Tuesday, May 27, 2008

My favourite memory

We all bundled into a car and drove away, suddenly one day to a new house .Like criminals on the run.
Joey!Joey!lift aache…that was my brother. Wonder and disbelief mixed.
Oh!said a shiny-eyed seven year old me. Where?
The door opened with a click of the key turning. Enormous and beautifully bare. No furniture. None at all. Even our toothbrushes hadn’t arrived. My parents were very harried ,had the decision been to drastic? You see, they had been wanting to shift for a week or so but couldn’t until someone bought our old house. Somebody suddenly agreed, but on the condition, that they shift in that very day. So we got pushed into this unnatural looking furniture less one.
The two of us walked around, very seriously, giving the place a thorough inspection. Three Mickey mouse stickers on the switch board, one red plastic football and a very long pen that came up to my waist.Treasure.The rest of the evening we ran around playing mock golf with the pen and the football. And generally being a nuisance and getting in everyone’s way.
Dinner time, no dinner. Bed time, no bed. Everyone else was standing at the veranda waiting for the car with our diner to arrive. After having tired of the game,we went there as well. Deluge of noise, lights.Climbed up on the railing to look down. Ant people and ant cars, rushing around ant like.
Eki!Namo!What are you’ll doing? Someone shrieked.Obediently,reluctantly,we climbed down.
At night, I tried to sleep, but couldn’t. Pinched myself occasionally to confirm that this was real.
For a day, the adult world had merged with ours.They had done what had to be done,with no fuss, without even thinking of the consequences. And you know what? It turned out allright.It usually does.


My parents bought a painting off a struggling artist. He would like to take up art as a full time career but circumstances forbid. He has a family to support-wife, child, ailing parents and so he is forced to give art tuition to uninterested brats. For a regular income. His creativity, he rues is getting cramped and perhaps slowly destroyed…
The painting now hangs on our living room wall. It is an eyesore. The canvas, painted a lurid red shows a despairing woman. Her arm looks like a leg of ham and a couple of sickly yellow flowers are sprouting on her head. It symbolizes the life giving power of a woman, he had explained. A moon has also been painted on the red canvas, for aesthetic reasons I believe, there being no other.
In spite of all this, one could have been stirred by some indefinable quality in his work. One is not. He could easily have been gifted, wouldn’t have done anyone any harm. But that he most definitely isn’t.
Whoever is scripting our lives can’t be counted on for kindness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The Khadims showroom on Gariahat Road is finally being pulled down. It was sheer madness to have built it in the first place.
Initially I watched with indifferent curiosity a makeshift construction, on the lines of a puja pandal being built on an important commercial road. Then, to my surprise they slapped an imposing looking wooden fa├žade onto it, complete with a glass door. Through it I saw a wall-to-wall carpet being laid out to cover the crude, uneven floor. In some days they opened it up to the public. The ordinary window shopper once within its carpeted, air-conditioned interior would never suspect its sturdiness. But this bothered me, more than I can tell, and every time I stood at my verandah and noticed the ungainly looking bamboo and asbestos behind the painted front, a vague resentment welled up.
Trade flourished through the summer .A liveried guard was installed at the door. Then it got hotter and hotter until grey clouds started massing in the sky. With the first kal-baishakhi the foundation-less building tottered. I pictured the roof flying off leaving the air conditioner and the guard standing foolishly behind and laughed.
They didnt,off course, when the same thought occurred ,so now its being dismantled. And I, irrationally enough, will miss it. For though an oddity it was rather interesting and one highly representative of our times.

Thursday, May 22, 2008


Almost Heaven

On close scrutiny,
The backdrop was hand painted
And the haloes were tarnished
The detachment was too complacent
And perhaps a little forced..

But they didn’t know
And we are willing to forget.

Friday, May 16, 2008


I tossed and turned
And timorously said
to the deaf night.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Saffron robe, string of beads, a vacant gaze-he ticked off in his head. The look had been perfected. He was almost genuine now, no one could tell the difference. Or so he feverishly hoped. A meditative pose was hastily adopted as a rather portly man cautiously entered the room. He ran a swift glance over the incense sticks, tarot cards and the other faith-inducing commodities.
“Er...I am Mr. Sudhir Bose. My friend, you know him, Jayanta Bab-”.
“Yes, yes Namashkar.”
“Is this to do with your family?”
“Yes! How did you know?”
The astrologer merely smiled omnisciently.
The man then came and sat in front of him like an obedient schoolboy and fished out a couple of horoscopes from his pocket. Pointing a stubby finger at them he said,
“My son’s and the girl he wants to marry, hers.What do you think?”
He carefully scrutinized it and after a decent interval said the usual thing.Rosy future.It was a time tested principle-happy men pay more.
For a few moments the mans face crumpled in disappointment but then a cunning gleam lit up his eyes.
“Maybe so. maybe so. But you mustn’t write that.”
“Why not? It’s the truth…”
“No no”, he explained patiently, “’You must say that he will be very unhappy with her. I’ll pay you extra for that.”
“But why?”The Guruji asked, omniscient look abandoned, at a complete loss.”
“We don’t want him to marry her that’s why! Why do you need to know so much? I’ve said I’ll pay you ext-”
“You don’t have to. I won’t do this.”
“You won’t?!” he asked, puzzled in turn.
“No and you may leave this place.”
“But wait let me expl-”
It was an unmistakable command and so the man left. Rather flustered and muttering something about exasperating men of principles.