यारा, मौला…

यारा, मौला,

यारा… हो… मौला…

हाँ हाँ यादों में है अब भी क्या सुरीला वो जहां था,

हमारे हाथों में रंगीन गुबार थे और दिल में महकता समाँ था,

यारा… हो… मौला….

वो तो ख्वाबों की थी दुनिया, वो किताबों की थी दुनिया,

सांस में थे मचलते हुए ज़लज़ले आँख में वो सुहाना नशा था,

वो ज़मीन थी आसमान था, हमको लेकिन क्या पता था,

हम खड़े थे जहां पर उसी के किनारे पे गहरा सा अँधा कुआँ था|

फिर वो आये भीड़ बन कर, हाथ में थे उनके खंजर,

बोले फेंको ये किताबें, और संभालो ये सलाखें,

ये जो गहरा सा कुआँ है, हाँ हाँ अँधा तो नहीं है,

इस कुँए में है है खजाना, कल की दुनिया तो यही है,

कूद जाओ ले के खंजर, काट डालो जो हो अन्दर,

तुम ही कल के हो शिवाजी, तुम ही कल के हो सिकंदर…

हमने वो ही किया जो उन्होंने कहा क्यूंकि उनकी तो ख्वाहिश यही थी,

हम नहीं जानते ये भी क्यूँ ये किया क्यूंकि उनकी फरमाईश यही थी,

अब हमारे लगा जायका खून का अब बताओ करें तो करें क्या,

नहीं है कोई जो हमें कुछ बताये बताओ करें तो करें क्या?

– पियूष मिश्रा

आरम्भ है प्रचंड…

March 3, 2009 1 comment

आरम्भ है प्रचंड, बोले मस्तकों के झुंड, आज ज़ंग की घडी की तुम गुहार दो,

आन बान शान, या की जान का हो दान, आज एक धनुष के बाण पे उतार दो!

आरम्भ है प्रचंड…

मन करे सो प्राण दे, जो मन करे सो प्राण ले, वही तो एक सर्वशक्तिमान है,

कृष्ण की पुकार है, यह भागवत का सार है कि युद्ध ही तो वीर का प्रमाण है,

कौरवों की भीड़ हो या पांडवों का नीड़ हो जो लड़ सका है वो ही तो महान है!

जीत कि हवस नहीं, किसी पे कोई वश नहीं, क्या ज़िन्दगी है ठोकरों पे वार दो,

मौत अंत है नहीं, तो मौत से भी क्यों डरें, यह जा के आसमान में दहाड़ दो!

आरम्भ है प्रचंड…

वो दया का भाव, या कि शौर्य का चुनाव, या कि हार का वो घाव तुम यह सोच लो,

या कि पूरे भाल पे जला रहे विजय का लाल, लाल यह गुलाल तुम यह सोच लो,

रंग केसरी हो या, मृदंग केसरी हो या कि केसरी हो ताल तुम यह सोच लो!

जिस कवि कि कल्पना में ज़िन्दगी हो प्रेम गीत, उस कवि को आज तुम नकार दो,

भीगती मसों में आज, फूलती रगों में आज, आग कि लपट का तुम बघार दो!

आरम्भ है प्रचंड…

आरम्भ है प्रचंड…

आरम्भ है प्रचंड…

-पियूष मिश्रा

Categories: Self Tags: ,

Twenty Five

January 20, 2009 8 comments

Peer pressure, peer pressure. Sigh.

You’ve gotta realize though that joy lies in the discovery and not in the obvious statement of facts, but here goes, for all you lazy ones:

