look outside

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death by corporations

Look outside, see the trees
Watch the flowers in the breeze
Things won’t be like this in a year or two
If polluting is all we do
Seize the night
Seize the day

Things won’t always be this way
Thousands of people are dying
In the night you hear children crying
Let’s stop the war

Our people are sore
The world can’t help itself
Who cares about your wealth
Help me to help you
Show the world what you can do.

~Poem on Pollution~

destiny of whales

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 fish whale

A 35-ft long dead whale washed ashore near a beach close to Juhu Tara Road on this Thursday evening.

This is the 10th such instance since last year of dead mammals washing ashore in Mumbai and the second instance of a whale washing ashore in Maharashtra after a 42-long foot blue whale washed up in Alibaug in August last year.

According to officials from the BMC disaster management cell, local residents informed the Mumbai fire brigade regarding the carcass at around 8.11pm on Thursday evening.

Officials from the state Mangrove cell told Hindustan Times that the whale has been identified as a fully grown Bryde’s whale that had died in the deep seas two to three days prior to Thursday… Report[ Whale found dead ]

 

Whales! How do we describe such unique sentience?
How does one describe such amazing creatures?
Musical, marvelous, mystical,
Monstrous mysterious, magnificence,
Beings with a diversity of features,
Intelligent, aware, sociable, whimsical.
 

They are the deep salty ocean breath of the sea,
Great whales are the awesome conscience of the sea,
They are the self aware minds in the sea.
They are the philosophers of the sea,
The great whales are the protectors of the sea
The greatest noble minds that we will ever see.  

When and why did the great whales first emerge?
What are these great creatures to us?
Why do they hold for us a special place?
With them one day maybe we will converge,
And someday we will earn their trust,
With humility to the human race.

 

 

 

Phoenix

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Mahatma-Gandhi

The early morning breaks
over the cluster of small white homes
shrouded in shadows.

A larger home of wood and iron,
surrounded by a flower garden.
quietly commands the allotment.

At the edges of the homestead
are large mango trees.
In the center a coconut palm and a Christmas tree.

The Printing Press
with its machinery now still
will whirl into motion soon.

The dogs are rousing
while the calves edge closer
to their mothers standing erect with glazed eyes.

Far from this sacred ground
the city is stirring
plotting machinations for the day.

Here in this ashram
The rhythms of work and prayer
are experiments with truths…

 

~Mahatma Gandhi Tribute~

Black king

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writing

This poem was written as a gift for a little girl while the poet was thrown into a death-camp by the repressive regime. There is a bit of January-ism in it, one imagines. The past looms all over in the thick of beckoning hope.

I will tell you, my child
a true story:
It happened a long time ago,
When on earth there was a black king.

He lived on the shores of a spring
and his house was made of clay
he was the friend of the people
who were his brothers.

In each tree there was a sun,
there were shepherds and cows
the wind was full of music
the wind was full of music
in the times of the black king
My child, I’m so sad,
the disappeared.

I have not seen him in a long time,
not since the day I grew up
.Now you are leaving to look for him,
tell him that I remember him,
that I carry him in my soul,
tell him that I’m crying.

 

~Sergio Vesely~

farewell blackbird

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birds @ kolkata

bye bye Blackbird
it is not that
several hundred birds several thousand birds fly away
always what flies away is one bird
from my inside
dangling my ugly internal organs
every time I get pregnant with you
I lose my sight inside blindness
I live sniffing the world
when I lose you I see you for the first time
but at that moment my up to now dies
and life in a new blindness begins to move

bye bye Blackbird
he sings on the stage transforming into one bird
his audience chases his bird becoming several tens of thousands of ears
at that time the audience is the blind wings of several hundred thousand
the audience who cannot see flapping their wings
becomes a ghost of a bird
and chasing the voice of one bird on the stage
dances over the seats in the dark
but I wonder if anyone can tell which one is not a ghost
but a real bird again

