Friday, June 17, 2022

अगर मैं कहूँ...

 



मेरी पेंटिंग



ये वक्त जो हम साथ गुज़ारते हैं अनमोल है मेरे लिए। कभी बस यूं ही, चुपचाप शाम की ठंडी तासीर को ज़ज्ब करते हुए। तो कभी बस बातें ―बेवजह, बेमतलब की बातें। तकरीबन हर रोज़। इसी वक्त, इसी जगह पर। इसी पत्थर पर बैठकर। समंदर की मलंग सी लहरें जाने कितनी दफ़ा आती जाती रहती हैं। जैसे हमारी बातें सुनने आती हों। 

और तुम! तुम इस वक्त से भी ज़्यादा अजीज़ हो। मेरी तरफ आते हुए जैसे तुम मुस्कुराते हो तो मेरा एक अजीब सी खुशी से भर जाता है। जब तुम अपनी आंखें सिकोड़कर देखते हो तो मैं समझ जाती हूँ कि तुम मेरी बात से इत्तेफ़ाक़ नहीं रखते। मुझे देखते ही जब तुम्हारे माथे पर बल पड़ जाते हैं तब मैं जान जाती हूँ कि तुम समझ गए हो कि मेरा मन आज कुछ भारी सा है। और जब तुम अपनी मुट्ठी लगातार खोलते बंद करते हो तब मैं समझ जाती हूँ कि तुम उदास हो।

मुलाकातों का सिलसिला बस यूं ही शुरु हो गया और कब ये ज़िन्दगी का हिस्सा बन गया मुझे नहीं मालूम। ये मुलाकातें तुम्हारे लिए भी अहम हैं, जानती हूं मैं। क्योंकि ऐसा कभी नहीं हुआ कि मैं इंतजार करती रही और तुम नहीं आए। हां देर तुम्हें अक्सर हो जाती है। तुम बड़े नाम वाले हो, व्यस्त रहते हो। और मैं...मैं तो कुछ भी नहीं।

तुम शायद नहीं जानते पर मेरी धड़कनें तेज़ हो जाती हैं जब भी तुम मुझे देखते हो। पता नहीं ये कब हुआ? शायद उस दिन जब कुछ कहा था तुमने, इतनी नाराज़ होने वाली बात नहीं थी फिर भी मैं उठ कर जाने लगी थी और तुमने अचानक मेरा हाथ पकड़ लिया जैसे वो करना उस वक्त तुम्हारे लिए सबसे ज़्यादा जरूरी हो। 'मत जाओ।' तुमने कहा था।

मेरी नज़रें हमारे हाथों पर टिक गयीं और तुमने अपना हाथ हटा लिया। 'सॉरी।' तुमने धीरे से कहा।

'इट्स ओक,' मैंने कहा और वापस तुम्हारे बगल वाले पत्थर पर बैठ गयी। वक्त की कोई परवाह नहीं थी । मेरी धड़कनें इतनी तेज़ थीं कि मुझे लग रहा था कि तुम सुन न लो कहीं। कुछ अजीब सा था तुम्हारी आवाज़ में ―मत जाओ...

उस दिन देर हो गयी थी और तुमने मुझे घर छोड़ा था, तबतक मेरी बिल्डिंग के बाहर खड़े थे जबतक मैं अंदर नहीं चली गयी।

मुझे लगता है कि मैं तुम्हें अपने दिल की सारी बातें बता सकती हूँ क्योंकि तुम समझते हो। काश! मैं तुम्हें वो बता सकती जो मैं तुम्हारे लिए महसूस करने लगी हूँ। क्या तुम समझोगे? पर डरती हूँ। वो सब कह देने से कहीं जो हमारे दरमियां है वो बदल गया तो? ये सुखद एहसास जो हमारे बीच है असहजता में तब्दील हो गया तो? ये साथ, ये दोस्ती, ये अपनापन... नहीं ये मैं किसी हालत में नहीं खो सकती। कभी नहीं।

'कुछ कहा तुमने?' तुमने अचानक पूछा। तुम्हारा शांत चेहरा शाम के रंग में रंगा है, और तुम्हारी गहरी आंखें मुझपर टिकी हैं। 

ओहो, क्या मैंने सोचते सोचते कुछ कह भी दिया है? मैं भी ना। 'क्या?' मैंने बेपरवाही ओढ़कर कहा।

'मुझे लगा तुमने कुछ कहा।'

