Wednesday, July 26, 2006


Malati, our maid, told a strange story that morning. How the Ganges rose, and the fishes'd been swept up the drains, how the local boys caught them by the dozens and feasted with crisp mach bhaja, she went on.. Must be a minor quake, I muttered to myself as her shrill voice hurt my sleep groggy morning ears. Later I came to know that on this ocassion, Malati had not exaggerated. It was the Tsunamis.. and the devastation it left in its wake was significant. The drama however remained tuned off of my conciousness. The news made no real connection to my heart. In my life, it was another of those last few days of my holiday in India with too many things to do.... We came back to the US and some time later I went through a different disaster - hurricane Katrina. I drove down to work every morning listening to stories of lost homes, loots, displaced children... The stories were horrible and I felt sad for the victims. I donated money to the charity drive organized and I wished I could do something more. Suddenly I begun to wonder... What could I do ? Wondered whether this desire to do something was real at all, whether my sympathies were in fact a perverse expression of a kind of Carthusian pleasure. I wondered how I'd got left behind on that other ocassion when India had faced similar and if tragedies can be compared at all, far worse tragedies not so long ago..

This is what I realized: I, am a prime example of irresponsible reactions that one keeps making these days to different things around us that should have required us to respond more sincerely. I hear the news, not the stories.. words come crashing around me like so many meaningless waves making noise, but leave me unmoved.. I am too lazy to pick those pieces of human emotion and pain that that I hear about and give them place in my heart. I let the media instead mediate, manipulate my feelings, put words in my mouth. So that I am saddenned by a "well told" story of woe... I live by their pointers on who is the more deserving of my sympathies, and get "educated" on who's loss is the greater.. immunune to miseries that does not concern my immediate life with a diminished perception of loss and sorrow as impersonal figures and statistics.. offering up perhaps an automatic tchh tchh.. even hastily made donations to escape further responsibility. No real feelings spared and quickly forgotten in the flurry of the more immediate demands of what pertains to my own life alone..

Monday, July 24, 2006


আমরা একসাথে স্বপ্ন দেখেছিলাম. তুমি অন্য পথে অন্য স্বপ্নের হাত ধরে চলে গেলে দুরে . কেউ একজন জুটে গেল যেই চলার পথে , স্বপ্ন গুলো কোন চুলয়ে ছুড়ে ফেলে দিয়ে চললে বয়ে .. তুমি কি চাও সেটা বোধায় তোমার কাছেও খুব স্পষ্ট ছিল না কোনদিন .. তাই বয়ে যেতে পেরেছ নতুন স্রোতে ..

তোমার সঙ্গীটিকে ভালবাস তো ? নিঃসঙ্গতা আর নেই তোমার ? এদিক সেদিক কথা বলা ... এধার ওধার ঘুরে বেড়ানো ... সমাজ , সংসার , কর্মব্যস্ততা ... তোমার সে আর তার তুমি ... সুখ , স্বচ্ছলতা , প্রিয়জনের ভালবাসার জলে সম্মৃধ্হ জীবন ... বলতে চাও কোনো কিন্তুর অবকাশ নেই এর মধ্যে ?

তবু “কিন্তু” গুলোকে আমি নিয়ে এলাম আজ .. আমি দেখেছি তোমার হাঁসির মধ্যে ফাঁকি .. ভালবাসার মধ্যে হাঁপ ধরে ওঠা দীর্ঘ্যশ্বাস . দিনের পর দিন অর্থহীন ছোটাছুটি . জীবনটা স্মৃতীর পাতায়ে ঝাপসা করে নিয়ে কাটিয়ে দিচ্ছ সুখে ..নিজেকে বুঝিয়ে ফেলেছ সুখি তুমি ! আমি দেখতে পাই . আমি দেখতে পাই তোমার সবটুকু জোড়া শুন্যতা . কংকালসার . এভাবে চলতে চলতে একদিন দেখবে শেষের দিকটা কাছে এসে পড়েছে ...

যাই , চলে যাই , বন্ধু বুঝোনা ভুল

সুখে দুঃখ্যে , যার বোঝা হোক যত কঠিন , তবু , সহজ থাকব পরস্পরের কাছে . এই কি ছিল না কথা ?

তুই আর কারো বন্ধু হলে যেতাম রেগে . তোকে আর কেউ ভালোবাসলে লাগত কেমন কেমন . অথচ তোকে আদেও কিছুই ছিল না আমার . একান্ততার দাবিকে প্রসয় দিয়ে তুই করেছিলি আমায় ঋণী .

ছাতের ওপর মাদুরে শুয়ে কালো আকাশের তারা গুনেছি কতদিন তোর সাথে . অবিশ্রান্ত বৃষ্টির দিনে জান্লায়ে পা দুলিয়ে গান গেয়েছি একসাথে . আশ্রমের সবুজে মোরা চাঁতালে করেছি প্রার্থনা পাশাপাশি . কত তর্ক , কত আলোচনা , কত বুঝিয়েছি তোকে আমার উদ্ভট উদ্ভাবন ! কত গল্পের , কবিতার , গানের মানে করেছি বসে বসে আকাশ কুসুম .. তুই দিয়েছিস সায়ে, দিয়েছিস স্বারা.

