Friday, September 4, 2009

The Question

Have I always been a fallen woman, or could one even rise in love?

Friday, July 10, 2009


I will stand in the rain someday. Drenched more than the pigeons crouching down for shelter. My hair, wet like wriggly snakes. The rain will dance along my naked arms and sliding through my fingers, will wash my feet. My dust-worn choti. My nails chapped with everyday monotony.

I will feel the rain along my body, tender like a lover’s touch. Let it soak into my T-shirt. Let hints of underwear appear starker than hidden tortures. Let my blue skirt fly in the wind making unwanted, forbidden, obscene revelations. Let all tears flood away into the puddle-pools. With water. With sweat. With phlegm. With menstrual blood. Let all bonds liquefy… flow away… evaporate…

I will dance in the rain someday. Wilder than frogs. Stranger than dreams. I will let my chunri go.
I will sing in the rain someday.

Let the rain please my darkish skin
Don’t bring me home to hide
Let all manacles now melt in pain
To move with time and tide.
Let rainfall wash my oozing tears
My strangled breasts, my intense rear
Let passions burst like summer clouds
Cleansing, draining all my fear.

Lull me full, oh mother,
That no longer
I may fear those ties
That no longer
I may think my body
Obscene, forbidden, a vice.

Let me laugh, let me dance, let me scream,
If not in truth, perhaps in a waking dream.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

A Letter

Mon Amie,

I can’t take it anymore. I can’t. How can one tolerate denial of breath for three years in a row? I know I still exist and there might be many millions of people who are in a worse condition than mine. But I’ll still cry. I’ll still shout until I’m hoarse. I’ll still bite the tail of my ball-pen while writing to you. I need a yell, believe me. I badly do. Everybody is a stranger here and I am stranded among a lost world. Did I dream for this day? Did 'we' dream for this day? It’s not disillusionment. It’s death. I die every moment among these people… these people who are the elite femme intellectuals of our city. They talk Neruda. They eat bhutta. They drink anything from unending cups of tea to gin with lime or vodka. They dream in nostalgic fumes of Charminar. Yet I can feel their realities. Unfortunate, but true, I easily can. Very precisely. Do want to know?

They are dolls. Highly fashionable and somewhat pretty dolls. They care more for manicure than for poetry. They might talk about Neruda, but in sleep, all dream of Eric Segal. They prefer McDonald’s hot-dogs much more to bhutta only if they had been cheaper and more in vogue!!! They like to fret over extremely silly and at times irritatingly nyaka love affairs, not to mention the teenage crap about ‘crushes’. They go through the T2 page of The Telegraph with better attention than class notes. They merely need an excuse to switch on from discussing poetics to bitching about friends, relatives and neighbors, a topic they feel more at ease with, of course. No matter how much bangali their PNPC is, they regard Bengali culture as shit and consider people singing Bengali polli-geeti or the likes (and not MLTR or Backstreet Boys) as uncultured and illiterate tribals. They adore anything Western as sophistication and shun anything Bengali as crudeness. No, I don’t have any objection. I adore different kinds. They add spice to the boredom called life. The problem lies in the fact that they cannot tolerate or accommodate people who admire things that they don’t and not those that they do. Nor are they prepared to accept their true selves, their realities. They love to suffer from the voluntary illusion that they are superior in all possible ways from those who do not accept this idea to be true or those who don't not follow their ways. From the very first week in college, I’ve been marginalized as the girl who is darkly mysterious. Why? Because I dare to live life my way. I don’t go to a parlor except for haircuts. I have a close-cropped and extremely short hairstyle in order to allow my neck proper ventilation. I prefer T-Shirts to balloon-tops. I believe looking beautiful in my mirror instead of in the mirror of their eyes. I don’t have a boyfriend. And my best friend without whom life would have been hell is another girl.

It amazes me. It thrills me. It sends a shiver down my spine. Is this the elite? Is this the intelligentsia? Is this the cream? If this is it, I admit, I feel nauseated. There was a time when I used to laugh at them in the same way we all laugh at Belinda as she mourns the loss of her lock. I felt pity and mirth and blinked with mercy towards their fetish for ‘normality’… their crazy desire to be appreciated by the male gaze and vehement denial of its appropriating side-effects… their whispers about attraction and sex under the common name of 'love'… their binary world of the good and the bad… their extreme yet unquenched curiosity about my ‘world’ to which I straightly denied them any access… their taboo of homosexuality… their water-tight definitions of relationships… everything…

But no. Not still. I’ve had enough. I need a break. I need a holiday- a holiday from which I will no longer need to return. I want some sleep. A college filled with falsities and biases repels me to no extent. I refuse to respect an institution that cannot trust its students with maintaining decency and following proper discipline. Is there any other college in this city that subjects its female students to a ‘dressing-code’? Are we kids, rowdy and untamable, waiting for any moment of slackness from the authority in order to bring out our inherent animosity and ruin the name of the college? If the authority believes so, let me announce, it cannot control it with a thousand dress codes and disciplinary measures. We all will break out as far as we can. And when time for release from this Foucaultan space will come, when fear of expulsion or punishment that now constantly hovers around us will subside, I’ll ensure that people henceforth give a second thought before admitting themselves to a college where most of the colleagues are intolerant, silly, lacking any substance and where the authorities leave no opportunity of exercising dictatorial anarchy in the name of order and discipline.

