All posts by Jasbir Chatterjee

Poet, writer, blogger, corporate professional

Nahid Kaiser

Photo courtesy: Jasbir Chatterjee

Nahid Kaiser, looking bubbly and cheerful…

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I had the honor of meeting Nahid Kaiser, a young, talented writer from Bangladesh, on 1 March 2016 at my friend Shampa Das’s place in Dwarka, Delhi.

While she recited her poems from ‘Eve Unbound,’ her latest anthology launched this year in the SAARC poetry festival, we listened to her, spell-bound, completely mesmerized by her sincerity. I could easily identify with them; they were so similar to what I had written myself in the past.

But what impressed me most was her completely uninhibited style of reciting poems on subjects that most women don’t feel very comfortable talking about in public. When you consider the fact that she comes from a country of imperiled bloggers and a society where women have a long way to go in matters of social liberty, it is, I think, quite a commendable achievement. She managed to make it look very innocent and not for once did I detect any kind of vulgarity.

Beginning with her first period, she went on to talk about “Qabool, Qabool, Qabool” when she was dressed as a bride, then about her life as a wife, a mother, and ended with her thoughts on her grandma. Sometimes she laughed, sometimes she cried, and sometimes her voice quivered and trembled in keeping with the different moods in the poems.

Most poets are introverts and it takes them several years to learn to express themselves aloud as eloquently as they do in their poems. When I started out myself, it felt like getting my teeth pulled out from my gums…

As the evening progressed, the poetry and play readings graduated to a Rabindra Sangeet session. Somewhere in the middle, the group mentioned that they were going to sing “Sonar Bangla” in her honor. With her characteristic smile, Nahid stood up and said, “Eta amader jatiyo gaan,” meaning “This is our national anthem.” We took the hint and we also stood up, tall and erect.

Suddenly the room with its makeshift auditorium resounded with the melodious voice of the singers singing this beautiful song accompanied by soft music playing in the background. It was a lovely moment!

It served as a gentle reminder that freedom and free speech are not free and come with certain responsibilities which are mandatory for everyone.

Inspired by Nahid’s recitation and my subsequent interaction with her, I wrote a poem of my own the following day, ‘My Shadow and I.’ It kind of matched with a photo I clicked recently. The photo is given below.

I wish you all the best, Nahid, and of course, a long, happy, poetic life ahead!

My Shadow And I

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My Sweet, Little World…

Just like lotus flowers in a murky pond, Semal flowers are now in full bloom in the drab and polluted Mayapuri Industrial Area. Yesterday, I took a few minutes off from work and clicked some pics. Here, take a look. Looking at these pretty images helps in staying calm when the going gets tough. As I mentioned in Facebook too, this post is inspired from Mayank Austen Soofi’s numerous posts on this lovely tree which blooms in the brief Spring season in Delhi…

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Petition – Rainwater Harvesting

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Yesterday, I launched a petition to our Chief Minister and Dy. Chief Minister, Delhi, to take up rain water harvesting as number one priority. Just open the link below.

https://www.change.org/p/chief-minister-delhi-other-decision-makers-and-fellow-delhiites-let-s-take-up-water-harvesting-as-topmost-priority-in-delhi?recruiter=287954621&utm_source=share_petition&utm_medium=copylink

Keeping in mind the terrible hardships and anxiety we Delhiites went through and continue to suffer post damage by the protesters to the Munak Canal, this matter can no longer be pushed under the carpet. Unless we build alternative sources of water, Delhi will turn into another Hiroshima one day. I got the hint today when stinking water gushed out of my tap and after just one hour, the supply was cut off completely.

Dear Friends, please join me in this petition by signing it and asking your friends to sign it too.  It’s a matter of everyone’s survival.

Latest status as on 10 April 2016

On 10 April 2016, a small report appeared somewhere deep inside the Hindustan Times (Delhi edition, 10 April 2016). It was regarding steps being taken by the Delhi Government to implement rainwater harvesting.

URL: Link: http://paper.hindustantimes.com/epaper/viewer.aspx#

Just in case the link doesn’t open, the text of the report is given below.

“NEW DELHI: The Delhi government is going to make rainwater harvesting mandatory from July.

According to a senior Delhi Jal Board official, any plot or building having 500 square metre area or above will have to make arrangements for rainwater harvesting on their premises. If residents, who fall under this criteria, don’t implement the rain water harvesting then their water bills will be hiked 1.5 times after July 1.

“We are making rain water harvesting mandatory in the city. We have given time to make arrangements till June 30. Penalty will be imposed after July 1,” Delhi water minister Kapil Mishra said on Saturday.

The government has also decided to give incentives to people taking up rainwater harvesting.

“Earlier, we were offering 10% incentive of the cost on RWH at the plots of 2,000 square metre and above. Now we have included plots having 500 square metre area and above,” Mishra said.

Keeping in mind water conservation, last month during Delhi budget, finance minister Manish Sisodia had announced a comprehensive rainwater harvesting scheme, water-bodies revival policy and summer action plan.”

 

It made me very happy.  A journey, after all, always begins with a few steps.

 

 

 

For Better or Worse

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As Monday, the first day of the week, unfolded its blue petals in my office today, I felt depressed and disappointed. The Jat protesters in Haryana have finally got what they were demanding since 1997. But I wonder if anyone of them spared a thought for even one moment for the huge losses that the nation has undergone during last 5 days and those young men selflessly sacrificing their lives in J&K and on the borders.

So many precious human lives and both public and private property worth several crores of Rupees have been turned into ashes. Several Sikh friends of mine felt bitter and said it reminded them of what they went through during the November 1984 riots. Was it all worth it? Certainly not. People who killed, burnt, and looted are criminals. They should be treated as traitors, similar to those shouting slogans against the country. But sadly, not even one such person has been caught and brought to court.