মনে পড়ে, কত কত বেড়াতে যাওয়া, বাঁকুড়া বিষ্ণুপুর , বেলুর মঠ, বই মেলার আনাচে কানাচে ঘুরে বেড়ানো একসাথে .. একসাথে পরীক্ষার প্রস্তুতি নেওয়া . তোর খাতায়ে লাল কালির আঁকি বাকি করা .

জীবনের ঝর ঝাপ্টায়ে ক্লান্ত আমি কতবার পেয়েছি তোর কাছে নির্মল সান্তনা , এগিয়ে চলার পাথেয় . তোর ভালবাসার স্নিগ্ধ পরশে জুড়িয়েছে কত জ্বালা যন্ত্রনা .

স্মৃতীগুলো আজ ভিড় করছে বারে বারে মনের আঙিনায়ে. তুই ছিলি আমার একটুকু পরিপূর্ণ তৃপ্তির অনুভূতি …

তারপর … তারপর জীবন এগিয়ে চলল তার খেয়ালে … সব গল্প শেষ হল না বলা . সব গল্প শেষ হল না শোনা .. এক পা এক পা করে দুরে সরে যাওয়ার শুরু .. আজ আর বাঁধন নেই কোনই ... মুক্তি টুকু হালকা লাগে কখনো , কখনো লাগে বড্ড ফাঁকা.

Wednesday, July 05, 2006


All day it had been furiously hot. Now, dark clouds were heaped ominously on the horizon. A strong wind was blowing and the clouds growled deeply. Lightning flashed strong as daylight. Naresh opened his windows to let in the heady scent of the thunder-storm, due to begin any minute now. The ground seemed to tremble in the heat waiting for the first kiss from the rain. The trees threw their branches wildly every which way.. thoroughly out of control. Naresh thought it was a love dance, the movements both ecstatic and impatient for the ultimate union of the earth and the skies. The call of the clouds had awakened a sweet nostalgia in his heart. Plop plop came the heavy drops with a vengeance. The strong smell from the just wet asphalt filled his nostrils.

Naresh's mind slipped away to an evening not so long ago.. He and Preeti had gone to sit by the Ganges when the Kalboishakhi, a storm of notorious fury in the West Bengal, had suddenly ambushed them. The skies had been aglow with a brilliant yellow gray light and the thickly dust-laden winds had blown by them savagely. The two had been overwhelmed by the drama coming to life all around them. Other bystanders, the food peddlars, the boatsmen all ran for shelter. Naresh and Preeti had remained where they were, unwilling to break the spell of those moments. Rain was like a divine retribution to the passions burning in their soul. They had walked hand in hand by the roaring Ganges oblivious to everything but themselves and the rain...

Naresh lay down on his bed allowing himself to be lulled into drowsiness by the steadily beating rainfall. He tried to fill his mind with the sounds and smell of rain. .

A different picture rose in vivid details before his eyes. This picture was from many years ago. The Kalboisakhi was once more ranting away like a demon unleashed. Naresh then barely 13, had stood on their open terrace. His mother was busy gathering the clothes that had been hung out to dry on ropes tied across two poles. She was calling out to him to get back into the house. How much longer till the rain.. Naresh had waited impatiently as his hair and clothes started to get splattered by the winds.. then came the sharp sting from the fast falling rains. With the touch of the rains something crazy had clicked in his brain. Screaming with excitement he had rushed to join the boys who played football in the slippery mud of the open grounds by the railway lines; nothwithstanding his mother's severest remonstrances.

A movement caught Naresh's eye. Something fell from the tree to the ground. Before he could investigate further however Naresh got severely distracted as a wonderful aroma of food assaulted his senses. He turned to find as Preeti come in with both their dinners in two plates piled with steaming hot khichuri, beguni and dim bhaja - a traditional cuisine on rainy days in Bengal...

What had fallen was the little red Robin's nest from the tree where it lived whoes wild dance Naresh had been admiring. For a fleeting moment, I wondered at the cruelty of fate.. then forgot.

Friday, June 23, 2006


It has been so long.. so long that I sat under a tree, rolled in the grass, bathed in salty waters on the ocean front, listened to birds chirp, or... write. Life is running by me and I am running by life. I am lost in the woods. What did I promise so long ago ? Who knows ? I do not remember anymore. Egged on by something indescribable I run the miles that stretch before me. Busy, busy, busy, buzzes the word in my head. Where am I headed? Why am I chasing this never ending to-do list ?

Will I be happy if I were say in a beautiful sprawling home, awash with the sunshine of abundance ? If I amassed wealth enough for eternal gaiety and parties? If someone loved me to distraction, swept me off everyday in extravagant romances? If I had children to adore and spoil ? If I travelled far and wide, engulfed in exotic adventures? What brings happiness?

Somehow I think, fulfilment is to be found in none of these things alone. I think Fulfillment comes in strange ways; not in goals reached, but in goals achieved through endless pain and determination. Fulfilment lies in abstinence, in excecuting the plans of a mind shaped by purpose, a mind that has weathered and won its battles over other insincts.

