Monday, November 16, 2015

Terrorism and Hope for Peace

I am writing this as a concerned mother of two. In the aftermath of Paris attack, the immediate thought haunting my mind; is this is the world we are making for our kids? The attack brought into attention Beirut, Baghdad, Syria and other countries reeling with the Terror effect. I am ashamed to admit that when I read the news of any terrorist activities in Arab countries, I hardly try to get in the details of the news dismissing this as a part of their daily struggle. Things changed after this Friday the 13th as the terrorism, ISIS related news and articles formed the huge chunk of my news feed and a larger part of discourse as well. It made me sit and take notice and delve deeper into the subject. As I was reading about Syria crisis, (though Arab Spring was a part of assignment I did together with my students of Mass Comm way back in 2011) I was shattered by the images of refugees, almost 50% of whom are kids. Kids, the future and hope of a better and improved world are left without any family members and friends alive, they are forced to live a homeless, education less orphaned life. I looked at my children and shuddered at the thought of having them to live such a life, if something happens to us and this is not an unfathomable reality considering what the world is going through at the moment. Any zealous fanatic in the name of religion, God whatsoever can do that. 
France and Syria might be on the opposite end of a spectrum in terms of the countries they are but the tragedies incurred are the same in terms of innocent lives lost. In between, there may be issues like Oil, Ammunition, Propaganda and Religious Extremism involved but the bitter question is how will that family less, homeless child be able to get its innocent, carefree childhood back? 
As I go through the daily rituals of taking care of my kids-sending them to school, preparing hot meals for them and safely tucking them into the security and warmth of their own beds, I think of those children faraway, did they get something to eat? Are they sleeping well? What is the hope for them to live? I don't have the answers and I am scared about the future of my kids and all the children worldwide. Is this the hope and vision of the world we want to build for them? 
The basic premise of 'all of us are born equal' that I try to teach them perhaps exists in my Utopian world. The discrimination of the people based on gender, color, race, religion and caste may be far fetched reality for them now but sooner or later they may experience it and the idea of an ideal world would shatter into million pieces. Do I want them to grow up in the global environment of violence, hatred and 'eye for an eye' attitude. We, as the citizens of this world share a collective responsibility to make it a beautiful place for our children. We are sailing in the same boat. Can't we give peace a chance for the sake of our future generation or is it too much to ask for?

For further reading: http://www.globalresearch.ca/the-war-on-syria-the-major-political-players-humanitarian-crisis/5473168
http://www.theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2015/feb/16/situation-syria-is-going-to-get-worse-melissa-fleming-united-nations
https://www.jacobinmag.com/2015/11/paris-attacks-bataclan-hollande-beirut/

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Being a Mother

We all play various roles in our lifetime bearing different shades of emotions but the most crucial, difficult and demanding role in the life of a woman starts when she becomes a mother. In fact, the life of a woman can clearly be divided into two parts-pre-motherhood and post motherhood era. And, no girl in the pre-motherhood era can envisage what is in store for her on the other side because as every child is different and so is every mother. She can learn from the examples but the reality hits when she enters the battlefield or in this case she decides to be a mother. 
There are numerous physical and psychological changes which starts taking place as soon as a woman becomes pregnant. Though she is showered with all the affection and care during the pregnancy phase but when the baby enters the world, the needs and desires of the woman take a backseat while baby's needs take precedence. Basic functions like showering and eating have to be readjusted to match with baby's nap time. The social circle is restricted to other parents and baby's doctor. In totality, the baby starts to run the show and parents especially mother is just a player at the mercy of mighty director. The babies don't come with a rule book and every mother goes through waves of self doubts whether she is doing the job properly or not. There is a lot of learning involved along the way which is free by the way!
First and foremost thing that any mother learns with the child is patience and self control. A great deal of patience is required when after trying for two hours the baby still doesn't want to sleep. Lots of self control is needed when a three year old insists on buying a toy in the supermarket and on being declined, starts crying nonstop lying on the floor, when a four year old doesn't like the meal, mother has cooked so painstakingly. Overall, a lot of self control and patience is required to deal with kids in day to day situations.
Expected the unexpected-this is another important lesson of parenting. Things will never go as prepared and according to the set plan. All the vacation planning may backfire when a child falls sick or you may get late for a movie or dinner when the kid wants a toilet break as you are about to leave the house. In short, do your best but be prepared for the worst.
Listening also becomes very crucial when the child starts to speak. There are infinite number of questions which mother has to answer on a daily basis. Right from, why does water make us wet and why do I have a baby brother to why is Shahrukh Khan's tummy different from my tummy (six pack abs!), there is no end to the stream of questions and every question is damn important and critical for the little inquisitive mind. The mother not only has to listen to each question carefully but also give an answer to satisfy the kid's curiosity. For instance, I remember watching a movie with my first one and he asks me where are the hero’s mommy and daddy. I said, they don’t live with him. He asks me, why? I said, ‘as anyone grows up, he/she has to leave the parents house to go for college or work. You will also leave us one day’. On hearing this, my son started crying that he will never leave his Mommy. He will always stay together with me. I felt sudden surge of emotions hearing his words.
Kids bring a lot of fresh energy and different perspective in our lives as well. Though with them each and every moment is an experience in itself; from the first toothless smile , first baby steps to first words and then later on those full blown arguments but some moments are really special. Its really touching when he waits for his father to come home to have dinner with him howsoever late it may be. His random acts of kindness and sharing towards his classmates and strangers alike fill me with complete joy and pride.
With my younger one, there are no specific moment as such because he is just fifteen months but his birth will always be cherished in my heart. He was born in South Korea faraway from family and friends. When you are in your own country you have all the support and you know everything so things become lot easier. It is when you are away from the support system, living on your own then you realize your true potential. This is what happened when our second one was born. With no one from the family around us, we struggled and learned along the way. In that sense, my boy is absolutely cool, calm and collected not giving us much trouble since he was born. 
Going through all these experiences everyday without fail, a mother becomes a great manager, perfect negotiator, good policy maker and an effective communicator. Yes, motherhood is no easy job and bosses are difficult at time but they give loveliest of hugs and kisses which makes the job worthwhile.

Gujarati version of this article appears on
http://www.khabarchhe.com/magazine/complexity-of-motherhood/


Tuesday, August 30, 2011

तलाश

सागर किनारे
रेत की नम भूमि पर
नंगे पाँव चलते, शंख बीनते, घरोंदे बनाते,
चला जाता हूँ मैं,
मैं उस क्षितिझ की खोज में, जो शायद ही मुझे कभी छू पायेगा,
या मैं उसे पा लूँगा, हाथ बढाकर,
हाँ, इससे ज्यादा मैं क्या कर सकता हूँ.
ज़िन्दगी के हर पड़ाव पर रुकता रहा हूँ,
कभी थका, कभी किसी का हाथ थामा, पकड़ा
कुछ दूर जाकर छोड़ दिया...
पर ख़त्म न हुई मेरी तलाश
क्या कभी बुझेगी ये प्यास?
शायद मेरे जाने के बाद !

Thursday, May 5, 2011

माँ

माँ को समर्पित दो रचनाए....

बेसन की सोंधी रोटी पर-निदा फ़ाज़ली

बेसन की सोंधी रोटी पर
खट्टी चटनी जैसी माँ
याद आती है चौका-बासन
चिमटा फुकनी जैसी माँ
बाँस की खुर्री खाट के ऊपर
हर आहट पर कान धरे
आधी सोई आधी जागी
थकी दोपहरी जैसी माँ
चिड़ियों के चहकार में गूंजे
राधा-मोहन अली-अली
मुर्ग़े की आवाज़ से खुलती
घर की कुंडी जैसी माँ
बिवी, बेटी, बहन, पड़ोसन
थोड़ी थोड़ी सी सब में
दिन भर इक रस्सी के ऊपर
चलती नटनी जैसी माँ
बाँट के अपना चेहरा, माथा,
आँखें जाने कहाँ गई
फटे पुराने इक अलबम में
चंचल लड़की जैसी माँ

माँ के लिए सम्भव नहीं होगी मुझसे कविता-चंद्रकांत देवताले

अमर चिऊँटियों का एक दस्ता मेरे मस्तिष्क में रेंगता रहता है
माँ वहाँ हर रोज़ चुटकी-दो-चुटकी आटा डाल देती है
मैं जब भी सोचना शुरू करता हूँ
यह किस तरह होता होगा
घट्टी पीसने की आवाज़ मुझे घेरने लगती है
और मैं बैठे-बैठे दूसरी दुनिया में ऊँघने लगता हूँ
जब कोई भी माँ छिलके उतार कर
चने, मूँगफली या मटर के दाने नन्हीं हथेलियों पर रख देती है
तब मेरे हाथ अपनी जगह पर थरथराने लगते हैं
माँ ने हर चीज़ के छिलके उतारे मेरे लिए
देह, आत्मा, आग और पानी तक के छिलके उतारे
और मुझे कभी भूखा नहीं सोने दिया
मैंने धरती पर कविता लिखी है
चन्द्रमा को गिटार में बदला है
समुद्र को शेर की तरह आकाश के पिंजरे में खड़ा कर दिया
सूरज पर कभी भी कविता लिख दूँगा
माँ पर नहीं लिख सकता कविता !

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

उड़ जायेगा हंस अकेला

उड़ जायेगा उड़ जायेगा
उड़ जायेगा हंस अकेला
जग दर्शन का मेला
जैसे पात गिरे तरुवर पे
मिलना बहुत दुहेला
ना जाने किधर गिरेगा
ना जानूं किधर गिरेगा
गगया पवन का रेला
जब होवे उमर पूरी
जब छूटे गा हुकुम हुज़ूरी
यम् के दूत बड़े मज़बूत
यम् से पडा झमेला
दास कबीर हर के गुण गावे
वाह हर को पारण पावे
गुरु की करनी गुरु जायेगा
चेले की करनी चेला