The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Wednesday, 25 November 2015


From the Ganga ghats
To the water flowing in the Mother River
Million hopes get aspirations
With million diyas* there to inspire you
It is always an undreamed-of illumination
An opulence of brilliance
A grandeur of colours lit bright
That awaits you 
To take you into its embrace
Literally, metaphorically, symbolically
The view that you look at
With joy
That phenomenon that goes deep into inner you
Enlightening you
The experience that leaves you wanting for more
With tales to tell
The day when you celebrate light with Gods
The day when you sing life with Gods
An evening when you become one with Kashi’s soul
An evening when Gods express the joy of being here
The tales of that evening
When the full moon day is at its blossoming peak
Bringing radiance to the night the day seeks
The evening, the night, the day
Aesthetic, spiritual, mystical or religious
It’s all there for you to live the way you want
The way your soul needs
Taking you into embrace
Literally and metaphorically 
As the youthful morning of the full moon day
Gets younger as the evening gets into night
Revealing a mesmerizing horizon
Where your soul flows with the Ganga
Bathed in the light of million diyas
Floating along, scattered across
On the Ganga, at its ghats
Celebrating life, celebrating light
On the Dev Deepawali night
From the Ganga ghats
To the river stream of the Holy Mother
Millions hopes get inspiration
With the radiance of million diays
Immersing your soul into a wordless realm
Where thoughts interact and speak
With your eyes fixed at colours of life
Dancing and singing hymns of liberation
The day is here again
When Gods will descend
And humanity will greet them with élan
To spend some quality time together
Sitting with the Mother Ganga in Shiva’s Kashi
Come, live your life
Come, feel your voice within   
Come, the city calls you
Come, the day is here again..


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

*Diyas - Earthen Lamps 

Tuesday, 24 November 2015


Visiting temples and other religious places have different connotations and purposes based on the phase of life we are in. Sometimes, it is also about the state of mind that inspires you to make it a routine to follow – based on the social values you inherit.

Based on my reasons (and reasoning), I too, had this thing in my routine – visiting some temples that fell well on my city itinerary during my school/college days in Varanasi – Sankat Mochan, Durga Kund, Vankati Hanumanji and Lord Ganesh temple ‘Durg Vinayak’ that is mid-way en route the Durga Kund-Vankatiji street.

That was once upon a time.

Then, during the course of my life events, I shifted my base to Delhi. But as happens and as Varanasi is my home town and as I feel a sense of belongingness here, the city keeps on calling me again and again – and I respond to such calls with a ‘nostalgic excitement’ always.

After many years, this time around, when I am in Varanasi, I thought to revisit the experience of those days – visiting these temples again – trying to follow the way it used to be in my itinerary then – and I could do so – though with a different set of thoughts in my mind – based on who I am and where I am in my life. 


©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Monday, 23 November 2015


So, Nitish Kumar is running the show again. On November 20, riding on the electoral sweep made by his alliance with RJD and Congress, he was sworn in again, as Bihar’s chief minister for the 5th term.

But, is he running the show this time?

Is he going to run the show this time?

Between 2005 and 2015, water has consistently flown in the Ganga by Patna, Bihar’s capital city and the seat of power and the latest assembly poll results show its pace has been quite chaotic, quite unpredictable. A look at the post-election trends of 2010 and 2015 bares all.

The power corridors of Patna draw strength from the rural hinterlands of Bihar and those hinterlands have rechristened Lalu Prasad Yadav again as the king and the kingmaker of Bihar’s politics with his party RJD emerging as the largest political party in the 243 members strong Bihar Assembly with 80 seats. Nitish Kumar’s JDU, the undisputed leader in the state’s politics since 2005, has been forced to the number 2 spot with 71 seats.

Here it doesn’t matter, for this analysis, if JDU and BJP won 124 seats together, commanding a vote share of over 41% - even if it going to hurt JDU now and may even cause new equations to emerge in the days to come.

Let’s put aside the arithmetic of seat sharing of different alliances in these polls and see the projection of vote shares – because JDU was always in alliances – first it was a long one with BJP that it formed to oust Lalu’s RJD from Bihar – and now with the same RJD – and that speaks a lot.

In the last assembly polls in Bihar in 2010, JDU had contested on 141 seats winning 115 with a vote share of 22.58%. RJD, which had gone for 168 seats, was restricted to just 22 seats in the assembly with a vote share of 18.84%.

Now come to 2015.

JDU and RJD, both together in alliance now, fought on 101 seats each, way below the 141 mark of JDU and 168 of RJD in 2010. Obviously, they have been helped by synergies in ‘votebanks’ and a negative campaign by BJP.

But, symbolically, what we need to consider here is tale involved in the figures and how the subsequent events have started unfolding thereafter.

RJD won 80 out of 101 seats it fought with a vote share of 18.4%, more or less similar to the numeric strength of the last time – a more than significant gain in number of seats from the last time – especially when we see that we all had started writing political obituary of Lalu Yadav and RJD after Lalu was convicted in the fodder scam and was barred from any electoral process or political office.

JDU won 71 seats with 16.8% vote share, coming to a second in terms of number of seats while third in cornering votes - while it bagged top spots in both in 2010.

So, JDU is down by 6% in vote share and is almost reduced to half in number of seats – from its 2010 tally.

Political analysts may go to the finer details like number of seats fought then and now and the subsequent trends in the vote shares, but what is also a bare reality that, symbolically, the results should bring down the morale of the JDU workers (and of Nitish Kumar) as we live in a country where elections are still fought on perceptions and are driven by impulsive considerations.  

Nitish Kumar who emerged as the most preferred political personality of Bihar in 2005 did so by targeting his politics and campaign on Lalu-Rabri Devi’s rule of 15 years which he termed ‘jungleraj’.

Now, Nitish Kumar stands dwarfed by the same Lalu Yadav and his RJD – the big brother in his government in Patna this time.

It may be said that the JDU-RJD-Congress alliance fought the polls in the name of Nitish Kumar who was the alliance’s chief-ministerial nominee and so he should be given credit to this sweeping electoral mandate of the alliance he stitched.

But numbers and trends post assembly election results pose some serious questions that only time will answer.

We know JDU’s party cadre and organizational strength is very week in Bihar and so far, before these assembly polls and the Lok Sabha election last year, had driven the show on BJP’s shoulders, the party with the largest vote share this time.

These results should serve as the warning signals for Nitish – for his party’s organizational structure in the state and for his political career that is now dependent on Lalu – and that makes Nitish the real loser in all this.

And it seems the process has started on not a welcome step.  

Though, it is said Nitish has started on a tough note by ordering bureaucrats to bring back the state on a high pedestal of law and order immediately like it was earlier during his tenure, the other portfolio allocations raise questions.

To ensure smooth running of administration, Nitish has kept the home department and the general administration with himself. But what about appointments of Lalu’s sons as cabinet ministers?

Lalu’s both sons are politically naïve and socially inexperienced. Coronation of a 26 year old deputy CM, i.e., Lalu’s son Tejaswi, tells Lalu has started exacting his price. The two most important sectors of Bihar, that Nitish is known to have worked on, i.e., roads and health care, are now with Lalu’s sons. Finance is also with RJD.

Yes, being a senior partner with greater numbers, Lalu’s party needed a respectable share. But had it been for a changed Lalu who would be looking for a long-term political future for his sons, this decision would not have been here. His sons could have been given other less significant ministerial portfolios to gain experience first. But, it seems Lalu has prevailed in his trademark way of politics, keeping interests of his family first, like the way he made Rabri Devi CM in 1997.

And if it is so, it is not going to stop here!

So, it is a rough start we should say and it is going to be a difficult ride with many tides – something that we all can expect by the precedent so far. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Sunday, 22 November 2015


Good cinema is refreshing.

And at times, it proves levitating as well.

Like most people, I also love films – but I am quite selective about what I watch and how I watch.

Films are a brilliant tool to learn from, to think over and to create a lasting memory worth revisiting – the meaningful cinema is all about that.

Films are also the most potent tool for soft communication (or for soft power projection) when the need is to reach masses not restricted by boundaries.

Films created with a ‘craft conscience’ are case studies in themselves to study the art and craft of cinemamaking, to analyse the subject they are based on and to look into the values of the society they are set into.

Such thoughts come to mind whenever I watch some good, meaningful film. And all these thoughts were there again when I was watching ‘Lincoln’ again this evening – a world cinema classic, a production with honourable values in the annals of cinemamaking.

The 2012 film about Abraham Lincoln, the 16th US President, by Steven Spielberg focuses on the final months of Lincoln’s life. It is a moving document to study – for those who are well-informed, for those who are just familiar and for those as well who are not at all aware of. The movie is an important modern day source of one of the most important emancipatory moves made by humans to empower fellow human beings in a democratic society. In fact, the concept of a free society with constitutional equality for all began with this history-making decision executed by Abraham Lincoln in 1865 – making discrimination based on skin colour constitutionally illegal in the United States of America.

Yes, there have been and there are debates and critiques about the cinematic representation of the historical developments in the film but a good piece of ‘meaningful’ cinema liberates you to enjoy the show and inspires you to know further – like, I believe, many would have tried after watching the movie.

The art, the craft, the soul, the flesh – all ingredients of great cinemamaking are here in blossoming health I can say – with acting, with direction, with writing, with lights and camera, with score, with sets, with costumes, with props and so on – and historically, the movie is accurate enough to make viewers sit and experience the age defining development in the modern history of human civilization in making in a thrilling, riveting fashion. 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -



©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Thursday, 19 November 2015


Here was the romance of growing up
In the days of yore when it was all throwing up
Then, life had no aims to think on
Then, life had this thing to always move on
Come what may
That was the only way
That was the romance of those pre-college years
When eyes followed eyes, when ears were just ears
A fancy bicycle or an open rickshaw ride
The days were as narrow as the choices were wide
Sometime, it was all about that comic book
Or a routine hide and seek in every possible nook
That orange, or red, or green, or cocoa ice-cream
Was like a trophy in every night’s dream
The joyous rupture of getting a cricket bat
And then some lashing words from that uncle fat
Oh, that daily craving and charm for hot brews
Starting the day early on a sporting cruise 
Thinking that everything could be yours
And all you needed were multiple doors
And you would go to every shore
To try with your random oar  
Come what may
That would be the only way
That was the romance of growing up
Walking and dancing and showing up
No matter if it didn’t make you feel comfortable
No matter if it didn’t conform to some label
All that mattered was the inner urge
Something, that was notorious for its impulsive surge
To get things done, to meet them all
When past didn’t matter, when future didn’t make it fall
When eyes followed eyes, when ears were just ears
That was the romance of those pre-college years 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -

Wednesday, 18 November 2015


This one is a Ramlila clip shot randomly.

The annual ‘Ramayan’ event, organized across India through plays, is being staged here at the Manikarnika Ghat, Varanasi - on November 17, i.e., on the day of Chhath Puja in 2015.

Ramlila is played over an extended period of time at different places in Varanasi and it goes well beyond the Dussehra festivities – that fall usually in the months of September-October.

Here, in the Ramlila at the Manikarnika Ghat, the informal conversation interspersed with dialogues between the characters is quite interesting.

The part of Ramayana (or Ramcharit Manas, the most loved Hindu scripture written on Ramayan by Goswami Tulsidas in 15th-16th Century) being staged here is about ‘Vibhishan leaving his brother Ravan and joining Lord Ram’s side in the epic battle between bad and good’.

After Vibhishan has left Lanka, Ravan’s place, Ravan commands his spies to go clandestinely after Vibhishan and to report the developments from Lord Ram’s camp.

The brief conversation/dialogue here is in Hindi-Bhojpuri mix that also includes informal conversation between the characters about changing their appearances for the next scene and it can be heard well on the speaker. Bhojpuri is a dialect of Hindi and is spoken mainly in eastern Uttar Pradesh and Bihar.

That is the way most of the Ramlilas are staged these days – just to fulfil the basic minimum of a tradition that is centuries old – without aesthetics of stage performances – but the flip here brings natural smile if you know the context.

It tells what has happened to this serious art form - that is weaved around something without which the Indian society cannot think of its holistic existence – and that – that still why it is so imperative – that you stop by to think about its serious revival – given that Ramlilas are an inseparable part of Indian cultural milieu.

So, you don’t appreciate the way it is done here, still you enjoy the show – not looking for professional finesse – that you cannot expect from poorly paid and makeshift actors – but for the sustenance of this Centuries old tradition.

I just thought to post it here...but it is quite 'audible' -  Bhojpuri and Hindi the Banarasi way..

Enjoy it raw from the YouTube link here: 

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -