Tuesday, November 10, 2009
“You traveling alone?”
“No, No. My husband is sleeping up there.” And she bent down a little and then twisted herself to face upwards and pointed at the upper berth.
Anindita had noticed the man snoring there. She said, “Oh.”
It was quiet for sometime. Then the woman said again, “He is my husband.”
Anindita smiled and nodded. The woman continued, “I have one son. Only eight years old. I was married twenty-two years ago. But I was not having children. We went to the doctors. They could not do anything. They said nothing was wrong with me. They wanted to examine my husband. So, we went to a Babaji. He is a great man. He still lives in Rishikesh. We go there every year. He did a Puja and then after years of regular fast and Puja I conceived. Everyone at home was relieved. My husband had become so upset with me.”
There was nothing for Anindita to say. She smiled. And during the complete journey, the woman took the job of talking and left the smiling part to Anindita.
She kept quiet for sometime and continued again, “My son’s name is Rahul. My husband named him, after Shahrukh’s name is Kuchh Kuchh Hota hai. You have seen the movie, haven’t you?”
Anindita nodded. She continued again, “It is a good movie. I wanted to name him Mahesh. He was actually born on Shivratri. But Rahul is good. It is a better name. Are you married?”
That was a shocker. Anindita smiled and said, “No, I am not.”
“Good. It is very important that girls should work. We are illiterate. We can’t even name our children properly. Mahesh is such an old fashioned name. Is it not?” And she laughed.
Anindita said, “No why would it be old fashioned? It is good.”
“No, it is not. Everybody laughed when I said that name.”
Anindita kept quiet. Sometime later, the woman started again, “He is in class four now. He is very naughty. He never listens to me. He doesn’t treat me like his mother. Not at all afraid of me. Whenever I try to scold him, he would always beat me and run away. He is so restless. Never comes and sits with me. He sits with his dad though. Actually his dad brings him gifts and chocolates. I remain busy with my kitchen work all day. When I get some time in the afternoon, he sleeps with his grandmother. At night also he sleeps with his grandmother. In the morning he goes to school with his dad. I rarely get him close to me. He is so restless. How could I?”
A pause again.
“I work all day. Early morning, Rahul goes to school. Then two of my sisters-in-law go to college. Then my husband goes to work. I prepare breakfast and Tiffin for all of them. Then my Mother-in-law needs a massage. Then I have to get things ready for her bath. Then I go for cooking. After everybody eats, I clean up, take a bath and then finally get time to eat for myself. Its usually 4 o’clock when I eat. What time do you eat at home?”
Okay! That was a question. Anindita replied with a smile, “Usually 2 o’clock.”
She kept quiet for a moment, and then started off again. “Do you know to cook?”
“Yes. I am not a great cook. But I can manage well.”
“Arey, you all study. You can cook. That is all. My sisters-in-law do not cook at all. They always go to college and come home with friends. I know all of them. Actually I prepare the snacks for them. I meet them. So, I know them. They are all good girls. The only problem is they cannot cook. You cannot tell your husbands that you cannot cook. Can you?”
A longer pause.
“Rahul is very intelligent. My husband says, he would one day become a doctor. His father brings him so many toys. The toys do not last even a day. He breaks them off. I tell my husband to scold him sometimes, but my husband says that a child breaking toys is a good sign. It means your child is very intelligent. And my husband says that with all the money he earns, why I should worry about my boy breaking toys. So, I have stopped worrying. But you know what, this will spoil his habits. So, I worry sometimes. But most of the time I do not worry. After all, my husband knows better than me. When he is saying everything would be alright, I am sure about that. I am uneducated. How would I know anything. So, I always……..”
She was stopped by her snoring husband, “Bahot bol rahi hai tu. Thoda kam bola kar. Shuru ho jati hai bas. (You are talking too much. Talk a little less. Once you start, you never stop)”
The woman shut up completely. For a long time, she did not utter a word. Then she moved closer to Anindita and said softly, “I talk too much. But I don’t talk this much when I am at home. At home, everybody is so busy. Nobody has time to talk. I, myself am so busy all day. My husband is a very strict man. He tries to make me presentable. But I am illiterate, so I don’t know his ways. So, I never go out in front his friends. He has very good friends. They come home. I never talked to them. Both men and women. But those women are not like me. They are educated and smart. Like you. He has enough trouble with me. Poor man. So I stay out his way. I try not to trouble him much. I don’t mingle with people much… neighbors I mean. What would they think of my husband if they find out that he has an uneducated wife? So I stay all by myself and pretend to be very busy. So, I don’t have many friends.”
And she continued.
That evening, as the auto-rickshaw sped through the darkness, from the station towards her home, Anindita thought about the women. The unnamed women she saw that day. The two unnamed women, she would most probably never see again. The woman who spoke irritatingly until you would feel like shouting at her, asking her to shut up. But surprisingly, Anindita did not shout at her. Surprisingly, though irritating, there was somewhere a vast loneliness build up inside a heart that could have been wonderfully sweet. Loneliness, from where Anindita knew, she would never come out. She would never know what it meant to be special, or be loved and respected. She felt that flow of words trapped inside a woman, who was forbidden to bring up her own child her own way, to love him or lull him to sleep at night. Anindita thought of all those unspoken feelings that lay behind each word the woman had said to her, which on a first impression would have been sounded like empty and useless chatter.
That night, after dinner when Anindita got into bed, she opened her diary after years. She read a few pages. The last entry was 6 years and few months ago. Once done reading, she scribbled until sleep closed her eyes, the pen still between her fingers and her head on the scribbled ink soaked up by the lined paper.
Monday, November 9, 2009
“Hmm. I will look for the tickets today and will let you know tomorrow. Fine with you?”
“Yes. You are not listening to me, but I think we must quit this job.”
“Arey, don’t worry about it right now. We will think about it later.
And then Anindita’s hearing system unable to filter loud noise, the words rang into her ears, “Your attention please, Train number 3105, Sealdah to Balia, Sealdah Balia Express is arriving shortly on platform number 3.”
It kept repeating in Bengali, Hindi and English.
The pair got up and walked away. Anindita got up slowly. She cursed the train for being on time, and then cursed the man who announced, then cursed the man who prepared the time table and then the driver and during the curing process walked down to the edge of the platform. She watched the pair walk away engrossed into their exclusive world.
