Wednesday, January 31, 2007

"Aguner poroshmoni chhnoyao praaney,
E jeebon punyo koro dohono-daaney.
Amar ei dehokhani tuley dhoro,
Tomar oi debaloyer prodeep koro -
Nishidin alok-shikha joluk gaaney.
Aandharer gaaye gaaye porosho tobo,
Sara raat photak tara nobo nobo.
Noyoner drishti hotey ghuchbe kalo,
Jekhane porbe setha dekhbe aalo -
Byatha mor uthbe jwoley urdho-paaney."

Sejodadu died today. Within 3 weeks of Sejodida's (his wife's) death.
For once, a song says it all.

Saturday, January 27, 2007

For months, I would be excited about ‘the-night-before’.
And for one night, the big four poster bed I slept in, would smell of Topa-Kul and jaggery instead of Pond’s talcum powder and Ma.
The blanket that I snuggled under, would become this separate island, a parallel universe, from where I defied the norms of logic and peeped out through a cranny. And observed.
Observed liquid gur along with khoi and coconut disappear into big kadais over kerosene stoves, and come out as scrumptious mowas and nadus…which would, then, be left on newspapers to cool.
Observed sugary kadma and batasa and nokuldana unearthed from paper packets and spread out on brass plates as offerings.
Observed sandalwood-paste being made, and flowers being garlanded and fruits being sliced into neat, clean cubes.
Observed rice paste and water serving as the raw materials for some of the most astonishing art works – alponas, ever seen.
And then, suddenly, it would be time to wake up and take the ritual holud snaan before the Puja.
The Puja would be nice, no doubt. The early morning chill would give me goose-bumps and I would feel all grown-up and important when asked to fetch a plate from the next room.

Many Pujas have passed since then. I have transformed from an observer to an active worker. Dida has lost even more teeth. And now-a-days, mowas and nadus come from plastic packets. The Pujo, though, is intrinsically, still the same.
It is only the night-before that has lost it’s sheen.
The essence of that half-asleep, shadowy world where didas would seem immortal and Narkoli Kuls would be even more tempting than the forbidden fruit, is simply there no more.
I miss it sorely.
I do.

Friday, January 12, 2007



Friday, January 05, 2007

Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee,
Little jackie paper loved that rascal puff,
And brought him strings and sealing wax and other fancy stuff.

Together they would travel on a boat with billowed sail
Jackie kept a lookout perched on puffs gigantic tail,
Noble kings and princes would bow wheneer they came,
Pirate ships would lower their flag when puff roared out his name.

A dragon lives forever but not so little boys
Painted wings and giant rings make way for other toys.
One grey night it happened, jackie paper came no more
And puff that mighty dragon, he ceased his fearless roar.

His head was bent in sorrow, green scales fell like rain,
Puff no longer went to play along the cherry lane.
Without his life-long friend, puff could not be brave,
So puff that mighty dragon sadly slipped into his cave.

Oh! Puff, the magic dragon lived by the sea
And frolicked in the autumn mist in a land called honah lee.

This song reminds me of half eaten biscuits and Kisholoy on a drowsy Monday morning. And breathless, blue-schoolbag-lugging runs down Ballygunge Place footpaths.
It still smells of surf-excel, bournvita and chelpark royal blue ink.

For me, Puff never stopped roaring. He had just gone for a walk down the yellow brick road.