Saturday, September 27, 2014

एन एंड टू सफरिंग..

पत्‍नी मेरी ही थी, बच्‍चे भी मेरे ही थे (हालांकि यह और बात है कि अब बड़े हो गए थे और उस उम्र में थे जब आदमी परिवार से बाहर अपना भविष्‍य बुनने की उधेड़-बुन में ‘एजी’ और ‘अनसेटल’ होता रहता है. भगवान के लिए अब मुझसे एजी और अनसेटल की हिन्‍दी मत पूछिये. मुझसे ‘हिन्‍दी’ की हिन्‍दी भी मत पूछिये! बताने को मैं सिर्फ़ यही बता सकता हूं मैं भी बेतरह एजी होता रहा हूं, अनसेटल्‍ड भी, भाग-भागकर घर से बाहर जाता भी इसीलिए हूं कि शायद लौटकर सेटल हो सकूं.. मगर सेटल होना संभवत: हमारे जैसों का नसीब नहीं?). घर के भीतर दाखिल होते ही लगता है जैसे फिर ग़लती हो गई हो. अच्‍छा होता अभी कुछ और वक़्त बाहर रहते. अनसेटलिंग्‍ली प्राउलिंग इन टू द डेप्‍थ्स ऑफ़ लेयर्ड मल्‍टीच्‍यूडेड एजी वंडरमेंट? येस, दैट इज़ वॉट!

भगवान जाने मैं क्‍या बक रहा हूं. घर के बाहर माथे के अजनबी कंगूरों में बहकता रहा होऊंगा, अब घर के अंतरंग को बेहया दिमाग की बहकाइयों से बदरंग रहा हूं. इज़ देयर एनी एंड टू सफरिंग, एवर? जो कहते हैं ‘एंड’ है उनकी बहकाइयों को मत पढ़ि‍ये[1]. उनकी कैसी भी कसाइयों में मत गर्दन मत फंसने दीजिये. लंदन में रहकर सफरिंग का सेंस ‘रोमांटीसाइज़’ हुआ जा सकता है, रवांडा में किसी ट्रक से लटककर आगे बढ़ने की चिंता में अटक-अटककर पीछे देखते कहीं भी नहीं पहुंच पाने की विवशता में ‘सफरिंग’ की सोचिये, देखिये, उसका पाठ कितना ‘अनप्रोसेसेबल’ होता जाता है. यहां पहुंचने के बाद अब इसको पढ़ि‍ये[2].

पत्‍नी कमर को टेढ़ा किये (रोमैंटिकली नहीं), पैर को नज़दीक किये (मुझे नहीं), नाखून काटने के बहाने नेलकटर का भोथरापन चेक कर रही थी, मेरे भीतर आने को भांपकर कुछ दूसरी तरह से टेढ़ी होकर बोली, ‘इस उमर में लाकर तुम ये जो मुझे अकेला छोड़कर फुदक-फुदककर बाहर भागते रहते हो, किसी दिन मैं कुछ कर दूंगी, फिर समझोगे तुम?’

घर के भीतर दाखिल होने के बाद मैं भावुकता से हर सूरत बचना चाह रहा था फिर भी मुंह से निकल ही गया, ‘ज्‍यादा कमर टेढ़ी मत करो, फिर डेढ़ घंटे तक आह-आह बिसुरती रहोगी, मैं कुछ नहीं करूंगा.’

पत्‍नी बुरा मानने की बजाय नेलकटर तकिये के नीचे दाबकर सीधा बैठती हुई बोली, ‘मालूम है तुम्‍हारी बेटी क्‍या कहकर गई है?’

