Ravi ki duniya

Ravi ki duniya

Sunday, May 30, 2010


The woman must have been in her late thirties or early forties. Often I had seen her in the locality walking in the colony as if either she is coming from or going to visit some resident of the colony. She was dressed simply in a cheap cotton sari worn meticulously.It was towards the end of the day, twilight zone, you can say. She stood still and kept staring in one direction. I thought she was looking at me or was it my pet dog she found interesting. After a while it became a bit uneasy for both rather all three, dog included.She asked me name of the dog and second question almost had me clean bowled. Do you come here every evening? I answered politely it depends on the mood of my pet which direction he wants to head  for his Operation S-2 (sniffing and stroll) Next question appeared completely innocent or so I thought. In seconds, I had thought a volley of curious questions in my mind. But I promptly brushed them aside with a bigger mop than was necessary.

            Somewhere I had read that when somebody courteously asks you ‘How are you?’  The reply also is same i.e. how are you? In India though we have half a dozen answers to this simple nicety e.g. quite well, fine, very fine, OK, good, very well and not bad etc.

           So when she asked me about my off day I asked her in return when was her off day. She meaningfully and rather reassuringly replied “I am here almost daily during this time of the day, whenever you call me it’s my off day and I’m poor so remember my charges are reasonable”

P.S. I was sad. No body chooses this, willingly or out of hobby. Just wondering, poor thing ! she must have helplessly suffered thousand deaths before uttering this one sentence to a complete stranger.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


        Sattu’s elder brother Deoki Nandan was nicknamed Dev Anand due to his flamboyance similar to the film star.  He was a very good artist.  He had a beautiful and skilled hand in drawing, painting posters and even while writing simple letters.  I do not recall whether he got any formal education or training in this field.  He was one of those whom we promptly label as ‘God gifted’ for want of any better nomenclature and to conceal our inability to imprison them in any other known category/bracket.  He was an amateur painter.  Due to his  boisterous disposition,his athletic body and choice of dressing he was quite a heart throb.  He knew his drawback --- lack of formal higher education. He was very humble soul . He would readily volunteer for anything menial and everything manual, work which could not even remotely be called social work.  This was his one quality which made him darling of all those who came in his contact.  Unlike his image, he was very docile and mild mannered.  I recall A-4-size poster of a freshly released film ‘Farar’ which he had drawn and pasted at the doorway of Babu Lal’s sweet meat shop. 

        Finding nothing worthwhile to keep himself occupied with he was kind of ‘available’ to everyone, who cared for his services.  He would run errand. Any marriage in the locality, his services would be requisitioned; be it for looking after guests, decorating the street and ‘mandap’ with coloured paper festoons.  Let it be anyone’s marriage in the locality , Dev Anand was essentially the VIP- -Volunteer among Involunteer Persons.  I had seen him running around more worried than any other member of the wedding family.  I had seen him washing plates, lifting tables, arranging chairs and what not.  At the time of departing of Barat, Deoki Nandan was the one whose eyes were moister than the brothers of the bride and that too, genuinely. 

        Later, he acquired the skill of welding on the face of stiff myth that all welders are bound to have deadly lung disease which ultimately claimed their lives.  I heard he developed a sort of core competency in it. But welding was not the skill in demand in Aligarh of 1960s.  In any case, not lucrative enough to attract a decent living wage.  Deoki Nandan’s elder brother had recently installed a plant – a sort of micro industry for painting metal wares.  I would watch with curiosity, early morning Deoki Nandan with spray gun doing a brisk job of painting metallic frame of toy guns.

        As the time passed, he came of age.  A suitable match was found for him.  I had gone along with my father as part of the wedding party in an interior village.  I remember how a group of ladies (of bride’s side) poured bucket full of colored water from rooftop on the groom’s wedding contingent sending everyone looking for shelter. I recall, I had cried a lot under the shock of a sudden assault by the  water brigade, though it was simply  a fun filled prank that was sort of customary, teasing  groom’s entourage – indicating you are taking our pretty ‘friend’(bride) away from all of us.  She was an extremely fair and pretty bride with sharp features, full of youthful vigor.  Soon she was adored by everyone.  She was favorite of the entire household due to her stunning looks, her hard work, apt handling of domestic chores including kitchen.  I still vividly remember her beautiful rose petal fresh face. 