The train arrived. As she got into the compartment, she lost sight of the pair, unaware of the fact that she had lost sight of them forever. That was the last time she ever saw them again.
Anindita walked into the compartment found a woman sitting all by herself on a big whole seat. She sat down at one corner. She had lots to think about that evening. She had her dose of humanity and did not need Balia express to provide her with anymore. She sat there quietly looking out of the window, thinking. As she sat there, she noticed the woman turned to look at her every now and then. She was a middle aged woman, wore a pink saree with green leafy border. She had her hair updone into a bun, very untidily. She must have been beautiful years back. She had big eyes, but yellowed. Her earlobes had a big hole resulted due to heavy ear rings. Every time the woman looked at her, she saw a curiosity and wondered if she was too shy to be able to initiate a conversation. Anindita smiled at her. Her lips parted into a smile displaying small, shapely, beautiful but yellow teeth. She looked good when smiling. Anindita asked, “Where are you going?”
Saturday, August 29, 2009
One of them shouted, “Neha, did u pack the eggs?”
A young married woman (must be Neha) replied, “Oh Shit ! I kept it on the table, but forgot to put it in. Now?”
The one who had initiated, replied, “I knew you would do it. You always miss on something every time.”
Neha smiled sweetly full of guilt and said, “I am so sorry Gauri didi. What will happen now?”
Gauri shouted at the top of her voice, “Did u hear Ma? Neha left the eggs at home.”
People around turned to look.
An old woman a little father away replied back louder than Gauri, “Again? What will happen now? How many eggs were there?”
Gauri said, still maintaining the volume “Twelve! All Boiled! I don’t think it would last two weeks.”
Anindita smiled. Forget about two weeks. Wouldn’t last two days. People around smiled.
The old woman looked worried. “Now what?”
Gauri said, volume still maintained at maximum, “What ! Nothing ! They will rot and when we come back, I wonder how we would step into that smelling house.”
The old woman got a bit irritated, and muttered, loud enough to be heard by every soul who were around, “Three daughter-in-laws and still you forget to pack the eggs. You are so lucky to have me. If it had been my mother-in-law, you would have been dead by now. Twelve eggs ! It is so costly.” Then she raised her volume to maximum again and asked, “ Haan Neha?? What will you feed Ketan now? That gentleman son of yours doesn’t take in a grain of rice without non-veg.”
Neha smiled guiltily and replied, “Don’t worry Ma, I will arrange something for him.”
Neha called, “Ketan come here.”
A little boy of about three years was squatting at the edge of the platform. He the upper half of his torso, still in the same position and looked at Neha. “Ma, come here. See here is a snake. It is dead.”
“No, you come here. Come fast.”
Ketan did not budge. Neha got up, walked upto him and pulled him to the bench where Anindita was sitting and sat down.
Quietly she said, “Ketan, I forgot to pack the eggs. You wouldn’t make a fuss while eating tonight, right?”
Ketan made a face. Neha explained, “If you make such a face, grandmother will get angry with me. She loves you so much, she will scold me that I did not bring the eggs for you. And if she becomes very angry, she might leave me in some unknown station and then what will happen to me?”
Ketan thought for a moment and then smiled, “No, she won’t do that.”
Neha said, “What if she does?”
Ketan replied, “She won’t. I know. But okay, if you are afraid, I will eat without the eggs. But get me some fish tomorrow. Now come and see the snake.”
Neha and Ketan got up. Neha glanced at Anindita as Ketan tugged at her arm. Anindita and Neha smiled at each other.
And with that, the egg-fuss was over. The old woman kept muttering. Gauri and Neha and others talked and Anindita was the silent unnoticed audience.
The woman (who traveled on board Balia Express with Anindita, the one Anindita did not like much) and her husband arrived and walked to the seat where Anindita sat. That was their usual seat. They sat down. Anindita saw the woman after a long time. More than a week. The husband was traveling alone all those days.
The man asked extra softly making it almost a whisper, “Now tell me where you were these days? Something wrong at home?”
Anindita heard it though she wasn’t meant to hear it. Anindita realized she was wrong all these days. He wasn’t the husband. He must be just a colleague.
The woman said, “They want me to quit working. I told you about this earlier. Did I not? How long do we have to wait?”
“It is getting tougher for you. Isn’t it? Let me check when I can get tickets. Anybody suspicious at home?”
Right that moment, Anindita was. She was a normal human being. Normal people are allowed to be suspicious about things going on around them. She adjusted her hearing system to filter every other sound except the two beside her.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
Neha, One of my most wonderful friends! One person, I know I can turn up to whenever I feel like the whole world is crashing down and I have no where to go. One fine evening, she was upset. We had a little chat. And then as goodbyes were said, Neha promised me a post for my blog. Thank you Neha for the honour. About her: She is a wonderful poet, singer and above all a beautiful lady at heart. Click here to read her poems.
From tears to smile
A couple of days ago I met one of my friends online. She was quite tensed about the market. Her joining has been delayed and as a result she’s sitting idle at home with absolutely nothing to do. I guess sitting idle is a very bad situation. I’m also waiting for my joining but thankfully I know how to keep myself busy. This friend about whom we are talking here lacks in this art. So as a result she was badly frustrated and negative about life and other things, so much that she was weeping!
I wonder how people can make simple things sound much complicated. And then they might see a tree as a monster, or a beautiful rainy evening as a disaster. Now, this girl has been blessed with a lot of talents. And she loves all of them. She loves painting, writing poetry, singing, listening to songs, cooking, gardening, observing, and the list is long. But during all this free time what she has been doing? Weeping over her circumstances, over things that she cannot control. What she is not doing is utilizing this immense free time by doing all or any of the things she loves, all the things she always wanted to do but never had enough free time for. At some later stage in life when she’ll become busy as a bee, will she not regret this beautiful time that she wasted in weeping? Of course she will.
But she’s not realizing this at this moment.
It is natural I think. It’s not only her. People always desire and long for what they do not have. I know you have read it a thousand times but then I know this too that only a few of you have pondered upon this. Other’s have only read it for the sake of reading or heard it for the sake of hearing. We often spend our free time by thinking about what we do not have rather than utilizing it to cherish and enhance what we have. Later when we’ve lost our precious moments we again waste our present thinking about how we spoiled out our past moments. So when do we enjoy? I’m not saying that I’m a sage or something. I too have my ups and downs. But at least I know how to spend and utilize my free time. And this is what I wanted her to understand.
