Sunday, 6 July 2014

Book Review: The Palace of Illusions

Finally, I finished reading Palace of Illusions- such a wonderfully narrated piece of work by Chitra Banerjee.

This novel gave a voice to Draupadi, well known as Panchaali- an epitome of womanhood. It talks about her life, her opinions, cravings, longings, grief, agony, sadness, happiness(which haunted seldom), vengeance that she was furious for all along, her immense strength, her secret desires, and above everything, it shows how the great story of its time OCCURED to her and how she came across every aspect of it. This novel traces Panchaali's life from a fiery birth and lonely childhood to a great deal of injustice followed by a dreary revenge . I ain't prophesying womanhood here! But truly stating, she was the only woman who was born to change the history of the mankind. This narrative has compelled me to wander how her life would have been, married to 5 brothers, living in exile for most of her life, and the rest was no less than an exile; my heart speaks out for her.

Mahabharat, an epic that I have read, heard of and watched on TV a dozen of times, but never could look at it from the perspective of any particular character but merely a series of events. The other day, someone told me - Ramayan teaches us how to live and what to do, whereas, Mahabharat teaches us what NOT to do.

The feat of the great war of its time, was it justified? The whole clan gets ruined by the end of it, except for a handful of people who very lucky to survive. While I scan through the list of characters, I ponder one action from which of them could have undone all the possibilities of such great destruction? Who lead to it? Whose fault it was ?


Panchaali- If she was not married to five brothers (Pandavas), if she had not rejected Karna in Swayamvar, if she had not insulted Duryodhan in her palace, if she was not so desperate for her revenge and had, instead, went on quietly with her insult as her ill fate .

But wait, what if Yudhishtir had decided not to play the gamble, rather he could have been partially righteous and not abided all the rules of the game and to stake his brothers and his wife during the game.

Alas! what if Duryodhan, his cousin had not been cruel and unrighteous to this extent, and if he hadn't felt so dejected throughout his life?

Instead, what if his maternal uncle Shakuni had been fair and had not guided his nephews to the unrighteous path since their childhood.

Wait a moment, was only Shakuni at fault? What if his dear sister Gandhari was not forced to marry a blind person Dhritrashtra, he would have not decided to use his wit in the ill manner to end the whole dynasty.

Nevertheless, Shakuni could not have done anything if Karna (the eldest son of Kunti, who was gifted to her from Sun god at a tender age) would have not been abandoned by her, and being the eldest, would have been given recognition and crowned as the next heir.

Or was it because Kunti imposed or ordered all her sons to marry the same woman so as to keep them united, or she hadn't revealed to anyone that Karna was her son?

Was it Kunti's husband, Pandu who went for exile just before his coronation as the King, which later gave rise to the question as to who should succeed Dhritarashtra?

Was it Dhritarashtra, who should have not lured to take place of his brother, or thought as a King rather than a father, and had crowned Pandu's son as his successor?

Was it Gandhari- Dhritarashtra's wife, who had the boon to bear a hundred sons, who could have barred her sons from getting on to the wrong track? She tied the veil on her eyes, not literally, but righteously too!

Or was it all due to events at some distant place; King Drupad who ditched his childhood friend Drona and lighted the fire of vengeance in him that led to the creation of such great warriors. Or was it because Drupad desired to avenge Bheeshma and that he performed prayers to gain two of his children - Dhrishtadhyumna and Draupadi ? What if Draupadi was not born at all?

Was it Dronacharya's desire to get his son to be a King, irrespective of the fact that he was a Brahmin and a great teacher? He intented to achieve what was not at all meant for his creed, and planted the seeds of the same in his son Ashwathama's  mind.

Was it determined long back when Bheeshma made a stiff promise of not getting married ever, and taking unjustified decisions thereafter at every step? If he would have married, and sons were born to him, there would have been no scope for him giving all his life to protect the clan of his younger brother Vichitravirya and being care taker of Hastinapur's throne. Was it because, later he abducted the 3 sisters - Amba, Ambika and Ambalika to marry his brother, and one of them turned furious and reincarnated to avenge him? Was it because he insulted Drupad for the sake of Vichitravirya?

Was it Ganga, Bheeshma's mother who abandoned her seven children for no justification, and disappeared for years, which led King Shantanu to marry Satyavati, who later became ambitious to make her would-be children, the heirs of the kingdom?

Was it Krishna, who supposedly knew everything but puzzled almost every character with his riddles rather than warning them!


Or was it all just because the heaven had designed it long back, and that every character was bound to the other in such manner?

Was it because it had to lead to the advent of TODAY's time - the Kalyug or the fourth age of Man!?