बेटी की मेज़ पर बाईसेक साल पहले खरीदी मेरी ‘an enquiry into the nature and causes of the wealth of nations’ किताब की खस्‍ताहाल कापी अपने दिन गिन रही थी (जैसे बाईसेक मर्तबा पहले भी सोचा था मैंने, कापी पर उदास नज़र फेरकर इस बार भी तय किया कि बीच में कभी स्मिथ साहब का हिसाब[3] सेटल कर लेते हैं), पत्‍नी से कहा, ‘अपने भाई के डिफेंस में तुम्‍हें कोई स्‍कीम समझा रही थी तो मुझे मत बताओ, प्‍लीज़?‘

पत्‍नी ने मुस्‍कराकर इशारे से मुझे करीब बुलाया. साढ़े पांच कदम की बेडौल हरकत के बाद मैं रामदेव इंक शैम्‍पू की महक की ज़द में था, पत्‍नी मेरे कान में फुसफुसाकर एक गहरी राज़दारी के गिरह खोल रही थी, मैं उन काव्‍य-पंक्तियों की सोचता मन ही मन टेढ़ा हो रहा था जो कब और किन अभिव्‍यक्तियों में स्‍वयं को प्रकट करेंगे, मेरे अवचेतन में अभी उतना ही अबूझ था जितना श्रीयुत स्मिथ साहब का सन् 1776 में जारी किया हिसाब. इज़ देयर एनी एंड टू सफरिंग[4], एवर?

[1]. http://www.thehindu.com/todays-paper/tp-features/tp-literaryreview/turning-the-wheel/article3219172.ece
[2] . http://www.theguardian.com/books/2009/mar/29/strategy-of-antelopes-jean-hatzfeld-reportage
[3]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Wealth_of_Nations
[4]. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Firearm

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

छूटे हुए की खोज में..

[यह एक दूसरी कहानी है, जीने और मरने की ही है.. या कहें, जीये जाने की वाजिब पहचान पाने की है.. और यह भी यहूदी मूल की है.. ज़माने, ज़मानों पहले इराक में बसे, आरामैक ज़ुबान बोलने वाले एक यहूदी देहात में अपनी पहचान की तलाश में निकले एक नौजवान , एरियल सबार, की कहानी है.. कहानी इसके बाद शुरु होगी, यह उस कहानी की किताब की भूमिका है..]

