विक्की की वकालत

सिनेमा का हम पर बहुत गहरा प्रभाव पड़ता है। कभी कभी तो इतना गहरा कि हम अपने भविष्य के बड़े बड़े फैसले भी सिनेमा से प्रभावित होकर कर लेते हैं। देर सवेर यह एहसास जरूर हो जाता है कि फिल्म के किरदार पर्दे पर ही सही लगते हैं। असल जिंदगी में तो कहानी और रोमांच कहीं और ज्यादा गज़ब होते हैं। ऐसी ही एक कहानी है विक्की की।

बात उस समय की है जब विक्की स्कूल में पढ़ती थी। उन दिनों दामिनी नाम की एक फ़िल्म टीवी पर बहुत आया करती थी। फ़िल्म का एक डायलॉग बेहद प्रचलित हुआ जहां सनी देओल जज साहब को दुत्कारते हुए कहता है:

तारीख पर तारीख, तारीख पर तारीख, तारीख पर तारीख मिलती रही है जज साहब पर इंसाफ नहीं मिला।

दामिनी फिल्म का एक दृश्य

डायलॉग इतना भारी भरकम था कि उसके बोझ तले जज साहब तारीख ना दे कर सुनवाई आगे बढ़ाते हैं। ये वाक्या विक्की के मासूम दिल में छाप छोड़ गया और उसने मन में गांठ बाँध ली कि एक तो बड़े हो कर वकील बनना है और दूसरा की ऐसा वकील जो जैसे तैसे पहली सुनवाई में ही केस पूरा कर दे।

साल बीतते गए और सही समय आने पर विक्की ने वकालत की पढ़ाई में दाखिला ले लिया। कॉलेज के पहले दिन सीनियर्स ने नए छात्रों से उनके पसंदीदा वकील के बारे में पूछा। जहाँ किसी ने राम जेठमलानी का नाम लिया तो किसी ने हरीश साल्वे का, विक्की के मन में एक ही जवाब गूंज रहा था “दामिनी का सनी देओल”। पर ये जानते हुए की इस जवाब से बस मखौल ही उड़ सकता है, उसने जेठमलानी जी के नाम की माला जप लेना ही उचित समझा।

अब पढ़ाई शुरू होने लगी। वकालत की पढ़ाई टीवी की फिल्मों जैसी बिल्कुल नहीं लग रही थी और ना ही यहां डायलॉगबाजी पर कोई एहमियत दी जा रही थी। बाकायदा तमाम तरीके की किताबें पढ़नी पढ़ती थी। संविधान और उसके संशोधन, नाना प्रकार की धाराएं इत्यादि, पढ़ने को जैसे पूरा संसार था। ऐसे में विक्की की काफी कमर टूट गई थी पर संकल्प दृण था। और क्योंकि संकल्प से ही सृष्टि बनती है, पांच साल में विक्की वकील बन गई।

उसने शहर के एक नामी वकील के आफिस में बतौर इंटर्न भाग ले लिया। एक दिन विक्की के बॉस ने विक्की को उसका पहला केस दिया। इनका क्लाइंट जिसका नाम राजेश था,छोटी मोटी चोरी करते हुए पकड़ा गया था और विक्की को उसको बेल दिलवानी थी। पहला केस पाकर विक्की फूली नहीं समा रही थी और सीधा कोर्ट की और निकल पड़ी।

सुनवाई शुरू होने पर विक्की ने अपना पक्ष रखा और बेल लेने की प्रक्रिया आरम्भ करी। किन्तु जज ने बोला की बेल देने से पहले राजेश की जान पहचान का कोई व्यक्ति उसके साफ चरित्र की गवाही देने के लिए कोर्ट में आए। क्योंकि विक्की चाहती थी कि केस आज ही आज में समाप्त हो जाये वो जज की अनुमति ले कर बाहर गई और कोर्ट के बाहर किसी ऐसे इंसान को ढूंढने लगी जो थोड़े पैसों के लिए, कोर्ट में गवाही दे सके। जल्द ही उसको एक आदमी मिल गया जो ₹2000 में गवाही देने के लिए तैयार हो गया और दोनों कोर्ट में आ गए।

जज: क्या तुम मुजरिम राकेश को जानते हो?

गवाह: हैं??क्या कहा??

जज (चिल्लाते हुए) : राजेश को जानते हो?

गवाह: क्या कहा??