Or may be to set a perfect example for all of us existing right now, to maintain a balance between the righteous and the unrighteous, and be decisive according to the situations by not blindly imbibing age-old ideals.
One more thought that often strikes me upon learning about this epic is, almost each one of us has built a wall of our ideologies, thoughts, ideas, opinions, prejudices and of limited knowledge around us. We see life, every phenomenon and person through our lens.

Shouldn't we try to expand the sphere of our thoughts and come out of those shackles to think beyond the taboos ? This would spare us from the agony and displeasure that we eventuate so often.

Shouldn't we watch our actions taking into consideration all those who shall be affected by them, and not only ourselves?
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Sunday, 29 June 2014

Sunday, 15 June 2014

ख्वाबों का शहर

नम आँखों से जब अपने ख्वाबों को पूरा करने मैं अपने घर से दूर चलने लगा, वो सड़क बड़ी छोटी लगने लगी, ऐसा लगा काश वो सड़क खत्म ही ना हो. अपने साथ यादों का कारवाँ ले के चला था मैं. यूँ लगा उन सब यादों कि जुदाई सही ना जायेगी और घर के सामने कि वो सड़क लंबी हो जायेगी.

मेरे घर के हर कोने से मेरी अनेकों यादें जुड़ी थीं. चलते वक्त मन को बहलाने के लिए माँ कि बात याद आ गयी. उनने चिढ़ाते हुए कहा था की जहां मै जा रहा हूँ वहा इससे भी बड़ा घर होगा. अगले ही पल मन ने कहा - घर दीवारों से नहीं उसमें रह रहे लोगो से बनता है.

मन में भारीपन लिए पहुँच गया अपने ख्वाबों के शहर, उस सुंदर आलीशान घर के आगे मेरा अपना घर छोटा दीख पड़ता था,  फिर सोचा माँ जान कर बड़ी खुश होंगी!

उस अनजान नगरी में हर किसी के साथ कोई ना कोई था, आपस में हँसते-बोलते रहते और मै अकेला उन्हें तांकता रहता.


उस भीड़ में मेरी नजर दो दोस्तों पर पड़ी. उनका वो मासूम-सा तकरार और अगले ही लम्हें में ढेर सारा दुलार, मानो एक दुसरे के साथ है तो दुनिया से कोई सरोकार ही नहीं. एक तरफ़ उन्हें देख कर खुशी हुई और फिर मेरे सबसे ख़ास दोस्त का ख्याल कर के दुःख.

कभी लगता था यहाँ से भाग निकलूँ, किंतु मेरे ख्वाब मुझे पीछे खींच लेते थे. उस तन्हाई के आलम में ख़ुद ही को समझा लिया करता था. दिन गुजरते गए. एक दिन माँ का ख़त आया, उनके जन्मदिन पर एक दिन के लिए घर बुलाया था. फिर क्या था, एक पंछी कि तरह उड़ चला अपने आशियने में. मेरे शहर कि गलियों कि वो महक, घर में घुसते ही माँ कि प्यारी-सी मुस्कान, पिताजी का दुलार और बहन का शरारत भरा झगड़ा - 'भैया, तुम खाली हाथ तो नहीं आ गए ना'! ऐसा लगा ख़ुद को फिर से पा लिया. जन्मदिन मनाने के बाद अपने ख़ास दोस्त से मिलने गया. खूब बातेंं कर अपना मन हलका किया.

हर्षित मन के साथ लौट आया अपने ख्वाबों के शहर, इस बार दुगने उत्साह के साथ!

मोह पाश से इंसान कभी नहीं छूट सकता, मगर चलते रहने का नाम ही ज़िंदगी है ना!

Saturday, 7 June 2014


साहिल पर बैठ क्यूं तेरी नाकामी पर अश्क बहता है,
टूटी है कश्ती तो मार ले गोता उस समंदर में,
तोड़ उसका गुरुर,भीगो दे उसे तेरे आँसुओं से,

ग़र कामयाबी का है जुनून, मुकम्मल कर तैराकी पर फ़तेह,
ग़र डूब गया तो ज़िंदगी भर का गुमान ना रहेगा,
उस पर्वर दीगर से सीना तान दलील तो कर सकेगा



Saturday, 31 May 2014

मेहनत का फल मीठा तभी होता है जबकि मेहनत फल देने वाले पेड़ पर हो ।

(The fruit of hard work is sweet only when hard work is done on a tree that bears fruits.)

Saturday, 24 May 2014

If you act like a victim, you are likely to be treated as one.

-Paulo Coelho

Monday, 19 May 2014

Offline - A Day Without Internet

6:00 AM

The alarm rang and while I still was half asleep one morning, as a ritual the first thing I did was to connect my cell phone to WiFi. To my surprise, I spotted that I had received no "updates" since last night!

