Saturday, September 27, 2008

Ushu Uthhup would love me for this

A few days back, I realised exactly how much I love my city.
I was on a flight to Delhi. The plane had just taken off. For the first time in my life, I observed how Kolkata looks from a few hundred feet above the ground. And I felt an upsurge of affection for it- so strong, that it took me by surprise.
How delightfully unplanned Kolkata was! How magnificent the Ganga looked, even as a meandering white line! And it was MY city. It would miss me while I was away, I knew it would.

They say Bombay is far more modern. It's sassy and streetsmart. It's seen a lot of life. While poor little Kolkata still blushes at a celebrity crush, Bombay's gone and slept with the hottest guys without a twinge of guilt.

No offence to you Bombay, but even if I grew to love you madly, you'd never be more than second best.
I know that our city has more men who pee on the road than it has trees. I know that half my life has probably gone in waiting for the traffic to clear out. I know that Tollywood is still producing movies like 'Abelaye Garam Bhath' and 'Chirodini Tumi Je Aamar.' 
In spite of all that, I'd always choose Kolkata over you. 

Kolkata, I love you for your pulse. Your winter sunshine. 
For giving birth to the word 'nyaka', which doesn't have a good enough equivalent in any other language. 
For being a place where biriyanipuchkas and mishti doi taste equally good and are equally in demand.

At a time when cities are getting blown to bits, I worry about you awfully. I don't want you to become all stiff and businesslike. I don't want you to get battle-scarred and bloody. 
I hope that for years to come, my grocer will continue reciting poetry to me. That Star Ananda will always have enough time to mourn over Saurav Ganguly and go ghost-busting in North Calcutta.
I like you just the way you are, and I never want you to get hurt. So please, please be safe.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mission Accomplished

He was in love.
She was a shimmering haze on his horizon.
He had to know more about her.

He promised to release all her secrets
With wild kisses.
He wanted to look through her eyes
Right into the depths of her soul.
He was determined to set his heartbeat
In tune to hers,
His thoughts, as streamlets
Of her torrential mind.

Charged with passion,
He ripped off her layers in a frenzy.
And with a scream of startled pleasure,
She gave herself to him.

He drank her in,
Till her mysterious ways became eternal truths
He had known since his birth.

She shivered with joy,
At the freedom that this new nakedness gave her.

Then there came a point
When there was nothing left to discover.
He realised he was bored.

It was time to move on.

Telling her was an unenviable task,
But he did it.
And she stood silently,
Shivering as of old,
But with a slight stoop that hadn't been there before.

Nakedness was no good against the cold.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Reminiscent Post

Being in class 12 does make you think about having to leave school. And what strikes me first about my school life is not how ad-jingle-happy it was, or how intense, or how much it's taught me. I just think... SO much has happened. SO BLOODY much. For once, the sheer quantity of it overwhelms me more than the quality. Because FOURTEEN years with Modern High has made us both one and the same. Even if school hadn't been such a party, leaving it behind would mean a small little corner of my heart shrivelling up forever.

And then... the images come rushing into my head. Disconnected, with no sense of chronology. I'm left gasping for breath, riding on the wave of one emotion and crashing upon the shores of another. And it's exhilarating.

Class 9. Our Bio teacher suddenly spots Shrishti smirking and takes away her diary. Looks at it. Then says- "Girls... she has used a very bad 4-letter word." A ripple of gasps runs through the classroom. But Bhattu adds with a pointed look- "It begins with a 'B'." Our astonishment instantly transforms into curiosity. 4-letter swearword with a B?
Bull?
Butt?
B.A.A.D?
'Unless she thinks bore is a swear-word, I don't know what it can be" Aditi whispers.
Later we discovered that it was 'Bitch.' It reassured me somewhat. I may have never completed a math paper for 5 years running, but at least I can count.

Class 5, causing a flutter by kissing a Daniel Radcliffe sharpener.

Cass 2, marching smartly without permission into the staffroom.

Sharing tiffin under the Debdaru trees.
Having a huge fight with a friend because she said I was more fond of Shania Twain than I was of her.
Training juniors to sing for Teachers' Day, and feeling that surge of pride when I saw them on stage.
Interpreting Sahana's dreams.
Defending Humanities.

Funnily, of late, I haven't been thinking about what's happened IN school so much as the things I used to do when I was a kid, and which I've suddenly stopped doing. Like blowing toothpaste bubbles. Or detecting resemblances between dinosaurs and clouds. Or playing cricket with the para boys to the best of my feeble capacity.
A few days back, I slid down the bannisters after YEARS. Of course, I realised why I had to stop doing THAT. Earlier it was only my own safety I had to worry about. Now, it's the foundation of the house that's in jeopardy.