थोड़ी देर ऐसा ही सब चलता रहा। विक्की को समझ आ गया की ये आदमी भी सिनेमा से प्रभावित है और ना होते हुए भी केस को असली बनाने के लिए बेहरा होने का नाटक करने लगा है। कुछ देर बाद गवाह ने कबूल कर ही लिया की वो राजेश को जानता है और उसके साफ किरदार की जिम्मेदारी भी लेता है। सब सुनने के बाद जज ने अपना फैसला सुनाया:

जज: ऐसा है कि राजेश के केस पर फिर गौर करेंगे, पहले ये महानुभाव गवाह पर टिप्पणी कर लेनी चाहिए। एक तो ये आदमी कोर्ट में बहरेपन का नाटक कर रहा है और दूसरा इसने राजेश को जानने की झूठी गवाही भी दी है।इसलिए राजेश के साथ साथ इस आदमी को भी 14 दिन की जेल सुनाई जाती है।

ऐसा सुनना ही था कि वो आदमी विक्की के सामने गिड़गिड़ाने लगा की ये मेरे साथ क्या कर दिया मैडम। अब मैं क्या करूँ? विक्की ने उसे तपाक से जवाब दिया कि “सरेंडर कर दे, मैं तेरी भी बेल करवा दूंगी”। पहली ही सुनवाई में विक्की को अक्ल आ गई कि सनी देओल जैसे हाथ होना तो अच्छा रहेगा पर सनी देओल जैसी वकालत सिनेमा तक ही चल सकती है।

सनी देओल का ढाई किलो का हाथ

साँप साँप!!आदमी आदमी!!

इस कहानी में 6 पात्र हैं: 1. दादी, 2. ताईजी (दादी की बड़ी बहू), 3. दीपा (दादी की दूसरी बहू), 4. तरुण (दीपा का बड़ा बेटा), 5. भावेश (दीपा का छोटा बेटा), 6. साँप

रात के 12 बज रहे हैं। भावेश के अलावा सब सो गए हैं। भावेश महाराज Pub-G खेलने में व्यस्त है।

भावेश (PubG खेलते हुए मोबाइल स्क्रीन पर चिल्लाते हुए) : मारो मारो! अबे उसको revive करो।

अचानक उसने दरवाज़े के इर्दगिर्द कुछ हिलता हुआ देखा।

भावेश (घबराकर): ओ बाप रे! घर में साँप घुस आया है। सालों सब सो रहे हो! अभी हम मर जाएंगे! उठो उठो सालों।

घर में अफरा तफरी मच गई। सब जाग गए हैं। साँप confused किंकर्तव्यविमूढ़ स्थिती में पूरे कमरे के चक्कर लगाने लगा है। सब अब थोड़ा और घबरा गए हैं। सबका लेकिन reaction अलग है:

तरूण ने घबराकर अपने woodland के trekking shoes पहन लिये हैं।

भावेश पगला जैसा बिस्तर पर डर कर नाच रहा है।

दीपा ने कहीं से सुना था कि धुंआ लगाने से साँप भागता है। उसने झट से रसोई में सूखी मिर्च का पूरा stock जला कर घर में मिर्चीदार धुंआ लगा दिया है।

दादी को याद आया कि साँप तो उसके इष्टदेव हैं। इसलिये वो जमीन पर धूप-बत्ति ले कर पूजा करने बैठ गई है।

ताईजी ने डंडा पकड़ कर साँप को भगाने का जिम्मा अपने सर ले लिया है। ये देख तरूण ने helmet भी पहन लिया है।

तरूण: कोई forest department फ़ोन करो।

ताईजी (मिर्ची के धुएँ से खाँसते-खाँसते) : हम ही हो रहे हैं district magistrate जो रात के 12 बजे forest department यहां तुरंत पहुंच जाएगा।

भावेश (कभी mobile screen तो कभी साँप को देखते हुए): अबे बंदूक चला रहा है वो!! अरे बचाओ बचाओ सांप रेंग रहा है!!

दादी (खाँसते हुए और धूप घूमाते हुए): भूत-पिशाच निकट नहीं आवे,महावीर जब नाम सुनावे!

