Thursday, August 6, 2009

Mission SEVENTY - Day 40 updates

40 days ago I had made a plan to reduce weight to 70 kgs from present weight fo 88 kgs. It is time for some review in progress. First the outputs. As measured on 30th July 2009, weight has not reduced at all and it is still 88 kgs. No applauds please !!! The only halo of hope is that wieght has stopped increasing. I am being too optimistic now.

Well, when outputs do not come as expected and there's not much to talk about, you start talking about inputs. As decided in the plan, there were 5 major things to do for this weight reduction
(1) avoid direct fats
(2) avoid fatty dishes
(3) start yoga
(4) run
(5) measure progress

Progress has been measured and hence point 5 is ticked. Though the plan of buying a weighing machine is postponed till the day i start losing. Point 1 has been religiously followed and usage of butter on bread or ghee on rotis has been completely stopped. Determination is strong and hopefully should be able to continue with it. Point no 1 ticked.

Point 2 about fatty foods has seen a considerable progress. Sweet dishes have been completely avoided even during parties. Desserts are no longer part of meals. Three exceptions were taken one on bhaiya's b'day (one piece of rasgulla), on on bhabhi's b'day (one piece of rasgulla) and one on rakshabandhan (one piece of rasgulla). Also it was ensured that the least fatty sweet is taken though sugar content was high. Going forward, sweets even on festivals are to be avoided. Usage of sugar in dahi and home made dishes like sewai and kheer have been consumed (cooked in saffola). Pooris and parathas have been avoided completely barring one day of rakhi. To summaries , mithai is ticked, fried stuff is ticked. Thogh I can't call this as "green" , i can call it an "amber" on point 2.

Point 3 of yoga had a decent start, but the moemntum died down in a week. They key challenge was that in the days of travel, ic ould not find time for youga and the chain broke. Need to make it a part of the time table in the evening as morning seems quite unfeasible to practise. Present a Red on Yoga.

Point 4 of running is the biggest blot on the plan. No running has been done and I have also missed on the nomination in the Marathon. I am unable to get a clarity on how to get this built into a hbit daily. Will attempt to do running at least on the weekends to break ice and would then target to strat daily running. Important to register progress in the next fifteen days. A big Red on scorecard presently.

So overall the performance on the inputs is

1) avoid direct fats - Green
(2) avoid fatty dishes - Amber
(3) start yoga - Red
(4) run - Red
(5) measure progress - Green (because progress was measured and not because of what the measurement showed.)

Though I had decided that nothing except the weighing machine shall be seen as measurement of progress, still it is difficult to ignore the comments which come. A couple of people have remarked that they are noticing a visible change in my size and feel that at least the tummy has come down a bit. Though subjective and not to be recorded officially, there is no harm in using this as a motivation for further plans.

Key challenges -

1. Do not lose the motivation as it is a long term plan and progress will take time to show up.
2. Keep posting update on blog as making things public increases self-accountability.
3. Keep up the good work on dietary control.

All the best fatso :)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Mission SEVENTY - day ONE

Once again, like several other times, I have decided to lose weight. I don't exactly remember how many times have I taken this vow, but I do remember that I have broken it every time. I am 5 feet 7 inches tall. Actually it is between the sixth and seventh inch, but i prefer the rounding off to my advantage. According to diet calculators, I should be in the range of 68 kgs to 72 kgs to be termed FIT. Well, I was once 68 kgs in weight, but then I wans't 5'7" tall by then. Since the time my height has stopped increasing, my weight has started growing faster than it did. No there is no thyroid problem, no hormonal imbalances, no stress-eating or any other eating disorder. There is a plain simple reason - I eat a lot and I do nothing that can be termed as physical activity.

When I was in class 12th, I was 68, and thought that it's all right. In a year I was 74. In another 3 years, I was 78. When I joined the job, I caught jaundice for two months, but contrary to tradition, I did not lose a single gram. Instead, I came out of the hospital as heavy as I had gone in, 82. One more year and I was 84. Did some gymming for a couple of months, came down to 83.5, but soon the lost weight came back and June last year I was 85. Last month, I got my self weighed and it was 88. The digits looked nothing but 4 huge CIRCLES two at the bottom and two sitting on the top, I almost felt I saw two fat men in the weighing machine grinning at me. Now it is getting scary. I am f***ing 20 kgs overweight, that is THIRTY percent extra weight. The more scary thing is that the rate of weight gain has swiftly moved up.

