Saturday, 27 July 2013

Photo se chhulo tum.....

It was the day before yesterday. I did not sleep the entire night for reasons best unknown to me. So I would not call this a dream.

I saw a mug full of water. I saw a handful of tea-leaves.

Tea-leaves floated in the cold water. Introduction. Beginning of their friendship.

Someone placed the mug on the stove, heated the water. Tea-leaves kept swimming. As it swam, it spread its colours in the ripples of the water. Water transformed from a colourless fluid into golden brown liquor. By that time, the friendship had stepped into its next level.

Water hugged tea-leaves. “If I had to choose one word to describe you, guess what that word would be?”, whispered water. Tea-leaves blushed, infusing a brighter hue into water. “Colour! Yes, that’s exactly what you mean to me.”

Tea-leaves happily bathed in her new found love. Water could not remember the last time he was this happy.

Then came a moment when the tea-leaves had to be strained. She refused to leave her lover.

Water scolded her. “You are not going anywhere. You can always return to me. We both need our personal spaces. We can be together again.“

Tea-leaves knew that there was no coming back. She will be dumped into the trash bin and the very next morning she will disappear into oblivion.

It was the first time they fought. At the end of the fight, Water told tea-leaves, “They wanted to strain you. You strained the entire relationship.”

Tea-leaves left. All she wanted to tell him was, “You can survive alone. You have so many things to engage yourself. When the heat dies, you can be made into ice-tea with a dash of lemon or blended with alcohol to shape a tall glass of Long Island iced tea. So much to do!! What will happen to me? Like they say, water if life. You are my life. You are my personal space.” Brown drops of tears rolled down her cheeks.

The golden brown liquid was poured in a white porcelain cup. Tea-leaves found her place in the waste bin.

She thought and thought, but could not come up with a single activity which can make her find her “own space” or be on her own.

Next morning, she saw all her neighbours been thrown into the garbage truck. She was scooped out of the bin and kept in a saucer.

Her body immersed in the softness of the kitchen garden. With a tiny shovel, the gardener blended her with the mud and sowed seeds. (He also poured water. And, no it was not the one she loved. They looked alike, but this was not her lover.)

Days passed. Small families of green leaves started unfolding from the plant. Tea-leaves looked up proudly. She remembered her own family…two parent-leaves guarding the child-bud. “They are my family too”, she smiled.

For the first time in her life, she realised that she was not useless. She could make a world of her own. What a happy feeling it was.

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Happy feelings don’t always put you to sleep. I was lying wide awake. “O rangrez” played on repeat mode on my cell phone. ‘O rangrez, tere raang dariya mein, Doobna hein baas tera banke…nahi rehna dooja banke…Ek bhi saans alag nahin leni, Khench lena pran is taan ke….Nahin rehna dooja banke..’ . Tea-leaves must have thought likewise. :)

This song also reminded me of a conversation overheard.
She: “Biyer por amader prothom gari konta hobe?” (What will be our first car?)
He: “Cycle”
She: “What??”
He: “I want to smell your shoulders, your neck and your hair while I drive.”
She: “OK”.

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But then the night had to be spent. The only thing that could be done in the dark was to listen to music, listen to the rains and watch the fire flies sticking on the window pane, surf Facebook from the phone or flip through the photos I have clicked in the past one year with the obnoxious phone camera. I chose the first, second and the fourth option.  Happy thoughts flooded in. At the end of the night, I was glad that I did not sleep. A year full of memories outweighed a night full of sleep. What a happy feeling it was!

I have saved my best pictures from a collection of thousands, transferred them to my computer and kept them in a folder on my desktop, so that whenever I feel low I can open the Pandora’s box and execute a quick treasure hunt.

Sub folder 1: Bari

I clicked this picture while coming back from the Company Law Board. I was amazed at the grandeur of the building. You know, it had a fire place! (I wondered why? Was Calcutta ever that cold?)
Like many Calcuttans, I am an ardent believer of “the most beautiful buildings in Calcutta were made by the British.” See.
What I loved most about this building was its windows. Yes, someday when I have loads of money in my pocket, I shall own windows like these. Windows so tall!! I would keep them open on rainy days.

The ceiling belongs to the top most floor of our office building. It is been renovated and made into a swanky office space. I captured the reminiscence.
During sleeplessness, I envy people who have ceilings like these. Atleast they can count the ‘korikathh’ and kill time.




This picture is from last December. Picnic at Batanagar, on the banks of the river. This lone structure stood lifeless. Then, plants grew from its walls. A small canopy of leaves provided it shade and solace. The plants also gave it life and made a happy picture like this. Yes, I am in love with this one. For known and unknown reasons.


We were doing a Due-D (due diligence and compliance) for a client at their office. One of the windows opened to this. This is the building right next to YMCA in the New Market area. It was winter. I wondered whether winter ever left this building. I wondered why the sun never chose to slip through the broken walls. 

