Monday, September 15
Thursday, August 14
और जग नाचे,
बिल्ली की गोद में
कौन देखा, कौन सुना,
प्रेत से पूछो, बरसाती रात को,
न दिया जले, न दिल हो भस्म,
डगर-डगर पे हरी की आस|
Friday, May 30
कल कई थे—शायद तुम भी?
जमा करे कंकड़-मोती, सब,
ले कर आए थे|
ख़ाली हाथ गये, भरे दिल से
ज्यों-ज्यों निशाना सही पड़ा|
फिर रात के सन्नाटे में भी
आए थे कुछ बादल;
मेघ को दारू समझे पी गया दिल,
जैसे-जैसे घाव भरे, हुस्न खिला|
मैदान-ए-आशिक़ की वारिदात
दर्ज नहीं होतीं| बेसबब समेटी जाती हैं,
यादों के कटघरे में नहीं;
सिर्फ़ इनायात के तजरिबे में|
Saturday, May 24
Narendra Modi: new twist to Asian story, world history
It is amusing to read some of the invective both pre and post Modi win, and people sharing it on social media: the variety includes leftist intellectuals who still yearn for some socialist, subsidy-ridden state; human rights advocates, who conveniently forget years and years of Hindu-Muslim riots that happened all throughout Congress-ruled regimes in Gujarat, something that is no more there since the post-Godhra riots in the last ten years; those who are concerned about the growing strength of a religion, Hindutva, at the expense of sanatana dharma, a philosophy that defines India; environmentalists, who fear from a China-style development, which is supposed to look only towards short-term benefits; and, finally but the biggest quantity, those who haven’t lived in Gujarat, who simply read a CNN news article about Modi’s revoked visa or rights records and who don’t know what secularism is and assume it to be some unquestionable good, those who pitchfork themselves into the category of humanists and intellectuals. As always, some concerns are valuable, some others seem to be derived from flimsy grounds, and in many there are a few grains of white and few of black and a lot of grey. And yet, Modi has often been painted as black, univocally black.
Sunday, May 18
life of a human
smoked tunas are hung out
to dry on walls by the beach, bicycle
I have only heard of smoked salmons.
But they sound nice.
I would like to play
some football. I do not know how I get
I have heard of Pele and Maradona,
seen pictures of busty girlfriends.
But all of it looks nice.
Tomorrow, you will come, you will go,
like a cloud some rain, then barren
I have heard of love and hearts in a flutter,
read stories where they died together.
But then, it dreams nice.
I have wondered about the Dhaka muslin,
or more about Dacca. Spellings carry
Under which lamp now sits the boy
whose grandfather once weaved looms of splendor?
And it touches nice.
I have sat under the low, mango tree
counting the stones they pelt. I would like
an alphonso steamed in the fumes of
My favorite will be Stromboli.
But it tastes nice.
And then I wonder,
if strombolied alphonso is same as
beach-hung smoked tuna?
I wonder who will tell me,
I dream no one will,
Tuesday, April 29
सन्नाटे की चमड़ी
हर अंधेरे की ओट पे है सवाल,
मंत्रणा करते केंचुओं को फ़िलहाल
न मिले माई-बाप, न ननिहाल|
सागर से जाके पूछो, तो टक-टक,
जैसे समय की लड़ी बेखटक
दौड़ती जाए, एक साँस एक-टक
चाहे कितने ही सेतु की हो उठक-पटक|
ज़लज़ले के भीतर न तुम खेलो,
खेल बड़ा है, दाना-पानी बना लो,
आग में भस्म होने का चैन ले लो,
पर आहिस्ते ... वरना सब खो लो|
शैतानों के देव अब करें समंदर पार,
न बादल न जल करें संहार,
कोई वाद, तो कोई विवाद को दे हार
जब चले प्रलय का तमाशा, बार-बार
Friday, March 7
तनिक बादल पे गेरू नहीं,
न कहीं गहरे मन का नील,
बस सफाचट नभ तपे, तपाए
संगमरमर के मकान-ओ-मंदिर,
जैसे दिन चलते चलें, बिन आग, बिन बरसात,
और शिथिल उच्चारण में फँसे ओम,
वैसे बढ़े रोग, बढ़े दारू,
फैले अचेतना, न रंग न प्रकाश|
Thursday, January 23
मेज पर किताबें रखी छोड़े,
सूरज की कॅंपन को अनदेखा करे,
जाड़े की रेशम-सी गलियों के बीच,
कहाँ निकल गया था, रे?