Yes, childhood days were good days. And childhood memories for me, have a strange dream like quality to them- like that of a hot, drowsy, afternoon washed by a golden glow.

But even so, I wouldn't go back for anything. Over the years I've found a certain strength which I lacked when I was a child. The strength to be myself, and not worry too much about the world. I've gained the maturity to realise how sham and hollow some rules are. And how abiding by them does NOTHING to make you a better person, only a resentful one. I've stopped trying to delude myself when I'm scared about reality. And I'm not ashamed of things- like the fact that I cried when Godzilla died, or that I like my pink phone. No matter what the world does to me, I never want to grow so blunt, that I stop crying. Or so old, that the colour of candy doesn't make me smile.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Why History is Fun

"In 1934, Japanese industrialists in China spread the rumour that they had converted Manchuria to the Japanese state of Manchukuo. At that time, China was ruled by Emperor Pu-Yi."

"What's in a name?" Shakespeare asked. If his parents were Chinese, he'd know.
As for the Japanese, their randomness KILLS me! I bet they were just jealous that Fascism was grabbing all the attention. Proving most definitely, that insecurity is NOT just 21st century teenage territory.

"In 1954, The French found themselves cornered by the Vietnamese at the island of Dien Bien Phu."


Now this one actually made me go all nostalgic. I recalled the time when my life's ambition was to be a legendary magician, and my oh-so-original incantation was 'abracadabra-hocus-pocus-gili-gili-phu.' Dien Bien Phu has quite a similar ring to it.

If I'd studied a little more, this blogpost would be longer. But you have been spared.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

24 hours is NOT enough for a day

How am I expected to study when the fates are against it? The fates themselves. Otherwise, events like the following would NOT occur-

I'm sitting in front of my textbook, trying to take a peek inside the covers but not daring to. Suddenly I burst out-
"There is just ONE person in the world who understands me. JUST the one."

Piku (my brother): Who, Dubby?

Me: NO. My hairbrush. But who on earth is Dubby?

Piku: My friend's pencil box. It's pink, blue and yellow. It has a smiley on it. And dangling from it's right corner is a furry ball with a pawprint.

Me: Just get out of here before I throw something at you.

After a while, I receive a phone call.

Radhika: Listen, I spoke to the school authorities. Voice (the public speaking club) and Jam (the music club) may have to merge their respective fests.

Me: Ok, then we'll call it Voice 'cos it could stand for music OR speaking.

Radhika: Oh really? Well, JAM also stands for Just a Minute, which is related to speaking. So let's call it JAM.

Me: I know, we'll call it VAM! As in KAPOW!

Radhika: I think we should stick to discussing the format.

Me: Hmm, that's a safer alternative. Let's have one event that involves music AND public speaking.

Radhika: We could have a singing ham! We'll call it S.HAM. (Pronounced sham.)

Me: Wow, that's even punny! But here's a better one... Ham Sing. It sounds like a North Indian Indipop star turned wrestler turned corrupt politician.

Radhika: HEY, do you plan to have Spin a Yarn?

Me: Yes, why?

Radhika: Spin a Gaan....

Me: Ummm... you know what? I think I should get to studying now.

Radhika: Yeah me too.

No sooner had I put down the phone than I received another call.
Hardly had I put down the phone when I received another call.
It was just after I put down the phone that I received another call.
No matter what your grammatical preferences are, you will be forced to comprehend one basic fact-the phone rang yet again. And I answered it.

Let's call the friend Priya.

Priya: Achha, if someone messages you goodnight EVERY night, is that a sign?

Me: Ooooh... every night now is it? What do you say, 'dream of me' ?

Priya: Hell no. Wonder what he'd say to that...

Me: Maybe he'd say.. (I assume a low, husky tone) "Priya, you don't need to tell me to do that."

Priya: *chuckles*

Me: If I was a man, I'd be very charming. Few men I know can flirt well.

Priya: I think the yolk of the egg you were born out of was tinged with vodka.

Me: But Priya, I wasn't born out of an egg. Not the shell-and-yolk kind anyway.

Priya: But tell me, have YOU ever dreamt of ____ ?

Me: Not recently. I MEAN, NO NO, I HAVEN'T.

Priya: OHO!

Me: Goodbye. No seriously, I need to study.

