Monday, May 11, 2009

Lemonade Days - IV

God's Own Country.

It's a personal opinion that travelogues get boring if a person starts to recount all that happened in the way. So while writing about my visit to Kerala, what I am going to do is, write about five of the most memorable incidents from the trip! Okay! Now for the panoply of words to flow..~

The Drive To Pondicherry.

Chennai. The city is no different from the other metropolis of the land when it comes to traffic congestion during busy hours! It took the Qualis almost two hours to extricate itself out of that mess of a traffic, but once we were out of it, gearing up past the airport, and landed upon the highway, it's total bliss! The drive to Pondicherry! The smooth road, with a well-planned and well-maintained divider all along it, made the journey look more like a flight than a drive! And Oh! what a drive it indeed was! 140 kmph! Man! Not many an Indian road will give you the same pleasure! Everything was just flying past; and it was a thrill to note how the bikers manoeuvred and were up to their histrionics..!! To the young daring Indian, it's infinitely attractive, it's dangerously attractive..! Believe in the saying, "This one life I am going to live it all..!", and you wouldn't think twice before making your bike run for its money here... and run for its pride...Promise!!

It'as just sheer pleasure!

The Mahabalipuram Rock.

"Mahabalipuram rocks...", I have heard my cousin Bumba Da say many a time when he was in his college days! And if Mahabalipuram attracts many a curious visitor, it's primarily becuase of the Mahabalipuram Rock. It's difficult to express in words the awe with which people stare at that rock, for huge as it is, the single monolithic rock, fondly known as Krishna's butter ball, stands still on a sloping surface! It's just amazing, and you can't help but just smile looking at the nature of balance that Nature seeks to exemplify for us, perhaps! :)

Though Mahabalipuram is an equally favourite destination in South India as a sea-side place, and the Shore Temple is another piece of marvellous architecture from ancient India, if I decide to go back to the place at any point of time in the future, it will be purely be for the attraction of that Rock. It excels as a rare wonder!

Lemonade Days - III

And sometimes, the lemonade drink just doesn't taste as good as it should. In an otherwise bright year that was so full of wonderful events and happiness, there was a family bereavement too!

The sad demise of Dadu.

Death. It never makes me a frightened man.. frightened of life.. but at the same time it makes me realize that it's the inevitable conclusion! I particularly dislike the vacancy created by the demise of a person, and the toll it takes on the most intimate of realtionships akin to that man! For one, I have seen how my Dida lost almost half of her life-force after my maternal grandfather's death. Though Dadu was bed-ridden for almost 20 years, and couldn't manage a thing by himself, his very presence seemed to motivate Dida to do all the chores, be very enthusiatic about everything in life, and be the very vivacious person I had always known Dida to be! But things changed gradually after his death. Though Dida was never a person who would be seen crying in public, we could make out that she grieved more than any amount of crying would ever justify it.

And this time, it was my paternal grandfather. Surviving purely on injections after repeated kidney failures and regular dialysis, the man ultimately gave in at the age of eighty in December. For the last two years, the time Dadu had been suffering, whenver I went to Moyna, I would make it a point to look at Dadu's fragile frame with all the affection I could muster. For I believed that the man would give in any moment. And everytime he proceeded to say to my Dad, "Khokon, tui chole jachhish... mon ta khub kharap hoye jachhe re..." when we were about to make the return journey to Kolkata, i would say to myself, "Subho.. Dadu'r pashe giye ektu bosho.. aar hoyto beshidin noy...!" If Dadu could have been made to survive a little longer, that he was! For my Dad gave his heart out to provide for every possible treatment that Dadu required.

The man left me a humble person! I believe I was the most notorious of all his grandchildren. From challenging his marital status with my grandma in early childhood (for his name was Vivekananda, and throughout the early school text books I had learnt that Swami Vivekananda had never married.. so.. ) and embarrassing him in public with the innocuous "Dadu, tumi ki bibahito?", to putting Fevi-Kwik on his pillow so that his head would get all stuck when he would try to raise himself from it, I have always had something or the other to do against the old man! But after he died, Thamma discovered a small poem from one of the books in his shelves in which he writes how glad he used to feel to play cards with me.. and how it always disheartened him to see me lose in a game with him.. so that he would always make it a point to play another game and make me win at it just to see me smile..! "Subho has a bright smile", he wrote. :) That's humbling! And a guilt-pang or two! :x

And his death made my Dad cry like I had never seen before!

