Friday, September 23, 2011


कुछ यादें भूली रहती हैं, पलकों पर कुछ ही सजते हैं।
कुछ दोस्त बिछड़ कर भी, हमेशा दिल में रहते हैं।

Thursday, September 15, 2011

इस बार इक कहानी सुनो

एक धोबी के पास कुछ गधे थे। धोबी नदी के पास ही रहता था। रोज़ वह गाँव जाता, लोगों के कपड़े गधों पर लाद कर नदी जाता और धो और सुखा कर गधों पर ही लाद कर गाँव वालों को दे देता था। ऐसा कई वर्षों तक करने के बाद वो और उसके गधे काफी मोटे हो गए। एक दिन नदी ने अपना रास्ता बदल दिया। वह जंगल के उस पार से बहने लगी। चूंकि धोबी और उसका गाँव तो इस पार ही थे वह कपड़े तो जल्दी ही ले आता था, पर अब उसे जंगल पार कर के नदी पे जाना होता था। ना धोबी को ही जंगल के रास्ते पता थे न ही उसके गधे ही जंगल के रास्तों के लिए बने थे। धोबी और उसके गधे भूख के मारे परेशान रहने लगे। कुछ गाँव वालों ने उसे सलाह दी क्यूँ न वो एक घोड़ा खरीद लाये? उस पर बैठ कर वो जंगल भी पार कर लेगा और गधे भी उसके पीछे पीछे चल कर रास्ता जान लेंगे।
धोबी एक घोड़ा खरीद लाया। वह रोज सुबह घोड़े पर बैठ कर गाँव जाता गधों पर कपड़े लादता और जंगल के रास्तों से हो कर नदी पर जा कर कपड़े धो कर शाम होते जंगल के रास्ते होते हुए वापस घर आ जाता। क्यूंकि घोड़ा तो जंगल के रास्तों के लिए ही बना था, धोबी उस पर बैठ कर बहुत जल्दी जल्दी आता जाता रहा। गधों को इससे परेशानी होने लगी। एक तो धोबी गधों को भूल घोड़े पर बैठ शान दिखाने लगा, दूसरे जंगल के रास्ते होते हुए घोड़े के भरोसे अंधेरों से निकलना उन्हें नागवार गुज़रने लगा।
उधर धोबी को भी घोड़े पर बैठने की आदत तो नहीं थी। खुद भी मोटा हो जाने और घोड़े की चाल की वजह से उसे भी धीरे धीरे घोड़े पर गुस्सा आने लगा। वह आखिर था तो आदी धीरे धीरे नाटे गधों पर ही चलने का। धोबी की मुश्किल ये थी की उसे घोड़ा तो चाहिए था, उसे दिखा कर उसे गाँव वालों पर रौब भी झाड़ना था पर उसपर लगाम भी रखनी थी। उसने बड़ा ही उम्दा इलाज ढूँढा।
कुछ दिनों बाद उसने गधों से कहा की तुम्हे अब जंगल का रास्ता पता है। तुम लोग कपड़ों के साथ आगे आगे चलो और वह घोड़े पर बैठ कर उनके पीछे पीछे चलेगा। उसने घोड़े को अनुयायी बना दिया। गधे तो गधे थे। छोटे छोटे पानी के गड्ढों से न जाना पड़े इसलिए वो सूखे लम्बे रास्तों से ही जाते थे। घोड़ा ये जानते हुए की पानी के गड्ढे उसके लिए कुछ नहीं हैं तब भी उसे गधों के रास्ते ही जाना पड़ता था। घोड़े के धीरे धीरे चलने की वजह से अब धोबी भी खुश रहने लगा। उसे अब गधों और घोड़े के फर्क की चिंता नहीं थी। घोड़ा भी खुद को इक गधा समझने लगा। घोड़े को छोड़ सभी खुश थे।