दीपा: मिर्च का धूआँ हल्का ना हो जाए, मैं भावेश के पापा की साइकिल का पुराना टायर भी जला देती हूँ।

ताईजी: इन सबने बस नाटक ही करने हैं। मुझे ही नागिन फिल्म का अमरीश पुरी सपेरा बनना पड़ेगा।

Meanwhile साँप जीभ निकालते हुए: ये मैं आज कहाँ फँस गया। शिवजी तुम्हारे गले के बदले आज मैं ये किनके लपेटे में पड़ गया। बचा लो प्रभू बचा लो!

मैदान में अब सचिन रूपी ताईजी उतर चुकी हैं। ये ताईजी ने डंडा घुमाया, और एक shot के साथ ही साँप को उड़ा कर दरवाजे तक पहुंचाया!!! बैट्समैन ताईजी अब full form में हैं। और ये लगाया साँप को दूसरा छक्का और साँप चला दरवाजे के पार।

साँप ने बाहर जाते हुए खुशी से राहत की साँस ली। घर में भी सबको राहत मिली, पर राहत की साँस नहीं। क्योंकि साँप तो चल दिया, पर घर में जलते हुए मिर्च और टायर के धुएँ में सांस कैसे ली जाए भाई!!!

Tell The Wolves I am Home: Book Experience

I thought how many small good things in the world might be resting on the shoulders of something terrible.

Carol Rifka Brunt

These are trying times we are living in. There is the virus, then there is the news and over and above is the fake news. Rumors of all sorts ranging from home made medicines to how all the virus can spread etc have been spreading like wildfire. And in such a time, I stumbled upon this book by Carol Rifka Brunt. The book that deals with a gay relationship of two men who caught AIDS, a book about presumptions of a disease and it’s patients when not much is known about them, and above all a book about things we do for love. Love between two adults, between a parent and a child, between sisters and love that roots after taking care of a dying man.

The premise of the book is of 1987 and revolves around a fifteen year old girl named Junie, her dying uncle Finn whom she secretly loves and admires like a woman may love another man. The plot is of a time when not much was known about AIDS, a disease of which Finn is dying. There are random news and popular beliefs about the virus. After the death of Finn, Junie secretly develops friendship with Toby, Finn’s boyfriend, as he remains the connection between herself and Finn. Her elder sister Greta seems to be a mean person, who haunts Junie with her insensitive remarks. The book ends with a reconciliation between lost souls.

Frankly speaking, the story does not have a lot of twist and turns. Only six important characters weave the story. But what is the backbone of the book is the character building of each person. Why each character behaves the way it does has been articulated terrifically. And it might just be possible for a reader to relate with the emotions of one or the other person described in the book. Humans are naturally not rude or mean towards other humans particularly within a family. But sometimes the relations simply shatter into pieces and we may say things to our loved ones which we do not mean. What is important there is to understand the reasons that forced a person to resort to such harsh words and acts. If that is understood, a lot can be fixed. And Carol Rifka Brunt has mastered in describing these complex emotions and confessions through a fifteen year old very smoothly.

Dreams: From Jungle to Mangal

Once upon a time in the deep woods of Badri, there lived a dweller named Roma. The dweller would go wherever she would think of. She would embellish herself up with freshly picked flowers.

She had heard of a boy named Mowgli. Mowgli was a brave young lad who lived in the company of animals and would use a boomerang for hunting. Our dweller liked the idea and thought of keeping a tool like boomerang with her too. Roma searched into the depth of forests for her weapon but could not come up with one even by the end of the day. Tired Roma fell asleep under a tree. At night she heard the growl of wolves from some place around. Unprepared as she was, Roma picked two stones and struck them against one another so as to scare the wolves with its sound. But striking the stones lead to a glowing spark and the dry stick which she had used in the day to clear route, suddenly ignited. The wolves were caught at surprise and ran away for their life. Roma realised that she has found her boomerang in stones and dry wood.

Life was going well. But as time passed Roma did not like the idea of dwelling forever and wanted to settle at a place. She made a small house and started gardening there. She no more had to hunt with her stick and fire anymore. She would cook the vegetables from her kitchen garden and enjoy. Soon the vegetables outgrew the appetite of Roma. So she thought of selling the vegetables and became a vegetable vendor.

Roma would now wear full clothes to protect herself from sun and would sell the vegetables at the nearby village. This new job filled her with joy. People were happy with the variety of vegetables Roma was selling. Soon Roma made a lot of money from the vegetable business. Now she wanted to further expand her horizons. Roma who had successfully discovered fire, importance of woods, gardening etc all by herself now ventured into cooking meals for others. She read that in the city the expert cooks are called chef and she wanted to be one. Day by day she tried more and more of the different combinations of spices, herbs etc in her kitchen garden produce. Soon Roma started her own restaurant and the word of it spread like wildfire.

