Thursday, 31 May 2007

Walt Whitman- on his birthday (31st May)

Happy Birthday to You!
Today is a great day. Today is birthday of the great poet and thinker Walt Whitman. He was born on 31st May 1819 in Long Island(Click here to read his biography). He self published his collection of 12 poems titled Leaves of Grass in 1955 and sent them to Ralph Waldo Emerson to read. His poems astonished Emerson and he wrote a letter of appreciation to Walt Whitman which he published in his second edition of Leaves of Grass containing 33 poems along with a response to the letter of Emerson.
Emerson took to freelance journalism with the outbreak of the American Civil War and later moved to Washington DC where he worked as a clerk in the Department of Interior. When the Interior Secretary found that Walt Whitman is the author of "Leaves of Grass" then he fired him.
Walt Whitman struggled his whole life to support himself along with his widowed mother and an invalid brother. He suffered a stroke and died on March 26 1892 and was buried in a self designed and built tomb in Camden.

My favourite poems of Walt Whitman are-

There was a child went forth everyday

There was a child went forth every day;
And the first object he look'd upon, that object he became;
And that object became part of him for the day, or a certain part of
the day, or for many years, or stretching cycles of years.

The early lilacs became part of this child,
And grass, and white and red morning-glories, and white and red clover, and the song of the phoebe-bird,
And the Third-month lambs, and the sow's pink-faint litter, and the mare's foal, and the cow's calf,
And the noisy brood of the barn-yard, or by the mire of the pond-side,
And the fish suspending themselves so curiously below there--and the beautiful curious liquid,
And the water-plants with their graceful flat heads--all became part of him.

The field-sprouts of Fourth-month and Fifth-month became part of him;
Winter-grain sprouts, and those of the light-yellow corn, and the esculent roots of the garden,
And the apple-trees cover'd with blossoms, and the fruit afterward,
and wood-berries, and the commonest weeds by the road;
And the old drunkard staggering home from the out-house of the tavern, whence he had lately risen,
And the school-mistress that pass'd on her way to the school,
And the friendly boys that pass'd--and the quarrelsome boys,
And the tidy and fresh-cheek'd girls--and the barefoot negro boy and girl,
And all the changes of city and country, wherever he went.

His own parents,
He that had father'd him, and she that had conceiv'd him in her womb, and birth'd him,
They gave this child more of themselves than that;
They gave him afterward every day--they became part of him.

The mother at home, quietly placing the dishes on the supper-table;
The mother with mild words--clean her cap and gown, a wholesome odor
falling off her person and clothes as she walks by;
The father, strong, self-sufficient, manly, mean, anger'd, unjust;
The blow, the quick loud word, the tight bargain, the crafty lure,
The family usages, the language, the company, the furniture--the yearning and swelling heart,
Affection that will not be gainsay'd--the sense of what is real--the thought if, after all, it should prove unreal,
The doubts of day-time and the doubts of night-time--the curious whether and how,
Whether that which appears so is so, or is it all flashes and specks?
Men and women crowding fast in the streets--if they are not flashes and specks, what are they?
The streets themselves, and the façades of houses, and goods in the windows,
Vehicles, teams, the heavy-plank'd wharves--the huge crossing at the ferries,
The village on the highland, seen from afar at sunset--the river between,
Shadows, aureola and mist, the light falling on roofs and gables of white or brown, three miles off,
The schooner near by, sleepily dropping down the tide--the little boat slack-tow'd astern,
The hurrying tumbling waves, quick-broken crests, slapping,
The strata of color'd clouds, the long bar of maroon-tint, away
solitary by itself--the spread of purity it lies motionless in,
The horizon's edge, the flying sea-crow, the fragrance of salt marsh and shore mud;
These became part of that child who went forth every day, and who now goes, and will always go forth every day.

O captain, my captain

O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done;
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won;
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring:
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills;
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding;
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head;
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.

My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still;
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will;
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done;
From fearful trip, the victor ship, comes in with object won;
Exult, O shores, and ring, O bells!
But I, with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.

To you

Whoever you are, I fear you are walking the walks of dreams,
I fear these supposed realities are to melt from under your feet and
Even now, your features, joys, speech, house, trade, manners,
troubles, follies, costume, crimes, dissipate away from you,
Your true Soul and Body appear before me,
They stand forth out of affairs--out of commerce, shops, law,
science, work, forms, clothes, the house, medicine, print,
buying, selling, eating, drinking, suffering, dying.

