Task Underway…As He Said!

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Hanuman- the One who has conquered ego, the One with a broken chin…Hanu/ Man have been interpreted in many ways. (Based on stories of Hanumanji being hit by Indira’s Vajrayudha in his childhood, based on Hanumanji conquering ego)

He is the epitome of humility who addresses Sursa as Mother, and promises that he will return to be her food after he makes the trip to Lanka to fulfill Sriramji’s task.

The book getting readyūüėä

Editing, tweaking, adjusting sentences, formatting … The task is on, as He said. We will return after fulfilling it.

 

Searching For A Shore: Tat Ki Khoj By HariShankar Parsayi

Tat Ki Khoj-(Searching For A Shore) is a slim novel by Hindi’s renowned writer and satirist Harishankar Parsayi. Written originally in 1998, it has been reprinted many times. ¬†The theme it explores, of a woman’s place in society, is as relevant today as it was in 1998.

Sheela is a brilliant, motherless college student. Her poor, honest government pensioner father is distraught at his lack of wealth which makes it impossible for him to give dowry for his daughter’s wedding- which consequently becomes an unfulfilled dream. Meanwhile a supposedly progressive young lecturer called Mahendranath makes his interest known to Sheela. But a strange quirk of fate exposes his inherent cowardice before a hypocritical society- the one which considers a woman’s virtue to be a ¬†fragile glass plate that can shatter at the mere presence of a man. Shocked by the turn of events, Sheela finds ¬†that her god has clay feet.

The latter half of the story is ¬†about¬†the temporary ¬†emotional shelter the innocent girl obtains from her friend Vimala and her brother Manoharlal. The arrows of prejudice against an orphan girl whose chastity has once been questioned, prove too bitter ¬†a venom for the rest of ¬†Manohar’s family. Finally, Sheela leaves in search of a dignified life- where she wants to be her own person, without being dependent on any other.

The story line by itself is simple: but the  sly sentences that the satirist par excellence weaves in his narrative can excoriate the false ego and hypocrisy of every one of us.

What is the status of a ‘tainted woman?’ Even if she is totally innocent, why do we revictimise a victim? Why is it always her fault? How come the man gets away scot free? Is wealth the only solution ¬†for removing a woman’s agonies- by purchasing ¬†a husband, by buying the comforts of a respectable life, by buying silence from a rabid society? ¬†Why is the girl objectified and paraded before prospective grooms who get to balance her on the scales of their greed? Why do values, which people write about and shout about heroically, become very hard to practise when the time demands it? When a woman decides not to commit suicide ¬†in utter desperation and instead chooses to live with dignity, should we not be applauding her?

Let me translate a few striking observations of Parsayiji.

“Ve sab log haath mein taraju liye the, jiske ek palve par bete ko rakhe the/ Mucche, mere samast vidya,buddhi aur saundarya ke saath doosre palve par rakhkar dekhte,to har baar mera hi palva halka pathe/”

All those people had in their hands a balance: on one of the scales they would  have their son seated  and on the other- me with with all my education, intelligence and beauty. However, every time my scale would be the  one lighter in weight.

“Main jaanti thi Ki yeh photo maal Ke namune Ki tarah kisi vyapari Ke paas beji javegy/parantu doosry or¬†se kabhi chitra nahi aaya, kyonki kharidar hi maal Ki parakh karta hain; maal kharidgar ko nahin dekhta/streepurushon ke sambadom mein yehi darsan sab jagah charitarth hota hai”

I knew that this photograph ( of mine) would be sent to some buyer like the sample of a good on sale.But never did any photograph come from the boy’s side- after all it is always the buyer who gets to see the good, not the other way round. In every place, this view about male and female relationships remains in vogue.

“Kabhi¬†kabhi prem ki apeksha khrina ka sambandh adhik majboot hota hai…lagta hain, khrina aur prem mein koyi visesh andar nahin¬†hai”

Sometimes, compared to relationships based on love, those based on hatred seemed stronger…I feel that there is not much difference between hatred and love…

“Kyonki¬†purush ko yeh sochkar bada garv hota hai ki naari ne uske prem mein atmahatya kar li…”

Because a man feels great pride in the fact that a woman committed suicide because of her love for him….

***

I can only shake my head in wonder at this iconoclastic writer’s penetrating observations and ¬†their scorching truth.

Maybe I will conclude by translating the author’s foreword for the latest edition.

