January 23, 2010

November and December 2009, and January 2010

To start with, my sister just knocked on my door asking me to leave the door open. Flustered by the prospect of a sudden, random intrusion into my privacy, I asked her the reason behind the demand/request. She said, she was feeling scared in the other room, alone. It’s 2 in the morning, and my twenty-one year old sister with a chin piercing and death-metal inclinations is feeling scared of being alone in a room.

Of late, I’ve been going out quite a lot. Birthdays, festivals, random socializing occasions, movie-marathons, I’m doing them all. Well, studies was supposed to attain ultra-importance right from the beginning of 2010, but that, I guess, is not happening soon. So, on one hand I’ve been keeping the company of culturally-inclined Bangali kids, the ones who love World-Cinema, and indie music, folk-rock and Bob Dylan, the ones who understand theatre and can perform an autopsy of Orhan Pamuk or Franz Kafka’s style and body of work, and get high on marijuana under the moonlight, while on the other, I’m finding myself around Marwari and Gujarati kids, in little black dresses, and expensive black shirts, ones that ‘chiggy-wiggy’ to Hindi music at ‘raat ke dhaai baje’ and drive around the city in expensive and huge cars, and choose to watch ‘Chance Pe Dance’ over ‘A Christmas Carol’ and garnish their vocabulary with ‘like’ and ‘yaaa’…
I mean no offence to anyone though. I’ve grown up with lots of different kinds of people around me, and so, these little limitations of both clans never bother me much. I derive the best of both(or more) worlds.

At the birthday party I hosted along with Aritri and Nisha, at my uninhabited Rajarhat apartment, a lot of spilling happened. I was scared about the walls, but thankfully, the freshly painted ones didn’t get too badly stained, and I didn’t really un-build the ones I construct for my own privacy. What was extremely strange was, seven-and-a-half(one of them- a ‘patiala’) pegs of ‘Magic Moments’ did almost nothing to me. I remember speaking with a hushed voice, and serving food to the guests after the intake. Having a high capacity is one thing, and not getting affected after seven-and-a-half pegs is something at an entirely higher level. Scary, much.

Strangely enough, among the people I’ve been regularly meeting of late, are some guys from my batch of St. James’, ones I’d never ever spoken to for more than five-minutes-at-a-stretch while in school. While the closest friends from De Nobili continue to fizzle out(interactions with even Aritra and Anindita have dropped drastically, blame it on my non-acceptance-of-phone-calls-policy ;the others having disappeared from my life even before), the ones from St. James’ continue to grow more-and-more prominent in my sphere of school-friends. It’s strange, really. I’d honestly never thought that I’d pursue communication with anyone apart from Ajju and Ikshaku after school, but these things, I guess, just happen.

There has been another satisfying turn in the flow of events. I’ve got myself involved in LOK- a forum created with a vision to help promote young talent in Calcutta- help unravel precious talent in the fields of dance, theatre, movie-making, music, elocution, painting, photography. The idea was conceived by a friend, Soumyajit, and he invited me to be a part of this hugely ambitious venture. The official inauguration was held on the 3rd of January. For the event, the team got a folk-theatre group from Chhattisgarh to Calcutta. Apart from a performance(Raja Phokalwa) by the group, a myriad of talent was up on display in the form of a photography exhibition, some live skits, songs and dance sequences, live-painting, self-composed poetry recitation done by friends from LOK itself. The modus operandi of the entire event was maintained strictly at ‘constant-interaction-with-the-audience’.

Also there has been a series of deaths this winter. This winter(2009-10) has by far been the coldest winter I’ve ever experienced in Calcutta. It reminded me strongly of the ‘interior’ majestic winters of North India, the six-degree celcius mornings in Maithon. The temperature dropped to ten degrees one day in December 2009. Apart from Dadu, Himumashi(Ma’s only sister)’s father-in-law, a very healthy man(as opposed to Dadu’s fifteen long years’ suffering), the winner of the Mr. Calcutta pageant a few decades back, passed away to a double heart-attack. He was fit enough to enjoy a normal game of cricket one evening, and the next morning, he had gone up in smoke. The others that breathed their last were a classmate’s grandmother, an old lady in a neighboring building, an aunt of a friend from LOKtheatre, and the illustrious, longest serving chief minister of any state of India, the man who was betrayed by his party from becoming the Prime Minister- Jyoti Basu.

