Thursday, June 4, 2020

Poetry in the Times of COVID-19-VI


Here is another poem on the subject that is exercising everyone in the world: COV1D-19

It might interest you to  notice that the poem consists of  nine 3-line stanzas with the number of words progressively decreasing from the first to the last.  The first stanza consists of nine-word lines and the last of one word lines. The attempt is to show the progressive diminution and in words of the migrants' identity to nothingness.


Who is a migrant? Let the Dictionary speak first:   
A person who moves from one place to another,
especially, to find work; or an animal for food.

Do these locked-out beings truly fit this sketch?                                          
Uprooted from work; driven out of their hovels;
herded into pens; let loose like stray cattle.

Scattered like dry leaves by a whirlwind    
Crowding the bus stops and rail stations
 Q-ing for charity food like street bums

 Hungry thirsty; desperate to go home    
 where they await hardly any welcome
 even if they reached there unharmed

 Bundled off by their employers   
 Disowned by the uncaring state
 can they be called migrants?

 What are they now?   
 Are they war refugees?
 Are they stateless now?
Having no rights!  
Citizens no more!
Bereft of dignity!
 Just non-entities                
 None’s concern
 Just abandoned


Sunday, May 17, 2020

Poetry in the Times of COVID-19 -V

 Find here a cluster of four Haikus On the the theme.

God in the Times of COVID-19: Four Haikus


Places of worship
all empty of devotees
God locked-in, lonely

Devotees locked-out
offerings not forthcoming
God inside, sulks


Suppliants at bay
untroubled by pestering crowds
God sighs in relief

Confined in lock-down
God keeps a watch from inside
on humans, amused


 Hope these would interest some of you.

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Poetry in the Times of COVID-19 IV

Here is the yet another poem, both in its Hindi and English versions on the current theme: COVID-19. Hope it would interest some of you.



This is a FIAT from the State.
Stay where you are.
Those in their homes, stay locked in.
There would be no shortages.
Groceries, vegetables, fruits, milk,
bakeries, medicines in plenty.
Keep busy. Use the Internet, TV
for news and entertainment 24x7.
Be creative. Invent new pastimes. Keep fit.
Go digital in money transactions.
You’ll miss nothing, except the humanoids
who perform all your menial jobs.
Bear with this for your own safety
and to serve Mother India.
Last time you lighted the lamps of solidarity
standing in your balconies
at a propitious confluence of stars.
This time we shall ask you to do something more.
To make a sacrifice, may be.
Wait for fresh instructions.

Now, for those who are out:
Stay locked out. Wherever you are.
On the roads. In makeshift camps. Wherever else.
Men, women, old, sick, children, infants, pregnant women, all. 
You will be fed at least once a day. Dal-chawal-roti.
You will have to stand in queue. No hardship for you.
You have done this again and again.
 There may not always be enough for all.
This also you know.
We cannot send you home.
Bear hunger, heat, loneliness, separation from your families,
 indignities from the police. You are no strangers to these too.
Don’t disobey the fiat.
The police may haul you up.
We need to protect the people.
So, stay where you are.
Like jawans at the borders.
Jai Hind.


राजसत्ता ने आदेश जारी किया है
जहां भी हो रुके रहो
घर के अंदर या बाहर

जो घरों में हैं बाहर निकलें
किसी चीज़की कमी नहीं होगी
आटा दाल चींनी सव्ज़ी फ़ल दूध दवाएं ब्रैड बिसकुट
सभी कुछ मिले गा  बेफ़िक्र रहें
मनोरंजन  और  ख़बरों के लिए
ईंटरनैट टीवी उपलब्ध हैं दिनरात
 मनोरंजन के नये नये साधन खोजें
 व्यस्त रहें फिट रहें
आपको सभ कुछ उप्लबध है
आपके अर्धमानव सेबक-सेविकाओं के सिवा
धीरज ररखें यह आपका कर्त्वय है
इस का पालन करें
इस  से पहले हम  ने आप से अपनी  बालकोनी में 
खड़े हो दिये जलाने को  कहा था
नक्षत्रों के शुभ संयोग के समय
अब हम आप से कोई कुरबानी मांग सकते हैं
राष्ट्र की ख़ातिर
हमारे अगले आदेश की प्रतीक्षा करें