People were very proud of Roma’s journey so far. They knew she has a long way to go and inspire more people with her hardwork and determination. Word is that these days there are so many people who want to take a selfie with her who is a role model for them. And while people smile at the picture, Roma continues to think of what her next venture should be. She is open for suggestions.

The Last Lecture: Book Experience

I started reading The Last Lecture by Randy Pausch in February. It was after the recommendation of two of my friends. Initially when I started to read the book I was enjoying it thoroughly, until one day I accidentally started to read its reviews on Goodreads. The reviews as expected were great and the readers seemed to be totally inspired and emotional over the warrior like spirit of Randy and Jai. But then to my utter surprise I noticed there were some readers who gave the book 1/5 star. I was intrigued to know how people can dislike such an encouraging book. The reasons stated by them for not being impressed with the writing mostly had the same undertone, which was that throughout the book Randy was just being a loudmouth, blabbering over how great he was. Well now when I think about this reason I wonder what else were people expecting for a professor to talk in his last lecture to a collective mass of his students, friends and family other than his life journey. But that day I thought something else. Reading the comments made me see the book under the light of arrogance of the writer and this idea kept resonating in my mind with every flip of the page. Very soon I got disinterested in the book and kept it aside, half read.

Today out of boredom as well as to finish the unfinished business of the last lecture, I opened the book again from where I had left it. Probably I had forgotten the 1 star reviews of the book and was once again marveled by the Tigger like spirit of Randy (reference to Winnie the Pooh, as mentioned by Randy himself that best describes his personality). I couldn’t help but finish the rest of the book in a go. Reading it was one of the most emotional experience I have had, to say the least. Quite often people question and discourage others so as to cover their own insecurity and inferiority. All I could ponder by the end of the book over the reviews was that rating a book with 1 star is perfectly fine, but every like and dislike must come with a strong reason and preferably must be articulated well, particularly while critiquing a “book”. This way we help our development even in criticism. Instead of having empathy towards a man who in his last counting days could write such a personal yet so easy to connect book, if we rather care to write a criticism of merely a sentence, then it can be regarded as something totally opposite of the essence of The Last Lecture. The same philosophy applies in our daily lives too and I will try taking care of it in my future decisions.

गांधारी का दुख

सम्पूर्ण महाभारत युद्ध हो गया था। सभी कौरव भाई युद्ध भूमी पर मरे पड़े थे। तब पांचों पांडव धृतराष्ट्र के समक्ष उनको प्रणाम करने गए। कृष्ण को इस बात का ज्ञात था कि दोनों ही माँ-बाप पुत्र शोक में विलीन होंगे। इसलिए उन्होंने भीम को बोला कि जब तुम धृतराष्ट्र के पैर छू लो तो उनसे गले मिलते समय अपनी ही जैसी लोहे की मूर्ति आगे करना। जब धृतराष्ट्र ने दुर्योधन का वध करने वाले भीम की लोहे की मूर्ति को गले लगाया, तो क्रोध में आकर अपनी पकड़ से मूर्ति को चकनाचूर कर दिया। क्रोध शांत हो जाने पर उन्हें इस बात का बहुत अफसोस हुआ कि पुत्र शोक में उन्होंने भतीजे को मार दिया। पर गांधारी समझ गई थी कि भीम जिंदा है,और उसने बोला “एक बार फिर कृष्ण ने पांडवों को बचा लिया”।

तद्पश्चात पाण्डवों ने गांधारी के पैर छुए। रोने से उसके आँखों की पट्टी भीग गई थी और उसके पार दिख रहा था। रोष भरी उन आँखों ने केवल युधिष्ठिर के पैर देखे थे और अपने रोष से उसका अंगूठा जला दिया। तब कृष्ण ने गांधारी को समझाया कि खुद को मजबूत बनाये और शवों से भरे इस युद्ध भूमी से महल की ओर चलो क्योंकि दुख का कोई अंत नहीं और वो इससे भी बड़ा हो सकता है। गांधारी ने इस बात से साफ इंकार करते हुए कहा कि वो रात के अंधेरे में अपने पुत्रों के शवों को अकेला नहीं छोड़ सकती और बाकी सब महल चले भी जाएं किन्तु वो दाहसंस्कार तक वहीं रुकेगी।

