Friday, October 5, 2012

Objectively Subjective

It's foolish to expect that one can get away with a breakup without feeling a scratch. I'm not aware of the Western culture where breakups seem to be more rampant than here in India. But is it really so? May be the plight of finding the perfect mate is equally strong in every country. And then, there are always those who prefer their single status rather than complicate the easy life. Or is just the 'sour grapes' psychology?

Anyway, if I've learnt anything from the relationships and breakups that I've witnessed around me, then it's that however smoothly you might want to end it, it wouldn't have broken if it was already going good.

Breakups are almost never peaceful. Any one of the two will try to hold on. And if both are happy to get rid of it, then sometimes whoever takes the initiative feels more powerful. The feeling of being somewhat unwanted doesn't really go away even if the breakup is mutual.

Friday, September 14, 2012

When Strength Becomes A Vice

Let this be a story about a girl, who was strong. And may be that strength became her fault. How? For that, I'll have to tell you her story.

                      Mocking-Jay (The Hunger Games) - Symbol of Strength for my generation's girls! :-)

She loved. Just when she entered college, she fell in love - just like many other girls of every generation - with the guy who showered her with attention all the time. She knew that perhaps he is not her type, for he was the type who would not settle with one girl at one time. And yet, as this was her maiden venture to Love-Land, she trusted her heart. As usual, the guy broke her heart. Nothing uncommon, right? Her reaction was also very common. She cried, and pined for him, and felt sad and sorry for herself. But she recovered. And here was her fault.

Then, after a couple of years, she fell in love. This time, the guy was a really nice one. The ones we girls usually like to trust. He was sober, understanding, caring and matured. She hoped that this will work out. You see, she is the type who hopes eternally for the Prince Charming, just like most of us regular girls. But I remind you that hoping was not her fault. We'll come to that later. And this guy, the good one, left her because they belonged to different communities and he was not prepared to take a chance against his family's wishes. Fair enough. I don't blame the guy, because not everybody can, or should, recreate Ek Duje Ke Liye type romance. After all, the 90's are over, and we have moved on from flashy over-the-top romance to the regular Cocktail type practical romance. The Deepikas still give panic attacks to the careful Saifs and get hitched to the tamed Dianas.

Anyway, now comes the final twist to my story's heroine's love-story. There is this third guy who had been liking her for a long time, even after being aware that she comes from a background which is much different to what he has grown into. The girl was not ready to get into a relationship anymore, because she felt she had had it enough. They had been friend for a pretty long time, and she didn't want to ruin the friendship just to take a chance at romance. I don't say that it was just the guy's fault just because the girl is my friend. As even a mere blog-writer, I have this minimum objectivity to make sure that I give equal justification to every character. But what happened next was that just when the girl was ready to accept this guy's proposal and give it a try, the guy confessed that due to family troubles he wouldn't be able to commit to her. But he wanted her to be his girlfriend for as long as they stayed in the same city.

The girl refused. Any sensible person would. If there is no future to a relationship, why should you go on hurting yourself just to be a part of an experiment?

Now comes the real trouble. The girl has recovered. She has cried a river, dried her eyes, and recovered. And this is not done. Why? Stop judging me to be a feminist, and think once. If you learn that a guy friend of yours has been crying over his girlfriend for the last 3months, you'll say, "Ladkiyon ki tarah kya ro raha hai? Mard ban, mard!!" (courtesy: Dil Chahta Hai). And if you learn that a girl has recovered from a breakup in less than 3months, you will say, "Was she even serious about the guy??"

The girl MUST cry and howl and soak dozens of handkerchiefs to show that she is a weak person who needs a shoulder for support. She can't be the one to support another one because by doing that she'l lose her femininity. She must be the one who goes from one person to another to express her sob story. And if she doesn't conform to these norms, rumours circulate about her that she must have been flirting around, that she couldn't have been serious or else how could she recover so soon? And the guy must flirt around with a couple of girls after a breakup to show that he is macho enough to get over the girl soon enough.

