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

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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

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 !

To be or not to be… A friend !

Original Post Date : 10/11/2015

“Depth of friendship does not depend on the length of acquaintance” – Rabindranath Tagore

I am not really sure why i began with this quote.

Well, lets face it i am not really a writer and what does a wanna be in all fields do to gain an entrance?

Its simple….they google !! And so did i “Quotes on friendship”, the 56th link gave me this answer and i thought “Robi” Thakur was a good way of instigating some bengali sentiments ,who might be reading this post. (to those like me, this may just turn out to be a healthy piece of writing advice!).

So without editing or deleting my rather disappointing prologue i begin my ranting about friendship.

Well to have a friend is like sailing a ship (the poorest metaphor possibly! ). There are times when the tides are hard and your ship might almost topple but its then that you bring out the sindbad in you and hold the wheel even tighter with the hope that it is going to pass really soon. While in times opposite it may be calm, very calm, very very calm, and everything will seem perfect, its then that you bring out the cruise tourist in you ,lay back, enjoy the mocktail and the sun but at the same time look for the shore. Friendship only comes, it never leaves. It comes in the form of people at different phases of your life , in school, in college, in tuition, in “para”(please forbid yourself from rhyming) at home or may be just for a moment on the streets from someone whose name you may forget to ask even though you might have spend almost the entire day talking to him at an age old coffee shop and he/she just happened to join in. Friendships can be “just”, “best”, “chaddy”, “oldest”, “storng” etc etc, accompanied by all the positive superlative adjectives possible. It may be hidden in not talking for days over the lamest of issues or talking for days on the lamest of issues. Its there in a cup of tea, in a burning fag, in an old story book, in a week long trip, in the same last bench of the class room, in the same gaze upon new juniors coming in for admission, from the ghats of Varanasi to the trinkets of Kolkata to the kebabs of Delhi friendship can take you anywhere ,from anywhere, through anything in a jiffy. Friends are perhaps the only people who judge you when you are being polite and feel contented to hear the slangs,they are those people who will hold you closest when you are going through a rough patch but also waiting eagerly for it too pass so that they can make a fool out of you recollecting on how you “cried like a baby dude! “. Friends are confusing but merrily so.

Friendship starts its journey when you open your eyes for the first time to see this world and clutch your mother’s finger and wink at your elder sister (though i believe its less of a wink a more of a babies inability to open both eyes at the same time…but hey no logic when we are talking emo!). From then on it moves to school where you sing with people as tiny as you ,play criss cross in the pee pee and look at girls together for the first time, as not being your enemies. Then comes college and friendship takes a sharp bend. It comes from those people with whom you share a guitar, a note, a bunk, a proxy , a laugh, a cry, a crush and an inevitable heart break. Then friendship slightly moves on to a narrower lane and you fall in love, its just friendship with an “exclusive” name . And if cupid finds it apt friendship moves round seven times the sacred fire and its not very long that you turn into that friend whose finger u once held at the beginning of time, only now that finger is yours. And there would be time and there would be time , and you will start moving towards your time out—–its perhaps at this very moment that you realize that even though your senses have grown weak your friendship has grown stronger. Only now it has moved from the last bench to the park bench where you sit with your sticks on the side, from the talks of who is seeing whom to whose daughter is seeing whose son and from the hip rock songs to the “songs of our time”, from lets do it ,to lets remember it and from the sly smile at the college gate to the contented smile on the bedside.

In the entire process we see its us, the human beings who go through a transition, whether it be in age or in mind, what remains evergreen is the abstract concept which stays till we do and continues to live its legacy even later. “The smile of friendship” never fades, we move on from one set of friends to a new one with time but it does not reduce the importance of those we “had” infact it increases it. A wise man would say, friendship is like wine, the older it gets the tastier it is. But neither am i wise nor much of a wine connoisseur. So i would say , friendship is friendship. Its incomparable, unsubstituted, and ever growing, self nourishing and very difficult to be judged metaphorically. Its blind, its partial, its madness, its calm, its strong and gives the best hangover in the world, its to little fingers joining and turning into palms. Friendship is what comes in life, grows through life, holds you through life, and even though one might fail to realize it in this market of losing jobs, its perhaps the only thing that never ever lets you go no matter how big the world may get.

And what is the only thing that never lets you go in your life time ?

Its LIFE itself.

For all my friends.

Cheers !

Me and Tamizh. A start.

