Saturday, December 29, 2007

Event Horizon

The countdown has begun... :)

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Saturday, December 15, 2007

Dark Silence

I have always been an ardent fan of Harivansh Rai Bachchan's poetry. But it wasn't till I read this composition of his, that I awoke to the power of his words...

रात आधी खींच कर मेरी हथेली

रात आधी खींच कर मेरी हथेली
एक ऊँगली से लिखा था प्यार तुमने

फासला था कुछ हमारें बिस्तरों में
और चारों ऑर दुनिया सो रहीं थी
तारिकायें ही गगन की जानती थी
जो दशा दिल की तुम्हारें हो रहीं थी
मैं तुम्हारें पास होकर दूर तुमसे
अधजगा सा और अधसोया हुआ सा
रात आधी खींच कर मेरी हथेली
एक ऊँगली से लिखा था प्यार तुमने

एक बिजली छू गयी सहसा जगा मैं
कृष्णपक्षी चाँद निकला था गगन में
इस तरह करवट पडी थी तुम कि आँसू
बह रहे थे इस नयन से उस नयन मे
मैं लगा दूं आग उस संसार में
हैं प्यार जिसमें इस तरह असमर्थ कातर
जानती हो उस समय क्या कर गुजरने
के लिए था कर दिया तैयार तुमने!
रात आधी खींच कर मेरी हथेली
एक ऊँगली से लिखा था प्यार तुमने

प्रात ही की ऑर को हैं रात चलती
उजाले में अँधेरा डूब जाता
मंच ही पूरा बदलता कौन ऐसी
खूबियों के साथ परदे को उठाता
एक चेहरा सा लगा तुमने लिया था
और मैंने था उतारा एक चेहरा
वो निशा का स्वप्न मेरा था कि अपने
पर गज़ब का था किया अधिकार तुमने
रात आधी खींच कर मेरी हथेली
एक ऊँगली से लिखा था प्यार तुमने

और उतने फासले पर आज तक
सौ यत्न करके भी आए फिर कभी हम
फिर आया वक़्त वैसा
फिर मौका उस तरह का
फिर लौटा चाँद निर्मम
और अपनी वेदना मैं क्या बताऊँ!
क्या नहीं ये पंक्तियाँ खुद बोलती हैं?
बुझ नहीं पाया अभी तक उस समय जो
रख दिया था हाथ पर अंगार तुमने

रात आधी खींच कर मेरी हथेली
एक ऊँगली से लिखा था प्यार तुमने

~ हरिवंश राय बच्चन


Monday, December 10, 2007

Wild Wild Teens

I just read a very good post here, which talks about how, setting the right priorities, can help kids look at things in the right perspective and avoid unnecessary confrontation with their tired parents. And my personal experience as an elder sister has taught me an important lesson in this regard.

Kids- teenagers more so- are a breed of their own- or at least that is what they like to believe. Being in teens is almost as excruciating for the teenager as it is for the parent/guardian. A teenager is always trying out different masks- and in the process of it- trying to find out his or her true identity. Talking to them (leave apart explaining something to them) is a very difficult task- unless- we think like them.

The issue is not only absence of priorities or misplaced priorities- it is also about the difference in our priorities and theirs. That's what people call the generation gap- and it is not peculiar to teenagers- it is just more emphasized for them, because they don't give a damn about anyone else's priorities. Ironically- that's the way youth is- which is why they are also capable of feats (good and bad) which demure and more mature people won't even dream of.

Imagine being in a group of friends aged 14-something, most of whom have expensive gadgets or totally unacceptable body art. It's all about the coolness quotient- you're either one of them, or you're out to fend for yourself. Parents and siblings suddenly become the most unimportant people in the world for them- as their friends and special friends and extra special friends start assuming mammoth significance. Every teenager is scared of being labeled as uncool or an outcast. Every teenager wants to be the most popular one- and if that popularity comes at the cost of being rebellious at home, then it is "so be it" for them. And that is their highest priority.