Saturday, September 10, 2011

9/11 - A remembrance

Ten years ago I just got out of the shower and getting ready to go to work I heard my roommate's voice - "Ashish just come here and see the news. There has been an accident, a plane hit a tower in New York". I ran and by the time I was there my Oh boy turned into Oh F$%#! Did the traffic control made this big mistake? I didn't want to believe International Terrorism just hit this shore too.
Mood in the office was sombre. Palestinians? Iranians? But by the lunch it was clear who. Even smiles on faces were filled with million questions. That day we were allowed to leave early and so we did but not before a friend had made sure talking to me at the Gym that I was a Hindu from India. Though I was happy to tell him but it was like as if some one just had let me go in the middle of a Riot knowing if I was one of them. The question kept coming to my mind as I drove back home.
I had rented out two of my rooms to two other Indian Guys. They had a bigger social circle and my house in the evening at least had two other cars besides three in the house parked. My neighbor was a nice man. He had helped me move in. Like mine he had many questions to ask about us. So do you Guys go to school here? He wanted to make sure if we three brown guys were not going to school, for looking some correlation. That day I also found out how little many here knew of Geography and culture beyond the American and European continent. A few days later a neighbor's kid punctured my car tires - it was a hate crime, I didn't report. Some of my friends were chased with a car while returning from a Diner but the situation remained in control something you could easily shrug off.
Tenth year and we got the news that everyone waited for. Osama is dead. Threat is not. US ended up with two unfunded wars that we thought would be just shock and awe. Didn't happen. We got a new President who once felt like a cool breeze. No one knows if he struggles with problems he got in legacy or is creating them. What we do know is its our problem and only its people can solve it. Lets pray together No 9/11 happens again, not in US, not in India and no where else in the world. Lets salute the Heroes and the victims and the Soldiers who died on and because of 9/11. And a message to all those who still are on the path of violence - It is easiest to kill someone else, easier to kill yourself, a little difficult to live your own life peacefully and the most difficult is to help others live with peace. God accepts and loves those who take the high road.

Thursday, September 08, 2011

This is how Lucknow created Jobs, once

The year was 1784 and the region of Oudh had suffered one of its worst famine of that time. Nawab Asaf-Ud-Daulah knew how proud the citizens of Lucknow were. Lucknowites did not accept charities as long as they had an ability to work. Quality of a ruler is to know the pulse of its citizens, to hear it when it beats something today's leaders have failed to do. He had money collected overtime as revenue and he had it to dispose it off for good. And in spite of mounting debt that he owed to Britishers he chose to create jobs first. Even then he knew if people have Jobs and they are proud to do it is a solution for a greater threat like Famine. He knew threat of British rulers were more on him than his riyayah while in case of Famine it was opposite. He chose the people's way. Learn.
Dilemma was, though people from Royal and other noble families did want to work even physical but wanted to preserve what they believed was their honor. The honor they thought they achieved by learning, by producing literature, by administering and by protecting the state. It was not a socialist society and neither it was a time to change it to one, and the Nawab knew it. So he planned a novel method. He invested in construction projects building Imambaras places that are public in nature. There is no other feeling of goodness if you could use what you have built. While under the day light he asked laborers to construct walls and pave roads once a week under the Moon he let the members of the noble families destroy them. This cycle continued and he was doing it preserving the real map till the Famine was over and its citizens could get back on track with their lives. The buildings the Imambaras are still standing undestroyed, untouched, undetered and proud. It was a people's place that continued to wither out the test of time. Nawab was a great ruler and a great human being who was successful in addressing one of the biggest problem of that time with dignity, with honor and with the satisfaction of all affected.
The story has some startling resemblance with what we find today. We have mounting debts here in US, Jobs are difficult to create and find. Honor of people are affected and the education and experience is not always getting appropriately rewarded during the current hardships caused by the bad economy. We have a famine. While the President Obama is about to announce his plans around it, Nawab Asaf-Ud-Doulah is becoming relevant again. And we want to invest in something that could stand up right for centuries to come, proud.

Friday, September 02, 2011

इक और शेर

सोचा था सजा रक्खूं इक पत्थर सीने में उसकी याद में,
समय के साथ तब्दील हुआ वो पत्थर भी तेरी मज़ार में।
ढूंढ पाता नहीं अब वो भी उस याद की शम्मा लेकर,
दिखते हैं बस कुछ साए इन आईनों की बाज़ार में।