Tuesday, 29 October 2013

The Monochrome

Dear You,

See what I found today! This old black and white photograph!

Remember that first time you had brought me to this house? This photograph drowns me in a sea of memories from that day….and days thereafter, spent with you, spent in this house. This was the house you called home. This was the house that became my home eventually. Forever.

“It is a huge joint family with everyone living under the same roof. Will you be able to cope?”, you had asked. Every couple in the house had one room to themselves. You asked me if I could manage. “It was you who taught me the difference between plenty and perfection, no?”, I muttered. There would be no separate living room or kitchen and not even a separate bathroom for our exclusive use, you reminded me. There would be no privacy.

I smiled. Homes are not made of kitchens and bathrooms, silly. They are made of love, memories and dreams.  

This was home. Home where you belonged. Home where I belonged to you.

As I lay my eyes on this photograph, I see the huge open space beyond our main gate. A rectangular patch of soft green grass where you and I would spend several sunny afternoons, breezy evenings and rainy nights sitting or standing next to each other, doing nothing. We would not hold hands or kiss, remember? We would let our eyes make love to each other. We would melt into each other’s existence, drenched in the sunlight, soaked in the rain. Yes, this space meant so much. This was our space. This was a hushed interval in between the clatter and clamour of this huge building and the huge family it homed. We would stop here and breathe.

The green patch merged into the building. It was a sturdy, colourless structure straight from the yellowish pages of old novels. I used to believe, you know, that houses like this were living beings. The wink of green peeping from the crevasses of the old building reaffirmed my belief. Have you ever wondered, how could plants grow from those discoloured, old bricks plastered in cement? I figured out the reason. The house breathed. It breathed life into those green little creatures growing from its walls. Yes, this house was like a human being for me (more precisely, a close relative). Every time I placed my cheek against its cold walls or the colder floors, I could feel mother’s warmth.

I flip the pages of my memory’s album. The picture of that first time I stepped into the house gushes into my eyes. The house caught me in an eternal reverie. 

The main door to the house opened itself slightly as we entered, making a V-shaped gesture which looked like someone ushering us in with folded hands. Two small steps led us to a long corridor. Black and white chessboard floor fascinated me to no ends. “We would play chess here”, was my first reaction. “Or may be, play scrabble, cross and nots or cross word puzzles?”, I laughed.  (This was the first signal of falling in love with this house). The corridor led to the thakurdalan which resembled the shape of one half of an ’eight’, cut longitudinally. A huge triangular chandelier dangled from the ceiling which seemed like a handful of stars gathered from up above the world so high. The house rested itself on huge pillars which guarded the courtyard from all its sides. I held a pillar and swayed my body in a semi-circular motion (like heroines would do in Hindi movies!) I was so excited! As you led me towards the staircase, I saw that the chess-board pattern of the floor has changed into a crisscross design. There was a little white cross each on little black squares. And then there was the stairway! Stairway to heaven, I joked. Such huge steps they were!

“Are we climbing up the Eifel tower? Infinite”, I complained teasingly. Believe me, I had never seen such a stairway before. Steep, sudden and serpentine towards the end. At the end of the flight of stairs, we stepped onto a crescent-shaped verandah. On one side of the balcony, stood rows of rooms. These were the bedrooms and they were the only rooms that were allotted on a per couple basis. You started introducing me to each and every family member, one by one. I could make a mental grouping, a grouping where I was somehow the odd one out. I could not figure out why I was different. But I was. Like, if you club M, N, P, Q, R together, O will be left out. They were like consonants amidst whom ‘I’ was the only vowel. Much needed, yet somewhat different from all of them. (Did I take pride in that? I cannot remember now). As my eyes meandered into the nooks and corners of the long corridor, I started wondering which room would belong to me. Six rooms stood one after the other. All of them had occupants. Where would we stay once we got married? You pointed your finger to the terrace.

We climbed another flight of stairs to reach the topmost floor of the house. “Disadvantages of being the youngest bachelor! I am allotted the chilekothhar ghor”, you told me. “Advantages of getting married to the youngest bachelor. I am allotted the chilekothhar ghor!”, I excitedly told myself.  (This was the second and the last signal of my falling in love with this house). I had always longed for a room that looks at the sky straight into its eyes. I always longed for a room which would be the first one to hear the pitter-patter of the rain. I always longed for a room which the rays of the morning sun chose to kiss first. You gifted me one.