After getting a lipid profiling done and finding out that the sugar levels are okay and the cholesterol has crossed the boundary, I have finally decided to take this seriously. But what is different in the slimming vow now? What is the guarantee that I will not betray myself one more time. Probably the fact that the previous attempts were a desire to make myself look good and the later ones had the aim of becoming a body-builder. But this one is instigated by a more vital and critical desire - to live.... and to live long enough to do what i wish to do. Hence, in this desire for a life worth living, I, hereby, pledge, on this twenty fifth day of june, 2009 to put in all efforts necessary to get myself to a weight of 70 kgs.

The pledge is safely worded. One, it only pledges to make efforts and not necessarily get results and secondly, no time frame is decided in the pledge. That might make it sound a little vague and something that shall soon be broken. But actually, these loopholes make sure that I shall not break the pledge as it is not unnecessarily binding on my freedom. And there are a few firm clauses too. The most important being the mention of a tangible and measurable target - 70 kgs. This will not only ensure that I keep the pledge on till the goal is achieved, but also that the goal shall not be deemed achieved by other facts like getting the waist-size down or looking slimmer. The strictness of the measure shall ensure that I stay committed until mission accomplished.

Well, as today was the first day of the pledge, most of it was spent thinking and chalking out the details of the mission. A few directives have been agreed at, namely
  1. Zero direct fat - Direct refers to food which has only fat and nothing else like ghee, butter etc. It does not include food that contains them. Today's update - No direct fat taken today.
  2. Reduce intake of fat containing food to zero in gradual manner. For example, stop eating fried stuff initially, then gradually start avoiding normal food like curries, sweet dishes or special preparations that use ghee or additional oil for preparation. Today's update - Parathas in meal were replaced with plain rotis. Dal makhani was still eaten.
  3. Start yoga. Yoga is first before any other exercise because it is easier. Do Kapal-Bhati (Dad's recommendation courtesy Ramdev Baba) daily. Increase the number from 50 per day to 200 per day. Today's update- 50 done.
  4. Start running. I need to run at least three days a week for faster burning of calories. Today's update - enrolled for the Delhi Half marathon. Shall start practising from next weekend. DON'T get surprised people. I have run two half marathons earlier too but didn't lose any weight. Am hoping some results this time.
  5. Measure progress at least every month. Progress shall be solely measured on weighing scale and no other measures shall be acceptable. Today's update - Am thinking of buying a weighing scale. Will finalize the decision by end of July - only if i stick to the above guidelines.
That is the plan for now. Like all other plans, this one too shall be reviewed and revised, if required, but the goal is clear. The journey doesn't stop until the machine clocks 70. It is still 18 kgs and several days to go. All the best fatso. :)

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Saala...Bihari Kahin Ka....

Before the outset, a declaration - this post is not a tribute to Laloo Yadav.

Well, life for a bihari is a lot different from an average Indian. In a state which has highest percentage of population below poverty line and lowest rate of literacy, you can't expect life to be great. There are social issues of caste, political issues of crime and violence and economic issues of poverty and unemployment. How can you expect someone to be happy? Still, the ones who live in Bihar do not complain. Either biharis have too limited expectations or due to lack of exposure to the outside world, they just do not know what they deserve or can wish for. But, why am I referring to Biharis as 'they'. I should use the term 'we'. For years, I was as much a Bihari as anyone else living in those geographies. I spent my first sixteen years growing there. The city that my parents had moved in the 70's became a part of a newly formed state Jharkhand while their native village still fell in the boundaries of Bihar. Suddenly the feeling of being Bihari started coming in.

The local Jharkhand tribals, who had now settled in the cities, started looking at us as outsiders and wanted to drive us back to Bihar. There was huge hue and cry over the issue of Domicile and I remember how an angry crowd of "original" Jharkhandis chopped off the right hand of the government official who was issuing Domicile certificates of Jharkhand to Biharis who had resided for a long period in Jharkhand. I was too shocked to try for a Jharkhand domicile and requested my dad to get me a Bihar domicile. I was told, since I was born in Jharkhand and my education had happened in Jharkhand, my candidature for a Bihar domicile was less eligible than for a Jharkhand one.

