Thursday, December 23, 2010

The man with many pasts

I stared at his chest for long time. Waiting to trace the rhythm of slow heaves and sighs. The soft hum of breathing. A conformation that behind those closed eyes he is asleep, but alive. A relief. I know it’s childish but for 87 years old I guess possibility is no more a question.

My grandfather lay on his rusted armchair that makes squeaking sound every time he tries to make a slightest of movement. He was lulled into his late morning nap. The sports page of the newspaper acted as a warm cover. The sun was making the shadow of the window grill patterns on the verandah over the canvas of his chest. The strands of his silver chest hair always strangely reminded me of the coir pushing out of the mattress hole in our guest room. The dentures less hollow of his cheeks were hanging loose. When I was kid, he always let me touch the shiny baldness that graced his head. It was an excitement; the warm soft skin on a bony underlay gave me creeps. Today they looked dull in the morning glory.

I instinctively walked up to him and sat beside him on a small bamboo stool served as his breakfast table in morning. Slowly I tugged on the newspaper carefully tucked under his hand. He woke up with a hustle and then subdued, gave me an ample smile, ample toothless smile that always radiated a strange warmth.

"It’s a very bad habit, sleeping till almost afternoon" he said as he always did seeing the cup of morning tea in my hand, and as always I smiled the shy smile of a kid caught dismantling his new toy car.

He slowly glanced at the paper and with a sad melancholy looked at me.

"This city has changed. It’s not dying anymore, it is long dead. I wonder how you people survive in this swelling filth." He said with a fake disgust but genuine intention.

"Janish, once from here you could see the Howrah Bridge and I still remember it being constructed. Year after year the steel bars taking shape, connecting each other, and reaching out to the other end. That was the Calcutta I grew up in."

"But dadu, there must be lots of Englishmen that time, with all etiquettes and rules. Weren’t you banned from big places being brown and all”, I conjured a bit of fake amusement and some real inquisitiveness.

He always loved to tell stories about his youth, always with a tinge of nostalgia and a dollop of excitement. It was like an early black and white movie scene without the background buzz playing silently in back of your head. His words gave them the meaning, the direction and understanding.

"Those were just stories to glorify the agony. Ingrez always minded their own business; they did not go around beating every other man on street. You should have seen those lonely officers’s kid begging to let them play football with us on the cantonment dump ground after school"

"Dadu, you are just coming of in front of me as a big fat bully. Not advisable", I grinned.

"bah!! Bully we were. But yes there was always an arrogance of the white skin that we could never match, and tell you what, they never sweat. I remember how jealous we used to be when after the game we are dog tired and they just pounding on. Kochuris ruined us Bengalis”, he said with an amused smile staring at the left over oil stains of the Kochuris on the empty breakfast plate.

"Ahh!! That explains the reason of being bully isn’t it? Jealousy", I mocked him.

"Haha, call me whatever you want but friendship with those white kids were our only way to meet bideshi women whom they were acquainted with. It’s all give and take", he chuckled.

"Nah dadu, not interested in listening to your love story. No way could you have known English girls."

He gazed silently for long to the newspaper, as if lost in the array of the black and white ink, or maybe just lost in his mental photo album of past.

"Amelia, her name was Amelia", he smiled to himself rather to me.

"Dadu, I am not going to believe that you were in love with your "my fair lady" and survived", I grinned amused.

"My dark lady, you can say. She was dark skinned, worked as a housemaid for boro babu, my boss"

Behind the bifocal lens showing his obscenely magnified eyes there was a twinkle of solace, a comfort in the warmth of past.

"She was an african-american?” I blurted with startle with the inability to come up with anything more appropriate.

"No, I guess neither African nor American, just her, big eyed shining brightly and lush of black hair. At least that’s what I remember of her."

"Tell me more, promise I won’t tell grandma" I smiled trying to cover that strange feeling of excitement rising through by belly.

"That you have to promise, I can’t risk a divorce at this age, can I?” His said choking on his laughter

"She used to come daily evening to sit by the playground, to watch us boys play in the evening setting sun. Daily I used to watch her from distant end. Occasionally she stared at me and gazed intently and did not removed her eyes when I stared back" he voice was distant as if flowing through decades

"Don’t know when I it all started, and when I started getting jealous when she stared at other boys instead of me. I once kicked my own teammate to make her look at me" he told as he gazed intently at me for a reaction.

Smiling I said, "And I guess u did?"

"I did and she did. And I was suddenly sure about something, I don’t know what, but I could feel the surety inside me", he exclaimed with a glitter.

"Then...then what dadu?” I don’t know when an unintended smile filled my face.

"Few days passed, one day coming back from office, I saw her there, sitting all by herself, and suddenly without myself, I walked up to her and sat a few feet away from her. She stared back at me. Not with love, nor with curiosity, but with a strange sadness, sadness that you feel when while watching a movie that you suddenly realize it’s going to end badly, inevitably.", he said with a finality.

"And you just sat there, staring at her. Oh dadu you are spoilsport."

"I did not; I went up to her and tried to say something to her in English. But neither did I understand what I said, nor did she. We just stood there smiling at each other in a desperate way to express ourselves."

"When was the first time you formally talked with her?"