I talked to her trying to give her the facts. One good thing is that she believes in me and tries to follow what I say. She opened up her heart in front of me and I saw the sad world that she had created within herself. She was talking as if her life was like an empty cup and that she was of no use. Yet somewhere deep inside she knew that all that was fake and very far from reality. She read this blog of mine and started talking big of me, talking small of her simultaneously. I know that she must have liked my work but when sad, people do this often either to make themselves feel worse or to make themselves feel better (by gaining sympathy). I advised her to enhance her writing skills and painting skills ignoring what all she said about my greatness.
I asked her whether she’s applying for other part time jobs and she denied it. Again, it is common with people, doing nothing and waiting for miracles to ensue to solve all their problems. I persuaded her to go out and search for some job.
Finally after a productive tête-à-tête both of us said our goodbyes. I was happy to know that she was smiling. She acknowledged my ‘superb’ ideas and then did engage herself into something.
This rakshabandhan her artworks that festooned her brothers’ wrists, earned her a lot of appreciation (and even money). She’s quite happy about all that now. Although she’s still sitting at home but she’s searching for a job seriously. She has even penned down something for me (I asked her to do so on the day of our long chat) and I’ve added it here in this blog. (I assured her I’d do that…).
So now when you have read (and are still reading) all what she has penned, I guess you are now aware that she’s not suffering anymore. She’s happy and I’m happy for her.
Written by Neha Sharma (the sad girl) for Mou. (The super supporter)
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
People went quieter. The man looked at Anindita and muttered something. Anindita looked at the man sternly and said, "It would take me two minutes to find out every minute detail about you. Not only that, I work on the payment cheques that you recieve every month as your salary. You want me to do that?"
The man stared at Anindita and Anindita continued, "Once I am done with all the things I mentioned, let me see how much interested you would be in serving your passengers?"
The man got up and without a single word walked out of the compartment. Aninidita smiled. Her first smile throughout the day. This was the best thing that happened to her since morning. She could surely find out every minute detail in a minute but she was in no position to alter anything regarding his salary cheque. After all, she was just a software developer. It was fun being somebody of such weight that people double your age are afraid of you. Other passengers stood there and a discussion followed for sometime. Slowly the croed dispersed from the door to their respective seats. One of them came up to Anindita and said, "Come and sit. There is space over here."
Anindita thanked and declined. She was loving the wind. The old man was back at his seat. Anindita asked him, "Where are you going?"
He replied, "Balia, beti."
"Dont you have a reservation? It is very far. You will have to sit the whole night?"
"I know, but tickets costs so much. I did not have enough money."
"Hmm. Who stays in Balia?"
"My folks. My relatives. From now on, I will live there itself."
"And in Kolkata?"
"Kolkata nahi, beti, I lived in Asansol. I used to be a Rickshaw-puller. And since the past few years, I gathered up plastics and sold them. It was enough for us. I do not have children. My wife died two months ago. What shall I live for in Bardhman, all alone?"
Anindita looked outside into the dark and thought, "Funny life."
Sunday, August 23, 2009
As she boarded the train, she walked up to the end of the compartment and stood there by the door. At the ticket examiner's seat sat an old man with a little bundle tied up into a dirty white cloth. She looked at him once. He shivered now and then. It wasn't cold in April and so Anindita thought maybe it was old age. She looked out of the door. She always loved standing at the door. The wind whizzed past, hurting the eyes, forcing them to close. It was fun. She did not lean out but leaned back on the door. On the floor beside her, two men sat, a little less older than the man on the ticket examiner's seat, but nevertheless, old. She did not pay much attention. She continued to look outside and feel the wind on her face. It helped her soothe her uneasiness.
The train sped by on schedule. A middle-aged man arrived into the compartment. Most probably he had boarded at Chittaranjan into some other compartment and walked into this one. He saw the old man on the seat and said to him, "Babaji.. go and sit there." and he pointed at the floor beside the other men. The old man looked at him in meek silence and the man ordered again, "Kya hua Baba? Get up and sit there."
The old man clasped his bundle with his wrinkled hands and staggered to the floor beside the others. Anindita hated the middle-aged man. She glared at him for a moment but he didnt look at her. So, she looked away in disgust. After all what could she do alone? She was a girl and she had always been advised by friends and family to keep shut however tempting it might it was to speak back against wrongs. So, she stared out of the door, with a grumpy face, irritated of all shitty and crude things about life. She stood there thinking of what all things she would have said to that man if at all she did say anything to him. Then she thought, there was no harm in saying a sentence or two. She would not fight. She would just tell him that what he did was wrong and he shouldn't have made that old staggering man to get up off the seat. Then she changed her mind. It would be of no use. He wouldn't listen. So she gave up the idea.
Few more minutes passed. The train moved cutting through the air. Anindita stared outside. It was getting darker. The sky was graying though there still was light, but the earth bore only dark silhouettes. Anindita turned to the middle aged man and said, "Didn't you feel bad making that old man sit there on the floor?"
The man was a bit surprised. He stammered for a moment, unable to say anything. He looked at Anindita and then at the old man and then back at Anindita. Finally he said, "This seat is for Railway employees. It is not for that old man."
Anindita said, "It is for the TTE. It is not for you either. In that case I can ask you to get up and allow me to sit. Should I do that?"
"I am a rail employee. I am entitled to travel a bit more comfortably. I work at Chittaranjan Locomotive works. I work for all the passengers and they should be a little more considerate about letting me travel in some comfort."
Anindita wondered what was she doing. She was actually creating a scene. She had a sudden urge to stop and walk away. But she was into it and she couldn't just leave. She replied back. "You don't work for the people. You work because you are paid. And forget about all that. This man is so old he cannot even stand properly. It never occurred to you that you should have even a little bit of moral sense in you. Three older men and a lady is standing in front of you and look at you, you are sitting there and arguing !"
Anindita knew she was getting irritated. But she knew how to keep her calm. She looked calm and firm but on the inside she felt like slapping the man hard. She already had a bad day all through and now this. A few men, who had been close by, gathered and took her side. They argued with the man and tried convincing him to at least share the seat with the old man if not leave it for him. He wouldn't listen.
And here goes the tag....
