Sawal balon ko rangne ka

Is duniya mein 3 tarah ke log hote hain, ek jo baalon ko rangte hain, do jo baalon ko nahin rangte, aur teesri category janaab mujhe behad pasand hai, woh baalon to tyag kar chain ki zindagi jeete hain. Khair ye masla hai pehli do categories ka, yeh ek aham sawaal hai, baal rangne ya nahin rangne ka.

Ab kahani ki shuruat agar khud se hi ho, to issey badiya kirdaar bhala kaun ho sakta hai. ji ji bas ab taliyan band karein aur mujeh ye kissa sunane bhi den, arrey bas bhi kariye. Arrey. arrey…KHAMOSH!

Haan to baat hai san 2011 ki, jab pehli baar mujhe bhi apne sar par thode bahot nahin, wo to barson se thhe, balki bhari tadat mein safed baal lehrate dikhe. ab khud ki badhai kya karun, par mera dil bahot bada hai, aur maine jhat unhein na kaewal apna man liya balki bachpan mein li kasam unhein yaad dila poori assurance bhi di. Ab wo kasam kucch is tarah thi, ki laal rang ke anokhe tints and shades kayi bekhauf mahilayon ke sar par dekh mujhmeein aisa khauf paida hua, jo bhulaye nahin bhulta. Bas tabhi ke tabhi maine bhi thaan li thhi, chahe safedi ki chamkaar chha jaye, par lalima hamare balon ko chho na paye.

ab badalte zamane mein khauf ka bhi evolution to hota hi hai. To khoobsurat Henna dyed hairdo se badte hain, aur phir raaton ki neend udane ayi natural dye ya ammonia free hair color, *ghane aur kale chamchamate baal *. Sunday ke din aisa lagta thha mano koi baal rangne ka tyohar ho, jinke bhi ghar jao sar par dye hue baal aur safed topi ka taaj nazar aata thha. Kitna daravna mahaul hota thha, aur phir uske baad khadi hoti thi musibatein, kinhein ke baal dum tod dete thhe, to kinhein ko allergy, aur ek function mein kaale baal hain to bhala doosre mein safed kaise. Maza to yun aata thha ki safed dadi mooch hon aur koyle se baal, na jaane kaun kise jhootla raha thha.

khair yeh sab to purani baatein hai, ab kasam khayi hai, to nibhani bhi padegi. So maine bhi shaan se kadam badaye, par is baat se to main bekhabar thhi ki ek baar, agar appke sar par reshmi safed baal dikhai dene lagein to uske baad uski tej roshni se  saamne walon ki aankhein chaundhiyane ke karan aap dikh nahin sakte. Ab jidhar jaun jisse miloon, bechare apni aankhein hi malte reh gaye aur kehte bhi kya, safed balon ko hi to kos sakte thhe. Ab chahe naayi ho ya bus mein baithein expert, ya khaaskar ke functions mein prospective shaadi broker, advice dena to banta hai na, akhir aapke balon ki wajah se, aapki is baal na rangne ki gair zimmedari ki wajah se, aapki insaniyat ke prati beinsafi ki wajah se, unhein kitni takleef sahni pad rahi thi. Ab agar aise mein wo aapko milte hi sabse pehle kewal aapke balon ko hi kosein to bhi janab aapko sharmindgi se doob marna chahiye. Kitne pyaar mein range log hain wo, ki kam se kam aapko jeete rehne ka mauka diya ja raha hai, basic rights to mil rahe hain na, chahe unko implement karne ke circumstances thode ulat pulat hon. kamaal hai, unki baat ko ansuna karna aapki khudgarzi hai haan!

