at Godowlia !! I mean this type of crowd in cities like Allahabad come out only during Dussehara but here I find same number of people at Godowlia without any specific purpose.However,  I smiled inside.That’s the real spirit of Banarasis.  They enjoy the life a lot. As I sipped the hot tea at one tea stall famous for special tea at Godowlia, I came to see life gaining life !!!

Gate That  Leads To The Kashi Vishwanath Baba

Gate That Leads To The Kashi Vishwanath Baba

 
The aroma of tastiest eatables made my stomach do rock and roll !! However, my strict sister murdered my desire to taste Banarasi Chat again by reminding that back home dinner is waiting for us !! After spending some moments inside the lane that goes straight to the Kashi Vishvanath Baba, we were back at the gates of BHU !! Before we arrived at the home,  I came to spot place near BHU gate offering delicious coffee in Kulhar(earthen pot). Believe me sipping well prepared coffee in big sized Kulhars was a terrific experience for me. I have had tea in Kulhar many times.This was the first time I was drinking coffee in kulhar !!!Tea or coffee in kulhars attain a special taste.
  
Kashi Vishvanath Temple

Kashi Vishvanath Temple

 
Next morning I was in train to Allahabad with pleasant memories of Kashi. I know that within me rests a Banarasi spirit. That’s why I struck an intimate chord with this city in one go. Well,  my father in early years of life had two options Kashi or Prayag (Allahabad ) to chose as his Karmabhoomi (the city of livelihood).  He went in for Prayag. However, the spirit that constitutes the essence of Kashi lives inside me. It refused to part ways with me !!! Long live Kashi with its heavenly attributes !!!
Ganges Make Even Darkness Bright
Ganges Makes Even Darkness Bright
References:

The Strange Love ! !

 

Two souls in love with each other yet remain a stranger for each other.

Two souls in love with each other yet remain a stranger for each other.

(The Short Story Was First Published In Northern India Patrika 06 February, 1999 )

I don’t know how it began and why we were forced to enter into each other’s life. We remained strangers but strangers who came too close to each other. I don’t know why destiny brings two people close to each other when the end result is nothing but separateness. In all these years the only thing I could observe in Seema besides her tortoise like ability to cut off from the ongoing happenings was love towards me-a secret well-guarded. An inherent simplicity that environed her mannerism added in her persona a magnetic charm. The love that she had for me remained embedded in her heart like pearls found in the depth of an ocean. It never surfaced on her face. There was never any external gesture that confirmed the presence of such a love that germinated inside her.

 

Three years of togetherness are enough to pave the way for exchange of conversations. However, in our case the most unusual happened. We moved away from each other’s life without getting a single chance to express our feelings for each other. I never came to know why she enveloped her love in clouds of secrecy. This habit of hers always kept me guessing about her state of affairs and kept alive a burning sense of enquiry. That certainly reflected her shrewdness-something that enabled her to have the upper hand in what was an affair yet not one. Well, it’s a woman instinct to know everything yet reveal nothing!! Anyway, she was the one who was devoid of most of the superficialities that govern a woman, especially tendency to be suspicious and heightened cunningness. It’s rare to find absence of such habits in a woman and that too in an Indian woman. 

    

In the beginning when I had the first glimpse of her I kept pestering her for few months to tell her name but she would not. To most of my gestures she maintained deep sense of inner balance which matched brilliantly with calmness on her face. She was damn serious soul. To an extent that to my eyes she appeared to be the personification of seriousness!! Smile on her face like electricity in my house never lasted for long. Anyway, an occasional smile of hers always gave rise to deep bliss within my being.

In all these years there were some occasions which brought or rather produced chances to have some sort of intimate conversation but my habit to introspect kept my wishes in check. Probably, that was one of the prime reasons why I never tried to adopt a straight forward attitude in giving expressions to my feelings. Anyway, the years of so-called togetherness with her opened before me the unseen facets of a real and noble woman’s life. Tears, innocence, great will power to resist any gesture offending to one’s self respect and the great ability to prevent her identity from being dragged into unwanted controversy. She always maintained a safe distance from such distasteful experiences of life which are born out of lust and selfish desires.

In such an ugly and rough atmosphere I cannot say with conviction that she ever gave way to desire to read the feelings that lurked inside my bosom. I was far more determined not to let my face become mirror of my heart!! Perhaps I wanted to see whether she had the ability to go beyond the obvious or not. Often we judge a person on basis of their external mannerism. I wanted to see whether she understands and analyzes in stereotyped way or she gives way to unusual methods to arrive at the truth. In fact, that would have also given a fair idea of devotion and sincerity towards this strange love between us. I must confess that she, to an extent, failed have an insight of my real being and that had a pretty devastating impact on me. I gave way to certain depression.

