जो मैंने जाना है ……

इस मोड से जाते हैं        

कुछ  सुस्त कदम रस्ते

कुछ तेज़  कदम राहें

इन  तेज़ सी राहों  पर

हम दौड्ते रेह्ते हैं

और जान नहीं पाते

क्या हमने खोया है

कभी  सुस्त  से रस्तों पर

मेरे साथ चलो तुम भी

और देखो वो सब कुछ

जो मैंने  जाना  है  ……

‍‍~  आहंग

200 years of Hazratganj

On my recent trip to Lucknow I was on my way to chowk for some Chikan work shopping.I decided to take the route via governer house to hazratganj and then onwards to clarks awadh hotel, residency and medical college.

Hazratganj is usually crowded in the evenings but I have never seen anything close to the legendary traffic jams of bangalore.I was surprised to see the traffic stuck at the same place for some 15-20 minutes.The reason for this snarl… Hazratganj is getting a face lift for its 200th birthday.A welcome change for all of us who grew up in Lucknow and for whom ganjing was as special as going to Time Square in NY.

Papa’s car has no music system so waiting there for the traffic to make way ,I got carried back in time when this stretch of 1 km represented all that was hot and happening. Hazratganj was not only a market place , it was something to talk about and even flaunt to the poor cousins who visited from not so hep parts of the country.

Personally I have lots of memories and a few of them are quite vivid as if they happened just yesterday. It’s difficult to rank what I liked best but yes what comes to mind quite readily is my monthly, fortnightly and sometimes weekly visits to Mayfair. The cinema hall was a craze among movie lovers in Lucknow as it showed the latest English Movies in the Morning show.You could bump into almost anyone or hope to bump into almost anyone as you put your hand into the ticket window to collect tickets of “Pretty Women’. Another favorite haunt for college goers especially from the science department in Lucknow University was the Marksman restaurant. In those days it had the distinction of serving some  of the best Burgers,Pizzas and Omelette’s.Any given day you could see youngsters pooling in for a ‘dutch’ party to celebrate the last day of exam or some equally important occasion.And yes how can I forget Rovers cafe ?? For 10 bucks you could buy yourself a hot burger with a potato pancake and a slice of onion and cucumber stuffed carefully between the bread. If you were not broke already you could ask for a fanta or a thums up to go along watching the chicks as time stood still.Janpath was another place that allowed a casual stroll and plenty of window shopping.There was a magazine shop at the corner that sold the latest issues of Debo and all my friends would make sure to have a dekko before their Ganjing trip was over. My entire collection of ‘rock’ music was put together at shop called the Rhythm centre which was on the left side as you entered the Janpath premises.They used to record @ rs 2 per song for Hindi and Rs 5 for English.I guess the bias was still there from the times of Britishers and the snob shopkeepers had found a novel way to differentiate the sahebs from the Pariah.I cared for neither.One place that I used to frequent in the evenings was the Chat stall on the upper deck of Janpath. The genesis of being and the power of free will were debated for hours till it did not make sense anymore –  I am not sure if it was the depth of the discussion or the high of Old monk but that’s what it was.

The traffic started moving and I was transponded  back from my reverie. As I sped past the DM’s residence I reminded myself to take the turn and stop by to have Paan at SBI…..somethings will never change.

And it is for these things which will remain ‘unchanged’ I will keep coming back again and again and again !



दिल में बसा रखी  है तस्वीर ए यार , जब जी चाहा गर्दन झुकायी और देख लिया

I have a picture of my beloved in my heart, I can look at it when ever I want to

Looking at some of the old ‘family photographs’ taken by my ancestors in the early part of 20th century I wonder if people had any different notion about capturing memories and beautiful moments which happen around all of us all the time.In those days it was perhaps a much awaited event when the photographer will come home, people will dress up in their best clothes and he will click and bring a copy may be a few days later.It was quite the same when our ‘class pictures’ were taken when I was in school.A friend posted one of these on face book from may be when we were in class 10th or something and I was so disappointed to see that I was not in the picture.I can’t recall but may be I fell sick or something on the eventful day but what was heartening to see were the happy shiny faces of my friends some 20 years back.

Things have changed and they have changed for the better.The Camera phone has enabled all of us to be photographers all the time and to capture life as it happens without any strain on our schedule or our wallets.It’s a simple process – You find something interesting just aim and press the button,If You like what you see, store it or else just press the delete button which conveniently shows up at the bottom.The best part is that you don’t have to wait for the result.You can immediately go for another one if you feel that you could have captured it better.

The ability to capture life on the go is such an godsend for all of us who have been sentenced to a nomadic life that it’s difficult to imagine how one can cope without the portable pocket album of pictures of kids and family.In a faraway land in a stale hotel room environment just open your phone and start going through the pictures and videos of you and the kids splashing water on each other in Goa. Your heart will warm up and a smile is sure to get pasted on your lips.

For Bloggers the camera phone is the ubiquitous cameraman reporting all kind of events with you as the photo journalist.Almost all pictures on my blog have been taken by my camera phone at the airport, in the train , market , mountain and valley.Like a true partner your camera phone is always ready when you are. Its contribution is so great that it gives you ideas for blog posts – state of Chikankari workers in Lucknow, Urban rural divide as seen at a rural hyper market in MP, The beauty of waterfall in Goa and a photo feature on Churches in Bangalore as seen from your car window.Its all there just because I had a camera phone handy.

One word of advice though – special things are special and life is a one way journey.You miss a beat and you loose the rhythm so never ever go for a cheap camera phone which is not able to reflect the depth and color of your emotion.Look for stuff that is at least 2 mega pixels with a good quality lens and zoom.

You can have just one cameraman with you and it better be good.