Wednesday, December 29, 2010

When in the kingdom of love..

When in the kingdom of Love,
I come without my egos,
My strips that proclaim I am but this and that..
For in loving and being loved
I shall be naked as the nomad,
Soar as the birds & love till an eternity as old as time…

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Loveless Songs

Sitting by the rains in the silence of their pitter pat,
They tell the stories of countries apart....
Of tales of love and passions some,
Of love lost and regained some.

It falls in passionate rhapsody of helter and skelter some
Amidst the night of loveless songs...

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, December 16, 2010

She sleeps..

She sleeps,
Careless of her complacency of me,
Safe beats her heart, like far away AGE
Beating on my Sun kissed locks..
With love on her sleepy eyes..
She tangles a tender finger in mine..
Sound asleep yet her world of dreams
Linger in mine curves of motherhood...

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Trying to find that one perfect expressway to the stars of happiness
That comes in the straight lines of truth,
Without stopovers for caffeine called infidelity...

© 2013 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, December 9, 2010

There shall perhaps be a 'tomorrow',
As there is a 'today' in the 'now' of things
And then will come a tomorrow much aligned to what was 'another's' yesterday..
In the child within me today,
A hope calls for the young adult of my dreams
Into the dwindling wrinkles of a togetherhood called 'agelessness'..

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

If I..

If I give you land, will you make me a house..
If I give you the skies, will you be my moonshine
If I give you the birds, will you give me their flight
If I melt into you, will you be my sighs,
If I am the blush of the SHY, will you be my voice?

If I give you my dreams , will you build me a rainbow
If I shower on you my warmth, will you give me a home

If I give you my me...
Will you bring about a 'WE'

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, November 11, 2010

The orbit of licit sex is full of violence and boredom
It is the illicit sex that inspires the gentleness of poetry...

© 2014 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury
The fascination for philosophy, religion and world spiritualism as I call it pervades and carries me though many an interesting read. Tantrik worship & the mysteries surrounding it have always fascinated. Having heard much about it in the Kamakhya temple I set about exploring our very own Kali ma, the goddess with the all black exterior but supposedly the warmest of life givers. Reading about how Kali the destroyer suddenly melts into Kali the mother as she suckles on an infant in the battle field terrible is interesting to say the least. Call it religion call it mythology, what is it about it that transcends all borders and merges with the infinite..I wonder. While I dealt previously on the similarities between Milton's Lucifer and our very own Ravana In the Ramayana & the ensuing similarities, my search today for kali and her intricacies made me dwell on the black Madonna too. It is said that the black Madonna was a figurine depicting the mother's affection for those in poverty & rags.. why I wonder does the not so affluent always have to be depicted in Black. Thoughts apart, primeval Celtic history shows the influence of Hindu mythology and our very own Kali on it. Supporting this evidence of Kali's probable influence on the Celts is to be found in the old name of Scotland, which was "Caledonia” that might also be rendered as "land of Kali". Again the omnipresent Kali features in spiritual heats within the gypsies of France. A statue of a black woman in the crypt of the church in St-Maries-de-la-Mer, is called 'Sara la Kali', rendered by some as as 'Queen Kali'. If one were to keep in mind the origin of the gypsies from India, the similarity would make more sense. Well the search for this & that continues & religion, mythology & the grand dames continue to inspire.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Dreamers still..

When Mr love once knocked on these doors
I opened them with creaking hesitancy
To eyes full of wrinkles and skin in shackles
You’ve come a generation late I said
In bespectacled smile of my toothless sing song
Tidy up your hair he said...

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Our Lady of the ten hands

Ya devi sarbabhute.......Like me many young ones might have woken up to cold mornings of bath and cursing the fact that the old man on the radio is back. But perhaps once this insanity of sleepless grumbles are over and done with, the magnificence of the biggest of festivities hits us with a bang! To most of us who grew up to these chants, even today listening to the recorded version of Birendra Krishna Bhadra welcoming the ten handed Devi in all her splendor on Mahalaya gives us that eerie feeling that is a part of every Bengali’s nostalgia associated with Durga Puja. Natural perhaps, yet when the Goddess decides to descend on us for a while and shower us all with her blessings, each of us associate her with the little small things that Durga Puja has come to mean to us.
Interestingly, the start of Durga Puja is not as much about religion, as it is about the celebration of good over evil. Though mostly celebrated by Bengali Hindus world over, the festival assumes a carnival like fanfare in Kolkata. History has it that the elaborate Puja of Durga in Bengal started off with a gesture of thanks by Lord Clive after his victory in the battle of Plassey in 1757 in the house Puja of Nabakrishna Deb in Sovabazar. The industrialization of Bengal has also had a great impact on the celebrations becoming bigger and grander. The elite of Bengal used the occasion of Pujo to better their public relations, this of course later translated into a community feeling of oneness that one finds today in the celebrations.
In the waft of the October breeze when the nose itches for the smell of Shewlis in the morning, seeing them lying beneath the tree in a resplendent white carpet is the belief that Pujos are but a corner away. With the coming of autumn, small idol makers all over Bengal are busy giving shape to the Goddess who brings with her peace and the expectation of happiness for the inhabitants of the earth. As day after day the loving shape of the idol takes birth, whether in the age old tradition of ‘daker saj’ or the more innovative eco friendly Durga idols of today, the various dimensions to pujo begin. Whether in the preparations for the familiar sound of Dhak and Dhunuchi nachh or the buying of new clothes, Durga Puja brings with it the incredible flavor of the new and the expectant. If you are in Kolkata these preparations become many times manifold and the city comes in the grip of its biggest festivity in bringing the Goddess home.
To many of the generation next who do not understand much of the Chandi path or the rituals, the fervor of the Pujo itself is a joyous occasion enough to celebrate. Most of us have fond memories of the gifts one would get or the functions in which one would participate during Pujo festivities, or even the Bhog prashad that one would eat, yet perhaps not much about the actual Pujo they understand. For them perhaps the actual Puja is a small part of the importance of Durga in their lives, but the all benign Devi is happy in the happiness that surrounds her coming too, for that is the essence of her homecoming. And yet as I look back upon my teenage years of Durga Pujo, it was all this and more, ‘Sandhi Pujo’ with its 108 lights was mystery personified, the ‘Sindur Khela’ of married woman on Dashami day was the colors of happiness, the immersion of the Idol a frenzy of human activity leading to Devine realization of Karma, that from dust to dust we shall settle and yet perhaps remain. The ‘Hom’, performed by the Brahmins during the actual Pujo held sanctity divine, the sound of the dhak was like homecoming and the flowers of Anjali a three day must. In the happiness and flurry that Pujos often signify, there are perhaps many a young ones who still do not understand the significance of the Devi and her ten avatars or her symbolic killing of Mahishashur and yet they have moist in the eyes when she is immersed. The dhunuchi shall perhaps dance no more and the dhup and Shewlis wait for another year. Yet, still there is hope amidst the home coming that the lady with the ten hands shall bless and bring Joy this year too as she has done over the years…… Namastasyai Namastasyai Namastasyai Namo Namah…

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Osho says..'absolute unclinging..even to the Gods'..I am but human..I cling & yet perhaps remain untouched in parts..My Ganesh shall stay within me & in perhaps the my garden he rests & shall melt from dust to dust..he shall spring again then in the flowers and their the bees that buzz the whiff of my touch I shall find him again..from the within & the without...

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Want to feel the winds of silence humming into my hair,

A weave of poetry called mute..

Want to feel the silences of a sound called Love..

Want to hear the chaos of searching glances

In the silences of an eternity called US..

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

ASL please?

The month of July, they always rain, making the already green valley, vie with the forests that encircled her periphery. The fat Brahmaputra cruised along like a pregnant lady, loathe to carry her burden wanting to unburden and croon for a while. The red tiles of the roof they gave birth in every ten seconds she counted, every time almost the same proportion of glitter formed itself into the perfect drop that landed on her outstretched hands. She had placed a bucket just below her window; she liked the sound of clashing egos as the water dropped from its great heights to the waiting stretch of iron. The bucket was half full and made noises no more, perhaps I should throw the water and let it sing once more, she smiled.
The sudden sound of her computer, broke her idle gaze and she glided into the space she called her own, Moi et la mine. With slender fingers gone pudgy with time, she felt the letters on the board; she lingered for a minute at the chipped nail paint on them, the stains of yellow on the sides of the once fashionable peach. Almost immediately the eye ran to the other hand, better she thought but a far cry from what they should be. Oh well some other time, she mused. A purple icon stared at her, a big smile on it with a funny looking Y rather intricately done on the logo. She wondered who had done it and how much time it had taken to get it right, she should Google Yahoo, she thought and laughed at her own joke, not too amusing silly, let’s get going.
What does one do on an idyllic romantic morning, with the delicate sounds invading her lazy horizons? Read would she, brush strokes of resonance maybe, why not try chatting, she reasoned. Not a bad ideas for lazy lamhes she thought but a friend list full of beard sprouting intellect who sweet talked of philosophy, didn’t exactly sound like the ideal morning cuppa. Why can’t I have my share of fun and disappear from the scene, said the horns on her head. Her mouse clicked on the Yahoo icon and it beamed silly at her, she scowled back, nothing seemed to be worth smiling or even laughing, what was that silly icon smiling all the time for. Let’s try something different she thought. Discarding her usual id she opted for a new one, what a long process, she grumbled, why all the fuss she wondered. Yahoo asked politely, ‘user name please’. She felt like those fancy dress parties in school, what could she be this afternoon, well she felt lazy and sexy and laid back, something small and sweet? But that doesn’t really sweet suit you hon, not exactly tall but height matters need not be reflected in an ID too huh? Something more passionate maybe, history, what say girl, an exotic female species you would love to be. “Mmm come to think of it, why not Cleopatra, a bath in ass’s milk she rather fancied, the lady it is. ‘Cleo’, she typed and ‘pat’ came the options, ‘Cleoppatra123’, ‘Cleopatra xyz’, ‘Cleopatra_beautiful’, she wondered if Cleopatra would have understood what underscore meant and why on earth would Cleopatra be 123 or xyz. Well she would be Cleopatra76 she decided, it was comforting to know that something of her would always be attached to Cleopatra from now on, her year of birth, viola!
Adequately proud of herself, she launched herself onto a chat room, where would it be, somewhere not close, was the immediate thought, she didn’t want peep ons. The 30’s chat room stuck out like a sore thumb, oh well the thirties it is, she nodded. Formalities over, Lakshmi, the ‘God of good things’ as she described herself, sat pretty and looked outside, the chat room was the only place where one could take advantage of female foeticide and have a feeling of being mistress of all she surveyed.
It was till raining, though it had subsided, she wondered if she could go out for a walk in a while, maybe she could. Nothing was happening, why weren’t people pinging her, with an id like hers she should go “It's raining men ..Hallejulah ..It's raining men”, she whistled. Scrolling the curser a lazy up and down, she shifted her wild mop from one shoulder to another in effortless lazy ease. A stray strand lingered on during the transfer; she admired it on the adjoining mirror, in crimson pink and soft skin she looked good she summarized enough to eat? Twirling a laugh, she heard a ping, at last and about time she thought.
A ‘Rajeshforsexyladies’ had pinged, she made a face, LS, she pronounced, what a name!
Conceding an aristocratic ‘Hi’, she asked ASL?
Rajeshforsexyladies : First tell me you male/female?
Cleopatra76: You Male /Female, what sort of English is that…oh well. How can someone with a name like Cleopatra, be anything but female, are you out of your senses?
Rajeshforsexyladies: Oh ok he scrambled in collected hurry..ok we can chat.
Cleopatra76: What do you mean we can chat, have you even asked me whether we can chat?
Rajeshforsexyladies: ok can we chat?
Cleopatra76: Yes why not, that’s why we are here in the first place I guess. (Silly man she thinks)What’s your ASL?
I’m 25 he answered. What an uncouth age to be she thought, terribly confused and neither here nor there, dialogue box closed, she was over with him.
Rajeshforsexyladies : Hello what happened, can I know your ASL too?
Cleopatra76: It should be ‘May I know, your ASL please?” She typed. “No you may not”, she replied.
Rajeshforsexyladies : But why, you said we could chat.
She hit the ignore button and waited, someone else would ping she was sure, she never pinged herself, something about dignity of the ‘God of dignified things..’
It’s Mr ‘Hold me if you can’ this time, she had heard of the adage catch me if you can but, the ‘Hold me’ seemed slightly out of place, to her nose in the air’ sensibilities. Let’s check him out, she decided. Without wasting much time on introducing himself he got straight to the point of, do you like sex? Though not exactly the first time, that she was accosted by such messages online yet some embarrassment was in order. Flushing and mumbles all in place, her cat like curiosity refused to give in to the atrocities of such messages and messengers, what should she do, she frowned? Using the Ignore button would be the easiest thing she pondered, much in the cold blooded killer fashionista saying ‘ I like to see them die’, she decided on testing some waters.
Keeping up the conversation she tried out again, what’s your ASL?
Hold me if you can: I am 30/M/Hyderabad, what about you?
Cleopatra76: What do u do?
Hold me if you can: I am a Software Engineer
Cleopatra76: What! Oh no not again..What did the world do before U guys decided to descend on us.
She looks out of the window; she cannot see beyond a point, or so she thinks. The rain was the culprit, thick and heavy and this time it was not the youthful pitter patter, but like a burden placed between her silver linings, her legs heavily placed on the ground for stability more than poise. Arched eyebrows scrutinize the little bits of food stuck within her keyboard, a bit of pan masala, a long lost Jintan ball rolling between the R and S and hitting a low in the M. Devilish boredom takes over.

