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Wednesday, November 27, 2013

स्याही या जूता

परसों किसी ने केजरीवाल पर स्याही (इंक) फेंक दी। अब तक जूते फेंकने की परम्परा रही है। स्याही फेंकना एक नए युग की शुरुआत है। 

वैसे देखें तो स्याही फेंकने के कई फायदे हैं जो जूते फेंकने में नहीं है। 

पहला तो यह कि स्याही सस्ती पड़ती है। बीस-तीस रुपयों में एक बोतल आ जाती है। जूते फेंकने में खर्च ज़्यादा आयेगा क्योंकि जब आपको पुलिस पकड़कर ले जा रही होगी तो आप फेंका हुआ जूता तो वापस माँगने नहीं जायेंगे। हाँ, अगर फेंकने के लिए एक एक्स्ट्रा जूता बैग में लेकर आयें तो अलग बात है। पर मामला फिर भी खर्चीला है।

दूसरी बात यह कि जूता फेंकने पर दाग नहीं पड़ता। स्याही फेंकने पर दाग कई दिनों तक रहता है। आपके हमले से हुए ज़ख्मों के निशान दुश्मन के शरीर पर लम्बे समय तक रहते हैं।

तीसरा यह कि स्याही फेंकने से शोहरत तो मिलती है पर कानूनी सज़ा मिलने के मौके कम हो जाते हैं। स्याही से शारीरिक चोट नहीं पहुँचती। इसलिए कोई वकील यह नहीं कह सकता कि आपका उद्देश्य चोट पहुँचाना था या जानलेवा था।

चौथा यह कि स्याही फेंकना ज़्यादा भारतीय है। इसमें होली वाला फलेवर आ जाता है। 

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Be Careful When You Give With A True Heart

Our elders say that if you give something with a true heart, it always comes back to you in some or other form.

Now I have the habit of putting grains and water on my terrace in summers so that birds could come and feed themselves. I have done it for a couple of years.

Recently I purchased a scooter to commute to office and other places. I park it opposite the lane near my house. Almost every morning when I reach the scooter, I find birds’ shit on its seat, mirror and other parts. It really pisses me off since my lovely morning starts not with a prayer but with cleaning somebody’s shit.

But I feel good about one thing. Our elders were correct. What I gave with a true heart is coming back to me in some or other form.

Thursday, August 01, 2013

Taj main bhi banaa sakta hoon, apne haathon pe bharosa hai

A few days back I learnt something about creating extraordinary things in life and art. The last weekend I had gone to meet a friend, Diwash. He loves cooking, and does have the simplest kitchen one can have. A few utensils, a few containers containing spices and a small gas cylinder with stove are the citizens of this room.

He cooked pulaav and a chicken dish for me. The chicken was finger-licking good. Another friend of mine asked about the ingredients Diwash had used to prepare the dish. He named two sauces and a few spices. That friend was surprised to see that such a delicious dish can be prepared with such basic ingredients.

Diwash replied, “Main zyada saamaan nahin khojta. Kitchen mein jo milta hai usei se kuchh banaane ki koshish karta hoon.” This line reminded me of three other people who practiced the same principle.

The first one was my art teacher at school, Sh Rajendra Prasad Gupta. I had gone to him to learn water colour painting. He is a renowned painter and sculptor whose majestic metal statues can be found in many cities of Jharkhand. I was not sure which art material I should use, so I asked him if I should use Student’s Water Colour or Artist’s Water Coulour. Artist’s Water Colour is higher in quality and price.

My teacher replied in his rustic Bihari accent, “Beta, saamaan ke peechhe mat bhaago. Jo haath mein aa jaaye, usi se kuchh banaa daalo. Agar haath mein koyla (coal) ho, aur saamne bhuiyaan (floor) ho toh usi par chitra banaao. Jab tum koyla se achchha banaaoge toh socho ki art material se kitna achchha banaa loge.”

The second one is Mr Ajit Ninan, the chief cartoonist at the Times of India. He is to me what Gulzar is to a lover of lyrics. When I decided to learn making cartoons in my college days, Mr Ninan was the first cartoonist whose work I studied. Last year I got an appointment with him, and went to meet him on a Sunday morning.

When I entered his cabin, I was expecting to see the latest Mac, easel, drawing boards, loads of art material and some ultra-modern designing gadgets. What I was an old desktop, an old scanner, a Wacom pen-tablet, and a quiet man. But the biggest surprise came when I requested him to show his sketches. Well, his sketches were not made on costly art papers. They were made on the backside of useless printouts we see scattered in our offices.  The cartoon masterpieces I had been seeing since my childhood were actually drawn on the most unworthy paper.

The third one is a man who had even fewer resources. Now he is known to many people, thanks to the TV show SATYAMEV JAYATE. When Dashrath Manjhi’s wife died due to the lack of medical treatment because the nearest town with a doctor was 70 kilometres away from their village in Bihar, he decided not to let any other person suffer the same fate as his wife. So he worked day and night for twenty-two years, and carved a 110 meter long path through a mountain. This path reduced the distance to the doctor from 55 km to 15 km.

He had the simplest tools and nobody to support him. He built a Taj for his wife without needing 20,000 artisans, tons of marbles and crores of rupees.

I had read a funny couplet years ago:
Aye Taj banaane waale, khud pe itna guroor mat kar
Taj main bhi banaa sakta hoon, par Mumtaz nahin hai.”

If Dashrath had to rewrite this couplet, he might have done it like this:
“Aye Taj banaane waale, khud pe itna guroor mat kar
Taj main bhi banaa sakta hoon, apne haathon pe bharosa hai.”

Well, now I would never be surprised if I see somebody creating something extraordinary with the most ordinary tools and resources. I guess the extraordinariness comes from within, not from outside.

 - Alok Ranjan