Frustrated, I gave up, deciding not to appear in any selection process which demanded a domicile certificate. Fortunately, India doesn't has single citizenship and hence I was free to practice my education and career anywhere in the country. I appeared for the national exam of entrance to IIT's and got admitted in Kanpur (Uttar Pradesh). Kanpur, for all practical purposes, appeared an extended version of Bihar. Similar accent, same food, similar climate and the same ethos of the Ganges. I felt I was safe to be in a place which was almost Bihar. I was soon to be proved wrong. The IIT had students from all across the country, mostly north Indians. There were people from UP, Delhi and Punjab. They unanimously hated Biharis. Hate, I think, might be an overrated word. They just didn't like the fact that Biharis also studied in the same place. As if Biharis had a stink or a color that would irritate. Soon I was to find some more biharis who felt disgusted at such behaviour from friends. Interestingly, my roommate happened to be from Khagaria and my close friends from Dhanbad and Patna mostly. We got along well and decided to teach a lesson to all who ridiculed Biharis.

The moment we heard someone saying anything against Bihar or Biharis, we would treat the culprit with a solid GPL (G*** pe laat). In months time, we were recognized and though not loved, we ensured that no one spoke ill of Biharis in front of us. In fact, many of the guys we GPL'ed later became our close friends and soon our group had friends from Uttaranchal, UP and Andhra. But those were college days....

During my IIT days itself, my sister finished her school and had to go for her grads. My parents preferred Pune than Delhi as Delhi was already known for its ridicule to Biharis and its forward culture that my parents didn't approve of. Pune was an unknown territory and we expected a good welcome. Reaching pune, we realized that there were many students from Bihar/Jharkhand (for all practical purposes, the public still treats both states as same) especially from the cities of Jamshedpur and Bokaro. My sister soon got comfortable. Her initial roommates were from Bokaro or Jamshedpur and later she became friends with a few Marathis as well. One of my school friends who was also studying in Pune, was to marry a Marathi later on. My parents were relieved that Pune was a good decision. Later, though we heard about what a frustrated politician tried to do. He is named Raj Thackery. Still, my sister was sheilded from the political actions as Pune didn't get as heated as Mumbai.

My parents were happy for her eductaional achievements but a pain of not being able to give good education to kids at home lingered on their minds. They soon realized that there kids had left Bihar for long, probably for ever. In the job, I travelled to various places including Mumbai and Delhi along with other 10-15 cities of the country. Finally I stopped at Gurgaon. By now I had already fallen in love with a girl I had met at IIT. She came to IIT to do her Phd after her graduation and post graduation from Delhi University. She was a true Delhi, born and brought up in Lajpat Nagar, did her schooling from Lodhi Road, shopping from South Ex and spent her weekend evenings at India Gate. Her parents had settled in Delhi for quite some time, though they belonged to the undivided Punjab of pre-independence. Many of her relatives still had roots in the Indian part of Punjab. She is a nice girl and liked me for weird reasons. I was always aware that we not only belonged to different castes and social classes but also to different states. I soon came to know about her feelings about Biharis and they were similar to what every other Delhite feels. Within months, she realized that Bihar wasn't as bad as potrayed in the media, or even if it was, it could not have an impact on all Biharis.

The relationship has been going fine for years with normal ups and downs that any relationship goes through. We realized that if we want to get this relationship to the next level, we need to get our parents involved. I was the first to inform my parents. I had reactions worse than anticipated. A Bihari Maithil Brahmin and a Delhite Punjabi Arya Samaji girl, who still goes to Gurudwaras. Sounded an impossible proposition. Well, in the midst of those difficult times, we decided to tell her parents too. The reaction was similar. Only that the impact of the word Bihari was more than I had anticipated. I had thought that the difference of cultures would be difficult to be accepted by parents. But I was shocked that probably a UP or a Kashmiri or a Marathi would not have mattered so much, but a Bihari - the state of rickshaw-pullers, thieves, maid-servants, sweepers and coolies. Oh no. This is next to impossible.

I don't know how I should react. Humiliated, yes I feel, but sorry, no. I am not sorry of being a Bihari and though not proud of my state because of its backwardness, I still am in love with the place I was born in. I also have a culture, a cuisine, traditions and festivities. Above all, I too have values. I am not sure what will happen to a relationship and probably that is not the objective of writing this post. Relationship is a personal matter and so shall it remain. But the tag of being Bihari is a bigger issue and will keep haunting me for long. I am not sure if I can convey my feelings through words, but an incident in history speaks for the feelings I would be having now.

It was in the early 20th century that an Indian was thrown out of train at a railway station in South Africa, because he dared to sit in the first class despite being an Indian - a coolie. The man, named Mohandas, remembered that pain for long and made sure the next generation doesn't go through it.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Yes... I am a Male Chauvinist Pig

MCP is a term oft used by the feminist to ridicule men who think that men are superior to women and feminist is a term by MCP's to ridicule back. Nevertheless, the point is not to explain what an MCP and neither to make a confession that I am one, but just an attempt to mention the reasons why an MCP is the way he is.

