A Diwali Gift

Today, finally, I got around to opening my Diwali gift from Aditya Gupta, the Husqavarna Viking , Pfaff and Handiquilter man in India, who has become a dear friend over the years. Actually, the package had arrived more than a week ago, but I had not been able to even open it. October, so far, has been a crazy time for me, with two emergency trips to the hospital with my daughter. She is better now, thank you! 

 I had to share the pictures of this wonderfully thoughtful gift with you immediately that I saw it myself.

Husqavarna Viking Sewing Bag and Embroidery Unit bag, with strolley!

There is this bag in which I can store my Topaz 30 sewing machine when I am sewing on my Opal 690Q, or carry it along with me when travelling, for it also has a detachable telescopic strolley. The bigger bag, Aditya tells me, is for the embroidery unit; I think it may be able to fit in my quilting table as well, which is difficult to store when not in use. And don’t you just love that smart red? Here is another pic; as you can see, the machine carry bag has a sleeve which slides into the trolley and holds it there. The larger bag has a similar sleeve. 

Each bag has a sleeve at the back which holds it on the trolley.

What better gift could a sewist ask for?  

धूप छाँव

Finally in Devanagari script, my poem about the games young rays of the sun play on a morning in early winter, written in November 2011! An English translation called ‘Games on a Winter Morning’ was one of the first few posts written and posted on my blog!

बेपर्दा खिड़की पाकर, बेख़ौफ़ मेरे आँगन में आती हैं

सुबह सुबह सूरज की किरणें
तमाशा बहुत दिखाती हैं,
बेपर्दा खिड़की पाकर, बेख़ौफ़,
मेरे आँगन में आती हैं।

फ़र्श पर इठलाती कहीं,
मेज़-कुर्सी का रूप बनाती हैं।
कभी, अलमारी के शीशे में अपनी
छबी देख इतराती हैं।

खाने की मेज़ की काँच पर, क्या-क्या डिज़ाइन बनाती हैं?

खाने की मेज़ के काँच पर
क्या-क्या डिज़ाइन बनाती हैं!
और सोफ़े के नीचे घुसकर
सफ़ाई याद दिलाती हैं।

अब तो ये अति हुई!
छत पर चढ़, कैसा स्वाँग रचाया है?
शायद लाइट जल रही है,
ऐसा भरम दिलाया है।

अब तो ये अति हुई! छत पर चढ़, कैसा स्वाँग रचाया है? शायद लाइट जल रही है, ऐसा भरम दिलाया है।


कुछ दिन की मनमानी ये,
कर लो तुमको जो करना है!
अभी तो सर्दी के दिन हैं,
तुमसे हमको क्या डरना है?

अच्छा लगता यह खेल तुम्हारा,
हर अदा तुम्हारी भाती है।
कुछ दिन की यह हठखेली,
जल्दी ही गरमी आती है।

धूप-छाँव की तुम कर्ता,
तुमने शायद भुलाया है।
आज अपनाया, कल बिसराया!
इस जग की ये ही माया है।

हम भी, पर्दे मोटे डालकर
तुमसे बचना चाहेंगे।
नर्म हो, तब तक अच्छी लगतीं,
वरना आँख चुराएँगे!

बेतुकबंदी, नवम्बर २०११

(This poem, about the games young rays of the sun play on an early winter morning, written in November 2011, was originally posted here in the Roman script in February 2012. I translated it into English for my son, here! With Hindi transliteration now available from my iPad keyboard, I finally got around to posting it in the Devanagari script) 

ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की

मेरी क़िस्मत की है चाबी मेरे इसी विश्वास में,
कि राह भी हूँ मैं और रहगुज़र भी मैं,
मंज़िल भी मैं, फिर क्यूँ फिरूँ उदास-हताश मैं?

