Sunday, May 31, 2020


We are almost done with 4th lockdown and tomorrow we enter 5th lockdown, euphemistically called Unlock - 1. These last two months plus or  9 weeks of continuous lockdown with some relaxation  periodically allowed in various ways . Not  to mention the indescribable plight of 'unwanted 'guest labourers  seeking to return home in absence of employment  and money to sustain, the overall picture has been only dismal. The growing unemployment and  literally squeezed job market, halt to industrial activity have played havoc with Economy and resulted in a jolt to the common people.
The medical and paramedical  personnel, the safai karamcharis, and Police have gone an extra mile to discharge their assigned duties, some misgivings notwithstanding . Kudos to them and also to  NGOs, Gurudwara Committees, Film personalities like Salman Khan , Aamir Khan , and Sonu Sood , extending all possible help to the poor people in different ways.  Amid the alarming daily increase in the number of people found infected with the Virus, some satisfaction can be derived from  the number of people getting cured  daily and the less rate of mortality.
The realisation has at last dawned that continuous lockdown is not the solution and economic activity has to resume  slowly.The student community is no less badly affected. Studies have suffered and examination schedule has been disturbed. The alternative resorted to in the shape of e -classes and online teaching is not viable nor is this a substitute to regular  classroom teaching.
The period of hand holding is over . From  school students, we have graduated to being College/ University students, expected to look after ourselves and know what is good for us and what is not. In short discipline is the keyword, be it distancing or mask wearing or exercising other precautions for our own safety and of others.

Friday, May 22, 2020



These days everything I try to put into words has to be Corona centric. Permit me to tweak Nana Patekar's  line like this ' ek Virus saala poori duniya to pangu bana deta hai........' !
Yes that is the scenario none of my generation has seen before.  The Virus has proved an equalizer and a leveler only to the extent that every one who has to move out has to cover mouth and  nose with a mask as a safeguard lest some droplets of the Virus enter the body system with alarming consequences. Never before did any stranger appear a  'potential carrier' who could infect you. And if you have come home from abroad or some other part of the country, there is  period of 
14 days to 28 days of  obligatory  quarantine prescribed. Only  after coming out of this, you are welcome home. 
The harrowing pictures of the migrant labour returning home on foot and facing all types of odds along the way beggar all description. Only the heart less wouldn't feel something churning and burning within. The threat of worsening  unemployment situation looms large. In normal times, the poorest of the poor were managing themselves somehow but now they are in dire need of immediate help in cash and kind. The petty politics being played and the arrogance of those who matter is not going to help. Rather it adds to the woes of the worst hit .Parties and leaders are busy in  blame game and mud slinging.  The new normal has to be accepted.
There are conflicting notes of hope and despair floating in the air. The shrieking and shouting TV anchors  exude no hope . 
The super cyclone Amphan has brought havoc on West Bengal and Odisha with loss of precious human lives, not to talk of the damage and destruction of public/ private property and infrastructure. It may take a long time for the situation to come back to normal. 
For the time being a layman's advice to my fellow beings is to shed egotism and arrogance , if some of it is still left .
We are all equally helpless before Nature's might !

