If love was!

To the love of my life..

 

If love was a drop of water, id own an ocean in your name.

If love was a leaf, id own the Amazon forest in your name.

If love was a particle of sand, Id own the Cassino beach in your name.

If love was illegal money, id own Swiss bank in your name.

If love was a currency note, id own the Federal Reserve of the USA in your name.

If love was a snow flake, id own the Himalayas in your name.

If love was a legal word, Id own the Indian Constitution in your name.

If love was a planet, Id own Milky Way in your name.

If love was Higgs Boson, Id own a black hole in your name.

 

If love was..

Smitten

To the love of my life..

 

 

Baby, I’ve never felt it this way.

Is it just plain craziness or some magic done by you.? Is it your face, or someone is voodooing me.? Is it your smell, or my senses are cheating me.?

 

Baby, I’ve never felt it this way.

Is it your hair, or I’m lost in black woods.? Is it your touch, or a breeze of air, melting me.? Is it your caress, or im floating in the clouds.?

 

Baby, I’ve never felt it this way.

Is it your aura, or I’m in the heavens.? Is it your voice, or the birds singing to me.? Is it your smile, or the beauty of the whole universe teasing me.?

 

Baby, I’ve never felt it this way..

Rustic Life in Black and White

I am born and brought up in a typical village of western part of UP. I was there till I was 16. After that I moved out for graduation. When I left my village, I didn’t realize that I was effectively leaving it forever and that I would never go back there and will only be visiting it thereafter.

I miss it often. I miss the absence of a continuous humming that mars most of today’s life. This humming that has become a typical characteristic of urban settings, the humming that can only be felt by the absence of it. Its presence today in as omnipresent as the abundance of suspended particles. I miss that supreme serenity, those low level of decibels.

Few days ago, on a very hurried trip, I captured a few scenes of the same village I grew up in. Lemme attempt to describe the feeling with each one of those stills..

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Traits of Emotionally Intelligent people

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An article, written by Travis Bradberry on emotional intelligence..

The article is taken from http://latino-star.com

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A recent international study surveyed more than 500 business leaders and asked them what sets great employees apart. The researchers wanted to know why some people are more successful than others at work, and the answers were surprising; leaders chose “personality” as the leading reason.

Notably, 78% of leaders said personality sets great employees apart, more than cultural fit (53%) and even an employee’s skills (39%).

“We should take care not to make the intellect our God; it has, of course, powerful muscles, but no personality.” –Albert Einstein

The problem is, when leaders say ‘personality’ they don’t understand what they’re referring to. Personality consists of a stable set of preferences and tendencies through which we approach the world. Being introverted or extroverted is an example of an important personality trait.

Personality traits form at an early age and are fixed by early adulthood. Many important things about you change over the course of your lifetime, but your personality isn’t one of them.

Personality is distinct from intellect (or IQ). The two don’t occur together in any meaningful way. Personality is also distinct from emotional intelligence (or EQ), and this is where the study, and most leaders for that matter, have misinterpreted the term.

The qualities that leaders in the study called personality were actually emotional intelligence skills. And unlike your personality, which is set in stone, you can change and improve your EQ.

Exceptional employees don’t possess God-given personality traits; they rely on simple, everyday EQ skills that anyone can incorporate into their repertoire.

Leaders don’t need to go searching for these skills either (though it doesn’t hurt when you find them); their duty is to help everyone on their team harness these skills to become exceptional.

Just consider some of the EQ skills that leaders and managers commonly mislabel as personality characteristics. These are the skills that set exceptional employees apart.

They’re willing to delay gratification. One thing an exceptional employee never says is, “That’s not in my job description.” Exceptional employees work outside the boundaries of job descriptions. They’re neither intimidated nor entitled; instead of expecting recognition or compensation to come first, they forge ahead in their work, confident that they’ll be rewarded later but unconcerned if they’re not.

They can tolerate conflict. While exceptional employees don’t seek conflict, they don’t run away from it either. They’re able to maintain their composure while presenting their positions calmly and logically. They’re able to withstand personal attacks in pursuit of the greater goal and never use that tactic themselves.

