Monday, December 31, 2018

नव वर्ष 2019 की शुभकामनाएं

व्यक्तिगत उपलब्धि शून्य , दो हमउम्र मित्रों का छोड़ कर जाना , दो मित्रों को पत्नि- शोक एक दो स्वजनों से सदा के लिए बिछड़ना -जाने वाला वर्ष 2018 यह सब दे गया । सार्वजनिक एवम् वृहद्तर स्तर पर हिमाचल में ही हमने कुछ नामचीन साहित्यिक रचनाकारों को खो दिया । 2019 कैसा होगा यह भविष्यवाणी करना लगभग असंभव ही होता है फिर भी सब के लिए अच्छा हो यह कामना व प्रार्थना तो की ही जा सकती है ।
परसों किसी चैनल पर बुल्गारिया की दृष्टिबाधित महिला भविष्यवक्ता स्व.बाबा वांगा के हवाले से 2019 के बारे में कुछ भयावह घटनाओं मसलन सुनामी और विश्वयुद्ध की संभावना बतायी जा रही थी ।ईश्वर करे ऐसा कुछ न हो ।आशावादी होते हुए बकौल ग़ालिब 'किसी बरहमन ने कह रखा है यह साल अच्छा है' को ही मान कर चलते हैं ।विपरीत परिस्थितियों के लिए क़तील शिफ़ाई ने कुछ लिखा है , जो फिर कभी !फ़िलहाल रस्मे दुनिया भी है , मौका भी , दस्तूर भी ... !सब को नव वर्ष की हार्दिक शुभकामनाएं !

Saturday, December 29, 2018

Ramanand Sagar

Today is the birth anniversary of Ramanand Sagar, the popular Bollywood film Director,  Producer and Writer. He was born Chndramauli Chopra this day in 1917 at Lahore  in undivided Punjab.He was adopted by his maternal grandmother,who had no son and it was during this time that he was given the name Ramanand Sagar. He did odd jobs to make a living and alongside studied to obtain a degree.A Gold medalist in Sanskrit and Persian from Punjab University, he became an Editor with the Daily Milap.
He wrote plays, short stories, poems and novel under the name Ramanand Bedi, Ramanand Chopra & Ramanand Kashmiri at different times.Falling a victim to Tuberculosis,he wrote a column ' Diary of a TB Patient'  which was publish in a magazine in Lahore.He got associated as an Assistant Stage Manager with the Prithvi Theaters and also directed some plays. He wrote the story and screen play of Barsaat, the popular Raj Kapoor -Nargis blockbuster.He started his own production & direction Company and gave many wonderful films.
His filmography includes notable films like Sangdil, Raj Tilak, Arzoo, Mem Sahib,Paigham, Ghoonghat,Rajkumar, Zindagi, Aankhen, Geet, Lalkar,Charas, Prem Bandhan, Salma and some others.
Turning to Television in 1985, he produced Ramayan,the most popular TV serial of its time.He also produced TV serials Vikram & Betaal,Krishna, Alif Laila, and Luv Kush.
He was awarded Padma Shri in 2000.
He died on 12 December , 2005 at Mumbai, 17 days short of completing his 88 years.
Our humble tributes to the multi talented film personality !

Friday, December 28, 2018

David

Today is the death anniversary of David Abraham  Cheulkar- David for short- the popular Character Actor of Hindi Cinema.He was born at Thane in 1909.A Law graduate who found his career in films acted in about 110 films.His film career which he started with the film Naya Sansaar in 1941, lasted four decades.
His filmography includes award winning films like Pardesi, Shehar Aur Sapna and Boot Polish . The popular song ' Nanhe Munne Bachche Teri Mutthi Mein Kya Hai' in the 1957 movie  Boot Polish was picturised on him.
His other  notable films include Actress, Sawan Aya Re,Rahi, Bhai Bhai, Amardeep, Ek Phool Char Kaante,Sangeet Samrat Tansen,Himalaya ki Gode Mein, Mamta, Anupama,Upkar,Mere Huzoor, Sapnon Ka Saudagar,Ek Phool Do Mali, Gol Mal, Baaton Baaton Mein,Chupke Chupke, Raat ki Bahon Mein,Satyakam, Nanak Naam Jahaaz Hai, Haathi Mere Saathi and  Anuraag.
He was awarded Padma Shri in 1969.
He died this day at Toronto this day in 1981
Our humble tributes !

Thursday, December 27, 2018

मिर्ज़ा ग़ालिब

 आज एशिया महाद्वीप के उर्दू और फ़ारसी के अज़ीम शाइर मिर्ज़ा असदुल्ला खां बेग ‘ग़ालिब’ की जयंती है .अपनी हर दिल अज़ीज़ ग़ज़लों और हर मौके  पर उद्धृत किए जाने वाले शेरों के बल पर ‘ग़ालिब’ को उर्दू अदब में बहुत ऊंचा स्थान हासिल है.ज़ाहिर है रोज़ मर्रा की  ज़िंदगी में  जितना इस्तेमाल  उनके शेरों और रुबाईयों का होता है, किसी और शाइर की रचनाओं का नहीं ।
एक बानगी :

“तुम न आए तो क्या सहर न हुई
हाँ मगर चैन से बसर न हुई
मेरा नाला सुना ज़माने ने
एक तुम हो जिसे ख़बर न हुई”

“बूए-गुल, नाला-ए-दिल, दूदे चिराग़े महफ़िल
जो तेरी बज़्म से निकला सो परीशाँ निकला
चन्द तसवीरें-बुताँ चन्द हसीनों के ख़ुतूत,
बाद मरने के मेरे घर से यह सामाँ निकला”

“तेरे वादे पर जिये हम, तो यह जान, झूठ जाना,
कि ख़ुशी से मर न जाते, अगर एतबार होता”

“बाज़ीचा-ए-अतफ़ाल है दुनिया मेरे आगे होता है
 शब-ओ-रोज़ तमाशा, मेरे आगे”

“उग रहा है दर-ओ-दीवार से सबज़ा ग़ालिब
हम बयाबां में हैं और घर में बहार आई है”

“बना है शह का मुसाहिब, फिरे है इतराता
वगर्ना शहर में "ग़ालिब" की आबरू क्या है”

न जाने किस रौ में बह कर ग़ालिब अपनी तारीफ इन लफ्जों में करते है-
“हैं और भी दुनिया में सुखन्वर बहुत अच्छे,
कहते हैं कि गालिब का है अन्दाज-ए-बयां और"
और इसके लिए  उनके समकालीन  तमाम दीगर शाइर उनकी आलोचना भी करते हैं ।
पर ऐसा भी नहीं है कि किसी और शाइर को ‘ग़ालिब’ खातिर में नहीं लाते।
खुले दिलोदिमाग से वो मीर तकी ‘मीर’ की तारीफ कुछ इस तरह करते हैं-

 “रेखते के तुम्हीं उस्ताद नहीं हो गालिब
 कहते हैं अगले जमाने में कोई मीर भी था”

और  मोमिन खाँ ‘मोमिन’ के शेर-
“तुम मेरे पास होते हो गोया,
 जब कोई दूसरा नहीं होता”

 पे इतना लट्टू हो जाते हैं  कि इस एक  शेर  की एवज़ में  अपना पूरा दिवान मोमिन के नाम कर देने को तैयार हो जाते हैं ।अलबत्ता, समकालीन शाइर इब्राहीम ज़ौक़ व उनकी शायरी  दोनों ही ग़ालिब को नापसन्द हैं और वो इन्हें खातिर में नहीं लाते ।
ग़ालिब का जीवन विरोधाभास से भरा है, नौकरी के लिए दरख्वास्त करने दरबार में जाते हैं तो पालकी में । अपनी तुर्क विरासत का रुतबा इस क़दर हावी है कि थोड़ी बहुत शाही पेंशन पर ही गुज़र होती है, पर ठाठ और आत्म सम्मान में कोई कमी नहीं ।
ऊपर दिया गया उनका शेर- बना है शह का मुसाहिब......-उनके अपने आप पर किये तंज़ को  बयां करता है ।अपनी सातों संतानों के कम उम्र में ही रुखसत हो जाने का ग़म भी उनकी शायरी में  खूब झलकता है ।
ग़ालिब की शाइरी में रूमानियत भी है और फलसफा भी ।
कुल मिला कर ग़ालिब की शाइरी और शख्सियत को किसी खास कित्ते या कालखंड  में बांधा नहीं जा सकता ।
इस महान शाइर को हमारी  विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

A MINI DISASTER IN THE KITCHEN

  1. At about 10:15 in the morning, mywife calls me out loud from the kitchen, "Zara jaldi ao toh ! ." This is enough to scare me out of my wits as I too keep going to the kitchen to do small chores like preparing tea, warming water to drink and  boiling milk and I fear something might have gone amiss.I rush to the kitchen and my wife points to the cracked crystal/ toughened glass top of the gas stove in front.My wife had warmed some ghee on a burner for pooja and there is this cracking sound and damage to the stove that has served us for almost a decade. Mercifully I have had my breakfast . Fearing that some broken pieces might have found way into the cookware atop, the cooked vegetable, even though covered has to be thrown.
In the evening we go to the bazaar, get a new gas stove, the dealer offering some rebate on the old damaged stove.The salesman advises us not to go for the auto ignition, as according to him disaster has occurred due to that. Agreeing, we go for the manual option with the lighter.
Much to our relief, the person bringing the stove, fixes it and takes the old one.
All this happened yesterday .

