Thursday, February 23, 2012

The monster .

I woke up alone , in those depths
Except for those tentacles around
They shackled me ,held me down
And I stood still , helpless and bound

The creature had risen out of nowhere
When I used to dance with the waves
I struggled and shrieked and fought
But it dragged me to the deepest caves

Now I had given it all up , I reveled in it
Cuddling and dozing in his warm embrace
Shielded away from the untamed waves
Until , one day , the sun glimmered on my face

And I wanted to feel it , to breathe air
So I asked him , “Let me be . I need you not “
And miracle it was ! He uncoiled his arms
And disappeared without a second thought

And then I saw , the monster was I
Stopping myself from doing what I must
All of us carry him inside ourselves
And it just takes determination to reduce him to dust …
Reduce him to dust ….

Writer's note : The monster and it's tentacles are a metaphor for the myriad of fears that we create in our minds :)

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Growing up Bin Laden

Three weeks of reading it in the loo , in between meals and under the table ( when the teacher was taking attendance ) .
I have finally finished one of the most intriguing books I’ve ever come across , “Growing up Bin Laden” .

The account of the lives of Najwa Bin Laden ( first of Osama’s four wives ) and Omar Bin Laden ( his fourth son ) . Written by Jean Sasson ,the lady with the ‘Princess’ series already under her belt . She has (yet again ) outdone herself ! 

I was curious . What makes a man ‘evil genius’ . What makes a man go down the heinous path of terrorism  ? 
That too , a man who has everything to lose ( including a HUGE family fortune and a huge family ) 

But this , was Omar’s and najwa’s story .Their story of a father , and a husband .
 A man who was demanding to the point of being cruel  ,devout ,rigid in principles and yet kind and considerate and followed the astute prinicples of Islam till the end .

Najwa remmebers him as a quiet child . The one who’d never speak out of turn . Always distant and polite . Since she and Osama were cousins , it was kind of decided that they’ll marry each other ( a common custom in Saudi Arabia )
All through her life , Najwa was in awe of him . And he ( I daresay ) was a perfect husband . He never caused her any pain or threw any cruelty her way .
Infact ,though he took most of the major decisions himself ( and she was more than willing to let him do so ) .
She was always honoured and her advice was always taken into account ( which , is something HUGE if you consider the genral plight of the women in his culture ) .
Yes , he did take four wives .
But here is something we must understand . Islam allows a man to take upto 4 wives ( on the condition that they divide their attention and time EQUALLY among them all ) .
Compared to how 90% of the men cheat outside their marriages . I failed to see any difference between ‘them’ and ‘us’ .

Unrelenting . He spoke softly ,and carried a huge stick .
Disobidience was not tolerated . Yet ,any dilemmas or doubts asked never went unanswered .
He prohibited the use of modern appliances , even toys . His sons would play with animals , go trekking or learn the joys of gardening and outdoor sports .
He would make them ride in the desert for hours ( with minimum intake of water ) , teach them how to build a place under the sand to hide themselves , and sometimes play ‘hide and seek’ with them too .
Remember , this was not a father who went on business trips and came home at 6 in the evening .
He was an industralist , a farmer and an ex-soldier ( even when his sons were growing up , he had already fought in the Russia-Afghanistan war).
To the end , he loved his sons .
But , like all great men , he loved his purpose in life more .

A mathematical genius , a devout man ( one who could recite the Koran without a single pause ) , a farmer , lover of animals and a scholar .
Osama was a great friend . A man who won the unquestioning loyalty and respect of people around him .
A man who cared for his family , and his comorades , and the welfare of his own country ( he was a key figure in the development of Saudi at one time ) .
Infact , one of the greatest griefs in his life came when he was exiled to Sudan .
An ideal son who valued his mother above all . A man who had lost his real father at an early age , and still missed him somewhere .
A man who demanded and exuded perfection . And yet , was painfully sensitive and shy at times .