  1. I was born on the 27th of September 1984 in a (then) small town in India called Indore, as the elder son of a bourgeois family.
  2. I have had Bronchial Asthma since I was nine months old.
  3. I was in school when I was 2.5 yrs old. I graduated from school when I was 16 and I was out of college and working by the time I was 20.
  4. Throughout school, I was a valedictorian. I got over this bad habit only in college. 🙂
  5. When I was in high school, we didn’t have too many career options (because we weren’t exposed to anything). One who wished to study could only be a doctor or an engineer.
  6. I was great a biology and my parents wanted me to be a doctor. I could never be disconnected from the pain on the other side of the scalpel and therefore decided that I will be an Engineer.
  7. I was writing programs in Basic when I was in 6th grade. I was doing interrupt based C programming in 9th grade and was a full blown programmer by 12th grade. However, I was over programming by the time I was in my third semester in college.
  8. I love sketching and I am good at it but I am not a good painter. I appreciate people who can paint well.
  9. I learnt Indian classical music when I was in 7th grade for three years. I am a trained vocalist (Indian) and a Harmonium player. I then migrated to playing Keyboard, upon mastering which I picked up the guitar. I am still teaching myself to play a mean guitar.
  10. I first acted in a play when I was in 8th grade. I developed a love for histrionics and indulged in it big time. I co-founded the theatre group of my college and we made some very entertaining plays.
  11. Even after having spent a good amount of time on the stage in my life, it is always nerve wrecking for me to get on one.
  12. I like sports that are fast and involved. They include Tennis, Football and Basketball. I suck at latter two of those but I love watching them all. Tennis is what I am going to teach myself in the coming years.
  13. I do not indulge in the Indian national religion of a sport: Cricket. I renounced it when I was in 9th grade, deeming it unworthy of 9 hours of my day.
  14. Three formative people outside of my family and friend, to whom I am utterly indebted for having shaped my life: Prof. Shiv Visvanathan, Prof. Vishvajit Pandya and Prof. Binita Desai. I love the three deeply and hold them in the highest regard. They have been much more than just a professor, friend, philosopher, guide…
  15. I love cooking, serving and eating good food. I can cook well, but I always need a su-chef, someone to do all the chopping and washing and the utensils afterwards 😛
  16. I watch about 2 movies on an average in a week. At least one of them is in a theatre.
  17. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple. Apple.
  18. I love fountain pens and the act of writing. I am one of the 1728 people on this planet who maintain a handwritten journal. I have a handwriting befitting fine writing instruments.
  19. I love suits. I can suit up for the simplest of occasions and can wear them at any time, any temperature. As a young kid, I used to suit up and sit down to study.
  20. I can’t sport a stubble. Period. Men are supposed to have clean shaven faces. I hate myself when I am too lazy to shave for a day or two.
  21. I love bikes more than cars. The fact that the rider is connected to his environment is what makes the experience for me.
  22. “We like: naked women, stockings, lesbians, and Sean Connery best as James Bond. Because that is what being a bloke is. And if you don’t like it, darling, join a film collective.” – Jack Davenport as Steve in Coupling, S1E4 – Inferno.
  23. I love stuff that is handed down to me by generations. My Ray Bans were bought by my dad in 1990 and I still love them.
  24. Nothing matters more to me than my friends and family. There is way too less in the world without them that could possibly attract me.
  25. Quoting Bertrand Russell: “Three passions, simple but overwhelmingly strong, have governed my life: the longing for love, the search for knowledge, and unbearable pity for the suffering of mankind. These passions, like great winds, have blown me hither and thither, in a wayward course, over a deep ocean of anguish, reaching to the very verge of despair.”
  26. Bonus: William Blake said it all about me when remarked: “The path of Excess, leads to the tower of wisdom.” That is the path I follow.

Knowing these doesn’t give you an insight into what I am; but I hope it will give you a picture of what I could be; and someday you may want to know for yourself. Adios!

Categories: Uncategorized

The Man who wanted to know Everything

December 7, 2008 1 comment

It was the year 1460 Anno Domini, when a man set out to learn about himself; the first modern mind, perhaps the greatest ever. A man, whose thirst for knowledge was unparalleled. A mind that knew no bounds. It is very hard to humble me; harder still to make me believe there is something I can not do. Despite this, at the outset, I know I will never be anywhere close to the genius that this world witnessed in the corporeal form of a Man, who wanted to know everything: Leonardo Da Vinci.

This memory of the great man was triggered by a documentary on him that I happened to watch a few days back; it has been haunting me ever since. The following are excerpts from a most humbling and moving documentary on Leonardo by BBC. These may not quotes by the great mind himself but they are so beautiful and reflective of the genius of Leonardo that I choose to ascribe them to him.

“I will do things no one in the past has dared to do. I will think new thoughts and bring new things into being.”

“Do not pity the humble painter, he can be the lord of all things, whatever exists in the universe, he has first in his mind, then in his hand.”

“Do you see how the eye embraces the beauty of the whole world? It is the window of the soul, it informs the arts, it is the foundation of science, it measures the distance of the stars, it discovers the elements, it is the inventor of architecture and the divine art of painting.”

“A bird should be able to do what its nature dictates, so should a man; if he has the mind to take wings. Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the world with your eyes faced skywards, for there you have been, and there you shall always long to be.”

“Most men can’t make the journey they need to take to find out the truth. But if you want to follow where the light of truth leads, you have to get through.”

“While I thought I was learning how to live, I was really been learning how to die. As a day well spent brings happy sleep, so a life well used brings contended death.”

“Do not pity the humble painter, he can be the lord of all things, whatever exists in the universe, he has first in his mind, then in his hand. By his art, he may be called the grand child of God.”

These profound words and many more, left me back at the same place where I have been several times. It is almost a season for me to come and revisit these thoughts:

Is it really possible for a man to do so much in a lifetime? Is there a way that I can live my life and know anywhere as close? Are these questions of any significance? What is the worth of knowledge and where does it fit in the over all scheme of things?

If I could boil my life, the distillate would be this: The Man who wanted to know everything. And yet, the realization that I would never know everything is one that is very hard to over look. It can be greatly and in my opinion correctly argued that a mind at rest understands that the greatest knowledge is that we know nothing. Yet, I wish to know all there is to know. All the lies, all the truths, all the world’s great promises and the deceits, all the love stories and those of hate and of all the great men and those who were utterly insignificant. I know naught whether a man’s quest for his personal reasons is of any consequence, but then I do not know if there is anything of consequence. Should a life then be spent in pursuit of greater good for the greatest number? Or should it be spent in one’s own pursuit of euphoria? I am one of those who believe every man pursuing his own euphoria will lead to the greatest good for the greatest number. Nothing phenomenal about the observation, probably a restatement of the ideas presented through several centuries by many great men.

From this perspective, we can see that we need to find out what way and where to does the pursuit of our euphoria takes us. And it is extremely likely that I shall spend the rest of my life trying to find an answer to this question. Yet, whatever it is that the path, the process and the destination (or the absence of one) holds for me, it shall be about learning about myself. And I may never finish the journey, rather in all probability, I will not; but I shall consider it worthwhile to have had the privilege of being given the chance and having taken the road.

I know the answers I seek, I don’t know the questions I must ask to get those answers. And the questions that I do know, I have no clue about what answers should I regard as the correct ones.

I Will let these thoughts be. Maybe the sleep will de-fog my brain. But as I turn to lay myself to sleep; all I can think about is: “was this a day well spent?”

Categories: Life, Self Tags: , ,

Paradise Lost: An Obituary and a Birth Certificate

November 29, 2008 4 comments

“We are going to Bombay!” responded Dad one summer to the biannual question “Where are we going?” that I posed every time I saw Mom and him Pack. As a child, the prospect of travel always excites one, but the prospect of travel to Bombay was overwhelmingly exciting and I still remember it, for that when I classified India; into Bombay and every place else. I still do.

Events, Places and People in our memory are all subject to the impact that they leave on us. The mind, being a super efficient machine, skims out those whose impacts have waned over time to make way for the new. The impact that Bombay had on me when I first met her as a kid, may perhaps be recounted with the fact that a decade and a half later, the love affair that started back then is still as passionate as ever. I still call her Bombay and she fill me with a love so strong that when I am not with her I yearn to be with her. A love so strong that every event that registered in my memory a painful moan of that beloved city, makes me wince. The latest of these however, made me cry.

