love is the way

love is the way durga dashLate nineteen eighties. Just when we thought we were out of our teenage hangovers and stupidities, and the advent of TV and DVD players would sound the death knell for Bollywood, a spate of romantic films ruled the box office. These movies also launched the career of a lot of stars: the innocent looking Juhi Chawla, the dhak dhak girl Madhuri,  the chocolate boy Amir Khan, and romantic singer Udit Narayan  to name a few. We enjoyed listening to those great romantic songs without bothering much about their meanings or origins.

Now we don’t have to even wreck our brains to understand the lyrics of some of the popular songs.  We have to just google it. I found out this from a site:

Aye mere humsafar
Ek zara intezaar
Sunn sadayein de rahi hai
Manzil pyaar ki

O my companion
wait just a while
Listen to the calling
of love’s destination

Even after a little help from the Google, the song may not be fully understandable. I too write poems that friends say they don’t understand. But what I do understand from the above song is that it treats love as some kind of a goal to be achieved. And I have an objection there. Because I think love does not have any destination. Love is the way.

When your goal is to become a doctor, it means you are not a doctor now. Same way if love is your destination you are not in love now.

In those days, not having the advantage of Google to check out the exact lyrics and not being native Hindi speakers, the lines we sang sometimes went like this:

App jaise koi
Mere jindegi mein aai
To baap ban  jaye
…… to baap ban jaye

Duniya kaminooo.. ka mela
Mele mein yeh dil akela

Those days we never tried to understand the meaning of Hindi film songs. These days, even after trying my best I fail to understand the mystic connotations of the majority of Hindi film and pop songs.

 

In Bhakti Sutras (which some translate loosely as the Aphorism of Love), Narada says that love is the goal as well as the way. Of course he was talking of divine love. Similarly many of the songs written by Rumi and other Sufi saints are about divine love.  For the spiritually inclined love is the way to self realisation.

But, for the Bollywoood lyricists love is the way to make lots of money. Some highly paid lyricists have brought down many Sufi bhajans from their high pedestals to the level of teenage infatuations. They don’t even acknowledge that they have plagiarized the songs from Sufi and Bhakti writers. Don’t think it is only the script writers who plagiarize.

Of course our popular bhajan singers do not do a better job when they sing bhakti songs following the tune of Bollywood songs that reminds you of  semi clad heroines and item girls gyrating to the tunes in all their vulgar glory.

In my book Idle Hours, I have dealt at length about my ruminations on love at length in an article. I have also discussed about the origin of the Valentine’s Day.

According to one theory, this day is associated with the St. Valentine who performed secret marriages in the 3rdcentury Rome against the diktat of the emperor to debar young men from marrying so that they became better soldiers. However, St Valentine would hang his head in shame if he now learns that marketeers are exploiting his name to sell cards, roses, and chocolates to gold, diamond, and platinum. Moreover, we are not satisfied with marketing the ‘ways’ associated with love only for one day. We have invented so many curtain raisers (Rose Day etc.) before the Valentine’s Day.

On a serious note, St Valentine will also hang his head in shame when he learns that even though we are living in the twenty first century we are seducing girls so that it will add to the numbers of our community.

At the other extreme, we are killing the people who genuinely choose love in spite of differences in social status, religion, caste, or creed.

I was deeply touched by the way poet Rahat Indori has put it.

फूल इस सोच में गुम हैं, के कहाँ महकेंगे, 
तितलियों के लब ए इज़हार पे पाबंदी है..... 
क़त्ल करने की खुली छूट है अब भी लेकिन, 
प्यार मत करना, यहां प्यार पे पाबंदी है.....

 ‘Teach Me To Dream’ – Book Review

My illustrator friend Sailaja Anand ( who is also an eternal optimist) has put up her perceptions of my poems on her blog.

‘Teach Me To Dream’ has been written by Mr. Durga Prasad Dash whose work I always have admired. It is an anthology of poems that celebrate life in its myriads of aspects: love, longing, pain, illusion,beauty and ugliness, freedom, bondage, war, politics, enlightenment.There is no sphere of life that is left un touched by the author. Each emotion is conveyed beautifully and every reality is expressed with conviction. Each stanza is a beautiful piece in itself, touching the deep core.

