On being circumstantially left out

In the course of our lifetime “feeling” is something we never cease to do. Behaviors change but realizations or the road which a person seeks in its course, seldom does. However, most of the feelings we feel are only the giants of the industry, namely, joy, grief, guilt, relief, content, excited and so forth. And like in any industrial setting the giants of our mind often supersede the little ones; takeover and mergers are common here as well. One such feeling that I realized I walk past every now and then is the feeling of being left out. We tend to confuse feeling left out as missing out, feeling blue and ending up with one of the leaders in the business, sadness. But I guess its a little more than that. We feel left out more often than we actually think we do, from situations which range from office parties to someone else’s life. And although mostly we blame it on ourselves, for something we might have done or had someone react to. There is one other kind as well. Being circumstantially left out.

Yes! Circumstances, course of events, fate or just because its not meant to be at that particular period of time. I think that this feeling of being circumstantially left out should be playing the majors in the emotion league as well. Here is how i feel it turns out to be. Although to start with, the situations that propel this particular feeling do not appear to be major threats, they usually turn out of events that assure your inclusion in a distant time period and thus give you the illusion of the most “not ok” thought of all—-“its ok”. You go about with it accepting the situation as it is when suddenly two very easy words join together to form one of the most difficult phrases to tackle, “what” and “if”. And that’s when it hits you, and it hits you hard. You start to think of what you would have done and how you would have done it, had you been there. It strikes you that the moment or the people involved want you to be their but your circumstances force them to leave you out of it. And no matter how you try , no matter how much you tell yourself , Its NOT OK. It never will be. Events which act as a stimulus to this sudden “katrina” in your mind may be anything, it might be a quiz that your old partner might be participating in and for the first time you are not their to fight with him for the answer, your parents anniversary with you being away, a friends live show and you missing it, it can be the most simplest yet most intrinsic of subjects. Your mind starts to wonder, you close your eyes and picture yourself sitting beside, holding the camera or standing in the front row and smiling up to the stage and the illusion of a merry event never saddens you more. And things are made worse by the best of efforts; when the people on the other side try their best to make you feel “being there”. The photos, the videos, the memoirs. You know that’s the best you can get, the best they can give you, the best your circumstance can offer, but the war is tough and you almost never win it. You end up beating yourself up, mauling your situation, hating your imagination for not being real. In short, you lose it for a while only for it to come back again.

But not all is dull and I believe in fairy tails, thus happy endings are kind of a natural. I feel this circumstances no matter how much you hate them, no matter how much I hate them, do bear a promise as well, it is because the word circumstance, in itself bears a temporal sense i.e. it bears the promise of change and that bit is something you can control. Its effect is huge but only for the moment. You are left out but not left behind, and that right there is my silver lining. You are in a race, the situations that you so want to be a part ,although might be ahead of you in this laps, but you can always catch if you have your eye set on the finish line. The quiz you might have missed, you could have it again, just turn your situation towards the same quiz club, the anniversary you missed, take the oath of making it bigger and being there the next time, the performance that might have gone on without you make sure it does not start without you the next time those lights flash and that sound check occurs. Because the best part is the people who sadly form the subject of you feeling left out are the ones who want you to be a part of it the most, and believe it or not that’s your sword and armor. The moment you start believing in this abstract reality, you know you have just picked up a nitrous and your wheels will be above the road in no time. Then what ? Finish the race off in style and show your circumstances the finger and salute them off to the horizon of the past.

Sadly enough though , I do not have any solution or advice to help you with it, because clearly I am scraping through the same pavement as you are, otherwise I would not have been writing this post. I wish you find your boost and find it soon enough, again, again and again till it works.

Cheers!!

P.S. I know there are people out their who are really good at making such situations work, which makes this post sound kind of personal. Well, then, I guess it is. lo

A letter of fiction

I recently came across a post on terribly tiny tales, which started with “Dear long distance lover”. And thus it made me think. We all talk, see, hear and live through love in forms more than one but how does distance really factor in “love”. Well although I ended up pretty much turning round a blind curve every now and  then, there are two more reasons as to why i decided on writing about it on my own terms.

