Saturday, October 23, 2010

A Ray Of Hope

She still waits beneath the Peepul to see his smile in the fading sunlight. In the silhouette of the tree, she often lays her feet and caresses the mud with her toes to feel the clay clusters on her barren skin. Its sprinkles kiss her, her barrenness, where he lingers like her sweat. His feel is most prominent upon her lips which have learnt the shiver of his touch. She keeps them untouched, allowing the rub of his thumbs to dwell over them and conceal gher grief with his press.

The silence of the house should have compressed her, making her smell only dust and vagueness. But in the play of pretence, she moulds him up with fiction where his pillow makes her sleep on it, his clothes begin to talk like him and the sound of his shoes trail through the unseen corners of the corridoor. She looks at his crumpled shirt, a pair of socks and a white handkerchief placed untidily on a motionless wooden chair. It seems as if they were placed in the same manner in which they were left behind when he left her. She picks up that frilled shirt and hugs it.In the grey contours of his shirt, she finds his droplets of sweat piled up and her soul blooms up with his scent.

A fortnight has passed since he had been buried in the nearby graveyard. She had seen his dead body. On that day, he appeared to her like a child pretending to sleep who could wake up any moment if the rain dropped on his eyes. But the rain didn't come as it did when their eyes had first met. Instead the skywore a subterfuge of calmness and made her wear one too. So for the first three-four days she suppressed her raw emotions. Next, she began losing her senses and later, when she learnt to put together reminiscence and make reality, she started becoming a sponge. A sponge which could suppress all feelings but release none.

She started a game of hide and seek to arouse him from his slumber of death. Reading those anniversary over and over again, intermittently listening to the sound of wind chimes and staring at the photo albums became the sole priority of her existence. She even cooked his favorite spaghetti on the sullen afternoons, watched the sports channels beside his sofa and prepared his bed at night. Within the pale contours of the house, she half consumed her own self and the other half of her consciousness became motionless like the window of their bedroom. Yet, she refused to free herself from the prison full of broken hinges, of creaky coverings whose key hung heavily over her heart. Neither did she lose it nor did she unbolt herself and saw to it that no one dared to throw it away from her. The impulse of preserving memories was deep rooted in her, ever since he had married her.

Evenings came and faded away slowly. Concentric shadows dimmed the ceilings and as they reached the floorings, murky patches developed which seemed to swallow the life of the house. The smell of ruin began to coalesce. Something, had to save it from dereliction. Someone had to save her from herself.

In the middle of the night as she lay down near his pillow, pretending sleep and peace, joy and contentment, an astral drop of dew fell upon her. She looked towards the open window. Slowly but certainly the sky was breaking its subterfuge. It was starting to rain.

A drop fell, then another and soon drizzle accompanied by a gust of wind opened her braids of hair. The steady moments of her body filled up with the noise of shifting sands, the gnawing of a rat and the murmur of raindrops. But no where was the smell of violets or the touch of blossom. Even the pillow didn't make her sleep on it, the clothes didn't talk like him and the faintest sound of footsteps could not be heard. She clasped onto her key tightly. The rain dropped heavily than before, She tried hard. The rain grew fiercer. The key fell down...

The drizzle fermented her grief and she cried without a single sigh in her breath. For, she had no more sighs left to her. Her weary hop of his arrival was a play she had been playing for long fourteen days in front of the mute observers of her house. Now the play was over and she had exhausted her fabricated dreams. She had no more script left to enact.

She spent all the hours of darkness sitting on the cold floor of their bedroom. The pain somehow made her feel a little alive than before. As she was beginning to gain some strength, dawn began breaking out and suddenly something struggled inside her.

She started trembling and placed her palm near her womb. How could she forget that he was still with her? She felt the implacable warmth of a familiar touch daunting her fortitude of existence and breathing the breath of her lost yesterdays. She was sure, it was him.

She opened the window wide, very wide and noticed a faint light. She felt a glint of love in her world after destiny burnt its roots. She felt her freezed blood surge inside her as she embraced him. The sun shone again, behind the peepul tree, spreading rays of a new smile, a new touch, a ray of hope...    

Kaustav B. Kashyap
B.A. (H) English
1st Year

Wednesday, October 20, 2010


I have come thine life,
To soothe and
To cherrish thy enthusiastic mood.
I blow the breeze that wrafts,
The paean of your merry victory,
To the manfolk who denies your glory.
and thus make thou bole,
Out of the melee of the dolt.
As the mood of melancholy descends,
Upon those who seeks my shelter,
As if i bind them with tether.
Why do they blame me?
For i am only a reaction,
They are the one who performed the action.
But above all,
I do carry positive vibes;
For the one who tries 
To recollect their slivered dreams
And rekindle into his boulevard of success.
You may say 'Let success reign;
for failure pains'.
But thou should remember
'I still remain the pillar of success.'
                       B.Sc. Phy(H)1st year

Thursday, October 14, 2010

What is a great book? Or How I learned to deal with Twilight.

For me it’s a book I just can’t put down… Sleep, food, (hygiene as a whole)are all forgotten as I feel compelled to turn page after page just to see what happens next. It is so well penned that you can paint a picture of things as they happen. It gives you that funny feeling of giddiness in your stomach. You identify with characters. You cry when they cry, you laugh when they laugh (cliché but apt). I go into a bookstore with the intent of buying something new, but everytime I go there I make a pilgrimage to the 12 book series by Robert Jordan (Akash & Manan are willing to testify) sometimes to read a favorite part mostly just to bring a smile to my face. Essentially that’s what a good book does it brings a big grin on your face when you remember the great time you had reading it. I look at my copy of the Half-Blood Prince and still remember how white knuckled I was when Snape killed Dumbledore (well if you didn’t know that by now, you must live under a rock). Sometimes you even find a book that lets you take away a little nugget of wisdom forever after (The Monk Who Sold His Ferrari, anyone?) which makes your life just a tad better. Mainly a great book is a window to happiness, a time to forget the world and get lost in a whole new one.
Good books just don’t pop out fully formed. There is a preliminary idea which must be slathered with well penned prose, a strong plotline and well sketched characters. (And this doesn’t happen over a summer in the
Hamptons like Castle wants to believe). Most authors, Tolkien, Rowling, Jordan, Brown take years thrashing out the details and penning their fantastic stories.
A great book innate in its goodness is similar to listening to a great symphony, or watching a canvas painted by a master, they are all things of beauty (thank you for that one, Mr. Keats).
But we have progressed a great deal since 19th century when Keats lived in. And phrases such as “beauty is in the eye of the beholder” have been invented and must be kept in mind. So, I guess, the last and most crucial component for making any book or song or movie great are us, the recipients. A lot depends on how we feel about a book in our hearts, minds and in our stomach (remember the giddiness I talked about?). It could just so happen that you pick that one dusty copy of a book which the critics have thrashed and people have ignored; and you go home, sit comfortably tucked in your bed and start reading it and soon find yourself under the author’s spell. And as you re-read the final line you find that the sun’s up and it’s a brand new day, the hours having passed by unnoticed as you read enraptured.
So what if that book’s sales were dismal and critics called the author a “nincompoop”? If you loved the book and if it gave you happiness then at least as far as you are concerned it was a thing of beauty and thus a great book; and there is no one who has any right to force you to see otherwise.
This I guess applies for my feud with Twilight. Twilight provides joy to millions of readers world wide (readers or should I just say females?). And if they like it and it brings them happiness, then for them it is a great book and who am I to say otherwise?

Makarand Mahajan
B.Com (H) 2nd year

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Voice Of The Undiscovered

People find it hard to digest that the state of Jharkhand can in itself be a huge diversity in art and archeology. For years, I have been observing people and lately, my friends sporting some authentic art pieces produced in their own states. The traditional 'gamacha' of Assam, Madhubani Paitings from Bihar, Shell works of coastal states etc. had left me with a question that would Jharkhand ever get a chance to produce its own art-form ever?

A sohrai painting

The art form was not technically produced rather it was revived. I'm talking about Sohrai and Kohvar paintings which are practiced hugely in villages deep in forest where a common pair eyes would fail to notice even a single colour. After a big struggle which lasted for more than five years, Hazaribagh has finally got a platform to showcase these art-forms to the world, The Urban Haat. Situated on the 'life line of Jharkhand' NH 31, the place offers many Hazaribagh based paintings, handicrafts, furnitures and other handloom materials. This initiative by the government of Jharkhand took a raher long time to show up but this in turn did two things- provided my answer and finally, made a way to those hardworking artists to earn some money to live and continue the tradition.

Sanskriti Museum

Recently, I had an opportunity to meet Mr. Bulu Imam. Mr. Imam is Convener,Hazaribagh chapter, INTACH, New Delhi and has published many books, journals and papers on the whole art-forms of Jharkhand. His little personal museum, Sanskriti is set in unadulterated nature plus, the whole area radiates the look of British grandeur. With little or rather almost no help from the administration and the state, Mr. Imam has managed to run the museum and popularize these art-forms in countries like Australia, Italy, Germany and other states of India. One can not help but notice the irony when I say 'other states of India' because the very reception of these arts in Urban Jharkhand is low and limited to the elite section of the society who can afford to purchase a single piece a Sohrai for a sum of 130 rupees. The high percentage of unprivileged section of the society makes it even harder for their reception. Another factor in this case is ignorant behaviour of the state government in this area. Mr. Imam doesn't forget to state a sad fact- the whole museum is run by his own pocket plus exhibitions where he showcases these paintings are also arranged and paid by him. A certificate of appreciation from Doordarshan is what he has got from the 'government'. But nevertheless, the old man feels happy if someone comes at his door to see his museum and that happiness is beyond anything. That smile and enthusiasm with which he explains about the cave paintings, sohrai, kohvar, rocks, megalithic sites shows a hint of success he has achieved in continuing his feat and justifying himself as a voice of the undiscovered.

Mr. Imam in his office

In coming days, I'll be visiting Isco, a site which harbours a rock art gallery and also when I'll return, I'd be visiting Sanskriti again in order to know more about the man himself plus to participate in this whole movement which he has initiated.

Mihir Vatsa
(Off. Mihir Kumar Jha)
B.A. (H) English 2nd year