और  जो घर से बाहर हैं बाहर ही रहें
जहां भी हैं सड़क पर बसेरों में कहीं भी
जवान बूढ़े बच्चे औरतें बीमार गरभवती औरतें सभी
हम तुम्हें खाना खिला देंगे
रोटी-दाल-चावल दिन में एक बार
तुम्हें लाईन में खड़े रहना होगा
हो सकता है कई बार तुम्हें खाना मिले
पर इस की तुम्हें आदत है
हम तुम्हें घर नहीं भेज सकते
भूख प्यास धूप परिवार जनों से दूरी अकेलापन पुलिस की ज़ोराज़ोरी
सहन करने होंगे अपनी जान बचाने के लिए
देश की ख़ातिर इसआदेश का पालन करना होगा
वरना पुलिस लाठी चला सकती है
जहां भी हो डटे रहो
सीमा पर जवानों की तरह तैनात
हमारे अगले आदेश तक

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

Poetry in the Times of COVID-19 III

Dear friends,
 Here is another poem on the theme both in its English and Hindi versions. 
Both the versions have been composed one after the other ,almost simultaneously, each version modifying the other in the process, though here and there going its own way.


Will I survive this knockout?
How many will die?
Do I care?
I want to live through…
Will I?
A mild backache
A coughing bout
 A sore throat
A sneeze
A nose congestion
become the intimations

My hands have become the enemy!
One touch
And there I go

And during the day
TV channels
social media
friends and well-wishers on phone
howls of ambulance sirens ‒
keep revved up the drumbeat
for the invisible cannibal’s dance

During the night I wake up
dreading the stealth invader’s silent entry

How long will it go on?
Light at the end of the tunnel is just a pinhead
Will I reach there?

मौन दस्तक

क्या मैं इस कठोराघात से बच पाऊं  गाा?
कितनी जानें जाएं गी ?
मैं क्यों जानू?
बस मैं जीना चाहता हूं
क्या मैं सचमुच बच निकलूं गा?
पीठ में हलका सा दरद
खांसी की एक खों-खों
बस एक छींक
गले में हलक़ी सी राश
 नाक बन्द
दस्तक देनें लगते हैं
मेरे हाथ मेरे दुश्मन बन गये हैं
एक स्पर्ष और बस

और उस पर
टीवी चैनल
सोशल मीडिया
फोन पर दोस्त सज्जन
हऊ-हऊ करती ऐमबुलैंस
दिनभर उसअदृश्य नरभख्शी के
नाच का नगाड़ा पीटते रहते हैं

और रात को अचानक उठ बैठता हुं
उस मौन आकर्मणकारी
के चुपचप आ धमकने के डर से

आखिर यह कब तक चले गा? 
समय की सुरंग के उस पार प्रकाश
बस एक बिन्दु मात्र
क्या मैं उस तक पहुंच पाऊं गा?

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Poetry in the Times of COVID-19 - II

Here are two more poems relating to our critical times, both in their English and Hindi versions.

Hope you would enjoy reading them.

1. Dos and Don’ts for COVID-19 and
                That Silly Little Girl

Keep your distance
Wash your hands frequently with soap
Or use the sanitizer
Avoid touching your mouth, nose and eyes
with your hands
Cover your mouth if you cough
and your nose if you sneeze
Do not spit
Keep a mask handy 
and wear it when needed
Stay at home

To boost your immunity
eat nutritious food
nuts and green vegetables
Vitamin C
Avoid stress

To pass time
listen to music
read books
compose a poem
watch the Ramayan and Mahabharat

If you see symptoms of COVID
ring up the Health Ministry’s emergency service

But I don’t know why
ignoring all these easy-to-follow dos and don’ts
that silly little girl
carrying a load on her head
is trudging on the Express Way
from nowhere to nowhere

कोविड-19 से बचाव और ये छोटी लड़की

दूरी बना कर रखें
अपने हाथ बार-बार साबुन से धोंए
या सैनीटाइज़र से साफ़ करें
अपने नाक मुंह आंखे
हाथ से ना छुएं
खांसी आने पर मुंह ढक लें
छींक आने पर नाक ढक लें
बिलकुल ना थूकें
मास्क लगाएं या तयैार रखें
घर से ना निकलें

अपनी इम्मयुंनिटी बढ़ाने के लिए
पौष्टिक आहार खाएं
बादाम अखरोट काजु आदि
हरी सवज़ियां
विटामिन सी
व्यायाम करें
तनाव से बचें

