Thursday, December 06, 2007

For all those who still believe in love...


I do wish I too had a home
To return to at each sunset
To temper all my travails
To wipe my tears away
To bury my fears forever
To love me into a fever
For I know not where to seek shelter
Now that I’m caught dead in this storm.

My heart is broken, comrades,
For I have nowhere to go
Too aged for school classrooms
Too proud to pester parents
Too careworn for college corners
And too wretched to face myself,
Bravely confess to unrequited love.

I must have dreamed of heaven
Someone I could call my own
But night has already set in
And realization begun to dawn
You were just a stranger I’d trusted too much
Who had kidnapped my secrets and gone.

Come join me on my journey tonight,
All you who know no rest;
Maybe we can forge a vision
Even if we have failed life’s test…
At least we shall find our mission,
Some day we too shall be blessed.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Open Letter to K

Every time we meet, the first question that occurs to me is why, on such a short acquaintance, it seems that I have known you all my life. That you are much more familiar to me that I myself am and definitely dearer. There are points of time when I hate certain aspects of myself and wish to escape from them. But I care so much for you that even when I’m disappointed with you, hurt or angry at something you unintentionally said or did, (for I know you would never hurt a fly, you who are so gentle, kind and sympathetic to one and all), I am divided against myself, one part of me always ready to defend you against the other me who has, in a momentary lapse, put ego above love. You are my greatest strength, my biggest weakness. If you ever think you’ve found someone who cares for you more than I do, believe me, I shall give you up that very day to that lady without a word, a question, a tear. Not because I believe in feminism or martyrdom but simply because if my love means nothing to you at any point of time, what am I to do with the legal rights that marriage should endow me with? Believe me, darling, I love you too much to ever force you to love me.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Dawn of Realisation...

Waking up to reality...that is the most difficult thing to do...all of us, I think, insist on living with our own set of illusions. And then, one day, you cannot lie to yourself any longer, because the veil has been lifted and you have seen your life for what it is and of course, more painfully, for what it is not; but what you kept thinking it was, simply because that is the way it might have been. If you had dared to take some other road perhaps. And then life stares you bleakly and bitterly in the face.

Sometimes I wonder... all those who have hurt me, was it because I insisted on misreading their expectations or is it because it is simply so difficult to know another person, however beloved he or she is to you? But the problem is that once you have seen the 'real' (not as in the real of reality), life (or the absence of it) is never the same again. You have been sobered and silenced.

In such a case, whose fault is it that we could never communicate effectively enough to forge a meaningful relationship? Language or the lack in us....Lacan's 'lack of a lack?'

Or is it simply because none of us had tried hard enough to succeed?

The only consolation I do have is that God loves me, with all my faults and flaws.

Great. I've attained insight. Now the only question is....what do I do with it?

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

My Mundane Moves...

The rain continues. And so does the pain. Neither can I attend office nor can I participate in any other productive activity. Tell me, now that India has won the World Twenty 20, what do I get as a reward for that knowledge? Nothing. So then.

It has been raining cats and dogs for the past 3 days and I’m sick of it all. Star Ananda and NDTV air reports to the effect that the myth of the area I live in never getting water logged has been shattered, but all the same, some people don’t seem to believe me. That I’m bored and tired of being cooped up at home. That I haven’t been able to get much pujo shopping done nor go catch the latest movie at the nearest multiplex. That I hate a life where I even have to go work on Saturdays and Sundays. That my poor K is sorely missing me because of my non-existent weekends. That one’s life is not equivalent to one’s professional life.

It’s true that I enjoy my work. And that I actually look forward to going to office. So much so that I overlook the dreary journey to office everyday…not getting the desired bus or shuttle, the incessant traffic jams, the waterlogged streets, the mud and slush on rainy days, the standing all the way when you’ve had the misfortune of boarding an overcrowded bus, the disgusted look on my parents’ face when I return home on Sat evening at 7.30 pm, feeling totally unsocial and undone. If only people realized that and empathized. But I guess it’s too much to ask for. Some people are just not satisfied with anything that you do.

Is it then a vicious circle? Sometimes I’m so tired, I just want to give up. And go home to K.

An Interesting Extract...

