Yours Faithfully, 

Realization. A bee hive . The bees rather, guarding each other with utmost consciousness. And that day I made the mistake of poking one. It was moments and I was surrounded by the entire swarm.

My life, if I am at all answerable to myself, has been a series of wrong decisions. The misery is each of them came with a choice. Perhaps that was the perk of familiarity. Familiarity, for me, comes in with the fake sense of security. Not only that I have let myself bud and ripe and perhaps rot in the same shelf for 19 years, but its beyond the place. Its self to a larger hand. Familiarity to self, and you loose the joy of exploring.

I had left it only with the title for over two weeks, but had it framed up for over a couple more. Each night had a greater part battling the dilemma of whether making that night faithful. But the moon had her scars, and her scars worried her more. I know that tonight would but own a new membership to the regret list, yet again, that’s something I am familiar to.

It’s no reason you’re reading this. You don’t have to. But surely it is a reason why I chose to write. There had been times I’m sure, and there had always been reasons to fall for. And if there hadn’t, the pride of the fake security had always managed to find me some. And that was worse. You watch your favourite building, the one you had designed, the one which you wanted to own crumble, brick by brick, yet you never reaslise that you had the hammer in hand. And perhaps that not realizing becomes realization!

There’ll be choices again, there shall be reasons again, there shall be crossings again and there shall be Wrong Turns again. People allure you, people need you, you allure them, you need them, impudence pillars, familiarity builds, realization crashes. Well that’s dramatic enough to define my mind tonight. And another regret all over again.

Familiarity was never virtue-less. She lacked mirth for sure, she overbrimmed impudence true, she faked strength of course, but she had the power of delusion. A most beautiful delusion worth falling for. Like hands for the gloves, like fish for the tank, like milk for the glass, it was a delusion to be treaded slowly. It pulled enough, but was like the attraction of the Sun for the Earth, which was strong, yet which left immense space between. And I am just a spec after all! Would my fall always remain a regret?

Aethist – In The Making?

Mind’s indeed a mess. It had always been. You did not need scriptures to figure out its maze, but an insight into your own possession testifies it.

It was only in the lazy afternoon, mangoes from the garden in hand, I and grandpa were having a prolonged conversation on how Satyen Bose had fallen asleep and yet was alert to a conference in the Calcutta Science College. Talks of great personnels, from the aforementioned HOD Physics, Calcutta University, who was originally a Mathematics Master’s to the origination of the Italian ‘Bata’ in West Bengal to Chris Gardener’s Ship Building Company to how Babur had exclaimed at the wonders of the Rani Mahal of Gwalior Fort to the failure of the Hydron Collider to rebel against Hawking’s acceptance of the existence of God, it was the most cherishing afternoon with my favourite man.

My evening had been well planned already. A Double Chicken Kabab roll from ‘Roll n Tandoor’s’, a kilometre off me. The enormous thunders and the threaten of a downpour worked little to break through my ambition and as dusk overtook the sky, there I sat, joined by a dozen strangers, at the foot of the Vidyasagar Flyover, a beautiful paper wrapped manifestation of my thoughts in hand, ready for uninterrupted consumption! It was uneventful of course, life in a metropolitan rarely involves interactions. Soon a call from home alerting, “It’s about to rain,” got me moving.

Summer remains incomplete without thirst, and so was I..maybe the chicken made me so. The 20 change in hand soon got replaced by a brown choco bar. Licking and adding up to its shine, my old buddy Ed Sheeran over the earphones, I made my way, proud of the gift of my legs as the cars stood still, hanking at each other! And when it was about to get over and all I could taste was the old wood of the stick, I had to yearn for a bin. I looked around, and felt familiar. Hey, I know this lane!

Religion had never made me think. Yet, the logicless trust for things you could not see, which none of your sense organs could not approve to be present, had always made me keenly respectful for this genre.

