Wednesday, December 29, 2010

‘K’ey factor in human relations

K’ey factor in human relations
by Rajbir Deswal

No, I am not talking about the Kashmir issue, immensely known as the ‘K’ factor, and as a spoke in the wheel too in Indo-Pak conflict resolution, but the subtler connotations of it, as in the burnt-bridges of human relations.

“Something there is that doesn’t love a wall; that wants it down!” said Robert Frost but when it comes to interpersonal relations amongst the humans, there are many things that stunt the thawing and adding carbon, to clog and congest.

My grandfather and his elder brother were very good friends too. And they used to say that their brotherly relations started having a dent in them when they had children. Siblings when they have their own children, begin to have differences.

There are painful instances of parents even coming to a stage when they disown their children. It happens generally when the latter bring them bad name, by either earning notoriety, or treating them like dirt.

Children too have their reasons to burn boats with their parents on issues relating to their upbringing, property etc but mostly when the parents themselves prove unworthy of their credit besides falling in esteem, socially.

Grandmas and grandpas don’t command commensurate love, if they did not play with, or pamper their grand children in their childhood, though instances are there when indulgent progeny hunt for their lost ancestry. Grannies invite frowns from their grand children when they dye hair and wear perfumes.

Cousins are no more cousins when they are made real. Expectations then rise and take their toll on asking for more. Same goes with nephews and nieces. Rural and urban backgrounds have their respective dire straits and loose ropes, in maintainability of relations.

A Haryanvi anecdote has it that a man, having his daughter’s son (dohta) on his shoulders made his son’s son (pota) walk along with him on foot. The pota holding the finger of his Dada shoos away the attacking dogs, while the dohta riding above, pooches the dogs into chasing his Nana. No generalisation, but as I said, rural society has hardcore binds for certain relations.

Between the best of friends, if there is money given or taken on loan, you are announcing the end of it all.

Gurus and chelas lose their respective places when the former asks for the thumb of his Eklavya and the latter when he sets his eyes on the Guru’s daughter. The case of modern-day ‘PhD-guides’, though, is different being ‘need based’. Soul-mates stop being so, when they become goal-mates.

I cannot help but count amongst a-kind-of-relationship, and the best in my personal reckoning, which obtains as between Amitabh-Hema and Salman and picturised in ‘Baagwaan’. Or Rajesh Khanna and Johny Walker in ‘Anand’; Sanjiv Kumar and Sharmila in ‘Mausam’. But the symptom of the present times is best reflected in the question-Hum aapke hain kaun?

Mutual sustenance is the key to obtainment of all relations and Bapu, Chacha or Bhai have totally different semantics to their tags. And Mamu, reserved for pulis-walas, is my all-time favourite relation.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

धुंध का धुंध होना !

राम लीला देखने को किसी ज़माने में
जैसे बैठने का स्थान ‘ हथियाने’;
या फिर बारातघर में अपनी चारपाई

‘ओटने’के लिए
जैसे भागमभाग करते थे हम;
वैसी ही कोशिश देखी धुंध की अटल पार्क में;
पेड़ों , झाडों, फूल-काँटों, पत्तियों को
‘ओट’ लेने की . अपना लेने की.
बाकि बची-खुची धुंध पसर गयी
पख-डंडियों पे.
बाहर आकर देखा तो
सड़क, मकान,
खेत, आसमान,
सभी अटे पड़े थे
धुंध में!
एक घुटन.
एक ठहराव.
एक रहस्य.
मगर एक एहसास
धुंध के धुंध होने का .
फ़ैलने, छा जाने, पसरने और ‘ओट’ लेने का!

अपना लेने का !
राजबीर देसवाल दिसंबर २७ २०१०

Friday, September 17, 2010


(From prologue of Hoor Menaka)

HOOR MENAKA: THE SEDUCTRESS While reviewing my first book, “Wit & Humour of Haryana”(1991), Mr. Khushwant Singh had observed that “dialects are absolutely untranslatable”. The present endeavour to translate and adapt a ‘Swang’ (Play) has its seeds in Mr. Khushwant Singh’s endorsement and encouragement.
Choice of a play of the legendary Pt. Lakhmi Chand was very natural then. Of all his works, I selected ‘Hoor Menaka’ for translation and adaptation since I was moved with the predicament of the heroine in the first instance, used by the Devtas themselves, to be precise Indra; and in the second, to be left alone to fend for herself, repenting on her bartered away virtue, and lost womanly dignity.
As if to add insult to injury, the daughter born out of an alliance between a hard-pressed fairy and a gullible sage, having been deserted by both, and taken care of only by Kanva, a bird, left me overwhelmed with concern for our daughters.
The present document is my personal tribute to destitute women and the endangered species i.e. the girl-child herself. I gainsay, that it’s a matter of pride for us all to look into the mythological background of ‘Bharat’ after whose calling was our great country was named, was the son born unto the same deserted girl-child of Vishwamitra and Menaka, who was later known as Shakuntala.
That the play ‘Hoor Menaka’ could not be enacted for more than 4-5 times by Pt. Lakhmi Chand himself,was because of the fact that the contemporary rural society, particularly of Haryana, did not appreciate a plot, involving making a woman lose her virtue, a saintly figure fall from grace and a girl-child abandoned in the jungles—unattended, uncared and unaccounted. The fact remains, why do we pride ourselves in killing for honour today?
Since I can claim this to be the first ever adaptation of a Haryanvi Swang in English, I wish to share the intricacies involved in the effort; most important being the technique of Swang, which is less diction and more articulation. As a genre, Swang invariably has to have a Sootradhaar managing the stage, directing actors how to live a character, simultaneously remoulding to enter into a character that he himself has to play as a narrator.
For me, even Pt. Lakhmi Chand became a character in the adaptation-plot. Accordingly then, I tried to retain the true character of a Swang having its format with ingredients like Commentary (Vaarta), Couplet (Doha) and Verse (Gadhya). I marvel at the maestro’s dexterity and spontaneity using in the rhyme schemes employed in various Literatures all over the world.
Hoor Menaka in your hands may have deficiencies in sequencing, architecture, faithful conversion of folk idiom and wisdom, yet this very humble creation of mine will surely benefit the readers of English, and will bring alive to them, a whole panorama of folk lore and folk literature.
I am indebted to my family and friends who encouraged me to take up this trivial-looking but momentous task which will now be judged by the interest readers and experts in the field.
Rajbir Deswal