कब से भटक रहा था मैं, ख़ुशी की तलाश में।
यह उम्र गुज़र रही थी उसे मिलने की आस में।
काशी में भी ढूँढा, घूमा कैलाश में।
राम की गलियों में, कभी कृष्ण के रास में।
न बाग़ों के गुलाब में, न जंगल के पलाश में,
यह ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की थी मेरे दिल के पास में।
अमृत का यह दरिया मेरे अंदर ही बह रहा था।
दर-दर क्यों गया था? सिर्फ़ पानी की की प्यास में?

न पासे की फेंक में, न तारों, न ताश में।
मेरी क़िस्मत की है चाबी मेरे इसी विश्वास में,
कि राह भी हूँ मैं और रहगुज़र भी मैं,
मंज़िल भी मैं, फिर क्यूँ फिरूँ उदास-हताश मैं?

रस्ता जो अब मिला है, इच्छा है काश में
कोई न अब कहे कि हूँ निराश मैं!
सबको शामिल कर सकूँ क़ुदरत के राज़ में,
कि ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की है सबके ही पास में।

कि ख़ुशबू पुण्डरीक की है
हम सबके पास में।

बेतुकबंदी  ९/९/१९९९

 

The Vacuum Cleaner

;

A salesman was here today
Selling vacuum cleaners.
They clean everything,
He said.
The pelmets, the curtains,
And of course, the carpet;
Even the bedcover, the walls,
And that place under the bed
Which I can’t reach.

I wonder
If it can sweep aside
The cobwebs that blanket our lives …
… yours and mine.
Will it help me
Reach that corner
Of your heart
Which I cannot touch?
I wonder,
As I wait for you
To decide
If we need that vacuum cleaner..

                                                                                         Betukbandi  (1986)

Curtains

  
About the poet – I found this and a few other poems in the diary of an 18-year old girl a couple of years ago.  She would rather remain anonymous. Actually, she can’t remember writing them in the first place and thinks they are rather inane. So when I thought they should be recorded somewhere – whatever their worth – she reluctantly gave me  permission to share them here, albeit in my name.

About the poem – She was obviously a fan of ‘Gone With the Wind’.

About the photograph – Credit all mine! Taken on a trip to Palampur in Himachal Pradesh, India. 

यादों के पार

  
हम मिलें हैं क्या?
बंद दरवाज़ों के आर पार कभी?
एक ख़्वाब में, जो शायद 
कभी देखा ही नहीं?
या ग़ज़ल में किसी
जो अभी कहनी बाक़ी है?

उस लफ़्ज़ में जो, अनबोला,
मेरे होंठों पे बैठा है उदास
या अनपढ़ा, पड़ा 
इंतज़ार में 
इक किताब में?
हम मिलें हैं कभी?

धुएँ में उस आग के
जो सुलगी ही नहीं?
या फिर क़दमों की आहट में
जो थे, 
पर थे तो नहीं! 
शायद वहीं कहीं?

  
  


एक ख़ुशबू , जो 

मुझ तक पहुँचने से पहले
खो गयी थी कहीं।
एक नाज़ुक एहसास की गरमी
जो दिल के पास सिहरी शायद।
कहीं वहीं तो नहीं?


इक बादल था, जो अनदेखा

गुज़र गया आकाश में।
एक आह थी, 
कि कभी, कहीं, काश में …
क्या वहीं, उस उम्र में 
जो जिये ही नहीं?
यक़ीनन तो वहीं?
हम मिलें हैं क्या?

(भानगढ़, फ़रवरी २०१६)

नोट – कोई कोई स्थान ऐसे होते हैं जो दिल में हज़ार प्रश्न जगा जाते हैं! एक अजीब सा एहसास, एक बिसरी हुई याद, एक अनकही, अनजानी दास्तान…

ऐसी ही जगह है अलवर का भानगढ़, जो रातों रात ऐसा वीरान हुआ कि 250 वर्षों में फिर न बसा। आज वहाँ केवल भूत घूमते हैं !

(यह कविता अंग्रेज़ी में भी कही गयी है।)
     

Yaadon ke paar 

Hum mile hain kya?
Band darwaazon ke aar paar kabhi?
Ek khwaab mein,
Jo shaayad kabhi dekha hi nahin?
Ya ghazal mein kisi
Jo abhi kahi hi nahi? 

Us lafz mein jo unbola
Mere hothon pe baitha hai, udaas
Ya unpadha pada 
Intezaar mein
Ik kitaab mein?
Hum mile hain kabhi?

Dhuen mein us aag ke
Jo sulagi hi nahin?
Ya phir kadamon ki aahat mein
Jo the, 
Par the to nahin!
Shaayad wahin kaheen?

Ek khushboo, jo
Mujh tak pahunhne se pehle
Kho gayi thi kahin.
Ek nazuk ehsaas ki garmi,
Jo dil ke paas sihari shaayad.
Kaheen wahin to nahi?

Ik baadal jo undekha
Guzar gaya aakash mein.
Ek aah thi ki
Kabhi, kaheen kaash mein…
Kya wahin, us umra mein
Jo jiye hi nahi,
Yaqinan to waheen?
Hum mile hain kya?

(Bhangarh, February 2016)

Note: There is something hauntingly romantic about old ruins. And when these are situated in a village which is supposed to be the ‘most haunted place in India’, one’s imagination runs wild. A memory – glimpse of a veil, a whiff of a scent, a touch of the breeze – the birth of a poem, dedicated to Bhangarh, a small village in Alwar District in Rajasthan.

(I like to write my poems in Hindi as well as English, to reach out to both the audiences! )

  

Step(Well) into the Past – Chand Baori

A couple of months ago,  I visited a stunning architectural wonder, Chand Baori, an ancient step well from the 9th century. This is situated in Abhaneri village in Alwar District of Rajasthan, India, about 100 kilometers from Jaipur.

This is what Wikipedia has to say about it –

Chand Baori is one of the oldest and most attractive landmarks in Rajasthan. It was built by King Chanda of the Nikumbha Dynasty between 800 and 900 AD and was dedicated to Hashat Mata, Goddess of Joy and Happiness upon completion.

The state of Rajasthan is extremely arid, and the design and final structure of Chand Baori was intended to conserve as much water as possible. At the bottom of the well, the air remains 5-6 degrees cooler than at the surface, and Chand Baori was used as a community gathering place for locals during periods of intense heat. One side of the well has a pavilion and resting room for the royals.

 

Glowing in the evening sun…


The royal pavillions

 

The water collected during the monsoons became accessible, however low the level, because of the steps.

 

There are 13 storeys of steps. the gallery on the top ( ground) level is being developed into a museum to store all the sculptures from the nearby Harshat Mata temple, which is falling into ruins.

 

 

Such construction projects were usually taken up as drought relief measures, to provide employment to the farmer subjects when the crops failed.

 

I took a lot of pictures of the gorgeous sculptures in the nearby Harshat Mata temple too. Watch out for the post!

A Milestone of Sorts!

I am going to get more than just a bit boastful today! My blog just reached 100000 all-time views from 35000 visitors from around 110 countries, a few of which I barely knew even existed! 

When this blog started off four years ago,  I did not know if anyone was going to read it. It had no agenda, except a need to share with the world my thoughts and musings and the things I enjoy doing. At that time, that included poetry, painting, embroidery and quilting, in no particular order. I am being told now to make an exclusively quilting blog, but I am not so sure. Agreed, in these years, quilting has taken over much of my life and the blog has come to reflect more and more of this. Yet, it remains to me a medium of sharing with you all that I create –  ‘This and That…Some Rhyme, Not All Reason’!

May I thank all of you who visit my blog and stay awhile, perhaps just to look around or download a few patterns which you like! Nothing gives me a greater high than seeing how you interpreted my designs. So, I would love it if you also shared your thoughts with me here and pictures of what you make using these patterns on my facebook page. 

So, good morning from India, may you have a wonderful day! 

