Monday, August 24, 2015

"If You Light A Lamp For Someone Else It Will Also Brighten Your Path"

Hello Monday. 

I get that you must come at me with a vengeance, to prove some sort of a point. Not quite sure about what that point is. Although I am pretty sure it involves conveyor belts, awkward running shoes and an errant Frisbee...maybe?

But I hereby relinquish all my weapons to you. 

Instead I offer you this: 

Namu Myoho Renge Kyo 

In case you are wondering, no I haven't converted to Buddhism. I have been visiting a Japanese monastery close to my house,  for the past couple of days. It irks me that there's been this bit of haven all this time and I never knew of it. 

There is something about the drums beating to the tune of the chant of a quiet, kind monk, who later turns around and explains his prayers to you. He talks of nirvana, kindness and peace in a reassuring, friendly voice. 

On my first visit, I remember stepping out into the immaculate garden outside and wanting to weep for the peace that I felt in my heart...after so long... 

And all I can hope and pray for all of you is you feel it too.... Look beyond the harsh words that people find so easy to hide behind, look beyond the pain that you know your heart can't bear anymore and hold somebody's hand. Hold it like you'd hold a friend's hand. With understanding, with love and with strength. 

Let's  put our weapons down. 

I realise that our smartphones and tv sets and computers have created a superb illusion of us being a part of the world in a we're- alone-but-not-so-alone way...which is wonderful except when we replace that with real human connections. We blank out the obvious things and people that are right in front of our eyes...crying out for a bit of love...

It pains me to know I have done the very same things. Looked at someone and thought "this person is never going to get me, why bother trying to make a connection...I have way cooler friends I can whatsapp and they'll even think my jokes are funny. Screw you person staring at me like I'm an alien." 

I've been steadily wooed by being the only worthwhile way to connect to a peer. My feelings have always been distorted since forever..I am trying to step out of that way of thinking. Connecting to people have so little to do with the flutter in your belly and so much to do with the twinkle in your eyes. ( okay don't quote me on this one, I think I'm getting a tad carried away :p) 


I leave you with my little vision of hope here...something that's keeping me afloat

...and I am passing it on to you, world. 

Wednesday, August 19, 2015

Cause I've Got Things I Could Talk To You About

What do you get when a wildflower and a poet fall in love? 
There'll be the wild beat of the drums. 
Puppet shows. 
Laughter, joy and the kissing away of sorrows. 

"You will never have to be alone," he said. 
"As my muse you shall travel the lengths 
 Of this beautiful land. 
 I'll keep you close to my heart," the poet conjectured and  held fast her thorny hand. 

The wildflower blossomed.
Collected pretty things. 
Never to be worn, to be silently oohed and ahead at. 
Akin to the awe the poet harboured; 
To a life that togetherness promised. 
The possibilities glimmered 
The way the sea catches the sun  
In every crease and crevice of a wave. 

What do you get when a wildflower and a poet fall in love? 
A family. 
Puppet shows. 
Light and shadow performances at the day's close. 

Magic. And pets. 
And pillow forts. 
That  eventually tumble....

All the king's horses and all the king's men 
Couldn't put their home back together again. 

The wildflower hardly recognised herself. 
But she couldn't drift away in the wind. 
Wouldn't let her float away with her kind. 

The poet tackled life
With another steady wife. 
This has been a heady dream, indeed it has, he admitted. 
But a poet needed someone to keep him grounded. 

A normal wife who wouldn't demand. 
Be happy with the daily grind.
A son who will hardly see 
The world from his shoulder clutching on his neck,  giggly.  

He would read about the wildflower though
In a quiet corner of a secret alcove. 
It would be an afternoon of discoveries. 
Of "I wonder what" and similar mysteries. 

Impatient, he would send a pigeon across the city
"Where are you? " the pigeon would coo. 
Into the ears of the fragile duo. 
They would weep and let go 
In their own quiet ways. 

That's what happens when a poet and a wildflower fall in love. 
There is thunder, there is rain
There is a general sense of agreement in the firmament 
Till you flounder and find your soul scratched up, beaten and asunder. 
So... You let go and weep
For the parts you thought were yours to keep. 

Friday, August 14, 2015

In Loving Memory of Dadu

I think of Dadu often.

He’ll  seep into little daily inconsequential things and sometimes wander off unnoticed. Because that’s how it is with thoughts right? 

He moved in with mom and I,  essentially putting an end to the brilliant privacy castle that I'd built high in the air. I’d barely been 13 for a few months, moved into a new apartment and hadn’t even gotten accustomed to the tantalizing possibilities of having my own room. “I’ll just put a fluffy rug, throw in a few cushions …who needs a bed. This is going to be one hell of an exciting place.” I had thought naively. Then mom asked me to be "practical":  a bed, a table a night lamp followed...and dadu promptly moved in with a thank-you-good-slaves-that'll-be-all air. 

“It’s not fair, why can’t he just live at his own place with Dida. All my other cousins don’t have to deal with giving away their whole room to their grandfather.” I wailed…and I let the resentment build and bubble in me.

Grandma didn't seem to have a problem with this arrangement. "He needs a steady doctor's supervision M, he couldn't be in better hands."  she told mom. 

Some times I'd grudgingly accept the perks of living with  dadu. I didn't have to make trips to mama bari for the daily lessons in English,Bengali and Mathermatics that he used to guide me with. He was just a room away scribbling in his notebooks and diaries( I can never look at a diary without thinking about Dadu now, he would meticulously fill in every little detail that was asked for on the first page of the diary), tinkering with his precious wooden box of homeopathic medicine. 

"God is great and kind to all" he'd write on pages after pages after pages. 

He'd ask his attendants to get Kachoris and jalebis every Sunday.... treat all of his students to biryani or Chinese and call up everyone and check on their health. Bills and bank work,insurance and other strenuous paper work were promptly entrusted on him, as he'd carry all that out with robotic efficiency when he wasn't stabbing away at his typewriter about the latest developments reported in the newspapers;  expressing polite enrage  to the Prime Minister, the President  and other important people  who wouldn't even bother reading the first sentence. But there was something so hopeful about watching him write so earnestly...  He’d mark the columns in newspaper in red and ask me to read them and write a passage on them."Translate this for me D" would be his constant game with me. He'd enunciate sentences in English or Bengali and I had to do the needful. I would express annoyance at best, ignore him at worst. "BORING" I would think to myself. 

He'd take incessant strolls around the house. Stop at my door, stare at me hunched over a book or trying to mug up some lesson or the other.  "All work and no play makes D a dull girl" he'd say repeatedly "Arghhh...go away! stop staring at me like that" would be my rejoinder. And he'd smile, make a slow turn and walk on...

There were times his face would darken though  and he'd stare gloomily with big round eyes at my mother for having doled out another unfair set of rules in his  increasingly thickening rule book. He'd want to get out of the house. Mom wouldn't let him. He was getting unstable and had begun to fall often. He didn't see that about himself. He was still the strapping young Air Force officer who worked hard and took life with a smile. 

Everybody loved him. There were visitors almost every day. And later when he lost the ability to speak much they'd just come, sit, stare and smile at him. 

He would smile back. Always. Pink gums and eyes sparkling behind heavy spectacle frames. 

I had got through with my college applications and finally cleared admission  to option 2 on my wish list. Came home and mumbled the news to him thinking he won't be able to make sense of it. His hand shot up, took my hand firmly  into his and shook it for one long minute. My head went back to that day he helped me with a Bengali essay in Grade 3. "What do you want to do when you grow up?" I had no idea (still don't actually) and dadu had said "write  I want to pursue higher studies at JU..." and there I was 9 years later doing exactly that. 

I knew he'd say "Congrats Manu," if he could. 

I just wish I hadn't been such an asshole to him you know? Because I was trying to numb out so many things. I was trying to numb out how safe it felt to have him around. How wonderfully reassuring it felt to have him silently watch me just doing random shit....and the fact that I was so glad that he was living with us. So glad that I got to learn from him. So very glad…

Now when I have to deal regular assholes every day, I remember how I’d behaved with Dadu and I tell myself that maybe they’re on autopilot like I was. That they aren’t alive they’re just living. It’s easier to be an asshole when you’re only just living. 

I have learnt to forgive myself so I am better placed to channelize kindness and be calm in the face of a storm...the way dadu would patiently wait for me to translate a whole sentence badly and then correct it and listen to my inane arguments on why I am right and he's wrong. 

And I can only hope that Dadu remembers the good parts and forgives the rest.

I am sorry Dadu. Love you always. 

Sunday, August 9, 2015

I have been advised to use bullets to sum up varied subjects under a Broad Heading... and That's What I Am Doing In This Post.

  • Things that you will totally get if you grew up in a Bengali Household:

            "Have you locked the doors?, " her mother asked.

             "Yes," she replied feigning confidence.

              The lizard called out three times.

              Then it must be true, mother thought, and went soundly to sleep.

[There is a saying that goes if a lizard calls out three times after you have made a statement then it must definitely be true. But every time I hear that saying I always think of an evil dude who made lizard puppets just to mess with people's head or something] 

  • Haters strike harder when proven wrong. Hunters in the woods, looking for vegetation they may pass off as meat and shake their fists triumphantly in the air. 

        Don't listen. 

        You won. 

         Fair and square. The rest is just white noise. 

         Blank it out and remember Love. :) 

         Goofy old love: 

  • And in other news I have had the rare occasion of actually enacting the naked dream. You know the one where you go to work and you suddenly realise you're naked? Well that almost happened today, except I was MC ing for a concert and and my blouse popped open? And by blouse I mean the itsy bitsy one you're supposed to wear with a saree ~sigh~ My stomach is aching just thinking about that whole situation...I actually had to go on stage at that very instance I realised that I had only the pallu to hide behind ...and I am going to pass out from sheer trauma if I write about this even a bit more. So I shall stop here. Maybe later...when I might just start to find all of this funny.