Thursday, July 7, 2011


Blog ended here. Bye.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Floating Room

Now that Kolkata’s famous monsoons have set in, the view outside the window has undergone some significant changes. No traces remain of the lively neighborhood made bright by the white, blazing streets of Mangalam Park. Instead there lay a dim world dripping with moisture, which might be considered anything between romantic and dull, depending on your mood.

Here, I should give some credit to the peculiar position of my window. The entire scene outside is bisected by the compound wall into two equal halves- a typical Behala slum on the left, and Mangalam Park on the right. In fact, the wall would’ve run right through us, had it not swerved left at the last moment, to accommodate our building into the compound premises. Any viewer from here would get a god-like perception, being able to supervise two worlds that can’t see or interact with each other, thanks to the nine feet high divider (and other reasons).

The slum lanes, though obsolete, are populated at all times. On rainy days, several lazy hours go by observing the slum people wading up and down through knee-deep water, mostly cursing each other. The well-drained streets of the complex, however, usually remain vacant, except for few cars and occasional raincoat/umbrella clad pedestrians, for the rains are usually avoided.

Sometimes on seeing people walk by under the protection of an umbrella, I can’t help but wonder how fun it would be to snipe them through the mock shield. Oh well.

Several times in this year, the rain has been heavy enough to limit one’s eyesight within a small radius. Gazing out into endless torrential rain gives nothing short of a euphoric feeling. Everything’s smudged with the downpour and its resultant mist which hovers over every possible obstacle. The spray-layered earth seems distant and faded, and almost identical to the overcast sky. As the rain grows heavier still, the panes need to be shut to restrict the water. The surroundings disappear, and nothing remains in the endless watery universe of diffused light. Except you and your floating room.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Perils of an Innocent Mind

Keeping the rather interesting fact in mind that the primary (and probably, the only) reader of this blog is me- myself, I’ve decided to come up with another perfectly self-centered post. Let’s just say, it’s meant to be a preservative to my current self, amidst the ever-changing state of things and mind.

Either this will jog your memory, or it won’t.

One of your articles has appeared in a local magazine. You start reading, with a feeling of utter satisfaction, pitying the inferior beings around you, and then suddenly, the sky comes crashing down. The cause of this unprecedented state of super-shock is simple; you've come across a fragment which goes like this- “…and so the came up the stairs…”

If this satanic robbery of a ‘y’ causes no little gulp of terror or increase in pulse, you should skip this post immediately. By all means, thank your stars that you’re not a nitpicker or a stickler; that you are suitable to live in a world where no one cares.

For any true perfectionist, the presence of a ‘the’ in place of ‘they’ would initiate a horrifying private emotional process similar to the early stages of mental illness, though significantly accelerated. At first, the mind goes numb. Within seconds, numbness gives way to distress, distress to agony, and agony to fury. Finally, fury gives way to hopelessness, on realization that the print is real and eyes are mostly truthful.

That was merely an example. The perils of the innocent mind of a perfectionist are endless. The world is full of flaws and asymmetry, both within and without oneself. Some people are born to suffer. Only last month, I had taken a painful 20mins’ auto ride to Akash’s house in order to publish “Returning Home” (my last post). I was quite happy till the glorious moment when I actually returned home, and discovered, from cell, that the starting had a serious grammatical flaw. Yeah, returning home isn’t very delighting sometimes. Naturally, the very next day, I was back at his place under the excuse of collecting movies.

It’s tough to be a stickler under the present circumstances. Be one for grammar and punctuation, and you’ll see floating sentences such as “hey!!! hows u…????///”, all around yourself. Be one for punctuality and you’ll end up spending half your lifetime waiting around for other people to show up. Be one for cleanliness and… okay, I shouldn’t start describing Indian streets here; my country owes me that much, at least, for bringing home the World Cup.

Everywhere one stares, there are marks of neglect and indifference. When we try to point out a missing ‘y’, demanding correction, we are often aggressively advised to “get a life” by people who, astonishingly, exhibit no indication of having lives themselves. Obviously, we become introverts and refrain from revealing our insights, under such unreceptive conditions. There’s little hope for sympathy for pedants, as we are not the first people one feels sorry for. To be precise, we are a bunch of unattractive geeky maniacs, who have learned to tackle the cruel world by pulling the zip over their anxious lips, restricting every form of free movement.