I wished I had a shawl to wrap it up. “Nishchoi khub thhanda lagche becharar”, my mind kept on telling me. I have never felt this for any other building.

The same client’s office had a lift. I remember how excited I was when I rode the first capsule lift. Metro Plaza…many years ago. Then it was Sriram Archade.
This is a primitive version of capsule lift. A hundred year old. Exquisite!   





Sub folder 2: Baper bari

My room. When I got married, I thought I would miss my bed the most (among the non-human elements). No, I didn’t. I missed the walls. Every time I visit Ma’s place, I take random pictures of the walls. My bed stands right next to a wall. I sniff. I smell. I inhale. The odour of the walls.  

P.S: It was the first day at my in-laws. ‘Kaalratri’ (the night you get to sleep with sisters-in-law and prevented from seeing the face of the husband). I woke up in the morning and the first thing that caught my sight was the wall. It had the same shade of custard-yellow as my bedroom. I was so happy. Then I looked again. The curtains were different. So was the smell of the walls. I started crying uncontrollably. This is not the room I belonged to. I missed everything that belonged to my ‘baper bari’.
The sister-in-law stared, mouth wide open. To divert the embarrassment, I asked her “Ekhon ki toder bari shuddho lok-ke chaa kore khawate hobe? Cinemay jerom dekhhay?” (Do I have to make tea and serve your entire family, right now? Like they show in movies?)
To this she exclaimed, “NA NA. Ema cha korte hobe bhebe tui knadchish?” (No. You don’t have to. Are you crying contemplating that you have to make tea?)


An inference like this would not allow you to cry for long. Long live sad jokes!


This is an old photograph recaptured by my phone camera. When a person bids his/her final adieu, people excavate old photographs from old wooden cupboards and old steel trunks and frame them for his/her last rites. This photograph is of my paternal grand mom’s. Isn’t she beautiful? I wish I inherited an ounce of her looks. Never mind. Her son did. For me, he is the most handsome man on this blue planet.
P.S: Every time I visit ‘baaper bari, I miss her a lot. I never thought I would. But I do.

The little boy who will turn 24 in the very next month. The boy who plays the guitar, though seen here, playing the harmonium. This picture reminded me of one of his earliest Guitar-lessons. “What have you learnt today?” Ma asked him. His reply: Haato aur chaalo tum. “What kind of a song is that?”, Ma said in disbelief. She took his note book and saw the musical notations of “Hothon se chulo tum”. : )

The boy also keeps on telling me, “You are hot! And, I, for sure, am adopted.”
Phajil!

Sub folder 3: Baranda

I am in love with balconies. The photographs in my camera’s picture-folder reaffirm that.
This was the view from my sister-in-law’s balcony. Andheri. Bombay. August, 2012.
P.S: I love Bombay rains. Absolutely love them. Also, this is my best-picturised rain song. All time favourite.


This is a building on Rabindra Sarani. I crossed Nakhoda Masjid and was moving towards Kumartuli on a September afternoon last year. The number of balconies caught my jaw-dropping attention. So many of them. Long and tiny. Beauties.

Quiz: How many balconies can you find in the picture?  

Trivia: There is a beautiful white house on Allenby Road, opposite Fab India (lane opposite Forum Mall). Please check that out. It is beautiful and it has countless balconies. Sadly, my phone had run out of battery when I crossed it.

The balcony of my parents’ house overlooking the rain-washed street. Can you see it? What you cannot see however, is the sea of memories it stores. The cylindrically folded morning newspaper, throwing paper boats and paper airplanes into the waterlogged street, chatting with the neighbour, calling for the jhalmuri-wala or the ice cream vendor, a part of the balcony transformed into study, Ma waving good bye as I left for school, her caution message: “If you are putting washed UGs for drying in the verandah, please make sure you are covering them with a big towel” and the list is endless. : )




This belonged to the same building next to YMCA. It had made me sad. Very sad. I am happy I clicked it. Life is not only about “all things bright and beautiful”…





One of the prettiest balconies I have laid my eyes on. This is opposite Dakshini music school in Deshapriya Park. Isn’t it lovely? See the potted plants. So pretty!





Sub folder 4: Khawa-dawa

I don’t get to see these too often. Hence saved this on the phone.

People on my Facebook friend’s list have seen this. One morning, when asked for tea from the cha-wala, the young boy places two cups of tea on my desk. To my question “Why two?”, his answer was, “Din ka pehla chai hein. Aur, cups ajkal chote ho gaye hein. Meine socha didi ka maan nahi bharega'....Happiness is reading your mind when you expected the least. And double happiness is placing THE favourite biscuit from an assortment of 10 (without being asked for). My day was made.



Porota and egg curry. 11, Old Post Office Street, Kolkata – 700 001. Soul food. If you are feeling low, try these. (Even a picture like this is good enough).