Hold me if you can: What did you say?
Cleopatra76: Nothing..anyway what shall we talk about?
Hold me if you can: How about sex, by the way, what’s yr name..I am Ashish.
Cleopatra76: Hi Ashish..Cleo will do for now.
Hold me if you can: Oh ok. What do u do?
Cleopatra76: I am a carpenter
Hold me if you can: A carpenter! But how..I mean you are a woman right?
Cleopatra76: Of course, what’s that got to do with being a woman?
Hold me if you can: Well nothing, but I’ve never heard of a female carpenter, and what are you doing online?
Cleopatra76: Well Ashish, carpenter’s can be online right? Besides, there’s always a first time for most things in life.
The smile was turning into giggles fast, the idea of having a bakra on hand was fun she decided and chuckled.
Hold me if you can: well what kind of work do you do as a carpenter..truly I have never met a carpenter on the net. I am a bit surprised.
Cleopatra76: What is there to be surprised, I work with a team of carpenters and I am the head mistri!
Hold me if you can: uh..ok nice; to know that.
Surprise element over, ‘Lady of good things’ is bored again; laughs over, no lingering interest remains. The fact that the man does make the effort to question her or get through her humor! Time for IGNORE BUTTON, yet again she thinks, tired she looks out. In lazy cat like fashion she stretches out for her paint brush, red…she wonders, grey perhaps with a dash of blue, eyes take in the beauty of the reigning grey pouring into her backyard. Pitter patter topsy turvy world for this ‘God of messy things’ she signed off.

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A heart I seek,

that is less of the 'I' and more of the 'US' I want...

In the searching and all the giving when I am finally spent..

Of all the giving I have..

Still I would search for the lack of the 'I',

If love were easily comeable as lust were to 'He'..

Happiness would be mine..forever mine......

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Monday, August 2, 2010

Going beyond ..and on..not sure what to look forward to..looking back.. not sure of what is left behind & was it worth the reflection..pebbles all..being carried forward in a stream so erratic that it knows not the worth of the tiny nor fears the demons beyond....reflections all...

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Blue bell by my window,

The little Magnolia, the giggling forget me nots..

They were there before..yet today they bloom..

As a little petal curls its fragrance around me,

I ask where were U?

It says.. was in the garden,

Till love put me in yr heart....

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Winku Baba

In the land of Sanyasis can Baba s be far behind, nah not really. In the land that has successfully exported software guys, Baba s are a lucrative lot, who have granted immediate global passport to words like Karma, Nirvana, OM..the list is practically endless. To the Indian who stays put in India, the foreign fascination for Na-ma-s-the! Is rather amusing, but what the heck, its India shining after all or so the papers say. Talk to foreigners and they are zapped by philosophies that range from OM to the Oming from the Yoga to Ayurveda, its all exotic and ooh lala time.

While talking to an older friend of mine, he updates me on to the latest gossip on babadom. Amidst talk of retirement plans and benefits I am informed by my rather in your face (like it-laugh it) friend, I’m headed towards babadom. What Dom I ask rather innocently, “arre yaar samjha kar”, it’s the latest fad. You become a Baba and you have the world at your feet plus the moolah raking in. He goes on to talk about hugging babas and their likes, with instant Nirvana services! In an age that sells almost everything instant, from sex to noodles that was but expected I guess. Rather seriously I asked this friend O’ mine, so what exactly are your plans? He says again (the same face mind you) its all in the plan babes, I’m not taking the risk of hugging people you know, what with these confused researchers and AIDS. You never know when they might zap you and say hugging leads to AIDS so am going to be far from it..I shall turn into Winku baba! Jai ho Winku Baba I encore.

Laughs aside the recent influx of Indian philosophers -sadhus whatever you call them is astonishing. To top it all you now have these people fighting amongst themselves, be it the print or the electronic media you have now the fight of the lords. Lord help the go- betweens and the followers who are but mere spectators to these heavenly duels and it’s not long before, they follow the multi party democracy system we have and join hands in their mutual growth. In this rather multifarious growth of Baba s, you have their disciples making everything from ashrams to providing the Benz for such people..depending on of course who’s TRP s are the season’s best!”

Why do we have to be Baba dependent I wonder, why do we need to worship them? At a recent so called ‘satsang party’ in my apartment, I was singled out since I refused to be a part of the Puja that involved giving flowers and showing incense to the portrait of Sri Sri Ravi Shankar. I simply didn’t see the reason why I should worship another human being. In case someone is a higher soul, I might listen to his discourse, admire him and go home, thank you very much. There are plenty of others who derive a lot of peace and spiritual satisfaction from these discourses too, completely acceptable, but let them remain humans, lets not make them Godlike or perhaps un-Godlike, for too much adulation makes for un-Godliness of what probably started off a God like career path!

Philosophy is something that comes easily to me and so does loving, in loving people in and around me I need no one to teach me nor to imbibe Baba like qualities or to become a half God and expect to be worshipped.

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Ghanta Singh

If you are a 94.3 Radio one listener, you've probably heard of Ghanta Singh, cause this one man mania can't be missed. So whats so great about Ghanta Singh one might ask...well the name for starters!! Ever heard of a name as cool as that ..nah not since Phoolan of the Devi types ( who on blooming when on a bling bling bloom oops boom boom spree killing people) Oh well the comparisons are many Ghanta Singh manages to kill people too, but so effectively that they aren't even aware of it...ah such finesse I like. So what does this gent do, if you please well he pops up randomly once in a while & irritates people..seriously that's his Job! Now ain't that cool.. being paid for irritating people. Hearing Ghanta Singh one is reminded of Paresh Rawal in his crazy character in 'Judaai'..full of odd questions both, to the point of driving one crazy... Like most of the best comedians Ghanta Singh scores because of the matter of fact way in which he conducts himself. He conducts himself rather seriously and asks the silliest of questions, to professionals most of whom seem to be answering his silly questions with the utmost patience most front desk jobs entail.

At times, one can't but wonder why not one professional gives this gent a dose of his own medicine and out talks his silliness with more silliness that bores even Ghanta Singh..wouldn't that be great..absolute I'd say..Imagine Ghanta Singh being pissed off by a caller..jodi made in heaven I'd say :) Apart from his crazy questions, what makes Ghanta Singh attractive is his voice..the sleepish non fussy voice..relentless in his pursuit of madness with the occasional mumbling when his absolute madness threatens to cut short a conversation, the gent is intelligent enough not to broadcast it too loud & make a mess of the conversation before it lasts its natural delightful death. A typical example of the Ghanta Singh brand of humour is when he calls up a car dealer and asks about the winter offer on cars & what is the best time and season to buy cars since the company has a WINTER offer!!

To most of his fans, Ghanta Singh brings forth a moment of inhibited laugh in the mundane-ness of day to day life and that is saying a lot..Jai ho Ghanta Singh ;)

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury
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Sunday, May 30, 2010

For Kamala Das

She died..I am told today

Her seed lisped out a cry

"Prayers for her..a silent something?"

What do I pray for a soul so satiated

Someone who feared to go so..

Someone so me in the me'O mine

I can but see her as a we..

The loss of someone close

The fear of loosing the presence

The stillness of it all

When the mind shrieks in silences

The soul cannot hear

For its journey from wherever to whenever has begun in earnest

The still of the body

In smiles that you see no more

In the cotton ear plugs that allow

Your cries to filter no more

In happy stillness they sit on a body that was once OURS

When death approaches in footsteps that wonder now here now there

When all at once it dawns on us that

she shall perhaps smile no more

fear no more

cry no more at the fear of shall we say 'The going'

The realisation is perhaps a relief in questions of the unknown

But would like to know from this disturbed soul of fears

was the passing a quiet?

And then the questions galore pour forth

Are you there again amidst us maybe in the hug of a woof

In the books that gather dust

In the little eyes acoss the lane that smilingly do their dance

Are you here somewhere in the presence that was ours?

Or are you gone and truly forgot, in the insence sticks I burn

Spiralling in their wafty smoke, the essence of a life all but gone?

In memories and in pages and in words that you leave for us

We find the you & you the us

For in that we are but connected

Perhaps in that umbical cord alone

You shall live a life fuller than what you thought you had

In the hyms of today, and hands folded in prayer

Let the you be rested

your essence in our minds it lingers

In the words that corpses can never be

Somewhere in this eternity called time

If the world were even to doom

the words would linger for posterity

In a hung transition called time

Like Sun, the moon and stars they assume a life of their own

Be not sad O Amma of mine

You leave not this world not its beauty galore

In urchins on the street and flowers that laugh

You remain within & within the heart.....

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The lessons of Life

The human mind is a strange species and there are so amazingly different varieties to it that one never ceases to wonder. I would like to describe myself as someone who has not only travelled much but observed much in terms of the human mind and its thought processes. While there are some who are blissfully unconcerned about others matters and the world at large besides themselves, there are some who are too concerned about others thoughts, but again there is another amusing lot whom I call the ' I know it all lot'. Being in Bengal for numerous years has brought me face to face with the intellectual Bengali and his pride at all things learned. He talks, walks, reads & pouts the learned. .yet the creativity here is rampant & so gloriously so. One such incident at the airport left me much amused, a delayed flight and a lounge shared with odd co- passengers was not exactly a delightful option for the next 2 hrs. I opened a small edition of 'Chicken soup for the Soul' and began reading it. Beside me was the quintessential Bengali dressed in Kurta & spectacles. He smiled benignly at me, perhaps I thought at our mutual state of anticipated arrivals. .but lo behold the man had eyes only for the chicken I held so close to my soul! I asked him with tempting eyes, do you want to read? He guffawed at me..;) His moment of drama I had provided him. He peered at me through his intellectual specs & said a young girl like you should be reading Kafka, I rolled my eyes & told him I wasn't exactly into that kind of reading. He let out a tongue curling eeesh! But why..he asked as if the earth would fall on my head if I didn't read Marx.. I smiled politely & said cause I found other things more interesting..he had found his point of tirade & I was subjected to 15 minutes of lecture on the principles of Marx… all the while as I nodded and politely purred at his speech, I wondered at the man who refused to see in spite of his intellectual leanings that I was just not interested but too polite or sensitive towards his feelings to tell him off. Where’s the sensitivity I say? Had I turned my face & asked the same man to shut up, he would probably be mumbling to himself wt an indecent woman, what about indecency that harbours on the lines of not understanding that one's opinions might not always be that of another’s... lecture over I restrained from clapping & told the man in a sweet voice how much he had enlightened me! While he was lecturing me his daughter of 5 kept pulling her daddy's fingers asking him to play with her & he kept brushing her off. .intellect I wondered , is it greater than being human or even humility?

Same atmosphere, same ambiance, a year or two later I was at Pune airport, as I took my seat of delayed flights & hours more to go. I took out my cell phone (the latest gadget that tells people I’m they busy types..I know its all there technology). Least bothered in mobile games I ventured cautiously into some nevertheless. After all I should be doing something productive or be tech savvy & not read about soups that harboured on Chickenish lifestyles..phew! A restrained and musical 'hello' to my side, woke me into the consciousness of a woman. Somewhere in her 60's, this lady in a mustard silk saree, just left me gazing at her unabashedly. She would have been some one extremely good looking in her prime I mused but what struck me about her was her grace & her dignity. She smiled at me, & I realized waking from my reverie she was speaking to me. I fumbled and said mam…aunty & stuck to aunty. She smiled again & said, beta I am unable to operate my cell phone well & send messages, can you help me out? Dressed to kill & expensive to boot… I mumbled a sure at the expensive phone & well manicured hands. The simple act of helping her out, left her thanking me profusely and telling me how much it meant to her that she could tell her family she was alright, all thanks to me! I was bewildered.. why was she thanking me so much, I wondered, but that’s grace I mused. Cell phone use established we got talking. The lady of 60 was a role call in humility, laughter & all the love that life is about. Much to my amusement she sauntered down to a store and bought me a handfull of chocolates! Small gestures but one that touches the right places. Her twinkling eyes, and laugh wrinkles were such a magnificent sight in love of humanity. Lisping into Hindi and English from time to time, she told me she had been a professor in a college, but now liked the job of taking care of her children & their children better. When I spoke she listened & said things that made you feel she was listening with attention. I wondered where this breed of people had gone...the ones who listen, the ones who make even a chance acquaintance feel special. Education she did not have less, but she didn't find the reason to broadcast it or push it down another’s head.

I was taken back to another place & another time where my friend of Marx had all but shouted. This woman with her innate silence & humility had taught me more about life than all his rants could. She cared about people not about what we know & how much we show we know, after all that’s what learning is all about. While disembarking from the plane & going our ways, I told her Aunty I hope I can age as gracefully as U have. And she said with a gorgeous smile, you just made me want to live another 20 years!

Life is indeed strange & education & its lessons stranger still. While it teaches, it forgets to tell us to care, to listen to the lessons of life that are important still and that learning and grasping, and implementing are lessons learnt by few.

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, May 13, 2010

To a Poetess

All my debts paid in vain
I wander back to life alone and forlorn
In her mappings and meanderings in the settings of the stage
She came and she vanquished and then left her seed to forfeit her claim
The wicked smile in place
Krishna & O Allah all in tandem they fall
musings but them all...
In awe springs of mutual desire as I... see her dance in profanity
when she and me we come together, tweaked we are as souls
I pay to you my ultimate
My soul you take my soul....
How many came at the altar of sacrifice thou called love
And I call pain..
How many came and loved but in vain
In being ME you became YOU
And in YOU I became finally the ME....

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Molesting our dignity

Sipping on my morning cuppa of chai, I glanced through the papers and sat up at the horror of what the front pages screamed! Airlines personnel in Kolkatta airport molesting a 9 year old child! The accompanying graphics showed a little girl with a doll in one hand and the shadow of a man lurking near by. Being a mother of an 8 year old, i was shocked and horrified to say the least. I thought of my innocent Guria building her sandcastles on the sand and land of fairies in her dreams, I shuddered in disgust. Whatever happened to words like Humanity, self consciousness, etc. the news continues on the lines of the man being released on a bail of a aimlessly sum of Rs 1000, pittance for the shattered dreams of a girl who would be hounded for life with nightmares of someone feeling her up. Parent or no parent, recognising the dangers lurking around innocence in every corner of the world, just waiting to pounce on some innocent is a thought that can send shivers down any sensible person's mind. We talk of so many things in general but how can we be so callous about such things which matter too. Airlines opinion puts it down to drunken behaviour on part of the man. Will somebody tell me why a drunken man was allowed inside the airport premises in the first place. Next time a plane crashes and we could say oh the pilot was drunk! Now that would be nice! Why are we as a nation extra casual about most things and we seem to have too much of patience for such things and ridiculously less patience when it comes to giving time to our children or spouses. Its time we woke up collectively and as a whole and voiced our protests against all these wrongs. If we are ever to protect our children and give them a free and safe environment to live in.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

MIL..a different version

Eleven years is a long time, some would say a life time. Yet when I close my eyes and look back upon the brick backs and the creases that fall, it seems to zip past in a flurry of here there s and nowhere s of emotions, twists and turns. As a dainty bride when I took my first nervous steps into my, to be home, I was greeted by a somewhat smiling somewhat nervous face of my Mother- in- law for the first time. In true Bengali tradition, she had not been to her son’s marriage and this was the first time she was a part of the brouhaha that surrounded the home coming of a bride. Amongst nervous steps and smiles that slowly changed to steady and confident ones we covered a dual journey that was somewhat formal and somewhat caged. Yet amidst it all, a happy presence prevailed. When the daughter-in-law cooked, she sang a song to entertain. When the Kolkata heat pervaded the kitchen she quietly placed a wet towel nearby. In flip flop ways, and now sauntering now gurgling manner we managed a precautious balance.

The death of a close one always affects us severely and so it did to her, on the death of her husband, as the sudden realisation of what loneliness was dawned on her. In true Indian tradition she separated her vegetarian kitchen from ours and her already God inclined persona turned into that of a shuttle between the Puja room and her own limited corridors. Amidst the hustle and bustle of our daily life, in cities now here and now there, she staunchly refused to let go of her home. But all of a sudden in a sudden departure or perhaps the whims of age, she gracefully descended on us as we made home of Chettiand country. The busy schedules and hustle and bustle continued here too, but as each of us went about our work, a quiet presence made its way into each of our lives in such soft footed manner as was unprecedented.

When I forgot breakfast, she was the fruit seller, when as a couple we wanted private space, she was baby sitter, when arguments ensued in our home she was the balm, when we came back home tired, she was the smile. For my child returned from home she was the adorable grandma, for a tired me, she was my cup of tea, for a tired husband, she was the hand that ruffles the hair. A generation and more apart, this white, creased and frail image of dignity taught me a lesson everyday in love, the love of giving and not expecting. Today she left us, to go to another home that of another son, another visage and another life for a month or two and she shall perhaps spread her light there too.

As I browsed through her room, among little packets of spices, fragrances, bits of clothing, small spoons, the neatly folded bed, God and her Godliness, I sat in silence and watched how the little things of life matter so less and yet so much. In cooking, collecting, buying, yet leaving behind it all, she spread a fragrance far more potent than the headiest of perfumes. It’s the presence that matters after all, I guess. In a house that is suddenly full of loneliness more and less of the ‘US’, I miss the absence of someone I call MA.

© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury