Posts by admin:
On a sultry evening at IIT-Dhanbad I received a tense call from my father. Dad informed me in a choking voice that my brother and bhabhi were going to part ways soon. His emotional suffering notwithstanding, I censured him for disturbing my peace before the final exam of the term. ‘Dad!’ I barked. ‘Tomorrow is maths! Advanced Special Functions!’ He ended the call instantly but the damage was already done. For that whole night neither could I study, nor was I able to find sleep. Pretty face of Ananya Bhabhi kept flickering in my mind, and I suffered the heartache of my whole family in my one, tender heart. I fared poorly in the exam next day, felt rage for Spider, our mathematics professor, who’d set such a harsh and lengthy question paper for us. (Why they always did that! Yuck!) Afterwards I reached my room, picked my rucksack and headed for the railway station. Soon I was aboard Black Diamond Express, which was gradually taking me towards Kolkata, my hometown.
The clamorous Kolkata, old and frayed, home to our modest sweetshop, ‘Bijoya Sweet House’ which stood in the rusty Narkeldanga. The bus scurried through the bustling old streets, overtaking the trams and honking at the crazy traffic, and I was still remembering the lovely face of Ananya Bhabhi. She was the best thing, if I can say it,to haveever happened to our lackluster family. We were deafeningly proud of her, and she made our relatives sickeningly envious. She dazzled the eyes of onlookers wherever she went. She glided on the streets rather than walked. When she danced during the wedding parties, clad in her majestic lehengas, the whole of our Marwari clan gathered around and beheld her through mesmerized eyes. Dad almost cried on those occasions: he was just so proud of her daughter-in-law. Mom was never tired scattering praises about her, if only to char a few hearts to ash. And now, everything was going down the drain. I had talked to Bhaiya and Bhabhi, and here’s what I sensed from their lengthy, blaming talks.
Bhaiya: she doesn’t give me any respect!
Bhabhi: he has suffocated my life!
Oh, dear. By the way, they lived away from our parents. Our house in Narkeldanga was pretty small and rundown, and Mom and Dad wanted them to live in a better place, away from two ageing creatures.
Tears gushed from my parent’s eyes as they talked about the tragic matter. It’d be a matter of great shame, too. Barely a year, and the loving and vivacious angel had decided to break with us.
‘What would we say to our people?’ said Mom with unsurpassable grief in her eyes.
‘We could not keep her happy,’ answered Dad in a frayed voice.
Suddenly an idea struck my mind.
‘Why don’t we go somewhere?’ I howled excitedly. ‘Maybe a little outing together can sort things out. Yeah, I think we should give it a try. They’ll find some time together, and we’d be there to counsel them. Yeah!’
So we were at Mandarmoni Beach two days later. They arrived a day after we reached, and appeared clueless by the looks, as if they couldn’t fathom why we’d decided on a get-together. They appeared ‘apart’: there’d be no chatter between them, and they took particular care that their bodies didn’t touch each other’s. They seemed perfectly normal, too, which was a depressing factor. The deal was sealed between them, and they as if ridiculed us by their nonchalance about the matter. “Nothing can be done!” They appeared to howl it loud and clear.
Yet, they’d been in deep love just a few months ago. Bhabhi appeared to be on top of the world, finding a life-partner like Bhaiya, and the latter appeared to have no job but to extol his wife, his Jaan. Where did the Cupid go? And could the missing Cupid be found on the vast, unspoiled beach of Mandarmoni?
A day passed just like that. Pure ‘suffocating’ silence, though I’d tried to engage Bhabhi in a little conversation, as we strolled on the sand, the sea lapping gently at our side. The weather was hot and humid, the summer at its vicious peak. We were sweating like pigs.
Bhabhi was in faded blue denims and a floral tunic, sunglasses hurled before her eyes.
‘I will fail in maths, I think,’ I said. ‘And it’s because of you, Bhabhi. But tell me one thing, what exactly happened between you two? Mom and Dad are just so broken.’
‘Parikshit, I have nothing against you guys,’ she said. ‘I really love you people. I understand the pain Mummy ji and Daddy ji are going through. I am very sad about them. But really I have to move on from here. It was just a bad choice. Your brother is just such an egoistic creature. And listen Parikshit it’s done. We have decided it mutually. There’s nothing wrong in it. This is pretty much the norm these days.’
‘My brother is a duffer,’ I offered. ‘He’s not going to get someone like you. Presently he’s acting like a hero, and I know it’s just his ego. Later, he’ll repent on his decision. He’ll be destroyed. I know him.’
