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December 22, 2009

Dadu, hues of sepia, and dusty old photographs...

Dadu passed away three days back, leaving behind an even more mitigated proportion of males in my close family. For, I’ve never had any uncle, and I never had the other grandpa. My mom and dad have a sister each, and both my grandmothers are very healthy and active. And also, I have a sister, and I was always closer to Ma than Baba. Even with this humongous amount of feminine presence in my family, I always had Baba and Dadu. Now with Dadu gone, I find my gender representation in my family at irredeemably serious peril.

Also, Baba wanted a photograph of Dadu for the Sraddho ceremony. Thus came tumbling out of the racks, the old, thick, ‘original-full-version-Oxford-dictionary-ko-by-great-margins-beat-karnewaale’ family albums. Well, I had forgotten about the existence of most of those photographs – we were leafing through the albums after that long. I was four, I was two, I was one, I wasn’t born yet, my sister’s birth, my parents getting married. Jodhpur Park, Picnic Garden, Ballygunge Place. Bokaro, Delhi, Ferozepur, Amritsar. Army camps and parties, Bangaali bonediyana , Jharkhand small-town tranquility, the Raybahadur Kumarnath Bagchi legacy, all the great family ethics and values, all the aristocracy-which my ancestors certainly do not hope to see surviving through me...Despite the fashion sensibilities having arrived and departed in cycles – (Floral prints, khadis, checks), the times only moved forward. My weirdly round face chiselled down, my sister now has straight hair instead of the ‘hujoorbujoor’ curls, Ma and Baba’s black tresses and glowing skin have been replaced by salt-and-pepper, and wrinkles. So many of the distant relatives smiling out from those old photographs have since, moved over to the other side. We lost some to accidents, some to diseases and some to old age, the latest being Dadu.

It is the same end which awaits us all. The Inevitable. Only we do not know when it is going to thrust itself across our paths. It is not scary really; rather there is something very poignant about it. And in those old photographs, people look so happy. They all look younger and better than they do now. Some have been married off, since. They all have their own kids- those aunts that were present for my mom’s baby shower( ‘shaad’) before I was born, they are mothers themselves now. Quite some of the people in the photographs have had messy divorces. And there were even a few who spelled their own ends.

Well, THIS wasn’t intended to be a sad and depressing note, but I’m afraid, it is turning out to be one. What I really want to highlight is, Change, truly is the only constant, so, despite cynics and elders and professors telling me off about my lack of a sense of responsibility, or about my immature and unconventional-and-disturbing way of life and thought processes, I am not going to fret about what will happen and when and blaady-blaady-blah. Everything will change, everything will fall in place. As Hagrid had said,”Whatever will come will come and I will have to face it when it does…”

2 comments:

Trisha said...

very poignant tone to the whole thing, but your serenity also comes through. and yes, i have the feeling you will face it with great strength when it does come. <3 this, reetweek :)

smelly cat said...

The writing's like a familiar old smell,one that fills me with deja-vu..very sepia. hats off!