I have, as of now, despite several rounds of planning and yearning, not yet watched the evidently mediocre movie ‘Pyaar Impossible’. Well, of course, I understand and appreciate good Cinema, but there are times when the content doesn’t matter and this movie is one such movie for me. I know that there is nothing novel or innovative about the movie, but I still feel this immense desire to go and indulge myself because of the mere presence of the utterly-edible, the perfectly-awesome, totally-and-phenomenally-gorgeous Priyanka Chopra in the movie. Among the movies I’ve watched recently and loved, however, is the magnum-opus, the path-breaking movie, which took more than a decade to be created, the first-of-its-kind, entirely 3Dimensional movie ‘Avatar’. It was a totally new experience, watching this movie. I also enjoyed ‘Chungking Express’, ‘Juno’, ‘Rocket Singh’ and the predictable-from-start-to-finish-yet-thoroughly-enjoyable ‘Three Idiots’.

Other memorable events in the last three months include the annual fest of Presidency College, ‘Milieu’, that was held in the last week of December. For the ‘Impact’, our team, consisting of Biaas, Kaushik, Shahana, Taniya and me, had a winner right from its very conceptualization, with ‘Khoon Bhari Shaam’-a Indian version of the International tear-jerking, hormone-cycles-upsetting melodrama of a novel, ‘Twilight’. Also, the ‘Indian Ocean’ performance and sneaking in all of my non-Presidency friends into the Presidency enclosure for the same is something I’m not going to forget in a hurry. Also brilliant was the Christmas Eve, which I spent with some of my best friends, having an amazingly memorable time at various places.Another important event that happened in November was the mid-term exam. For the first time in my life, I found myself at the bottom of a class, academically. With a meager thirty-eight out of a possible hundred (and only five students below me in this chronology), I’ve obviously become one of the most scorned students of my department (Well, at least sharing a sour relationship with teachers is nothing new for me). I do not know whether my cataclysmic downfall was because my present classmates are more in love with text-books than any previous set of my classmates (quite justifiable, they are after all, students of the most esteemed Economics department of the sub-continent, their attachment with academics is sacrosanct), or whether I have sailed farther out in the dangerous ocean of ‘non-association-with-course-material’. I am hoping to make a come-back in the ‘toppers-of-class’ list, but the chances of that occurring appear to be very, very bleak. This fact should be clearly evident from the reality academics found mention at the very end of this post, after everything else. Which is to say, this note, ends right here, abruptly, like all of my other life-update notes

January 15, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me... and thanks everybody.

That belief just got re-iterated.

However much I might continue to try and find life-driving forces from my depression.
The fact remains, I’ve got(and always had) amaaaaaazzzinggg friends and an awwwwweeeesommmmme family.
I can never thank anyone enough for all of them.

Happy 19th Birthday to me…

Gloom and despair aren’t around the corner, Success is. Celebrations are.
Everything will fall into place. Everything will work out.. :) :)

January 13, 2010

Oder Utsab- psychedelia and prevarications.

Rukkho kesh, molin haashi, chhinobicchino beshobhoosha,
Shushko twake'r jeerno abedoneyo ghor bendechhe rongeen nisha,
Aaj shobar utsab, shorbomoney shato anando, abhilasha,
Notun, shushojjito ei unmottow bheere eraao khunjchhe nijeder bhasha.

Kochi moner komol gothon, bastober kothorotar bimukh,
Bojhe na ora, e utsab'er hullor, e toh noy oder shukh,
Mrito akansha'r sahasra anuranan, utsab toh muhoorter'i agontuk,
Moner ronokshetry hridoy bideerno, antarer jwaala sarbograshi,sarbobhook.