In part I, the way the author has connected seasons and emotions with his web of words is so heartening.
”there is a rhythm in the sun,
melody in air, and
dance in water”
Through words the author is indeed celebrating the nature with beautiful expression.
In poem ‘your sweet absense’
In the following lines
“In my lack of discretion
hoping to rise with you
I fall again and again”

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Let the Gregorian New Year make us more Gracious

As one of the blogger friends has mentioned in the comments of the previous post, this time around the wish was not a simple new year. Some wished a great English New Year, Some a great Christian New Year, and some a prosperous Gregorain New Year. In fact, in my previous post, I myself was wondering why we do not name it as the Christian New Year.

However, at this point of time, 2017 years After Christ,  I think we should not be so fussy. The Gregorian calendar has now become the international standard for dating (no pun intended). So be it.

In fact, unless we are specifically reminded that celebrating the Gregorain new year is endemic to our cultural values, we will not start thinking seriously that it has the potential to uproot us from our native culture and religion.

Now imagine what would happen if every country, every region, every religion, and every sect  rigorously started using its own version of calendar rejecting all other versions. In India itself we would have more than hundred types of calendars. If you boarded the train at Bareilly on 07.02. 2032, you would wake up in Bangalore after two days on 05.04.2130.

And imagine how difficult the life of the air traffic controllers and the pilots would be. Even Google and Microsoft will have a hard time to construct special algorithms to match your religious and cultural sensibilities and sense of time.

At the same time the same generosity should be extended to many other practices. Reservations have been expressed about the International Day of Yoga. A couple of years back clerics in Egypt issued edicts against yoga terming it as un-islamic. Even though yoga is more widely practiced in the Christain majority countries of the west than the country of its origin, Churches have expressed their disapproval.

Maybe, to avoid confrontation with the church, some yogic practitioners came up with a theory that yoga originated in the West. But I don’t think even such a theory will pacify the people who think yoga is a type of a subtle invasion to uproot people from their cultural and religious roots.

People who object to yoga on religious grounds should read the primary treatise on yoga: Patanjali’s yogasutras. To be a yogi you do not need first of all to believe in any particular concept of God, or heaven, or origin of the universe.

Mad Charvak says that this is the very reason religious leaders are afraid of yoga. Religions are driven by faith. When people follow reason and experimentation based on cause and effect there are chances that they will see through the various schemes they propagate in the name of religious faith.

Last year I did not want to wish my loved ones A Happy New Year. Let me assure you it was not for any religious reason. I was alarmed going through what some leading thinkers over the ages had said about happiness.

This year let me wish everyone to start the new year on a poetic note. To help your poetic journey, my anthology of poems – teach me to dream– will be available for free download from 3rd to 5th Jan 2018.

teachme to dream book cover

Teach Me To Dream by D P Dash

Deeply honoured by this review.

One Grain Amongst the Storm

teachme to dream book coverJust as I thought I was done with the ash-berries tossed at me by the departing year, suturing up my tattered ego with a ghazal in the reigning obscurity, Mr D. P. Dash ruffled the quiet of my languid existence. Dash is a blogger who writes at ‘One Life is Not Enough’, but he didn’t stop at that and went ahead to self-publish his oeuvres, the latest being a book of verses so refreshing the droplets are still sticking to my mind.

Teach me to dream’ is a collection of jaunty poems written in a workaday diction that is blithely lucid. Unlike many practitioners of poetry, Dash doesn’t adorn the stream of his thoughts with symbols and motifs often. His is a candid style, crisp and direct, but it has none of the jarring monotony plaguing a host of present day poets. The movement of his…

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the cart of clay and Rumi in a traffic jam

I will write about Rumi towards the end of this blog post and try to connect it to my recently released book. After all I have a book to promote. Gone are the days when the Hero’s or heroine’s role ended with acting in the movie (and collecting the pay check). Now he/she must take part in an extensive film marketing. So is the case with the authors these days, whether you follow the self publishing route or the traditional route.