As a child, I used to play a lot with girls in my community and was quite good at playing the games of skipping, kit-kit (a game like ludo, played on the roads by moving a piece of stone from one box to another walking on one foot) and other such feminine games. As my sister is the only daughter of our parents I also acted as a pseudo sister for her and listen to her stories of dolls and fairies. As I grew up, my interaction with girls diversified. I must have been in class 6 when I first fell in love with a christian girl who is presently married. Then those obvious crushes on young school teachers and on and off crushes on some or the other girl of school. These times lasted till I was in school. IIT, though showed a very different picture. In a batch of 440 students, there were about 40 girls. with an average of 10 boys hitting on a girl, the probability of me getting a girl was very poor and so was it. The four years of my life were spent in intimate companionship of boys and more boys, so much so that girls became a fantasy for us. Even Sex ratios of 963/1000 for the country seemed quite optimistic to us as were living in a 100/1000 kind of scenario.

Post IIT, I have been having a lot of interactions with girls, primarily because I deal in the sales of premium cosmetics and observe consumers making purchases daily and secondly that I have been into a relationship for about three years now. The interaction with the female community after such a long time was nothing less than fantabuolous. It was colourful, lively and altogether beautiful. The fantasies that we had about girls in our IIT days were coming true. We thought girls are those beautiful creatures god has made with whom if you go for a coffee, you feel proud. Who, if sits at the pillion seat of your bike, the entire men community shall look at you with awe and admiration, someone who must be sending sweet sms's of miss you and love you types and who would be a great company to be with. Most of it was true in the beginning and I was so delighted I was now exposed to the part of the society which is almost half of the society I belong to.

But rosy beds were soon to become thorny. While fantasising about girls at college, all we would think about was their beautiful voice, their smiles, their sweet voice etc etc... but one basic fact never occurred to us. Girls also have a brain or so to say a mind. Mind is a vague term and I still feel it lies somewhere between mind and heart. We fantasized the smiles of the girls but could never imagine what would it take to bring that smile on the face. We thought about the beautiful faces but never knew that when they wake up early in the morning, they look as horrific as us and it takes them hours of denting-painting to present themselves to the outside world. While we wanted to hear their sweet voices, we never tried to think what those voices would say. Recently many of my IITian friends or to generalize my engineering friends (from other engg colleges also who enjoy the same sex ratio as IIT's) have started falling in love. While initially they felt that falling was much like a bungee jumping, only later did they realize that there was no rope tied to their legs that would bring them back. It was a free fall at an accelerating 9.8 m/sec sq.

First their girlfriends (including mine) loved everything in their boyfriends, their bikes, their untidy t-shirts, their unshaven looks and their geeky minds. The boys however made their fullest efforts to behave gentlemen and would take shower daily, use a deodorant, wear clothes suggested by their girlfriends in order to look suitable to be dating her. The efforts were intially appreciated and gradually became norms and a little later laws. Going out without a shower was prohibited, and eating onions in lunch was barred if you wished to kiss later.

To bring a smile to the lady's face, the boys would spend half their salary on teddy bears, chocolates, flowers, cards and at times diamonds and gold. They would remember the brithday, the valentine day and all the other 363 days of the year. Only in the next year did they realize that birthdays come every year and must be made more special (read "expensive") than the previous one. The girls would gradually share their wishlist of a big house, or a dream car, a or an expensive jewelry and the boy showing his full chivalry would commit to get anything she ever wished. At times, he would not refrain from saying , " I can get the moon for you". But the girls are smart, they know that moon is impossible so they never ask for the moon, but they ask for everything else available under the moon. Soon, the girl's wish list becomes the boys' To-do list.

The boy initially pays a lot of attention to his girl's career as being the modern man, he is not supposed to demand a housewife but help his spouse in her career. So he does. Later, he quits his own job to suit a transfer of his wife and within years, realizes that in an attempt to be with her wife his career hasn't moved an inch while his wife's has moved yards. If he complains, he is chauvinist, if he doesn't, he is a loser. If the man wishes that his wife should not drink or smoke, the only way he can demand that is by giving up himself. As many men find it difficult to give up, they succumb to the fact that their wifes can drink and the only request is to avoid whiskeys and restrict to vodka.

