Tuesday 23 December 2014

Agni Pareeksha

This is a poem on how the contemporary woman feels on the legends of Devi Sita, Anusuya and others to be forcefully set as examples to be followed.While I personally believe that they were exemplary women, I also believe in the supremacy of consent, irrespective of socio-cultural norms.

I do not claim to be a spokesperson for the  contemporary woman, nor am I radical feminist, activist. I simply state how I would feel if I were to live an exemplary life. I do not seek to be raised to the high pedestal of a Devi but to remain the mortal human I am.

Below is a poem, that I've transliterated in Roman Hindi, for some of my readers, simply for the ease of reading. Please note that this isn't a translation.

Raam banne ka daayitva jab odha ha tumne,
To kya socha tha?
Seeta main banoongi har baar???

राम बनने का दायित्व जब ओढ़ा था तुमने,
तो क्या सोचा था?
 सीता मैं बनूँगी हर बार???

Main banti seeta,
har baar banti,
Basharte apni ichchhha se,
Magar mere seeta banne ke badle,
Tumhe kyon mile,
Har baar meri Agni Pareksha ka Adhikaar???

मैं बनती सीता,
हर बार बनती,
बशर्ते अपनी इच्छा से,
मगर मेरे सीता बनने के बदले,
तुम्हें क्यों मिले,
हर बार मेरी अग्नि-परीक्षा का अधिकार???

Tumse to ravan bhala,
jisne shareer zaroor baandha,
Magar mere man par nahi kiya atyachaar.
Meri haan ka,
Jo ant tak karta raha intezaar,
meri naa ke uttar mein jiska sab kuch lut gaya,
Sone ki lanka hui char char...

तुमसे तो रावण भला,
जिसने शरीर ज़रूर बाँधा,
मगर मेरे मन पर,
नहीं किया अत्याचार।
मेरी हाँ का जिसने,
अंत तक किया इंतज़ार,
मेरी ना के उत्तर में जिसका सब कुछ लूट गया,
सोने की लंका हुई छार - छार.

Tumhare maryada purushottam hone ka dansh saha maine,
Yaad rakho isiliye hoti hai tumhari jai jaikaar.

तुम्हारे मर्यादा पुरुषोत्तम होने का दंश सहा मैंने,
याद रखो, इसीलिए होती है, तुम्हारी जय जयकार !!

Tumhe raam banne ka shauk hai?
Zaroor bano!!!

तुम्हें राम बनने का शौक  है?
ज़रूर बनो !!!

Tumhe raam banne ka shauk hai,
Zaroor bano,
Nahi rokoongi tumhe,
Magar yaad rakhna,
main nahi banoongi seeta har baar...

तुम्हें राम बनने का शौक  है?
ज़रूर बनो !!!
नहीं रोकूंगी तुम्हें ।
मगर याद रखना,
मैं नहीं बनूँगी सीता हर बार!!

Tumhe raam banne ka shauk hai,
Zaroor bano
Nahi rokoongi,
Magar yaad rakhna,
Main nahin banoongi seeta iss baar !!!

तुम्हें राम बनने का शौक  है?
ज़रूर बनो !!!
नहीं रोकूंगी!
मगर याद रखना,
मैं नहीं बनूँगी सीता इस बार

©Anupama Garg 2014 October

Monday 24 November 2014

We write to taste life twice

Anais Nin - "We write to taste life twice..."

I've been thinking about what Anais Nin has to say about writing. I like what she says about writing as breathing, singing and what not. And in particular I love this one.

"We Write to Taste Life Twice"

And this makes me realize that I write because I want to live. And to truly live is to taste life twice. To truly live is to truly love and to love is to taste the feeling again.

I learnt very early about the five senses - we all do. The sense of touch, sight, smell, hearing, taste. And some of us are lucky enough for parents, teachers, mentors, lovers etc. to teach us before we grow up that the sixth sense is a combination of all five and much more.

And when I learnt writing, I realized that I was using at least one or two senses in describing anything or any incident that I was reliving. But then this use of senses while writing wasn't planned, it wasn't intentional either. It was more with a thought of bringing to memory the one thing that made the strongest impression on my mind. And then describing it would make me feel like that incident was alive again and the object or the person was right there.

I was almost 27 when I first learnt that the more senses you use when you write, the more alive the writing is. It was a learning because a teacher taught me that. I started using the tool and noticed the change. It's true.

And the more I did of it while writing poetry and while writing memoirs, the more alive my poetry became. Did it become more alive because I used the right tools? OR did it actually become more alive because the tools helped me relive and retaste my life again?