Tuesday, May 19, 2020



We are into the second day of  4th blockdown and into the 56 th day of continuous lockdown since the last week of March. The onset of  dreaded Corona pandemic has made us revisit words like quarantine ,  lockdown , social(sic)  physical distancing.
Coming to the etymology of the word ' quarantine' , it is derived from the Italian word 'quarantena' meaning 'forty days' , the period required to keep the passengers on board coming from the plague infected places, on  the ship itself to save others from getting infected. Prior to this the period was thirty days and was called ' trentino' at present day Croatia, when an epidemic broke out in the 14th century.
We shall  complete 68 days of lockdown on 31st of May with little respite.
There are news of scientists working day and night on developing a vaccine to cure Covid 19. Hit and trial are going side by side to cure people testing positive. While there is daily increase in number of people getting infected , there is also the positive and encouraging  increasing percentage of persons getting cured and being discharged from hospitals. There are some attempts to resume economic activity albeit limited &  restricted, understandably so. Medical, paramedical staff, Police and staff looking after cleaning and mopping are working day and night and deserve all praise. The NGOs, other organizations, and some Individuals are acting as good Samaritans to help needy people with cooked food and  other necessary items.The Government at the Centre and in the States are well aware of their own limitations in tiding over and dealing with the crisis. This is not the time for power play and one-upmanship . Help should be asked for and accepted from every quarter that is offering or is prepared to offer the same , without ascribing motives and designs. Humanitarian aspect should  take precedence over all other considerations. The Media is busy at its usual game of deifying and demonizing  though also doing some good work in patches. We need to think and act positive in these critical times. Corona is there to stay with no remedy in sight so far !

Friday, May 15, 2020

Nazir Hussain

Today is the birth anniversary of Nazir Hussain , an Actor, Director & Screenwriter of Hindi Cinema.Born this day in 1922 in the United Provinces of British India, Nazir Hussain in the beginning worked in Railways Department, stepping into the shoes of his father. Later during the Second World War, he joined the British Indian Army and was sent to Malaysia and Singapore. He was taken a prison of war there . On release, he joined the Indian National Army of Netaji  Subhash Chandra Bose. He enjoyed the status of a Freedom Fighter and was given a free Railway Pass for life.
After the INA, he started acting in plays.B. N.Sircar of New Theatres Calcutta asked him to come to Calcutta, where he met Bimal Roy and became his assistant. He made his first movie Pehla Aadmi based on the INA, of which he wrote the story , co- wrote the dialogues and also acted in.With his recognition came his way and he became a permanent fixture in Bimal Roy movies.He went on to work in Do Beegha Zameen,  Devdas and Naya Daur. The 1955 movie Munimji was his first movie with Dev Anand as the lead actor.He wrote screenplay and dialogues of this movie. Later he was associated with Paying Guest and Main Sundar Hoon.
Nazir Hussain made the first Bhojpuri film Ganga Maiyya Tohe Piyari Chadhaibo and also produced  Hamaar Sansar.Later he also made Balam Pardesi in the '70s.
Nazir Hussain acted in about 500 films and appeared in character roles.His filmograhy includes films like Parineeta,Jeevan Jyoti,New Delhi, Inspector,Musafir, Yahudi, Parwarish, Kala Pani, Raat Ka Rahi, Main Nashe Mein Hoon, Kanhaiya,Insaan Jaag Utha, Parakh, Bombay Ka Babu, Aas Ka Panchhi, Anuradha,Chhaya, Ganga Jamna, Dr.Vidya, Rangoli,Sahib Biwi Aur Ghulam, Asli Naqli , Dil Hi Toh Hai,Humrahi, Ayi Milan Ki Bela,Kashmir Ki Kali,Leader,Shagun, Ganga Ki Lehrein, Arzoo, Mere Sanam, Bhoot Bangla,Jewel Thief, Ram Aur Shyam, Hare Kaanch Ki Chooriyaan, Aankhen, Baazi, Chirag,Prem Pujari, Geet, Kati Patang  , Mere Jiwan Saathi and many many others.
He died on 16th October, 1987, aged 65.
Our humble tributes to the wonderful Actor and a multi talented film personality !