A Memory Unlived

 

A tinkle of an anklet?

 

Haven’t I met you before,

From across a closed door?

In a dream,

Kind of forgotten?

In a verse still to be written?

In a note

Not yet sung?

In a word that hung

On my lips, unsaid

Or patiently sat

In a book I haven’t read?

In the footsteps

That tread

In a memory unlived?

In the smoke of a fire

Which never was lit?

In a scent that faded

Ere I even smelt it?

In a touch so soft

Only my heart

Ever felt it?

In a cloud

That sailed unseen?

In a sigh, unsighed

Of what-could-have-been?

I haven’t met you, are you sure?

In a life never lived before?

 

Note: There is something hauntingly romantic about old ruins. And when these are situated in a village which is supposed to be the ‘most haunted place in India’, one’s imagination runs wild. A memory – glimpse of a veil, a whiff of a scent, a touch of the breeze – the birth of a poem, dedicated to Bhangarh, a small village in Alwar District in Rajasthan.

Discovering Lost Treasure

I go on a Diwali cleaning spree and take several trips down Memory Lane…

I had an amazing day today and I didn’t even touch my quilting.

Diwali, the Festival of Lights, is just around the corner and we decided, as a part of the annual cleaning spree, to finally have a look at the five large cartons and trunks of what we thought were old official papers to be sent for pulping. And look at what I found hidden there for the last fifteen years since they were packed!

First, a folder cover I embroidered at the age of twelve ( it was really filthy and has gone into the wash), but it was not the ugly folder that was important. In a pocket in that folder was a picture of my daughter, when she was just ten days old! How precious is that!?! We also discovered a bunch of these photographs taken on a holiday to South India, travelling from Delhi. I don’t remember seeing these, ever. We probably got a transfer out of Delhi immediately thereafter; these were packed and the wooden box never opened till today.


That photograph right on top has a story, which I love to tell. We were boating on this beautiful lake in Ooty when, right in the centre of the lake (probably right here), my husband, Rajeev, dropped something into the water. We later discovered that it was the key to the main door of our flat back home. As we landed home late in the evening when no locksmith was available, he had to break the door open with a kick (or several). You can imagine how effective this tale is in shutting him up when he is being particularly nasty about my carelessness, which is actually just the natural preoccupation of a creative mind. Or so I would like him to believe!

I also found my collection of Georgette Heyers, about 20 of them! I have since replaced a few, as I thought they were lost forever! My dozen or so volumes from the Pelican series on Psychology, Sociology, Anthropology and Psychiatry, which I had scrimped and saved to buy when doing my Masters and also believed were lost… Freud, R.D.Laing, Durkheim…do you suppose a library would want them?

I also found the book I had written for children when I was still in college and which was published in 1979 by the Children’s Book Trust, New Delhi. I had won the National Award for the Best Children’s Literature in English for this and I didn’t even have a copy!

(India) National Award for Best Children's Literature in English 1979
The great Shankar wanted to illustrate this himself, but fell ill.

I discovered a whole lot of letters and cards, including one drawn by a cousin when he was 7 years old. We lost him to a road accident some years ago, 3 weeks before he was to be married. Several letters – some from when we were in school together – from someone who was my best friend for forty plus years, but does not wish to talk to me now.

Let me end this happy-nostalgic post with a few pages of the first ever school project, on ‘My Family’, done by my 6-year old!  We are all there, the Dad – standing in front of his brown Maruti car – who plays with him, the mother who cooks for him,  the uncle who comes back home late from the factory every day, tha aunt who is a lecturer, the sister who loves him, brother ( cousin) who loves to eat chhole-bhature, the grand mom who tells him stories ( I wonder why there is a cat on her saree?), the grandfather who writes letters…

His family – in the eyes of a six- year old!

By the way, we also found a letter of advice written by the same grandfather to my son when he had just entered medical school.

So these were some of the lost treasures I discovered today.  Tell me, how does one throw away these things?