Yun to mujhe hinsa mein jyada belief nahin hai, bas bachpan mein bhaiyon ke sath thoda bahut WWF khel liya karti thhi, aur ladakpan mein chherchhari karne wallon ko ek aadh baar badminton racket se ghayal kara thha, par uske alawa maine shanti se hi zindagi bitani chahi hai. Ab agar aise nihayati nek insaan ke balon se poori duniya par atyachar ho raha ho, to yaqeen maniye dil toot jata hai, mayusi aankhon mein bhar ati hai, khud ko dhikkarne se fursat hi nahin milti hai, yun samajh lijiye ki har saans bhari maloom padti hai. is kashmakash mein din raat ek ho jaate hain, par koi hal nai soojhta. ab maine chah kar to doosron ka bura nahin akrna chah na, aur phir insaan ne kaale chashme kyun banaye hain? laga lijiye apni aankhon par aur lagne lagiye stylish, agar aap branded products mein bhot zyada apnapan mehsoos karte hon, to dekhiye lage haath unko bananewalon ka bhi fayeda! Ab agar aapko takleef hai, to aap hi kyun na ilaaj kar lein, ek baar roshni hate to phir aap mujhe to dekh payenge na, phir se mujhse mere baare mein baat kar payenge na. kyunki jo na karne ki kasam khayi thi wahi tod di, to aap chah kar bhi mujhse nahin mil payenge. Phir to aapke samne khada hoga ek zimmedar, uo to date, tip top putla, jo maaf kariyega main to nahin hoon.

aap sabhi ko hone wali inconvenience ke liye mujeh waqai mein dukh hai, par khud ko na khone ki sahuliat to har insaan ke paas honi hi chahiye, maine to yeh azaadi bahut sambhal kar rakhi hai, safed balon se bhi zyada chamak hai uski, dekhne ayenge? kala chashma lagakar? mujhe intezaar rahega, chai piyenge aur itmenan se baatein kareinge. naye naye kisse gadhenge. tab tak ke liye alvida.

 

arrey haan, balon ko rangne ke kuchh behtereen products:

 

 

 

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kissa Bolte Ayine ka

Monday की सुबह 4 बजे , amdavad के सारे बच्चे , अपनी अपनी दुनिया में कुछ ज़रूरी काम निपटा रहे थे . दरअसल यह ज़रूरी काम केवल बच्चे ही समझ सकते हैं , बड़ों के लिए इन्हें समझ पाना ज़रा मुश्किल है .

वैसे क्या रात में सोने के बाद आप भी कहीं जाते हैं? मुझे अकसर Spider-man के साथ बन मस्का खाते हुए America जाना पड़ता है . यूँ तो मुझे kankaria जाना बेहद पसंद है , पर अब दोस्ती भी तो निभानी है . अच्छा , एक राज़ की बात बताऊँ ? किसी से कहियेगा नहीं ! कुछ रात पहले जब अब्बू ने मुझे खौफनाक शैतानों वाली कहानी सुनाई थी , तो मैं पूरी रात खिड़की पर बैठ उन्हीं के साथ aeroplane उडाता रहा , काफी मज़ा आया था .

और आज भी मैं आपको एक बहुत ही मजेदार किस्सा सुनाने वाला हूँ . मुझे पता है , हम सभी बच्चों के पास ढेर सारे मजेदार किस्से होते हैं , हम हैं ही कुछ ऐसे ख़ास , और महान , इसीलिए आप भी सुनाइएगा , पर पहला नंबर मेरा .

यह किस्सा है मेरे मनपसंद दोस्तों का , जोया और ज़फर का . Zoya aur zafar भाई बहन हैं , उनका घर मेरे घर के एकदम पास में है . यूँ समझ लीजिये की बस दीवार फांदने की देर है . उनकी अम्मी मेरी अम्मी की दोस्त हैं , उनके अब्बा मेरे अब्बा के दोस्त हैं , यहाँ तक की उनकी आपा भी मेरी आपा की दोस्त हैं . वाजिब है , की zoya , zafar और मैं , हम तीनों भी खास दोस्त हैं .

यूँ तो Zoya भी मेरी क्लास की बाकि लड़कियों के समान gudiyon को सजाने का शौक रखती है , और zafar भी चोरी छिपे salman Bhai को बेहद चाहता है , पर उन दोनों का एक जादुई राज़ है , जो केवल मुझे और उनकी फूफी को पता है . उन दोनों के जो चश्मे हैं , वो कोई मामूली चश्मे नहीं , बल्कि नायब चश्मे हैं .