1. What is your name: Mou
2. A four Letter Word: meal
3. A boy’s Name:Mahul (thts my brother's name.. i guess thts allowed !)
4. A girl’s Name: Madhuri
5. An occupation: Mazdoor :P
6. A color: magenta
7. Something you wear: Mozari (its a type of shoe... but you wear it )
8. A food: Momo, malai curry (prawns), mughlai, madhu (honey), mowa (a laddoo kind of thing... bengalis wud know), manchurian,.... yaar.. i can go on and on :D
9. Something found in the bathroom: Mirror
10. A place: Manikaran (in Himachal Pradesh, a city with hot water springs)
11. A reason for being late: missed the bus/train
12. Something you shout: MY GOD !!!!
13. A movie title: Mann (Aamir Khan and Manisha Koirala)
14. Something you drink: Mirinda
15. A musical group: metallica (i dont like it much though)
16. An animal: Mouse
17. A Street name: Mahatma Gandhi Road
18. A type of car: Matiz
19. A song title: Mere Dholna sun (from the movie Bhool Bhulaiya)
20. A verb: make
Finally, I am fully untagged. No more pending tags. Now tagging is a very difficult part. Most of the people have already been tagged. Those who arent, I do not wish to tag them explicitly! Take it up anybody who wants to.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
People are getting me wrong. I am down with questions from many. I guess the title did the trick. Trust me it wasn't about my love story. I have no *such* complains about my love story !
I had watched three wonderfully unrealistic, dramatic love stories viz,
Love aaj Kal
When Harry met Sally
The third one was not that dramatic, and maybe that's what created the now deleted post.
It was just about this dramatic feature of movies and the hour (3 am in the morning) that brought out thoughts that are good when kept to myself. It was all about why could we not do those dramatic things in reality !
Please stop analyzing those who are !
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Have been off the blogging world for the last few days.. been out of station... Am back again, got a huge backlog of posts to be read...
I start with the untagging process. Tagged by Shilpa
1. The jhatpat Tag
2. My life in Numbers
Lets start with the first one :
The tag is called Jhatpat tag... Lets see...
1. Grab the book nearest to you, turn on page 18 and find line 4.
This ensures consistency and saves storage space. However, in practice, it is sometimes......
2. Stretch your left arm out as far as you can & catch air?
The saree I wore today morning.
3. What is the last thing you watched on TV?
Bhaskar Bharti, I guess (2 months ago)
4. Without looking, guess what time it is?
5. Now look at the clock, what is the actual time?
6. With the exception of the computer, what can you hear?
7. When did you last step outside? What were you doing?
This morning. To school, for the independence celebrations.
8. Before you started this Q&As, what did you look at?
The computer screen, A movie !
9. What are you wearing?
A white embroidered skirt and a white T-shirt.
10. When did you last laugh?
Yaar, this is tough. I laugh almost always... And its hard remembering the last one.
11. What is on the walls of the room you are in?
Wall clock, a painting, A calendar, A khathakali face, etc.
12. Seen anything weird lately?
A madman with me in my train compartment. It was very scary. I changed my berth.
13. What do you think of this quiz?
14. What is the last film you saw?
Nayika Sambad. (bengali)
15. If you became a multimillionaire overnight, what would you buy?
Books books n books. I will build a huge library.
16. Tell me something about you that I dunno!
Dont you know?? That would mean, you are not supposed to know !
17. If you could change one thing about the world, regardless of guilt or politics, what would you do?
Change it back to where it was before the Global Warming started.
18. Do you like to Dance?
19. Imagine your first child is a girl, what do you call her?
Aratrika (liable to change)
20. Imagine your first child is a boy, what do you call him?
Prantor (liable to change)
21. Would you ever consider living abroad?
Would always come back.
22. What do you want GOD to say to you when you reach the pearly gates?
You will be sent back to earth soon ! :P
The Next one : My LIfe in Numbers
Its about describing your life in numbers from 1 to 10.
One : The month I was born ! January ! One !
Two: The two most wonderful people I have known... Dad and Mom !
Three: There lived three lizards in my hostel room .. I named them ... Tikloo, Pikloo and Spiderman !
Four: I lived in four different hostels till date.
Five: My favorite time of the day during these days... five in the morning !
Six: The lowest marks I ever scored out of 100. (I was in class three then.)
Seven: I was in class seven when I had my first crush. *blush*
Eight: I was eight years old when I first fell in love with damselflies.
Nine: We are altogether nine cousins at home (back at Kolkata... @ my dad's home)
Ten: I have ten DVDs full of animation movies !
Time to tag others... I am not specifically mentioning anybody explicitly.. Implicitly - Anybody who wishes to can take it up.
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Monday, August 10, 2009
One of the men said, "You smoke Gaanja at such a young age. It will harm you."
Teenage Baba replied, "Arey Beta, Gaanja smoking is not a big deal for people who have achieved things in life. I take very Satwik food and my body and mind is pure. Gaanja never harms a pure body and pure soul"
One man : "Babaji what is your age?"
Teenage Baba, "I am old enough. I look young due to my yoga. When you do yoga everyday, you never get old. My guru is 500 years old and he looks younger than me."
The men burst laughing. Anindita couldnt control her smile. One of the men controlled laughter and asked, "Who is you Guru? He is 500 years old then he should be very famous."
Teenage Baba: "Nobody knows him. He lives in the mountains near Nepal. I am coming from there."
One man: "And he smokes Gaanja too?"
Teenage Baba: "Yes he smokes 10 kilo Gaanja everyday."
Anindita couldnt help this time. She laughed out. The men were laughing like anything. Teenage Baba seemed to get angry. He said, "What do you know? You will laugh. All ignorant men laugh."
One Man: "Okay babaji we are sorry. Actually imagining a person who takes up 10 kilo gaanja in a day is kind of funny? A person would die in a single day."
Teenage Baba: "No, when you are pure and clean and strong, 10 kilo gaanja is nothing."
One Man: "One kilo Gaanja a day would also cost him a fortune. They have so much money in the himalayas?"
Teenage Baba: "My guruji doesnt have money. He has sponsors. There is a very rich man. He sends my Guru 10 kilo ganja everyday !"
One Man: "The rich man has to be very rich. Boy, do you know what you are talking? You are making fun of yourself."
Teenage Baba: "You are meager souls. You will never understand, that what I am telling you is true. The man is really very rich. You see, so many trains. These trains are all that rich man's. He buys all these trains and rents them out to the poorer people. All these trains are his. Do you understand how rich he is?"
