Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Metamorphosis


A life in making. A life in the mid of no where....

How many roads must a man walk down

Before they call him a man
How many seas must a white dove sail
Before she sleeps in the sand’

The eternal questions of mankind about who he is and where he is going, when sung in the folk tenor dampens the heart and renders the mind a unique kind of numbness. Reading about various kings and dynasties that came and went, numerous unknown artisans and workers who worked laboriously in building the forts and grand sculpture, which stand the heat of time speaking to us the history of the mankind, I often ask, ‘how were they different than me?’

The fact that death is inevitable is in itself enlightening. Why to hurt someone? Why speak bad words? Why to fear? Why to be proud about what we have and be sad about what we don’t have? Who are we, if not food for insects and germs of tomorrow? We live as if we are to be forever. And even if it is so, what’s the point?

Questions give rise to more questions. We chase as musk dear chasing an odour coming from its own body till we get tired and sit to meditate and look within to realise that ‘Truth’ is not without. And what is truth? Well, to me, it’s a white dot that says, ‘be quite and observe’. Answers have no meaning to the one without question. So why do I ask, ‘How many roads must a man walk down?’

I have roamed around like a mad man in college campus for four years. Always asking, what to do next? Never getting an answer. I have spent nights with drunken friends on hostel roofs, watching them break beer bottles and shout. I have played from dusk to dawn in sport complex, bunking all the classes I had to attend just to bring out the rebel in me. And do all this I just have wanted to know, who I am. Wandering around in the city of Dhanbad, all alone, I talked to trees and wind at times. Everything culminated as thoughts and thoughts seeped in into numerous poems. The obsession took such a form that my wallet used to have more poem than cash, written on the back of railway tickets, ATM machine receipts, tissue papers of restaurant etc. Each poem asking, who I am.

I recall the day of our farewell day at college. I was amongst the few who were asked to speak about our stay at college. I introduced myself as ‘9550’ my college roll number, as that was what I thought I was – a number. An element in the arithmetic progression of our ancient college. Don’t know how many elements have already passed away. The incremental nature of the roll number tells very evidently that a student at the college is nothing more than ‘one more student’. I went on to say that, ‘From here I can see shining faces and glittering eyes of my batch mates. I don’t think we will be gathered like this ever again under one roof’. Realising that I was taking more time than I was allocated as the faculty had taken its precious time to come and bid us farewell, I cut short all that I wanted to say and presented a poem.

‘antim din jeevan ke yadi ye
Peer hriday ki reh jaaye
Ke daud dhoop me beet gaye pal
Preeytam se kuchh na keh paaye

Praan kanth taka a pahunche hon
Bhaav mukhrit na hote hon
Bheed me dhoonde man priya ko
Bairi nayan dhundhla jaaye

Shithil padta mera shareer ho
dhamaniyon me ho maddham rakta prawaah
beete pal sab ik ik karke
mastishka patal par chha jaayei.N ....

(Now I was choking)
I could see from there, the subdued eyes of our favourite teacher, CK Sir. I almost choked while putting the last lines of the poem, trying very hard to be audible and clear. I walked down the podium and the Golden Jubilee Lecture Theatre was filled with applause. The walls of the theatre had heard a poem quite often. Sometimes back, ace poets of our time like Waseem Barelvi and Rahat Indori were seen standing on same podium, from where I bid my farewell to the college. I knew deep within my heart, that I had kept the standard of poetry up to the mark and that the podium understood what I meant when I nailed my thoughts in the final stanza saying:

Chitt chita ki raah taakta
Mrit saiya pe leta ho
Aage badh kar daag de koi
Dhoonwa raakh sab ho jaaye

Antim din jeevan ke yadi ye
peer hriday ki reh jaaye
ke daud dhoop me beet gaye pal
priytam se khuchh na keh paaye’

Today things have changed. People have moved on in their lives. I too followed the drift of time but then came back. Back to my school level books, I find something new every day. I find rulers, kings and kingdoms hidden n the pages of NCERT books. The brittle, yellow pages of the books I once read in my school days, talk to me. I feel good to see my hand written answers in the fill in the blank questions with fountain pens. The shaky hand writing, I was always known for, smiles back at me. I feel as if I have all the time of the universe these days. There is no thought of the all India rank that I held few years back. There is no thought about the job offers I had and the promotions I got at IBM for the sophisticated skills that I developed in software field or the lovely farewell I got while leaving IBM. All I am today is a kid, with no degree, no CV and no doubts about his capabilities. No vanity, no pride, no expectation and above all no grief or guilt. Now, I am at a place from where I can distinctly understand what the Nobel prize winning poet meant when he said:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings 
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;

….. If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man, my son!

-Rudyard Kipling's famous poem 'If'

But do I suggest the same to those who are at same place where I was few years back? I would say, NO. It’s painful, and takes a lot of metamorphosis for the personality to undergo, before one can really relinquish all he has (or he feels he has).  There is a beauty in materialism too and there’s no wrong if one can enjoy it. For me I see an untraveled road ahead and pulling up my socks to start over again.

2 comments:

expression said...

excellent.........

anu

rauly said...

this all feels so fresh. Like it happened yesterday. :)

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तू किसी शोख़ का सिंगार कर रख भी दे ये ख़ामोशी उतार कर तीरगी ये पल में टूट जायेगी  चल दोबारा ज़िन्दगी से प्यार कर एक ही नहीं कई शिकायतें ...