Lemonade Days - II


A promise made between four friends in 1st year. And the promise kept a year later. The promise was made between Bibi, Sags, Purab and myself. That we are going to come to St. Xaviers in 2nd year and win in the paper presentation category! That we did. But with one change! Purab went out of the group owing to his tryst with his girlfriend (no regrets man!) and Yash filled in the slot, quite beautifully I would say, proving himself to be more competent than ever.

And once the group was formed, the real hard-work began! From running to ISI to consult economic journals and trying to meet persons of high-profile for obtaining clues as to how to proceed on "Political Economy of Oil and Its Implication for India" to chatting with each other till midnight, thinking up models and endlessly questioning our assumptions and finally rejecting them if it got too cumbersome, only to land upon yet another idea; from continuously urging our teachers to make us understand either the time series or the basics of econometrics to learning better as to how to work well as a team and respect each other's opinions, while at the same time to contradict, to disagree at length, and not just for the sake of it, till we were satisfied with what we put on paper. I must admit that Sags is relentless when it comes to questioning the answers! And it's almost gruelling, so to say, to be under his scanner! :)

We had one of the most fun-filled days this year, though, while we were at it. The three of them, for one week atleast prior to the submission date, assembled in my house and sat with the project since 10:30 in the morning till 9:00 at night. And though we were mostly sincere with our work, as is perfunctory with college-goers, the allure of interesting conversation about life, and beyond... never failed us! To reminisce how often we have lost our stoic selves to the soft feather touch of a woman... to what if a past love would suddenly make an appearance in our lives again! From questioning the human spirit of charity to discussing the equation of power in a lifelong tryst with a woman... the conversations just got better with every passing day! And of the numerous conversations that we had during that time, I will always remember a few for their sheer intensity and sense of purpose..! That of Yash narrating to me how his father set up his business when he was just a toddler of two years of age perhaps...leaving behind all the securities of a steady job! Or Bibi putting into a soliloquy how a man evolves over time... how what he seeks in a woman changes with maturity... and how sublime is his transformation from a self-centred young boy to a caring father..! Well..the list just continues..

The icing on the cake though was the fact that we came third in the paper presentation event, and returned to Scottish Church with lots of accolades and a happy smile! There was a standing ovation from our batchmates! And since we are known by face by most of the teachers and the Principal, we received many a hearty congratulation wherever we went! And since I and Bibi were representatives of our college for the EcoSummit, a greater satisfaction for us lay in the fact that we also came joint third, overall, with Presidency College! When we were in the first year, it had been a disgrace for us to witness that Scottish Church featured nowhere in the awards ceremony! We vowed to change that. And happy we were in being able to do whatever little we could in that regard.

To put in a nutshell, cheers mates! And thanks too! For making such a lovely memory! Though I would like to believe that the Eco Summit achievement is a minuscule one compared to what we would like achieve in our individual lives, it fostered in us a sense of brotherhood that would always be worth looking back many years hence... sometimes, maybe even with a teardrop amidst happier indulgences! The prizes were wonderful, but more important were the times spent together!

The affair with Presidency College.

To have met one of the most loved of all professors across Kolkata, and to be humbled by his decision to allow a few interested students from another college to be a part of his classes is a memory that I will cherish forever! "An ice-cream today is always better than the promise of an ice-cream tomorrow!", the man said in one of his lectures, I remember. Precisely! College-life won't come back to me again! So I am very glad I said a "Yes" to the man asking us " will love to do a few classes, is it?" when we told him that we required a book that is to be found only in govt. college libraries but which we possibly couldn't procure unless we were a part of that college! Thank you A.C. sir. :)

Lemonade Days - I

Lemonade Days will be an ode to the year gone by! lots of memories! And though it's quite impossible to recollect all of it with the breathtaking perfection of a photographic mind, it's always a delight to give it a try! It's like a lemonade drink then that it becomes! Refreshing..~! But the sweetness of it is also accompanied by a hint of sourness now and then..! Anyway! let's give it a try now...
Vedic Village.