Our water supply in Delhi remains cut off today. Press reports say that Munak Canal, the main source of water supply, has also been damaged by the mobs and it will take them some time to complete the necessary repairs.

With bated breaths we watch quietly and passively while the public services limp back into action. Our politicians and all other decision makers have a tough job ahead. They need to strengthen security and stop pandering to populist sentiments such as caste-based reservations which weaken the nation from within.

As per media reports, Congress leader in Haryana, Bhupinder Singh Hooda, is at present sitting on hunger strike to maintain peace while the ‘inexperienced’ BJP government scrambles to resolve the crisis . But in 2005, the same Hooda had won state elections in Haryana with his electoral promise of reservation for Jats.

Something is seriously wrong somewhere. Tomorrow another community will demand reservation and this process will never stop. The root cause of this evil needs to be identified and deleted like a computer virus. The most obvious reason is that agriculture is no longer profitable enough and majority of employable people find it hard to find secure jobs.

The general public too needs to stay united and guard itself against traitors like Afzal Guru who, for something as shallow as money, surreptitiously invite enemies from outside to create chaos and attack our country.

I felt so terrible and helpless today that for the first time in my career, I walked to a park nearby during office hours and I stood there for a few minutes. The birds, the lovely flowers, the green foliage, a patch of water, and a bird’s nest on a tree cheered me and were enough to give me the strength to go on…I clicked some pics too to keep myself buoyed just in case I start feeling depressed again. These are given here, top and bottom.

I was reminded of what one trainer told us during a training session, “Never get upset about things that you can’t control.”

Feeling better, I came back to my seat, ready for the new challenges. For better or worse, this is my country too, after all!

 

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Spring in Delhi, 2016

Photos: Jasbir Chatterjee

 

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Thank God, Spring 2016 is on time in Delhi. That too, as per the usual pattern, soft, soothing, balmy, slightly windy at times, and of course, flowery, with clear, blue skies. Not like the preceding season of winter, which was quite whimsical and absent-minded this time, thanks to the global warming.

Wherever you are in Delhi, you will find love, beauty, and a riot of colors everywhere. The mating birds, new nests coming up, the evergreen bougainvillea, and the short-lived Semal are all part and parcel of this lovely, miraculous season.

The magenta-colored wild flowers with little threads, I still don’t know their name, can be seen in full bloom all over the pavements and road dividers these days. They were there in summer too, but their number seems to have increased. I remember quite clearly that 2 years ago many of these places were bare and dusty and often one would find drug addicts and beggars sprawled here in a very filthy condition. I like to think that it is because of Kejriwal and AAP. In some respects at least, they seem to be working quietly and determinedly…

Anway, friends, I guess it’s better to stay away from the gutter of politics and look at the world around us with the eyes of an artist; Let’s enjoy the season of spring as Tagore would have, had he been still alive; eat, pray, dance, sing, fall in love, or whatever that catches our wild fancies…Spring 2016 is not going to be here for too long…

Take a look at these pics that I clicked on Valentine’s Day eve till 16 Feb.16.

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Popular Member – Poemhunter.com

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Today I would like to share some good news with my fellow bloggers, friends, and well-wishers. I am one of the 3 most Popular Members today on my favorite poetry site Poemhunter.com.

To go directly to my webpage, which has 57 poems,  click here: http://www.poemhunter.com/jasbir-chatterjee/poems/.

These are some of my more recent poems.

 

 

 

One Happy, Peaceful Day…

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Mom & Dad…(photo clicked on a relaxed Sunday, 17 Jan.16)

Every time I look at this pic of my parents, my heart sends a grateful prayer to God  for letting us survive through so many storms and live to witness this wonderful day of peace, joy, and contentment, far away from cyclones, drought, war, and terrorists….

Safer Shadows

Delhi is famous for its historical monuments and gardens.  Recently, while looking at Mayank Austen Soofi’s photos of Lodhi Gardens clicked at night, I tried to imagine what it would feel like if I took a stroll myself in one of these forts 0n a full-moon night under a star-spangled sky…I don’t think this will ever happen though. Being a working woman living in West Delhi, I don’t think I will ever have the courage or the inclination to dare to do this. Who knows what kind of beasts lurk in those shadows; pimps, rapists, drug addicts, kidnappers looking for ransom.

Anyway, till the time this dream comes true, I am keeping  myself content with clicking pics at night in my safe, little neighborhood.

Here are some of them.

 

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See how an audacious street bulb glares at the moon in the pic below!

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Le Cafe’ Noir

I recently clicked some pics in the evening on my way home from work. I was pleasantly surprised when I saw the pics. They had a look of mystery and fantasy that we generally associate with the blackness of night, very different from what the place looks like during daytime. Just scroll down and take a look.

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See how the dog’s eyes are shining like a pair of 60-watt bulbs!

 

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7.

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8.

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The elderly band-man is lost in thought, looking worried, feeling lonesome perhaps in a crowd.

Love without Chains…

 

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Photo courtesy: Suroshri Chatterjee

The year 2016 will perhaps remain etched in memory as the first exceptionally mild winter in Delhi. The stray dogs in my locality, however, have one more ‘first’ to feel warm and cheerful about. An enthusiastic dog-lover has, for the first time, taken a very good initiative and covered their backs with stylish and colourful jackets. If only we could do something similar for all those helpless people all over the world…

When I saw one of these dogs for the first time, the first thought that came to my mind was that perhaps he was a pet dog who had jumped the fence and didn’t give a damn about the comforts of his owner’s house. But when I took a closer look, I noticed that he didn’t have a leash around his neck. So, obviously, he was a free dog. Here are some more pics. .

 

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