Snakes and Ladders

I am always told that we should not become participants of a rat race. In the same breath I am warned that I should work harder to become someone. The quest is not to do something, it is all about becoming someone.

What I think? I would say it is no sin to go wrong or just living idly for some time. If you did not work hard that is because in subconscious you did not feel the pull for that particular endeavour. That might have resulted in an option forgone. A chance missed, thousands more to come. No big deal!

In the prestigious IITs, one or more students commit suicide every year. Young boys with bright futures ahead. They lived with a constant guilt of time they have wasted and opportunities they lost. They often had less achievements than their peers. They were exhorted to achieve their true potential which was theoretically and rightfully, infinite. So they felt like underachievers. People around them added emphasis on the ‘under’ and ignored the ‘achievers’. As a result someone envied by millions others committed suicide.

What we fail to realize is that life is not a race on tightrope. It is a game of snakes and ladders. If you have a ladder nearby, work to catch it. If you miss, it’s all right, just keep moving. If you get bitten, No problem! go search for a ladder nearby. Just keep rolling the dice!

For every ladder you have climbed, a snake is awaiting just round the corner. For every snake who bit you, life will compensate with a ladder albeit at a distance.

In a perverse paraphrasing of a movie dialogue: bus, train, ladki aur opportunity; ek jaye to doosri aati hai.


A wonderful quote says, “Time you enjoyed wasting was not wasted!” Because the world is not rational, we don’t need to be either.


PS1: Snakes and Ladders was invented in India many centuries ago to teach virtues and vices at different stages of life. Of course the ultimate aim was to attain moksha.

PS2: Mathematically, if the dice is rolled a large number of times, the cumulative probability of finishing the game comes close to 1. (It’s around 175 in a chart on wikipedia. Link here)

कोशिश करने वालों की – हरिवंश राय ‘बच्चन’

I first time read this poem while standing in a queue in front of a mess in Kota. I didn’t qualify for the IIT in my first attempt and I was giving it a shot again. It has been over a decade now and the poem has not lost its potency in motivating me. I love it and thank senior Bacchan Ji for it.

लहरों से डर कर नौका पार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

नन्हीं चींटी जब दाना लेकर चलती है,
चढ़ती दीवारों पर, सौ बार फिसलती है।
मन का विश्वास रगों में साहस भरता है,
चढ़कर गिरना, गिरकर चढ़ना न अखरता है।
आख़िर उसकी मेहनत बेकार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

डुबकियां सिंधु में गोताखोर लगाता है,
जा जा कर खाली हाथ लौटकर आता है।
मिलते नहीं सहज ही मोती गहरे पानी में,
बढ़ता दुगना उत्साह इसी हैरानी में।
मुट्ठी उसकी खाली हर बार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

असफलता एक चुनौती है, इसे स्वीकार करो,
क्या कमी रह गई, देखो और सुधार करो।
जब तक न सफल हो, नींद चैन को त्यागो तुम,
संघर्ष का मैदान छोड़ कर मत भागो तुम।
कुछ किये बिना ही जय जय कार नहीं होती,
कोशिश करने वालों की कभी हार नहीं होती।

Memorable moments with Honorable PM

pm meet

The Prime Minister, Shri Narendra Modi in group photograph with the youth who have been working in rural areas under Prime Minister’s Rural Development Fellows (PMRDF) scheme, in New Delhi on February 08, 2016. The Union Minister for Rural Development, Panchayati Raj, Drinking Water and Sanitation, Shri Chaudhary Birender Singh, the Minister of State for Rural Development, Shri Sudarshan Bhagat and the Secretary, Ministry of Rural Development, Shri J.K. Mohapatra are also seen. I am also seen in the back row.

Prime Minster Shri Narendra Modi Ji swept us all away in a 2 hour interaction session that we had on Feb 08 in DRDO Bhawan, Delhi. The PM connected so well with us that all of us felt touched. The Prime Minster was spot on when he expressed that his fellows must be facing dilemma by being different in a materialistic world. He said that you guys have to keep your emotions under check every day when you see others buying new cars or new mobiles, ie living comfortable lives while you guys are struggling in the hinterland of the country. He wondered how worried mothers of girls fellows must be after sending their daughters to these troubled areas.

