Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy Beginning.


Another 31st of December. Its the end of a Year. The end of a Decade.
Its an End.

And

Another Beginning............


The heavens are gushing, been pouring generously to the starved earth.  The chill envelopes like the warm embrace of a lover. The calender draws to its last, and has no use left after today.
Today, that is going to be a yesterday, tomorrow.


 Irfan's Siddiqui's post that I am going to share in the following space is quite a dose of that sobriety that is such a characteristic of the 'bheega bheega sa december!' :)

For those unfamiliar with Urdu, the article could be best summarized by its one line: "December, Cold, and Rain make for a lethal triangle!"




Its a chilling evening with a steamy coffee, a burning fire, and some lovely music.
Its the last sunset of 2010.
And its the dark before the first sunrise of 2011 - the beginning of a new Year. The rise of a new Decade.

Its a Beginning.



A very Happy New Year :)


Thank you all for being there to be a part of the end and the Beginning.


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Chim Chim Cher-ee


It rained all night... The first showers of the season!

At half past seven in the morning, when it has just stopped raining and the sun hasn't yet shown any signs of taking a peek at the world, listening to the chirp of the excited birds puts me in wonder ...... What did I love more: the all night long whispers of the gentle showers, or the early morn echoing chirrups of the naughty feathers?

I guess, BOTH! :D


The dry spell is over, and the true face of the season is there to be hugged warmly.

Finally, Seasons greeting all! :)




I dont know if its for the melody of the tweets or the symphony of the rain, but as I typed the above lines this is what came down knocking at the mind from some quarters of memory ..... Enjoy :)




Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Neem Kush



Meer i sipah na-sazaa, Lashkaryaan shikastaa suff

Aah voh teer i neem kush, jis kaa na ho koi huduf




Commander beyond reproach, the soldiers disarrayed,
Woe the half-drawn arrow, that has nowhere to go!


Iqbal

Monday, December 27, 2010

No Metaphors Here...


It was a late December night when the chill was just beginning to set in a world where fall had been the year round season.
He sat in front of the fireplace and stared at the burning flame. The glow made his eyes hurt and he rubbed them every now and then as water filled due to the ache. 
No! Oh No! You got it all wrong! 
It was just the fire that was burning, it was only the embers that charred in the fireplace! 

So, he spent the entire evening silently in front of the fireplace oblivious of the Christmas cheers outside his place, but now as the night began to blossom like a youthful damsel, his silent surroundings began coming to life with the hushed sobs they secretly echoed.

He gazed at the crackling coals and the clustered flames brought with them a stark contrast to his vacant background.

He stared hard ......... and long .........

.... at the dull soft powdery ash, at the bright hard stoned embers....


 And as the night aged, he swung in between.




Sunday, December 26, 2010

Hairaan Hua


I so desired to translate the following verses, but the certainty of my limitation in maintaining the artistry of the verse of the Sachal Sarmast, while making any such attempts was too strong to not be acknowledged.

So on this cold December night, leaning back in your comfy zone let your steamy cup of coffee be accompanied by the warmth of the magic that Abida ji effortlessly weaves with her ever strong poise ....


Humain bhi Jalwagah e Naaz par lay kar chalo Musa
Tumhain ghush aa gaya tou Husn e Jaanaa kaun daikhay ga
Hairaan hua, hairaan hua, hairaan hua, hairaan hua
Is Husn pe main, hairaan hua 
Dil Kis pe mera nadaan hua


Ye zulf paRi kion meray galay ye pech-ha-pech aur maar siyaah
Rukh mujhse chhupaya kion Tu nay jab Tujh pe ye dil nadaan hua

Ye Ghamza-e-Naaz ki faujkashi ae Dilbar Teri khaas ada
Kya dil pe mere jadoo hai kiya kya tan-mann sab mastaan hua 

Mansoor ho ya Sarmad ho Sanam, ya Shamsulhaq Tabrezi ho
Is Teri gali mein ae Dilbar har ek ka sar qurbaan hua

Teray jalwa-e-husn se har aashiq, furqat mein jala karta hai Sanam
Is Zuhd-o- rayakaari se mera yak baar ye dil nadaan hua

Is ishq ka Teray hai dawaa miskeen Sachal ko mere Sanam
kya khoob Teri is ulfat mein miskeen se main sultaan hua





A remixed version of the same is also available




Saturday, December 25, 2010

A Christmas Gift


In keeping true to his tradition over the years, Paulo Coelho has been kind enough in sending again this year a story as a Christmas gift to many of his readers. I am not a Christian by faith, yet I find the story immensely inspiring and captivating; for its the basic human goodness that it talks about: the basic goodness that is simply Divine and Godly!