सब चले गए। रात को गांधारी को बहुत भूख लगी। उसको अचानक आम की सुगंध आने लगी। भूखे पेट ने उसको शोक के सागर से क्षण भर के लिए बाहर निकाल दिया था। वो आम के पेड़ पर गई और पत्थरों का ढेर इकट्टा कर उस पर चढ़कर आम तोड़ने लगी। आम खाने के बाद जब उसका पेट भर गया तो उसने ध्यान दिया कि जिसे वो पत्थर का ढेर समझ रही थी,वो उसके अपने पुत्रों के शव थे और अपनी भूख मिटाने के लिए वो उन पर चढ़कर फल तोड़ चुकी थी। दुख में बिलखती गांधारी को कृष्ण की माया समझ आ गई और वो चिल्लाकर बोली “मैं समझ गई कि मेरे पुत्रों की मृत्यु से बढ़कर भी मुझे और दुख मिल सकता है। पर हे कृष्ण इतना निर्मम तरीका अपनाना जरूरी था?” तब गांधारी ने कृष्ण को श्राप दिया कि उनका कुल भी ऐसे ही नष्ट हो और वो किसी मानव के भांति सिवाय दुख झेलने के और कुछ ना कर पाएं।

ऐसा ही दो दिन में भारत के बेहद खास कलाकारों की मृत्यु के समय हुआ। जहां इरफान की मृत्यु के दुख से हम पार हुए नहीं थे,कि उसके ऊपर एक और दुख आ गया, ऋषि कपूर की मृत्यु का। दुख दर्द का इसलिए ही मोल भाव नहीं किया जा सकता। ईश्वर दोनों की आत्मा को शांति दे और उनके परिवार को यह दुख झेलने की शक्ति।

ये हाथ क्या सच में धुल पाएंगे!

साबुन की टिक्की खत्म हो चुकी है,
पर न जाने फिर भी क्यों ये हाथ साफ नहीं होते।
लगता है ये हाथ बस ऐसे ही धुल ना सकेंगे,
हाथों का मैल तो फिर भी नया है,
दिल पर बुनी मैल की चादर का,
ये हाथ धोने के साबुन आखिर कर भी क्या सकेंगे।
टीवी में तो बोला है कि हाथ साबुन से धो लो, हर दाग मिट जाएगा,
साफ हाथों की लकीरों से एक नये भारत का भाग्य लिखा जाएगा।
शायद ज्ञान बस इतना दिया होता तो हम चमक भी जाते,
सोने की चिड़िया वाले देश के लोग बाहर से भी सोना बन जाते।
पर टीवी ने एक और ज्ञान दे दिया,
वो जो बस एक मैल था,
उस पर साम्प्रदायिकता का रंग चढ़ा दिया।
और रंग तो बस चढ़ते-उतरते हैं,
धुलते नहीं,
शायद इसलिए हाथ कितना भी धो लें,
ये फिर भी धुलते नहीं।
तो क्या सिर टेक दें?
सालों से जो घरोंदा बनाया है उसको पड़ोसी देश की सी विचारधारा से तोड़ दें?
नहीं।
कभी नहीं।
इस घरोंदे को हम टूटने नहीं देंगे,
रंगे हुए अपने दिलों पर,
प्यार और सद्भाव का रंग भरेंगे।
फिर चाहे कोरोना आये या आये उसका बाप,
भारतवासियों के प्रेम और अपनापन का साम्प्रदायिक ज़हर से
बाल भी ना बाकी कर सकेंगे आप।

Thank You Buxa!

Three months back, simply by luck and chance I happened to attend a bird festival at Buxa Tiger reserve. Mr. Salim Ali, the birdman of India, had written in his book that all you need to be a birder is a binocular, a notebook and pen to scribble and a lot of patience. I checked for my gears. I definitely had a pen and paper, didn’t own a binoculars and certainly have quite a sum of patience. My father in law gifted me with a binoculars. In the bird festival I learnt a number of tips ranging from how to inform about the location of birds, how to walk in a jungle without disturbing birds etc. Those were some fun 4 days with a lot of learning.