It was the old Temple Road. Grandpa had often dragged me along it, more to join up with his retired group than to actually force Her blessings down my throat. And today, I felt a longing towards it. I started walking in. What about my aethist’s reputation? And I walked out. Out came my earphones and in went another attempt and soon I was at the temple’s courtyard.

My eyes met Her’s. And in seconds life seemed so messed up. For no reason, my seek for solitude, had a frame. Flashbacks reigned my brain. Seens from days, college, nights, school, everything, everything seemed so messed up. From the proud-of-myself guy, I wanted to cry out for help right there. I don’t know, I actually cant frame what to write. I have never been so messed before. It was like being lost in a maze, with each way out having its own vices. A turn to one of them and the last vice seemed easier. It felt as if at that point, I had no idea what to do next. And then I joined hands. Not for help, not for asking, maybe I was too proud for that stuff. Rather respect for this non-versatile field filled me up and to my surprise, I found myself praying. I had always remembered asking the welfare for all, if at all that made sense, whenever grandmother had asked me to pray before the marble statuette which was our Protector. But today, I still have nothing to explain why, I was asking a way out. A way out of this crazy weird maze without having anything to pay. And I wish it was answered. 

The Last Talk

Behind the unreasonable admiration, this city had always seemed mysterious to me. Perhaps the best feel of a city dweller is that you can cross hundreds of men with agony crying out of yourself and yet noone bats an eyelid. And I have always found that beautiful.

‘The city with a soul’, they love calling it. Yes you may call it a vague attempt to match up with ‘the city of romance’ or ‘the city of love’, but maybe once we all have felt it. The touch of that wandering soul which fills up every dark lanes, which cries out of the whirling river waters and which camouflages itself with the winter wind across the dead cement forest.

It was just a week back and Calcutta had lived once again with my friend’s tale. Unknowingly, his mirth had become addictive to that soul. And today, as I stood with mother, shaded under the same dark umbrella, the rain drizzling around us and the old man confronting us, I too got my touch of it.

It was perhaps our last conversation. When, “I believe the count starts from today. Anyday. Anytime,” escaped his lips, everything seemed to change suddenly. It was as if the words of this old spreading cancer patient hung loose in the air. But the busy city? That city which had a soul? It remained stuck in answering its own call of duty. It could not wait. It could not turn. It had no reason to. Who was this old man? But a weird unused punctuation in the long syntax of this era. A mere uncaring testimony of days we willingly forget.

I felt bad – bad for him, bad for us, bad for the soul I had adored, bad for everyone. Then a strange flash lightened up. It was not the end of everything. At this hour as I was standing in this dark lane witnessing the last conversation with an old man who was just an old man to me minutes back, maybe in dozens of corners of this city life budded out. Children returned home. Loves reunited. People met. People rejoiced, they cried, they laughed and that..that very aspect was the soul. It was not the soul which felt for you,  it was the one you felt for yourself. The city with a soul was a city full of people with souls.

And as we parted in the rains, the old man back to his dark closet and the both of us heading towards home, we were glad. Not glad for the man to have had the luck of Nirvana, but glad for our realization. Glad for the feel. Glad for the final touch of the soul. The city with ‘the’ soul.

To Calcutta and beyond ❤

Edge

It was not the first time, but whenever he found his favourite closet in this strange new place occupied, he could not help but feel furious! It was love at first sight for him and perhaps his ‘self claimed’ versatility gave him the liberty of this non-human affair.

 A boring lecture, an unsolved numerical, a down to the earth marksheet, a lost debate, a quarrel with mom or even a fight with his roommate over who was to refill the water bottles; she had always been there to console him.

Quitely on the seventh floor she stood like a manequin, a testimony of his grief, his sorrow, his hours when he could not gulp down his feeling to runaway, the listener to his unspoken words – she had become a part of his day, a fragment of his soul. How flesh and blood could mingle up with the rugged walls was yet an unsolved equation.

It was his best retreat in this loop of regrets, the seventh floor balcony. Overlooking the echoing waters which futiously occupied most of the view below and the silhouette of the green hill blocking the front, no wonder he had chosen the right soulmate of the hour.