All I did all these years is pray. I prayed desperately. And regularly. Otherwise I would have lost my sanity from this constant attempt to maintain minimum society in college. And of course, the teaching helped. Teachers of our department are the only positive light that saved me from falling into the bottomless pit of acute depression. And there was my family. My not-so-intolerant friends, who can accept, understand and appreciate me in the way I am. And you. If there is still life, it’s because you people still exist. Thank you for being with me. Thank you for being the way you are.

I’ll have to end my letter here. Our end-semester exams are drawing close. I need to study a hell lot of things, not to mention the mugging up. It’s too lonely out here… this me and my books… but then, it is probably my ‘shadow line’ phase as Conrad calls it, eh?

Wish me luck and see you as soon as my exam ends.
[This Letter is a dedication to Poushali, my friend, philosopher and guide, who is indeed undergoing a 'twilight' phase in her life.]

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Case Of Adultery

The apartment in which I live has this custom of holding meetings on the 1st Sundays of every month. This being a common holiday, no one can deny responsibility of attending those meetings on the excuse of being unavailable because of their office. But this month is special. An emergency meeting has been called today, in the 15th of March, all of a sudden. This meeting is to decide the fate of our apartment’s security and to assign certain minor responsibilities (such as switching on/off the water pump in turns etc) on the inmates.

What caused the emergency?

Our caretaker Chintoo has been caught red-handed sleeping with Mrs. Roy’s maidservant. The furtive glances of Chintoo and Shikha (as the maid is called) had caused suspicion long ago. But they couldn’t have been accused directly owing to the lack of clear-cut evidences. But a couple of days ago, my morning sleep was cut short at 8am by roars, growls and snarls of the inhabitants of the apartment. Before long I realized that those were supposed to be sounds of victory for their now proved suspicions that were previously ignored. By the time I went down, Shikha had fled and Chintoo was begging for mercy at the feet of his masters. He was refused, of course. Mr. Dasgupta dragged his baggage down the stairs from his attic room and flung them onto the streets. The whole para gathered to catch the fun with facades of paramount concern and passing judgments went on and on and on and on and on…

Too much noise and too much non-sense always send me into reveries of distraction. So I’m not pretty sure whether I heard every abuse that was used to adorn Chintoo and Shikha. But the reasons of the abuse were such attractive that I gained back my conscious self once again.

The primary catastrophe, of course, is that adultery had been going on for more than a month in our own apartment and that our own caretaker was its chief culprit. However this allegation soon shifted over from Chintoo to Shikha and you can well imagine what followed, yes, what follows all the time, that is. Shikha is a married woman of about 28-30 years of age. She has a 10-year-old son. It is known from certain god-knows-what sources that she left her husband, her child’s father soon after her son was born and went to live with her brother-in-law with whom she had been having an affair for long. So, she is an old horse, actually. Familiar with various kinds of meadows. Naturally, sympathy started gathering on Chintoo’s side and a few of the flat members even repented for throwing him out. The more pity showered for Chintoo, the more aggressive did the public become towards Shikha. She was accused of provoking 22-year-old innocent Chintoo into immoral sexual activities by her titillating dressing sense. She was accused of being attractive. She was accused of doing her eyebrows. She was accused of using pink lipstick. She was accused of showing her cleavage occasionally. She was accused of having taken advantage of Chintoo’s youthful slips. She was accused of seducing men at every chance. She was accused of being shrewd and manipulative. All this continued for about an hour or so at the end of which everybody came to decide that she was a whore and that it was impossible for young, unmarried Chintoo to resist the constant temptation.

In the whole process of abuse and decisions the fact that Chintoo was a drunkard, which could leave our apartment open to intrusions during his tipsy hours, escaped notice. Got drowned totally. May be because drinking is much less of a moral sin than adultery. Or may be, because everyone was too keen to get Chintoo back to run on their ever-going-on errands. He was cheap. And he was available. Finally it didn’t matter with whom he slept. All what mattered is whether he can take the responsibility that would be assigned to us otherwise. We are essentially responsibility shirkers. Even the moral police fall flat on this ground. Wonder!!

Today, the meeting has been called in order to decide whether Chintoo would be re-admitted to the job or whether his brother Rintoo would take his place. Let’s see what happens. I really never am able to judge anything complex properly… but then, all claim that this case is pretty easy.

As for Shikha, I have no idea where she has gone. But I guess, her search has begun again. She has reached such a point, where men did not matter without their bodies… be it her husband… her brother-in-law… Chintoo… or…

By the way, our flat is called Sneho Apartment.

Saturday, March 7, 2009


I keep on dying again.
Veins collapse, opening like the
Small fists of sleeping
Memory of old tombs,
Rotting flesh and worms do
Not convince me against
The challenge. The years
And cold defeat live deep in
Lines along my face.
They dull my eyes, yet
I keep on dying,
Because I love to live.

