कुछ तो है

बिखरा है सब कुछ भीतर
फिर भी लगता है न जाने कयूँ

मुझमें कुछ तो है जो ठोस हुआ है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है

साथ छोड़ा मेरा जब अपनों ने

नींद से जगाया जब टूटे सपनों ने

भीगी पलकों में नयी सुबह का हौसला जगा है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है

राहें बदल गयी कभी मँजिल से पहले

हमसफर बदल गये कभी रास्तों पे चलते

थके पाँवों को अपना नया पता मिला है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है

समझा था जो वह ग़लत साबित हुआ

सोचा न था जो वही आख़िर हुआ

लबों पे फिर भी खुदा तेरा शुक्रिया है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है

महुबबत के नक़ाब मे जफा का अकस देखा

झूठ की मिठास में फरेब का जहर चखा

ग़लत तजुरबों ने जिदगी का सही सबक़ दिया है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है

दूसरों पे जान लुटाना साबित फ़िज़ूल हुआ

‘जान’ कहकर पुकारा जिसे वही बेज़ार हुआ

आइने में है जो चेहरा उसी से अब इशक हुआ है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है

बिखरा है सब कुछ भीतर

फिर भी लगता है न जाने कयूँ

मुझमें कुछ तो है जो ठोस हुआ है

कुछ तो है जो मेरा भला हुआ है



मैं और तू

मैं तुझ से हूँ
तु भी है मुझ से

 क्यूँ बीच लकीर खींच हम खड़े

क्यूँ फिर रंजिश के दौर चले

ज़रूरत है तुझे मेरी

क्या इस बात से ख़फ़ा है तू मुझसे

मेरी जिंदगी तुझ पे है निर्भर

क्यूँ खीजूँ मैं भी इस सच पे

न मैं भगवान हूँ

न देवता ही धरती पे

पर हूँ न शैतान

न क़ातिल ही हूँ तेरा

इंसान हूँ मैं भी तेरी तरह

तेरे ही गुण अवगुण से भरा

नहीं हूँ मैं तुझ से बढ़कर

हूँ नहीं पर किसी से कमतर

बदइंतज़ामी का सताया है तू

तो बदहाली का शिकार मैं भी हूँ

शियासत की बिसात पे तड़पता 

तेरी तरह एक प्यादा मैं भी 

तेरी सेवा करना है धर्म मेरा

तेरा जीवन बचाना ही फ़र्ज़ मेरा

मेरी कर्मभूमि मेरे रक्त से रंजित करना

क्यूँ समझ लिया पर तुने करम अपना

मैं तुझ से हूँ

तु भी है मुझ से

क्यूँ बीच लकीर खींच हम खड़े

क्यूँ फिर रंजिश के दौर चले

The Boy Who Could Walk……..

THE boy was lying on his bed staring at the ceiling. His face was blank, oblivious to the activities around, dispassionate to the chatter of other children admitted in the same ward. Capt (Dr) Shalini Singh was taking round of Pediatric Ward for the day as the Pediatrician had gone on a day’s casual leave. Her attention was repeatedly drawn to his stillness.
Can a seven year old boy be so quiet and still? She had given him her brightest smile and asked “How are you today beta?”

His eyes didn’t flicker, there was no reply. He looked through her as if she wasn’t present, as if her voice didn’t reach him…
She reached out for his treatment sheet. His vitals were normal, he had no fresh complaints. His chief complaint on admission was sudden inability to walk. She remembered referring this child to pediatric OPD about ten days back. His soldier father had carried him in his arms and his mother tearfully explained that since he woke up in the morning her son is not able to stand on his feet and walk. He was okay the night before and had mild fever three days back.
She had tried to question the child but he didn’t speak a word, not even answered her in nods or gestures. That’s odd! 