I know I am sounding chauvinist, but then, I can't help. I am still in favour for Women's education and against domestic violence. But then, I am not in favour of the already educated and fully affluent women blaming their submitting spouses of being chauvinist if he asks her to toouch his feet, but find it sweet when he gives her a head- massage.

My message to all the single out there is "Dude !!! the thing that you are looking for is available only for ten minutes a day, but the price that you pa for it, takes away all the pleasures from it. Keep fantasising, it is more fun than reality"

Monday, February 9, 2009

main gaddi utte chaddh gaya...

Today was my first day on the Hercules Ryders newly bought. It has cost me 6500 rupees and a serious fight with my girlfriend (almost to the verge of breakup) to finally own this cycle. Made of alloy steel and blue- black in color, this 18-gear cycle from TI Cycles is one of the best buys i could get. There were other bikes of atlas and hero but as my bulletier friend manyu says, "Be a purist", i decided to stick to Hercules, a brand of cycle I always aspired to ride since my school days. Well, school days were fun with the Hero Jet as well.

So I woke up late, as usual, and dressed up fast for the office. Took my cycle out of my flat (yes, it is proudly parked in the dining hall of our 3 -bedroom flat) and took the service lift to get down from fifth floor to the ground. With a lot of anxiety and excitement I headed for my first trip on Ryders. I was ready for the traffic, the dust and the weather, but had not prepared myself for the headturns and comments. The first comment came from the guard of our colony, "Waah Sir !! kya mast cycle hai". I didn't react and kept moving on. Just outside the building was the old rickshaw-wala who takes me to office daily (not anymore, as i have a cycle of my own now) who looked at me as customer who was lost to another product. He sighed and I avoided looking into his eyes. In about five minutes, I hit the main road, and damn scared I was. After a gap of at least three years, I was riding and that too in the heavily busy Gurgaon roads. It took me more than five minutes to cross the highway to get to the correct side of the road. I could feel my heartbeat as cars passed by my front and by my back. Nevertheless, I had crossed the road and now it was a straight journey.

After about one and a half km, a right turn comes and am on the long stretch of road that connects to the NH 8, but before that stops at our office. I tried my hands at the gears too, doing it by complete hit and trial and in my mind revising all the mechanical engg fundas of gear ratios that IIT had tried to teach me. Only if I had paid attention. Anyhow, I was able to find a combination out of the 18 available, which made me comfortable. I was feeling hot by now and was sweating too. I took off the scarf first, and in next five minutes, my jacket was also unzipped. I reached the office in about 20-25 minutes and got a stare from the guard here too. It was really less embarassing for a manager to come in cycle rickshaw than a cycle. He grinned when I asked where should I park it? He guided me to the basement parking.

I was amused to see that I wasn't the only one who parked a cycle in the office. There were at least 20 others cycles, and most of them were the age-old Hero Jet and Atlas goldline super types. I locked my cycle and moved up the lift to my floor. I felt tired, sweating, a liitle scared but highly jubilant. The excitement today could easily match the excitement I had when I first rode the cycle way back in 1996, some twleve years ago. I had finally done what I felt like.

In the office, I kept telling everyone that I had come by a cycle, and there was a curious excitement. While most thought that it was a fitness move to decrease the girth of my tummy, some knew that i am just being miser enough to buy a car or a motorbike. Well, office was usual and I was more excited about coming back.

As I came out of the basement parking, I tried riding up the incline but failed. I walked. I will definitely figure out some gear combination to ride up this incline without effort, after all that is what an MTB is suppsoed to do. As I came out of the office gate, the guard grinned again and the rickshaw-walas, for whom I was a regular source of income sighed in both surprise and amusement. Someone even shouted "Sahi hai Sir." Well, I was embarassed and I kept moving on. This time I didn't have the courage to take the main road. I started taking the service lane and kept taking left turns to get to my flat. After a twenty minute ride full of both excitement and fear, I was home. My heartbeat is still above normal and I am sweating, in what is still a cold evening. I feel stupid to be doing it, but I feel great to be stupid after so long.

Welcome aboard Hercules Ryders. We have a long saga to live together.

Monday, January 26, 2009

सठिया गए हो बाबा ...