But first things first: lets make one thing very very clear. Giving in to their demands every single time is stupidity- because giving in to unreasonable tantrums will never set their perspective right.

So what do you do? Well- you have to negotiate with them like a seasoned bargainer. Let their demands be fulfilled as rewards for something that you would want them to do. Let them realize that every joy is sweeter when preceded by some sweat and hard work. Let them realize the value of money and time by regulating it based on the fulfillment of a promise that they made to you. Let them make some small mistakes- give them a chance to learn from them in stead of trying to restrain them in a protective cocoon.

Agreed- it is much much easier said than done. No one would want to let their child/sibling getting drugged at a late night party or dropping out of high-school- and I am no exception. So yes- some boundaries need to be drawn- and we need to make sure that these boundaries are not crossed- whatever be the reason. And when teenagers start acting up a tantrum, wanting to cross these- it seems like an impossible task to reason with them...

But I speak from personal experience as I say this- the most important thing that teenagers need is self-confidence. They are always in dire need of it. Especially so in today's cut-throat competitive world- where they either have to excel, or resign to being an Average Joe or Plain Jane. So, as irrational or unreasonable they seem- we have to assure them that we believe in them. And that we will continue to do so even if they have plain black hair and no cellphone. They need our faith- not our anger. The more angry and stubborn we get- the more they will rebel.

And most important of all- they need to be told- that it is not us versus them- it is us and them. That it can never be an 'either-or' scenario- it will always have to be an 'and-or' scenario. Once they realize that we are not trying to control their lives and that we just want to have a say in it- they will tone down their hostility.

So be it! :)

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Saturday, December 08, 2007

Find your own dream

"When I was young- my parents told me what to do. When I grew up and got married, my husband told me what to do. And now, my children tell me what to do. I am tired of others dictating my life. For God's sake- it's MY life!!"

One of my aunts was particularly upset the other day as she blurted out all these words in one breath. I was sitting there silently, with my hand on her shoulder- trying to pacify her a bit. But I found words betraying me as I tried to string them in sentences. I just sat there with her and she tried to fight back sobs.

I tried to think of what she must be feeling. I am not yet in the second and third phase that my aunt talked about. But my parents never dictated my life as I grew up. They never forced me to wear a certain kind of clothes. They never stopped me from participating in extra-curricular activities thinking that my studies would suffer. They never inhibited me from making friends who were guys, out of the fear that I would elope with one of them. One of the biggest examples is the time when I decided to do my engineering from Nasik. Everyone, including my closest relatives, called me stupid and naive for choosing to take admission in a college in Nasik, in spite of having the necessary percentile and opportunity to join some prestigious colleges. But my Mom and Dad never questioned it. And the fact that I am doing quite well now- is my answer to all those people who did not believe in me back then, and my tribute to my parents who wholeheartedly supported my decision.

As I sat with with my aunt that day- I recollected all this and felt fortunate to have been given the chance to prove that I can make my decisions. That has given me the confidence to find my own dreams and to see them come true. And I remembered something which my Dad has always said to me in different words over all these years... Don't live someone else's life and dreams. Go find your own.

Thank you Mom and Dad- you made me the confident person that I am today :)

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Saturday, December 01, 2007

दिल ढूँढता हैं फिर वही ...

एक पुराना मौसम लौटा, याद भरी पुरवाई भी
ऐसा तो कम ही होता हैं, वह भी हो और तन्हाई भी

यादों की बौछारों से जब पलकें भीगने लगती हैं
कितनी सौंधी लगती हैं तब मांझी की रुसवाई भी

दो दो शक्लें दिखती हैं इस बहके से आईने में
मेरे साथ चला आया आपका इक सौदाई भी

खामोशी का हासिल भी एक लम्बी सी खामोशी हैं
उनकी बात सुनी भी हमने, अपनी बात सुनायी भी

ऐसा तो कम ही होता हैं, वह भी हो और तन्हाई भी...

~ गुलज़ार