Unwritten destiny of the unplanned twin.
Idea courtesy : Dad! Yes, I am in Calcutta. ❤
Unwritten destiny of the unplanned twin.
Idea courtesy : Dad! Yes, I am in Calcutta. ❤
The red curtains were being pulled back. Dressed in a black floor sweeping gown, with sequinned black trimmings lining it, her wrinkled skin touched up by a pair of deft young hands on her troupe, she walked on to the stage. The soft light on the stage made her eyes twinkle. She could see a lot of heads in the audience but couldn’t make out their faces. Rushed silence welcomed her as her stilettos clicked on the wooden floor, until she reached the carpeted spot around the mike. This was her last opera. She’d chosen to retire Prima Donna before she was replaced by someone younger, more beautiful and maybe, just maybe, a better singer than her. The deft hands that had touched her up – she was retiring to her.
As he watched her walk away, he muttered abuses under his breath. As she walked farther, his voice became louder, hurling out the abuses loud now. It made him angry and unlike her, anger did not make him cry. Anger took him away from the pain, it made him feel in charge. He was no longer the helpless one. She may have broken up with him, but he was the one who would decide what he felt. And he chose to be angry. She looked back at him; the passersby were staring at her. She felt uncomfortable. Where there was pain in her eyes a few minutes ago, now there was shame and fear. Her confident gait was now hurried and skeptical. He broke her heart, twice now.
I was brought up in Calcutta. I lived for more than two decades in that city and I came to love it for its views, its vices, its pace, its charm, its tea stalls and the addas, its humidity and its rabindra sangeet. There were days I couldn’t stand the lethargy in the air. Then there were days I would choose that as the city I wanted to spend my life in forever.
But life happened and I moved to Bangalore. I still don’t belong to Bangalore though. Over time, I probably stopped thinking about belonging somewhere. It was just the work, the book, the blog, the friends, the outings. But what about the feeling that a city is yours, that you can see it even with your eyes closed, hear it even when you’re miles away from it? Well, I felt that again, after long!
Durga Puja, the biggest festival of the city of joy calls for Calcuttans, Bengalis and non Bengalis to come together in all parts of the world. After office, we travelled across almost half the city to one of the famous puja pandals set up here. Bangalore traffic is omnipresent and it is always a sore sight. But traffic around the pandal was different. It was made up of people decked in glittering jewellery and shiny garb set aside specially for the Puja is Calcutta feels! The red big bindis come out of the vanity boxes, the backless cholis are back, the umbrellas open up even when it is just barely drizzling, the starched kurtas see the night after long and the Jadavpur University jholas which can carry anything from bananas, water bottles, wallets and even a pair of spare shoes, maybe! I was staring at a mini Calcutta in Bangalore. My Calcutta.
Calcutta has makeshift pandals which boast of our creativity, culture, imagination and these days the latest social causes and trends. This one was none of that, with the idol being placed inside the permanent structure of a convention centre and the grounds turned into an exhibition venue with stalls of books, food and clothes lined up. I even caught a stall of German schools you can send your kids to. So Bangalore-ish!
But this was also all of that. The grounds were filled with advertisement banners – Calcutta brands like our beloved Presidency University, P.C. Chandra Jewelers, Aaj Kal and none other than Sourav Ganguly staring out of the posters at you, wishing you a happy Puja! The Daadus were carrying their grandchildren in their arms, showing them the fanfare of the Durga, the siblings twinning, the mothers dressed as festively as their daughters, live band performances to Kishore Da tunes and the Durga herself.
In that moment when I laid my eyes on the idol of the Durga, I could not ask for anything more. My heart was so full of love and happiness, it rushed out rolling down as tears from my eyes. I guess that’s what they call the power of the Divine. It brings out what you didn’t know you had in you, the best of you, the real you.
I am happy here but I also miss my city. And I know I still belong there. No matter where I live, even if I start loving another city, I will always belong to Calcutta. Calcutta feels abound!
P.S. : Thank you A. For dragging me along. You saw in me what I couldn’t.
As he laid back in his chair, heat exuding from his ears, he looked up at the fan. It wasn’t moving. The surface of the fan gleamed due to the light. He was having trouble breathing. He could feel his ears turning red. He rubbed his chest. The silence in his cabin was pounding at him. There was no one outside on the office floor. They’d all left for home. He could have gone home too. But to whom? And when had he last gone home for someone? Wasn’t it always because he needed food and sleep?
His wife had left him yesterday. The woman he’d been married to for 20 long years, who’d brought up two of his children, who’d never asked for a single holiday in all of those years, who’d been an idol of docile and submissive, left him. And he’d seen no change in her. Just like that, she left. How long had she been packing? How had he missed the change in her? When did his work take over his life? His kids had called him so many times since morning. He didn’t know what to say to them. He still hadn’t managed to call her even once. He felt too ashamed to. Instead, here he sat, staring at the fan, wondering if the sacrifice was worth it.
