Saturday, December 19, 2015

Loneliness



As I walk into my empty house
Midnight silence by my side
And loneliness bullying from behind

The darkness seeps into my heart
Like water through a hole in the dam
Threatening damage and destruction

The bright and sparkling moon
Looks pale and sad to me
Stars laughing at its dark patch

The cool and fresh breeze suffocates me
 And I long for the poisonous smog
That envelops the city now and then
 
But my resilient heart soon gathers itself,
Cajoles me and takes me to its repository
Asking me to search for a brighter moment

I crawl and fumble looking for the brightest
To my surprise I find all lived ones are the darkest
Sparkling one is the one to be lived

My heart laughs at my discovery
And ask me to walk through the only door
The door that never opens to the darkness.

Monday, December 14, 2015

Who won The Stage? A Banaras ka chhora!



      I was witless when I heard him singing that song as his final performance at The Stage, and I think, it was the song that added a winning feather to his cap and helped him in clinching away the India’s First English Singing Talent Hunt trophy. The Colour infinity had started this hunt with 20 awesome singers from all over India and on Sunday it came to an end with last episode having three finalists, Kamakshi Rai from Pune,  Soundarya Jayachandran from Bangalore and Yatharth Ratnum from Varanasi. 



Hosted by Shibani Dandekar, “The Stage” featured musicians Vishal Dadlani, Monica Dogra, Ehsaan Noorani and Devraj Sanyal, managing director and CEO at Universal Music Group, South Asia, as the jury panel.

Yatharth’s selection of song certainly made it a bit easy for him, otherwise it was a very difficult take for judges and Soundarya seemed taking it away. The song, coincidentally one of my favourite songs, was ‘Say something I am giving up on you’, a song by A Great Big World and initially sung by Ian Axel. But it became worldwide hit after Christina Aguilera collaborated on it.
 
Yatharth Ratnum



A slow-tempo indie pop piano ballad, which talks about a breakup, moved every one. Long before Yatharth finished his song, the judges seemed sure he was going to win it. He was the youngest in three finalists and only boy that too from a small town, which has never been on the Indian or international map for western music, leave aside singing in English.




Soundarya Jayachandran



Yatharth’s has been an unbelievable journey.  But he had been very confident since beginning, Vishal sometimes called him daring and tharki because every time he came on the stage he sprung a surprise for them.


 
Kamakshi Rai



It has not been first platform for Yatharth. He is a trained musician, basically in classical music and has participated in Sa Re Ga Ma Li’l Champs in 2009, where he had to content with being a runner up. In an interview to The Asian Age, about his experience in previous reality show, Yatharth says, ‘it got me habituated to the pressure. Reality shows make you strong and nothing can shake you after that.”

It has certainly given hope to English listeners and singers as the number of English speaking people is on the rise in India. What is surprising that we have so many talented and brilliant English singers and at the same time it makes us uncomfortable that their talents have remained untapped.  Hope it is a beginning of a long journey.





Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Sooner the Madheshi agitation ends better for India



          If you have a happy and peaceful neighbour, it is bound to make a positive impact on your life but if you have a  neighbour who is unhappy and in trouble, it sure to create problem for you too. It applies to ongoing Madheshi agitation in our neighbour Nepal also and its cascading effects on the lives of the people in India, particularly in bordering areas. Considering the fact that India has long and open border with its small neighbour, the quantum of effects has multiplied. 
  

People around the long open border between these two countries are battling to lead even normal life.  Their relationship doesn’t end with just being neighbours. Relationship between Madheshi population of Nepal and bordering population of India is very complex. It is not like any other border areas of the India. Border between India and Nepal is open. There is free movement of the people across the border sans passport and visa. Nepali people come to India for their daily needs and Indian people often go to Nepal to buy some foreign cheap items available in Nepal.



There won’t be a single family on either side of the border, which will not have a relative on the other side. Marriage across the border is very common. I have just one sister and she is married in Nepal. Not only that my three buas, father’s sisters, are married in Nepal. And this is not the case of my family, but every second family on the either side of the border. And it has been continued for several generations. So this agitation is creating problem not only for the people of terai region of Nepal but also people of Bihar and Uttar Pradesh. 

This agitation, which certainly is for a good cause, has created a complete chaos in Terai (plain) areas of Nepal. Items of daily needs are not easily available and whatever are available, their prices are skyrocketing.  

I would like to give an example. The most acute problem people of trai or Madhesh is facing is that of petroleum products. There is no petrol and diesel available in Nepal. Though agitators don’t let run any vehicle on the road, they cannot stop motorcycles. But there is no petrol even for that. So what motorcyclists do is that they cross the border, for which there is no barrier, and fill their tanks in bordering areas of India. Result, long queue at petrol pumps at border areas in India. In the beginning local Indian people supported their Nepali neighbours but later it started creating problem for them. Due to long queue at Indian petrol pumps, local Indian people were unable to get the petrol and diesel. And they protested. After weeks of chaos at petrol pumps, local authorities have now placed barriers at petrol pumps forming two separate queues-one for Indian and other for Nepali vehicles. 
 
Above Picture published in The Hindu is just an example.
What has intensified these problems more is smuggling of petroleum products. During my recent visit to home town, which is exactly on the border, I witnessed cycles and motorcycles with huge cans every morning. In the beginning again, Indian police handled it sympathetically but later they found system being misused, so they increased their strictness, which has resulted in some scuffles too. Last month there was an incident in Lalpur/Haripur village of Supaul district in Bihar, in which SSB jawans had to fire in the air to control the smugglers, which later created huge upror particularly by Nepal as the smugglers were Nepali citizens. After the firing local citizens had assmebled in huge numbers and attacked SSB jawans, in which some jawans as well locals sustained some injuries. 

In nutshell, it is not a good sign for India. The peaceful border can turn into a hostile territory. So the longer Madheshi agitation continues more problems for India and sooner it ends better it is for India.