Quite an expensive place. But a world-class experience. Learning about the basics of playing snooker from a well-to-do businessman. Playing table tennis with my Dad. Relishing the sumptuous meals. And spending the night in a room that had all the requisite features of one from a 5-star hotel. I am not sure about the star-status of Vedic Village, but am sure it qualifies as a top destination for spending a quality weekend. Thanks to the pharmaceutical company that sponsored our trip! I guess it was Emcure. Thanks to it.

Into The Breeze.

And just when the heat got more unbearable, we didn't think of procrastinating that short trip to Mandarmani any longer; something we had been planning to do since last year!

And when I write this article, the memory of the trip is still fresh in my mind. It's May 2009.

The Sana Beach Resort. That's where we stayed. And it's quite interesting how you get there! For, since the place is still hugely at its nascent stage as a tourist destination, there is what I would love to call "sand transport" instead of "road transport"..! For the cars have to get onto the soft sand ( It might get dangerous I tell you if you are travelling by a heavy car on soft sand. If by chance the tires start sinking into it, you have almost a "chorabali" kind of nightmare extricating the vehicle out of it. we faced it on our return journey!) to travel the last few kilometres to get to the resorts! Therefore once the tide is on, every car must come to a halt for atleast an hour till the waters recede and the sand regains its dryness and hardness!! Have you heard of that before? :)

If I go on to say that the Sana Beach Resort is born out of the same concept that designed the Vedic Village, I won't be making much of a mistake! The only difference being that it's made keeping more the bourgeoisie in mind. And I was delighted once again to see those thatched houses that I got to see in Vedic Village a few months earlier! There is the freshness to the concept; which, with rapid emulation of it, will only stand to lose though!

While in Mandarmani, I did all those things that I started taking a hiatus from! I slept for almost four hours in the afternoon. I re-evaluated all my current realtionships, and where they are headed for, and what form they should take in the days to come! And what I can do to make them more meaningful (I may be wrong, but I believe that unless people work on what they treasure most in life, they are not able to take them to the level of satisfaction they crave for!) I gorged on so much food during lunch that I could eat only two bowls of chicken sweet sorn soup for dinner! And then I went for a walk. Along the beach. The full-moon on my back. Being the quiet boy I am, without the company of friends, a solitary walk in a serene environment gives me that unique sense of satisfaction that usually eludes the busy city-boy! And truly beautiful it was. While my parents conversed with each other sitting on the near-empty beach, I waded through ankle-deep water and let the wind just brush through my hair... it was 'luxury reborn'..! :)
A lovely place it is! Mandarmani.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


“Dev. Are you on the line?”
“Got those swollen hand blues.
I've got nicotine stains on my fingers.
I've got a silver spoon on a chain.”
Dev. Dev D. Pink. Pink Floyd. They both have got wild staring eyes. And a strong urge to fly. But nowhere to fly to.

The son of a rich businessman. Just returned from London. His childhood love. Paro. He still loves her. Lusts for her. Craves to see her naked. Make love to her. Paro. She is amorous too. She wants a place where they can make love to each other. She makes the cardinal mistake of letting an outsider know what she’s game for. Asks him to find her a place, where she can take Dev.

Dev is told that she is “highly experienced”. The chauvinist in him decides she is a “slut”. She is insulted. Humiliated. Made to feel ashamed over trivial issues. “…Apni aukat toh dikh saale…!!!” And asked to leave…

Paro, her self-esteem bruised, decides she’ll marry the person her parents have chosen for her. In the wedding ceremony, Dev comes to know that whatever he has been told about Paro earlier, was a farce! In front of his eyes, he sees Paro getting married. But not even for once, he comes and asks for her hand… or tries to make amends. Why? Because his ego seemed to matter more to him than his love. And for that, he suffers for the rest of his life…!

Vodka. Cigarettes. Drugs. In his hotel room in Delhi, Dev is all but alone. A portrait. Paro and Dev in their childhood.

