Fb: Word Porn, 29.12.16.
This poem was penned down by schoolmate sometime back. When I happened to read it I had him send it over to me. I had almost as well forgotten about it when I recently happened to chance upon this gem of a piece in my inbox. I only knew this had to be before others like me. So, here it goes…
My hands burn, yet I clutch
the steel rods are burning it, yet I clutch
for my children’s stomach is crying, so I clutch.
Glow of molten,makes my eyes blind, reminds me the glow of my paddies
I let tire my eyes, for my children’s stomach is crying.
The once known pleasure of mud, now turn coal’s ash in my legs
the pain the ground gives, differ when a bug bite me on my mud
I let pain my legs, for my children’s stomach is crying.
The bones are crushed,teared the muscles
time has to now to pass, why is it very slow to pass
I let my mind’s patience wait, for my children’s stomach is crying.
Lord gave the silvers when stars shone, the glow rather soothing than the steel
eyes had tears flowing, for my children’s stomach will smile.
Engine drove through the track , to my beautiful village it goes
to my wife and children it goes, the body not tired anymore
as it will put out the stomach’s cry.
Stepped to my mud again, the early green has now turned
pale darkness, pale sorrow, tears on my wife’s cheeks, went in to see my thatch.
Turned for my kids,no one around, then turned to my wife
pointing she was to a grave, a grave so beautiful.
I went near the beautiful heap of mud, a drop of tear on the mud of bones
the stomach always crying
drank the tear, to put off the fire in it.
PS : Forgive the blogger, if the line breaks haven’t been appropriate. I hardly have any poetic sense!
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Hello everybody. This touching real life story is by chatterboxerr’s second Atithi (guest writer), Mr.Abhishek. He’s a fellow enthusiastic reader and his vocation and passion is forestry. In school he used to drive me mad by always getting the first rank. Over to Treeman’s story then. Enjoy and connect.
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Banaras/ Varanasi/ Kashi, the holy city of India – where millions go every year in their quest for answers, for their religion, and for peace. I’m not a very religious person, and I think spirituality doesn’t require me to go afar to Banaras to feel ‘at peace’ in any of the 84 Ghats.
My grandmother however goes every year; she is completely smitten by the city. My parents, family, everyone around me actually, swear by the feeling of being at peace there. So you can well imagine the picture painted in my head. When I picked up Pankaj Mishra’s ‘The Romantics’ from the library a while ago, it gave me quite a shock. It is a story rooted in Banaras, providing a cross between the good and the bad aspects of the holy city. It shouldn’t have shocked me; most Indian cities are prone to pollution, filth, drudgery. Those cities of grandeur and fame once upon a time, are now dwelling places that don’t look anywhere near grand. Mainly due to the effect of tourism, I suspect.
Most livelihoods are dependent on tourism. People come from all parts of the world and cause pollution, congestion, etcetera. These places are religious too, with famous temples, and it won’t be wrong to say that so many religious shrines lead to even more pollution. Some of these famous places look shiny and grand on the surface, so as a tourist you don’t see the reality until you step away from the main roads.
My first understanding of tourist places and reality was visiting Porbandar about five years ago. My grandfather wanted to visit the place Gandhiji was born in. Let’s just say I couldn’t get down anywhere in Porbandar except at the entrance of Gadhiji’s house.
Sitting on the banks of the Ganges, known as the ancient hub of knowledge and spiritualism, Banaras is the holiest city of India. According to the Vedas, one who dies in Varanasi will attain instant ‘moksha‘, automatically escaping the cycle of death and rebirth. As a result, the city is awash with the aged and the dying, dead bodies and hundreds of constantly lit up pyres, as well as Sadhus, hippies, and the likes.
I was discussing this with a good friend of mine as he’d visited Banaras a while ago. He felt it was much worse than what we read about it, but still with a beauty of its own. (Like I said, everyone adds that second fragment!) He was visiting seniors in The Banaras Hindu University – the largest residential university in the subcontinent, with academic departments covering every single stream one could probably imagine, about 35000 students on its rolls, with hostels and institutional buildings built in true palatial style and architecture.