However, I had this thought somewhere in me that even though I enjoyed birding, I may not be able to nurture this hobby let alone turn it into a passion. As who in Delhi has the time and opportunity to look for birds in their natural habitat. But then came COVID-19, and the whole problem of lack of time, working on applications, traveling etc, got shunned away in one sweep. I have now been at my home in Uttarakhand from over a month. And what better time could I get to nurture what I learnt in Buxa. I now classify myself as a novice yet enthusiastic birder. Till yesterday I had identified 49 different species of birds from my residence’s roof. And today morning, as I opened my eyes after doing meditation I saw an Indian Golden Oriole sitting on the tall teak tree right across the roof. It marked my half century. I then meditated on the thought that what all did I learn from birding. And here are a few points that I could mark:

Indian Golden Oriole.

1. Observant: I have lived in this place since a long time but never had I ever noticed any bird in my vicinity. Now I see barbets, flycatchers, parakeets, raptors, doves, starlings etc all siting on this sagwan tree. I am now much more observant of the area I am in and hence much more grateful for the abundance of nature I have been blessed with.

Sagwan tree and hub of birds

2. More complete: When we sit in silence we tend to get bored. Sister Shivani says this is because we do not enjoy our own company. We need people around us, physically or virtually. That makes us dependant particularly in events like this of lockdown. Most of us are bored sitting/working from/at home. Birding has on the other hand allowed me to enjoy and value my own company. I am now more complete in myself than I was.

3. Disciplined: Birds do not come to perch on the branches throughout the day. They come out in early morning and later in the evening. So despite of being at home, everyday I wake up at 5:30 am and am ready by 6:30 am to start the day.

4. An enchanting add-on in my list of hobbies: I am very clear about this that I have never been so much involved in any of my hobby earlier. All because birding is amazing.

5. Talk of the neighborhood: Well apart from all the self-improvement benefits of birding, it has also made me the talk of the neighborhood as nobody is sure of what a weird spy did she become after doing PhD that all she keeps looking at with her binoculars is into bushes and trees!!!

So if anyone gets inspired by my words, go and buy yourself a binoculars, a camera and the book called “Birds of the Indian Subcontinent” by Grimmett et al. It is an investment for sure.

You are not alone

It is day 14th of lockdown of India called amidst the outbreak of coronavirus. Each of us are observers of our plans that are marked by a comma today. It may be nerve wrecking for many as we are not trained to live a life within boundaries of our residence and uncertainty. This can be the time for many to get overwhelmed by their situation. Plans not liquidating because of lack of efforts can still be understood. But plans held at a standstill because of a virus busy playing Russian Rollers with humans, where you don’t know what may come next, is a situation difficult to comprehend. And because humans take things personally, one may think, ‘why did this happen to me?’, ‘why or when will my plans work’ etc. So if you are one of those, let me share with you how the lockdown has affected the lives of some people I know. Maybe then you may realise that we all are in this together:

1. Birth of a child: A lady in my neighborhood had been pregnant with her third child since last 8 months. Her husband is in the Indian army and is posted at the border. It was in the second week of lockdown that she went into labor. Her two daughters, the elder one of whom studies in standard VIII, took their mother to the hospital where she delivered her baby. Due to lockdown, neither could her husband come over and because of an early delivery nor could her in-laws come. Now the lady herself is responsible in taking care of the children as well as herself. It is she who does the young one’s massage, feeds all the kids, cooks etc, all after the first week of giving birth. Yesterday was the name-giving ceremony of the child which again was conducted by this strong lady alone together with a priest.

2. Dr. Aditya Gupta: Yesterday I came across the story of Dr. Gupta from AIIMS Delhi who is a single child of his parents. His father is suffering from lukaemia and is being treated at the Army hospital in Delhi. Since the day, lockdown was called upon, he has not been able to meet his father who is now going through his second chemotherapy treatment. This is because Dr. Gupta is now in the team of doctors who are doing screening of patients with COVID-19 symptoms. He hence is not allowed to meet his father as he may act as a transmitter too. So here we have a doctor, dealing with patients of a pandemic on a daily basis while his father stays in another hospital undergoing treatment of cancer. I am all in awe of him. There may be many more doctors,nurses,staff,police officers going through the same ordeal. You can read Dr. Gupta’s full answer on this link: https://www.quora.com/How-has-the-coronavirus-affected-you/answer/Aditya-Gupta-120?ch=3&share=5bfaf330&srid=oADW

3. Research Scholars: Back in our school days when a rainy day would be declared and the school would shut out of nowhere just for a day, the happiness it used to bring was unmeasurable. Getting a break from studies has always been welcomed by students with open arms. But when it comes to research scholars, this lockdown is something which cannot be very easily greeted. Students working on time dependent experiments have been hit hard, students working on field surveys have been taken by a surprise and after an exhaustive level of dedication, hardwork and patience, students who were to submit their thesis, journal papers, reports, research proposals etc all have been taught another bitter lesson of uncertainty in their already uncertain results.