I love these. Gujia (No idea what the English translation would be like). It is different, hence the picture. It is bigger than normal Gujia and tastes heavenly.
I had clicked this photograph and Whatssapped it to friend. “Tell me the name of the sweet shop”, I wrote. He replied, “Deshobondhu?” *Respect*



Ma used to make fruit juice for us when we were children. Dimma (my maternal grandma) had the same thing made of transparent glass.
I don’t get to see these too often. Hence saved this on the phone.








Sub folder 5: Lekha-lekhi





The book. Gifted by my cousins after I passed Class 10 Board exams. Found it among old books. One of them is a published author now. An adequately famous one. The day he becomes insanely famous, I shall sell this book for lakhs of INR. (You tall windows, wait!! The day is not too far)




Facebook. On my birthday, last year. 1 friend request, 2 messages, 3 notifications. Found it super cool.  1-2-3! Ring-rong-ring. (Long live stupidity!)









A very old Court order belonging to the year 1926. In the High Court of Judicature at Form William in Bengal. Feeling of goose bumps for no reasons at all. 







A note I saved from Facebook. The greatest dream I ever dreamt. The greatest dream ‘Victoriar pori’ dreamt too.







My office type writer. I love it. With all my might. Again, for reasons unknown.










Chandrakanta’s art. The young man, who carries briefs and files to the Court, brings tea and ‘tiffin’ for us also paints. This is a photocopy of an original piece made by him using, mind you, using a ball-point pen. No erasers. No edits. (Source: A very small Shiva Wallpaper from a very basic Nokia phone-screen).


Sub folder 6: Phool


This is one of my favourite flowers. Also, THE most favourite female character from Bengali novels.

Chnapa phool. Champa flower. Bought the bunch from Park Street. They usually sell roses at the traffic signals. Apparently those roses are confiscated from Park Street Cemetery. I wondered if these too were picked up from someone’s grave. If they were, I love that person who had put chnapa flowers instead of roses on his/her beloved’s grave. Thoughtful and romantic.  

Sub folder 7: Happy feet, angry palm

I found this picture. And remembered someone saying, “Parama di, you are one of those rare people who can find happiness even in a pair of bright socks.” You were right, dear. See, I did.



Shadows on the sand. Also, a favourite quote I want to share…"Because there’s nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline, no matter how many times it’s sent away.








*Spoiler alert* I learnt a new sign language that day. “Read between the lines”. I loved it.




Sub folder 8: Shohor



A walk in the clouds. Your city looking up to you.






Sub folder 9: Brishti


The window near my office desk.  On days like these, it will not let you work.
I would walk up to it and write “P”. The one who sits next to me will walk up to it, draw a reverse “C” and make the P a “B”. That would bring me back to reality. X(







This was taken a few days before Rituporno Ghosh had expired. This somehow reminded me of this beautiful song from Memories in March. No idea why. 






Football match on rain-soaked mud. The only football match I watched in its entirety. Till date. That explains.







This image was sent to me via WA by a friend. The terrace after it had stopped raining. How I love this one! Sreya, your terrace! 



This image too is lifted from Facebook. It was my cell phone wallpaper for days. One of the best pictures of Kolkata monsoon. Whoever has clicked this, my heartfelt thanks. This is magic!


On that note, happy rains, everyone.


Friday, 19 July 2013

Be kind.

How to be kind: The manual.
Step 1: Take a deep breath.
Step 2: Recollect every possible good thing I have done to you.
Step 3: Make sure you are logged on to Facebook. Now, click on the link below and recommend "Potpourri". Please also leave a comment (Get the hint. you know what to write, don't you?). 


Step 4: Spread a word among friends and foes. 

Footnote: "God has seen you struggling with something. God says it's over! A blessing is coming your way. If you believe in God, send/post this message on and please don’t ignore it. You are being tested. God is going to fix two big things tonight in your favour. If you believe in God, drop everything and pass this on.”


Footnote 2: If you do not believe in God, follow Step 2 and 3.

Footnote 3: Don't ask what the two big things are. :D

All my love,
Parama.

Sunday, 14 July 2013

The price tag...

Aditi loved shopping. If she laid her eyes on something, it had to be hers. In the first year of her college she owned 60 bags!


She saw the cherry-red leather purse. The price-tag read 25,000.
It was difficult to convince the parents this time.
She tried. It turned futile.
She became desperate.



Stepping out of the night-club, she found the car. She knew what waited next. But she also needed the money.
5 hours of gratification and the money became hers.



She stared at the shopping-mall. She didn’t want the purse anymore. All she wondered was, if self-respect could be shopped with the money she had in her pocket.   


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“This post is written for the 110 Creative Challenge Contest, hosted by Thewhitescape“


....And the "YAY" moment: