Sunday, September 22, 2013

An Honest Thought

Today I rant.

With the recent case of ‘coloured discomfort’ faced by many Indians across the world, because of Nina Davuluri, that seems to be a another pin holding up the masks of the general public, laced with hypocrisy. If many Indian smarted at the behavior of Americans, we cant get away just by calling them racist. How different are we in our own homeland?

India… the land of snake charmers, white elephants and a tribe of beggars who stick up their begging bowls right under your face. Do you think we’ve changed? Changed from the many prehistoric notions we nursed under our hood, whether it included homosexuality or even looking up to certain careers as the only way forward? But sometimes I doubt we’ve changed at all when even in the best of cities, best of working environments, among the best of colleagues one is ridiculed for their body weight, amoebic shape and … you get the rest.

If certain groups are fighting against prejudice towards skin colour, then pray, does a perfect body type rule the world?

The other day, the HR personnel in my office asked me… ‘Are you dieting?’ I said, ‘No.’ And then she said, ‘Haan, lag bhi nahi raha hain.’

I mean I get it to a certain level. She is going to get married in a few month’s time, and looking good is on her agenda. But why be spiteful towards the others? We, fat people, sure must put on a heavy armour everyday before we leave home for our respective work. Why are we incapable of accepting people the way they are. Does everyone want everyone to look alike? Have the world looking like the Stepford Wives?

A friend of mine, to whom I mostly relate these moments tells me that ‘I am delusional, I must not let them get the better of me, body type is not directly or indirectly proportional to your worth (whichever way we assume the factors). But then again, with a ‘perfect’ body, beautiful ‘long hair’ (just the way India and the rest of the world like it) and dazzling smile, you do not live my world. You do not have to struggle through everyday avoiding stinging jabs at your personality.

Do we not relate it all to beauty? DO elaborate what constitutes a beautiful object. Does not an old proverb say beauty lies in the eye of the beholder? So I must deem my worth according to what the other person thinks.

Students, activists, factions of the general public strive to make the world a better place to live. They protest, they rant and they fight for the poor, against the corrupt, the greedy, etc. It makes me think, that if they harboured this flame of unrest and undying need to fight for a stranger, why can they not understand the need of a friend? Cause I still have my hands and legs and can work for myself? Why can people not start to revolutionise the society at their own level? A step at a time, try to reason with friends and family, one person at a time? Or have we romanticised the experience of sitting at Jantar Mantar and spending an entire shouting and putting up placards to fight against corrupt individuals and organisations?

You may label me as moody, misreading the words and actions of others. Then why do I feel humiliated and hurt on the inside?      

Monday, August 19, 2013

Another trip, and back again

With my amazing office colleagues, Archana (in the red suit) with her cousin Deepti to her left, followed by Simran, Megha and me.

Omkareshwar. A small temple town near Indore in the heart of India. And once again, we managed to pull off a short but sweet weekend trip, away from the crowd and pollution of Delhi. The strength of the wind is unfathomable, and the mighty force of nature lays bare before us. Since I am yet to transfer my images, my version of the trip will come up in sometime.

Till then, inshallah, I keep travelling.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Orphaned and alone

Ae pran aamar,
Aami bhule jaayi
Boi tule, taake
Bichhnaye choore phele dae.
Kothaye jabo, disha khuje pai na
Tomar chaara, amaar mon laage na.

I live, I breathe,
I spend every moment
Away from you, emotionless
And stoic.
I hate this feeling,
But somehow I love it too
Let things remain like this,
Just like this.

Why do I find
Myself so different
And also so indifferent
Towards you.
I fathom not this moment
Hurt why you did not
Claim me to be
Among one of your's.

To embrace you is
My greatest desire
But the burning pangs
Refuse to kindle a never
Ending devotion towards you.
Only you, my Mother
My Matribhoomi.

Millions stay close
To that beautiful land so green
The cord of life still strong
Pumping love and life within.
But where do I go from here?
Where do I figure in this?
I find myself lost
Wrapped, tossed, tied
Stuck to my ignorance.

Free me, Mother
Let me run into your embrace
Free me from this foreign land.
Allow me to enter your grace.
I too want to see
My mother
The way crores of others do
I too want to to be
A part of her bounty.

Gorom cha, ei cheler baila
Anjan Dutta aar binamulaer aasha.

I pray to find my way to my motherland someday, with enough time to bask in her beauty, to learn to live with her children, thriving in its culture, its atmosphere... finding myself through her.

Friday, July 26, 2013

It’s all about the child in you after all

Yesterday was my Dida’s birthday. So it goes without saying, that all her kids, their kids gathered at my mama’s place to celebrate. After the usual cutting of the cake, and gorging on the hot chicken quiches, my cousins, P & O and I broke away from the ‘elderly lot’. Since P and I were extremely tired after a harried day at work, we sunk into the comfy bed, and curled near each other.

I don’t exactly remember how the conversation started, or maybe we just ranted off our work troubles, but sooner or later we landed on the topic of food. With me in the group, it had to land on this topic sooner or later; but this time we were specific. Food written in Enid Blyton books.

P & I reminisced about the warm scones and ginger bread, cookies and fruit beer, and really longed for a holiday in a caravan, just like George, Julian, Dick, Anne & Tim. And P rightly said… all of us, at some level, connected with some member of that Group. Whether it was George for me, or Anne for someone else. Each child (we were sure) attached themselves to one of the group. Whether Famous Five, Secret Seven, the Naughtiest Girl or even the Five Find-Outers, we still love Enid Blyton for the childhood she gave us.