E shaaj, e shajja, ora alaada, osrudhaaray porishfuto,
E utsaber maadok akorshon, tobu shob aashfalon-i boddo sfeeto,
Shubechhabarta'r maya'r bish chene na ora, cheenir prolepta toh jhuto,
Kaaya'i jaader ekmaatro obolombon, taader khushio paalay na khultei mutho.

January 6, 2010


There was a kid.
Charming in some ways, Exasperating in more.

From what I remember of him, he was always talking. Or screaming. Or laughing.
Frankly, I sometimes got an impression that he thought he owned everything. He was Omnipresent. He was all over the place. Those were the initial days.

We had taken a liking to him initially. His confidence was attractive. What was unsettling though, was the fact that he defied all conventions. He did not behave his age. He did not behave his gender. He did not behave his linguistic or cultural identities. He was not one of us. It was this very recklessness that had drawn all of us to him then. He was nothing like any of us ever knew. He was not one of us. He was a mystery none of us could decipher. He dreamt big. We all knew that, by the end of college, we all would have respectable jobs or equally enticing scholarships in the glamorous universities in the West. And we would have our own families. We also knew that none of that would apply for him. Though naturally the most brilliant among all of us, we knew he would not tread the paths of conventional wisdom. In fact, very often he would claim that he would give up his life in the quest for new things. Maybe blue lemons. Or Lunar-flavored ice-creams. Or an entire new ‘All That Jazz’ sequence that could put Catherine Zeta-Jones and Rob Marshall to shame.

He looked great, was an eloquent debater, a star footballer, the most elegant dancer in college. Yet, he never found popularity. Most of us were secretly jealous. He was something none of us could ever be. His way of looking at life was not feasible for kids like us that had always had a very-grounded upbringing, to adopt. Surprisingly, he never had a girlfriend despite the girls, that we were smitten by, drooling over his very existence. We would suspect him to be gay, but then, he never even got a boyfriend either. That lack of interest towards acquiring a partner eventually got him tagged a social misfit, despite all his talents. He still didn’t care.

Well, things happened in our lives as well. We, the guys, found girlfriends in the girls that were besotted with him and the girls in our group found boyfriends. We preferred spending time with our respective partners and would hardly hang around as a group any more. He was always alone, but sometimes we would invite him to spend some time with us for, well, his presence ensured great photographs for every moment that we spent. He was brilliant behind his camera; he seemed to possess a lust for photography.

In the later days, we all gained much more prominence. He had started out with great promise, but I feel he had somehow sensed the latent feeling of prejudice that people had against him, which led to his quiet acceptance of a circumstance-catalyzed-fizzling out. On the exterior, he still was his jovial self, but something had gone awry with him. The sparkle in his eyes had reduced in its brilliance. Also, he had started looking weaker and leaner.

I topped my class when we graduated. He ranked a close second. Only, he did not turn up for the convocation ceremony, which was a week after the results, which in turn was four months after the examinations. We partied throughout that evening, after our convocation. We drank, and got wild. And we did miss the great photographer who would have captured the entire evening in his camera. Not much though. The four-and-a-half month hiatus had given us the opportunity to wipe off from our memories, the guy-whose-initial-glory-we-could-never-match-up-to, and the guy-whose-steady-downfall-none-of-us-would-have-ever-wanted-to-have.

The news reached us the next morning. He had just bowed down to rapidly-dividing-groups-of-cells in his liver. We were sad. We visited his parents. We did not wish this for him. Yet, somehow, somewhere, within all of us, lurked a sense of relief. The guy who could’ve dazzled the world with his brilliance had withdrawn from the race, leaving for all of us the opportunity to become The Famous One, and not friends of The Famous One. He had failed. He had not created anything worthwhile. Anything that the world would remember him for.

His way of expressing his emotions had always been Over-the-top.And corny. He claimed people would love him for his being Corny. Even in his death, he wrenched out Love from all of us through one such corny act of his. His letters reached us a week after his death. Each letter enclosed a charmingly written poem for the person it was addressed to, and a photograph of the respective person with him. He and his disarming smile, he and his intensely kind eyes, he and hypnotizing charm. He had indeed created. Beautifully heart-rending souvenirs for all of us to remember college by. He had created something WE would remember him for.