Monday, October 31, 2005

Did someone ask the bomb?

Ever since I was picked,
With the red wire and the green,
I knew the clock that ticked,
Wished as much I had not been.

It was inevitable then,
I cannot help my living death,
Was decided the day when,
Bartered I was for some innocent's breath.

I was left alone, in the shadow,
Dark in the middle of cheerful light,
People overflowing in the narrow,
Unaware of their fatal plight.

Helpless, I see a kid smile,
Run closer to me in frolicking play,
How do I warn him of intentions vile,
Tell him to get away!

The countdown ends in an inside spark,
Ripping me through all around,
And though I light up every dark,
I cannot hear a single sound.

The roaring blast of heated air,
Life freezing in a fiery blaze,
Even though I cannot spare,
I liked that kid's trusting ways.

If that is what I take with me,
Trust lost by my living gain,
Some body stop those wiring me,
I never want to live again.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005

Literally in Love

The words still did not come. Words had always been easy for him. The open window let in the bountiful morning sun with the mildly scented air. Mrigank stared outside, not looking anywhere in particular. On the desk, in front of him, lay the few handwritten pages of the manuscript of his current novel.

In the past, Mrigank had invented brilliant characters. The hilarious Bantu De, the very lovable Snigdha Sreemala, the conniving Tejram Tokus and the very evil Kaushik Mistry had all formed the tangy pastis that had been his previous bestseller. He had laughed and cried with them for days. If only it would come back to him now. He wanted to create the magic again. He wanted his character. He wanted her. The only problem was he couldn't see her yet. Unable to write, Mrigank decided to go for a stroll.

He put on a casual khaki brown shirt, and his old, worn out slippers. The road in front of his house was already alive with the chaos of the vegetable market which sprang up there every morning at 7 a.m. He loitered in between the carrots and the tomatoes, as if in tandem with the cow who was busy chewing the spinach leaves strewn on the road. It was then the voice caught his ear. It had the timbre of a drum beat dying away slowly, after being struck with great violence. He looked around, and saw the most alluring face he had ever seen. She was dressed in a faded green cotton saree, and was busy sorting her stock of vegetables into piles.

He watched her for a while. A dark face with eyes which shone with the lights of a wildfire. Her black locks were carelessly tied in a bun behind her head, with a few wayward strands crisscrossing her face. She was humming a song to herself, and every time she parted those mesmeric lips he lost all bearing of space and time. This had to be her. He just knew it. Then as if suddenly snapping out of her spell, he darted back home.

He could not wait to put pen to paper, and draw her out of hiding. He gave her the face he had just seen, and the voice he had just heard. He gave her the purity and freshness of Vermeer's `Girl with a Pearl Earring.' And he gave her the love of Meera. Finally, he christened her Nivedita. When he put his pen down, he could see her, sitting quietly, among his written word. He could feel every tinge of life that radiated off her. He was most certainly in love.

He had only one thought left in him now. "Does she love me too?"

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Not for all the chocolate in the world...

So said Charlie Bucket! I was somewhere inside the chocolate factory when he said this. This... `one liner' snapped me back. If I had been a girl I would be head over heels over Johnny Depp by now, however, I must say this about little Charlie. That boy has magic in his eyes. Ah! But now, about the movie. It's a little gem, and of course, it is about chocolate. Loads of it in fact.

Chocolate flows, chocolate flows,
Drowning in sweet all sad and lows,
Better than many people on this planet,
Ummm on my tongue, 'tis the best it can ever get.

Okay, okay I admit it! The `Ummm' inspiration is from Preity Zinta (Ummmm ;o) ). So now, Durga Puja is over, and soon it will be time for Diwali and then it will be Christmas! This is the better half of the year. Loads of holidays. I, however, had a funny start to the festive season this year.

I was in my hostel room. I had just emerged from the bath, my hair smelling divine from the `Ultra Doux Olive Oil & Lemon' shampoo. Actually, it is part of Y's recipe to get my hair to grow back. I do not know what good it is doing to my follicles but it smells yummy! I was in front of the mirror, with the world looking distinctly foggy through my wet glasses. I groped around and located my handkerchief. I took off my specs, and began to wipe it dry, just when it went - SNAP! Right then the world went right out of focus. The spectacle frame had broken in two. I am all blurry eyed without my glasses, so it was quite out of the question to search for the spare pair in such a condition. I called home and that confirmed my worst fears - I had left the spare pair at home! Leaving behind the screaming (and very worried) parents on the phone, I decided to brave the outside world.

The mess seemed all silvery - almost out of Dumbledore's pensieve. The sambar vadas were missing their hole from in-between. Breakfast tasted the same, but looked a whole lot different. Then I walked to work. I could see coloured shadows everywhere - people, cars, trees and after a few hands distance the world disappeared into a medley of mad watercolours. I reached the office. Y, U, V and S seemed most sympathetic, though I could hear the occasional chuckle every now and then. The computer was out of visual bounds of course. I just ordered Y to accompany me to the optician because I would not be able to see the spectacle frame without the specs! What a Catch 22! Y was quite accommodating and agreed to accompany me.