कौनसा संकल्प तू ने ऐसा बाँध लिया था,
कि भूल गया तू इस गुलिस्ताँ के
पाबंद मज़े को, नाज़ुक मोहब्बत की लड़ी को?
हैं रे? किस आग में झुलसा ऐसा,
कि सब ग़म को पी गया, न हँसते, न गाते?
देख! यहाँ आसमाँ के रंग नहीं बदले,
न वे कोने-कचुले जहाँ तेरे चर्चे रहते;
उसी उम्र में फिर मिलना हुआ
कोई रंजिश बिना, जैसे बिन मौके की बरसात
आज गिरी मेरे आँगन में, न दस्तक, न माफ़ी|
तू आया है तो आराम कर तनिक,
मेरी आँखों के सवाल हैं गुम, हैं अंजाने,
तू सुना, अरसा हुआ तेरी ज़ुबान सुने,
क्योंकि यही सामान ले कर जाना है मुझे,
कहीं दूर, जहाँ तेरी यादें हों, तू न हो|
Sunday, January 5
सरदार के भेस में निकलूंगा
सीली टहनियों में थोड़ी आग लगाऊँगा
तड़कते मच्छरों की तरह मोस दूँगा|
इन भीने क़दम का रुख़ कोई समझे न
कि सोई ताक़त कब होशियारी से जग पड़ी,
जब तक जान रहे, कर दूँगा तमाम और भस्म
चार दिशा में हाहाकार, जग भर में जयजयकार|
प्रण है पर्याप्त, समंदर पर है सेतु बाँधना-
इस रौ के आवेश में, छलाँग है लगानी
तरंगों से तारों तक, मेरे बनानेवाले तक,
प्रार्थनारूपी शस्त्र से भेदूँगा, रोम-रोम को|
Sunday, November 17
Ashes 2013-2014: II, Australia: Preview
As the cricket moves to Australia, on truer pitches and with both sides showing more sense of selection and strategy, there's better hope. Australia have more importantly brought Bailey in: he might not prove to be a matchwinner in his own right at Test level, but he's a very mature person with a strong mental make-up. If he can stitch a couple of fine partnerships, that's all what Australia might need, especially since that I don't expect much from Australia's top three. Clarke should be at four, followed by Bailey, Steve Smith and the wicketkeeper (and I much prefer Wade to Haddin, but a divisive captain like Clarke will of course go for the latter): if Watson can't bowl, then I won't select him and the top three will be Warner, Rogers and Cowan for me (no Hughes or Khwaja). Mitchell Johnson will again be a liability: I never rated him as a good bowler and I don't see any reason to do otherwise. Performing against India, which he has always done, is a different thing: England rather face more problems against Watto's gentle bowling. However, if Australia does select Johnson, then they will have to drop a batsman (Cowan in my scheme of things): for they have to definitely have three men out on the field: Harris, Siddle and Lyon (except for Perth). I would select Faulkner over Watto and Johnson: that is the nut to crack for Clarke. And that could well set the momentum for the rest of series: one wrong spell by Johnson, and Australia can bid the series goodbye already.
