Autumn Diaries- IV: October Scenes from Rural India.

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I took this photo on my way to a village. I tried to capture this moment in my camera as the bike raced through the darkening rice fields. As I sat cross-legged on the motorcycle with a light back-pack and a light heart, I saw the unending autumn fields bidding goodbye to the setting sun and i loved it. Yes, I love this nomadic life that takes me from big cities of towering skyscrapers to remote villages where life still goes on without electricity, from cities where thousands of human heads rush past me on their daily commute, to lands where mountains, sea waves and tall trees are the only dwellers.

Yes, I have just returned from a trip to some nearby villages. Would you like to know how autumn makes its first impressions on village fields and farmlands? I am posting here  a few pics :

I asked a girl to accompany me to the rice fields in the morning. I loved that meandering narrow village path and the expanse of the dewy green on which the morning sun seemed to have thrown a glowing transparent sheet of gold.

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Yes, there – under those trees – in a small village hut, I passed a beautiful starlit night. I woke up in the dead of the night to find a firefly twinkling like a star inside my mosquito net . . . 

While returning from a walk around the fields in the morning, I captured this typical domestic scene of rural India: Continue reading

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Autumn Diaries – II: Memories of an Autumn Afternoon

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That last old solitary rock that sits since ages on that rough mountain-edge, under the dancing shade of the old trees of wild Saal, yes, I stood there once – one magical, golden, lazy autumn afternoon – years back, watching the immensity, the unspeakable eternity of quietness that rose from the deep, uninhabited, silent vale below, I stood there once, hearing the sad autumnal music of the wild gusts of the wind in the deep, murmuring, shady woods around. I post here a photo of that spot:New Image.jpg00That moment – that eternity – still lives in me, and with it lives that golden autumn afternoon. I still remember the sadness, the feeling of loss, the pain that had been weighing heavy upon my heart, as I stood hearing the wind that played with my hair as I watched that that dim, deserted, mysterious temple on a far faraway hill top – the only memento in those uninhabited forests, of a human journey made to that rough height. Someone heartbroken, or someone in quest of life, some kind of hermit, seeking to know the mysteries of life, must have made it his abode, faraway from the human world. And then, one day, he must have breathed his last and left his body to cultivate those Saal trees over there that seemed to tell the wind many a tales in those restful, hushed, unhurried hours of autumn afternoon . . . Continue reading

Monsoon still sings old Kajris and magical Malhars in these parts of India . . .

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One morning, I left the busy city-roads and took a quiet country road that went meandering through unending green rice fields. The morning was dark and green and mysterious. It was raining and my journey  seemed a journey to another world where everything is beautiful and otherworldly, to a world where there is no pain, no loneliness, to a world unsoiled by the dirty hands of these ugly times.

2014-08-03 10.54.27These trees are dreaming . . . of blossoms and birds and bees and the season when fruits ripen and little children gather to collect them . . .

And . . . monsoon arrives: Pages from my Delhi Diary – II

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Today, the sky lay glaring, angry, ferocious since the morning as the angry gusts of burning wind did not spare the morning hours even. Water-laden caravan of dark clouds that put up their brown and black canopy screening the sun, and sing the most uplifting malhars on their sarod seemed too far away. Suddenly, without any notice, the sky turned grey in the noon, clouds rolled up threatening the sun, and showers and cool breeze worked up a real magic. And . . . what a welcome relief! relief from months of unending heat.Image

I am once again in Delhi. And this time it is not spring but summer and that too at its peak – 47 degrees of temperature, unbearable heat from which even nights fail to give any respite and scorching gusts of ‘luu’. It is the month of ‘Jyeshtha’ – the last month of summer in Indian calendar. Monsoon predictions have become front-page news. The patience of even the hardy trees seems exhausted. I found the leaves of a grand bargad tree wilting in the morning today for want of water. Each day of my stay reminded me that It was actually the real time for summer vacation, homely pleasures, for indoor delights.