There was this huge terrace at one corner of which, I spotted our room. I looked away shyly and gazed here and there. I saw a big round-bellied cat (with a terribly tiny tail) observing us with keen green eyes. Two potted plants sat next to the cat, with a full bloomed flower each. I wondered if the flowers had a fight. They just refused to look at each other, with their heads tilted towards opposite directions. The TV antenna stood helpless and half broken. The easy chair sat lazily in the warm sun with a pillow rested on its shoulder, basking itself in the morning glory.  The clothesline stood there empty. And then, there was our room! Did you notice that from the very first day, I had referred it as “ours”? As I look back at the days spent in that 8’ by 10’ cloud 9, I see the world of our own. “Just the two of us” was all that we needed (yes that is why I insisted on not having kids to which, of course, you gladly agreed). And there it was….the ‘I’ stirred and blended in the ‘You’. Like cubes of sugar in your morning coffee. YUIO was a name I coined for the two of us. All our books, diaries, suitcases, boxes and common belongings were marked with that word. YUIO…a password for our joint savings account, called life! YUIO was how we would make love, soaked in the rain or soaked in the moonlight or may be, soaked in the dust from violent Norwesters. Remember, we would never pull curtains? On clear nights, we two would lie lazily on the bed and count the stars….1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9 and then there would be that big round silver moon ogling at us wide-eyed. 

We were one single soul in two different bodies. At times talking to you was like talking to myself. Likewise, when you would talk to me, it would seem like reading my own diary. YUIO!! Entwined, engrossed and engulfed by each other.

“I love you in this way because I do not know any other way of loving but this, in which there is no I or you, so intimate that your hand upon my chest is my hand, so intimate that when I fall asleep your eyes close.”

P.S: You always wondered why during fights, I would try to tickle myself and then make you tickle me right after that. They say, biologically it is impossible to get tickled by one’s own self. It was the only way I could take the ‘I’ out of ‘YOU’ and scare you. :)

P.P.S: Can we frame this photograph?

P.P.P.S: I love you. But, more than that, I love YUIO.   


(This was my entry for the Rupa Romance Contest. And, no, I did not make it to the top entries. I had taken it off the blog in terms of the rules of the contest. Now that the results are out, I am re-posting it).

Monday, 7 October 2013

পুজোর গয়না

A few years back, Ma had given me a wooden comb from Shonibarer Haat in Shantiniketan. It was tucked carefully in my jewellery box and remained unused. It was too beautiful for combing hair. I would often hold it in my palm, look and put it back where it belonged.   
For the past few years, I have always tried to make (on my own) at least one piece of jewellery for myself for Pujo. This year, I had an unusually busy schedule and all these high hopes disappeared in oblivion. (Even yesterday morning, I was revising and adding to my Grumble-List and this was one of the primary items).
Yesterday, while buying something from a local grocery store, I discovered a quaint little sewing shop in my para. Instantly an idea made a Jack-in-the-box act. I bought six Anchor embroidery threads. Pocket pinch: 30 rupees only!!! (the lips spread ear-to-ear, curving a reverse-rainbow across my face).

I came back home and in fifteen flat minutes, my jewellery was ready (including clicking these photos).

The only thing that is left now: “Eta pore manja dewa!” *mentally singing this* :D

Saturday, 5 October 2013

My Tweet Essay in Northeast Review

I am very happy.

This is my first proper publication outside this blog. 

Can’t thank you enough, Sumana di and Aruni for inviting me to write for the “Section 140” segment of Northeast Review. Huge honour! (given the fact that, I was almost Twitter-illiterate when I was asked to write).

Here is the essay. It is on “Pujo and food”. [(http://northeastreview.com/2013/10/03/parama/)]

I am also putting a screenshot. No specific reason. I just learnt how to use the Printscreen option about a month back and got terribly excited about it. I use it wherever and whenever I can. Also, by adding it, the blog post appears a little longer.

Do read and let me know.