Tuesday, March 30, 2010

A place called Gharghoda

Gharghoda may not sound so good to the ears that for years have been accustomed to hearing names like Delhi,Mumbai, Bangalore or London but believe me it is a good place to be.

Situated in Raigarh district in Chhattisgarh, Gharghoda owes its name to the many a ancient houses that have stables in their backyard. Ghungrulal, a 95 year old young man tells me an interesting tale about the time of 1920s when this small place was first hit by the wave of Indian Independence movement.

He vividly remembers that it was the time of Basant and the monsoon was at full fury and the whole village thought that the time of Pralay has come. But the next day , the Sun god took mercy on them and the pouring too stopped. And it was on that day that a man with a thin stick having an even more leaner body mass index of maybe 23 came to his village and told them that he is looking for any kind of help in his war to drive out the Firangis from India.

The villagers after a long and a much soulful deliberation which spanned more than 3 years and 6 months decided that they would support this man who called himself MKG by providing him with horses that were found in abundance in their village.

And the guy called MKG immensely moved by the help proudly christened the village Gharghoda and moved ahead on his long journey to to the neighboring village which he not surprisingly named Hathgola. No prizes for guessing why he named it so.

So much for the name. But there are many more interesting things here. First of all there is no internet connection here. Do whatever you wish, climb the highest tree, scale the largest fields but still you will be spared the trouble of being addicted to the internet.

Though the buzz in the local superstore is that this place will soon have Wifi connectivity , a program that has been sponsored by the Bill and Melinda gates foundation and until then the Gharghodis have decided to continue accessing their Hotmail and Myspace accounts through the various high-end blue tooth enabled sets that they bought from the neighboring Bihar.

I find this place as more of a resort than a metro-village. The one that is shown in the brochures of Club Mahindra. I mean you will be amazed by the kind of services that you have access to. Starting from the natural spa, to the fragrance of a fresh,wet dung that enthralls your every viable senses, to the dry mud bath that you can never miss even if you want to.

The sense of being attached to mother earth when you hear the sweet mooooooo of a beautiful cow is so over powering that one feels that how on place can we afford to live in concrete jungles where the only moooo comes from a dyslexic boss.

I get goose pimples whenever I hear Basanti, Kumari, Baijanti calling me "O shehri Babu jaldee aana". The honesty that comes straight from their heart makes every words of Bryan Adams composed Straight from the heart so believable.

And my sense in god is strengthened whenever a man carrying a gun and chanting Lal Salam knocks on my door and ask whether 'All iz bell with me."

There are many many such small yet soulfully beautiful things about Gharghoda and I will keep writing whenever I am able to free myself from this desire called Gharghoda.

A Shehri Babu...

Ps-- I will be going to Gharghoda tomorrow but I am sure that the place will be exactly the way I have portrayed it right here.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Walk with me

Within the time of life
we find ways to be alive

the path that we walk,
leave that to look up at the sky
for we may find stars to follow
or a shooting star to wish for

night comes for a new day
just like the present turns into the past
gone will be tomorrow what is today
for what was today became a distant yesterday

not possible to leave the world alive how hard we try
the inevitable sadness in life
a part of life, pretty hard to avoid

in between this death we live our life
and in midst of this we all laugh out loud

Friday, March 05, 2010

For the love of Hussain

The MF Hussain bundle of sex,paints and goddess was once again in news as the 95 year old Maharastra born Indian Picasso was granted Qatari citizenship.

The ever active intellectual guardian population of India ably lead by Miss Booker Arundhati Roy have been raising a heart rendering hue and cry ever since this news broke and have cast a serious doubts on the Indian establishment on their ability to protect "genuine expression of art" and the repeated attack on the more sacrosanct Freedom of Expression enshrined in the Indian constitution.

I am a just bit worried that how much more battering our poor old Constitution will be able to withstand. Every alternate day some Tom, Dick and Harilal rises up with a copy of the Constitution waving in the air and shouting on the top of their voice that " The fundamental rigfhts of Mr.X has been violated".

And after the initial war cry has been shouted, the constitution is consigned to flames, not literally though.

What starts with a question of fundamental Rights turns into an opportunity to gain spotlight and to show that "yeah we are still alive and protecting the intellectual wealth" of India from the saffronist dacoits.

But in this high flying emotive surcharge environment the real issue is lost. Always, without fail.

Forgotten is why is the common people who worship goddess not allowed to feel offend when some one paints those very goddess in nude. Where do their religious rights vanish?

Forgotten is why the religious sentiments ( not the cliche one, but the real one, the one which makes us bow our head whenever we pass a temple) not kept in mind by these intellectuals when they cry over the treatment meted out to people like Hussain.

Forgotten is why Hussain never apologised on the second place after it is forgotten that he should have been asked that why did he chose to paint only Hindu gods in nude in first place.

Miss.Bookers like people shout on the vandalization that was done to Mr.Hussain's painting but they don't ask the Indian Picasso that was not he aware that religion is an integral part of any Indian, be it Hindu or Muslim.

Lets put an open question to our " intellectuals" on What they will choose if given two choices.

Whether the intellectuals will focus on freedom of expression or they will shout violation of breach of privacy if this very Picasso paints them or their close one in nude.

Now that he has shifted his base to Qatar all that remains to be seen is that whether he will express his creativity like the same way as he used to in India.

I have stayed in Qatar and if i am even 10 percent right then I don't think he will even think of letting his artistic creativity go wild.

Hussain should not live under any disillusionment, Allahs right has always been more enforceable in any part of the world, be it India or Qatar.

But in the end it is not about a Muslim artist and a Hindu godess, it is about an Indian artist and an Indian god.


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