Such is life that from day you are born you are expected to achieve…. milestones which need to be reached…. your first cry… first milestone reached… your parents, the Doctor, the nurse all are happy…. baby is breathing… There are achievement goals throughout life… How well did you do your high school …. what grades did you get…. which college did you attend. What did you achieve in your life?
In 1513 one book (The Prince by Niccolo Machiavelli) was written and it got published in 1532 but in Politics we still have Machiavellian way which almost all politicians without boundaries use to gain power and then they are said to have achieved something in life
If you are gentle without malice towards anyone…. you are a commoner and you will one day close your eyes for ever without having any achievement.
My wife was going to take the morning flight and my father was to return by the afternoon flight, so it was my duty to see off one and receive the other. Well my wife was carrying lots of make up material, she being a professional make up artist. My father is nearly 80 though he is still ramrod straight and very agile and fit but age makes you dependent on someone or other. So there was lot of time between one departing and the other flying in which meant a travel of nearly 30 km to and fro from the city. To add on it being a Saturday I had a lot of time to myself. I decided the most fruitful way to spend that amount of time is to be with books, so fro Airport I went to International Kolkata Book Fair Grounds.
One of the favourite places to be in the spring just after mild winter of Kolkata is Kolkata Book fair. The fair was earlier organised in Heart of the City which is also known as Lungs of Kolkata, the Maidan. Then it shifted to Milan Mela near Eastern Metropolitan Bye-Pass and now it is in Salt Lake, Kolkata or better Bidhannagar. The fair is organised by Publishers and Book Sellers Guild and is the Worlds Largest Book Fair with this year’s Theme Country being Guatemala. This book fair concept started in 1974 and has continued to grow into the biggest Book Fair in the world with 2 million footfalls and with 600 book stalls and nearly 200 little magazine stalls. It did a business of nearly 24 million rupees. Different countries participated wither Stalls mainly from USA, UK, France, Japan, Russia, Vietnam, Nepal, Latin American Pavilion, Bangladesh and for the first time Iran too participated.
I was roaming from one book stall to another in the mazes between the stalls. You always need a map of the Book Fair to be handy with you otherwise one can get lost amongst the stalls. Most difficult part with nearly a dozen Gates to enter and exit, you may get out from a wrong gate then one will have to walk for nearly 2 -3 km to reach the Parking Lot. The smell of new books is something every youngster enjoyed in the growing up years. Then we only had bulky books to read and no Kindle to make it easy for you. I still enjoy reading books rather then reading it on Kindle. The best part of Book fair is that you can see renowned Authors signing their copy, folk music being presented in open air theatres and of-course fragrance of freshly cooked food from some demarcated stalls. I was loitering around when I saw in front of one stall one well known author was just standing outside and signing the copies of his book for whoever cared. Understandably he was just visiting the Book Fair on his own and had been cornered by his readers. I had read some of his works so I also wanted a signed copy.I rushed into a stall to get his book and then went to the Author. By then a long queue of his book lovers had been formed, I stood patiently. After nearly 10 minutes my turn came and he took the book from my hand to sign the copy. I just said to him you are the reason I learnt the language, he looked up. Actually I was born in north Part of India and other English, Hindi was the language I studied in linguistic. However when I came to Kolkata Bengali was the lingua-franca. My classmates, who later became good friends, were very interested in one Bengali Novel and there were no translations available then. So I learnt the language to read and understand. It opened to me different flavour of literature where one could just describe mundane daily life with such great ease without being elite and yet have that elitist style. I told him all the same and he gave such a shy smile and instead me saying ‘Thank You’ for signing my copy he said, “Thank You.”
Normally the word Chivalry means being very polite, honest and having kind behaviour towards women. Come on I don’t get chance to be chivalrous nowadays as I meet so few women because when I am away from my cubicle either I am glued to my android and when I am not I see the lady passing by glued to hers. Either we are on Facebook or twitter or whats-app or checking mail. Most of the days I return home to find my wife either busy chatting with her friends or busy watching something or other on you tube. By the time I sit down I am already checking for messages or emails, then while looking at the phone we take our dinner in silence, smiling in-between at the funny jokes sent by pals whom I may or may not meet ever.
