Posted in Narration, Pic credits : Shubham, Short Story

They’re still adamant to judge me. But why?

It is often said that a girl carries an image and so did she…..

Knowingly or unknowingly everyone is in a haste to conclude some perception about each other. It is a popular programming software that has been permanently installed, but is it that necessary to define the colour of water; couldn’t it just be reflecting what’s beneath or above it? Is it that important to put words in the sentiments; couldn’t it just be sensed and kept as a memory?

Such questions arose while I drove back home from the club at around 03:00 am in the morning. Obviously, driving home from a party at midnight also brings a person under the lens of verdict. Like, he must be drunk driving, party freak, spoiled brat or indeed some positive ones as well- could be a trendy type, enjoying his life, success redeems through parties and such more. And the moment I would disclose that I was bar-tendering in the party, completed my shift & drove back sober; I might again be judged in a different manner- working hard, that’s a pity, poor soul; or that’s not even a job, must be a part-timer etc-etc. Moreover, if I am a girl, these preconceptions might become a lot harsher, stranger or might be a little amusing as well.

That was the night immediately before her wedding day; she was dressed in her best for the cocktail organised by her fiancée. She looked as pretty as she could be, in her red bright tunic, garnished with olive frills. The bash had all the close relatives & friends, who were either young or at least known to be young for today. There were hookah, smokes, alcohol, dance floor and a smashing music playlist with the DJ, who made sure that each of his guests was drenched in the beats of musical intemperance.

The party hit the floor like a trumpet of an elephant and continued resembling a howling of a fox. The lights were dim and colourful; everyone danced their hearts out, cheering and hooting in the name of new couple. There were tequilas, vodkas, scotches & beers being poured in the glasses and swallowed by the guests at an inestimable quantum. Well, enjoyment and happiness has its own inebriations, however it was catalysed by few “helping verbs” today. And it was being all tremendous until these helping verbs took over the control notoriously.

After a while, party moved towards a romantic mood and as was planned by the hosting clan, Mr. Guy took her missy in the arms and portrayed a proposal in a full Bollywood Web-series style, with a background music being “kinna sohna tenu (the remix one)”. The girl gave him a glimmering smile and puked. Yes, she spewed all the juices out of her suddenly and ignited some newer tale of prejudices.

Music stopped and she was hurried to the bathroom, accompanied by her to-be-bridesmaids. I received an immediate order to stop the drinks and close the bar. Reportedly, there were 5 more guys who puked earlier at the same night during the party. So I started to wrap, when a guy came to me and said “bro ladki ne back maar di hai, they aren’t matured enough to handle alcohol, so pls girls ko serve na karna”. I told him nicely & calmly that we’re closing for all, as it’s already midnight. He got furious and ran shouting with a huge cry “fufaji kahan hain, yeh koi tym hai daaru band krne ka, abhi toh party………”, while he broke some expensive glasses out of rage. There were more whispers amongst the ladies “hum bhi to aye hain, we never took a drink, what’s meant for guys is meant for guys”; “It’s all because of that advertisement –why should boys have all the fun-, see the fun has taken her to the bathroom in the middle of the celebrations. She ruined her noble impression amongst us”

After few minutes, the bride came back in the hall and everyone tried comforting and consoling her. She was made to sit near the counter with a Nimbu-pani ka glass. Each person had an advice and a desi-treatment to cure her, so she kept listening each one of them while nodding with every sip. This over-weighted lady pointed towards me “apka toh roz ka hai, aap hi btao kese thik hogi” to which I replied “Ma’am! Now that she has puked, she is perfectly fine. It’s absolutely normal, I always advise people to try vomiting, when they feel sick after drinking”. The lady next to her snapped “aap itna zyada peeney hi kyu dete ho”, I clarified again “it is not necessarily because of the volume of intake, there could be so many reasons or there could be none; body reacts, you shall not worry, its common. This may happen even at a first or second drink”. They obviously weren’t looking for a reply, so the whys and wherefores went unheard.

I realised that such judgements & prejudices may never end; it is an uncontrolled action by an outsider enzyme causing a silent defeat to oneself. And the defeat becomes more successful when we ourselves start participating in the ceremony of mis-judgements.

The girl in her bridal bests, started talking to me while sitting at the corner of bar-table: “You know, I have been a decent girl throughout my life, the one who would go to school & college with two pony-tails exceptionally oiled by mother, clothes nicely tucked in and would come back straight home at sharp 2:00 PM, looking exactly the same as in the morning, every day. Everyone considered me an obedient, sincere and pleasing person UNTIL TODAY. I certainly looked like a bad girl because I puked.” She continued “Chachu, harshit bhaiya, shomu and 2 other random guys did weird things, puked, broke things and even fell on the dancing floor”. “But I don’t know why they’re just adamant to judge- Only Me.”

It’s a well said quote that “Preconceived notions are the locks on the door to wisdom” We often confuse ourselves and the people amongst us, with prejudices that are irrelevant and immaterial. I am not a great admirer of game shows now-a-days, they induces an element of judging people enormously to amuse its viewers. And no doubt, judging someone might be of great interest and bring a source of entertainment to the people. But such petite judgements may become dangerous when they tend to form a public opinion and thereby develop a hazardous public opinion.

Being a judge also brings a responsibility to oneself, whatever opinion we may state shall be filtered through a strong support of facts and foreseeability of future effects/affects. It is often seen, time and again that some meagre and imprecise judgements of people are interpreted in an obscene way and thereby brings disturbance amongst the society in general.

The last thing one shall do is to judge oneself from the eyes of others. And like I mentioned earlier, it’s not necessary that each feeling needs to be defined or judged by a word, phrase or a label. I will always be fond of some dialogues of Manoj Bajpai from the movie “Aligarh”, when he was asked if he was in love-

“Tum log ek shabd ke peechey kese pad jaatey ho… koi meri feelings ko 3 aksharon mein kese samajh sakta hai, yeh ek kavita ki tareh se hai- bhavnatmak –an uncontrollable urge !”

It’s been more than a year from that cocktail party; I met her again in the same bar during Christmas, sitting at the same corner while I made her lemonade. A voice echoed from the crowd “bhabhi, Don’t you booze! Don’t forget what happened last year”

I smiled and uttered-

यूँ ही किसी के लफ्ज़ की बंदिश में ना बंद जाना

कहता है जो ज़माना उसे नज़र-अंदाज़ करते जाना

खुद की ही बात से ज़रा ऐतराज़ जो हो जाये

तो वक़्त पे ठहरकर मुस्कुराना

और आगे चल कर उसे कहना —

बहुत हुआ तुम्हारा, अब गुज़र जाना…

I could read it in her eyes as she replaced her order with a red one…

“They’re still adamant to judge me. But why?”

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Posted in Movie Review, Narration, Pic credits : Shubham, Short Story, Uncategorized

A semi-circle of glittering emotions : Memories in March

यह रातें, यह मौसम

नदी का किनारा, यह चंचल हवा !

We all know how love, hatred, sorrow, happiness, gratification and such other innumerable glittering emotions constitute Life. Also, that these are like electrons and protons moving vigorously within its mass and thereby unnerving life’s atomic configuration. I am always intrigued by the ever-evolving natural instincts of the beings. We have an inbuilt super-dynamic RAM, which aids us to make swift shifts of emotions that somehow contributes in developing, evolving and mending our AI system.

Rituparno did a sensational job by expressing such simple concept through his story and as depicted in the movie “Memories in March”. The movie flows like a cold soothing stream down the robust hills and finally meeting its fate of serene circle of ocean. No doubt Sanjoy had a rhythmic vision while directing this movie, he indeed did a fab situational portrayal of the tale.

“A mother waiting for a flight to meet her deceased son”, yet carrying a valiant expression & voice, played by Deepti Naval. Siddhartha had been living away for his first job in Kolkata and always used to call Aarti, her mother who resides in Delhi, to come and live with him. Finally, his call is met and Aarti is flying to live with him although she won’t find his physical presence now.

We’re often late. Sometimes reaching someplace or meeting someone is not prioritised over our monotonous routine. I wonder why nurturing our inner-self takes a back-seat and we keep ourselves driven by decorating our outer shells.

Aarti kept memorising e-mails written by her son, where he described everything minutely “the office space, his company allotted 2bhk flat, people, roads, windows and the doors.” Sid was very close to his mother and was fond of sharing even pintsize moments with her. She missed visiting him at those moments.

While coming back from crematorium, she enquired patiently about the accident from Sid’s boss ‘Arnob’ who was accompanying her in his Car. He described all possible events about the tragedy concluding with the one, that the body was kept in ice until Aarti arrived. A mother feels her womb forever; she still could feel the cold just by the thought her son being kept in ice. Arnob innocently asked if he should raise the temperature of AC when Aarti closed her arms tightly around herself with a shawl- an immediate sensory motion while she was listening. Later as she is dropped at her son’s flat, she is found carrying the same dilemma as she opened the freezer and spoke “Babu boht thand thi kya vahan?”.

The epic screenplay of Rituparno turns to its best in the scene where after the big courageous day of Aarti, she is finally seen to be broken; while sitting on a bed with the pot of ashes in her laps like a young mommy carrying her new born in the arms, trying to get it to sleep with a lullaby.

Each morning gives a different twist and turn to our streaming mind-set.

Next morning, Aarti is seen to have moved towards first step of the acceptance of her misfortune. She is texting her relatives, informing them about the incident. She has developed an instinct to get introduced to her son’s life. No doubt she cannot talk to him but for a day or two, she is almost living some part of his life. She is meeting the same people he used to meet daily- the milk-man, the chowkidaar bhaiya, his office-mates, the fishes in the aquarium and the last egg in the fridge which has written over it “Caution: I am the last one.” Well, the last egg has a relatively more importance than other. Isn’t it.

She is now visited by Shahana, a lovely decent girl ‘played by the bengal beauty Raima Sen’, who has shown huge respect & affection towards Aarti since she has arrived. In this deepest time of sorrow, a mother is still capacitated with the thought, that may be her son has finally met someone to settle down. We, the people has a lust towards contentment, we seek to fetch the same at least in our dreams with all possible opportunities.

Shahana helps Aarti to have a flavour of Sid’s life, she takes her to the office. Aarti finds everything as were mentioned in mails from his son- the stairs, the hallways, chambers, cubicles. And then the one where Sid used to sit, it had a soft board displaying his thoughts, artwork, daily schedule and a picture of Aarti- the one from his childhood. But ironically, his chair & desk is now occupied by a replacement. Shahana’s annoyance towards the replacement looks genuine; since till yesterday, the place belonged to the one who is no more. But that is how a system is programmed: the faster a loss is recovered, the lessor is the soreness of a damage.

Aarti also pays a visit with her to the place, where accident actually happened “the broken fence”. The fence to which his car crashed causing him to lose his life. Shahana recollects the yesterday, quoting how happy he was in his new blue blazer and enjoyed throughout the late night party. Aarti cries upon the incident asking why was’nt he stopped from driving in that sozzled condition? Where was the office decorum? and more questions alike. We tend to seek as many reasons as there could be, that may/could have avoided the misery. Accidently, they find Arnob passing by the scene and stopping thereby to know the mother’s well-being. Like any responsible employer he assured that everything is fine and all near relatives are informed. And he offered help getting to know that Aarti is unable to connect Sid’s father. Until this day Aarti has always considered her day of divorce as the black day, not anymore though. Thus, she lost a constant touch with her husband from then.

As she is back to her Son’s flat; Arnob guides her on phone towards Sid’s study table “the room of Sid’s home which she was unaware of existence till day”. A little disappointed from just able to connect to her ex-husband’s answering machine, she moves towards the next morning.

This morning actually paves her path to the room of her child which she never had an access in his entire life span. She is met with the fact that her son was in love. Shahana had no other choice but to tell her, when Aarti fought melodramatically at office to procure her son’s belongings without any delay from Arnob. Her heart descended and sat on the office stairs when She was told that someone may have equal right of possession of belongings as she does; that it’s not just her who is suffering from grief, that her son and Arnob were lovers.

It’s so profound to realise that the reality is actually stranger than fiction.

She doubted, hated and insulted Arnob, when he came to her to return what he had of his beloved. She even accused him of seducing her child, to which he finally broke and tried to counter her by showing her the other side of affection. When he failed to settle the furious mother, he left with a question to her “What is more important to you – an act of seduction or the relationship per se??”

Its conveniently fine to understand that no matter what, we can never believe somethings that are beyond our imagination, until & unless we listen the same from our own self.

Aarti tried talking to know from Shahana, who confessed that she was head over heels for her son but while she expressed her love, Siddhartha gently overruled her with a reason of him being in love with Arnob. Although induced, yet still not convinced to accept something she has never known. She only found a settlement with the truth post reading a saved, unsent draft to the mother in her Son’s phone. She was habitual of listening everything from her lad’s life, however this unsent draft for the mother had given her a message that may be there were somethings which he was still giving a thought for “If she is capable of digesting or accepting it”.

The next day she met Arnob with an open heart, however still struggling with in for this unexpected fact. She tried getting to know this person- how her son recognized some similarities in Arnob with her mother, how this guy is as passionate about life as Aarti herself used to be. She even agrees to share the clothes, the books, the belongings of Siddhartha with him. But not the gifts as Arnob corrected her “gifts are not to be returned”. She suddenly finds that by now she had been unknowingly wearing Arnob’s robe daily while she lived in her son’s flat.

People switch places, relations switch feelings and any particular dress can have alternative bodies to get into a perfect fitting.

Arnob (brilliantly and lyrically enacted by Rituparno Ghosh) is a highly creative person who seems to have a great understanding of female psych. He believes in getting to know life directly in its original raw form. When he was asked about why he prefer eating through hands and not by spoon he referred Nehru saying “eating with fork & spoon is like making love through interpretor.” He personally hated the steel between food & mouth. He wanted things to be in their actual form criticizing keeping the fishes’ captive in a tank, however he was adaptive enough to soon realise that may be fishes have accepted the box as their world like we human do.

We sometimes have few pre-conceived notions about life which is only corrected by an actual experience.

Aarti spent the last day in the city with the person closest to her son. She was snapped and corrected by Arnob at instances where she spoke that she could have her child visited to a psychiatrist at a right age or while she constantly enquired about the sexual interest of her Son. Arnob silently asked her that “what is more grievous for you, his death or the fact that he was Gay”. She couldn’t satisfactorily answer the same, saying – A mother in this situation may go through different emotions. Arnob pronounced that atleast you have two different emotions to switch to while he has a single mountain of a grief for a lost love.

If we give some time to ‘The time’, we tend to know different people and know our different self.

While closing the facebook account of Siddhartha, Arnob wrote on his timeline “If I have to go away, can I leave a bit of me with you??” On her last night Aarti took Arnob out for his b’day celebration and on the way back they found that the broken fence is now repaired. She stepped down in the rain and touched the new fence.

Life do have its own way of fixing and refurbishing things.

As she stepped back in her son’s flat, she found that the pot of ashes has broken due to strong breeze and the remains are set free to flow in the rain.

She left Kolkata the next morning, leaving some gifts for the closed ones – A Sid’s shirt for Shahana and her own sunglasses for Arnob.

May be a small gift puts a comma to a sentence and completes a semi-circle of glittering emotions.

कैसी अजीब दावत है यह, दावत शायद ख़त्म हुई फिर,

सब लोग जा रहे हैं घर, कैसी अजीब दावत है यह…!

 

 

 

Posted in Narration, Pic credits : Shubham, Poetry, Uncategorized

A recital to my native speech ~ हम भूल नहीं पाएंगे !

IMG_3487

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वो अक्षर के जंजाल बने शब्द, हम भूल नहीं पाएंगे,

छुट्टी के दिन चम्पक नंदन, भूल नहीं पाएंगे |”

Progressive equations are always meant to bring some material advancements in life.

And so was this faintly warm summer day, which itself taught some paces towards a headway for the language which we have always loved,liked and assimilated.

Contentedly all our group members were keen to rejuvenate our mother tongue “Hindi”. I was intrigued by the memories of my own self. The affection with the language might have been a little difficult to be felt upon initially, but while giving a deep thought as I hosted the session; I had my abysmal encounters with the recollections of some very common events. I think they’re so common that each person with their roots and shoots originating from “devanagri” may feel the way as I did while compering in Hindi for the very first time.

बातों की रूह ईमान से जुड़ी, जब हिंदी में बोला

माँ के दूध की आह हुई, तब भी हिंदी में रोया |

बचपन की सलेटी पर, वो पहला अक्षर था ‘क’

और आज भी उत्तर के शोध में रोज़ पूछा जाता ‘क्या?’

वो अक्षर के जंजाल बने शब्द, हम भूल नहीं पाएंगे,

छुट्टी के दिन चम्पक नंदन, भूल नहीं पाएंगे |”

As the session progressed, remarkably all of us present there in that hall; who were initially struggling and hesitating to have a comfort with our native language, were now able to reminisce the words, sentences, phrases constituting some very interesting actualities and stories.

दादी-नानी की कढ़ाई में पकी, मीठी रसीली कहानी

हिंदी जिसकी स्वाद-याद के तरकश से बरसा पानी |

सपनों में किसी सोच की आँखें, जिस भाषा में खुलती

गुस्से में गाली भी निकले तो भी इस में ही रमती |

वो अक्षर के जंजाल बने शब्द, हम भूल नहीं पाएंगे,

छुट्टी के दिन चम्पक नंदन, भूल नहीं पाएंगे |”

Getting to know the things that we already knew somewhere deep within our self, was a lot more than fun. I was able to see the privilege and the pride in each of our eyes by the end of the session.

“The privilege” for- we have competently inherited one of the very complexed and primeval languages of the world. And “The pride” for- On that day, we substantiated our own selves that this generation is capable enough to sustain the language with the same lavishness and we’re more than eager to pass the legacy to the new ones.

रंगोली, सुरभि और तरंग सब हिंदी के प्रत्यक्ष !

गाने फ़िल्मी या पुण्य भजन हों, गाते हिंदी के अक्स !!

दफ्तर से घर तक की दूरी, करते हम पूरी !

तो क्या हिन्दी की आधुनिक शाखा, रहने दें अधूरी ??

वो अक्षर के जंजाल बने शब्द, हम भूल नहीं पाएंगे,

छुट्टी के दिन चम्पक नंदन, भूल नहीं पाएंगे |”