Sunday, June 12, 2011
Thursday, March 31, 2011
Sunday, March 27, 2011
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Saturday, March 19, 2011
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Wednesday, March 9, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
Saturday, February 26, 2011
Monday, February 21, 2011
Saturday, February 19, 2011
I'll leave you like I've left every fascination.
I’ve said this. I’ve done this. A countless number of times. And then I've expected you to find me. There's no winning here. Nobody wins.
You'll go to her with your old camera, hung across your chest and quietly take pictures till you feel you've both had enough. She has toppled your universe by the time she asks you whether you want some camomile. You're lulled by the sleep she has mixed in the tea, and that whispery nasal voice of hers. "I have a deviated septum" she says and you hope she never gets it fixed.
The cigarettes are over and you have to leave. You have to get back to your world of dead poetry, because damn it, you've worked so hard to build it.
I don't think I have anything new to say. It's okay if you want leave early. I understand the boredom. I'm bored as well. I'll never make it through this.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
Sunday, February 13, 2011
Monday, February 7, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
Tuesday, February 1, 2011
Sunday, January 23, 2011
Friday, January 21, 2011
Thursday, January 20, 2011
I was recently reclaimed, when a friend of mine decided to pop over to my hometown for a few weeks. I knew she must have had some expectations having read, seen and heard so much, so I was a little apprehensive. The perception of my city isn’t always a flattering one. Or it is always riddled with annoying clichés. Trams and Tagore, roshogolla and mishti doi, Durga Pujo and shindoor khala – yeah yeah yeah, whatever. It upsets me. Cal is either Parineeta or Lapierre’s City of Joy with the poor, hungry rickshaw pullers. I mean it is - I’m not entirely denying it. But a dumb sepia coloured postcard it is not. It isn’t a one night stand. It isn’t some chick you pick up at a bar. You have to give Cal some time and some thought - which presumably narrows down the Cal loving population to a fairly feeble percentage.
Fortunately, my friend was one of them feeble percentages. I could see it when she was leaving. The city had claimed another victim. Like Mary Anne Aunty from Scotland, who ate too little and often broke her bones and said “Oh dear” a lot. Mary Anne lived at the Grand Hotel on Chowringhee for many months before moving to an apartment in New Alipore. She was about 65, quite the Brit, very proper, liked her tea and all of that. Her husband, Uncle John, was a slightly younger, sprightly, ruddy faced Scotsman who worked with my father. He was here on a transfer, and was shacking up with his wife at one of the oldest, quaintest hotels in Calcutta. We were bang in the middle of our summer holidays, seriously excited, because having a guest at the Grand meant free swimming sessions. So everyday, under the pretext of making Mary Anne feel more at home, my mother, my brother and I would hop over to the Grand, swim (or attempt to – because I really couldn’t) and eat like we’ve never eaten before at the coffee shop over there. By “we”, I really mean my brother and I, because my mother is a very gracious sort and wouldn’t really behave like that. Mary Anne, I really don’t know what she thought of us, was really upset about being in Calcutta. It was dirty, backward, poor and chaotic. It wasn’t the right thing for her frail little British nerves. She hated it, and my brother and I would make it worse by telling her horror stories about the ‘dhapa maath’ (a dumping ground literally – where the ITC Sonar -Bangla now stands), and many more cringe-worthy tales just to make her say “Oh dear” even more. We spent that whole summer saying “Oh dear” at the littlest things and laughed till our sides hurt. But despite our sincerest efforts at creating little monsters in her head, Mary Anne, fell in love with this filthy, chaotic city after three years of living here. Not with its structures or buildings or food or anything – but with its soul I suppose. She went back to Scotland with a heavy heart, and also, I suspect, better immunity.
There is no plausible explanation for it. It’s difficult for me to be objective about Calcutta. My parents live here, I’ve grown up here, have gone to school and college here – my life has formed around this city. We’re fused together in a manner so complicated that I dare not attempt to untangle it.
I was standing at the Calcutta airport seeing off my friend and thinking this is not the kind of airport you would expect a metro to have. It’s seriously screwed up. And all this led to further thought. I pictured myself in Bangalore Airport, Bombay Airport, Dehli Airport – and none of the me’s seemed to fit in any of those airports. I considered my life in Bombay – independent, casual, scattered – and felt as though I was living someone else’s life over there.
I was incomplete. I missed my city. I fought to get away from it, but I knew I was only getting into a very complex long distance relationship with my love.
Calcutta is my Egdon Heath. I just know it.