Thursday, December 20, 2018

स्मृति शेष- तेज राम शर्मा

स्मृति शेष
तेज राम शर्मा
( 25.03.1943 – 20.12.2017 )
तुम को न भूल पाएंगे  !
आज पूरा एक वर्ष हो गया आपको गए , पर  अब भी विश्वास नहीं होता कि  आप भौतिक / शारीरिक अवस्था में अब साथ नहीं हैं  । साथ हैं तो आपकी बातें, समय समय पर आपके द्वारा दिये जाने वाले बहुमूल्य परामर्श व मार्गदर्शन और मानवीय संवेदना से युक्त आपकी काव्य रचनाएं । आपके द्वारा गत वर्ष 18 नवंबर को   फेसबुक पर  डाला गया अंतिम  हाइकु-
हाइकु
अनाथ हुए
आत्महा दवा हुई
विधवा हुई
- मन को व्याकुल करता है  ।
क्या यह पूर्वाभास था , सब कुछ छोड़ कर चले जाने का ? इतनी जल्दी समर्पण करने वालों में आप नहीं थे.  You had been a fighter !
स्वास्थ्य संबंधी जो भी  आपकी नज़र से गुज़रता, आपने सदा विभिन्न माध्यमों से मेरे साथ साझा किया। फिर इसे नियति  की विडम्बना  न कहें तो क्या कहें कि गर्दन की दर्द जिसे केवल cervical spondylosis समझ कर उपचार करवाया जा रहा था  , उसके साथ ही शरीर में कुछ और प्रक्रिया भी चल रही थी , जिसका आभास तक न हुआ। आखिर में बाद परीक्षण जब nervous breakdown जैसा कुछ बताया गया तो उस समय बहुत देर हो चुकी थी । नियति अपना काम कर चुकी थी । परिणामत: आप अलविदा कह कर चल दिये । वापिस आयी तो आपकी निर्जीव देह !
आपकी अपनी ही एक कविता, कुछ इस तरह-
जब मैं वापसी की सोचता हूँ -

जब मैं वापसी की सोचता हूँ
तो बहुत आगे निकल चुका होता हूँ
अपनी नियति को बदलने में असमर्थ

यात्रा पर मेरे पहले कदम के साथ-साथ
हवा ने भी अपना रुख बदला होगा
काली बिल्ली काट गई होगी रास्ता
यादव वंश–सा कोई शाप
वहाँ भी फलीभूत हुआ होगा
मुझे डर है
कुम्भीपाक उतर आया होगा
दंत-कथाओं से
ज़मीन पर
उंगलियों के छोर पर
बढ़ आए होंगे नाख़ून
समय नशे में धुत
जगमगाते शहरों में भटक गया होगा
थैली की गर्दन पर
कस गई होगी उसकी पकड़

वापसी जहाँ होगी
समय नहीं ताने होगा वहाँ
तोरण और बंदनवार
वहाँ दहलीज़ पर
फैल गए होंगे कुकुरमुत्ते।

सौजन्य : कविता कोश
------

अनुकरणीय जीवन यात्रा के साथ ही तीन दशक से अधिक की काव्य सृजन यात्रा को भी चिर विराम !
सादर नमन !

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

Om Prakash

Today is the birth anniversary of Om Prakash,a leading character actor of Hindi Cinema. Born Om Prakash Chhiber, this day in 1919 at Jammu,he started his career by working in All India Radio in 1937 at a monthly salary of Rs.25/- and the character of Fateh Din he played became very popular in Lahore and Punjab. He was trained in Classical music but did not take up music as a profession. He turned to film acting in 1942 in and in a career spanning five decades, played character roles in films and was a sought after actor.
His filmography includes films like, Dus Lakh, Annadata, Charandas, Sadhu air Shaitan, Dil Daulat Dunia, Apna Desh, Chupke Chupke, Julie, Joroo Ka Ghulam,Pyar Kiye January, Padosan, Zanzeer, Budha Mil Gaya,Nanak Halaal, Bharosa,Mere Humdum Mere Dost, Howrah Bridge, Miss Mary, Sargam,Bahar, There Ghar ke Samne , Doli,Amar Prem, Anurag and many many others. He was cast in comic as well as tragic roles and excelled in both.
He died on 21 February 1998 aged 78.
Our humble tributes to the great Actor !

Saturday, December 15, 2018

A PET GOES MISSING-


A little more than two years back, I had  written a post about Bruno, a pet ,a German Shepherd in the immediate neighborhood who to the surprise of all had become friendly with  us instantly when we relocated some seven years ago- just a casual visit , a round of the house feeling every nook and corner inside and smelling & sniffing us.One known to be a terror for casual visitors and strangers adopted us in no time.No unwanted person could dare enter the compound or the vicinity. Faithful to the core, like perhaps all canine pets are, the owners would leave the house unbolted and unlocked, to his care.
Bruno, that's the name by which he was called disappeared last month. He disappeared first on 21st , remained somewhere hidden and not traceable on 22nd but was spotted nearby on 23rd and brought , with an eye injured and bruised.As usual on 24th in the early morning he went out for jungle pani ,this time never to return.  A week long search proved futile as he was nowhere to be found. Maybe some Big Cat took him.

I have resisted writing about him sharing the hope and optimism of the owners and others in the neighborhood that he would return home taking everyone by surprise but alas !
Now there is no check on unwanted passers by, with monkeys and langurs having a field day causing all types of nuisance .
Missing you Bruno , you have been such a darling  !

Sunday, December 9, 2018

DOZAKHNAMA

DOZAKHNAMA
Conversations in hell
By Rabisankar Bal
Translated into English by Arunava Sinha
Published by
Penguin Random House India
Pp 533

  • Price: Rs. 450/-


DOZAKHNAMA is a novel by Rabisankar Bal originally written in Bengali.
The narrator, a journalist visits Lucknow in connection with some research on Tawaifs of Lucknow and  per chance stumbles upon a manuscript of an Urdu novel purported to have been written by Saadat Hassan Manto, the iconic short story writer of the sub continent.Curiosity gets the better of him and he decides to learn Urdu so as to be able to read it.He engages someone to tutor him but finds the task daunting . It is decided that the said tutor would read out the novel to the narrator.
Mirza Ghalib , the Urdu - Persian poet & Manto , the short story writer- both geniuses in their respective fields divided in time by more than a century, indulge in conversation with each other from their graves.They talk to each other alternately through chapters , with Manto addressing Ghalib as Mirza Sahib and Ghalib adressing Manto as Manto Bhai,with due respect to age.The readers are also addressed as dear friends.
Both  have some similarities. Both have had disturbed childhood full of miseries and deprivation, been through turbulent times, Ghalib  being a witness to the 1857 rebellion and the aftermath; Manto ,a witness to the 1947 partition .Both are given to vices like drinking and visiting Tawaifs & brothels, but not without purpose. The reader is taken through  a mix of fact and fiction so intricately woven that the novel comes across as a valuable chronicle of times.One gets to know the creative process of the two geniuses, their troubles, miseries, financial insecurities and  humiliations-in short vagaries of fate.
Ghalib talks about the loss of seven children, none surviving more than a year and a half, the meager pension not sufficient to pull through as besides other things, he needs a daily quota of liquor. Still he nanages to keep up appearances, proud of his ancestry of Turk soldiers.There is also some spiritual quest when he talks of ishq majazi and ishq haqiqi.A brief sojourn at Kashi proves a spiritually rewarding experience to Ghalib. In between  shers of Mir and Hafiz are quoted by Ghalib inter alia his own poetry.
Manto  too has a disturbed childhood, neglected by his father , not providing for him whereas his step brothers get the best of education abroad .He takes to drinking with habit remains with him, and  hastens his end at the age of 43.The novel also provides a peep into the background to some of the stories and the characters depicted therein. His stay at Bombay, his stint as the editor of a magazine, his meetings with Ismat Chugtai with whom he enjoys some equation.His working at Delhi and migration to Pakistan all find mention. He dies a frustrated man as the country of his adoption does not seem to accept him.In between is discussed the court cases slapped on him and Ismat Chugtai for alleged obscenity in their writings.
All this makes an interesting reading and perhaps no other single work discusses the two greats in such detail.It is a result of thorough research. The non Urdu knowing readers like me do feel handicapped because the poetry is quoted in Urdu script and the English translation given alongside does not do full justice to the  wonderful poetry.Otherwise the English translation of the novel is excellent .
I being a fan of both Ghalib and Manto liked it immensely.