"Never, 2 years later I married Asheema. And somewhere in between Amelia stopped coming to park. I searched for her, but somehow I always wanted to not find her. I told my mother about her the night before of my marriage. And her hysterical laughter still rings in my ears. Leaving my room she said you could have told me earlier, I uselessly wasted so many times to find you a milky fair wife. And she left."

I was quiet for long and for some reason even he was, I could see him loosing the sudden sparkle from eyes and clouds of uncertainty covering him all over again.

The silence was broken when my grandmother, Asheema shouted from her room,

"Won’t you go for your bath today, or are you waiting for the sun to set. I am not going to take care of you if you catch cold this time. It’s just this bad habit of yours, uff baba..."

He smiled at me but a kind of smile that lost the personal feeling it had few minutes ago. Hopping on one leg he went on his way to bathroom.

I could hear him cursing under his breath, "This arthritis will kill me someday"

My grandfather is a schizophrenic patient for the past 10 years.

The truth is he was a small time clerk at an English Oil Mill. He could never look into the eye of his English boss. He always hid himself in the crowd. He never owned a motorcycle or a car. And courage always failed him. He married the only woman he knew in his life, his childhood playmate and his only love Asheema. If anyone asks me to say something significant about him, I will be at loss of words. He always has been that unknown face that makes the crowd, nothing more, and nothing less.

But is it really the truth, because last time I checked truth is what I or we conceive to be true and for my grandfather there are many truths and all of them are true on a particular day and false on other days. And with help of this array of truths he can live so many lives that most successful people cannot dream of.

Given a choice, what would I choose a constant realization of what I could not become or an alternate reality where all my whims and fancies are real to me? I don’t know, but the possibility is surely exciting.

I glanced at the back page of the newspaper lying on the armchair. HBO is screening a new movie on their Friday Premiere at 9, "Amelia"

"As the present now
Will later be past
The order is
Rapidly fadin'.
And the first one now
Will later be last
For the times they are a-changin' "

-Times they are a-changin', Bob Dylan

P.S: Finally I finished a post successfully... :) laziness and winter are bad combination i tell you.

About the story, it is a pure work of fiction and has nothing to do with any real person. But I imagined my grandfather while writing this post so in a way its a dedication to him, the bravest man I have known. Again the conversations did not had the eloquence I intended, so critical opinions are wholeheartedly invited.

Also I like to point out the constantly changing timeline spanning over adolescence and youth alternately of the flashback was intentional because schizophrenic patients cant follow a fixed timeline in their imaginations.

Hopefully I can do justice to my blog more in the coming Happy New Year to all of you!! :D

Sunday, October 31, 2010

..and a coffee with extra cream

The ashtray was overflowing with cigarettes stubs. Some burned, some crushed and scattered like the half burned hands and limbs of the unclaimed body pile in Municipality Incineration ground. The thought always gravely disturbed me.

The evening crowd started to pour in at Coffee House. The day has lashed at them, but yet again they have survived and as if to celebrate another victory of survival they gathered over a cup of coffee. The college students of Presidency were laughing hysterically at one corner huddled in their group and the grey haired bureaucrats mused over politics and diabetes. The waiters visibly tired and disinterested over the meagre tips were moving like zombies in the labyrinth of the tables and misplaced chairs. And in midst of all these the big portrait of Rabindranath stood silently and stared right through us to an unknown distant.

In the left corner I sat on my 4 foot by 4 foot table decorated with a glass of water and my lonely ashtray. By now the cigarette smoke was slowly engulfing the high ceilings and burning nicotine slowly numbed my senses that I could no longer smell the fresh winter breeze outside. It always feels good to be invisible in the crowd, to see life from a distance, to see happiness from a distance so that you can’t touch it and ruin the moment. Maybe this is what life is supposed to mean, a cup of coffee in a winter evening and an occasional cigarette. Maybe there is no higher meaning. No higher thought. Maybe even no god. It’s just us alone in a lonely planet, a mistake, a miracle.

What if there is no heaven? No one waiting at the pearly gates. If everything is just a myth. The fountains of youth, the happiness, and the virgins. What if there are no 72 virgins awaiting us but it’s just an endless void.

I shuddered at the thought. Commander-Sir has told me again and again that god tests his chosen disciple with impure thoughts and one should not give in to such feelings. How could I lose my self control so easily? It has to be done for the greater good. I took my handkerchief and slowly slid it inside the plaster casing over my belly to wipe of the accumulated sweat.

They said it was a safe explosive, but it still isn’t a comforting thought to sit strapped with half a kilo of strapped C4 RDX explosive. I mentally repeated the instructions, clip the electrodes, punch in inside the C4 and for the last 2 minutes pray to Holy God, because I am lucky enough to be the chosen one, but am I?

"May I join you if you don’t mind?" She interrupted

"Ye..Yeas...Yes Sure", I said spontaneously as if out of control. Last thing I needed was someone sitting close to me and getting suspicious.

She was not beautiful, but she was comforting. She has a calmness inside her that always makes you feel good.

"So you are an activist?"

"What gave me away?" She said with a fake amusement.

"The book on History of Communism to begin with. But isn’t it a sinking ship. It’s a lost cause I presume"

She smirked, the kind a mother smile when her kid asks her the most innocent question in a serious manner.

"Bapi Da, 1 coffee and 1 sandwich. Should I order something for you too?"