टाइमपास के लिए
संगीत सुनें
कितबें पढ़ें
कविता लिखें
रामायण महांभारत देखें

करोना के लक्षण दिखें
तो स्वास्थय मंत्रालय के
आपातकालीन नम्बर पर
सम्पर्क करें

पर ना जाने क्यों
यह सीधे-साधे परामर्श नकार कर
वह नादन छोटी लड़की
सर पर बोझ उठाए
ऐकसप्रैस-वे पर चली जा रही है
ना जाने कहां से कहां को

 2. What We’re Missing in COVID Times

Outdoors, we’re missing:
Shopping Malls
Kitty parties
Boy friends
Girl friends
Picnic spots
Sports events
Holiday trips
in and out country…

Indoors, we’re missing these gadgets: 
Veg cutters
Linen washers
Hair dyers
Nursers …

 कोविट के समयों में हम क्या-कया मिस कर रहे हैं

घर के बाहर हम मिस कर रहे हैं
अपने कार्य-स्थल
शौपिंग मॉल
सिनेमा घर
किट्टी पारटीज़
गर्ल फ्रैंडज़
बॊए फ्रैंडज़
खेल आयोजन
मिलन सम्मेलन
यात्राएं देश-विदेश की...

और घर पर हम मिस कर रहे हैं
झाड़ू लगाने वाली
पौंछे लगाने वाली
सफ़ाई करने वाली
सब्ज़ी काटने वाली
खाना बनाने वाली
बर्तन साफ करने वाली
कपड़े धोने वाली
कपड़े इस्तरी करने वाली
सामान इधर उधर करने वाली
बाल रंगने वाली
तीमारदारी करने वाली

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Poetry in the Times of COVID-19 Lock-down


red and blue hearts illustrationred and white flower petals

person in white and black stethoscope

2 men in white karate gi standing

Thousands of daily wager migrant workers to take to the streets on foot to return home as the coronavirus lockdown brougt public transport and employment to a halt | Image credit: Reuters

Daily wage workers and homeless people eat food inside a government-run night shelter in the old quarters of Delhi.

Friends, We are all overwhelmed by the threat posed by COVID-19. We are all trying to make sense of it all, wondering what is in store for us, with over half a million already in its thrall struggling for survival. Millions in our country have lost their livelihoods and  have fled from their work places chased by the spectre of  the virus and confronted by hunger and starvation on the roads. And thousands of doctors, nurses and supportive staff and many others are heroically risking their own lives to save other lives.  So many of us are, however, secure in our homes confined, anxious though safe and facing no real hardship, each engrossed in their own way to make sense of this unprecedented calamity. 

I being one of those fortunate ones, so far, have tried to understand it in my own way and here is the result: a poem; rather two versions of one poem, in English and Hindi. 

Here they are.

                  The Avenger ? 

A report says: Pollution is down to zero
in cities that are locked down
where humans in fright of extinction
have retreated to hide in their holes

Earth, water and air are clean now
For how long? No one knows
Yet birds and animals are returning
to reclaim the spaces usurped by humans

Is this Nature’s revenge?
An existential alarm bell: Beware
The eco-imbalance created by them
can wipe them out too, despite their hubris

A grim reminder: there are no borders
The planet belongs to all, equally



ख़बर आई हैः प्रदूशन  शून्य पर पहुंच  गया है
उन शहरों में जहां तालाबन्दी है
जहाँ महांप्रलय से भयभीत मानवजात
अपनी-अपनी बिलों में जा छुपी है

धरती जलाशय और वायु  स्वछ हैं  अब
कब तक?  कौन जाने
पर पशु-पक्षी लौट रहे हैं उन स्थानों पर
जो मानव-जात ने हथिया रखे  हैं

क्या यह प्रकृति का प्रतिशोध है ?
एक भयावह चेतावनी: सावधान!
अहंकारी मानव का रचाया पर्यावरण-असंतुलन
उस के लिये भी विनाशकारी सिद्ध हो सकता है

एक कटु संदेश: हम अति संबद्ध, अविभाजित
इस पृथवी पर सभी जीवों का अधिकार एक समान

The  un-examined life is not worth living.         
  - Socrates     

Take care of yourselves and people close to you and think of  how we can contribute to help those who are totally down and out.

T C Ghai