Monday, 14 August 2017

Memories of a life: Fireworks!

It is hard to believe that twenty years have passed since that beautiful evening which makes one of my richest memories. It is also hard to believe that I have changed so much from my almost-ten-year-old version.
It was the evening of 15th Aug 1997- India was celebrating 50 years of Independence- Golden Jubilee of Freedom for the Golden Bird. Port Blair, my little hometown, far away from the hustle and bustle of mainland India, was very different from what it is today. There were fewer people, fewer buildings, fewer shops, fewer cars, and a lot more rain. I remember being torn between watching “Gandhi” on television and watching celebratory fireworks by the Defence near the seafront. After much prodding by my mother, I chose the latter. Wearing a pretty peach frock I rode behind my Abbu on his old scooter, the two minute distance to the ‘Hospital Road’- from where we could see a snapshot of my whole world… well, at least my most favourite spots in this world. To our right we could see Aberdeen Bazaar commencing and just round the corner from there is my home. To our front was Gymkhana ground. To our left- our beautiful Andaman Sea with the Ross floating on it- as our friend, our neighbour, and as were to realize after the 2004 Tsunami, also our guardian.
That night, as on all important nights, Ross was splendidly decked with lights. Naval ships too lit up the dark sea with their decorative lights. Soon the sun would set, there’d be a black out- and in the pitch darkness would begin the fireworks for which I was waiting impatiently.
Pumped up with patriotism, we were soon staring wide eyed at the night sky adorned with flickering lights of all colours, in all shapes, making patterns from this world and beyond. If this man made beauty was falling short in any way, divinity intervened and blessed us with a rain that drenched us to the bone. And that- THAT vision of fireworks rising up to meet the night sky and the night sky pouring down its love as rain to  meet us on the ground, as man and nature joined hands to celebrate “India”- remains one of my most vivid, most spectacular and most favourite memories. Few things can compare to what I felt then- there on the road to the Hospital, with my Abbu, next to his old scooter, soaked in skin-ripping rain.
Both India and I have changed so much in the past 20 years. I have gone through both enchantment as well as disenchantment with Nationalism- India too should have, by now… I hope!
What remains is a memory of celebrating freedom- beautiful, plain, simple ‘Freedom’ in the very land where some forefather, long long ago, had lost his.

That pride, that happiness, that love- how I miss it! How terribly I miss it!

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Nights such as these...



Sometimes,
On nights such as these,
When the heart is as careworn
As it is carefree,
I sit down to think
Of you.

 I then
Let my mind run free,
While it delves into demons
That recklessly build
A life that is not
With you.

 Who would
Ever, So love me,
Guide the rest of my life and
Be able to fill
The holes left gaping
By you.

 I would
Trade my soul with it
That would carry me to you,
And seal up my being
Until forever
In you.

 None know
What soulmates we’ve been.
No death could part us, And in
All new lives we’ll live
Am always coming
To you.

 Sometimes,
On nights such as these……  

~Almas Kiran Shamim

Monday, 27 March 2017

Taliban



An iconic picture this one is…. Has always reminded us of how dangerous extremism could be. How perfectly normal lives could turn upside down, without their choice, without their consent. At some point, this picture must have made quite a many atheists- what with a so-assumed ‘SkyGod’ demanding control over women’s bodies, attire, whole lives! Unfortunately for them, as it stands today, there appears no requirement of such a role- that of a SkyGod- for History to repeat and for the same situation to occur elsewhere, all in the name of an international border- as man-made as this laptop on which I am typing my head out.  

It is saddening to see the same picture which only years ago represented the nostalgia of a war-torn-brought-down-to-shambles neighbour, now be used to represent the India of today, used to represent, in an ever so subtle way, our future.

I remember, as a school kid, I maintained a notebook where I noted down new words and phrases that I read- their meanings- and sometimes also sentences, showing the usage of the words. I also remember learning the meaning of ‘Impending Doom’ and noting it down in my notebook.
This picture, today, ceases to speak a tale of Afghan misery…. It now reeks of India’s ‘impending doom’.

Meanwhile, I ate Chicken Manchurian today.

Considering India’s current situation, who needs to go all the way to Spain? A trip to Kerala and a sumptuous dose of porotta and beef curry should be daring enough!! Taste it while it lasts...

Now, am a veggie lover all the way, but given that India is anyway going down the Afghan path (of Talibanization), we never know kya kya band ho jaaye. Kal thha beef, aaj hai buffalo aur kal kya hoga...chicken?? Andaaaa???? Pura mulk Saravana Bhavan??

Isliye, Happy Chicken Manchurian for today.....


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Dooriyan



दूरियाँ

दूरी- ना जाने कितने रूप, कितने रंग में ये आती है
कभी अपने होने से , और कभी ना होने से, क्या दर्द ये दे जाती है...

ना मांगी थी वह दूरी जो पैदाइश के तोहफे में मिली
माँ का साया छूटा, यतीमी के बाहों में पली।
सात समुन्दर पार जो ससुराल बना मेरा,
रहे कुचे अपनों का भी साथ छूटा मेरा ।

और एक मैं हूँ जिसने अपने अब्बा को देखा तक नहीं
टूट के चाहा जिस माँ को, बिछड़ गयी वो ज़िन्दगी में कहीं।
धीरे धीरे कर भाई बेहेन भी छोड़ गए,
रंजिश ऐसी पड़ी के दिल के सुकून, सितमगर हो गए ।

इन दूरियों में उलझे ही बीत गयी पूरी हयात
अपनों को कर पराये, परायों से हुए हमनवाज़।
कुछ से मिली ख़ुशी तोह ज़्यादा दे गए ग़म
वक़्त और फास्लो की दूरियों में अकेले रह गए हम ।

चाँद तारे हमारे अब पिघलने लगे हैं
आखरी मोड़ पर खड़े अलविदा कहने लगे हैं,
मौत से लाई दूरियां हर दिल चाहे मिट जाएँ
ज़िंदा दिलों की दूरियों को कौन मिटाये? कौन मिटाये? 


~अलमास किरन शमीम 

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