Tuesday, December 4, 2018

Remembering Shashi Kapoor

Today is the first death anniversary of Shashi Kapoor, the famous Bollywood actor, producer and director. Youngest and also the handsomest of the three sons of Prithvi Raj Kapoor, he had been active both in theater and cinema and has also worked in English movies like Shakespeare Wallah and Siddhartha. He started his career acting in Prithvi Theatre,his father's theatre Company.Turning to films,he acted as a child artiste in Aag(1948) and Awaara(1951).He also had his stint as an Assistant Director and a Director. While working in theatre in London, he came across theatre artist Jennifer Kendal whon he eventually married.Together they nurtured Prithvi Theatre and acted in many plays.
A versatile actor, he acted as a hero , a villain, and a character artist, across the entire spectrum of more than 150 movies he acted in.His first lead role was in 1961 film Dharamputra, which met only with partial success.This made him turn to Western Cinema but soon He returned to mainstream Hindi Cinema.  He paired most successfully with Nanda, the actress with whom he worked in eight movies, the most popular one being Jab Jab Phool Khile.He had lead role in about 60 films,the others being second lead and in multi starrer films.Most of the time he was cast in Romantic and positive roles. The songs picturized on him also became popular hits.His filmography includes, Dharamputra, Jab Jab Phool Khile, Deewar, Fakira, Neend Hamari Khwaab Tumhare, Mehandi Lagi Mere Hath Re, Kabhi Kabhi, Raja Saab , Rootha Na Karo , Satyam Shivam Sundaram, Suhaag and many many others.
He was third of the Kapoor clan to receive the coveted Dada Saheb Phalke Award and was also a recipient of Padma Bhushan.

Our humble tributes to the highly talented film and theatre personality !

Monday, November 26, 2018

WAS IT A DREAM by Guy De Maupassant

WAS IT A DREAM  is a  short story by  Guy De Maupassant, the  19th century  French  short story writer.  A master story teller, he is known for the   surprise  endings , much to the shock of the reader.
The story is set in Paris.An unnamed lover is unable to bear the loss of his beloved  who has died due to cough  and fever  she catches suddenly  , after getting wet in the rain.He runs away  from home  soon after the  last rites  .
After some years he returns  to  Paris, his home and once more  feels nostalgic to think of his beloved. He feels her permanent impression  on the mirror  in which she used to look  before leaving home  , to ensure  that every thing  was in place.
He makes his way to the graveyard  on a dark  moonless night , and tired sits  on the stone of an old grave. Soon he feels the earth shaking and the stone rising. Frightened  , he shifts  to the other stone nearby . He sees  a skeleton  rising from the grave. The epitaph  on the stone  reads Here lies Jacques Olivant, who died at the age of fifty-one. He loved his family, was kind and honorable, and died in the grace of the Lord.
 The skeleton reads the epitaph and sets out to erase the letters.  After erasing the letters , he rewrites the  epitaph which  now reads “‘Here reposes Jacques Olivant, who died at the age of fifty-one. He hastened his father’s death by his unkindness, as he wished to inherit his fortune, he tortured his wife, tormented his children, deceived his neighbors, robbed everyone he could, and died wretched.
 Surprised and shocked  he  walks to the  grave of his beloved and  finds  his  dead  beloved  indulging in the same activity of  erasing and rewriting . The epitaph which earlier read ‘She loved, was loved, and diednow reads  Having gone out one day, in order to deceive her lover, she caught cold in the rain and died.
The story ends with the line ‘It appears that they found me at daybreak, lying on the grave unconscious.’
 This is not a conventional love story though the narrator and  the  central character is a  lover. Maupassant has not given any name to the lover and the beloved  to extend the scope of  the narrative as relating to the  humanity world wide. The name Jacques Olivant appears  only as a reference point.
Only the dead know about themselves , is the easy inference one can draw.

A wonderful story, though shocking too   !




Sunday, November 25, 2018

सुरिन्दर कौर

अपनी जादू भरी आवाज़ से पंजाबी लोकगायन और संगीत को शिखर पर पहुँचाने वाली महान गायिका सुरिन्दर कौर की आज जयंती है। स्वतन्त्रता पूर्व लाहौर रेडियो स्टेशन से अपनी संगीत यात्रा आरंभ करने वाली सुरिन्दर कौर ने न केवल पंजाबी संगीत को घर घर पहुंचाया, बल्कि, शुरुआती दौर में हिन्दी फिल्मों के लिए भी कुछ गीत गाये जो अत्यंत लोकप्रिय हुए। ऐसे ही गीतों में उनका एक गीत 'बदनाम न हो जाए मुहब्बत का फसाना , ओ दर्द भरे आँसुओ आँखों में न आना' आज भी शौक से सुना जाता है। इसके अतिरिक्त ‘तक़दीर की आँधी हम कहाँ और तुम कहाँ’ और ‘आना है तो आ जाओ’ भी उनके लोकप्रिय हिन्दी फिल्म गीत हैं। 

मुख्य रूप से उन्हें पंजाबी गीतों के लिए जाना जाता है । कुछ गीत उनने अपनी बहन प्रकाश कौर के साथ भी गाये। ‘ लट्ठे दी चादर उत्ते सलेटी रंग माहिया’,’ अजे न वसीं ओए न वस बदला, अजे न वस ओए कालेया’, ‘ जूती कसूरी, पैरीं न पूरी’, ‘ काला डोरिया कुंडे नाल अड़ेयाइ ओए, के छोटा देवरा भाभी नाल लड़ेयाइ ओए’, ‘चन्न कित्थाँ गुजारी आयी रात वे’ , ‘गोरी दियाँ झांझरां’ शोहरत की बुलंदी पर हैं। दो हज़ार से भी अधिक गीतों को अपनी आवाज़ से सजाने वाली सुरिन्दर कौर ने आसा सिंह मस्ताना, हरचरन ग्रेवाल, दीदार संधु और करनैल गिल के साथ भी कई यादगार गीत गाये । उनकी एक बेटी डॉली गुलेरिया भी जानी मानी पंजाबी गायिका है।
सुरिन्दर कौर को पद्मश्री और संगीत नाटक अकादमी पुरस्कार से भी सम्मानित किया गया था। गुरु नानक विश्वविद्यालय ने उन्हें मानद डॉक्टरेट की उपाधि से भी सम्मानित किया था।


पंजाब की कोकिला के नाम से विख्यात इस महान गायिका को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Thursday, November 15, 2018

AFTER TWENTY YEARS

AFTER TWENTY YEARS is a short story by O Henry, the master story teller.
The back ground of the story is that two friends Bob and Jimmy Wells , 18 and 20 years of age, grow up together as kids in New York and are almost looked upon as brothers.One day they decide to part ways with a promise to meet exactly after twenty years at the appointed place  and time irrespective of how differently the time or luck treats them in terms of social status or financial well being.Bob leaves for the West to try his luck and make it big, while Jimmy Wells stays back at New York as he is not willing to leave the place.
Twenty years later -
A cop on the night patrol duty  passes through a market place to see whether the shops and stores closed for the night  are properly left locked and secure.He finds a man standing on the doorway of a hardware store.When enquired, the man tells the cop that he is waiting for a friend whom he had promised to meet after twenty years. When the man attempt to light up a cigarette, the cop in the light of the lighter recognizes the man as a wanted criminal who has run away to escape the law.The cop leaves.
The man who is waiting for his friend is desperate as Jimmy Wells had not turned up at the appointed time .
After a while  a cop in plain clothes appears and addresses the man by his name Bob. Bob happy that at last Jimmy has come to meet him as promised, warmly shakes hands with him. They walk together some distance and  when they come near the light , Bob comes to know from the man's appearance that he is not Jimmy Wells, as even the twenty years long period cannot bring about a drastic change in physical appearance.
When Bob tells him that he can not be his friend Jimmy, the  cop in plain clothes tells him that he is not Jimmy but a cop come to arrest him.
He takes out a note written by Jimmy Wells and hands it over to Bob.
It transpires that the cop who had earlier met Bob was Jimmy who had turned up on time and seeing that Bob his friend was a wanted criminal , who he being a cop was duty bound  to arrest had hesitated to do so being a friend and sought the help of a fellow cop to arrest him.
The two friends though are of different character and disposition, come across as true friends, fulfilling the promise of meeting each other , though the inherent irony makes it a sting in the tail narrative.

A great story indeed !

Sunday, November 11, 2018

The Gypsy Trail

THE GYPSY TRAIL:
 Travels and Travails of an Army Wife
By  Lily Swarn
Publishers :Authorspress, New Delhi
ISBN: 978-93-88008-68-6
Pp :180
Price : Rs 395/-

This  is a third book by Lily Swarn after  ‘A Trellis Of Ecstasy’ (2017) a poetry collection   , & ‘ Lilies Of The Valley’(2018)-a book of Essays  . Both  these books have been well taken by the readers .Lily Swarn is  the winner of the Reuel  International  Prize  for Poetry 2016 . She now is  a globally recognized poet  ,some of  her poems having  been  translated into Spanish , Brazilian and some other languages.  The list of her achievements first and foremost as a poet in English   is pretty long .She loves to dabble in Urdu Shayari and Punjabi  poetry  too.
The title  ‘The Gypsy  Trail…..’  is partly  taken from  Kipling’s poem of the  same name  and the  other part - Travel and Travails of an Army Wife- is self explanatory  as to what  the reader  is to find in the book .
The book starts on a sombre note with a dedication to  Gobind Shahbaaz Singh , the 23 year old son of the writer  who fell victim to  some  ailment that proved fatal .He is fondly remembered as a promising  child growing up into  a talented young man  who wants to make it big in the field  chosen  by him but unfortunately  destiny has ordained otherwise.    He is easily identifiable  with the  youngman  Jujhar the  name that  appears later in the  narrative.  Incidentally, Jujhar was also one of the    martyred sons of  Guru Gobind Singh, the  Tenth Guru .
The Prelude , sums up  the person an Army wife is or supposed to be, with the unwritten  code that requires to be adhered to and followed  .
The Chapter named  ‘Teenage Crush’  comes up with the  background to the protagonist  becoming an army wife and the narrative is presented  in an interesting manner and style , where  she  spells out  her well reasoned preference  for an Army Officer  over a Bureaucrat   and  a Banker . She gets engaged  to  her dream man, an Army Officer  . A hurried marriage ceremony follows  as the  groom is not allowed sufficient days of leave.
After this the  journey as an Army wife  starts  , the first stop being  Changu at Sikkim , where the  young  Captain happens to be posted.  The description of the place ,its natural scenic beauty  its flora and fauna , and people  especially the cherubic  children  holds one transfixed and  is simply amazing .
Not long after the next place is Dalhousie  a small town in Chamba district of Himachal Pradesh. Here the protagonist  takes up a teaching assignment as a young College lecturer and fondly  describes her colleagues. Here also  we have a beautiful  description of the place  . Here the protagonist  experiences  mother hood for the first time  as she delivers a baby on 8th May, 1984.   .
The reader  travels along with the  protagonist  through places some well known and others less known.
 The chapters  are in chronological order and the places  to which she travels  and  sets home  are Deolali, Alwar, Bagrakot , Pune, Kathua, Dinjan,Meerut,  Allahabad,  Lucknow , Hyderabad,  Ferozepur  and Chandigarh. Some other chapters find place  in between for general  discussion in a befitting manner   in her  inimitable style.
Endowed with a  rare    observant    eye and  with a penchant  for detail , the writer does not  seem to be  in a hurry and discusses  the minutest details about the  various  places,  highlighting the historical  facts wherever necessary . She  discusses the local people, culture, cuisine, specialities , landmarks, and the famous personalities , be it the writers, poets, musicians , artistes and the other notable persons belonging to the  particular place   et al .The mention of film songs, lines from  Punjabi  songs , Urdu and Sufi  poetry makes the  text richer and absorbing .  The facts about army life are  discussed  with  compassion, precision  and truthfulness . They add to the knowledge  of the  Civilian outsiders like me  and  the insiders  cannot but agree  with what she has put forth . We have the elderly advice given to the protagonist by Sewa Singh, the man Friday  attached with her  husband to serve hot chapatis to the hubby, taken straight from the griddle ( Tawa), an addtition to my vocabulary that  Tawa  is called griddle in English. Another buddy finds mention in   discussing a faux pas caused when he  asks for advice while brewing up coffee for the  guests    in a voice  audible as well  to the others in the female  group  that has come to see  the new bride. The reference to Shaktiman, Threee Ton , One Ton- all Army  vehicles -  helps  refresh    my memory  of  times  spent in a border area . There is an Ode to Mango,  the mention of  all too famous   Lukhnawi  Nazakat  & Tehzeeb , to which I may add  Lehja as well, makes the narrative perfect.There is also mention of  emotion filled  Investiture ceremony  taking place in the  Central Command.   Hyderabadi  biryani and Charminar  , inter alia ,  are discussed in  detail . Allahabad  too is discussed in detail and with  attachment  mentioning all the remarkable personalities belonging to the place ,including the former  Prime Minister Nehru, Chandra  Shekhar , V.P. Singh , Indira Gandhi, poets like Nirala, Harivanshrai Bachchan , Firaq Gorakhpuri  and many many others .  The chapter concludes  with the line – All cities have chatacter. This one has soul as well .
 Ferozepur is known for Husseiniwala  border . Husseiniwala is also a place where the martyrs  Bhagat Singh , Rajguru  & Sukhdev  were cremated  . The place has a memorial raised in their honour also.All these facts find mention.
 Chandigarh  is the last stop of the journey and ominous too. It  being  the home city of the protagonist as well as the writer herself  is discussed in detail  . The chapter  ‘That day’ recounts the  tragic loss of  the 23 year son Jujhar , which moves one no end. This also accounts for   a tragic end to the protagonist’s life as an Army wife
I could go on and on but   that  would amount  to  a parallel narrative being written , which can not  be the intention  of a  book review .
All credit to the writer for his wonderful  narrative , which  takes the reader along through out . The comments registered by a poet, a scholar and  two highly decorated   senior Army  Officers  say a lot.
A prize possession to go to again and again  for valuable  references  apart from the  extremely absorbing narrative !

Friday, November 9, 2018

Where I was born

The two storeyed house at Annadale , Shimla known as Ram Ashram where I was born. This belonged to the Late Sh. SSS Thakur, a well known personality of AIR and Doordarshan and my father lived in it as a tenant for three years.For decades, the building stood out for its green roof.l learn  that the property now stands sold out.

Wednesday, November 7, 2018

Marie Curie

Today is the 142nd birth anniversary of Marie Skłodowska Curie- Marie Curie for short- the Polish born French  Physicist and Chemist.She did pioneering work in Radioactivity and is credited with the discovery of  Radium and Polonium.
She was the first woman to win a Novel Prize, first ever to win it twice in 1903 & 1911 and also the only one to win it in two different disciplines .She was also a recipient of Davy Medal and Matteucci Medal.
Our humble tributes to the great scientist !

Sunday, November 4, 2018

Janaki Ammal

Today is the 121st birth anniversary of Janaki Ammal Edavalath Kakkat, Janaki Akmal for short, the eminent Indian Botanist.She was the first woman to obtain a Ph.D. in Botany in 1931 from Michigan University in the US and also the first woman to be conferred D.Sc.(Honoris Causa) from the same University later. She started her teaching career at the Maharaja Christian College in Madras.She was invited by the Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru to organize the Botanical Survey of India and rose to be its Director General. She had also worked as a geneticist in London . She did pioneering work in Sugarcane Research.
She had worked at Jammu and Allahabad also. Many honours and  awards came her way  including Padma Shri.An award was also instituted in her name.
She died on 7th February, 1984 aged 86.
Our humble tributes to the luminary !

