WAIT

The tale of her never ending wait.

It’s funny how each time she is at her gate,

Her eyes flicker towards the corner towards her house,

Like you would round the corner any moment,

The way you had promised years back,

This is the story of her WAIT.

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At times she just shakes her head,

Knowing the remote possibility of it ever happening,

She often laughs at her own anticipation,

The dashed hopes and the futility of the waiting,

At times she wonders why she even waits.

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Still every morning, every night,

Anytime she stands at her gate,

Her eyes still rove at the corner,

Constantly awaiting your arrival,

She imagines herself blushing when she would see you at her place,

Each time you don’t appear, she bows her head and goes inside,

Only to resume the wait again.

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And this cycle continues forever,

Each day, every day, it never ends,

The corner has started corroding still you haven’t arrived,

With forlorn eyes that blur at times,

She still looks towards it,

This is how she waits.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar (VRa).

The Soul’s Urge Ā©|2020

Pahadan (A girl from the Hills)

A Tribute to all Pahadans (Girls from the Hills) who have stayed true to their roots. In the image above I am wearing a traditional nose ring called a ‘Nath’ and the scarf or long dupatta is a ‘pichauda’ which is intrinsic to my region in Uttarakhand.

She resides in the Himalayan terrains,

She is deeply in love with her roots,

Belongs to Himachal and Uttarakhand,

In India she is called a Pahadan.

This is a picture of me sitting in a mudhouse. It is made up of mud and stays warm in the coldest of days. As a child and as a grown up each time I visited my village, cows and bulls used to be tied in such mudhouses, it’s called a ‘Chani’. In yester years when there were no heaters and air conditioners women and men alike often used to sleep in these chanis along with the animals and hay to keep themselves warm. These days home stays use them to lure tourists and to introduce the ‘Pahadi’ culture to them.

She is always loving and kind,

What can she do?

She hails from a place where even strangers are welcomed,

With arms open wide.

She is not afraid of traversing the rugged terrains,

The Himalayas that fill others with awe and fear,

They give her warmth and peace,

They are the home that provide her solace.

View from one of the small hamlets in Uttarakhand, namely, Chopta

You might find her talking to a flower,

Smelling the earth after the first rains,

Or just admiring the beauty of a colorful bird,

Shown here is a ‘chulha’, a stove made from mud and uses wood as a fuel. The people in the hills are experts in cooking on these stoves. The food tastes tasty and has a smoky touch. The dishes cooked are usually made from vegetables fresh from the farms. Also sitting near the chulha in winters is extremely delightful.

Or as she walks those treacherous roads,

Humming an old Himalayan folk tune,

One she probably heard from her grandmother,

As she sat near the chulha with her.

This is the path to my village in Uttarakhand. It’s an upward trek of 3 kms of highly uneven terrain but the fresh air and trees makeup for it. We try to visit every few years especially with the much younger generation just so that they know about their roots.

She will tell you many folktales,

Of the kings and queens that once resided in the hills,

Of the local gods and ghosts, that still tread,

Watch the twinkle in her innocent eyes as she talks of the land she so loves.

This is our temple in our village of Taleshwar in Uttarakhand. It dates back to the 4th century and it has been proved time and again by the various archaeological treasures that have been dug up around it but it lies in a dilapidated state, all thanks to the neglect of the government. All our majorpujas’ (rituals in which you ask for blessings from God) take place in this very temple.

She has a wild and adventurous spirit,

She will take you to places you won’t fathom,

And as she treads along,

She will hum songs in a language unheard,

But the smile she holds will put you at ease,

They aren’t tragic, they are songs of the wild,

The love for nature and people that she has learnt ever since she was a child.

One of the hills that I often tread whenever I visit my village, my father’s childhood was spent in this very terrain before he moved to the city.

As a child whenever she visited the village she often used to sit in the Khou,

With family and friends,

As the old men told stories of their youth,

While smoking their hookahs,

She would listen with awe about the hill ranges that they conquered and the long paths they traversed,

Longing to do the very same some day as she grew older.

The old man in this picture is holding a hookah, a traditionally carved and engraved tube used for smoking and the area they are all sitting in is called a khou. He is the younger brother of my grandfather whom I lost to cancer when I was in Nursery. I still remember watching my grandfather coming home from my rooftop and then standing at the gate waiting for him as he always brought me sweets or candies. He used to carry a beautiful and shiny wooden cane with him, which we gave away later as it had much better use elsewhere.

