Tuesday, 25 June 2013


Mondays are generally mundane. Like a movie with a very sad ending. Mine followed the rule. It was draped in grey with generous helpings of cumulonimbus collected over its head. Throughout the day, it wore a sad smiley with a ‘C’ lip and not its usual bracketed frown. Like this. :C . (Isn’t sad smiley an oxymoron? I love oxymorons and have a long list full of them.)

Mondays are like the first day at school. Ma waving good bye and the teacher pulling you through the gate. The feeling of “how-could-Ma-do-this-to-me?” followed by torrents of salt-laden water. Mondays are such. And, on such days, all you want to embrace is the Sunday gone by. I tried. Stretched my mind and looked for the Sunday frantically. Below the sheets, on the top of the cupboard, in between the pages of the Jerry Pinto-book I was reading, under the bed, in the ceilings and cobwebs, in the trash folder of my mail, on the window sill. I ran my fingers through the dust collected on the floor from last night’s Norwester, trying to fathom if they had hidden my Sunday. Nah, the Sunday was nowhere. It was GONE. And for the first time in these 29 years, I realised I had let go what I have loved the most. You know the feeling, right? The happiest part of your existence has drifted away from you, packed its bags and bought tickets to Neverland.  (And “Niruddesh-shomporke ghoshona” just doesn’t work in this case).

Sunday was a best friend, the happiness of reading ‘Chnader Pahaar’ for the first time, a tuft of smiles and giggles, the smell of salt long before you actually reach the sea. Sunday was like slipping your tired feet into ice cold rubber slippers (affectionately, hawai choti) after a long day at work. Sunday was like paashbalish.

Sundays are meant to be held close to your lungs. The moment I realised that mine has alienated from me, I felt choked. I also felt helpless. The helplessness of experiencing a powercut on a Wednesday when Chitrahaar was been aired, the helplessness of getting 99 in Maths during Board exams, the helplessness of misspelling the password of your e-mail…..you can’t find out where exactly you went wrong.

When I was a child, Sunday belonged to me like a lost and found twin. Full of life, happy, uninhibited, lazy with dollops of madness. Sunday meant late mornings.…….mornings which would start with a half-folded bread dipped into my grandmother’s cup of tea. Sunday mornings felt like paradise when an 8-10 year old me got permissions for tea-dipped toasts. (I was also allowed to dip Marie thin arrowroot biscuits into tea and eat them. But it never worked. The biscuit would, at the wink of an eye, dive into the hot brown beverage and melt away. So I chose toasts instead). Speaking of the grand mom, I lost her last Thursday. The Sunday is long lost too.

If you have a grand mom whose world is the kitchen, Sunday breakfasts are bound to be finger-licking good. Luchi‘kalo jeere dewa aloor torkari’ tasted like magic potion.

Sunday also meant visits to the fish market with Baba. I felt ecstatic at the smell of fish, the smell of their blood and the spark of their shiny scales. I loved how the yellow bulb would shine throughout the day on their silver bodies. I loved fish markets. The smell of Sunday was smell of raw fish.

Sunday was Ramayana and Mahabharat on DD and art classes thereafter. The smell of crayons, water colours, thick art papers and the taste of the ends of blue HB pencils.

 Sunday also meant Mutton. The orange oil-dripping gravy with big slices of potato. And mutton meant gol-haar. Yes, I would drool over those cylindrical bones which were meant to be sucked so that the bone marrow would slip into the mouth. Moment of victory! But when the soft brown substance refused to come out from its long hibernation, the same grand mom would use her mortar and pestle to break the bone and take out the marrow. Heaven! Heaven that smelled mutton. Heaven that reeked Lal-doi. Yes, Baba would unfailingly bring sweet curd from shops which he considered Calcutta’s best. The bone-marrow-slobber stealthily crept in the earthen pot and hid itself in the topmost thick layer of the brownish curd.

We would also have haircuts on Sundays. Till the age of fourteen, I had my hair trimmed from the local barber (napit) who used to visit our house on Sundays. Baba, my brother and I would sit on the terrace and he would rob us of our hair. (And sometimes the nails too). It was utterly embarrassing for me to sit on an open terrace and have a haircut from a barber, when all my school friends were already visiting beauty parlours. But that was how haircut-Sundays were meant to be.

Old Bengali classics filled Sunday evenings. Saptapadi, Dewa Newa, Agnishwar on DD were like sundaes on Sundays.  

On Sundays, we would go to bed early.