1. Because I needed to break down the block I was going through

2. The title was just too good !!

And thus,

Dear long distance lover,

How’ve you been ? Well I choose to ask you this rather cliched opening question because I figured there might be a few things that you might have missed out or chosen to skip in those numerous whatsapp texts and skype sessions that we have shared. I have been fine, I have been well and more so i have been loved. And yes while I attribute a lot of it to you sadly enough I have to share that bit with my parents and siblings too.

The best part about being in love and sharing a huge distance is that we have so much to talk about, its like we have two different worlds that come together through the header, “you know what happened today?”. We smile, we cry, we complaint, we fight but there is a screen that separates us through all of it. Now that’s just sad , as all those moments just make me wish even more, a wish that can come true with time and time only and you know how impatient I can get. He he !! Yes you know me , don’t you ? I think you are THE “farthest” person who knows me so much better even than those who appear “near”. Well i guess not all ironies are morose. That’s hope you have right there.

Do you remember the first time we met ? It was a blessed dusk, the birds flew over the big lake in the south of our city creating rippled shadows like dots on a canvas waiting to be joined into a piece of art. We were nervous weren’t we ? I remember rehearsing all those words in my mind all the while on what to say next but all I could manage was an occasional jittery giggle or a rather nervous “Ok. acha ok”. I remember you wore that white kurti that day, the one you proudly proclaimed to be a fabric from Lucknow, I had no idea what you were talking about but all I believed was that it was one lucky piece of fabric to get the opportunity to be wrapped around you like that ! I remember a lot more than that too, i guess. I think the farther you get , the more you realize on how important memories are and that they are actually made everyday from the faintest and simplest of incidents.

The windchime still makes that light tingle of a sound, the one you had gifted me on “our” day telling me no matter how far we stay the tings and tongs would always be as sweet as our conversations. Infact , I am wearing that t-shirt you sent me over because once I happened to say on how I missed your smell,however it just gives the illusion of your fragrance now. I blame the detergents !! There is one more thing i figured about being distantly in love, and that is, we talk a lot more about what will happen than what is happening, the future is a much believable perspective than the present and if you ask me i would tell you that its just the tricks of the trade.

You know there is yet another thing that i discovered, Distance runs in cycles. It neither stays nor leaves your back that easy. Its been 70 years of me being in love with you of which you were or should i say have been, away for 40 of it. We did get to the future we spoke about all the time, the one where we would stay together, have a family, make people around us so happy and keep each other in each other’s arms but we missed this bit out and I blame you. You knew I was an Epicurean and you being the Plato should have reminded me of it. You should have told me that just like the job offer after your masters degree , life would come calling and once again this relationship had to live off “long distance” and that too a really long one. That one day you would leave without leaving me your whatsapp contact, without giving your skype id, that one day that couch will be all mine to lie down in and I would no longer have to fight with you for a cushion and most of all ,without even giving me a hint. This hit me hard until the day you called me from behind the screen of night and told me that you were doing fine, that your “flat mates” were good people, that you missed me and looked forward to seeing me soon. It was skype all over again just the screen was much bigger than my laptop’s. I have learnt to live with it just like when we started dating, here is how i spend my days now. My eyes open to your smile lying within a frame on my desk, I drink my milk, I kiss our grand children off to school!! They have turned out as good kids you see. Who am I kidding, ofcourse you do!. I come back and read through the newspaper as I am called on for lunch, after lunch I sit with some of our photos and letters from our days, scroll through whatsapp, I never manage to go real far up as my fingers start to hurt, then I lie down and skype you once again. At night I put the kids off to bed, come into my room , change the kurta and wear your tshirt and go off to sleep.