Everybody expects the other person to hang on to the memories so that they themselves can prove to be the stronger one and recover fast. That's a very practical phenomenon. but the trouble begins when the fast-recovering one is not the guy, but the girl. Then it becomes abnormal and unnatural, because we all expect her to stay low and watch crappy sentimental movies and eat loads of chocolate - not because she loves to watch those Suraj Barjatiya movies or stuff herself with Silk and Bournville - but because she is a girl and she must do these to prove that she was in love with the guy!!

This is the general view-point, to which I refuse to conform, and so does my friend. I know guys who are really nice, and support this non-conformity. I am not fighting an anti-men case. Stereotypical views harm men more than they harm women. Even if a guy wants to cry, he will more often than not control his tears. And that hurts. Here is my question - Can't we just be honest to ourselves and accept that the world is not like us and that we are not the ultimate ones? Can't we just open our minds - in stead of merely opening our eyes and ears and mouths - and accept? If we have hurt a person, can't we just accept the punishment, and not be nagging about returning to where we were?

I rest my case.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Stuff that Nightmares are Made of


I may not be a strict non-believer in ghosts, but my nightmares usually consist of unresolved issues - termed popularly by the movies as "ghosts of the past". Some are decades old, and considering that I'm just 24, it's clear that I'm an issue-full girl all the way!

Certain friendships gone sour. Works left undone. Silly fights that wasted months of precious time. And so much more. Mostly, it's about things that I haven't said or done. Not always is it about the good things. Sometimes I have wanted to tell a person that he's full of himself or that she needs to realize that the world doesn't revolve around her, but I've just kept quiet and faked a smile. May be it's what courtesy is. Or maybe just avoiding the issues, which ultimately adds them to my list of 'unfinished business'.

And then there have been times when I've wanted to take the day off and get on a bus and just be. I've always wanted to do it, but never really got the final tug to actually do. May be now that I've made it public, I'll do it. Or maybe, I'll just keep it unfinished because if I complete it, where will I find another crazy little thing among the series of 'correct' things to do?

And then of course there are relationships.

[From this part onward, I'll be speaking on a completely non-personal ground, and I'm acknowledging it beforehand so that assumptions are not made!]

Sometimes bad breakups or mutual ones where one of them is not ready to move on. But for most, it is usually the opposite. The call of duty forces us to move on, to continue living the life and do all that we are supposed to do. But the nightmares continue. Not just during sleep, but also the scariest thought - which I've heard quite a few of my friends utter - "What will I do if I happen to meet my ex?" This is supposed to be a real nightmare! And some have to face it, while the others just have to live on the dark side of this fright.

However, I think that the fun of the meeting-the-ex part is that you meet that person who broke your heart, or whose heart you broke, in the most unexpected of places! And if it's after a few years, then you usually realize how silly things were back then! Or you don't. May be you just feel bad, awkward, embarrassed, angry, jealous, or critical. I think I'll have to do a bit of research on the topic - How do you feel when you meet an ex? :P

This was about the not-so-romantic side of romance.

Unresolved issues are all around us. If the previous examples did not concern you, don't worry! The following ones might just do.

That boss who made you feel small but got transferred before you could get the courage to lash out.
The driver at the road who kept on delaying you on your drive to work by taking up the whole road.
Or even the housemaid who left the job without even informing.
[Take your pick]

Unresolved issues are all around us. I guess we forget some by compulsion of life, and some by choice of moving on. Whether or not we remember them all is tough to answer. But some are so huge to be resolved that they add to the haunting part of our dreams...

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Happily Nostalgic? Nostalgically Happy!