The “why” In my mind went unanswered .
To his son , he was the man whose love and approval he craved for (as a child ). And later on , he detested and blamed the same father for ruining his childhood .
To his wife , he was a perfect husband .
But then ,maybe he wss too rigid . He applied the principles of Koran to a world which has progressed much beyond the boudaries of ‘dharma’ .
Or , he had seen too much cruelty at the hands of Russia and America , and his belief in the supremacy of Islam pushed him over the edge .
Whatever , the reason . It was such a shame .
A man who had been bestowed with such qualities could’ve changed the world in a much different way .
But then , we all have our reasons ……

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Meera , the poet .

Of all the poets who have inspired me , I must admit that Meera is one of the rare ones who has touched my soul . The more I study her , the more divine she seems . 

There is something about each one of her bhajans . A feeling of complete surrender , of love and admiration so deep .. it crosses all metaphysical planes .

They are the words of someone who has found Him . And totally immersed herself in His glory .They are the callings of a heart so infused with him , that it cannot wait to embrace Him ,and give up these worldly illusions .

And this bhajan of hers just sums up all that she stands for ( Although it isn’t a very popular one )

 “Mai Haricharan Ki Dasi “ ( I , the servant at Hari’s feet ) 

Mai Haricharanan ki dasi
Malin vishya ras tyage jag ke ,
Ram naam ras pyaasi
Janam janam ki dasi
Mai haricharanan ki dasi 

I , the servant at Hari’s feet
I have given up all the unholy pleasures of the world
And the only pleasure I crave for is Ram’s name
For many many births I’ve been your servant 

Dukh , apmaan , kasht sab sahiya
Kutil jagat ki haasi
Meera kahe parbhu Giridhar Nagar
Kaato jagat ki faasi ,
Main Hari charahanan ki dasi 

Sadness , humiliation and and all discomforts I’ve faced
This cruel world has laughed upon me
All Meers wants is to call upon her ‘Giridhar Nagar’
So that He can come and relieve her from these worldly shackles .

Aavo preetam sundar nirupam
Antar hovat udaasi
Maanat nahi mann , dheeraj mohan
Tadpat nis din daasi
Savariyan , mohaniya , nagariya , mero piya
Come O loved one , beautiful and uncomparable
There is such grief within me
Now my heart listens no more , O patient one
And this servant of yours is tortured within

Prabhu aavo , aavo , aavo , aavo
Aavo aavo ji
Prabhu aavo aavo aavo aavo
Aavo aavo ji

Friday, February 10, 2012

Shamsaan vasini

"Shamshaan vasini" ( the one who dwells in cremation grounds ) is another name for Kali .
A terrifying , yet motherly form of Shakti .

Ash covered ,lost in the ecstasy of penance
I’ve made this ‘shamshaan’ my temple
Innumerable puppets of mud
I’ve sacrificed to these roaring flames

Unclothed ,lying on four shoulders
So many great men come to pay homage
Reputations and acheivements left behind
They are reduced to ashes with the mud

The same heads that were held high with pride
Have insectes crawling and feeding over them
So many people they thought of as their own, fools
See ,how many are standing with them today

I am the wheel of time
I am the mother , the saviour too
I ,the worldy illusion , the knowledge , the music
And I, the blood lusting predator

Eyes closed , I quietly laugh at it all
Some call me a ‘devi’ ,some a ‘demoness’
Men ,Gods ,devils are all equal for me
I , the Shamshan Vasini ..
I, the Shamshan Vasini …

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Aasoon ( Tears )

What began as few tiny drops
Has cascaded into a dowpour
Sobs that thunder as clouds dark
And fog that swirls beofre my eyes

Once they used to rain incesstantly
Lamenting a broken toy
and I would wipe them with tiny hands
Or dry them in mom’s lap

The weapons to get demands fulfilled
They almost worked some spell on me
Anger , hatred , jealousy bubbling inside
Would wall be washed away by the rain

Today I am amazed to see them fall
It took me so long to master them
But , in some corner ,my heart dances too
What I had converted into a desert long ago
Has been blessed with monsoon today …
Blessed with monsoon today …