But like any other long distance relationship, its getting a bit difficult these days, age seems like a linchpin in the dominoes when it comes to maintaining a long distance relationship. Just yesterday I had to go through an emergency album viewing session. Lately, I remember all my memories but the faces are getting blur. And that scared me so much. It still does. I had a long skype session with you a couple of days back, our daughter said that they got scared, I was given a very comfortable bed in a hospital for that session, and I could swear I felt your palm on mine. After that day I am not really sad anymore, although I doubt our children know something about me that i don’t. I think they know that its time I moved. I know it makes them sad but to be honest it makes me really happy because they have all their promises left to keep and they must do so, on the other hand I have just one more left and the feeling that its going to happen soon fills me with calm, the promise of our “pincodes and timezones being same”, once and for all.

Signing off and see you really soon.

With love

Your long distance lover.

17.2.2170

The written autobiography of a writer

I have seen many come, and many go and many stay on forever. I have seen fictions being made, imaginations been drawn, dreams come true and also those that remained so. I have built people and i have built lives, i have gone on for days to come to an abrupt stop. I am a persons identity at time, character at others. I have witnessed the life that one wished for and the life they wished they never had and it all came down from my brain fluid. I am a pen.

Some people smirk when they open me from a packed box that say “with love, aunt Sarah” and poor aunt Sarah gets nothing more than an ignorant and obligatory smile simply because i am not something interesting, i do not fly neither do i create virtual worlds for my holder to seek refuge in, i just write and thus i am boring. While i have seen such kids i have also met people who quiver about getting me in newer forms every now them, i have names that appeal to them like the name of a bottle of scotch to an alcoholic. To them i am a collectible, a piece of emerald in their gold clad chest and something they boast about. Though i cant say that they use me to my satisfaction but at the same time i cannot deny that i do not enjoy the attention on strange palms. I can feel their pulse as they look down at me and wave me in the air to mimic their signatures, i can see the diamond reflect in their pupils as they look to the one on my head through the glass doors of my cage. I feel proud, oh yes i do! But happy ? well…….i guess the “well” says it all.

Like every breed of bird is divided into two sects so is our society, the one behind the gold cage and the other on the dusty branch of an amazonian forest. And thus comes the third kind of people in the freckled fingers of whom my life finds its true meaning. The ape men in the dense forest of words. They make me work, they scratch with me, make me bite trough lines, makes me write them and sometimes in a manner i write things that hold the meaning of what actually is unwritten. They show me my world and i play, swirve, read, mark and write my way through it. I see the world in so may forms on so many sheets of flattened wood that they call paper (well he too has a story to tell, but that’s for some other time because as of now he is “digitally”busy from being written on to by my “digital”form). A life grows through me. Rivalries are born and i give birth to them, and then end them just like that, with a few unique movements. I am there in the proof of the first cry to the proof of the last breath and i smile and cry as much as the ones who use me then. I see smiles coming on the beholders face as he writes a passage of happiness and i know it when they are blue because sometimes my letter get blurred by a sudden drop of a salty liquid on them. I have seen love grow through my tips and seen them being shattered to bits from the same. I have written true stories that appear a fiction and fictions that actually are true. I have drawn pictures of maidens of dreams,to the maidens who made them dream, to crooks and criminals whom i helped to put behind bars.The most powerful symbol of this world of ours is also built by me-a signature. The signature that can give one the power to win on worlds and the same same signature that defines that one has lost it all, from their money, their home to their wives who even a day ago he loved with his might. Oh how have i seen and known the mortal being, how have i felt what they felt exactly the same and ten times more!! I have see them struggle ,when I found those fingers decked up tightly on my head, the tip stuck on the paper and not a sound was made, sorry, not a word was made. I have trembled with their fear as they wrote with me their last words while the rope hung behind them from the roof and perhaps that’s one of the moments i felt most helpless for not being able to speak my own. I lay their as a moment later i was covered by the shadow of his dangling feet. I have been broken in many forms , its their friustration that broke me. But the morose is not all that there is. As much as i have felt their nerves i have felt their hearts to.I have felt them write as if they were talking to someone about their feelings. I have seen them smile as they wrote letters of home coming and numerous other events like christmas, new year, hanukkah and many more. I have felt them sing as they wrote in rhyme and i have seen them blush as they drew her in words. I have had two hands on my tip sometimes, a big one over a little one, a hand so little that even i was bigger than the arm on whose tip it was, managing a difficult A B C as others looked on. I have witnessed that hand transit from a little soft ball of tissue writing its letters, to a playful hand doing its homework, to a matured one writing to his “her” for the first time, to a dutiful one writing his thesis, to a weak and skinny one writing his will. I have seen and been through everything and everywhere.

