Monday, August 29, 2011

To the girl with the lizard tattoo, from the boy in fishermen pants.

Often when I lie down and stare at the ceiling, or sit near the window in the cab while coming back from work, I wish I could tell you all that is untold. Certain things in life are best shared with none but the self; certain things in life can’t just be expressed or rather they are way too difficult to be put into words. Once in my life I had lied to you, yes I had lied to you that night when you had hurled upon me a thousand questions which I never thought would come from you, at least not at that point of time. Babai was absconding and Mesho was in the nursing home that night, I was confused and helpless. You being the closest one trying to talk to me about my problems were very normal for you, but I got extremely scared of you that moment. Before you get to know it from someone else; I want to let you know, that YES you guessed it right!

Mesho passed away the next morning and I left my job after a week. You know I had never seen death so closely before that. I was never very close to Mesho but somehow his death changed the life of three of us in this house. I felt I grew up overnight. May be sometimes the aftermath of death and memory of a person touch so much more than what life had. Now often when I look at Masimoni; I catch myself thinking of her happy face with Mesho around. I can’t look at her anymore; the loneliness springing from her life reflects in her endeavours to smile vacantly all the time. It’s catastrophic. She has shifted to her new Behala-flat but alone; her sylvan retreat to be shared with none but herself. Life indeed is too short to let go, to make enough mistakes, to make up and to break up!

Babai retired, two weeks after I left the stupid export-house job. Babai being ever busy I have never got a fair chance to spend much time with him. I thought his retirement would be an excuse for us to hold him back at home; but no he made himself busier with works after his retirement. Mum-mum stays in her own world of daily soaps and news papers. I really don’t know much how it feels to spend time with family. I often ask myself what a family means; Is it just an identity? Is it just an address? Or is it just a house? We literally stay like three islands in this house; silent and isolated. I feel very rootless and detached at times. My parents have never left a chance for me to complain. They have tried their level best; sent me to the best schools and colleges of the city, and gave me all that they thought I needed. But these are things that I had never asked for. All I needed was some understanding. Sharing the same roof does not always equate to sharing the same heart; its dangerous and not at all easy when you are loved so much but understood so little.

When I was a kid, every summer Babai used to take us to his “desher-bari” (village). I faintly remember those days. One of those few cherished memories is how every morning Babai and Mum-mum used to take me for a walk to the local railway station through the narrow pathway flanked by the paddy fields and buy me omelettes and tea from a roadside joint near the station. There was no electricity in the village; kerosene lamps, hand fans and fishing lines were things that I could spot only there in my summer breaks to the village. I also remember how Mum-mum and I used to get amused and exchange secret glances hearing the local dialect, half of which we could never comprehend that Babai spoke to the relatives in the village. Why I am telling you all these; is because this is only when I got Babai close to us. Rest I have always seen Babai and Mum-mum fighting most of the times. Or maybe it’s only the fight that I have seen and not the love behind it. Life is really weird, painted in strange colours.... makes you remember strange things at strange moments. If I have ten memories of the village, I have ten thousand memories with you. And I am sure those memories are not illusion; cause they say reality itself is illusory! One of my friends says that it’s all about perceptions. The line between reality and illusion is very thin. We see only what we want to see, hear what we want to hear, believe what we want to believe and speak what we do not want to speak. What we see is our world, what we believe is our truth! I am not judging any truth, neither I am interested in any calculation.... I just wonder if emotional values, faith, trust and sentiments also depreciate with changing times! I time and again question why anyone doesn’t comprehend that sensitive people are just folks with special needs. Why is it so wrong to be emotional and to want some understanding once in every while? Why is it so conveniently scripted that being non pragmatic is akin to having a communicable disease? - you get avoided, or worse you have to conform or get out, or much worse, you have to pretend to conform and live with it. This is quintessentially damaging to the human spirit.

I am standing at such a cross road of life, where paths travel in all directions. I myself don’t know which nowhere I am leading to. The hollow sound of my own footsteps often scares me when I walk on the terrace every night. The silence that has been standing in between both of us like some unwanted stranger disturbs me every moment. I did not want to disturb you, but I had to tell you this because I know you will be more hurt when you come to know about it from someone else. May be we have hurt each other enough not to hurt anymore. I always wanted to tell you the truth but I was scared if you start loving me less after that. If you take back all that love you had given me. I couldn’t afford to loose your love. I was too selfish to let go of you. After we stopped talking, I often told myself the worst is over. But now I feel the worst has just started.