सुबह सुबह मैंने बुड्ढे से कहा - "साठ साल हो गए तुम्हें होश संभाले बाबा। वैसे जन्म के तो ६२ साल हो गए पर अकाल आए हुए अभी साठ ही हुए हैं। वैसे सही देखा जाए तो अभी तो उन्सठ साल ही हुए हैं। साठवां साल तो अभी बस चढा है। क्या तारिख थी उस रोज़? हाँ! 26 जनवरी 1950 ही थी न तारिख। जब वोह डेल्ही में कोई तीन चार सौ लोग बैठे थे बुद्धे से, ज़्यादातर वकील थे जिनमें। एक कोई बिहारी होते थे राजेंद्र नाम के और कोई भीम राव थे, मराठी थे शायद। इन लोगों ने दुनिया भर के संविधान पढ़ कर और सबसे जो जो अच्छा-अच्छा मिला, उसे समेट कर, तुम्हारा भी संविधान लिखा था। ऐसा तो नहीं है कि वो संविधान सिर्फ़ दूसरे कई संविधानों की प्रेरणा से लिखा गया था, लेकिन उसमें काफ़ी कुछ वैसा ही लिखा गया जैसा की अँगरेज़ करते आए थे। खैर, मैं उस किताब की बात नही कर रहा जिसमें तुम्हारा भविष्य लिखा गया था, मैं तो बस ये याद दिला रहा था तुम्हें कि बहुत समय हो गया उस किताब को लिखे हुए। क्या कहते हैं, हाँ, वो गणतंत्र हो गए थे तुम उस दिन। Republic बोलते हैं जिसे। मतलब कि अब तुम्हारे सर पर कोई रजा नही होगा न ही कोई वायसराय। तुम्हारा मालिक अब तुम्हारा मालिक न होकर जनता के द्वारा चुना गया एक प्रतिनिधि होगा। राष्ट्रपति बोला करेंगे उसे। रस्थ्रपति बनने के लिए बाकायदा चुनाव होंगे, और एक समझदार, पढ़ा-लिखा व्यक्ति ही ऐसे पद तक पहुँच पायेगा। उस समय के हिसाब से देखा जाए तो एकदम मस्त system था ये। किसी को ये नही लगा कि इससे बेहतर भी कुछ हो सकता है।"

"पर बाबा, साठ साल में, तुम्हें नही लगता कि वक्त बहुत बदल गया है। मानता हूँ कि समय पर बहुत सारे बदलाव होते रहे हैं उस मोटी सी किताब में और शायद सही भी हुए होंगे, फिर भी कहीं न कहीं कुछ है जो सड़ने लगा है। तुम्हें नहीं लगता ऐसा। " बाबा अब थोड़ा गरम हों लगे थे। बुढापे के बारे में सुनकार ज़्यादातर लोग भड़क जाते हैं सो लाज़मी था कि ये बुड्ढा भी भड़केगा ही। खांसते हुए बुड्ढे ने कहा - "देखो बटा, तुम जवान हो, तुम्हारे खून में गर्मी है, और सबसे बड़ी बात है कि तुम्हारी सोच आज़ाद है, तभी आज बैठे मुझे इतना सब सुना रहे हो। अगर तुम्हारे दादा परदादा लोगों ने वोह किताब न लिखी होती 60 साल पहले, तो न जाने आज तुम कितने आज़ाद होते। जिससे सदन कि गंध परेशां कर रही है तुम्हे, शायद वो इतनी भयानक होती कि तुम आज साँस न ले पाते।" मैंने उसकी बात बीच में ही काटते हुए मैंने कहा - " जो भी हो बाबा, बूढे तो हो ही गए हो तुम। जिस किताब में तुम्हें इतना घमंड है आज उस किताब कि कौन परवाह करता है। लोगों ने सोचा था कि दस साल के लिए कुछ लोगों को अनुसूचित जाति का दर्जा दे देंगे तो उन्हें समाज में बराबरी मिल जायेगी। पर आज साठ साल हो गए, बराबरी तो नहीं मिली पर जात- पात की पहचान ज़रूर बढ़ गई सबमें। हर फॉर्म में पूछते हो की बंद general है या SC/ST। किताब में लिखा था कि सबको आजादी मिलेगी, गरीबी मिटेगी, और न जाने क्या क्या। तुम्ही ख़ुद ही कह दो कि कितना कुछ सच हुआ है।"

बाबा चुप हो गए। सो हो चुके बालों को आईने में देख कर बोले, " सही कह रहे हो शायद, सठियाने लगा हूँ मैं अब। उमर हो चली है।"

