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)