21st August, 2012


                                                                               Some of my cousins
                                                    (L-R - Manimoy, Sanchari. Shankhajit, Me, Monoseej)

Some days are custom-made for nostalgia. Just like today. It's mid-August. The year has been almost rainless. The morning was cloudy. I didn't expect rain, as such cloudy days have betrayed rain quite a few times in the past couple of months. But as the day progressed, it started to drizzle. And it has been so for the last couple of hours. Sitting comfortably by the window of a bus, and listening to light semi-classical music on my phone, blurred flashes of my childhood are crossing my heart.

I grew up in the mountains, but in Kolkata we had our big house with our big joint family. I remember the times when I used to come here during the holidays. My memory of the house is filled with happy noise which gave me, and perhaps everybody in the house, a sense of security. I used to play with my brother and cousins. Because I came mainly during the holidays, such visits were usually made happier with large get-togethers.

The breakfasts, the lunches, and the dinners were all taken at the great big dining hall, all the members together. My Bomma (Borojethima) used to give us tok doi mixed with a hint of salt in small bowls after the lunch.

We played lukochuri, kanamachhi, rumalchor, ikir-mikir and what not!

And I remember the big kitchen where someone or the other was always cooking something or the other all through the day! (We are a happy-eating family, you see!)

I remember having my first phuchka with Dadabhai when they used to come 6 for Re.1!! (It will cost you Re.1 for each piece now :-/ )

And I remember so much more, but can pen down so less, because they have now become my heart's beats. They have become intimate with my breathing that I can't separate them into words anymore. They are only to be felt on such continuously nostalgic days.

P.S. - Dedicated to all my family members who are a part of this nostalgic journey. :-)

Friday, June 22, 2012

I Choose the Change

People don’t always know that they are putting you through shit. And even you don’t always realize that what they have been serving you all along, with the salad of love and sauce of care, was basically shit that has done you no good. But the real fun begins when you realize that you want something different on the menu and decide to ask for it. And if you find, after quite a few requests of re-orders, that the menu is not going to change, you simply stop coming there. Which, in this case, means that you block all the previous communications.

Now, this may seem rather random for the person on the other end, but trust me, you are not to be blamed. If there is anything I’ve learned from my years of being the good girl who knew not how to answer back, then it is the fact that you are not mistreated until you allow the other person the liberty to do so.

You don’t need to take shit from anybody. Nobody is more important in your life than you. And if it’s some kind of guilt or gratitude or even old-time’s-sake holding you down, be brave to accept that nothing is worth the effort if it can’t let you be who you are.

And if you think it’s love, then I’d trust your better judgment to tell you that it’s not love if it ties you down. The person on the other side may not even realize that they are having such a negative impact on you. But it’s your responsibility towards yourself to accept the fact if it’s true. It’s never too late to start over. Never too late to make a fresh beginning. Never too late to start living the way you want to.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Simantini Almighty

It was just this morning when I was playing with a bucket of water and trying to make world out of the layer on top of the water when, paradoxically, a profound thought hit me, perhaps quite like a truck for I could not stop thinking about it till I finally it wrote down. I think the profoundest of thoughts hit us when we are doing the silliest of things. So never underestimate anything silly!

Anyway, that was a digression, and let me tell you where I was. So, how would it feel like to be God? Sorry to all the conventional religionists, for you could take this as blasphemy. But I’m just wondering, you see. I am neither an atheist, nor a devout. I am just trying to find out, how would it feel to create something as beautiful as the Earth out of nothing, and decorate it and give it innumerable forms of life and then watch them rot and die every moment?

I wonder, does God feel helpless sometimes? There are so many of us calling out to God (I’ll refrain from using a pronoun to make sure I don’t give God a gender). How does God even keep record of all the appointments? “God’s God”. That’s the answer I’ll get from the ‘grown-ups’. But what if I was God?

At first, I don’t think I’d be able to decide what to do with the infinity. Why do I have to make the Earth round? If I've made all the other planets round, but given Saturn a few rings to play with, why I can’t I make Earth a square or triangle? I guess my own rules of space. So you see? God isn’t that free as we think God to be. God couldn’t get away from own rules. There was this Bangla song about a similar topic, anyway.

