Thursday, 29 December 2016

My Wanderings -5

                                           We can not deny the fact that great writers and artists have  indirectly brought  big revolutions  in this world. The French and Russian revolutions are glaring examples of  that.  Their role was not active, but they portrayed the facts of  life having remarkable similarities  with then prevailing society, which made the ordinary people aware of their condition as well as of others living with them. The depiction of  intimate realities of life on the piece of  paper  or canvass  is the essence of good literature or art. If a piece of art or literature is true to the vagaries of  life, it leaves an indelible mark on the minds of readers  to the extent that they rise against all the odds hampering their living conditions and growth. Why these writers rake up the dirt  in society and throw  it  everywhere to make all gloomy and sad. They do it deliberately to awaken the people, who are in deep slumber of ignorance and indifference towards their worst conditions created by few for personal gains.
It is well known fact   that good writers, painters, actors, singers and dancers are  acclaimed by every one, but  I personally feel that all credit should not go to them only and they only should not be  considered as artists. Every profession is contributing to society equally.  A good teacher,  a good engineer or a good accountant  is not also less than an artist. Art is usually attributed to excellence or perfection in any field and not  to any particular  trade or profession. Therefore, trade and profession does not matter, but what matters is excellence in that profession or trade.  Whosoever achieves excellence in his trade is an artist. A good mechanic or a good accountant is also a good artist in his field of occupation.
Even a housewife who is managing her household and children perfectly is also an artist par excellence because her contribution to  manage her home and children with devotion  is devoid of any pecuniary interest or motive of recognition.
                    Therefore, aim of every person should be to achieve excellence, if not perfection, in his profession. A person having aptitude for his trade should follow the technique of trade and try to achieve excellence in it with honesty.  He should not follow money or success. When he will  achieve excellence in his trade, money and success  will automatically follow him.
It is nice to see that good work or good  performance  of our players, Actors or writers is being recognized these days by giving awards to them. Army personal are also awarded decorations for doing some heroic deeds in wars or fighting  against terrorists.  Recognition of good performance of a player, musician or an actor is very important to acknowledge their hard work  and difficulties they faced to achieve the art.
The sacrifices made by our army personal  for Nation at the stake of their lives  can not also be ignored so easily.
Actually  heroism is a basic instinct  present in every  human being, which gets activated at the time of exigency of incident or as per the demand of event.  We have also  seen many incidents of  civilians also doing heroic jobs  by saving  the life of persons  from drowning  or many other accidents at the risk of their own lives. But army personnel  often get opportunity to show their bravery or valour and civilians get it rarely. Every ordinary person gets a chance ,at least once in life,  when the trait of heroism already present in him gets activated and he responds to  the situation with gallantry and great valour. But  how often this trait gets activated depends from person to person.
Once I had also a privilege of helping in  saving the life of a technician who was working at the site of construction of my house. He was engaged in floor work  with a grinder inside  my newly semi built  house. I was supervising the job of some other workers outside the house. In the meantime I heard a wailing shriek of technician and sound of some big object falling on the floor inside. A cold shrill passed through whole of my spine and  with out going inside to look into the matter, I immediately rushed to the switch board outside and switched off  the mains. In the mean time all other workers had reached inside and I followed them to witness a nerve racking scene. The technician was lying unconscious on the ground with the electric shock and the grinding machine was upside down. We immediately applied first aid and rushed for a doctor. The technician regained consciousness after lot of  hassle. His colleagues thanked me for saving his life. But I felt  it was a matter of chance that  a good sense prevailed upon me to act at the nick of time without any heroic impetus as it was not accomplished at the risk of my life.