They focus. Student pilots are often told, “When things start going wrong, don’t forget to fly the plane.” Plane crashes have resulted from pilots concentrating so hard on identifying the problem that they flew the plane into the ground. Eastern Airlines Flight 401 is just one example: The flight crew was so concerned about the landing gear being down that they didn’t realize they were losing altitude until it was too late, despite alarms going off in the cockpit. Exceptional employees understand the principle of “Just fly the plane.” They don’t get distracted by cranky customers, interoffice squabbles, or switch to a different brand of coffee. They can differentiate between real problems and background noise; therefore, they stay focused on what matters.

They’re judiciously courageous. Exceptional employees are willing to speak up when others are not, whether it’s to ask a difficult (or “embarrassingly” simple) question or to challenge an executive decision. However, that’s balanced with common sense and timing. They think before they speak and wisely choose the best time and place to do so.

They’re in control of their egos. Exceptional employees have egos. While that’s part of what drives them, they never give their egos more weight than what is deserved. They’re willing to admit when they’re wrong and willing to do things someone else’s way, whether it’s because the other way is better or it’s important to maintain team harmony.

They’re never satisfied. Exceptional employees have unparalleled convictions that things can always be better—and they’re right. No one is ever done growing, and there is no such thing as “good enough” when it comes to personal improvement. No matter how well things are going, exceptional employees are driven to improve, without forgetting to give themselves a healthy pat on the back.

They recognize when things are broken and fix them. Whether it’s a sticky desk drawer or an inefficient, wasteful process affecting the cash flow of the entire department, exceptional employees don’t walk past problems. “Oh, it’s been that way forever,” simply isn’t in their vocabulary. They see problems as issues to be fixed immediately; it’s that simple.

They’re accountable. If you’re a manager trying to decipher a bungled report, “It’s not my fault” is the most irritating phrase in the English language. Exceptional employees are accountable. They own their work, their decisions, and all of their results—good or bad. They bring their mistakes to management’s attention rather than hoping no one will find out. They understand that managers aren’t out to assign blame; they’re out to get things done.

They’re marketable. “Marketable” can mean many things. Inside the organization, it means “likeable.” Exceptional employees are well liked by co-workers. They have integrity and leadership skills (even if they’re not in an official leadership position) that people respond to. Externally, it means they can be trusted to represent the brand well. Managers know they can send these employees out to meet with clients and prospects without worrying about what they’ll say or do.

They neutralize toxic people. Dealing with difficult people is frustrating and exhausting for most. Exceptional employees control their interactions with toxic people by keeping their feelings in check. When they need to confront a toxic person, they approach the situation rationally. They identify their own emotions and don’t allow anger or frustration to fuel the chaos. They also consider the difficult person’s standpoint and are able to find solutions and common ground. Even when things completely derail, emotionally intelligent people are able to take the toxic person with a grain of salt to avoid letting him or her bring them down.

Bringing It All Together

Take notice of what’s not mentioned: coding skills, years of experience, business degrees, etc. These things matter, but they won’t make you exceptional.

What other qualities make people exceptional? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below as I learn just as much from you as you do from me.

Publication does not imply endorsement of views by the World Economic Forum.

The NPA visit

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Ek do ek, ek do ek, ek do ek.. is what reverberates in the minds of IFS probationers of 2014 batch, when they are asked of their recent NPA experience. Everybody well before time, in impeccable uniforms and perfect attendance; perfect performances, no obstacle strong enough to slow down even the slowest of us, such was the terror of NPA punctuality! Or wait, was it? was it? May be it was just the pride of being a part of our service, that coaxed everyone to keep our heads high within the judging walls of our sister training institute, NPA.

 

That said, the writer wishes to make an attempt to capture the NPA experience in moments.

 

By AP express to S M Diaz – The long train journey passed by sleeping, pruning of pockets, intermittently breaking phone calls to loved-or-not-so-loved-ones and of course the favorite Indian timepass, criticizing the system. As the NPA buses took us through the grand expressway of Hyderabad to the well furnished rooms of SM Diaz, their counterpart of our executive hostel, excitement increased. The warm water bath in the glass-made bathing cabinet was a true comfort after the long tiring journey.

 

The Morning Drills – After a stomach full sumptuous meal in the night and a good night sleep, probationers were all set to take on the oft-quoted grilling drills of NPA. One of the ustaads, Chhagan Singh took special care in boosting the confidence of the squads. He even bestowed the title of Commander to one probationer Tez Srivastava, who after such a confidence booster did a splendid job of leading the squad. First two days Aerobics and Yoga turned out to be quite eventful. Some probationers even got enthused enough to ask questions on fitness-after-pregnancy. The energy level of the probationers on the third day Cross Country was a sight to reckon with. After what turned out to be end of their Cross Country route, when Ustaad asked if we were tired, one probationer Vinod, jovially answered that we were now sufficiently warmed up and can start the Cross Country.