I now believe that the latter holds more truth than the former. And with that said, We do write to taste life twice. And I enjoy tasting it again and again so I read and re-read as well :)

© Anupama Garg

Saturday 22 November 2014

Anupama who are you ?

So someone asked me today - who are you? What do you want? What is it that makes you - you?

And while I tried to give them the usual answers that I often do, I kept wondering, all through the process of this question - who I am exactly.

Of course, since I refuse to indulge in jargon, I wondered. Am I the child prodigy who I was? Or the loved daughter in the top left corner of this collage? A beloved sister of my brothers and an endless number of other brothers and sisters who call me didi and really mean it?

Am I this person who lives to read and write as in the bottom right or the professional in the top right or centre left from top? Am I this lost creature who sometimes just loves to stare the green or the one who travels in an auto to make sure that I can earn baubles enough to continue with the drudgery that we call life?

Am I my ambitions, my unrealized future or my realized, celebrated past? And trust me these pictures are all relatively new ones, not the typical childhood pics, not even one of them. When I glanced through just these, I had a myriad of emotions surging within me. Am I that surge?

The question has been answered to the person who asked it, but the question has risen once again within me. I lack the dedication and energy and consistent discipline to unleash  the potential within me. I'm scared of myself. I'm not sure what will happen if I find out who I am.

But I've always had this craving of finding out and may this craving continue.

Help me find who I am.
For some claim,
I'm the Brahman,
Aham Brahmasmi.
Others claim neti - neti for you,
and then that I am a speck of who you are.
Help me find for myself,
who I am,
who I might be.
But more than anything,
help me not make a cult of it.


© Anupama Garg

Thursday 20 November 2014

Art and me - Filling blank spaces through jewelry

I was young when my parents exposed me to art. Art in all those forms that they had an access to, as a lower - middle - class - single - member - earning couple. But one thing that they had very different from a lot of other parents (their contemporaries and mine too, many more before them and those yet to come as well) was clarity.

My dad knew that the reason behind me joining at least one hobby course every summer was not to make me the marriageable material who knows stitching, sewing, painting, making some stuff toys and puppets, garlands and what not. The main objective was to channelize the whole lot of energy I had left in me, after I studied, played around, read and sang and everything else that I did.

It was till almost the 16th year of my age that this trend continued. And then it stopped, stayed as such for almost a decade, before I started learning artsy stuff again. And the rebound happened with beading and jewelry making. Here are the images of something I made a long while ago.

Now, the idea was not to show off what I made, the idea was to share why do I even make jewelery. True, I started with the intention that I wanted to wear the jewelry, then for some time it was get applause, then it was to generate revenue as well.

Given, last three years I haven't made much, and I am no longer too keen on it either. But then, here's what I really wanted to write about:

Why does any form of art appeal to me? Why did I continue dabbling in jewelry? Why did I (unlike professionals), not design the jewelry first and instead buy the material before and then assemble it later?

It took me some introspection and some serious thought before I found the answer. It was so obvious that it was almost invisible. I do this because I want to fill spaces.

It's no longer about channelizing energy any more, I know ten other things that I can do for that. It is now about filling those blank spaces in my head which get engrossed in color sequencing, bead sequencing, making sure of the knots and the locks.

It is a semi-meditative state of mind, whenever it happens (it rarely does now, my material is at home and I am in Delhi) and whenever I do it alone; It is an enjoyable time shared with mom, if and when we do it together, rarely now as it is.

I'm working on finding a substitute to beading, quilling, making cards and a lot more now. Or maybe I'll simply restart all of that again. The blank spaces are growing in size again.

But till then I'll leave you to think about what is it that fills your blank spaces? :)

© Anupama Garg

p.s. I removed the images for my blog is penalized for some wiered reason

Tuesday 18 November 2014


This poem was written when a friend gave me a challenge to write on paapad one of these days when we were playing poetry extempore together. We enjoyed it, because we both are from the same community and have similar ways of eating paapads. I guess some of you will surely enjoy it more than others, but I hope more or less all of you will enjoy this short piece :)

Paapad is a type of thin wafer prepared from very tight dough of some pulses, dried and then roasted, or fried. It can also be cooked in various combinations. Depending on the spices, condiments and flavours used, it is found in various versions like marwari paapad, bikaneri paapad, sindhi, punjabi etc.

It's a delicacy that can make you go nom nom any moment.

पापड़ तेरी कथा निराली !