I am the keeper of my family’s stories. I am the guardian of its honor. I am the defender of its traditions. As the first-born son of a Kurdish father, these, they tell me, are my duties. And yet even before my birth I resisted. Our first clash — really more of a proxy battle — was over my name. My father wanted to call me Aram, after the swath of ancient Syria where the first Aramaic-speaking tribes dwelt in the second millennium B.C. A son named Aram would be a thread through three thousand years of history, uncoiling through Israel and Kurdistan back to a patch of land between the Habur and Euphrates rivers where my father’s native language first graced the lips of man. A son named Aram would pass this awesome birthright to his own son, and that son to his, on and on down the line, like princes in a fairy tale.
This may have been my father’s reasoning. But it was not my mother’s. She seemed to understand me even before I was born, because she didn’t much care for Aram. As an American she knew the cruelty of children to kids with weird names. Aram, she told my father, was a nonstarter.
And so even before I drew a breath, I had landed my first blow.
Ours was a clash of civilizations, writ small. He was ancient Kurdistan. I was 1980s L.A.
He grew up in a dusty town in northern Iraq, in a crowded mud-brick shack without electricity or plumbing. I grew up in a white stucco ranch house in West Los Angeles, on a leafy street guarded by private police cruisers marked BEL-AIR PATROL.
Our move to Los Angeles in 1972, when I was a year old and he was hired as a professor at UCLA, did not discernibly increase my father’s awareness of modernity. He bought suits off the bargain rack at J. C. Penney, in pastel plaids that designers had intended for the golf course, then wore them cluelessly to campus faculty meetings. I bought bermudas and T-shirts at Santa Monica surf shops and wore them like a uniform, even on winter visits to my mother’s family in Connecticut.
His hair was a froth of curls that he cut himself with a 50-cent razor comb. I had my mom take me to Beverly Hills salons and sculpted my hair with gobs of KMS gel. My father listened to Kurdish dirges on an off-brand tape recorder whose batteries he lashed in place with rubber bands. I got behind my rock drum set and kept time with bootleg recordings of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
My father spent the day in his home office in a threadbare bathrobe, inscribing index cards with cryptic notations in Aramaic. I spent the day in the backyard with my skateboarder friends, hammering together a quarter-pipe. His accented English was a five-car pileup of malapropisms and mispronunciations. Mine, a smooth California vernacular, tinkling with grace notes like “rad,”“lame,” and “mellow.” (“Mellow,” the verb, as in, “Mellow, dude.”)
When we collided, it wasn’t pretty. I threw tantrums and unleashed hailstorms of four-letter words. He stewed privately over how any son could behave that way toward his father, then consoled himself with the hypothesis that this was how children were in America.
Mostly, though, I kept my distance. He lived in his world, I in mine.
I can’t remember the timing exactly, but at some point, as a teenager, I even stopped calling him Abba or Dad. He was just “Yona.” He was the odd-looking, funny-talking man with strange grooming habits who lived with us and who may or may not have been my father, depending on who was asking.
Soon enough it didn’t matter. I went away to New England for college and got a job with a daily newspaper. I lived for the big story — nerve-jangling, caffeine-fueled pieces about cops shot in the streets, lawmakers caught with their hands in the till, factories spewing illegal waste into rivers.
My father holed up in his home office and, with his sons off to college, burrowed deeper into his studies of the language and folklore of his own obscure tribe: the Jews of Kurdistan. There were days when I wondered whether there had been a mix-up in the hospital’s delivery room. Maybe a real Aram, one worthy of the name, anyway, was out there somewhere, being raised by a Porsche-driving Hollywood-agent dad who wished he could get through to his quiet son, if only he could pry the boy from that dog-eared copy of Linguistic Peculiarities in Aramaic Magic Bowl Texts.
The sense that I might have gotten my father wrong — and that I might actually be his son — came slowly. A turning point was a chilly night in December 2002, when my wife gave birth to our first child, a boy with fine dark hair and eyes like softly burning lanterns. Would Seth break with me as I had with my own father? Would he, too, think he had nothing to learn and his father, nothing to teach?
“Who are you?” Seth, with those eyes, seemed to be asking, as his mother deposited him into my arms that cold night.
I was thirty-one years old, but I had no answer.
Making things right with my father, and my son, would take work. I lacked the big-heartedness of, say, Barney the Dinosaur or even Dr. Phil. I was defensive. I didn’t have it in me to just go home, ask my father’s forgiveness, and then embrace through tears as some studio audience burst into applause.