Deoki Nandan could not have survived on mere spray painting toy gun frames for long.  The income was neither regular nor sufficient to raise a family.  He migrated to a nearby town of Bharatpur in Rajasthan.  In times to come, he reared a large family of three or was it four children.  Once I met him and his family in a function, he was Deoki Nandan, no more a Dev Anand.  With a weak frame, bent body, he was as they say ‘pale shadow’ of what I knew of him.  I wondered is he the same person who would take me in his arms and ask me to repeat loudly “Eeek...” much later, I came to know that it was to attract the attention of some neighborhood girl towards whom he had tender feelings.  Though his spirit was strong yet flesh was weak, too weak.  He was presenting a pitiable sight.  Life takes away all the juices of a man in his life time itself.  I was sad to meet him.  Then someone indicated towards his wife.  My God! Who is she? She is not the same ‘Chachi’ whom I knew.  She was so pretty, so beautiful so youthful.  The woman stood before me was a skeleton, infested with numberless ailments.  She was appearing as if she is already in her eighties. There was no light in the eyes.  Her visibility was okay but where is the shine?  Her eyes seem to be empty. She was staring at me but was she looking at me? Did she recognize me?  How can a fair, pretty and beautiful lady transform and age so much, I wondered.  She was no more fair, she was appearing so dark and lifeless.  If I had not seen her in earlier days, I would have never believed that she ever was fair, beautiful and attractive.

        His children could not get much education, though he could marry off his daughter.  Sons were greater source of sorrow.  A stage came when he was wishing to die so that his son could find a job in the factory vice him.  But we know wishes are not horses and death does not oblige merely by wishing. 

        I heard, with great difficulty he could get his son fixed up in the same factory.  It cost him dear, real dear. He had to seek premature retirement.  Whatever money he got as his retirement dues was paid as bribe to get his son’s employment.  Wife eventually died of multiple failures.  With failing health, he was confined to his bed now.  He took to drinking to forget his woes.  He was too much of a Man, man with pride which drew him to the brink, yet not to seek help from anyone.  Least of it from his well of two elder brothers.  His health was fast deteriorating.  He had stopped caring for himself.  He wanted to die and die as early.

        Death this time obliged him; drinking hooch is a slow but sure path which ends at the doorstep of Death.  Deoki Nandan alias Dev Anand, a man so very Rich in human emotions, love and care died a poor man.  Death of a squalor.  Death, indeed, is a great leveller.

Saturday, May 22, 2010


Sattu was a street boy of my age in Aligarh city. He was not exactly a street boy, for he hailed from a big joint family,a bigger house which occupied almost half of the street and owned buffaloes, hence,by the then prevailing standards he came from a well off family. While Sattu was still a young child his mother had died of series of ailments leaving behind 3 brothers and a sister all elder to Sattu. Sattu's father was not much of a worker and worked off and on as a forest contractor. Sattu was brought up more by his street smart boy mates and relatives who were plenty in number but not much to write about back home. Sattu was fast receding to be an urchin, wearing whatever came his way, eating from whoever cared to feed him. He was a plump boy with beautiful features. Wearing rags and eating ill-nutritious food could not camouflage his handsome looks. He would stammer a little but that did not deter him from continuously talking and seeing first day first show of any film, English or Hindi which entered one of the five theatres housed in Aligarh – Tasveer Mahal, New Royal, Ruby, Novelty and Nishat. Sattu was a school drop out, not by choice but by the sheer result of negligence,as his mother was no more. Brothers had migrated to pursue their own avocation and one of the 3 brothers rose to retire from the post of Commissioner. Not that Sattu was an urchin right from beginning but oasis of prosperity did come his way in irregular intervals. As I said earlier, he was a movie buff . As was common among the growing up boys of his time, he took to the adventures of smoking. Again, whatever came his way: cigarettes to beedi to pot.