'नहीं, नहीं तो।' मैंने हवाओं के पीछे भागते मेरे बालों को समेटते हुए कहा।

तुम धीरे से मुस्काए और फिर हम दोनों डूबते सूरज को निहारने लगे। ऐसा लग रहा है मानो ये सुर्ख सूरज बेचैन समंदर को बस चूमने वाला है। आसमान में बिखरे रंग सागर की सतह पर बिखर गए हैं। 

मेरी नज़रें अनायास तुम्हारी तरफ मुड़ गयीं। घुंघराले बाल, तीखी सी नाक, चेहरे पर हल्की दाढ़ी...अच्छा बताओ अभी अगर मैं तुम्हारे गालों को छू लूं तो तुम क्या करोगे? क्या अपनी आंखें मूंद लोगे और मेरे हाथों के लम्स को महसूस करोगे? या चौंक कर पीछे हट जाओगे और मुझे अजीब नज़रों से देखोगे? 

मैं अक्सर सोचती हूँ कि तुम्हारे ज़ेहन में क्या ख़्याल आता है जब तुम मुझे देखते हो? क्या तुम भी मुझे सोचते हो जब मैं पास नहीं होती? क्या तुम्हारा दिल भी बेचैन होता है जब हम कुछ दिनों तक मिल नहीं पाते? या फिर क्या तुम भी वही महसूस करते हो जो मैं महसूस करती हूँ और कहने से डरते हो जैसे मैं डरती हूं?

तुमने एक लम्बी सांस भरी और मेरी तरफ देखा। एक धीमी मुस्कुराहट हम दोनों के होठों पर उतर आयी। शाम गहराने लगी है। अब चलने का वक्त हो गया है। 


It's a Hindi translation of my English story 'What If I Tell You'. When you can't think of fresh content, you translate your old work.  :)

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Wednesday, June 15, 2022

Mogra






The sky turned purple as the darkness enveloped the evening in its embrace, and she grew restless. It was her first day in her new house and she was alone.


It was a nice, little cottage, nestled in the lap of nature. She loved nature and quietude. There were very few houses in this area, located quite far from each other. So far that if she screamed, nobody would listen to her. A shiver ran down her spine as this thought crossed her mind. Right then, a cold breeze waltzed inside. 


Suddenly, a sharp and sickly sweet fragrance wafted across the house. Mogra. Okay, this house was fringed with greenery but she was absolutely sure there were no mogras around. She had a good walk around the area yesterday. It was too sharp, like the plant was right there, in her own house. 


The flush was not working. She pressed it repeatedly, then she turned the knob below it. It grunted and the water started to fill up. She washed her hands mindlessly, still thinking about the ever so persistent fragrance. 


'Where is this smell coming from?'


'You know, you should never mention the sharp fragrance if it's coming from an unknown source. You never know, it could be anything.' She recalled someone saying this as she came out of the bathroom.


She jumped out of her skin at a weird, creepy sound. It sounded like someone was being strangled. It was coming from the bathroom. Scared, she turned to look, not understanding what was that. The bathroom was small and clean. Nothing seemed wrong but the voice…her eyes landed at the flush which was leaking. She turned off the knob and the sound stopped. She exhaled deeply, realizing that she was holding her breath. 


And then she saw it. That cute, little soap bar with a sharp, sickly sweet Mogra fragrance. 



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Wednesday, May 18, 2022

तुमने कहा था...


Photo: 
Lasse Møller, Unsplash


एक रोज़ तुमने कहा था ― 'अंधेरे से कभी डरना नहीं। मैं रहूंगा, हमेशा, तुम्हारा हाथ थामने को। थोड़ी देर हो भी जाए गर तो इंतज़ार करना। हम साथ चलेंगे, उन्हीं अंधेरों में ढ़ूंढ़ लेंगे वो राह जो हमें रौशनी तक ले जाए।'

और मेरे होठों पर अनायास एक मुस्कुराहट चली आयी।

बहुत देर हो गयी इस दफ़ा, मैं अब भी इंतज़ार में हूँ। इन्हीं अंधेरों में इक आशियाना बना कर।

कभी कहा नहीं तुम्हें पर मैं अंधेरे से डरती नहीं। ऐसा भी नहीं कि कोई राह ढ़ूंढ़ पाना नामुमकिन होगा मेरे लिए।

पर तुम्हारा वो साथ, मेरे हाथों में तुम्हारा हाथ ―वो मुझे रौशनी से भी ज़्यादा अजीज़ है। 

मैं यहीं हूँ, यहीं रहूंगी।

तुम...तुम आओगे ना?