Bye Bye Blackbird
he who is singing cannot tell either
what is it that truly flies away from here
just he is singing wildly and feels
that now in which something is flying away is certain
it may be his velvety time
it may be the extremely soft sirloin of his soul
or it may be the star memory of his guilty crime
or it may be warm blood
that splashes from the tulip-shaped brain of a child sitting in the front row

bye bye Blackbird
I am a bird
whether I refuse myself
or accept myself
as long as I cannot snatch away
this pointed beak that does not stop pecking
and the wings that have a flapping habit
today I am a bird
I become a prayer and a bird several times a day piercing the sky
and thrust out of the sky and fall
or internal organs that carry a falling bird
inside me there are these giant birds that fall down
small birds from a lean and old bird to an arrogant
and sweet bird
and some are half-alive and groaning
I give funerals to these birds as my daily task
on the other hand
I warm the eggs of future birds as my daily task
the stranger the bird which bites off the future
the more I love and desperately warm its eggs
Bye Bye Blackbird
I am thinking of becoming a strange bird
and try making the one that eats me up fly away
really I must make that one fly away to the point blood gushes out
elegantly singing
bye Bye Blackbird

 

~Kazuko Shiraishi~

Typewriter

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typewriter

an empty page
rolled upon itself
is beaten
with ideas
         click by click.
my hands are full
my head –
a tea bag, brewed
for too long.
 

the old Remington quails
under me.
its shadow
passes for a squirrel,
dead in a room
full of books and no mice.

in a farewell to my parents
I said I had visions
moments of truth.
and I knew
        they were grinning
then, as they would now

seeing me in cowered
underwears
waiting for the next word.          
 

~Mantra Mukim~

Ruskin Bond

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Ruskin Bond

 

The world is, according to a saying, only the size of each man’s head. Deodar trees, misty hills, night trains, haunted spirits, leaping langurs, mountain air, unhappy women and lonely children make the world of Ruskin Bond. And for more than 60 years, millions of readers have shared this world.

Mr Bond have lived in Delhi twice. First, as a child in a bungalow in Atul Grove Road, near Connaught Place, where he lived with his father. The second time was for a few years when he was a young man.

He lived alone in the west Delhi neighbourhoods of Karol Bagh and Rajouri Garden. Mr Bond hated the city. To The Delhi Walla, the writer is still a Delhiwalla. A lot of his work is set in the capital. Feeling the necessity to include him in the Biographical Dictionary, I make an appointment to meet him at his home in the Himalayas.

I’m a little more successful than I thought I would be,he says, on reaching the six-decade milestone as a writer. Mr Bond, 77, was first published in August 1951 when The Illustrated Weekly of India carried his short story My Calling.

The unassuming author, born to Anglo-Indian parents in Kasauli, has all he wished for: a home in the hills, a loving family which looks after him, thousands of books, pen and paper and an income from the royalties he receives from the sale of his books. Mr Bond has published more than 80 titles, many of which are still in print. I belong to the middle class, no, the upper-working class gentry, he says.

Mussoorie has been his home since 1964, and Mr Bond is the town’s greatest monument. From hotel managers and shopkeepers to cab drivers, vegetable sellers and coolies, everyone knows the way to Ivy Cottage, Mr Bond’s home, which is as much of a tourist attraction as the hill station’s ropeway ride. Many locals also know his landline phone number (Mr Bond doesn’t keep a cellphone).

Tourists knock daily at his home. In summer, they come in such large numbers that Mr Bond has to go underground. In all seasons, every Saturday evening (from 4-6), Mr Bond is sighted at the Cambridge Bookstore on Mussoorie’s Mall Road, where weekend revellers from Delhi and Uttar Pradesh flock to him for photos and book signing. Some of these encounters might anger a lesser mind, but Mr Bond handles them with his characteristic gentle humour.

I’ve been congratulated as the author of Kipling’s The Jungle Book and occasionally mistaken for Enid Blyton, says Mr Bond. I’ve also been believed to be Jim Corbett. Can’t believe that I shot so many tigers! Once a proud parent brought his little boy to Mr Bond’s house and requested him to autograph their copy of his great book The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Mr Bond signed as Mark Twain.

Mr Bond’s cottage, built circa 1860s, is like his writing: elemental and homely. The walls are made of rocks from the hills. The ceilings are of wood. The small drawing room is filled with books and awards.

A single lamp casts a dim glow on the shelves, which are stacked with detective books such as Tales of Suspense, Dread and Delight, Victorian Ghost Stories and Great Cases of Scotland Yard. Emily Bronte and P.G. Wodehouse sit next to a red hardbound edition of David Copperfield, Bond’s favourite novel.

Ahmedabad-based author Esther David’s The Book of Esther, which he is currently reading, is on the chair. It is unpretentious and has got a nice feeling of family history done in the form of a novel.

One wall has a framed portrait of Jeanette MacDonald and Nelson Eddy, American singers and movie stars of the 1950s. On the mantelpiece are black and white photos of Mr Bond’s parents. They had separated when he was 8. Mr Bond’s father lies buried in a Kolkata cemetery and his mother was cremated in Delhi.

The survivor of a lonely childhood, experiences of which are reflected in his novels and short stories, Bond now heads a joint family of nine—children and grandchildren of his former help Prem Singh, who came with his wife to work for him in 1969. Mr Bond never married.

In contrast to the chaos of the dining room with its noisy children, small eating table and a giant bukhari heater, Mr Bond’s writing room—where he also sleeps—has the sparseness of a monastic cell. It has nine flower pots, two windows, three paintings, one bed, one chair, one cassette player, one unused typewriter and a wooden almirah. The plaque of the Sahitya Akademi Award has come off its wooden stand and is now used as a paperweight.

My room is like a railway compartment,says Mr Bond, whose early stories were set in trains. “When there is a storm, the room is like a ship in a stormy sea.” Pointing to the door, he says, This is my computer.

On it are pasted paper scraps of publishers’ phone numbers and cuttings of book reviews. A steel trunk below the bed has some of Mr Bond’s most treasured possessions: old issues of the Indian State Railways magazine, The Madras Mail newspaper, and the first edition of The Room on the Roof, his first novel.

The light spray of the day’s unexpected rain wets us as Bond opens a window. Waving at the forested slopes, he says: All these are oak trees, and the winding road down there is going towards Badrinath. Closing the windows, he says, I spend a lot of time gazing at this view: the sky above, the hills before me and the garbage dump below. In the night, I can see the twinkling lights of the Doon Valley.

Mr Bond wakes up daily at 5. From his bed, he watches the dawn breaking through the hills and the sky turning to a light blue. When the first rays of the sun fall on his bed, he goes to sleep again for another hour. His breakfast consists of toast with butter, cheese, marmalade, or parathas with pickles. As you can see, I don’t diet,says Mr Bond, who has a weakness for fish curry and mutton koftas. I eat all the things I like. That is the secret of my happiness.

By 10am, when his grandchildren are at school, his sons at work and his daughters-in-law are making lunch, Mr Bond gets down to writing, in longhand. After filling a few pages with a story or an essay, he writes to publishers and answers fan letters. After the meal, he reads a book till he is drowsy. The children return from school just as he is finished with his siesta. By 4pm, sightseers can spot Mr Bond taking a stroll down the road.

Walking alone, his black umbrella swaying in the rainy breeze, Mr Bond’s visage looks as bleak as his childhood years, which he described in his memoirs, Scenes from a Writer’s Life. I have fallen in love off and on over the years, he says. “My last intense romantic affair took place in the 1960s with a very sweet-natured woman. It would take a book to describe her. Like most people close to Mr Bond, the woman was not fond of reading. She now lives somewhere in the wilds of Delhi, he says.

The autograph queue for Mr Bond at the 2011 Jaipur Literature Festival was longer than the queues for J.M. Coetzee, Vikram Seth and Candace Bushnell put together. Yet he has rarely used his influence to shape opinions about the issues of the times.

We don’t know what he thinks about, say, Maoist violence or religious extremism. I’m an Indian by birth and lifestyle but others look upon me as an outsider says the man whose last visit abroad was to London in the 1950s. “So I don’t want to impose my views on others.”

In an introduction to one of his books, Mr Bond, saddened by riots in the 1990s in curfew-struck Mussoorie, wrote, Confined to the house, we must finally spend more time with our families, our children; try to reassure them that the world is not such a bad place after all. In Mr Bond’s books, at least, it is not. Although his style has changed from merely romantic to being romantic with a cynical edge, his subjects are still apolitical.

In 2010 in Delhi, Mr Bond took a walk near his childhood home in Atul Grove Road. “Delhi has changed so much but that neighbourhood was exactly as it used to be when I was living there with my father. I was very happy.”

Will Mr Bond ever retire? Writers don’t get provident funds or pensions,he says, so we can’t afford to retire.

Does Mussoorie’s living landmark consider himself a great author? Looking at the misty flatlands of Doon, he says: I recently went to a school where a teacher asked a little girl what she thinks of Mr Bond. The girl thought a lot, looked up and down at me and said, ‘Sir, you are not a bad writer.

 

Mayank austen Soofi

wait for tomorrow

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new times

Now may not be time, not for you yet
Just hold on, life in this world is like that
Don’t lose your hope, happiness will come to you
Think that there will be tomorrow filled with joy

Failure is never a hindrance, so do not escape
Don’t give up, even when you’re losing
Be strong you must stand and fight

All you need is strength and the will to go on
Even through the hardest of times
And it won’t be long, the light
Soon you will find again
Life will not always be about bitterness and pain
You could realize and reach for your dreams
You will just have to wait.

 

~The Periscope~

dilemma

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tumblr_nos9e6Slws1s1vn29o1_500

Every thing can be expressed in words
And yet nothing
our deepest fears
Our haunting insecurities
our tender feelings 
our sleepless nights 
And nightmares of the bright light 
They will always be left behind
Created by words yet far from their reach
The world in within the words
And beyond them

 –Rashmi Bhardwaj

being positive

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pink flowers

No minute lost
Comes ever back again.
Take heed
And see nothing you do in vain.

If you think you’re beaten, you are
If you think you dare not, you don’t
If you like to win, but don’t think you can
It’s almost certain you won’t

If you think you’ll lose, you’re lost
For out of this world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you’re outclassed, you are:
You’ve got to think high to rise –
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
to the stronger or faster man
because sooner or later the one who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

 

~BiG BEN London ~

donot quit

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new year one

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all uphill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit-Rest if you must,
but don’t you quit.

Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a fellow turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out.
Don’t give up though the pace seems slow 
You may succeed with another blow.

Often the goal is nearer than
It seems to a faint and faltering man;
Often the struggler has given up
When he might have captured the victor’s cup;
And he learned too late when the night came down,
How close he was to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out –
The silver tint in the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are,
It might be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit –
It’s when things seem worst that you must not quit.

 

~The Periscope~

pigeons and domes

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rakshanda jalil book

The bygone year has gone down in the history of India for trending intolerance. It made Indians rethink about acceptance of the ‘other’. Well-known author Rakhshanda Jalil has embarked on putting together an anthology of stories on communalism.

The phrase strikes you immediately — on communalism? Why not on secularism? The editor justifies her decision by saying that she looked for stories on the ‘dark twin of secularism — communalism’ because we cannot understand the first without understanding the other, and the communal stories have not been explored since the Partition days.

However, can secularism and communalism be separated and put in compartments? Isn’t the story on communalism, in fact, a story of secularism itself? Perhaps, the editor wants to show that even when she has picked up stories which are dark, gloomy, murky and morbid, they have the power to touch your heart with ominous fingers, thereby questioning your ethics and ethos.

Each of the 19 stories shines brightly in its own luminescence, making the anthology a rich kaleidoscope of different flavours. All the stories, but one (which was originally written in English), have been translated from Urdu, Hindi and Punjabi by 10 established translators. The authors are well known too, with names like Gulzar, Keki N. Daruwalla, Ajeet Cour and Jeelani Bano featuring in the list.

The first story, Fear (Khauf) by Gulzar is a classic, with its Somerset Maughm like twist in the end. Other stories — some direct, some subtle, some beautifully layered and nuanced, some overt and some metaphorical talk of alienation, helplessness, despair, angst, yearnings and aspirations of charaters.

Flowers of Mustard (Sarson ke Phool) by MK Mahtab is one such small nugget which fills the heart with halcyon feelings of optimism and well-being. The Culprit (Mujrim) by Jeelani Bano portrays how mutual distrust takes away sanity of all the involved parties.

Each story goads the reader to think about their own biases, actions and reactions, beliefs, prejudices, wisdom and myths that we all cosset but refuse to acknowledge, openly or even secretly. The editor has wisely picked the stories — each is sharp, possesses aesthetic value and is a good piece of writing.  

There are plots concerning Hindu, Muslim, Sikh, Parsi, Punjabi and Kashmiri identities. However, when this fact is advertised on the blurb, it seems like a forced attempt to put in different elements from across the Indian diversity. 

The translations of most of the stories flow smoothly. In a volume created with much thought and concern, one feels sad to find even minor careless lapses.  

The editor has composed a glossary at the end of the book, explaining meanings of Hindi and Urdu words cited inside the text and italicised for identification. However, the list is not exhaustive and words have been picked or left out on whims.

Usually the introduction of an anthology underlines the spirit of the collection or enlightens the reader regarding the unifying thread running through all the contributions or tells interesting stories of the background of each story.

Here, the editor has discussed each story in detail, even has quoted from these, which robs the reader of the subsequent mystery. After reading the introduction, my enthusiasm to go through the volume suffered too.

Read the book for getting a very indigenous feel of what it means to be an Indian, clothed in layers of conflicting identities.

 

~Jayanti Roy~

I shall sacrifice

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flag

Oh my dearest homeland, oh my lost garden!
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.
You are my desire, you are my honor.
You are my life.

I shall salute the winds that pass through your foothills.
I shall kiss those lips that take your name.
You have the most beautiful of dawns and the most colorful of evenings.
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.

Sometimes you cling to my chest as my mother’s heart
and sometimes I remember you as my little daughter.
The more I remember you, the more you torment me.
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.
Having left your land, I have arrived somewhere far from home.
Swearing by every particle of your essence

I still harbor the desire
to take my last breath where I was born
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.
Oh my dearest homeland, oh my lost garden!
I shall sacrifice my heart for you.

 

-Prem dhawan-

homage to motherland

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15august

O! the people of motherland

Raise all the slogans you desire

This is a great day for us all

Hoist your beloved Tricolor

But don’t forget on the border

The brave did lose their lives

And remember each great soldier

Who did not return home ever

O! the people of motherland

Shed a few tears,

For those who martyred on ice,

Remember their great sacrifice!

Don’t you forget their glory

So I narrate this noble story

For those who martyred on ice

Remember their great sacrifice!

When injured was the Himalayan might

Our freedom was in jeopardy

Till their last breath did they fight

And then laid their dead body

Resting their head on the soil

Sacrificed and slept immortal

For those who martyred on ice

Remember their great sacrifice!

When the country celebrated Diwali

They played with their blood the game of Holi

When we were sitting safe at our homes

They dealt with deadly bullets and bombs.

Blessed they were those soldiers

Blessed were their youths

For those who martyred on ice

Remember their great sacrifice!

Some Sikh, some Jaat and Maratha

Some were Gurkha or Madrasi

But each soldier who died on the border

Was a brave Hindustani.

The blood that stained the mountain

That blood was that of an Indian

For those who martyred on ice

Remember their great sacrifice!

With blood their body was drenched

Yet they lifted their rifle and aimed

One killed tens of the enemy

Then fell down unconsciously

When the final moment came on

They said they will die now

Be happy! O beloved of the nation

We embark on eternal journey now

How great were those patriots

How great was their pride

For those who martyred on ice

Remember their great sacrifice!

don’t you forget their glory

So I narrate this noble story

For those who martyred on ice

Remember their great sacrifice!

