If today be sweet..

Ah, fill the cup; – what boots it to repeat                               khayamportraitsm3

How time is slipping underneath our feet:

Unborn tomorrow and dead yesterday

Why fret about them if today be sweet !

March end brings some relief as one can take the unused leaves accumulated during the year.To my delight after the 15 leaves that could be spilled over as encashments I had still got 3 more left.I promptly applied yesterday and the powers that be obliged.

With the managerial instinct that has now become a second nature I ‘planned’ to do nothing and indulge myself.

The first thing I decided was that this tired old body of mine needs some pampering.So I landed at Secunderabad club allowing Solomon Joseph the master  masseur to work his magic.A feeling of calm enveloped me as the Worldspace radio played

दिल ढूंढता है फिर वही फुर्सत के रात दिन

बैठे रहें तस्सवुर ए जाना किए हुए …..

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I am not sure when the tassavur e Jaana ended , the REM sleep started and I dosed off.The only thing that bothered me was showing my bums to a stranger but then I let it be …..

अछ्छा है दिल के पास रहे पासबान ए अक्ल

लेकिन कभी कभी इसे तन्हा भी छोड दे

Before your imagination yields to fantasy I want to tell you that my massage session lasted as it should have.In true Impireal style the orderly brought a towel along with a soap and shampoo so I can get rid of the oil factory that was me.

A luxurious hot shower bath of 30 minutes infested in me the spirit of a Gora Saheb (quite literally now) and I walked out of the parlor after tipping the staff handsomely.

A good thing about Secunderabad club is that it has a very good library but more than that you can get a cup of English Tea in the Lounge next to it.After borrowing a copy of  Dante’s the Divine Comedy I ordered for a cup of finest blend they have.Come on now….stop being Jealous.image059

Dante is a bit pretentious.Isn’t it ? I did look at other titles but whether vanity gave in to reason or reason gave in to vanity I am not sure.I had always picked up this one at the bookstore and kept it back thinking what if I do not understand a word of it – I will be short of cash for the wisdom I could not acquire.So this was my chance.

I guess 40 minutes were enough for me in the fabled land of Gods and angels so I decided to make my move into the real world.But as they say in Hindi “मुल्ला की दौड मस्जिद तक” so I found myself parking the car in front of Odyssey – the Books and Music store.They had a flat 50 % off sale so I ended image067up buying twice the stuff at half the price.Nice Tag line – will try to remember it when I open my own retail store.Twice the stuff at half the price,twice the stuff at half the price…..shut up !Apart from others I picked up one very interesting book about why genius and hash,heroine and alcohal are inseperable.The book maps the life histories of a number of Poets,thinkers,scholars,Musicians to drive home the point.

I think it will serve as an apt explanation for my psychedelic leanings.The genius in me has the right to be nourished albeit with foods (aka drink) considered unfit by lesser mortals.Have parked it for the late night reading.

Body is done,mind is taken care of and now we must have something for the senses.Again your ugly serpent is raising its head.I am a married father of two with limited means and imagination so nothing sensual for me.I decided to watch a movie all by myself – LCD screen,Full sound,Pop corn,Leather sofa,air conditioner……and me.I chose The Bucket List – a story of two old guys who meet up in a cancer ward.Edward ( Jack nicholson) owns the hospital and Carter(Morgan Freeman) is a car mechanic but they come close thanks to Ed’s policy of bucket-listhaving two patients in every room.He is not running a spa..he says.As they get to know each other they decide to explore the world and do what they have always yearned but never had the chance.On their bucket list are things such as kissing the most beautiful girl in the world and Diving from the sky.I would say a good watch smiles,tears,compassion but what was uncanny for me was that in one scene Ed asks his board members in a meeting” Have you read Dante Alighieri’s The Divine Comedy?’ No big deal but considering the fact that I wrote half the post before watching the movie, it was weird.

The problem is that it keeps happening with me all the time.Just a few days back I was reading India in slow motion.There was a chapter on Sufism which I really liked.When I came out of my room I was  puzzled to see my wife was watching a program on National Geographic that was about Sufis and showing the same places I was just reading about. Strange.

ना जाने नक्शत्रों से कौन

निमंत्रण देता मुझको मौन

Curiously, the most searched and viewed post on my blog is the Maha Mrityunjaya Mantra.I never thought it would get any views but I posted it as I wanted to remember the meaning and listen to it  whenever,where ever I wanted.Now every time I check the blog stats it appears in the most searched and clicked classification.