And then P & O could not stop talking about a particular children’s book, and the illustrations that graced the sides of the pages. As P handed me the book, I couldn’t help but sniff the pages. And I flipped page after page, looking at the mostly black and white drawings of teapots, dragons, houses with legs, and furry chicks. Those pages transported us to another world. A world, which I think is also called – Never Never Land. A land where we can be children, expect to be in awe of the simplest of experiences, imagination runs wild as ever, and never worrying about logic or elders.

As P (a graphic designer) went on and on about the futuristic aspect of the illustrations, little seen these days, my fingers traced the cradles drawn, the colourful geometric-patterned quilts and aces and spades, hearts and diamonds glittering across the sky. And then something happened that took me by surprise. O decided to read out her favourite story to us! What a treat!

And as she read out Bye Baby Bunting, who needed his warm woolly pink blanket to snuggle in, I found myself forgetting about the shackles of work, and slipped into the dreamy world of Baby Bunting, where Granny cut the Sun’s hair and washed the Moon’s face. It was a definitive moment for me, for it was a chance to be a child again, listen attentively to a story, grasping at the finer details, drawing an image in the canvas of my mind.

And I wasn’t stingy. I coloured the cupboards yellow, painted the cradle mellow, and ruffled the leaves in the forest, and imagined their hearty breakfast!

Pic sourced from Google.

Friday, June 14, 2013

Aging gracefully....

Not my pic. :) Just tellin' ya before you ask me where I met her.
Though she inspires me to try this look on my granny. My Dida.
Take a good look at her. She inspires me. :) You must be amazed, stunned, downright shocked. It's ok. That is expected. I wasn't like this before. I was believed to be very uptight throughout school and a better part of my college. I regret it. If given a chance to do it all over again, I would. And I would do it my way. Not according to some uptight woman who is the headmistress of my school, or the uptight notions I have been brought up with. I would break free.

But better late than never right. And even if I grow old like 'Sugar Lips' here, I would keep puffing that cigar with elan. To live a life of technicolour and travel to its wildest reach. A life I love. Imagine the stories I would have to tell you children and their children.

Till I get there. Cheerio.  

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

To my heart's fill and beyond

My only constant prayer to God - let me travel to my heart's fill and beyond. I just came back from a marriage in Ratlam (Madhya Pradesh) and this photo has been clicked at Maheswar at the ghats of the mighty River Narmada, always brimming with pride. 

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Summer Love

(This is not my picture. It has been sourced from another site.)

It might not have been such a hot sunny afternoon for me holed up in my air-conditioned office, but I yearn to take a summer break. Just like in my school-days. Ever since schools have been out, and mum at home, I trudge along to work whilst children are busy playing cricket 9 in the morning.

But today, as I was surfing through Pinterest, I came across this picture and it featured a lot of what my summer holidays constituted of. Books. This picture makes my heart ache. It makes me want to drop all my earthly responsibilities and transport myself in to the safe world of books, happy and secure, flooded in the warm sunlight reading Ruskin Bond or Agatha Christie near that open window. Cross-legged and armed with a cool drink, flipping the pages of a dusty book. I want my summer love back again.

Tell me you want to do it too.

Friday, May 17, 2013

A Jewel In Everyday Life

Ismat Chughtai. She had much to teach me. Especially her unapologetic manner of writing. Her stories are layered, beautifully. Not like the onion. But like the fluffy whorls of a flower, where the petals entwine one another. Women are the focal point in many of her stories.

But there are some that mirror many of my moments in life. Just as in the Invalid. But her Hell-bound, left me speechless and a bit teary-eyed too. As I managed to wade through the rich description of her brother, Azim, I slowly started to draw comparisons to mine. They did not have the same personality. Hell-no. But they both succumbed to TB in the month of August. For me, that’s enough.

And the way she points at those every, banal emotions that one does not even notice – astounding. There is much to her that I am yet to come across, discover and interpret. But I know that this is the start of a delicious journey of one of my favourite authors.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

Split DNA - 1

A rickshaw puller sits languidly in College Street area, basking in the sun.

I have never really thought of myself native to a particular place. Despite having been born and brought up in Calcutta, the 'Bengali' in me is still very elusive. And yet, after 5 years when I found myself back in the city that I used to detest, the negative emotions pipped up a little. Why were they even there in the first place. I do not know. And yet as I went about the lanes and bylanes of this culturally rich city, I wished to go back...away from its dreary hustle and bustle. After 17 years in Calcutta, I shifted to New Delhi and two more years later, spent a third of a dozen years in Maharashtra's best - Pune. But as much as I imbibed and wished to imbibe from these cities, I still belittled the one that gave birth to me. I hope to visit the city again, on a journey to find what is missing in me.

Friday, January 11, 2013

My Soul Indigo


It’s the lonely path I have chosen

Or it seems some have pushed me down it

I envy your paths, sun-lit rosen

Gardens of wonder, joy and colour.


The dry twigs crackle beneath

As my heavy feet pounds on them

I look to God and seek release

But your happiness leaves me astounded.


Am I the stuff that blue is made off?

Sprinkling sadness on the tips of others

“It’s just your nature, love,” my friends scoff,

“To be darned a depressing, spreading nun.”


I gaze at the rainbow, glistening bright

Hovering over the luscious paths of others

Stretching my fingers at the sight

Hoping to grab some for my life.


Oh, what must it feel like to be bathed

In the colours of the mighty rainbow?

Dressed in orange, red, violet instead

Of my lonely soul indigo?

(Pic sourced from Google)