He said “People studying there are real fortunate! Within the campus, it’s a like a different world altogether” (Read: No traffic jams, no crowds, least pollution and lot of cleanliness!) He continued, “Outside the college, the town as a whole is quite old with its historic buildings and streets dotted with innumerable temples everywhere but now crowded to the extreme and so is therefore accompanied by the lack of sanitation and equal lack of proper administration or management. It is quite commonplace in North India, and even more so when it is a pilgrimage hot spot. Especially the main temple site is a stampede in waiting!”
I asked him about the city, the temple and the numerous practices, the surroundings, and about the attitudes of people; the general scenario to contrast it with what we’ve read in old anecdotes. I mean, we all know about the handlooms, textiles, and every other aspect of tourism. I wanted a youth’s perspective. He said, “Have you ever thought as to how people are going blind with respect to religious beliefs or their madness in buttering the gods (quite literally too, using milk and the like!)?” Sometimes the sheer quantity and worth of offerings they make at temples or shrines makes me wonder that these people intend to make the gods equal culprits in the not so justified means by which these people earn their wealth, by making our lords beneficiaries as well! Thoughts that came to me upon seeing the enormous crowds thronging the Vishwanath temple at Kashi and the equally large sums of money they were going about giving away as offering to the priests and the temple.
And when we talk about Banaras, how can we forget the Ganges? Though we have all been hearing about how it is getting polluted and is dying a slow death, how the inhabitants are suffering with unhealthy water supply, etc – the irony is that – every evening the temples around the river bank (Kashi Vishwanath temple and others) and their management organise ‘Ganga aartis’ or Grand Pujas in the name of the river, thus polluting the holy river even more intensively.
“I was at the cremation ghat on the banks of the Ganges. I kept seeing bodies upon bodies being brought for cremation and the dead getting thrown about like they were some baggage waiting to be rid of. Bodies were getting consigned to flames and the dogs around the area were simultaneously fighting for unburnt flesh of the corpses.
It makes one feel as though a mockery of the erstwhile holy river is being done. Having been a first-hand witness to a big irony as to how the sin-washing river is being strangulated to death with dumping and sewage release, so much so that the water has turned from its pristine colour to dark greenish brown clearly hinting at its imminent death.
My friend ends the discussion with this archaic escapade: “I was at the cremation ghat on the banks of the Ganges. There I was forced to reflect upon the meaning and meaninglessness of our lives. I kept seeing bodies upon bodies being brought for cremation and the dead getting thrown about like they were some baggage waiting to be rid of. Bodies were getting consigned to flames and the dogs around the area were simultaneously fighting for unburnt flesh of the corpses.
I saw Pithamagan like characters (a movie character played by south Indian actor Vikram) of various ages from little boys to old men working their way through the bodies and fishing for coins and valuables on the dead. I even heard from a local about unburnt and semi burnt bodies being thrown off into the Ganges with a dead weight attached to it – sometimes, owing to a lack of time as well as space.
Then as I sat seeing the ritualistic formalities go on something happened that could only be pegged to coincidence and mythical stories we have been exposed to: a buffalo came wandering through and came alongside each corpse and waited for sufficient time beside each one and finally left like it had appeared. It forced me to perceive it as though it was the Yamaraj’s vehicle sent to pick up and deliver the dead to where they were destined to go. I realised that how much ever man may in his lifetime fight to achieve power or prosperity, all of it can end being meaningless and is senseless. No matter what, he must strive to live his life peacefully, giving others the joys they deserve. In this world ultimately man’s worth is not even more than a penny, but his actions may still be remembered if they are worth it”.
That answered the doubt in my head – as to why people still visit, and shall visit this holy city. For, at the end of the day, they see or feel something that makes them connect within, a sense of reconciliation and profound belief.The Original Post
Irony is that – every evening the temples around the river bank (Kashi Vishwanath temple and others) and their management organise ‘Ganga aartis’ or Grand Pujas in the name of the river, thus polluting the holy river even more intensively.