Saturday, October 17, 2009

Diwali in the years gone by



Over the years, Diwali has become one of those things you used to enjoy more when you were a kid... I remember childhood Diwalis (or Deepavalis) spent with countless phuljhudis, rang mashals, tubris and chorkis and enlivened by the occasional rocket or string of kali patkas. In contrast Diwali this year was a sad and lacklustre affair. Especially since the two youngest ones weren't at home, no one really felt like it I suppose.

Of course it was a different say even 10 years back. We all (meaning ALL of the family... including all otherwise disinclined members) gathered on the terrace, around 9 at night. The young ones would grab all the bags of fireworks and candles and rush up and down the stairs, faces gleaming with barely contained excitement. Ma would insist that we eat dinner first and change into cotton dresses even as we were raring to go.

Finally the golden hour would come, we would eagerly light up a fat candle stub in a corner and come out with our arsenal of sparklers and crackers. We would with baited breath as the first sparklers were held to the fire and erupt with joy when the colourful streaks of light would break out. After a few minutes of playful twirling with magnesium wires and blinding rang mashals, the serious aspect of lighting the first chorki or tubri would begin.

My father used to be a very enthusiastic participant those days (later he would of course become more reticent). Anyway he was somewhat of a specialist the fine art of lighting a tubri or a chorki or that other great pleasure, a rocket! My older cousins would gladly assist him and we would all watch with joy as the chorki or tubri would catch fire and burn with fizzing light and sparks.
I was far too scared (though I wonder why?!) of chorkis - though I loved watching them spark and splutter into a fizzing circlet of light. It was a matter of great interest to me how the chorki actually worked (in fact I once hid in a corner of our balcony one whole afternoon trying to disassemble a chorki and finding out the mystery behind its wizardry... not that I was very successful anyway).

My great joy was the tubri - especially old fashioned ones which came in small earthenware pots covered by a patch of thin kite paper. A touch of the magic-wand like phuljhudi and a tree of light and a shower of glittering stars would erupt. Gorgeous! The best ones used to come from a gnarled old man called (of all things) Khokababu! I have no clue what K-babu or his family did for the rest of the year, but for Diwali, they turned their front room into a baaji making workshop and set up shop! Of course he never followed any fire safety norms or anything... but it still looked like a lot of fun.

Anyway, back home, when the fireworks were exhausted, we would build up a bonfire with the empty wrappers and cardboard boxes. In would go the shaap baaji pills and out of the acrid smoke would come the fat black curling snake that disintegrated at a touch.

At the end of it all, we would settle in different corners of the terrace and check out what fire power our neighbours had in stock that year. We never got the really "fancy" stuff so it was a thrill seeing a rocket break into a million stars or a phanush with a bright twinkling garland of lights gently gliding along the night sky.



Wednesday, January 14, 2009

moodmeter - Some Days

I'm outta love, I'm outta tears.
Small wonder after five long years.
Stopped waiting by the phone, for you to call,
And some days I don't even think of you all.
I do my work, come home to bed.
Just trying to put my life together again
And when I'm with my friends, we drink until we fall.
And some days I don't even think of you all.

Some days, I don't even feel the pain, baby, baby.
Some days, I don't even call your name, baby, baby.
Some days, hear the things you used to say,
See your smile, you close your face,
Baby, baby, baby, some days I don't even think of you all.

I'm on my own, I'm on my way.
It gets a little easy everyday.
Stopped dreaming of your face.
Now I don't dream at all.
Some days I don't even think of you all.

Some days, I don't even feel the pain, baby, baby.
Some days, I don't even call your name, baby, baby.
Some days, hear the things you used to say,
See your smile, you close your face,
Baby, baby, baby, some days I don't even think of you all.

I do my work, come home to bed.
Just trying to put my life together again.
Stopped waiting by the phone, for you to call,
Some days I don't even, some days I don't even
Some days I don't even,
Some days, I don't even feel the pain, baby, baby.

Some days, I don't even call your name, baby, baby.
Some days, hear the things you used to say,
See your smile, you close your face,
Baby, baby, baby, some days I don't even think of you all.

Artist: Jacksoul
Song: Some Days

Some days I don't even feel the pain,
Some days I don't even think of you at all.

Friday, January 2, 2009

Moodmeter


मैंने दिल से कहा


मैंने दिल से कहा, ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

न समझ लाया गम, तो यह गम ही सही

मैंने दिल से कहा, ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

नासमझ लाया गम, तो यह गम ही सही

मैंने दिल से कहा ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

बेचारा कहाँ जानता था

खलिश है यह क्या खला है

शहर भर की ख़ुशी से

यह दर्द मेरा भला है

जश्न यह राज़ न आये

मज़ा तोह बस गम मैं आया है

मैंने दिल से कहा, ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

नासमझ लाया गम, तो यह गम ही सही

कभी है इश्क का उजाला

कभी है मौत का अँधेरा

बताओ कौन बेस होगा

मैं जोगी बनू या लुटेरा

कई चेहरे है इस दिल के

नजाने कौनसा मेरा

मैंने दिल से कहा ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

न समझ लाया गम, तो यह गम ही सही

हजारों आइस फासले थे

जो तै करने चले ठेराहे मगर चल पड़ी थी

और पीछे हम रह गए थे कदम

दो चार चल पाए

किये फेरे तेरे मनन के

मैंने दिल से कहा, ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

न समझ लाया गम, तो यह गम ही सही

मैंने दिल से कहा, ढूँढ लाना ख़ुशी

नासमझ लाया गम, तो यह गम ही सही...

Thursday, January 1, 2009

A New Beginning

It was just 4 o’clock in the morning when the bus skidded to a stop at the nearly deserted Gorhoripur bus stand. A few sleepy eyes struggled open to see the new passengers and immediately closed after registering their commonplace appearances.

There were just two of them. A man, not as tall as he was stout, with a well oiled moustache. Dressed in a brightly printed shirt and shiny trousers, he was the very epitome of a poor man’s idea of prosperity and well being. The boy with him was thin, with large liquid eyes. He looked young and somehow desperate to please. He had worn his best clothes for the trip – a shirt the colour of fresh marigolds and his good “jean pant”. His worldly possessions were in a small tattered bag which he held close as he nudged himself into the very narrow space between the window and his uncle.

As the bus moved away from the familiar bus stand, Piklu felt his eyes well up. This was the first time that he was travelling without his mother or sister. The first time he would be staying away from them, god knows for how long and where. He was going for his first job and that too in a big city. His uncle had promised him work at a fine “restaurant”, where he would not just get enough to eat but also save money for his sister’s marriage.

Piklu‘s head reeled with thoughts of big city lights, the monstrous buildings, honking cars and the icy sweetness of the “heemcream” he’d had on a visit with his father in happier times. The strange pandemonium and the crowds were so very different from home.

His mind snapped back to his village. He was, in a way, glad to be rid of school, but he would miss the stories that his favourite teacher told everyday. He thought of his sister and the packet of achar that she had lovingly packed for him. He thought of his best friend and the football games that he would be missing. He thought again of his Ma. The boy slowly nodded off to sleep.

His uncle thought of his shabby ‘bhaater hotel’ near Sealdah, which was no more a fine restaurant than a scrap of tin balanced on three poles and a kadhai boiling furiously on a sputtering stove. He looked at the boy and suddenly felt a flash of pity.