As for England, they will depend heavily on Cook and Trott: they cannot look every time to Bell to guide them out. Pietersen might play a brilliant innings here and there but also might get out early or into 20s and 30s often: he might be a bit scratchy, but still explosive enough to turn the match on its head whenever he feels like to. That's the beauty about Pietersen, isn't it? I do expect both Cook and Root to score very well: both are good backfoot players, and what better place than Australia for such players? Carberry is an unknown for me, but I back the move to have Root back at no. 6 for now: even if Carberry does that much as what Compton did in India, that should suffice. Anything over would be lovely bonus. I don't expect England batting to have much worries, except maybe at Perth and the 1st day of Brisbane Test (since they have a history of starting a series poorly): it looks much more solid with Root at 6, and Bairstow is not bad to replace an injured Prior. The problem for England is their bowling attack. Swann is now ageing: he's not been in the best of forms since some time now, injury or no injury. It's good that Broad looks in good nick, for Anderson might not be the most suitable bowler for Australian pitches: it's Broad in fact who has to be in prime form. But look beyond them, and we've got nothing. I cannot believe that England have brought three carbon-copy bowlers in Finn, Rankin and Tremlett here: Topley or Onions should've been there instead of Rankin in my opinion. For me, the third pacer has to be Finn, even if he's expensive: he's also quality when he bowls in the right areas and is unplayable every now and then. Sure, he will spray it around, but not like Johnson: Finn will also give you wickets every now and then. The thing to fear is though what if any of (or both) Anderson and Broad break down: then England will have to be ready for attritional cricket, trying to look for draws. Hence, it is important that England break their habits of these recent years and start the series on a winning note.
A good Ashes for England will go a long way to build up tomorrow's England: for players like Root, Bairstow, Ballance (hope he gets a game or two! maybe if England have wrapped up the series early on?) and Finn, this will go a long way to nurture their confidence at the highest level. They will be readier to take on South Africa in South Africa: when that supreme battle happens.
I only hope the cricket is of much superior quality this Ashes, and that DRS controversies remain in the background. The ICC has already created more stupidity by the new rules, but hopefully there won't be HotSpot in the series: so one completely unreliable technology at least won't be affecting match flow. And hopefully no rain-affected matches petering out in draws.
Tuesday, November 12
In the field of sunflowers.
The blind girl will come,
Knock on a snake's burrow,
All in the dark of a breezeless night
Where all the wind scurrying rats make.
My work is done, I lie asleep
Contented, hands stained with earthworms,
I will only rise to wait:
I will watch the river's edge
Where my broken boat's edges bounce
Off every little seed blown that way.
I will take grains of wheat in my hand,
Make them a rosary, count them and pray them,
As many times as the girl shall try
To come to me, to find a way,
Without ever taking a staff, she will need to
Walk and knock. And walk and knock.
Sunday, September 29
न सीमा, न बेला का ग़ुलाम,
चूर स्वयं के आनंद में, जैसे
लाल चाँद में नहाए सागर की छटा;
जब छल से निकले कोई कश्ती
तब बन जाए वह कायनात का अभिन्न अंग,
पूजक और पूज्य दोनों ही भीतर,
केवल दिखे, अन-दिखे पूजा
और उसके कुछ हज़ार नाम;
भीड़ के चेहरे लड़ें, मरें, कटें
उनके लिए जो देखें, जिनका न रहे ईमान,
पर ज़िंदगी का वह मद-मस्त रहे तपस्वी,
रहे आसमाँ और ज़मीं की डोर|
Thursday, August 15
वह तारा नर्तकी
कई रंगों में भस्म, कई घुटन के ज़ख़्म,
लेकिन न प्रेत कोइ कहने का वो
जो अपनी बदमाशी के आँगन में न छेड़े चिंगारी को,
हर द्रव्य की जड़ में ने खन्खोले चेतन को|
Wednesday, July 17
no Other – paramatma – at home, but not
When I stop at traffic jams, I often talk to the people waiting next to me - in spite of the language barrier. Today I asked the guy waiting at a train crossing like me that where did that bus go (its number was strange, and I hadn't ever seen that number). He offered an answer - it looked to me an invented one, since in India we seldom like to say that we don't know, but maybe his answer was correct; that's not to the point - and then both of us discussed buses - green, red, different numbering schemes, etc. The train came only in another five minutes, so I had plenty time to learn more. As the train barrier rose, we finally broke our conversations (yeah, without any "bye," just like I had directly asked him the question without any "ahem" even, forget a "hello"): and we went our ways.
I don't have to go to Hindu philosophy to feel the paramatma ("supreme soul" shared by all): I can already experience it in India. Is it Hindu thought? A common background of difficult conditions and poverty? But then India was the golden bird: merchants of India have been there since time immemorial the richest and the shrewdest, so it can surely be not the poverty? What is it in this land that does not have a bonjour - not because we are rude, but because one doesn't say bonjour to oneself (with increasing narcissization, I guess though we are already there): because there is no feeling about otherness about any other. All Lacans and Foucaults fall flat on their faces in this land: there neither is nor is not the Other, an Other, Other. There simply is life. There simply is the temporary abode of soul: the inn where we stay. Some people ask for proofs of God and soul: I wonder if those same people ask for proofs of life when they go to watch theatre. Thankfully, this infantile state of mind is already not much to be seen in the land of lands: because we live our thoughts and thought systems. We act like children of the earth.
Tuesday, July 2
Ashes 2013-2014: I, England: Preview
Let's move on to the Ashes itself. The game is this time primarily between Aussie bowlers and English batsmen: so let's review the weaknesses first, English bowling and Aussie batting. There's not much going on for English bowling now since some time, except for the top-class Anderson and Swann. Broad is an overrated bowler who might chime in with some destructive spell at some point of time, but is otherwise too profligate and nothing to worry about; Finn is yet to develop, and has somehow lost his hostility, though he does have a golden arm, it must be said; Bresnan is no bowler at all, rather just continues the now-ages-old English policy of bits-and-pieces cricketers who don't contribute neither a bit nor a piece when it matters; conservative England under Flower hasn't tried Topley, Meaker and Rankin so far in Tests, which they should have had in New Zealand; Tremlett might find himself on the plane to Australia, but right now it's too soon to call him back in; Onions is a decent bowler, and if cloud cover and other conditions assist swing, I would select him over Broad, but would the conservative duo of Flower and Cook do that? I doubt that. Swann himself is a bit of worry for me: he has not been in great form in the last couple of years (yes, he bowled well in India even with that lack of form: that just shows how good he is), plus now he's got this surgery done. Fingers crossed if he continues to be the good spinner with a very good control that he has been. The only positive for England on the bowling front is that in Joe Root they have discovered a very good part-time bowler and potential golden arm: in some years' time, Root might be even as useful as Gayle/Samuels are for West Indies (largely in one-dayers), or maybe even more, but that has to wait. If in these couple of Ashes, he just picks up a wicket or two, breaks some bedded partnership, then all of us would be more than happy: of course, there are no expectations of him on the bowling front. If he doesn't, well, he doesn't. He is just a Samuels-type wicket-to-wicket bowler, Bopara in spin version. My four bowlers would be in fact Anderson, Finn/Broad, Onions/Broad (if conditions assist swing, the former), and Swann. I would keep Rankin in the squad, to keep Broad and Finn interested: if these two fail, get in Rankin, and Tremlett if he's doing well on the county circuit. Or even Topley. But, please, no Bresnan anywhere near the team. Please, no!