‘I can’t say anything about that,’ she said. She stopped all of a sudden and started carving a circle on the sand using her toe. We were walking barefoot, carrying our footwear in our hands. As she looked down at the little circle etched on the sand, I observed her face keenly. It was red as a tomato, perhaps because of the sultry weather, or probably due to the heartbreak she must be feeling inside. I guessed there was nothing further to say or do. It just proved to be a stupid outing: the oppressivelysultry air by the sea, and barely a soul on the vast beach. The tenderly lapping sea, which always rejuvenated my soul failed to enchant me in any manner.
Two days later we were slated to depart, but an unexpected downpour detained us. From the balconies of our rooms in the beachside hotel, we watched the rain forlornly as it thudded over the sand and the sea. Just then Bhaiya invited me for a drink and sometime later, we were sipping vodka inside ‘their’ room, whereas Bhabhi deserted us to be with Mom and Dad in the adjoining one. I tried to pump Bhaiya up a little, as a last attempt, but perfectly aware nothing would work. Bro had the mind of a bull. He was excessively stubborn and proud. Though I knew there lived a rabbit in his heart, too, and it’d hurt him terribly after some time. Bhabhi was a treasure and he loved her. He must still be in love with her. You can’t oust that donkey too easily.
It was a lovely time: brothers boozing together, the balcony by the sea, rain pouring hell down and all that sizzling sound. Tiny drops of rain swept our faces as we sipped from our tumblers. None of us was a drinker, and so the vodka was expected to croon soon in our minds. I was already feeling tipsy after the first peg.
‘Do something, yaar!’ I said to bro. ‘I mean she is going away.’
‘Your despair is not my despair,’ he retorted.
‘You are a fool you know what,’ I reacted. ‘You will realize later.’
‘You are a duffer,’ I howled. ‘You don’t know how much she loves you. She was telling me.’
‘Don’t try to be too smart,’ he said. ‘I know how much she loves me. All she knows is to curse me and make fun of me. She hasn’t even left her friends.’
‘You just have a big ego, bro,’ I said. ‘Just tell me one thing. Why do you want so much respect? Whatever, but your respect will not increase if she leaves you. It will only be dented. Everyone knows how good she is.’
‘Whatever,’ he offered with forced indifference.
‘But she really loves you!’
‘Yeah, I know her love.’
‘You’re just so sensitive!’
‘Oh yeah, I know that as well.’
He didn’t appear to take me seriously. I decided to just drink.
Later in the day, an enthralling spectacle was awaiting me, Mom and Dad. Bhaiya and Bhabhi were ambling in the rain which was reduced to a drizzle by now. They sauntered hand in hand on the beach, and we watched them from the balcony with tons of excitement, joy and greed. We could not help stalking them in their private moments. Sometime later, soaked in the rain, they had hugged each other tight and soon they were kissing like mad. We were not supposed to see it. No no, we were not.
That was three years ago. There’s unbreakable love between them now, and they are parents of a lovely girl. And I don’t know where all that poison disappeared that rainy day on the beach. Cupid had revisited. And just how desperate we were in Mandarmoni!
I don’t know if my little chatter with them had done the trick. In any case, that’d proved to be a ‘remarkably’ productive outing.
They were lying there
Coiled and languid
Like curios misplaced,
like ghosts of
the flooded past in
God’s own country,
thedyscrasia of his own
We fled our homes which
overnight were isles
and returned back not as
owners but as tenants
of these god heads.
The vipers, the kraits and
the cobras, neighborly
out of our muddied closets,
redundant washing machines,
the pile of clothes waiting
to be washed, now soaked
by the hungry water.
While arriving at the doorstep
they did not ask
While touching us with their
venomous fangs, they did not
bother to find out,
For when the blood
was trickling it was
only one color.
Not so long ago, I had to survive on a pittance
In a shanty house, struggling for existence
And you had no promises to make, no solace to offer
But today you call me India’s daughter.
Why be it the Poverty’s progeny,
Has fallen prey to misogyny,
Those thousand girls in silence suffer
Only to be called later India’s daughter.
The menace of pervert male eyes that pry,
Their ears deaf to the wails of a sister’s cry,
The lawmakers are safe lest they bother
For the safety of India’s daughter.
I have fallen but my screams and their echoes,
Shall rattle the foundations of a nation’s ethos,
Justice served when she has naught fear,
To walk the streets at any hour as a proud India’s daughter.
This is a tribute to the unsung sufferings undergone by every sister of mine whose modesty was periled by pervert minded men, who by their ghastly and shameless acts of misogyny, have lost the privilege of being called a human, and to be treated as one.
Oh railway station – How strange are you?
How dual is your role
You are source point as well as end point,
People start their journey from you
And end their journey at you
You bring happiness, you bring sadness
Sometimes you decrease the distance between people
And other time you increase it
You are just you, unique in yourself
You teach this world the essence of life.
In one late afternoon in April two men, one young and the other old, were angling in a shallow pond. They sat on haunches, and were silent. Their eyes fixed on the baits. No fish they caught. It seemed they cared little for fish. They practiced the art of angling.
“Tudu, I’m terribly sad today. I ask thousand rupees, and he refused,” the old man sighed and he was glum.
“Why does he give? You squander all that on jhandi mundi (a kind of gambling).”
“Who say this? I ask who say this.” He demanded, and his eyes burnt in rage.
“Why man? All know it.” Tudu said bluntly.
“You all know nothing, fools! I see you walking naked in the streets, and you say you know all.” A passerby was going homeward. The old man rushed and dragged him by hand, and asked “What you know about me, Mansur?” The old man stared earnestly at Mansur’s face.
Mansur scratched his head for a while and said, “People say you’re brain-sick.”
“I ask not for people’s opinion, Mansur. I ask you.”
“You’re a good old man.”
The old man laughed loud, and the dogs began barking somewhere in the village.
“Hear him Tudu, he, his father, buried long, know me better,” the old man said, and a gloss of warmth covered his shrunken face.
Nobody spoke for some minutes. Only the frogs croaked. “Hu…,” the old man began, “my own blood didn’t give a thousand rupees. Am I dead? Still I’m working. What’ll happen when I lie in death bed?” He murmured, and his eyes feasted on the fireflies’ dance.
“Don’t worry. We carry and burn you at the bank of Mujnai.” Mansur said.
“A Muslim can say that. What can I have more on earth?” The old man fiercely shook Tudu to explain, but he didn’t speak.
The old man sighed, and said, “You all know nothing. You see me playing jhandi mundi at haats, and lose money. Lie, Tudu, lie! Yes, I can’t pass my days without jhandi, and I’ve been playing it for forty years, and earned 1 crore. Don’t believe! Only last month I won 3 lakh at Kadambini Tea Garden.” The old man spasmodically thumped his chest and cried, “Me, Maroa! I call myself a messiah of the poor. Go to the village and find a hut where my hand hasn’t reached at their bad days. You find none. I challenge.”
“I help them every way—I buy food and cook for the unfed, gave their daughters’ marriages, bear doctor’s fees and buy medicine for the ills.” The old man said at a stretch, and then he hung his head between his knees, and became silent as dead night.
“But people say you’re a hard miser. You never give even a pinch of dirt from your skin.” Tudu argued, and asked for a bidi.
They both smoked, and Mansur counting the stars, hung so low overhead. Yonder, the bamboo bush stood like a haunted house. Maroa’s dog, a black little thing, came crooning and began to lick his master’s leg.
The old man argued himself, “Maroa miser? Ah…I sacrifice my whole life for you, and you call me miser. If I don’t think of you—the poor, the unfed, the dry mouths, I can build a two storied house, buy a rocking chair, swing and smoke at rooftop. But never have I thought that way. I live for you. I give you everything—money, rice, vegetables, fruits, eggs, even milk of my Dhobli. And me miser!” He lamented.
“If I poor, it’s because of you. Hey Mansur, do you know why I’m sick?” Mansur stopped numbering the stars, and asked “What’s Dada?”
“Hey Mansur, not hearing me? What’re you doing?”
“Oh! I hear, but the dark night and the bright stars hanging so low. Dada, forgive me, please tell.”
The old man repeated, “Don’t know why I’m sick?”
Mansur and Tudu looked at each other, and Tudu said, “You grow old, and it’s common at your age.”
“You’re quite right, young man. But that’s not all. There is a reason behind.”
“Any fatal disease?” Mansur exclaimed!
“No, no, I’m well, though I eat less, two or three gulp of rice a day. My mind is ill. I can’t sleep. All night I lie awake, and think of my poor neighbours. This thought haunts me night and day. For twenty years I lost sleep. You know young men I only smoke bidi. Women and wine I never touch. Three things keep me alive—gambling, smoking, and the thought for the poor villagers. To kill time I also catch fish, play with children, go to tea gardens and watch the women plucking the tender leaves. Some mornings after the night rain I don’t visit them. The first rays of the orange disc fell on the washed leaves, and they glisten. I fear the the scene, and keep me shut at my hut.