Foreword: By Harishankar Parsayi

I still find it hard to understand about how I ended up writing ‘Tat Ki Khoj’, all those years before. This is a story which can be called a novella. My poet pal had narrated the original story to me. He was extremely emotional. My age was also that of being drenched in emotions. I was also a romantic. Logic was not my strength then. At that time I had been asked to contribute ¬†something for the Deepawali special of ‘ Amrit Prabhat’. I was in a hurry. The incident that my friend had shared with me was still troubling my mind. My sensitivities were aligned to the girl in that story. I stayed up for two nights consecutively and finished writing this story.

After writing it, I felt regret. When it was published, I regretted more. Now that it is getting republished by Vani Prakashan, I am still regretting it. I can no longer face this creation of mine. One third of my creations are such that I find myself petrified on facing them. Anyway, I am giving the go ahead for the republication of ‘ Tat Ki Khoj.’

****

How Do I Write A Story? ( Munshi Premchand’s Note: Translated from Hindi)

 

Main Kahani Kaise Likhta Hun ( How Do I Write A Story?)

*

My stories are usually based on some inspiration or experience, which I try to paint in dramatic colours. However, I do not write a story simply to describe  a certain episode. I wish to depict some emotional and philosophical truth in it. Unless I get a  starting point like that, my  pen does not even rise. Once I get the base, I create the characters. Often, the study of History gives many plots. But no incident can become a story unless it showcases a psychological truth.

Until I can perceive the entire story from beginning to end in my mind, I do not sit down to write it. I create my characters with a perspective that they are truly ¬†conducive to the story. I do not consider it necessary that the basis of a story has to be an interesting incident; in fact any occurrence with a psychological climax can serve the purpose. Recently I have written a story in Hindi called, ‘Dil Ki Rani'( Queen of My Heart). I had read in Muslim historical narrative an episode in the life of Taimur; which had reference to his wedding with Hamida¬†Begum. Quickly I had the thought of a dramatic improvisation of this historical event. Hamida Begum had learned ¬†combat skills from her father in her childhood and had participated even in military skirmishes. Taimur had killed thousands of Turks. How could a Turkish woman fall in love with a foe like that? ¬†The answer to that question would determine the story climax. Taimur was not handsome, so it was necessary to create in him some ¬†naturally good and ¬†heart warming quality that would attract ¬†such a very fine woman to him. That story developed in this manner.

A lot of news that one hears can serve as the foundation of stories. But an incident does not become a story with mere style and a  beautiful, perfect vocabulary. The climax is critical, and it has to have psychological insight. Also the way the narrative progresses is important,  so that the story climax keeps coming close. Whenever I get a chance to emphasise on the disposition of anyone Рand  create poetic and literary  colour effects around it, I make maximum  use of that opportunity. This colour is the life of any story.

I write frugally. I have never written more than two stories in a month. Often months pass by when I ¬†write no story at all. I get incidents and characters but the psychological substructure is very hard to find. Once that problem is solved, it doesn’t take too long for me to write a story. But one cannot describe the whole process of writing a story in these few ¬†paragraphs.

It is an intellectual concept. People can learn to write stories by learning the process , but as in poetry or any branch of literature, one has to have a natural love for it. The nature creates plots by herself, creates dramatic hues, provides vibrancy, accumulates literary finesse, unknowingly all these keep happening.

Yes, after finishing a story, I read it myself. If I find something new, some sparkle of intelligence, some freshness of reality , ¬†a page turning effect, ¬†then I might consider it to be a successful story. Else I conclude that it has failed. Both the failed and passed stories have got published- and often those stories which I considered ‘ failed’ were much appreciated by my friends! And so, I do not trust my own test too much.

****

 

Karaum So Begi Jo Tumhahi Sohayi (49):Whatever You Wish, I Shall Immediately Carry Out

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God of Ocean (Varuna) speaks to SreeRamji (Sundar Kanda continued)

*

Sabhay sindhu gahi pad prabhu kere/cchamahu nadh sab avgun mere//

Gagan sameer anahl jal dhari/eenh kayi nadh sahaj jad karni//

The Ocean God( Varuna) caught hold of SreeRamji’s feet in fear and said- Lord! Please forgive ¬†all my faults

The sky, air, fire, water and earth( panchbootha) are prone by nature to be indifferent in action ( not proactive)

*

Tav prerit Mayam upjaye/srishti hetu sab grandhani gaye//

Prabhu ayasu jehi kah jas ahayi/so tehi bhaanti rahe sukh lahayi//

Due to your powers, Maya has created these elements for purposes of Creation- all the ancient texts say that,

Whatever be the nature assigned  by the Lord, the element stays  contentedly within its purview

*

Prabhu bhal keenh mohi sikkh deenhi/marjada puni tumhari keenhi//

Dol gawar sudra pasu naary/sakal tadana ke adhikary//

Lord, you did the proper thing by punishing me, but the nature of things- that too has been designed by You!

