Tuesday, April 20, 2010


what do you do when you are loved? what do you feel when you realise someone is getting close to you? what do you feel when you feel someone is getting to you too much for your own comfort? what do you do when someone catches hold of your own thoughts that were running away from you and places them in front of your eyes, to see, to feel, to touch? what do you do when someone notices where your every movement, every smile, every frown, every secret and reads you every time? what do you do when someone thinks of you before you think pf yourself? what do you feel when someone holds your hand so tight it pains to leave it? what do you say when someone asks you questions you have been asking yourself all your life? and then gives you those answers? what do you do when someone comes two steps closer for every step you take behind? what do you do when someone looks through your pretences and realises what you truly are? what do you do when someone looks for reasons to be with you and you dont have the power to refuse? what do you do when you are asked to trust and against your willingness you feel you will? what do you do when someone says sorry with a smile and you know the effort behind it? where do you hide when you feel exposed? where do you go when you are covered from all grounds? what do you do when someone creeps into your life and steals you away from it?
what do you do when someone loves you?

what do you do? where do you go? what do you say?

You run. To the love. Silently....

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The New Dawn

For the last few days, a hoard of messages wishing all of us Happy New Year in a variety of languages were seen to spring up in my facebook inbox. It was surprising for two reasons. Firstly, sitting in a foreign country, it is extremely exciting and melancholy at the same time to see languages of your motherland strwen casually about all over, not something we see everyday. Secondly, for some reason our generation has the reputation of lacking patriotism, cultural integrity and any respect for our values whatsoever.... well, doesnt look like it !! Anyways, the festivities might not have yet begun, but my memories sure have been juggled.

Poila Boisakh is and will always be celebrated with a familiar enthusiasm at home. Where I grew up, Happy New Year was wished face to face, hand in hand, smile to smile...it still is. All my cousins, aunts, uncles, grandparents would gather together in the house, not because it was New Year specially, but we just needed an ocassion to make a big family even bigger. From flowers to sweets, from Ray movie CDs to Tagore Books, from mangoes to jackfruits, it was an all out Bengali Affair. This fortunately not being a religious affair, we were allowed to be 'children' without any restrictions whatsoever.

I remember one particular night before New Year vividly. My cousin sister, whom I call didibhai, and I had planned to stay up all night just for fun. For us mortals, that was what adventure was all about. We did not let in anyone else on the plan, and went to bed feeling all excited about what excitement lay in the hours ahead. We stole whatever food we could, food that was prepared for the day after, in our palms, and hid it in the folds of our frocks as we pretended to sleep. With unlimited patience, we waited for the whole house to fall asleep. But...it wasnt a small house!! As an aunt would doze peacefully off, another would stir, as one uncle would snore, the other would suddenly decide to feel thirsty.

This went on for we dont know how long, and before long, we were asleep on our sticky frocks, unaware of how it would betray us the next morning. But I guess NewYear didnt wa nt us to go that easy. It must have been around 3 in the night, when didibhai and I woke up simultanously.And as we realised we had lost 3-4 precious hours of our plan, we jolted up on the bed, all sleep gone, charged to make the most of what was left with us. We spent the whole night playing all wiered sorts of games, I dont even remember them now...but they must have been interesting, given that we managed to stay up all through the next hours. We must have been around 8 at the time, and you can imagine what our conversation would have flown. I am surprised I managed to have a conversation at all :)..

I am sure we must have spoken all we could, and heared or pretended to hear all that we could not ignore, but a few hours later, we were silent, looking out of the window, into the sky that was turning from black to red to pink to blue. Slowly, ever so silently, I saw the colours change. Thinking back, I had a looot of time on hand.. the brightest star ( as we knew it then) was all the more bright in the red sky, and just lying there, by the open window, with the balmy wind playing with us, with the flowers in the garden shedding their dews, with the lone owl going back to sleep, with Lalu, the stray dog, streching her beautiful back, and licking her three puppies, with the cool light streaming into sleeping faces in the room, with the catterpillar becoming a butterfly, we saw the sun rise, we saw the NewYear. My first and last till date.