So now that I’d be enough pissed as God to know that I can’t give a simple shape to the Earth according to my wishes, I’d have to stick to the round one. Alright, after that comes the topography. By the way, my 9-year-old student tried to pronounce “topography” and said, “It’s easier to say ‘physical features’.” So I thought that perhaps we unnecessarily complicate matters to make them look sophisticated, while the easier answer is usually right in front of our eyes.

Digressed again. Coming to the ‘physical features’. I love the way God has created the tectonic plates. They can move around as they wish, though they are not as alive as I’m making them sound. They don’t remain stationary, unlike quite a few of us who can’t be moved from the tv-couch or bed or computer chair!

As for the detailing and garnishing, I think God had done it as a regular co-curricular activity. Sorry for making it sound mundane, especially if you’d been hoping for a let-there-be-topography-and-the-mountains-started-growing stuff. I don’t blame the poor soul. I’d have done the same thing if I was left alone with an unexplored piece. I’m happy God took time and made a masterpiece out of the boring sphere.

And then came life!

I don’t believe in the whole Eden Garden concept. I’d much rather believe in deteriorating-from-the-monkeys theory. The reason our own Eden (Kolkata) can’t handle the pressure is mainly because the original inspiration – the former imaginary one – was not a real one. So we have all these crumbling down of parts of the stadium in every 6months. It has now become more or less a routine - either a huge power-cut or people pushing and rushing or the dhor-mor collapsing of some part of the gallery.

Had I been God, I think I’d be pretty much disappointed with the way the world has turned out. Almost like a promising child gone wayward.

(Sorry for the abrupt end. Maa dakche. If she comes to know ami blog-e lokjon ke gyan dichchi, I’ll be done for the day :P )

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Musing Over My Muse!

I was waiting for some profound thought to hit me, perhaps like the way a bus hits a pedestrian every alternate day, so that I could make myself sit in front of the Microsoft Word and type a few inspired words. But as it seems, I have not been hit yet. And I just thought that it’s high time I stop waiting. Whenever I am waiting for a particular bus, it never comes. Well, never until I already get up on a different bus and see my awaited one pass by me in a tortoise-like speed. So, that’s my fate.

Poets – male ones – are so hung up on their muse. Muses – somehow always the female ones – seem to have a great doing in the creativity of the poets. I ask, what about female poets? I surely do not consider myself as a poet. But here I am, waiting to be struck by an idea, and I am sure that had I been a man, quite a few female muses would have come by my side and cajoled me to write something about them by now. I know highly creative men/young men who are regularly being pursued by other women/young women to have a piece written about them. I have no such muse! No young man asks me to write even a line for him! The best I can do for myself is that I write a few lines, badger my friends to read them and tell me how they are. More often than not, the so called poems are too commonplace, and my friends are just too polite to say “stop torturing us!”

But my point here is why am I – rather female writers (pardon me big time for considering myself a writer. But since I can write, I can perhaps call myself so in the simplest sense of the term) – devoid of a muse? And even if I choose a particular muse for myself, how would I like him to be? I am pretty sure I would change my muse every week or month, the way I change my favourites. Currently, my muse would be Benedict Cumberbatch for sure! Have you watched Sherlock BBC? If not, your bad. If yes, you know why I am going gaga over the man. THE man. :)

His voice, his hair, his height, his coat, his style, his arrogance, his bossiness! Oh yeah, his nicotine patches – though I am sure that’s nowhere as romantic as old Sherlock’s pipe – but never mind. Cumberbatch doing anything would catch my fancy for the next few weeks.

I thought I would do a separate post on Sherlock. But I realized that there is too much to say, and too few words. Or perhaps I am too hung up on Cumberbatch to objectify the series. Anyway, that was not the point.