I stared amused at the waiter who till now so conveniently ignored me and suddenly revived his interest in his job.

"No, I am already late. I should have left early" I said to her but more to myself.

"Do you know in Rome, gladiators used to fight animals? Yes, its brave and few did manage to kill the beasts. But most died a pathetic death", she said staring right through me with those fiery kajal lined eyes.

"Not that I approve of it, but yes I have heard about such stuff. But weren’t they forced to fight"

"Yes they were. But my point is, faced by impossible odds for being torn apart by beasts, won’t you just gift yourself with a peaceful death of suicide.Isnt it more logical?"

I smiled at the trap of words I walked into, “Yes, I guess so"

"Yes communism is a sinking ship. But if the other option is to drown in the waters of this so called democracy. I will take chances with mending holes in my ship."

"But what’s in it for you. What will you achieve?" I said a bit arrogantly.

"Tell me what you achieve by a cup of coffee and a handful of cigarettes. They are certainly not to satiate your hunger is it?"

"No but it at least gives me pleasure, which I feel is important"

"Exactly, pleasure. Pleasure is only thing apart from need that forces us to do things. Maybe I need a good job or a nice salary. But I don’t find pleasure in something I don’t believe in. You believe in your cup of coffee and I believe in equality or call it communism maybe even naxalism"

"Do you know I am a Muslim", I said as if to dare her. I always found it amusing to see how people reacted when I said my name. In their fake mask of secularism, they always squirmed a bit, their voice turned softer, and a bit more cordial, with a hint of pity.

"No I did not know that, nor could have guessed.
But if you think that your religion defines you, then I am glad to know you are Muslim"

"No, my religion does not. But what does is the fact that I grew up in a slum listening fairy tale stories of the lost riches before partition. What defines me is the fact that I am tired of feeling scared of any person staring at me. What defines me is how you people unashamed take the liberty to judge me." The words flowed out of me, as if escaping a life sentence inside my mind.

She still retained the smirk, the smile, which now felt like a mockery, mockery of my exposed emotions.

"But are you not changing that definition. I think you are scared of revolution, scared of struggle isn’t it. So I guess you are even scared of changing that definition."

"I am not scared of changing it. I am just scared, if I am following the right way to change it. I am scared that maybe in process of changing my definition, I will lose touch with my goal."

"But the path is not important. What important is the end, or at least hope of the end. Do you know what the difference between hopes and dreams is? Dream is a romanticism of future, but hope is need of future. Have you lost hope?"

A thin array of wrinkles of worry appeared on her forehead like a rippled sand on river shore. A harmony in noise.

"No, certainly not. But I have lost trust. Trust in humanity. I have lost trust in right and wrong. I don’t even trust judgement. Does that make me inhuman?"

"Yes, I guess that does. But humanity is always being a myth to hide our selfish self. We are scared of chaos inside us. Hence the veil of sanity", she said in a sad melancholic way, as if reflecting some forgotten past.

Then as if suddenly realising the flimsiness of the surroundings she smiled and started picking up her bag.

"Care to join me to the Metro Station? You seem quite lonely and a little bit sad. I guess it’s the peeling paints on the walls of Coffee House"

I smiled as if hide my emotions.

"Yes this walls are old, even the fans needs some rest. They do look tired, don’t they? Nah!! You carry on. Maybe I should start changing the system with some renovations out here" I smiled a satisfied smile first time in ages.

Bapi da came running as she put the money in his pocket. The extra tip was visible excess and the smile of Bapi da told why madam got better treatment.

"Hey, you haven’t told your name?" she shouted over the hum and bustle of crowd near the door.

"Neither have you, but I guess that is not important" I retorted.

"Hey! By the way, you know we are not much different, we both hate the system to such an extent that we believe, whatever is on the other side of this life, is at least better than what we have now!" I shouted with a rising excitement

She smiled her first genuine smile and walked down the stairs.

The evening breeze has turned chilly and I had forgotten my sweater.


She did not know how long she lay on the sidewalk. It was like a sudden gust of hot wind, a desert storm in winter night that swept her off her feet. The distinct screech in her ears deafened her from all the scream and chaos, giving her much needed moment of peace.

She closed her eyes to rest as the peeling walls of Coffee House burned in a cold silent night and hands and limbs were strewn across like an overturned ashtray full of cigarette stubs. The irony.

"When It's Time To Live And Let Die

And You Can't Get Another Try

Something Inside This Heart Has Died

You're In Ruins"

-21 Guns, Greenday

P.S: 1 Post in 2 months is pathetic, and yes i know it. But when life itself is pathetic cant exactly blame my blog. I hate the word writers block...coz i m not even a writer enough to have a block...but sometime its a comforting excuse..isnt it?

I myself think conversations could have been a bit more deeper...but I refrain from editing it, coz apart from being just a fiction, it has bit of my personal views as well.... As always let me know ur honest opinions....but that doesnt means u will be outright brutal :P

I am not stereotyping anyone here and if anyone finds this post offensive in any manner do let me know...i will amend...just dont kill me without giving me a chance to explain myself :|

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

A stranger, an old whore and a city to die

I am going to tell you a story. I guess that makes me the narrator. I always like being the narrator. Because then I can be god. I can be omnipresent, in and around my characters, my protagonist. It is appeasing to see the dilemma of my protagonist, his tears, his amused smile, because he has no idea how it’s going to end, his story is going to end. I am the one who peels it skin by skin.

It’s late in central Calcutta. Shovabazar traffic is thin. The street lights sprayed its orange light on the rain washed streets. The uninhabited Rajbari cries silently in the nostalgia of its lost grandeur. The rikshawallas were sleeping in the shadow of their hand-pulled rickshaw to find peace in the darkness of its shadow. Mongrels tired of fighting over the city roughage also curled up to hide their face under their half filled bellies. Chotka is again drunk today, sat by the lamppost singing songs of Dev Anand and Uttam Kumar. And I stand on top of those depilated buildings of English-era that serves as slum in today's world. Its high ceiling rooms partitioned by cheap cardboard to give them fake privacies often violated by the small holes at the edges.

But they don’t concern me as I stood on the roof and saw my protagonist down on the street. In the stillness of the night, he walked with a hunger in his eyes. Such was the longing that it showed as pain on his face. His pale face and his black eyes. He walked carefully avoiding the glare of the street lights, as if the light intrudes his dark inner privacy. His long overcoat scraped the dirt of the footpath, making noise as if a snake slithered.

"Ohh look who is sad, should I make you happy", she snickered.

She was squatting under the closed shutters of the Homeopathic shop. Hidden in the darkness she was witnessing the nakedness of the city under the neon lights.

He stopped for a bit to find the source of sound. And abruptly without raising his face, he quickened his pace.

She smiled at herself. It was Monday night. Less business. Apparently most of them are religious enough to abhor non-veg and women for 1 day. They thought that made god happy. If only god cared.

But the nervousness in his eyes betrayed him. She could sense he needed her. She has got her prey for the night.

"It is indecent to ignore a lonely woman in such a dark night", she shouted back.

He turned and looked at her for the first time.
The kajal and the foundation did a very bad job hiding the visible wrinkles of the onset of old age. The red lipstick, the kind they sell on local trains was smudged at the corner of her lips that now smiled broadly at him. The thinning hair overflowed behind her.

Her fake chiffon, with the silver glitter was like a distant city skyline of high-rises. The deliberately pulled down sari oozed out her ample cleavage, where the sweat and talcum made ripple patterns as if to camouflage her identity.

"It’s a very dark city, the kind that kills you. Kids like you shouldn’t be roaming around alone. Let me invite you to my place, it’s just around the corner”, she declared mockingly

"No thank you, please don’t bother me", he tried to squeeze out the words so it does not betray his growing pain.

The hunger was not spreading throughout his body. The pale skin felt like parched earth in mid July summer in Gujarat.

An uncontrollable giggle erupted from her, echoing in the darkness around her.

"Am I bothering you? I don’t think you are roaming in the darkest alleys of Calcutta in the dead of night, in search of god"

She regretted it as soon as she said. She can’t afford to lose his only hope of income. If she doesn’t pay Rana da in the morning, he will again beat her. For the past few months she is losing deadlines. Maybe old age is forcing her into early retirement.

"I like you kid. Tell you what. I will give a discount rate. Come with me. Haven’t you heard some sick man is killing off beggars and lepers on the street? This city is drowning in blood and filth"

This time he sniggered.

"This city is not drowning in blood. It is getting drained of blood"

He could smell her blood, gushing though her veins like a whirlpool. He could almost feel the warmth of her body engulfing him.

But he knew he could not do it. Those beggars were different. When he looked into their eyes for the last time, he could see the gratitude they felt of being relieved of this punishment of life. He just helped them, but I guess people don’t understand that.

But she is different. She is fresh; there is something about her that repeatedly says she has not lost hope on life. She is the warrior-kind.

"You cannot satiate my hunger. Leave me alone", he was getting tired of his efforts to save her from himself.

"Is it so? Kid. There is no hunger in a man which I can’t fulfil. When after a day filled with hypocrisy, men comes to this underbelly of the city, I have fulfilled their true animal hunger"

"What if I say, I want to slowly dig my fangs in on the soft and moist skin, below you ears, and drain you of every bit of life you have inside you. SO that you are left behind as a dry and lifeless body and a bad aftertaste in my mouth.” he sniggered.

"Hah! You have to pay me double than. My aftertaste is worth it", she tried to be bold, to hide the uneasiness building inside her.

"You don’t get it do you? None of you humans ever get it. I did not kill them; those amputated pathetic creatures, which you "humans" shunned out of your brightly lit high-rises. I just sucked their life out of them because it fulfilled my hunger of blood and their hunger of death"

The horror slowly descended in her eyes. The first beads of perspiration started to appear from nowhere on her forehead. He could sense the slight shifting of her foot, which looked like as if she was floating away from him.

He smiled satisfyingly, he liked predictable people. Who feared him and loathed him. He liked to act monster in a world of monsters.

She did try her fair chance to run, but no one can really run away. I saw as he dug his fangs on her soft flesh. I also saw the first trickle of blood from the corner of his lips. I did not missed to see the teardrop rolling down his cheek, because he knew he liked her, he knew she did not deserved it.

But still he could not let her go. Maybe he too was selfish. Maybe there is a little bit of human hypocrisy in every vampire.

P.S : Before u judge me, I would like to mention that I am trying to write in a new kind of fiction which has active narration, as in the narrator is the part of the story and also some dark sarcasm. Hence I felt pretty awkward writing it out of my comfort zone and cant quite judge the quality of it....So i request the junta to let me kno dere honest opinions in the comment section :)

Btw sorry for being such lousy and irregular regarding my post.....its not dat i am busy or sumthing...i m just plain lazy!!! :P

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

One day at a time

There was no clock in the room. So there was no time. Just an abandoned sense of passage of time. As world took baby steps toward the unwanted future, I lay still on my bed, white bedsheet with dark patches of midnight drool of last night. A polaroid. A snapshot.

I kept gazing at the upturned steel glass on the table. Its curved surface gave a distorted reflection of the world outside my window. My fenced window. My barbed window. My false window. The trees were upturned and strangely elongated. The ground blue as sky. Skies green and brown. And the inverted people, with their inverted logic and inverted sense of well being on the streets. i dare not see outside the window, just in case, the reflection may turn out to be true indeed. So I stare at the glass. The steel glass.

He was silent for long time. I turned my gaze to see if he was even there or not. But there he was reclining on the lime white washed wall, lost in his own thoughts. I repeatedly told him to stay away from the walls else the lime dust will ruin his clothes. He can be stubborn sometimes you know. I always wondered how he can stay so well dressed and clean shaved all the times. He says its but natural to him.

He chuckled, as he caught me staring.

"Maybe next time I will get you some of my clothes. Would you like that?"

"Maybe next time you stop meeting me forever. I would love that”, I said.

"Will you. Others outside who does not want us to stay together will love that. But I guess you won’t. You know i will get away from your life if you truly mean it."

"Ohh don’t you patronize yourself. I can survive without you. You need me as much I need you."

But inside we both knew how false it was. He did not need me a bit. But chances of my survival without him were bleak.

He looked quite a bit like me. Means if I get rid of my overgrown beard and maybe get a bit in shape, I am sure you can confuse between two of us. Maybe that’s why I trusted him from the beginning. It may sound odd but if someday you meet yourself on street and he asks you for help, would you just walk away. You may sure feel odd, but I bet you will end up helping him.

Our first meeting was equally strange. To tell the truth I don’t exactly remember how we met. All I remember was me sitting on the stone steps of Babughat, the river water few feet away spreading a humid and strangely comforting stench. Stench of human sweat that has over the years replaced the sweet water of the river i suppose.

And there he was, sitting two steps above me, even then smiling, as if he knew every thought that crossed my mind.

"You can try, but I doubt in such a crowded time they will let you drown. Someone will rescue you", he had said.

"I don’t want to die", I said. I was always bad with sarcastic comebacks.

"Neither do I. But isn’t it a discomfort knowing that, even if I wanted to, these strangers won’t even let me die."

I knew I would like him then and there.

The sky was suddenly darkening. Maybe a monsoon storm approached. Or maybe simply sun got tired of humanity and decided to abandon. But I will have to wait till tomorrow to know for sure.

I turned on my bed, now facing him, no actually, now confronting him.

"They think I am insane" I said, period.

"Are you?"

"Am I?"

"Insane, a person who is no more sane, that is funny", he said.

"How come that’s even funny"

"No the funny part is sane is also defined as a person who is not insane. No one cared enough to identify the differences. Maybe there are no differences. You may as well be sane and they be insane if you like that."

I felt a bit better. Maybe even they did. Maybe that’s why they mark me as insane, because it appeased their sanity, their make believe sanity.
Sanity is relative. Einstein missed it. I did not.

Somewhere a bell rang. Its high pitched gong absorbed by the thick walls and metamorphed into a soft clank. He gave me the goodbye smile. You know the smile where the happiness is just a veil to cover the pity in their eyes. A false assurance. A fake sense of understanding. A good riddance.

I looked again at the steel glass, the reflection of the distorted world. A world that promised not to judge my sanity, because everyone there is just as distorted as I am. A world free of you all, but filled with your ugly reflections.

The door unlocked from outside and the nurse walked in with my blue green pills. One pill for hypocrisy, one for a mock smile and the third one, a little big to make me differentiate between real and fake.

Nowadays I sometime do wonder if the door stays locked, how can he come inside to talk to me, but never stay to meet others. Maybe he just has the key. The key to my room. The key to me.

"I’m on the outside
I’m looking in ,

I can see through you
See your true colors,

Cause inside you’re ugly
You’re ugly like me"

-Outside, Staind

Thursday, June 3, 2010

Purple dreams, Red realities

My blood is red

In the dim haze of the streetlight I checked my syringe. The blue liquid glazed in the yellow glare of distant light. With a hard learned accuracy I stuck it in my veins. I pulled the piston back with a jerk. The red blood slowly diffused as if conquering the blue bliss. And then it turned purple. I pushed it back in one go!

My blood is purple

The comforting numbness took over the control. I lay there reclining by the lamp post, in the darkness of the broken bulb. Slowly it all turned bright with a new aura. Distant voices rose and faded by my side. Words that I could not decipher, meanings I could not understand.

As I lay there in the darkest alley of the posh Park Street of Calcutta, I heard the distant laughter of enjoyment, glamour of riches, whispers of scandals, sighs of lust and occasional squeals of pain and hunger that goes unheard.

In distance I saw him slumped over the sidewalk. The legs floating lifelessly on the overflowing drain of filth and lies.

A closer look at his silhouette revealed that he was a she. Her slender legs and lean arms betraying her feminity. Her hands in a strange melancholy seemed like a call for help.

I pushed pulled and ultimately jerked my left-of-self and staggered towards her.

Around me people lay in their own darkness escaping pain and reality, maybe even waiting on Armageddon.
But she seemed to call me somehow.

I turned her slumped shoulders towards the light. In the yellow glare, her face seemed to lose its colour to desperation. I reached out for her pulse.

They say drug peddlers can find your veins and pulse faster than a surgeon. I smirked at the thought.

Her pulse confirmed my fears. The lub dub of her blood was losing its existence every minute.

The sudden panic overflowed my senses. The haziness cleared up and reality was pouring in on me.

I slapped her hard in desperation. She faintly opened her eyes and looked at me. She tried hard but words failed her.

But that look placed all her trust with me as if she gave her responsibility to me from then on. Then she slowly lost consciousness losing herself to deep sleep.

Suddenly I needed to do something, maybe its long time since anyone trusted me, and anyone believed me.

She gave me the importance that my world and my parents always failed to acknowledge. I was always the one who lost his way and hence could not be trusted.

Her trust on me gave me that lost reason.

I scooped her and lifted her in my arms. For a moment I was amazed by the fragility, the lightness of her as if the burdens of life were slowly dropping off her, letting her go.

I clutched her hard, in a way to stop her from flying away.

In the blurred glitter I ran out of the alley. Suddenly the darkness pulled its blanket of me and like a rabbit of a magician's hat I was out; I was out naked in the world of mute audience.

I stood with her on the crossing of Park Street and shouted for a cab. In the glare of the man made sun, I felt naked, I felt open and scared. People passing sneered and some showed fake detachment. We are a generation of voyeurs, who enjoy misery as their daily evening show when it is on the other side of television. Death is a good entertainment.

The cabs getting hint of my evident poverty stayed away. I was the clown and she was my prop. We had to perform.

I shouted and frantically waved for a cab. One stopped. I looked at him; he motioned me to get in.

I carefully laid her and climbed inside. Her head rested on my lap. The irregular pulse on the back of her neck passed current of hope through my thigh.

I looked at her face for the first time in clear light. A small round face of middle class dreams that somewhere in the sin city lost its way. Now under the dab of cheap Chandni Chowk makeup it hid in the dark alleys. The paleness suggested her fondness or maybe her need of the veil of darkness.
But still under that flashy brown-red lip gloss and double layer of kajal, there were those large Bengali eyes, a faded rosy lips and a dusky beauty.

She was an evening sky covered in clouds of south-west monsoon. She was Meghna. At least for me she was.

And in a moment I wanted to hold her hands when she woke up, and never leave them again.

In the thinning traffic of late night diners and half drunk truck drivers we approached Medical College Hospital. The smell of swabs, antiseptic, pus and death engulfed me.

I dragged her out in my arms. The driver gave an understanding nod that he will wait. I looked around for help.

The porters in stained uniforms turned their gazes and got themselves busy. I walked inside the emergency with her in my arms.

The sadness and blood were strewn aplenty. Diseases were overflowing everywhere. Doctors stayed in their AC cooled cabins and in the cover of darkness the attendants played their little game of doctor-doctor to the winding queue of injured patients.

I went in and put her in the sofa of the emergency room. The attendant with look of anger and self importance came and looked at her. He checked at the pulse and saw the numerous punch holes of self injected syringes.

He rushed for the doctor. The doctor came up and gave a look of pity and disgust to her. We were the lower creatures of the society who are loser by the social standard to those hypocrites of the high rises.

She was for cheap pleasures maybe; she was not for treatment and caring.

He looked up to me and said in a monotonous tone, "So shall I call the cops?"

I said, "But wouldn't that mean decrease in your share of income!"

He gave me the look of hatred and said, "You people ruin the youth"

I smirked, "Sorry!! But it’s you who ruin the youth, we just provide a cushion for their fallback when u shun them with your high ambitions and frivolous dreams"

With a hopeless sigh, he said, "It’s a lot of risk to treat without police consent, 5000 would suffice"

I took out whatever was left in my wallet, I laid it in his hands, and a mere 2000 rupees did suffice his need.

After all we all bargained for our skills, we all are a pimp of our art.

I sat beside her and touched her cold cheeks; I whispered in her ears that I will be by her side.

They asked me her name, I said, "Meghna, it’s always Meghna"

I sat outside till the morning, the darkness was diminishing.

Stream of people flowed in and out, some dead some alive, and few like me stuck between the two.

In the morning I went inside and enquired about her, the nurse went through the file and replied nonchalantly, "Meghna, Expired, before admission" and got herself busy with other files.

I don’t remember how long I stood there. And when my legs got tired I took the bus to esplanade.

I dint cried, but all I remembered was the fainting warmth of her cheek when I bid her goodbye.

They say unclaimed bodies are burnt after 14 days in morgue. So they say!

But in the rising sun, I promised Meghna that I will climb my way out of darkness, I will give myself a second chance.

My blood is purple

My blood will again be red! Someday.

P.S: Am in Hyderabad babey!!! And slowly but surely getting into the tune of dis place....again a crappy fiction for u ppl to deal with....well actually i dint myself liked the flow of the story much...but the whole fiction was a result of discharge of anger on the mismanagement of hospitals which i personally faced a hell lot of times!!

Damn I am one of those once in a blue moon bloggers now!!! Hope to get back on track soon!!!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

B.O.R.E.D help me!!!

Now what is the limit of getting bored...means when can you really tell that you are bored

is it when you sleep more than you remain awake in a day?? yea..hav done dat...but no dats not the benchmark!!!

is it when your eating schedule is centered more around to pass time instead of pacifying your hunger??...

is it when you watch back to back 2 good porn?? lemme tell you..the goodness of a porn is decided by the fact that how less amount of time you "need" to watch the porn...if its less than 5 mins..dude work on your system...if its less than 15 mins...yea..ur in my league...if less than 30 mins...ur GOD!!...if less than 40 mins...u need god!!
so 2 good porn back to back is really sad!!!

is it when you actually refresh your face book home page more than twice per minute??...oh yea...i am telling u...dis is desperate!!

thou you shud kno that options like finishing seasons of series and watchin 3 back to back movies are already done...and they feature at much more insignificant position

hung around pubs and bars alone for long enuf to ppl start to wonder abt my intentions!!

oh yea!!! now again...can anyone explain...why I am frisked more at malls than my friends...kk I get da fact my beard can compete wid Osama's(ahh!! dunt stare like dat...its a metaphor)

nyways..back to boredom!!

now I have heard and read writers and who-even-read's-them-poets blame their success on the leisure and boredom they undergo to let their mind roam in another level of intelligence(rocket science wala intelligence is 1st floor...dis special wala is 2nd floor of intelligence)...

but I tell u...ideas comes to me during pressure periods...cummon dunt tell me that microcontroller pin diagram doesnt reminds you of strip tease dancers???

kk..everything reminds me of strip tease dancers...but I am sure you also have your own happy place where you can go only when you are under pressure...

and guess what...just as soon as my friends will get over their exam...i will be away for 2 months to Hyderabad!!!!!!

now I am not exaggerating..but even Armstrong had Aldrin with him on moon!!!

how are you supposed to survive all alone in a city working on some project at a godforsaken out of civilisation college campus!!!

so I cry out to the internet community...if anyone reading this blog is as bored as me and is from hyderabad...please rescue me from this loneliness..and well less dramatically show me around the city!!!ahh...whom am I me around the pubs too if you can!!! (dammit there there is no doe-eyed emoticons)

and hey!! I went to my old school...and damn it was emosanal!! and I now sooo miss school life!!!and ad my creativity is on a medical leave...i leave you with this rhymy poem I wrote!!! :D deal wid it!!

A bit of me died,
when dad said goodbye.
In a pricky tight uniform,
I clutched the school gates and cried.

A bit of me died,
in my first school fight.
My first torn button,
my first bruised thigh.

A bit of me died,
when i first wet my pants,
with eyes lowered,
and shame realized.

A bit of me died,
with bits of broken glass pane.
An abandoned cricket ball.
Under the principal's glare.

A bit of me died,
of anxiety of delight,
of those precious 60 minutes.
When i first bunked my class to hide.

A bit of me died,
choking on my first stolen tiffin.
On the dry cold breads.
and sweetness of sly.

A bit of me died,
when i saw her smile.
My first love letter,
my first rejection alike.

A bit of me died,
in guessing the words,
and muted silencies,
of flash of genius in dumb charades.

A bit of me died,
in wide eyed awe.
on those slipping chiffons,
of my english teacher.

A bit of me died,
on the farewell dance.
In illusion of good riddance,
in search of a better world outside.

The rest of me that survived,
is endangered in the fight of might.
Wants to go back in a reverse drive.
Inside those closed walls,
where i am my innocence personified...

P.S: Hey!!! its my half random post after like months!!!.... :)

P.P.S:Hope I can come up with something worthwhile soon :P

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Under the glare of Neon lights...

Many may not know but Jhontu da makes the best Jhal Muri in Calcutta. Maybe he doesn’t know himself. I wonder would that make him proud if he knew.

For 18 years Anindo have been a regular customer to him. On his way to Esplanade Tram Depot he always stops near the Grand Hotel junction and with a faint smile of acknowledgement Jhontu da gets busy to mix all those myriad flavours and a handful of Muri.

Extra Aam chutney and no green chillies. Green chillies cause acidity to Anindo. And after that as sun slowly sets behind Victoria Memorial, Anindo slowly walks toward Tram Depot. It was as if both sun and he knew what lies ahead in the darkness of the night and have stopped expecting miracles long ago.

TR-114.Thats his tram. For all these years he spent most of his evenings serpentining through the neon streets of Calcutta. But it still brought the same excitement inside him.

The soft hum and rattle of the tram, and the occasional electric flashes of the power line, still brings creates the same fervour inside him.


It was a summer evening of long lost year when Anindo saw her.

The evening twilight was losing battle with the growing glows of the street halogens. Both the bogies of the Tram were crowded. Last group of Office babus were in hurry to catch the last ferry to Howrah. And young couples were on their way to the evening show at Metro or Globe Theatre.