The compartment thundered with laughter. Anindita couldnt help herself either. She giggled out loud. The woman in front of her, was listening too. In fact everybody who sat near laughed and the people farther away stared in awe at such a laughing commotion.
Teenage Baba seemed a bit embarrassed. He said, "Every meager soul laughs. But one day you will remember that you traveled with Baba Sarvananda."
One of the men asked, "Who is Baba Sarvananda?"
The train was nearing Jasidih. Teenage Baba looked at the man with eyes that were ready to curse. He got up, put his bag on his shoulders. He turned his back to us and as he walked towards the door, he uttered with an air of indifference, "That is me".
And without waiting for an answer, he went to stand at the gate.
Laughter filled the compartment once again.
One of the men said, "He is coming from the Himalayas, my foot! I see him every morning at Jasidih station. He begs on trains. He lives there on platform number 4."
A light discussion arose.
As the train slowed down, Anindita smiled to herself and got up. Jai Baba Sarvananda!
Sunday, August 9, 2009
She arrived at the station at 12.55 p.m., went to her usual bench and sat there under the fan. She waited until the air cooled her down a bit. Then she took out her bottle of cold water, thanking the office A.C. that cooled the warm water within half an hour. Her office did not have a water cooler. She cursed summers as she felt the cold water go down her trachea into her stomach. The sun was hot enough to exhaust her from that 20-minute drive to the railway station. She waited until she had cooled down enough to eat. Then out came her tiffin box, and she would eat, chew slowly so that it lasted till her train arrived. This was the usual stuff. Every Saturday she would do this. And when she was done eating, she would pack up her bag and sit there watching around for people.
She sometimes looked at the group of hawkers sitting with their saleables talking to each other, laughing and discussing things that to our ears would not be very pleasing or standard. Nevertheless Anindita listened. Now and then a group of young boys, most probably in their teens, passed by her staring at her and smiling at each other. She didn't mind, as long as they kept the talking and smiling to themselves. A beggar slept under the over bridge stairs, flies whining around him. Anindita thought he must have got used to sleep with them fluttering around him. The lady she disliked never traveled with her on Saturdays. Anindita guessed, she must be in her office then and Balia express would most probably be taking her home even on Saturdays. No, she wasn't missing her, she was just wondering, because she had nothing else to do but think.
The train was on time. She got into the ladies compartment. The ladies compartment on Toofan express was good. Seats were mostly available at her own discretion. She found herself a seat and sat down. There were all ladies around and some kids. Around the doors a few men lurked about. Most probably they had their female family members in the compartment.In front of her there was a lady with three children. The woman was beautiful but a bit fat. Women usually gain weight after marriage. She wondered why! And then imagined herself with a big tummy and children playing around her. It made her want to laugh. She suppressed that and managed with a smile to herself. Two of the children played, and the eldest one slept. The older two were girls and the youngest one was a boy. The oldest and the youngest looked like their their mom. They were fair and lovely like their mom was. The second child was not so beautiful, maybe she was like her father. Anindita loved watching them play. They moved about, laughing and playing. The girl loved her brother. She would amuse him and the boy giggled out loud. He would stand up on the seat and and stomp his feet and jerk his hands and laugh out with all his energy. The girl stood on the floor and giggled with him. Sometimes he would hold her head with his tiny hands, pull her closer, bend a little and kiss on her head. Sometimes he would hold her hair with both his hands and pull them hard, to bring her closer. The girl laughed as tears brimmed her eyes. She would then move closer to him and hug him with her small hands in return. Anindita smiled all along with them.The mother would then scold the boy and free the girl's hair from his hands.
The mother was watching Anindita as she watched the children play. Suddenly she said, "This is my brother-in-law's daughter. I have only two children, the girl who is sleeping and the boy."
Anindita replied, "Really? I thought they were all yours."
"No, Actually, her mother was very ill when she was born, so she used to be with me a lot. Since then its always like this. We are going to my brother's marriage. She wouldnt let me leave without her. So, I brought her with me." And she looked at the girl, brought her closer and hugged her. "She is my child. Arent you dear? I am your mother. Am I not sweetheart?"
The girl smiled and nodded.
Anindita thought what was it like. Was it like snatching away a kid from her mother, or was it like loving somebody just because you have given your love to her the first day she knew this world. She seemed possessive about the girl.
Friday, August 7, 2009
The walk on the railway tracks,
By the river as our laughter cracks,
As the sun dips into the waters
During the dusky hours.
Dark waters flow by.
Under the moon we lie.
A word or two, but often silence talks...
Barefoot on little pieces of rocks.
As the evening clouds turn red...
A lone bird flies with a crumb of bread...
Two pairs of eyes smile.
Two hands held... for miles !
Those miles end...
What remains is the afterglow
Of the walk... that prevailed
Some leisure hours by the bustle of the day,
Some evenings, Some moonlit skies,
A smile with a thought,
In one corner lies.
This poem was written for the purpose of a testimonial on orkut for a friend... We were the best of friends, till she got committed. We are still in touch and we are still great friends, and I know we always will be.
Some light poems do show up on the blog .. dont they?
Monday, August 3, 2009
And all of a sudden, she felt as if she was made to stand at the top of a hill and look below... at the city that lay in the valley. The same city where she had lived and never known, because she was in there, amidst the crowd. And now as she stood at the top of the hill, she saw the same things at a distant and from a different perspective. She was surprised and confused, because the things that were bigger and clearer once, were at the moment far away, unclear, yet she had her view stretched far and things had started to relate. And standing there, she wondered what made her climb up the hill. Yes, that was what she worried about the most - the reason for that uphill climb.
And as she climbed higher, she realized the change within herself. The change was simple and ordinary. Like finding the same music noisy that was once a tribute to ears. Like moving from the bustle of a city to the silence of the skies. Like falling in love with a flute instead of the guitar. Like sitting by the uphill road and watch a damselfly fly by instead of holding hands with the man she loved.
She knew he loved her, and she loved him back. Maybe she needed some time. Time enough to have seen the valley, time enough to walk down the hill, time enough to gather up her scattered thoughts and arrange them, time enough to un-welcome the change.
Friday, July 31, 2009
“Yes. My parents work here.”
“See, I am a Bihari and I stayed all my life in Kolkata and you are a Bengali and you always stayed in Bihar.” The man laughed.
Anindita smiled at his amusement.