Now, talking about books, today is the birth anniversary of Mirza Ghalib.  I come to know of this from the Google Doodle. Many of my readers must have the experience of coming across his shers and shayiris. He is like the old mischievous gentleman of the next street who you bump into every now and then during your random walks. But this year I read one of the books outlining his life and his wisdom. It was after I was gifted with a Kindle by my daughter on the occasion of my birthday. Many of his couplets have stuck and refuse to go out of memory.

Haathon ki lakeeron pay mat ja ae ghalib, 
Naseeb unke bhi hote hain jinkey haath nahi hote 

Hum ko mallum hai jannat ki haqiqat lekin 
Dil khush rakhne ko ghalib ye khayal achha hai

I go into periodic lunacy of binge reading. Those are also the periods when I end up reading a lot of bullshit stuff. During such a period of lunacy this year I read Paulo Coelho and Eckhart Tolle. I came across Coelho for the first time from a newspaper column and was under the impression that he was a self help Guru of some sort. But he and his bio in a number of internet sites claim he is a novelist! I was also amazed at the way these two guys (worldwide bestselling authors in their own right) clothe ancient wisdom in new words and metaphors and never give any credit to their source, thus giving the impression that they are the inventors of such life changing wisdom.

Some of the interesting books I have read are associated with their own stories about how I came across the book or, in what circumstances I read the book. While helping my father-in-law arranging his home library some months back I came across an Odiya version of Mritchhakatika. Does the word sound a little complicated?

This is a Sanskrit  word combining two words (sandhi) –  mrit (soil/mud) and sakatika (cart). Do you remember the movie utsav starring Sekhar Suman and Rekha? The movie was based on this ancient Sanskrit drama- The Cart of Clay. Some English translator use the title – The Little Clay Cart.

During school days, one of our teachers – Sri Surendra Das- used to teach us both Odiya and Sanskrit. His way of teaching was to tell stories. We used to wait eagerly for his classes. Over a month he told us the entire story of Mritchchakatika in episodic manner during his classes. Those were the days when TV soap opera had not colonialised our country.

I had read the book once during the college days and watched the movie during its year of release in 1984. But reading it again this year was like relieving those moments of my school days in the 1980s.

A book I have recently picked up for reading is -Never Let me Go – written by the latest Nobel Prize winner for literature, Kazuo Ishiguro. I had read a review of the movie adaptation long time back and I liked it so much that I wanted to see the movie or read the book immediately. Those were the days before Amazon and I could not lay my hands on the DVD or the book in our local stores.

Another book worth mentioning is Ulysses by James Joyce. It took me three months of frequently interrupted reading to finish it. In between I had to read a lot of reviews and notes about the book to understand all the layers of the theme. But it was worth it.

Ulysses is one of the all time great novels in the history of fiction, consistently being voted as one of the top ten novels in polls after polls. However, our dear best selling novelist Paulo Coehlo could hardly find anything remarkable in this masterpiece. Coelho faced a lot of flack for his criticism of Ulysses. Of course, we can hardly blame Paulo for all this. Loved by the masses from Iran to India, after all he is a novelist of a special class.

Now I remember of the time when I was rescued by Rumi when I was on may way to the airport and was stuck in a traffic jam. Thankfully, I was not going to catch a flight but to receive someone. Thankfully again, I had borrowed a book of Rumi’s poetry from a library in the morning and it was with me. As it rained outside, sitting in the car backseat, perhaps at that time I was one of those few commuters who did not curse the rain or the traffic Jam. Of course, by the time I finished the book, I was yet to reach the airport. Thankfully yet again, I was able to compose a poem – of traffic jam, rain and Rumi, which has been included in my recently released anthology of poems: teach me to dream. There are a couple of poems – one dedicated to rain and another to typical everyday traffic jam – that find place in the anthology.

cloud of gentle rain, pour down 
come, let us friends get truly drunk 
and you, the king of tricksters 
befuddled with drink we all greet you (Rumi)

By the way, when I started to write this post I noticed that teach me to dream has jumped to No.2 position on Amazon ranking of New Releases and No.10 in Poetry category. As Amazon ranks fluctuate by the hour, I don’t know what will be the ranking by the time you read this. Anyway, I hope it continues to be one of the top twenty books in poetry category.

