लालू रिटर्न्स और मैं

मेरे जैसे अपने को बुद्धिजीवी कहने वाले अक्सर राजनैतिक चुप्पी साध लेते हैं. ये कह कर कि इस देश का कुछ नहीं हो सकता. लोगों ने देश से भागने के चक्कर में जी जान मेहनत की, जुगाड़ लगाए, और नेताओं नें ये रोड, वो इंडस्ट्री खड़े कर दिये कमीशनखोरी के चक्कर में. मज़ाक मज़ाक में देश टैलेंट की खान बन गया, और विकास के हिलोड़ें लेने लगा. इसी धक्केबाजी में मैं भी बिहार के एक गाँव से उठ कर अमरीका रिटर्न डॉक्टर बन बैठा. पर इसका सारा क्रेडिट महानुभाव लालूजी को. भला मोमबत्ती में पढ़ने में जो शक्ति थी वो ट्यूबलाइट में कहाँ? इधर उधर ध्यान हीं नहीं जाता. कागज पे एक गोल प्रकाशित क्षेत्र दिखता, उसके अतिरिक्त सब अंधेरा. जूही चावला की एक तस्वीर दिवाल पे लगा रखी थी. अंधेरे में बिल्कुल भूतनी नजर आती. ऐसे डरावने माहौल में तो आदमी दो ही चीज़ें पढ़ पाए- एक सामने रखी किताब, या फिर हनुमान चालीसा. 

बकवास करने की, जिरह करने की पुरानी आदत थी, और पढ़ने की तो बाय डिफॉल्ट थी ही. नेहरू-गाँधी पे इतने भाषन दिये, और हर गली-नुक्कड़ पे गाँधी परिवार की इतनी मूर्तियाँ देखी, कट्टर काँग्रेसी बन गया. नेहरू की ‘डिस्कवरी अॉफ इंडिया’ लगभग कंठस्थ थी. राजीव गाँधी के स्मार्टनेस का कायल था. सोचता मैं भी गोरी फँसाऊँगा. उस वक्त बी.जे.पी धीरे-धीरे उभर रही थी.

कुछ बच्चे हर क्लास में अपनी उम्र से बड़े दिखते है. आखिरी बेंच पे बैठते, बॉसगिरी, मटरगश्ती करते. मुझे बहला-फुसला दिवाल फाँद सिनेमा दिखाते. सब पक्के देशभक्त लेकिन. वो भगत सिंह स्टाइल जोश वाले. मैंने भी सोचा ये असली वाला मामला है. खाकी शॉर्ट पहन शाखा पे जाने लगा, रोज़ हनुमान मंदिर जाता और पाँचजन्य पढ़ता. साध्वी ऋतांभरा की सी.डी. सुन सीनें में हवा भरता.

उसी वक्त स्कूल के एक बड़े जलसे में लालूजी को सुना. क्या स्कूल का जलसा? हेलीकॉप्टर से वो आये, और सारा गाँव उमड़ पड़ा. स्कूल के बच्चे भीड़ में लुप्त हो गये. वो शाखा वाली अपर क्लास नहाये-सुनाये लोगों की भीड़ नहीं, अर्धनग्न लुंगी-गमछा वाले. साला मेरा परशुराम धोबी सीना तान आगे बैठा? वो दूधवाला भी? अकड़ तो देखो! हमारी ब्राह्मनों की बस्ती में मालिक-मालिक बोल घिघियाता है, और यहाँ? खैर, लालूजी बोले और एक छाप छोड़ गये. छुटपन में ही अहसास हो गया, ये विदूषक और स्टैंड-अप कॉमेडियन बड़ा शातिर है. मैंनें भी अपने अंदर हास्य लाने की वर्जिश शुरू कर दी और शाखा की उत्तेजकता से कन्नी काट ली. दलितों और मुसलमानों की तरफदारी करने लगा. शौकिया समाज़वादी बन गया.

ज़ब आडवाणी जी का रथ मेरे जिले से कुछ दूर रूका, और बाबरी नेस्तनाबूद हुआ, मैनें राष्ट्रिया सहिष्णुता पे स्कूल की असेंबली में भाषण दे डाला, और लालू को बना दिया उसका हीरो. किस्मत से ८० % निचली जाति और ग्रामीनों के लिये आरक्षित स्कूल था. कुछ तालियाँ भी बजी. पर हॉस्टल वापस पहुँचा तो तगड़े घबड़ू जवानों ने पुंगी बजा दी. खैर, दलबदलू प्रवृत्ति थी और वाक्-शक्ति बेहतर थी, बहला फुसला भेज दिया.