To any secondary reader, who has taken the pains to sink down this far into the post and felt any hint of self-recognition anywhere among the lengthy jumble of words, you have a comrade in me. To others, uh… I don’t intend to live twice.

P.S. My apologies, but I've been randomly picking up writing styles from authors and article writers. It’s completely subconscious; I was amazed myself on discovering the striking similarity in patterns. As they say, originality is a thing developed over time, and I’ll keep awaiting mine, for the time being.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Returning Home

Misty, winter twilights have an unconventional way of overwhelming me. It’s sadistic. On 9th December, I knew that the last homewards journey from school would be more memorable than the last day itself. It’s not that anything special happened. In fact, a premature darkness had set in due to an overcast sky. By the time I got off the bus, the world was lit, mostly, via blazing streetlights and shops.

There is a 15min walk from the main road to Mangalam Park, through a twisted network of alleys. Unfamiliar people are bound to get lost, but once you get used to it, the locality is worthy of appreciation. It’s through these lanes that I’ve been returning home for the past 7 years, and attachments do develop.

I wonder how the very idea of returning home changes over the years. Initially, it’s bliss; walking away from the horrible educational building, hand-in-hand with mom. A little later, it’s about rushing back in a desperate attempt to catch the last bits of your favorite cartoon, the timing of which is always just a bit too early. Then, slowly, as these compulsions begin to disappear, it’s just about returning home.

On a warm, summer dusk, you can walk back slowly, arms supporting the back of a thrown-back head, whistling softly to a tune of the season, with the red sky radiating a soothing heat and a warm breeze fanning the untidy hair, messed up with the activities of the day. A beautiful picture. Just that: neither can I whistle, nor does the heavy backpack allow much luxury. And I actually mind weird glances from fellow pedestrians. So, it’s not as perfect as one would want it to be, but nevertheless, enjoyable.

There’s the monsoon, when it absolutely HAS to rain every day, during this short period of ‘returning home’. Being a lazy person, I find it easier to enjoy the shower, than to open the backpack and take out the neatly tied-up umbrella. According to the norms in Kolkata, it’s seldom more than a slight drizzle, and there’s nothing like the pleasure of bathing in a fine spray. Heavy rains are best avoided, as they tend to spoil the books inside the ‘waterproof’ bag.

However, the best attraction of the monsoon remains the sight of people on the glossy streets. There’s nothing more fascinating than a figure concealed from head to toe, with a firmly held umbrella hiding the face from the halogen lights. Reminds me of detectives in some distant way.

During winter, the retreating light is bothersome, and you can’t help feeling a sharp remorse for spending another useless day at school. There are so many things to be done. More than what can be done in a lifetime. And here we are, wasting perfect days learning shit in school; most of which would be forgotten within days. Or hours, perhaps.

It is this lonely remorse, which is unbearably addictive, and what made 9th December memorable.

I remember, back in lower classes, I had to tread these walks for all my tuitions too. The lessons would conclude by 9:30pm and we would be free to fool around till 11. Of course mom would get terribly mad initially, but then she yielded, giving up all hopes of the bright future she had planned for me. I miss those carefree, happy days.

Yes, I probably won’t miss school that much, but I will definitely miss returning home.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Feathered Clouds

Once again they scatter; a whirlpool of randomness.
Lazy, searching eyes drift across and rest,
On a form akin to avian wings.

Concrete soothes my back, firm and still,
High, surrounding walls bind me to a world unreal,
A world of queens and kings.

Wings they were, no doubt; what use were wings to clouds?
I gazed and wondered from the highest part of my house,
Wondered at the subtle tease.

Somewhere deep inside, a promise was made,
That of great heights; a skyscraper built in a head,
One that won’t be ascended with ease.

Yet come down, I must, and so must those clouds,
But they will have had the gaze of a million crowds,
Gazes of awe, from people aroused.

Gentle panic sets in, dampened by thoughts of people,
The majority; who think they see,
But are yet to look beyond the concrete beneath me,
The highest concrete of the house.

Once again they scatter; a whirlpool of randomness,
Lazy eyes observe the mess, the wings were gone,
There I rested on the terrace, till the day was done.

(A tribute to Pink Floyd)

Friday, December 3, 2010

Piano Man

Author: Billy Joel

It's nine o'clock on a Saturday,
The Regular crowd shuffles in,
There's an old man sitting next to me,
Makin' love to his tonic and gin.