Life might take us to two different cities, but we have always been a heartbeat away or at least preferred to think so. It’s the thinking that’s make all the difference, that’s what makes you you and me me. I am at a real loss of words to explain how my thoughts are all so jumbled up and entangled. The images are all shaken in my head, each time I see it’s not the same, a bit of that image gets shattered; each time trust is betrayed! Shocking it is. The seed that was planted has grown into a mammoth tree, not to give me shade but to entangle me more in the disastrous roots. Reasons lost in time; the internal conflict continues, change and acceptance are after all not same! I know how difficult it is to lead a life bereft of trust, I know how difficult it is to live with that humiliation of being cheated and fooled around. We have always been friends, or may be a little more than friends, shared all the little secrets, screamed and screeched at each other, scolded each other, fought, loved, drank, doped.... you have always been my partner in the crimes.... the shoulder I could cry on, the smile I could look up to.... you have always told me about how vulnerable and emotionally insecure you are when it comes to your closed ones. I could never open up, but yeah I had been very insecure about you. Your madness, your cravings for freedom, your restlessness all that which attracted me towards you, actually somewhere deep down made me insecure about you.

I had been extremely insecure about everything, be it my parents, be it my friends and be it my relationships. Now when I look back I feel it was because I was never very secure and comfortable about myself; I could not accept myself. I have learnt my lesson, I have made myself distant from friends like you, and I am still paying the price.I am NOT writing you this letter because I want to get your sympathy, but yeah I feel this much honesty you deserve from me. I guess distance always has kept us better.... let’s not mess it up once more.

I owed you an apology for denying your right to truth.
And so here it goes my bravest post ever,
Love as always,
Your boy in fishermen pants.

Scribbles - i

COULROPHOBIA of a clown!

My new office is not bad; I am getting paid for watching movie and writing long mails to friends from my cabin. But the place being far away from my residence the journey is taking its toll on me every day.

People in this city are mad. They shout and scream in the bus, fight with the conductor for change and they talk as loud as everyone around is deaf. Weird conversations everywhere, they don't get tired of discussing the prices of vegetables and fishes every day. Most people have an intellectual hangover and they don't know what they are talking about. They discuss politics with lot of enthusiasm and the funniest thing is that they start talking in English (off course with that special bong accent, as if they have rosogullas stuck in their mouth while talking) when they have a point to prove. I don't know much if the switching of language adds to the value of the matter but it definitely adds to free entertainment for me....old uncles give me dirty looks probably because they are not so used to seeing men with so many piercings; so many finger rings and block printed shirts. (By the way I have a chin piercing now, got it done few days back). Some look at me as if I am an untouchable. Aunties make weird comments to me; someone would ask why I carry such a huge bag to the office while the others would be very shocked and bothered to see the unbuttoned neckline of my shirt and would advice me to button it up till the neck....Such weird people....

There is a chai-wala down stairs in front of the office; I go to his shack every day with one of my colleagues. Somewhere I miss the canteen’s horrible tea and the sinful gossips and sweet bitching sessions with my class mates back at college. But on the other hand, I am really excited that Post Graduation is over. I am kind of happy that I am out of that place. It was such a prison for me.

When I come back from work sometimes I walk a distance on the way, it feels nice sometimes to walk in a crowded city. Memories of schooldays come floating back with the smell of jhalmuri and phuchka in the office vicinity. I see kids holding hands and returning from school, sometimes I wish there had been someone to hold my hand too. I come back from home only because I have to; I know no one is waiting for me at home. Mum-mum and Babai are at home but they are busy in their own world, busy with things more important than waiting for me. I lock myself up in my room and do my own little things. Eat because I have to, switch on the television but never watch it, nothing interests me. I feel very empty. I try finding new excuses to go out every evening after office, most of the days I land up at New Market and pick up something or the other to pamper myself. Strangely, the oldest market complex in this city is known as New Market for some unknown reason. On the days I am left with nowhere to go I sit on the terrace after coming back from office. The evening breeze hits me on the terrace and with it hangs a hundred little unanswered questions of life. Again sometimes I sit with my laptop; but don’t know how I spend the evening hours in front of the laptop and not do anything.

I often sleep on the terrace at night. I stare at the night sky and catch myself lost in arbitrary thoughts. Few days back I met one of my friends, who had schizophrenia. She is better now but somehow not the same person she used to be when she was normal. Since I met her a very strange thought had been swaying my mind; what if I too have schizophrenia? Every night I go to sleep, with the same dreams tattooed on my eyes, but wake up with the same merciless and painful reality. The alarm rings and warns me to get up, but I feel like lazing around for some more time. I wish someone would have been there who would ask me not to leave the bed, someone who would ask me to bunk the office and go for a movie. But life has its own plans. Life goes on.... and I wait for something. No one ever stops by and asks what I am waiting for. Or maybe everything is just perfect and right from all angles; it’s me who is expecting too much out of life. Maybe it’s just some more time that I need for myself. I just fail to realize. Maybe this is where the problem is, I always end up expecting too much out of life.

One thing I have realized after coming back. Not exactly after coming back; this time when I was at the hostel looking for a diploma project, when everyone had left, nobody around, I used to think and reflect a lot. Actually though I am very different from my parents and everyone else in the family, somewhere deep inside, my values are also very middle class like them. Though I don't think the way they do, or my choices are very different from them at some point the values are very middle class; may be because of my upbringing, and that is the reason I chose to come back to this city. I can’t live without this place. My friends have always told me how I should go out of this god damn forsaken city and seriously give a second thought but I really don't regret the decision. I always had a gap between me and my parents, which used to bother me severely, and I was desperate to cover it up since I thought it was high time. I have learnt the hard way that there is nothing much one can do sitting in a different state and trying to fix things at home; don't know whether I would succeed but no harm trying.

So long I had often wondered if I create my own problems. Maybe I am too jobless and so I like feeling sorry for myself and depressed about anything and everything. But no; it’s not like that, I have always hoped against hope to get a normal life which I never had in my house. I need to know what was actually wrong, whether the troubles are self- made or due to something else. I have been living without trust and it’s difficult for me, every time my emotions are raped and feasted upon. It has not happened over night, the problems are an outcome of several years. On the other hand my parents also need help; more than what I need. I don't want to blame my parents for anything; I know they are also suffering. But now being here with my family, I know what has caused all the problems. Actually so long I was never sure about how to handle the things in the home front. I am trying my level best to cope with life and start things afresh.

The fun-loving person the world had known for the past twenty-five years was just pretence, and I am tired of pretending. I am tired of acting. I had always put up the show that I don’t care about anything, but actually I do, it’s all pretence, all pretence....

This is what I had written three years back when I had come back after finishing my Post Graduations. It had not been smooth sailing since then, but things are looking up. I guess I knew my priorities. At least I know I took the initiative to sort things out instead of backing out. Sometimes we have to go against what is RIGHT according to the world and look at home and people. Many a times we forget that and end up hurting ourselves and people close to us. Things have been nicely sorted out between me and my parents, but the rest of my life have tainted.

These three years were never too long, time flew in no time. This city now torments me. There is too much of memory and too much of baggage and I need to move on. The pain would not be gone, the memories would never fade, they would linger back and haunt and the scars would always be there.

Life indeed is a circus, and I feel like a trapeze-clown with a broken body. The net underneath has gone haywire; and I have failed to catch the swinging bar at a moment of excitement. I am a very ordinary guy, stubborn and obstinate. I get upset, disturbed, bothered, melted and carried away. My thoughts kept me so busy that I missed the bar and ropes. There was a time I could trade what not to come back to this city, and today I just want to run away. Run away with life. Away to a place where no one would know me and I would know none. I want to get lost, so lost that I don’t find myself back. Mobile games and internet have replaced circuses. Thoughtlessness is the new happening cult. No one wants to see clowns anymore; I have no new tricks to perform. Maybe time has come for the old to be replaced. But the clown in me; I wonder what to do with him? Or am I still expecting too much out of life? They say once a clown is always a clown! .... a thoughtful clown with a broken body and tormented soul!

I feel paralytic when the lights go dimmed. I need to be precise with time; they say time is the biggest healer. I again wonder; maybe the wounds are healed but what happens to the scars. The stench of wild animals on the ring makes me feel nauseated. The makeup on my face burns my skin. The sound of trumpets echo in my ears and I feel COULROPHOBIC!

Thursday, August 25, 2011


Stories continue even if the words stop. One such story starts where they have lost words. Actually words are not lost, they are there.... unsaid, buried deep.... The sky is overcast with clouds; but the rain maker still stuck in the boring office desk.... this is not a life the dreamer had asked for. Often on rainy days like these, the dreamer wonders what the lunatic does. Does it still sit near the big window every evening with a glass of whisky? Though it’s incredulously absurd, sometimes it also tries to guess if the lunatic still bunks office to dream; loiter around in the house and sing loudly on the side veranda when the light goes away after hours of rain.... Sometimes the dreamer wonders what can be more beautiful than making sense out of complete nonsense.... Wise friends (specially the Mortician) get irritated with this habit of the dreamer; they are successful people of the world; they are pragmatic and sane. They keep on warning the dreamer.

Sometimes the dreamer thinks to retaliate; but honestly how does it matter to them if the dreamer loves nonsense? Or rather the question is what matters? The dreamer has a world of its own, where no one has place except the lunatic.... and that’s what matters may be.... Let them think whatever they think, lets revert to our dreamer. The dreamer runs around in the room, closes the windows before the droplets hit the den, lights candles; and recalls how much the lunatic loves scented candles.... the room gets filled with the sick sweet smell of those strawberry candles which the lunatic had got from the city mall last year.... the dreamer is numb and submerged in oblivion and continues dreaming.... the silence is unperturbed with occasional barks of street dogs form the narrow lanes of south Calcutta. The sound of the pendulum echoes and swings and with it swings the past and the present.... the dreamer is torn apart; the helpless merciless pain plagues him.... the barrage is broken, the flood gates open, tears have found way amidst the perplexed helplessness of the dreamer. Salty tears drench the night, but the rain doesn’t pour....

Three years ago when the dreamer had shifted back, it had a very big dream; it had dreamt of finding love in this city. This is the city the dreamer always wanted to come back to. This is the city the dreamer was born in. Childhood, school days, gawky years of adolescence, carefree years of college; in the breaths of this city are the witness to those days. It felt the search had ended when it met the lunatic. Little did the dreamer know that it was just the beginning.

The dreamer rediscovered the city with the lunatic’s eye. Bus rides, Tram rides, auto rickshaws, underground metros all became more fun with the lunatic. The dreamer often caught itself dreaming of walking down the streets of the city barefoot with the lunatic.... Caffeine stained evenings, colourful nights, encounters with Tagore and Mohiner ghoraguli, and clandestine games with the little lunatic of the dreamer.... Colours changed and life seemed beautiful; reality was better than dreams; happiness was crowned with melody and marshmallow clouds. The dreamer thought it had met a friend for life. It was that sense of being attached that transformed the life of the dreamer. It was a walk in a trance. Million little things started making meaning. Time flew quickly....

Two little streams flew together, grew into big rivers flowing towards the same NOWHERE....
Suddenly the blanket of love is wiped aside for the skeleton to come out of the wardrobe....
separate ways, separate worlds, so close yet so far, so right yet so wrong....
blank eyes, open doors, roofless rooms, blood stains, acid rains,
a sky shaped hole in the universe....

Now, every evening the dreamer meets the Mortician over coffee. They talk of love, life, lunacy, legacy, leisure, loss, laments, lullabies and every other possible thing. Sometimes the dreamer quietly listens and does not speak. The Mortician knows the dreamer deeply; so it does not get upset. The dreamer often thinks of explaining it to the mortician; for her its one single ball of grief. But for the dreamer it’s even more complex. The dreamer does not even know what plagues him more ....the loss of friendship? ....the loss of love? ...the fact that the lunatic does not love the dreamer? or the fact that the lunatic has only the balls , but no backbone to support the balls. The cat is out of the box gloriously. The lunatic has miserably failed but still lies to the dreamer, even though it knows that everyone knows the truth. Who needs pity more than a man in self denial !

The Mortician blames the dreamer, she tries to convey how disastrous songs are and how perilous are the assets of sentiments and faith. She calls the dreamer her “little masochistic angel”. She feels the dreamer overreacts and is lousily cheesy in bargaining when it comes to EMOTIONS. The dreamer wonders what EMOTIONS are....