When he was done, he continued, “Bengalis have a good culture. I like it, maybe because I have lived in Kolkata since my childhood. The best things about them is their ability to adapt to this changing world, take up the good things about the upcoming culture. We Biharis don’t do this. Look at us. Most of them still get emotional over dowry and caste and creed.”
He stopped for breath and looked at Anindita. So, she said, “Maybe because Bengalis were already much more unorthodox compared to others. So, the advancement is equal in both the cultures, just that they started from two different start points. And since we compare, we think the way you are thinking.”
The man was amused again. He said, “You are an intelligent girl. I don’t find girls talking this way. In fact this generation does not talk about these things. They have much more important things to do, like go to night clubs.”
Woh! That took Anindita up one step towards self praise. She found herself amused at his sole example of night clubs. She wondered why that was only example he could find. There were hundreds. Even she belonged to that group. It was just that she said these golden words at the right moment and left the man impressed. She said, “No uncle it’s not exactly like that. Maybe you never met such people or maybe they never discussed such things in front of you.”
In response he just uttered a “Hmm” and got back to his topic, “It is very difficult to change something in the society single handedly. I tell my friends that dowry is a bad thing. It should be avoided. In return people tell me that I am saying this because I have two daughters to marry off. If I had at least one son, I would have supported dowry. And whenever I promise myself that I will marry my daughters to someone who will despise dowry, I have this fear in me, what if I do not find such a man. It is very difficult not to think about it without worrying myself. You will know when you have children.”
Anindita thought why every grown up person uses this same sentence while explaining. She wondered if someday she would do that too. After all the statement did not leave any scope of arguments.
The man continued, “This is one of the things I like about Bengalis.”
Anindita replied, “No uncle, there are Bengalis too who indulge into the dowry system.”
“Yes, of course, exceptions are everywhere but its better among your culture. But then there are things I don’t like about Kolkata. Politics!”
Anindita smiled, “If you talk of politics uncle, I hate politics everywhere in India. And West Bengal’s problem is CP(I)M being in power for so long. But overall it is all the same everywhere.” And then Anindita smiled at herself. She was dumb when it came to politics, yet she loved the confidence in her tone. She did that every time. She knew Jasidih wasn’t far enough.
“Yes, yes you are right. But still, West Bengal, Bihar Jharkhand and Uttar Pradesh are worse.”
Anindita replied, “Yes” and she got up, put her bag on her shoulders and smiled at the man.
“Oh, you are already at your place. It was nice talking to you. At least I had a nice conversation with a nice young lady instead of keeping shut all the way.”
Anindita said, “And I too had a good time with you instead of sitting and doing nothing.
The train pulled into the station. Anindita went near the gate. The train slowed down and then stopped.
Author's Note: I dont remember this conversation very well. Whatever I presented in this part is a short form of what we talked about. There was more. I liked talking to him ! After all he liked Bengalis ! :D
Wednesday, July 29, 2009
The day Anindita traveled in that ladies compartment on Balia Express, she made that promise to herself, never again in a ladies compartment not at least on board Balia Express. She knew there was humanity, but it was uneasy. She did not feel comfortable with them. Sophistication always took over. And who knows maybe someday the bunch in question wouldn’t like her and she would have to stand there in that jungle of uncivilized women. She would hate that. Since she always came back to Deoghar every weekend earlier, she had seen regular passengers always getting into sleeper compartments. She realized, this was possible in Jharkhand and
There was another woman, who got into the same sleeper class compartment everyday from Chittaranjan and traveled till Jasidih. When Anindita reached Chittaranjan station, she sat there quietly. She always found the woman with a man. They would talk and laugh. Sometimes one or two other people would join them, ask them how they were doing and then they would go their own ways. The two always stayed back together. In the beginning, Anindita thought the two were married to each other. Most probably they worked at the same office and then they must have fallen in love and then married each other. “Perfect Couple!”, Anindita thought and smiled to herself. Anindita had a specific seat at the station. She always sat at the same place and waited for the train. The couple also had their specific place, but since it was far enough not to be heard, Anindita never heard them talking. She would look at the woman, and stare at her, until she would realize that she had been staring. Then she would look away. The woman wasn’t beautiful. She was a little healthier than could be classified under the beautiful category. She hadn’t great looks, a thick nose, wasn’t fair, though not dark. She did not have dark waist length hair or a wonderful hair style. She had her hair parted in the middle and Anindita saw the vermilion line that helped society to classify women into the married category. She had a little ponytail, well oiled and made up. Anindita did not like her. She did not know why. She could not give one single reason why she disliked her. So, even if they usually got into the same compartment, they never talked to each other. They could have, if Anindita would have initiated, but she didn’t for the sole reason of dislike.
That day Anindita did not see the woman on the platform. She thought maybe she was on a holiday. She sat there all by herself. She noticed the man walking up and down on the platform. The train arrived. Anindita boarded the train. She never asked anybody for a seat. She felt bad. These men were traveling a long distance and they were justified if they expected to relax themselves instead of offering her a seat. But, all the days that she traveled, somebody always offered her a seat. Sometimes she did sit down by herself, when she found only one or two people on one whole big seat. And as she sat, she always told them that if they need to relax they could tell her so, she would leave the seat. But they always eagerly offered her the seat. And some of them even had a chat with her.
Well, that was not exactly the idea. Anindita knew rejection of a seat would be very humiliating. So, she never asked for one. And the second reason was, politeness always worked. In this case too, it did.
She got into the second last sleeper compartment. She kept walking through the mass of seats and people until she reached the last coop. On the seat for three only one man sat. This was an exception. Anindita sat down at one end. The man turned to look. Anindita said, “If you want to sleep or something let me know.” And she smiled. The man said, “No, its okay.”
The man busy looking out of the window. Somtimes he would rest his head on the seat cushion behind , close his eyes. Then all of a sudden he would look outside. Anindita watched him doing that.
The man busy looking out of the window. Somtimes he would rest his head on the seat cushion behind , close his eyes. Then all of a sudden he would look outside. Anindita watched him doing that.
Sometime later, the man turned towards towards her and asked, “You study here?”
Anindita explained, “No. I am on training.”
"Sorry ! Cudnt hear you!", and he moved a bit closer.
What followed was a set of questionnaire as to what kind of training, her schooling, her qualifications, etc. Anindita explained.
The man said, “I have two daughters. They are younger than you. Still in school!” He smiled. Anindita smiled back and asked, “Which class?”