Other day in the office I saw Sara walking in so just opened the door waiting for her to walk in. She was glued to her android and on reaching near the door tried to find the knob to open the door which naturally she could not find as I was holding the door ajar. Shocked she looked up and with a quizzical face asked me why I was holding the door open. I said, ” So that you can walk in without having to take the trouble of opening the door.”
“Oh! Thank you.”
She walked in with a wry smile. Luckily she is my daughter’s friend so I am sure she didn’t react in another way.
Actually Chivalry still exists but not in the sense it was earlier. Nowadays most of the men and women treat each other as equal so very few ladies expect that chivalrous attitude. I and Uma don’t do it the same way we did it earlier. When we got married I was expected to work and she was expected to be the homemaker. Now she has her own small business which makes more money then I make in my job. I still open the door of the car or help her to sit in the restaurant, as that is what I have learnt in my younger days. She was expected cook the most delicious dinner and serve it hot when I return home tired after a days work. Nowadays either we return together or some days I return before her and so it is my job to fix the dinner and lay it once she returns. Earlier I used to get chocolates for her, she liked them a lot but nowadays she gets something or other for me. That’s being Chivalrous.
Everytime something dangerous or terrible happens you have someone or other claiming that they has premonition. I also have premonitions…. only they are yet to come true.
Other day while in my cot I saw that Steven Spielberg was begging to me act in his next movie and from that day I have been waiting for his call. My wife had the sequel premonition where we were going from one show to another across the world with paparazzi following. Come on guys if anyone of you knows Spielberg please tell him about my premonition so that it can come true.
via Daily Prompt: Premonition
Life is ever changing, nothing is constant. Our cells multiply in few years time we are made of different set of cells then we are born with, and I am talking about neart thirteen trillion cells that we are made up of. Our knowledge about everything changes as we grow up, newer frontiers of scientific knowledge makes the whole Solar system look different from what we knew from our childhood. ‘Twinkle Twinkle little Star…. ‘ well now we know Stars are not little but many times the size of earth though the distance from us makes them appear small. Flat earth becomes round as we grow up, so everything changes.
Not true. The Politicians and their manipulative game stays same in the democratic world in most of the country. Whatever they are doing is for good of the country and whatever the predecessor form different party was for them to make money. The words are moulded differently but the inner meaning remains the same and that is true for most of them.
via Daily Prompt: Constant
The word courage almost always gives a picture of some braveheart fighting odds which insurmountable to rescue or save those who are helpless. That is the view which was what I believed till I saw her, the frail old woman.
Her husband died in there bedroom suffering from severe breathlessness. Every possible medical equipment was there, only she did not have the power to stop death. They were married for last 50 years. They had gone through the ups and downs of their life together, faced every adversity by leaning on each others shoulder. Even when their youngest daughter died accidently she and her husband stood by each other’s side like a rock. Now after such a long time the separation from a person who was no blood relative but much more close was so difficult.
Most of their married life they had lived in Shillong a high plateau, which is nearly 1496 metres above sea level, with its beautiful weather and now they shifted to Kolkata with its tropical weather hot summer humid climate it was difficult change after nearly thirty years. They constantly bickered on every small thing which to outsiders seemed difficult marriage. However when any one of them fell ill other one panicked which showed that they cared for each other, which is perhaps true reflection of real love. Love is not just romanticism or lusting for each other, it is being there for each other understanding the need without even asking. Love is taking responsibility.
The death of husband saw her getting quiet. She seemed to have lost her will to live. Her elder daughter was also busy with her life and she little time for her just widowed mother. They say time is the greatest healer of all. She had seen loss of her younger daughter and now at the age of 75 losing her husband of 50 years everybody thought would take her wish to live. She seemed to have become reclusive for the first few days then slowly she started talking to the neighbours returning back to life. A patient of Cardiac valve failure she had had open heart surgery nearly thirty years back and now after husband’s death the breathlessness seemed to have returned with full force.
Staying in a big house without anyone to look after her seemed too ironic for a woman who had been cared for half century and tackling the difficult periods breathlessness needed really courage and we thought the guys out in the field with gun or the disabled conquering the tough tasks are only courageous.
via Daily Prompt: Courage
I did not know the meaning of the word and so looked up the meaning and googled it and got the following
an unsophisticated person from a rural area; hick.
Example and the following came
“You know what you look like to me, with your good bag and your cheap shoes? You look like a rube. A well scrubbed, hustling rube with a little taste. Good nutrition’s given you some length of bone, but you’re not more than one generation from poor white trash, are you,
I wanted to see the synonyms and the following came
Synonyms for rude
adjective disrespectful, rough, abrupt, abusive, bad-mannered, barbarian, barbaric, barbarous, blunt, boorish, brusque, brutish, cheeky, churlish, coarse, crabbed, crude, curt just to name a few
Clearly this prompt has improved my vocabulary and after nearly twenty six years why wifey dear uses all those adjectives. However one thing is for sure that I am close to earth and have great potential to become a politician, as politician to grow you need to be a rube both in its noun and adjective form.
via Daily Prompt: Rube
In our school we had this ritual of final year batch being given a send off by the rest of the school. It was a kind of school fest where the Passing out group had to enact a drama. We amongst ourselves debated a lot and everybody had an idea which was outstanding. Somebody suggested we enact Pygmalion or Gift of Magi, then a group came up with the idea of writing our own story which would contain everything that we had in our mind regarding our life in the school. Problem was who would write the story and then make drama format. Whoever took the responsibility would have to give no less than three to four days and surely his or her study would suffer. To add on it we had to enact a drama in the language even understood by the younger students who were not very proficient in English.
At last we zeroed in on to Ramayan. It was easiest as it had clear message of triumph of Good over Evil and there were many war scenes which would keep the younger students glued to their seats. Then there was this Monkey God, Hanuman, who was clear indication of love of God towards all even the animal world. Hanuman is the greatest disciple of Lord Ram, God incarnate, which shows that devotees stature in the eyes of God was not due to the fact that you are a human being but more due to the fact how well you serve God. In a Ramayana Hanuman is mentioned as Lord Hanuman and he is a symbol of devotion and strength, to the younger kids he is also a symbol of comic relief. Ramayana is also known to almost everyone yet no one gets tired of listening or seeing it being enacted again and again. Infact in the ghats of Benaras it is enacted almost everyday and you will find a congregation wherever it is enacted. Every year in Northern India it is an annual festival during Dussehra and is enacted in Ram Leela grounds near Red Fort in New Delhi and almost every alley.
We rehearsed quite a few times and had our parts by heart. I being the muscular one and also apt in vault was given the role of Lord Hanuman. In Ramayana if anybody needs much make up then first is Lord Hanuman and second is Ravana, the demon king. The makeup incharge was Anjali, our classmate from humanities stream. She being a devout devotee of Lord Hanuman believed in Panchmukhi Hanuman (Hanuman with five faces). Since she could not fix more faces then the one that I had in original she decided to give five different shades, so that from every angle my face would look different. Being a sixteen year old like me then she was not that good and used some very permanent colours, which were not easy to clean.
So at the end of enacting the drama when everybody had changed to their normal dresses from the costumes that we had to wear during the drama, I was left alone with costume painted face rather than dress which remained for another two days.
via Daily Prompt: Costume
I woke up on hearing the shuffling sound which seemed like somebody was walking on our terrace. Just two days back my aunt had collapsed and died in her flat which was on ground floor. We stayed in first floor and there was no one else in the house other than me. At my age you are not afraid of ghosts anymore as you know that other than memory of the deceased nothing remains. The sound seemed so distant that you are bound to remember all the horror movies you have seen. Who could it be? A thief trying to get into the apartment block to steal or maybe somebody trying to scare me into selling the house so that some unscrupulous could make a highrise and earn huge profits. If it were some builder then the best way to first approach me with a good price. If it was the footsteps of the thief then the person must have been very clumsy because the sound had woken me up.
I tried to calm myself and got my searchlight nearby and also my mobile so that I could dial for help if required. The sound had stopped and slowly my taut nerves began to ease up a bit. After another possibly five minutes or so the there was no more sound made me sleepy again. The time of 2- 4 am is when we are into the deepest part of our sleep. Within next ten to fifteen minutes I had slipped back into the deepest sleep when again the sound of shuffling returned, loud enough to wake me up. Now I was afraid and wanted to ring the Police for help. Before calling Police I wanted to ascertain where the sound was coming from and the source. I crept out of my bed and barefooted walked to the adjacent room without making any sound as Hawai Slippers made a kind of shuffling sound which would have alerted the possible intruder. Despite no lights my eyes were accustomed to the placement of furniture and I did not want to attract the attention of the intruder if any. Mobile in my right hand and the search light, though switched off, in my left hand gave me the confidence I required. I searched all the places in the flat but there was no one. Now was the difficult part where I had to check the terrace and for that I would have to get of my flat. How safe was it I thought then my confidence on my ability to be stealthy overtook all my common precautions. I wanted to catch the thief single handedly and then handover him to police. It was a fool hardy plan which did not strike me.
I walked up the stairs making as little sound as possible and opened the door as quickly as I could to startle the thief. There was no one but the shuffling sound was now loud and clear. My heart skipped a few beats as fear crept into me. After perhaps decades I suspected the presence of ghost. Normally as a child you believe in ghost when you see all those horror movies but as you grow up the reality strikes. However on that dark terrace with no moon and the shuffling noise so near yet so far seemed so unsettling that I wanted to scream but my voice failed me. I even forgot that I was holding a search light in my left hand whose light would have dispelled both ghost or thief but here I was standing on the terrace in the month of December sweating profusely fearing the unseen. After sometime which seemed ages as the shuffling sound came nearer and nearer I somehow managed to switch on the search light. Lo !! It was the kitten that had got stuck in a brown paper bag which was moving on the terrace trying to free itself. I bent down and picked it up to get it out of the paper bag. The kitten ran back to one side of the terrace and I returned to my room after closing the door behind me. I went back to my bed smiling at myself on getting afraid of ghosts. What the hell can small shuffling sound and fear lurking in you can do.
via Daily Prompt: Suspicious
via Daily Prompt: Lecture
I don’t how many of you being love being lectured, I don’t. Worst part of a lecture is Lecturer, be it college or otherwise, is always condescending. He or she always assumes that the one being lectured is either naive or extremely stupid. As far as I am considered, though I am later, I don’t like being considered either an idiot or stupid.
I still remember college days, one day when during our Chemistry class I became a butt jokes for the whole class. It so happened that one of the Professors, whose shortened name was KB (just initials of his name) was taking our Organic Chemistry class. The sitting arrangement was gallery type and I was in one of the higher benches by the side of the window. I was peering out of the window, across the road there was a house in which a lady was laying ‘Bori’ ( is dried lentil dumpling popular in Bengali cuisine ). Those were designed in the shape of jewellery which is popularly known as ‘Goyna Bori’. I became so absorbed in seeing her laying those intricate pieces of beauty that though I was physically in the class my whole attention was turned to her magnificent effort. Indeed some of those ‘Goyna Bori’ can be so beautiful that they are nothing but a piece of art which is fried in oil and served as side dish with Bengali Cuisine.
We used call KB with pseudo-name ‘Jatayu’ a character created by legendary Indian Film Director Satyajit Ray, who won a lifetime Oscar for his contribution to the art of Cinema, in his story book series ‘Feluda’. Actually description of Jatayu was a balding author who wrote detective fiction, KB was also bald. Jatayu also was mentioned in ‘Ramayana’, epic poem in Hindu religion, as the big bird that tried to fight ‘Ravana’, the demon king. Like Jatayu of Satyajit Ray KB always found out the absent minded students and made fun of them in the class. He soon found out that I was looking out of the window and not being attentive in the class. Suddenly small of piece chalk, being used by KB to write the formulas in class came and stuck me on my forehead. Startled I looked in the direction from which the missile came and saw ‘Jatayu’, KB giving me a stern look. “Are you in the class?” he howled. I stood up and nodded my head trying to understand what he was teaching in the class by looking at the board. Many things were scribbled but everything seemed hebrew to me.
“So tell me the chemical formula of Tartaric Acid”
Tartaric Acid … now what as that I said to myself trying to return to Chemistry from ‘Goyna Bori’. By then KB had walked up to me and looked in the direction I was looking. He smiled at me returned to the dias and told the whole class, “He was busy looking at ‘Goyna Bori’ and I am asking him about Tartaric Acid. How stupid of me. Now he will come to the dias and tell everyone how to make ‘Goyna Bori’.”
Whole class burst in laughter and some stupid friends started even clapping…. Do you think I can ever love a lecture after that?