The Prime Minister also talked about the fact that when all of us wrote letters to him not even one complained. He said that even CMs always present a memo of demand first then talk anything else. He specifically asked us to apprise him about the challenges we face in the districts of posting. He also expressed worry about our experiences not being put to effective use. He said that we will devise a mechanism where we can report directly to the PMO. That would be a great thing to happen!

The Prime Minister also mesmerized us by remembering names of many fellows. He called many fellows by their first names during his speech which is like a huge honour for the programme which was languishing in past some time because of the lack of support at the top most level. The very next day, we got to meet the Joint secretary PMO in this regard.

Overall, the Prime Minister showed again how he is different from other dignitaries. The fact that he concerns for our problems alleviates our pain. The fact that he did so much homework before taking a meeting with us showed how hardworking he is and that inspired us to put in more and more efforts from our side. If the Prime Minister of India can work for 16 hours a day why can’t we? After all, we are his fellows 🙂


है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा – इंदीवर

A truly patriotic song which can be heard all over India on 15 August and 26 January. It is informative as well. I like this song as it is not jingoistic or boasting. Some may disagree that India is getting regressive or such progressive society is a long gone story. I only have to say that even if one falls on the road for a moment, he/she doesn’t become any less important. India will rise up to its core values and we all have to work towards it – One person at a time.

जब ज़ीरो दिया मेरे भारत ने, दुनिया को तब गिनती आई
तारों की भाषा भारत ने, दुनिया को पहले सिखलाई

देता ना दशमलव भारत तो, यूँ चाँद पे जाना मुश्किल था
धरती और चाँद की दूरी का, अंदाज़ लगाना मुश्किल था

सभ्यता जहाँ पहले आई, पहले जनमी है जहाँ पे कला
अपना भारत वो भारत है, जिसके पीछे संसार चला
संसार चला और आगे बढ़ा, ज्यूँ आगे बढ़ा, बढ़ता ही गया
भगवान करे ये और बढ़े, बढ़ता ही रहे और फूले-फले

है प्रीत जहाँ की रीत सदा, मैं गीत वहाँ के गाता हूँ
भारत का रहने वाला हूँ, भारत की बात सुनाता हूँ

काले-गोरे का भेद नहीं, हर दिल से हमारा नाता है
कुछ और न आता हो हमको, हमें प्यार निभाना आता है
जिसे मान चुकी सारी दुनिया, मैं बात वही दोहराता हूँ
भारत का रहने वाला हूँ, भारत की बात सुनाता हूँ

जीते हो किसीने देश तो क्या, हमने तो दिलों को जीता है
जहाँ राम अभी तक है नर में, नारी में अभी तक सीता है
इतने पावन हैं लोग जहाँ, मैं नित-नित शीश झुकाता हूँ
भारत का रहने वाला हूँ, भारत की बात सुनाता हूँ

इतनी ममता नदियों को भी, जहाँ माता कहके बुलाते है
इतना आदर इन्सान तो क्या, पत्थर भी पूजे जातें है
उस धरती पे मैंने जन्म लिया, ये सोच के मैं इतराता हूँ
भारत का रहने वाला हूँ, भारत की बात सुनाता हूँ

कारवां गुज़र गया – गोपालदास ‘नीरज’

This is undoubtedly my favourite Hindi poem. It has a very sad tone but I still love it. The reason being that it evokes many memories of childhood. My father use to sing this to us and I would fall asleep listening to it. Neeraj ji is a living legend and it is a travesty in this country that artists do not get the due respect .

स्वप्न झरे फूल से,
मीत चुभे शूल से,
लुट गये सिंगार सभी बाग़ के बबूल से,
और हम खड़े-खड़े बहार देखते रहे
कारवां गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे!