So I did the thing that felt most natural: I reached for a reporter’s notepad. If I dug far enough, asked enough questions, I thought I might find the girders that linked his world to mine.
My father had staked his life on the notion that the past mattered more than anything. His people, the Jews of Kurdistan, were the world’s oldest Jewish diaspora. Earthy, hardworking, and deeply superstitious, they had lived among Gentiles in isolated mountain villages for nearly 2,700 years but never abandoned their ancient tongue: Aramaic. Aramaic had been the lingua franca, or common language, of the Near East for two thousand years. Jesus spoke it. Parts of the Bible were inked in it. Three Mesopotamian empires used it as their official language. But by the time of my father’s birth, in 1938, it was all but dead. After Islamic armies conquered the region in the seventh century, Middle Eastern Jews switched to the Arabic of their Muslim neighbors. Aramaic clung to life in just one place: on the lips of Jews, and some Christians, in Kurdistan.
And so the past lived in and through my father’s people. Language was their lifeline to a time and place that no longer was.
My father believed that his past anchored him. Without a tether to our ancestors, we were lost, particularly there in L.A.’s suburban desert. That belief helped vault him to the top of his field as a professor of Neo-Aramaic, the fancy name for his language’s terminal phase, its death rattle. His efforts to save his mother tongue won him promotions into the highest tier of professors at UCLA, a level reserved for those with international reputations for major advances in their field. His life’s work was a Jewish Neo-Aramaic-to-English dictionary, published in 2002, the first of its kind, a gilded graveyard for dying words.
The journal Mediterranean Language Review called the dictionary “the culminating point of more than three decades of uninterrupted linguistic activity. . . . Considering that the Jewish Neo-Aramaic dialects are on the verge of extinction, as a result of massive emigration of the Kurdistani Jews to Israel at the beginning of the 1950s, the author’s activity becomes crucial for recording a linguistic and cultural reality which will soon disappear from the face of the earth,” the reviewer wrote. “How wonderful it would be if all the endangered languages of the world could boast such a devoted and so highly qualified native to preserve them from oblivion.” Over the years, Harvard, Yale, Cambridge, and the Sorbonne, among other elite universities the world over, invited him to lecture.
Academics weren’t his only admirers. Because we lived near Hollywood, film and television producers sometimes dropped a line. They were looking, they often said, for a man who spoke the language of Jesus. My father tried to help. When the makers of the movie The Celestine Prophecy asked him to translate “nuclear fusion” into Aramaic, my father responded, a little apologetically, that Aramaic’s linguistic development preceded nuclear science.
“Make something up,” the producer nudged.
So my father approximated. “How about ‘seed mix’?” he said. Seed, like nucleus, he explained. Mix, for fusion.
“That’s a take,” the producer said.
For the 1977 movie Oh, God! he inked the Aramaic quiz with which George Burns, in the title role, proves His bona fides to a panel of skeptical clergy. More recently, for an episode of the HBO comedy series Curb Your Enthusiasm, he helped an actor learn the Aramaic for “My foot! My foot!”
“Recite it slowly,” the producer coached. “Like you’ve stepped on, say, a nail and are in pain.”
The Hollywood callers never offered my father much money, and in his innocent way, he never bargained for more. He was mostly just happy that here, in Los Angeles, light years from his hometown in Kurdistan, someone — anyone — wanted to speak his language.
***
Who is my father? How did he wind up so far from home? I wrote this book in part to answer those questions. I wanted to conjure the gulfs of geography and language he crossed on his way from the hills of Kurdistan to the highways of Los Angeles. But I also had other, bigger questions: What is the value of our past? When we carry our languages and stories from one generation to the next, from one country to another, what exactly do we gain?
For many Jewish Kurds of my father’s generation, the answer was little. Stigmatized in Israel as back-country rubes, many lost touch with their culture, seeing no use in passing it to their children. Who could blame them? Israel was forging a new national identity on European ideals, and the old country was a millstone best left behind. For complicated reasons, however, my father couldn’t let go. For him, the past felt safe, like a hiding place. He found that if handled carefully, if studied in the right angle of light, the past could carry you to new worlds.
Shunning my father and his strange looks and funny accent seemed smart when I was a boy. But what if I had been wrong? What if the past could remake you? What if it could redeem?
In my father’s obsession with his mother tongue, I had already glimpsed this: If you knew which levers to pull, you could stop time just long enough to save the things you loved most.

