Month: September 2007

Why can’t time stand still?

Why can’t time stand still?

As I sit next to you
I feel so cosy and blissful,
as if there’s nothing more
to achieve, no desire to fulfil
Why can’t time stand still?

As I sit looking at you
I see in your moist eyes
the softness of your soul,
and hear its silent shrill
Why can’t time stand still?

As I sit close to you
I can hear your heartbeats,
racing away rhythmically,
wondering what is God’s will?
Why can’t time stand still?

As I sit beside you
I find my soul praying,
urging God to grant me just
one wish: a magical skill…
to make time stand still

© Manoj Khatri

Celebrate Gently

Celebrate Gently

Last year I wrote a story about Ganesh Chaturthi celebrations in my column “Out and About” in The Times of India, Thane Plus, in which I urged readers to celebrate gently. I feel its relevance has not diminished and therefore I am reproducing the story here.

Celebrate Gently
(First published in The Times of India, Thane Plus on 26 August 2006)

Last year, on the sixth day of Ganapati Mahotsav, a truck carrying an idol was proceeding towards immersion. The reveling children and adults were dancing to loud music and throwing gulaal (red colour powder) on passers-by. As this writer overtook the truck in his car, some of the ecstatic celebrators tossed some colour, which landed on his windshield, blocking the view partially. Fortunately, it covered only the passenger side of the windshield. If the colour would’ve landed on the driver’s side, it could’ve led to a disaster on the road, risking the lives of pedestrians and of passengers in other vehicles.

Every year the twin cities of Thane and Mumbai celebrate Lord Ganesha’s birthday with vigour. Millions are spent on extravagant pandals, ornate idols complete with themes and contests marking the ten-day festival. Immersions too are grand affairs with devotees dancing all the way to tunes produced by a combination of large drums, banjo, keyboard and other musical instruments. With so much show of devotion, the Lord of Prosperity would be pleased with Mumbai devotees. So what if in the process of celebrating, the devotees cause irreversible damage to His creation? So what if they disturb the peace of their neighbourhood, cause traffic obstructions and create impediments for ordinary passers-by who are trying to reach home after a hard day’s work? These are trivialities that the Lord will obviously overlook. Or will He?

The world over, and especially in India, people spend a lot of energy in trying to please God by celebrating religious festivals lavishly. To be sure, there’s nothing wrong in celebrating per se, even celebrating lavishly. It is only when these celebrations take on a competitive nature, with everyone vying to please God that the problems begin. It does not require a high level of IQ to understand that you cannot bribe your way through to earn the blessings of the almighty, the Creator, the omnipotent.

Bigger idols and brighter colours are often made from substances that pollute the environment and harm Mother Nature, which God created with such love. Loud music creates noise pollution that has been found to be harmful to humans in the long run. And nothing, not even celebration of the Lord’s birthday, justifies the inconvenience that all this causes to millions of residents, both believers and non-believers.

It strikes one as ironical that devotees create impediments for others in the name of the very God who is known as the “Remover of Impediments.” Such is the inconsideration displayed by some of the devotees of the Lord that they need Supreme Court rulings to prevent them from blasting music after 10 pm, so that senior citizens and those suffering from high blood pressure can get sound sleep. Come to think of it, it must have been Lord Ganesha who, in the guise of the Supreme Court judges, gave the 10 pm ruling, in order to protect His other devotees – the ones who express their gratitude silently – while the noisy devotees indulge in reckless extravagance to earn brownie points.

Let’s take a pledge this year to be more considerate towards God’s creations – both Mother Nature and Her people. We can do so by acquiring only idols made of clay, keeping noise pollution in check, by immersing the idols at home in a bucket of water, and by celebrating Lord Ganesha’s birthday in the spirit of love for all humanity. Let’s pray for greater peace in the world and seek His blessings for a better world.

Link to the original article



Look around and see
you’ll always find me
praying with intensity
for your life’s safety
your heart’s clarity
your mind’s tranquillity
your soul’s serenity

Look within and feel
discover your soul’s zeal
listen to its silent spiel
and that fervent appeal
to end the pointless ordeal
and make a fresh deal
to allow yourself to heal

Look above and view
beyond the sky’s blue
to get a subtle clue
about the joy that’s due
from someone so true
who selflessly loves you,
and wants help you…renew

~© Manoj Khatri~

My incorrigible heart

My incorrigible heart

Sunset at Powai

It’s dusk, that miraculous time of the day
The sun has set on the other side of the bay
Children are shouting, laughing as they play
Birds are hurrying off to where they stay
Pious individuals are bowing down to pray
Labourers seem happy to receive their pay
The Sky looks like a pink rose bouquet
As if His creation, He has chosen to display
If all is so beautiful, why does it seem grey?

Can someone explain to me the reason why?
Is it because beauty is in the beholder’s eye?
What if the eyes are soggy and not dry?
Does it mean everything that’s seen is a lie?
Do the eyes then simply deceive and defy?
Showing a caterpillar, when it’s a butterfly?

When I asked someone who’s wise and smart
He said, it‘s not the fault of eyes, but of the heart,
which beats irregularly when it’s been torn apart
Behaving like a computer that needs a restart
Distorting images to look like a weather chart

So next time, I see grey at sunset or sunrise
I guess it won’t be such a big surprise
That my heart is the culprit, and not my eyes
It is my incorrigible, stubborn heart that denies
The gifts God sends me through the skies

~© Manoj Khatri~

A million ways

A million ways

You say
you don’t understand
The way I feel for you
to my soul’s whispers
You’ll discover
something grand

You say
You can’t believe
That I love you so much
To my heart’s beats
you’ll fathom
and perceive

You say
you can’t comprehend
Why I love you
to my irrationality
‘cos all reasons
I transcend

I don’t know
But I do know

I love you
in a million ways

I know it
when I cry
tears of joy
till my eyes
run dry

I know it
when I fly
so high
my soul soars
into the sky

I know it
When I feel
thinking of
a pained you

I know it
when I rejoice
on hearing
your voice

I know it
when I long
to see
that smile on your face
and your inimitable grace
that sparkle in your eyes
in absence of any guise

I know it
when I long
to hear
your laughter
and when I hear it,
Oh! The joy
I feel thereafter

I know it
when it doesn’t matter
What you say
I still feel the same way

I know it
When I pray for you
intense and deep
each day
as I wake up,
each night
as I sleep

I know that
I’ll never run
out of the ways
Even after a million
nights and days

So there, you see,
if you ask me to,
I’ll be able to supply
a million “how’s”
but not a single “why”

~© Manoj Khatri~