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I am hearing his call.Is he hearing mine too ?

The Tax Man cometh…

Yesterday Jug Suraiya’s article in the times of India reignited the pain all tax payers feel around March. As the season changes from pleasant winter to hot scorching summer the tax man’s taqada (reminder) looms large and signals about the heat that one will face in the coming months.

There are several queries that I have :

1.After religiously paying 1/3 of what I make by toiling hard 365 days of the year ,sacrificing so many personal pleasures and enduring so much pain at the work place what I get in return is a TV ad intimidating me that “you pay up or else “.I really do not see how this can be tolerated.

First of all I am sharing with everyone ,many of whom do not do anything worthwhile and roam around with Z security and then I am not even worthy of a decent request ,lest a plea.

When in Mumbai Bhai log do the same we call it Hafta Vasooli.Is this any better?

2.The second most rediculous part is that you can be jailed for not paying up taxes which are so complex and many that it is impossible for anyone to file an impeccable return.On top of it the rules keep changing every now and then with no one taking the responsibility of informing the tax payer.Is there anything called customer service ?

Even if looked at practically I can either do a Phd Thesis on taxation in India or spend my time making money so I can cough it up for my not so fortunate bretheren.

A more decent approach could be –  as per the latest taxation laws or our interpretation you did not pay for X amount so first of all you need to pay it up and secondly we will charge the interest cost what the government has lost.

If someone has been paying 30 % of his income every year ,year on year how can it be assumed that for another 2 % he was trying to cheat.

3.The government arbitrarily keeps deciding what to do with our money without even bothering to ask the folks who funded the enterprise.As a run up to elections very tom,DICK and harry is promising free this,free that and now even free television.What next ? A visit to dance bars with wads of notes in hand to blow up on the whirling ladies.

That is my bloody money and you better watch out before promising all those goodies to the lazy good for nothing bums.

How can some self respecting person accept a free television ? Food and clothes are fine but free television ? I want to die of hunger watching a Nagarjuna Movie.Super !!!

4.The last and most important question How much in enough ? You have tax on salary,Leave travel,education cess,entertainment tax,fringe benefit tax,long term capital gain tax,short term capital gain tax,luxury tax,water tax,tax in your electricity bill,tax on your phone bill,there is even a tax on saving money.If you just leave your money in a saving account and you get some interest you have to pay tax on that too.

Lets talk about what we get in return :

1.Be ready to get blown away everytime you get out of your house.With so many bombs and bullets around even probability cannot save you for long.

2.If you don’t get riddled while having an evening with friends  paying taxes on food,wine etc. ,then live with the fear of being bombed while the gobermint buys 1000’s of bullet proof cars with tax collected from you.Aha it’s so nice and cozy in here.It is madame,how about some cheese and wine !

3.As summer approaches power cuts will become the norm.You can buy an inverter by paying the same amount as your electricity bill for a year and paying tax on the Invoice.The manufacturer piad the Excise duty but you need to pay the sales tax and if you cannot install it yourself a service tax too.

4.Water will be a scarce commodity very soon.Days are not far when you will realize that the health faucet is not responding so you need to find alternative means for maintaining hygiene.You will have to keep the phone number of tanker wallah handy who will deliver water of course with a tax on his bill too.The laughable bit here is that you may not get a bucket of water for the whole of summer but if you have connection you will have to pay the water tax for this period too.

5.Thick skinned that you are nothing is going to happen to you but in case it does you will have to face the ordeal of going to the free gobermint hospital and wait for your turn which may come only when you are long gone.If you are lucky enough to get a bed or something then you will get a number of free diseases along with it.The Oxygen keeps running out so may be you carry your won cylinder.You can buy it at your friendly neighborhood store after paying taxes.

If you choose to be alive and go to a private place be ready to pay tax o n doctor’s fee,medicines,X ray,Pathology etc etc.

But it is not all bad you see.Gobermint is quite considerate and loves all of us.You know why?

There is no tax on purchase or sales side for Fabric sold loose by the meter.Got the idea ? Exactly.

I have something in mind to ensure lasting peace-we should put a reverse drip  sort of a thing so that whatever blood is made during the day a part of it it automatically gets deposited in gobermints coffers – एक दिन का एक पाव.

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Only then can this blood sucking monster be satiated.