Bombay isn’t a stranger to violence, neither are those millions who have a relation with her. There have been acts of violence perpetrated throughout her past, tearing apart at least as much if not more. Why then was this the most disturbing? There are three main reasons.

The first among the reasons for this is the intent behind the attack. Terrorism, as I have noted in my writings, is not based upon the idea of violence but on the idea of threats of violence. Terrorist attacks are generally directed to create a sense of panic; the understanding behind it that out of fear of violence, their demands shall be met. Sometimes, a terrorist attack is directed to inflict pain upon those whom they believe to be perpetrator of pain to their people. But this, is a proclamation of their fearlessness, conviction and power. These attacks weren’t designed to kill more people or cause more direct damage, they were designed to get the maximum attention to them. And to one fact: We are determined to kill all who do not ascribe to our philosophy and we have the capacity to do so. It is this bold statement of aggression that fills us with much deeper distress than ever before.

The second is the fact that it exposes major flaws in our administrative and security infrastructures. Placing makeshift home bombs on cycles in crowded markets or in tiffins in trains is an act that can be carried out by people who are untrained and driven by hate and propaganda; brainwashed into these acts. Cheap local goons can be used to carry out these acts of cowardice who may have been hired for a very short duration in a tiered fashion making traceability more difficult. Stabbing the jugular vein of an economy by holding its premium stakeholders at ransom, using militants who have the backing of a money chain that allows them access to good equipment and training, is something that takes much much deeper planning. This coupled with the fact that they didn’t seek anonymity, hints that traceability was pretty much present; *we* failed to note and act to prevent it.

And the third fact is that these attacks signal a much greater link and co-operation between the global terror vendors. The arms, the training and the plan all point to a much greater collaboration. It would seem as though the groups who now target the developed nations who have waged their war on terror are not too far from those who seek to break down my country at the grass root level; destabilize its society and damage the collective economy. It connects the dots from Dawood and the Dubai Underworld to the Kashmiri militants and Al Qaeda. The writing on the wall is: We really have a united agenda: The business of death. The same people want to see Madrid, London, New York and Bombay Burn. Because they are inherently not seeking anything reasonable, they just ‘want to watch the world burn’.

Terrorism, gentlemen, now has a face, money, conviction, connections and capability to strike anywhere.

It is here that a united stand on this threat is the call of the hour. The nations of the world need to address this problem together. Our houses, are all so close together, a fire breaking out in one, can burn the whole town down.

What then do we need to address this call, the open challenge that now faces all of us? The answer to this is two fold:

  1. We need to develop strong leaders. World over, the common man is a follower. And this is due to circumstances. The ice-cream peddler on the road is not incapable of thought. He is simply not at the luxury. He has issues from income to family to health. He is preoccupied with his life and understandably so; there is no other motive for him to function as he does except for his own life. This common man needs a leader. A leader who he can look up to because he leads by way of example. A leader who can take care of everything indirectly related to his life so he can focus on his immediate ones. At no point of time in our life times, has the call for a leader been so desperate. Our representatives have failed us time and time again.
  2. We need responsible citizens. Every thing else is function of who and how we are. It is us who has places these representatives who aren’t even capable of thinking in decision making positions. We are the ones who have given birth to and consume this irresponsible sensationalist media. We are the ones who have made our systems corrupt, rusty and inefficient. OUR inaction is to blame for everything: from dirty politics to non responsive systems. All our social structures are a reflection of who we are.

In simple words, we need to address the situation by two means. A top down approach, finding the leaders for the world. A bottom up approach, changing who we are.

Making memories is hardwired to animals with developed brains, notably Mammals. Forgetting is an acquired trait, a conscious choice. Learning to forget is a process initiated by the choice of indifference. As with all animals, it is in our nature to survive. We, therefore, do what we believe to be the best to survive. Sometimes, it means remembering and sometimes, it means forgetting.

To survive this madness, we need to forget our differences and remember these painful events, for “Those who cannot remember the past, are condemned to repeat it.” (George Santayana) We also need to remember and resound the faith that Love can survive, but it needs help from us.

As I resound this faith, I can’t help but remember words from great Hasya Kavi (satirical poet) Surendra Sharma:

कोई फर्क नही पड़ता, इस देश में राजा रावण हो या राम,

जनता तो बेचारी सीता है, राजा रावण हुआ तो हरण कर ली जायेगी

और राजा राम हुआ तो अग्नि परीक्षा के बाद भी ठुकरा दी जायेगी

I write this as an obituary to two:

A Broken, shattered, beguiled, betrayed behemoth of a city and those who died in their honour.

But Bombay is an eternally regenerating strand of life; a Phoenix, that just like always will rise from its ashes. It changes bodies, forms, names but the spirit remains the same. It is capable of recycling itself, its dreams, its aspirations, its realities to create life once again. I therefore write this also as a Birth Certificate to two:

The Great Urban Metropolis, Bombay to me and several others, Mumbai to the generations after me. That Loving, Dazzlingly Beautiful, Eternally Enchanting, Magnanimous Land of Gold, that everyone can call home. And to those who realize the responsibilities upon them and are ready to take upon the duties, the dreams and the hopes of both Bombay and its Martyrs; ensuring their sacrifices do not go vain. Let this be the day we reinvent ourselves and be worthy of Bombay and all she has to offer.

I know that I shall be one such soul, I hope you will join me and someday we shall know Surendra Sharma as only a great poet, not a satirical one.

Bombay is Dead, Long Live Bombay!

The Social Web is Narcissistic

August 28, 2008 2 comments

…and at its heart is an Egotist – You.

Disclaimer: The thoughts about this article are still extremely hazy and maybe I’ll refine it in some time but I think this deserves some thought. This is an Old Draft but I still decided to publish it.

Ajay, a friend and a mentor @ work and I were having our regular cup of coffee this afternoon when it all started. For long have I been asking him to get onto the Social Web and he has been reluctant about it for no declared reason. The guy has a Twitter Id which he barely uses citing excuses of wanting to avoid an addictive distraction – something I can’t refute; and uses no other networking service. Well today, I got him talking, nudging him to point what he sees wrong with the Web as it has become. To set some context, We’ve both long wondered that there is something seriously wrong with the way the world is headed; I have been optimistic about the Web, thus far.

“Well”, Ajay said, “it promotes unjust Narcissism.” And then i realized the direction his reluctance was coming from… Both Ajay and I are severely Narcissistic guys – We Still believe we are the centers of universe and the Sun revolves around us. Not the world, just a few of us… But it isn’t Narcissism at a personal level, it is narcissism at a mass level that should raise a concerning eyebrow – Because it promotes Amateurism at a mass level. And Narcissistic Noobs is something most of us can’t put up with and shouldn’t, to be true.

The Social Web, is built around the construct of ‘Me’. It is an immediate instance of the act of Consumption of the Self. There is this need for this ‘Me’ to be consumed – in all forms. (More in this direction later). An old observation of mine on similar lines came when I was wondering about the Testimonials on the social sites. No matter who this ‘Me’ is, there are people to promote ‘Me’, to vouch for ‘Me’, who think ‘Me’ is good, great, fantabulous. ‘Me’ is happy, and ‘Me’ genuinely believes he is great and this continues. Eventually this leads to a degeneration of the Web – let alone Information, most content isn’t even Data for me, just Noise.

Despite all of this, I still believe Web 2.0 promises me a great way of information discovery. In potential, I can control exactly what I let seep through to me, what I allow myself to expose myself to. It will all start with amateurism, but I feel Amateurs at some point of time will evolve, those who don’t will perish. Eventually, the fittest will survive. Ajay doesn’t quite agree with me; Natural Selection scares him – Amateurs will promote Amateurs and the circle of the thoughtful will be left tiny and insignificant in the grand scheme of things. I’m hoping I get to see him wrong on this.

Do you feel the Web 2.0 Shall evolve to a sea of information or do you think Noise will inundate the information by far?

New Pics on Flickr

Go Goa!

Categories: Uncategorized Tags: , ,