“He is not able to walk but why is he not talking too?”
The thought cross her mind

“Maybe he is in shock by sudden onset of paralysis!”
She rationalized but his stony eyed face stuck in her thoughts. Something is not right!
She had a long queue of patients still waiting to be seen so she referred the child Ankur Rawat aged seven years to the pediatric OPD. Three days back Col Gupta, a senior pediatrician has presented this case in the clinical meeting as Gulliane-Barre syndrome. Okay the symptoms matched the diagnosis but still why those stony eyes? Why is he not talking or smiling? Something didn’t add up…..
Shalini loved kids and kids always reciprocated her feelings. She had seen much sicker kids in her Medical College’s pediatric ward. Kids battling life threatening diseases with smile….. Kids suffering acute pain with laughter. She had once made them memorize their horrible diseases by their long tongue twisting medical nomenclature. When asked their complaint during rounds they used to shout the name of their diseases like army recruits followed by glee and laughter. The surprised look on the unsuspecting medical students and their teachers was priceless, when instead of hearing the usual complaints of cough, fever, pain in abdomen they heard the kids shouting they had Cystic Fibrosis, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia, Nephrotic Syndrome……
Kids are always fun… sick or healthy. There is something infectious about kids’ indomitable spirit, a kind of lightness of being. But this kid defied all that. She had not seen such sad kid before. Not even sadness… it was like withdrawal from his surroundings. Something was definitely wrong with him… something more than meets the eye… something more than Gulliane-Barre syndrome
She again gravitated towards him and offered him a chocolate she usually carried for kids. He still didn’t meet her eyes. Neither had he held out his hand. She kept the chocolate on his bed. She had an impulse to sit next to him, hug him and try to talk to him, to somehow pierce his stillness. She glanced at her watch. She was running behind her schedule. She had to do rounds of her own three wards before attending the unending Family OPD and also the additional load of Pediatric OPD today. Taking a last look at the child she walked away.
Throughout the morning her thoughts reverted to those sad, impassioned young eyes… She picked up the phone and dialed the pediatric ward. Nursing Officer Capt Preeti promptly picked up the phone.

“Listen Preeti! Do me a favour!…… Can you just spend some extra time with that kid Ankur. Just talk to him, try to make him trust you……. I think there is something troubling his mind. He needs to open up to someone. Will you do that….. And please keep me informed of your progress with him… okay?”

“Okay Ma’am I will try my best!”
The nursing Officer assured her.
For a week everyday, Shalini stole few minutes from her heavy schedule to peek at the boy. Every day she smiled at him…. Every day she got no response. Every day she left a chocolate for him on his bed beside his pillow. Maybe he never ate it. Maybe the child on the next bed took it. And of course he didn’t walk…..
Then Shalini went on a week’s leave. But vacation away from the hospital didn’t keep her thoughts away from the child. Any kid of his age group instantly brought that sad little face back in her mind tugging at her heart. The day she rejoined the duty, the first thing she did was to peep in the pediatric ward.
The bed was empty… Maybe he has been referred to higher medical center. There was talk about him being sent to Army hospital R&R.

“Good Morning Doctor!”
she heard and turned around. The boy was standing there, broad smile on his face!

“ Meri chocolate kahan hai?”
(Where is my chocolate?) He asked walking towards her.
Yes he was WALKING…. He could WALK…. He could TALK….. And He could SMILE……She gave him a hug and a chocolate which he accepted with smile and thank you for the first time.

“Since when is this kid walking?”
Shalini asked the nurse on duty.

“Since yesterday, Ma’am! He woke up in the morning and started walking!”
She answered

“How? What happened?
” Shalini was curious

“I don’t know Ma’am but Capt Preeti asked you to call her on this number. She has off day today. She said its urgent
” The nurse on duty gave her a slip of paper with a telephone number scribbled on it.
She immediately called Preeti.

“Ma’am,its about Ankur. I want to tell you something about him. You were right Ma’am. Your intuition was right!”

“What happened Preeti?”