Original Post Date on Blogspot : 04/11/2015

Writing has always been something that has rather intrigued me. Something that has amazed me. But at the same time i felt that writing had a certain element of handicap to it. What was that? Well i always felt that one suffers from a shortage of words to write of as relative to speaking of. But nevertheless it seems like it has never really been an issue with writers, infact i have seen and known of people who write beautifully but stammer (and not physiologically) when they try to speak on a subject. Well, now that is a rather happy contradiction. And thus i too dare to venture on these literary grounds with the contradiction as my shield. To all those grammar ethic concerned people who may try and waste there time reading my blog. I issue this as statutory warning to them. The  “cigarette swasth k liye hanikanarak hain” type.  So now that i have bragged about my extraordinary writing skills the next subject on the way to ruining your time as well as mine is to select a suitable subject to write on. These are some of my choices.

1. The ballads of Shakespeare

2. The Aam Admi Party

3. The Digital India Project

4. AAH!! Lets not forget the IPL

5. And of course!! The Indian Reservation System.

But. I will not flatter myself and thus would gleefully evade all these rather interesting and unique topics,obvious pun intended, and write something about “me being”. Me being here. Here as in that part of the country which very little among us know actually exist. I am talking about the glorious south of our huge subcontinent.

It has been sometime now that i have settled in the southern most state of our country Tamil (tamizh) Nadu. I will not woo you by what am i doing here. Because for now i am just intending to write about it. So without any final delay or boring prologue i begin,

Tamilians are an egoistic race. They believe on their superiority of language skills, education, mannerisms, ethics, reservations and all that can be of an army school nature. Well that is how i realize it to be. They believe that what they do is right and they have got a hell lot of people supporting this notion of theirs. They take pride in being the opposites. ( For heavens even nak and mukh means the opposite to them, and they call 2 as renda!!). They believe sons are born to be engineers and daughters are born to give birth to more engineers. Almost the majority of the tamil girls dream of leaving their neighborhood only holding their husbands hand. They try and save their hands not to build machines but to cook for their kids, and yes this is the youth thinking. They look oddly at you if you light a cigarette on the streets but go about happily with the half empty bottle of rum peeking outside their pockets at 1 in the afternoon. The bus conductors behave as if they are doing you a favor by letting you hop into the vehicle and push you down when your stoppage comes as if its him who is paying you for your service of “alightment”. To them except for tamil nadu, kerala and bits and pieces of karnataka and andhra pradesh everything else is north indian and trust me they are not very fond of that. PORA, which actually “burns” when they say it proves my previous statement. They are rude, shrewd and intelligent. But thats just the cover.

Inside the book you find a very different story. Yes, the people here are rude, insolent, egoistic, unmeasurably proud of their existence but they are very much as human as any of the rest in the world. They can smile one of the most beautiful and honest smiles in the world. They take some time to get the hang of things that may appear DIFFERENT to them but once they do they are nothing but a support to those notions. They may be proud but they are every bit as honest to be so. They will talk behind your back but at the same time never let it really affect you. Its for their own entertainment only. Or should i say , they “chumma” do it. They will always smirk at you on the streets but once you put a step near their door they will never let you go back empty handed or stomached.(The picture below is of a family i had the pleasure to know during a community orientation in the village of Adukambarae Kattupadi, Vellore district and boy do i miss their unceasing laughter on seeing a guy from kolkata and their ever so tasty sundals!!) They are different and find no problem with that because they are self sufficient something that not every culture in this country can demand of being, be it economically or culturally, they love their loud movies and most of them have rowdy fight scenes and songs that can make the entire world move their feet. The girls are shy but thats because they have too much to lose once set free. They believe they are the most educated people in the country. Why?  Because they are. Period. They are like their dosas, crunchy o the outside but the soft on the inside (though i could always do with a bit less of curry leaves in everything!! ) The sons become engineers yes!! But they treat their mothers as Gods and wives as princesses. The women have a major share of all chores be it in or out. They are late but they are not slow. They are like the super subs. The come on only when the goal is desperately needed. The bus conductor may pull you down when u have reached your stop but they also have the ethic to pull up a guy from his seat in order to get a old woman to sit. They are organized, disciplined and hot tempered perfectionists, they believe in the way they are, how they are and what they can be.

Concludingly, i would say the south with all its hills and seas are every bit as different as you can imagine and more, but i guess that is what makes them so perfect in their own eyes, PERFECTLY UNIQUE.

 

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