Ocean

मंत्र नंबर 205 / Mantra Number 205

गद्य काव्य/ Prose Poem
जल  ही  जीवन  है/ Water is life.
[Source – Unsplash]

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देर हो गई इतनी, मैं सोचूँ तो बोलू इतनी कितनी?

कई मंत्र जप्पे थे, कई जाने थे, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर।

उमर होगी मेरी 88-90, बोलो फिर कहाँ पाले मैंने इतने मंत्र?

हाँ तो मैंने फिर जाना की माना इस्कूल में पढ़ाया था जल ही जीवन है,

मैं गई भूल, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर।

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अब खा लूँ मैं जल, पी लूँ मैं जल, करलूं सफाई जीवन भर,

जल ही औषधि, जल ही प्राण और मैं राख,

जल नाले-नदी -झरने -समंदर में, जल मेरी मटकी में और मटकी मेरे सर पर,

मटकी टूटी तो जल ज़मीन-बीज-पौधे-पांच-साल-में-पेड़ पर, और मैं पेड़ की डाली पर।

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झोंपड़ी सी है मेरी, छत डालियों की बुन्नी थी कभी, अब छेद वाली है… फिर…

फिर इस बार अम्बर का पानी मेरी झोंपड़ी में और मैं मुईं झोंपड़ी की छत्त पर,

मुंगी भौंक उठी उस दिन मुझ पर, या मुईं छत्त पर… बिजली चमकी अचानक

और मैं गई कूद, गिरी सीधे चार-पाई पे, अब लगे मेरा बिस्तर फर्श पर।

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बड़े मटके में बड़ा, छोटे में छोटा बन जाये ये जल

और जब जाए मेरे भीतर तो बन जाए मुझ बुढ़िया सा कुबड़ा।

मूयें कुबड़े होंगे तुम सब, मैं कोई न होनी…

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फिर जल कभी मेरा खाना, कभी मुंगी का, जो वो न खाए तो चिड़िया का।

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जल आकाश, जल समंदर, और ये माटी के पहाड़ जैसे मेरी मटकी,

रिस-रिस के पानी, अंदर इस भू को जल दे जाए प्राण और ठंडक…

क्यों? पृथ्वी घूमे है तो थके न क्या? जल तो मांगे है…

फिर जल से कौन बचा, जो डूब गई वो भी किश्ती थी, जो तैरती रही वो एक किस्सा,

तुमने सुनाऔर मुझ बुढ़िया ने भी जाना, माना  माना, नहीं माना नहीं माना।

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बचपन में आई एक बार बाढ़, सब जगह जल ही जल और सत्यानाश,

मैं बच गई… काहे चौंके?

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देर हो गई, देर हो गई इतनी, मैं सोचूँ, तो बोलू इतनी कितनी?

देर नहीं होनी कोई, तुम्हारी घडी भागे दिमाग से तीन कदम पीछे।

सुनलो, जल पीना चौकड़ी मार के जैसे है कोई अमृत ये, तब ऊपर के निचे के

दांत झड़ेंगे पहले और तुम मरोगे बाद में, बिन बतीसी के

बुड्ढे खुसठ 100 पार छलांग लगा कर।

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हाँ, याद रखना, मुझ बुढ़िया की बात, मैं जल देवी कहलाउंगी इसके बाद।

हं… हं… हाँ तो…

कई मंत्र जप्पे थे, कई जाने थे, अब आई बात समझ जाकर नंबर 205 पर। 


मटकी जाने है एक राज़, हम न जाने क्या/ Clay pot knows a secret that we know not.
[Source – Pixabay]

English Translation –

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I understood quite late, but then I wondered how late is quite late?

I chanted many mantras, knew many more, but mantra number 205 enlightened me.

Am around 88-90, so will you say I have gone overboard with chanting mantras?

Hmm, so as I was saying I know we were taught in school that water is life,

But I simply forgot about it, but now mantra number 205 enlightened me.

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These days I eat water, I drink water, and I say keep it all spick and span forever,

Water is medicine, water is life-force and I am dust,

Water in the stream-river-cascade-ocean, water in my earthen jar and the earthen jar on my head,

The earthen jar broke, water seeped in the earth-seed-plant-and-in-five-years-the-tree and am now sitting on the tree’s branch.

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I live in a small shack, with an old thatched roof that now has a hole in it… then…

Then, recently, it rained heavily, water entered my bloody shack, I climbed the thatched roof then

Mungi barked at me or was she barking at the bloody roof… Lightning struck suddenly,

I jumped and landed on my cot, as a consequence of which now I sleep on the floor.

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Big in a big jar, small in a small one, water takes any shape

And when I drink water, it takes the shape of a hunchbacked oldie…

Oh, you all must be hunchbacked, because I surely am not.

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Hmm… I often have water for lunch, sometimes I share it with Mungi and if she rejects it, the birds feast on it.