With a little help from you, of course, my dear reader. 😀

amazon rank1

 

 

 

teach me to dream – an anthology of my poems

Well, finally I was able to nail my poetic muse. It is such a great sense of relief. Whether my book reaches its destination of readers or not it is a great sense of relief. It is like delivering the baby after a prolonged pregnancy.

This was supposed to be my first book, as I have mentioned while writing the blog post announcing the release of Idle Hours. But my poetic muse has been so elusive that neither did it help me complete a few half written poems, nor did it assist me in clothing a few concepts wandering in my mind with lyrics, sometimes escaping some time arriving unannounced to be gone in a moment.

After Amazon took care of the post delivery issues of teach me to dream, it is now live and kicking, waiting to be picked up and hugged  by loving readers.

 

Meanwhile, I thank Sri Uma Shankar Pandey, Sri M Gopalakrishnan, Sri SK Pathak, Sri Srikant Jha for putting your thoughts about Idle Hours on various forums.

Also worth special mention in connection with the anthology of poems are the following:

  • Sri Sailendra Narayana Tripathy, my first mentor of poetry and my professor of English Literature during my graduation at Khallikote College Berhampur. Coincidentally, these days he is a regular guest speaker on numerous Odiya TV channels. Famous Actress Leslie Tripathy is his daughter who carries on the legacy to revive the international poetry magazine Poesy where my first poem was published way back in 1987.
  • Ms. Sailaja Anand – Blogger and Art of Living Teacher – for providing the illustrations.  I am not able to do full justice to her efforts as I am not able to utilise all her illustrations in this e-book version. Maybe, when I go for the print version I use all her illustrations at appropriate places.

At present the book is also part of Kindle Unlimited.

I request all my readers ( including my blogger friends many of whom are great poets themselves) to share your thoughts on Amazon/Goodreads/your blog.

teach me to dream cover

 

part 3: The Japanese sense of Aesthetics

The concept of mono no aware that I discussed in part 2 finds expression in Japanese art and literature including in the works of the latest Nobel laureate Kazuo Ishiguro. Even though the concept originated in the Heian Era (8th-12th century), it started gaining prominence in Japanese culture with the works of the 18th century scholar Motoori Norinaga.

The sweetest songs are those that tell us of our saddest thoughts (PB Shelly). But songs or no songs, the sadness about the passing of beautiful things and pleasant moments may have an underlying elusive shade of sweetness. Maybe, that is what mono no aware is all about.

The Heian Era also saw the origin of the three art forms of Japanese refinements: kado, kodo, and chado. Kado is the native name for the Japanese art of flower arrangement which is also known as ikebana. Kodo is appreciating the subtle variations of incense and chado is the famous Japanese tea ceremony. The origin and refinement of all the three forms bear the influence of Buddhism.

I am fascinated by the Japanese tea ceremony. It is said that a Buddhist monk discovered tea. While dhyan which traveled from India became a refined form of meditation and culture known as Zen after reaching Japan, the simple act of taking tea to remain alert and ward off cold developed into a kind of religion reaching its Zenith during the time of emperor Hideyoshi and tea master Sen No Rikyu.

Chado can be loosely translated as the way of the tea. Detailed attention is given to the choice of the utensils, the movements of the host and the guests. The decoration inside is austere following the principle of wabi-sabi. There are four basic elements of the ritual: harmony, respect, purity, and tranquility. Care is taken to see that the location of the tea house, its surroundings, its interior and the objects inside are all in harmony. One has to bow down or crawl to reach inside, kneel down and bow to the hanging scroll and sit down in tatami. It is like going inside a temple. A special connection between the host and the guest is made when they honour each other. Purity is obtained when the actions of the host seem spontaneous, not rehashed. The overall effect is meditative, tranquil bringing all participants to here and now.