 

The Obstacles moment – In the team number 2, the briefing started with a tussle to capture power. Susas and Bama had a neck to neck, where Vinod’s vote finally swung the balance of power in Bama’s favor to become the team leader. But this was only to Bama’s horror that he being the team leader, will have to carry the toolkit backpack through a series of obstacles to reach the crime scene. We were then instructed with SOPs about the crime scene. And we had a series of pleasant surprises while our team of eight crossed all the obstacles with a midas touch. Kiran ji heroically jumped from a height of 12 feet and Esther crossed over a barrier of 6 feet in one jump. But we all almost broke into tears of joy when we saw that the rope didn’t break even when Susas swung through it.

 

The Millennium Lectures – The perfect unison of impeccable dressing sense of all probationers was worth admiring specially when it was topped by the limitless patience and an unbelievable awake percentage through the day long lectures, even when NPA tried their best to stuff us with sumptuous meals five times a day. Many probationers even surprised all the speakers by asking the quality of questions, almost giving a perception that they’ve understood everything.

 

The Tech moment – The three marathon sessions on Call Data Record and Tower Dump analysis and Mobile equipment were truly marvelous. Few of the technically sound probationers confirmed that the expertise and sound technical knowledge of the speakers were of highest standards. That gave us confidence that our fellow probationers of NPA were in good hands. Although some probationers were able to take more interest than the others, but Babaji, in his oft-noticeable enthusiasm wasn’t left behind. He ended up taking the contact numbers of operators of all the six mobile equipment data retrievers.

 

The Goal moment – The friendly football match between the probationers of IFS and IPS batches were a feast for eyes. With IPS side with a good offence and IFS side with an amazing defence, except for the first goal that happened within first minute by the IPS side, no further goals could be scored. The drizzles of course added to the spectacular show that was put up by the players.

 

The Raveendran moment – Awed! That was the most suitable term used to describe the status of probationers, when they were found glued and swayed with the connection that this 1995 batch IPS officer of Bihar cadre established with them. He took us to a fairy ride through his career in Bihar and touched some of the most practical aspects of ground functioning. And of course, Babaji did not miss taking his contact details.

 

Among other things, the probationers felt awed by food quality, multitudes of infrastructure, fitness level of the PTIs, some more than others, number of ball boys in the tennis courts, and the size of their gyms. But the mirage lasted only for sometime, until they started realizing what our academy had. Infrastructure that is harmonious to nature, PTIs who are like our family, tennis courts and gym, where fitness matters and not luxury.

The voyage that we took for a week, truly took us on a natural path, where confluence between the two services was felt essential, lifetime friendships were forged and a mutual respect was recognized. We were only left wishing that the visit would be for a longer duration.

The writer takes pride and honor in thanking everyone, who made this trip so flawless, eventful and memorable. The guidance of Directors of both the academies and the tireless effort of Course Directors of both IFS and IPS batches was instrumental in perfect execution of this harmonious tryst between the protectors of the humanity and the protectors of providers of the humanity.

An 80 days plan for CSAT 2014

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Hi guys!

I know I know, the notification is out and I am late in publishing it.. Actually I wrote the whole blog; Goddamn power trip! And the whole unsaved blog gone. Hence I’m writing it again. Let us call it an 80 days plan now.

The blog is largely aimed at my students, but nonetheless will be helpful for anyone in prioritizing prelims preparation for this CSE2014.

The purpose of this blog is not to give you any quick pill. It is to help you prioritize your preparation better and hence to improve your chances for a better score. Let us first know what we’re trying to scale.

 

The target:

The cut-off in 2013 was exorbitantly high. It was close to 240. And I can promise you that it is going to come down, not because the competition is less, but because UPSC would not want it to continue increasing like this. And the paper is going to be tougher. The cut off was primarily high last year because a lot of people with affinity to mathes ended up scoring very high in paper 2. And that is where UPSC will rein it. Paper 2 may not be as scoring as it has been. The mathes portion of paper 2 is going to reduce. Hence the capacity of Paper 2 alone to make you pass is going to reduce slightly. That means more focus on paper 1 is needed.

I am guessing the cutoff may be close to 220. Hence the comfortable target that you should set is about 110-120 in paper 1, and 120-140 in paper 2. Of course everyone will have his/her own customized targets and that’s fine. But the point I wish to make here is that you should try harder in Paper 1 this time.

Let us focus on the two papers one by one.

 

Target 120-140 in Paper 2:

As I understand the CSAT paper will be something on line with 2012 paper. The paper will have lesser on mathes portion. The following is what I am predicting:

  1. Reasoning and DI will be retained as in 2013, may even increase a bit.
  2. Core mathematical calculation based portion will come down.
  3. The level of Comprehension will definitely increase. There may be lengthier and slightly more difficult passages.
  4. English questions may not change.
  5. There may be more diagram based questions. These things are clubbed under Non-verbal Reasoning. Class worksheets on Pictorial Reasoning and Imaginative Reasoning should be given due weightage.

Whatever preparation you need to do for CSAT, you must finish it by mid July, as the later part of these 80 days will/should be more focused on Paper 1. Beyond mid July, what you can do is some practice of Reasoning questions from various test series available in market. And for this, I want you to have a look at the Priority Listing of CSAT Topics at Welfarist blog. And do the topics on the basis of two factors: Your own comfort with the topic and its priority in the list. If you feel just a bit worried about a topic and its high in priority, NOW is the time to practice it more and get a hold on it. If there’s a topic that you’re not so good at and it is low in the priority, it is OKAY to leave it.

You may have already timed yourself well. By that I mean you are expected to have a reasonable understanding of your own timing, as to how much time you take in what kind of question and other activities like bubble filling. If you’ve already not done it, devote first half of July (say upto 20th of July) for times Mock Tests. This is not to test your knowledge or judge your preparation (by that, I mean you to not be judgmental by the result of mock tests), but only to be aware of your sense of timing.

From the later part of the preparation, you can probably take out one day to have a look at all the work sheets and recall all the tricks/tools learnt in the classes. Do it once, say on 1st of August, and then once again say on 17th of August.

This brings us to Paper 1. Let us detail its strategy.

 

Target 110-120 in GS:

This is the area where you need to be relatively better this year. The focus on Current polity may be a little more. Economy as usual; Medieval history slightly more; higher weightage of Ecology and Environment; slightly more on World Geography and Not much of fact based current affairs. Science and Tech at its usual.

In general, Revision is the key to Paper 1. Whatever you study, you should be able to revise at least two three times. Else, you’re likely to have doubts during the exam related to the question, and more likely that you will end up marking it wrong. Keeping the less time available, I suggest taking note of the following syndromes:

The Material Syndrome: As the exam nears, available material in the market will increase exponentially. A lot many of your friends, most of them with no clarity on what is important will start recommending one or the other new source. Material from practically every coaching institution will be on display on XYZ Book Depot and the likes. But it is very very important that you do not get crazy in this rat race. You have to have faith in the material that you have been following. There’s neither enough time, nor is there a need to follow so much of material. You should need to consolidate what you already know; may be marginally improve from some current affair angle on that topic.

The Portion Syndrome: It is inevitable that, as the exam approaches, you will start to realize that there are some portions that you have not done. Now, here is an important piece of advice. Do not get crazy/worried about these portions. If you think that the portion is important, try finding some sleek crisp material on it and go through it a couple of times. It can be there in some Chronicle special/regular issue or in some Crack IAS notes that you can borrow from some friend of yours. And if you think, you cannot manage that material, do not lose your sleep over it. It is OKAY to leave some portion. Not to encourage this trend, but to sympathize with you, let me tell you that I managed to pass all five prelims that I have appeared in, without every studying a single bit of History.

The India Year Book/Manorama Year Book/ Plan Document/Yojana/Kurukshetra/Budget/Economic Survey/PD Economy Syndrome: Slowly you’ll start to realize that you have not been doing these things regularly. Guys these materials are largely focused at mains preparation. Now I am not saying that doing these will not help you in Prelims, but then given the time available, you can not do much of it. And I am going tell you how you’ll manage without these. As and when the Budget comes, I suggest reading the budget summary and knowing about some of the new/prominent schemes. You can go through some of the boxes of Economic Survey when it comes. PD Economy (Pratiyogita Darpan Economy issue; this comes just before prelims) can be looked at in like three-four days max. First week of August can be the time when you look at it. Once again, this is not mandatory, as many of these things you anyway know. And that is all, that’s realistic right now.