Likewise there are many more examples. Infact each one of us is an example. So if you are going through a depressive phase about the lockdown, it’s life and it’s consequences, then don’t be. Meditate over your journey so far and quite the turbulence. We are all in this together and together we will win. Like the great poetess Mahadevi Verma wrote:

बाँध लेंगे क्या तुझे ये मोम के बंधन सजीले, पंथ की बाधा बनेंगे ये तितलियों के रंगीन पंखे!

Trip to Bhutan

“सैर कर दुनिया की ‘गाफिल’ ज़िन्दगानी फिर कहाँ, ज़िन्दगानी गर कुछ रही तो ये जवानी फिर कहाँ”

Khwaja Meer ‘Dard’

Now that there is not much to do at home during the Covid-19 lockdown period, I thought to pen down my recent experience from a trip to Bhutan. It is well known that this small Himalayan country is so green that it is the only carbon negative place in the world. That says everything about how rich the flora and fauna this country has which makes it a dream destination for tourists looking to hike in the wilderness. But apart from this natural beauty there are many more reasons that made me fall in love with Bhutan. Below I have listed few of them:

1. Faith: Ringing bells, prayers over loudspeakers, burning indefinite incense sticks blurring the vision, flowers spread across the floor and rivers is what is generally we have seen at a religious place. All this comes in the name of faith. But in Bhutan I observed a breath of fresh air. The mountains have been cut to make way for the meandering roads. These mountains do look steep and scary. But then right around the bottom of these sky high mountains, adjacent to the roads you see a small display of faith in the form of tens of small stupas placed meticulously at the edges of the mountain cuts. I found these symbols of faith aesthetically charming and philosophically profound, as though these mini stupas dared to hold the steep mountains by the mere faith people have over them.

Mini Stupas placed below mountains cut to make way for roads. Image courtesy: Internet

2. Food and beverage: There was a creepy dialogue in movies that was called upon quite often, “पति के दिल का रस्ता पेट से जाता है”. If that is right I am very worried about Mukesh and my relationship, but yes even Zomato says good food makes everything great. The food in Bhutan is delicious making it a paradise for food lovers like me, particularly the various Datsi dishes, Sikkam Paa, Ezay and salads. For beer lovers, the state beer of Bhutan “Druk Lager” is an extremely good incentive to visit Bhutan. The result was this that both of us gained few kilos while being on a five day tour. Now if that is not a sign of good food then I don’t know what is.

Druk Lager: Bhutanese Beer
Ema Datsi, Sikkam Paa and Ezay

3. Royals are humans too: Recently Meghan Markle and Prince Harry stepped down as senior royals due to their own reasons. The royals in Britain need to follow a number of protocols as they are not considered ordinary people. Royal couples cannot publicly express their affection, cannot have a political opinion, cannot use social media, can wear only neutral nail polish etc. Similarly Bhutan also has its own royals to whom every Bhutanese give their utmost respect. This is the reason why every hotel, restaurant and house has a picture of the king, queen and their young prince. However unlike monarchs in other parts of the world, the pictures here display that the royals are also another human where the king loves his wife and his son like any other man would. There is a softness conveyed through these pictures that all men are equal and everyone strives for love.

Bhutan’s king, queen and prince

4. Funny signages: Although I have seen many funny signages across the roads and on trucks in India such as “लटक मत, टपक जाएगा”, ” In Trust We God”, there is no dearth of funny signages to make you smile while you drive in Bhutan. Some of them are “Drive, don’t fly”, “After drinking whiskey, driving is risky”.

Sense of humor is dark yet apt.
Image courtesy: Internet

Overall Bhutan is a beautiful place to visit. Once the corona pandemic is gone and everything is back to normal, you must take out the time to witness the quietness and extravaganza displayed by nature in this lush green country. There is a lot to learn from Bhutan to lead a better life.

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