Another concept of aesthetics associated with Japanese art, literature, and culture is yugen. The underlying principle is that certain deeper truths cannot be explicitly expressed and can only be alluded to or hinted at. Even those that can be explicitly expressed can achieve a sublime and mysterious status by being alluded to thus deepening their effect.

I started this series with a clarification about the poetry form haiku. Some readers have opined that we cannot be too strict about the form of poetry that has undergone change over the centuries. Agreed. However, it should not water down to a lamentation about the low office wage with no reference to nature or with nothing to juxtapose. To end this series, here a few of my favourite haikus:

Come come ! I call ...
but the fireflies 
flash way
into the darkness (Onitsura)

Watching the spring moon
rise
I no longer bother
about the mountains (Kyorai)
(hint: the spring moon is more transient than the mountain)

What does this mean?
Chrysanthemums
and jonquils
blooming together (shiki)

The leaves never know
which leaf
will be first to fall..
does the wind know? (Soseki)

Preach away cricket
it doesn't matter to me
I know 
it's autumn (Soseki)

There goes a beggar
naked
except for his robes
of heaven and earth (Kikaku)

Since I first became 
a hermit
The frogs have sung 
only of old age (Issa)

Day darken!
frogs say by day
at night they cry bring light
old grumblers (Buson)

How can a creature 
be so hated
as a winter fly
yet live so long (kikaku)

Among these lovely 
cherry blossoms
a woodpecker
hunts for a dead tree (Joso)

If my grumbling wife
were still alive
I just might enjoy
tonight's moon (Issa)

Over the ruins 
of a shrine
a chestnut tree
still lifts its candles (Basho)

An old silent pond
into the pond
a frog jumps
splash ! silence again (Basho)
(This seemingly simple haiku has hundreds of translations and interpretations. All I can say is while reading this haiku if you get a feeling of here and now, you need not bother the hundred intellectual interpretations of the poem)

 

By the way, I enjoyed these hilarious haikus written by Sri Uma Shankar Pandey on his blog.

My next book, an anthology of poems which will be released shortly, will include some micro poems. Let me assure you I will not claim those as haikus. 😀

 

 

 

 

Mein nikla satya ke sandhan mein

मैं निकला सत्य के
संधान में |

दिन दहाड़े , डायोजिनिज के लालटेन ले के
राजधानी के राजपथ पर,
सत्ता के गलियों में,
कलाकारों के रंग मंच में,
मंदिर , मस्जिद और गिरिजाघरों में |
ढ़ूँढ़ता रहा
वो सच्च जो कबका खो गया है,
या सुलाया गया है,
राजनेताओं के सफाई , आरोप
और प्रत्यारोप में,
पत्रकारों के हल्ला में,
क्रांतिकारियों के हल्लाबोल में,
धर्म गुरूओं के शास्त्रार्थ में,
बाबूओं के फाइलों के नोटिंगस् में
विचारपत्तियों के लम्बी – लम्बी
आदेशों में |
सभी ने एक साथ बोला
सच्च का पता लगा तो
गजब हो जाएगा,
देश बरबाद हो जाएगा,
आखिर लोग भी तो अभी कच्चे हैं
सच्च को छूपाने में
है हमारी समझदारी
और हमारी जिम्म्दारी भी
फिर कोई एक मुझे चुपके से कहा
” आखिर दूकान भी तो चलाना है ” !!!

 

Mein nikla satya ke sandhan mein

Din dahade, Diogenes ke laltan leke

Rajdhani ke rajpath par

Satta ke galiyon mein

Kalakaron ke rangmanch mein

Mandir, Maszid aur Girja gharon mein

Dhundta raha

Who sach jo kabka kho gaya hai

Ya sulaya gaya hai

Rajnetaoon ke safai, aarop aur pratyarop  mein

Patrakaron ke halla mein

Krantikarion ke hallabol mein

Dharmaguruyon ke Sastraarth mein

Babuon ke filon ke notings mein

Bicharpatiyon ke lambi lambi adeshon mein

Sabhine ek saath bola

Sach ka pata laga to gazab ho jayega

Desh barbad ho jayega

Aakhir log bhi to abhi kache hai

Sach ko chhupane mein hai hamar samajhdari hai

Aur hamari jimmedari bhi

Phir koi ek mujhe chup ke se kaha

‘Akhir Dukaan bhi to chalana hai’

