Sunday, May 31, 2015

२००२ में

- इतने सालों बाद -  स्विट्जरलैंड
संयुक्त राष्ट्र (U.N.) में शामिल हुआ,
और २००२ में क्वीन एलिज़ाबेथ - उस
बूढी बिल्ली ने ब्रिटेन के सिंघासन पर
पचास साल पूरे किये, और २००२ में ही
वेनेज़वुएला के राष्ट्रपति - ह्यूगो चावेज़ -
के खिलाफ, तख्तापलटी असफल रही,
मतलब कुल मिला कर साल में बुरे दिन
भी थे, और कुछ अच्छे दिन भी। लेकिन
और भी था, २००२ में डैनियल पर्ल की
हत्या हुई, और इज़राइल ने बेथलेहम में
एक चर्च को बम से उड़ा डाला, लेकिन
भारत में २००२ में कुछ ख़ास तो नहीं
हुआ, हाँ बस इसके सिवाय की उस साल
धीरूभाई अम्बानी जी चल बसे - भगवान
उनकी आत्मा को शान्ति दे - इसके आलावा
तो साल २००२ काफी शान्तिमय ही रहा   

भई, हिन्दू लोग कभी बीफ नहीं खाते थे*

* सिवाय, बस
चर्मकार (cobblers) खाते थे,
और भट्टा (soldiers) खाते थे,
और नट (actors) खाते थे,    
और दास और मेद और व्रत और भील खाते थे,
सब के सब गौ-मांस देख मुस्काते थे
और इन जैसे और भी हैं   
जो बीफ के नाम पर लार टपकाते थे --
-- वो थे वेदों के भगवान
देखो, इंद्र देव को बैल का मांस बड़ा पसंद था 
और अग्नि देव को सांड भी पसंद था, और गाय भी, 
और वेद और स्मृतियाँ तो यहाँ तक भी बताते हैं 
की किस भगवान के सामने किस किस्म की गाय के
बलिदान दिए जाते हैं --
जैसे, विष्णु जी के लिए एक बौने बैल का, खच्च,  
इंद्र देव के लिए एक बड़े सींग वाले बैल का, खच्च,
और पूषन भगवान के लिए काली गाय का, खच्च,     
तो जब भी भगवानों का मूड होता था 
गाय सबका फ़ूड होता था,
और चुपके-चुपके तो अभी भी,
जब भी संघी बीफ खाते हैं 
खाते-खाते तो वो यही खैर मनाते हैं   
की उनके पूज्य स्वामी विवेकानंदा 
- करो न करो बिलीफ - को बड़ा पसंद था 
बाइसेप्स और भगवद के अलावा

(बी.आर. अम्बेडकर और राम पुनियानी को शुक्रिया)

भारत रत्न पाने के लिए पांच आसान तरीके

पहला: सड़ेली कवितायेँ लिखिए,
दूसरा: खासकर कश्मीर पर,
तीसरा: कोई बड़ी, ऐतिहासिक मस्जिद मिले, तो उसे ढह दीजिये, 

चौथा: फिर ये जरूर सुनिश्चित करिये की आपके बाद
        आपसे कोई इतना बदतर आये, की लोग तुलना करें तो
        यही कहें कि नहीं यार, वो तो 'मॉडरेट' था
और पांचवा: देश भर में आग लगाएं, फिर ग्रेसफ़ुली रिटायर हो जाएँ

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

When kids shout or run about the cinema-hall,

or cry, or squeal, or vomit, or have a brawl, or
ask to go home, or talk in between (the gall!)
I just blame heterosexuals, I blame them all.

Monday, May 25, 2015

एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी - विजय नम्बिसन

tr. from Vijay Nambisan's 'Elizabeth Oomanchery' (in First Infinities; Poetrywala: 2015)

एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी,
मशहूर कवयित्री,
ब्रेड खरीदने कोने-वाली दूकान पर गयीं।
दुकानदार बोला, "एक्सक्यूज़ मी,
"आप तो एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी हैं ना,
"वो मशहूर कवयित्री?"
तो एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी घर लौट गयीं।

एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी
एक शाम अपनी डेस्क पर
कविता लिखने बैठीं
कविता ने पूछा, "एक्सक्यूज़ मी,
"आप तो एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी हैं ना,
"वो मशहूर कवयित्री?"  

एलिज़ाबेथ उम्मेनचेरी
ने कहा "हाँ,"
तो कविता घर लौट गयी। 

Vijay Nambisan

Sunday, May 24, 2015


tr. from Gorakh Pandey's 'Danga - 3'

This time there were massive riots.
There were heavy rains
of blood.
The coming year
will yield a good crop
of votes.

Gorakh Pandey

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Don't go today, don't say you will

tr. from Fayyaz Hashmi's 'Aaj jaane ki zidd na karo'

Don't go today, don't say you will,
just sit here by me, or I will
die - I'll shiver and sigh,
if you say such things still -
don't go today, don't say you will.

Why won't I stop you, don't you know
I burn to ash when you start to go,
swear on your life that today
you'll let me have my way - won't you,
still? - don't go today, don't say you will.

All our lives are hostage to time,
except for this moment or two,
would you lose them, then
forever think but regret still -
don't go today, don't say you will.

Here the world's innocent, all colour,
and love and beauty reach the skies,
who knows what tomorrow will bring,
so will you cling to this night, and keep
it still - don't go today, don't say you will.

Fayyaz Hashmi

Saturday, May 16, 2015

His suit buttoned, his hair brushed,

eyes nervous but smile, damn elfy -
right before he goes on stage, Modi
looks at the mirror, seeing himselfie.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

जब तक तुम

प्यार की सच्ची कसम खाओगी,
शरमाओगी, इतराओगी,
और वो भी अपना प्यार जताएगा,
कसमें खाएगा, खिलाएगा,
तब तक जान लेना मैडम (ये सबका फेट रहा है)
तुम में से कोई एक लपेट रहा है

tr. from Dorothy Parker's 'Unfortunate Coincidence'

Dorothy Parker

Monday, May 11, 2015

Mr. Mishra cannot shit

without his morning newspaper
& until all the articles are read 
& rated, a good big shit remains 
awaited, and today's a particular 
problem - Mr. Mishra's travelling 
on a train and is constipated. He 
is cursing spicy food and all the 
headlines, as a small, stony pellet
drops slowly - the pain is unholy! -
first at the New Delhi railway station, 
& despite his cursing & frustration 
the next one takes all the way till 
Tilak Bridge (the news gets no better,
just columnists' idle chatter) till one 
last long, painful pebble comes out 
of him at Anand Vihar and drops 
down on the train tracks, and Mr. 
Mishra almost shouts, as the pain 
wracks him, he promises his cook, 
his work, his world some serious 
avenging, reading the last headline: 
"In reply to the petitioner's PIL, the 
Indian railways ministry denies the 
presence of manual scavenging."

Sunday, May 10, 2015


tr. from Suchi Kushwah's 'Tum'
for Rituparna Borah
the four walls of our room
and the silence of the forest

the unbroken tune of crickets
& the silver tide of heartbeats

at this time who would talk
on our village-streets just this

shivering of the moon just
this movin' hand of the clock

and on that small mud road I
can hear even when someone's

going quietly here our bedsheet's
folding and you're turning lightly

on the pillow your hair lie a
little confused & the ring on

your nose is still shining and
even though your eyelids say

you're asleep your eyes are lost
& pining and even though I don't

know what dreams you're seeing
they break your sleep again and

again you might be dreaming the
moon that was peeking through

the evening branches just to see
you you know 'coz you're maddening

to look at and see this damn book
at your side that has fought me the

whole night and when I picked
it up and kept it aside the jealous

pages still fluttered even as I
muttered in your ears nightly

"the four walls of the room
and the silence of the forest."
Suchi Kushwah

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Here, even the clouds are

so stingy when they rain,
and with each drop, I'm
spent, slowly, in thrift,
but, for you, I've borrowed
some clouds - just ask
and the rain is my gift.

tr. from Pragya Lal's 'Badal'

- Pragya Lal

Badi kanjusi se baraste hai yahan ke badal
Kifayti se yaha kharch hote hai hum;
Tumhare liye kuch badal liye hai maine udhar par
Tum bolo toh barsa doon?

Pragya Lal

Monday, May 4, 2015

Devdungri, Rajasthan

Even the night refuses to completely darken
here, as the moon keeps turning each stone

silver beneath our feet; you can play foot-
-ball at night and know exactly where the

goal is. She wrote in that email that Mohan ji
was somehow always hopeful, despite the odds,

"something will turn up," and even as I read it
typed, I knew her emphasis was on 'will;' that

night the moon was our bonfire and memories of
all their years, of making flowers grow out of stone,

were now stories, silvered by age, of those who were
gone, but, they said, those who have come back to us

like colour in flowers, they still see us through these
years, they come to us in songs, like ants, they are in

the small, like elephants, they are big, Kabir sang "Tu
hathi mein hathi ban baitho, cheeti mein hai chhoto tu,"

an' each year as they hold up the silver mirror to those
who're sun-burnt with power, keeping account for a

world that is both concrete and air - here, possible,
and yet, always beyond, "there" - the goal, silver-lit,

remains, despite the night, with us, and the moon still
burns white, and there are always in Devdungri, Gods

lying visible-invisible in the darkest hills of the night.