“The younger one is in ninth. The other is doing graduation in commerce. They are not very brilliant. But I made them study so that later in life they can look after themselves if anything happens.”
He paused. Anindita reciprocated the conversation with a smile.
Sunday, July 26, 2009
The first time I created a blog, i.e., in March 2007, I maintained it a month or so and then I deleted it. I don't exactly remember why I deleted it. It was long time back. But I guess it was maybe because I did not know what to write. I was into college then and most of my time was taken up by Google talk, Orkut and college fun. I did not sketch as much as I do now-a-days.
What followed was a series of creations and deletions of which I don't have count. Every creation lasted about two to three in number of posts and about one month. If I plot a graph of my college events on the x-axis and frequency of blog creations on the y-axis... It would look like ...
There were other reasons too like mood frenzies, boredom, process of releasing anger, lack of readership, etc. I do not wish to go into detail with them except one because others do not concern the topic here. The one reason that concerns the topic is "new ideas of blogging". And when I say new ideas, I mean new ideas for blog type, new ideas for blog headers, new ideas for blog content.
My first blog was named, "Mou's Blog". I had no thoughts about the blog content then. Then another of my blog was named, "Mou speaks". A series of "Mou *this*" and "Mou *that*" followed. Then I turned into a little more expert. So titles changed into innovative phrases.
One of them I remember - Words at sunset. It was meant to be a daily diary of events.
I deleted that because, it sometimes went too personal and I had started deleting posts once I was out of the phase that made such personal posts. So... Blog gone !
The second last one that I deleted was named "Drops on my Window Shield". It was named after my book of poems and the blog was meant to be a poetry blog. I deleted it for two reasons. First some anonymous guy said my poems were copied, because they were too good to be written by me. I could have taken it as a compliment and I later did, but that moment I was hurt. The second reason was, I cherish my poems and had plans to get them published some day. So, the poor blog goes extinct again.
The last blog that I deleted was "My Sketch Book." I actually merged it into this blog.
And the current blog was earlier named as "Drops" as a tribute to my book of poems. But just before I joined indiblogger I changed it into "A Damsel Fly" (just an idea). And then I went popular. Readership improved. And now I have ideas again of blog headers but i dont think people would like to read a blog that starts a new identity every now and then. So, I accept this state of stability for the first time in my blogging lifetime just for the sake of preserving my blog readership. After all why would someone want to write something that people do not care to read or see. :P
So, much for readership !
Friday, July 24, 2009
Thursday, July 23, 2009
Wednesday, July 22, 2009
Remember .. Quote for today was "Love your Blog !" (Check earlier posts)
Anyways, No idea who had come up with this concept and didn't try to find it out... I read it first on Dhiman's blog. 55 word fiction is a story in 55 words. I am good when large number of words are concerned, but i thought it could be exciting, so here is my story...
He was dreaming.
Mohan, village school, Sita's face , fishing net, fishes, a plate of rice, Fees for the doctor...
Sita sat by him, putting wet rags on his burning forehead. Mohan slept peacefully.
Next morning. Sita cried, little confused Mohan clutched into her lap. The dead body lay still, devoid of dreams.
Well this one’s called “ABC Tag” that is ABC of me(Know more about me series) and the rules are :
- Link the person who tagged you.
- Post the rules on your blog.
- Share the ABCs of you.
- Tag 3 people at the end of your post by linking to their blogs.
- Let the 3 tagged people know that they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website.
- Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so that there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag! (Very Important One!)
A – Available/Single? Single but not available
B – Best friend? Mom
C – Cake or Pie? Never had a pie yet !
D – Drink of choice? Water
E – Essential item you use every day? Toothbrush.
F – Favorite colour? Blue n White
G – Gummy Bears Or Worms? umm...
H – Hometown? Deoghar
I – Indulgence? Right now... Eat , Sleep and Blog.
J – January or February? January... thats my birth month.
K – Kids & their names? You will have to wait until i have discussed them with my husband.
L – Life is incomplete without? A lone walk now n then, reflecting and thinking things that are of no use ("use" as defined by the common materialistic man).
M – Marriage date? Lets find a guy first !
N – Number of siblings? a younger brother... the macho man of the house !
O – Oranges or Apples? What if i would prefer something else... say grapes?
P – Phobias/Fears? Come on !!! I AM BRAVE !
Q – Quote for today? "Love your Blog"
R – Reason to smile? thts hard to tell when most of the time you are smiling coz of no particular reason.
S – Season? Spring
T – Tag 3 People? lets see ...
U – Unknown fact about me? dont u know??? then i guess I did not want you to know !
V – Vegetable you don’t like? Please... forgive me on this one... I love vegetables.
W – Worst habit? I never ever ever like to "un"praise myself !
X – X-rays? They are harmful. Very harmful !
Y – Your favorite food? Somebody please tag me with a "food list" !
Z – Zodiac sign? Aquarius. The water bearer !
Now my turn to tag... Avishek, Mahul and Paritosh. Time to visit them !
Oh By the way... Can I do this over again, I have three more people to tag !!!!!!
Sunday, July 19, 2009
She stroked her baby. It was late. The clock struck 1.30. The baby had woken her up. She took it into her lap and slowly moved it to and fro. The baby fell back asleep. She looked at her husband. He was sleeping peacefully, snoring lightly. She knew he loved her. She could feel it. He took her restaurants and to shopping malls because he knew she loved to go out. He took her with him to places he went for business trips because he knew that she loved traveling. She loved him too. They were happy. Sometimes when she wrote a poem, she wished him to read it. He always did. And smiled back at her and said, “Well written.” She knew, he read it to make her happy.
She put the baby back into its bed, and lay down herself. She couldn’t sleep. This has been happening since she had the baby. Once she woke up, it was hard getting back to sleep again. And the baby often woke up at night. It was born during the day and people had told her babies who are born in the day, don’t usually sleep well at night.
She got up and went to the balcony. She leaned on the railing and looked far into the darkness. She could see the black cement silhouettes and a tree now and then. She looked up in the sky. The moon wasn’t there. Maybe it was sometime around a new moon night.
It was long time ago. She was afraid then. Afraid of society, afraid of her loved ones, afraid of being disowned. Afraid of loving a man, holding him and walk by him every evening to the lonely beach she loved.
She remembered one restless night, waiting to meet him for the first time. And then followed an excited morning and then a college canteen meeting and a lovely afternoon together.
She knew him from an orkut community. He was the owner of a moderated Taslima Nasrin community. He had accepted the join request silently. Then one day, she put her picture in her profile. She could be classified under the beautiful ones. No, she wasn’t ugly. A few days after the picture was uploaded, he scrapped her. A very common thing! She was used to it. So, she replied back, never giving it much thought. And then followed long hours of chatting. They both were in college hostels then. She had hundreds of friends and so did he. But they were happy together. She did know why that boy liked her. But she liked him because he was so sensitive and emotional. He knew the world was cruel and he had that beautiful soft corner for people for whom he wanted to do something. He spoke against the cruelty to Muslim women. They spoke of society, politics, terrorism and poverty. And he had another side too, that was wonderfully soothing, calm and caring. He loved poetry, created them. He knew to sing though she never had the chance to listen to him singing. He loved books, they talked of books. He was three yearsyounger to her. This had always been a funny issue. She never let him forget that he was younger. And he hated her for reminding him everyday. She always laughed about it and he scorned at her that left her with a naughty smile.
She often remembered that day they met. The day was very hot. They had a cold drink each. He paid. She teased him about it. She was older. She was supposed to pay. They walked up to the beach. That was her favorite beach. She took him to the tree. She did not know which tree it was. But she loved sitting on the rock under it. She told him so. They sat together under it. They laughed, smiled. They had so much to talk of. And then that evening he left. That was the last time she saw him. She had been happy.
And then a few days later he proposed. She declined. He reacted. He called her hard hearted. She cried that day. Slowly, emotions fizzed off. The anger, the passion, the desperation and then the pain fizzed off. They talked sometimes, now and then, sometimes on the phone, sometimes over the internet. Then there had been one night, when they were awake all through. They heard the birds chirp, together. Together they watched the dawn creep into their rooms through the window. That night she told her, how afraid she was of everybody around her. She was a Hindu. Her parents trusted her. Trusted her hat she would marry a person of her own community. And there was a Muslim boy three years younger to her, expecting love in return for everything that he gave her. A Muslim boy who dreams of a society where nobody would tell a story of a Hindu girl and a Muslim boy but would just smile listening to a story of a boy and a girl madly in love. And there were her parents, who gave her whatever she had now, who loved her more than herself. Parents, who had that unsaid assurance from their daughter that she would never let them down. She had stood at a confusing cross road. And she wished she could walk both the roads. She chose one and sometimes thought about the other road – the road she left behind. The other road… where a boy had waited by the road, stretched out his hands, wanted to hold her and walk together by her side.
But sometimes, she wanted to escape to that beach, to sit on that rock under that tree. Read out a poem aloud and watch him listen to her.
The baby cried out. She went in. Took it into her arms and came back to the balcony. She sang lightly and lulled the baby to sleep, and thought of writing a story about it. Then she thought, this was such a common issue. Falling in love and then marrying a boy of family’s choice and then on some nights stand in a lonely balcony and think of him. But how wonderfully this story of thousands was so special to her! How unique she felt about the feelings and it was hard to imagine that maybe thousands of people felt the same way as she did on this lonely balcony while singing their baby to sleep.
The baby was quiet. She looked at it. Sleeping peacefully, it smiled. She smiled too.
P.S. : I dont usually write such stories. Am bad wen it comes to love stories. A very very common plot, but I wanted to write about it. A first attempt! Hoping its bearable.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009
I haven’t seen the movie yet and I have no idea when I will be able to. Now-a-days movies seem a far fetched idea. Well, I have seen Dasvidaniya (The Indian version). Liked it. So, I thought maybe a bucket list of mine wouldn’t be bad.
So here goes:
- Get married. I hate loneliness. Well, I am not in a hurry… But still, it’s important.
- Travel around the world.
- Build a home in the mountains. I love mountains. Have you ever been to Peling (near Gangtok)? We stayed in a hotel and every time I landed into the balcony, a vast stretch of mountains surrounded us with 7 waterfalls embedded into those vegetated rocks. It was beautiful I don’t know why mountains attract me like anything. If somebody tells me that I would never have to worry about basic things of life, I guess I can go up to live among the mountains.
- Adopt two children. At least that would help the population and would give a home and parents to two orphans. I wonder if every couple adopted a child each,
would be a better place to live in. India
- Be called a writer one day.
- Be active socially specially in the field of education of poor children.
- Have a huge library. (the kind The Beast gifted Beauty, in the animated movie The beauty and the Beast )
- Kill 3 politicians when I am on the verge of dying.
That’s a hell of a list. There are a few others. But it would be dangerous for my reputation if I put them on the blog. So, that’s it.
P.S. The post was inspired by Paritosh Gunjan’s bucket list on his blog. Take a look if u feel like.
Thursday, July 9, 2009
> I have completed my B.Tech in Computer Science from Beant College Of
> Engineering & Technology,Gurdaspur with an aggregate of 66% in June 2008.
> 1. In my college training, i have completed Library Automation using C++..
> 2. . In my industrial training i have worked on Academic section project
> for SLR Infotech, Chandigarh using Java as Platform as mentioned in resume.
> I want to be part of your esteemed organization and hereby applying for
> fresher's opportunity.
> Please find attached my resume for your consideration.
> Awaiting for your positive response.
> Thanks & Regards,
> Charanjeet singh
It also had an attachament. The guy's CV. Do you want to take a look? Whats the use? The point here is not the CV, but the fact that I own an institution !!!
Such an irony! I have been waiting for my joining and the ITC guys are being so cruel and heartless. And people are sending me their resumes. Wonderful! I wish there was someone who would take some interest in my resume!
Poor guy. I guess he must have made a typing mistake while typing the email id. Or maybe he noted it wrong. Being a very concerned person (as everybody must know ), I thought the poor guy must be waiting for the person to reply in affirmation. And may be he is desperate about a job (every jobless person is). So, I thought I must let him know that he sent it to a person who, forget about owning a company, is herself dying to get into a job!
So, heres the reply...
> hello chiranjeet
> i dont know who have u tried to send this mail to. U must have typed
> the wrong email address. please re chek and resend. i am just a
> student and i do not have any institution..
> i thought i would let u know in case u be waiting for a reply for ur mail.
God bless him. May he get a job soon !
As for me, I wish he had mentioned the company he was applying for !