उड़द, मूंग के आटे के,
माँ ने कितनी लोई बट डाली ।

तल के कभी, कभी भूना है,
मिर्च तेल का डोरा भी है।
कभी मूंग का, कभी उड़द का,
कभी चने का भी कोरा है ॥
भुने हुए की और कभी यूँ
मसल मसल चूरी कर डाली ।

खिचड़ी के संग स्वाद बढ़ाये,
और बड़ी संग साग पकाये ।
दाना मेथी संग पाक जाये,
सूखा दारु संग कुछ खाएँ।।
हर सिचुएशन तूने संभाली ।

© Anupama Garg

Monday 17 November 2014

To be or not to be !

Hi ! I am Anupama!

This is my usual introduction. But the obvious question is  - Anupama who? Anupama Garg?

The daughter of my parents and the sister of my brothers? Or the professional who works at an X designation with Company Y?

Who exactly am I?

No, my friends. To those,of you who know of my philosophical inclinations,  no I am not trying to answer an existential question here. I am simply trying to discover all those facets in my personality that you have discovered in me, that I have discovered in myself and that are yet to be discovered.

Am I the poetess yet to be published? Am I the woman who lives to write and writes to live? Am I the professional who does almost everything else for living apart from what I do to live?

I am all of these and yet none of them. And I wonder what else is there for me to figure out? A lot of it apparently. My ticks, my turn offs, my preferences, my thought process, my likes, dislikes, pet peeves and what not.

Some of you don't know me yet, might think of this as a narcissist trying to get some attention, but trust me, I'm not.

The reason why I started this blog is to trace my journey and share it with everyone whom I know (or don't) and who is interested in this journey.

The reason is (as some of you know), that when I look deep inside me, I also know you and when I know you, I also discover myself. If I am the Brahman (Aham Brahmasmi) and if this is true for every existing soul, then you're Brahman too. QED.

The reason to explore however, is that I want find the purpose of my existence, the purpose that constantly changes. The purpose that is always the elusive truth.

And if at all I succeed in finding that purpose, I'd then like to embark on the journey with you, to decide whether or not I should be the object to fulfill that purpose.

I know I will continue getting your help, your unconditional love, support and affection as I always have; in this journey where I will hopefully be able to decide...."To be or not to be"

© Anupama Garg



सदियाँ बीत गयीं,
मैंने हनुमान को कहा था,
"सिन्दूर की रेख,
तुम्हारे प्रभु की, आयु बढाती है !"
उसने पोत लिया,
सारे बदन पर !

सदियों सदियों,
उसी सिन्दूर की दुहाई दी गयी मुझे ।
और उसके धुल जाते ही,
थोप दी जाने लगी,
सफेदी मेरे सारे जीवन पर।

सदियाँ बीत गयी हैं।
मैं सिन्दूर नहीं लगाती,
किसी राम की उम्र नहीं बढाती।
तुम्हारा समाज मुझे निर्लज्ज कहता है।

(तुम्हारा समाज वैसे पहले भी अलग नहीं था )

अब सीता नहीं रही;
आखिर सदियों पहले का राम आज भी,
राम  ही तो रहता है?

© Anupama Garg

The Last Samurai

OK. So, I begin with a movie! The day I decide to restart writing is also the day I watch back to back movies with my friends. We watch Argo fuck yourself before we watch The Last Samurai.

And I'm glad we watched The Last Samurai towards the end. A semi-tragic beginning in the sense of the emotion, and a tragic, but unsure end, the hope for a new beginning. I must admit, I personally do not enjoy war or fight sequences a lot, specially the gory types.

But then this wasn't a war or a battle for power, nor for money or sex or any other material wealth. As cliche as it might sound, the war was between a way of life and another way of life.

I'm not going to indulge in my arguments in favor of or against either of the two ways of life. But all I'm going to say is that this movie made me wonder if I've fought enough before giving up?

I wonder if I need some Algren San or some Katsumoto San in my life to tell me what another way of life could be and how not to give up.

Call me dreamy if you would, but there have literally been innumerable days when I have dreamt of being of the warrior race. Sometimes, in the deepest of depressive episodes, I like to think of myself as a warrior. Scarred, defeated multiple times, but capable of giving life a shot worth it in so many different ways.

I never knew myself to be a fighter, till I faced a series of family and personal crises back to back. And then one day I woke up and realized that I wanted it to end. That I wanted a NORMAL life. I still sometimes like to think that way.

But that was also the day when I realized that survivors who have survived not by lying low but fighting it through, usually fight long wars. AND, they don't become normal :)

That said, the least I can say is, that the movie was motivational, inspiring and came across at the right time for me to feel my inner strength awakening again.

© Anupama Garg

Image Courtesy : http://images5.fanpop.com/image/photos/24500000/The-Last-Samurai-the-last-samurai-24583995-600-400.jpg