What is the mitigating factor here for England is that for Aussies, it is their batting that is the main problem: they are susceptible to huge collapses, especially when Clarke does not fire. They are over-dependent on Clarke; I like the new coach's move of moving up Watson in opening, and giving him Rogers as partner, with Cowan coming one-drop. That does inspire a lot more confidence than what the Warner-Cowan duo did. However, if two wickets fall early, which could happen easily in English conditions, then it gets much trickier: both Khwaja and Hughes are simply not Test quality, and I do not expect Clarke to keep churning out double hundreds as he did in the last year. Simply put, there is no more Michael Hussey in the Australian side. What they have is Khawaja, Hughes, Wade, Smith, Haddin and tailenders like Starc who can bat: all of these to cover up for one man, Michael Hussey, and I am afraid all of these combined won't be as good as the man. A middle order comes rarely as spineless as this one: and this is where England's advantage lies. However, since it is the England bowling that is the weak link to English defence of the urn, this is where the fascinating battle lies: can England find bowlers outside of Anderson and Swann to expose this mediocre Australian middle and late order?
On the other hand, the English batting order does inspire loads of confidence. They have Cook, they have Root, they have Pietersen. What more can any team in the world ask? If these are not enough to inspire visions of 500+ totals and innings wins, then there is Trott, the ideal run machine (and good though Australian bowlers are in general, the likes of Starc keep straying on the legside every single over: Trott will love it so, so much!). So, among the 7 batsmen, we already have 4 solid run machines (with one of them, KP, a real murderous, game-changing, come-to-watch-just-me man, and I fear would be at his best - seems finally matured), all 4 hard to dislodge; plus Prior, the busy, attacking keeper, a 5th bat. The only debate is about the remaining 2 bats: I would personally prefer to have Compton as opener, at least for this Ashes and then think about the one later on in Australia, and keep Root for the time being in the middle order. As Bell has not been in any form now since a long, long time, a middle order of KP, Bell, Bairstow looks wobbly (remember, KP is coming in from a long break). If I have the utterly reliable Root there (KP, Root, Bell/Bairstow, Prior - as per my preferred order), then that looks much more solid. I would personally select James Taylor in fact over both Bell and Bairstow, but somehow inexplicably the guy has been utterly forgotten: in that case, I'd go for Bell over Bairstow for the first couple of matches, and if Bell doesn't strike form, then Bairstow for Bell. But I would keep Compton as opener and Root at 5 (6 is too low down for a player hard to dislodge: he would be wasted if he's playing half the time with tailenders). It's good by the way that both Bresnan (if he's selected) and Swann have struck some useful form with the bat: the latter in particular is a really good batsman (wish he could take it more seriously!).
Aussie bowling is though sharp: if conditions assist, they will be real handful. I will be particularly wary of Faulkner, Pattinson and Bird (if he plays). Siddle will put in lion-hearted efforts here and there, but I don't expect him to be a consistent threat; Starc does bowl some great deliveries, but all around them are cannon fodder, so he's hardly a worry for me. I haven't seen Harris bowl, so he's an unknown quantity for me. The chief worry for Australia will be to keep their pacemen injury-free plus fresh. If they can manage to do so, then this Ashes will be close. Plus, there is Lyon, whom I don't rate badly: he is a good, attacking spinner. I think he doesn't get enough support sometimes from Clarke, or he would be an even better bowler. I don't know if Watson would be able to bowl, but if he is, then he would be a real threat in English conditions.
Cricket is a mind game more than anything else or more than any other sport; Australia will come out bounding with some fresh energy fed to them from the new coach: if England, normally poor starters, can for once not start badly and win the first Test, then the series might already be a doomed one for Australia. But if Australia can take their best chance, the first Test, then you never know what may happen: the series might be close, but there might be an upset at the end of it round the corner. England must learn to be not conservative, not complacent: two evils they are often accused of, and rightly so.
For me, the stars of the first Ashes leg may be Root, Pietersen and Anderson from England, and Pattinson and Rogers from Australia. I am not selecting Cook and Clarke, the two premier batsmen of the series, in the list: I think both will have good enough series, but I think middling ones, not the mammoth ones both are used to. I don't mind getting it wrong in Cook's case, but in Clarke's case I would like to get it right!