The Pine Tree of St. Martin

As the parish priest of a little village called St Martin in the French Pyrenees was getting ready to celebrate Mass one Christmas Eve, he began to smell a wonderful fragrance. It was winter, and the flowers had disappeared a long time before, yet there was the pleasant smell of springtime floating through the air.

Intrigued, he decided to go outside and look where the smell was coming from and across a young boy sitting in front of the school door. Next to him was a golden Christmas tree.

"What a beautiful tree!" said the vicar to the boy, "It seems to have touched the sky, and it gives off such a delightful scent! It's made of pure gold! Where did you find it?"

The young man looked up at the priest, seemingly unhappy with what had been said.

"Truth is, the longer it took me to carry this home, the harder the leaves got and the heavier it felt. But it can't be real gold, and I'm scared of what my parent's reaction will be."

The young man continued his story.

"This morning, my mother gave me money to go to the city of Tarbes to buy a Christmas tree. When I was going through the village, I saw a lonely old woman who had no family to spend Christmas dinner with. I was certain I would be able to get a good discount on a tree, so I gave her some of the money I had for her to buy herself some dinner. As I continued through the town, I passed by the prison and saw an enormous line of people waiting to go inside to visit their loved ones. I overheard some of them say they did not even have enough money to buy a slice of Christmas fruit cake. I was so moved by these young people waiting in line and I decided I would share some of my money with them too. I gave most of it to them, keeping just a small amount for myself to buy some lunch. The florist I was going to visit was a friend of the family and I was sure that if I promised to work all next week for him, that he would give me the Christmas tree for free. When I reached the market, though, I found out that the florist I knew did not go to work that day. I tried as hard as I could to find someone who would lend me the money I needed to buy the Christmas tree somewhere else, but it was all in vain. Frustrated, I decided that having some lunch would help me clear my head and I walked over to the restaurant counter. As I approached the bar, a foreign-looking little boy asked me if I could spare some change because he hadn't eaten in two days. I remembered that at one time even Jesus may have gone hungry, and I handed over the little money I had left and began returning home. On my walk back, I broke off a brand from a pine tree and tried to decorate it as well as I could, since I didn't get the Christmas tree I was supposed to get. But as I continued to walk it just kept getting heavier and heavier and turning into metal, and it's far from being the Christmas tree that my mother is expecting me to come home with.

"My dear boy", said the priest, "the perfume that is emanating from this tree leaves no doubt whatsoever that it has been touched by heaven. Let me tell you the rest of its story."

The priest sat down next to the boy and continued, "As soon as you walked away from that lonely woman, she immediately asked the Virgin Mary, a mother like herself, to give you an unexpected blessing. The parents of the prisoners were convinced that they had come across an angel, and said prayers of thanks for the Christmas cakes they were now able to buy. The boy you met at the restaurant gave thanks to god for satiating his hunger. The Virgin, angels and Jesus heard the prayers of those who had been helped and when you broke off the brand from the pine tree, the Virgin bathed it in perfume. As you continued to walk, the angels touched the leaves and they turned to gold. Finally, when everything was complete Jesus looked upon the work and blessed. From now on, whoever touches this tree will have their sins forgiven and their wishes fulfilled."

The legend goes that the sacred pine tree is still there in St. Martin, and that its force is so great that all who help their brothers on Christmas Eve, however far they may be from the little village in the Pyrenees, are blessed by it.

(Inspired by a Hassidic tale)




Scent of Silence


Somethings are simply timeless .....


Silence

There is a silence where hath been no sound,
There is a silence where no sound may be,
In the cold grave—under the deep, deep sea,
Or in wide desert where no life is found,
Which hath been mute, and still must sleep profound;
No voice is hush’d—no life treads silently,
But clouds and cloudy shadows wander free,
That never spoke, over the idle ground:
But in green ruins, in the desolate walls
Of antique palaces, where Man hath been,
Though the dun fox or wild hyæna calls,
And owls, that flit continually between,
Shriek to the echo, and the low winds moan—
There the true Silence is, self-conscious and alone. 

Thomas Hood


Thursday, December 23, 2010

Some Random Blabbering




  • A Journey From Strangers To Strangers

Life moves in a spiral. We come across a few strangers. We get into the process of layering off ...... them or our own selves through them, remains a debate. We think, we know. We turn from drifters to acquaintances. From foreigners to locals...... until in that special native land we think we meet a friend to hit the central core... and discover some perfect stranger!