I have given this world a way into their own world and a way to build one of their own outside their own.I help this world decide whats right and whats wrong, i help it decide what should be and what should be not, i am the creator of the creator and i am the sheild of their glory. And yes i am mightier than the sword!! I do not fight i write and a scar vanishes over time, but a word even though can be rubbed can never be deleted. For my “ink” might stay on paper but its born in the mind. I do wish sometimes that i could have spoken, but then again feel like its fine because if i would have , you would have been speechless (are you now? ), so its fine.

Savour me , enjoy me, write with me and never stop at the end of a refill, just get one and help me define you in every form of its meaning. I am tired now , so i would like my testimony to end like this

“remember remember the days of forever

the paintings, the poems ,the plot

and i will remember and shall forget never

all the words that you ever thought”

  And so i began, and thus i end.

“Signing” off

Yours faithfully

A pen

P.S. try to not chew my head when you are tensed or rotate me round the same, the spit makes me gooey and the turn makes me dizzy.!!

The thing about love.

Original post date on blogspot : 22/02/2016

 

The thing behind the first word. The thing about the first smile. The thing about the first miracle. The thing about the first sight. The thing about the first fight . The thing around the first wink. The thing about the first letter. The thing behind the first secret, the thing behind sharing it the first time. The thing about the first tear, the thing behind the first palm to wipe it away. The thing about pulling through. The thing about the first walk to the park, the first walk through the park. The thing about the first flower and the first wilt. The thing about holding a finger, to holding a hand, to wrapping round a palm and also joining ones both in a prayer. The thing about knowing that it almost never ends up to be the “first” of everything every time, In short, the thing, about love.

Love is that miracle that helps us be. The feeling behind our first breath, the feeling behind our first cry and also the feeling on our mothers little finger, tight, for the very first time, It brings us this world of ours, helps us grow with it, through it , while it enjoys a seat in the bench and only comes in as the super sub when we cry for help (and not everytime is it heard). A parents love knows no bound, it is biased, loud, tough and binds us like a cloud round the summer sun , it gets denser, the more it burns and then drains itself out , only to put it to rest for a while. We learn our first words and use the rest on them, they smile. We bring down all our wrath on them, they soothe. We cry our sorrows out to them, they strengthen while breaking down inside. They lay their palms with petals of roses for us to walk on and have them pierced by as much thorns as they can. The thing about love to them is sacrifice —- with a smile.

The love of a sibling is perhaps the most confusing of all. They begin as arch enemies, and come to think of it , they prefer to stay that way. They will drag each other to the corner of the cliff but will still not let go. Even if they fall they fall together. Its the fear that counts. Hairs are pulled, notes are misplaced, study sessions are disrupted, slaps are thrown and even then the smallest of jokes are shared, the smallest of pancakes are eaten half, the biggest of hearts belong to the other, the strongest of supports are what they are to each other. A sibling always knows when the other is in trouble and draws out every possible hay from the stack to look for the needle and remove it. The elder one holds the hand of the little one forever and pulls him through no matter what. When the news of a heartbreak comes they are the first to quip, “i had told you so!!”, but the only one to sit beside and tell, “come on! as long as you are into people, everything is going out fine”, and the best part is, perhaps the only person in the world who means it. The first wake up call, the last goodnight wish, the first career solution and the first relationship mockery, they see it all, but the best part, they see you through it all.  Love of a sibling is unbearably unbearable yet a predilect without which your life remains a forever half portion.

Love for that special one  ( from a guys stand point) . It is something new, something unprecedented, something that hits you out of nowhere although you might have seen it coming and wanted it but you relish the mystery and suddenness of it. The first time you learn that seeing a person can actually give you goosebumps and make you want to be stupid by choice. The first time you know that the feeling of being complete is actually incomplete until you meet that very stranger you becomes your own to fulfill your own. The dream giver, she turns out to be the dew on the pebble that every bare feet looks for in the early morning field. The first time you feel like taking up a pen rather than your voice. The first time you stare without having the least bit of idea why you are doing so. The paradox of strange insight gulps you down and by the time you realize it you are deep in the abyss of “everythingness”. She becomes a part of you as much as you never were to yourself. You begin hitting the backspace more than the spacebar just to get those words out perfectly for her, to her and still feel like you should have gone for a “feel” check. She smiles anyway and that not just makes your day but gives you the arm to hold (or atleast dream of holding round, but that’s another story. lets not dim the lights) to make your entire world around it.

God claims all, sees all, loves all and yes seeks the love of all that ever was, ever is and ever will be. Love of God is a miracle, a miracle to show us light in forms old and new, in pictures, statues and shadows, in mysteries one would never see the end of, in arguments one would never wind and most of all in ways one would never measure. So we pray and we promise what we fail to often realize is nothing, not a stone turns out of a plan, and so our thoughts, they never really are our own, they are verses from names unknown, from places unknown just making their were through our heart to our actions.

So for the love of all there is to love and for the love of life lets not lose out on love and let love never lose out on us for its there from the cot we breath out first, to the laps and arms we breathe through and the shoulders on which we breathe our last..

Cheers !!

Vellore Days…..

Original Post date on Blogspot :20/02/2016

 

It happened within a few months. I was a typical “calcatian” enjoying my time out on the lanes and the ghats in the city that has never failed to give me anything a hint less than joy. Coffee house, Baghbazar, college canteen, a metro station south of the city and the vendor cabin of the last train from sealdah on thursdays were my rotating addresses. Home was just a refuge. Addas were my forte, the people my stage and Kolkata was my oyester. I am still not sure about it, but i thought like the city was it for me, it was the place that would have all the chapters of my life written on it , and i was nothing less than glad to be a character in its ever so marvellous novel, be it of a broken heart, joined hands or the bits and pieces of the lips that joined together to make the smile of my life. And thus all of a sudden came the unprecedented “but” in my life and like the whirl of a hot wind in a summer afternoon , brought me to the very next page of my story via the kharagpur villupuram express one fine june morning. And vellore said “Vanakkam.”

Lets be honest, i loathed it since day one. A strict institute in a sub urban part of the southernmost tip of our country was never the place i thought i would end up in. Yes, to the society i had achieved, won a medal round my neck , but to me, i was lost. I was sad, i was homesick and i quickly adjusted to the depressed side of my being , of which i learned after i landed at katpadi junction, Home was a dream and to wake up every morning and walk down to the department in the picturesque campus a nightmare. I had changed my residence from coffee house to the coffee in a steel cup at the college canteen. Though it tasted better but it did not taste like it. The air was cooler in the evenings but it did not smell the same, it smelled of sambar and not of the ghoti gorom at the baghbazar ghat. Department to hostel and back to the department the next morning, life had become a routine with the last train, tea in a clay pot and shyambazar five point crossing all off to sleep clad by the blanket of my memories. The only known faces were the two of my best friends who had apparently had the same ill luck as to get selected here, but all they could help me with were a couple of words from the tongue gifted by my loving mother. I became calm. And trust me, that is not an attribute i look up to.