एक बार Zoya और zafar फूफी के साथ चश्मा घर जा पहुंचे , जहाँ बैठे अल्ताफ मियां ने फूफी को बतलाया की वो दोनों बिना जादुई चश्मा लगाये कभी भी बातूनी आईने में न देखें . फूफी ने यह जाना तो बातूनी क्या , घर के सभी आईनों में कला रंग पुतवा दिया . यहाँ तक की बेचारी जोया और बेचारे zafar को चश्मे लगाकर ही गुसलखाने जाने दिया जाता है .

Bolta Ayina , image courtesy:worldtvpc.com

Bolta Ayina , image courtesy:worldtvpc.com

एक दिन स्कूल से लौटते समय हमारा auto तीन दरवाज़ा पर आके ख़राब हो गया . फिर क्या था , हम सब बच्चे तो हैं ही ज़िम्मेदार , झट अपने अपने बसते उठाये , और बाज़ार में खेलने निकल पड़े .

पर हमारी उस भागम भाग में zoya और zafar के चश्मे जो थोड़े बड़े थे , गिर कर टूट गए . Zafar अपने खेल में मशरूफ रहा पर zoya को रुयाँसा होता देख , मैंने कलाबाजियां करके दिखाईं , जिनसे उसको हंसी तो नहीं आयी मगर उसकी नज़र दूकान में बातें करते आईने पर पड़ गयी , और फिर zoya ने जो देखा वह सच न होकर भी सच्चा लगा . Zoya बहुत घबरा गयी इसलिए हम कुल्फी फलूदा लेकर इत्मिनान से बैठ गए . अब यूँ तो कुल्फी फलूदा का जो मज़ा बिना घर पर बताये खाने का होता है , वो बयां नहीं किया जा सकता . मेरे ख्याल से आपको भी , चाहे आपकी कितनी भी उम्र हो , घर से छुपकर एक बार कुल्फी फलूदा ज़रूर खाना चाहिए .

मगर उस समय zoya मुझे बहुत नाखुश लगी . उसकी मायूसी मैं भांप गया ,अब हम कोई साहिब ए जयेदाद तो हैं नहीं , और उसकी नन्ही जान यह फैसला नहीं कर पा रही थी की वह 2 rs. में गोरेपन की cream भला कैसे खरीद सके ? अजी ऐसी जादूगरी की न केवल आप बेहद हसीं लगने लगें बल्कि सभी ख़ूबसूरती के खिताब और तो और बढ़िया नौकरी भी आपकी झोली में आ गिरे. शायद आप समझे नहीं , zoya को आईने ने पूरे दावे के साथ बतलाया की वह एक सफ़ेद रईस राजकुमारी बन सकती है, या यूँ कह लीजिये की अगर वो एक सफेद राजकुमारी नहीं बनी तो धरती थम जाएगी और सूरज सदा के लिए ढल जायेगा, . यहाँ मैं zoya का मसला सुलझा नहीं पा रहा था की सामने से zafar बहुत सारे केले लेकर भागते दिखा . Zafar एक सुस्त किस्म का इंसान है , उसे इतनी फुर्तीली से छलांग लगता देख मैं शर्तिया तौर पर समझ गया की हमारे दोस्त ने बोलते आईने में बन्दर देखा होगा.

image courtesy: beating-the-bulge.com

image courtesy: beating-the-bulge.com

बहुत सारी तकलीफों का सामना करते हुए मैं एक अड़ियल राजकुमारी और गैर ज़िम्मेदार बन्दर को उनके घर पहुंचा आया , मगर बर्खुर्दार्र यह तो बस एक शुरुआत थी . आगे जो मस्लाधर युद्ध हुए , उनके बारे में जितना कहा जाये वह कम है …

A fictitious letter to a professor of comics

To

Professor

Comics  Design

Fictitious Institute of Design (FID)

Nomansland

Dear Sir,

Hope this letter finds you in the best of health and spirit. How were your holidays? I believe this year’s session must have now begun, and the institute must be brimming with enthusiasm at the arrival of the new batch. Oh the joy of new beginnings!