There is no adventure which Sattu would not take up enthusiastically. He was a daredevil. I recall him asking a young boy to put his finger in the toy gun. As soon as the boy entered his finger into the barrel, Sattu pulled the trigger, the sharp rod pierced though the boy’s entire finger sending the boy shrieking and wailing and Sattu, dropping the gun, running away in opposite direction. This is just one of the innumerable instances of Sattu’s bravado, for which he was always a game with abundant gaiety. His elder brother was posted as an Officer in Simla and would live in a spacious wooden bunglow in Lower Kethu with large size French windows, overlooking the beautiful hillocks and the famous Glen, where cricket and film shoots took place. When this officer brother had called us all children, I too tagged along. My first ever vacation to a place other than my grandparents cities in Aligarh and Firozabad. Firozabad was a town and not elevated to a District HQ as yet.We all had heard so much about Simla by our ‘uncle’s exaggerated version and his photographs in black suit and dark glasses against the backdrop of snow capped hills, in yet another skating similar to Rajender Kumar in Rajender Kumar & Sadhna starrer film ‘Arzoo’. He would tell us how clouds entered your house and would wet you all over. We had pictured in our mind a romantic sojourn in Simla. Beautiful, it certainly was. As beautiful as it could look to an eleven year old boy who had seen hills and snow fall only in few films he had watched by then. Sattu was not a part of the contingent. We did not give it a thought. It was too exciting for us who were in the ‘IN’ list to bother about the ones in ‘OUT’ list. Sattu must have been saddened beyond words. His own real brother has not spared a thought for his own younger brother.

When the ‘uncle’ got married and pretty ‘aunty’ gave birth to a daughter, Sattu was promptly remembered and taken to Kodarma in Bihar, where uncle was then posted. After a year or so when Sattu returned to Aligarh, he had changed beyond recognition. He was wearing neatly ironed clothes. His hair properly cut and carefully combed. He was walking in freshly polished shoes to the envy of one and all. He would talk gently, sounded more confident and pleasant. He had, indeed, transformed. He was no more a Sattu but Satish Kumar. He was put back in school as Satish Kumar. During his after hours he would baby sit his little niece as aunty was pursuing her post graduation through correspondence course from Delhi University. Bhabhi-Devar relationship is as fragile as Saali-Jija. If it clicks they become best of friends. If it does not, then worst can happen. Aunty’s M.A. completed and niece not requiring much of baby sitting. Sattu soon became a burden, an intruder in their privacy. He was irritating and so many faults were picked up in him by Aunty that one day uncle – his elder brother – decided to drop him in their newly acquired house in West Delhi. The house was a two-bed room MIG flat fully furnished. Living alone in the house Sattu remained a VIP. But his happiness did not last long. He had nothing to do whole day. Much later he would recall with bitterness towards one and all that he was kicked out of the house by his Bhabhi, as Bhaiya was more henpecked than any husband living or dead could have been to his wife. He was merely a caretaker,they badly needed to watch and ward the house in their absence. As soon as the family shifted from Kodarma to Delhi, Sattu became an eyesore. He was promptly packed back to Aligarh.

 For a couple of years he could preserve his suave mannerism and sanity. Bubbling with youthful energy he befriended a rich businessman’s son, who introduced Sattu to his entire household. Sattu again got a foster family and was spending more time with them than his ‘own’ kins to the growing envy of them all. Sathu was fast falling down in their esteem. Businessman’s son, if he is spending all the time with ‘friend’ when will he learn the basics of business ? So Sattu could feel the ‘cold shouldering’. A sensitive soul Sattu was, he could feel to his dismay, that the warmth between him and the family was fast evaporating.