The drum, the illiterate, the lowly evolved soul, the animal, the woman- they all get punished ( taught) due to their nature

(Note: One gets an insight into the socio cultural forces at work in ancient times- not much different from today-where patriarchy and lack of empathy with those marginalised existed in society)

*

Prabhu pratap mai jaab sukhayi/utarihi kataku na mori badayi//

Prabhu agya apel shruti gaayi/karaum so begi jo tumhahi sohayi//

Due to your powers, I will dry up and the army will cross over- but that will be against the nature of the ocean( as an element of nature)

Yet Your command has to be obeyed, that is the decree from the Vedas, now whatever You may suggest, I shall immediately carry out!

*

Doha:

Sunat bineet bachan ati kah kripal musukai/

Jehi bidhi utarai kapi kataku tat so kahu upayi//

Listening to the very humble words of the Ocean, the compassionate Raghunathji smiled and said-

Hey Son! Suggest a way that the army of monkeys can cross over you

*

 

 

 

Laghu Tapas Kar Bagbilaasa (47):The Young Mendicant’s Prowess With Words!

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Ravan and His Spy  (Sundar Kanda continued)

*

Ram tej bal buddhi bipulayi/Sesh sahas sakahim na gayi//

Sak sar ek soshi sat sagar/tav bratahi poochevu nay nagar//

Even a lakh Seshnags(with thousand tongues) cannot fully sing about the glories of SreeRamji’s ¬†ability, strength and brilliance

With a single arrow he can cause hundreds of oceans to dry up, but the Lord, an expert in law and justice, queried for a solution to your own brother

*

Taasu bachan suni sagar pahim/magat pandh kripa mann mahim//

Sunat bachan bihasa Dasseesa/Jaum asi mati sahay krit keesa//

Listening to your brother’s advice, SreeRamji is asking the ocean for a path, His mind is full of kindness ( so He is not drying it up)

Hearing the spy’s words, Ravan burst out laughing (and said-) When his intelligence is like that, no wonder he has got monkeys as helpers!

*

Sahaj bheeru kar bachan dridayi/sagar san dani machalayi//

Mood mrisha ka karasi badayi/ripu bal buddhi dhah mai payi//

Listening to Vibheeshan, who is cowardly by nature, he has decidedly to make a fool of himself with the ocean( he would be sulking soon enough!)

Hey Fool! Why are you falsely praising the enemy? Enough! I have got an idea of the enemy’s strength and intelligence (which you have been exaggerating)

*

Sachiv sabheet Bibheeshan jakem/bijay bibhuti kahan jag takem//

Sunu khal bachan doot risi badee/samay bichari patrika kadee//

The one who has a minister like Vibheeshan, how can he be victorious or prosperous in this world?

Listening to wicked Ravan, the spy’s anger grew steadily, seeking the opportune moment, he took out Laxman’s missive

*

Ramanuj deenhi yah paathy/nadh bachayi judavahu chaathy//

Bihasi baam kar leenhi Ravan/ Sachiv boli sad laag bachavan//

(And he said-) The younger brother of SreeRamji had given this message for you, Hey Lord! Please read it and cool your temper

Laughing all the while, Ravan took it with his left hand and gave it to his minister, and asked that fool to read it aloud

*

Doha:

Baatanh manahi ricchayi sad jani khalasi kul khees//

Ram birodh na ubarasi saran bishnu aj ees//

(It read as follows-) Hey Fool! Just by confounding your mind with words, do not cause the utter destruction of your clan

By making an enemy of SreeRamji, you will not be saved even if you seek refuge with Vishnu, Brahma or Shiv!

*

Ki taji man anuj iv Prabhu pad pankaj bringh/

Hohi ki Ram saranal khal kul sahit patangh//

Either you let go of your false pride and become a bee around the lotus feet of the Lord like your younger brother

Or, You Evil One! Burn with your family like moths in the fire of SreeRamji’s arrow!