Subhash Chandra Bose was a far sighted visionary and that’s why he said :

तुम मुझे खून दो मैं तुम्हे आज़ादी दूंगा

लो पियो मेरा खून , और मुझे आज़ाद कर दो

मेरा भाई अनंत

एक बन्दर सा उछ्ला करता मेरा भाई अनंत                                          anant

उठ कर गिरता गिर कर उठता मेरा भाई अनंत

दिन भर मुझसे लडता रहता मेरा भाई अनंत

रात अकेले सोने से डरता मेरा भाई अनंत

पढना लिख्नना उसे ना भाता मेरा भाई अनंत

खाना खाने से कतराता मेर भाई अनंत                                                       dsc01802

फिर भी मुझको लगता प्यारा मेरा भाई अनंत

सारे जग में सबसे न्यारा मेरा भाई अनंत

यह कविता अनन्या ने अपने भाई अनंत कुमार के लिये लिखी है.अगर आप को अछ्छी लगे तो उसे ज़रूर बताना.

देखना जज़्बे-मुहब्बत का असर आज की रात

देखना जज़्बे-मुहब्बत का असर आज की रात

मेरे शाने पे है उस शोख़ का सर आज की रात

Behold the feeling of our love tonight

On my shoulders rests her beautiful face tonight

और क्या चाहिए अब ऐ दिले-मजरुह तुझे

उसने देखा तो ब-अन्दाज़े दिगर आज की रात

What else you need my lovelorn heart

She saw you with a twinkle in her eye tonight

नूर-ही-नूर है जिस सिम्त उठाऊँ आँखें

हुस्न-ही-हुस्न है, ताहद्दे-नज़र5 आज की रात

Where I look there is light and more light

As far as I see  there is beauty and more beauty tonight

मेरी हर सांस पे वो उनकी तव्वजह क्या खूब

मेरी हर बात पे वो जुम्बिशे सर आज की रात

She cared for my every breath,as if

She nodded on  every word I said tonight

अल्लाह-अल्लाह वह पेशानिए-सीमीं का जमाल

रह गई जम के सितारों की नज़र आज की रात

Allah Allah that shinning forehead

The stars almost  stopped blinking tonight

नग़्मा-ओ-मै का यह तूफ़ाने-तरब क्या कहिए!

घर मेरा बन गया ख़ैय्याम का घर आज की रात

This wonderful storm of music and intoxication

My house has become the house of Khayyam tonight

अपनी रफ़अ़त पै जो नाज़ाँ हैं तो नाज़ाँ ही रहें

कह दो अंजुम से10 कि देखें न इधर आज की रात

O stars if you are proud of your high place,please be

Just tell the skies not to look this way tonight

उनके अल्ताफ़ का इतना ही फ़सूँ काफ़ी है

कम है पहले से बहुत दर्दे-जिगर आज की रात

Her magical kindness has bestowed this upon me

There seems to be no pain in my heart tonight

नर्गिसे नाज़ पे वो नीदं का हल्का सा खुमार

वो मेरे नग्म ए शीरीं क असर आज की रात

Those sleepy eyes of  her flower face

That effect of my love song on her tonight

Poet ~ Majaaz Lucknowi

interpretative transaltion by aahang

हम पी भी गये छलका भी गये

तस्कीने दिले मेह्ज़ूं  न हुई ,वो सईए करम फर्मा भी गये

इस सईए करम को क्या कहिये,बेहला भी गये तड्पा भी गये

हम अर्ज़े वफा भी कर न सके ,कुछ कह न सके,कुछ सुन न सके

यां हमने ज़ुबां ही खोली थी ,वां आंख झुकी ,शर्मा भी गये

ये रंग ए बहारे आलम है क्यों फिक्र है तुझको ऎ साक़ी

मेहफिल तो तेरी सूनी न हुई ,कुछ उठ भी गये ,कुछ आ भी गये

रुदादे गमे उल्फत उनसे, हम क्या केह्ते ,क्यूं कर केहते

एक हर्फ ना निकला होठों से ,और आंख में आंसू आ भी गये

उस मेहफिले कैफो मस्ती में ,उस अंजुमने इरफानी में

सब जाम बक़फ बैठे ही रहे ,हम पी भी गये छलका भी गये

Taskeen-E-Dil-E-Mahzoo Na Hui, Woh Saay-E-Qaram Farma Bhi Gaye
Us Saay-E-Qaram Ka Kya Kahiye, Behla Bhi Gaye Tadpa Bhi Gaye

Taskeen = Peace or Contentment; Mahzooz = Delighted; Saay-E-Qaram = Futile Efforts of Kindness

