Thursday, August 8, 2013

The Raven we all sketched

Way back in school, when our geography teacher first introduced us to that 'Oxford school atlas' and made sure that we carried one to school everyday, i was one of d happiest kid who religiously followed the order, for I loved those maps or as a matter of fact, loved anything that was graphic and colourful and didn't strain  my brains. Every day she would say "children, take out your atlases" and everyday we'd sit there with our textbook as well as the golden book placed side by side. The more I obeyed my teacher, the more I fell for those asymmetrical, amorphous zig saw puzzle-like land masses, coloured in all hues of pink and blue and green and yellow... Some were shaped beautifully like ice cream cones and candy floss, some resembled those well measured chocolate bars (go figure) and others, oddly marked, as if someone splashed a bucket of paint on the wall, or, remember the first time you made roti?  I took pride in my country's beautiful shape, she seemed to stand out in glory with a head held high and arms outstretched. I was proud of my homeland too- my Assam. Nature sculpted her a raven in full flight, whose silken outstretched wings seem to add beauty to the silvery shimmer...

But now, as I sit flipping those pages, my heart wrenches in pain. I upturn my sand timer once again... Knowingly or unknowingly I am waiting for that inevitable moment, when a feather or two would fall and the raven would quiver in its flight; when the silvery string of shimmer may change it's colour, what would it be- crimson? Red? I am scared, I am scared. 

Nay, I am sad. Sad, for the raven, I sketched at school would no longer stretch its  brazen wings. I pity you Raven, soon you'll be nothing more than a blot of ink on a blotting paper... Yet, I promise, I'll sing of you.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

bihur suvessare...

podulit kun?
hokhi bordoisila...
aanhotor kumol patot,
kulir matot,
togoror hubhaxot,
dhulor sewot,
gorokhiar banhir hurot,
athoba axomiyar bukut,
hokolute etia etai khabar...
enekoiye aahe niki bohag?
lajor avoron phali, unmal hridoy tulpar kori...?


how do i tell u ma, how much i miss home...especially when bihu is here? i so much yearn to turn back go through everything once again. waking up early will never be a problem again...nor chewing a "neem and two masoor dals". of course i'll gladly eat the 'hundred and one" kind of haak without any fuss... no more of my tantrums while you shop, no more of your compromises... just let me spin around time experience bihu as a kid again.

As this is the eighth time i am away from home on bihu, mark my absence once again. do use my share of maah- halodhi for the morning bath and accept my obeisance which we always pay to u and papa. (p.s. do not forget my ten bucks in return!:) ) And next month wen i come home, i'll do with whatever little pitha and laru you could manage to save for me...for now i know how it feels to miss the euphoria in a distant city...

rongali bihur suvessyare... to ma, papa, myna, baba, al my friends and to someone special...

Thursday, March 19, 2009

There is something in the spring air that makes me go all dreamy… I always loved it you know, like most of you- all those garden flowers and those wild roses and the bougainvilleas… The pinks and reds and violets and the greens would keep me so happy and gay. And perhaps I loved it evermore because it reminded me of dad in his garden, tending his blue and pink carnations…and me waiting for my birthday… I thought, there was some magic woven around each flower, each colour, and each bird-call which left me dreamy-eyed…

But now I realize,

Behind every little wonder
And every silvery magic
There was a reason for me to dream…
Through every winding path
And every misty cloud
There was a reason for you to come…

Now I know,

Why I am eternally wedded to you, spring…

[for the sun who made d spring so special.]

Wednesday, October 22, 2008


November Retold

When I wrote my “November” did I ever know that things will change thenceforth? I thought I’m one of those people who hate changes, but see how things never stay the same! You’d be glad to know that the rain did fulfill its promise after all…but then why don’t I feel intoxicated by it anymore?? Have I already coaxed myself out of it? Why does it seem like a distant yesterday? Did I just wake up from a twelve year old reverie??

Meanwhile… spring is here.

The ridge beyond our flat seemed unaffected by the wintry chill and had maintained its greens throughout. I’m glad the bougainvilleas are in full bloom again- glaring stridently under the sun: in its majestic magenta. There’s something in the spring air that makes me bloom too. Perhaps it reminds me of dad- with his spade and axe, tending his blue and pink carnations, and me waiting for my birthday…

Nas, Tapu and I were having out famous tea-session, when his letter arrived. I don’t remember how I reacted at first, but my friends later remarked that I froze and then I trembled-as if someone has just proposed!! Preferring to read it later on in solitude, I somehow gulped down the tea that was already turning cold. I hate cold tea…iced tea is a different thing though.

As I tore open the blue envelope, his tiny careful handwriting spilled forth. Though things between us have changed, his commitment to the scented Fort Fx 0.6 hasn’t. I know, how he must have wriggled on his inherited pre-historic teak-wood chair, fighting with words…and how his scented Fort Fx 0.6 must have fidgeted between his left thumb and index. He’s a lefty. But there wasn’t much to share… Seems, we’ll need time to make up for the lost time. .. But then sometimes gaps turn fences. Don’t they??
This evening, when I was clearing up some mess in my old trunk, I came across one of my college notebooks and I casually flipped through its pages. Some three years back, bored to death by K.B’s take on “death of a salesman” I had written at the inner back cover of my notebook:

Forget the bygone, I will not.
But think of it again, will I ever??

As I stared back at my own lines, I struggled with my see-saw: memory and forgetting…memory and forgetting… When did I write it? And why? In what context? I had forgotten all about it. But, seriously, the gap is too wide, and the gravel less…the walk’s long, but d moon has betrayed…let them know, it was beautiful...but now: very late.
Let me assure: forget the bygone, I will not.
But think of that again…I’ll neither.

Let the old game begin: the struggle of man against power and the struggle of memory against forgetting…

p.s. …And I pulled out my cane chair to my beloved balcony and continued reading Milan Kundera.

Friday, July 18, 2008

It was one of my usual day out. Auto, metro, ricky,et al...It was great to see my good ole campus again. As I got yet another 'fuccha hai' look from the 'recently promoted seniors', I brushed aside my urge to give them a thumbs down for mistaking this alumnus as a fuccha. Uh oh forget it Gitu- i thought. Kids na, let them enjoy their newly accquired status. Seniors indeed! :) 'Surprisingly' my job was done without any hassels with the office-wallas and without queueing up... Actually strange for me, who have to make ten rounds for one goddamn thing.

I hired an auto from C-Sec to Lajpat after a brief spat with the auto wala bhaiyya who was overcharging the fare. Though I usually don't feel like bargaining much (like my dad), I was in the mood to today, maybe coz I still had a lot of nerve to spare. Uff...! This traffic na!! As we waited for the red light to turn green, a child hawker came to me in a bid to sell some pens. I usually avoid eye contact with them so as to escape further pestering. But I don't know why, I looked at her- I had to. Ten rupees for a torch wala pen.. She continued with her art of salesmanship...all those "do din se kahana nahi khaya hai didi...aap ka bahut bhala hoga didi...ek pen le lo didi..." etc. i asked her,

"school jaati ho?"despite knowing she doesn't, for sure. And that liar! She said -

"haan jati hu." So i cross-questioned-

"kaunsi class mein ho?"

- no reply-

"school ka naam kya hai?"

"..pata nahi...yaad nahi...uss taraf hai..."(pointing towards some airforce headquarters!!!).

"kya kya sikha hai?"

"yaad nahi hai abhi..."(that big time liar!)

"jhooth bolti hai?"

"nahi didi sacchi...!! school jati hu..please pen le lijiye...aapka bahut kaam aayega..."

I decided to buy one. At least she isin't begging. She's selling. Imaandari ki kamayi afterall. Moreover i needed the small little torch in it for emergency. I just managed to hand out her deserved ten bucks before the signal changed. But she left me wondering... Will she spend her entire lifetime selling pens in traffic signals? Does she even know how to hold the thing she's selling? Should I have bought the pen afterall? Am I encouraging her way of life? In child labour? This is child labour, is it not? how long?? Will she never learn to even spell out her name? Hold the pen in the right way? "...didi aapka bahut kaam aayega..". Arrey,toh phir uska kaam kab aayega life mein?


That's when i decided.

I am enrolling for Teach India Campaign rightaway . They need us.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008


This is perhaps the eighteenth time in i-don't-know-how-many-months, that i've checked my mail-box. Hey wow! have a belated birthday card from my best friend Diksha. How sweet ! Some things in life never change; and received my Sahitya Academy bi- monthly too. That has surely made my day. But no trace of the letter i have been waiting for all these months...I was kinda dissappointed...for the eighteenth time. No, 'dissappointed' wouldn't be the perfect word. This time I was angry. Really very pissed off. What kind of an emotional hide-and-seek is he trying to play??

I came back to my room. My flatmates haven't returned from their office yet. We have different shifts and hardly get to meet now-a-days. I tidied up the kitchen, had a quick shower and prepared dinner for us - it was my turn tonight. I was godamn hungry, but decided to wait for them. Afterall, it's not everyday that the three of us get to dine together. uh oh ! POWERCUT. How irritating!! I didn't bother to light the candles, instead took out an easychair to the balcony and sat there counting stars. Beyond the boundary wall is the lush green rigde area. There are lots of peacocks and wild birds out there. I'd love to explore it, but my friends wouldn't agree. I think our balcony is the best place to be in this mad city. I love to sit there alone and spend timeless hours staring at the moon. What do they call it- moonstruck?

I don't long for any other company then. But somehow, he's always at the back of my mind. It all started way back in school when having pen-pals were a craze amongst us.
Teens Today and Student's Today were my favourite mags. Apparantly they connected us. Our letters survived the tide of emails, IMs, phone calls and sms. I never met him, never called him, yet i don't know why, I tend to miss him. He has become a habit which is hard to give up. It's a non-existent relationship, but I find refuge in it. 12 years!!! You call it a joke??

I hope my friends return fast.

I wonder what's keeping him so long to reply to my last letter... Busy with his new found job? Or is it because I moved to a different city? No...that shouldn't be a reason 'coz, it was distance that brought us close. Probably he's sulking 'coz I refused to give him something he had asked for...Or is he experimenting with his newest dating strategies on me again?? Who says women are difficult to understand? It's men who are difficult to understand. They confuse us like hell. It's taking long, and somehow this wait is killing me.

Thankkkkgod the power is back.

I got a msz. No, not him. He hasn't my number. It's them, my chums - "hey, wil b hme in 5 mins.dinr redy? huntin 4 sum gud movies. c ya." Oh great! what a welcome break! We're gonna watch movies tonight ! We had our supper and soon got into our favourite corners. Hmm... "
A Cinderella Story" featuring Hillary Duff. Wow! It turned out to be such a nice-sweet-cute-romantic flick! It immidiately entered my fav movie list. Somehow, "A Cinderella Story" seemed like my lost story- unseen friends,budding love-story, misunderstandings, inflated egos, the big off-period and a long wait for reconciliation... It's here that I came across these lines by Hillary- "
waiting for you is like waiting for the rain in drought. Useless and Dissappointing."

Heck!! Wait a sec. Was I looking for these lines in my mental diary?? But the movie ended in a happy note ! Why should I pay attention to this particular line? But it did tally. Waiting for him indeed was useless and dissappointing. I rushed to my room, took out my diary and scribbled with a red sketch pen: the same dialogue. A big drop of tear from i-don't-know-where fell on my page, but I don't care anymore! I wiped it away. And I wiped him away forever.

Ideally this should have been the end of this story right? Rising from the ashes like the phoenix and ending in liberation...But sometimes you just come across things that make you take back your frequent claims...The VERY next day the most IMPOSSIBLE thing happened. Read this:

Dated NOV 22 '07, afternoon: It rained!! good heavens it rained!! It just came from nowhere- a cloudless, untimely shower- in this part of the world !! How impossible!! But it did rain. It should have rained harder, in greater gulps. The more stormy it is the more i'm in love with it. But you know how it rains in this fortified city...just in a few drops- as if to keep its promise made to the parched land. But it quenched our thirst none-the-less. As I stepped out into my balcony and let myself feel the rain, i decided to take back my words...This rain was important to me- you know it why. It was the sweetest november. Ever.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Crossroads and Cobwebs

Here I come again. Travelled a full 360 degree circle and once again found myself at the same the same crossroad where I was a year or two ago...or was it 5 years ago?? 7 ?? Thrash !!! Thrash all crossroads !! It's a cobweb this time. The more I struggle to free myself , the more they try to strangulate me.

I escape.
Somewhere down the lane I seem to have gone the Hansel and Gretel way- lost track while following bread- crumb trails. But was it meant to be this way?? I travelled through the longest and supposedly the safest way by the woods. Kept close to the creeks... and finally arrived here. Smile not! I'm no Little Red Riding Hood, and I met no prying wolf.
But then, is this the same kingdom that beckoned me throughout my childhood? If so, where is my castle then? Where are the folks? The kinsmen? The king? The queen? The horses? The carriages? where is my prince??

As I near my 4th crossroad, I tell you this part of Alice in Wonderland's story-

'Cheshire puss', she began, rather timidly, as she did not at all know whether it would like the name. However it only grinned a little wider. 'Come, it's pleased so far', thought Alice and she went on.
' Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?'
'That depends a good deal on where you want to get to', said the cat.
' I don't much care where', said Alice.
'Then it doesn't matter which way you go', said the cat.
' So long as I get somewhere.' Alice added as an explanation.
'Oh you're sure to do that', said the cheshire cat, ' if you only walk long enough'.

Well, I walked long enough. It took me full 20 years ... But i've realized- we are all Alices, we are all Hansels and Gretels. It's easy to pretend and declare that everything is going on perfectly fine, but it's quite a task you know, to step out of your fairy tale boots, dust the childish fantasies off your coat, and prepare yourself for the trek. I didn't make much sense to you, did i? Or may I please put it in a more ressuring way?- I made some sense, did I not?

Told you ! It's a cobweb. A complex web. I too have woven one for myself. And so have you. Infact each one of us has.