Sunday, December 23, 2012

I shall not bake a cake, wear a new dress and dance..because a girl in Delhi lies with her intestines ripped open

In Peter Brook's version of the Mahabharata, when the lake questions Yudhishtira, he asks, 'Why do men revolt?' and a worn out Yudhishtira answer's 'To find beauty, either in life or in death.' the revolts that are going on in the Indian capital( New delhi by numerous students are perhaps just that, in spite of all the ugliness, it is an attempt to find beauty for one woman in life. A woman who has been raped by monsters and left on the streets to die..The lake further questions Yudhishtira, who is torn apart and hopeless at seeing the dead bodies of his brothers. He is asked, 'What for each of us is inevitable?' A half dead Yudhishtira, amazingly smiles a little, as if full of the promise of love and says, 'Happiness'.

Even though I am very much aware and full of admiration of the power of Social media and its relevance in our lives, I cannot but somehow participate in the spirit of the season..because in my mind the spirit of the season has been raped in the past few days, by all the heinous incidents that we have been a witness too. Whether in the killing of the innocent children who were gunned down a few days ago, or the incident of the Delhi woman, who was shamelessly and mercilessly raped by so many men and left to die. Even as my family gathers around me, I am tempted to click pictures, put on a new dress, bake a cake, do out for a dance and party till the wee hours. But I will perhaps not do any of that. Because even as I celebrate a quiet Christmas eve with the family, I shall have in my mind thoughts of the many college kids, who brave the cold and protest for the dignity of one woman, a woman who's intestines were ripped apart and who lies tremendously sick. If festivities are about the spirit of sharing and caring...let's never stop caring.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The humiliation of being the 'weaker sex'

Every time a rape case happens, people are agitated..the police are questioned on their inactive-ness, etc etc and then most of it is again conveniently forgotten till the next girl is raped somewhere.. Immediate police action, stringent rules and severe punishment are necessary as much as it is necessary to change the attitude of people.

Far too many men in India and outside also grow up to a thought process that they can say and do anything to a woman and get away with it in the corporate world, amongst colleagues in small and big offices or public places.

There are so many, so called gentlemen, who are erudite and have all the qualities of a decent man, but many a times when it comes to talking about women with other men even publicly, its just about 'some random chick' kind of attitude. The weaker sex, are of course meant to sprout nice flowery things and are largely perhaps of no great consequence when it comes to deciding important matters or taking decisions. The only women such a man probably considers his equal is one who not only imbibes masculine traits( In terms of dressing like a man and not feminine), sprouting language like men do, backslapping men and those who have financial control over their future or careers. 

Women who want to be recognized by men, and are at the top of things especially in sectors where there is a lot of male dominance( like Banking, real estate, etc) also strangely feel the need to be one of the boys in order to be accepted.

Any rape begins with the intent to humiliate apart from the physicality, part of it, allied with the knowledge that they can get away with it both in terms of physical strength and laws that govern the country.

Women on the other hand,(most of them and esp Indians) have been taught as children to adjust to the whims , fancies and temperament of men. Their upbringing does not naturally make them believe that they can hit/rape/shout at men and get away with it. None of which is of course desired in either sex.

I have plenty of friends who are male, extremely courteous and sensitive not only of the manner in which they behave with women, but also how they regard a woman in her absence. It is also true that when a girl is raped, any kind of action and strategic decision that would be taken to punish these offenders would be done more efficiently by men perhaps. As a child if a mother does not teach her son that hitting your sister and getting away with it is not okay, rape shall perhaps continue till the day the mindsets are changed and the laws too. As a mother, if you have not given your son a tight slap, every time he tries to make a woman feel low, you have bred a rapist perhaps.

What can I say that hasn't been said before, just that I'm a bit numb now. I have a daughter and I fear for her, I fear for myself and am angry that the way I live my life is dictated by these morons. It is just the tiny hope that saying it again and again will teach a certain section of men that certain things are not acceptable & that we shall NOT continue to live without a fight, if it comes to that & it will come to that perhaps, we shall fight, not for the pain of being raped, but for the humiliation of being treated the weaker sex.

( Picture from the Internet)

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

For the love of the land

The month of December, is always a beautiful one. As a child, this was a busy time for us..the Potato wedges had been planted and the green little leaves just another beautifully laid horizontal bed, Cauliflowers, would just start sprouting. Since there was no manure apart from Cow dung, the Cauliflowers would be in different disoriented shapes, some small, some really tiny and some just about average..the real fun was however in digging the potatoes when the plant was a family event, with a great rush to see, who could dig out the maximum number of potatoes. With large gardens, we grew potatoes that would sustain us for months.

We used little unused circular Graph sheets to make little caps to protect the small cabbage or Cauliflower saplings, the end of each secured with little sticks broken off the twigs, lying around the Mango tree. This was so that the plants were not eaten by the likes of the little Bulbul bird perched on the fence here. Assam has plenty of Bulbuls and you'll see them restlessly twitching their tails here and there on many a fence or philosophically watching the winds...

Pearl S Buck in her book, 'The Good Earth' wrote,'Thus Spring wore on again and again and vaguely and more vaguely as these years passed he felt it coming. But still one thing remained to him and it was his love for his land. He had gone away from it and he had set up his house in a town and he was rich. But his roots were in his land and although he forgot it for many months altogether, when Spring came each year he must go out on to the land....When he woke in the dawn he went out and with his trembling hands he reached and plucked a bit of a budding Willow and a spray of Peach bloom and held them all day in his hand.'

Anyone who has touched the earth, caressed it and molded it, grown and given life through perhaps transformed for life..Of late the call of my land has been can perhaps take the person out of the land, but never the land out of the person.

( Photo Courtesy Bhagyajit Bhuyān )

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Reading and not literary festivals

Was at the Bangalore Literature Festival yesterday. A lot of everything was happening, some were just catching up with their friends, some made half hearted attempts at understanding Gulzar's soft tones, some were chasing tea & coffee, others were running around an impending Chetan a quiet corner sat this little boy, with his Agatha Christie. If literary festivals are about the love of reading and imbibing that culture and spreading the message through an action, there could have been none that was better.

Before clicking I asked him, 'May I have a picture?' He nodded his head, in faint irritation at being disturbed and went back to his reading..while the mikes blared..little masters are born perhaps in some such little corners.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

A song and a poem for the land of Tagore

If you are in Bengal, you can't miss Rabindranath. A poet is perhaps not measured by the monuments he inspires, unlike kings but in the words and songs( as in this case) that people sing long after he is no more. Curious to see how he has been treated post his passing away, I made a trip to Shantiniketan once. Kolkata to Shantiniketan is an estimated journey of about two and half hours by road or by train. Getting down at  Bolpur( The closest Railway station to Shantiniketan) one almost expects to see things from the perspective of the young Rabindranath as he accompanied his father here or even more interestingly the way  Debendranath Tagore, would have seen it first. 

It is said that Debendranath Tagore was visiting a friend, soon after the birth of Rabindranath. the friend's estate was situated about a hundred miles, west of Calcutta. While travelling in a palanquin from Bolpur, Debendranath stopped for his evening spell of meditation in an open plain. Rural Bengal is usually full of lush green vegetation and such open plains bereft of vegetation was surprising. As he closed his eyes in meditation, he felt a great sense of peace, with the setting suns and the silence merging into one. It was then and there that Debendranath decided to buy the piece of land, which later saw the house and laying of a beautiful garden, and was named Shantiniketan or the abode of peace. 

Of course there is none of the silence that greets you, except if you choose to cycle around Shantiniketan in the afternoons of lazy serenity when the town is mostly asleep and the red earth greets you in perfect poetry. Such is Tagore's influence and power of his words that you expect singers walking around roads and pretty girls walking around dancing in yellow sarees, with flowers in their hair. If not for women in yellow sarees you would be lucky if you catch glimpses of Bauls wandering in the land. Unlike the severe distinction made in the songs of Bauls and that of Rabindra Sangeet many a times, Rabindranath had many connections with the Bauls who frequented this land when he lived in Shantiniketan. Nabani Khepa, Panchanan das and Lalan Fakir were names with whom Tagore had a close connection. A part of his songs called the 'Baul Anga' form much of his poetry. Tagore even published some of Lalan Fakir's songs post his death in a monthly review in Calcutta and spoke of his influences.

                                    ( Bauls in Shantiniketan- Picture courtesy Wikipedia) 

As I wandered about the premises of Shantiniketan, a feeling of immense sadness overtook me. Dilapidated buildings, spread around in utter callousness as if, without care and love, left as if to the winds and dust that covers everything eventually. There is of course the mandatory hostorical evidences, the books, the figurines the basic essence of what the grand man of Bengali literature probably did during his time there, amidst other things and yet one comes back without feeling the music of poetry, that is so part of the essence of Rabindranath. The dead poet seemed somehow more dead here, in spite of probably what goes into keeping his memory alive. The ordinariness that touches the greatest of greats in death, obvious here. Sad, specially when in defense even poetry seems bereft in the land where once Debendranath had imagined the evening skies kissing the spare land..poetry in every visage.

At night, my trip was rescued by a sudden song and to my delight I discovered a Baul, whirl around in his Alkhalla( The dress of the Bauls), Ghunguroo in his single feet sing-

'O mon amar,
Shajo Prakriti,
Prakriti sobhabh dhoro, sadhan koro,
Dekhbi Urdhi hobe deher goti,
Mon amar shajo Prakriti..'

( Song sung by Lakhon das Baul)

(Translation- O my spirit dress like nature( Prakriti is nature as well as woman), acquire spiritual knowledge, you'll find that the pace of your body will quicken again..O my spirit dress like nature..)

In the throes of his song scented by a stray fragrance of Jasmine I am reminded of Allen Ginsberg's poem 'After Lalon' post his visit from India and meeting with Lalon fakir, where he says ' Don't follow my path to extinction'..I wonder if the bearded gentle bard would approve and smile a song

Thursday, November 15, 2012

'The shoes she wore at night'

She had finished the chores for the day. The chapel down the street had a bell that would strike an eerie ten every night..a time when everyone was supposed to sleep. She had never been a good Christian, never attempted to be one either. As she slipped into the bed that night, her hands stroked the beautiful silk of indifference from the covers. It seemed that they never cared who slipped in between them, the shoes..there was a different story there!

She silently moved her toes up and down, relishing the luxurious feel of blood surging from them to her. She had painted the toe nails pink and even though hidden between the covers, she could imagine their shine. She smiled then and wondered what shoes she would wear tonight..She wanted to wear something that complemented the shine.

As she saw herself settle down slowly into sleep, go over and over it like a dog curling in and finding just the right place, she swirled into a haze and saw herself slipping out and look at the haze from far off. Like a snake drawing off its skin and watching it letting go of all the dreams one had imagined. Her dreams were co-loured always.

Today as she wore the shoes that she wore every night, she glanced at her toes and smiled..smiles that only dreamers can see and feel. There was lots of Green and a field full of dragon flies, in a colour that was strangely neither Blue nor Green..they came in different varieties and yet their buzz was always happy. What does a blind woman see that those with eyes don't, she wondered as she looked at herself, hovering around the mass of dreams..lots of colour in hope perhaps? There was no scope for monochrome in this world..the buzz a drone from far off, the only one that life had other sound was as beautiful.

The buzz ended, and so did the colour, she slipped into herself and her silence, into another morning and darkness...truly, the night is where colour resides?

 © Maitreyee B Chowdhury

( Image courtesy Google) 

Monday, November 12, 2012

A tradition of 14 lights

Unlike most North Indians, Deepawali in Bengal is more associated with Kali Pujo. While in the north of India Godess Lashmi is worshiped, in Bengal it is time to worship Kali, another form of Durga. Like in most parts of India and its different intricacies, there are certain beautiful traditions that are followed today, the day just before Diwali.

The tradition I am talking about is a somewhat forgotten one in most households, other than some parts and some homes like mine, where it has been a ritual since childhood. Religious rituals are often meaningless to me, but some rituals and traditions do have deeper meanings than the obvious.

In many households in Bengal( & perhaps elsewhere, in different ways), people will observe a ritual known as 'Choddo Bati', which literally translates to 14 lights. This ritual is observed to show respect and homage to 14 previous generations of your ancestors, who are otherwise hardly ever remembered. 14 diyas( oil lights) are traditionally floated in the water and a small prayer offered by all family members towards the evening. The day also sees many Bengalis having a Vegetarian diet, which is actually followed by eating of something called 'Choddo Shag', which is basically having 14 varieties of leafy vegetables of every kind. Till today in many parts of Kolkata, you will see 'Choddo Shag' sold, where a bundle is made by the shopkeeper including 14 varieties of leaves to be eaten on this day.

Somehow, remembering one's ancestors with this simple ritual makes a lot of sense to me.

(Image courtesy Google Images)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

'Only the soul knows how to Sing'

When I had gone to Benaras a few months ago..I had gone in a search..not knowing what I was searching and no knowledge of whether I would find it or not. I came back with the knowledge that

aap hi mein Gyan, aap hi mein Ganga, aap hi mein Bhakti aap hi mein Bhagwan
( Knowledge in the you, Ganga is in the you, Bhakti is in the you and God is also in you)

As I roamed the streets of Kalighat one day I realized that the prostitutes, who were capable of abandoning themselves for sexual pleasure, were perhaps somewhere close to self realization. A lady police I talked to, smiled at me and said that these were often the women who saved the decent institution of marriage, which would have collapsed had these women not taken in the excess baggage of desire that run through the annals of society. I wondered then if the Kalighat Potua paintings had been modeled on any of these women.

I am reminded of lines from, 'Only the soul knows how to Sing' by Kamala Das

'Love is not important, that makes the blood carouse, nor the man who brands you with his lust, but is shed as slough at the end of each embrace. Only that matters which forms as toadstool under lightning and rain, the soft stir in the womb, the foetus growing, for,..only the treasures matter, that were washed ashore, not the long blue tides that washed them in.'

(Image courtesy )

Monday, November 5, 2012

Walking with strangers

I went out for a walk, late in the evening yesterday. I've always loved walking in the drizzle, without an umbrella, feeling the light rain on my nose. As I walked, I sensed someone walking close on my heels. I am a moderately fast walker and increased my pace, so that I could walk ahead of the person and in silence of ghost like thoughts. The steps however also hastened. I glanced sideways to see a s
lightly elderly gentleman walk beside me. We exchanged a hesitant smile and walked along silently.

We walked for about 5 minutes in silence before, each of us started talking about aimless, things..things that might not have any meaning in any context..but a conversation nevertheless. He told me about, how he liked walking every evening, counting the trees, talking to some street dogs, sitting in small coffee joints, watching children play. I told him about how I talked to the questions in my head, hummed songs, wrote poems on my phone, imagined what the dogs talked amongst themselves and made their dialogues, played football with pebbles, etc. In the end, we stopped for coffee at a quaint shop, had our coffee s in silence and vanished into our own silences.
Sometimes conversations on the road can be far more enriching than those in a coffee shop or in manicured restaurants, where conversation is perhaps somewhat pre-decided..on the roads, the conversation finds you and meanders on its own.

Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Understanding of a Sadhu

Jorge Luis Borges wrote in 'The library of Babel', "Once I am dead, there will be no lack of pious hands to throw me over the railing; my grave will be the fathomless air; my body will sink endlessly and decay and dissolve in the wind generated by the fall, which is infinite.."

The lines remind me of the story of a Sadhu who lived deep in the heart of Bengal. He was a master in the of sexo-yogic practices, and had done much for the people of his region, including helping them with medicines, some amount of education, etc. People from far off lands came to seem him, to partake of his knowledge, to become his disciples  all of whom he received with great affection and taught to the best of his abilities. But he was not sell able, nor was he prone to changes that are sometimes necessitated in modern life. He died at a ripe old age, in a road accident. After his death, the villagers, where he had built his ashram descended  in hordes, they tore and ravaged whatever they could and took away the little that he had.

His years of service to the village in different forms, his teachings everything came to naught. Why they chose to concentrate only on what was tangible and leave out that which was intangible and far more precious in form of his teachings, is something that the Sadhu nor this poet can comprehend or understand.

If ancient teachings and traditions are to be believed, the ear of a person is the Yoni( the female sexual organ)  and the tongue is the Lingam( the male sexual organ) and such is one's relation with one's Guru..inseparable and completely natural. In order to find a Guru, one must first be ready himself..just like in order to understand poetry and mastery of the sounds and the words, one must ready is in this readying that half the journey is complete.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Being a Magician for a day

I was in a departmental store this evening, a little while ago. While I browsed the different racks, I saw a small family of mother, father and son hovering close by. From what I could guess it was perhaps their first visit to a departmental store. The boy about 8 years, was completely starry eyed and it was clear that the parents wanted to indulge him.

The entire family were without slippers( you probably get the picture..describing the lack of anything else seems a bit distasteful)..We wandered around almost together. At the end of about half an hour, when I stood in the billing counter, the family stood behind me. I saw that the boy had selected few biscuit packets, a pack of gems, a bottle of Jam, a packet of wafers and some other small knick knacks. He stood at the counter, wide eyed..taking everything in like someone who has suddenly discovered colours in a black and white world.

After I paid the bill I stood to the side and noticed that their bill was about Rs 200. I took the man in the counter aside for a minute while the family was looking elsewhere and asked if I could make their payment. I asked him to tell the boy that he was a chosen specific number lucky customer( a ritual that some stores follow) and that his shopping was free. My aim was not to make him or his parents feel obliged, but to keep alive the magic, of what probably was a lovely evening for them.

As soon as the counter person announced this to the family, the boy did a little jump in the air and the parents beamed at him happily. Some things in life are extremely satisfying. Their simple smiles I shall remember for long.

* Please note that this post is in no way meant to highlight that I have done some extraordinary work, because that is not the purpose of putting it down here. My contribution if any, to such instances is negligible to what perhaps needs to be done. But there are plenty of young people on my list, to whom I wanted to say through this, that play a magician some day and make someone happy..its very easy actually..and very satisfying..sometimes it costs lesser than a movie ticket!

Thursday, October 25, 2012

-Letters from Kolkata - Vijaya Dashami

On Dashami, a day when supposedly good triumphs over evil..I woke up to a near by pandal mike blaring a quiz session. Their question, "Who is R Bhadra, what is their bhife and mathat-in-law's name. Who can tell I will be obliged, hands up" ( Welcome to Bengal)

Dashami, or Bijaya Dashami as it is known in many places, has a unique importance as far as mythological and...religious connotation goes. Not only is it symbollyic represantation of triumph of good over bad, but also it brings ot end the spactacle that is Durga Puja. The immersion in itself is poignant, espcially when most Bengalis treat Durga as the daughter of the house..letting go of her is painful.

Dashami is made colurful and vibrant with the Sindur Khela amongst married women of Bengal, who smear each other with vermilion, while wishing the Godess goodbye, in the hope of seeing her again next year. It is a strange mix of sentiments full of sadness and happiness.

On this day, the preparations, expectations that so many people have had for so many days comes to an end when the Godess is immersed in water.

Somewhere to hope, to another year and more importantly to the strength in faith and all that is beautiful and pure...Happy Bijaya Dashami.       -To Gowri-

Durga walks a busy road,

and pauses poignant at a crossing-

Thousands dance around her to the tune of Dhak

She turns her head at the madness,

A man sitting yonder,

has red childlike horns of mahishashur,

Some beard hides some poverty-

eyes hide an understanding of incoming death.

...She smiles then, and laughs out loud..

her voice somehow drowned in the joyous mayhem that is life-

The man with horns, folds his mat,

a day and life perhaps over.

Durga in her similing finery,

takes her final plunge,

there is water everywhere-

in some one's face and someone's eyes..

Some from the purge

and some from life.

© Maitreyee B Chowdhury

Monday, October 22, 2012

Letters from Kolkata

Letters from Kolkata

On the morning of the 15 th I woke up early in the morning and like millions of Bengalis living outside Bengal, I hummed along with the rendition of Mahishahur Mardini, while I packed my suitcase for a flight to Kolkata.

I am aware of the chaos, the dust, the pollution that would recieve me when I land in Kolkata...but the desicion for me was already made by nostalgia that...reaches out to every pore of me as every other legitimate Bengali's or those who have stayed in Calcutta, for even a small spell of time.

Bangalore airport is no different from any other airport in the world, except for the fact that you get to see little sparrows chirping and flying in and out of the airport inner sanctum is somehow pleasntly surprised to see these little creatures come to fly with us. The airport resembled a mini Calcutta, with Benaglis of every size and shape catching every flight back home. While on the flight, a child about 5 years old sat behind me and suddenly asked a lady seated next to her, " Do you stay in Behala or Alipore?" The lady at the reciving end of the question laughed and asked, " Kano bolo toh?" ( why do you ask that?) the little one immidiately pipped, " My grandmother stays in Behala and uncle in Alipore"..Homecoming was never sweeter!

In the distance since yesterday and today, I saw Durga who had been given an artist's expression...Her eyes vivid, with anger, mercy and love..In some places Ganesha and saraswati are still busy wearing their clothes.

I took a rickshaw ride first thing after I landed. I was asked, with a familiar smile, " Didi bhalo achen?" As we exchange unnecessary and regular exchanges, a group of local addabajas raise their hand in salute..over numerous cups of Cha.

The roads are closed in many places, there is irritation on people's faces and yet every time a dhak sounds from somewhere, everyone stops to listen...I am in South Kolkata, it is evening...thousands of lights come up as if from no gloworms on the mountains..a Reliance footprint, I spy a Dhaki( drummer) pacing the front of the shop and playing his drums in totaly ecstacy..some children join him, while their parents buy inside...the man is excited and starts a little dance to match the children..I smile

Kolkata, you look like a resplendent bride tonight!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

People watching and discovering love in coffee shops

Yesterday while on my evening walk, I entered a small coffee shop. A couple, easily in their 70 s sat in the table next to me. I was idling time as I watched them. The lady pointed at an item in the menu, the husband who was frail and shaky immediately got up and bought it for her..over the next 5 minutes the lady very slowly ate from that bowl, while her husband watched her between she offered him spoon fulls which he took smilingly..suddenly the lady indicated that she wanted water, the gentleman almost ran to fetch her some water..after making her drink from the glass..he again walked around and fetched her some tissues..all as if a moment's delay would make it difficult for her..

There are certain people watching whom you feel that the world is all right after all.

Sunday, October 7, 2012

The religion of famine

 I am watching ‘Ashani Sanket’( Distant Thunder), a film by Satyajit Ray. The scene shows Shoumitra Chatterjee in the role of a village priest performing a puja in a village to which he is new. The village has had an outbreak of Cholera in an epidemic like proportion, in the wake of famine. The villagers are scared and call upon the holy man to solve their problems. Once the Puja is done and the priest takes home a bag of goodies and earned the respect of the entire village, as a casual after thought he mentions to the villagers that no one must drink from the common village pond or touch any dead body of animal or man, while also being very careful about their hygiene.

While one cannot but smile in retrospect at Satyajit Ray’s clever portrayal of religion playing health keeper to the villagers and hoodwinking them into thinking that it is worship that makes or breaks and epidemic, one wonders if things have changed at all. It also reminds one of the bizarre decision, of the drought hit Karnataka Government which decided to spend a huge amount of Rupees, 17 crores on different rituals around the state in order to appease the rain Gods!

But then nature is also the greatest equalizer. The same Brahmin who does not touch a lower caste or visit a lower caste’s home is brought down to his/her place by the wrath of drought and hunger. The Bengal famine of 1942, is of course a famine made by bad governance and bad policies, a man made famine. When rumors spread like wild fire, about Burma being taken over by the Japanese and burning of stock so as to inconvenience the Japanese in case they took over India. In every age it is the poorest who die, while the buck is passed from one to the other.

It’s interesting to note that religion in our country has been used by the rich and the powerful too often make fools of the poor and bad governance often blamed on the lack of a proper puja. Worship during the drought is of course not new to the country. In many parts of India, whenever there is drought or famine the services of the Gods have been called upon; when humans think that their inabilities to fend themselves will be taken care of by the Gods. For example, Gowr Puja, which is done in many parts of Maharashtra, where the deity is offered Betel leaves, nuts and Kum Kum, religion often dominates the minds of the hapless villagers when drought is at hand. But one would have thought that it was the duty of the educated lot, those in the governance to teach people that while religion might have its place in society, adequate measures must be taken to stop people from starvation or from leaving their lands, as well as other famine and drought related circumstances.  

In many villages even today, the poor man who stares at the skies for that drop of rain would still not understand that there was an option of cloud seeding and that a difference could have been made if those in the reckoning had realized their duties. Till education and water comes to their land and doorstep, their faith shall still lie in Pujas which make a farce of the, could have been s in term s of public money better utilized.
And yet even as I write this Karnataka receives rain every other day, after an unusual dry spell throughout the Monsoon period..Gods must be crazy?

(Image courtesy Google )

Monday, October 1, 2012

From a stranger with 'Love'

It was 6 in the morning..I was at Ganga ghat. My toes tucked in, being kissed by a moody Ganga once in a chin placed on my knees as I watched little boats idling as if they had no better work to do. When I looked around me, to my right I saw a gentleman, a tourist probably, head bent in deep concentration sketching..He looked up only once in a while to stare around him and then got back to his work. After a while he noticed me, trying to swing myself and delve into the mysteries of the muddy water..our eyes met and we exchanged a smile..after sometime he walked up and came over to where I sat and asked me, " May I sit here a minute?" When I nodded in approval, he sat nearby..surprisingly he didn't speak anything and we sat silently watching the river. We had exchanged no conversation, he was a white man in his mid thirties, is all I could gauge. I turned my head after a while to look at what he was sketching. To my surprise he had a sheaf of 2-3 pencil sketches. Some of the river and the boatmen, some of the cows walking around the lanes, some of the strange sadhus he had encountered another of the Ganga aarati..and they were beautiful. I looked at him then and asked, "Are you an artist?" He smiled. I pointed at his sketches and said that they were beautiful. 

He had just finished the sketch he was doing, a small temple on a wall, where a man was worshiping while a cow rubbed its head lovingly on the same was so Benaras, I couldn't help but smile. He looked up from the paper then and stretched his hand with the sketches, "You take them". I was extremely surprised and embarrassed at the gesture and thanked him and said that I could not take something he had made so lovingly and painstakingly.

He looked at me then and he said, " If there is one thing I have learnt in Benaras, it is that what is truly yours, is never separated from you. My art is within me, what I am giving you comes off the land, I would be happy to give back to it, in you"

Throughout my journey in life, unknown strangers have been immensely kind and in them one finds a strange friendship that transcends all borders, many such incidents have remained with me...I brought the sketches back home and plan to use them in a book that I plan to write someday- 'From a stranger with love'

(Text © Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury)

Sunday, September 30, 2012

The 'Bitch'...who took my heart away

This is Julie..I first met her about a year back..when she placed herself in the lane opposite my house as a mom with a litter of seven puppies. Unfortunately most of the litter died and some were also taken away. Julie was in tremendous shock for sometime & it took us neighbors a lot of cajoling to make her eat anything at all. We all took turns to feed her and since then she has recovered and become cheerful once more. But Julie never forgot the favor  she settled into the lane as a watch guard. Every time I walked my small lab, she made it a point to protect him from all the street dogs around. A gentleman who was especially very fond of her, used to take her for rides in his car and over time got her vaccinated too. Julie used to wander around by herself and come back home to the lane after she was over with her wanderings of the day.

Suddenly one day, the gentleman who used to take her for rides shifted his house to a lane about 2 kms away from mine. He had adopted Julie, even though she was a stray and she would sleep in his house. I was not aware that the gentleman had shifted his house and when I couldn't see Julie for about 2-3 days I was worried. But as fate would have it, suddenly I discovered her again on one of my morning walks. She came running to me, wagging her tail..ever since that day this lovely lady accompanies me almost every day on my walks..she showed me her new home too..she walks with me for about 45 minutes and drops me back home..till a particular point( which was her old beat). But she never crosses what she thinks is the threshold to her old beat, because it is no longer her territory..she watches me from that distance..and after I enter my house she walks off. 

I am a great fan of the Indian street dog. I have seen and owned many pedigree s since childhood. But nothing beats the Indian street dog in smartness, bravado & sheer love for humans.I have a feeling that somehow..(& I may be wrong in this) but dogs at home sometimes imbibe human qualities & loose that touch..whereas these ones have so much of raw is tremendous to see these bony structures fend for themselves, with that hungry look in their eyes..give a good fight...scratch, snarl & love in equal lab at home is twice Julie 's probably fed far better but can do nothing but play.. perhaps comparisons are unnecessary here, & I love my dog to death but Julie takes my breath away for sheer awesomeness.

I don't know why the word 'Bitch' has such a bad connotation, because this bitch took my heart away!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

How I became an Indian..again

When the British left India, they left behind something far more potent than the 'Sorry s' and 'Thank you s'. They left behind a culture and a life style to which Indians had become habituated. I was born in a small hamlet of a remote North Eastern corner of India called Digboi. A small township, dominated by Oil drilling and refining. It had been a hub of the British were they built huge Bungalows, with tennis courts, the Sahib clubs & the Indian clubs, Golf courses, etc. Even so many years after they left, as a child I was exposed to a culture where going to a club meant formal dressing, where dances were dictated by decorum more than fun, where a boy had to ASK a girl for a dance, where a drink meant Burmese Teak wood bar with crystal glasses of the finest quality, where winters were spent in the cozy aftermath of the fire from one's fireplace with the Grand Piano playing faintly...

Like anyone else, all this had its undeniable impression on me. Traces of which I carry till date I have been told. In Digboi even 20 years before one did not just drop down to some one's place, one telephoned to tell them that they would have company. However by the time we were growing up, a lot of outsiders( those outside the North East) began working and subsequently staying in Digboi. This led to a whiff of change being felt in different homes. This was more so probably because of the fact that the entire N. east in many ways has an anglicized culture, since a very long time now. Be it in their songs or in their dress or their lifestyles, etc. The first impact of this change was felt by me on one such visit to the home of a family outside the North East. The gentleman in this home, was from the North while the lady of the house hailed from the Carnatic. 

I was the last one in my family to step into their house, and just before I did so, I saw a small pattern on the floor, a Rangoli just before one entered the threshold. For a moment I was mesmerized..something popped up in the heart..the riot of colors, the warmth, the festive look...I was about 14 and if there was a moment when the Indian in me was born, it was this moment! I stooped down to look at the design in wonder. The lady of the house came by to check what was delaying me. When she saw me bent over the Rangoli, she smiled, sat down with me, picked a pinch of the magenta colored powder and drew a streak on my cheeks..her christening was perhaps the most undeniable print on my mind for a very long time..for some people, a passport does not make citizens out of them..maybe Rangoli does.

- Image courtesy Google

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

In their majestic shadow

She sat clutching the folds of her thin red saree between her two legs. She wore a large Bindi at the center of her dusky forehead, half covered with the saree. Her knees joined together to make an inverted V. Just at the ankle, two half suns joined each other in a small tatoo. One of her rough hands felt the earth while the other held on to the smoke, she was puffing at.

There was a dry breeze blowing in the afternoon air but she could smell no rain. Her eyes squinted to the skies, as a large cloud loomed over the sun. She wished it would rain, but wishing for rain was like wishing for death she knew. Each would come at its own time.

Her eyes had anger, frustration and sorrow, she knew she wanted the rain and yet there was no way she could command its presence. It was like the shadow of the man, she followed..There were days when she walked after him, listening to him speak to others, staying silent or even listening to others with rapt attention..all the while being aware that she was there and yet he had never turned, never looked at her, never smiled.

He reminded her of the dark clouds, their audacity to bring the shadows home and yet not to yield rain in spite of all the expectant hearts, the prayers, the immensity of their cries.

She wish she knew what she had to do to move that shadow and turn it towards her, to envelop her in its darkness..she would scream through the nights, hit the walls, scratch herself and wish that love as such could be got from within or from anyone willing to love...but she knew anyone was not the rain cloud that mattered.

She moved her legs a bit then, blew some smoke as she turned tired eyes to the ground. She wrote some songs there, songs in the sand that she knew would vanish at the wiff of a wind..and yet she wrote as if possessed..She looked calm after a long time as she looked the well nearby. She walked up to it then, looking at the clear waters..wondering if a splash would make the dark clouds take notice that there was one soul less that he had to water.

Shiva and his indifference

Shiva the ascetic is happy meditating in his frozen mountains..he perhaps wants the world to meditate, to be by themselves and more importantly to be contained within. In that, he is helped by his Ganja, which breeds indifference, and doesn't know or want to know anyone?

In some ways this destroys the very human essence perhaps of connection..Shiva happy in his own self does not understand the concept of understanding life and death, both of which maybe a journey of the alone, but never without another.

Have some wine, if you will, blabber if you will, talk, love be happy..there is enough time to be frozen, when you are gone.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

What do you take back from ..lines, from poems, from books that you read?

Through all the books, the pages, the people and experiences that I have read through in life, three lines have stuck by me..bringing about immense proportions in my personal sphere as a poet and more importantly as a person.

'They also serve who only stand and wait' - By Milton in his poem 'On his Blindness'

To me the lines have always symbolized supreme surrender, without which no faith I believe can exist..and faith in a person, in their beliefs is important for my own sanity that believes that every man is blessed..he /she just needs to find out how.

'How many loved your moments of glad grace,
And loved your beauty with love false or true,
But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you..'

These lines from W.B Yeat's 'When you are old' have always been to me an apt description of what love is is how I would love to be loved.

A random quote I heard( I don't know who's it is)

'Mediocre poets achieve sucess, the real ones commit suicide'

The lines tell me every time, that what is writ on the paper, is only a very small percentage of what poetry is..poetry is what you feel, it is in the mind..and the success or failure of feelings don't really matter..poems were never written so one could be rich anyway..poems are written because one cannot but write them..and THAT exact moment is poetry.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Ismat Chughtai- an Urdu writer and some comparisons

I have been reading Ismat Chughtai's works recently. Some of her work( Especially the story of Quilt, published in 1942-which is posted here) is startling, especially considering the fact that they were written in a pre-independence era. In parts she reminds me of Indian poetess Kamala Das, just a more firebrand image. The interesting part about her stories is that she rarely describes as much of characters or significant events, in great detail. It is the moment that she gives more prominence to, which helps bring out a story & its people. I do wish I could have read her in Urdu though, just like her contemporary Sadat Hasan Manto. Although comparisons are unnecessary and mostly trivial, to me Manto will always be more universal..something like a whiff stuck in one's senses forever..because they cross all borders and appeal to humanity more than a sex, religion or community. Manto writes-

"One lunatic got so involved in this India/Pakistan question that he became even crazier. One day he climbed a tree and sat on one of its branches for two hours, lecturing without pause on the complex issues of Partition. When the guards told him to come down, he climbed higher. When they tried to frighten him with threats, he replied: “I will live neither in India nor in Pakistan. I’ll live in this tree right here!” With much difficulty, they eventually coaxed him down. When he reached the ground he wept and embraced his Hindu and Sikh friends, distraught at the idea that they would leave him and go to India.." ( From Toba Tek Singh)

Interestingly, I find the same weird and mystic traces of universality in Agha Shahid Ali (Kashmiri-American poet) me he transcends all boundaries and remains only and only a poet, speaking for all humans irrespective of sex and creed and personal wars. He writes in the,


Swear by the olive in the God-kissed land—
There is no sugar in the promised land.

Why must the bars turn neon now when, Love,
I’m already drunk in your capitalist land?

If home is found on both sides of the globe,
home is of course here—and always a missed land.

The hour’s come to redeem the pledge (not wholly?)
in Fate’s 'Long years ago we made a tryst' land.

Clearly, these men were here only to destroy,
a mosque now the dust of a prejudiced land.

Will the Doomsayers die, bitten with envy,
when springtime returns to our dismissed land?

The prisons fill with the cries of children.
Then how do you subsist, how do you persist, Land?

“Is my love nothing for I’ve borne no children?”
I’m with you, Sappho, in that anarchist land.

A hurricane is born when the wings flutter ...
Where will the butterfly, on my wrist, land?

You made me wait for one who wasn’t even there
though summer had finished in that tourist land.

Do the blind hold temples close to their eyes
when we steal their gods for our atheist land?

Abandoned bride, Night throws down her jewels
so Rome—on our descent—is an amethyst land.

At the moment the heart turns terrorist,
are Shahid’s arms broken, O Promised Land?

(Here is the link to a translation of Ismat Chughtai's story- 'The Quilt' )

( Image Courtesy Google Images)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Horizontal sick eyes

Sick eyes lie horizontal
Looking through a crack
In the almost shut door
There's a wind somewhere blowing,
Strong gusts of hope,
Somewhere perhaps..

Suddenly the door closes,
With a sudden finality-
Obliging as if perhaps,
Half closed lids with final blissful darkness-

The room is full of sighs, staleness
And a sudden sense of uselessness-
Like a toothbrush,
Gone hard and defunct.

Somewhere a Bamboo,
Rustles up another-
Music in every caress.

A flicker, seems to flicker..
In some distant eyes, once closed-
A rustle of caressing wind,
Wriggles through the creak
In the door somewhere-

Happy sleep alights
On eyes,
Where life had once shone so bright.

-© 2010 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, August 30, 2012

The circle of life

This picture taken by my friend, has both haunted and piqued my curiosity in different ways at different times. The circle of reason or of beginnings with no end, seems to find perfect expression here. Three things specifically come to my mind while looking at this picture and strangely so all three seem to have a strange connection between them, especially if you can understand that circle also stands from originating in the nothing to everything.. emptiness to fullness...Incidentally only one earthen pot here seems to be full..perhaps the emptiness of all the others poured into one?

Banaras, the ancient city of Indian culture, knowledge, traditions and pilgrimage center to thousands of Hindus is considered by the Hindus as the center of the earth. A place for creation, in a symbolic circle of the Mandala. In this matter the Hindu belief is perhaps similar to that which denotes Jerusalem and Mecca as the holiest cities and the center of all creation. And yet Banaras, is not Banaras, without the Ganga and hence instead of being the my mind it is a circle, a waiting place, where creativity and death both are part of the same land. It is the only place with open burning Ghats, because dying in Banaras is as holy as birth in it.

Tamalatala, in the village of Kenduli in rural Bengal is a circle in itself. The name arises from the presence of Tamala trees in the area. Kenduli, is the seat of one of the biggest Baul fairs in W. Bengal, also known as the Joydeb Mela, after the famous poet who was born there. In the heart of Tamalatala, is a quiet ashram where the Bauls find solace, silence and peace. Adjacent to a crematorium, the ashram is open to all and anyone visiting there is served lovingly. Curiously, the ashram receives the belongings of those burnt in the crematorium, which is then distributed among st the poor. No hungry man, leaves the ashram without being fed. I found in this instance too a curious case of the circle of life and death being beautifully connected where the dead feed those alive!

The 'Kundalini' according to ancient wisdom is an ancient form of wisdom, a very 'pure desire', coiled, that which only needs to be understood and felt within each of our selves. This unconscious force that is often sleeping while resting at the source of all human inspiration is what begets the human journey from the ordinary to the sublime. It is our own human circle, where we emerge from nothingness to the everything or the supreme.

( Picture courtesy Sumana Roy)

© 2012 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

Thursday, August 23, 2012

The wamth of a butterfly..the dance of a woman

Dance is something, a dancer never misses, because it usually never leaves you, with time you add to it another facet of yourself..While on my on and oft dance routine today, I was reminded of Cleo de Merode and sat down to write a few lines..urged by some unknown urge-

My dance, its elegance, its waywardness,
Its slight intimacy,
Is like you and your caress-
Your touch so profound
Like the khol in my eyes,
My circle of love complete,
In the balance of forces-
Both yours and mine.
And yet all too sudden and short.

I kiss your shadow,
Flitting and suddenly incomplete-
Without the lust of whispered edifices,
into you-
Your eyes shut, to my tremble of resonance
And warmth like a butterfly
In some belly.

And now when I look back,
Curled up like a cat,
I'm content, rendered useless
Of all that needs to be done-
Careless and seem-less in my crawl.

© 2012 Maitreyee Bhattacharjee Chowdhury

( Image courtesy Google Images)

Monday, August 13, 2012

Madhukari- The ritual of arousing love

About a year back, I opened my FB inbox one morning to read a message. The messages were written in response to few lines from a poem of mine that I had posted the previous day. The man was a techie sent to Canada for a year long program. He wrote, " I don't know you too well, even though we are on a friend list, but today when I read your lines, it helped me survive a very cold night in freezing temperatures here. Thank you"

That day I realized that poetry perhaps sometimes has the ability to touch the soul and leave an impression there. It reminded me of my childhood days in Shillong when I was taken to see the Orange orchards, from where Orange honey is made. Bumble bees hovering and buzzing all around, collecting in their own beautiful ways honey from the little flowers while buzzing their song.

The ritual could be well compared to that of Madhukari, wherein Bauls move from one home to the other for alms in lieu of singing. When the Baul reaches a persons door and sings, his songs reach out to the inner ear of the person and helps the inner Kalpavriksha bloom. Flowers sprout in the mind and sweetness like that of honey, moves along the stamen to the pistils of these blossoms..which in the human body is replicated in the structural form.

This beautiful exchange of arousing the complete individual in us, is where the Kalpavriksh and Madhukari are beautifully tangled in a complete whole..much like the bee and the flower or the poet and the reader.

( Image courtesy Google)

Thursday, August 9, 2012

'Pakhi' a story by Banaphool ( Translated from Bengali)

It was a beautiful day, in the forest as the Peacock and his lady walked around the lush green surroundings. The Peacock suddenly broke into a dance, while the Peahen watched, both lost in their own happy world.

Suddenly they heard the roar of the king of the jungle. The Lion, as the king was not too happy at what he thought was disturbance to his peace by the birds prancing around. He ordered the Peacock to stop dancing immediately. But the Peacock did not listen to him and continued dancing. Angry and agitated at being disobeyed, the king pounced on the peacock, but both birds immediately flew away to a nearby tree.

The king of the jungle was so angry that his orders had been disobeyed that he wanted to immediately do something about it. He talked to his assistant the Tiger and told him how disobedient the birds had been. The Tiger agreed to the Lion's story, adding that the Peacocks were indeed a nuisance because whenever he was out hunting they would cry out and warn the animals before hand of the Tiger's coming.

Both hatched a plan in order to catch the impudent peacock. Soon one day, a Jackal visited the Peacock s as they were dancing again. On seeing the Jackal, the birds immediately flew to a tree top to save themselves. The Jackal pleaded with the Peacock to come with him, since his wife was not well. He said that his wife had given birth a few days ago and had since then been behaving absurdly. The doctor, a Mr. Crow had advised them to show the wife the dance of a Peacock, if they wanted her condition to improve.

On hearing this, the Peacock laughed a lot. He said, 'I'm sorry but perhaps you don't know that I dance only to pleasure my wife." The Jackal had to return empty handed and this completely made a flop story of the plan that had been hatched by the Lion and the Tiger to catch the Peacock, when they thought he would accompany the Jackal.
But the Lion would not give up yet. And he got a chance to avenge his insult when he saw one day the Peacock was chasing a snake. The Snake is usually food for Peacock’s and the Lion thought this would be a good time to take his revenge. He suddenly pounced on the Peacock and even though he could not actually catch the bird, which flew away, the act had the effect of making the Snake easily get away, just when the Peacock was about to catch it.
This act on part of the Lion angered the Peacock who asked the lion why he had done it. When the Lion told him that he was angry at the Peacock because it had not listened to him, who was the King of the jungle, the Peacock said, ‘you might be the king of the animals, but we are birds and it is our right to fly wherever we want in the jungle and my dance was for pleasure, it should not affect you so much. But what you have done, I shall not forget and take revenge.’
Very soon, one day the Lion was out hunting and he had almost sunk his teeth into a young Lamb. Just then he saw, the mighty wings of an Eagle swoop down and snatch away the little Lamb with powerful claws. As an astonished and crestfallen Lion looked on, the Eagle said, ‘You have snatched away the prey of one of the birds, something not tolerated amongst animals. Being the king of birds, it was an insult to all of us. We as birds roam free and we soar high above everyone. We are the poets amongst animals. But we do not take away the prey from another animal’s mouth. I give back to you what was yours’
Saying so the Eagle dropped the lamb into the astonished feet of the Lion and soared off.

*Please note, I am no translator. It’s a beautiful & simple story that I read & thought of sharing with friends here. The story is a gist of the original story by the writer Banaphool, the Bengali writer. Banaphool is the pen name of the Bengali author, Balai Chand Mukhopadhyay. Born in Bihar, he began writing as a teenager and adopted the his pen name Banaphool (wild-flower in Bengali) to hide his work from his tutors. He is most noted for his short vignettes, often just one page long.

(Image credit- )

Wednesday, August 8, 2012

A leaf for the love of the lord

As a country, we are full of little eccentricities, but that is perhaps what makes us so different. Like our country Hinduism as a religion is bestowed and enriched with many little nuggets of wisdom, faith and stories that in some quiet and happy simplistic way seek to reinforce what some of us know and that which some don't.

A very long time ago, we had Bael tree in the house, for some reasons the perfect threesome of the Bael leaf reminded me of the three eyed Shiva and this was at a time when I wasn't really aware that as a tree the Bael was very relevant to Hindus. In my adolescent games, the tree was fun because it was the only fruit that the crows could not crack open, an exercise I watched with a lot of amusement, till the day one of them accidentally managed to drop the fruit and it cracked!

The hardness of the Bael fruit always reminds me of the tradition among st Nepalese people where young girls are married off to the Bael tree. A very hardy tree that can survive many odds, the significance here on its strength can hardly be ignored. It served the purpose of bettering the faith of girls who became widows, because girls married to the Bael were not considered widows, even if their husband dies in reality and were perhaps spared the pathetic life of a widow.

Since time immemorial the Bael leaf has been associated with the worship of Shiva, because the holy trinity of the leaf is supposed to signify the lord's trident. But there is another quite charming story to it. Apparently a hunter after a long tiring day of hunting, fell asleep on a Bael tree. Just below the tree where he slept was a Shiva Linga. Towards the early morning, the dew drops accumulated on the leaves touched the hunter and then rolled down to fall on the head of the Linga. The easy to please Shiva was so happy at the pouring of love even through water that the leaves of the Bael became dear to him.

Monday, August 6, 2012

Rabindranath Tagore- The man before the poet

Realms have been written on Rabindranath and yet some more. So when one picks up the pen, or maybe the 'mouse' in this case to pen something on his death anniversary, there are a few distinct s that come to the mind. It is of course rather bleak to repeat the unnecessary little fact that he wrote tremendously. To my mind, to read Rabindranath is like achieving the purity of orgasm- One is fatigued with the smile in the heart, echoing in the lips and yet astonishingly, there is scope for more.

But for someone like me who has read some bit of him( a very small portion of his entire work) I found his own life extremely intriguing. In fact having read the different facets of his life, I began pitting them with different works of his and suddenly like a huge puzzle, the individual( His works) started making sense when compared with the whole( his life). There are some people who write well but are very average as individuals, Rabindranath was poet who did not only WRITE poetry, he also LIVED it.

There are many who scoff at the idea of humility in greats, because for their limited minds it is difficult to accept that humility maybe an after affect of greatness. But in the most genuine cases, it mostly is. In context to Rabindranath, one instance of this humility and ability to assess the self that I am always reminded of is on the occasion when he was fascinated by German literature. This was primarily sparked off by wanting to read Dante in German, since according to him in translation, 'Dante remained a closed book to me'. In fact so great was his desire to learn German that he asked for help in learning German from a missionary lady. It is here that he makes a rather pertinent observation about himself, when he writes-

"Fortunately I met a missionary lady from Germany and asked for her help. I worked hard for some months, but being rather quick-witted which is not a good quality, I was not persevering. I had the dangerous facility which helps one to guess the meaning too easily. My teacher thought I had almost mastered the language, which was not true. I succeeded however in getting through Heine, like a man walking in sleep, crossing unknown paths with ease, and I found immense pleasure. Then I tried Goethe, but that was too ambitious."

It is because of this un-sureness about his abilities that perhaps he could reach where he did. I smile then when I hear and read about people comparing him to God, making him to be things he was not. He was always human and no where is this facet of him more prominent than in his poetry. He found it ridiculous when people asked him to explain his poetry. He writes-

'But does one write poetry to explain any matter? What is felt within the heart tries to find outside shape as a poem. So when after listening to a poem anyone says he has not understood, I feel nonplussed. If someone smells a flower and says he does not understand, the reply to him is: there is nothing to understand, it is only a scent...The utterance of feeling, is not the statement of a fundamental truth or a scientific fact or a useful moral precept.. if while crossing a river you catch a fish, you are a lucky man, but that does not make a ferry boat, a fishing boat, nor should you abuse the ferryman if he does not make fishing his business..The fact of the matter was that, a longing had been born within my heart, and unable to find another name, I had called the thing I desired an Echo.'

In remembering Rabindranath the man, the poet on his death anniversary, make not a God of him..but if you can make him one among st you..fallible only to love. In remembering him, I give him his own words-

I do not wish to die to this lovely world.
I wish to live as man among men,
with the sun shining, the flowers in bloom
and perchance some loving heart responding!

How varied is the game of life on this earth,
its meeting and partings, its laughter and tears!
Oh to sing of man's joys and pains
and leave behind a melody undying!

( Words of Tagore courtesy- 'Rabindranath Tagore - A biography By krishna Kriplani)