Ek Arz-E-Vafa Bhi Kar Na Sake, Kuchh Keh Na Sake, Kuchh Sun Na Sake
Yahan Hum Ne Zubaan Hi Khole Thi, wahan Aankh Jhuki Sharma Bhi Gaye

Arz-E-Vafa =  Tale Of Love

Ashuftagi-E-Vehashat Ki Qasam, Hairat Ki Qasam Hasrat Ki Qasam
Ab Aap Kahe Kuch Ya Na Kahe, Hum Raaz-E-Tabassum Paa Bhi Gaye

Ashuftagi = Misery; Vahashat = Loneliness; Tabassum = Smile

Rudaad-E-Gham-E-Ulfat Unse, Hum Kya Kehte Kyun Kar Kehte
Ek Harf Na Nikla Hothon Se, Aur Aankh Mein Aansoo Aa Bhi Gaye

Rudaad = Story; Ulfat = Love; Harf = Syllable

Arbaab-E-Junoon Pe Furqat Mein, Ab Kya Kahiye Kya Kya Guzaara
Aaye The Savaad-E-Ulfat Mein, Kuch Kho Bhi Gaye Kuch Paa Bhi Gaye

Arbaab = Friends; Junoon = Passion; Furqat = Absence (of Lovers)

Yeh Rang-E-Bahaar-E-Aalam Hai, Kya Fiqr Hai Tujh Ko Aye Saaqi
Mehfil To Teri Suni Na Hui, Kuch Uth Bhi Gaye Kuch Aa Bhi Gaye

Is Mehfil-E-Kaif-O-Masti Mein, Is Anjuman-E-Irfaani Mein
Sab Jaam-Ba-Kaf Baithe Rahe, Hum Pee Bhi Gaye Chalka Bhi Gaye

Kaif = Intoxication; Anjuman-E-Irfaani = Gathering For Wisdom; Jaam-Ba-Kaf = Hands holding glasses of Wine (Ba-Kaf = Hands filled with)

The below sequence from the movie Pyaasa shows Majaaz reciting the Ghazal above.The old man is Jigar Moradabadi.

नन्ही मुन्नी सी पुजारन

इक नन्ही मुन्नी सी पुजारन, पतली बाहें, पतली गर्दन।  ananya

भोर भये मन्दिर आयी है, आई नहीं है माँ लायी है।

वक्त से पहले जाग उठी है, नींद अभी आँखों में भरी है।

ठोडी तक लट आयी हुई है, यूँही सी लहराई हुई है।

आँखों में तारों की चमक है, मुखडे पे चाँदी की झलक है।

कैसी सुन्दर है क्या कहिए, नन्ही सी एक सीता कहिए।

धूप चढे तारा चमका है, पत्थर पर एक फूल खिला है।

चाँद का टुकडा, फूल की डाली, कमसिन सीधी भोली-भाली।

कान में चाँदी की बाली है, हाथ में पीतल की थाली है।

दिल में लेकिन ध्यान नहीं है, पूजा का कुछ ज्ञान नहीं है।

कैसी भोली और सीधी है, मन्दिर की छत देख रही है।

माँ बढकर चुटकी लेती है, चुपके -चुपके हँस देती है।

हँसना रोना उसका मजहब, उसको पूजा से क्या मतलब।

खुद तो आई है मन्दिर में, मन  उसका है गुडिया घर में।

A million times ….

Says Majaz Lucknowi :

Humdum Yahi Hai, Rah-Guzaar-E-Yaar-Khush Khiraam
Guzre Hain Laakh Baar Isi Kahkashaan Se Hum

हमदम यही है ,राह- गुज़र – ए – यार खुश खिराम

गुज़रे हैं लाख बार इसी केह्कशां से हम

This slow pace,this path of bliss has been my companion

I have passed this galaxy a million times…

Says Marcus Aurelius  ;

Even if you are going to live three thousand more years,or ten times that,remember :you cannot loose another life than the one you’re living now,or live another one that you’re losing.

The longer amounts to the same as the shortest.

The present is the same for everyone;its loss is the same for everyone;and it should be clear that a brief instant is all that is lost.For you can’t lose either the past or the future,how could you lose what you don’t have ?

Remember two things :

1. that everything has always been the same,and keeps recurring,and it makes no difference whether you see the same things recur in a hundred years or two hundred,or in an infinite period;

2.that the longest lived and those who will die the soonest lose the same thing.The present is all that they can give up,since that is all they have and what you do not have you cannot loose.