Thursday, 22 December 2016

My Wanderings - 47. Short Story No. 29. Old Crazy Lad and his Gramaphone

It was month of October in year 1984 and  Autumn  in Kashmir  was full in swing. The  earth was profusely  covered with crimson coloured withered Chinar leaves which made crunchy noise when trampled under the feet. The mild rays of sun were playing hide and seek through the tree tops which were in a striping  mode and  constantly shedding their  veil of leaves . In that serene atmosphere   I came across a strange person, who left an indelible mark on my mind for so many years to come . I was sitting on the  verandah of my friends house  While enjoying the mild sun rays caressing my body,  I could observe a person of average stature, listening to his Grama phone placed in front of him , sitting on the verandah of opposite  house and stealing glances towards me with a whimsical smile. I could not control my curiosity and enquired about him from my friend.  My friend with out making any reply to my query  stood up and asked me to accompany him. I followed my friend with out any questions. He took me near the person with Grama phone  and introduced him to me.
"He is Baitoth, my neighbour and  he has recently retired  from Public works Department as Head clerk." . Baitoth greeted me warmly and made us sit on the two  vacant chairs in front of him. 
After exchanging pleasantries with both of us, Baitoth pointed towards Grama phone playing in front of him and directly addressed  to me, " Do you recognise the voice". I shook  my head in confutation. 
"It is Manna dey's father singing. I have a huge collection of old songs lying inside my room"
I came to know first time  that Manna dey's father was also a famous  singer.  The Grama phone lying there was working manually. He had to wind the key of Grama phone  many times for listening songs. The each winding lasted for playing hardly  a single song . Then he had to rewind it again to listen another.
"I sometimes steal some  time from my daily schedule to listen these songs to satisfy my hobby, but usually I remain  busy with studies and cooking", said Baitoth. I thought he must be interested in reading novels etc.  After listening few songs , I took leave of Baitoth along with my friend.
Then my friend told me that he also does not know his real name. He is usually addressed as "Baitoth" by every one in the neighbourhood . Actually his wife died after the marriage of his only  daughter few years back and his daughter is now settled somewhere  in states with her family.  He   had to stop his education only after completing Matriculation due to untimely death of his father and look out for a job to sustain his mother and younger siblings. Now after retirement he is persuing   his studies. I was amazed to learn that he has  continued his studies after a long gap and that too  at this age.
Later on  I also came to know that his neighbours were making fun of him and used to call him by names like "old crazy  Lad" etc. in  his absence . But he used to visit  students around his neighbourhood who were also appearing for  the same exam  to exchange  notes and books with them. On the exam day he would  sit whole night preparing for his exam ,sometimes,  along with other nearby  students. I once noticed him carrying an  inkpot and few pens  in his hand while on his way to exam centre. He would always give a mischievous smile whenever  confronted by some acquaintance. Knowing fully well that most of people were making fun of him,  he never deterred  from his mission. His friends were mostly young boys and students of neighbourhood, who usually visited him for discussing exam strategies. After sometime I totally lost touch with him as my friend shifted from there to newly constructed house in   some other colony.
Many years later,  once I met Baitoth in Jammu after migration of our community from Srinagar. He apperead to me much younger and agile. He recognised me at once  and greeted me with the same mischievous smile. He told me that he is living in   rented  room near by. After talking  with him for some time  it transpired that he has completed his Master's degree at Srinagar.  Further  he confided to me that  it was a wish of his father that I  should complete my education .But he died much earlier when I was still a young Boy. Therefore I could not realise the wish of my father at right time. Sooner or later I was bound to realise the wish of my father. Now he was teaching migrant children at Muthi  camp free of cost. Some children of the community residing near by visited him at his rented accommodation also for private tuition, but he was not charging any fees for his services. The company of children and young students was a big reward for him in this lonely and forlorn life. He loved  their company  very much and considered them a great gift bestowed to him by almighty.
Now it was only few years back I came to know that Baitoth  had  finally visited  his daughter in  USA. His daughter was very happy to see her father after a long time. She was very much eager to show her father all the worth seeing places in states. She wanted to buy many gifts for him. But her father was not so particular to make any purchases there.  Once they entered an antique shop and his attention was attracted towards many old Grama phones lying there in a corner. He was thrilled to recognise his own Grama Phone which was also one among them.  He recognised his Gramaphone by his own initials  M.L.D. which he had himself engraved upon it. He was happy to see his Gramaphone again, which he had left  in his home  at Kashmir with his other belongings , while leaving his birthplace for good in the begining of 1990. He enquired about his Gramaphone from Shopkeeper,  but how his Gramaphone has reached from his home at Kashmir to this Antique shop in US remained a mystery for him. Now he wanted to repurchase his Gramaphone at any cost .He was enthusiastic like a child  when taken to a toy  shop. His daughter could   well understand   the emotional attachment of her father with his Grama phone.  She purchased the  Gramaphone  for her father at very exorbitant price. His father rejoiced to get his Gramaphone back.
Then after a lapse of  very short time  "Baitoth" while strolling  in the neighbour hood of his daughters House  stopped near another house  to look at the children playing there. But the landlord of the house got suspicious and  called for  the police,  who bullied "Baitoth" and roughed up with him so intensely  that he finally landed at Hospital and passed his last breath there.

