Heritage Monument or Hotel California ?

We had just landed in Secunderabad in the summer of 2006 and knew nothing about the city,almost.One evening we decided to have dinner at a famous Chinese restaurant on Park Lane but to our dismay we could not get a table even after waiting for half and hour. With two little children and a parking slot which is as difficult to manage we thought we would settle for something a little less fancy.

Bang opposite to the chinese place we saw a number of boards declaring that there was a restaurant and a bar somewhere.We could not figure out where ?

There was this old colonial structure that looked more french than british but it hardly looked like a restaurant or a bar.

Image173But since the board said that this was the place we wanted to have a dekho at it.As our party of 3 and a Quarter headed in the direction of what looked like the entrance we were accosted by a fierce looking man with a guards uniform and club in hand.He ordered ” You cannot go inside” and put his club in front as in to hold us back.

Surprised beyond belief I confronted him”But why not? We will go.You cannot stop us like this”.His expression had by now turned from mild retribution to anger and he thundered” I am saying you cannot go means you cannot go and certainly not with these people”.It was now my wife’s turn to question him while my two kiddos looked at each other Image172and the three of us with a not so amused look.” Have you put a board here that who all can go and who all cannot.India is after all a free country”.The poor guy had given up by now and he said in a very deep tone almost like a whisper”Sir madam does not understand.It is better you first go and check out your self” I had begun to grow suspicious by now as some of the characters coming out of the building did not exactly look like gentlemen.Even they had a weird expression on their faces and they were looking at us as if they had seen some strange ghosts.I asked my wife to wait in a corner besides our car while I went ahead like an adventurer.

Once I entered the hall I could not believe my eyes.The place was straight out Image175of the 18th century.I had never seen anything like this before in my life.Rows and rows of tables with two benches on each side,a dim lit bulb over them and all of the occupied by men in various stages of intoxication.Some were chatting or blabbering but most of them were drinking silently and by the look on their faces it was clear that they did not know the person sitting in front of them and neither did they care.There were 3 such halls and together there must have been some 100 tables !!!

Pulling myself up from the shock I got out and told my wife the whole story.Both of us were at our wits end that how could such a place exist almost frozen in time.I could not get over it and wanted to know the whole story so I went back the other day this time alone and all by myself.

What I found out was this :


It is amazing that even after more than 100 years the place is preserved in all its original glory.I imagined how groups of soldiers from the British cantonment would come and spend their evenings at the Monty’s hotel.Many of them would even stay there before their quarters were allotted or something like that.

I called up and  checked with some friends who have been living in Hyderabad for years together but no one knew about the place.

I promised to SHOW them Hotel California one day.And if anyone of you are in town I would be happy to take you there too but remember …No women and children please !

Unfortunately The Authorities have decided to delist the Monty’s Hotel from its Heritage building status and soon the place will loose out to a swanky mall or some other fancy and ‘modern’ building.

When will I write Like Bob Dylan ?

That’s a silly Question.

The answer is never.

But if you  know

That the words are there

You just need to catch them

and  put them together

So they say what you feel

and fill the heart with love

or the mind with rage

The man is a genius !Sample the video above.There is a lot more on You tube.

Advertising signs that con you
Into thinking you're the one
That can do what's never been done
That can win what's never been won
Meantime life outside goes on
All around you.

You lose yourself, you reappear
You suddenly find you got nothing to fear
Alone you stand with nobody near
When a trembling distant voice, unclear
Startles your sleeping ears to hear
That somebody thinks
They really found you.

A question in your nerves is lit
Yet you know there is no answer fit to satisfy
Insure you not to quit
To keep it in your mind and not fergit
That it is not he or she or them or it
That you belong to.

Although the masters make the rules
For the wise men and the fools
I got nothing, Ma, to live up to.

For Biography and complete Lyrics check out website below :

कितना अच्छा होता है

एक-दूसरे को बिना जाने
पास-पास होना
और उस संगीत को सुनना
जो धमनियों में बजता है,                                       DSC01597
उन रंगों में नहा जाना
जो बहुत गहरे चढ़ते-उतरते हैं ।

शब्दों की खोज शुरु होते ही
हम एक-दूसरे को खोने लगते हैं
और उनके पकड़ में आते ही
एक-दूसरे के हाथों से
मछली की तरह फिसल जाते हैं ।

हर जानकारी में बहुत गहरे
ऊब का एक पतला धागा छिपा होता है,
कुछ भी ठीक से जान लेना
खुद से दुश्मनी ठान लेना है ।

कितना अच्छा होता है
एक-दूसरे के पास बैठ खुद को टटोलना,
और अपने ही भीतर
दूसरे को पा लेना ।

रचनाकार- सत्वेश्वर  दयाल सक्सेना


इस पेड में
कल जहाँ पत्तियाँ थीं
आज वहाँ फूल हैं                                                      DSC01657
जहाँ फूल थे
वहाँ फल हैं
जहाँ फल थे
वहाँ संगीत के
तमाम निर्झर झर रहे हैं
उन निर्झरों में
जहाँ शिला खंड थे
वहाँ चाँद तारे हैं
उन चाँद तारों में
जहाँ तुम थीं
वहाँ आज मैं हूँ
और मुझमें जहाँ अँधेरा था
वहाँ अनंत आलोक फैला हुआ है
लेकिन उस आलोक में
हर क्षण
उन पत्तियों को ही मैं खोज रहा हूँ
जहाँ से मैंने- तुम्हें पाना शुरु किया था!


We often take our parents for granted and forget that even they are individuals with hopes,dreams and aspirations.As children we feel that it is our right to demand and as parents it is their right to provide.And in their struggle to become good parents they almost sacrifice their individuality.Even children tend to miss out that apart from being Mommy and Daddy these guys exist at another level too and never bother to know their folks as people.Personally I came to know so many things about my fathers life when I edited his Memoir ‘God is Kind’ and it was as if after so many years I got to know the real person.I never thought of him as an individual but only as ‘Papa’ ….

Below poem by Nida Faazli beautifully captures this aspect.

बेसन की सोंधी रोटी पर खट्टी चटनी जैसी माँ ,

याद आती है चौका-बासन, चिमटा फुँकनी जैसी माँ ।                   parent

बाँस की खुर्री खाट के ऊपर हर आहट पर कान धरे ,

आधी सोई आधी जागी थकी दुपहरी जैसी माँ ।

चिड़ियों के चहकार में गूँजे राधा-मोहन अली-अली ,

मुर्गे की आवाज़ से खुलती, घर की कुंड़ी जैसी माँ ।

बीवी, बेटी, बहन, पड़ोसन थोड़ी-थोड़ी सी सब में ,

दिन भर इक रस्सी के ऊपर चलती नटनी जैसी मां ।

बाँट के अपना चेहरा, माथा, आँखें जाने कहाँ गई ,

फटे पुराने इक अलबम में चंचल लड़की जैसी माँ ।

~ निदा फाज़ली

Mom and Me

I can still feel  your hands on my forehead

When I am not feeling too well

And smell the hot tiffin                                               Me and Mom

when hunger calls

I want to run to you

When I get praised

and crave for your lap

when sleep eludes me in that scary moment

I want you to catch my ears

so I know I am making a mistake

And to  tell the world

to stop bullying me for not being up to it

You have always  been there for me

I am seldom there for you

I know I can look after you

only if  I stop looking up to you

Its time for me to stop

begging you to take care of me

I can’t.Its an old habit..

I never grew up

always needed you

for every little thing

You can’t stop crying

every time I take a cab to the airport

And I never ever want to think of  life

with you not in it ……..