We took an auto. Delhi roads seemed a lot a less crowded and more colourful. It looked as if it had rained just now. I could not see people's faces, the car's number plates, the occasional wandering cow, the crowd spilling out of the DTC bus, the dust covered trees and rows upon rows of shops. I could only hear life. Oh and it lived. It lived right there, all around me, through me, with me. It was some experience - those fuzzy ten minutes. I got to see a very big picture, which I might have never seen otherwise. I also saw the big picture in my own life right then and there. Above and beyond all the people who were crammed into it. I got the courage to let go. I raised my hands and I surrendered. There are things in my life, I realized, which I will never be able to control. I think we are supposed to be thankful for that or else all of us would be control freaks with a lot of frazzled nerves.

I got my new frame. I also got a couple of very pinchy `new-pinches' from S! It looks exactly like the old one. But amidst this entire hullabaloo, I now I have an inkling of what I am capable of. I will never again, give up on me. Not for all the chocolate in the world...

Still an extra bar of chocolate never hurt anyone. So, if someone wants to be generous and give me some, I am up for it. Always and anywhere!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Shonar Kella (The Golden Fortress)

I am writing this post in Bangla, because it came to my mind in those words. For those who cannot read Bangla, a translation in English follows.

Aaj obdi jaa korar shahosh korte parini, aaj chelebelaar ekta sriti ta korte baddho kore diyeche. Jaa kokhono korini sheta hochche Banglaye lekha. Shotti bolte ei kotha gulo Bangla okhore lekhar khomota aamar aajo neyi, sheyi jonne Ingriji alphabet er shahajjo ta nite hocche. Shei kotha nahoye aarek din bolbo. Aaj ja bolte ichche korte tayi boli. She holo sheyi pranbhore haanshar diner kotha.

Dhuloye dhoa neel aakash, Rajasthan er morubhoomi te koekta oonth, ekta te Feluda, ekta te Topshe aar ekta te Jatayu. Aami je Shonar Kellar kotha bolchi ta nishchoyi etokhonne bujte perecho. Aaj pujo pandel theke vcd ta kenar por thekeyi aar torsh hochchilo na. Bari esheyi cinema ta dekhe phellam.

Satyajit Ray er mon jodano sur mone koriye delo shei prothom baar T.V. te cinema ta dekhar shei din. Tokhon chotto aami, aaro onek beshi dushtu chilam. Hoyeto beshi khushi o chilam. Ma aar Baba tokhon oto chinta korto na. Chotobelar din gulo ke golapi kaanch diye dekhte aaj chokhe jol bhore aasche keno taayi bojhbaar jonne eta likhte boshechi. Kintu taar uttor to aami jaani. Aar shei din hoyeto kokhono phire pabona.

Tobe tayi niye aamar kono aakhep neyi. Chabbish bochor bhaloi katiyechi. Golpo, kobita likhte shikechi, aankteyo paari ektu ektu. Gaan gayile keu kaache darate chayena bote, tobuo, gayite bhaloi laage. Bondhu bandhob shobi aache. Ekbaar prem korar chesthao kore phelechi eri moddhe. Kintu kotha ta theek ta noye.

Ja kore uthte parini, aajo, ta hochce nijer mon ke boojhe nite. Aajo nijer bapaare bhaabte gele koek minite por theek kore aar bhabte parina. Aajo khali mone hoye ekta bag kandhe kore shaara prithibi ghurte beriye podle mondo hobe na. Aajo Baba Maake hariye phelbo kono din bhableyi, khub bhoye kore. Aajo kauke moner kotha pooro poori bolte onek shomoye laage. Aaj Baabar jonmodin. Baba ke gola jodiye, Happy Birthday, bolar aage, paanch minit dhore ki je bhablam sheta ekhon kichuteyi mone korte paarchina. Jaatishor kothar orthota aajge cinema dekhar porei theek bhujte parlaam. Sumon Chatterjee'r ei gaaner hotath notun maane khuje peychi taayi -

Aamar shopne bibhor hoye jonmecho bohubar,
Aami chilam tomar kamona, bidroho, chitkaar,
Dukho peycho jotobar jeno aamaye peycho toomi,
Aami tomar purush, aami tomar jonmobhoomi,
Jotobar tumi jononi hoyecho, totobar aami pita,
Koto sontan jalalo preyoshi tomar aamar chita,
Baar baar aashi aamra dujon, baar baar phire jaai,
Abaar aashbo abaar bolbo shudhu tomakeyi chai.

Aasha kori aar joto bochchor banchbo, taar modheyi nije ke khuje pabo kono ekdin.

I haven't had the courage to do something till today. But today a childhood memory has forced my hand. That something which I have never done before is writing in Bangla. To tell you the truth I still do not have the ability to write this in the Bangla script, that is why I must take help of the English alphabet. But that tale is for another day. Let me say today what I really want to say. I want to really talk about those days of heartfelt laughter.