“Don’t believe me, ask Kanu, the mason of the village, how I saved him. One evening I came out of house, and paced the street up and down. Suddenly I heard a groaning. I looked around and found by the side of a bush a man moaning. His left leg was smashed, and bones were scattered all around. I then took a plastic bag, and collected the bones. I hired a van, and took the man to Falakata Hospital. There was no doctor, and the compounder said he couldn’t plaster. I wasted no time. I took the man to Nine Miles. Amida Bibi, the famous Kabiraj, saw him, and set the bones into his legs, and messaged with oil, and bandaged it, and within minutes he stirred his broken leg like a dog wagging its tail. Kanu was still alive, and if I set feet at his yard, he worshipped me as God.
The old man hung his head low. Tudu lit a bidi, and they all smoked. Nobody was speaking. The old man kissed his dog,Tudu scratched was killing the mosquitoes, and Mansur gazing at the canopy of the stars.
No birds sang. The old man’s dog saw something beyond the bush, and began barking. Dogs from the village heard it, and they began wailing too.
“How’s your daughter-in-law? Does she love you?” Tudu asked.
“Oh…she behaves well and calls me father, father night and day. She takes care of my food. Baba, no more I can eat. In old days I ate hundred rosogullas and 2 kg molasses and 2 kg mutton at one sitting. Now I don’t touch fish, mutton, or chicken. But soup of pigeons and a glass of milk I daily take.” He beamed.
“Uncle, why do you still wear a tattered napkin? Your son earns good. You lack no money. It doesn’t befit you.” Tudu said with a smile on his face.
“Who looks? Your aunt went heaven long ago. Two years ago Sonali, my daughter, ah! my life, died of snake bite. And I’m alone.”
Meantime Tudu’s mobile rang. It was his wife’s call. He jumped up as if he was singed, and somehow he took the angling sticks and the bait, and hurried towards his hut.
“Dada, let’s go home.” Mansur said. He stopped stargazing hearing the rhythm of Tudu’s slippers. “We’re quite late. And herd of Mahakals (elephants) may come. Yester night they came out of the forest and ate the entire paddy field at Munda Para. Moreover, dew is falling, and you have no clothes, you may catch cold.”
“Maroa fears nothing,” the old man shrieked. He then suddenly giggled like a child. His face brightened, and his small sunken eyes glittered. “Mahakals do no harm. They kill the sinful. And don’t worry about my health. For forty years not a single day I suffer. My body is made of iron bars. I can flat seven young men like you with a feast. No weapon I need. My hands and legs are enough for that. Four or five years back I won huge money, nearly two lakhs at Haria Hatti. Have you gone there? No. Men were all drunk since early morning, and they brawled at each word. Six big men, all tall and black and muscular circled and caught me. I fought with one hand, and bruised, and grounded them all. I took the bag, and walked straight from the haat. No drunkards came in my way. All stood aside and blinked their eyes.
“Mansur, my body is still fine. Diseased is my mind. And no medicine can cure it. Yester night I called Hujur Saheb, and he descended from heaven at midnight in all whites, and seeing Pir Baba my eyes dazzled. I told all. He took 14 days to cure me.
The night was dark, and somewhere in the village dogs began moaning. An owl flew over Maroa’s head and he suddenly felt cold and began trembling.
We, the humans advance by imitations;
we all go through a number of phases,
from stage to stage,
and we call it , Life.
As natural learners, our childhood taught us many a things,
from the way people treat us,
to what we saw and hear,
we never stop copying and thus, learning.
But once we learned about power, wealth, luxury, values and prices;
we become artificial learners not natural,
And eventually sometimes, we end up like pathetic failures.
So, even being an artificial learner, be careful with your moves;
Because, Like how we see up to our role models,
You’re also being watched,
You’re also being copied,
As somebody is learning from you,
Keep reminding yourself that,
You’re a role model too.
I was at work, and in front of my seat there was a long queue, just like the approach and retreat of the sea waves people were jostling each other to sway back and forth.
Now and then somebody from the queue will run out of patience and shout at me to hasten my work, however I didn’t have to retort back as few customers would do that for me. Somehow, I had been enduring the oppressive Monday morning work before a man came out of nowhere, dragged a chair next to me and sat authoritativly. I wasn’t aware of him, too engrossed in my work, before he patted me on the back and grabbed my attention. “Good morning sir” he greeted, as to ridicule me for it wasn’t a good morning. He was impeccably dressed. His face was huge, like a jackfruit and, hairs of his moustache were pointing out. He had a day’s stubble. He had long thinning hairs cascading to his neck, a typical hairstyle straight from the 90’s bollywood.