However, I soon gave way to normalcy, realizing that her failure not to read my actual emotions is not the result of her lack of sincerity on her part. It’s because the atmosphere she was currently placed in muted her abilities to perceive the reality. Above all, I also realized that like an overloaded ass she was carrying bundle of unnecessary problems on her head. However, prior to her failure to intercept my real persona I always believed that she possessed the power to look beyond the obvious. Now I realized that she didn’t.

Love is beautiful !!

Love is beautiful !!

On a few occasions during chance face to face encounters I had to bear her anger arising out of my attempts to make room for conversation. Her face mired in anger did bring in open that a ray of hope existed. That she did love me. So her anger, instead of developing frustration, sowed seeds of submission in both the hearts towards each other’s beings. Perhaps it was this strange bond or strange likeness on her part, which she always wrapped within her negative gestures that persistently forced me to develop acquaintance with her. This always encouraged me to devise new methods each day to attain her trust, not letting my mind swayed by the negative and dull attitude of hers.

Why I wanted her love and closeness she never came to know. The way she understood me allowed her to merely gain insignificant set of outward emotions. However, I did not commit the fatal blunder of knowing a person via such casual approach. My eyes all the time tried to intercept emotions that she guarded quite well. So it was no mystery for me to trace the roots of her thought patterns even as we remained complete strangers.However,I was really taken aback by the fact that though she was mired in host of complexities she almost looked cool like ice. Her miseries had made me develop a deep sense of pity and sympathy for her
.
Inside her was going a fierce struggle to uplift her crushed identity, a fight to give her rejected beliefs their due place. She was living a life full of burdens. Her eagerness to get involved in studies in unusual manner often revealed her desire to have a secure future!! Her gloomy eyes clearly reflected the pains that possessed her life.

Oh yes, she had a great ability to give ‘all is well’ pose. Her grim face and her rigid behaviour both were not enough to hide that she was the owner of a very sensitive soul.A soul that I was sure would collapse amidst the harsh realities of life. Her outward cheerfulness might deceive others but it failed to impress me. She was faking ice like coolness. She was holding more responsibilities- much more than her ability to bear and that was only to bring wretchedness and frustrations in her life. On many occasions I saw her cursing herself for missing the opportunity to perform better than others, for not able to maximize her potential. In loneliness I found her shedding tears and staring at nothingness –may be she was trying to bring together images of fallen dreams.

These were the real reasons that increased my affinity towards her.I had till now seen many hearts wiped out by the cruel hands of destiny. I was now making all efforts to prevent at least this soul from becoming victim of vicissitudes of life. Something that really made me sick was that even knowing well the tragic circumstances that were constantly chasing her I was simply reduced to being a spectator of these unfortunate developments. What else a stranger can do amidst such a scenario?

In this world we had given larger than life importance to things no better than pebbles fit only for a crying child. We never realize in this rat race to turn into a VIP soul that material things we chase in short human life have no happiness to deliver all by itself. Yes, they do provide happiness but it’s a short lived happiness that in the end leaves us more bitter and broken. She was chasing these very things. She was attracted to fanciful ambitions of life which might never provide her real happiness –the thing she really desired. In fact, they were going to multiply her woes.

An eventful life full of glamour and cheap idiosyncrasies are the things that guide the course of actions of people of our times. People are in the race but destination for most of them remains unknown!! The peace of mind which people seek sitting inside rooms that look like showroom of a multinational company remains an unknown entity for most of us. What a pity that we can’t  locate cave of peace that exists within us!! The people have developed unconditional love for things that give us impermanent pleasure but permanent pain and frustration in the long run!!! Everyday I saw her inner perfection shrinking under the stress of problems that she carried with herself under the urgency to be something in life.

Sometimes I wished to say all that which I felt about her but then an unknown power reduced me to statue of silence before her. Perhaps a sense of fear that my outburst in that way could lead to serious misunderstanding prevented me to give voice to the emotions. I did pray to Lord to provide me deepen my bonds with her, enabling me to unlock my emotions in front of her. Oh! We both came to sing the same song all by chance in one of the practice sessions meant for farewell. A song attributed to strangeness of life. I am not angry but I am really puzzled over your affairs life-the song revealed.

However, the life followed its own predestined course of action .It never provided us desired moments to confess our hidden emotions. Soon she was to slip away from my eyes and memories to become a dead symbol of the past. Even after making best efforts I failed to change her course of actions, signifying that I had never any role to play in her life at all!!

Though I could not shape her life I feel that life would itself do that as it does all the time. It would give her a chance to discover inner happiness and prevent her from deteriorating in the harshness of life. Or else, like others, she would too get lost in the dark labyrinth of life. Today when I am alone I feel her presence even more .She was, indeed, phantom of delight.

Love leads to total union !

Love leads to total union !

Pic Credit :

Pic One

Pic Two

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