Monday, May 2, 2022

It Rained That Night

 


Photo: Lochie Blanch, Unsplash


It was howling outside, darkness veiled by gleaming, heavy raindrops. She was waiting for Amar. Their first anniversary planning went awry. But he said he will be home, no matter what. 


The doorbell blared. Relief rushed through her mind. 


She opened the door. Amar was right there, smiling and drenched. She moved to hug him. 'Arrey, I'm drenched. Let me change.' He said affectionately, looking deep into her eyes. There was sadness in his eyes, which bothered her. I'll talk to him, she thought. Amar disappeared into the washroom. 


Her phone rang. She frowned at Amar's number flashing. Had he lost his phone? She picked up the call. 

'Hello. Is this Kavita?'

'Yes.' 

'I'm sorry...but...we have found a body on the highway. The I-card says Amar. Do you know him?'



If you like it, you may like this very short story ― The Crying Baby







Sunday, April 24, 2022

Hindi Translation of My Favourite Poems

It's fun, so here it is, again!

You can read my last translation post HERE





'तुम्हें मुहब्बत हो गयी है?'
उसने पूछा। 'बताओ तो, कैसा महसूस होता है जब किसी से प्यार हो जाए?'

'जैसे हर वो चीज जो मैंने खो दी थी, आकर मेरे गले लग गयी हो,' मैंने कहा।
Original: Nayyirah Waheed



Light is more important by Nizar Qabbani (It's already translated in English)





रौशनी दिये से ज़्यादा खास होती है।

कविताएं उन पन्नों से ज़्यादा अहम होती हैं

जिनपर हम उन्हें लिखते हैं;

लबों से ज़्यादा मायने रखता है

वो चुम्बन जो दिल को छू जाए।

और तुम्हारे लिए मेरे वो ख़त...

वो हम दोनों से बढ़कर हैं,

क्योंकि वो वाहिद दस्तावेज हैं

जिनमें दर्ज है

तुम्हारी खूबसूरती

और मेरी दीवानगी...




तुम कहते हो कि तुम्हें बारिश पसंद है
पर तुम भीगना नहीं चाहते।
तुम कहते हो कि तुम्हें आफ़ताब अजीज़ है
पर धूप में दरख़्तों के साये ढ़ूंढते हो।
तुम कहते हो कि तुम्हें हवाएं भाती हैं
पर तुम खिड़कियां बंद कर देते हो,
जब भी वो दौड़ी आती हैं।
बस इसलिए,
मैं डरती हूँ
जब तुम कहते हो कि
तुम्हें मुझसे प्यार है...



What do you think?


Thursday, April 7, 2022

F: Favourites of 2022 (#BlogchatterA2Z)

 

This year, I decided to go slow with my reading (mainly because of my writing assignments). I am reading at my own pace, without bothering about posting a review and all that (I do write mini reviews if I like the book; avoid if I don't). I have abandoned 5 books so far (3 back to back). I really hope I like what I started recently. Also, I'm listening to my first audiobook (first full length novel, I mean). The Last Boy to Fall in Love (Hindi).


But let's talk about what I liked. 


Young Blood by Chandrima Das





'A ruined reputation is one of the most effective ways devised by society to control women.' (from the book).


I read horror after a LONG time and I'm glad I read this book. A wonderful collection of 10 terrifying tales. It wasn't terrifying for me but it was certainly creepy. 


The writing is beautiful and crisp. Stories are gripping. You would not want to miss a single paragraph. That engaging.


I recommend it to everyone. Even if you don't like this genre, read it to enjoy the author's writing and storytelling.



The Flatshare Beth O'Leary





Tiffy and Leon share a flat

Tiffy and Leon share a bed

Tiffy and Leon have never met…


This is the gist of the story. 


‘Have you ever looked forward to reading a book so much you can’t actually start it?’


I was pleasantly surprised to find this quote in the book, as this was the very reason why I didn't start reading this book even though I bought it last year.


And I'm so glad I read, finally. It's entertaining and endearing. So engrossing that it traveled with me to my kitchen. That I took a break from an important writing project as I couldn't put it down.


I'd like to mention 'Before the Dawn' by Emma Pass. It's a historical fiction. The love story of Sam & Ruby. I thought it was going to be my favourite, as it was really endearing in the first half. The second half (especially the war scenes) was not that engaging. 