You remember our first introductory session?  You were to take our course on ‘Comics’, and when you asked if we would be interested, we cried a “Yes” in deafening unison. I still cherish that moment of collective happiness, the sheer ecstasy in the readiness to explore something together. How beautifully you made us let go of our presuppositions and delve in the medium, in all its intricacies and hidden wonders. Yes, I fell in love with comics then, and the curiosity to understand them has grown ever since.

A few days ago, I read an essay, “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me.” written by “Sherman Alexie”. This essay though apparently simple, has many layers; therefore each time I read, it’s a newer delicacy indeed. Imagine a Native Indian living in a Spokane Residency in Washington, who learns to ‘read’ at the age of three through none other than Superman Comics! He not only finds his own self in that narrative but also repeats the role of the saviour as he saves himself through reading, and helps others in a similar situation as his, later in life. In my first acquaintance with this essay I got so carried away by the use of stereotype, role-play and the portrayal of comics, that I surpassed a very important aspect, which caught me unaware last night. “I learned to read with a Superman Comic Book.” How could have I not noticed that? The author has implied a newer dimension to the verb “To read”. It was a thrilling moment when I could myself ‘read’ what Alexie could have been saying, I re-opened immediately the essay on “‘Comics’ As A Form Of Reading” by our beloved Will Eisner, and this is what the Father of Graphic Novels himself says, “Comics continue to grow as a vital form of reading.” Oh yes, they are! As I read Alexie’s essay further, I realized that the author’s experience resonates with what otherwise an in-depth understanding of comics would reveal.

Alexie explained that he couldn’t read and comprehend what words meant, but he could understand the purpose of paragraphs as units within a structure, containing fenced words. He relates them to comic panels, where according to him “Each panel complete with picture, dialogue and narrative was a three-dimensional paragraph.” What would language be without a structure? Elevating an otherwise misunderstood and undermined medium to this level could be easily equated with Eisner’s claim that “When one examines a comic book feature as a whole, the deployment of its unique elements takes on the characteristic of a language.”

I know by now you must be really eager to know more about how the author read comics. I apologize for my repeated usage of this word, for it means more than what it seems to. In Alexie’s essay he almost compulsively mentions that he “read” a lot, I now feel that he really “read” a “lot”. The following lines are from Alexie’s essay: “Superman breaks through a door. His suit is red, blue and yellow. The brown door shatters into many pieces. I look at the narrative above the picture. I cannot read the words but I assume it tells me that “Superman is breaking down the door.”” He seems to exemplify what Eisner mentions in his, “Comics communicate in a ‘language’ that relies on a visual experience common to both creator and audience. Modern readers can be expected to have an easy understanding of the image-word mix and the traditional deciphering of text. Comics can be called ‘reading in a wider sense than is commonly applied.”Alexie sees words and dialogues “floating” out of Superman’s mouth and hence he reads this interplay of text and image as Superman saying, “I am breaking down the door.” And reading in the wider sense, he identifies with the character in the panel not just through the visual sense but also internalizes that role and says “I am breaking down the door.” Wow! I now know why Eisner says that reading comics is both an aesthetic perception and intellectual pursuit. No wonder Alexie went on to not just be a voracious reader educating himself to save his own life, but also grows up to be a writer and teacher, helping others break their doors. “Then there are the sullen and already defeated Indian kids who sit in the back rows and ignore me with theatrical precision. The pages of their notebooks are empty. They carry neither pencil nor pen. They stare out the window. They refuse and resist. “Books,” I say to them. “Books,” I say. I throw my weight against their locked doors. The door holds, I am smart, I am arrogant, I am lucky, I am trying to save our lives.”