There are some days when life does not make sense.
Then there are more days when your manager does not make sense.
Then come a lot of days when the news does not make sense. Picking up a few of those gems!
What say you? Are you prepared to ruin your good day? Well, or maybe brighten up a bad day? 😛
Like the article mentions “Despacito is a song in Spanish about slow love making.” Translated lyrics here. For so many of us Indians and also non Indians out there who think sex is and should remain a taboo, here goes. The song you so love to jive and hum, blabber words you don’t even know the meaning of and think that Spanish is only spoken in Spain, wake up! Life just dealt you a joker. Now what will you do with it?
Okay, call me demeaning, if you want. But if this would have happened at a Railway Station washroom, I’d go all, ‘Maybe there have been worrisome incidents in there and there’s a context that isn’t being reported.” But if you tell me that a Church had to take such a step for women’s safety, then well, I’ll return in a while with my argument after laughing my guts out. The Church also needs to be worried about women’s safety in their premises now? Or is this an excuse for men to now make us more worried than we already are about our safety so that they can have a good, authorised peep show. Wonder if the CCTV footage reviewers also have to take the vow of celibacy.
So I understand we’re going all digital and laptop usage is at an all time high. Yeah, well, you don’t need to be a rocket scientist to figure that bit out. But what I am left wondering is why is Cambridge scrapping exams due to bad handwriting? We could have done this with the thought of saving paper, contributing towards cutting lesser trees, maybe slow down global warming or at least be happy about having done something to slow it down, even though it seems inevitable now. But no, we’re scrapping it because the handwriting is illegible? How thick brained are we really?
Oh, yes! News of the week. The iPhone 8 got launched. The iPhone 8S too. And the iPhoneX too. Poor iPhone 8 and 8S. They became obsolete within two minutes of their launch! Need I say more?
Then this happened. Bewakoof.com which when translated in English means foolish, lived up to their name for the first time. They launched a tShirtX. You shouldn’t think so out of the box also. Too much of anything is bad!
And with that I’ll end my tirade and only ask one thing – does the nation really want to know these news? #NationWantsToKnow.
P.S. : What have you come across of recent that you want to rant against? Tell me. Maybe we think alike!
He looked up at her every now and then. She barely noticed him. Or so he thought. He stole glances, hoping she’d smile just for him. But then he’d look away the moment their eyes met. And curse himself mentally the next second for not having held his gaze. “Woof,” he said, soft enough to have reached no one beyond his tail’s reach. But she heard him! She turned and walked towards him. Picking him up from his litter of nine, she held him up and close, rubbing her nose into his face. “I want this one, Daddy!” she called out, rushing over to the other end of the store, holding him in her plump seven year old arms, her red and white cotton frock rubbing against his two month old skin.
‘Man’s best friend’ they called him. She would be his, though. He knew it already.
In dedication to all dogs I've said hi to! You're the unconditional love people claim doesn't exist. Polo, hope you are resting in peace. You were my first.
Coming up is a survival guide if you are being forced to sit through a horror film on the 70 mm film on cinema screens. For those of you bold and brave people out there who stepped into the halls knowing your dreams might not be as pleasant in the nights to come, I have put together a list of life hacks to, well, make life simpler. Isn’t that what life hacks do? Also, I have specifically picked up cinema halls because at home, you have a way out that is not 100 metres away shining in bright red reading ‘EXIT’, devilishly grinning at you while you sit crouched in fear as people scream and shout for their lives on the screen. Not that I was sitting crouched in fear. Anyway, let’s get to the point.
And the point is, or the points are:
Have you ever noted what the ceiling of a cinema hall looks like? When we go to museums, temples, mosques, churches, palaces or even when in the open, we look ceiling-wards or skyward to opine about the place. But why not a movie theatre? Well, for starters, obviously because you don’t go to admire the interiors of the theatre but the quality of their audio and visual. I get it. But you should try looking up too, you know? I did and I ended up counting 13 rows and 24 columns of tiles. At least. While the film was playing. It was difficult counting with the play of light on the ceiling. So rest assured, I spent a good amount of time not looking at the screen, while Annabelle Creations was being played.
Always, and I am telling you this very seriously, always go with someone who’s worse than you at watching horror films, who screams at the drop of a hat or well, knife here, who jumps at every turn the protagonist takes, who bites their nails or digs them into the neighbour’s arm! That way the limelight is on them and their rather audible gasps and you leave unscathed from being the butt of jokes in your friend circle!
Keep your eyes closed if you want, but your ears open. There will always be one of those know-it-alls in the audience who will try to predict out loud what happens next and sometimes they’re correct too, being experts having watched way too many horror films over the years. That way you’re prepared for what all might happen next and your heart doesn’t jump into your throat at times odd and even.
What’s your coping mechanism when fear settles in? Fight or flight? Well, reality check. Here, both won’t work. You can neither fight or flight. So what could work? Laughter! I picked up random scenes and separated them from the context – voila, the comments were such that my friend was in splits while the rest of the hall was intensely silent. One such chain of thought : Talking to myself, Tune out the audio, girl. That is what is scaring you. Tune out… Tune out… Auto tune… Shirley Sethia. And friend is in spilts. Google ‘auto tune and Shirley Sethia’. You’ll know what I mean.
And if nothing else works, then whip out your phone, dim screen brightness, make sure it is on silent and start browsing through the multiple apps which have reduced our attention span, narrowed our world view while expanding our reach worldwide, update your interests on FaceBook, add a few snapchats in the dark, use some Instagram filters. Or like me, SMS (yes, it still exists) another friend sitting three seats away who was complaining about the film being boring! Boring would be the last thing I would call the film. I wonder what he’s made of.
These are my life hacks. What are yours?
P.S. : Want more life hacks? Tell me the topic in your mind and I’ll work on it for you. 😉
His hand beneath her head, he sat beside her carefully, trying not to jerk her awake. The street was cold, almost wet. He took off his jacket and placed it on the ground. He awkwardly shuffled on to it. He checked his watch. Another 20 minutes to full light. What am I doing here, he wondered. Did I have to waste my night on her? I could have picked a girl today. Business is running slow these days. The drinks never hit him because he never drank. The bar tender knew he never drank on duty and every night was duty night for him. It was in the day that he drank, sometimes after delivering the package, at times after he was done with them himself first.
His boss asked him once, “What’s your type?” “Why limit yourself?” he’d responded. His boss had guffawed and he’d responded with the perfect smile, he’d spend thousands on. He had chosen not to wear braces when young. He’d always been headstrong, a rebel. But that rebellion had cost him thousands, years later. It had the perks too. Women fell for his smile.
He sat looking at her. He parted her hair which was now all over her face. She’d changed a lot over the years, wrinkles hidden with a well skilled hand, lips plumper than he recalled. But he could well be mistaken. He’d, after all, seen so many lips after hers, tasted them, bitten across. He turned her a little more on her stomach. There should be a tattoo here, he thought, pulling her tank top up. Botched up art, it still is there, he thought, running his fingers over the small of her back, a feeble smile playing across his lips. She shuddered involuntarily. There were goose bumps over her arm. She must be cold!
He stood up, looking down at Jane. Dawn had given way to the light. Such a pitiful drunk ball of meat unaware of the fate she’s been saved from. She should thank me well. Shaking himself out of his stupor, he rushed out of the alley. He walked up the street and saw some cabs lined up.
One of them agreed to go. He handed a card to him. Taking Jane up in his arms, he put her in the back seat of the cab, smoothing out her skirt as much as he could to decency. “I’ll call at the hotel in an hour. She better be there by then,” he warned the cabbie. He nodded and drove away.
He started going back into the club, tired, famished and more so, thirsty after the long night. He needed a strong drink. This wasn’t the first time someone had recognized him while he was at work and it wouldn’t be the last.
“Not your type? Some problem with her?” the guard asked Rick, having seen him act out this charade a lot of times but never ending with tucking the girl safely away in a cab.
“Yes,” he nodded. “I knew her.”
“What are we doing?” she asked, her voice slurred, barely audible in the wooden corridors of the pub’s exit. Her stilettos sounded as she took each step, holding on to his arms, his jacket warm and fuzzy. Her skirt kept riding up with every step she took but she no longer cared. She was too drunk. They both were.
“No clue have I,” he replied, holding himself together by the bare minimum of strength left in him. As he put his right foot in front of his left for the next step, he tripped, almost. She caught him before he got entangled in his own legs.
“You could have lost another one of your teeth, you know,” she said, counting his teeth for him as he stood still for a second, every alternate second. “Some tendisd, you are!”
“My patients need not know that. Shh. Don’t tell them,” he said, as they stepped out into the cold air of the early morning.
The guard saw them sternly as they stood holding on to each other on the cobbled streets. The heels of her stilettos were shaking as she tried to place them rightly between the stones. He held her by the waist, bringing her closer, and whispered into her ear, “I think I need to pee.”
She threw her head back and laughed, almost losing her balance in process. He pulled her closer, both his hands roving across her back, her tank top flimsy even against his soft hands, his face buried in her auburn tresses as they caressed her shoulders. “Come with me,” she said softly, into his ears, slowly pulling him towards the nearby alley.
She entered the alley but she no longer seemed to be holding on to his hand. “Rick?” she said, turning around. Rick stood there, hands crossed across his chest, feet steady, a sinister smile across his face. “Rick?” she kept saying, not being able to fathom why she felt a danger, an adrenaline rush, her mind crying out flight. She stood there, swaying after a while and as she fell onto the street, he rushed to break her fall, placing her hand beneath her head. He blurred out of his sight.
Her eyes closed but she heard him whisper, “You have no idea who I am, do you, Jane?”