Thursday, January 1, 2009

लो भाई ...एक और गया

देखते देखते एक और साल निपट गया। अभी तो ढंग से होश भी नही संभाला था कि ऐसे २६ नए साल निकल गए। २७ वाँ साल आ गया ज़िन्दगी का। गया साल जाते जाते मुह चिढा गया कि "बेटा ! अब तो बड़े हो जाओ। कब तक आलू पराठे और मोतीचूर के लड्डू में खुश होते रहोगे?" मेरी कुछ समझ में नही आया। कमबख्त जाते हुए साल को सारी परेशानी मेरे आलू पराठों और लड्डुओं से ही थी क्या? मेरी इतनी adventorous life में क्या कुछ और बात नज़र नही आती। खैर, जाने वाले कि बात का क्या बुरा मानना। बेचारा 2008 वैसे भी जाने के ग़म में थोड़ा परेशान होगा। जाते जाते मुझ पर अपनी नाराज़गी निकाल गया। मैं भला क्यूँ उसकी बात को तूल दूँ। मैंने भी नए साल का स्वागत धूम धाम से करने कि ठानी। धूम के लिए बहुत सारे गाने सुने। और धाम के लिए मोतीचूर के लड्डू खरीद लिए। अब नए साल पर पकवान तो अच्छे ही खाने चाहिए। सो मैंने आलू के पराठे बनवा लिए। अभी एक पराठा मुह में डाला ही था कि एक अनजानी सी आवाज़ ने कहा " बेटा! अब तो बड़े हो जाओ। कब तक आलू पराठे और मोतीचूर के लड्डू खाते रहोगे।" इस बार मेरा दिमाग ठनका। बात वही, आवाज़ नई। अब ये कौन है रंग में भंग डालने वाला। मैंने मन ही मन उस अनजानी आवाज़ कि माता और बहन के नाम कि गालियाँ दी और सर घुमा कर देखा तो ये भाई साब तो 2009 थे। शक्ल बिल्कुल 2008 से मिलती जुलती, सिर्फ़ आवाज़ में थोडी सी भर्राहट सी थी। जैसे किसी ने सिगरेट पीकर धुआं न छोड़ा हो और गले में ही चिमनी बन गई हो। मैंने झल्लाते हुए पूछा, " क्यों बे ! तुझे क्या परेशानी है मेरे पराठे और लड्डू से? तेरे बाप का खाता हूँ क्या? बड़ा आया मुझे समझाने वाला। " इस बात का कोई ख़ास असर नही हुआ उस पर। वो मुझे देख कर ऐसे मुस्करा रहा था जैसे मैं कोई गधा हूँ जो गणित कि बातें करता हो। मेरा पारा और चढ़ गया। मैंने कहा, "अबे ओय ! अभी मूड मत ख़राब कर। न्यू इयर की खुशी में क्यूँ disturb करता है?" भर्राती हुई आवाज़ में उसने बोला, " साले मोटे! जब से तू पैदा हुआ है और तेरे मुह में दांत और पेट में आंत है, तब से तुझे बस पराठे और लड्डू खाते ही देख रहा हूँ। इतना कुछ बदल गया इन सालों में लेकिन तेरी ये छिछोरी हरकत नही बदली।"

"क्यूँ बदलूँ कुछ? बुरा क्या है ऐसे जीने में? अपनी मर्ज़ी से जीता हूँ, खुश हूँ। तेरे पिछवाडे में किस बात की खुजली हो रही है।" मैं पूरी कोशिश कर रहा था की मेरी भाषा उसकी भाषा से ज्यादा गन्दी हो। मर्दों की लडाई में इसी से पॉवर का पता चलता है। नया साल थोडी देर चुप रहा। फ़िर बिस्तर के पास पड़ी कुर्सी खींच कर बैठ गया। मैंने सोचा की ये तो मेरी privacy की वाट लगा रहा है। मैंने उससे जाने को कहा तो हँसते हुए कहता है, " साले! मैं अब पूरे 365 दिन बाद ही जाऊँगा। " मुझे अपनी बेवकूफी पर थोडी शर्म आई और मैं अपना सा मुह ले कर चुप हो गया। अब जो वो बैठ ही गया था तो मैंने एक प्लेट में दो पराठे निकाल कर उसके सामने रखे। उसने पराठे से ज्यादा, भाव खाने में अपनी शान समझी। मैंने भी ज़्यादा push नही किया। उसने एक चाय की फरमाइश की, सो उसे पिला दी गई। अब वो दिल्ली की ठण्ड की बातें करने लगा। और ये की कैसे धुंध की वजह से उसकी flight लेट हो गई थी। फ़िर भी कैसे उसने ठीक बारह बजे एंट्री मार ही ली। "ये तो साला फालतू बकवास कर रहा है ", मैंने सोचा, "इसने अभी तक लड्डू और पराठे वाली बात का खुलासा नही किया।" चूँकि उसको आए थोड़ा वक्त बीत चुका था और थोडी धुप भी निकल आई थी, सो हमारी बातचीत में भी थोडी गर्माहट आ गई। मैंने उससे बड़ी विनम्रता से पूछा, "भाई, अब तो बता दे की तुझे मेरे पराठे खाने से क्या परेशानी है?" इस बार वो मुस्कराया नही। उसका चेहरा गंभीर हो गया। थोडी देर की चुप्पी के बाद उसने मुझसे पानी माँगा।