 

(The words came in Hindi. So I let them be. Thanks my friend Ms. Nilima  Kanth for helping me put it in Devnagari Script)

In response to Indispire #191

it was a great show

trapeze.jpg

Six hours of circus-

As usual the politician inaugurated it

And slept throughout the show

To wake up in the last hour

To proclaim

In words impeccable  and rehashed

The situation is under control

The guilty will not go scot free

And the victims will be compensated

 

The trapeze men thought they were

Fighting  a just cause

Going up and down without a safety net

So thought the green and yellow foot soldiers

Going up and down and down

 

Three dozen died

A few heads rolled

(Do we know their names?)

Some cried and

Some cried foul.

 

Far away

In another planet

Faces lit up

‘It was a great show’

They chuckled

And took a break.

(Disclaimer: The post is not related to the faux pass of the Haryana Government in the aftermath of the arrest of Baba Ram Rahim. Scores of people died accompanied by destruction of property as the government agencies were a mute witness to the bizarre reaction of the followers of the Spiritual Guru who epitomized love and peace)

 

Maja Hi Kuchh Aur Hai

It was due to a ‘comedy of error’ that I got introduced to Pandit Om Vyas. Someone had shared a youtube link on FB about Arbind Kejriwal’s fiasco about some issue. When I clicked the link it took me to one of the kabi sammelan videos of Late Kavi Om Vyas ji. That time I did not know that the satirist to whom I had taken an instant liking was no more. Subsequently, after watching a number of hilarious videos, when I learnt of his tragic untimely death, it reminded me of the song: haste haste rona sikho ….. rote rote hasna…….  just like his sessions.

In a congregation of poets (Kabi Sammelan) hosted in memory of Haribansh Rai Bachchan, in his inimitable style, he recited a poem whose pet phrase (takiya kalam) was ‘Maja hi kuchh aur hai. Well, Panditji, with due respect to you, here is a rejoinder that I have composed, imitating your style. It follows an English translation which may not be exact but, as close as possible to the Hindi version:

Signal se thik pehle lane change karne ka
Chalti gaadi se bahar thuk-ne ka
Bina matlab zor se zor horn bazane ka
Gaadi khadi karke public view mein mut-ne ka
Footpath mein motor cycle chalane ka
No parking board ke thik samne gaadi park karne ka
Beech raste mein gaadi khadi karke dooosre driver se jhagadne ka
Maza hi kuchh aur hai... maza hi kuchh aur hai

Bina padhe whatsapp mein message forward karne ka
Bina samjhe sabhi issues mein apni rai dene ka
Boss ke bhadde se bhadde joke mein pet phadke hasne ka
Junior ke badhia se badhia baton ko nazar andaz karne ka
Bhid ke saath kadam se kadam milaye chalne ka
Karod-on ke lutere ko maaf aur do kaudi ke chor ko saza dene ka 
Maza hi kuchh aur hai... maza hi kuchh aur hai

It is so much fun

To change the lane just before the signal
To spit out from a running vehicle
To honk loudly without any need
To urinate on the roadside in full public view
To ride the motorcycle on the footpath
To park the vehicle just below the No-parking sign
To stop the vehicle on the middle of the road to pick a fight
It is so much fun... it is so much fun

To forward on whatsapp without reading the message
To give expert advice without understanding the issue
To laugh out loud at Boss's mediocre jokes
To ignore a brilliant idea because it comes from a junior
To march with the crowd matching step after step
To forgive the looter of a million and punish the one who stole two pence 
It is so much fun..... It is so much fun

Panditji. I am not at all bothered whether you have gone to heaven or hell.
Because, wherever you go you will make it heaven.
May your soul rest in peace.  And have the last laugh.

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