Since I studied Feminism in my Masters, I think it would be unfair if I do not deconstruct – yes, another serious thing I studied and which has since made me dissect every accepted notion under the sun, from Lokkhir Pachali to the latest Roadies vote-out – the reason behind lack of male muses.

Dear Deconstruction would say that women were hardly ever given the opportunity to study, let alone writing poems. So, in the earlier days, when poets like Sidney and Spenser were fighting over muses, their women were very likely to be waiting to hear the poems, but never write something by themselves. Perhaps they did write, the bold ones, but I can guess that their muse would be their lover. Well, the male poets would also take the lover as the muse, but they would also treat her as a supernatural higher spirit. Anyway, not elaborating on it, for that will ruin my mood.

And dear Feminism would say that while in the earlier days, women were not given the opportunity to write, these days when women are more empowered, they do not need any male inspiration.

I beg to differ.

I do need a handsome eye-candy like Benedict Cumberbatch or Tom Cruise or even Ranbir Kapoor to give me inspiration! In other cases, smart businessmen or engineers would also do, as long as the inspiration keeps coming! :)

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Lived Through Dreams

Some dreams, they are not to come true.
Dreams that shape your life.

Dreams fulfilled make you
Reach the end.
Dreams left unreached
Keep you going ahead.

Dreams left in the past.
Dreams lived in the past.

Fragrant with sweat and laughter –
Shining as the lake in hot summer.
Alive with pounding heartbeats,
With hurried footsteps
Eager to reach their dreams.

A thousand brittle dreams
Dreamt in acute life.
Stretched green richness and fast wheels,
Sleepy afternoons and leisurely cushions –
Dreams made in broken conversations.

Lengthened concrete with no dust;
Dust that creates dreams.
Rolling years of regularity
Welcome with stifled smile.

I look back for dreams,
Weaved but left to remain, just dreams.

- Simantini Sinha.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

THE SHADOW OF THE WIND - an unlikely love!

I personally hate book reviews. Completely abhor them. The ones that appear in newspapers dissect the poor souls – I surely believe that books have souls – mercilessly with the precise hands of unfeeling scientists who have little or no respect for the person who wrote them. And so I maintain that I am not writing a book review. I am just retelling a story that I read, and think that those who have not heard about it or not yet read it should give themselves this treat at least once.

It is after the Civil War in Barcelona, Spain. A country shattered by the warring parties, stained with the dark salty scent of blood. A 10-year-old boy – Daniel – is taken to a place called The Cemetery of Forgotten Books by his father on one morning when he wakes up screaming that he cannot remember his dead mother’s face. This Cemetery is the place where the rarest collection of old and forgotten books lies. Daniel chooses The Shadow of the Wind by one Julian Carax, and finishes it within that night. The narrative of the book – as described by Daniel – reminds him “of one of those Russian dolls that contain innumerable diminishing replicas of themselves inside. Step by step the narrative split into a thousand stories, as if it had entered a gallery of mirrors, its identity fragmented into endless reflection.”

Within a few days Daniel is repeatedly visited by a man without a face – with no eyelashes or lips or skin – just with burnt wrinkled skin. He wants to buy the book by Julian from Daniel, and set fire to it like he has done with all the other books by this particular author. Begins a journey where Daniel and his fugitive friend Fermin do all that they can to uncover the life of Julian and save his books from the faceless man who walks by the name of Lain Coubert  - the name that Julian used for Devil in one of his novels.

There is Inspector Javier Fumero – perhaps the worst kind of nemesis possible. He worked as a spy during the war, shifting his allegiance to whichever group that gave him better opportunities to kill without having to report for the deaths. A Devil to the core, he is inextricably linked to Julian Carax.

Nuria Monfort, a French lady who was complimented once with “Vous avez du poison au coeur”, lies to Daniel about Julian, and also about her own husband Miquel Moliner.

