Saturday, 27 February 2010

The First Rain

Pehli Barish (The First Rain) is an incredible poetic work of one of Urdu’s most popular and eminent poet Nasir Kazmi (1925-1972). Pehli Barish was published posthumously in 1975, although it was completed in 1972 before his death, but Nasir Kazmi was reluctant to its publication then, as he was of the view that his readers were not yet ready for this experiment which was new in form and content.

In Pehli Barish we see Nasir Kazmi in a new and completely different mode, much more mysterious and symbolic. The poems of Pahli Barish which consists of 24 Gazals (poems) and 219 Ashaar(couplets) are in form of a complete story line. Each Couplet and Poem though complete in itself is also part of a bigger picture that leads to a complete story. Pehli Barish is a journey, a search of a friend, a lover, a home, a paradise that is found, lost and regained. More this is a search of Self, which the poet finally discovers after losing everything but the remembrance of God brings peace, solace and ultimate realization that this journey was an experience and it has to end one day, but it ended finally after the true companion was found.

This is metaphorically very rich Book, although very simple as you read along but this simplicity leads you nowhere if the metaphors are not understood. These metaphors are from mythology, religion, literature, and human evolution and are beautifully and artistically vulcanized by the poet and thus he presents one of the most beautiful collages of poetic excellence that breath and pulsates like an organ.

The first rains that this grand poem brought is still drizzling somewhere inside my unconsciousness and soaking the untouched, unattended and unreached myths and realities of my being,The First Rain, to me means a Search. A Search after receiving the bliss from the first drop of rain that created Life and recognition of Life.

Friday, 19 February 2010

A Life of One's Own

Marion Milner (1900-1998), was a British author and psychoanalyst, and a pioneer of introspective journaling. At the age of 26 she began to keep a diary, this was because it slowly became clear to her that, her life was not as it ought to be, although from external point of view it was going very well, since she was earning her living in interesting work, having a full leisure life and plenty of friends. The book ‘A Life of One’s Own’ grew out of this seven years diary and this amply exhibits what journaling and dairy writing do. Following are excerpts from this book which was first published in 1934.

“When I first began, at the end of each day, to go through what had happened and pick out what seemed best to me, I had quite unexpected results. Before I began this experiment, when I had drifted through life unquestioningly, I had measured my life in terms of circumstances. I had thought I was happy when I was having what was generally considered ‘a good time’. But when I began to try and balance up each day’s happiness I had found that there were certain moments which had a special quality of their own, a quality which seemed to be almost independent of what was going on around me, since they occurred sometimes on the most trivial occasions. They stood out because of a feeling of happiness which was far beyond what I had ordinarily meant by ‘enjoying myself’, and because of this they tended to oust all other concerns in my daily record.”

“By keeping a diary of what made me happy I had discovered that happiness came when I was most widely aware. So I had finally come to the conclusion that my task was to become more and more aware, more and more understanding with an understanding that was not at all the same thing as intellectual comprehension. I had come to realize that it was not, after all, a question of a life of consciousness as against a life of natural impulse; for without consciousness, for me at least, there was no freedom of natural expression, but only a clash of haphazardly acquired conventions and welter of opposing and misunderstood ideals. Without understanding I was at the mercy of blind habit; with understanding, I could develop my own rules for living and find out which of the conflicting exhortations of a changing civilization was appropriate to my needs.”

Tuesday, 9 February 2010

No More Horizons

A lonely tree of hope
Swaying but standing tall,
Stretching its arm
extending embrace,
In a spring that is ripe for pruning past,
cultivating the future,
The vanished birds are re-appearing,
Coming back and singing the forgotten songs,
Wind whispering and echoing symphonies of glorious mysteries,
Leaves fluttering and shining with
drops of morning dew,
They gleaming like a tear on beloved's cheek,
That washes away all the mistrust and all the misdeeds.

Why Not the Best?

Colin Wilson (1931) is a prolific writer of fiction and non-fiction. In 1956 at the age of 24 he wrote his first non-fictional work The Outsider, which was both praised and highly criticized. The work examines and explores the psyche of the social outsider and his effect on society and society’s effect on him through the works and lives of various artists including Albert Camus, Jean-Paul Sartre, T.S.Elliot, Earnest Hemingway, Hermann Hesse, Vincent Van Gogh, Friedrick Nietzsche and Fydor Dostoevsky. In the final chapter of this Book he justifies his belief that Western Philosophy is afflicted with a heedless pessimistic fallacy.

Three years later in an Autobiographical note he wrote an interesting insight about the ultimate question that lies behind the Outsider, which is now part of his book Religion and the Rebel:

“How can man extend his range of consciousness? I believe that human beings experience a range of mental states which is as narrow as the middle three notes of a piano keyboard. I believe that the possible range of mental state is as wide as the whole piano keyboard, and the man’s sole aim and business is to extend his range from usual three or four notes to the whole keyboard. The men I dealt with in the Outsider had one thing in common: an instinctive knowledge that their range could be extended, and a nagging dissatisfaction with the range of their everyday experience.”

The Question which each one of us is confronted with, consciously and unconsciously is: Why not the best?