Here is my humble take on PC Chidambaram’s budget. From the point of view of an ordinary, concerned citizen. Of course, not all points have been covered, but just some issues which were on top of mind for me.

Some things I like (not listed in order of importance):
1) The maximum you can deduct for medical insurance premiums has increased from Rs 10,000 earlier to Rs 15000/- And senior citizens have something more to smile about - they get an even higher tax deduction - at Rs 20,000.
2) Tax holidays for in-house R&D for pharma companies have been extended until 2012.
3) There has been a hefty 22 percent increase in the family and health welfare budget. The government is going to give a lot of concessions to companies which manufacture HIV and polio medicines. There has also been a duty reduction in import of medical equipment as well. And there is to be an insurance cover for unorganised workers. Life Insurance Corporation will cover the head of the family or one earning member against death or disability for a premium of Rs 200/-. The governments, both central and state, will contribute towards this amount, not the worker. This scheme is called the Aam Admi Bima Yojna (AABY) and is still in the planning stage. However, overall, the health budget is still just about 1 percent of our GDP and so we have a long way to go.
4) Those who take loans for higher education for their children or spouses can claim a tax deduction. Earlier this facility was available only for loans one took for oneself.
5) Our Defense budget as a percentage of our GDP is lower than than of either China or Pakistan and as we are surrounded by these two hostile countries, I am glad that the defense allocation has increased by almost 8 percent. Even then it is barely 2.5 percent of our GDP and the defense forces are asking for a minimum of 3 percent, which they could well get by next year. Kargil has taught us that war can break out any time, and well, whats the use of good health and education if we aren’t alive to enjoy them? Pakistan and China spend over 4.5 percent of their GDP monies on defense. And the latest news is that China has increased its defense budget by 18 percent this year!
6) Customs duty on non-agricultural products has decreased, and the amount varies, depending on the products. While those industries which import raw material and other goods will benefit (and so will consumers who buy them), others will face tough competition! These new, lower levels of duty are believed to be more on par with duties in other Asean countries though and I guess thats a good thing. Last year too this duty had been slashed. In some cases like in the case of plastics and chemicals, the duty has been cut from 12.5 percent to 7.5 percent! Customs duty on polyester fibre and yarn has decreased from 10 percent o 7.5 percent. Prices of goods like umbrellas and watches will fall as duties on the parts used for their manufacture has reduced from 12.5 percent to 5 percent.
7) On a smaller level, its good to hear that excise duty on all food mixes has been exempted. For working women, ready to eat mixes are not a luxury, but a necessity. While those earning higher salaries can afford to hire cooks, its the middle class woman who has to bear the burden of cooking in the home even if she is out 12 hours a day.
8. Now unless your bank interest exceeds Rs 10,000 you don’t have to pay tax. Earlier this limit was Rs 5000/-
9) There is some help for the agricultural sector - like increased crop loans, help in production of seeds, and planning of a better water supply system.
10) Taking a cue from advanced countries, India has started something called ‘Reverse Mortage.’ This means that senior citizens can take a loan from a bank against their house (either as a lumpsum or in monthly payments) and in return pay back nothing! All they have to do is pledge their home, but they get to live there throughout their life. Cool, eh?
10) Scholarships for 100000 students from classes 9 -12 at the rate of Rs 6000/- per annum. The brightest students will be selected. While some people feel this will not curb the drop-out rate, I think it will help. I know of a poor family with a bright kid who pulled their child out of school after the 10th because the cost of coaching and college classes plus books was not affordable. Even if this scholarship is a drop in the ocean, it will help those clever children who work hard.