There is a certain Penelope, whose spirit seems to be imprisoned within the books of Julian. Penelope is the object of Nuria’s envy, Daniel’s mystery and Julian’s misfortune. Jacinta – a “barren” woman – with more motherly affection compared to all the mothers in the book; a blind Clara who was the object of teenager Daniel's affection; a Ricardo Aldaya who unwittingly falls prey to his own lechery, bringing ruin to his whole dynasty – all the characters breathe in the war-infected air of the early-mid twentieth century Spain.

And there is Beatriz, with little physical appearance in the narrative compared to many other characters, but bringing redemption to many of the cursed souls trapped in the pages of The Shadow of the Wind with her love and courage.

There is more to the book than what I could mention with an overwhelmed heart and inexpert fingers. Lot more.

There are hardly any long or short descriptions of nature or sunset or sunrise or whatsoever which make me turn the pages to jump to the next “real” part. There are glimpses of the city, it’s dingy lanes, smells, tastes, air, lights, and people. The author, Carlos Ruiz Zafon’s love for the gothic or unconventional can be traced in his tastes – for he writes in a website that he has a weakness for carnivorous plants – “I had one named Gertrude that captured and devoured huge spiders. I'm planning to get another one to feed it snobby people and fanatics of all sorts.” Quote source:

This is the same element – the dark and weirdly comfortable – that I found in the book. The pages are replete with a tangy sense of humour – almost to the point of cynicism – which forces you to read between the lines even if you were not planning to get serious about the book. Zafon somewhat forces you, with his “Sugus sweet” lines, to get involved in the lives of the characters just as Daniel was forced to investigate about Julian Carax without ever intending to.

The Shadow of the Wind – both the real book and the fictional one by Julian – are intricately linked, and so are the lives of Julian and Daniel.

Zafon also has self-composed music pieces complementing the book which you can download for free here. The music goes beautifully with the essence of the book. It has the mystery and comfort the the book gives you. No hollowness, no bitterness. Plain contentment in spite of life’s ironies and curses.

And before I embark upon a re-reading of the book, thank you Abhinanda Chakrabrty, for introducing me to Julian Carax! I didn’t think this was my-kinda book when I tried to judge the book by its cover. I opened it, there was the dedication – “For Joan Ramon Planas, who deserves better.” And the rest, as they say, is love!

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Elizabeths and Darcys in Ghor Koli-Jug

So, the last post was about the book that I read ‘thrice a year’! I wrote in the beginning of that post that I’ll write about the movie that I watch in a similar pattern. But as you can see that I am going through an overdose of the book and am posting a second post about it within minutes of the first one, I just thought that it would be nice to write a bit more about the influence of the book on life in general, or rather the similarity between the book and life.

I do not know many an intelligent girl who has read the book and yet does not think of herself as Elizabeth Bennet – or, even if she knows she is not like her, does not want to be like her. There is something about Elizabeth – her nothing-extraordinary but interesting features, compassion, wit, above average intelligence, refusal to see things any other way than her own (basically the modern ‘my way or highway’ concept), embarrassment at the behavior of loud relatives, and such tiny significant things.

Who doesn’t want to be like Elizabeth Bennet? At least I did! But over the years I have realized a few things. Elizabeth is not about romance. She is a character very much strong. Had she been in 2012, she would have been an outspoken girl who had her own individual views about politics, feminism, music, movies, education, food, and many more. It's just that she was in 1800s. Try to think of her as in 2012, and I bet you will find her easy to relate with. She could be lazy, with a flair for gadgets or hard metal, yet putting some makeup on now and then, preferring to walk aimlessly on strange roads, going to the library even though the shelf is overflowing with unread books. She can be any girl - any intelligent, witty girl.

