Friday, February 9, 2018

Looking back, ramblings.


Sometimes I am really comfortable living in a semi-joint family and yet at times I miss my lonely, wannabe writer life of yore and when I yearn for those alone moments I take walks, as must every artist- sometimes through the alleyways of old Calcutta, sometimes in the newer backyards of my neighborhood. I have loved all sorts of loneliness except the ones from which I can't get out; the loneliness of a big city like ours is rather sweet- strangers offering words of wisdom, the rich and poor surviving in harmony, the hustle and the bustle, and yet you can be alone among millions. What's sweet about it is the possibility of not being alone, of casual conversations of identifying with the agony of the millions (and since I transcend all neighborhoods both the first world and third world agonies), and the best kind - of knowing that you go back to a house full of people at the end of the day.

Conversations in the Pub


B. Hey man, you good?
A. Do I look like?...
Have I ever told you about the story of the surgeon?
B. What story?
A.That he was ugly and alone and filthy rich but he could get no girl he liked for himself, he had no game but he had high standards, coz you see he was fucking ugly...so the doctor had an idea, he finally chose a girl and the girl chose him back, but this chick she was fucking fat..not the kind the doctor would want..
B. But fat doesn't mean unattractive does it?
A. It fucking is...the time and place you live in..
B. Ah, I see. So the girl was fat.. but
A. Yeah, she was, but the doctor had other ideas..he took her and performed a-what they call a bariatric surgery, cut her fucking stomach into half.. and in a few months her wife was a 10, a skinny Naomi, and you would think, what the fuck, masterstroke...win-win.. but here's the catch..
B. ..she left him.
A. Fuck no, that would be such a cliche...also if it we're a post feminist landscape there would be no such surgery...but she died man...
B. What's the point?
A. The point is he was no surgeon, he was a fucking butcher that's what it was..
B. Still don't get it.
A. In a society with no laws, no rules- there's no difference between a doctor and a butcher.. that's what. And if you can't protect your best..you don't deserve their best.
B. Your story is so fucked up man, but I get your point.

Where do stories begin?

I have spent most of my boyhood and adult life in apartments whose windows open upto a sky, and a sky that's hazy through winter and blue and white in the rainy months of July-August, deep azure in Autumn. I don't recall how the summer skies look in my city. The Sun is too bright, and I hardly ever look up. The skies of my life have been populated with falcons, parrots, crows , stars, clouds, thunderstorms, some lonely migratory albatrosses, and more than often aeroplanes. Even before I had stepped on an Airplane I have had dreams about it, a recurring dream of an aeroplane crashing somewhere in my private sky- fireworks, tragedy. I have had such illogical fears about flying that I would do certain ritual things before I step on to a flight. I do that every time I fly alone, and mostly I fly alone with strangers hugging my surroundings. 

This recurring dream was certainly not the reason for such fears, but I could trace it back to here- may be a Jung or a Freud will have other opinions but as far as I am concerned these dreams have always provided me with material to work on, to write and share, to color my life with an ordered chaos, to imagine and reimagine- metaphors and metastasis. I worship what I imagine (my God is different than yours). 

This is where stories begin. A plane crash, 1945. Should I navigate my dream to unlock history or should I just adorn the myth that surrounds us from time to time? How do I write that book ?

Thursday, November 2, 2017

The truth




You can spare me the details-

but I want to know the truth, in its

whole form, without the details, 

I want to imagine the details to suit my grieving-

if you could respect it, that way, just that. 

I am limited in my strength, I am of a

limited disposition- but don't worry

the truth has always been handled by my type.


they tell me that the big green trees 

in our neighbourhood were planted

by you; its comforting to know that

you still  provide me with the air I breathe-

the man who fixes our air-conditioner

thinks otherwise, but you know how I

was never removed from the basic truths of life,

and so I know; and thats why it's important

to know the truth. Perhaps its overrated, 

but what if- you taught  me that 

knowledge liberates, that we are the

happiest when we understand, 

even of our shortcomings? 


Constructive criticism, that's the word you oft used. 


The ocean is a mile away from here, 

one and a half kilometres, that's how

they say it in your country- oceans

apart, but why did it happen now, 

when everyone's headed to beautiful

places, everyone but me- 

my truth will always be different

than yours, that's why I want to know

the truth, the heart of the matter.


Sometimes on a quiet day, 

I can still hear the waves and the gulls, 

sometimes together,

sometimes in  staccato beats 

and think of the days when our bodies lay side by

side, and you blew my sweaty face with insides

of your lung- 

but that was not the truth, not your truth anyway.


Some of me will never be aware of your entire

truth, but that's how it is, so I will keep this in my

heart, knowing that you are gone- my imaginations

will guide me- and I have stopped wishing ugly things

for you; your truth is beauty,  and all the

nice things that I couldn't give you, and all the nice 

feelings that were too short to last

a lifetime- 

another story gone wrong. 

Man without an address



Sometimes I recall the faces of all 
the girls I have loved a decade  ago, 
who refused to love me for who I was; 

Its all fair, a boy without a game, 
yet there's a pain which comes up 
from somewhere deep within, 
murmurs in the heart, as doctors would say-

no one ever weeps for the weak or 
the unwanted, its what we do-
we feel sorry, and sometimes I am
 guilty of being sorry for myself.


It's not about love though, or those special ones- 
them gals of my heart 
(there's plenty of both in this world) 
it's about the agony of trying too hard 
when you are young and believing this is it 

-"the fallacy of sunk costs" , sunk emotions. 


Screw them writers and fancy poets who
 lights up your emotions like gasoline;
what of the fleeting hearts and what of the
 poetry for the ones who got away

The ones who were never meant to be.

such is the story of life- we want what we 
want, and then far away in this country 
where it snows every evening I often hear 
a good old Rolling Stone song in Joey's pub; 

"You can't always get what you want
But if you try sometime you find
You get what you need"

and I repeat these lines in my head,
in crisis and in health.

There's solace in the silent victories of 
being a man without an address, of 
gulping sorrow as if its food-
there's solace in these evenings- 
where I keep my body warm with faulty drinks.


Sometimes I walk into some shady desolate
neighbourhood hoping I will catch a 
stray bullet just to paint the snow in scarlet,

but nothing ever happens on  evenings like 
this, no belligerents, no lovers, not even 
my favorite dogs to protect me from
 the sun, rain and the hail- 


just me and the faces of all
the ones I loved; yes that...


I don't recall the ones who loved me. 

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Mary and the smell of love


Years ago Mary had made me watch Perfume- The Story of a Murderer, of course it was something we were doing back then, movies and only movies, minds that were still so young, almost a tabula rasa, we couldn't help but appreciate the beauty of that cinema. Mary was like that, obsessed with smells, her anglo name never made me look at her in an exotic way but she was different. She could smell more than normal people. I remember how she called herself a bitch, for that specific 'skill-set' of smells, and to her I smelled good. It was the best compliment I received in my adolescent life. 


I don't remember why we fell apart as the years rolled down, I had a little crush on her, but she was always interested in the big boys; may be it was me who decided to keep a distance, but I don't recall at all how we moved apart and I was a bit stupefied when she called me up a few months ago and asked me to help her to study maps and make a sense out of them. Its always awkward when you get a call from someone you had loved a little when you were young, and it's somewhat bittersweet remembering that she remembers the things you were good at. 

I made her download google maps and asked her to fidget a little. I almost get offended when people don't embrace such beautiful technologies our time has to offer. When she told me that she was trying to write a paper on World War II and it was very important for her to understand the lands and the maps, I decided to be more helpful. 


A few meetings later we were again comfortable with each other, at least she was, I felt awkward because she had become prettier from what I remembered of her; we mostly talked about the old days, the smell of seasons and armpits, how the fish markets smelled more chemical now, how her capacity to smell has subdued with the years among other things, her solo Ladakh trip, how she intends to write a book full of beautiful anecdotes on smell and only smell- her own smell dictionary in the lines of Baudelaire; I was a little curious if this dream girl was seeing someone - she hardly puts anything up on facebook and you never ask such a question like that- age has taught you alright, but the years have also taught you not to prevaricate and be smart, listen to what she is saying, I could hear telling myself. And I listened to her alright, she hardly bored me. Days passed quickly and soon we were meeting or talking over the internet most days. I was always looking to impress her, trying my best not to be a show-off at the same time. I was really glad she wasn't much active on Facebook, then she would see all my shit- that so called awesome life we all intend to put up in the world of illusions, that place where everyone is so happy that they all end up being miserable. 


Amidst one of our online map browsing rendezvous she asked me, about my opinion on "how the allied front should advance to Germany through Belgium"- what could she write on this thought, she had some ideas which she told me but she said she didn't like them, and when I heard her ideas I told her I agree with her- but here I was trying to impress her, and here was my chance; this was a serious question, and the imagining of alternate history let alone military strategy was never my forte. The 'Third Reich' is a game that I had only tried to play in a Roberto Bolano novel.  

"Get to work stupid boy."

A few hours later, I came up with an idea, which was neither very scientific nor well researched- what good writing demands is often a wacky sort of a wit, my professor used to say, but I suspected he was talking about copywriting; but nevertheless it could be something Mary could work on, and if it involves smells she might just like it and use it to her advantage. 

"From Calamine to Cologne - An alternate history of smells during the allied invasion". 

You see the Belgian town of Kelmis (La Calamine) is about a hundred kilometre away from the German town of Cologne, two cities with two distinct histories of things that smell, the soldiers wouldn't miss it even amidst all the gunpowder and ash; there could be a little magic too and Mary would write all about the smells- if there was no war there, Mary could bring it through her writing, but the war was everywhere - it was a World War. It was in Calamine, it was in Cologne. 

She did like it, she replied "wow" and as of now I kind of had to settle for being her co-author instead of her lover. Art demands a lot of sacrifices.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

voice of reason and a holy book

if my voice were a voice of
reason I would have never
let you go, I would
have reasoned you to
stay for another couple of
years -

if my voice were a voice of
reason, you would suffer twice
over, because who would say
no to reason- ‘we were never
lovers’;  only lovers would say
no to reason
, and we were
never lovers.

if my voice weren’t clogged
with yesterday’s cough I would
have spoken up when you
walked out with my favorite suitcase
packed with god knows what- and
a decade of memory making will
halt just in time,” that suitcase
has been to places”
, I would say,
take good care

If my voice were a voice of reason,
would you have fallen for me, like
you did, years ago- as the front benches
bothered you, and you had to move back 
a couple of rows? Isn’t that how you found
me, a boy with no voice, breezing through
a philosophy lecture- unnerved by the
attention of a pretty girl.

and if I tell you now, my voice were a voice
of reason till I met you
, would you
believe me; or even if you did, won’t
you be upset thinking just for a while
that may be we were lovers-
 and reason always eluded us.