नींद भी खुली न थी कि हाय धूप ढल गई,
पाँव जब तलक उठे कि ज़िन्दगी फिसल गई,
पात-पात झर गये कि शाख़-शाख़ जल गई,
चाह तो निकल सकी न, पर उमर निकल गई,
गीत अश्क़ बन गए,
छंद हो दफ़न गए,
साथ के सभी दिऐ धुआँ-धुआँ पहन गये,
और हम झुके-झुके,
मोड़ पर रुके-रुके
उम्र के चढ़ाव का उतार देखते रहे
कारवां गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे।

क्या शबाब था कि फूल-फूल प्यार कर उठा,
क्या सुरूप था कि देख आइना मचल उठा
इस तरफ जमीन और आसमां उधर उठा,
थाम कर जिगर उठा कि जो मिला नज़र उठा,
एक दिन मगर यहाँ,
ऐसी कुछ हवा चली,
लुट गयी कली-कली कि घुट गयी गली-गली,
और हम लुटे-लुटे,
वक्त से पिटे-पिटे,
साँस की शराब का खुमार देखते रहे
कारवां गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे।

हाथ थे मिले कि जुल्फ चाँद की सँवार दूँ,
होंठ थे खुले कि हर बहार को पुकार दूँ,
दर्द था दिया गया कि हर दुखी को प्यार दूँ,
और साँस यूँ कि स्वर्ग भूमी पर उतार दूँ,
हो सका न कुछ मगर,
शाम बन गई सहर,
वह उठी लहर कि दह गये किले बिखर-बिखर,
और हम डरे-डरे,
नीर नयन में भरे,
ओढ़कर कफ़न, पड़े मज़ार देखते रहे
कारवां गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे!

माँग भर चली कि एक, जब नई-नई किरन,
ढोलकें धुमुक उठीं, ठुमक उठे चरण-चरण,
शोर मच गया कि लो चली दुल्हन, चली दुल्हन,
गाँव सब उमड़ पड़ा, बहक उठे नयन-नयन,
पर तभी ज़हर भरी,
ग़ाज एक वह गिरी,
पुंछ गया सिंदूर तार-तार हुई चूनरी,
और हम अजान से,
दूर के मकान से,
पालकी लिये हुए कहार देखते रहे।
कारवां गुज़र गया, गुबार देखते रहे।

पुष्प की अभिलाषा – माखनलाल चतुर्वेदी

I love this poem since I first read it in primary school. Simple words, powerful message!

चाह नहीं मैं सुरबाला के
गहनों में गूँथा जाऊँ,

चाह नहीं प्रेमी-माला में
बिंध प्यारी को ललचाऊँ,

चाह नहीं, सम्राटों के शव
पर, हे हरि, डाला जाऊँ

चाह नहीं, देवों के शिर पर,
चढ़ूँ भाग्य पर इठलाऊँ!

मुझे तोड़ लेना वनमाली!
उस पथ पर देना तुम फेंक,

मातृभूमि पर शीश चढ़ाने
जिस पथ जावें वीर अनेक।

practical guide to “I made my day”

I realised that every few days, I read or watch some inspirational stuff.  My motivation is not long lasting and needs frequent replenishments. While they tell about what all one should do to become the greatest, they remind me of my inability to become great. So I have borrowed from practical life a list of 10 commandments. I am sharing these not to help the readers but their family members (God help my family members also)

# The way you spend your days is the way you will end up spending your life. If you want to improve it, improve the next few hours.

# Contemplate where life is going for 10 minutes every day. Use the time in loo.

# Listen to good music everyday: it is a food for the spirit.

# Don’t take yourself too seriously; no one else does!

# Waste some money every year – on your mother, wife and sisters.

# Make peace with your past.

# Give away extra/ old things in your home. Enjoy the joy of giving. (and then shop yourself afresh)

# Love your body and respect it. No matter how you feel, get up, get dressed well and wear nice looks.

# You made mistakes when you were a child, your parents will make when they are old. Your children make mistakes because they are young, you will make when you get old. So, be at peace!

# Call your family often. You probably won’t have any new news to tell because you are not a media reporter. Still do make the call.