Saturday, June 29, 2013

Dhopash!

It was just this morning that I was thinking that the latest monsoon trend in my small town – in the suburbs of Kolkata – seems to be slipping on the ground. I hear random people slipping in their bathroom, or the veranda or even in their kitchen. Even the lane in front of my house has got so slippery that I almost saved myself from losing my balance the other day.

But I couldn't save myself for long. Visiting D’s house this afternoon, I slipped in front of her house and proved that the growing trend is, after all, true.

Here is how it happened.

I was never much of a pet-lover. My Dada once received a parrot as a birthday present from a cousin of mine. But Maa gave the ultimatum of one week – either the bird goes or we. Dada chose himself and his little sister over the bird. In Maa’s defense she said that birds kept in cages are not a good omen for the household.

The next pet in our house was a series of fish for my fish bowl. The first pair of goldfish died within a week. The next types – tiny and nameless (at least to me) survived – in turn – for about six months. Then one day I found the last three dead, all at once. I felt so sad that decided not to keep any more.

And I was never much of a dog lover. But I did warm up to a particular one that I named Bhulu, even though it turned out to be a “she”. I didn’t change her name. So, she was a she-dog named Bhulu. But she betrayed me after being fed from my hands for months. I know many dog-lovers out there will say that dogs are the most loyal of animals ever. And I am sure Bhulu had her reasons too. But for me, who is usually cold towards anything bigger than a rabbit, it was enough.

Anyway, after much digressing, here is how I fell.

I was trying to maneuver one of D’s dogs, aptly named lyadh-khor, and before I could understand what was happening while getting down from the rickshaw, I found myself on the ground, on the slippery mud. And all my BFF could do was to laugh out loud – LOL being her favourite phrase.


Thankfully I didn't get much hurt. But it made me wonder that may be there is something called fate. Just when I was being smug about saving myself from falls, did I get the fall of my day to remember that there is One smarter than the smartest among us!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Scribblings

Think of a day
When the sky is blue,
With clouds high
Above me and you.

You knocked on my
Door, as you thought
It was a day good for
A long walk.

You waited and you expected
Me to come with
A smile on my lips,
And a heart full of bliss.

But you waited and
Grew impatient. You used
Your personal key,
Letting go of the chivalry.

You came in my dining,
Found last night's dinner
Was there. Untouched.
My bed, you saw, was undone.

These are the days of abduction
And murders, you shuddered
With fear. You found
Me nowhere, without even a note.

I have come away,
Without telling you,
Or Mama and Papa.
I have come high above.

Not cocaine, I'm not high
On drugs. I got a call saying,
"This is Tinker-Bell,
Peter wants you back."




But I'm in the 20's,
Worse than the Jazz age.
Zelda and her friends
Have lost their edge.

My 20's are faded,
With fear of risks.
And building walls around me
With safety bricks.

I am preparing for the 30's.

Let me leave you to the 20's.
I am not made for them.
The last teen-year is
Where I live.

You will have a happy life,
And a prosperous retirement.
I am to my NeverLand,
Leaving the world to your amusement.

                                     ~ Simantini Sinha (23/06/2013)

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Maha-faulty-Nagari @ Kolkata

My city is perhaps the most imperfect of all cities. It is not Mumbai - the City of Opportunities. It is not Delhi - the Posh City. Neither is it Bangalore - the Global City. My city is a simple city - the City of Joy.

I am not a hopeless nostalgic in my twenties, because I yet have a lot to live and a lot to know before I can sink into nostalgia. And I am not unaware of the many faults that my city suffers from. And yet, I love this place.

With a severe lack of respectable resting places for lovers, the love in this city still blooms every season. In the 70's and the 80's, may be it blossomed through handwritten letters, sometimes smeared with aator by some over enthusiastic lover. In these days, love blossoms through adda at CCD, text messages and FB status updates. Yet, we find joy in love.

We shout at the top of our voices, and we enjoy the silly fights on the road. The most recent blackening of the city has been the molestation of women, and it leaves many of us grieving. And yet, we love this city.

This city pays less, works even lesser and enjoys lyadh the most. Every alternate person I know is leaving the city for other cities, or even other countries. Someday, even I might, in my wander-thirst. But while I was having a text-conversation with N, a college friend long lost and recently reconnected with, I realized that I am not really as gaga over Kolkata as I think myself to be. Things are bad here, and I accept it completely. The politics, the lack of job opportunities, the roads, the transport system, the bandhs, the humid weather, the pnpc (poro-ninda-poro-chorcha), the mosquitoes... the list doesn't end anywhere soon.

Kolkata transport

Yet, just as a mother loves her wayward son as much as her perfect one, or perhaps a little more, I love this city. With all its incompetencies and flaws, bad-and-getting-worse politics, lagging behind work culture - everything. Even if I move out and go anywhere, my heart will be here - my home, my Kolkata.

I guess I am just passionate about my love for it like the city itself...

Thursday, June 13, 2013

The Sinha Family - Present Tense

Variety is the spice of life, they say. So, after posting much about serious issues on women's life and troubles, I have decided to do a few posts on my life. But I promise to keep it more interesting than it sounds! It won't be a boring autobiography. I will introduce some of the people who matter to me, and will make sure that their portrayal ends just before I tend to become tedious!

Will start with my family, of course! A post will be solely on my father, and that has to wait.

But here is my brother.

Reads a lot, watches yet more movies, hates my choice of romantic comedies & fantasy series & Masterchef viewing & that I ask him to take my photos every now and then! Teases me and my friends (read, Debjani. She'll be introduced later on) for laughing with no reason. Teams up with me to pull Maa's leg. Sometimes we have had these insightful conversations on topics ranging from politics to movies to cooking and career and family. Is a pretty good cook too!