बूढ़ा शोओम

[ छोटी कहानी है.. पिछली सदी के पूर्वाद्ध में यहुदियों की बसाहट की एक छोटी दुनिया की.. मुख्‍यधारा की आंखों में उनके खटकने, उन्‍हें इधर-उधर किये जाने, हिंसा का उन्‍हें शिकार बनाये जाने की.. सबका एक महीन इशारा भर है.. मगर यह इशारा भी, अपने समय में, दु:स्‍साहसभरा काम रहा होगा.. मगर, फिर, ऐसी अन्‍य दूसरी दु:स्‍साहसी रचनायें, चौवालीस वर्ष के संक्षिप्‍त जीवन में आईसक बाबेल की रचनाओं में छितरायी मिलती हैं.. खुद बाबेल का जीवन कम दु:स्‍साहसी नहीं रहा होगा.. उनके जीवन और कहानियों पर मैं फिर लौटूंगा, फ़िलहाल यह, छोटी-सी कहानी.. जीने, और उससे ज़्यादा, मरने की.. बूढ़ा शोओम..]

Although our little town is not large, although its inhabitants are few, although Shloyme has lived for sixty years in the town without a break, even so, not everyone would be able to tell you who Shloyme is, or what he is like. That is because he has simply been forgotten, in the way that an unneeded, inconspicuous object is forgotten. Old Shloyme was such an object. He was eighty-six years old. His eyes were watery; his face, a small, dirty, wrinkled face, was covered by a yellowish, never-combed beard and a mane of thick, tangled hair. Shloyme almost never washed, seldom changed his clothes, and he had a bad smell: his son and daughter-in-law, in whose home he lived, had given him up as a bad job, concealed him in a warm corner and forgotten him. A warm corner and food – that was what remained to Shloyme, and, it seemed, it was enough for him. To warm his old, broken bones, to eat a good piece of fat, juicy meat – those were for him the highest enjoyment. He would arrive first at table, greedily follow each piece with unblinking eyes, convulsively stuff the food into his mouth with long, bony fingers and eat, eat, eat until he was refused any more, even one more little piece. It was revolting to watch Shloyme as he ate: the whole of his small, emaciated figure trembled, his fingers were covered in grease, his face pitiful, full of a terrible fear lest a wrong be done to him, lest he be forgotten. Sometimes the daughter-in-law played practical jokes on Shloyme: at table she would, as if accidentally, leave him out: the old man would begin to grow agitated, look helplessly about him, try to smile with his crooked, toothless mouth; he wanted to show that the food was not important to him, that he was all right as he was, but in the depths of his eyes, in the fold of his mouth, in his extended imploring arms could be felt such pleading, this smile, produced with such difficulty, was so pitiful, that the jokes were forgotten and Old Shloyme received his portion.

Thus did he live in his corner – ate and slept, and in summer also warmed himself in the blaze of the sun. He had, it appeared, long ago lost the ability to understand anything. His son’s business activities, the events of the household, did not interest him. Indifferently he gazed at all that occurred, and there merely stirred within him the fear that his grandson might see that he had a dried-up piece of gingerbread hidden under his pillow. Never did anyone speak to Shloyme, seek his advice, ask him to help them. And Shloyme was very pleased when, after supper one day, his son came over to him and loudly shouted in his ear, ‘Papasha, we’ re being evicted from here, evicted, do you hear, kicked out!’ The son’s voice trembled, his face was contorted as by pain. Shloyme slowly raised his faded eyes, looked about him, took something in with difficulty, wrapped himself more tightly in his grease-stained frock-coat, made no reply and plodded off to bed.

From that day on Shloyme began to notice that something was wrong in the house. His son was downcast, neglected his business, sometimes wept and looked furtively at his chewing father. His grandson stopped attending the grammar school. His daughter-in-law shouted in a shrill voice, wrung her hands, pressed her boy to her and wept, wept bitterly, hysterically.

