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A Bloody Life

Like any baby, covered in blood
I came into being
The other end of the umbilical cord
Held my twin.
Too huge to be a new born
I had to be tied
A white cloth wrapped around
For a safe, cozy inside.

When I was three,
All my parents came together
Time to choose a school:
Socialist, Communist or Democratic?
Democratic, they said
And I set my foot in school.
How good or bad?
I don’t have an answer today
And, the Deciders are dead!

When I was young,
I had quarrels with my twin
(Like all you young)
I only wish they were not so bloody
An eye for an eye.
And we both became blind…
Unfortunately,
Our mothers were dead too early!

At 64, we still quarrel
I wish we had grown up a little!

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कविता

कविता लिखना किसी इंसान के बस की बात नहीं है
कविता ख़ुद ही अपने आप को लिखती है
इक ज़रिया है बस हम तो
कविता ख़ुद ही ख़ुद को आईना में दिखती है

यह ख़ुद अपनी ज़ुबां चुनती है
लफ्ज़ अपने ख़ुद ही ढूँढ़ती है
कोशिश कर लेना तुम कभी
झूठ लिखते ही ये टूटती है

देर रात यह सपने में आती
मन के दरवाज़े पर दस्तक देती
लिफ़ाफ़े में बंद चिट्ठी में
अपने आप को तुम्हें दे जाती
लिखावट काग़ज़ पर तुम्हारी है बेशक़
पर कलम में सियाही तो वो ही भर जाती

कभी यूँ ही शाम को मिलने आती
खिड़की के पास बैठ चाय की चुस्कियाँ लगाती
रोम रोम में इक महक सी भर जाती है
दिल की धड़कनें कानों तक गूँज जाती है
बाहर की खिड़की खोलते खोलते
यह रूह के दरवाज़े खोल जाती है

एक बार कविता हर किसी को छूने आती है
जब टुटा हो दिल प्यार में, तो यह कुछ ज़्यादा जी लुभाती है
जब हाथ बढ़ाए तुम्हारी ओर, झट से थाम लेना, साहीर
यह बार बार गले नहीं लगती है।

The 20 lakh package

In the corner of a room Clustered only with a
rusty stove And an old bed, A tattered book he read to his sister Trying to put her to bed.
The day had been long He had to cook with Baba And clean and dust, The woman of the house Had lads she could trust
At night Baba watched over the neighborhood And him, over their humble abode For his earnest parents This was his gentle ode
Finally came home Mommy Who was playing nanny To another little angel Whose parents took turns too Earning their hefty packages

L’Amour Courtois: Really a phenomenon of just the Middle Ages?

After the “epopee” or epic that greatly valorizes the honor of a chevalier who dies in the battle field, literature took on a new dimension, with love playing an essential role. The chevalier was now more eager to prove his worth to his mistress than to his land. It was not just important to love but win his love over the others.
Almost ten centuries later, the concept of love, for men, does not seem to have changed much. This is especially true for Indian men (am not commenting on others as I hardly know any). L’amour courtois rejects all kinds of indiscretion and also any hasty confession of love, everything has to be done as per a “code of conduct”: friendship --> courtship (the most important and probably also the longest lasting stage) --> love.
Is it related to the masculinity of men and their perpetual need to prove it to themselves and to others? Even in today’s age, men prefer a woman who plays the role of the Dame courtoise, or of the Indian “devi” in the Indian context…