Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Look! I Have an Admirer !

A feeble...err...'fable' attempt. Written extempore on a topic given by a friend!

Once upon a time
Beyond the world of human clime
Curtained by the seven seas
Was a squirrel kingdom - Sunshine

True to its bright and lovely name
It had a beautiful, picturesque frame
A dainty rivulet with a wooden a bridge
Ran across the heart of its ridge

The morning and the sunset
Would brighten up its sky
Flowers in rainbow hues blossomed
Birds sang on trees, perched high

The scenic beauty, the lovely clime
A bitter truth did conceal
One fateful day, a sage's rage
Had turned its people squirrels

The princess too was not spared
Though, a beautiful squirrel she became
Like the Naiad of the winding brook
Juna was her name

Her golden stripes and dainty tail
Drew many a jealous stare
She had fair and handsome suitors
And, quite a number there!

One fateful day when the air was good
The princess went for a walk
Watched by the meandering brook,
The green woods and the lark

Then came the momentous time
Which changed her life forever
A prince on a white steed came by
Like a knight in shining armour!

His gaze on the golden Juna fell
And the Cupid struck his dart
He followed her with all the caution
His eyes didn't let her part

Heavens! Did he just hear her sing?
Or, had his thought taken a wing?
Of all the wonders of the mortal world
Lord! How could a squirrel sing?

He called out to her in a baritone
To his wonder, she stopped
With measured steps, sophisticated gait
She came near him and talked

They talked from morn till night
And talked on topics galore
Weather, literature, history, philosophy
They talked on even more...

For several virtues, beings I admired
Never any so full and whole
O you so perfect, so peerless created
Said the prince with a sincere soul

Juna wasn't amused at all
She thought, it was a jibe
"Look! I have an admirer!", she retorted
These words, her pain couldn't hide

Crack! the magic words were spoken
The sage's curse did break
The squirrel turned into a beautiful princess
True love was put at stake!

It so turned that the handsome prince
Was also cursed in a duel
The dying opponent with a wounded heart
Cursed, the prince would love a squirrel!

The curse had an antidote
No less the task of a warrior
Else, how could a squirrel say,
"Look! I have an admirer"?

Both curses had the same antidote
As their fate had destined
To test true love's magical power, and
The strength of the heart it reigned

The prince loved Juna for who she was
For him nothing else did matter
The squirrel kingdom metamorphosed
And, they lived happily ever after...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

दादी माँ



I was in Delhi for my graduate studies when Dadi Maa left us for her heavenly abode. Papa told me that the last words she spoke were: "Laagat hai Anu aai gai" (I feel Anu is here). I wish I was there when she breathed her last. This poem is for my Dadi Maa.


दादी माँ की
हथपोई रोटियों का
जवाब नही था

आँगन के चूल्हे में सिकीं
गरम-गरम हथपोइयों के कौर
हमारे मुहँ में ऐसे पिघलते
जैसे कंडी की धीमी आँच पर
घंटों तक सींझे, लाल दूध से बने
घी और मक्खन की महकती बूंदें

गर्मी की छुट्टी में
जब हम गांव जाते
तो आंखें सबसे पहले
दादी माँ को ढूंढ़तीं
दलान से लगे किंवाड़
से झाँक कर देखते
तो दादी माँ
अपनी सूती धोती पहने
या तो दही मथ रही होतीं
या फिर
आँगन में छन कर आई धूप में
खटाई डाल रही होतीं
हम जोर से चिल्लाते -
"दादी माँ, दादी माँ"
दादी माँ की आंखें चमक उठतीं
और हमेशा की तरह हँस कर कहतीं -
"लागत है अनु आइ गै"

फिर तो गर्मी की छुट्टी खूब मज़े से कटती
चाहे खरही पर चढ़ कर
कलमी पेड़ से आम तोड़ने की सनक हो
या भरी दोपहरी में छिछला खाने की ललक
चाहे गेहूं की देहरी में आम छिपाने की कोशिश
या फिर हथपोई पर सबसे ज़्यादा घी डलवाने की होड़
दादी माँ हर बार हमें बड़ों की डांट से बचातीं

हम बड़े हो गए
पढ़ने के लिए और दूर चले गए
धीरे-धीरे गांव छूट गया

सालों बाद फिर गांव जाना हुआ
खरही के पास वाला पेड़ अब नही था
घर की देहरी बँट गई थी
मिट्टी का चूल्हा तोड़ कर
छुटके बाबू और बड़के चाचा ने
गैस- सिलेंडर लगा लिया था

दलान के किंवाड़ से
अन्दर झांकने की हिम्मत न हुई
दादी माँ की यादों से भरा
वह आँगन अब सूना था...