Below blue skies washed in dust, a few camels make there way in the deserts of Rajasthan. On one is Feluda1, on another one is Topshe and on the third is Jatayu. You must've realized by now that I am speaking of Shonar Kella2 (The Golden Fortress). From the moment I bought the vcd from the puja pandal today evening I could not wait a second. As soon as I reached home I watched the movie, again.

Melodious strains of Satyajit Ray's soulful music reminded me of the day when I had first seen the movie on T.V. I was younger then, a little boy and was much naughtier. Perhaps I was happier too. Mum n Dad did not worry so much in those days. Why looking at those wonder years through rose tinted glasses still brings tears to my eyes? That is why I sat down to write this post today. But I know the answer already, don't I. Besides I'll never get back those days again.

But I have no regrets about that. I have had a good twenty six years so far. I have learnt how to write prose and poetry. I can even draw a few wayward lines on white sheets of paper. And even though people do not like to stick around when I start singing, I like to sing. I have a great bunch of friends. I have even tried my hand once at falling in love. But that is not the point. Not exactly.

What I havent been able to do is to understand myself. Even today I cannot fathom myself for more than a few minutes. I am always feeling that it would be great to just pickup a backpack, go and roam around the world. I am still scared to death by the fact that I'll lose my parents one day. Even at this age it takes me a long time to tell someone of my heart's deepest desires. Today was Dad's birthday. What was I thinking for five minutes, before I decided to give him a big hug and say Happy Birthday, I still cannot remember. I understood the word Jaatishor3 only after watching the movie today. Hence, suddenly, these lines from one of Sumon Chatterjee's4 songs, by the same name, has found new meaning in my eyes -

You have been reborn many times, forged in my dreams,
I am your yearning, your revolt, I am your screams.
You have felt me within, whenever you've been lorn,
I have been your man, I am the land where you are born.
Every time you have been a Mother, I have been a Sire,
So many sons, O beloved, have lit our final pyre.
Time and again we come together, and seperate to bid adieu,
I will come again, if only to say, I only want you.

I hope I find myself, in whatever few years of this mortal life I have left.

1 and 2. Satyajit Ray's inimitable super sleuth Feluda, his cousin Topshe and their friend Lalmohan Ganguli (aka Jatayu) are enormously popular fictional characters in Bengal. Ray published a large number of mystery stories featuring Feluda in the children's magazine Sandesh. Shonar Kella (The Golden Fortress) was the first of the popular Feluda movies which he made. It remains my favourite of the lot.

3. Jaatishor means one who can recall events or memories from past lives.

4. Sumon Chatterjee is a well known singer from West Bengal.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

A Balancing Act

I cannot help but laugh,
At my state of affairs,
Pardon me on my behalf,
As I proceed with repairs.

First it was a `Do you?'
Which gave way to a `Why?'
Lost in a divine milieu,
Circumference remained 2r pie.

Then there was a `Why not?'
And finally a `When?'
Amidst all this I nearly forgot,
The number of times I had said amen.

Neither add nor can I subtract,
As I become my own tragic hero,
A heart I lent I cannot retract,
Forever, balance a perfect zero.

Monday, October 03, 2005

In hate with myself

Me, myself and I,
Weird combinations of the self, collide,
Every nook and corner I pry,
To find a grave and bury it inside.

The deeper I go, more it becomes scary,
Unknown voices, echo and sneer,
Trembling feet be ever so wary,
What demons lurk beneath this loving veneer.

Dark and lifeless, walls so strong,
Bar all bridges to trust, and how,
Surrender every right to every wrong,
I hate this me inside, now.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

Forgive me

I have thought many times within the past week of giving this up blog. Why? Because my life has turned upside down on its head in the past few weeks. Surely that is no fault of the blog. But it is the only thing over which I have total control. Actually that is also not true - as much as I have wanted to shut it down, I cannot bring myself to do it. It would mean burning down another bridge. I have burnt one too many already.

I do not even know the purpose of this post anymore. I do not have anything to say, nor do I have anyone to say it to. It is strange to run out of words like this.

I am not quite built for this. I feel too strongly. I think too much. I cannot think of more than one thing at a time. I tend to talk a lot with myself. I dream a lot. There should be some kind of ban on dreaming too much. It's not good for one's perception of reality.

Forgive me.

Klanti aamar khoma koro probhu,
Pothe jodi pichiye, pichiye podi kobhu.

Ei je hiya thoro thoro, kanpe aaji emontoro,
Ei bedona khoma koro, khoma koro probhu.
Pothe jodi pichiye, pichiye podi kobhu.

Ei deenota khoma koro probhu,
Peechon paane takayi jodi kobhu.

Deener taape roudro jaalay, shukay mala pujar thaalay,
Sei mlanota khoma koro, khoma koro probhu.
Pothe jodi pichiye, pichiye podi kobhu.