They say time heals all, but what they don’t is that time also builds all. And just like the sapling on a pot my life started growing around the so far so loathed place. I started to know the people, taste the food, make friends out of corners and yes received with smiles. The smiles, chats, occasional hellos and the wave of hands made me realize that even though I knew how much i hated it here but at the same time CMC and vellore knew exactly how to make me feel loved. And riding on the saddle of the hour glass I had changed and once again started to live by the meaning of it. I started enjoying the hectic department hours sitting in front of the huge list of numbers that meant so much, my mates at the department started owning my secrets and won over the right to make me laugh. Most of them even though do not know the language i speak in but speak much more to me than i ever could wish for. A stroll down the dusty tree clad campus lanes meant meeting hordes of wonderful people just waiting for the opportunity to wave, smile and say “hi” in the most adorable of manners. Smiles came in packets of banana chips and courtyard dances of diwali celebrations,moves of vijay & Jr NTR and the smiles of the people in Adukambarae Kattupadi who fed us till our stomachs burst open even though they had known me for just a day or two.And it was just when i started feeling homely in the bounds of the bagayam campus that home came to me in the form of elder brothers and friends from my land, who did not spare a second before laying their arms on my shoulders. Vellore was slow but it emerged strong. Changes came through “it seems”, “river only”,”thek ache”, rumba chicken, visit to VIT and trips to the fish market , chennai and bangalore,tensions of journal review sessions , birthday celebrations and chicken tikka masala.

As i was returning today through the empty late night vellore roads to my campus, my head laid softly in the seat of the car,with a WB number plate with smiles old and new, a bengali song making its way through my ears, and the sky passed over my eye lashes, i would be a fool if not to accept the fact that i failed to realize that all the time i was nowhere but home. Home is an emotion, a feeling of belongingness and that ever so dark road from thorapadi to the college campus is where i belong now and never did it hesitate to make me a part , it was me who was stupid enough to deny it time and time again. I know vellore is just a chapter and its not forever but it is forever now and i am glad i landed here, to learn a lot so as to teach a bit in the coming few pages.I still miss home, still miss the bed, still miss the lanes but the only difference now is that it does not stop me from enjoying the rusty hostel cot, the beautiful college campus and my wonderful life here in the district of vellore in the southern most state of Tamil Nadu.

Life is Rumba Nalla Irrekke.

Cheers !!

to all the people who make my life in vellore so filled with life. and to all those who are home away.

The “away” half

Siblings. The unavoidable competition. The unwilling part of your soul. The spotlight sharer. The often privileged elder one. The talks, no matter how small or big, ending with a fight, hand and legs included. The worst critique. The reason for the question, “why the hell could i have not been the only one?”. The sudden soft corner, the friend for all needs, the advice for every situation, the first pat on the back. The body protecting me from a beating. The first relationship advice. The first tear wiper. The first “letke chetke”. The reason behind the prayer “thank god i am not an only one!”

AND THEN AN AIRPORT TERMINAL. THE WAVING HAND. THE TEARY EYE. THE SAD HEART BENEATH THE PROUD MIND.

The sudden loneliness that follows is nothing like one could ever imagine. Its like a carnival coming to a sudden close because of a tidal wave that swept its shore. Suddenly conversations become an ISD call and emotions “skyped”. Bhaiphotas become a long distance affair and the luchi is now eaten full. Never thought how much a half luchi could prove to be such an apt diet therapy. Fights still prevail but the charm seems lost because they end very soon based on the thought “lets not fight she is so far away”. Songs start reminding you of her and make you all mushy mushy (something you would have never even had nightmares of). You start writing poems and proses that remind you of her and her, you. I mean its my sister (brother for the rest, please change the she & her in the appropriate places with he and him. Sorry for the inconvenience caused!), i should be blaming her for all that is bad in this world and moving all my efforts to get on her nerves, not MISSING her. This certainly does not feel normal. You are filled with a sudden storm of weak feelings and she becomes an inspiration rather than the more believable “issue”.  I mean, she was the sole reason behind my miserable existence and the shield to all that i did, that were ill intended and in a sudden jerk of events (am not complaining that they were bad) your wish of being the lone child comes true and oh my god, do you hate it like anything! The fantasy becomes a nightmare and you spend nights looking at the empty bed that once had her studying on it.