He says, "Son, can you play me a memory,
I'm not really sure how it goes,
But it's sad and it's sweet and I knew it complete,
When I wore a younger man's clothes."

Sing us a song, you're the piano man,
Sing us a song tonight,
Well, we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you've got us feelin' alright.

Now John at the bar is a friend of mine,
He gets me my drinks for free,
And he's quick with a joke or to light up your smoke,
But there's someplace that he'd rather be.
He says, "Bill, I believe this is killing me",
As the smile ran away from his face,
"Well I'm sure that I could be a movie star,
If I could get out of this place".

Now Paul is a real estate novelist,
Who never had time for a wife,
And he's talkin' with Davy, who's still in the Navy,
And probably will be for life.

And the waitress is practicing politics,
As the businessmen slowly get stoned,
Yes, they're sharing a drink they call loneliness,
But it's better than drinkin' alone.

Sing us a song you're the piano man,
Sing us a song tonight,
Well we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you got us feeling alright.

It's a pretty good crowd for a Saturday,
And the manager gives me a smile,
'Cause he knows that it's me they've been comin' to see,
To forget about life for a while.

And the piano, it sounds like a carnival,
And the microphone smells like a beer,
And they sit at the bar and put bread in my jar,
And say, "Man, what are you doin' here?".

Sing us a song you're the piano man,
Sing us a song tonight,
Well we're all in the mood for a melody,
And you got us feeling alright.

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Just a thought


To start with, let me tell you, this is just an expression of some wild ideas I had yesterday.

Don’t tell me stuff I already know, like “it’s crazy” or “it’s dumb”. My logic goes like this- We always talk about ghosts as supernatural beings formed after our death. But it defies me what reasons these entities might have to harm us.

Why can’t there be other invisible, supernatural species altogether, which has no connection to humans at all? Maybe there are, and maybe ‘our’ ghosts protect us from them in some und
efined way. And maybe we keep saying we’re scared of our protectors.
Few days ago, on Halloween, we were on the C-1 terrace of our complex with night vision cameras and all, trying to make a ghost movie. We found an empty bed and few bundles under the rooftop tank. Somehow, I decided to write this cracked story on the same setting.

“Eew! Don’t tell me we’ll sleep here!” Katie said, making a horrible face at my precious makeshift bedroom. Well, it didn’t actually qualify for a bedroom. Just a folding bed tucked under the water tank of a terrace, with clothes bundled together to serve as pillows

“Yup, this is it.” I sighed.

We had gathered after almost a year. With the ever increasing study-load, we didn’t get leaves at all. So we decided to make the most out of the Halloween holiday. Obviously, I wouldn't have been allowed to let her stay over at my place due to strict parents, and her place was full with relatives as usual. We had no choice but to come here, which had been my childhood hideout.

“This place is scary!” She said, looking shocked.

“Uff, I’m there with you toh.”

“Aren’t YOU scared?”

“I didn’t have the liberty to be scared away from a creepy place and have you at the same time. So I picked the latter.” I smiled.

At this, she burst out laughing and gave me a quick kiss.
“You’re so irresistible at times” She said, putting on a sexy pout. We entered the dark place, stooping uncomfortably to save our heads from the low ceiling. But once we got into bed and started chatting, we were quite easy. Katie had this amazing ability of keeping any conversation lively and interesting, irrespective of the topic. We talked for hours. Then, just when she was about to start all the good stuff, the entire place lit up suddenly.

“What the….!” Katie jumped up, and ended up banging her head against the ceiling. It was a group of teens with flashlights and handycams!

“Don’t you think it’s strange that there’s a bed here?” one of them asked the other.
“Yeah” the other replied.

They kept swinging the flashlights from side to side, exploring the place. I saw Katie’s bewildered expression turn into that cute devilish grin, which I was so crazy about.

“Well, well, well! You never said living humans wander willingly right into your hideout!” I could see her canines glowing in the light, and her eyes lighting up in excitement.

“This is the first time I’m seeing them here. Anyway, you know we can’t eat them, honey” I said gravely.

“Why not?!” she looked at me incredulously, as if I had gone mad.