A time came when their servant would inform Sattu right at the door that there is no one at home, while Sattu could clearly hear their voices. Sattu, by now, was turning a wreck. He would wonder what is his fault in all this. How is he to account for untimely death of his mother, or if his father has turned a drunkard or if his brother did not care and looked after him. He was an undesirable company. Due to his bad habits he took to stealing petty things. Houses, he would enter freely were putting restrictions. He was always asked more questions and difficult questions before entry was allowed or not allowed to him. In protest he would sleep on the platform near Community Well or outside under the street lamp post. When his brother from Delhi visited him; he found him lying under a street lamp, no better than a mendicant. Under his pillow he found bundle of papers in which he had written heaps of abuses to all the film stars whose names he had seen and got firing from his elders for wasting his time and money and not doing anything worthwhile. Elder brother got further scared to take him to Delhi or doing any similar remedial rehabilitating act. He knew his wife will not let him live peacefully if this dirty vagabond of Sattu is taken to Delhi. We all have softer alternatives to stay clean with our conscience. He gave him small money and a big sermon and returned a happy man to his family in Delhi. Sattu took the money, threw the sermons down the gutter and lived for few more weeks like a Prince.

He was losing track with contemporary real world. He would mutter incoherently.He was fast sinking and nobody was caring for him nor was he caring anymore for the world, for the world had not given him anything rather had snatched whatever little he had. Parents snatched, his childhood robbed. Honour gone. Painful was, his well-off relatives looked other way when he was sliding and his world was slipping away. He could never swallow that, he never forgave them for this omission and sheer neglect on their part.He started begging in the streets.

While high on grass some enthusiast took him to a hospital. When he gained consciousness he found himself lying on a hospital bench with few currency notes clenched in his fingers. He was operated for vasectomy. Imagine! a family planning operation on someone who had no family whatsoever. With this surgery came other attendant complications. Sattu had no money nor any interest in his own life to attend to any ailment.

Alas, Sattu became Satish Kumar but for a very brief period, though I still feel he could have been groomed into a fine productive Youngman; useful to the society. After a few months, we heard Sattu died unsung. No one came forward. His body was disposed of as unclaimed.


Wednesday, May 19, 2010

टूटे दिल के इन्द्रधनुष

यहाँ हर फूल की एक दास्ताँ है 
मुहाफ़िज़ हैं वो मेरे 
गो मेरे लिए उनके  तीर  
मेरे लिए ही उनकी कमाँ है 
खामोश बहुत है समंदर इन दिनों 
करीब ज़रूर ही कोई तूफाँ है  
रोटी की तलाश में लड़खड़ा रही जवानी  
बहुत दूर है छत, नज़र में कहाँ कोई मकाँ है 
यहाँ हर फूल की एक दास्ताँ है 
सैलाब ग़मों का फिर उठता है मेरी जानिब 
कड़ी धूप है, छाँव उनके आँचल की अब कहाँ है

टूटे दिल के इन्द्रधनुष

तुमको समझते हैं वो अपने बहकने का सबब 
कितने बदल गये, क्या थे क्या हो गये वो अब 
दिलों के खेल में बाज़ी तुम्हारे हाथ रही 
टूटे दिल की कीमत बढ़ जाये बाज़ार में न जाने कब 
तुम्हीं बदगुमाँ थे, उन्हें तो इल्म था 
अंजाम का शुरू दिन से सब 
ये इश्क कब रास आया तुझे ऐ दिल !
ज़िन्दगी दिखाती है मुहब्बत के नाम पर कितने करतब 

टूटे दिल के इन्द्रधनुष

जान ही लेनी थी तो यूँ ही कह देते 
मुस्कराने की  ज़रुरत क्या थी  .
वफ़ा करते हैं पर ज़फ़ा से वाकिफ हैं 
शब-ऐ-जुदाई बारहा  समझाने की ज़रुरत क्या थी 
फ़िराक दिल मेरा मेहमाननवाज़ है बहुत 
ग़म-ऐ-जाना दबे पाँव जाने की  ज़रुरत क्या थी
कमज़र्फ हैं वक़्त नहीं लेता नशा आने में 
नज़रें मिला कर आजमाने की ज़रुरत क्या थी 
यादें.ज़ख्म.आंसू अब उम्र भर का साथ है 
दानिश्वरों से दिल लगाने की ज़रुरत क्या थी 
लोग हाथों में संग उठाये फिरते हैं 
हुज़ूर इतना नाम कमाने की ज़रुरत क्या थी  