Now Shloyme had an occupation – he looked and tried to understand what was happening. Troubled thoughts stirred within his long-inactive brain. ‘They’ re being kicked out of here!’ Shloyme knew why they were being kicked out. But why, he couldn’t leave! He was eighty-six, he wanted to keep warm. Outside it was cold, damp… No, Shloyme was not going anywhere. He had nowhere to go, nowhere at all. Shloyme hid in his corner and he wanted to embrace the shaky wooden bed, stroke the stove, the dear, warm stove that was as old as he was. He had grown up here, lived his poor, cheerless life here and wanted his old bones to rest in the small home cemetery. In the moments when he had such thoughts, Shloyme grew unnaturally animated, went to his son, tried to tell him many things, excitedly, to tender some advice, but… it was so long since he had talked to anyone, or given advice to anyone about anything. And the words would freeze in his toothless mouth, the hand which he had raised would fall, helplessly. Shloyme shrivelled up, as if ashamed of his outburst, went back morosely to his corner and listened to what his son and daughter-in-law were talking about. His hearing was poor, but he picked up some of it, picked it up with fear, with horror. At such moments his son would sense fixed upon him the wild and heavy gaze of the old man who was being driven out of his mind and the pair of small eyes which with a cursed question were constantly guessing at something, trying to fathom something. On one occasion a word was spoken too loudly: the daughter-in-law had forgotten that Shloyme was not yet dead. And after this word a quiet, as-if-stifled wail was heard. It came from Old Shloyme. With faltering steps, dirty and tousled, he slowly crept over to his son, seized him by the hands, stroked them, kissed them, without removing his inflamed gaze from his son, shook his head several times and for the first time in many, many years a tear rolled from his eyes. He said nothing more. With difficulty he got up off his knees, wiped the tears away with a bony hand, for some reason shook the dust off his frock-coat and made his way back to his corner, where the warm stove was… Shloyme wanted to warm himself. He was cold.

From that time on, Shloyme did not think of anything else. He knew one thing: his son wanted to go away from his people, to a new God. The old, forgotten faith stirred within him. Shloyme had never been religious, seldom prayed and had earlier even been considered godless. But to go away, completely, to go away from one’s God, the God of a humiliated and suffering people – that he did not understand. Heavily the thoughts tossed and turned inside his head, slowly he pondered, but these words stood immutably, firmly, menacingly before him: ‘This must not be, must not be!’ And when Shloyme had grasped that the disaster was inevitable, that his son would not be able to endure, he said to himself, ‘Shloyme, Old Shloyme, what can you do now?’ Helplessly the old man looked around him, puckered his mouth sorrowfully, as children do, and tried to weep an old man’s bitter tears. They were not there, the relieving tears. And then, at that moment, when his heart had begun to sicken, when his mind had grasped the limitlessness of the disaster, then Shloyme cast a loving glance into his warm corner for the last time and decided that he was not going to be kicked out of here, never would he be kicked out. They would not let Old Shloyme eat the piece of dried-up gingerbread that was lying under his pillow. Well, so what? Shloyme would tell God of the wrong that was done to him here. After all, God existed, God would take him in. Of that Shloyme was convinced.

At night, trembling with cold, he got up out of his bed. Quietly, so as not to wake anyone, he lit a small kerosene lamp. Slowly, like the old man he was, moaning and shivering, he began to pull on his dirty clothes. Then he took a stool, a rope, which he had placed in readiness the evening before, and, faltering with weakness, clutching at the walls, went out into the street. Immediately he felt so cold… He trembled in all his body. Shloyme quickly secured the rope on a hook, stood up beside the door, put the stool in place, climbed up on to it, wound the rope around his thin, shaking neck, with a final effort pushed the stool away, had time with his dimmed eyes to survey the little town in which he had lived for sixty years without a break, and hung…

There was a strong wind, and soon the feeble body of Old Shloyme began to sway before the door of the house in which he had left a warm stove and the grease-stained Torah of his fathers.

[अंग्रेजी में कहानियां पेंग्विन ने छापी थीं, अनुवाद डेविड मैक्‍डफ का है]

Thursday, September 4, 2014

रिमेम्‍ब्रेंस ऑफ़ थिंग्‍स, एंड ऑल अल्‍लापुर्स गोन बाई, एंड अदर हिंसास ऑफ़ द हिस्‍टरी..

बुदापेस्‍त है. या ग्रीस का कोई गुमनाम शहर. कच्‍चे तेल की कहानियों की खोज में एक खोजी पत्रकार एक चौपट ट्रक से उतर, धुआंधार ख़बरदार करता, सड़क पार करता किताबी बारूद तैयार कर रहा है. हिंदी प्रकाशक ऐसे झमेलेदार किताबों से बचाते खुद को होशियार करते हैं (दरियागंज, दानापुर और दौलताबाद तीनों ही बदहाल, बुरकेदार मंडियों में). एक के बाद एक की घबरायी चौथी सिगरेट की खांसी खांसता मैं खड़खड़ाती रेल के मुर्दाबाद गलियारे में खुद को गिरने से बचाता लकड़ी के घिसे पट्टे वाले बेंच पर गिरकर मो यान की किताब में लू शुन के चीन की तस्‍वीर साफ़ करता हूं. आह, बुदापेस्‍त. या बोस्निया. इवान आंद्रिच और द्रीना नदी का पुल! रिमेम्‍ब्रेंस ऑफ़ तेम्‍प्‍स पेरदू. आह, लोग नौकरी निपटाकर पराये मुल्‍कों में पहुंच, किताबों से बेगानी हुई दुनिया की बाबत, परवानी पंक्तियां लिखते हैं, “Except for those fortunate enough to spend several years confined to a hospital bed or a federal prison, or to be stranded on a desert island with their preselected library, few modern readers have the time to tackle a novel with more than three thousand pages, a million and a half words, and more than four hundred individual characters. The demands of contemporary living, and our culture of immediate gratification, mean that Proust’s novel is increasingly read only by professional academics.”

फेसबुक की परवाह होगी, कांखते-रोगाते-लोपते-लात लगाते दिन-रात उसी का तो गोईंठा पथ रहा है, कैसहू हो, प्रूस्‍तबुक की किसे होगी. दिन भर मार्क्‍स (इम्‍तहानों के बाद रिज़ल्‍ट कापियों वाला नहीं) पुतीन और संसारी पतन के विमर्शबद्धों को भी फ्रांसिस व्‍हीन का स्‍मरण नहीं रहता, अल्‍लापुर का रहता है तो अल्‍लापुर में खोये मिलान कुंदेराई व अन्‍य कंदरामयी बहकों का नहीं रहता. खड़खड़ाती रेल में खांसने का गुलज़ार सजाने के लिए मैं नयी, पांचवी सिगरेट की खोज करता हूं, हाथ-पैर फैलाता, फेंकता हूं, फटी जेब बाहर करता हूं, फटा झोला उघारकर शर्मसार होता हूं, मगर सिगरेट क्‍या, स्‍टीफ़न ज़्वाइग की किताब भी कहीं नज़दीक नहीं नज़र नहीं आती.. सबकुछ विस्थापित, डिसप्‍लेसमेंट के धुंओं में नहाये सैरे हैं. यह एक ब्रिटिश- कनैडियन बच्‍चा है, घूम-घूमकर विस्‍थापन का पस्‍तहाल जुगराफि़या तैयार करता रहा, मुझसे छुपाकर डायरी में दर्ज़ करता रहा, “In the 1970s, the British geographer Ronald Skeldon, studying the lives of villagers in Cuzco, Peru, and their trips to and from Lima, recognized a pattern. Back-and-forth migration was indeed occurring, often for many generations. But, eventually, there was something of a tipping point, a moment when the entire family, and sometimes the entire village, shifted its allegiances and investments to the city and ceased to rely on agriculture. This he called the “migration transition.” Sometimes it took generations to occur, sometimes only years. The difference seemed to depend, above all else, on communication and education: people who had been to school, and had information coming from the city, tended to stop moving back and forth and make the transition sooner and more thoroughly.”

किताब 2007 से तैयारी करके, पांच महादेशों के बीस जगहों की घुमाइयों, खोज-बीन की खुरचाइयों में, 2010 में तैयार हुई, विकी पेज आगे की प्रकाशकीय कहानी बताता है, “The book was published in autumn of 2010 by Heinemann Publishers in Britain, Knopf in Canada, De Bezige Bij in the Netherlands (under the title De Trek Naar De Stad), and Allen & Unwin in Australia and New Zealand, in 2011 by Pantheon Books in USA, Karl Blessing Verlag in Germany, and Rye Field Publishing in Chinese (complex) and by DVS Editora of Brazil in Portuguese. In 2012 it was published in China by Hangzhou MatrixBook, the country's first non-government-owned publisher (it was their first title); in autumn of 2012 it was published in French-language countries by Éditions du Seuil in France and Éditions du Boréal in Québec; it is scheduled to be published in Spanish by Debate/Mondadori in Spring of 2014.” मगर देखिये, यहां भी, अपने हिंदी के, हिंदीयुग्‍म के, और राजकमल के सिपाहियों, व सेनापतियों का उत्‍साह परदेदारी में गुमा हुआ है. चेतन भगत की चेतना है, विस्‍थापनीय विवाद नहीं है. अधिक से अधिक होगा, कविता में संवाद होगा. वहां भी लु शून की छपाइयों को भाई लोग बचा जायेंगे, जैसे मेरी प्रति की चुराई को अभी तक, पता नहीं किस पाजी ने, अभी तक सिक्रेटिव बनाये रखा है.

फ्रांसीसी क्रांति में भी धुआंधार हिंसा हुई रही, इतिहास हावर्डधनी सिमोन स्‍कामा ने 1989 के अपने महाग्रंथ में यही लिखा रहा, पुरनके बुजूर्ग हॉब्‍सवॉम, सुनते हैं, दुखी और नाराज़ भी हुए रहे. मगर सोचनेवाली बात है कि टेढ़ी किताबों की लिखाइयों की तहर एक टेढ़ा इतिहास लेखनपंथ भी रहा है, जुम्‍मा-जुम्‍मा हमें रिचर्ड कॉब की ख़बर हुई, ऐसे लोग हुए हैं सोचकर प्रसन्‍नता होती है. उसी तरह जैसे यह सोचकर दिल गर्द-राख होता है कि लोग अख़्मातोवा का चिरकुट अनुवाद उछालेंगे, बुल्‍गाकोव का नाम भी दोहरिया लेंगे, मगर यह याद करने से खुद को बेहयायी में बचा ले जायेंगे कि स्‍तालिन के ज़हरघुले षड़यंत्री रुस में अख़्मातोव की कैसी दुर्गत होती रही, या बुल्‍गाकोव कुछ भी नया लिखने नहीं दिया गया! वे इतने से ही खुश रहते कि मांदेलस्‍ताम और बेबेल की तरह उनकी लिटरली हत्‍या नहीं की गई, या कोलिमा की कहानियों के रचयिता, प्‍लातानोव, वसीली ग्रॉसमैन और कभी भी वहां न छप सकनेवाले दोब्‍लातोव की लिखाइयां उनकी आत्‍माओं और नोटबुकों में आबाद रही, जाने कैसे रही. जाने फिर भी कैसे है कि हमारे हाथ अभी तक रिचर्ड कॉब की कोई किताब नहीं आई है. मगर, फिर, लू शुन की ही मेरी खोई प्रति अभी तक कहां आ सकी है! आह, रिमेम्‍ब्रेंस ऑफ़ तेम्‍प्‍स पेरदू एंड अदर परवर्सन्‍स! यह किताब मगर किसने लिखी है? और लिखी नहीं है तो उसे लिखने का वाजिब समय नहीं आ गया?

बुदापेस्‍त कहां है, या ग्रीस का कोई गुमनाम शहर ही? ‘गुमनाम है कोई’ थ्रीलर सीरिज़ लिखने के लिए कोई हिंदी का प्रकाशक मुझे वहां भेज न सकेगा, या अज़रबैजान ही सही?