Sunday, August 06, 2023

सफलता के संघर्ष - आत्मकथा

During my last trip to Doon, as a ritual I stole a few books from my brother's shelf, bought a few from the iconic bookstores of Dehra and borrowed a few from Mom. The one I borrowed was सफलता के संघर्ष    - (Struggle for Success) is written by Mr KP Sharma, our friendly  neighbour Sharma uncle. 

His autobiography brought out many amazing things about them that we, the next door neighbour didn't know e.g. he had tea with the then Prime Minister more than once. We just saw him as the one who lives somewhere in some foreign country and earns a lot of money, as he could send his son to Sherwood, Nainital to study. 
The description of his early life, education, job in Indian Navy, SITA travels, and many administrative posts, adventurous expeditions etc is absolutely engrossing.

Usually celebrities write autobiographies. It's a good trend now that people are writing autobiographies just for their family and friends. Others may not find it interesting as they do not know the author personally. But this book can be enjoyed by all.I wonder why I did not find this book in the book shops of Dehra.

Sharma uncle is a role model for sure. Apart from enjoying the book, we can also learn from him that how should we utilise our time and life fruitfully, and how should we take care of our health.

Wednesday, June 28, 2023

The Golden Years by Ruskin Bond

During my Dehradun trip, one fine evening, I went on a 3 km walk where I passed by Haridwar Road, East Canal Road, Parade ground and reached Book World. Bought a couple of books. Such a Ruskin Bond thing! His readers would know.

Book World, Dehradun

The title of the book The Golden Years could have been 'How Not To Be Repetitive While Writing on the Same Topics for Six Decades'. The 60 topics in the contents looked like a big buffet to devour. Short and amusing articles on the topics we relate to. Flipping through the pages I stopped  at my favourite topic, The Afternoon Siesta. It took me to the cozy and cool bedroom in which mom used to retire after her day's chores. God forbid, if we entered that room to take a toy or a storybook and made a sound by mistake, we were sure to get a lesson for life.Mom was friendly and polite, but we knew our limits when she used to take her power naps in the long  afternoons.

Parade Ground, Dehradun

I flip further to find wise words on loneliness, solitude,laugh, joy, and woes of old age and  how the great men handled it. He also writes about morning, evening, night, midnight, twilight, hate, love self love and trees. Although he never ever wants to preach, but who can stop me from taking lessons from his wise words.
This book had to be in my bookshelf as whenever in doubt I go to my books,  contemporary and classics, to get solace and tips. 

I'm in no hurry to finish reading it, rather I'm delaying to enjoy it for some more time.

Tuesday, October 11, 2022

Tales from Barog, HP

A view of Dagshai from Barog

Any mountain would do if you are in good company, I thought when three of us were planning our  vacation. We met at the chic and charming city of Chandigarh. Within half an hour of driving we were at the Pinjore Gardens, at the foothills of lower Shivalik range of the Himalayas. Although we enjoyed the shady pathways and lawns, later I found out all that we missed at Pinjore. If I ever go there again, I would run to The Bhima Devi Temple (dating from between 8th to 11th century) a baoli i.e stepwell and a museum, which google says, are in the same locality.  


Thanking our most revered Minister for Road and Transport, Mr Nitin Gadkari, for the smooth four-lane road, we drove further and soon  we were looking for a home-stay near Solan. A homestay means living with the host in their house. But the ones we saw looked more like hotels. Fortunately a friendly Sardarji was seen standing in front of his homestay, named Sartaaj. The spacious porch and a rottweiler resting in the corner gave us a homely feel.

Sartaj Homestay, Barog

The view of Dagshai from the terrace at Barog was beautiful till we knew that it is 'Dhaag-e-Shahi'. It means the royal mark that is put on the forehead of the criminals who were sent to this village. Our Mutiny heroes were tortured and hanged here. There are darkrooms ( kaalkothari) where one can't even see their own hand, torture cell, the big bell which tolled when one of our dear revolutionist dropped dead. Was it easy for us  to face all that ? It was 2nd October, a national holiday, so we had to cancel the visit. Gandhiji was also put in this jail for sometime.
                                                          Dagshai, Kalapani of HP (pic: Internet)

With an inexperienced driver/ guide we could not explore Solan. We just had a walk through the market which was anything but exciting. 

We drove further to see Mohan Temple. No one can associate a temple with a liquor manufacturer, but this temple is built by the famous Mohan Meakins Ltd. Mohan Meakins  took me back to my childhood. My father, an auditor went to audit this firm during the mid 70's. They gifted him a leather bound diary. It had shers by famous Urdu poets. My brother and I, 9 and 7 year old then, loved reading those couplets/shers and repeated them in mock seriousness. We appreciated them only when we grew up. I recited a few of them and both my friends loved it. 

कोई हाथ भी मिलाएगा जो गले मिलोगे तपाक से

ये नए मिज़ाज का शहर है ज़रा फ़ासले से मिला करो


दुश्मनी जम कर करो लेकिन ये गुंजाइश रहे

जब कभी हम दोस्त हो जाएँ तो शर्मिंदा हों

- Basheer Badr

      दुनिया भी अजब सराये-फ़ानी देखी

                                        दुनिया भी अजब सराये-फ़ानी देखी
                                         हर चीज यहां की आनी जानी देखी
                                         जो आ के न जाये वह बुढ़ापा देखा
                                         जो जा के न आये, वह जवानी देखी।

                                                            ~ मीर अनीस लखनवी

                                        बारिशें छत पे खुली जगह पे होती हैं 
                                        गम वो सावन है जो कमरे के अंदर बरसता है 

Barog railway station is the cutest railway station I ever saw. We took a shortcut from the main road 
while driving down from Barog. It was a 10 minutes climb from the main road. The quaint little station lies on UNESCO World Heritage Site , Kalka-Shimla Railways.
There were railway employees, and people waiting for the train. There was a tunnel too. The special thing about the tunnel is that we can see both the ends from one side. We could see the light on the other end. Is it uncommon? I don't know.

