Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Ae ve mere peer di jugni ji

I realise I’m beginning to make a symbol of fireflies. The other day, I relished the idea of a firefly-guide, dancing ahead of me as it illuminates the path. The words for it sound so nice – jugnu, minmini, minugupurugu...
Shweta and I were trekking once in Coorg. It was a simply wonderful; each campsite during the six-day trek was special. We ploughed through spice and coffee plantations one afternoon and arrived at a flattish sort of a valley where we set up camp. It had rained earlier but the mud and fibrous grass had caked into fairly hard ground. As we sat about, we puzzled over crater-like depressions that riddled the field. Largeish depressions; in fact, I sat comfortably in one. Then we remembered we were in elephant country. These pockmarked fields had, perhaps only last night, had a wild herd cross it, and what I was sitting in was a footprint.

We had dinner around the fire and by the time we wound down to snug sleepiness, the looming hills around us came alive with fireflies. They blinked and messaged – their codes complex, secret and very beautiful.

All this to point to a new header:

tough as we sound
our eyes
on the fireflies
-Paul Pfleuger, Jr.

We have tried to be brave this year. Disbelief comes even now, especially every morning at the point before complete wakefulness. Reminders come in bald statements: Mum’s dead. Of course. It’s silly to be sissy about death. It comes to everyone and when it’s such a good one, it’s cause for rejoicing. Also the alternative to this bracing attitude is a very crumbly mess. Not a good idea. It would be unworthy, unfair to the woman who put in so much to strengthening us, and quite wrong.

It is enough to be given the occasional firefly.

The title is from this Coke Studio lyric:
Ae ve mere peer di jugni ji (oh, the light/spirit of my sainted master)

The song by Arif Lohar and Meesha Shafi is here:

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Jab koi doosra nahin hota

मेरे साथ साथ सदा रहा, वो मेरी नज़र से छुपा हुआ
येह अजीब हिज्र-ओ-विसाल है, ना कभी मिला ना जुदा हुआ

He is ever with me, even if hidden from view
A strange union-separation; we never met, never parted

मेरे साथ जुगनू है और जुगनू की इस सफ़र में भी साथ क्या
ये चराग कोई चराग है, ना जला हुआ ना बुझा हुआ

I am guided by a firefly, and what a companion he is!
Is it a lamp, then? never lit, never extinguished

Happy Birthday, Amma!