“Ma’am I befriended him like you said and yesterday he caught my hand and whispered,“ Mere chacha mere saath ganda kaam karte hain! Mujhe bahut dard hota hai, Mujhe bahut darr lagta hai unse.”
(My Uncle does wrong things with me, it pains me a lot. I am scared of him)

“Ma’am I haven’t told this to anyone yet. I wanted to tell you this first”
Preeti added.
Shalini was shocked and pained at the revelation. So this poor child had been sexually abused and the trauma had made him shut out the world….. To withdraw from the pain…. To cope up with the shame….to mute his voice … because there was no one to listen…. No one he trusted would listen …or keep him safe..
Love and compassion of Preeti had worn his defenses. He shared his dark secret with her. With the unbearable burden off his soul he could walk again… talk again.. and smile again… He felt maybe safe again…But was he really safe now?
Shalini’s intuition had again served her right. But now how to break this news to the child’s family? There was additional problem of telling about it to his treating doctor. He may not take it kindly. His ego may be bruised at his diagnosis being proven monumentally wrong!
But first thing was to talk to his parents. The father had already gone back to his duty station. Shalini asked his mother to come and meet her. The mother came, showering gratitude and blessings on doctors and nurses for making her child walk again!

“I want to talk to you in private
” Shalini said and took her to Doctor’s cabin

“You live here with your in-laws

“Yes Ma’am
”, the mother replied

“Who all live with you?”

“My mother-in-law, father-in-law and brother-in-law.”

“How old is your brother-in-law?”

“He is sixteen years old. Why are you asking that?”

“You know that your brother-in-law is sexually abusing your son
?” Shalini asked point blank watching her face intently.
She didn’t flinch. Clearly it was not news to her. She did not answer. Her silence shouted her guilt of knowing this terrible truth and not doing anything to stop it.

“You knew this. Didn’t you? How could you let that boy abuse your own son?”

“It’s our family matter Ma’am. You don’t interfere in it
” She walked out of the cabin and walked to her son’s bed who was laughing and chatting to the child on the adjacent bed.
 What happened next, Shalini had not anticipated. Before her eyes the mother slapped her son hard and spewed the venomous words

“ Apne khandaan ki bezaati karata hai! Tujh se kaha tha na kisi se nahi batana! Kaha tha na issse Khandaan ka naam kharab hota hai!! Nalayak
” (You destroy the honour of your family. I told you not to tell anyone about this. It spoils the family name! you good for nothing!)
And she started showering slaps on his face and body.
Shalini couldn’t bear this any longer.
Stop it” She shouted “Get out of this ward now

“I want my son to be discharged today. I am taking him with me now”
the mother demanded
Ankur sat on the bed shaking and sobbing soundlessly. The mother signed the statement that she was taking her child LAMA (Left Against Medical Advise) and dragged her son away.
Shalini watched him walk away. He can WALK NOW- she thought grimly.
Pediatrician was saved minor embarrassment.
Family was spared major humiliation.
But the child… What about him? Did he had no rights… What happened to him? Did his Chacha stop abusing him? Did his mother ever stood for him? Could she protect him? Did she ever realize that her first duty was towards well being of her own son?
Capt Shalini wrote a letter to Ankur’s father with a copy to his Commanding Officer. Did anyone take further action? She herself was posted out of the station soon and don’t know the answers to these questions.
 But still those disquieting stillness of his eyes haunt her sometimes. What haunts her more is the brief smile she had seen on his face….Yes HE COULD SMILE.. She had thought and yes He COULD WALK…..
(This story is based on real incident. Names have been changed except the lady doctor’s name who is the author of this story)
Child sexual abuse is hard to talk about… Most children won’t talk about it……. 


स्याही दर्द की ख़त्म हो गयी
या नोक टूट गयी जखम कुरेदते
या लफ़्ज़ों को इनकार अब तेरे ज़िक्र से है
थम गयी है कयूँ मेरी क़लम चलते चलते