But you do get used to it like anything else in life and also because you understand the situation as a result of  the curse of growing up. You start believing that your brother-in-law can actually take care of her (not better than you obviously, that is never possible) and in no time didia gives you many more reasons to look forward to, only this time the loathing decreases in degree and life through her thoughts seem more influential a setting. You start looking forward to the huge suitcases that she brings home every alternate year and sit with one luchi on one of those dreamt about sunday mornings to hear about her life, the best part, she always misses me. You take a note of her career advices and go about them as bedbakyo.  Yes, believe it or not elder siblings have the best predicition about your life and thus always give the best advice. The outings seem a bit awkward at first but become more normal with her stay getting prolonged. Her visa creating problems and making her stay longer turn out to be the most unusual of good news. Nothing feels better. Evil i know but eh! what the heck! And there is something more you develope. Everytime you see her the first time you are bound to feel a bit nervous. I am still not sure why that happens. Time flies within plans through her stay and she waves again and sets sail in the clouds and every time you hear the same thing,”grow up”. Time stops for your sister the moment you are born and though you may get old as much as you want to, they always look at you as you would pee your pants any moment now. It doesn’t feel that inappropriate though, i must accept. And while she is away you start making plans about her next visit , though you may not be sure when that would actually be happening. Time, once again, proves to be the judge as well as the sentence.

Siblings. The most beautiful thing that can ever happen to you. The only thing better than you yourself. The sole inspiration in your life, The only person you love to brag about. The person whom your near and dear ones hear the first thing ,right after your own introduction. The reason behind the paved path under your feet. The only person who can actually make your parents believe that time has changed and not everything is “amader shomoi to erom chilo”. The pampering hand, the leading finger, the best example of “far yet near”. The worst beating of your life with the best outcomes. The mend it all smile and the first one to accept your thoughts without judging them (but only till the matter subsides, the judgement starts then and ends at the order) . The best gift that your parents have ever gifted you. When they go far, it hurts, when they stay far, it hurts more, when they speak of dragging you near, you dream and when finally when the ends meet, you feel complete.

So here is to the most unpleasant blessing of my life and of all those who might be reading it.

May you never be far even if you end up being away!

Cheers!

(Sorry if it sounds a bit personal, but couldn’t really help it! )

Letter to my city

Dear Kolkata,

“Kemon acho shohor? ” (how are you my city?) How are your lanes doing?  And what about those gutters and open manholes ? Do they still stink the same ? Or has any change been forced upon them to get them clean ? He he! Sorry bhai i always thought that joke to be funny. You know i met Chennai a few days ago and it was complaining on how it always wanted to be a city with a rich history instead it ended up being a city all right, but, history as far as it was concerned did not really shed a sight on it. It went on saying but you know how i am. Pretty biased as a guy.So my ear lost interest. So how is everything?

How is Princep ghat ? How is the river ? Does it still say ,it misses me looking out blankly towards it in search of something to write? I must say Ganga is one sly woman, if not, then why would the tides always be low when i went to it in search of words, when it knows that high tides always create a better rush for rhyme !! However, it did sometimes throw in an occasional lone boat with a sunset background around Bagbazar. A sight that has etched its way into my dreams these days. The line of smoke formed in the orange backdrop from the sailor’s bidi always made me think. It seemed like in that faint bit of tar vapor the sailor let out its thoughts, maybe it was his blogs, it touched its heart (through his lungs! lets not forget science through sentiment) and as he opened his mouth, poof!it was out there. How are the green covered tram lines on red road ? Do lovers still take their walk of happy beginnings and broken hearts, the walk of sad endings down those lanes ? And do the kids playing bangalir shera khela still look on them with amazement ? Or have both the sects learned to move on ? I miss  those walks (lets keep guessing about which one ! ) They say that a kid named rajarhat is going to dominate your skyline very soon, well i will disagree with the fact even if we get a freaking WTC up in that area, to me kolkata’s skyline would be the one that borders the walls of Birla auditorium. The straight lane from Mother Teresa Sarani (Park Street), till the end of Ho Chi Minh Sarani, The Tata Centre, Everest Building, Chatterjee International, American Consulate ending at the grand St. Pauls Cathedral dominating the skies but at the same time letting go of enough space to see the blue blanket. How well can you describe a skyline if the buildings block your view of the sky itself ? And lets not forget about Victoria Memorial and a bit on the farside Vidyasagar setu, which act as the cherry on the icing of clear autumn kolkata clouds. Oh how well you yourself have spoken of your grandeur through our eyes.

