23 October, 2007

Shubho Bijoya

To all my fellow Bangalis, here's a kola-kuli, blogger-style. For others, here's a brotherly embrace marking Bijoya Dashami. It is the end of the Pujos, a time of calling up (and receiving endless calls) of various relatives, with the conversations veering on the insane. And gorging on the sweets that accompany each social visit.
Me? I'm back in residence, returning from exile to the far North and the far South.

19 October, 2007


I burnt it. Again.


Into the West . . .

Dying embers . . .

A new day. With bed-tea at dawn.

A rather pixelated handycam. Nearest at hand.

15 October, 2007

And that's why I have to go back

to so many places in the future,

there to find myself

and constantly examine myself

with no witness but the moon

and then whistle with joy,

ambling over clods of earth,

with no task but to live,

with no family but the road.

-Pablo Neruda, End of the World (Wind)

Tell me you've felt it too. At the edge of dusk, when light and shade shimmer. And suddenly I feel more alone than ever, the whorls of once-satisfactory self-imposed solitude crashing down on me in inexorable waves. The very sense of loneliness seems to smother me, rather than leave a void around me. I then try to observe myself objectively.

In my mind a camera zooms out from my brooding silhouette to the wide angle shot of the swarms of inane humanity all around. Looking up, I know that even the stars are light-years away. And the twinkle is a mockery of their hard glare as seen from interstellar space. And the wreckage of the past seems to shrink in magnitude, until even it's garbage value is nil.

Yeah, right. That was last night. "All good things begin to droop and drowse . . . " kinda drivel - a la the Bard. The after-effects of having re-read Orwell's 1984 in a day. I know that the bleakness of the last pages are clinging to my eyes. And there is always a proclivity towards the morose.

The holidays have begun, and Untermeyer comes to mind: "Life - an adventure perilous and gay, / Death - a long and vivid holiday..." I paced the terrace as Theoden before the Riders amassed. Ah, morning! Shall I compare thee to a summer's day...?

Three days from now there will be a riot of colors, sounds and sights. Durga Puja will have commenced, the prime festival in our city. The goddess who will vanquish the forces of darkness at the behest of the suffering humanity. No wonder most Bengalis are such die-hard feminists. I sincerely feel that among the younger generation, the enthu for Pujo is directed more towards the earthly likenesses of the goddess shimmering in the vibrant crowds than stemming from much piety.

Every locality has its own pujo, with myriad themes - there's even a Hogwart's Castle at FD-Block to house the idols. Rowling promptly sued them, but things are to be allowed, or so sayeth the dailies. Most of the city's old and powerful families have their own, of course - the tradition passing down from generations uncounted. The GC Laha family comes to mind foremost, and all those other ultra-traditional scions of North Calcutta.

I'm engaged in a painting after almost two years. I'm seriously doubting if I can pull it off with anything approaching skill, but self-doubting is quite the in thing these days.

Oh, and I watched Scent of a Woman again. Somehow, I watch the entire film with my mouth distended in a half-smirk half-grimace. When I'm not busy trying to be intellectual, the tango part is an all-time favorite. Donna. And Pacino's Colonel Slade.

14 October, 2007

Watch and wait

Under the spreading chestnut tree,
I sold you, and you sold me . . .

I'm tasting the last traces of the sun borne on the evening winds. A few clouds can barely be discerned, scattered helter-skelter like wet saris on stony courtyards. Why do sunsets always make one silent? Or is it just me? Countless faces flash past in a macbre montage - words half-said, thoughts half-buried, tides restrained. Every time I think that all sad memories are buried, they come back to mock my self-satisfaction. Just like old silver tea-sets - set away in some dark cupboard, so that they can come back fresh and shining - no detail lost.

Faintly, I can hear a tango from a neighbor's window. Lights are flickering on, reflecting the first pin-pricks of their celestial counterparts.

Most of my life, I've been afraid of mistakes. There are no mistakes in the tango, went some film dialogue. Not like life. If you get tangled up, just tango on. But I'm not Al Pacino.

02 October, 2007


Reflected glory . . .

Well, I've been rhapsodizing about the Minolta Hi-matic 7 that my dad's finally decided to relinquish to me. And I love it: 45mm (amber, color-corrected) and 55mm(izumar coated) duplet lens. Using a far less illustrious brother, I've captured it.

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