मेरा अनुमान ठीक ही निकला. लालूजी शातिर रहे; लोग कहते हैं, बहोत लूट-पाट मचायी. भ्रष्टाचार की रेस में सबसे आगे. समाजवाद से मन टूट गया. मैंने भी राजनैतिक सन्यास ले लिया. वाजपेयीजी के भाषण पे मंत्रमुग्ध होता, लेकिन कोई पार्टीवाद नहीं.

सालों गुज़र गये. डॉक्टर बनते बनते दशक गुजर जाते हैं. देश में भी सन्नाटा था. राव साब, देवगौडा, मनमोहन सिंह सरीखे मूक नेता हों तो बच्चो का मन न भटके. मैं भी अच्छा खासा पढ़ लिख सेटल हो गया.

जब केजरीवाल जी ने मुहिम छेड़ी, तो फिर खुराफाती दिमाग कुलबुलाया. फेसबुक पे लंबे-लंबे पोस्ट लिखने लगा. पर इतिहास लौटा, और वो शाखा वाले घबड़ू जवान भी. पुंगी बजा दी. मेरी भी, केजरीवाल की भी. लेकिन वो तो हार्डकोर देशी जुगाड़ू निकले. लोकपाल तो अब गूगल पे भी न मिले. अब ये वामगाँधी जाए तो जाए कहाँ? पाकिस्तान?

बड़े दल-बदलू और मतलबी होते हैं हम जैसे बिहारी. अब पठाखे यहाँ बजे या पाकिस्तान में, खुराफाती जनता तो खुराफात ही करेगी. 

Born immigrants of India

Years back, when I was studying in Pune, I had a friend who never travelled beyond Bombay, forget out of state. A proud marathi fellow, who loved his state and his culture, and never dreamt of foraying anywhere beyond Maharashtra. Its altogether a different story, today I see him hopping from one continent to another. He wasn’t a born immigrant and neither are a lot of Maharashtrian, who are proud to be grounded to their origin and their culture. But, country do have set of born immigrants, who are born to wander, some erasing their footprints and some carrying their old soil wherever they go.

#5 The wealth creators: Gujratis and Marwaris

A herbivore species, with an accented speech and a basic degree in commerce or sometimes just a matriculation, knows to mint money out of scraps. Birlas or Ambanis, or owners of any small Baskin Robbins outlet in US, they are everywhere. Given a choice, all gold and diamond of world would love to be kept in their custody. They know their value, every bit of them. The sweetness haunts you when they try to sell, or when you are employed by them. Most difficult employer to quit in my life, was one of them, as I could never have enough arguments with him in spite of disagreements. No wonder, we have a prime-minister with wide acceptance in spite of plenty of dissents.

#4 The intellects: Bengalis and Tamils

Exactly opposite of Gujratis, Bengalis are fish-gobbling, sophisticated (oily-haired bhadramanush is past!), and highly educated individuals who barely care for money. May be ten years from now, only people you would find doing a PhD would be Bengalis. The protectors of Classical music, Rabindra Sangeet, and wearied old literature from Shakespeare to Sharatchandra, all would have a thick spectacle if they get their eyes checked properly. Similar description goes for Tamils, who too would reach the heights in science, have penchant for music, and yes, spectacles are equally universal. Yet, both of the groups would have their own coterie who would chit-chat in their language, bengalis with their rolling tongues and rounding lips, and tamils with their vibrating vocal cords and cluttering teeths. When I spent some unsuccessful years in PhD course in US, university was studded with Bengali research grads, and sight of some eminent Tamil faculties.

#3 The paramedics and gulf stormers: Malayalis

Not a corner this country would have a hospital without a Malayali nurse. How this crept in the culture is not well understood by me, but they are the best in healthcare industry, be it my field of radiology or any discipline. An incomprehensible one of the most complex south indian language, an even more complex cast and religion mix-up, and most butchery culinary habits from minced beef to chips-and-pickle made out of fish, yet they have wide presence in nation. Well, sea route could serve an access to gulf, but India has a huge coastline, yet migrations happen most from the ‘god’s own land’. If you throw a stone in Arab lands, chances are more of hitting a malayali than an Arab.