Its a different story altogether that we started such a day, stealing mangoes from a garden nearby, and went on through the year with a lot more such deeds,it was the most innocent day of my life.e ran from garden, with our hand filled with whatever we could carry, our calves scratched with the stray barks, our hands stained with the juice, our frocks with the sweets, our hair flying wild in the wind, barefoot we ran, but our face held a glee, of childhood's inherent happiness, of the faith that we live in a happy world, a satisfaction that we finally achieved what we wanted irrespective of how we achieved it. For what is innocence if not the acceptance of guilt??

That year, we grew up. We went to higher classes, learnt things not included in the syllabus, faced death in the family, came to a different, wiered and loud city without any friends, and left my innocence behind. It seemed as if that New Year dawn, we ran from a lot more than just the gardener...We ran as fast as we could, not looking back, doubtless, fancy free, jumping into the unknown...but we ran from our good times, we ran from our peace of mind, we ran away from innocence.

We ran away from our childhood.

Monday, April 12, 2010

memories from a champi

a friend (oops!!) of mine gave me a champi tonight. A champi is a head massage, wherin the giver treats the scalp of the getter with his/her fingers. Depending on the expertise,care,affection of the giver and the degree of frustration,loneliness,headache of the reciever, the champi varies.

the last champi i got was from my mom, before i came to this land of strangers..and so this evenings happenings reminded me of her. She, her love, her encompassing affection, came rushing back to my mind, with every passing moment. I have been close to mom ever since i can remember. when i was little kid, following her was the only job i had. People tell me the only time i would smile, or laugh would be when mom was around, holding me in her arms. Holding her saree, i would follow her everywhere she went. It had a peculiar smell, of flowers, or rather of the flower scented detergent she used, but i always associated that smell with her. She was my playmate, my secret keeper, my only friend during a time when i was the smallest kid in the colony. Her arms gave me all the comfort, her shoulders all the support i needed to grow up. She carried me all the way to school, and all the way back, hiding my scared face from the bullies for who i was an easy target, being the smallest kid around... She gave me all the love i needed, and then she gave me sone more...snuggling beside her at night is the best description of warmth i have ever experienced.

Then i grew up a little bit. Then a bit more. She was no longer my best friend. I no longer needed her support in everything. I was no longer a kid. i made new firends in a new school where no one bullied me. All i needed my mom to do was give me food, dress me up and send me to school, and feed me some more. I did not realise untill a few days back, that feeding and clothing are not as easy as they may sound. I started means of hiding test books and chocolate wrapers....but at the same time, when the light was off and the night was dark,when my mood was sombre and my spirits low, i searched for her. i still needed her approval for my mind to be at rest, still needed her smile to be happy, still needed her hug to make my day.Any problem, any rough day would be remedied by her look, however tired, her touch, however sweaty... i was no longer a kid, but i still not big enough...

then i continued to grow...and so did the secrets. now i was scared of mom finding out what i ws upto...but whatever i was upto were not all that scary..i just thought being with her all the time was not cool enough. she stopped me from doing a lot of things, and i detested it. She kept on resisting, i kept on detesting. Then a time came when all that we spoke was just what we needed to. there was a loss of flow of mindless conversation, heartfelt laughter, just mandatory salutations and the likes...my mom was going away from me, or rather i was pushing her and getting away myself... she never for once tried to pull me back or argue or protest...she let me go...as if she knew i was all hers and would come back....

and come back i did...when things went wrong, when marks went bad, when friends just went...i came back to her, and she was right there, her saree smelling just the same, her love undiminished, her hugs undiluted...and since then she has been my best friend. i have left her many a times, but this time i knew myself that she is the only one i have. that whatevr i do i will never be accountable to her, but i will never hide it from her nevertheless... it is she who taught me the magic of love, the satisfaction of giving more than recieving, the hope that good deeds never goes undone, the belief that if i am good, no matter what happens, i wil be rewarded...but all that apart, the best knowledge i learnt from her was to be simple and to be tolerant... simplicity was her forte. i all these years, i have never seen her unnecessarily adorning herself with anything more than ordinary, but she had always looked beautiful in my eyes... and to say that she has been tolerant is to say the very very least...

