Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Round 1 (Match # 18) - Siddhant Shekhar vs. Paul Smith

*) - Shashwat Society

(# 18 - Siddhant Shekhar)

Wasting time isn’t really easy if you are immortal, eternally young, and pretty much omnipotent in every other respect. The fact that time moves differently for them didn’t exactly help. Shiv Ji recalled some earlier attempts by some eccentric Gods to implement a 13 hour day, because why the heaven not?

He stretched his neck and heard the serpent hiss impatiently. He sighed to himself. The manufacturing unit had lost its touch over the past few thousand years. None of the earlier snakes had bothered him this much. This ungrateful little serpent hissed every time Shiv Ji did as much as turn his head. He made up his mind to send in a complaint to the head of the division. Being a God, it took him approximately a second and so soon it was almost painful, he was back into his dull routine. When you are omniscient, meditation soon loses its charm too. He resigned himself to another dull decade or so.

Parvatii Ji had been observing the whole charade for a while and concluded (wrongly, omniscience can only do so much) that Shiv Ji was probably going through yet another existential crisis and needed her guidance, the same way every Indian woman believes that she is the sole answer or the path to it for all her husband’s worries and troubles.

“Nath, I have been watching you for a while now. Something ails you. What is it?”

“I am bored.”

Parvati Ji was taken aback at this extremely Un-God Like answer. Things that worried Gods were the destinies of the greatest humans, or the path that the Universe was taking. Being bored had never been one of their troubles.

Being a model Indian wife, instead of chiding Shiv Ji for his lack of professionalism, Parvati Ji said, “Well, why you don’t you listen in to your devotees prayers? I hear there are some people in dire need.”

Shiv Ji replied, “You know how tough it has gotten to grant wishes since the new rules were rolled in. Every miracle now has to look like a mathematical impossibility. I miss the old days when you could just turn up and grant what the poor man wanted and be done with it. As it is, not too many people are around who deserve their wishes granted anyway. Never doing what they need to do or putting in any hard work and always talking about what I didn’t give them. Am I running a charity here?”

Parvati Ji was taken aback at this attitude. Shiv Ji sounded irritated. It was never a good sign. She tried to distract him, capitalizing on the aptness of his name, Bhole Bhandari.

“Here! Listen in to this one. The woman is distraught. And it is no fault of her either. You should help her.”
A wife’s “Should” usually stands for “Do it anyway” so Shiv Ji sighed and closed his eyes. He quickly peeked at the woman’s case. Simple woman, married for 27 years, widowed but still well-off, 2 daughters.
“He Prabhu! The girl has made me lose face before the entire society. How will I face the world? I don’t know what has come over her. Please get her out of the spell of that wretched boy.” Shiv Ji tuned out before she could begin her promises, they were all the same. “I will go to this temple”, “I will perform this puja”. How difficult could a sincere “I will do my duties” be?
Shiv Ji turned to Parvati Ji, thoroughly puzzled. He said, “What is the problem? The boy has a good soul, they both love each other. Why is the woman so upset then?”

Parvati Ji let out a laugh but was a considerate enough to keep condescension out of it. “You really are Bhole Nath! The woman is worried about what face will she show to the society.”
Shiv Ji was confused further. “What face? Humans just have one, right? Or someone re-did the designs?”
“Not any more nath. Most have two now. Some even more.”
Shiv Ji let go of the question, accepting his inability to understand metaphors and focused onto the next question in line. “Devi, what exactly is society?”

Parvati ji turned serious on this question. She mulled over how to phrase her answer for a while and said, “Nath, society is not a thing. It cannot be seen, smelt or touched. It is an abstract concept created by humans, one in which they include themselves and everyone around them.”

Shiv Ji took in the answer, thought over it and rebutted, “But then, if it is simply a collection of humans, why would it have any problem with the girl marrying a boy?”

Parvati Ji replied, “Well, the boy belongs to another caste. It is not acceptable in the society.”

“Isn’t it enough he is of the same species? Bheem didn’t care for even that. Hidimba wasn’t even human!”
“His case was different Nath! He was above such ordinary men. Rules of society do not necessarily apply on men of stature.”

Shiv Ji shook his head (the snake hissed dutifully), “It makes no sense.” Parvati Ji replied, “Well, let us listen to someone else. There isn’t much you can do anyway here. The girl’s mind is made up. The mother will disown her though when she marries but apart from that her life will be happy.”

Shiv Ji closed his eyes again. This time, another man’s echoed in. “He bhole naath! My wife is pregnant. Let it be a boy this time. I have had 2 daughters already”, the usual promises followed.

