सीने में क्यूँ झंकार हुई / Seene me kyo jhankaar hui

The New Year started in a mini bus, loaded to the brim, rumbling away to Kabini River Lodge, for a 24 hour life in the wilderness। Enroute, like any other Indian group of friends and family, we indulged in antakshari. And when it came to singing my most favourite tune, I choked. There are songs that evoke intense feelings, songs of patriotism, songs of relationships, songs of love. And there are songs you sang with someone, for someone, to someone. Even after so many years, memories came flooding back, bringing a deluge of emotions with them, and more memories, and more emotions. Damn it.

After having passed the Indian written exams for the pilot license, the only thing left to do for the license conversion was the aviation medical test। That was done at Delhi, and I submitted the papers for license conversion. The process took a week. It has become quite clear that in the near future (2-3 years); the chances of getting a flying job in India are close to zero. Unless you have bucket loads of money, close links in the upper echelons of the powers-to-be, or an immediate blood relation in a very senior position in the aviation industry itself. I don’t fall in any of the 3 categories. Those who do get jobs will spend between 1 and 3 years on the ground before they begin to fly and get paid accordingly.

As soon as I returned from Delhi, I went back to the Art of Living ashram, this time for the Advanced Course। The intensity of some of the programs is unbelievable. And again, my shoes were stolen, within an hour of my arriving at the ashram. The ground was colder than earlier, the course was 5 days long, and I decided to buy a pair of slippers this time, and for good measure, marked my initials on them. Unfortunately for me, the slippers somehow shrunk in size, and my feet were hurting in them. I had to either get another pair or just walk bare feet. After 2 days, while I was collecting my new slippers from the shoe stand, I noticed a familiar pair of sandals nearby. A quick inspection confirmed those to be the same sandals I had lost a month ago. The same broken strap, the same dings, the same chewing gum stuck in the same spot. Oh yeah! What was I supposed to do? I suppose Guruji wanted me to have my sandals back. So I took them back. What a relief from the pain of those rubber slippers, enough to bring a smile. The craziest thing though, happened the next day. I found the shoes that were gone on day 1.
My favourite song was ...

रात कलि एक ख्वाब में आई , और गले का हार हुई ।
सुबह को जब हम नींद से जागे , आँख तुम्ही से चार हुई ।
चाहे कहो इसे , मेरी मोहब्बत , चाहे हसीं में उड़ा दो ।
ये क्या हुआ मुझे , मुझको ख़बर नहीं , हो सके तुम ही बता दो ।
तुमने कदम जो , रखा ज़मीन पर , सीने में क्यूँ झंकार हुई ।

Mayur Poddar

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