Whoever you are, now I place my hand upon you, that you be my poem;
I whisper with my lips close to your ear,
I have loved many women and men, but I love none better than you.

O I have been dilatory and dumb;
I should have made my way straight to you long ago;
I should have blabb'd nothing but you, I should have chanted nothing
but you.

I will leave all, and come and make the hymns of you;
None have understood you, but I understand you;
None have done justice to you--you have not done justice to yourself;
None but have found you imperfect--I only find no imperfection in
None but would subordinate you--I only am he who will never consent
to subordinate you;
I only am he who places over you no master, owner, better, God,
beyond what waits intrinsically in yourself.

Painters have painted their swarming groups, and the centre figure of
From the head of the centre figure spreading a nimbus of gold-color'd
But I paint myriads of heads, but paint no head without its nimbus of
gold-color'd light;
From my hand, from the brain of every man and woman it streams,
effulgently flowing forever.

I hear America singing

I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear;
Those of mechanics--each one singing his, as it should be, blithe and strong;
The carpenter singing his, as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his, as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work;
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat--the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck;
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench--the hatter singing as he stands;
The wood-cutter's song--the ploughboy's, on his way in the morning,
or at the noon intermission, or at sundown;
The delicious singing of the mother--or of the young wife at work--or of the girl sewing or washing--Each singing what belongs to her, and to none else;
The day what belongs to the day--At night, the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing, with open mouths, their strong melodious songs.

You can read more poems of Walt Whitman clicking here

You may download the free e-book by
clicking here

"Poems by Walt Whitman" is freely available. Please Click here.

Wednesday, 30 May 2007


My oasis has dried
Desert is too wide
Nowhere to escape!

An oasis comes in sight
The last hope of life
It’s only a mirage!

Friday, 25 May 2007


I was on a train from Moscow to Dzherzhinsk, a small town in the Nizhninovogorod region (earlier known as Gorky, named after the famous writer Maxim Gorky). It was train number 22 as everything in this country must have a number. Schools, hospitals, metro lines etc. they all have numbers. In case of the trains it is a rule that the lesser the number of the train, the faster it travels. And train numbers can range from 5 to 500. That does not mean that the speed of the train number 500 is 100 times slower than the speed of the train number 5. But let’s move away from this digression and go directly to the wagon number 3 inside the train.
The wagon number 3 was a general class wagon and every compartment had 4 seats on one side and 2 seats on the other side of the aisle. That night when the train number 22 was ready to leave the Kurski Vakzal(Railway Station) at midnight, that compartment had six passengers who were traveling from Moscow to Nizhni. Babushka(grandma) Vera and her grandson Sasha, Teotya(aunt) Ludmila and I sat on one side of the aisle while two men, one fat and one slim, sat on the other side of the aisle. On the small table lied a small but beautiful cage and within that cage was a very small white Egyptian mouse. Babushka had bought that mouse in 40 roubles in the Kursk city, a city located a few hundred kilometers southwest of Moscow, while she visited her daughter in that city. The cage had cost her 200 roubles, much costlier than the white Egyptian mouse himself nevertheless the cage was a fancy home for the mouse. It was large and had a roller that went round and round when the mouse ran on that. There was a small bowl in the corner inside the cage where the mouse ran to drink whenever he felt thirsty. There was food scattered all over the cushioned floor of the cage and he could eat anytime he felt hungry. Overall it was a comfortable and cozy home that was equipped with all the state of the art comforts for a mouse.

Babushka was very proud of her white Egyptian mouse. She was showing it to Teotya Ludmila and describing how did she manage to get a good bargain for such a cute mouse. Sasha was frequently troubling babushka with his excited words and worries about the mouse. They had decided to call the mouse “Mishka” and Sasha was very protective about his new mouse. He could not be kept out of any talk about Mishka. He wanted to be heard what he thought about his newly acquired pet.

The fat man on the other side of the aisle, who also happened to be very talkative, was mildly teasing Babushka. He said- “Babushka, are you going to order the bed sheet, pillow and quilt for Mishka too?” And everybody else in that compartment smiled. The talkative man continued with his jeers- “I have never seen a Babushka in jeans! Babushka you look just sixty.”
Babushka was flattered. She said- “do you know how old I am? I am seventy six.” She looked much active and younger than her age. The fat talkative man was very proud of being fat and he continued- “Do you know what I eat for such a great body?”
He continued as everybody kept silent- “I eat a lot of bamboo and rice…hahaha.”
Babushka could not keep mum and said- “are you really proud of being what you are?” She diplomatically avoided the word “being fat” there.