Now, television:


I seldom sit down to watch TV. 

But I watched a couple of web series recently and really liked them, so much that I am eagerly waiting for the next season.


Asur





I read some fabulous reviews of this web series plus I was pleasantly surprised to see Barun Sobti. 


It's really good. Intriguing, mysterious and gripping. An interesting blend of science, psychology and mythology.


Maybe an unpopular opinion (because Arshad Warsi is there) but Barun Sobti is the hero of the show. He acts really well.



Special Ops 1.5





It's a short series, kind of bhumika before the season 2. I loved the season 1. That was an excellent spy series. 


I'd like to mention Gullak. Loved it! And so excited about the season 3 (starts from 7th). It's so pleasant, poignant and entertaining. The characters are so real. 





There's something common between these series: unlike most of the shows, these series do not have abusive language and vulgar scenes. Which is a great relief. Most web series are so loud, vulgar and abusive that they make me cringe. 


Have you read or watched any of these? Your favourite books/shows so far?



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Wednesday, April 6, 2022

E: Epistolary Stories (#BlogchatterA2Z)

 



When I read my first epistolary novel (Love Virtually), I had no idea about this format. And I didn't know that the entire novel was written in the form of emails. 


I read, loved and ordered the sequel (Every Seventh Wave: another epistolary novel). And I couldn't believe I enjoyed reading emails, just emails!


I love reading books that carry texts/chats. Two novels, The Flatshare and The Meeting Point, that I read and loved recently were all about exchanging texts (not epistolary). When I was reading The Flatshare, I suddenly wanted to write an epistolary short story (novel would be difficult) or at least a story with lots of texts. 


The challenge was to keep the texts/chats interesting. Throughout the story. But I started. I carry so many love stories inside my head. There are ongoing conversations. So I thought of channelising it. And I was so hooked that I completed it within hours. And I could not believe it.


I published (have removed for some reason. May republish later) and thankfully those who read that found it interesting. 


So, I experimented with a new format. Enjoyed working on it immensely. Might try again. 


Do you enjoy reading epistolary novels? Any favourites? And have you ever tried writing an epistolary story?


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Tuesday, April 5, 2022

D: Dialogues (#BlogchatterA2Z)





Pleasant conversations…isn't it endearing when you interact with someone with whom you can make a smooth conversation?


Fiction is no different. I'm not a very talkative person, but my mind is constantly buzzing with made up dialogues and conversations. In real life, I'm not good at making conversation (or talking for that matter) but, despite these conversation troubles, endearing/witty dialogues is one of the main reasons why I like any book/movie. Most of my favourite books have interesting dialogues. 


Why do we need good dialogues?

There could be so many reasons, however in this post, I'm going to mention two simple reasons:


Dialogues tell a lot about the characters. Other than dialogues, characters are the the backbone of a story. No matter how poetic the writing is, I don't like a book if I don't connect with the characters. 


They play a pivotal role in building the bond between the protagonists. The sparkling chemistry? That comes from the dialogues. 


Things to keep in mind when writing dialogues:


There could be so many things but, again, in this post, I'm going to mention three simple things. 1. Keep it real. Like we speak? 2. Keep it short. Two paragraphs/one page long dialogues are tiring and unreal. 3. Don't forget the activities and body language.


That's all for now. What do you think?


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Monday, April 4, 2022

C: Colour Mixing (#BlogchatterA2Z)



Acrylics on 10×12 inch canvas board



God, I missed painting! Could not find time for some reason in the last ten days. But then I painted this. It's an intuitive painting and mostly done by a palette knife. I wasn't sure if it was complete but didn't know what to add more. 


When we are beginners, we want to purchase all the possible shades, which is not practical of course. So, slowly I began to experiment with colour mixing. In the beginning, it felt like a task, but now it's fun. Moreover, when you mix your own colours, you get unique shades that you may not find anywhere. So limiting your palette is a good idea. In this painting, I haven't used any green, I mixed them. 


I know you should understand the basic colour theory rule, so yes learn it, however following rules can be really tiring at times, so experiment. No one is going to suggest you, but mix randomly, whatever you feel like, you will learn it eventually.


Recently, I started a YouTube channel, however I realized that it's not my thing because I get painfully conscious when recording and it kills the joy of painting. But I like making colour mixing videos. Here are some, in case you find it interesting. 


Four Unusual Ways to Mix Green



Two Ways to Mix Turquoise




Shades of Red







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