Pink is all but alone too in his hotel room. The continued strife between his ordinary self and his extra-ordinary self.
“I've got thirteen channels of shit on the T.V. to choose from.
I've got electric light.
And I've got second sight.
I've got amazing powers of observation.”
All his life, Pink had dreamt, and lived, the life of a superstar. Tremendous wealth. ‘nd fame. While neglecting the only things in life that could have kept him grounded in the real world …family, love, et al…! And so, where he’s found in ‘Nobody Home’ is a hotel room, that allows him to occupy it just for that night…and maybe for the next day too…and the next night. He can stay on as long as he wishes to. He has the capability. But he doesn’t wish to. He craves for a home. But his home just doesn’t exist. His wife had left long ago. There’s nobody to even pick up the phone.
“When I try to get through
on the telephone to you,
There will be nobody home”
“Ooooh, Babe when I pick up the phone
There's still nobody home”
There’s an undeniable similarity in the way the story of Dev and Pink unfurls. In Dev D. ‘nd in Nobody Home.

I have been awestruck with the way Dev D is made.

The camerawork. The lights that lit up Dev’s face. The chrome-yellow. The various shades of blue. The swirling images of Dev as he drinks and just keeps drinking… and empties one glass of liquor after another… and tries to lose consciousness of the world around him. (That scene reminded me of the disco scene from Babel.) That of Dev against the sky-blue of the sky! The cameraman did an excellent job with the other actors and scenes as well. But with Dev, I felt, he went that extra mile to ensure tremendous success for the movie! The screenplay, the way the scenes came after each another, sometimes moving forward in time and then rewinding to put a past frame into its present context, is commendable too! And the acting besides, the soundtrack of the movie is the best asset. The way it compliments the story-line… the beats…the same track modified aptly to suit different portions of the movie… the unconventional lyrics…Truly, it’s anything but ‘Emotional Atyachar’. :-)

Dev is made to believe that the only person he can ever love is, himself. That is why, he can never accept defeat in love. He can never put someone beyond himself. His ego. His self-possessiveness. And that is why, he perhaps could never love somebody truly. Though he said he loved Paro, Paro made him realize that ‘love’ doesn’t embody only ‘lust’ in it…that ‘responsibility’ is also something that matters, and perhaps the ‘willingness to take responsibility of the other person’ is what matters most! And that is exactly what Dev is trying to shirk away from… and that is exactly where he falls short of making his love worthwhile! He was made to realize that it actually hurts him to think of Paro making love to another man and not him, and nothing besides!

Dev realized that to take life “just like that” had become his way of life long ago! To get angry just like that. And to let out that anger in his archetypal manner (It even meant smashing someone’s head with a glass). To get frustrated over frugal affairs. And to let out that frustration by “getting on a high”. Thums Up and vodka. More than a necessity to overcome depression, it had become his fashion to seek refuge in drugs! In prostitutes! In the dirtiness of his room! In his rash-driving! No wonder Dev symbolizes a large fraction of today’s youth. Those who believe that they are not spoilt, just because they have that “very small fraction of honesty” in some corner of their hearts and “true genuine love” in another, but in reality go ahead to maul innocent children, deep in slumber on the city pavements, with one reckless spree of rash-driving on a brand new BMW or a Honda City!

But however much you try to make these persons see reality in ‘what reality actually is’…. the more they try and avoid you!

“…you on the line?? …listening to what I am saying?”

“Stop that psychological crap!”

“Err…you mind going out together? Would you like me to join you? Just for company?!”

“Just for vodka shots. Else you needn’t come! Bye.”

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Modern Times!

The Parody.

"...dekho toh...ek hai jise life mein kuch nehi mil rahi hai...ek computer training institute mein part-time naukri karta hain...weekend mein coffee-shop?..use yeh puchho toh woh kahe "..yaar sochna income hai yaarrr!!!.." ....whatevrrrr!!!..."