*

Sunat sabhay mann mukh musukayi/kahan Dasanan sabahi sunayi//

Bhumi para kar gahat aakasa/laghu tapas kar bagh bilaasa//

Hearing the message Ravan was terrified but not displaying it, he smiled and said to everyone-

As if someone is trying to touch the skies with his mere hand that is lying on the earth, this younger mendicant(Laxman) is trying out his wordplay( trying to intimidate with  prowess of his words- vaagvilaasa)

*

Kah suk nadh satya sab baani/samuchahu cchady prakriti abhimaani//

Sunahu bachan mam parihari krodha/nadh Ram san tajahu birodha//

Shuk(the spy) said- Lord! Please understand that the words in the message are true, leave aside your pride

Please listen to me, letting go of your anger, Lord! Give up your enemity with SreeRamji

*

Janaksuta Raghunadhahi deeje/etna kaha mor Prabhu keeje//

Jab tehim kaha den Baidehi/charan prahar keenh sad tehi//

Please give Janakiji to SreeRaghunathji, Lord! Please listen to me and do it

When the spy asked him to give back Sita, then the wicked Ravan kicked him away

*

Nayi charan siru chala so taham/Kripasindhu Raghunayak jaham//

Kari pranamu nij kadha sunayi/Ram kripam aapani gati payi//

He too(The spy) bowed his head at Ravan’s feet and (like Vibheeshan) left for SreeRamji’s abode

He narrated his story, and with the blessing of SreeRamji he obtained moksha from his curse ( recovered his original sage form)

*

Rishi Agasthi keem saap Bhawani/racchas bhayavu raha muni gyani//

Bandi Ram pad barahim bara/muni nij aashram kahu pagu dhara//

(Lord Shiv says-) Hey Bhawani! He( the spy) was once a learned sage, due to the curse of Rishi Agastya, he had turned into a Rakshasa

After repeatedly praying obeisance at SreeRamji’s feet, the sage returned to his ashram

*

(Note:If one counts the number of opportunities given to Ravan to seek the right path, one would be astonished! Not counting Jatayu, Sita herself, Hanuman, Mandodari, Vibheeshan, Malyavaan, Laxman, the spy…and later Kumbakaran…but certain souls do not learn from wise counsel)

 

Trin Saman Trailokahi Ganahim(46): They Consider The Three Worlds As Insignificant

 

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The Spy’s Story (Sundar Kanda Continued)

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Doha:

Ki bhayi bhent ki phiri gaye shravan sujasu suni mor/

Kahasi na ripu dal tej bal bahut chakit chit chor//

Did you meet them(the mendicants)? Or did they return after hearing about my great fame?

Why don’t you tell me about the strength and prowess of the enemy’s army?Your mind seems to be intimidated!

*

Nadh kripa kari poochehu jaisem/manahu kaha krodh taji taisem//

Mila jaayi jab anuj tumhara/jatahim Ram tilak tehi sara//

(The messenger said-) Lord, with the same kindness with which you asked me questions, please give up your anger and bestowing patience, listen to me ( trust my words)

When your younger brother went to meet SreeRamji,  He anointed him as the King

*

Ravan doot hamahi suni kaana/kapinh baandhi deenhe dukh naana//

Shravan nasika kataim laage/Ram sapadh deenhem hum tyaage//

Hearing that I was Ravan’s messenger, the monkeys tied me up and tortured me a lot

But when I took the Name of SreeRamji, they let me go!

*

Poochihu Nadh Ram katkaayi /badan koti sat barni na jaayi//

Nana baran bhalu Kapi dhari/bikatanan bisaal bhaykari//

Lord, you asked me about SreeRamji’s army, it cannot be described even with one crore faces(tongues)

It is an army of innumerable bears and monkeys of different colours, their faces intimidating, with monstrous bodies and totally fearsome

*

Jehim pur dahevu hatevu sut tora/sakal kapeenh mah tehi balu dhora//

Amit naam bhat kadin karaala/Amit naag bal bipun bisaala//

The One who burnt the city and killed your son, his strength is so little compared to others!

They are of so many names, such mighty and terrible warriors!They have the strength of multiple elephants and are gigantic in size!

*

Doha:

Dwibidh Mayand Neel Nal Angad Gad Bikataasy/

Dadhimukhi,Kehari,Nisad,Sad,Jamavanth balraasy//

Dwividhi, Mayand, Neel, Nal, Angad, Gad, Vikatasya,

Dadhimukhi,Kesari, Nishad, Shad and Jambavan- they are all epitomes of might!