Thursday, May 14, 2020


Yesterday, the lady of the house decided to go to the Mall / Lower Bazar  to get some medicines and other items which are not available in the suburban market that caters to the place we live in . Mall/ Lower Bazar is five kilometer or thereabout from our place , though a straight walk but not a small distance to cover on foot. The taxi operator whom  I normally engage to move about when asked, told me to go for an e- pass online . Since this required the submission of  scanned picture of Aadhaar Card of the driver and the passenger along with the Registration number of Vehicle and the mention of places to be visited or travelled to, I did not consider this option . It was decided that she would go on foot  and on return would be picked up by her brother from near the DC Office and he would drop her home.
Off she went on foot in the afternoon , made the necessary purchases  and came back as per the plan. There is Police almost at everywhere to check violations and to help people. Waiting or sitting  at the shelter near CTO is not allowed, to keep safe.
She had a bath on return . The assortment of purchases included a  pair  of scissors to facilitate a haircut at home. I know that the scissors are not of the required type but  something is better than nothing.  I am apprehensive of an offer from her to do me the honours of a haircut, which I may not be able to resist or counter , literally commandeered as I feel as officially being of age vulnerable to Corona. There is no escape from this over protective environment.
Like it or not , when scissors have come, can a haircut be far behind !!

Tuesday, May 12, 2020


I have previously written that I am a stay-at- home type and lockdown hardly makes wee bit difference to my daily routine. The truth remains ,taken at the face value  yet with some difference.
The third lockdown is about to end on 17th May and in all likelihood we are in for a  fourth one albeit with some variations in the shape of some restrictions being lifted, where the prevailing conditions so permit. Though this is in the best interest of public as a safety measure in view of the increasing number of people testing positive and making the position worrisome and alarming. On the other side is the resultant loss of jobs for a large chunk of  working population, engaged in some kind of employment. We have already seen the plight of migrant labourers desperate to rush home covering hundreds of kilometers on foot  under most unavoidable miserable circumstances. Not that help has not come their way, but the same has fallen far short  of requirement besides the good intentions of persons and organisations that matter.
Some activities have been allowed to resume but  they may take pretty long  to be put on rails.
On a micro, personal and individual level there is difference between willingly staying at home and being  forced by circumstances to stay at home. We are bound by societal and familial obligations like visiting near and dear ones locally or otherwise to lend emotional support or to strengthen ties.
All this is  being done through phone calls on day to day basis.
Things can have some semblance of   normalcy, only on restoration of public transport which may appear to early to expect in the given circumstances . With overall decline of growth in all sectors, the coming times are not going to be easy  at all. My worry is for the entire young and working generation.
I find it difficult to share the optimism of the poet Robert Browning who wrote ," God is in His heaven and all's right with the world ."