Monday, 12 December 2016

My Wanderings - 46. Short Story No. 28 Little Lord with a Pince Nez

Neelkanth Safaya was virtually a man with English tastes. He was influenced by English language and culture to a great extent. After completing his graduation  in pre -partition days, he joined  as clerk in an English firm located at Residency Road Srinagar but became its Manager within a short span of time by the dint of his hard work and command over English language . Neelkanth was actually a man of short stature with a  fair complexion. He was also a man of attire and attitudes. In earlier days of his career he used to wear a  long English frock coat and breeches, which mismatched his personality and made him a laughing stock in the market. But with the change of fashion , he started wearing a three piece suit, which suited his personality very much. Moreover his dress accessories comprised of an English hat, a contrast coloured neck tie or a bow tie and a golden rimmed pince nez  loosely fitted on his eyes wth the support of his nose alongwith a small cane with a golden head engaging  fingers of his  small right hand.
He used to come  daily at sharp half past nine from some obscure lane, in the above-said  attire, to  reach near an  open space beyond  Habba kadal chowk to drive his small car which was parked there due to shortage of parking space at his residence. Moreover lane heading towards his residence was very narrow to afford the passage of even a small car. No body could question about a small or big car and even make of car, as mere possession of a car was a mark of affaulance  those days.
However, Neelkanth was a man of principles and highly disciplinarian . He could never afford to take lightly any type of indiscipline   especially  at the  place of his  work. Once calling the explanation of one of his subordinates , he gave him in writing that his attitude smacks of insubordination and impertinence, with a copy to Head office , which cost dearly to the later and after much persuasion he could save his job.
In addition to his job Neelkanth was a voracious  reader. He was having Intrest in subjects like literature , philosophy and psychology. He had made a small library in the balcony of the  upper story of his house, which he called study in English style. Latter on he developed Intrest in Homeopathy and started practising Homeopathy from his study. He helped many chronic patients by his treatment. He was also interested in Astronomy. He could be seen looking towards stars for hours together through his imported telescope installed in his study. He also listened to news through his ear phone Radio and read newspapers to remain conversant with the day to day affairs. Sometimes he favoured the authority and sometimes he flouted it as per his choice and ideology.
Most of the people used to visit him for writing  their drafts and applications. He used to oblige them free of cost. While making the drafts he used to murmur , people write 'Indian English' but I write 'English English'. Once listening to a speech of English man, Neelkanth objected to his speech and told  him directly, "Don't try to conceal facts by  impressing  me by your knowledge of English vacabulary, I know enough of it ".It was to the amusement of audience and amazement of the orator.
He used to visit hotels and cinemas with his family frequently which was not much in vouge those days.
Inspite of all his virtues , he was having only one vice that was his dominating personality. The victim of this
Trait of his personality was his wife and elder son. He used to take all their decisions himself. He never let them grow independently . They were dependent on his decisions . He always  nourished a dream to visit his much cherished country Britain. As he was much occupied in his job, he wanted to realise his dream through his son. He sent his son to Britain for studying medicine  to the much reluctance of the later. But his son had never learned to disobey his father, he was left with no other alternative but to realise the wish of his father. Neelkanth was much interested to see his son as a thorough English gentleman rather than a Doctor. His son got established as a Doctor in London and married an English lady there. He never returned back to India as he did not want to remain under the dominance of his father again.
After so many years , Neelkanth also got a chance to visit his son at London. He was shocked to see that concept  of English gentry, which he had cherished  through out his life, has  vanished altogether. The Indians were also as good as English men. Moreover his son looked  more traditional Indian wearing Dhoti and Kurta in London and his English daughter in-law was clad in an Indian sari. He and his wife had joined Hare Rama , Hare Krishna mission established at London. They were much satisfied with eastern culture and rituals that Neelkanth could not believe his eyes and remained in bewilderment to witness the topsy turvy of his much cherished ideology.