*

Ye kapi sab Sugreev samaana/inh sam kotinh ganai ko naana//

Ram kripa atulit bal tinhahim/trin samaan trailokahi ganahim//

These monkeys are equivalent to Sugreev in strength, and there are crores like these, who can count them all?

Due to SreeRamji’s blessings, they are unmatched in strength, and they consider the three worlds as mere speck of dust( they consider them insignificant)

*

As mai suna shravan Daskandhar/padum adarah juudhap bandar//

Nadh katak mah so kapi nahim/jo na tumhi jeetai rann mahim//

Hey Dasagreev! I have heard that eighteen ranks comprise  just of Generals of the monkey warriors!

Hey Lord! There is not a single monkey in there who cannot defeat your army in battle!( They will defeat yours in battle)

*

Param krodh meejahim sab hhad had/aayasu pai na dehim Raghunadha//

Soshahim sindhu sahit cchash byaala/poorahim na ta bhari kudhar bisaala//

The warriors are all flexing their muscles and hands, but SreeRamji has not given them the go ahead as yet

‘We will dry the ocean up along with its fishes and snakes, else we will part it ¬†by filling it with huge mountains-

*

Mardi gardi milavahim Dasseesa/aiseyi bachan kahahim sab keesa//

Garjahim tarjahim sahaj asanka/manahu grasan chahat hahim Lanka//

And we will crush Ravan and mix him with the dust’, that is what all the monkeys are speaking,

They are fearless by nature, they are roaring and stamping their feet, as if they want to  crush Lanka

*

Doha:

Sahaj soor kapi bhalu sab puni sir par Prabhu Ram/

Ravan kal koti kahu jeeti sakahim sangraam//

All the monkey warriors are  naturally valorous , besides at their head ( as their leader) they have SreeRamji

Hey Ravan! In a war, they can defeat a crore of DeathGods( Kal)!

*

 

Ravan Kar Deejahu Yeh Paathy(45): Give This Missive To Ravan

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The spy’s story (Sundar Kanda Continued)

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Suni Lacchiman sab nikat bolaye/daya lagy hasi turat chodaye//

Ravan kar deejahu yeh pathy/Lacchiman bachan bacchu kulkhaty//

Hearing the spy’s words, Laxman called them all near himself, he felt great pity on the spy and immediately got him freed

(Then Laxman told him-) Give this letter to¬†Ravan himself,( to his own hand and tell him-)Hey Clan-Destroyer! Be forewarned by Laxman’s message!

*

Doha:

Kahehu mukhagar mood san mam sandesu udaar/

Sita deyi milhu na ta aava Kalu tumhaar//

Then  you should convey to that fool my  generous message verbally-

You better hand over Sitaji to SreeRamji and meet the Lord, else know that Your Kal( Death God) has arrived!

*

Turat nayi Lacchiman pad madha/ chale doot barnat gun gadha//

Kahat Ram jasu Lanka aye/Ravan charan sees tinh naye//

After bowing at Laxman’s feet and singing glorious tales of SreeRamji’s qualities, the spy left immediately

Praising SreeRamji he arrived at Lanka, and went to Ravan and paid obeisance

*

Bihasi Dasanan poochi baata/kahasi na suk aapani kuslaata//

Puni kahu khabari Bibheeshan keri/jaahi mrityu aayi ati neri//

Ravan laughed and queried-Hey Shuk! why are you not speaking of your well being?

Tell us about that Vibheeshan, whose death has come so close to him

*

Karat raj Lanka sad tyagy/hoyihi jav kar keet abhagy//

Puni kahu bhalu kees katkayi/kadin kal prerit chali ayi//

That fool abdicated Lanka even when he was a part of the rulers, the unfortunate one will get crushed like a  seed of the barley plant (in the ensuing war)

Tell me about the army of bears and monkeys, brought herewith due to the push of impending death_

*

Jinh ke jeevan kar rakhwara/bhayavu mridul chitt sindhu bichara//

Kahu tapasinh kai baat bahori/jinh ke hridayam traas ati mori//

*

And whose protector is the gentle, and simple ocean itself ( Had the ocean not been there as a barrier, the Rakshasas would have eaten them up a long time ago)

And do tell me about those mendicants,  whose hearts are terror struck because of me!

*