Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Amnesiac Thoughts (Tanima)

Almost like the left over biryani that you were to eat
for lunch that day after your tests

Salinger's unpublished writes

Dhrubo Mukherjee's epic gaffe at our convocation

The words of 'Ahom' somewhere buried near Silchur

A vague morning dream

Succharita 'The beautiful bombshell' who died in a road rage

The night we drank Jack Daniels and passed out, for a whole day

Palestinian people and their hunger

Video Cassette players and single screen theaters

The almost half read 'Far from the maddening crowd'
somewhere in the cup boards of ekdalia road, your old home

The way you looked at me during Prof. Bose's boring lectures

The lost Atlantis of our imagination

The broken button from your shirt that stuck to my kurta
while we had that botched up kiss underneath Mashima's home

and our names written together in the beach of Digha

Would we forget everything that way, Sayan.

What of our shared memories
would that be forgotten too?

Morning SIckness-

Silhouettes of the brutal aftermath of our progresses shine
as rains and green grasses are buried into the corners of unknown
and our windows draw illusions of grandeur

We do not look at starry skies anymore, here
for our homes open to the mash of streets and to other homes equally abundant
we move around the same circles
empty faces, isolated walks and random meaninglessness

We do not hold onto emotions
or winter nights
or summer mornings
or metaphors
we live in our comforted nests of concrete
we build walls
we are good at it.

And faraway there are thatched roofs and mud huts
and broken toothed happiness
and mothers who stay hungry but content
and fathers with torn pockets and soiled shirts
and dreams of two square meals

Amidst them lies our broken civilization
and a tinge of blood that spreads like wildfire
where concentrated money and fluid souls breath in peace

And amongst those differences I walk
where there are gray-black skies
and far too many faces and all expressionless
there are no voices just growls

I see men, I see machines
I see smiles and polythene words
and it all makes sense

They ask me
have you stopped writing poetry these days

Friday, November 25, 2011

Monochromed thoughts-


And for all we can see right now of this girl called Tanima
-is the half braided night of her hair

and a filtered afternoon cloud

and intermittent showers

and clasped lower lip half perched on the upper

and a suit case full of metaphors that her beautiful broken
(of a childhood injury) eye brows deserve.

And the little fog of a mirage that the vapors from the tea make
of a smoke screen
or an award winning oil painting.
(Once Mrs. Chakraborty complimented her this way.)

And Amrita Pritam canvassed angular face and voice
twenty eight and unslept lunar eclipsed eyes

and yet you wish you would see her clearly if she turned just a bit.

................................................................................................

For all we know of her she might be thinking of now are
those people who still exist outside the periphery of this watered city of hers.

People who have read all of Kant and Carroll.

People who you want to run to when you cry.

People who eat their curries before their chicken.

People whose passing graze shudders your soul.

People who can never say no to a cup of tea or a discussion about missile crisis.

People with whom you would like to see Lake Titicaca and also a broken hut on an unknown village.

People who when they smile stop your world.

People who can write poetry imitating Neruda or Bukowski.

People who are sad sunsets and a joyous sunrise altogether.

People who are still confused between Vivian Leigh and Ingrid Bergman.

People who remind you of Sunday afternoons.

People who would watch 'Pyasa' and 'Meghe Dhaka Tara' with you five times
and let you cry on their shoulders always.

People who speak less and think more.

People who look at you with love and sometimes hunger.

People who you think of on every vacation or while a train noisily passes by.

People for whom love is not just a word.

People who leave a sad longing and a smile on your lips while you sleep.

People about whose face you paint in your mind while looking from your balcony at the rain right now.

People like me who scribble just to be read by her and no one else.

Or maybe
she is not thinking anything as of now.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Critical review of a boring half abridged book-



1 (The Beginning)

What we could never know throughout the course of the story
is the actual color of her eyes
he once momentarily writes though
about the evening sun in French Vineyards
or the beauty he found while reading Rumi.

He mentions of the smiles that lingered around him
when he walked in the middle of December
near a small chilly Hamlet in Uttaranchal
and the Tolstoyic description of the female protagonists.

2( In Between Somewhere)

Throughout it all her eyes remain a mystery to us.
We know that she giggled
while they talked of tiny little things
like Alice, through the looking glass,
the way she hated eggplants,
how she found him 'oh! so cute'
when he woke up in the mornings,
that how happy she is when he tells her most mundanely
to 'take care' over phone
and ofcourse PGW.
But not her eyes.