What is hatibagan upto ? Has the bargaining and  “o didi” calls grown louder or have the people become more “civilized” and find it “odd” to save “du char poisha” ? So many quotes in a single stement eh ? Well what can i say, you have always been so original ! So authentic ! How often do the people visit Coffee house these days ? Are the addas still that long ? Do the coffees still turn bland amidst the discussions and the burning charminars? How is gonokontho doing ? Is it still allowing people to write their heart on it or has it too got a color these days ? I cant smell the fragrance of the burning matchstick mixed with those of old books and keo karpin hair oil, that i was so familiar with a few months ago, something i miss terrribly. I heard that a certain party has won the elections in bengal this year but who won in coffee house cos the last time i visited the fight was still on, and i heard that it had been on through generations as Robi Thakur stood and heard them all.  Tell the corner bench on college square i miss it too. (again keep guessing).

How good is saltlake proclaiming its exclusiveness? The next time it makes a fuss be straight and tell him, he does not even belong to the city (geographically ). That should keep him quite for a while.

I wont be home in a while so i need you to deliver a few messages for me.

1. 38C Shyampukur Bye lane royak.  See to that no one sits on him and plays 29 other than our group, ask him to get those red ants out if anyone does and tell it that i have left the queen of my hearts under one of its slabs the last time i played there. Ask him to keep it safe.

2. Gunodhor Jethu. You will find him in a corner off chitpur road, Ma Tara Tea Stall, ask him about his grand daughter , the last time he complained about her being in love with some guy from her college, console him that its fine and if its true it might just last and if its not she herself would know her way out of it . For now ask him not to stop her from having a reason to wear a yellow saree on saraswati puja. And ask him to not lessen the amount of potatoes in the shingara or they will decline in quality.

3. Mritshilpi Tarun Paul. 63/4 Kumotuli lane .Just thank him for bringing the Gods to our homes through his hands.

4. Kolkata Metro. Ask them to be the best Ghataks in town as they have always been. And tell them never to fix the ACs , not every metro can give you the feeling of a winter rain.

Tell them i miss them all and i will be back very soon. I count my days to cross the Howrah Bridge and enter your majestic veins which lead to my home. Ask the last Dankuni local to wait as it has the habit of completing all my journeys, its also the train of my thoughts. And for all their well being i entrust u my tillttoma as i believe no matter how much the world around you changes, you will prevail, on board your trams, through your lanes and into our hearts. The farther we go the stronger the knot gets and promises of never letting go. Your beauty has mesmerized many and promises to mesmerize for the times to come. The smell of the dew on the dry maidan grass, or the arrival of new hilsa at lake market are what define you. I am proud of you. You have stayed old while making ways for the new. As the malls came up, stronger grew your thakur dalan. I was with you this puja and i must say you looked absolutely beautiful. I thank you for giving me a place in your heart.

I have lost out on words now as my throat gets all lumpy and my brain goes dry as the neurons do not know how to interpret the signals it receives now into words of literature.

I hope to hear from you really soon.

Until then

Bhalo theko shohor (stay well my city)

Rishav

P.S. tell dhormotola i said hi !