i dont know why i have not missed her still now, its been so long i have not seen her, so long i have not heared her say the nightly ritual that she and i have...maybe it is because i take her for granted,maybe because nothing has yet gone wrong here, maybe because when you know someone loves you, you tend to oversee their feelings,so much so that you an be rude without thinking, you can ignore wothout feeling guilty, you can retaliate without tension, you can be yourself without the fear of being misjudged...

but today, with a choking rush of feelings, i reached out for maa, as i call her, and i realised she was no longer in the next room, she wal miles and miles away, and to let her know that i missed her will only increase her never ceasing tensions for me... all i want her to know is that if ever there was a god for me, it is her, if ever i worship a deity, it is her image, if i ever hold on to anything, it is the cornr of her saree....for maa, when all would have failed me, i know i will see u standing, waiting for me to reach up to you... i am still a kid, still scared of bigger bullies in a badder world, but now for the world i have grown, and running to you seems like an easy option, but i wish i could do it, every turn, every problem, every night...

p.s: champu, thank you..its very rarely that i get what i do not expect.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

being impulsive

i came out of my class, withthe evening ahead of me all planned in my head..a minute or two of facebook (and i knew it would be a minute and twenty, but that would require another blog to describe), reading journals, dinner, buying grocery, then straight to bed...with this agenda in mind, i turned the computer on. as i expected him to, kunal with his crooked teeth forming the straightest smile ever jumped infront of me, 'sumanaaa....i was looking for you only re'...and with that ever so sweet greeting we started rambling about the days unfruitful activities, with a consolation in mind that he would now go to class, so the day would not be a total waste after all.. and come on, today was a very special day, he finally would be turning in his assignment, just a mere two weeks late.

anyways, after a few animated minutes, we came to the conclusion, that his conscience wouldnt really affect him that much if he bunked the lecture,and with a very tired face (so as to fool his classmates), and a very untired heart, we set out to go to jersey city...no reason or rhyme, simply, i guess somewhere down the line we are so affected by seeing all the college kids in hindi movies just chilling out and being cool, we wanted to 'belong' to the clan... and for that we also needed a camera, how else would we let all the students in the class know that we were out being cool...so my camera and kunal's batteries to the rescue..and mindless clicking starts..from the shuttle stop to the jounal square station, anything that was remotely out of the ordinary, or had sunlight falling on it from any wiered angle had no mercy from us...so what if the pics turned out to be either extremely normal, or so distorted that you could not make out where the sun was, it was ours, and we are proud of it :) so proud that i put my laziness in the backseat for once, and this was so that the whole wide world could tell us how nice we looked, and how nice the sun looked and how if not for us, they would never know jersey city was so eventful. none of that happened whatsoever, and we ended up admiring them ourselves, but now i am blogging about it, so you know the obsession is not yer over :)

we, no sorry, i had to buy stuff that i didnt buy, and kunal bought stuff that he didnt have to buy, it was just another trip to the 'patel cash and carry'. i think somewhere deep down, i go there just to get a feel of my country, however criticised and underdeveloped, my people, perhaps corupt and loud, my language, bits and pieces of it all around the shop, my brittania marie, tasteless but healthy, it is mine, it is as much a part of me as i am of it. i go there not to buy, but to belong.

now came the most important part...the food. the food that has haunted me for three nights after i had it for the first time, the food i can take home to my mother, the food that can make me forget my ever increasing waistline, the food that can kame kunal...well...bunk his class... the food was finally here. should i mention them here...no...for 2 reasons, one, i pity the people who did not taste it, and two, i will have to go to jersey city very soon if i think too much about it. just to say, it was heavenly. we actually sat there looking romantically at our empty dishes, wishing more food would magically appear in them, ignoring the dramatic warning noises in our stomachs...but we couldnt ignore the looks of others unto whom the food was yet to be bestowed upon, and we left...not befor getting a few more pics though...lame we may appear, but we care we do not!!!

then the journey back. it was a time for remembering good old bombay...i forgot that trains did not leave from the same platform they came on, and kunal forgot that there would actually be no rush on a weekday...amidst alarming stares from more civil passengers, or should we say, passengers who were jealous that they did not have such charming and fun friends themselves ( hi five kale )... we were back to harrison. and as kunal suggested coming all the way back to my dorm, i realised the fun would continue...