After I hang up, I see Piku giving me a funny look. Defensive, I ask- "Do you even know who that was?"

Piku: DUH. Priya. You said her name out loud TWICE.

Me: Oh! Wow... I'm not at all secretive, am I?

Piku: Why should you be secretive about PRIYA'S NAME?

Me: Oh you never know... people of our generation don't like telling the truth.

Piku: Are you quite alright?

Me: ALRIGHT? HOW CAN I BE ALRIGHT? YOU GODDAMN GO ON TALKING! WHEN THE HELL WILL I STUDY?
Now please pass me the ipod and the blanket. I'm going to go to sleep.

You know the saddest part of it all? I did go to sleep. And continued to sleep till the sun shone too strongly for my brain to believe it was still morning.

Friday, September 12, 2008

I loved your grace-
The way you walked,
Not caring if you were noticed,
But loving it when you were.
Everything you brushed against
Sent off sparks,
But sparks that couldn't match up
To your eyes.

I worshipped you.
I imagined you to be a lion,
Conquering with every stride you took,
And all that lay in your path
Snapping with a dull crack
Like shrivelled twigs.
Every tremor seemed to be generated
By a turn of your head;
Every rustle, the consequence of your breathing.

I enjoyed being in awe of you.
It gave me thrills
To stroke your bristly mane,
Expecting electric bolts
To leap out at me.
I longed to be a plaything in your paws
And all the while,
Feel the fear of being ripped to shreds.

Then one day...
You tripped and fell.

And people laughed.

Where did my lion go?
I only saw before me,
A chimpanzee,
Endearing, and rather comical,
Baring it's teeth in a grin
Of pathetic self mockery.

Why did I think that you were perfect?
Now, I know better.
But now, I also forget
That you are nearer perfect
Than anyone else I have ever met.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

A little bit of plagiarism, a little bit of pakami

"They fuck you up, your mum and dad.
They may not mean to, but they do.
They fill you with the faults they had
And add some extra, just for you.

But they were fucked up in their turn
By fools in old-style hats and coats,
Who half the time were soppy-stern
And half at one another's throats.

Man hands on misery to man.
It deepens like a coastal shelf.
Get out as early as you can,
And don't have any kids yourself."


So said Larkin. And sometimes, just sometimes, I find myself agreeing with him.
Of course, I don't for a second regret the fact that my parents had me. I love myself way too much for that. And I love my parents too. I miss my daily adda with them when my schedule doesn't permit it. I enjoy the fact that when one of us in the house play music, the rest congregate in the room to listen to it. Even today, I go for more movies with my parents than with my friends.
So yeah, it is quite wonderful to belong to a family. But MAN, the flipside!

When we're bound to someone by blood, we think we have a claim on them. And then we start expecting things out of them. If they fail to live up to our expectations, there's a lot of heartburn on either side.
Let's consider myself. I thrive on poetry. I can read and re-read a poem continuously, just to admire the craftsmanship- the way I could gaze for hours on end at a lion sunning itself. I can feel the poem in my blood, the way the child in me can feel the joy in a little girl's laughter. And I want my children to feel the same. If they don't, is it fair that I should be disappointed in them? Why should they feel even the slightest pangs of inadequacy for just being different?

Also, there are things our parents do which make our nerves curl up and sizzle. But we'll probably find ourselves doing those same things once that mini version of us comes along.
I think plans are evil. I don't look at my watch unless to check if it's time to eat. I find it fun to rush downstairs just in time to stop my carpool from swooshing past my house. And I DETEST it when my freedom is curbed in the name of discipline. But it would be MADDENING to have to face this attitude in my children.

And what about our wish to shield the people who mean a lot to us? It can lead to so much hypocrisy.
Say I don't give a shit as to what people are saying behind my back. If I believe in myself, I go ahead my do it. But what when my poor, sweet, innocent baby has to face the vicious fangs of the world? Would I let it go ahead and get bitten? I would definitely like to, but I wonder if I have the guts for that.
"Mommas gonna make all of your nightmares come true.
Mommas gonna put all of her fears into you.
Mommas gonna keep you right here under her wing.
She wont let you fly, but she might let you sing."

I never listen to this song at night, it gives me the creeps. Maybe because it's closer to reality than I admit it to be. I’d like to say that Larkin and Roger Waters were just two morbid old men with too much time on their hands. But I can’t.

I’m starting to think I’m one morbid teenager with too much time on MY hands. I just wrote an entire blogpost on why I shouldn’t have kids. And I don’t even have home science.