Saturday, November 26, 2011

Shadow Speak

Yesterday while on my evening walk, I chanced upon a tiny road, away from the main path that I usually walked on. My curiosity led me to look upon it, even try and gauge it from afar. What I saw was a little road, seemingly not often tread upon. The grass grew in patches here, from time to time nature seemed to have remembered to strew some flowers rather casually. Strangely the flowers weren't beautiful, they were dull in color, most of them at least. Some of then bobbed up a head or two in excitement of the on-coming of the winds. I couldn't resist myself, the little road seemed to be straight out of some magical land. As I tread, still skeptical, I noticed a long shadow like creature walk along, strangely enough the shadow wasn't mine. The form was masculine I noticed. I walked here and there but try as I might I could not make the shadow leave. Unknown to myself, I shivered a bit, but then I decided I had to be brave and talk to the shadow, get rid of unknown cobwebs. I said, "who are you?" The shadow turned, as if from a distance, seemed  to smile a bit and say, " Don't you know me, try to see if you can recognize me" I peered, closely and tried to identify who it was, I said, " I'm really sorry, I can't recognize you" Grave now the shadow said, " I am the first real sorrow, you felt". Strangely unlike shadows, this one didn't seem to flitter but stood steadfastly in the same stance, in the same place. I tried to look through what seemed a very heavy burden, bowed my head and looked at my toes and then I asked, " have you dried up your share of tears?" The shadow was silent, It seemed that sorrow and smiles seemed to have found a strange co-existence together in it.

Suddenly the shadow, turned it's face towards mine and said , "once you had said that you would cherish you grief for an eternity" I bowed my head down, was I embarrassed, was I shy? I reached out for it's hand and took the rather long and outstretched darkness into mine and said, "it has been rather long, time has asked me to forget what once was a piercing pain. You have changed too" The hand shifted slightly and came away from mine. I smiled a bit, looked up and said with the wisdom that hurt brings, "sorrow has turned to peace, and you a distant memory of what was."

The shadow vanished, perhaps for forever, the grass seemed a tad greener and the flowers somehow more bright..Somehow just then I wanted to see every colour and become every one of them. Life like magic is strange, you have to be the magic sometimes perhaps, to be able to live it.

(Inspired by Rabindranath Tagore )

© 2011 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

( Image courtesy Google)

Monday, November 21, 2011

The ‘flower song’

Am I not beautiful?

Proclaims the ‘She’..

In drowsy eyes of her vanity sleep, she chirps a song unknown,

Of bits of love and lovers some-

The sun, the leaves and the yet unborn..

Of chlorophyll nights and Osmosis filled days

She shrugs from modesty to desire

“Be kind will you, and serve me my needs of butterflies”

A game of pollination thus begun,

As lovers unabashed watered her desires,

In sprinkles of sun and rain,

And thus in her priceless-ness she ruled

From love, to slavery-

She turned from tending schools of mankind

That Gobbled the likes of her..

From horror draughts to ‘forget me nots’

She played the game to perfection

Until the gardener of Eden decided..

‘Women and poppies..thou art complex creatures’..

© 2011 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

( Image courtesy Google)

Sunday, November 13, 2011

People watching- 4 topsy turvy characters

Wherever and whenever possible I watch people. You might say nothing fascinates me more. But my people watching is restricted to the oddities..those 'Not run of the mill' you could say. I recently read somewhere someone saying, on my epitaph write, "He lived till he was alive". Wonderful words I thought. People who don't live, bore me to death. There is sadness, melancholy, bitterness and irritation and yet there is hope..the hope to LIVE life..just because of yourself..not dependent on someone for living. Because life in spite of everything is stunningly beautiful & should be lived with complete zest.

My hero s have always been self made people, people who have strive d and done different things in life, learners basically, who have been bored by the word 'permanent' & 'contentment'..because nothing eventually is...In the course of time I have met people, who have cycled round the world, pirated video cassettes, slept on the roads and done numerous odd jobs to become successful. Curiously enough, though each of these people might be successful now, they never stop at that & mostly they move on from that which made them successful & go on to try something they haven't tried before.

Some character s-

A- Mr let's say 'A' works in the creative field, an ad man, he has risen from the roads & pedaled his way up. Today recognized as one of the best in his field, he left it all to start a venture where he teaches kids in villages and teaches them to be independent..He'll probably be bored of that too someday he says, but by then he would have made sure that enough children have learnt the way to pass it on to others. He listens to Bob Dylan, takes pictures of goats, reads Kolatkar's poetry, has made the chappal a fashion statement and likes laughing at himself..He also roams the roads in search of adventure and seeing life like it is every night. A rock star and a bohemian, he fights injustice and the corrupt on the road, bashes up people when he wants to & yet is the softest soul you'll find. He also has a stream of the best looking women hanging on his arm ( which also he finds funny) Fascinating is the word.

B- A neighbor, a disciplinarian, a scholar and a perfectionist. Our Mr. 'B' is a guy, who is completely different from the bohemian me. And yet he fascinates me. He is a control freak and does everything on time. Talks in British English, reads nothing but Shakespeare, as if his life depended on it! Grumbles at everything, is full of idiosyncrasies, checks on his lock at least ten times after he has locked it, has tea on time, reads paper on time, walks on time & sleeps on time. I call him the 'Time machine' and yet a man of immense character, is never rude, always polite, fights injustice and stupidity in the same breadth, is very modern in his outlook and never minces his words. He hates most things Indian, does not believe secretly that he was destined to be born in India and yet cannot do without his Madrasi 'Kapi', because any other coffee is rubbish! He happens to be one of the best cartoonist's in India.

C- An online friend, I've never met Mr. 'C'. is a high profile photographer, he ran away from home at 16..why? because he was bored! He s made peace with his parents since then and emerged the softer kid who looks after his parents, while his more studious Cambridge educated brother doesn't really have the time! He 's full of fun and laughs at everything. To him an art show and a stand up comedy show are more or less the same thing, both are comic & different ways of looking at life. We share the love of Varanasi and according to him people who call Varanasi dirty, really don't have the eyes..I agree. A total mad cap, he has a son, to whom he is mother as well as father & in spite of being around the world all the time, earns the certificate of being 'the world's best daddy'. he just happens to have won some of the best photography awards one might ever think of & yet he says, he s going to leave it all, very soon.

D- A 65 year old Tamilian lady, is our let's say Lady 'D'. She lived most of her life shuttling between Spain & London, has a grown up son and a daughter. She loves her vodka, speaks 6 languages and runs for an hour everyday thinking of her evening drink. She married by the Ganges to a Tamilian Brahmin, learnt to wear a saree, dances the Salsa on weekends, rides a horse and goes for an African Safari every year. She stays in Chennai, can't speak a word of Tamil & loves her mother in law, whom she lovingly calls 'The Khadoos'. She also happens to be a teacher in one of the best schools in Chennai!

Life would have been so terribly boring without such people!

( Image courtesy Google)

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Bed of Jasmine

I slept on a bed of Jasmine last night..
The flowers crushed and perfumed the bed
I remained untouched and smelling of you..

© 2011 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury
(I accept the award)

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Knowing nothing

From time to time I like meeting and listening to people who we think 'Know nothing'....Quite in contrast to the big-wigs who know 'everything' or profess to know everything..I find their ability to be surprised absolutely delightful..compared to them the knowledgeable seem dead..Their unique ability to be surprised at the seemingly mundane things of life, make me envious at times. I remember the first radio, the first cassette I had bought, what immense joy it was..there are plenty of things I buy today..but somewhere the ability to be surprised, to revel in things common place has perhaps been lost..forever. It's like mountaineering, the journey and it's little surprises are the ones to look out for...for each path is the summit everyone has more or less the same reaction.

( Image courtesy Google)

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

A boat ride with a Pakistani

On a trip outside the country, you meet different kinds of people from different countries..but most of all you meet Indians, from back home. On one such trip, we were in a boat. Several other tourists had also come along, amongst them three couples were from Delhi, a Russian couple, a rather large family from China, a small family of three that I couldn't identify apart from our own. Through the trip of of about an hour, the Delhiites screamed, broke every rule in the book, the Chinese talked nineteen to dozen, the Russians appeared offended about everything in general, while I watched everyone. Its strange how you can place people, their backgrounds, their likes, dislikes, their moods, a bit about their ethnicity, some bit about their nature if you observe them for a while. It was the small family which caught my attention the most, because I couldn't really slot them. Very Aryan looking, the wife in a demure Salwar Kameez, constantly smiling, shy yet seemingly fun, a very well behaved child & a seemingly caring husband. They broke no rules, had their fun and kept to themselves. They spoke in what sounded like a strange mix of Urdu..I wondered idly if they were Kashmiris. About 45 mins into the journey, the wife suddenly turned to me and asked, "Where are you from?" I identified myself as an Indian. She made a silent 'Oh' and pointed at the Delhi-ites and said, we knew they were Indian but got confused about you'll. I asked her in return, "From where are you?" She smiled and said, "From Pakistan". I said to myself, 'no wonder they look so familiar, like a long forgotten fragrance'..For a woman who had hardly spoken through the hour, her parting words made me smile. As she left the boat she said, "kabhi ayiyega, itne bhi alag nahin hain hum"( come visit us sometime, we aren't all that different)

( Image courtesy Google)