The ill-prepared syndrome: You will see a lot of your friends buying a lot of new material and talking about some of the things that you may not have even heard of. Guys, there is NOTHING in it for you to conclude that you are ill-prepared. I can bet there is equal number of things that you know and those of your friends don’t. So this notion itself is ill-conceived. Do not worry about it at all. Just keep doing what you are doing confidently at your own steady pace.

The Newspaper Syndrome: It is a common sight to see piling newspapers and the questions – till what date should I be reading newspapers. Guy just discard all the newspaper that are already piling. Start TODAY, and prioritize the news articles. Prelims is not so much dependent on newspaper now a days. This is not to say that you miss it, but you prioritize the portions. In fact, you can do away with news papers till prelims by reading only a news-paper based magazine like Chronicle or Wizard. Please understand that this substitute may not work for mains preparation.

 

 

Time Management:

Let us plan the strategy according to the time available. Reverse Engineering says that you should be keeping the last week for your final revision. I can suggest the following plan:

  1. T-6th day: CSAT tricks/tools revision
  2. T-5th day: Economy revision + Ecology + some current affairs
  3. T-4th day: History revision + some current affairs
  4. T-3rd day: Geography revision + Environment + some current affairs
  5. T-2nd day: Polity revision + some current affairs
  6. T-1st day: Keep the day cool, NOTHING should be pending for this day. This day must be kept cool for light random reading. NO NEW READING for sure.
  7. The D Day: Stay cool and crack the exam.

This basically means that your second last (which indeed may be the first revision for many of you :P) revision must be done by 17th of August. As even a single day is extremely important during the last week. Please ensure that you do not stretch this limit of 17th of August at any cost.

Now from there, work backwards to divide the time you have for your second last revision of the whole GS paper. This part I am not going to micromanage for you. In fact, nobody can do it for you. You must do it yourself.

It is extremely important that you follow a proper schedule in the last month leading to the exam. And by that I mean, you must get up at an early hour and sleep early in night. This appears to be so trivial right now, but sometimes becomes the decisive factor that decides if you pass prelims or not. If you do not maintain a good schedule, under the anxiety it becomes difficult to sleep timely in the night before the exam and then with less sleep, your mind becomes slow and becomes detrimental for the CSAT paper. You must push yourself and adjust your body cycle accordingly so that you’re able to sleep by 10PM max every night and wake up by 5AM in morning.

 

General Tips:

Taking care of your health is an important concern. Please make sure that you take proper meals every day. Do not eat much of oily stuff and anything that is termed unhealthy. Good health is the key to a sound mind, and that alone gets you better marks in CSAT. I will specially be writing about a ONE WEEK PLAN for CSAT later, emphasizing much more on your diet during that phase.

Keep good company. Brooding over what is going to happen, what kind of paper is going to come and hence indulging in endless, baseless and pointless evening tea time discussions is to be totally avoided.

Just to wrap us, what I wish to tell you, is that you can take my word that you can crack Prelims in these 80 days. What you need is a faith in your hard work till now and the hard work that you are promising me to put in, in these 80 days. There are a very very large number of students, who definitely had the caliber and even had the requisite preparation to pass prelims, but still do not pass prelims solely because they lost hope. And that is something I want you to avoid at any cost. Have faith in yourself and take my word that if you have sat through my classes and understood everything, you have the requisite skills to pass it through this very time. Just keep up the hard work in these 80 hours. So just promise me two things today:

  1. That you will keep faith in you, your material and God.
  2. That you will do your best and not give up till the end.

And I tell you from the depth of my heart that you’re going to pass prelims! My wishes are with you.

Godspeed!!

A 100 days plan for CSAT 2014!

24th of August, 2014! Prelims is 103 days away.. This calls for a reality check and a fine tuning of your strategy, as your inch towards the goal.

The notification is just a week away. And as the rumor has it, it is possible that the prelims pattern may take a swing.

I’d be writing a 100 days strategy just a day after the notification. Do come back for it!

Till then, know that No matter what the final format of UPSC is, your hard work is going to pay you. Close this webpage with my assurance to you that irrespective of your present level of preparation, it is within your reach to pass prelims! Pick up your armor, gear up your motor, and get going with full throttle.

Cheers!

 

Apologies to come up with the blog timely.. Instead read another blog now: 80 days plan to CSAT 2014.