After the passing away of my father, he somehow took up the role of the father figure. He has struggled a lot to be who he is today, and is the Self-Made Man in its truest sense. Got married last winter to a wonderful lady!



And of course, after he reads this post, he will feel secretly happy and not express it! I know :-)

And the last picture has already introduced my Boudi. A working lady, I see her transforming from professional to personal with such ease that I hope to acquire the quality as well. Has great PR skills, something that me and Dada tease her about! Is a pleasure to be with.



And I was saving the best for the last - Maa.


A beauty in her days of glory.


The first working lady of my life, she has made me who I am, whatever I am. She has inspired me to work and not remain content with aiming to be a housewife. She has taught me to handle home and work simultaneously. If I can sing, it's because she has made me do my riyaaz regularly. She has forced me to go into challenging situations and struggle and come out victorious. My fiercest fights are with her, my worst angers are with her, and my choicest dreams are with her. And references about her have come up every now and then in my blog - here and here as well and here again.

Sentiments aside, she watches news all day long - literally. Hates to cook, loves to eat boiled vegetables and fruits and have milk, loves vibrant colours - which, by the way, suits her powerful personality perfectly, is a fitness freak, reads voraciously, used to make lovely crochet pieces (will try to post a few of her handiwork pictures later) and is the backbone of our family.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Tik-Tok, Tik-Tok



When something bad, or even good, happens all of a sudden, it’s easier to accept it. Or at least because you are not prepared for it to happen, it is easier to stay alive before it happens.

But when you know that something BIG is about to happen on a certain date, no matter how good it is, you feel worried. At least I do. And if I shouldn't term it as worry, then I can safely call it apprehension. A complete change of life, schedule, days, food habits, free time, environment and so much more.

Before you start on your guessing-spree, No, I am not getting married. This is more personal. Well, marriage is personal too, but this is more of career oriented. And what’s worse is that the change is supposedly good. The opportunities, the returns, the whole matter of not-staying-back-unoccupied is good. And anyway, 25 is high time to leave studies and get on with real life. Most people I know have not had the opportunity – rather luxury – of studying for so long without any worries.

But this is just useless worry. I know. I wrote in my diary too. I discussed with my friends as well. And yet, unless I am actually on it, the apprehension will not go. This is basically the hatred for waiting.

Wait! I know what this is! This is impatience! My original characteristic! Now I know why I am feeling so restless these days. Because I am impatient, silly!

Well, I will definitely feel better now that the problem has been diagnosed. At least now I can tell myself to be patient and not harp on the impatient part of me. By the way, do you remember how Alice of Alice in Wonderland (the book, of course) used to scold herself for being silly? I have this habit from her. So, now I can scold myself for being impatient and doubting good opportunities.


Phew!!

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Survival in "Songsar"

Maa says that we are a generation which is less bound by rules and emotions. That we worry less, and live more. And she also says that our families (songsar, in her words) will be less systematic (gochhano, again in her words).

So, this afternoon, I was having a chat with her, spoiling her afternoon siesta, because basically I was tired of studies, and also that talking to her gives me food for thought. Well, it’s more reasons-to-rebel than the regular food-for-thought. Anyway.

I have seen my Maa, all my masis and pisis, and some of my boudis, and kakimas, worry about things which don’t matter, and completely ignore what matters – they themselves. They would leave for a wedding but constantly worry if some window is left open back at home and if a sudden rain would wet the curtains. They would go to their sister’s son’s birthday, but wonder if the baai (kajer masi / maid help) would turn up the morning after. The list is endless, and grows on to become seriously frustrating.

Yes, I have no experience of songsar, and hope earnestly that I never become like them. Not because I feel I am better or superior. No. But because I have seen them give up so much of what they like, for the sake of this elusive concept called songsar.

What is songsar? I see K clutching to her son and daughter and husband with her existence, but they go on to live their own lives. The husband has his own friends and group of evening walkers. The son has shifted to another city with his wife and son. The daughter will be married off in a few months. What is left for K? What has she kept for herself, if not the constant obsessing over everyone’s health?

You will argue that it is love. The unconditional love of a mother. I say, if only she would love herself with a part of it, she wouldn't be sinking into loneliness. I see her trying to gather the parts of her songsar, but is it not an illusion?

Take any average Indian middle-class woman - working, or not. Every time they meet, they can't stop worrying - and sharing the worries - about their homes. I have hardly ever heard middle aged regular Indian ladies talk about what they like to do, or what they have recently done, or what movie they have watched, or anything exclusively related to them and not to their songsar. Those who do, kudos to you!

I am sometimes termed as stubborn. If thinking about myself and my own identity makes me stubborn, so be it. What are girls taught from the moment they learn to understand words? That your songsar is your responsibility. Someday, you will leave your parents’ house and go to a new place and you will successfully adjust yourself with the members of the family and build your songsar. And your songsar will comprise your new family. Amidst all this, where is the individual? Where is the person who studied, worked, reached a certain position in her office? Why does it all have to be buried under the eternal concept of songsar?

I feel good when I see women giving equal priority to their own hobbies, even after being a part of the career and the songsar. Reading books, writing, driving, watching movies as a part of daily life and not only as a part of quality time spent with the family. I just hope that they don’t feel guilty for living their lives.

I am young, and my thoughts will undergo phases as I mature. They will mature with me, and modify with experience. But I want to remain faithful to these ideals and beliefs till I am old enough to leave this songsar.