The fat man was getting even more talkative. Suddenly the ticket collector entered. She was dressed in a knee length blue skirt and a navy blue shirt. Her name-card was pinned right above her left shirt-pocket. Her name was Marina Vladimirovna. She was a well bult lady of medium height.

She asked for tickets one by one from everybody. Babushka showed her ticket as well as the ticket of her grandson. Once Maria Vladimirovna checked their tickets; her eyes fell on the cute white Egyptian mouse on the table. She asked babushka without wasting any time for the papers of Mishka and the permission to caary him by that train. Babushka was shocked. She said- “what stupidity is it? I have never heard in my life that one needs papers for this. Mishka is just four centimeters long. What papers? What stupidity? I do not have any papers for him and I am not going to get any papers , let me say it loud, let me say it clear, what stupidity?”
Maria Vladimirovna was outraged hearing such impudent remarks. She said emphatically- “one must pay to carry every pet, animal or bird. Babushka,Come with me and I’ll show you the different tariffs for different animals and birds.” Babushka again said- “What stupidity! Mishka is just 4 centimeters long.” Others also joined in Babushka and a chorus came out from the compartment-“Maria Vladimirovna, Mishka is so small, please leave him.”

But Maria Vladimirovna had made up her mind to issue the bill for Mishka and she warned Babushka that-" if you do not pay immediately then I shall have to report this incident to the Chief." Then she checked the tickets of Teotya Ludmila and the others in the compartment and moved to the next compartment.

After she left Babushka slowly removed Mishka from the table and put him along with the cage down under the table. Only a few moments ago she was showing her white mouse to all. The fat talkative man was assuring Babushka that he would do something about it. He would talk to Maria Vladimirovna and sort out this issue.

After Maria Vladimirovna checked all the tickets in the wagon number 3 she came back to Babushka to issue the bill for Mishka. Babushka was again cursing- “What stupidity? What stupidity?” Then the fat talkative man rose from his seat and took Babushka by one hand and Maria Vladimirovna by the other and he led them both to towards the end of the wagon.
I was preparing myself to go off to sleep when Babushka and fat talkative man returned to the compartment. I could not help myself asking babushka what happened at the end of the wagon. She told me that the issue has been settled between her and the ticket collector. The fat- talkative man was smiling and Mishka was sleeping below the table in his fancy home.


Tuesday, 22 May 2007

A writer asks

A writer asks...
In the wilderness of words
Will he find a place ?
Or disappear in the library-dust
Will his words be read aloud ?
Or anonymity will bury him down
But why to worry
Of the future and past
A writer must write
for the writing’s sake

Thursday, 17 May 2007

Words may not say!

The shot of freshness in the ambience
Exotic smell of the wet earth
after the rains
Green grass carpet
bathed in the shadows of green Birch trees
Bright sun rays trying to make way
through the umbrella of green leaves
Its drizzling off and on
Washing away the last particles of dust,
By the tulips two homeless rest
Under the open sky,
under the drizzle of the day
Carefree, blissful like a child
Ah! How beautiful life can be!
So beautiful…words may not say!

Thursday, 10 May 2007

My Mirror

In your crystal clear blue eyes

lies my mirror

and the deep love

I see there

you are a mother,

a child,

a friend,

a lover; you

rever the mother,

care for the child,

value the friend,

adore the lover...

in your crystal clear blue eyes

lies my mirror...

Friday, 4 May 2007

Book Release Ceremony-River Valley to Silicon Valley

River Valley to Silicon Valley -Story of three generations of an Indian family
Author- Abhay K.
Published in 2007 by BOOKWELL
Pages-208 Price- Rupees 195

Yesterday my long cherished dream came true when my book "River Valley to Silicon Valley" was released at India Habitat Centre in New Delhi by Shri Shankarsinh Vaghela, Hon'ble Minister of Textiles of India.

The book was introduced by Professor Pushpesh Pant, School of International Studies, JNU. Professor Pant was at his best while he introduced my book. His insight into the book even touched me as I could see my own book with a different light. It was an evening like no other. I was flattered by the presence of my friends and colleagues as well as my teachers who taught me at both Delhi University and JNU.