"...toh dusri taraf aur ek ek achhi MNC mein settled hai...monthly net income toh kahi 50-60 thousand k as-pas hoga-hi...come on yaar..sab ka waisa hi hota hai...use bhi wohi milega shayed...kyun..thik kahan na main?...... phir bhi uski life mein kitna problem hai pata hai...? Sunna chaho gi...toh suno......."
The girl won't marry him.
Err..sorry! Rather, the girl's dad won't let her daughter marry him.
"Yeah dude! DAD." And you believed i am talking about modern times, right? :-) Well, surely, the joke isn't on me! :p

When this guy was introduced to the girl's father, a flurry of questions.

"Where do you work son?"

"HP. In Bangalore."

" life?"


"What's your work schedule like?"

"I leave for work around 7. Return? well, it's usually 10 or 11 at night....depends actually..depends on work in office...."

"..!!! You get to work at 7 and return home at 10..? 11...? Well, how much does that make? That stay out of your house for 14 hours a day!!!!!!!!"


"And how much are you paid son?"

The guy wonders, that a decent question? okay, excused..!

"..what i receive is somewhere around 50."



"Now..i have a question son! You see, i am also a professor. i work in one of the reputed colleges of Calcutta. I have done my Ph.D. I have had an extensive experience in still going strong, you may conclude! But...even i don't get so high a salary! Do i get it? No. Then tell me...why do you get it? i mean ..don't take offence...but what does the company see in you to pay you so high a salary?"

Frustrated to whatever extent you'd imagine, the guy still acts decent, and calmly proceeds to give a reply.

"You see. There are lots of factors. But the basic thing is....the company believes that today i have got a high energy reserve....which tomorrow i won't be having! i mean.. not as much as i have it today. So the company obviously believes in extracting as much work out of me as possible. If they pay me 50 thousand a month, it definitely isn't before they beileve they have made me work hard enough to rake in atleast one lakh to the company's treasury! You get my point?"

"..hmm. So how many hours, do you think, you'll be free for my daughter?"


"No. You almost don't stay in the house.'ll you be able to take care of my daughter?"

"When did i say i want to take care of your daughter?"
Needless to say, further talks did not ensue. or even if they did, they didn't bear much fruit...!

The guy though was later found soliloquizing.
"...sara din boss ki baat sunte raho...! arre tum ye nahi kar rahe ho...woh nehi kar rahe ho....woh assignment complete hua? jao..abhi complete karo! sham paach baaje se pehle ho jana chahiye!
Woh uthne ko kahe to utho..baithne ko kahe toh baith jao..!? beer peen-a ko maana kare..toh mat piyo! aur agar beer peen-a ko kahe..toh piyo!! saala..kyan life hai yaar?? upar se..? yeh shadi ki baat..! aur kaun? ....woh bachhi ki baap!?! behenchod saala..."


Modern Times! :-)

P.S. After this incident was narrated to us by CKS sir, me, Yash and Sagar burst into hysterical laughter! after we could reasonably collect ourselves, all we could conclude is "meyer baap is tottal complex khawa party..!!" :-d

Monday, February 16, 2009

Together means To-get-her..? :-)

A change will come about. It's inevitable.
When i left school, i was sure that it will. Though, not sure how? " change..?" So i just wrote, "That the faces we say 'Good Morning' to, will change..!"
S. When i first looked at you, didn't feel like looking at you twice. Didn't like canteen girls!
...but soaked in sweat, when we emerged from the BCR, it was the same face! gossiping. looking coy! start talking..well it just happened..? or..did you make it happen? :-) Well, i don't know. i 'knew' it though..!
But for the second question to be.."/What's the difference between 'like' and 'love'..?/", the face really did have to matter! I looked on. Then I started getting involved.
With that coyish smile, you replied "..aa..well...i don't know..!"..."well..u asked me that?.....haha..ha ha ha...!!".../and you continued...
"There was this poem, you know,..."
"You are English Hons.?"
"You write?"
"I write a diary."
"So..what do you write?"
Blah. Blah. Blah.
S. i know you had lied that day! Excused though! :-)
Days passed in a frenzy of activities. Debates. Table-tennis. Carrom. Birthday parties. kaora... In the haze of it all, just one thing remained where i was always used to seeing it. And it would always seem to ask "are you free now?", though the poker-faced "i am free now" would already be conveyed by the stupid boy..!~ ;-)
You may say so. i will agree!
For, maturity is something that eludes every boy before a certain time. a certain age. before certain incidents actually take place in his life. before he's actually put on the 'hot seat' of taking rational decisions in his life!
And before that happens, sooner or later, he sure is greeted by his friends with this typical Bengali catcall...."Tottal 'lattu' hoye gachhe re!".......
And how i hated being that? :-d
Though S. i would never forget that Ashtami night. on Shyambazaar metro station platform. The clock close to striking twleve at night. For...
when two trains from opposite directions rush in, and you are most likely to board either of them, and it's then that you don't...
...that you just keep sitting in those chairs...keep want the crisis to pass...the moment to pass...for the very next.../ counting the beat...and neither of you leaving the place.....
and you see the trains start moving out of platform just like they had entered...
...leaving the two of you alone...
...that are left 'speechless'....!
You look around you. find no one else. You look at the other. and you start searching for 'answers'. For a momentary lapse of reason!
But it's when you don't start searching for answers. You don't feel you had lost yourself the moment earlier, at all. you rather feel you are doing that now! :-)
That moment is one of a lifetime!
You decide between 'like' and 'love'!

Friday, February 6, 2009

Indian Roads.

Indian Roads. A fascination...

...the speedometer ticking the 120-mark...the scorching sun...the mirage created...the mirage lost...till you find a lonesome tea-stall...if any at all...amidst a sea of sand...dryness...cactus leaves...The Road To Jaisalmer.

..."Saab-ji...sherbet?! Rooh-afza?"...Three to four glasses... "Aap log Kalkatta se aye hon?".."Punjab achha laaga?"....In the summer months...with the loo in your face...and severe dehydration...anything but....!! Still, The Road To Chandigarh.

...curious faces...urchins..looking at you "amazed" if you belong to a different world.. but you try to approach him...he darts away...running after a tyre..."playing his game"..a stick in one hand...

..and of faces that say "I am tired..i want to run away..and i WILL run away to Mumbai"... serving tea, roti and dal-makhani to truck-drivers...morning, day and night. No sleep. Ragged clothes. and wretched lives!

and they become 'helpers'...sitting day-and-night beside "one of the most frustrated sections of Indian society"( as reports say )...the truck-drivers! nothing to live for. a home that perhaps existed. a family that could have seen the light of day....if only his wife would be spared of her humiliation by the storks and the ravens!

From a life of entertaining drunkards by midnight and tourists by day.... a life behind the 'windshield'...of meeting faces that run races past him on a brand new Scorpio. 'Helpers' do they actually become...;-) Just give him the steering-wheel once. preceding with a bottle of country liqour. and he'll know how to be sucksesfull in life..."..not really giving a damn as to what you mean by success..and how you spell it."

An accidental birth. no name.


an unwilling child-labourer by day. a dreamer by night.


Mumbai. I know not how. I know not why.


Getting high on the highway. And finishing lives..just like that.

You integrate the picture over a thousand faces. And you know what life on Indian Roads is. all along it. A fascination?

What a fucking joke!

Monday, February 2, 2009

Why The Cow Gives Milk?

Whenever you set on to do must be clear to you why you are doing it...and also to some extent..."to gauge its ramifications".../
So..when i set down to write in this blog...i do ask myself.."What is the purpose?...why am i writing here?" And to delve into a more vast blank script with the question.."Why all?"
Well, Shashi Tharoor had to say (quoting Sir George Bernard Shaw) that "I write...for the same reason a cow gives milk: it's inside me, it's got to come out, and in a real sense I would suffer if I couldn't. It's the way I express my reaction to the world I live in, see around me, and try to imagine." I write pretty much for the same reason too?
Well...sometimes. But a greater motivation lies in the fact that I love to see my thoughts getting reflected from this screen. To articulate my feelings, and then to read how I actually feel. For only when I am writing, I am in the grip of my 'subconscious' entity which otherwise eludes me. And I am, in a real sense, inquisitive about how day-to-day life is shaping my subconscious.
And i, in a real sense, will be interested twenty years hence to look back in retrospect as to how i used to think, to write and to feel when I was in my college-days at the age of twenty!
For, through all phases of your life, you do not remain the same 'individual'..! Trust's true!