The gate to the puranic story

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this gate is a bit forgotten, plaster peeling off its large icons- maybe because it is almost the longest path into the city and the settlements around it are of the poorer people, many migrants who have come from far away, people of lower castes who serve the city. They perform some of these stories, on makeshift stages, a sharp joie de vivre permeates these quarters, as maybe ennui stalks the palace corridors

It is a startlingly static gate, no flying women with fishfins here, no peacocks, a stern series of images in plaster, some kind of genesis being suggested.. Harishchandra and Mahatama Gandhi jostle for space on the gate.. the Harishchandra are from images from Ravi Varma, more from Phalke, the frail body, the beard.. the Gandhi is the mendicant, from Nandlal Bose- Harishchandra looks like a child by the old man, like he might ask the old man for wisdom. bizzare, in various combinations, this duo reappears. A mural of scenes from the kings life, quite from the Phalke film and threaded in and out like a refrain, Gandhi, Gandhi, Gandhi.

"As a rule, I had a distaste for any reading beyond my school books. But somehow my eyes fell on a book purchased by my father. It was 'Shravana Pitribhakti Nataka' - a play about Shravan's devotion to his parents. I read it with intense interest. Just about this time I had secured my father's permission to see a play performed by a certain dramatic company. It was 'Harischandra' and it captured my heart. I could never tire of seeing it. It haunted me. The thought of it all often made me weep. To follow truth was the one ideal it inspired in me. I wish that I had not to write this next chapter. It is my painful duty to have to record here my marriage at the age of thirteen. Make no mistake - I was married, not betrothed. It appears that I was betrothed twice earlier. I was told that two girls chosen for me had died in turn. " I look for the extract in Gandhi's experiments with truth- and find this.A thirteen year old boy desirous of the high romance of heroism.

Clap books are sold on the roads. A book thin as a clap, cheap, a song book, a prayer book a recipe remedy joke book that evening when the performance was up in the field, a wind blew, shook the tent, ruffled the hair of the audience, te performers, continued the svang, the broad fold telling of nal damayanti- vegetables and fruits replacing flower gardens, swans accused of lying, a simple tin whistle for order, blue kurta with work on it for woman, and men, resting and watching.. as the wind blue, as the performance grew in pleasure, all down the station road, the thin books were clapping. [1]

दर्जी ढोलक बजा रहा है, कछि (farmar) चिमटा

Prototypes

सोलह पन्ने की बारीक किताबें, कच्चा काग़ज़ जो पाकयोग, औषधी विधि, नुस्खे, मेहेन्दी डिज़ाइन आदी आदी के प्रबल प्रभाव से गायब ही हो गया है, हर बुक में मोटी लकीरें हावी हैं, काग़ज़ अधमरा सा है. अक्षर, डिज़ाइन, शब्दों के गुट पन्नों पर तरह तरह की सूरत बनाए हुए हैं. सोलह पन्नों की बारीक किताबें, चिमटे सी, ताली सी, बंडल का बंडल हाथ में उठाओ, स्टेशन से छूट्ती बस में घुस जाओ, फीके खोए चहरों के सामने खड़े होकर जागरण करो, कीर्तन करो, किताबों की विषय वस्तु का बखान करो, गाना गाओ, आवाज़ के तारों पर आँखों की पुतलियों ऊपर उठाओ. बस के चलते चलते एक दस रूपिया मिल जाएगा.. और खिड़कियों के नीचे भाग भाग कर भगोड़ो से किताब वापस लेनी होगी..यून दिन का काम ख़तम होता है. त्रिम्बक की आरती.. हाँ है. क्यों नहीं, सारे ज्योतिर्लींगों पर किताब है, शिवपुराण है, नाथ पंथियों का ज़िक्र है, सब कुछ है, इन पन्नों में, ईसाई नामों पर किताब है, उर्दू के लव लेटर हैं, पूछो तो सब मिलेगा. बोलो?? जब पीछे मैदान पर शाम का स्वाग चलता है, दुपट्टा डाले लड़का कमर लचकाता है, घुटनों पर बल डाल घाघरे को हिला हिला कर ज़मीन की ओर बढ़ता है, जब जवान और बुड्ढे खुश हो कर खिलखिला पड़ते हैं, या गुलाबी बने होठों के हिलने लचक्ने पर आँखों की सुध खो जाती है.. जब स्वाग का रंग ज़ोर पर होता है, मैदान से हवा यहाँ स्टेशन की ओर आती है, और यह मेरी बिछी हुई किताबें भी ताली मारती हैं.

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