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Bangalir Adda

Bangali jiboner abichhinno angsho holo adda. Addar ullekhmatro bangalir mukh emni jhalmoliye othe je bhabte hoy "aha ei na hole addabaj!" Ta kajon bangalir adda shunte elam. Dinu, Sobu, Soma, Ratu cha, murimakha, telebhaja hate ekti shushojjito boitakhanaye samobeto:

(cha er cup e chumuk lagiye): Adda dewa, tao abar din khan dekhe! Akgada email chalachali, er schedule or schedule! khel dakhali bote tora!
byasto somosto lokjone mile adda deben ar din khon dekhte hobe na!
Dinu: din khan dekhe adda hoy na. adda akta spontaneous byapar.
Se jai balo.. adda bangalir rokte royeche. bangalike jamon bhabe jekhane fele dao, tara jomiye adda debei. chirokali tai diye jachhe.
ajkalkar addar kintu onyo concept, sobuda. tao abar probashider adda.. adda bostutar gota choritroi amra bodle felechi.
Soma: Satyajit ray jakhon prachin greek eo adda hoto bolchen, amra ar katotai ba bodlechi!
Dhur dhur.. Bangalir adda satontro jinish. bhat bolte paro, mukhenong maritong bolte paro. aristotlio tatto alochonar songe setar kono mil nei.
nah Nah, ta kano bolcho. sotyajit ray addar bibhinno form niye bolechen. sekhane bangalir addar o akta sthan ache. eta to..
tui bhule jachhish sotyojit ray bangalir adda somporke kono bhalo kotha bolen ni. birokti tai prokash korechilen. jehetu ami nije adda rashik, satajit ray holeo oi montobyo take katiye dewai ami amar kortobyo mone kori.
sabuda, tumi jai balo, ak-ad line udhriti fudriti dile baktobyo daray bhalo. janota khub khay.
se ar janina?!
Dinu: Amar to mone hoy, tamon tamon loker idea dhar korar akta bhalo dik ache. anukaron korte kortei bhalo ta sekha jay..
seta keu ashhikar korche na.
kintu sob kichukei nijeke evaluate korte hoy. amader holy trinity hochhe robindro-bibekanondo-ramkrishno - sob kichu somporke ora akta na akta upodesh chere gache. seta ajo amra ankre boshe achi without any further debate. tui bal, eta ki thik ?
akta lok ak khetre baro hoye uthlei se sob byapare expert hoye jay na. we are such psychophants! sedin dekhi asha bhosle barite ki randhen tai niye TV show hochhe!
kono diktai to charcho na dekhchi tomra. Nile bolbe toka, na nile bolbe boka!
Are nya re. Nibii to. jatota soy tatota nibi. nebar por setake thik kore hajom korte hobe.
Ajkalkar chora gulo western influence er asol ta na bujhe kebol du chatro inrigi forfor kore dhonyo hoye jaye.. eder dekhle khub kharap lage. Aagacha tule jekhane sekhane lagiye dilei unnotir kono sambhabana toiri hoy na. context-take assimilate koranor dike najor dite hoy.
hmm.. ta sob miliye addar byakhha ta kirakom darachhe?
Soma: dhur. byakhhya anujai adda ki dewa jay !!
Dinu: Byakhhyate kato ki dhokabe tumi ? parar roake cheleder hindi cinemar roshaaswadon, setao adda. Telephone e ghontar por ghonta aboltabol boke jawa - setao adda. College canteen e golabaji kore deshodhhar - setao adda. ar amra je ekhane golpo salpo korte boshechi; main jodio chilo ajke dupurer badsaahi bhoj er bondobosto ta - tobu, etao adda.
Ato rakom addar modhye aktai jinish chokhe porche: seta hocche bekarotto. Kono fruitful discussion ke keu bodhay adda bole na. Setake bola hoy aaloochoonaa.
Soma: thik. adda day akejo loke. addate kono lokhyo nei, addar kono bishoybostu nei, addar tai kono porinotio nei... "

Oporer alochona amar bondhuder mukher kichu kothake ulte palte lekha. Sei songe amar kothata arektu bolchi:

Adda akta "culture". Moar jamon inrigi hoy na, eo tai. thik prachin na holeo, purono diner jibon dharar alosh chander sathe shur miliye addar utpotti... sekhanei adda sarthok. din kaler sathe sathe bangalir jibone anek poribarton esheche. adda debar art abong artist er dal dutoi lop pete shuru koreche. ghori bandha du tin ghontar abosore je jalshar ayonjon, tate adda jome na.

Hoyto amader modhye adda ke dhore rakha akhon asambhab... Kanona daye dayitto heen sahoj sarol rashalaper manosikatake amra anek pechone fele eshechi. Setake akbakye nindeo korte pari na. Kanona jiboner sarthokata kajer modhyei.. bilombito loye heshe goriye jibon katanoke sarthok bola jay na. adda bangali sanskritir akta "relic". Setake notun kore byakhya korar, ajker juger poriprekhhite setake notun bhabe khuje nebar somoy esheche.

Addar baki ta shunte paren debobroto-da r comment e..