Maya Angelou

Friday, February 20, 2009

Boyfriends and Books -- An Analogy

Boyfriends are like books. In every possible way. They are my real friends. Friends of solitude. Friends of loneliness. They bring calm and comfort to me when I’m disturbed. Restless. Impatient. Boyfriends always bring me shelter. In times of agitated frustration. And fury. Towards the world. Towards people who suddenly seem to be utter strangers. Yes. Boyfriends never fail to serve. They stand through all the turmoil. They are not only the best way to kill boredom but are also genuine buddies who induce catharsis. Thank you boyfriends, for being just like books.

Boyfriends are like books. They are a pleasure to read. No. Not all. There are some like S.N Dey and stuff. But then there are many of you I’m sure who love Maths. But to me boyfriends are like Haroun and the Sea of Stories. Or Animal Farm for that matter. They help me fantacize. Wildly. Ah… bliss bliss bliss!!

Boyfriends are indeed like books. I feel the same satisfaction in unraveling them. From their external self. From their layers. As in turning each page of a book to see its end… to see if there is anything more that it can offer. Not all of them are equally interesting. Some are fat, yes. Probably they assume that, we might mistake fatness for depth. Poor they! Poor at cheating. The moment I realize that its only paper and no content really, I put the book away. Lack of story repels me. For some strange reason. I lose all interest. Good lines are always preferable to blank pages. I’m sorry boyfriends. Truly.

But then, of course there are jewels. Like Foe. Like The God Of Small Things. Like Pather Panchali. Even after many years of finishing the read, I think about them. They capture my breath. They wring me from deep inside. Still. And will go on. And on. And on…
Unforgettable. Some boyfriends indeed leave their mark. Forever.

Boyfriends are like books. And some of them are really classics. Resembling Anna Karenina. Or A Farewell to Arms. Or Gone With the Wind. Or Shambwo. Or Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. I love coming back to them and find them still as fresh, as charming, as powerful as they had been when I first knew them. Cheers to you, guys!

Poetry. Umm… to be honest, very few of my boyfriends could reach the sublimity of poetry. They just lack the musical flow. Easy, yet mysterious. Within, yet imperceptible. Plenty, yet rich. I wish I’ll find someone really poetic some time in my life. Poetry is my favourite art.

Have you ever felt the urge to die to get certain books? To have them? To own them? To make them yours? I have. I still have. I will have, I guess. So I feel for some of my boyfriends. They are extremely few (I’m too choosy, you know!), though. They are like Complete Works of Shakespeare. Or… say… Sanchaita. Totally irresistible and worth a store. I try all possible ways to get them. To take them under my possession. It has… I mean this whole process from desire to possession… a strange pleasure, believe me! Almost an evil pride that’s satiated only through complete control. It's not my lust, it's all in the books. The boyfriends.

Boyfriends are like books. They do not retaliate. They believe in Gandhigiri and distribute patience among each other. They never bug me on their own--- the very same way in which they never refuse to provide me a pleasant refuge in times of psychological mayhems. They absorb my soul.
Okay… I admit… at least for sometime!

Err… I mean for… a… a considerable period of time.

Anyway, the chief point is that I love books.
And so… I mean, of course, I love boyfriends.

Long live the two!
Hip hip hurray!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Little Girl

She whispered in my sleep,
A plaintive strain,
Careless : windy : black.

She visited my dreams
Like a torn fairy,
Broken wings : withering light.

She obstructed my thoughts,
Clogging the sunlit joy,
With sick, ringing laughter.

She touched my hand,
The bones rending apart the clinging flesh,
Glassy eyes ; matted hair ; groaning bruises.

I saw her today, again.
Asleep in her mother's arms,
Playing on the crowded street,
Tugging the ignorant man,
Smiling at the star-studded sky.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009


Darkness evaporated into dim light,

Silence gave way to musical chirps,

The cold, damp wind created a vapoury surrounding,

The sky changed from black to ashened blue,

Slowly the first scarlet streaks became visible.

I gazed at the changing hues of the eastern sky

In ethereal amazement.

The dazzling light seeped through the cloudy mazes,

Showered like rain : crimson, orange, golden.

I closed my eyes;

As the heavenly light poured in me,

And touched the rusty chords of space and time,

For once, it became real!

I sensed it through the dew drops, the soft leaves, cuckoo’s notes

The wet air, the cool breeze, the dirt at my feet :

Mother’s caring fingers and loving lips,

Taking away all my pains :

For once, I felt, free.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


She whistles along the railway tracks
She hugs the chill of wintry blues
She loves to live some time alone
She enjoys life’s unsure cruise.
She stands on toes to gulp the sky
She digs small holes to taste the hell
She dances with the restive seas
She spins around a mystic spell.
She paints her thoughts with teasing rains
She smiles as clear the first light sun
She gives my soul a sovereign mind
She leads those works yet undone.

She dreams of a Motherland...
Where they and us can evenly stand.