His love was not of the kind which could tire you, it could never make you feel accustomed to its touches and that was the magic of it. The fresh dew filled first glance in the morning, as the befronting hill rose in the engulfing mist and the ever accompanied gushing of the Teesta far below, which never seemed to get outbreathed; to the darkness of the night, when the hill seemed like a huge eternal wall, twinkling with lights from its residents – oh what a view, and then the starry backdrop to everything you could see. You could spend hours trying to identify the constellations, hours feeling the breeze wipe away your soul and the gush of the waters blocking your killing thoughts. The river was his favourite though.

He had watched the river closely, like a child, which grew all through the winters from a narrow line to its furious glory in the rains and again withered in its lost battle against the freezing snow till like an old man it let itself receede to a line again only to grow over a new life. And that loop was what pleased him. That was his elixir in this estranged place away from his home. He knew he had found the most chased after person of all, that one who was not easy to catch – he knew that in his involuntary quest, he had ended up finding himself!

Good day dear reader-)

The Silent Speaker

It had been days since she had seen the sky this dark. The hustling wind was a soothe for the ears. Months of collected summer dust had finally found freedom from their leafy confines and created a play of caccophony outside the pane.

Nature seemed the silent speaker to her sole audience – as silent as her. Not being able to speak out her thoughts had always made her nauseous. Not a day had she regretted not being able use her power of speech. The ones who could speak out had seemed magically gifted before her silence.

She had taught herself to play conversations in her head before vomiting them out, but had always gulped down the sense of nausea even before it dared to make its way up. That day even after waiting for hours for his ’10 minutes’, she couldn’t make it. All her will to cry out at him, yell at his disposure and break through everything that tangled her to the life she did not care about seemed to sublime in thin air. Laying silently with eyes closed was her weapon – it spared the agony of a talk. It was her way of expressing her unwill, but it always went unnoticed.

“Why can’t I?,” was all she had in store when she had noone to hear. Resolutions had washed down like the winter snow to acceptance. There was a time when it used to strike her heart like an axe on a tree, which leaves no blood but sucks out the life out of it but repeatance had made her accustomed to it. A cold blooded ruin of a Renaissance of adulteration was all that occupied the left of her breast. And was it only her fault? She could never will herself strong enough to speak out.

The clouds had taken shape. It was hovering over the skies, threatening a willful calastrophy. The world awaited its quench. It marked change. It marked metamorphosis. Not the kind of change that would wash down the piles of her scribbled thoughts that lay untouched within the security of her dressing drawer, but of the one of perception, of feelings, of courage that she had been unable to foster so long.

Finally it poured, not in drops, but all at once – till the last of the whirling dust was turned to mud. It was fun for them perhaps, or so the world thought. But what the world had failed to see was the lady behind the open window, her face adored with droplets, the wind caressing her unnoticed scars, and for the briefest of moments she finding solace in this welcomed intrusion.

The Little Thought Giver

Ask him if he wanted to go home and he would twist his face in an angle your eyes could hardly notice – a ‘yes’. Naturally, before unravelling numbers and prepositions, his classes began with me holding his chin and dragging his face down. He broke into a whole new row of laughter when came the ‘No’ session with me vehemently trying to turn his head against all his little efforts trying to resist me.

“We never managed to get him right how will you,” added the little oversized tee clad one peeping through huge glasses, when a supporter of my guy pinched him hard on his cheek. And then began another round of chaos as the whole bench rattled like caged hens.”Not again!” I felt like yelling but then an unknown part of me took over the class with pretention of authority which soon relented into childish reluctance at the sight of the likes of it.

I do not remember having felt so different before. It was not a romantic “hours flew by” kind of hoax but more towards reality. It felt like letting go of all the crammed up stuff in my head for the briefest of moments. I could be me, I did not have to fear judgments.

