आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी..

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न बता पाए हम किसीको,
वो कितनी खूबसूरत लग रही थी,
आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी,

क्या तारीफ करे, क्या नगमे सुनाए,
वो एक दिलकश गझल लग रही थी,
आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी,

जैसे गर्मी में ठंडी हवा का झोंका आ जाए,
वैसे रूह को मिला हुआ सुकून लग रही थी,
आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी,

नूर आ गया महफ़िल में उसके आते ही,
वो गर्दिश में चमकता तारा लग रही थी,
आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी,

कुदरत में जैसे नया साज है आया,
वो पंछियो के रागों में बसी रागिनी लग रही थी,
आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी,

कह रहा था हर कोई हमे बावरा,
वो कोई कबूल हुई दुआ लग रही थी,
आज वो बिंदी लगाके आयी थी..

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ये शाम कभी खत्म ना हो..

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तुम्हारे दीवानगी की दास्तां हम सुने,
हमारे आवारगी के किस्से तुम सुनो,
सुहानी यादे दोहराते ये वक्त युही गुजर जाए,
पर ये शाम कभी खत्म ना हो..

कुछ दर्द तुम बाटो, कुछ खुशी हम बाटे,
कुछ हसी तुम बहाओ, कुछ आंसू हम बहाए,
करवटों से भरे कुछ लम्हे युही बीत जाए,
पर ये शाम कभी खत्म ना हो..

अतीत के कुछ राझो का जिक्र तुम करो,
कल के सपनों का गुलदस्ता हम खोले,
ऐतबार का ये सिलसिला युही चलता रहे,
पर ये शाम कभी खत्म ना हो..

अपने छुपे अरमनोसे वाकिफ तुम करवाओ,
हमारे दबे जज्बातोसे रूबरू हम करवाए,
बेझिझक बातो का दौर युही चलता रहे,
पर ये शाम कभी खत्म ना हो..

The Scare During Night Camping

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Photo By cadop at Pixabay

New experiences are always exciting and thrilling at the same time. I had one such experience when we were night camping at the base of Jivdhan Fort, situated near Junnar, Maharashtra. The journey on the road from Junnar village to the base camp of Jivdhan fort was the first-of-its-kind I had in my lifetime. We were a group of 12. Eight were in a car, we two on one bike, and another two on another bike. There was a lack of mobile network and coordination, due to which, we did not know where our friends in the car and another bike were. We found ourselves alone on the road. It was 9’o’clock at night, there was only a small road that finds its way through the jungle, and the roadside lighting was not the concept that road knew. Small houses were residing at a small distance from the road. They had lights and those were the only lights visible from the road. We were allowed to see up to the distance our bike’s headlights allowed us. We saw every kind of person who put our hearts in our throats. Each person, from a drunkard walking in a wavy motion to a big-mustache guy with self-assuring gait, face covered with a cloth, and a penetrating gaze, made us think that all we have to do was empty our pockets if we want to reach in a single piece. The only conciliation was the starry sky. It was a sheer treat to eyes in the terrifying journey. The sky defined magnificence. Fortunately, we reached the base in a single piece at 10 pm, without the need to empty our pockets. The car and another bike reached at 10:30.

I thought it was the only nerve-wracking excitement I was going to experience that night. At 1 am, I was recording whatever came to my mind and my friend’s car rushed toward me. There were four of my friends in the car. They planned to roam around in the jungle and asked if I wanted to tag along. I nodded and slipped into the car. All the heartbreaking songs were played as we bantered each other about heartbreaks and took random turns. Then we decided we would park the car on the side of the road and enjoy the atmosphere. As decided, we parked and came out. The lights were visible at a small distance from the road in various directions. A temple was visible at a far distance and devotional songs were playing there. The scintillating stars were the sight to sore eyes. The sky was jam-packed with them. The breeze was rushing our bodies and giving the delectation of lifetime. Everything seemed exquisite in the summer night.

One of the friends began telling a horror story he heard from his friends. There was a haunted house in Chandani Chowk area of Pune. Five families have committed suicide there. No one lives there and no one dares to go around the house after nine in the night. Then another friend recited his experience about the encounter with a ghost. They were traveling from Chandani Chowk to Lavasa at nine in the night in a car. They asked the route to a person walking on the roadside, wearing a white cap. He guided them with the route. Once they reached the destination, they saw the same person there, walking on the roadside. They were frightened to death, took a U-turn, and darted to the home. We were laughing and inquisitive at the same time. Then another friend began reciting his horror experience when something unexpected happened. The lights went off and scared the daylights out of everyone. Everybody screamed and rushed to get in a car. One of my friends, who did not have keys and didn’t know how to drive, tried to open the driver’s door. The one who had keys patted on his shoulder and instructed him to take the door on another side. Everyone screamed to unlock the doors. He unlocked the doors, everyone jumped out of their skins, and skidded in the car. Fortunately, the windows were closed already. We heard the crisp sound of a key turning and engines roaring. As we inched forward, the friend on the wheel turned off the headlights out of panic and everybody squealed. He turned them on and we decided to hit the base camp. We merely traveled 50 meters and the lights sprung up to life. Everybody gave a sigh of relief.

Then we were arguing over whether we should stop somewhere again or not. Finally, we decided not to. As everyone was scared out of wits for a few seconds, we began letting the emotions flow by making fun of ourselves and running imaginations. We teased the friend who was trying to open the driver’s door. Two guys on a bike overtook us and the friend at the wheel said, “Do you all see two people on the bike? If you see one, tell me. I’ll crash the other.” The other said, “Check the backseat if the person with the white cap is with us.” With mocking each other and laughing at what happened, we reached the base camp and glided in our tents for sleep. As I slid inside my tent, I thought, the stars must also be laughing at what they witnessed a few minutes ago.

Embarrassing Episode during Rajgad Trek

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It was 2:20 am when we embarked upon the trek of Rajgad after parking our vehicles at the base village. The moon was full, stars adorned the sky, and few white clouds made their presence felt. Smooth breezes were caressing our bodies. The crickets were chirping. Moreover, the unique and melodious sound of other insects drummed in our ears. We were walking through a rough road that was under construction. It was a road from the base village to the base of the trek. Soft red-colored sand was spread upon the road and the right side of the road was dug. 17 of our group mates started the trek 15 minutes before us and four of us were trying to catch them. The enthusiasm and excitement were on top of forts of our minds and everybody was looking forward to a new experience. I was also excited about this experience of night trek. We happily scurried to catch our group mates. We switched off the torches as the moonlight was enough to guide us through the road. As we hastened, I realized something was missing in this beautiful atmosphere. Music. There was no music. I slowed down, took out my phone, and played an old song. It did not suit the atmosphere. So, I wanted to change and thought of a playlist I made a day before, especially for the trek.

I was walking leisurely behind three of my friends. They asked me to hurry and I nodded. One of them told me to let go of the playlist and hurry. But I was engrossed in finding the playlist. As I scrolled through the playlist, a thumping sound interrupted my search. The sound was of my right feet smashing into the hole dug on the right of the road. It took me a moment to realize I was not on the road. I fell into the hole while walking. Yes, because I was engrossed into the phone. As my friends turned around with the sound, I heard another sound. It was their hysterical laughter after seeing me into the hole. Seeing them laughing at my situation, I also began laughing. Then I asked them to give me a hand to come out of it, but these mean, cold-hearted pricks were holding their stomachs and laughing uncontrollably. So, I came out on my own, took a step forward, and suddenly a shriek burst out of my mouth. With my outcry, they ran toward me. As my right feet landed awkwardly into the hole, the ankle twisted. I did not realize it until I took a step forward after coming out. I sat down, took off socks and shoes, and applied a balm given by one of them. Then I wrapped the ankle with a crepe bandage, wore socks and shoes, and walked in a pigeon-toed manner toward the top. During the entire trek, my friends took every opportunity to remind me of my episode. And I just wished, karma will bite them off one day for this.

The World is Bitter for a Bride-To-Be

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It started three years ago. The search for groom. Searching online, telling relatives, meeting some of the guys, Kundali matching, question-answer sessions, and everything related to arrange marriage. When I showed green signal to get married, I was treated like a princess who is now a bride-to-be.

But it has been three years now. One thing that has not been changed is my marital status. I’m still unmarried. But there is one thing that has changed. The attitude of my parents toward me.

They have become so superstitious. Wear a ring with a shining aqua blue colored stone to get married soon, use some yellow colored powder while bathing, and keep a fast on Thursdays, and what not. Then consulting a marriage counselor, spending money unnecessarily on their already known & implemented tips, and many unnecessary ideas they ask to implement.

One of their ideas was a brand new photo shoot. My mother brought two new dresses, asked to wear both turn by turn, and took photos in every possible pose. While giving poses, they suggested nearly 100 postures and prompted every single change their mind can think of. Then they checked out their clicks and were unsatisfied. So, they took me to a professional photographer. While going at the studio, I felt like I am a product in the market which will be cleaned, well-furnished, polished, and kept on the shelf in the most presentable way. During the photo shoot, I could see my eyes were heavy and teary. Like those eyeballs will pop out at any moment. Still, they suggested and prompted poses and postures. And photo shoot was carried out.

Everything has changed. My parents have become desperate and always hover over me to find a groom and get married. I don’t feel like staying at home because I feel miserable. I avoid talking to them and talk only when they ask me something. The world seems bitter now. Because, the precious princess has turned into a burdensome bride-to-be. Maybe the world is not bitter, but my parents are. And they are world to me, no matter how they treat me. So yes, the world is bitter. Bitter for a bride-to-be.

This Is How The World Works

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Just because there were moments,
That you spent together,
Doesn’t mean, they were meant to,
Cherish forever.
The bonding, wasn’t meant to,
Stay forever.
This is how the world works.

We two happen to be here,
I’ll open up, you’ll listen.
You talk trash, I’ll add up.
You laugh, I’ll laugh harder.
But when we won’t be together,
It’ll be like we never knew each other.
This is how the world works.

Like the flower plucked from tree,
It has to leave everything behind,
The tree, the leaves, the garden,
And other flowers in vicinity.
Think about what lay ahead,
Blossom the surrounding it is put in.
This is how the world works.

The flower has to blend its essence,
In the new world it is put in.
It cannot go back to that tree,
It has to move ahead.
Even if it is put back in that vicinity,
Nothing will be same as before.
This is how the world works.

When you part ways,
When you bid goodbye,
You need to leave everything,
In the moment of separation.
At the point of separation.
Detach yourself, Like a plucked flower.
This is how the world works.

Only because you are still attached,
To those moments, to those people,
Doesn’t mean they are attached too.
Everyone has different expectations from life,
What they mean to you is not,
Same as what you mean to them.
And, this is how the world works.

Will Celebrating Days Stop A Woman From Getting Beaten Every day? If Not, What Does?

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I hear ear-shattering screams and excruciating cries almost every day when my drunk neighbor beats his wife in front of their three children. I don’t know why he does that. Nobody knows that. Nobody wants to do anything about it, because when someone tries to advice that woman to file a complaint of domestic violence against her husband, she lashes out at them and tells them, what happens between her and her husband is none of their business. So even if someone wants to help, no one can. They even think that she must have done something wrong or there must be some fault of hers for which her husband beats her. Because no sane and innocent woman would tolerate violence against her. And she berates them when asked to raise a voice against her husband. On the other hand, no one dares to talk to her husband, let alone enlightening him to respect a woman. Because he is high all the time and ready to fight. And top of it all, he is my cousin. Though there is a blood relation, we have no relationship at all. We live like strangers. The reasons for which we have a rift is not the concern here.

The concern is, we are celebrating the international women’s day by spreading messages,  organizing marches & events, and talking about uplifting & empowering women, but is it fruitful enough to stop that woman from getting beaten almost every day? We celebrate the spirit of womanhood and glorify women on this day, but are people like my cousin getting the same message and respecting women?

This is just one case. There are hundreds of thousand of cases across the country. Domestic violence is just one issue. There are many other issues too. The core problem does not lie in lack of awareness or not raising voice against violence and injustice. The core problem lies in attitude. Not women. Not men. But the attitude.

It is not about the attitude toward women, but attitude toward another human being. There are many cases in the country, false cases, in which women falsely accuse men of crime they did not commit to harass them mentally, economically, and emotionally. Or there might be another reason. But it is happening. Women play “woman card” to get what they want. Not every woman does it, but it is happening. The change in attitude toward another human being is necessary.

Celebrating such days is not a wrong thing, but the focus must be on imbibing good values in a person. Respect is the two-way street. Understanding is a two-way street. Only good values make us realize that. Taking advantage of circumstances is easy, but being fair is important. Spreading messages and organizing marches is important, but more than that, imbibing good values is important. If good values are inculcated and practiced, issues such as domestic violence, sexual harassment, and others will not arise in the first place. Taking measures to consolidate the core is of utmost necessity. If the core is rotten, it doesn’t matter how alluring and delicious the food looks, it will stink.

गुमसुमसा रहने लगा हूँ

​इस रातकी खामोशीमें गूंज रही बेबसीको सुन रहा हूँ मैं,
इस चाँदके सितारोंसे बने गुमनाम रिश्तेका नाम ढूंढ रहा हूँ मैं।

इस बहती हवामें सिमटी हुई तनहाईया महसूस कर रहा हूँ मैं,
इस जलते दीयेकी लौमें छुपी हुई बेचैनी बुझानेकी कोशिश रहा हूँ मैं।

हुआ है क्या मुझे, जो इतना गुमसुमसा रहने लगा हूँ,
इस जिन्दगीकी भागदौडमे तेजी से बीते हुए लम्होको फिरसे जीनेकी मांग करने लगा हूँ।

See You Again

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She was the inspiration behind the first poem of my life. Oblivious of what is going on with her and without any thought of her since I don’t know when, she appeared unexpectedly. Not in my thought, but in front of me. I thought Goa trip was over, memories of the trip were over. But they were not. It was the last phase in the journey back to home of the finally executed Goa trip, from Katraj to Nigdi. She boarded on the bus, searched for a place hastily. As she entered, I noticed she was wearing bangles, the same ones a girl wears after marriage. The same style. I thought she was married. My heart pulsated. I don’t know why. She settled down. I looked at her, and I am not sure if we exchanged glances or she remembered who I am, because I shied away as I anticipated she will turn her gaze toward me. No, it was not possible. She can’t be married. I don’t know why I was concerned about her marital status. She was my crush and I never talked to her. Not even once. What should I do? Should I talk to her or let it be the way it was?

After 12th standard, I saw her once, not once, twice, at two different bus stands. Both times, she didn’t see me. This was the third time. Again, I thought about whether to talk to her or not. I had never dared to talk to her in 12th standard, given her confrontational, sassy, and cocky nature. In addition, this indecision and chaos was result of terrible past experiences of initiating conversations. Once I initiated a conversation, I got scolded from teacher, peon, and principal. Then in another incident, I got a patronizing look from a girl, her disposition showing I am a downmarket pervert. Then I approached a girl and she turned around and walked away with a face like nothing happened. I felt like I had been misunderstood every time. This history loomed large over my capacity of decision-making when it came to the matters of the heart. This time, I feared, would not be different. I would try to say something and it might backfire. I decided to let it be the way it was. I don’t want to end up getting scolded from bus conductor, beaten up by fellow passengers, and thrown out at 11:30 pm for misunderstanding that may arise. There was no transport available besides cabs at that hour. Enough with shitty excuses, the truth was meri fatt rahi thi. Yes, meri fatt rahi thi.

The crowd was less as the bus moved forward and her conversations on the phone were audible. I learnt she attended her friend’s marriage and those bangles were for that occasion. That was the only consolation for the night. Besides that, my cowardice persisted. I didn’t talk to her. Then she descended at her stop and I did what I always did. I wrote a poetry. She was the inspiration for my first poetry and she is also the inspiration for the following poem I wrote.

तकदिरकी साजिशोंमें कही कोई राझ छुपा तो नहीं,
इत्तिफ़ाक़तले मिलने वाले मुसाफिरों की कही मंजिल एक तो नहीं..

मिलन लिखा हो तकदिरमे, तो मिलेंगे फिर इक बार इत्तिफ़ाक़तले,
पर उस दफा, मंजिल की परवाह किए बगैर, बस उस सफर की खूबसूरतीतले।

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P.S. In case, you want to read that first poem, here is the link:

https://crazytruefacts.wordpress.com/2014/04/20/quite-quietly/

Experience Of First Marathon

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I punched in, gasping. I climbed four floors from parking to reach my office. Before starting the PC, I sat down quietly for a minute to regain my breath, greeted everyone, and started with the day. It was a routine.

Those gasps were embarrassing for me. I no longer wanted to be in that state. I played football for half an hour every day. But I did not run much because I didn’t have stamina and hated gasping. To avoid being in that state, I avoided running. Days passed by with this state.

I was scrolling through Facebook newsfeed one day and noticed a friend interested in an event. It was marathon. I commented to ask how much distance a participant needs to run. He replied there were various distances. 5 kilometers (km), 10 km, and 21 km.

The date of marathon was a month away. It was the time I decided I will run 10 km marathon. Not because I want to participate in marathon (which was in my bucket list, but never took it seriously), but to stop that gasping after little efforts. A 25 year old guy does not look good when he gasps after little efforts. I wanted to be fit, build stamina, and feel good about myself. The marathon was a reason due to which I would run every day and build stamina.

The journey had been phenomenal.

I started running from the next day. I gasped after barely 500 meters on day one and my legs began aching at thighs and calves. I increased distance every day. First few days were difficult. For the entire day, I could not walk straight due to pain in thighs and calves, and sometimes in shins. I gave up eating fast food and biscuits, and began eating healthy food only. Two boiled eggs, three bananas, and a glass of milk along with two meals. Chocolate is an exception. It is a sin to say no to chocolates. Whenever I could eat chocolate, I ate. But I tried to eat healthy.

The result was there. After two weeks, I wasn’t gasping and could run 3 kms. Not in the same speed, but I was able to cover the distance every day.

Then I sought help from my friend, who runs marathon and half marathon regularly. He guided me to run with the right technique and motivated to increase distance. When he told me the correct techniques, I realized I had been running so wrong. I used to run by landing the heel first. Landing on heels causes injuries due to shift in the center of gravity. He guided me to run with toes first, swing hands from shoulders, lean forward little, and pull legs as high as to reach butt. I was glad I could know this with two weeks remaining for the event.

I started running with that technique. Again, it was too difficult to run with the right technique. The technique used by marathon runners to reach more distance with less endurance. With this technique, all the pressure was put on calves and ankles. On first day with the technique, both calves were paining enormously. I was limping next day. Though it was excruciating, I ran the next day. I reduced the distance and focused on right technique. But, both calves and ankles gave up on the day two. I was able to barely walk, let alone running. I could not run on the day three with new technique. I did not run.

On day four with the technique, the pain reduced and I could run 3 kms with right technique. The next two days, I increased the distance up to 4 km and ran with the right technique throughout with varying speeds.

Then I made a mistake. I ate Chinese food after a movie next day. The oil used to make the food made a call. I was ill. Only a week to go for a race, I could barely run 4 kms and I had to take two days off to recover fully. I regretted eating Chinese food so much. It was not a big issue, but with my overthinking, I made it. I was so worried. My friend comforted me. He told me not to worry and I could finish 10 kms on the next Sunday because of the vibe of the marathon.

I began running after two days of full rest. Again, the calves were aching. I could not walk straight. The next day was even worse. My knees began aching. It was frustrating. I had the technique right, then why was it happening?

The next day, four days left for the event, was the most painful one. I could barely walk. Still, I began to run. Calves did not stop paining, knees were weak, and shin bone began aching too. Why the shin bone now? Still, I ran 3 km. Very slowly, but ran. It was the day I realized we can endure more than we think we can.

Three days left. I don’t know what happened during the night. When I woke up, I felt very less pain. I don’t know how. But I was able to walk well. When I started running, calves were hurting, but very little. I could feel strong knees and there was less pain in shin bone. I ran 4 km with varying speeds.

The next day was great. I ran 5 km with varying speeds and right technique. There was little pain, but I managed to run. I decided to take a break a day before the event to run with fresh legs at the event.

It was the first marathon of my life. I could not fall asleep the night before. I barely slept for 2 hours and set two alarms five minutes apart.

And the morning arrived. I drove so fast that a street dog tried to chase me but gave up the thought in the next second. I reached at 5:40 am. If I wake up at this hour, I felt cold so much. But today, it was different. The cold environment was filled with enthusiasm, enchantment, and excitement.

The race timing for 21 km was 5:45 am. I noticed participants gathered at the starting point. As I reached there, a participant asked me where I got the pins to attach chest number to T-shirt. I had four, so I gave him one. I asked if wanted one more, but he refused and ran away. He was participating in 21 km. The whistle blew and 21 km race began.

The 10 km race was at 6:00 am. Before the race, they called all participants for warm up. The music played and everyone was doing Zumba by following dancers on the stage for 10 minutes. Everyone was filled with ecstasy and pumped up for the race. There were participants of all the ages. Few people were uplifting participants’ spirit. After the warm up, everyone gathered at the starting point. The whistle blew.

Everyone started patiently. I began with moderate pace and the right technique. First few kilometers were easy. I jogged with uniform speed with random thoughts running in my mind. Sometimes, few moments of the practice and pain popped in my head. Sometimes, witty bantering with friends. There were fellow runners who motivated everyone to keep running. As I moved ahead, calves began hurting a little as my feet touched the ground. After four kilometers, I slowed down as pain grew. I realized the strength in my legs was not enough. After five kilometers, the organizers sprinkled ink on our chest numbers.

As ink was sprinkled, my pace lowered. I moved ahead slowly and could see the sky getting brightened up from dark. It was the best feeling to see light emerging from the dark. The crescent moon disappeared. The sun was not visible yet, but there was light. I slowed down too much. My thighs, calves, shin bone, and groins began aching. I began using the techniques my friend told me. Whenever you feel like giving up, chase the guy running ahead or match the rhythm with other runners. I did the same. I began chasing the guy ahead.

The last two miles were the most difficult. My pace reached the lowest, but I was jogging. I felt like I was going to have abs at the end of the race. All fats burned. When I saw a board stating only one kilometer was remaining, I suddenly felt energized. I ran the last kilometer with more speed. At the finish line, dhol and tasha band was congratulating the runners for finishing what they signed up for. And it felt great to cross the finish line. Then I collected medal and snacks. To my delight, there were gulab jamuns. It was the best thing about finishing. They should have told me before about gulab jamuns. I would have finished earlier. However, my timing was 1 hour 10 minutes 13 seconds.

The organization was fabulous. The vibe was fabulous. And the experience was fabulous. I learned a lot that I would have never learned. And I will keep running even after the event is finished. I don’t want to loathe in the misery of gasping again.