He smiled at me, came closer and whispered into my ears, “you don’t know me but I know you sir”.
I looked at him nonchalantly, as I was not the least interested in making acquaintances. Who knows if he comes out to be a nagging customer puzzled by the complexities of GST. I continued with my work, my eyes glued to that fifteen inch screen.
Then, he came near and whispered again, “I’m here to make a confession sir, but the revelations must not astonish you to the extent that you start shouting, as I’m a pickpocket who has gone through a heart transformation to become a dignified and gentle man”.
I looked at him surprisingly, the way that tedious Monday morning at work unfolded itself evoked an interest in me. Still I tried to suppress my excitement to know more, as I feared that he might be a borrower, begging for some financial assistance with regard to his endevours in going through the moral transformation. But he didn’t give up and continued, “Sir, I don’t like boasting or blowing my own trumpet, but I’d been an expert in this profession. I earned envy of many competitors due to my extraordinary agility of slipping hands into others’ pockets and disappearing in the crowd in no time.
But lately, I got married and my wife, when came to know about my profession, detested the idea and procured me to quit this profession. But still, I miss slipping hands into the pockets of rich people. My profession sported such adventures that recollecting the memories of those days still fascinates me when I roamed without any destination and just waited for the right time to had my hands upon some fat pockets.”
But, Sir my wife is a savage creature, although I’m talking to you here about my past musings, but when my mind wanders back to my wife I feel very scared and my whole existence as a husband feels vulnerable. Very honestly speaking sir, I liked you very much and appreciated your ingenuity, when I was planning to pick your pocket and kept a close watch on you. I usually keep a close watch on my victims for few days. I stole your cellphone. Few days back I told my wife about how I got this cellphone that I gifted her on our first marriage anniversary. She became furious, persisted daily and threatened me that if I don’t return your cellphone, she would lodge a police complaint against me. I know you must be thinking how a lady can be so cruel.
But today I’ve come here for the sole purpose of returning your Nokia 3310 phone back to you.
I was stunned to hear all that when he thrust a Nokia 3310 set into my hands and hugged me before leaving.
After few hours when I started examining my pocket for the handkerchief only then I realised my new Apple iPhone was already stolen and there was Nokia 3310 in front of me, mocking the bewildered look on my face.
Miyaan (Bro), why are you collecting the chanda(donation) for a Hindu festival? Don’t you know that worship of statues is strictly prohibited in Islam?
Bhaijaan (Dear brother) We are in minority in this country so in this matter, I just want to say -Jan hai to jahan hai. (If there is a live, there is a world)
(In a shop)
Son – Papa! I wanna Maggie noodles.
Papa – No beta (dear son), this is a junk food. You may become sick by eating this.
Son – Mummy please!
Mummy–No beta , papa is right. This is a harmful product for your health.
Son – But on the TV commercial, the company says it nutritious.
Papa – Beta, to sell their products companies always tell a lie.
Son – No, it’s impossible. I think both of you are telling lie to save your money.
During a sting operation, a CD had been made by a popular news channel in which a big leader of the ruling party was shown taking bribery. The ruling party managed the channel and the channel announced that in the public interest, contents of the CD are not being broadcasted.
After a few months, when elections were about to be held, the channel was managed by the opposition and in the public interest, the CD was broadcasted.
Great bungalows of marble and mahogany,
Carefully curated artifacts and chandeliers aplenty
Soft comfortable beds and plush sofas
And closets full of shoes and make up
A variety of exquisite sequined dresses
A socket here for a laptop
And a wi-fi spot there for an iPad
And a large swimming pool to boot
Where one could enjoy a round of breast stroke at your whim
At the hour one fancied.
But that is all the house seems to have
No blanket of love to cover oneself with
No pillow of peace of mind to rest your head
The walls reverberate with white noise devoid of laughter,
The unslept couch speaks of desolation
The tea cups and coffee mugs know not the meaning of hospitality
The luxurious dinner table and resplendent dinner chairs
Speak not of togetherness of a family at dinner.
Would it not be better to have a happy home?
With four walls to offer protection,
A roof over the head to ward off the rain,
A chair to rest the tired legs,
A bed to lie down after a long day
A sanctum where one could talk,
And laugh and dance
And still be human.
For what matters in the end is not –
The carved murals on the walls or the grandiose of empty living
But the size of your heart and the beauty of your words