Thursday, November 08, 2012


When I break my collar bone that sultry summer evening, the blinding pain, for a while, distracts me from the fact that I have come back from Benares, and that my life is going through that entire process of 'change! change! change!' again. I am playing some sort of a complicated game with Arka Mamu, who, though technically an uncle, is only three years older. In a superhuman maneuver, he picks me up and whirls me around, relying totally on his scrawny ten-year-old strength. I slip and bang my collarbone against the bed. The next day when the doctor confirms what my parents suspected immediately, I wonder why I didn't hear the 'crunch' when the bone broke.

Calcutta, after so many days of laid-back Benares, overwhelms me with its big-city-ness. This is surprising, because I lived there for five years before I went away.

I go back to my old school with my left arm in a huge white cast, and even though I am Bengali and I belong there, I don't have any friends, and cannot make any for a while. New girl with huge cast repels all.

Ushnish dada and Uly dada come visiting that summer, and we decorate a Rath together. I love how Uly dada cuts up the papers into intricate patterns, and then, when a big Rath comes trundling down the road, I perch on Ushnish dada's shoulders and we run after the procession, revelling in the festive fervour.

On the day I am supposed to get my cast removed, my mother buys me a Kwality cone. When I walk home from the doctor's chambers, my arms considerably light, my pain almost gone, I realize that freedom perhaps tastes like some rapidly melting chocolate ice cream.