Some things I don’t like:
1) Quite a surprise, but employee stock options offfered to employees by companies will now come under the ‘fringe benefits’ category and will be taxed.
2) The expected increase in FDI (Foreign Direct Investment) in the Retail sector has not happened. Today just over 50 percent FDI is permitted in single brand retail. There has been some criticism of late about organised retail…about it taking away from the livelihood of the smaller kirana (grocery) shops. But I believe that the good kiranas will survive anyway as they offer a lot of personalised service. In fact there was some hype about this ‘foreign invasion’ in the newspapers and now even Walmart has chickened out of entering India under its own brand name. Walmart will tie-up with Bharti, but will stick to the back-end - the brand will be Indian.
3) What's upsetting is that even though real estate prices are going through the roof the budget has actually done something to make it worse. There is going to be a 12.5 percent service tax on commercial lease rentals. This will mean that rents will go up and property prices too. Its going to have a bad impact on all industries, particularly the retail industry. How is the retail industry going to cope?
4) In the earlier budget builders who built small apartments got a tax rebate on their profits, but this concession has not been renewed. As it is real estate in metros is beyond the buying power of the middle class, and now this! Its the rich who can buy and they go for four bedroomed apartments without the blink of an eye. It is thought that this might discourage builders from making smaller apartments.
5) The animation, gaming and special effects industries were hoping for a tax holiday or some sops. But they have been ignored. Actually this is a burgeoning industry and could rake in a lot of revenue…but obviously the FM doesn’t think so.
6) Budget analysts are saying that the Finance Minister has not done enough to curb inflation. What he has done is stop future trading in commodities and well, he has reduced excise duties on some products. This isn’t going to help, analysts say, not to tackle the rising food prices. When the Finance Minister was quizzed about this, he said on live television that this has to be done ‘outside’ the budget. Whatever that means.

Some things I am ambivalent about:
The Education Cess has increased from 2 percent to 3 percent for those beyond a certain income bracket and also across all industries. Is this really going to help? Is this money going to be used right? Or will it be eaten up by ministers? I know they have big plans for the education sector - right from increasing the capacity of higher educational institutions, building more of them, investing both in primary and secondary education…but when government taxes ordinary citizens who are paying tax anyway, its worrisome. Let them tax the industries, why force this cess on individuals? How do we know that our hard earned money is not going to line some minister’s pocket? Instead, what they could ask is for each citizen to sponsor one child’s education. In fact this should be made compulsory. Perhaps it is a impractical suggestion as it will allow people to cheat… but it will mean less money to eat for the government officials.

Something funny!
The finance minister cut customs duty on pet foods from 30 percent to 20 percent and according to news reports this has made the “opposition hounds bay for the FM’s blood”! Its hilarious, the amount of fuss everyone is making about this harmless piece of reduction. Not just the opposition, but also the coalition partners (the Left) are complaining that when the prices of rice and dal are going up, why is the FM so bothered about food for cats and dogs?

Beauty is Truth and Truth said Keats

Strength of a Man

The strength of a man isn't seen in the width of his shoulders.
It is seen in the width of his arms that encircle you.

The strength of a man isn't in the deep tone of his voice.
It is in the gentle words he whispers.

The strength of a man isn't how many buddies he has.
It is how good a buddy he is with his kids.

The strength of a man isn't in how respected he is at work.
It is in how respected he is at home.

The strength of a man isn't in how hard he hits.
It is in how tender he touches.

The strength of a man isn't how many women he's loved by.
It is in can he be true to one woman.

The strength of a man isn't in the weight he can lift.
It is in the burdens he can understand and overcome.

Beauty of a Woman

The beauty of a woman
Is not in the clothes she wears,
The figure she carries,
Or the way she combs her hair.

The beauty of a woman
Must be seen from her eyes,
Because that is the doorway to her heart,
The place where love resides.

The beauty of a woman
Is not in a facial mole,
But true beauty in a woman
Is reflected in her soul.

It is the caring that she lovingly gives,
The passion that she shows,
The beauty of a woman
With passing years-only grows.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Renunciation on my mind...


These tiresome ties
Tenuous and tedious
Sometimes seem lies
I have conjured up
On some terrible day
When my own self-worth
I must needs despise
And clutch, cling
A more solid soul
To cure my heartache
Render me whole.

Today, though,
They stifle, they stilt,
They will me to wilt…
A figment of their creation
A fragment of their imagination
I have connived and built.
I sink into the silt.
Perhaps perceiving this despair,
They hope it is too late to quit.

One dawn, all alone,
I shall burn these to ashes
Dare to disgorge all these words
Disown all these deeds
The harvest of worthless weeds
I have, in childhood, insensibly sown,
That bind me to duty,
To desire, to devotion…

Yes, I shall come into my own,
My life no longer a loan.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

I miss the you I once knew...


I carry you about
Within me
Maybe without :
A void
That gives meaning
To my presence,
The spectral past
That haunts
My formless future.

When we met,
Uncertain partners
In the locus
Of a labyrinthine doubt,
Our shadows struggled,
Strived, distraught,
To see
The distance,
To ribbon
The romance
Of the present,
Our present.

My tomorrow,
For the moment,
Is fraught,
Just a stray, scary thought…
Wafting through
The wilderness
Of what may never
Have happened…

If so…
What am I…
Who are you…
Why is it we fought…
What is it we sought…
What have our memories
All been about?

We have, perhaps,
All been at fault…



Let me be a guest
In your inn
For these few hours.
But do not beg me,
I beg you,
To spend the night…

Do not put me to test.
It is not yet
The time to stop,
The season to stay,
To carry over these dreams
Into another stale day…

I still need
To sense my way,
To salvage
All that I have left
In dense disarray…

Maybe I will return
Some distant day,
No more the prodigal,
Never again to stray…

Maybe you will remain,
A wistful figure,
Waiting at the window,
So much to say…
And even more eager
To listen
My silence

When I finally come back
To you,
To home,
To rest.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Italian Night Out

K finally got to meet Shobi. Ooops, sorry. We finally got to meet her. At our usual hangout at Haldiram’s, Exide. Well, we waited a good 30 mins for her. All the more noteworthy an occasion since I actually reached 10 mins before the appointed time (thank you for the applause, I hereby take a virtual bow). But Ma’am had the misfortune to fall asleep while reading and turned up uncharacteristically late. Anyway, we as usual ended up wistfully recollecting our good old days at school (in the dual capacities of teacher and student) and boring the hell out of poor K. Who had the decency to let us catch up while he went and got something in the nature of beverage to revitalize us. And chivalrously chose to overlook the fact that none of us was courteous enough to go help him fetch the tray containing the three glasses of thandai. The good part was that they seemed to like each other. Which is natural, considering that every one likes both K and Shobi. (Can’t say the same for myself, though.) Shobi looks great. She has a glow on her face. She dismisses my admiring glances by attributing it to her beauty sleep. I don’t care what it is. I just love the fact that my friend looks so beautiful and cheerful.

Well then, we went to meet AG. K is growing increasingly lethargic. He actually took a taxi from Exide to AG’s place, a mere 5 mins by bus ! I’m ashamed of his lack of activity, which is seemingly turning into a habit. (Although I secretly adore every move that he makes.) I was extremely indignant at his anticipating with sadistic relish the spectacle of a T-shirt & jeans clad me touching the feet of AG’s old-fashioned (?) parents. I was secretly hoping they’d be taking a prolonged nap in the midst of the delightful afternoon drizzle. Well, his mother wasn’t. AG was tickled by my confusion at the spectacle of a parent who looked more like a married elder sister than the clichéd mother figure.

Sush was as usual late. First, it appears that he had been buying slippers for Namita (whose were en route to Kol via the Packers' and Movers’ stuff).And then, he was taking a bath. Namita was ready and raring to go. While K, AG and I watched the new set of ads on TV (including the arresting Radio City ones), Aunty treated us to tea and samosas. A few practical suggestions that they be packed and carried to the flat for the sake of the presently un-hungry few were not taken seriously and the food was promptly disposed of.

Everyone seemed to take to our flat. Particularly, Bapi’s new device that aims to electrocute offending mosquitoes. It started raining soon after and we were soon on our way to CC. Nam declared that she was not going to settle for anything less than continental cuisine on the occasion of this great get-together and we meekly gave in.

At CC, considerable time was invested in locating a secure niche for AG’s beloved. The Red Swift, I mean. Then, we sent the boys on ‘Mission Italian Cuisine’ while we ladies sought Nam’s immediate and specific object of desire, an asymmetrical kurta. As usual, we wasted a lot of time at Shoppers’ Stop and were not done when the boys abbreviated our sortie by giving us extremely obscure directions to the Italian restaurant they had managed to unearth.