I hope to be a writer someday, maybe a graphic novelist, and each time I think about what kind of a storyteller I would be, I just know that I want the human mind to delve into it, for them to engage, to feel and to participate. Eisner quotes Tom Wolf in his essay, “Recent research has shown that the reading of words is but a subset of a much more general human activity which includes symbol decoding, information integration and organization…Indeed, reading- in the most general sense- can be thought of as a form of perceptual activity.” This quote sums up the reason why I couldn’t stop myself from writing this letter, why this essay has  found a new meaning for me once again, and it is the reason why I know that it is not important to be just literate, you must know how to read.

I shall eagerly await your response.

Yours sincerely

Poornima

Works Cited

Alexie, Sherman “The Joy of Reading and Writing: Superman and Me”

 

Eisner,Will “‘Comics’ As A Form Of Reading” Comics & Sequential Art Poorhouse Press, 2000

Comics in Times of Change and Multiplicities

Picture this: You walk into the intricate lanes of Old Delhi, Ghalib’s muse. Reminiscing the past while being surrounded by dilapidating architectural heritage, you pave way through cycle-rickshaw jams and come across good old McDonalds!  Not only are they offering special burgers to cater to Indian culinary desires, but also a splendid contextual innovation:  In the paranoia of constricted streets and traffic woes, they deliver on bicycle.

Welcome to the world of cultural montage, the juxtaposition of past with new, of micro with universal, of global and local, a world of change.  Speaking of change, when Haraclitus wondered that “All entities move and nothing remains still” 1 could he have foreseen internet and modern means of transport?

We live in times of cultural osmosis, where differences which could have been caused by time and space have begun to diminish. There are markets and media which attempt at redefining for us images of ourselves and the world we ought to live in. However, despite apparent attempts at homogenization in lifestyle, the core particularities survive, at times they grow stark. To represent a culture is to use the particular “signs and symbols” which would “signify”2 that culture or society, or perhaps an aspect of it. The question is, what exactly are we trying to represent? Is our aim to show the world as it is, or are we deliberately regressing to the point of presenting a stereotypical perception which I fear might not be true or as relevant anymore? Is there really any one way of looking at anything?

A.K. Ramanujan’s “Is there an Indian Way of Thinking? An Informal Essay” 3 and Shakespeare’s “The Tempest”, both remind the reader of the possibility of multiplicities, of hybridizations, of at times noise. In the domain of comics, is the contemporary Patachitra art representing Tsunami or highways, my identity? Or is a stereotypical India of snake charmers and women walking in some incomprehensible adaptation of the Greek Toga, my identity? I thought of refraining from mentioning those, but as a victim of habit, can I please proclaim that photoshopped revamped images of mythological characters and various Gods is definitely not my identity! Who am I? How am I reflected in comics?

In a scenario where everyone is trying to relocate the receiver to some experience or the other, whether a museum or theme parks, a movie or a comic, what is the role of a deeper understanding and empathy?  How does one avoid personal biases and perceptions to seep into a representation? What role can researchers play? What role can the medium itself play as a valid documentation of change?

An interesting usage of comics: http://www.caravanmagazine.in/Story/1260/Kushinagar.html

Works cited:

  1. Celentano, L., Platone. Cratilo. Introduzione e commento. Napoli 1968, 17‐22
  2. Barthes, Roland.Elements of Semiology, 1964, publ. Hill and Wang, 1968.
  3. Ramanujan, A.K. Is there an Indian Way of Thinking? An Informal Essay. Contributions to Indian Sociology, Sage Publications, 1968; 23; 41

Impressions of the night: Starry Night

 

 

This essay was written as part of an assignment at the Young India Fellowship, wherein we were to write about the experience we had with an art object.

 

For a fleeting moment, I thought I saw stillness in those dark green flames, but my eyes were enchanted by the luminance of a dancing sky. Vincent Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” caught me unaware.

Viewing it from a distance I was smitten by the enigma that is night, not in its darkness, but in all the light. The stars and the moon, they glowed with the grandeur of the sun; entwined in swirls, with a rhythmic sky they were spun.  They would twirl, they would turn, and this sky refused to be still. It drew me deeper and deeper, I felt hypnotized. I was falling in my dreams. Perhaps he did too, when he painted this view. Perhaps he too saw the sky in constant motion, in a ceaseless dream.