Saturday, May 15, 2010


आज फिर दिल में तन्हाई को

बुलंद करने का ख्याल आया

इश्क़ को जिस्मानी कैद से

रिहा करने का ख्याल आया

ना कोई खुशी सी खुशी है
न किसी ग़म का ग़म
फिर क्यूँ बेखबर मुझे

बारहा तेरा ख्याल आया


कभी सोचा भी न था हम तुम

इतने नज़दीक रह कर भी दूर हो जायेंगे

समाज की दीवारों पर लग जायेंगे रिवाजों के काँटे

और हम तुम इतने मजबूर हो जायेंगे

कुछ दबी ज़ुबान में कहते हैं

कुछ आँखों आँखों में कहते हैं

पता न था हम तुम इतने मशहूर हो जायेंगे


मेरा दर्द मुझे जीने नहीं देगा

तेरी याद मुझे मरने नहीं देगी

ज़माना बड़ा ज़ालिम है ए दोस्त !

आज अगर हम नहीं मिले

तो कल ये दुनियाँ हमें मिलने नहीं देगी

जिनको तेरी नज़र के इशारे मिल गए

जहाँ में उन्हीं को बस जीने के सहारे मिल गए

जिसके साथ तुम दो कदम चल दीं

ज़मीं पर उसके निशां बन गए

हुईं जिन पर तुम मेहरबान
खुदा की कसम वो बुत भी इंसा बन गए


बड़ी पुरपेच रही उनसे मिलके ज़िंदगी

कहा था रस्ता बड़ा सीधा है, दोस्त ने मेरे !
इक लम्हे को गले मिल, उम्र भर का ग़म

हुनर ये नया सीखा है दोस्त ने मेरे !

चलो चलके अपना गरेबाँ तैयार कर लो

खंजर एक नया खरीदा है दोस्त ने मेरे !


तेरी वादाखिलाफी में है लज़्ज़त ऐसी

बार-बार धोखा खाने को दिल हुआ जाए है

मैं उम्र भर जिसे अपना समझा किया

कमबख्त वो मेरा दिल

इक मुलाक़ात में तेरा हुआ जाए है

ये मुहब्बतों के सौदे भी ग़ज़ब घाटे के सौदे हैं

तुम नफे की पूछो हो

हमें तो शुरू दिन से नुकसान हुआ जाए है


चाँद पे तेज़ाब फेंक भाग गया कोई कल रात

इतने तारों की भीड़ में कहाँ उसे खोजें
अंधेरे का फायदा उठा भाग गया कोई कल रात
कहाँ कहाँ ढूंढेंगे सुबूत आप

जिस चौराहे पर हुआ था बलात्कार

वहाँ मंदिर बना गया कोई कल रात

बिताये जो तुम्हारे साथ सुखद दो पल

उम्र भर की धरोहर बन गए

दिल के मरुस्थली खंडहर

फिर से जगमगाते शहर बन गए

खुदा जाने तुम न आते तो क्या होता

तुम्हारे आने से आवारा उमंगों के घर बन गए

मुहब्बत पे फख्र न कर ए दोस्त

एक मुकाम पे आके मुहब्बत लुट जाती है

सूरत पर न यूँ इतरा ए दोस्त

एक अर्से के बाद सूरत मिट जाती है

दर्द दर्द न यूँ चिल्ला ए दोस्त

दर्द को दोहराने से दर्द की कीमत घट जाती है

मैं जिसे देख ताउम्र मुतास्सर रहा

वो बहते पानी पर बनी तस्वीर निकली

लोग जिनकी नाजो अदा के दीवाने थे

बेवफाई ही उस बुत की तासीर निकली

हम जिनके तसव्वर में घूमा किए रवां रवां

सबसे हँस कर मिलना उस सितमगर की आदत निकली

काव्य संग्रह 'एहसास' से