पानी पीने के बाद जो उसने कहा, वो मेरी कल्पना से परे था। अपनी भर्राती हुई आवाज़ में उसने मुझसे कहा, " यार मेरी शक्ल से तुम्हे अंदाजा तो हो ही गया होगा की मैं 2008 जैसा दीखता हूँ। दरअसल मैं 2008 ही हूँ। और उसके पहले वाले साल भी मैं ही था। तुम लोग तो हर 31 दिसम्बर को नाच गाने के साथ पुराने साल को भुला देते हो और नए को गले लगा लेते हो लेकिन कोई ये नही समझता की कैलेंडर बदल जाने से मेरे हालात थोड़े ही न बदल जाते हैं। अभी महीना भर भी नही हुआ जब मैंने अब तक का सबसे डरावना मंज़र देखा मुंबई के उन बड़े होटलों में। आग ठंडी भी नही हुई थी उन दिनों की, और लोग फ़िर से नए साल का जश्न मानाने में मशगूल हो गए। ये ख्याल नही आया की खतरा टला नही है ? की जो हुआ वो इस साल भी हो सकता है? और इस साल भी होगा। बस, आदत सी बना ली है कि कुछ दिन अफ़सोस करो और फ़िर लग जाओ अपनी रोज़ी रोटी की जुगाड़ में। दो गालियाँ पड़ोसी देश को दे दो। एक दो बार भगवान् को कोस लो। और तब भी जी न भरे तो कह देना कि ये वक्त ही ख़राब है। आख़िर वक्त कि क्या गलती है? क्या वक्त अपने हाथों से बम बनाते हैं, या ख़ुद आसमान से गोलियों कि बारिश करते हैं? ये तो तुम इंसान हो जिनसे अब वक्त को भी डर लगता है। डर के मारे मेरी आवाज़ भर्रा गई है। खुशी का माहौल हो तब भी मुस्कराने में डर लगता है कि कहीं फ़िर से तुम सालों आपस में लड़ न मरो। और कुछ तुम्हारे जैसे नामाकूल भी हैं। जो जन्म से ही अंधे बहरे हैं। दुनिया जलती है तो जले। इन साहब को तो बस अपना पराठा और लड्डू मिल जाए। ये उसी में खुश हैं। साले! तू भी तो हो सकता था वहां जहाँ गोलियां चली थी। तेरे खोपड़े को भी कोई बम उड़ा सकता है कभी। पर तुझे क्या? तू भी शिकार हो जाना किसी दिन ऐसी ही किसी गोली का। और बाकी सब बैठ के पराठे खाते रहेंगे। फ़िर पूछूंगा कि तुझे क्या दिक्कत है पराठे खाने वालों से।"

मेरे रोंगटे खड़े हो गए। टीवी पर देखा तो मैंने भी था ये सब कुछ और अफ़सोस भी जताया था, लेकिन कहीं न कहीं इस बात का सुकून था कि अपना कोई नही था उस घटना में। ये बात तो सही है कि हम भी तो हो सकते थे वहां। ये हमला करने वाले यहाँ भी तो आ सकते थे। शायद हम सोचना ही नही चाहते कि हमारे साथ भी कुछ ऐसा हो सकता है। हम बस भगवान् से मनाते हैं कि कोई न कोई इस बात का ख्याल रखे कि सब ठीक हो। लेकिन वो 'कोई' हम नही बनाना चाहते।

साल के पहले दिन ही बहुत सवाल खड़े कर दिए इस नए साल ने। मैंने अपना हाथ लड्डू कि तरफ़ बढाया, और फिर न जाने क्यूँ वापस खींच लिया। साला मूड ख़राब हो गया सुबह सुबह।