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Water is sky, water is ocean and these mountains made of earth are like my earthen jar,

Slowly seeping inside, water gives life-force and coolness to the earth…

Why not? The earth rotates so don’t you think it gets tired? It too asks for water…

Water is very powerful… the one that sinks is a ship and the one that doesn’t is a legend,

You have heard such tales, this oldie has also known some, if you believe in it, you do and if you don’t, you don’t.

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Once, in my childhood, a great flood caused catastrophic destruction,

I survived… you look surprised, why so?

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Quite late, quite late, but then I wondered how late is quite late?

You’re not quite late, your watch runs three times slower than your brain.

Listen, sit down cross-legged whenever you drink water as if it is an elixir, then your lower and upper

Teeth will fall before you die and you will die toothless

Grumpy and senile, only after crossing 100.

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Okay! Remember what this oldie has shared, maybe from now onwards I’ll be known as the ‘Water Goddess’.

Hmm… hmm… like I said…

I chanted many mantras, knew many more, but mantra number 205 enlightened me.


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Intervals

Moony music in the air!
[Source – Pixabay]

The beach was audible to her in intervals. She walked bare feet on the sand and still didn’t smile. Rhea had muffled thoughts, a cluster of it, covering her face. And that is why she couldn’t see the beautiful, starry canvas right above her. The sky didn’t twinkle, the waves didn’t play music for her. Like a ghost, locked in some tragic seconds, she moved slowly, that pale thing or maybe the world moved around her, and she stood still.

But the beach was audible to her in intervals. And she unconsciously moved towards the ocean. The interval ended, but it was too late for her to be locked back again… a wave rushed towards and caught her. Rhea took a deep breath and looked down, her feet were wet, the waves danced forward and backward. She smiled before she could stop herself.

Rhea could now hear the gushing ocean, see the sparkling stars, feel the cool wind and the cool sand. She started walking, this time not shying from the waves. She sauntered along the shore, opening her arms and welcoming the wind, the waves and the night sky… the interval overpowered unbeknownst to her.

 


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Walking A Gatha

Walking straight, walking on the mountain listening to The Times They Are A Changin’ I saw nothing, neither the trees nor the rocks, neither the shadow nor the light, and just kept walking ahead. Mountain talked, I didn’t hear, until I bent a little. It said, ‘you will reach your destination, you will, for sure’, and happily I smiled, crossed my hands behind my back and continued walking.

Swiftly I moved forward, there was no stopping me. Dashing ahead I crossed jungles after jungles, I played with the shadows and the light, I didn’t even wait for the wind. Like a curse, definitely a curse, a disaster hit me – I started panting. It never happened all this while, why now? Then I remembered faintly of what the mountain told me… I pleaded it to guide me again, the mountain listened. It said, ‘know patience, know the truth and its power’, I bowed down and stopped walking. I stopped for the first time in my travel; I learned the art of deep breathing. Ages passed there; then I left in search.

In search of what I was looking for. I was looking for what I was in search of.

Familiar with the pace of the trees canopying me, stopping and listening to the rocks and their untold gathas, attuned with the shadow and the light, I kept walking when I reached near a ferociously musical river. It carried along ocean’s depth and waves’ nimble notes… ‘will merge with the ocean, I do not wait for anyone’, replied the river to my question – can you please let me pass.

So I changed my path and followed the river. Who said you can’t? Change… change and move ahead.

Right where the river met the ocean, where it all seemed to end, where trees, rocks, shadow and light all disappeared, music stayed by my side and showed me a narrow, slippery way to cross the river. I stepped in, the water was cold, but shallow and so I could cross easily. It was shallow for a reason.

Shallowness exists for a reason.

With joy and cheer I continued along, I danced on the way, I slept peacefully and then walked leisurely. I sang, the tune echoed. My mind envisioned a valley of flowers and pink clouds when suddenly I tumbled down. I was hurt. My dream shattered and cold winds bruised me badly. It started hailing. I shouted angrily for snatching my peace. Who knows at whom?

The weather opposed me and pinned me down, I accepted defeat. I kept lying half dead for the time to change… when it did, I woke up and saw as the fog disappeared that there was a huge mountain standing in front of me. I couldn’t stop smiling, a new journey was going to begin. Climbing the mountain I listened again to Dylan’s The Times They Are A Changin’. I didn’t know it, but I was free.

I have always been free.

The times they are a changin’ by Bob Dylan – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=e7qQ6_RV4VQ


A Dream of Twin Rainbows

Poem
One, two… lucky you!
[Image by Jagriti Rumi]

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My imagination is strong and hence I can see

The waterfalls, mesmerizing clouds and the ever working bees;

I am very much alive with a working clock

Hanging on the earthen, painted, plastic wall saying ‘tick-tock-tick-tock’;

My ears don’t bleed anymore and though my eyes are shy to blink,

I have learned to bar the command and hide behind a paused wink.

Master shouts and thunderbolts hit the wall,

Faking to cry and tremble, I try to make the cage fall.

Yes! I live in a cage! But I have a dream, a dream of twin rainbows.

I will one day fly towards it, crossing the ocean of dead vows,

There I will soulfully sing and freely dance and just be me…

My imagination is strong and hence I can see.

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