Shiv Ji closed his eyes. He saw that it was a girl. He opened his eyes and smiled at Parvati, “Well, it is a girl but the man sounded sincere. Can we fast-track his application for the next time around?” Parvati Ji smiled sadly at him. Shiv ji sensed something wrong and closed his eyes again. What he saw is a story for another day (and a rather sad one) but when he opened his eyes back up again, Parvati Ji knew that if she didn’t calm the God down soon enough, a life would be lost.

Parvati Ji quickly said, “Nath! You are omniscient, nothing is hidden from you. You know what will happen if she is a widow with 3 daughters in this society.”

Shiv Ji calmed down. He said, “I am still talking to Brahma Ji about the kind of people he has been sending down. His sabbatical has gone for too long. But Devi, if the society has rules and laws that people must abide by, who creates them? And who decides if they are ethical? Because we have seen some of the laws and they are anything but.”

“The rules and laws are not set in stone, Nath. They were slowly formed, over many years, and were passed down the generations. But as if in a perverse game of Chinese whispers, the initial intention of the laws and the laws themselves were broken and bent and torn apart to suit the needs of those who considered themselves above the society and no had no dealings with those laws themselves. Trapped in traditions and bequeaths of the elders, no one dared to questions what was handed down, till a point of time when they lost the very ability to question. As a result, monogamy became Sati; attempts to protect the women from the trauma related to death became an obsession with bearing males; voluntary gifts became social obligations and so forth.” For the first time, Parvati Ji sounded bitter.

Shiv Ji said again, “Well, then why is society necessary anyway if it does no good?”
“Because it is a necessary evil. Society is a shackle for everyone. If it breeds evil, it also curbs it. It’s a double edged sword. And we sadly, must let humans cut themselves with it before they can learn how to use it.”

Shiv Ji said, turning his head to look towards the Earth, “Things will change. It will take some time. Humans maybe a little slow, but they will see the right way in the end. Show them a little of what they shower us with. Faith” The serpent in his neck didn’t hiss this time.

Rating - 68/100

Judge's Comment -  Distinct and professional stuff! I like this experiment.

 *) - दौड़
(# 47 - Paul Smith)

कभी नज़र से गिरा दिया
कभी दिल मैं बसा दिया
मुहब्बत मैं तुम ने हमें
कभी हंसा तो कभी रुला दिया
कभी प्यार बेशुमार किया
कभी दर्द बेइंतेहा दिया
अपनी दीवानगी में तुमने हम्हें
किस मकाम पर पंहुचा दिया
कभी मुसान में भर से मिला दिया
कभी सेहरा में तनहा कर दिया
दिल को खिलौना समझ कर तुमने
हमें हर खेल में हरा दिया
कभी उमीदों को बढा दिया
कभी मायूसियों ने जीना दुस्वार किया
फिर भी हमदम हम ने तुम्हें
प्यार की हद से भी ज्यादा प्यार किया .....
आँखों में रहने वाले को याद नहीं करते,
दिल में रहने वाले की बात नहीं करते,
हमारी तो रूह में बस गये हो आप,
तभी तो मिलने की फरियाद नहीं करते.....!

कहीं अँधेरा कहीं शाम होगी,
मेरी हर " खुशी " तेरे नाम होगी,
एक बार "दोस्त" कुछ मांग कर तो देख,
होठो पे " हंसी " और जिन्दगी " तेरेनाम " होगी
तुम्हारी इस अदा का क्या जवाब दूँ ,
अपने दोस्त को क्या उपहार दूँ ,
कोई अच्छा सा फूल होता तो माली से मंगवाता ,
जो खुद गुलाब है उसको क्या गुलाब दूँ .....
आज रात भी कुछ अजीब है…..
ज़मीन है प्यासी बरसात के लिये
पर बरसात भी अब बरसती नहीं है,
एक तुम्हारी याद है जो मेरे दिल से जुदा नहीं होती
एक तुम्हारी आँखें हैं जो कभी मेरे लिए तरसती नहीं हैं……..
एक मेरा दिल है जिसमे मेरे
अरमानों का काफ़िला है,
एक तुम्हारा नजरिया है जिसमे
हम दोनों की उम्र का फासला है……..
अब सुबह होने को आई है
और चाँद भी अब खो जाएगा ,
पर मेरी तलाश अभी बाकी है उस दिन के लिये
जब प्यार तुम्हें मुझसे हो जाएगा

Rating - 50/100

Result - Siddhant Shekhar wins the match and goes to top 32 round. Paul Smith is assigned to Parallel League.

Judge - Kshitij Dhyani (Author, Musician and Artist) 

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