 There is another abandoned tunnel 1.5 km away. Which was built by a British engineer Colonel Borog. He got it dug from both opposite ends. Due to some calculation blunder it could not meet. Workers blamed him for their hard work that went down the drain and the Government also fined him  (Re 1) for wasting so much money. The humiliated  engineer shot himself. Then another tunnel was built and due respect was given to Col Barog. People fondly tell the stories of the haunted tunnel and meeting the friendly ghost of Mr Barog. My host told me that his name was Col Brog which later become Barog.


Back to Chandigarh, I had one day to explore the city. The city had burst the balloon of my civic pride
which I had cultivated for last two decades at the beautiful IIT Kanpur Campus. Not only the residential areas, University Campus and  offices were clean and green, but every nook and corner of the city was sparkling clean. Cycle lanes were adorable. 

                                                                Fulkari, Chandigarh shopping

While returning, there was a regret that we had skipped many places we would have loved to visit.There were many reasons. Sometimes it was motion sickness or we wanted to be in our comfort zone rather than exerting ourselves.I hope to visit those interesting places in the writings of Kipling, Khushwant Singh and Ruskin.

Saturday, February 05, 2022


महामारी पूरे विश्व को महादुख दे गयी। कहीं माँ-बेटी की दोस्ती टूट गयी, तो कही मुहल्ले का सबसे चहेता युवा सबको ज़ख्म दे गया   जिनके स्वजनों को उनकी सबसे ज्यादा जरूरत थी वो ही चले गए।  इन्ही विचारों को मन में लिए मैं देहरादून में अपने  घर के बरामदे में सोफे पे टेक लगा के बैठी थी व् पिताजी से बातें चल रही थी ; पुराने मित्रों की, रिश्तेदारों की और कोरोना की। पिताजी ने एक पुराने परिचित के अति दुःख  के बारे मैं बताया की उनके पुत्र व् पुत्रवधु महामारी से ग्रसित हो कर ब्रह्मलीन हो गए। दिल तो मानो पत्थर हो गया था तो इतनी वेदनापूर्ण घटना भी आम सी लगी। लेकिन जब उन्होंने बताया कि उनका एक साल का पोता भी है तो मन हुआ कि अभी जाकर उस शिशु को बाहों मैं भर लू। 

 पोते कि बातें सुन कर मन भर आया। कोई  बड़ा होता तो रो के बोल के या लिख के अपनी पीड़ा का सामना करता।  क्या सोचता होगा वो अबोध  किअचानक  माँ कहाँ चली गयी ?

दादा दादी में भी अब इतनी शक्ति नहीं रही कि उसके साथ खेलें या बात करें।छोटा सा बच्चा, बस एक ही रट लगाए रहता ,
दादा, मेरी मम्मी कब आएगी, दादा, मेरी मम्मी कब आएगी ?"
और उत्तर सुने बिना फिर वो ही रट "कब आएगी मेरी मम्मी?"

दादी तो घर के काम-काज मैं व्यस्त हो गयी होगी पर दादा, क्या बोले ? बहलाने के लिए बोल देते आएगी जल्दी ही    दूसरी ओर पिताजी के ही एक परिचित, जिनकी बेटी विवाह में मेरे माता पिता भी शामिल हुए थे और बेटी दामाद को 'खुश रहो' का आशीर्वाद दिया था, शादी के कई वर्षों बाद भी एक शिशु के आगमन के लिए पलकें बिछाए बैठे थे। ईश्वर का ये विधान भी समझ नहीं आता, कहीं अकस्मात् बिना इच्छा के इतने और कही पूरा कुटुंब याचना करके हार गया पर आस नही।
किसी भले मानस ने दोनों परिवारों को  मिला  दिया। एक  माह के अंदर मिलने की तिथि भी तय हो गयी।  इस बात पे सहमति हुई की पहले दोनों परिवार मिलेंगे, एक दूसरे  को समझेंगे फिर कुछ निर्णय लिया जाएगा। वृद्ध पिता को भी अपने पोते को अनजान लोगो के सुपुर्द करने मैं दुःख के  साथ संकोच भी था। निर्णय लेना अवश्य ही कठिन रहा होगा।  
मम्मी कब आएगी' की रट लगाने वाला अभी थका नहीं था।  दिन, सप्ताह और अब एक माह के बाद तो वह शिशु अपनी माँ की छवि व् स्पर्श भी भूल गया होगा,किन्तु हृदय के किसी कोने में माँ का अहसास होगा जो 'दादा कब आएगी मेरी मम्मी ?" का उच्चारण दिन भर में  कई बार हो जाता  था। "तेरी मम्मी सोमवार को रही है "  दादा ने पुचकार के कहा।  उसे कितना समझ आया होगा मालुम नही।  

आखिरकार सोमवार भी गया और मम्मी भी। अतिथि दंपत्ति को देख कर जैसे ही  दादा ने कहा, 'ले गयी तेरी मम्मी", छोटे छोटे पैरों से दौड़ता हुआ अपनी माँ से लिपट गया।  उसके मन  में कोई संशय नहीं था।  ऐसा लिपटा की उपस्थित लोग देखते ही रह गए।  इतना खुश, इतना खुश की मत पूछिये और माँ  के सुखद अश्रु  रुकने का नाम नहीं ले रहे थे।  

नए घर में बच्चे के आगमन पर घर में मानो उत्सव था और कुलदीप माँ की गोद में चढ़ा शांत भाव से सब कुछ निहार रहा था।