not just on the shuttle trip, but for the next eight months. and after that. sometimes all you need to brighten up your day is another mad hatter like you, all you need is an impromptu decision, all you need is the guts to say to hell with class, i want to have fun, all you need is a camera with no reels, all you need is a pair of shoes to run beside someone with longer legs than yours, all you need is mindless laughter,all you need is food that reminds you of home, all you need is the assurance that you will be taken care of however late it may be, all you need is a friend. all you need is a friend.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

the lost toys

the happiest days of my life, or for that matter, anyone's life must be the days spent in school...days where life began with my mother waking me up with her beautiful face dishevelled with perspiration and sweat from her early morning chores, reluctantly waking up to again fall asleep in the bathroom, more so if it was a winter day...i grew up in kolkata in those days, and winter could be a sleepy affair indeed, days when the school uniform was the most comfortable, clean and starchy dress ever worn, a time when socks would go upto the knees,and shoes would invariable be black and shining every morning, only to come back with a thick coating of dust every evening, days when all sleep would vanish when i would hear the honk of the school bus, filled with laughter and chatter of my friends, those days we had a lot of friends, we knew no plitics, we knew no evil deed, it was just a sincere simple bond that 36 of us classmates shared.

there was moumita, my first friend ever, with her hair curling like maggi, there was poornima, whose surname none of us got right the first time,there were the talukdar twins, always smiling and talking about volleyball, there was shilpa, whose knowledge of shahrukh khan and bllywood movies had me in awe, there was oendri and her dance classes, there was ankita with whom i remember having so called philosophical talks, there was sunetra whose mom made the best tasting noodles i ever had, i am afraid i sometimes ate up all her tiffin, there was anwesha, daydreaming about someone, there was monami and sonali, always found together, there was ria, dainty and darlingy like, there was ibrahim, polite and gentle, there was jyotirmoy, oh so naughty, there was siddhartha, meek but mischievous, there was arko, reigning someones thoughts, :P, there was chandrajit, with half the girls swooning over him, there was payel, planning more mischief with pooja, there was janet, always very tensed, there was monica, wo sadly is no more, there was angela, always making the most of anything, there was subhojit, never saying a word, there was parnalekha, always toping everything, there were oh so many more, none of whom are forgotten, just a bit faded maybe. i owe my lifes lessons to time spent with these people....people i hardly ever met after the best 5 years spent in that school, people i think about when i am sad and life is turning upside down, people i wish i could see again everyday, not the way they are now, but the memory i have of them when i was one of them...

the time when silly little secrets used to be the base of so many blackmails, when betrayal meant not sharing your textbook with your desk mate, when christmas, teachers day, childrens day, independence day formed the best and most important days of our life, what innocent preparation went into all the dances and the skits, and the teachers...how can anyone replace them..miss shorbori, we loved her and she loved us more, miss clara we were so scared of, miss sonia, we were more scared if possible, miss jaya with her scale in hand, the play ground, so familiar, so inviting, so small yet seemed so big, the pool, the topic of undying interest till we got to see it did not have a beach along with it, the banana trees which were supposed to have spirits, the maashis, whom we never discriminated against, maashis son, suman who was one of us too, the guard uncle who i will recognise anywhere, but who probably doesnt remember me anymore, the dogs, always near the bathrooms, huh, the tress, the smell, the flowers, the sky, the walls, the grass, its as if i was alice and it was my eternal wonderland...i keep on thinking about those days, a parallel world as if it was, where nothing was ever wrong, nothing was corrupt, not one ws a cheat, an utopia if ever was...

this was the place i learnt to differenciate between right, wrong, justice, injustice, special, normal and all oher discrimination i make today. it was the place where i first loved, first competed, first dreamt, first performed. it was the place that made me, and it will be the place that will break me. for no other confirms with what it taught me to be. no other follows its golden rule...i do not know how to walk, o alma mater, cause your roads no longer exist...

now my shoes are forever dirty, my mothers face far away, my friends are people who i do not know, my days start with the night,the choice of clothes have replaced the choice of simplicity, i am spoilt, unclean, insincere... ready to travel the new world...but looking back to hear the bus...to hear the laughter, childhood's innocent laughter...