#2 The honest hippies: North-easterns

Inherting a covert culture hidden in ‘chicken-leg’ of Indian map, they are true outsiders with different physique, face contours and a non-native accent. They could never hide their identity, never could gel completely within the mainland. Delicious chinese cuisine cooks, a trusted security person, or a smiling masseur, they choose such professions where nobody could ever contend them. Vogue hairstyles and dresses, some junkies, some musicians, some boxers, some just plain dumb humans, they are the inherent nomadic hippies of India.

#1 The ambitious commoners: Biharis and Punjabis

This may sound weird to club two contrasting cultures, but in essence, their reasons to immigrate are similar, and have similar earthly roots. Years back, when we had some squabble in college days, one of our seniors pointed, “Both of you are equally rustic (“ganwaar” was the actual word). One says ‘ishkool’ and other ‘askool’, none of you can pronounce ‘school’ correctly.” While Punjabis began moving from the days of partition, or when became terror-capital state, or after ’84 riots, Biharis ran out of suffocation in undeveloped corrupt state. In punjab, many people still carry two dreams- one, to go to Canada, and another, to release their music CD. Biharis who could dream became IAS, one who couldn’t dream, opened a Paan-shop. When I moved from one city to another, I changed my accent or learn the local language, trying to gel myself with the culture. I got dissolved in local culture like a ‘dispirin’ tablet. Punjabis love to keep their accent, sing bhangra, and drive the cab with pride.

One erases the footprints left behind, and other carries the soil with them.

footprintstop
Courtesy: illerah.com

Dilli waali girlfriend

Morning newspaper had a photo clipping of Salwar-clad thinly built girls with two long hair-locks (colloquially called ‘chotees’) jumping across an iron-grill gate, since they were late for pre-medical exam.

Nothing attractive about them. No tight-fitted jeans. No lip gloss. No funky tops or overblown assets. No attitude. No X Y Z factor.

Morning newspaper was ofcourse the quientessential boring ‘The Hindu’, read by only two class of people- IAS aspirants or one who dreamt but never became one. They prefer to be called an elite class now. Moment I began counting myself as one, I terminated my ‘Times’ subscription, switched to ‘The Hindu’, and also changed my reading desk from study table to the toilet commode. And then, long verbose facebook posts and blogs followed, in efforts to bring myself in the elite league.

But, this fascination with elite class haunted me since my days in school. Asking for ‘the hindu’ was certainly not in a kid fascination. It was a blue-eyed urbane sophisticated convent educated girl who could speak fluent english. She seemed just out-of-reach, yet I began brushing up my english, practicing a heavily accented english in school backyard. I could never get the girl, instead aced my english papers.

Med-school ragging days followed, where a Bihari senior would gang-up all Bihari freshers and command like a Jehadi commander, “Saale! Tum log sab ke sabb yahan tak to aa gaye. Par aage ka raasta kathin hai. You all should aim for a ‘delhi-waali girlfriend’. “

Now, this was more than plain english. The overtones, the attitude, the out-of-place humour, the food habits, the body language. Delhi-waali girlfriend seemed like a golden-bicycle toy I cribbed for, my parents could never afford. Only way that came in my mind was old adage, “beta! Padhoge to sabb kuchh milega”. So, I studied hard and kept doing well in exams. Efforts were underpaid, when all I could get was a ‘patna-waali girlfriend’ (PWG).

I wasn’t ready to accept any fault in my DNA, instead something was wrong with the country. I moved to US, lost my PWG, and gave up any dream of DWG. This had suddenly brought me to end of road, with no further girlfriends to aim. I made many more friends, with no delhi-waali, no tags, no premonitions. In that country, all India-waallahs carried the same tag as a Bihari in India. The underdeveloped underprivileged unsophisticated accented people, all of them in dream of better opportunities.

Back to India, tilism was broken. I was in Delhi, a city of ogling, groping, teasing men and bold, energetic and lively girls, who would be afraid, self-conscious and listless at times. Delhi-waali-girlfriend would be equally praised and scorned for.

I finally did have an ephemeral delhi-waali girlfriend and a delhi-waali wife, yet the DNA didn’t haunt me ever again.

Courtesy: google images