Thursday, November 1, 2018

Himachal Reorganization

Fifty two years back, this day the Punjab Reorganization Act 1966 came in to force . As a result a new state Haryana was carved out, Chandigarh was declared a Union Territory and Shimla, Kangra, Kullu and Lahaul –Spiti along with Nalagarh, Una Tehsil were merged with Himachal Pradesh, due to which, Himachal Pradesh grew enormously in size. As a 12 year old student of 8th class then , I did not know much about the implications . However, I do recall that that some people from these merged areas did not relish being merged with Himachal as they were happy being with Punjab or loved their Punjabi identity, for the reasons best known to them or perhaps more rightly that some of these areas constituted backward areas of Punjab with attendant benefits. I particularly recall the coining of word ‘KHADU’- a ram in Mahasuvi- Pahadi dialect , for persons belonging to upper areas of Shimla as a reaction . The word somehow carried negative connotations though later on it became a symbol of identity for Shimla people so much so that it became a matter of pride to be called a KHADU, may be due to the prosperity brought about by apple boom.However all this is a thing of the past and I just want to share this with my friends who I hope will not read much into what I have said. Our Himachal Pradesh has since taken long strides and made progress in every field , all Himachalis having contributed to it in different ways.

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

Harry Houdini

Today is the death anniversary of Harry Houdini .He was a Hungarian-born American illusionist and stunt performer, noted for his sensational escape acts. He first attracted notice in vaudeville in the US and then as "Harry Handcuff Houdini" on a tour of Europe, where he challenged police forces to keep him locked up. Soon he extended his repertoire to include chains, ropes slung from skyscrapers, straitjackets under water, and having to escape from and hold his breath inside a sealed milk can with water in it.Besides he performed many other unbelievable and seemingly humanly impossible feats to the wonderment of one and all.

Deservingly,he is considered one of the greatest magicians .
Unfortunately he died this day in 1926 of internal injuries caused due to repeated hitting on the abdomen by some jealous person .
Our humble tributes !

Tuesday, October 30, 2018

Homi Jahangir Bhabha

Today is the birth anniversary of Homi Jahangir Bhabha,FRS, the Indian Physicist and Nuclear scientist, who is remembered as the Father of Indian Nuclear Program.The premier institute called the Bhabha Atomic Research Centre is named after him.
He was a recipient of Adam's Prize and Padma Bhushan .
Our humble tributes !

Sir Walter Raleigh

Yesterday i.e. 29th October ,2018 marked the 400 years of the execution by beheading of Sir WALTER RALEIGH, a soldier, writer, poet, explorer and a colonizer , in short a polymath.
Born in 1552AD( 1554 according to some), he served as a soldier in Ireland and  France and is remembered as a ruthless suppressor of the rebellion in Ireland. Once a favourite of the 'Queen Elizabeth I, he was knighted in 1585 for his valuable services to the Crown.Falling out of favour with the Queen later, due to his courting marriage with one of the Queen's laidies-in -waiting without her permission, he along with his wife was taken prisoner and both were kept in the Tower of London where he wrote History of the World.Both were released after some time .
He was a passionate poet and wrote remarkable poetry not subscribing to the Classical style.
As an explorerer, he explored a territory in North America and named it Virginia in  honour of the Virgin Queen.
After Queen's death in 1603, the bad phase in Walter Raleigh's life started.
He was charged with the conspiracy of killing James I, and sentenced to death. He was executed by beheading on October 29th, 1618 when he was 65. At his request, before beheading he was shown the axe.His contention was that people might not think that at his age , he was afraid of death.
Many called his execution unjust , cruel , a travesty and a bad patch on the British  Judicial system .
Really tragic that a polymath like him met his end thus !

Friday, October 26, 2018

REMEMBERING JASPAL BHATTI

Jaspal Bhatti was  a popular Comedian, Actor and a Satirist.He was born in Amritsar, Punjab on 3rd  of March, 1955.

An Electrical Engineering Graduate from the Punjab Engineering College, Chandigarh, for some years he was an employee with the Punjab State Electricity Board.With humour running in his veins, in College days he had started Nonsense Club.Name and fame came to him with the television series Flop Show in early '90s which was produced by his wife Savita Bhatti, who also acted and appeared as his wife.Though only ten episodes were made and telecast, the show had an immense effect on the viewers.His mini comic strip Ulta Pulta also became very popular. The reason for the extraordinary popularity of his ventures was  honest and simple humour, which touched upon the day to day problems faced by the common man, due to the corrupt and inefficient system prevailing in Governance and elsewhere.Even the public indulging in unfair and corrupt practices like theft of electricity came under his scanner. His co-actor, the late Vivek Shauq gained popularity as an actor from Bhatti's serials and became a successful film actor.
Subsequently he acted in films also and was cast in movies like Jaanam Samjha Karo, Aa Ab Laut Chalen, Kartoos,
Khauff,Yeh Hai Jalwa, Koi Mere Dil Se Poochhe, Tujhe Meri Kasam, Nalayak,Kuchh Meetha Ho Jaye,Kuchh Na Kaho, Jija Ji, Fanaa, Chak De Patte, Power Cut, Dil Pardesi Ho Gaya and some others.
His Punjabi Feature Film Mahaul Theek Hai on the Punjab Police  became a chart buster.
The political system also became a target of his humour and satire and periodically he announced the formation of Hawala Party , Suitcase Party and Recession Party with a manifesto in place with party symbols like, Drugs, Opium and Liquor.
He died in a Car accident at Shahkot near Jalandhar while travelling at night on 25th October, 2012 aged 57, just a day before his film Power Cut was to be released.
He was awarded Padma Bhushan posthumously in 2013.
Our humble tributes to the great Actor and Television personality !

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

Agha Jani Kashmiri

Today is the 110th birth anniversary of Agha Jani Kashmiri, the Indian screenplay/ dialogue writer.Born Syed Wajid Hussain Rizvi this day in Lucknow in 1908, he was associated with popular and hit films like Vachan, Kismat, Lal Haveli, Humain, Anmol Ghadi,Najma, Taqdeer, Chandralekha,Anokhi Ada,Aurat, Amar, Chori Chori,Love in Shimla, Junglee, Yeh Raaste Hain Pyar Ke, Mujhe Jeeney Do, Ziddi, April Fool,Love in Tokyo, Tunde Achchha Kaun Hai, Naya Zamana and many many others.

He is known for writing the dialogues in chaste literary Urdu, which later got replaced by Salim- Javed's use of colloguial language .
Agha Jani Kashmiri died on 27th March, 1998 at Toronto, Canada , aged 89.
Our humble tributes to the great film personality !

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

HUNGER IS THE BEST SAUCE


HUNGER IS THE BEST SAUCE, they say and truly enough. But it is a heavenly boon and a bliss when you are treated to a reasonably good food , unexpectedly right in the middle of a desolate place or a Jungle.
In ' 80s while undergoing probation and part training at Ghumarwin, I was asked to carry out a joint inspection along with I&PH department and some stake holders to identify some land for the construction of a huge water storage tank.The group walked from one place to the other surveying vacant Government land amid some tree growth.At last some land got identified and some marking was done on the copy of revenue map after taking measurements of the spot.The exercise proved tiresome and exhausting in view of the fact that I had not taken breakfast in the morning. A person accompanying us,theretofore quite unknown to me sensing that something was wrong with me , enquired about my well-being.I frankly told him that I was dead hungry.
He assured me that he had some food with him and he was looking for water nearby. Luckily we found water on the way and we sat on the ground.He took out some wrapping from his bag. There were some chapatis softened with desi ghee, and some green leafy vegetable.
He shared his food happily with me , a complete stranger. The icing on the cake was some jam he was also carrying. This made a perfect lunch.
Even today, 32 years on,the thought of the kind person and the tasty lunch he was so happy to share with me, fills me with immense joy.

Monday, October 8, 2018

राज कुमार

अपनी अनूठी संवाद अदायगी, राजसी अदाओं एवं  तौर तरीकों के लिए  विख्यात, अद्भुत अभिनय प्रतिभा का दशकों लोहा मनवाने वाले अभिनेता  राजकुमार की आज जयंती है । इनका वास्तविक नाम कुलभूषण पंडित था।
स्कूल के ज़माने में मुहम्मद रफ़ी का अपने ख़ास अंदाज़ में गाया एक गीत ' घोड़ा लाहौरी मेरा, तांगा पिशौरी मेरा...' बहुत लोकप्रिय हुआ था । अभी हाल में  यू ट्यूब पर तलाश किया तो पाया कि यह गीत राजकुमार पर फिल्माया गया था ।एक बार और उनकी अभिनय प्रतिभा के प्रति प्रशंसा का  भाव मन में उभरा ।रजत पट पर अपनी जानदार उपस्थिति से कई बार पार्श्व भूमिका निभाते हुए भी नायक पर  भारी पड़ते हुए राजकुमार ने अनेकों यादगार फिल्मों में अभिनय किया !
आज उनकी 92वीं जयंती पर हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Sunday, October 7, 2018

A SIMPLETON TRIES TO ACT SMART:

Familiar to the words ‘manicure’ and ‘pedicure’ only to the extent that they do exist in the English dictionary, I am quite regular, rather scrupulous in cutting the nails of my hands once in a week , and of feet every two weeks.For this I need a nail cutter handy as I am not on eofthe types who can cut/pare their nails to perfection with a razor blade . 
But once I was faced with a situation when my nails became due for cutting and I had no nail cutter .
The incident relates to early ‘80s. I was away from home for a few days and had forgotten to take the nail cutter along with other paraphernalia. On a day , the nails got due for cutting . What to do ! Those were not the days of ATM or debit card and one had to bank on and make do with the cash one had in the pocket.

Even though earning at that time , I had not much of cash with me and had to live within the amount I had. Purchasing a nail cutter seemed out of the question as I needed to save till the purchase of bus ticket for the back journey. I went to a small shop the market and asked the boy to show me a nail cutter. I cut my nails on the pretext of testing the nail cutter and asked the price. When told, I asked the boy to reduce the amount of price as at my place the same was available for much less amount . He refused to oblige me saying that the price was fixed. I refused to buy it much to the annoyance of the shopkeeper boy who pointed out that I had served my purpose cleverly . I didn’t say anything as he was right.Coming back , I myself felt bad and a bit guilty about it .However, I put the matter to rest hoping that I would be home before the next nail cutting became due.

Saturday, September 29, 2018

Tom Alter

Today is the first death anniversary of Tom Alter, an Indian actor of American descent. Born Thomas Beach Alter at Mussourie in today's Uttrakhand on 22 June, 1950, he received his early education abroad. Coming back to India, he FTII  Pune . After passing out from there he rushed to Mumbai .He got his first break in Sahab Bahadur, in which Dev Anand was in the lead roke.His first film to be released was Ramanand Sagar 's Charas.He got to play roles in Ram Bharose, Hum Kisi Se Kam Nahin, and Paravarish.He also dubbed for Jeevan in the movie Amar Akbar Anthony.
He acted in Satyajit Ray's Shatranj Ke Khiladi, and also played the memorable role of a British Officer in Kranti.His other  films include Naukri, Kudrat and Sardar, a film based on the biography of Sardar Patel in the context of partition and Indian Independence.He also acted in an Assamiya film Adajya.Turning briefly to Hollywood, he acted in Peter O Toole's One Night With The King  .
He also acted in TV series Samvidhan, Bharat Ek Khoj, Khamosh Sa Afsana,Shaktiman and Junoon.
He was also active in theatre and  acted in plays like Beckett's  ' Waiting for Godot'
He was also an author and wrote some books.
Well versed in both Hindi and Urdu and familiar with Indian culture , he was fond of Shayari .
He was awarded Padma Shri in 2008.
He died this day last year, aged 67.
Our humble tributes to the very talented and versatile Actor !

Thursday, September 27, 2018

Mahendra Kapoor

Today is the death anniversary of Mahendra Kapoor , a popular ,highly talented and versatile playback singer of Indian Cinema, who strode the Film Music world for decades during the golden era of Indian Cinema and shared space with the stalwarts like Mohammed Rafi, Mukesh, Manna De, Talat Mahmood and Kishore Kumar, lending his voice to all known heroes of the times.Born in Amritsar, Punjab on January 9, 1934 he shifted quite early to Mumbai and learnt Classical music from the likes of Pt.Husn Lal.He came out first in the open music competition called Murphy Metro music competition which opened the doors of professional playback singing.He got the opportunity to sing in Narang and the songAdha Hai Chandrama Raat  Aadhi , a duet with Asha Bhosle and  Komal Komal Charan, Shyamal Shyamal varan, a solo became instant hits.He went on to sing beautiful melodies, both solos and duets in films like Dhool Ka Phool, Waqt,Sohni Mahiwal, Yeh Raat Phir Na Aayegi,Gumraah, Doli, Humraaz, Sangam, Upkar, Poorab Aur Paschim,Nikaah,Fakira, Muqaddar Ka Sikandar, Jai Santoshi Maa, and many many others. Apart from Hindi films, he sang for Punjabi, Marathi and Bhojpuri films.
He considered and acknowledged Muhammad Rafi, the legendary play back singer and a fellow Amritsari as his mentor and paid him glowing tributes on many occasions.
The throw and range of Mahendra Kapoor's voice was amazing. He sang the title song of popular TV serial Mahabharat .
His song 'Chand chhupa aur taare doobe...' from the film Sohni Mahiwal remains my personal favorite as are the songs from Humraaz, Gumraah, Dhool Ka Phool, Navrang..... and many many others. He also sang a duet with Muhammad Rafi, 'Kitni haseen aaj ye taaron ki Raat hai... ' for the film Aadmi.
He also gave a number of stage performances.
A Star singer at the Shimla Summer Festival in the early ' 70s, he also recorded two Himachali Pahadi songs for Akashvani.
He was a recipient of Padma Shri, National Award for Best Male Playback
Singer and  the Filmfare Award for the Best Male Playback Singer.
He died this day in 2008 aged 74.
Our humble tributes to the great singer !

Sunday, September 23, 2018

Rajendra Krishan

Today is the death anniversary of Rajendra Krishan, a highly talented poet, lyricist and Screenwriter of Hindi Cinema. Born on June 6, 1919 in undivided Punjab, British India,he became fond of writing poems while still in school.In his early life he worked as a Clerk in Shimla till 1942.A voracious reader of Indian and Western authors, he acknowledged his indebtedness to the Urdu poetry of Firaq Gorakhpuri and Ahsan Danish as well as to the Hindi poet's Pant and Nirala.
On mid 40s he shifted to Bombay , now Mumbai to work as a screenwriter.His first screenplay was Janta in 1947. His debut as a Lyricist also came in 1947 with the film Zanjeer. After the assassination of Mahatma Gandhi in 1948 the wrote a lyrical tribute to him,' Suno suno aye duniya walo, Bapu ki yeh amar kahani......', which sung by Mohammad Rafi and composed by Husn lal Bhagat Ram became very popular.
Fame came to him with the lyrics he wrote for the Motilal- Suraiya starrer block buster Badi Behan and another movie Lahore.
Rajendra Krishan never looked back and in the coming years wrote wonderful melodies for the films like
Albela,Aaram,Ladki, Anarkali, Nagin,Azaad, Bhai Bhai, Dekh Kabira Roya,Asha, Adalat, Patang,Barkha, Love In Shimla, Bindiya,,Nazrana, Chhaya, Shaadi, Rakhi, Bluffmaster, Bharosa,Pooja ke Phool, Jahan Ara,Khandan, Pyaar Kiye Ja,Padosan, Brahmchari, Reshma Aur Shera and many many others.He also wrote dialogues for some of the films.He worked with all the leading popular Music Directors of the time.
He was a recipient of Filmfare Best Lyricist Award for the film Khandaan.
He died this day in 1987 aged  68.
Our humble tributes to the great Lyricist !

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Jagmohan Sursagar

Today  is the birth centenary of  Jagmohan Sursagar  or simply Jagmohan, a  popular   singer who sang   wonderful  melodies in the ‘40s and ‘50s. Born  Jaganmoy mitra this day in 1918 in West Bengal, he sang  a number of film and non film songs for  Kamal Dasgupta, a Bengali  music composer. He himself is known for a song  ‘Pyar ki yeh talkhiyan ……’ which he composed for    ‘Sardar’ a 1955 movie. The song was sung by Lata Mangeshkar and was an instant hit. Jagmohan  also performed on stage shows  and sang along side many contemporary singers. His soft,  soothing , soul touching voice has a class of its own and  is a far cry from the loud film music  one comes across these days. The list of some of the very popular songs  he sang  goes like this :
O varsha ke pehle baadal ……
Dil ko hai tumse pyar kyun……
Mujhe na sapnon se behlao……
Dil de lar dard liya maine …….
Sapnon mein mujhko pyar mila……..
Ye chand nahin teri aarti hai……..
Pyari tum kitni sunder ho ……..
Aankhon mein chhupa kar man mera , man mein hai chhupa kaun…….
Mat kar saaj singaar sundari…….
Tum mere samne aya na karo……..
Meri aankhen bani diwani …………
Ik baar muskara do ……
Us raag ko jo payal mein soya haijagaa do………
Ulfat ki sazaa do mujhe ulfat ki sazaa do ………
                                     He was awarded Padma Shri by the Government of India  in 1999.
He died on 4th September 2003 , two days short of completing 85 years .
Our humble tributes !

Thursday, August 30, 2018

Prof. Bipin Chandra

Today is the death anniversary of Prof. Bipin Chandra, an eminent historian and a great scholar . He had been a member of the UGC, and chairman of the National Book Trust for many years, besides many other prestigious assignments that he had.A renowned author, his books on History of India are a recommended reading for Civil Services aspirants .A Himachali from Kangra district Prof Chandra chose never to write his surname , which gave him a pan Indian identity .

My humble tributes to Prof Chandra !

गीतकार शैलेंद्र

हिन्दी सिनेमा के लोकप्रिय गीतकार स्व. शैलेंद्र की आज 95वीं जयंती है .आरम्भ में रेल विभाग में बतौर अप्रेंटिस अपनी नौकरी के दौरान शैलेंद्र ने कविताएं 
लिखना शुरू किया।सर्वप्रथम फिल्म अभिनेता- निर्माता राज कपूर ने उनकी कविता सुन कर फिल्म के लिए गीत लिखने का अनुरोध किया परन्तु आत्म सम्मान से भरे शैलेंद्र ने अनुरोध स्वीकार नहीं किया
। बाद में जब पत्नि की गर्भावस्था के दौरान उन्हें पैसे की ज़रुरत महसूस हुई तो वो स्वयं राजकपूर के पास गए ।मात्र पांच सौ रूपए के एवज में फिल्म बरसात के लिए दो गीत लिखे जो बहुत लोकप्रिय हुए ।इसके बाद शैलेंद्र ने पीछे मुड़ के नहीं देखा और एक से एक गीत फिल्मों के लिए रचे । यदि मुकेश राज कपूर की आवाज़ थे तो शैलेन्द्र उनकी भाषा या शब्द.वास्तव में ये राजकपूर ,मुकेश, शैलेन्द्र और शंकर-जयकिशन की चौकड़ी थी जिसने वर्षों तक सिनेमा और संगीत प्रेमियों के दिलों पर राज किया।
सुनते हैं, कि शंकर- जयकिशन ने उनसे वादा किया था कि वो उन्हें अन्य संगीतकारों से भी काम दिलाएंगे पर जब शंकर जय किशन ने ऐसा कुछ न किया तो शैलेंद्र ने क्षुब्ध होकर ये पंक्तियां लिख भेजीं ' छोटी सी ये दुनिया, पहचाने रास्ते हैं , कभी तो मिलोगे तो पूछेंगे हाल....'। शंकर जयकिशन ने न केवल उनके नाम की संस्तुति अन्य संगीतकारों से की बल्कि जीवन भर मित्रता भी निभायी ।बाद में ये पंक्तियां भी एक गीत के रूप में किशोर कुमार ने गायीं । शैलेंद्र ने शंकर जयकिशन के अलावा एस.डी. बर्मन, सलिल चौधरी, जैसे अन्य सन्गीत कारों के लिए भी गीत लिखे !आवारा, गाइड, तीसरी कसम, सन्गम, अनाड़ी, मेरा नाम जोकर, सुजाता, बरसात आदि फिल्मों के लिये उनके द्वारा लिखे गीत आज भी लोकप्रिय हैं । फिल्म 'आवारा ' का गीत ' आवारा हूँ ' तो देश विदेश में अत्यन्त लोकप्रिय हुआ । नोबेल पुरस्कार विजेता रूसी लेखक Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn के विश्व प्रसिद्ध उपन्यास Gulag Archipelago में भी 'आवारा हूँ ' गीत और इसकी धुन का सन्दर्भ मिलता है ।
फ़िल्म बूट पालिश का मशहूर गीत - चली कौन से देश - उनके द्वारा लिखित ही नहीं बल्कि उन पर फिल्माया भी गया है । बूट पालिश, श्री 420 , मुसाफिर को मिला कर पांच फिल्मों में शैलेंद्र ने अभिनय किया ।
तीन बार उन्हें फ़िल्मफ़ेयर उत्कृष्ट गीतकार पुरस्कार से भी नवाजा गया । उनने फिल्म ' तीसरी कसम' का निर्माण किया पर यह फिल्म बॉक्स ऑफिस पर सफल न हुई ।
मात्र 43 वर्ष की आयु में 1966 में शैलेंद्र का निधन हुआ ।
सीधे सादे शब्दों का प्रयोग कर अनेकों कालजयी गीतों की रचना करने वाले शब्दों के इस महान जादूगर को हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !

Monday, August 27, 2018

Hrishikesh Mukherjee

Today is the death anniversary of Hrishikesh Mukherjee aka Hrishi da, the renowned Film Director and Screenwriter, next in prominence only to Satyajit Ray, a fellow Bengali.
Born on September 30 , 1934 at Calcutta in Bengal Presidency ( now Kolkata in West Bengal), he directed 42 movies in a career spanning four decades.
He is considered a pioneer in ' middle cinema', as he struck a middle path between extravagant romanticism of mainstream cinema and stark realism of art Cinema. This accounts for the mass popularity and appeal of his films.

His outstanding filmography includes films like Musafir, Anari, Anuradha,Chhaya, Asli Naqli,Aashiq, Anupama,Gavan, Manjhli Didi, Ashirwaad, Satyakam,Anand,Guddi, Bawarchi, Abhimaan,Chupke Chupke,Mili ,Aalaap,Golmal, Khoobsoorat and many others.
He remained a Chairman of Central Board of Film Certification and National Film Development Corporation.
A recipient of Dadasaheb Phalke Award in 1999,he was also awarded Padma Vibhushan in 2001.
He was also a winner of 8 Filmfare Awards and 7 National Awards.
He died this day in 2006 aged 83.

Our humble tributes to the legendary Film Director !

Basu Bhattacharya


Today is the death anniversary of Basu Bhattacharya, the well known film Director of Hindi Cinema.He started his career as an assistant to Bimal Roy in films Madhumati and Sujata.He shot into fame with Raj Kapoor- Waheeda Rehman starrer 1966 film Teesari Kasam, which won the National Award for the Best Feature Fillm in 1967.Ironically the film was not a success at the box office.

His another noted film that won critical acclaim was Aavishkaar, the Rajesh Khanna- Sharmila Tagore movie.Rajesh Khnna won the Filmfare Best Actor Award for this film.Another film Anubhav won the second Best Feature Fillm Award.The film Sparsh produced by him in 1979 won him the National Award for the Best Feature Fillm in Hindi and also the Filmfare Best Movie Award.
Basu Bhattacharya was also a member of the Jury at the 12th Moscow International Film Festival.
He died this day in 1997 aged 63.
Our humble tributes !

Saturday, August 25, 2018

Lilies of the Valley

LILIES OF THE VALLEY
Collection of Essays  by
Lily Swarn
Publishers :Authorspress, New Delhi
ISBN 978-93-88008-52-5
Pp:            117
Price:   Rs 250/-
 Lily Swarn is a well known name especially in the English  language Literary circles with a  collection of poems    ‘ A Trellis of Ecstasy ‘, published last year . The poetry collection was well taken by the poetry lovers home and abroad and earned rave reviews in the printed mainstream  media as well as the social media. A formidable presence on the literary scene now, so far as poetry in English is concerned ,her poems have been translated into many Indian and Foreign languages . A winner of the 2016 Reuel  International  Prize for poetry, she has had  the honour of being invited as a distinguished  guest  at many conventions and conferences . The back page of the Cover of the book under discussion sums up her noteworthy achievements.
‘LILIES OF THE VALLEY’ has an excellent   Foreword by Ashok K. Bhargava , President Writers International  Network, Canada, followed by ’You cannot Hide Lily among the Thorns ‘  a beautiful poem by  Dr. Lanka Siva Rama Prasad, a medical  specialist , which shows us the various aspects and manifestations of the Lily flower  and which according to me could by extension mean Lily , the  writer of these essays   showing her many  shades ,  moods and views  through these nuggets . This also extends to the title of this collection. The Prologue by the author gives a peep into the background of this collection coming up ,describing  the churning ,  creative process .
  The writer has dedicated this collection to the memory of her dear mother, who departed on the Valentine Day in 2016
It  is a collection of fifty essays covering  diverse topics and written in her inimitable style .The topics chosen are of wide range and spectrum , and relate to objects, emotions, feelings , relationships, habits  and what not .While the writer seems to have a different take on  some of the  subjects, she adds a new dimension to many others    Interspersed with  lines from Hindi, Urdu and Punjabi poetry, befittingly and deftly made use of , the essays make an absorbing  reading.The references to various authors and books even  from other languages that enrich the text  also  show that the writer is well read .
 The very first essay  ‘Gossip’ sets the tone and  the writer is unsparing of the  male of the species for they also   indulge in this favourite pastime like women , who unfortunately being singled out , bear the burden of  reputation for this.Gossip may not always be a lie and could contain a grain of truth that  need not be told.  And who can deny the infectious genuine ‘Smiles’  that have the healing effect, while the artificial plastic smiles could painful to the person sporting them.  .The topic of ‘Love’  has been dealt twice with different  description and dimensions. ‘Coffee, Tea  Or Me’ deals with the subject close to my heart . While the mention of Indian Coffee House  pleases me no end, she has the last word when she sums up the brew ideally  ‘ Black as the devil, hot as hell;pure as an angel , sweet as love’ One can feel and savour the aroma throughout .
‘Dawn’ dwells on what a late riser  might miss out on, given the salubrious fresh morning breeze and the sweet cooing of the Koel that always has the magic effect of lifting the mood and the spirit.
‘Hypocrisy’ dissects the false hoods  in the expletives and hyperbolic expression of love .
‘Tree’ appears as a persona in  the beautiful essay, symbolizing objects of love . A lone tree could also mean a forlorn lover or simply a person without company.
In  ‘ Raqs’  suggestively  titled so, dance is not mere entertainment like Giddha . There is a spiritual and religious dimension to it. The terms ‘raqs-e anaa’ &  ‘ raqs-e- sharar’   are an addition to my knowledge and vocabulary .
‘The “F” Word ‘  meaning  Fat is the most abhorred  word these days , a detriment to health , looks, well being and self esteem . This has been beautifully brought out by the writer in this essay. Laced with her own wedding time experience , there is an express  longing  for the  old times , when the  painter  Peter Paul Reuben painted the perfect  woman. She quotes from a   Hindi film song  that celebrates a ‘ fat biwi’.
‘Diseases of the Soul’  presents inter alia the example of one Mr. Bajaj , a nonagenarian with extraordinary zest for life.
‘Tears’ discusses the ‘most potent weapon’ in altogether a different light . The writer does not fiorget to mention the famous  Folk song from Chamba,  ‘ Kapde dhowan nale rowan kunjua….’ to my utter delight.
‘Father’ is discussed on the expected lines, as  the writer seems to me ‘a father’s daughter’  bearing physical facial resemblance to him.
‘Moustaches’  comes with some amount of research and a touch of humour
In short , the writer treats us  with  a wide gamut of subjects, covering  objects ,  emotions , feelings….etc . Some of the essays are philosophical  and are a result of  serious introspection
The essays though short and crisp never grow terse . Further the references and quotations from various sources like lines from Urdu poetry, Hindi songs, Punjabi sayings and adages   are woven into the text with dexterity and the total impact is just amazing.
I ,for one,  am left wonderstruck like the villagers   in Oliver Goldsmith’s poem ‘ The Village Schoolmaster ‘
‘…..That one small head could carry all  (s)he  knew ….’
A reader's delight  !!
The taste of pudding is in the eating , so why wait  !

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

Qurratulain Haider

Today is the death anniversary of Qurratulain Hyder, a renowned Urdu novelist and short story writer.She was born on 20th January, 1927, in Aligarh to Sajjad Haidar Yildarim and Nazar Zahra, both writers.Her Urdu novel, 'Aag Ka Dariya'  first published from Pakistan in 1959, which encompasses the period from 4th Century BC to post Partition of India, remains her most notable work.
A recipient of Sahitya Academy Award in 1967 for her collection of short stories titled 'Patjhar Ki Awaz',she also won the 1989 Jnanpith Award for Akhire Shab Ke Humsafar. She won the  prestigious Sahitya Academy Fellowship in 1994 .
She was awarded Padma Shri in 1984 and Padma Bhushan by Government of India in 2005.
She brought a new sensibility , thought and imagination to the genre of Urdu novel.
She was also an academician and had teaching assignments in India and abroad.
She bears favourable comparison  with contemporary writers like Milan Kundera and Gabriel Garcia  Marquez .
She died this day in 2007 aged 80.
Our humble tributes !

Sunday, August 19, 2018

हज़ारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी

आज हिन्दी के महान लेखक - उपन्यासकार, निबंधकार, आलोचक आचार्य हजारी प्रसाद द्विवेदी की जयन्ति है। शान्ति निकेतन  सहित अनेक संस्थाओं में हिन्दी शिक्षण से सम्बद्ध रहे।
उनकी प्रमुख रचनाएँ अशोक के फूल, बाण भट्ट की आत्मकथा व अनामदास का पोथा हैं। भक्ति कालीन साहित्य का उनका अध्ययन एवं शोध  अद्वितीय है।
पद्मभूषण से सम्मानित  हिन्दी साहित्य के इन पुरोधा को हमारी विनम्र  श्रद्धांजलि  !

Jan Nisar Akhtar

Today is the  42nd death anniversary of  Jaan Nisar Akhtar, a noted Urdu poet who penned Ghazals and Nazms. He remained associated with the Progressive Writers Movement  and also wrote memorable lyrics for Hindi films.T he lyrics of songs written by him for the film Yasmeen, CID, Prem Parbat, Noori, Razia Sultan as also the nazm "Ash'ar  mere yun to zamane ke liye hain.... ...." deserve special mention.
His son, Javed Akhtar is a noted Urdu poetry, lyricist, dialogue writer and a social activist.
Jan Nisar Akhtar was a recipient of  Sahitya Academy Award.
Our humble tributes  !

Sunday, August 12, 2018

SUNDAY MUSINGS

SUNDAY MUSINGS -
Being a Shimlaite, I have been a compulsive walker especially in my young age. In my twenties  during early years of my employment, I was a frequent visitor to Chandigarh on one pretext or the other.I could not resist having a long walk even there without caring to be an odd man out as people there move about in car, scooter, mobike or even plain bicycle. Many others have the option of a cycle rickshaw.
Once during one of my sojourns,I took a walk from Sector 35- where I was staying- to  Sector 17 along the main road through Sector 22. As I reached the Parade Ground, I was face to face with a roadside vendor selling hair oil of some kind.As our eyes met , in his typical manner, he asked me to go for some oil.
Not concerned or conscious about my looks,I said my hair was Okay.
Seeing a potential customer slipping out of his hands, he started a verbal salvo in Hindi- Urdu mix - kya khaak  theek hain, rookhe sookhe betarteeb baal hain..etc.
Not taken in by his persuasion, I moved on , did my usual loitering and window- shopping and returned to my place again walking.
His words  rang in my ears and on an impulse I had a look at myself in the mirror.My hair did appear dry  and unkempt as he had suggested.
But soon, I brushed aside the matter but was simply impressed by his salesmanship and  marketing strategy.
This was not a big deal anyways, but don't we get duped time and again by many people including politicians who by their all too well known  false promises are able to garner our votes !

Saturday, August 11, 2018

गोपाल सिंह नेपाली

"अफ़सोस नहीं इसका हमको, जीवन में हम कुछ कर न सके,
झोलियाँ किसी की भर न सके, संताप किसी का हर न सके,
अपने प्रति सच्चा रहने का, जीवन भर हमने काम किया,
देखा-देखी हम जी न सके, देखा-देखी हम मर न सके ।"
- गोपाल सिंह नेपाली
आज इनकी जयंती है ।
हमारी विनम्र श्रद्धांजलि !!

Monday, July 30, 2018

Morning musings

As I wake up in the morning to a day with a clear weather and sky, these small birds and their sweet tweets seem to be the only sign of life besides our own. When I open the door to welcome the dawn and the day, two or three of them intuitively start flying to and fro, an indication that I give them something.
A handful of rice grains scattered for them on the ground immediately causes them to swoop down, sometimes 60-70 in number to pick up grains.It is not easy to take a shot of a large group as the slightest movement or indication thereof , makes them fly away in fright , though one or two remain there. Reassured by their presence, the other also come again to have their repast . It is a pleasure watching them .At the same time one is left wonder struck at the amazing variety of animal and plant life obtaining on this planet !