Friday, April 15, 2011

Roj roj

Dream a delicious dream involving nubile boys and old Calcutta lanes. Run around in that half-lit world till you feel something tugging at your consciousness. Toss and turn fifteen times before you realize that the insistent rickshaw bell is actually the maid ringing your doorbell with all her might.

Wake up with eyes still closed. Feel your way to the drawing room and groggily search for the keys while the maid rings away. Wince at the cigarette butts, the half folded laundry, the stash of books, the bottle of coke, the mess, the dusty papers, the dirty slippers. Search for the keys among them. Saroj is still ringing. Fail to locate keys and walk into the other bedroom. Trip over something in the dark. Remember that they are the quilts which haven’t been put away since winter. Stop for a moment and realize that the roommate is sleeping his way through the racket. Saroj rings away. Finally manage to locate the keys. Open the door. Collect the newspaper. Switch on the kitchen light. Go back to bed. But now, through half-lit Calcutta lanes, you can make out that the other roommate has gotten up. Saroj bangs pots and pans around in the kitchen insistently and you cannot keep Delhi at bay any longer. So you get up and brush your teeth. Pack your lunch with leftovers from last night's dinner. Two boxes - one for you two and one for the other curly haired roommate. Wonder idly what you'll cook for dinner tonight. Decide to pick up some chicken on your way home. Vegetarian food for three days on a row is getting to you. Suddenly remember that people might stay over tonight. Mentally add eggs and bread to that grocery list because you and your roommate always make breakfast for people who stay over. Decide to ask the curly haired roomie to pick up some sausages on his way home.

Sit in the little verandah and read the newspaper. First read the comic strips. And the bollywood gossip. And then glance through the headlines. Yes, you’re shallow like that. You don’t want to go to office today. But it can’t be helped. So drag yourself to the loo. Gt dressed. If you’re early, then put on a little kajal and a nice pair of earrings. If you’re late, then the shabby old t shirt will have to do by itself. It’s not like you could compete with the well turned out Delhi chicks anyways. Scarf down the breakfast that the curly haired roommate makes. The eggs are nice. You’d love to linger over them. But there’s no time. There never is.

The other roommate is ready to leave. But you don’t remember where you kept your purse. Or your phone. Finally locate it on the overflowing window sill. You’re running late now.

The Kura wala rings the bell. The curly haired roommate is taking a bath and you (or the other roommate) will have to take out the garbage. Damn, you’re really late. Calculate and decide that if you can manage to get the 8:47 metro (which is due in hree minutes), you’re safe. Put on your shoes and mentally run through the daily checklist. Metro card, check. Cell phone, check. Keys, check. Lunch bag, check. Sigh a little as you remember the amount of work waiting for you in that snazzy glass building you call your office. Wonder if you'll have to declare your yearly investments today and sigh some more.

You step out into the morning air. The roommate walks briskly ahead. Drag your feet a little and look up at the sky and wonder whether the Calcutta sky is as cloudless today, as brilliant a blue. Suddenly have an intense craving for some egg chops from Milon da. But then shake your head and start running towards the metro station, trying to catch up with your roommate.

You're an adult now, and a new day has started.


Abhishek Mukherjee said...

A post from you! :O

Don't tell me I didn't warn you, BTW. :)

Spin said...

I can't reconcile myself to the thought that this is how its going to be for the next many years. It seems like such a waste of everything. Working at some job, daily nine to five. I'm trying to go back to studying, that, to me at least, has much more of a point. I have a friend who is in his late 40s who writes comics and does stand up comedy as a hobby, he once told me, "you don't need a job, you just need to figure out a way to make money". And thats what i'm going to do. Work once in a while, make some money and study and read for as long as possible. This daily nine to five is frustrating and I've decided to NOT accept it as something I'm going to do forever.

kaichu said...

bimbo. hug.

srin aar bimbo, er jonnyei bodhoy ami konodino university theke berolam na. nine to five job amar dwara hobe na sheta ami chhotobela theke amar ma-ke dekhei bujhe gechhilam. she works in BSNL, has been since she was 19, because she needed to support her family and become the primary earning member when my dadu retired.

ami khub lucky, erom financial imperatives amar chhilo na. jodio ekhane ami undergraduates-der porai=chakri kori, but it's NOT a nine to five grind although it might also be damn difficult in its own ways. somehow, pora/porano/lekha/college --er baire konodino jete chai ni rey. guess I'm lucky je akhono eta chaliye jete perechhi.

bimbo, tui bhalo thakish. dyakh koddin eta chalate chaash ba parish, aar onnyo kichhu options khuje baar korte parish kina.

aar srin, excellent idea. wouldn't expect anything else of you :-) hamar ashirbad tumar songe hain.

Bob said...

Ah, Norwegian Wood is BIMBO's blog!!:)

tor ei post ta aamake khoob nostalgic kore dilo, re. Dilli was tough, and like I said, I have a puro split-personality type relation with it.
But ekta jinish bolbo je I got real kick out of it. Something that I still miss here. Something that I don't think I can get out of academia.

SayantaniD said...

Very nicely written. And reminds me yet again that how far things have changed... for all of us. Calcutta is like a fluffy, butter tinted memory that keeps us warm at night, and when we are sick, and and generally homesick. But the thing you'll realize soon is that calcutta,the one you left behind, isnt a static thing. it hasn't remained the same. people wont be the same, and even if they are, you won't be. and the loss will be more. i dont want to be the dampener of hope. But calcutta and college are best kept in mind in the form of a charm, one where you can escape to when things are woebegone. it can heal mon kharap, it can take your punches of how bad people everywhere else are, and more than that it can also remind you that you have a piece of calcutta living with you in the form of the curly haired and the other roommates.

March Hare said...

ovshake - yes you did. but it's not as bad as i make it sound. at least, not yet.

srin - good for you, srin! personally, i think that studies need a far more focused approach than a nine to five job. i won't be able to sustain my interest through years and years of exams and papers and tests. i took the job because i wanted the easy way out. turns out, easy ways can be brain numbing as well.

kaichu - i know that academia is probably better than this. but i don't think i'm meant for that life. i've seen/ i'm seeing both my parents go through it, and am absolutely sure of that. je kono chakri-i kori na kano, ekta sense of monotony ashbei. dekhi koddin sustain korte pari eta. :)

bob - i know what you mean. at the end of the day, i like being independent, i like cooking my own meals, i like having no one to answer to, and i like the sense of earning my own livelihood. the exhaustion, in a certain sense, is a happy exhaustion

sonai - true. i've almost stopped looking back. it's like i always carry a part of calcutta with me wherever i go and that helps cure nostalgia and paranoia. :)