Monday, June 04, 2012

पानी, पानी, रे...

पानी - मीठा, मैला, और नीले की जगह
कुछ कुछ काला...
पानी - जिसमें मेरा साया भी अब
वैसा ही धुंधला हो चला है, जैसे अम्मा की आँखों में रोशनी.
पानी जो मेरे बचपन-सा उफ़नता, उमगता
एक दिन अनायास ठिठका... ठहर गया।
मैं उस दिन, अम्मा ने कहा, बड़ा हो गया.

पानी की गलती नही, किनारे ने भुला दिया मुझे
यहाँ गाँव में मेरे, मेरे खेत की मेढ़ बनने आना था -
वो शहर मगर ईंट, पत्थर, नींव बनने चला दिया.
पानी तो ठहरा यहाँ, जीवन मगर
किनारे-सा बहता, कब का कहीं और निकल लिया।

किनारे से उलझती, मचलती छोटी मोटी मकड़ियाँ 
जो जाल बुनती थीं पत्तियों के इर्द-गिर्द
और किनारे पे काई में रेंगते, दौड़ते, फुदकते नन्हें कीट
पैरों की उँगलियों में मेरे उलझते चलते थे...
मुझे महसूस तो होते थे,
जाने कभी नज़र क्यों नहीं आये.

कभी पानी नहीं, रात को सपनों में देखता हूँ
मैं कोई बाढ़, कभी अकाल.
सरकारी अफ़सर, एक पढ़ा-लिखा नेता, बड़े-बड़े दूकानदार.
पानी नहीं, किनारों को समेटने, दबोचने आये थे
मेरे खेतों की मेढ़ मेढ़ भी बटोर ले गए,
और छोड़ गए -
मायूस मकड़ियाँ, भूरे कीट, थोड़ा पानी.

पिद्दी मकड़ियाँ - लिपटी सूखी, तार-तार पत्तियों से
दुबकते, सहमते, मुरझाते कीट, घबराए आहटों से
काला, मटमैला, डूबता पानी -
जिसमें सुख के अब सारे साए
जाने कितने धुंधले हो चले हैं.


Moments like these I realize why my husband and I stuck it out for five long years in a long-distance relationship. We had no clue when we would be able to live together, if not under the same roof, in the same city, same district, same state...we had to wait till we got married last year.

Sridhar had been asking me to watch Nandalala, Mysskin's brilliant movie about people on the periphery of societies; how they sometimes find strength in what little they can garner from a manifestly unfair life, and find the heart to share it....

I finally watched it last week. And our review was to hug each other for a long five minutes. We did not have any words for what we had witnessed, the craft of film-making itself surpassed all highs, but the brilliant, unsullied hope and the unexpectedness of love and sensitivity in that movie completely overwhelmed us. There was nothing we could say to each other, nothing we could put into words. There are some things which make you realize the 'fake'ness, the artificiality of much of social life and its institutions. Mysskin's Nandalala was one such thing. It brings you down to basics - what matters? Which definitions, boundaries, relationships, what values matter?

Is it enough to have a car if you can't let someone in pain snuggle in the backseat? Is it okay to let institutes cage people who the society labels, 'mentally challenged', when their understanding of human emotions and relationships far surpasses ours? Am I more pious and moral because I have not had to prostitute myself for food? Am I wrong if I steal my father's tractor to take to the next village, two people who cannot pay for a ride? What are you good for if you can never be practical? If you can find an idol of the Holy Mother holding baby Jesus so peaceful, you forget that your entire life is a quest for your own mother? But then, the next moment you steal the candles by the idol's side and are back plodding along your pitch-dark way!! Who are you if your own mother doesn't even recognize you, nor care, and you turn instead to the comfort offered by a woman who is herself a social outcast?

The movie raises so many questions...and answers them in its own quiet way. And it is in the powerful beauty of those answers that Sridhar and I lost all ability to speak for a few minutes. An equal wonder was to watch it with someone who was as mesmerised by the possibilities for loving and living as I was. Someone who has as much to say as I do about pretty much everything under the sun, but who couldn't find the right words because the movie had been powerful and amazing beyond all description.