Sunday, May 10, 2020

कोई अजनबी नहीं / शैलेश मटियानी

अभी हाल में अपने चहेते जनवादी लेखक- साहित्यकार शैलेश मटियानी का लघु उपन्यास ‘ कोई अजनबी नहीं’ पढ़ने का सुयोग हुआ ।एक ग्रामीण महिला रामप्यारी को केंद्र में रख कर लिखा गया यह उपन्यास मटियानी की चिर परिचित शैली में है। रामप्यारी का विवाह गाव में ही एक युवक सतपाल सिंह, जिसे छोटे मास्टर जी कहा गया है, के साथ होता है पर सतपाल सिंह राम प्यारी की लम्बी क़दकाठी के आगे खुद को बौना पा कर हीनग्रंथि का शिकार है परिणाम स्वरूप विवाह टूट जाता है । गाव वालों की प्रश्नवाचक दृष्टि , जो इस वास्तविकता से अंजान हैं या अंजान रहना चाहते हैं,और अकेली महिला के प्रति पुरुष समाज की आम व्याप्त भावना , रामप्यारी के लिए असहनीय हो जाती है और वह अजनबियत की तलाश में पहले गाँव से क़स्बा और कस्बे से महानगर दिल्ली पहुँच जाती है । उमर हुसैन तांगेवाला जो अपना नाम उमराव सिंह बता कर उसे गाँव से ले आता है कि उसे किसी साहब ये यहाँ नौकर रखवा देगा , और चौधरी मातादीन जो उसे अपने साथ ले जाता है पर उससे यह उम्मीद पाले हुए है कि वह उसके साथ साथ उसके कुछ साथियों के लिए भी उपलब्ध रहे, उसके इस विश्वास या शंका को ही बल देते हैं कि गाँव हो या क़स्बा या फिर महानगर, पुरुष की मानसिकता एक जगह एक सी है और वो अकेली महिला को केवल ‘उपलब्ध’ मान कर चलते हैं ।पर रामप्यारी अपनी अस्मिता पर आंच नहीं आने देती और अपना भविष्य तलाशने निकाल चलती है । किन्ही स्कूटर वाले सरदार जी और एक खोमचेवाले के उसकी ओर इंगित कटाक्ष और वक्रोक्ति सहन करती करती वह खुद को एक निर्माण स्थल पर पाती है , जहां एक वृद्ध महिला मिसेज कपूर के पुत्र और वधु का मकान बन रहा है । उसके अनुनय पर मिसेज कपूर उसे बतौर मजदूर रख लेती है और अपनी मजबूत क़द काठी कि वजह से वह ईंटे उठाने का काम बख़ूबी करती है । एक बुजुर्ग महिला रत्तों ताई उसे अपने यहाँ आश्रय देती है और कुछ दिनों बाद उसके सामने तीन तीन झुग्गियों के मालिक हरभजन चौधरी के साथ रहने का प्रस्ताव रखती है जिसकी एक पत्नी पहले ही स्वर्ग सिधार चुकी है और दूसरी बिंदो चौधरानी तीन बच्चों को संभाले हुए उसके साथ रहती है ।एक तरह से वह बिंदो चौधरानी की सौत ही हुई पर इस तरह की कोई भावना उसके मन में नहीं है और वह चौधरी और चौधरानी दोनों की अनुपस्थिति में बच्चों का पूरा पूरा ध्यान रखती है । स्त्रीत्व और ममत्व दोनों भावनाएँ उसके भीतर पुनर्जीवित होती प्रतीत होती हैं। अतीत, वर्तमान और भविष्य के तिराहे पर खड़ी राम प्यारी अब भी कुछ अनिश्चितता और दुविधा की स्थिति में लगती है ।उपन्यास का अन्तिम वाक्य‘हो सकता है कि.....’ उसकी दुविधा को परिभाषित करता है ।
शैलेश मटियानी के उपन्यास अन्य गम्भीर साहित्य की परम्परा में हैं और शुरू में ही रुचि नहीं जगाते पर ज्यों ज्यों कथ्य आगे बढ़ता है , रुचि भी बढ़ती है और चिंतन भी ।इस उपन्यास ‘कँटीले के पत्तों’ एक्स्प्रेशन बार बार आया है शायद उपमा को सशक्त बनाने के लिए । कुछ पाठकों को एक आध वाक्य की भाषा या शब्दों पर भी आपत्ति हो सकती पर जिस पृष्ठभूमि के लोगों का वर्णन इस उपन्यास मे है, इससे यथार्थपूर्ण चित्रण को और मज़बूती मिलती है ।

Tuesday, May 5, 2020

कॉरोना काल में शिमला का मॉल रोड

एक भूतपूर्व मॉल रोड  प्रेमी होने के नाते आजकल के  कॉरोना दौर में  मेरे  मस्तिष्क में कुछ विचार आना लाज़मी है । मसलन मॉल  रोड तफरीह की या एक  छोर से दूसरे छोर और वापिस, इस  तरह घूमने की जगह नहीं , सिर्फ बीच से गुजरने की जगह  है ।
एक तरफ़ा आमदरफ्त के चलते सामने से आता कोई चेहरा नज़र आने वाला नहीं ।सब एक ही दिशा में जाते दिखेंगे । दाएं बाएं ताक झाँक की जुर्रत भी न करें क्योंकि  guide- cum- guardian की भूमिका में पुलिस हर वक़्त  विराजमान है । वैसे भी आज कल चेहरा देखने दिखाने के लिए नहीं, छुपाने के लिए है । वक़्त का तकाज़ा कुछ ऐसा ही है । हाथ जेब में नहीं बल्कि carry bag उठाये हुए हों ताकि ऐसा लगे आप तफरीह के लिए  नहीं, बल्कि कुछ ज़रूरी खरीदारी करने निकले हैं । आप लोअर बाजार की अनदेखी नहीं कर सकते , आपको वहाँ से हो कर गुज़रना ही है  । भूल जाइए कि कोई नव विवाहित  खूबसूरत जोड़े या फैशन परस्त पर्यटक आपको नज़र आने वाले हैं । किसी से हाथ न मिलाना और सामाजिक दूरी बनाए रखना तो समयानुकूल आवश्यकता है ही । ऐसे में विख्यात हिंदी साहित्यकार स्व. कृष्ण बलदेव  वैद का हिंदी साहित्य पत्रिका विपाशा में बरसों पूर्व मॉल रोड के विषय में छपा संक्षिप्त किन्तु मनोवैज्ञानिक  अंतर्दृष्टि वाला लेख याद आ रहा है ।
आज वो मॉल रोड पर आते तो क्या लिखते !