During her teenage she saw a stranger knock at her grandmother’s door,

He looked like an adventure seeker,

It was the same year in the summer of which she had been to the big city and seen people be ruthless and cruel,

She just did not want this stranger entering their home.

This is one of the houses in the village that belongs to our largely extended family. In the picture is my uncle, his wife and his daughters standing on the lower floor (they are my grandfather’s younger brother’s son and family). On the above floor is my mother, my aunt (my father’s sister) and my grandmother (my grandfather’s younger brother’s wife). I lost my grandmother when I was in 8th. She was a simple yet strong lady who became schizophrenic in the later stages of life. She used to see ‘Bhainro’ (A Hill god) during her last days. She would often tell me that he was here to take her away. I was probably the closest to her in all her grandchildren since I was the only one who spent 12 years with her.

That day she learnt why Pahadis were considered simple and kind,

Her grandmother gave him a home and food for the night,

When the stranger left the next day, her grandmother found her ‘guloband’ missing,

It was the only memory she had of her dead grandfather,

She felt sad for her grandmother and went to sit with her,

As she did she started cursing the man,

No, said her grandmother as she shushed her, this is not our way of life,

He probably needed it more than me,

Nature is what gives us and every being of nature is part of us.

The black choker in this photograph is called a ‘guloband’ and that giant gold ‘Nath’ is the original, heavy nose ring worn by married women. The earrings and naths used to be so heavy (the naths weighing nearly 15gms sometimes) that the nose and earlobes often dangled by the time women reached old age. Again an intrinsic part of our traditional jewellery, the guloband is worn by married women and till date my mother and all my aunts and grandmothers own this piece of jewellery. It is still gifted to newly wed women by their elders and most of them wear it with pride as it has its own charm and is a mark of our tradition and culture. Originally, engraved squares of gold with loops on the sides for thread to pass through were sewn on a black, red or green (mostly black) cloth but now a days it comes in various other designs.

From that day in that lone village in the hills,

Till today the Pahadan resides in a small town in the Himalayan foothills,

The same one she was born in,

Somehow she never found the opportunities in the big cities charming,

Her soul always wants to return each time she visits those cities,

Her love for her roots is undying.

She feels nature will save her against all odds,

She still opens her doors to anyone who is needy,

All you need to do is knock at her doors.

This is the latest trek I went on before lockdown. This is Chopta which is sometimes also referred to as ‘Mini Switzerland’ yet having been to Switzerland I still find this hamlet much more beautiful (no offence intended here). You trek through winding snowy roads in winters and huge grasslands in summers to reach a temple called Tungnath which is a trek of 4 km uphill and Chandrashila peak which is another 2 and a half km above Tungnath.

You will still find her talking to flowers,

Or even climbing trees,

Treading barefoot on the grass,

She makes way even for the ants.

She runs to the hills whenever she gets the chance,

Her adventurous spirit can never be quenched,

In harmony with nature, she respects even the smallest of creatures.

Untouched by the city’s humdrum, she still finds peace within the hills,

But don’t get confused by her mild and kind demeanour,

Forged by hills and nature,

She will roar if you test her too far,

This is why her friends call her an alpha with a gentle heart.

Most Pahadans are just that : Alphas with gentle Hearts.
So these are few very old songs from our region sung by a young singer from our hills to cater to the new generation. The locales used are also of the Uttarakhand hills and once you see them you might want to visit too. However westernized we might seem, these are the only songs we Pahadis like humming once we enter our domain. Haha! Do click on the link and listen. Enjoy the music and if you want the translations, feel free to mail or ask me in the COMMENTS section.

All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar (VRa). Pahaadan through and through.

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

ENIGMA

A Short Tale of a Mysterious Woman

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Numerous are her shades. She is an enigma that takes ages to unfold. You have to be patient to learn all that she withholds because once she unleashes her various hues, you will be left yearning for more and more.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar. VRa.

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

Letter to Covid

A Letter to Covid from a Girl in the Himalayan Foothills

My dear Covid,

I have no regrets,

My book is in the process,

It will soon be out.

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My dear Covid,

At 25 I feel like fifty,

I have faced infidels galore,

I have savoured the adrenaline rush of life,

I have been in the depth of love,

I have also felt the mind numbing void.

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My dear Covid,

I have seen the beauty of the European Province,

The human race of which you are destroying,

I have seen the streets being raided by tourists,

Of the Economy that is now collapsing.

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My dear Covid,

I am a simple girl from the hills,

A Freelancer and an Introvert,

I already lived in Quarantine.

In India, they say the hills liberate you and bring you peace,

They say, Our gods used to reside in these hills.

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My dear Covid,

I don’t seek any worldly pleasures,

A Cabin in the hills,

A warm fire in the hearth,

A book in hand sipping a hot mug of coffee is all I dream of.

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My dear Covid,

I just hope my book will grant people some pleasure,

If it comes out during the Corona scare.

I just want to pray for the human race,

To make out of this alive and safe.

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My dear Covid,

I bribed the Cosmos everyday,

In the past one year,

I asked it to abduct me,

Take me away as this land felt alien.

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My dear Covid,

I just want you to know,

I have lived my dreams,

And if not the Cosmos but you decide to liberate me,

I will have no regrets,

I will leave with a peaceful mind.

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My dear Covid,

I want to thank you for bringing balance to nature,

Coming from the Himalayas,

I always connected more with nature than with people.

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My dear Covid,

If you decide to take me away,

I wouldn’t mind it anyway,

Because, I know I have left enough memories,

Of kindness and of Love,

For all the people dear to me to remember me by,

And I hope these will be lessons they can pass on,

To the generations that will follow them,

To be kind to nature,

So that it does not avenge itself with a ‘Corona’ again.

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Sincerely,

A Girl from the Himalayan Foothills

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar (VRa).

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

LAST NIGHT

A Tale of how the Corona Lockdown helped me talk to the Stars again Last Night

I talked to the stars after a long time last night,
I used to do that when I was a child,
Venus was shining so bright,
It looked at me and I looked at it,
We flirted a little,
Through my eyes and its shine.

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Last time I talked to it I was a child,
The air was cleaner,
And the sky shone brighter,
There was no polluting barrier,
Between me and the skies.

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The stars and I relived memories last night,
I asked them to pray for the humans and their plight,
A bird cooed, a bat flew,
I wasn’t scared,
I knew the nature and I were in harmony,
After a long while last night.

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Always isolated, I looked at Venus again last night,
My old friend, my partner in crime,
I realised I had been alone and had missed it all this time,
The skies are what we all share,
So, I prayed with the stars for all humans last night.

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I even bribed Venus to abduct me last night,
It winked at me and said,
Some day soon it might.
As I sat on the terrace last night,
After a long time since forever,
I wasn’t alone with my thoughts on a night.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar. VRaĀ©

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

GOVERNMENT JOBS

A Sarcastic and Hilarious take on India’s obsession with Government Jobs

I had been wanting to speak since ages,

You know about this,

Particular obsession with Government Jobs.

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In India, whatever or however you do it,

You should certainly apply for what?

A Government Job.

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Do you like Banking?

Nobody really asks.

You want a career in railways?

Again nobody asks.

Do you want to become a professor?

Nada, that’s again never asked.

Do you want to go into government administration?

AGAIN Nobody asks.

You have to sit for it,

Especially if your parents and relatives ask,

There is just this certain obsession with Government Jobs.

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You can’t sit at home and work,

That’s not how you earn,

An office and a respectable job,

People want to say proudly,

Our sons and daughters are government servants,

A nine to five job,

Just because, there is a particular obsession with government jobs.

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You have to compete for one little seat,

With thousands of competitors,

Some interested in it, some absolutely not,

Some actors, some writers, some poets, some artists and then some scholars,

All dying together as they sit for their trial of a government job.

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And Oh lord! If you don’t succeed in a few tries,

All hell breaks lose,

What will the society say,

The loss of respect,

Well what can we say,

Asking a fish to climb a tree,

That is what we should expect,

All, due to this obsession with a Government Job.

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It makes me laugh at times,

I mean I don’t like maths,

Was never good at it,

But if I decide to sit for trial,

Against my wishes I will have to practice,

Thanks to the obsession with government jobs.

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Next life if I arrive in India,

I wouldn’t want to be a human,

I would rather be a duck or a whale,

Or something unique like a Narwhal,

I would wade through life,

Doing things I enjoy or die an early death,

From a predator lurking around.

As I don’t really want taunts along with the support,

Just because I want to do works I enjoy,

Not sit on a job I don’t like,

All this, courtesy the obsession with government jobs.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar. (VRa)

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

Letting Go

Tale of a woman who is ready to Let Go of the past and wants to start afresh

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It’s a funny story of life,

I fell in love with a man,

One with whom I never wanted to,

He loved another so I let him go.

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I fell for another, his friend,

With a heightened intensity,

Stood by him through hard times,

He started crushing on another,

Later fell for her too,

So I let him go.

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The previous man returned,

With new promises and more efforts,

But I still held the other in my heart,

Despite his loyalty,

I couldn’t invest myself totally,

Not one to twist my words for long,

I told him so,

Yet again, I let him go.

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The other man has many dreams,

He still is in love with another it seems,

I wonder if he will ever return,

But disappointments and dashed hopes I have had enough,

I have given myself a closure numerous times,

But this time a proper closure I do seek.

Might be a joke at times,

So the book I am writing will be the closure I seek,

A new beginning and two chapters closed,

That’s what I feel the ending will be.

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I am learning and growing,

I am changing and evolving,

I know it’s time for me to free myself of their snares,

It’s time for me to rediscover myself for what I am.

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Finally, I have realised it’s time,

As a friend I will probably still be there for them too,

I am proud of the woman they have forged me into,

Despite having promised a forever and eternity,

The woman I have become,

She is finally Letting Go.

.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar. (VRa)Ā©

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

How I have been Disciplined

Because sometimes Capital Punishments can create a rift between Parents and Child, one that can never be filled

Note: This is not related to my book. Just a fleeting thought I penned.

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It was nothing new for me,
When my father hit me,
I had been disciplined since childhood,
With sticks and brooms and slaps and kicks too,
That was my parents style of venting out their anger,
And rearing the elder kid too.

I grew apart from them with time,
They never understood why I rebelled,
As I reached my teens I started losing my cool,
So it was nothing new for me,
When my father hit me.

I reached my twenties,
I found a partner and as he went through a harsh phase,
I wanted to be there for him, listening to him into the night,
It was something my father couldn’t digest,
At the age of twenty four,
It was again nothing new for me,
When my father took a stick and hit me,
I protested and I shoved him back, my mother called me crazy,
After all hitting back is not how I have been disciplined.

More than a year later I can still see the marks upon my waist,
A reminder of that ill fated day,
What had been my fault?
Was it wrong to be there for someone you love?
But then parents can do no wrong,
They have always reared us with so much love,
So I am not allowed to question them,
Or tell others the very same, what would society think of them?
And anyways also I should have been used to it,
Why would I even cry over this common occurrence?
After all it was nothing new for me,
When my father hit me,
It is just how I have been disciplined.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar.

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2020

COLD

Once upon a time in the astral realm of my dreams we sat together,

Our fingers entangled, I was sure of a Forever,

Till you left, you had found another,

Left all alone, I still waited in hopes of your return,

You never came and I turned Cold.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar. VRa. Ā©

January|2020

VINAYAK

“A Tale of Vinayak: a House of Bricks and Stones which is a Son, a Brother, A Protector and More”

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I wondered why they named our house,
My parents, you know,
An embellished Marble stands at the gate,
With the name Vinayak.

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With time I came to realise,
It held a deep meaning,
It’s the one of the many names,
That the Hindu Lord Ganesha holds,
If my devoted mother ever had a son,
She would have probably named him Vinayak.

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Come to think of it,
This house is akin to a son,
Each brick, each Stone was engraved,
By the hard earned money,
Of their own time and efforts,
Isn’t that what parents do for their children?
It’s certainly no less than a son,
Its the result of their own lifeblood,
This house called Vinayak.

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A few years Younger to me,
But it has seen all my phases,
From childhood to youth,
It has held my deepest and darkest secrets.
A great listener, my partner in crime,
My closest confidante,
It has seen me laugh, It has seen me cry,
It has supported me through in the Most Painful and solitary of times.

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It protects us all from the perils outside,
People say you are two sisters,
But I say NO, we have a brother,
More humane than many outside, Over the years HE has stood and still stands tall,
For people it might be bricks and stone,
For us it’s a son, a brother, Our Protector,
And HIS name is Vinayak.

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All Rights Reserved. Vanya Rajwar (VRa).

The Soul’s UrgeĀ©|2019