  • On another note, just by the way, couldn't help swaying to the bits of the song from the Beverley Hills Chihuahua, I just saw....

Soorat Na Parastam Mann





Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Scars Make The Badges A Warrior Wears Proudly


With the year drawing to a close, many of us are indulging in some rather introspective moments. This December marking the end of the first decade of the mellinium, becomes all the more important when one looks at things as regards the road taken by the dreams and ambitions and where did it lead one to.
The following post at the Paulo Coelho blog seemed quite relevant.


“I saw only a tunnel, with a man pointing a gun at me and telling me to get out of the car.”

I saw a tunnel too, except this one led to a hotel in Rio de Janeiro, the Glória Hotel. I looked at that hotel, expected the worse and thought to myself: “it’s not fair, I’m only 26 years old!” Fair or not, in the early morning of 27 May 1974 I stood before death and could not see what was happening beside me. Just the tunnel and the hotel. But my story does not matter, it serves only to say that I understand perfectly well what Sorin is telling me in a bar lost in the middle of the Carpatian Mountains.

Sorin Miscoci’s Calvary began on 28 March 2005, near Baghdad. He had been designated to spend a week there at the request of a Rumanian TV station and ended up being kidnapped for 55 days.
“Later on, when they freed me, the American security agents asked me how many people were there. And I told them: one. They laughed and said that just wasn’t possible. It was the psychologist who helped me, explaining that in situations like this, nothing in the surroundings has any importance. All you see is the focus of the crisis, what is threatening you, and you simply forget the rest.

Sorin has just got married to Andrea, who strokes his hand. We have been traveling together for three days and we will continue for another week. Cristina Topescu, an old friend who worked as a journalist in the same TV as Sorin, says that when the time came to mobilize the country, few colleagues came forward to speak to the President of the Republic, for fear of losing their jobs.

“I asked God for only one thing: to die with a bullet in the heart. I had already seen videos of prisoners being decapitated; I asked, begged to be shot,” adds Sorin.
Andrea gives him a kiss. He smiles, asks if I want to stay in that restaurant or if we should go to the only karaoke in Sibiu. I prefer to interrupt the conversation at that point – it was better to go and sing together.

On the way to the discotheque, I think about the black tunnel: without wanting to romanticize a dramatic situation, I fell that this happens to everyone. When we are faced with something that really threatens us, it is impossible to look around, although this is the correct and safer procedure. We can’t see clearly, use logic, gather information that can help us and those who try to get us out of that situation.

We reach the karaoke, drink some more, sing Elvis, Madonna and Ray Charles. Ours is an interesting group: Lacrima, who was abandoned by her mother when she was only two months old. Leonardo, who has just got over a depression that lasted two years. Cristina Topescu, who recently overcame difficult moments. Sorin and his 55 days in captivity, and Andrea, who almost lost the person she loved. And me, with scars all over my body and soul.

And even so we drank, sang and celebrated life. To have friends like these gives me more than hope, it makes me understand that the true survivors will never be victims to their torturers, because they manage to keep alive the most important thing in human beings: joy.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

"...... O our Sustainer! Shower us with patience in adversity, and make us die as men who have surrendered themselves unto Thee!"



Al-Quran 7:126

Labeling Posts: Sufi Poetry



AMEER MINAEE


ALLAMA IQBAL

AMEER KHUSRO

BULLEH SHAH

HAFIZ SHIRAZI


KHWAJA GHULAM FARID

MAULANA JAMI

This Year's Love


Its always interesting when we get to meet our own selves through the maze of perceptions and impressions that keep shrouding our personal vision of ourselves.

Such chance encounters must not go without prompting one to ask, does the perception mirror the actual? Does it make one want to fall in love, or want to be fallen in love with?

There is a world of difference in between.   

Though somethings are just so not a yearly affair, yet keeping in mind the spirit of December, and some journeying through a couple of milestones in time, it adds some more charm to the song (of course, in addition to it being by Katie Melua!).




Saturday, December 18, 2010

Rediscovering Zenith



Ever since my son has shown signs of going independent with his art sense, I am enjoying my journey as a spectator of a world I had since long forgotten existed!  


It is pure fun to see him go about so common (read boring) things in such uncommon (read interesting) way. It is he who told me that 5 is inverted 2, and it is S that wears a belt to look 8. 
It is my little boy who pointed out to me that the bird he drew had two big circles under its head, since it was flying and had extended feathers (and he had drawn a top view of it). He also had to take the pain of explaining to his simpleton mum that the bird didnt have any legs because "its flying! you cant see its legs!!!!"