Kids – adorable? Yes that would be thrusting it in a nutshell but be with them and you will experience the vast inside. It would make you want to chase a flying butterfly, make you look around as you silently resist the feeling of plucking that rose hanging over that wall, it was what would make you watch the lizard running through your wall, it was what would make you admire the spider’s weave of  the cobweb, it was what would never allow you to throw away your old drawing notebook, it was what would make you want to pinch your best friend at times, it was a collection of the feelings you have been holding on each minute of your life.

Perhaps  the hidden innocence that we all possess, which finds its way through the dark cloudy lanes of the perks of maturity that we create for no reason, when you are confronting a child, was what pleased me. Simple arguments against complex debates, reasonless stubbernness to fight with logical demands, speaking out openly to face diplomatic manipulations – and you have already decided to opt for the former right? Yes thats what this feeling was all about – embracement of the self we crave for. Unravelling the saga of life was yet a long aspired dream.

Why did we complicate life? Making things go round and round the loop tightening up till it could be opened no longer – was it the monotonity of our days which dragged us to such worthless employment?  Aah I wish I knew but unknowingly I was also a part of the same terrain. And the way out? Oops. None.

Life had never been so complex. The loop had always been a simple one. Though living young life free is yet a dream for reality, but these small moments which do not last long, which make us want to live; not for ourselves but for others, the moments which make us think, to ponder, which makes us want to create a change..maybe the smallest of ones – that is LIFE. That is living. That is the beauty.

“Bhaiya bhaiya yeh wala kar do na (Please help me out in this sum)” I could feel little cold hands touch my collar. His face shone bright with a huge smile. His innocence which did not let him know the thoughts he had made me receede into made me smile; I hugged him tight – tight till I could feel all myself draining into this unknown little stranger. How great how relieving must life be for him! And in a silent language of acceptance I borrowed his innocence.

 Threads of pink created patterns on his white cheeks. His little Nepali eyes seemed to hold every inch of the secrets we all are hushed to speak out. It seemed I was confronting him and for the smallest of seconds in this world of dream-breaking reality, I was the lucky one who confronted LIFE.

The Moonlit Time Machine

A family of travellers had tuned me to resonate with the beats of a running rail. Well, every December trips were no longer much of a surprise after 14 years of consistency but “Thank You sooo much Papa” had always worked wonders with the Man of our family.

That year it was Varanasi, not for the first time but of course with no less enthusiasm. You know there are things which you have unnecessary longings for, from people whom you like to be with for no reason to things which you do for no benefit – Varanasi had always been of such kind to me.

Adoring the heart of Uttar Pradesh, Varanasi is as famous for its by-lanes as for its rabri (off beat with pan and saree though). Indeed, if you need competition for the Maze of Lucknow, you can always count on the by-lanes of this place. How a thin off road finding its way through the thouroughfares of light and glare could end up in places that still awaits a human footstep will surely leave you wondering at the marvel. Lined by shops with huge pots of boiling milk and the distinguished aroma of pan masala – the remains of age old Nawabi sophistication – with flies carrying remnants of a plate of uncovered rabri and huge white crimson-covered crows lining up along with men; Varanasi has its own aura of untouched history.

Soon we were descending the cascade of rugged steps getting past people drenched in the Holy waters. Embedded with thick blocks of stained stones, filled with people of all backgrounds sharing the freedom of status quo, “Om jai gange maata” hanging loose in the heavy air, a strange aura of pride in knowing the great Vishwanath was footsteps away, glittering with the casual beauty of a civilization still unaffected by the spell of modernization and the site of a mist covered Ganges blocking the oblivion extending to the horizon, the ghats looked majestic.

Instances of à la mode folks adding up to something good might be rare but is not completely off the track. Besides dumping anything within reach in the name of remuneration for Her services, there was the evening grandeur of Ganga arti which like the last piece of chocolate in a cornetto cone made the trip last in your senses.