There is a Elizabeth in most of us. Girls who are basically good-to-average looking, with a good education, the spark to say the things we want to even if that does not go very well with the neighbours or mothers, the pride of being better than most of those around us. You could complete the list for me! I know many of my friends from school and college and university days who, I think, fit the bill of being a nice Elizabeth. What makes her so special? The fact that she is very achievable. A minimum ‘gumption’, as repeated in The Holiday over and over, is what it requires. We all have that one person in the house who understands us and our troubles, just like Mr.Bennet did with her second daughter. We have the too-good-to-be-true Jane, though the gender might change in real life, who somehow sees the brightest silver lining behind every darkest of clouds. There are the silly people, the very practical friend, the relatives you are not embarrassed of, the neighbours who try to outdo your family in the matters of daily life, the foolish admirer who is otherwise a good person but just not the One for you. I have it all in my life, and I have seen quite a few Elizabeth-like friends of mine sharing most of the similar symptoms.

[Statutory warning : "Bride and Prejudice" is injurious to health.]

Fitzwilliam Darcy. He is more of a phenomenon than a real person, I’m afraid. There are shy men in the world; men who are perceived as arrogant mainly because they are not good with introductions. However, they do have a pride in themselves and their background which is mechanical behind their lack of ability in making acquaintances. And somehow, these men always seem to have a friend who is just the opposite – as Mr.Bingley was to Mr.Darcy. And the lot of us – the Elizabeths – become friendly with these Bingleys easier than with their friend even though the Darcys interest us more for obvious reasons.

Now, I would not go as far as stating that the meeting of the Elizabeths and the Darcys have to be exactly as in the book, but usually we have prejudiced notions about them. That’s but natural, right? They think they are better than the rest, while we have proved over and over again that we are better than the rest too. But they simply deny the recognizing our superiority just because of the people around us. And it’s not that we are ashamed of our people, for we love them and are protective of them. So, the whole thing becomes as complicated as pride and prejudice mixed together.

However, I will not get in to how such things get cleared up in real life. That’ll be too mundane to romanticize about.

To talk about a few more P%P characters, there are the Lady Catherine de Boroughs. They think their son/daughter is the best, even though it’s evident that they are just being grossly overrated by some lunatic parent. These Lady Catherines sometimes have husbands. Poor souls. They have nothing to do other than sit quietly – sometimes even stand by their wives’ chairs – and silently endure the super exaggerated praises of everything they endorse. They think they know EVERYTHING. They know how you should eat, how you should talk, how you should proceed in your career, how you should cook jhinge-posto as well as Chinese roasted duck. (God have mercy on you if you can’t cook any of these!!)

Yes, there are still the silly embarrassing people. However, they are still as much adorable as they were in the days of Lydia and Mary, or even Mr.Collins. However, I am quite sure that they don’t realize their role in the real life P&P. maybe that’s because they do not see life and people and circumstances with wit of the Elizabeths. The world is rather black-and-white for them, with endless gossip, curious flirtations and stuff that they do. Mind you, I am NOT being condescending here. I am just presenting a fact that Elizabeths out there, reading this long post, will secretly or publicly agree with. You know quite a few of them, men and women, who belong to this category.

Let me not forget the Wickhams. They have such a big doing in the whole Pride & Prejudice story of the real life. These days, they are usually girls, as far as I have seen. They spread rumours. Nasty toxic rumours. It doesn’t always have to be about the Darcys. As girls are turning in to the Wickhams, the victims are naturally the Elizabeths. Sometimes they are envious of the Darcys liking the Elizabeths, and act more like the Caroline Bingleys. Keeping in mind that Koli-jug is more rampant in the 21st century than it was in the 18th and 19th centuries, these rumours succeed most of the times. The Elizabeths are maligned, and Darcys find it impossible to overcome their ego and clear the matter. And what with all the indirect modes of communication like text message, email, Facebook and even Twitter updates, the handwritten letters are long forgotten. The misunderstandings remain misunderstood.

Jaane se pehle, ek incurable romantic ke dil se nikle huye kuchh alfaaz!!!

If you have found your Elizabeth or Darcy, and you are almost sure – for in Koli-jug you can’t be 100% sure of even the existence of Santa Claus ( :-( ) – try to keep it out of the reaches of the Wickhams and Carolines and also the Lady Catherines.