Wash the floor, take a long shower, then wear the most faded worn out cotton that you have, have light vegetarian meal in the early hours of the morning, and . . . ? Yes! read, write, paint, listen to music, watch movies, or pick up craft, embroidery or sewing in the long hours of the noon – this is the ideal time for all indoor pursuits. But sadly enough, the ‘New’ Delhi has long forgotten the dream of such vacations. Go anywhere in Delhi and you will find on the hottest of days streets and roads and shabby workplaces and workshops teeming with people who are never on vacation. They are village men, the breadwinners of their hard-pressed families. They have moved to big cities to sell the only commodity they have – their labor. Their purchasers hire these human ‘machines’ for a day or a period of time and abandon the worn-out thing without any scruples late in the evening after sucking out all that it is capable of giving. . . Beloved sons of hard-working mothers who work hard digging and reaping and sowing year after year on the land to feed their loved ones–– look at these unfortunate sons as they sit in the labor markets in the morning, thousands of kilometers away from their homes, like fishes in a fish market, waiting to be sold so that they win two square meals at the end of the day for their starving family or may be for sending something back home to their old mother for treatment. Continue reading

Memories of a Spring morning in Delhi

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I recall the last spring. I was in Delhi at that time. And Delhi is awesome in spring. Few, I know have eyes to see that. Beyond the sky-soaring skyscrapers of this godless city that stands today on piles of dirty money and innocent human blood there is something that still stands beyond the reach of soiled hands of this national capital of crimes, consumerism, and what I call, cannibalism. Delhi is, believe me friends, an impious city, a dehumanizing city that devours all goodness, a city more horrific today than your worst dreams. But at the heart of this heartless city still lives untouched an unapproachable spirit that is too strong, too old, too big for the modern marauding tribes of profiteers and criminals to plunder and mutilate. The story of Delhi is a tragic story of deception; it is a plundered city that had once hosted the elegance of Galib and Meer.

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It was a long and beautiful spring morning. As I sat in the open cafeteria of a Girls’ college sipping my coffee, I observed keenly the language and grammar of a new and uprooted generation that seemed so alien to the soul of what was once ‘Delhi’. No wonder, my notebook and pen beckoned me over to say something. It is a delight to look back and recall the wind-swept (or should I say “spring-swept”) streams of thoughts that had kept me busy as I watched that fine gusty spring morning turn into a lazy afternoon:

6th April ’13, 11.03 a.m.,

—————- College,

New Delhi.

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It is again spring in Delhi – deep, blue, and breezy – serenading newborn leaves that jingle with daylong carefree laughter.  I am sitting in the College canteen under shady trees and watching the ripening sun play hide and seek with sun-yellow leaves and . . . I am happy – full of dreams, full of life, full of sunny happiness, inside which glassy peace lies outstretched like a quiet river that sometimes on a summer afternoon seems to lie dozing softly under big old shady Bunyan trees. I visited Gandhi Ashram yesterday and liked the noble concept of plain living, high thinking, and dignity of human labor. On my way back, I looked intently at what was simply dazzling in its grandeur . . . and it is a treat to watch that – it is spring everywhere – and look at me – new ideas, new dreams, new visions and thoughts are burgeoning inside me. I am full – full of life; ready to embrace life that is beckoning me. I am shedding one by one all my past inhibitions and fears and gathering strength to accept it. To work hard, to live for others, to stand against the rising tide of lies and injustice – how compelling have always been these ideas and yet so difficult and inaccessible in reality. But today the road lies long, uneven, meandering and entreating right in front of me. Am I ready?

Yes, I am all set – set for a long and determined fight against myself. I am going to destroy myself to create the new human – the human of tomorrow. I am going to live to the fullest and no one can stop me – not even me.Image

 

About

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Life without principles is unacceptable to me. i have an indomitable rebellious soul that never submits to defeats. I have learnt to keep my head high and bow down only before truth and beauty. I am a person with unending thirst for knowledge and beauty and goodness. these are dark and gloomy and insane times but I have decided not to submit before the dehumanising compulsions placed by time. I want to make my little contribution to life and my world to which I owe so much before I am lost in the oblivion of time.