The lack of swimming knowledge for both my parents had always been a barrier to most water destines but I guess even they had a special relation to these waters which gave us enough courage to hire a boat and find our way right in the middle of the river, facing The Dashashwamedh Ghat, surrounded by hundreds of the likes of us.

The sight was mystical. The entire river had lit up with the faint light of floating diyas. The glistening river waves split up the flickering lights into a spectrum of shades creating a magical play of lights and shadows along the walls of the boats.


Very soon the blow of the conch signalled the 7 saffron clad men seated on a bed of rose petals to raise the glowing brass torches in Her name. The aarti commenced as the entite place echoed with shouts praising the Ganges and camera flashes took over the play of the faint lights.

The ghats had started clearing up when we, making way through boat traffic, were whirling with the river waves. With a few strokes of the row, the sight towards our left went through an unexpected transcend through the hands of time. As we crosssed the Dashashwamedh’s hub-hub, all that remained was the remnants of a lost era and to our right the oblivion seemed lost in the mist of darkness.

The faint rhythm of the waters striking the oar and the monotonous introduction of the boatman to each of the eighty ghats we were supposed to cross was all that was audible. Over us a shining moon had taken over the night, the kindle of its rays glistening the mystifying fog that hung over the waters.

It was as if we were going past an unexplored land, the castles over the ghats bearing an unclaimed testimony to the lost times. It was as if we were going against the clock, entering a land which had remained to stay unchanged over the years. The engulfing dense fog had transported us centuries back. Once you lend your ears you could almost hear the battlecry of hundreds of elephants, the giggle of the women, the yell of the prisoners left to rot in dark dungeons, the heavy voices of the nawabs, the clattering of wine glasses, the clash of rays from couloured glasses in the dance rooms like a kalaeidoscope on the marble floors, glimpses of the days of gold the river had been witness to.

A faint glow of yellow light broke through our ‘unconscious’ dragging us back to the present as a body burned in the famous cremation ground of the Harishchandra ghat. Like the grandeur of the lost years we had been witnessed to a few seconds back, the last flames of the burning fire gave way to black soot which was finally engulfed by the dark. “Aapka 1 ghanta hone wala hai babu,” spoke the boatman and we were completely dragged back to brutal reality, heading back for the times we had so willingly let go.

Good day-)

Ruins In Making

We were out for no reason. 9 to 5 had already commenced being a strain for the back and did I say we were still in college?

Aimlessly treading the streets was no longer a matter of choice but a compulsion. Keeping up with that, well lets say, is a bit more towards the monotone than you can presume it to be. But we did always manage searching out an off beat.

Hidden beneath the remnants of a majestic forest was the huge 7 storeyed giant,  a true manifestation of human might, a hotel under construction (kind of an anti climax). Leaving the hilly turns of NH 10 we found our way through the would-be parking till the enormous black silhouette rose to view.

Being blocked only by a mason with a self imposed sentry duty, and “dekhne aye hai bhaiya khali (we are here only to catch a look)” being our passes to the forbidden paradise, we took a step onto the cement dias from the grassy terrain. Like a half-empty- or-half-filled glass the hotel had gained the perspective of both being a new born and the one in the dilemma of the choice of lingering on to his count of days. For a moment you could imagine yourself being amongst ruins of witnesses of the lost days and for the very next it would seem like the dawn of a genre unfamiliar with these woods. Bordered against the western sky stood the object of our explore right above us.

It was only a matter of seconds and the two of us were scanning through the array of pillars and the rough marble-demanding cement floor declaring a corner to be the lounge and the other to be the reception in making. The building under construction seemed like an incomplete story or like one with an open ending which gave you immense to ponder upon. It was not like the movie where you appreciate the fate of the protagonist but like the one where you seem more concerned about framing your own conclusion of the story. It was the left work of a lost author crying out to be fulfilled.