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Rishi Kapoor & Irrfan

This gone week saw the  shocking and sad demise in quick succession ,of  Irrfan Khan and Rishi Kapoor , the two very popular and talented actors of Indian Cinema. Both had had stunning film career . While Rishi Kapoor restricted himself to Bollywood, Irrfan had forays into  Western ventures, with success. Before Irrfan, among male actors, Om Puri , Shashi Kapoor, and Syed Jafri  had registered their presence in  Western Cinema . The late I.S.Johar had also appeared in Lawrence of Arabia . 
While Rishi Kapoor happened to be a third generation film actor from the iconic Kapoor clan and had acting in his genes, Irrfan khan was from a Non- film background. Frankly speaking I didn't get to see much of their acting. It was a chance and unplanned  watching of  Rishi Kapoor- Ranjeeta starrer  Laila Majnu, 7-10 show at the Ritz, Shimla in 1976. The next I saw Rishi Kapoor was in Amar Akbar Anthony . Rishi enchanted in both .
Irrfan Khan I saw first of all in a TV serial, in which Vanya Joshi also acted. I am forgetting the name of the serial. Irrfan's large expressive eyes, subdued voice and nuanced acting impressed me in that serial also. He was also seen in the TV serial Chandrakanta. His iconic movie Pan Singh Tomar invited wide acclaim. Post death, TV channels threw much light on their real and reel life both. Irrfan Khan being younger had much of acting left in him unutilized but destiny had ordained otherwise.
The Indian Film industry has lost two of the most lovable talents .
Humble tributes to both !

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Satyajit Ray

Today, is the 99th birth anniversary of  Satyajit Ray, the eminent film director, producer, film critic, music composer - in short a highly talented  & multi faceted   personality .The legend that he was,  the list of his achievements is pretty long. He was a doyen of Bengali cinema  and a world class film director. Honoured and felicitated at many national and international forums, the awards that he received would make anyone sit up in  wonderment.
He was a recipient of Padma Bhushan, Bharat Ratna and the Oscar Lifetime Achievement Award.

Our humble tributes to the legend !

Friday, May 1, 2020


We are through 38 days of lockdown and still there is little hope of an early respite from Corona. Corona Warriors of all types are doing a wonderful job risking their own lives and some of them losing out to save others. No one had imagined such disastrous situation would  prevail and persist the world over. One had seen doctors and other medical staff wearing masks while conducting surgeries or treating  some communicable diseases but now wearing masks seems the new normal even for a common citizen,  if there is need to move out for making essential purchases or doing other unavoidable chores.The plight of poor people is all too evident as apart from health hazards common to all, they face unemployment which makes keeping body and soul together difficult. The welfare of kins living at distant places for job purposes is the overriding concern. There's forced sitting before the TV screen to obtain updates on the Corona menace . After a long time, if there's some escape from this situation, things are not going to remain the same. There may be some positive outcome in the form of clear sky, air and environment , but all this is coming for a heavy price. Watching distant hills from plains can only be a momentary and short duration pleasure.