“Don’t you even read the newspapers? There’s so much hype over this particular article.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

“You must’ve heard that we’re slowly losing our grip on the war against ghosts. A group of scientists working on humans proved yesterday that new ghosts aren’t born from darkness, as was previously believed, but when humans are killed. The government says we can’t afford to deal with more of those horrible creatures. So killing humans for sport or consumption has been permanently banned.”

“You must be shitting me!” she looked on in disbelief.

“No dear. We had been actually ‘creating’ the enemy all along.”
“There’s nothing interesting here guys. Let’s check the other side of the terrace” one teen from the group concluded. With this they left, leaving us in darkness.

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Tales

Looking down at the millions of living people from this lonely spot by the window, it seems like everyone is playing up to a sick joke. But have we ever taken a little time out and asked ourselves, why? Get best grades in school, get into the best college, get the best job, take good care of family, and then…?

Basically, we all just want to be happy. “Happiness is not the goal, it’s a by-product” – is a highly misleading statement. We keep doing things blindly, believing they would help us achieve a happy future. Trying, working inhumanly, giving up everything for the cause – all good, but the thing is, is it really worth it?

I’ve never believed in sacrificing the present for a better future. Looking back at my life till 10th grade, I don’t regret all the disappointing report cards, but the fact that I’ve missed out on so much. Learning guitar, swimming, good books, etc. And now I’m too busy. Even now, I feel pathetic when my parents urge me to sacrifice almost everything for studies. ‘It is the main goal, rests are useless distractions’ – they say.
Ultimately, we tend to forget the real goal. Happiness. And compromising is the last thing that can ever make you happy.

Preserving the best for the last. Our happy tale. Unfortunately, humans have evolved away their tails. And now we end up with nothing but a sore butt.

Frankly, I don’t get the point of this post. Baseless grievances on something out of my hands, I guess.

"Imagine all the people living for today…
You may say that I'm a dreamer,
But I'm not the only one.
I hope someday you'll join us,
And the world will live as one."

Monday, October 18, 2010

Very funny, huh?

This Nabami, a large group had gathered, and we were having discussions about supernatural stuff. Things were getting quite creepy. The elder guys were telling real life stories about few strange things that they’ve witnessed. We heard about a worker, who fell through a lift shaft while Mangalam Park was being built, and got barbequed on a rod below. We heard the story of strange noises on A2’s terrace at night. We heard about celebrity ghosts caught on tape. And many more.

Abesh da came up with an incident which really gave me chills, for the first time in the entire conversation. Believing it is up to the reader. I’ll narrate his words--
When I was in fourth year of Medical College, a strange happening was published in the college’s weekly editorial. It was about ragging, which was pretty common in our hostel. The seniors would make the girls do embarrassing stuff like erotic dancing, smoking etc. One girl came, who was kind of a daredevil. She openly refused to do as the senior guys said. Because she was a girl, the seniors could not beat her up, as they would’ve done in case of a boy. So, they planned something else.

Unlike the boys, the girls had single rooms for themselves. The seniors obtained a severed hand from the lab and kept it under her bed sheet. When she entered her room at night, the guys bolted her from outside and switched off the main power supply of the hostel. After few minutes, she started banging the door desperately from inside at first. She must’ve discovered the hand. The guys went off laughing and returned in about fifteen minutes. The banging had stopped. Finally, they unbolted the door and asked her to come out. But there was no reply.

They got scared.
She might’ve got a heart attack or something. They scanned the dark room with torches. But it was empty. The bed sheets were on the ground and the room was in a mess with books thrown all over the floor. She must’ve jumped from the window. They were discussing whether to look down, when someone’s torch fell on the almirah.

She was crouching there, on top of the almirah, chewing the hand.

That's what frightful shocks can do to you. She had to be taken to a mental hospital.

Moral of the story: All tricks are not funny.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Pujas at Mangalam Park

Pujas at Mangalam Park are always special. Partly because I get to see my complex mates only during festivals. Durga Puja provides the best five days of the year. Yes, I do have to face ridicules from school mates and relatives for not going pandal hopping or on trips. But these ridicules bring a strange pleasure, the kind of pleasure you get while being mocked for listening to The Beatles, while others are praised for loving Miley.

This year was the best and the last. Our group was not as lively without Vishu, but we enjoyed nevertheless. And I can feel people around me maturing. The change is just too intense to be ignored, especially in people whom you meet after a gap of 365 days. Well, I have enough reasons to miss MP after I leave, and I’m glad about it. =)