That summer morning, a few minutes later whilst the environment was serene and filled with chirping of cuckoo bird, I stepped out to check if the hawker has dropped newspapers in our veranda (baramda). While grabbing the newspaper, I saw the headline which read - "No Internet today". My eyes went wide open and all sleep flew away. Unlike everyday, I sat reading the news article. It reported that during the midnight, the world's internet crashed! For a moment I was dumbstruck pondering whether it is really practicable. But it surely was not supposed to be fictitious, since I had no updates on my phone that morning.

8:30 AM

there-is-no-internetEvery news channel had confirmed the unbelievable by now. The channels reported that the internet should be stable in the next 12-15 hours.

With my face drooped, I sat imagining how would I spend the rest of my day being disconnected with rest of the world... The first learning of my day was to understand the value of time. This because it was the due date for paying my phone bill online, which would otherwise have to paid with surcharge later.

9:00 AM

Though, as a habit, I kept checking my phone, for emails, Whatsapp and other social updates. Sooner, I engaged myself in some other activities like helping my Mom in household chores, visited the nearby temple, assisted my father in gardening, which otherwise was my time for all sorts of unproductive or partially-productive activities on my cell phone and laptop over the internet. It was a contrasting experience to me that left me with inner satisfaction.

6:30 PM.

I was back home early from office.

As a part of my routine, during and after the dinner I had to be stuck to my cell phone. After all, I am supposed to be updated about all that is happening around, from social networking to the news app on my phone to my favorite whatsapp to gmail and my office emails to the melodious songs on saavn. I would barely raise my head to talk to my family everyday.

But this fateful day was entirely different. I had to, rather, I got to spend time with my parents. We talked about all sort of stuff that day while having dinner. After dinner we went for a long walk. I shared my experiences of the day with them. Also, I turned into a keen listener to my mother and father about what they did the whole day, varying from my mother's complaints against the maid and my father's comments on the country's changing political scenario.

I shared with them my experiences of the day at office.

11:00 AM

In the absence of connectivity to the web, amusingly, office' work came to a standstill. Software Engineers can do zero work in the such a situation. We went on a team lunch, and played some team building games out in the open. This rejuvenated the child in all of us. We also got to see the sunset after a long time. We enjoyed and laughed and almost forgot that the virtual world of internet and social networking. No email popped up and no chats with fake smileys came in that day.  This should originally have been termed as "staying connected".

10:00 PM

Sitting idle, I pondered over how long the day was a fun filled day. And then I realized that it has been months since I spoke to some of my distant close friends. Thanks to Internet that kept us updated to such an extent that we didn't get a chance to hear each other's voices. It was the day when I made phone calls to all of them. All our college time memories were refreshed by then.

11:00 PM

Ideally this is the time for me to stick on the bed with mobile and typing on Whatsapp. But this time, carrying no regrets of the absence of it, I went towards my bookshelf, smelling the fragrance of what we call as unused books- my novels and journals. I chose one of my long pending novels, read it for sometime and went to bed with a smile on the face cherishing the lovely thoughts of the day.

6:00 AM

I was in the lap of a stress-free, quiescent sleep and a few minutes after that the alarm on my cell phone rang and I learnt that all this was a dream. Yes, this was a dream and the world's Internet is intact! :)

Thinking about life without Internet may seem like a nightmare for almost all, but this dream woke me up with a feeling that there's a lot in life than technology and that Internet is a black, frivolous hole that sucks away time in huge, horrible chunks.
Night walk with your close ones on the streets is more pacifying than travelling across the planet on Google Earth.

The euphoria of watching the radiant sunset with a loved one on an evening is better than blindly liking pictures of those who are merely "online friends".

Every untweeted observation of daily life is more sacred than retweeting the tweets that in no way correspond to your reality.

Find sometime to recharge yourself, not just your gadgets.


Sunday, 11 May 2014

मेरी माँ

कितनी भोली कितनी प्यारी है मेरी माँ,
मुझको हर पल मीठी डांट लगाती है मेरी माँ,
मुझको जीने का ढंग सिखाती है मेरी माँ,
मुझको चोट लगे तो ख़ुद दुःख पाती है मेरी माँ,

ऊपर जिसका अंत नहीं, उसे कहते हैं आसमां,
जहान में जिसका अंत नहीं, उसे कहते हैं माँ,
उनकी ममता कि छाओं में,
जाने कब खड़ी हुई मैं अपने पांव पे,

नींद अपनी भूला कर सुलाया जिसने,
आँसू अपने गिरा कर हंसाया जिसने,
इतना दुलार कहाँ से लाती हैं मेरी माँ,
कितनी भोली कितनी प्यारी है मेरी माँ


Tuesday, 6 May 2014

There is only one difference between dream and aim.  Dream requires effortless sleep and aim requires sleepless efforts.
Sleep for dream and Wake Up for aim.

Monday, 5 May 2014