After all, we are all entitled to be the leading ladies in our love stories! :-)

Revisiting an Old Love - Thrice a Year!

Some books, just like some movies, touch your life once and they touch it over and over again – at regular intervals. Pride and Prejudice is the book for me, and perhaps I will write about the movie for me someday later.

It was 2005 – class9 – when I came across the book at a friend’s place. Her mom had this classic leather bound copy of the classic, and my friend, being the type that she is, did all kinds of doodling on the pages! However, I borrowed it from her mom and tried to read it. I don’t think I could understand every bit of it, but it was love at first sight. Not just with the book, but also with everything vintage. That copy of P&P was already at least 15years old, and torn at places and the pages had turned yellow. (Can you imagine it getting any better?)

Then a few months later, just like some Providence’s call, I found the book at the Scholastic’s book fair that used to be held in school every winter. I didn’t know whether I wanted to read the book again, for the first time was not much of a success in terms of grasping the subtle British humour. Maybe it was just the little summary they write at the end of the book and the awkwardly drawn picture showing exchange of a letter that made me pay some 100 bucks and get it for myself. Just so that you know, 100 INR – 7 years ago – is something around 250 INR of 2012. And ‘in our days’, that was a good amount of money for a school child. (Didn’t I just sound like the grandmothers from all over the world with their perpetual ‘in our days’?) I won’t say I was unhappy, for I always saved for these book-fairs. And let me just digress for a moment here to shamefully confess that I visited the famous Kolkata Book Fair only after I joined college in 2006. Well, that doesn’t seem to have reduced my love for the printed letters in any way though. To tell the truth, I was a domesticated kid back then, just opposite to the chhara-goru type now!

Enough of that.

I have been reading P&P for 7 years now. At least three times a year – every year! At first I skipped lines and simply completed the story. I would read portions like when Elizabeth walks to Netherfield to visit ill Jane, and is rebuked by the Bingley sisters but the rise of color in her cheeks due to the ‘exercise’ is admired by Darcy. The Collins affair. The ‘infuriating’ proposal. The famous, the so very famous ‘letter’. The part where Darcy’s cousin flirts with Elizabeth but knows his standard in the society that separates him from the Bennets. The parts with Jane and Charlotte and Elizabeth (I hate ‘Lizzy’. Elizabeth does more justice to a girl as spirited as her. ‘Lizzy’ sounds like some kindergarten kid’s pet name). The part where Darcy does all that a man could do in my eyes in those days to get his lover’s sister saved from disgrace and trouble. The change of heart and Elizabeth confessing her love for Darcy to Jane. AND, the final clarification of the mistaken pride and prejudice. Oh, by the way, I love the line towards the end where Austen writes, and I quote, “She (Elizabeth) followed him (Darcy) with her eyes, envied everyone to whom he spoke…”. It seemed absolutely what a romantic girl like me would feel when the man she likes doesn’t know about her feelings, and more importantly, when she doesn’t know herself that she actually likes the man. I’ll mention just a few other things that I have come to admire about the book over the years – the way Elizabeth confronts Lady Catherine, Darcy asking Mr.Bennet for permission to marry his favourite daughter and the father replying with – “He is the kind of man, indeed, to whom I should never dare refuse anything, which he condescended to ask.” That was the father’s wit in reply to the son-in-law’s reserve! And that is perhaps the essence of P&P for me – take life with a pinch of salt, and even the worst shock might become a surprise to cherish throughout life.

The book has been more than just a book. It is something I grew up with. I played with the regular khelna-bati, Barbie doll, jigsaw puzzles as a child.  And I read Nonte-Fonte, obviously Feluda, Tenida, Rijuda, Batul the Great and what not as an adolescent. But I also read this one book all throughout my growing up days, and I proudly do it still now – thrice a year. That’s my dose to stay a dreamer – and dream of a perhaps existent Mr.Darcy! ;)