-Patriotic Songs-

soil of india

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The soil of my country is made of gold, diamonds, and pearls
The bells around the necks of the bullocks chime to the melody of life
Sadness and regret go away, and joyous lotuses smile
Listening to the sounds of the waterwheels,
it seems as if auspicous flutes are playing somewhere
Every field adorns itself like a bride

when the thrill of spring arrives
soil of my country

When ploughs till this land, the love of its mother is activated
Why would we not worship this soil

that gives us the joy of life?
Whoever was born on this land, obtained your love
Here there is no difference between a stranger and one of our own,
for Mother, you are benevolent to all

This is the garden of Bhudda and Guru Naanak, here bloom the flowers of peace
Gandhi, Subhash, Tagore, Tilak–these are the kinds of flowers of this garden
Its green color is from Hari Singh Nalwa 
and its red color is from Lal Bahadur
The color became saffron with Bhagat Singh
and the color of peace (white) is from the brave Jawahar

 

~Patriotic Songs~

eagerNess

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morning star

if you have eagerness in your heart, it means you are alive,
If your eyes are filled with dreams, it means you are alive
Learn to be free like the wind,
Learn to flow freely like the river,
Embrace every moment with open arms,
See a new horizon every time with your eyes,
If you carry surprise in your eyes, it means you are alive,
If you have eagerness in your heart, it means you are alive…

 

~Javed aKHTAR~

Love is journey

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times memorable

You alone lies within me
in my eyes, just like a dream
If you aren’t there, the eyes are all water,
If you aren’t there, I won’t be me
Through you only everything is blessed upon me,
You alone are within me
in my eyes, just like a dream

Love, while loving, chooses some people
Shares wounds,
It shares the pain with them
It breaks all the dreams in a moment,
It destroys everything
If you aren’t there, the eyes will weep..

The journey is of two steps, called love
But the ones in love just remain in the journey
The path of love doesn’t end in complete life
It is a bit incalculable..

 

~iRsHaD KaMiL~

hope starts today

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Fresh-daisy

who am I to say to you
I understand your point of view
when I cannot see beyond your skin
or the culture that you living in

There will come a day
when prejudice shall be ended
there will come a day
when creation shall be blended
and man will realize
truth is seeing through a child’s eyes
let’s toss the yoke away
tomorrow starts today
let’s toss the yoke away
tomorrow starts today

 

~The Periscope~

final wisdom

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 book reader

Religion says, God has created the Man. Made it as a model and then fixed death upon him as his final destiny  uttered Wiseman (Sage) in a trembling tone. He is the mighty creator. I too am of some value, added Sculptor.   Wiseman( Sage);  Until the difference of death will not vanish off, man will never become wise.

Sculptor; I don’t wont to become wise. I shall make my model. Wiseman; What will happen by that? Sculptor; I will attain spiritual satisfication. Wiseman; Oh! then peep inside your Self.    Sculptor; Me……myself.      Wiseman:  Go and create your Self .     And then he left the Ashram after learning the first lesson of wisdom. His soul was illumined. The Sculptor  created the Self with all his devotion and appeared in the could courtdome of Wiseman.  Sculptor in a blissful tone ;  I have created the Self      

Wiseman; Did he introduced with you ?       Sculptor; No, not yet.      Wiseman; Go and meet him.     When the sculptor met his created self he overpowered him and took his control slowly.  Sculptor toiled hard to protect his being but all in vein. During the dual Sculptor got the hammer from somewhere and in a jiffy killed the created Self. The stone was squirming. The sculptor appeared in the cortdome of wiseman.

Wiseman; What happened?   Sculptor; I killed him.  Wiseman; Why? Sculptor; If I would not have killed him, he would have choked me dead.  

Wiseman:  Religion says, God has created man. Made it as a model and then fixed death upon him as his final destiny.Sculptor nodded his head in a way that he has acquired all the wisdom.

 

~Salma Sanam~