I went to sleep. I woke up the next day and saw the Sunday gone. It’s been almost seven to eight years since Sunday is gone. And, it has refused to come back. Strangely the Hindu marriage laws say that if a woman does not hear from her husband for more than 7 years, she can assume her husband to be dead. Do I assume the same for the lost Sunday? Restless streams of tears flowed down my cheek. 

Then I stopped, gathered the broken pieces of my heart from all over the floor, stitched them together, took a deep breath and started the Sunday-search all over again. I needed my Sunday back…..more than it needed me. So I wouldn’t give up.
courtesy: Internet (and my bad phone-camera)
I was going to office and had crossed the Majherhat Bridge. Do you know what I saw at one corner? A tree full of pink Frangipani flowers. I looked again. For all these years, I thought Frangipani flowers were egg-coloured. White petals with a yellow yolk in the middle. But pink!!! The colour of candy floss balls with patches of a darker shade of pink here and there (the same shade that they turn into when you salivate on them). They looked beautiful. But what was more beautiful was finding a new colour for an old object. I remember, when I was a little girl, on a full moon night, I was this amazed at the colour of the moon. Moon was supposed to be silver or white. But what I saw was a huge orange Tangerine hanging from the sky. I was this amazed. The pink Frangipani seemed to be like a lost piece of a big jigsaw puzzle. A slice of Sunday. I stored it on my cell phone. Cell phones are great safety vaults.

I have been travelling through the Babughat stretch almost every day since the time I joined work. Six solid years. A few thousands of times. Now, every time you cross Princep Ghat from Hastings, the network goes off. There is no coverage for mobile phones or car radios. This is because of the Army camp bordering the banks of the river. Till you reach Babughat, you are ‘signal-free’. This is an unfailing phenomenon.
One evening, I was crossing the same stretch. I was talking to a friend over the phone. I crossed Babughat, the Scoop and then Prince Ghat. We kept on talking. When I reached Khidderpore, I realised that the conversation went uninterrupted! For moments I could not believe my ears. It was magic! Like a slice of a Sunday.
I have tried this several times later. No, it never happened again. Magic moments are rare. Rarer is the happiness it inflicts.  It stays for a long long time.
A friend gifted me the entire set of “Diary of a wimpy kid”. For days, I would take the entire box to bed and go to sleep. I always woke up with a smile. It was not only the gift that made me so ecstatic, it was the thought of gifting someone a part of her childhood. Like crayon boxes and colouring books, lollipops and chocolate Eclairs. Like gifting someone a month long Summer holiday with no home work.
I read this on one of my favourite blogs.
F*** man.
There is an inherent beauty of “thuuu” which is hard to replicate in the English language. Nothing really has that mix of immaturity, derision and ha ha hee hee like the word “thuuu”.
Say it. You know you want to.
Okay, one, two, three.”

Also, wouldn’t you feel delighted if you discover a deep oneness of thoughts with an almost-stranger? I felt DELIGHTED. “Thoooo” is one of my favourite words too. The only thing is, I prefix it with “Wack” which makes it wacky.
I quickly made a mental list of all those names, places and things I wanted to say ‘thooooooo’ to. I felt so happy instantly!
My mother in law has ‘kahan se aaye baadra for her caller tune.
Every time I call her I can hear “Athh Shree Mahabharata katha” playing somewhere. The title song of Mahabharat. @weirdness, DD-Sundays, goosebumps.
Jagadish is our office peon. He gets food for us for lunch. 
One day I asked for something. He snapped at me. “Ekhon parbo na ami”, he said rudely and walked away. In these situations, I hardly get angry. I feel sad. I stopped calling for food. He would come and ask. I avoided him.
Then this started. Even without asking for food, I started getting something interesting or the other on my table every day. Chicken noodles topped with Chilly Chicken gravy, grilled sandwich, biryani, Moghlai paratha, khichuri-omelet and the like.   
I gave up and smiled at him gratefully. Next second he says: “Onek din eto teltele khabar kheyechen. Aj idlee khan.” (You’ve had enough oily food. Now stick to idlees.) Okay, I almost had a lump in the throat. Not because idlee tastes like horse-poop but because there was so much concern in his voice.
Yes, after that day I have never asked for anything specific. He has exercised his own discretion. He would research, go places, suggest food which he thinks is excellent and even get dessert without being asked for.
He won my heart.
I won several things which money can’t buy.
 A friend clicked this photograph from his office window and posted it on Facebook. People work silently while the city walks past with all its hustles and bustles. I saw a comment below the picture: Mouno mukhorota”.
Didn’t I tell you I love oxymorons? My list grew a centimeter longer. Yay!
One day, I was browsing through someone’s blog. I saw something that I was least expecting. I found these lines “the vivacious lawyer who knows the nooks and corners of my city more than I do”.
How do you react when the person whom you consider your soul mate, so far as the love for this city is concerned, says these about you?

You realise that life is beautiful. And Sunday is scattered everywhere in pieces. You just have to find them, arrange them neatly and keep them in the safe. *doors locked*

And then, the C turns D. And I smile again.



  1. Excellent..yet again..!!
    P..thanks for the "D" you brought to my face.
    Where's Jags..?
    He needs to know..he's a celebrity now..!
    "Didi.. amar naam diye likhechen..??" he'll be beaming with a smile for long.

    ...U know who.. ;D

    1. B,
      Thanks. You are always biased towards me. And how I love it!
      So far as Jags is concerned, please oke ar mathhay choriyo na. Saturday amay bolche, "AJ to Shonibar. Aj sheje guje ashen ni keno? Int, Kathh, pathorer goyna poren ni keno?" (Hmph. Tar uttor ki ditey ami badhyo?!?)

  2. Hey Parama, I read your article for the first time and loved it.
    Very well written and very well said.
    Now it's my lunch time. I started craving all the oily things mentioned but I have to settle in for a soup:( WAK THOOOO


    1. Thank you so much Soumita. Hope you will visit again. Love.

  3. well well...... after along time a big good read....parama...keep on writing ...love this !

    1. Thank you thank you thank you aunty. Hugs.

  4. straight from the heart and so lucid.....loved it!very ready!

  5. 1. A brilliant first line.
    2. Idlis do not taste like horse poop: the later at least has a smell, however acrid.
    3. I love Saturdays as well. Oh wait, do you have to work on Saturdays? Tsk tsk.
    4. I love luchis a lot. A LOT. Alas, they dish out only puris here.
    5. I wasn't lying about you knowing the nooks and corners of my city better than I do.

    1. http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/latergloss.htm

    2. 1. :)
      2. :D
      3. X(
      4. :(
      5. <3

      P.S: It seems some people visit my blog only to read what Sri Sri Abhishek Mukherjee has commented! Banan ta thik koro. :D

    3. Commenting very late at night comes with its disadvantages. I guess I will have to be more careful from next time. This one, alas, cannot be edited. :(

  6. Hey Parama,

    Lovely writing. made me long so bad for a sunday on this dreary wednesday afternoon in UK. A fresh wave of homesickness again. But never mind I would be home soon to have luchi aar sada aloor chorchori with loved ones again.

    These childhood Sundays are soooo special, na? I wish I knew it then. mine was spent in jamshdepur and I vividly remember onurodher asor playing on akshbani kolkata about the time we used to sit down for lunch. and perhaps its the UK again, whenever I think back I remember the bright sunny light all around and miss that so much. :) and fighting with bhai over the latest issue of shuktara and anondomela was another Sunday ritual.

    Thanks again for brightening up my day considerably on a non-Sunday. :) I need to focus on enjoying the Sundays these days more.



    1. Indrani,
      You transported me to a different world. I miss 'baaper bari' too. I stay in the same city as my parents. And yet....
      It's great to know that we two have such similar childhoods. Childhood mane toh eternal Sunday. :)
      Much love,

  7. Wow, this was beautiful. Really beautiful.

    1. Thank you so much, Diptee. Thanks for reading. :)

  8. Ore baba, ei Mongol-baar-er dupur-e boshe, shei chhoto belar Robi-baar gulo mone korte korte nostalgia-e dube gelam. Very similar routines followed my Sundays as well.

    But there is one aspect of Sundays that I wouldn't go back to: the evening when Maa used to ask my brother and me if our homework for the weekend was done. Invariably all hell used to break loose! Every single week! A few frantic hours later, mangsho-bhaat and ghum :)

    Incidentally, to cut off a centimeter of your oxymoron list: instead of "sad smiley", a "sad emoticon" cholbe?

    You have a good hand at writing. Chaliye jao!

    ~ Krishanu

    1. Krishanu,
      Thank you so much for reading.

      Thankfully, I do not have any memories of "porte bosho" on Sundays. Mane, amar Ma jiboneo konodin amay porte boshte bolen ni. Khub strange kintu shotyi.

      What I missed while writing this post is Superhit Muquabla on DD Metro on Sunday nights. You may note here that, Ma wouldn't allow me the entire one hour. I was permitted to watch the Pop songs and the No. 1, 2 and 3 songs. That's it! What fun Sunday nights were....all filled up with Baba Sehgal, "Ankhon mein tera hi chehra" and "meri nindiya, pyara sonia, dil chahe baas meri nindiya..." (I know, Alisha Chinoy would faint). :D
      Hope to see you here again.