Wednesday, October 22, 2014


The benefits of growing up in a house full of mad people is your memories are battered with interesting stories. Although I should mention that this story involves a man who wasn't remotely connected with my family-the reason could be that he was from Bangladesh and he spoke a language that I normally make fun of, all in good humor.
Long before "Saradha" made the headlines, the dacoits of Bengal have had a prominent place in literature and elsewhere (as here in Bengal it governs life and ideologies.) Also, one mustn't mistake communists as Robin Hood. Personally, I feel Robin Hood was much better, but then to each his own- and please let's not list down the accolades, such listing is really juvenile when it comes to debating.
I remember a time in Calcutta when it was advised not to take the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass at night, this was before we owned a car, only a few buses would ply through the wetlands of the eastern corridor and there was a scare of dacoits. Dacoits, dacoits here and there- a real threat.
The malaise of this Bangladeshi man stemmed out from this sole fact. He was paranoid about the dacoits and his paranoia could be justified- a man doesn't like losing what he has earned. I remember my father mentioning a very young me how he had help unearth this man's almost lost treasure. You see, my dad is a surgeon and cuts open people for fun, he was more than happy to do a rectal treasure hunt of an honest man who out of fear had hid it there. The asshole indeed is a wicked place. It's only function is spewing out shit. It also has the ability to suck in what it finds interesting, so you can never trust it, not with anything that's dear to you. Never with your feelings or money. The Bangladeshi man learnt it the hard way.
In times like ours, where honesty is a treatise of the past, where empty materialism addresses every decision, where misguided and principally evil people loot us in broad daylight, where being sentimental is a tragedy, where progressive thinking comes at the cost of your four walls, where love is a religious agenda, where caste is important to some patriarchs, where a civil servant still opts for dowry and a beautiful bride, one must wonder what's next, whom to trust, whom to bestow our hopes with?
What now?
Oh, by the way, since I am a 'Bhadralok' and all, next time I will use a more scientific and esoteric word for an asshole. But one can't deny the truth that assholes are assholes and for long our politicians have resembled them.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Photographs, memories and an idea

A gush of wind blew in through my rectangular window. I kept an ink jar on my table to make myself feel blue in the mornings and sometimes when the pigeons came and sat on my balcony I tried taking their photographs. It wasn’t hard to capture these calm birds, they were camera friendly. Often it so happened that they would look me straight into the eye,through the 18mm lens. I wondered what they were thinking, although I always made sure that I catch them unaware, as beauty is most exaggerated in the moment when the beautiful is elsewhere, her spirit is not aware of trapping itself-it’s careless pulchritude captured through someone else’s aesthetic sensibilities.Sometimes when a thing like that happens without coercion and with optimal timing, a photograph is made and it can move worlds. Perhaps the first requisite for being a good photographer is not being a good observer; it requires you to be a good stalker, but then I don’t want to pique other sensibilities.
I once took a photograph of a girl who could move the world with a wink. It was the very last picture of her I had ever taken. I asked myself, what of beauty? Why her? The answers were never easy.

Her short stories were written in the sands of the shore. She was aware of the wavelets that could run over their fragile existence. In a way that’s why she wrote them in the sands of the shore. Her stories breathe life; they existed and they didn’t want much to be. All those stories including her ever wanted was being read by the right eyes, being read with the right heart, just in time when the stars would slant across the southern sky. I wish I had read them in time. As far as the wavelets were concerned they weren’t tumultuous or wicked-they were just systematic and they were just following the natural cause of things. They flew wherever the wind took them. They washed away life and they washed away her stories.
You see, nine out of the ten problems in the world were because none dared to disobey the wind. What to do, Addie?

 Let’s just follow the wind. Let’s drink to that.

The last time I took a picture of this beautiful girl, she looked away, her long hair graciously teasing the monochrome which I intended to portray- and then she gleefully accepted her fate when I weaved her beauty and beamed it all over the world, when I sold a part of her spirit for audiences to wallow in it,to appreciate it, to be moved by it, to discuss it over supper tables, unaware of the stories that made her- the ones she wrote in the sands of yesterday. Like her forgotten stories this too was fleeting, and as the deluge of the new washed away the memory of the photograph, she too withered away from my life.The wavelets of time never justifies regrets, that’s why when I am lonely I often think that I should have not loved her through a photograph, I should have read her stories when it existed- as for people like me love is not a photograph rendered from memory there’s nothing visual in it, not now, after all these years. Love, I know now, is a pleasure felt in the heart- aloof from everyone else’s spectacle, true only to the self. I was young, and what could I have known back then.
Like I said, these days I only photograph pigeons and party goers, and all that love and beauty I was talking about is locked away somewhere in a safe.
The key is lost. 

Friday, October 10, 2014

Calcutta, where he was born

Calcutta, where he was born,
remains torn between the
Kabuliwala’s song and the Mukherji’s

It vacillates with the strange countenance of
culture, counter-culture, ideas and enigmas,
modernity and the antiquity, and
of things that sometimes are as distant as the aurora

The sky remains blue, dappled with her
white siblings. By the scent of autumnal hue,
the minds often takes a gladdening pew
of contentment
but fresh excuses crop up- of revolution and
making love, as trees droop their leaves in humid

Here, as Mukherji often says,
love you see, can be found in the tree tops and
in grassy parks, in the dark skins of young men,
in the concrete seraphim hanging out with an
invisible friend making the noise of a thousand
civilization. What is that word-cosmopolitan?

 For the mothers in love
feeding an infant dog, for trams that run over poets,
for yellow romantic cabs, for the kid with the dress
dancing in a discotheque, for the drunkard with the
white brainy pill, for I who burn in love, for bearded
patriarchs with impotent minds, for the peasants and the
sufferers, for matchbox like slums, for the careless ones,
for story tellers with the tales of a crazy tiger in the zoo
whose howls of love have turned into a moo, for artists
driven into politics and politics turned into poly-tricks,
 for the partition of an old country, for the drying of blood,
 for the other side of the Padma, from Chittagong to  Darbhanga,
for me, for us, for you, for me, for I, for this,
 she remains.

Love she says, must hang out of
us, and not hang us,

and a young poet dies
in his words.

Sunday, October 5, 2014

Three words and two seasons

I buy her for three words.
She is my lackey?
(Lovers are lackeys.)

She does my chores.
She feeds me food.
And ego.

She knocks my door.
I reveal my room.
She lies down.She is warm.
Like summer.
We make love.
Peacocks in rain.  

She does my chores.
She feeds me milk.
She is cold. Her breath is
strong. She catches a fever.
I do not care. I drink my

She sleeps for long.
She is dead.
I grieve for her,
When I grieve.

This is life.
Two seasons long.
All else is play,
where three words that