Much of the humour that night centred in the guys having ordered drinks for us, which I was unaware, contained a strong dash of white rum. My suspicions were aroused by the fact that Nam seemed to be growing increasingly ‘high’ while my natural sense of orientation seemed to be slightly in disarray. The tiramisu was an anticlimax although the main courses had not been very disappointing, on the whole. My penne, however, was simply dripping with cheese, which seemed to repel everyone except a very stolid me. K was slightly bewildered as to why I insisted on eating all the fried potatoes off his plate, despite my having sufficient undisposed of food left on my own. Then there were numerous unresolved questions. Why the waiters were garbed in a funereal black garb from head-to-toe. Why K was guzzling down all that extremely bitter beer despite being fetishistically attached to sweet dishes. Why AG thought that every time Namita and I started laughing merrily after a bout of desperate whispering, we might be badmouthing him. Why K refused to let me kiss him in the unpopulated washroom corridor although he had formerly stood up solidly to the challenge of allowing me to kiss him in public view (ok, ok, I do concede it was just a cursory peck on the cheek). Why he finally decided to do away with social decorum and hold my hand tightly in full view of all of his friends, overlooking their cheers or chuckles. And so much more.

But then, did I really want the answers? In retrospect, I think, I had been in too euphoric a state of mind to care.

Close Encounters of the AG Kind....

I finally got to meet AG. After several ISD/STD conversations, one glaring missed opportunity and a few resigned sms-s later, we met and boy, did the sparks fly! Yes, there were no anticlimactic moments at the first audiovisual encounter. In fact, I must confess that on my part, it was a pleasant surprise as he had lost considerable weight and looked much more fit and fine than his un-photogenic features (he said it, not me) had made him out to be. And the best part is that he did like me. Now if only I could improve on ‘liked’ without sounding copiously conceited. Of course, I like all K’s friends. But AG was a ‘great expectation’. Actually I didn’t have too many expectations since, to put it mildly and euphemistically, I had received mixed reviews (for lack of a more apt term). So I had been keen on getting to meet him in person and putting my own perception to test.

So what did I gather from the first encounter? Well, let me sort out my opinions by putting them down pointwise….

1) He’s diffident ….always wants to know what the others are whispering about and particularly, if it concerns him.
2) He’s gallant….calls me M’Lady, stretches out a hand to help me to my feet, opens the car doors for yours truly.
3) Loves his car like hell…I found it very endearing that he should be so concerned that she should be parked in a no-problem zone, away from even the most remote contact with predator-like rash parkers.
4) Has an aesthetic aspect….his alter ego happens to be a wannabe pastry chef. And the desire is much more intense than I make it sound.
5) He’s a boy at heart…not in the clichéd sense of petty, peevish and pampered, rather with the hope of being popular, universally preferred and sought after. Which most of us would secretly identify with.
6) He loves to garner knowledge…not just to show off, but with the serious intention of putting it all to practical use some day.
7) He would love to get hitched… but only to that special someone who wouldn’t want him to give up all that he has cultivated so carefully over the years.

For all those judgemental of my inferences, I have one observation. I am not interested in feedback on my personal opinions. I would like to believe I have a copyright on them. You are welcome to a discensus, but kindly do not expect to bring me around to your own limited points of view. Unlike Bridget Jones, I do have a mind of my own.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007


It is raining again. And no, this time, we are not going to complain. It’s been terribly hot for the past two days. To put it very mildly, the heat has been sweltering and we are going to maintain 2 minutes of reverential silence for the inventor of the AC, who’s done us the biggest favour ever.

Bong Connection was worth the money. Not that Rashi and I know much about the latter, considering that it was K’s treat. But we did spend the 2 hours in the hall quite happily. Which is quite natural actually, since Priya usually manages to instinctively identify all the potential hits and monopolise the enthusiastic elite much before the other stand-alones have even started to draw them in. Which is fine with us. We, for one, are not going anywhere in any case. Priya’s our addiction.

To come to the point. Bong Connection left us with the following impressions:

Sayan Munshi was a revelation. (Yes, he DID make me cry.)
Raima looked gorgeous. (But slightly artificial, especially when she was gingerly balancing her face on her hands at Someplace Else.)
Paramabrata has amazing comic timing. (Please refer to the drunken scene.)
Peeya is born to act. (Yes, as in “Maybe she’s born with it. Maybe it’s Maybelline’).
Mir deserved a meatier role. (Don’t ask me what role. I’m not a scriptwriter.)
June Maliah actually acted in a film which did not have a bedroom scene. (And she got beaten up, for a change.)
Neel Dutt has an amazing sense of music. (We actually enjoyed and even worse, tapped our feet to the remixed Rabindrasangeet versions.)
Saswata Chattopadhyay could have safely been left out. (We would have preferred his late father, instead.)
Soumitra is really being underutilized nowadays. (He gets to play a potential corpse. I’m afraid to even contemplate what will happen if he is promoted after this.)
Hasan’s character lost its purpose somewhere down the line( or film, if you prefer.)
Kolkata looks great on screen. We don’t mind staying on in the city after the Bong Connection experience.

N.B. Do not wear low-rise jeans to a film show. The lower half of your back will be anaesthesized by the cold if you repeat my fatal mistake. At least the darkness helped obscure the extremely unexciting revelation that I do not have Shilpa Shetty’s great figure. And don’t ask me to elaborate on that. I won’t.

Thursday, July 05, 2007


Yesterday afternoon, the waist level water in front of our house subsided in the late afternoon and I decided to attend office in the 2nd half for mercenary reasons.I actually rushed through the Bengali rainy day culinary speciality (yup, khichudi, what else?!!!). The moment I stepped began to pour...I was simply disgusted.Came back and changed once again and went to sleep.Yup.I was that disgusted.

And don't talk about today ! There was no auto available to Sector V for a good 15 mins, it was raining non-stop all the way to office, my umbrella got caught in a strong wind just outside my office and a total stranger volunteered to help me to straighten it out (before that, I was standing paralysed for 2 whole minutes at a point just a few yards from my office staring dumbfounded at the umbrella !) and just in front of my office there was a huge and dirty pool of water that I had to wade through before I could enter the building. Gross.

The only good part of the day - high tea with K at Fingertips in the evening. After that I felt really high.

And hurrah for my jeans.They saved my day.Yes, I know, I had no business wearing casuals on a Thursday to office but who the hell cares in this weather what the HR etc think? They were probably too busy signing leave slips to notice anyway.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Democracy of Devastation...

Kolkata is going through an intensely bad time. And that too, not due to any natural calamity, but an artificial one. The monsoons are in full force and heavy rains lashed the city on the night of 2nd July, 2007 and in fits and starts throughout 3rd July. The result - a waterlogged city, exposing all the municipal torpor that has caused routine life to come to a dead halt since yesterday morning. I, for one, could not go to office yesterday. But that was initially cause for celebration and I did take it in the spirit of an unexpected holiday. Or, as we used to term them in school life, it was just another ‘rainy day’ I found occasion to catch up on my reading ,watched one and a half films, listened to Big FM and enjoyed an afternoon nap. In fact, I even went out in the evening yesterday to buy a cashcard, which was actually just an excuse for a leisurely walk through the freshly bathed streets.

But. Yes, but. The enormity of the situation that had engulfed the rest of the city dawned on me when I woke up this morning, peered outside with sleepy eyes and suffered a mini-hallucination. Which was actually reality. Yes, a murky river had sprung up overnight just in front of my house, which disappointed any latent hopes of turning up at office today. And the worst part is that no one believes that my locality could actually be flooded because it is studded with residences of state ministers and MLAs. But I realized that my plight was nothing when compared with the miseries of other Kolkatans. From 9.30-11.30 am, I have been squatting in front of the TV, watching Star Ananda live coverages of the current misery of citizens both of the city proper and the suburbs. Celebrities like Suchitra Bhattacharya and Bani Basu the authors, Tridib Chattopadhyay the publisher and Bibhas Chakraborty the theatre artist spoke animatedly of the fear and suffering they have witnessed or been a part of since yesterday. Numerous people called up to report first-hand their terrible predicament due to lack of drainage facilities, loadshedding, lack of drinking water supplies and even food. At the Sukhia locality of APC Road, people cannot even come to collect the drinking water being provided on an emergency basis due to the waterlogging in their area. The photos being broadcast, still and video, of the spectacle in suffering that is Kolkata at the moment, seems unbelievable.

Amaresh Chatterjee, a senior citizen hailing from Baranagar, deserves special mention. The entire ground floor of his home was under 1 and a half feet of water yesterday. He and his aged wife removed almost 600 bucketfuls of water to make it somewhat more habitable. He even did some thing that should put us young and inert citizens to shame. With his own tired hands, he cleaned out the open drain that spans the area surrounding his place. The local councillor was unabashed by his efforts and his surprised queries regarding the absence of municipal workers on this day of need generated the curious interpretation that he was speaking in a ‘motivated’ tone. So much for democracy and freedom of speech or for that matter, right to information.

The Mayor has been presented with numerous bouquets on this (un) eventful occasion. Don’t be surprised. The opposition councilors have been enterprising enough to capitalize on the success and popularity engendered by the message of Gandhigiri upheld in ‘Lage Raho Munnabhai’. They are not really doing anything very original.

The Asian Development Bank is helping Kolkata Municipal Corporation out with a loan of 1800 crore rupees to better its civic necessities. But don’t feel elated about it. The money is to be channelised into pumping stations that will filter the sewerage water from the city and ensure that the river Ganges does not suffer more pollution than it is already facing. Which means that we will remain as worse off as we were formerly with this antedated drainage system or the lack of it.

And yes, it seems that in a city which will soon house more shopping malls than hospitals or blood banks, the ravages wrought by the intermittent rains has driven home a picture of the ‘democracy of devastation’ ( in Bani Basu’s words). The general picture that came across from the phone calls, video stills and live reports on the channel was that - the more we progress, the more things remain the same. An NGO in northern Kolkata has helped the local slum residents to move into a vacant school building in the area and has been providing them with ‘chnire and gud’. Kolkata it seems, is receding into prehistoric primitivity.

And oh, one last thing, for the moment at least. The honourable Mayor has taken the liberty of comparing our beloved city to London. But you will feel more stunned than ecstatic when I inform you that he was talking about the crisis that that celebrated city also has to undergo throughout the year. ‘We should be happy that the monsoons don’t last forever’ is what he seems to be trying to say, albeit in a rather tangential way. Well, then, let us raise some funds and undertake the liberty of exporting him to London. Pronto. I’m sure the Londoners will be less happy to see him there than we are to get rid of him. And his lesson in lethargy.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Meet the Coward, ME...

I actually feel like a zombie nowadays..every morning, I have to motivate myself to get up and go to office...don't know for sure but I have a weird feeling that this job isn't teaching me anything very radical...and the only reason why I'm still here is because I don't want my CV to give my future employers the impression that I'm either mercenary (read 'money-minded') or rebellious (read 'fickle-minded') or a genius ( read 'easily bored'). But I wish they had kept me on at the original work I was doing, that is, copy writing for e-cards. At least, I looked forward to going to office everyday because my work would nurture the creative streak in me.

And here I was thinking that I had really achieved a helluva something by turning down a job offer from PWC even after clearing their test and interviews for the post of a business editor because I didn't find the job profile sufficiently stimulating. Just proves that I'm another run-of-the-mill coward. Conventional enough to settle for nothing more than mediocrity.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

I feel wretched...

Ok, I'm back.And much better. But I did have an awful time while the influenza was making its slow and surreptitious invasion over my innermost anatomy. Sneezing,running nose,blocked nose, coughing, headache, eye, was there an end to it,you'll wonder... Oddly enough, I was at my lucid best in terms of writing power. A couple of observant friends did report that to me. But then, I always knew that I stood out in crowds because of all the wrong things.

The worst part of fever for me is that it leaves me alone with myself and those fears, guilt feelings and psychic debts I do otherwise manage to repress. Psychoanalytically, that's easy to explain. Your conscious self recedes to the background and the unconscious returns with a vengeance. Anyway,I'm not going to go into all those intricacies. For sooner or later, some purist will turn up and accuse me of having the audacity to dilute Lacan and prostituting him. I wouldn't like that to happen.

Let's come back to the point.I realised in these couple of days, that I've been too caught up with K to give the other people in my life the attention they do merit. Especially those who have always been there for me, without being assertive in any way whatsoever. Rashi, for instance. She deserves to see much more of me than I do spare time for her. And Tua, Shobhana, Sohini.....they don't complain....but that's because they're probably generous enough to forgive me repeatedly. Can't say for certain whether I would have done the same in their places. But all I know is that I feel wretched at the thought of this narcissistic streak I hadn't known to exist in me before. Just proves that you're as bad as other people, if not worse. All preaching, no practice.

What can I say, everyone? 'Forgive me' sounds too cliched. Just 'let me try again ' perhaps?

Sunday, June 24, 2007



Burden me not
With so many unsought

My heart,
heaped heavy
With such happiness
May no longer be able
Brave the battles,
To down the draughts
Of bloody bottles
They eventually come.

And render me dumb.

Harnessed to the hopes
Of endless heavens,
I am doomed
To be done
A deadly defeat .

I am drunk
With a deep-seated,
Heady desire
To drown,
To demolish,
This hapless heart
In you,
All that is you.

This defiant ego

Even this is daunted:
It dares not fight
A lone, lost war
With no arms,
Mere head,
To stoke
Its dying fire.

Hangover time,
I fear,
Draw near.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Spoken in delirium

Am down with fever. Hate it when I am sick and bed-ridden. My very instincts rebel. And to think it all started with a sore throat. Aggravated by an AC in office that is intended to condition the air for computers and not we poor human beings. We are actually instructed to bring shawls if we feel that cold. Man, what is the world coming to? I'm sure that we shall soon end up with a world a la I, Robot. Just replace 'robot' by 'computer'. How worse can things get?
Much worse, it seems. Himesh Reshammiya stars in a film where Mallika Sherawat is paired opposite him (not exactly, she appears to be the vamp). She dances to his songs. He is wanted by the police. The biggest tragedy of all - he actually emerges unscathed. I knew the police were no good.
Even worse things are happening.I want to go watch a new film this weekend, but there's nothing on offer that really appeals. I don't want to watch 'Jara Brishtite Bhijechhilo' or the tiring starcast of JBJ. Un logon ko dekhte hi mere sare jhumne ka shaukh gayeb ho jati hei. K suggests 'Shootout at Lokhandwala'. I cheer up. Lots of dhishum dhishum gives me a chance to behave suitably scared in a multiplex and cling on to whatever part of him is closest to me. I actually start feeling much better after gauging my future prospects.

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Chauvinism et al

Jamai Shashthi. Just another name for chauvinism at its worst. Even my company encourages it. Pampers the jamais actually. Singling them out for a lavish treat that just drives home once again the Great Wall of China divide between men and women. As if marriage topped their list of achievements in life.Big deal. No wonder that all the marriage jokes (PJs actually, each and every one of them) somehow sound suspiciously pro-male. I only wonder who the hell finds them funny. Certainly not any of the married women constituting my own list of acquaintances. Nor for that matter any of the sensible and gender-neutral male friends I possess (who, I'm glad to hear, are no longer an endangered species, thanks to proper education and media outrage at any extant non-conformist MCPs) .So....I guess the jokes are on the 'stronger sex' at the end of the day. They actually have to be coaxed into downing the bitter taste of medicine they secretly feel matrimony is by all these juvenile jests that seem to celebrate marriage as an institution.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Writing therapy

When I am happy, I read. When I'm unhappy, I write. That's my own form of catharsis, you see. I call it writing therapy.

Perplexed? It's simple really. When I'm happy, I'm sorted out. And I can make sense of 40 pages of hardcore non-fiction in an hour. So I prefer to read, to make sense of what others have written post experience. But when I'm down, I become complex, incoherent, diffuse. And I suffer. So I need a cure. In my case, I am kinda weird. And so, you see, my form of convalescence is different from the normal people around me. I write when I'm troubled, tortured, tentative about myself, about life. And writing purges me. A variation of Aristotelian catharsis, you might say.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Once upon a time....

Once upon a time,an ugly duckling wanted to metamorphose into a swan,but......didn't know where to start.
So, she began to create an ideal self, a self that she aspired to be, a self that knew how to fly, fly so high that there were no skies too high for her.....
And every time it rained,the swan in her emerged anew....but with the memory of the ugly scars of the ugly duckling that she also knew to be an inextricable part of herself....
And yes, she wanted to not only be a swan herself, but also help transform other ducklings into sister swans....
That was possible only if she believed in herself...
So she wrote herself....


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