एक और साल चला गया

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मेरे जीवन कि पोथी के, 365 पन्ने लिखकर,

कुछ किस्से, कुछ बातें करके, कुछ प्यारी सी यादें देकर;

कुछ खास chapters को लिखकर, करके कदमताल चला गया,

एक और साल चला गया|

 

कुछ अपने थे, कुछ सपने थे, कुछ अपनों के भी सपने थे,

कुछ पूरे हुए, कुछ नहीं हुए, पर जो जो थे सब अपने थे;

जीवन के पहिये को धकेल, बनके भूतकाल चला गया,

एक और साल चला गया|

 

कुछ पा लेने की ख्वाहिश थी, कुछ बन जाने का सोचा था,

जब पंडित जी के पास गए, तो सुना ग्रहों में लोचा था;

यहाँ घिस घिस के मर गए और वो, मस्तानी चाल चला गया,

एक और साल चला गया|

 

कहते हैं जिंदगी सफर है एक, लोग आते जाते रहते हैं,

कुछ नए मिले, कुछ छूट गए, पर याद सब आते रहते हैं;

गहरे रिश्तों को झिन्झोड़कर, करके बेहाल चला गया,

एक और साल चला गया|

 

 

जो बिछुड गया वो बिछुड गया, कुछ नहीं मिला तो नहीं मिला,

Garden सूना नहीं होता है, जो एक फूल कोई नहीं खिला;

सब शिकवों, गिलों को दफनाकर फिर मैंने कदम बढ़ाया है,

एक नया साल फिर आया है|

 

कहते हैं जो कोशिश करते हैं, उनकी कभी हार नहीं होती,

चाहे किस्मत क्यूँ न कच्ची हो, लेकिन हर बार नहीं होती;

बस येही सोच दृढ-निश्चय कर, फिर से एक जज्बा पाया है

एक नया साल फिर आया है|

 

हाँ last year भी सोचा था, कि सातो दिन gym जाऊंगा,

Six months target रखके, मैं six pacs बनाऊंगा;

फिर से एक बार decide कर, मैंने Gold’s का form मंगवाया है,

हाँ नया साल फिर आया है|

 

गिर गिर के उठेंगे बार बार, हमें खुद कि राह बनानी है,

इन ग्रहों को भी देखा जाएगा, फिर से किस्मत आजमानी है;

इस नए साल के मौके ने, सोते से सिंह को जगाया है,

एक नया साल फिर आया है|

 

 

अपनों का साथ चाहता हूँ, चाहे हे प्रभु, मैं जहाँ रहूँ,

नए साल कि इस शुरुवात से ही, जहाँ अपने हो, मैं वहां रहूँ;

सब healthy, wealthy और wise रहें, ऐसे new greetings लाया है,

एक नया साल फिर आया है|

 

नव वर्ष, सुखद, मंगलमय हो, मैं ऐसी आशा करता हूँ,

साहस, निश्चय और स्वस्थ्य बढे, ऐसी अभिलाषा करता हूँ;

नए नए resolutions के साथ, new friends, new wishes लाया है,

एक नया साल फिर आया है|

Kshan bhar ko kyun pyar kiya tha?

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Another masterpiece by Shri Bachchan ji.

अर्द्ध रात्रि में सहसा उठकर,
पलक संपुटों में मदिरा भर,
तुमने क्यों मेरे चरणों में अपना तन-मन वार दिया था?
क्षण भर को क्यों प्यार किया था?

‘यह अधिकार कहाँ से लाया!’
और न कुछ मैं कहने पाया –
मेरे अधरों पर निज अधरों का तुमने रख भार दिया था!
क्षण भर को क्यों प्यार किया था?

वह क्षण अमर हुआ जीवन में,
आज राग जो उठता मन में –
यह प्रतिध्वनि उसकी जो उर में तुमने भर उद्गार दिया था!
क्षण भर को क्यों प्यार किया था?

Harivansh Rai Bachchan

Aside

that veiled girl

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Sitting next to a window seat, she seems a bit hesitant. There are possibly a few of her family members. The compartment is just full to its capacity, with some of the co passengers standing. Four of them are jostling to fit on a seat of three. Just next to her is a very bubbly cheerful female, who is possibly a cousin of her. The cousin has a cute kid in her arms and she seems content with the kid who seems startled with all the tea vendors passing by.

It is the first day of November and the temperature is mildly cold. But as the day is just rising noone seems bothered to use the winter clothes. Windows are open and the stench of typical Indian rail tracks is prominent. My veiled girl silently keeps nodding and possibly smiling as her cousin keeps chirping and laughing with her broad grin.

Its a music to the ears, as train chugs on. I am sitting almost across, diagonally with her, so with occasional grazes, I get the glance of her pretty eyes. But she’s so shy that one eye contact makes her face searching for coins on the floor. The train started about an hour ago, and I’ve barely had a few glances at her, in spite of finding myself so attracted to her deep black eyes. With habitations left behind, the train catches speed and a cool breeze makes its way through windows as a powerful weapon. As if it was trying hard to take the veil off her face. The wind tries harder and sensing its intentions, she rearranges her veil and ties it steadfast. I’m beginning to believe that the eyes are all I shall get to admire in this four and a half hour journey.

The train reaches a small station and slows down. And the wind looses its stamina. Tea and coffee vendors get in, and continue on their business missions. As they pass by again and again through a few of standing passengers, it becomes increasingly difficult to steal even her glance. My minuscule amount of hope of being able to see her is loosing its sheen. Yet that once-in-ten-minutes eye contact with her is keeping me wanting for more.

Her cousin probably has noticed that I’m shyly trying to admire her veiled sister. She looks at me and then talks to her and laughs out loud childishly. I feel a bit embarrassed and keep myself searching outside the window, for something that lies hidden behind that black veil just across my seat..

Few more minutes pass and the speeding train takes slower pace. The typical brakes burning smell of Indian railways fills my nostrils and I give it one more try to look at what my heart has almost made a mission. The cousin seems tired by holding the kid, so she gives him to the veiled beauty. I talk to myself that i may have another excuse to look at her as the kid keep playing and drawing attention of the co-passengers. She of course notices and then talks to the cousin. Both of them look at me and smile at each other. I’m now certain that it is amply clear to them how I’m stealing glances. Two hours of journey and the wobbling pace of train has probably grown me a bit bolder and I no longer feel shy knowing that they know. As I give a broad smile in the acknowledgement, next moment has all my raised hopes broken. Her mother, who was sitting just opposite to her and has probably taken notice of this mutual admiration, looks back and passes me a will-kill-you-if-you-dont-stop-admiring-my-daughter look. and I suddenly find myself crushed under her intense message.

Another stop makes way for few more vendors, and I get something to eat. I eat and drink and some more time passes but her eyes just don’t get off my mind. The craving for that one look of what lies behind that black piece of cloth. Curiosity, desire or desperation, not sure what is, but it keeps me hooked on to my mission and after this brief interlude, when I turn my head, I find the cousin sheepishly staring at me. Eyes meet and she gives a smile while pinching my veiled girl. On the pretext of searching for someone in the compartment, she takes a brief glance and the eye contact leaves us shyly smiling.

The wind is still fighting its battle with the knots of the veil, and I’m silently praying for its victory. The intensity of desire to get something that seems prohibited keep increasing as the realization that you’re unlikely to get it, while a small hope kindles in heart.

My mind is still running around to think of something that may possibly have her removing the veil but of course it wasn’t for me to do. This mental tussle, occasional glances and shy and sheepish smiles don’t let me take notice that four hours have passed and i suddenly realise that her family is preparing to get down. Next station was probably their destination. My heart starts to pound as if a favorite toy is being snatched away from a kid who hasn’t even played with it properly. But then, of course the toy was never mine to keep. How foolish of me! The train stops and they start to get down. Just before getting down she turns back to give a last look of those eyes, as if to bid goodbye. That one last look with the realization that I shall never see her again. Even if i see her, how would i recognize, i haven’t even seen her face. Once again, foolish of me! But then I never wanted to see her later, right! All I asked was to see what was behind that veil with an unapproved assumption that it was something very beautiful. And that one last look in her eyes and I almost knew that I will never know what kept heart pounding for last four hours. Her eyes just say the goodbye and mine kept pleading to show me that charming face (was it? I was never to know)

And she got down. While the train stayed at the small station and a broken platform, the girl who I had crowned the prettiest girl I’ve known, with only a look at her eyes, was getting away. They were five of them and she was walking behind others.

They walked a few steps and just when I thought that it was one of my unlucky days, fortune smiled at me. She turned around, removed her veil, smiled at me and waved a hand at me probably murmuring a bye…

…. Yes, she was Captivating! that veiled girl, my veiled girl!