When the night skies were adorned with stars, we would lie on our backs and count for hours, my Father, my Dog and I.” I am often intrigued by the sky at night, for in its embrace and a conspired solace I have always found a vent for my darkest hours, for my deepest thoughts. I have heard in the night the sound of the ocean in rage, I have often told the moon how I wish to flee my cage. I have heard in the night music that calmed my soul, I have often discovered in that darkness the light of a surreal goal.

A post-impressionist artwork, the Starry Night deceived me into believing it was not a painting. I was transfixed by this chimera. At first glance it appeared to be a captivating specimen of a beautiful night, it seemed magical and energetic, yet the cypress tree in the foreground, with its frozen blaze and a haunting tranquility, seemed to caution against the dynamism behind it. As I looked closer and followed with my eyes the swaying lines with dashes of blue, yellow, white and green, I found in this activity of the clouds and sky, an aggression betrayed by the brush strokes. The motion which I initially found mesmerizing would now speak of the restlessness of a brewing storm. The yellow-orange stars seemed to be growing in their radiance and their brightness would intensify the latent anxiety. There was turbulence and pain, a silent rendition of a violent yet fantastic vision, a perplexed yet powerful mind. This painting traced thoughts through the perception of a night, a starry indeed; it is but a stormy night.

The crescent moon with its yellow halo, shone brilliantly against the violet in the sky. For a moment I thought those were but many a suns reflected in waters brimming with tiny fish. I was vacuumed from my surroundings, I heard the sounds of the ocean again, the sounds of the wind, I wished to feel it between my fingers. The yellow halo with a little white, the light would spread, its intensity would reduce and like troupes of hasty fish going round in circles, it would harmoniously blend itself with the impressions of violet, blue and green. The fish would dissolve and reappear, they would play hide and seek just like the stars. They were playing with my mind yet those frozen flames, that muted existence was it to mask what was but inside? The complexity, the contrast, the haste, the opulence, I was entrapped in the fluid vision, I wondered if they were the flow of his thoughts, his mind, his reality.

There were houses below, underneath the sky. People would prepare to sleep in their homes, while I searched for answers in the ethereal night. . From luminosity in all its splendour to fire, from loveliness to inner turmoil, the exaggerated sky called out as the mountains and the cypress tree stood in the landscape of timelessness. The silence below reflected the illumination from above but did not participate in that riot of bright colours. How did he see those in the darkness of night? It wasn’t hope, but a vivid spectacle borne out of a dramatic narrative from the depths of his imagination and a palette of blue, yellow, red and brown.

I had this urge to know what must have he been thinking, what caused such unrest in his thoughts, in his deft fingers that must have swiftly moved the brush with those thick layers of colour, with that impasto so typical of Van Gogh. Was this thickness, this viscosity, not a worthy representation of his abyss of thoughts?

A man whose art was not accepted with ease and who chose to fight conventions and the rigidity of conformity, this sky spoke of his true being, beyond the confines of the tangible reality. What appeared in the front was perhaps eluding the truth behind, or was it mockery? Was it a deliberate contrast? Standing tall, as if questioning the influence of this brightly lit night was the mysterious cypress tree whose power was replicated in the vertical tapering roof of the church farther away, an image of conventional authority. Perhaps I was deliberately searching for reasons, for the tree had an almost eerie presence with its strange quietness. Its disposition contrasting with the activity behind, it touched the stars with its dormant green flames and dark brown outline. I felt as if it was the ominous face of an impending turbulence. I went back to that supernatural sky, that site of luminous disquiet which intrigued and aggrieved me at the same time. I know he was not happy when he painted this, I know he was mystified, even though the world shall forever cherish this work of art, I shall wish for him to have had more peace.

Unable to curb my curiosity, I searched for facts about his life. I was stunned to learn that in his state of distress he had shot himself at the age of thirty-seven, and let sleep prevail over those tempestuous nights, those starry stormy nights.