Sunday, 25 November 2007

Battlefield Gatwick!

I was hiding behind a bush. I could feel the bullets raining all around me. I was crawling on the muddy soggy woodland. My goggles were all blurry with myst. It was a cold winter morning and I had a bad hangover from the previous night. Suddenly there was something moving on far right of me. I was beneath the remnants of dead fallen tree. I could not move, as if I did the whole tree would move and the “something” moving on my right would not think twice before shooting me. I moved my righthand slowly. I tried to aim the gun I had towards the guy on my towards this object. My shoulder bumped against the wood while doing so. I froze. I stopped breathing. I tried to gauge whether my object got my position. Then I moved again. I positioned my gun with more care this time. Aimed and shot a burst of 10 shots.

“Player down!” shouted the referee. And the player was down, and then came a burst of shots from another near by tree. One of the black musketeers were there and there I went down.

We were playing paintball at Gatwick. It was a place with three marshals and a bunch of crazy people. We ran across woodlands to grab the opponents base, we defended castles, we attacked castles, got divided into different wings we called each other alfa and deltas we had a lot of bruises all over our bodies, and most importantly we had fun.

Wednesday, 14 November 2007

Calcatians don’t bite….3

So this time what I really saw in calcutta? Nothing much really. This city has been able to keep its old smell with a hint of make over though. It wears miniskirt these days and kisses without shame. PDA is not a thing to feel shame about. Sex is on the rise as it is evident by all the MMS sites and the number of Bengali scandals there. Yes I am a pervert and I frequently venture into those sites. Do you have a problem?

Somethings which caught my eyes this time was the plethora of tv channels. There seemed to be n number of tv channels on the cable network. Star ananda, 24 hours, ne bangle etc etc. and the good part of it was that all these are news channels. Local issues really needed a voice and these channels if managed and handled properly can be just that.

But like all other Indian news channels these also tend to go overboard with certain issues. Just like they got with Rizwanur case, and just like they got with the UFO case. Star ananda had called two eminent astronomers to understand that the glowing thing on the sky is nothing but our very own venus and not a UFO. Jeesus Christ. Also like their news paper star ananda almost covered all the daily events in Suchitra Sen’s life in those few days while she was under treatment in belleview nursing home. Can imagine why she took this self imposed denial from the media and limelight. Guys for gods sake, no need to imitate English media. They have already killed their princess by doing this, do we need to go the same way? Also is personal life of a celebrity so much of an enticing thing for the avg Bengali people? I would say there is a lot of good thing which Indian media can learn from the british media, and being neutral can be one of them. But I saw our media is more keen on learning the paparazzy tricks.

Star ananda had its mind set on showing off mamata banerjee on the nandigram issue. Then CPM cadres attacked their pressmen and things changed overnight. The much praised and so called cultured CM of west Bengal suddenly became the demon of the day. And ananda went all ga ga about the cpm brutalities in Nandigram. We are not kids and we understand politics dude. Try something more subtle next time.

This Calcutta reassured me of one thing that human beings still live in this city. The procession by city’s eminent intellectuals in protest of inertness of government in nandigram was something which showed being unpolitical sometimes can be the biggest political statement. But it also raised a point of doubt in my mind. How much of hearitness was really in it. How much of all these hullagullas were driven by true concern for people? Why this voices didn’t shout before? Why now? The unpolitical character became a bit dirty and a lot more unclear in my mind. But I hope it was simple conscience which made people do these things and not by some other agenda driven by others. Calcutta a city of aantels truly showed still there are aantels who apart from being aantels can sometime think of real and hard lived issues as well.

Calcutta also revealed its real smell in the night of navami when I went on a night out trip through the city to have a glimpse of the most beautiful puja mandaps of this year. And all I can still remember is the foul smell of urine everywhere. Calcutta pissed and it pissed in its pants it seems. A place like New Alipore can be so dirty is something I can hardly imagine.

More to come on Calcutta and calcatians…

Friday, 9 November 2007

Calcatian’s Don’t Bite……………..2

Since I am such a comment hunter and my reader(s!!!???!!!) have threatened me of not giving comments until and unless I write some good things about Calcutta, here I am and there you go.

Calcutta as was portrayed in my previous topic looked like a city of brainless dumpers (god knows what that means) or in other words a city of modern English educated smarties. Which I am afraid is a too much of generalization of a city which far far greater than any other city of India in colour, in culture and in liveliness. If you want to see Calcutta and its life in true colors, u have to come with me for a ride which I took on last Wednesday.

I was supposed to go to a bank at Girish Park. When I finished my work, it was 1pm and I still had quite sometime at hand. I chose to roam around and capture some of the city moments in my camera.

1. I traveled to Park Street. I went to the place where thousands of people came together to do a civilized protest against the mysterious death of Rizwanur Rahaman. I sat on the pavement, there was nothing worth capturing there at that point. There was nothing which I could take a snap of and show people that see this is Calcutta and this is how the people of Calcutta are. That is a pity. But sitting there at the pavement, I could feel the energy, the sentiment and the same sympathy that those people had who came to light a candle for a guy who is from a different religion, whose life probably doesn’t have similarity to any of ours life, who was born anonymous and death made him famous. I have little to do with Rizwanur’s death and nor do I know what all went in between the husband and wife’s families. I was simply amazed at the response people gave and the way they accepted a muslim fellow’s marriage to a rich hindu girl. I am sure if you were in somewhere south or somewhere west of India, this would not happen. Bravo Kolkata.

2. The next stop was at Victoria memorial. I still remember the day when my parents brought me to this architectural wonder. I looked at it with awe. This time was no exception. I looked at the memorial, and was lost in memory until something broke my spell. A guy, in yellow t-shirts and jeans was saying to a girl, “bolo amar bou hobe?” [“Tell me,will you be my wife?”]. and quite amazingly the girl responded with a soft and quite Hollywood style kiss on the guy’s lips. A sweet simplicity which is the bloodline of this city touched me and that sweet sound of the kiss kept on ringing in my head and heart for the rest of the day. People suddenly have grown up here.

3. The last part was the most tiring of my journey. I was returning home and I had to catch a local train from Dumdum junction to the suburban area where I live. It was a train fully crowded. And as usual there were hastles at every station. People had to struggle with great vengeance. In Agarpara stop, I noticed an old man (I guess his age would be somewhere near 75) running after the train and jumping on to it with an amazing dexterousness. Kolkata lives at the age of 75 too. It struggles to live on, and it succeeds. Then there was this boul(a kind of singer from the Vaishnava Sect) who started singing a song in the tune of a rabindrasangeet in that jampacked train. Then there was this blind kid, who had a speaker on his back, a harmonium hanging from his shoulders and singing, “ek bar bidai de ma ghure asi” and suddenly I was all emotional. May be it owes a lot to the fact that I have been staying abroad or that I love my mother tongue dearly but still I would give credit to the city which stays, at this age of superfast globalization, a virgin when it comes to its people and their unscathed lifestyle. These trains are the bloodlines of Calcutta, and they truly portray the life of it.

Don’t know whether I have blabbered a lot in this post or I have talked nonsense too much. May be I’m a sentimental fool to think in these lines but these were the moments which touched me quite a lot and I am just being true to myself.

Calcatians don’t bite….1

I have never been a calcatian. I have always had lot of problems with this city. To tell you the truth we never got along nicely. Neither did we this time.

As the readers know, I grew up in a small town called Siliguri. Growing up in small towns have their disadvantages and advantages. I knew greenery. I knew how nice it is to look at kanchanjungha right when you wake up in the morning. I knew how nice it feels when all of a sudden you meet someone on the road and smile back. I knew how to go on your cycle and get lost in a rain forest. I knew how cold exactly the water of Teesta is. Like this I knew a lot of things. There were things I didn’t know as well.

When I passed the so called hurdle of JEE which is most dreaded and respected GOD of West Bengal these days, I came to join college in a small village and I got to know some Calcutta guys. Guys of Calcutta were a thing to see for us. Although siliguri is a quite modern city compared to the other mofussils of Bengal (Thanks to the proximity of the nepali and pahari gorkhas- the girls are simply to good in the hills), still we always felt a tinge of inferiority complex when we met those convent educated Calcutta guys. Fortunately for us though, there were only a few to fall into this category.

I still remember a conversation from my early days in college, where someone was telling about his preparations before JEE counseling. He actually got a fair amount of guess (!!??!!!) of how much he is gonna rank (which incidentally was something so obscure I have no idea how he got it right), and he went around to all the colleges he could get admission to find out which college has which dept in shape. That was the time when private colleges were forming up in Bengal. We hardly had 6 colleges under private control, and we being the backbenchers had to choose one of those alone. Whatever, my point is not how this guy did his research and all, or what all parameters he actually calculated to say which dept is good in which college, or whether he did some crash course from AICTE for accreditation of colleges! My point is calcatians do these things, they do these things simply to show their class and we were so much shadowed by the calcatian’s aura I felt ashamed. I felt ashamed that I didn’t do any research at all, one of my teachers told me that I was an idiot not to get through JU or BESU, so I can go to hell and get admitted to any engineering college. Another of my teachers told me that I should look for electronics and gave me two colleges’ names which he believed was good. I kept faith on my teacher. While in counseling, the guy asked me what I want, I said I want electronics, that guy replied u have the following options. I heard one known name in that options list (which was a very short list though), and there I was getting admitted to a college and making the most important decision of my life (or atleast it seemed to be so at that juncture of my life). So you see we small people (a direct translation of “chhote log”) don’t stand a chance when it comes match a calcatian. There was another guy who within the first few days announced that he was from South Point school which has the world record of most no of students in a class. I and a few others who were from the land of “far far away”, were awestruck again. South Point!!! The school of all those bespectacled geniuses whose pictures feature in the front pages after every HS or Secondary results, those who clearly announce after their feat that they want to do research in NASA or treat poor people of India, make medicines of cancer, win noble prizes, fuck Katie Moss, lick G W Bush’s arse and God knows what! Then he announced another bombshell, the higher secondary topper was his batch mate and he copied the last sum of the second paper mathematics from this higher sec topper to secure his 80%. He also announced he has never believed in luck, he believes in being at the right place at the right time with the right people. God Damn us small towners.

These people had a different chain of thought in their heads. We didn’t know a lot of things at that time, and that is the essence I am trying to give out in my meaningless essay. Have u got it? If not its not your problem, you see we people don’t know to write English properly. Never read in convents you know! I remember one of my friends wife quipping about this strange breed. SHe told me about one from this tribe saying once "Ishhhh...this road is so kada pachpach. so disgusting u know!" Readers who don't understand bengali I am sorry i do not have enough knowledge in english to translate it.

[this is the first of a chain of posts I wish to do about calcutta and things i like and I don't like about this great and beautiful city.... the starting I am doing with a not so pleasant note but keep reading and I am sure you will find that I am not so much nagging about thsi city after all...]

Saturday, 3 November 2007

Taking life as it goes…

It’s not an easy job. It’s not an easy job to take life as it goes, to take it easy. It creeps in silence; it advances its army of darkness in your mind. And slowly it engulfs your senses. The expectations fall apart, and suddenly the whole world becomes black and white loosing all its animated colors.

When I grew up, I grew up reading Sarat Chandra, Tagore’s romantic works. My father gave me a book on English poetry’s romantic age. That was an amazing book with small annotations in my father’s unintelligible handwriting on the margin. I read those poems with the eyes of Columbus looking at the new world. The attraction towards the fairer sex became known to me.

I wanted to fall in love like every other adolescent of my age. Romanticism became a way of life for me. I still remember those lively discussions with my mates about the definition of love and how to find them. I thought I knew it, and it’s only a matter of time to find it. I wanted to create something like those poems and I knew it by heart that it’s possible only if you fall, and fall hard in love.

There were these numerous diaries that my dad used to get from different well wishers, and I loved those. Those became the first breeding ground for my poems. I spent sleepless nights in the thoughts of an unknown lady who will make my life more charming, more delightful. Love was all over me and unlike kids of today I didn’t know something so powerful is not something of a child’s play.

All these things at a point became obsession for me. I fell in love almost everyday with the girl sitting next to me, with the girl whom I talked to for one minute to ask a question in my biology tuition, with the girl who on an ashtami was wearing that beautiful sari and that hypnotizing perfume.

And quietly, deep inside my heart I knew I have never known love. I wondered around the city on my bicycle only to see my school mates roaming around with good looking girls on their way back from tuition. I saw a lot of my seniors in school settling down with the girl of they loved. I envied them, as the grass is always greener on the other side.

Later I thought one need not look for love. It is something that should look for you. And someone told me that whatever happens to you is for good. Although the latter one is a cliché and everyone knows about it, at this point I started believing it as it came out of a girl and she let me know this after turning down the first offer I could ever frame up or rather to say could accumulate enough courage to place.

I grew up with all these. Not having love in life was something that demoralized me. I always wanted to have someone to talk to. Someone to share my heart’s content with. With all due respect to my mom, she could not possibly be the one to share a growing up kid’s all the thoughts. She could not become the one. My continuous hunt went on.

When I met her, I was 24. Not really a kid anymore. Living away from my parents had already given me a bit of maturity. All 18 years in a boy’s school had taken its toll and I was never smart enough to talk to girls till this point. Now things were changing. I was no longer desperate and I was no longer single and looking. Rather I was only single.

We had some previous connections to get us introduced. Both of us were aliens in a new city. We didn’t know what to do and how to live out our life in there. We spent time together. Weekends came and passed; days became long and then short again. Our proximity became unmatched to any past time. Suddenly one day I, for the second time in my life, fell again. I asked the question and straight came the answer “NO”.

But this time there was a separate tinge in the answer, a little pickle like taste, a bit of spice and that no remained in my life till date. How sweetly one can say a yes in disguise of a NO! Life changed for me. For the first time I was a proud boyfriend of a nice girl. Things are never this straight in life. Like the countless waves in marina beach, events in life come and go and the only thing they leave behind is the wet sand. Our relation too became sour, sourer and sourest, when we decided to part. Parting was not an easy job at least not for me. She seemed to take it quite easily. I could never learn the trick. Probably the born romantic in me didn’t let me learn it. I broke. I even got determined to win her back. I swore that she will never be happy without me. I cursed the distance between us, I cursed my destiny. But as an end result, I was back to square one, this time more devastated than ever. I don’t know how these events take place. Are there any rules of statistics, probability which govern them? Are there any laws of natural phenomena which can rationalize why people behave as irrationally as I did? As I said in the beginning, it’s never easy to take life as it goes, and it’s harder to take life easy. Loves labor was lost, and so am I.

[A fictitious diary of a broken mind]