Like anyother boy his age on this planet, cars make his favourite muse. The interesting thing, however, is that the most important feature of his car drawings are windscreen wipers. Moving windscreen wipers. The second most important bit are indicators. Blinking indicators. Needless to say the poor 2D car gets quite a rough hand in all that moving and blinking :)


In the image above that he drew just today, the two vertical lines in front of both the cars are the revered wipers, that he drew at a distance since today they were moving "a lot!" and perhaps had moved out of the car due the movement. The black U-shape with white rectangles on sides, in the middle of the both the cars is his view of the zebra crossing.




After we were done, I surfed through the web going through images that kids his age draw, and tried to imagine the extent of creative thoughts budding in those unadulterated minds, uncompromised understandings. It was so refreshing. So energizing. Seeing little people who could see and make things the way they think them to be, pure creativity. Absolute creativity!


Talking of refreshing, let me share the little chuckle that I had when his art teacher complained a little while back, "He just wouldn't listen" she said. "He always draws the sky at the ground level. He says thats where he stands!"    :))



Friday, December 17, 2010

Journeying Through Gems



For a little while now I have been skimming across Paul Graham's site and the gems he has collected over there along with his essays make for a sumptuous treat.

"The less confident you are, the more serious you have to act."
- Tara Ploughman


"The greatest dangers to liberty lurk in insidious encroachment by men of zeal, well-meaning but without understanding."
- Brandeis


"The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."
- Yeats, The Second Coming


"We act as though comfort and luxury were the chief requirements of life, when all that we need to make us happy is something to be enthusiastic about."
- Einstein


"We're even wrong about which mistakes we're making."
- Carl Winfeld


"Keep away from people who try to belittle your ambitions. Small people always do that, but the really great make you feel that you, too, can become great."
- Mark Twain

The two essays that I especially enjoyed:


and


Sometimes it just gets pertinent to step back a little and look at things with a different lens to get a whole new, and may be, a better view!














Doing Different to Achieve Different!

I wont compartmentalize the qualities as "feminine", yet I absolutely adore the approach!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Ja-ba-ja

A heart warming start to a lovely cold December night!


Sleep well folks!





Lyrics: Hazarat Shah Niaz
Vocalist: Abida Parveen

manum-maa nayaz-mandi ke be to nayyaazdaara
I am needful person, who needs you

gham-e-choon to naaz-nini behzaar naaz-dara
I will take for granted very dearly the sorrow of a beloved like you

tuu-e- afataab, chashman wa jamaal tust roshan
You are the sun; my eye is alight with your beauty

agar ast-o-baazgeeram be ke chashm e aaz-daaram
if I give up you , to whom I'll go


yaar ko humne ja-ba-ja dekha
kahin zahir kahin chhupa dekha
kahin mumkin hoa kahin wajib
kahin fani kahin baqa dekha
yaar ko humne ja-ba-ja dekha
kahin zahir kahin chupa dekha

kahien woh baadshaah-e-takht nasheen
kahin kaasa liye gadaa dekha
yaar ko humne ja-ba-ja dekha
kahin zahir kahin chupa dekha
kahin wo der libaas-e-mashokan
bar-sare naaz aur aada dekha
kahin zahir jahin chupa dekha
yaar ko humne ja-ba-ja dekha

kahin aashiq niyaz ki soorat
seena Girya-o-dil jala dekha
yaar ko humne ja-ba-ja dekha
kahin zahir kahin chupa dekha
yaar ko humne ja-ba-ja dekha


Post Courtesy: Lyrics and Translation by tauseefqau



Pilgrimage


Yesterday, while driving out of the city during the early hours of the day, little did I know what poetic pleasure I was going to experience in that factory out there! :)
Despite the same heavy traffic and the smog and smoke shrouding even the city outskirts being there on my way back as well, the drive back seemed like a ballet over some softly rippling water currents; thanks to that poem I read in an absolutely unexpected place, which perhaps added quite a lot to its charm! 



I was walking to the rhythm of a song that wouldn't come
When a small girl with a water pot passed by me and smiled
Her abatement was rhythmic and regal was her stance
Delighting all who chanced to glimpse her single minded glance
So, I lost myself completely in a wondrous timeless trance
Making space like a dancer for the Lord of the Dance
And this rhythm so delightful is of mystic time and space
The ancient revelation that the dance itself is Grace
So, I sing for the Dancer in the center that must spin
Until the flower opens for the pilgrim to come in.

Joclyn Ott.