Treading our ways through the whirling railingless staircase, we soon landed upon what look like the restaurant. It felt magical when with a bat of an eyelid you could see the cement walls transcend into carved delicacy, the plastic hanging newly foundationed ceiling covering up with a bright dangling chandeliar, the empty halls being lined up with white clothed tables and mahogany chairs, the awkward silence vent to a caccophony of variegated voices.

Six spaces for doors lined the corridors along the hallway in the next floor. You did not need the blessing of a bachelor’s degree to realise them to be the suites. We had the freedom to presume it to be the yellowed pages of history or the blank ones waiting for a new story. We went for the latter of course. Thinking of the first couple to make their way into the suite as a manifestation of their newly established story and the walls unknowingly rise in worth in their memories did hit hard on our testos!

I can well recall my companion trying to give things a dramatic twitch suggesting the existence of props from a play of Dante adored for his perspective of the “other paradise” which might have reigned the place before its unwanted exploitation and I being quite against the masculine bravery had rendered him back to the optimistic reality.It was hardly dusk when we were both at the rooftop. The sun setting beyond the horizon of huge dry leaves was both a signal to return and a high five for a beautiful evening of exploration. Perhaps that is the aura about openness, it opens up your perspectives, you can feel what you want, you cannot blame the author’s sight to be against your foresee.

It is meaningless to add the promise we made to be back to watch our imaginations being metamorphorised to imagery.

“7.25” said google on being asked the time and i do not remember our warden being quite enthusiastic about unauthorized late night ventures and soon our footsteps were following themselves back.

Great day-)

Bored out? Read on!

Every morning the same chirping of your alarm breaking into your dreams..your hands reaching out for the “Snooze swipe” (no longer a button thankfully)  and then rushing off against your long lost aspiration for peace..no wonder you are freaked out!

How about saving the 100 bucks from that unnecessary sip of cappuccino and an evening on the sluggish bus instead of the self called fight over the metre box?

No no..not to appease your soul by giving your eyes a treat of a piling up bank account (though that would be no less appeasing)..hold on there’s more..

Watching instagram flood with posts of a good night’s sleep under the stars..windows opening out to gasping views and food which makes your tongue tickle in the quest of it each time the guy off your table takes a proud day off leaving you wonder at his management..and you still counting on your bills and shifting your travel plans light years away..is that your plans till you retire and perish among the insects? Not a worthy living right?

So changed your mind after reading this repeat broadcast of every travel magazine’s intro? Yes? Then let me tell you more.

A week in the college hostel and you will soon watch the dreams of a beautiful college life built through all the posts you have kept on saving since your plus two’s tumble down like a house of cards. A day or two you try to focus on the suited man blaring out before the likes of you and from the third your fingers are scrolling over your timeline camouflaged with your physics book. Quite against the paradise you had had in mind!

Some days you are up and even the touch of the wrought iron of the hostel bed gets on your nerves keep aside the people. The room feels like a ghetto where you will be living out the rest of your days and even the whirl of the campus winds blows out your patience. 
So the solution? Home? 

End sems up and over and finally the long craved month’s off. You enter home burdenless fall om your bed with the “3 mistakes of your life”- the laptop, the phone and the remote well within your reach and soon you have no idea how 72 hours of your vacations have swept away and you are back to that ghetto feeling..except that this time its your own bedroom!

No seeming way out..thats sad! But thats how it is!

There comes the magic of leaving off with your backback. Trust me..a day off your place with a mood to completely soothe with the ambience and a mind not to think but to observe the beauty of the surroundings will go a long way in making your perceptions less cynical about life..its pleasures far different from completing off a new series or trying out a new brand of the shot! Even a couple of days away justifying Dalai Lama’s words.. “At least once a year, You must visit a place you have never visited before”..and you will find yourself a lot more freshened up. It wont cut short your load but would surely help you resolve your own issues with glee.

Perhaps its the kind of joy a toddler has at the thought of the fun he will have once he is done with his finals. Thats nostalgic right? So why not giving it another shot? May be cut down your brand fascinations and stale luxuries and live life a bit?

Great day ahead -)