That was when Anindo saw her waving her hand frantically to stop the tram. She was wearing a dark yellow sari with maroon embroidery. The starch of the sari was long lost in day long perspiration. But still the folds of the aanchal was neatly held by hidden safety pin.

With eminent tiredness of the sultry day she climbed up the tram and took a window seat.There was a strange melancholy in her eyes. Or maybe it’s just how fatigue looks in those big black eyes. Anindo could see the beauty hidden under the sweat ridden face and beneath the wheatish complexion. It was a beauty that was losing battle to the dust and pollution of Calcutta.

In an instant Anindo knew, he was in love, and he regretted it.


She always wore 2 saris in rotation throughout the week and rotated the same combination of sari every 5 week. By now Anindo could successfully guess what she will wear that day. It was as if without any words they reached a mute agreement. A symphony. A routine.

Year have passed and seasons changed. Every cool breeze of evening reckoned the arriving monsoons. The rain washed streets of Chandni Chowk glittered in the glory of streetlight. Big black umbrellas and tiny pink umbrellas together made a cocoon for lover’s respite.

But today she forgot her umbrella. In the merciless streets of Calcutta Anindo saw her shivering in the chilly breeze. The wet sari was obscenely outlining her most intimate features.

A pang of jealousy passed through his spine for all those men whose eyes seemed to pierce her.

She dint even noticed. She was busy reading a obscure magazine made of cheap grey paper.


In some other year, it was winter in the city. The hazy sun in the evening Maidan failed to provide enough warmth. So the lovers found warmth in arms of each other. Safely wrapped in the descending fog, they dreamt of their happy future.

Government finally found out someone to blame the poor traffic management. In the soon arriving 21st century, trams were to be erased.

Roads were less and people were more. So government came up with a new plan. In the dark underground demon trains will ferry people through the gutters of the city.

Robi da says Doomsday is near. We are day by day moving nearer to hell. They are even naming those demon trains as Patal Rail.

Anindo's marriage was called off 4 days before the engagement. If trams are not there, how will he feed our daughter, they blamed.

Anindo was happy. Tightening his muffler a bit he rattled his tram forward. It was the festive season. Bakeries overflowed with sweet smell and spread it across the streets. Twinkling stars and garlands of light gave the dying city a new zeal to live.

She stood there with her friend and a packet of cheap oversweet fruit cakes. She looked at him and their eyes met.

Somewhere someone skipped a heartbeat. Her friend called out "Archana,Wont you come?"

And Archana climbed in.

Of course, she was Archana, he wondered. What else could she be? She justified the name, she justified the beauty behind it.


Spring was never a season of Calcutta. It mysteriously lost its glory in parts to winter and summer.

All that was left was a few weeks in end of February, when the Babus of Writer's building get the imperial ceiling fans cleaned up for the approaching summer.

The nights still held on to the winter chill.

Archana today sat just behind the driver's coach on the tram. And it was as if Anindo could smell her scent. The export quality roses of Barabazar lost their fragrance to her. It was a scent of a woman.

In the thinning traffic of College Street, Anindo turned to steal glances of her. Maybe he should approach her one day.

But she might get scared. She might even complain. He was nothing but a background prop in her world. Why would she care?

He looked back and she looked up. Their eyes met and recognised. It was gripping, those big black eyes. And then a faint smile of understanding appeared on her lips.

A lips discoloured by those chemical impregnated local lipsticks glittered with the colour of her smile.

It was an acknowledgement, of all those hidden glances over the years, of all those yearnings, of all those dreams that were to come true.

It was a smile of love. Of new promises to be made. Of new life to be led.

Moment broke with a loud shriek. A jolt shook the tram and few flares of electric discharge sprinkled in the streets from over head lines. Anindo held on the brake, and passengers bumped off their seats.

Many have heard of those moments when earth stand still. Today it did. Cars screeched to stop and people stood with open mouth. The breeze from the south was too scared to flow.

Anindo peeked from the window.

She must be 25-26, returning from college maybe. There was still a freshness of life in her face. Maybe death was even confused to engulf her.

There she lay in front of the tram. Eyes closed in a peaceful sleep, but the dark maroon blood overflowing through her nose betraying the illusion.

The brake was bit too late. Life slowly seeped out of her.

Last thing Anindo remembered was running frantically through the by lanes. Behind a reeking smell of a burning tram and a faint roar filled the air.

Anindo ran for his life. Ran till he was exhausted to the point of death. And then he lied down on the concrete streets of Calcutta. Under the glare of a neon light.


Today also Anindo finished his Jhal Muri. The sun has set but the evening glow persisted.

He started his tram. It rattled a bit and then got in rhythm and them started to roll slowly on tracks.

Anindo many times tried to recall the face of that girl. But oddly every time that face transformed into face of Archana.

Today also Archana climbed up the tram and sat behind Anindo. But Anindo looked straight.

His Archana was dead, or maybe his love was.

Love lost.

P.S: Ahh!! its been about 2 months I am off blogger. Sorry for the delay,to anyone who care :) Its a bit of a long apologies if u had to strain ur eye muscles longer.Let me know da guds and the bads in comments!!

P.P.S: Well I am myself not sure about the timeline of my story. But I assume I have tried to restrict it within late 70's to early 80's. Which was times way before I was born, and have no idea of.... so if by any chance u are resided in Calcutta during those let me know the authenticity of the descriptions i used!!