Wednesday, April 22, 2015

वो पल छू गया - Wo pal chu gaya

वो पल मुझे कुछ ऐसे छू गया
ज़िन्दगी को हसीं ग़ज़ल दे गया
ख़ुशी में डूबे लव्ज़ों के बीच
नशे से छलकते प्याले दे गया

गुनगुनाता रहा उन लव्ज़ों को मैं
इतनी शिद्दत से उनको दोहराते गया
अमास को जैसे आज बरसों के बाद
पूनम का रौशन सहारा मिल गया

=== Transliteration ===

wo pal mujhe kuch aise chu gaya
zindagi ko haseen ghazal de gaya
khushi mein doobe lavzon ke beech
nashe se chalakte pyaale de gaya

gungunata raha un lavzon ko main
itni shiddat se unko doharate gaya
amaas ko jaise aaj barson ke baad
poonam ka raushan sahara mil gaya

Thursday, April 16, 2015

The Accident

"You have no business
crossing the road like this,"
said the biker
injured in the accident.

said the injured dog.

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Kasturba - The Play

When VVS Laxman played the colossal innings of 281 to change the course of India Australia test series in 2001, Rahul Dravid made 180. When Sachin Tendulkar hit his then highest score of 186 against New Zealand in 1999, the wall had made 153. In 1996, when Saurav Ganguly made a century on debut, he was ably supported by debutante Dravid with a well made 95. In the 99 world cup, Dravid’s 153 were again overshadowed by Ganguly’s 183. The list just goes on. Behind some of the most phenomenal records made by Indian cricket superstars, there was a Dravid playing the second fiddle. Would these fairytale innings have been possible without Dravid essaying the role of an able support?

The question lends itself to be extended to another global personality that straddled Indian independence struggle. Yes, Mahatma Gandhi. I always wondered whether Gandhi would have been where he is without the support he received from his wife Kastur, more lovingly called Kasturba? While the answer to this question cannot be given in black and white, I came across something that threw probing light on this question and gave me some beautiful insight.

On 11th April 2015, I watched a Gujarati play titled “Kasturba”, which gave me a glimpse on the equation between Bapu and Ba. The play is written by Narayan Bhai Desai, the son of Mahadev Bhai Desai – the close aide and confidante of Bapu, which makes the author quite a close witness to the life of the protagonist, which in turn gives instant credence to the narration. It was ably directed by Aditi Desai and essayed with panache by some well known theatre actors (Abhinay Bankar as Gandhi and Kalpana Gagdekar as Kasturba) from Ahmedabad and commendably supported by an ensemble cast. The direction was slick, scenes short and to the point and transitions quick. Longer transitions were mostly interspersed with exposition (by a beautiful lady whose smile did not hurt) that linked the play with the famous events happening in the background.

On the flip side though, most of the scenes used wash light. Considering the wide stage at their disposal, an opportunity was lost for seamless transition through overlapping scenes with smart use of light for a greater impact.

The play takes us from Mohan and Kastur’s pre marriage playful acquaintance to the death of Kasturba. The story weaves itself around the early disagreements and arguments between the married couple and how they grow in confidence and respect for each other. There are subtle allusions to Gandhi’s sexuality and the staunchness with which he later took to celibacy. All the scenes are either a build up to or lead from the famous events without ever giving a glimpse of their public life. They range from well enacted anecdotal  and humourous to outright emotional and cathartic.

For a play titled ‘Kasturba’, however, there was a tad more of Gandhi than there was Kasturba, though I would have preferred the opposite with more scenes involving only Kasturba. But then you wonder whether Gandhi can ever be kept out of Kasturba’s life.

So to attempt to answer the first question: Would Gandhi have been the Bapu that we know if not for Kasturba? The play shares that there were moments when Gandhi took extreme steps that were absolutely unacceptable to Kasturba. He was firm and clear on what he wanted to do and so he would have perhaps done the same thing sans Kasturba who was never forced into following him but she followed him nevertheless when she saw or was acquiesced into seeing the larger purpose he was after. But there are so many elements to life that it is very difficult to determine what would’ve happened if what had happened had not happened. So it’s best to leave such a question answered in the subtle diplomacy of maybe.

Would India have won the series if Dravid would not have supported Laxman with his 180? Maybe, maybe not.

Friday, April 10, 2015