He once glances past it in his story
when he tells that
she had tiny little feet
that did perfectly fit into the gap just beneath his joined knees
while she lied over him
just to listen to his heartbeat.
And he while telling her about Morichjhapi, Naxalbari and his childhood
slowly caresses the skin above her eyebrows
that feels a little rough like Styrofoam
especially when you consider the softness of her eyelids
but not the color.

3(Slow End)

And as the story ends we see that he ventures around the idea
of her as a fresh painted wall
or a newly washed bed-sheet
that he loved her presence and sometimes her thoughts in absence
and the way she called his name as if her life depended on it
through the broken alphabets in her chocolate brownie inviting voice.

And just after that
he thinks of all good things in his life
that nobody mostly knows about
like the joy of reading Salinger
or listening to Beatles
or walking upstairs to fourth floor to meet Nando and fly kites with him
or his first written unread poetry
or to see her smile while trying to speak her broken Bangla
but not the color of her eyes
ever.

4(Comments)

Because no one
absolutely no one
deserves to know the color of your eyes
as no one can love you the way I do.

And we are left with
a half empty
unfolded rumor of a story.

Shomoy Hole

Shono shedin je tram'er sathe
rasta gune
alipur road gechilam
mone aache
jokhon shishir'er hawa
mukh bhijiye chilo
aar bikel hotat eshe
jeno kono chena ochena gaan
tomar aawaj diye tule chilo.

Shono o je Jibanando'r Bonolata
aami tomay diye chilam
aajo rekhecho to ?

ki, aajo badi phera'r pothe
'tumi robe nirobe' gao?

Aami kintu aar tram line'er
eyi shohor'e thaki na,
aamar shishir to ushno hoye
ekla poth haate.

Aami je robi thakur'er chando
aar podte pari na go,
jano aapcha-aapcha lage,
ekhon aar aamar kono poth
badi fere na.

Aami aar aasha-jawa roi ni
aami sthir ekta somoy.
aajo shei alipur road'e
aik rasta'r shesh kona'e
shesher kobita hoye
tomay na peye'i dadano

shomoy pele daikha korte esho.

English Translation

(missing the original flavor)

And we walked with the tram
counting pathways and went to Alipur Road,
Do you remember that
And we watered our faces and souls
in the winters
while the evening sang a known yet unknown song
in you voice

Do you still have that Banalata Sen
of Jibananda that I gave you?

Do you still sing 'Tumi Robe Nirobe' -
(You are in the silent crevices of my heart, my beloved)
while you walk back home?

You know,
I do not live in this town of Tram lines anymore
And my winters walk alone and humid

I cannot read Tagore's verses now
They seem hazy to me, somehow
And none of my paths come back home

Now, I am not the idea of a wanderer or homecoming
I am a moment stopped
I still live in one of the streets of Alipur road
somewhere near it ends
I am shesher kobita now
(Tagore's 'last song')
I still am bereft of you

So, if time permits
do pass by someday

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Confessions-



I imagine
your eyes
and desire
a daily dose
of caramel cookies
Sometimes
I drink myself silly
and
then I argue
about the utility of life
I travel around
meeting strangers
but not talking
to them
I observe
unknown
I look at
the horizon
and sunsets
and know
that they by no chance
shall change
their course
for my
pain
I listen
to "Hey Bulldog"
and it
makes no sense
I write
keeping the world
at bay
poetries,
about
the subtleties
of existence
poems
basically meaningless
Your name is
metonymy, pars pro toto
synecdoche
for my survival
and guilt
and wounds
And
I
delude myself
into believeing
that your eyes
after all
are never as beautiful
never were
never shall be
as in my dreams

-Sayantan

Friday, November 11, 2011

As I See It-

This one is for you the little ones
with glee and fairies and prince's
it is strange but things shall change, no matter
the world shall not stay as it is

This one is for you of yonder
with wrinkled smiles, loneliness and frayed hair
as you walk in to the sunshine and swansongs of the day
let them know they'll be the same, only then will they be able to prepare

This one is for you the mighty ones
with the lust of power and stars
paint the world in colors of goodness
do not leave it unhelped and scar'd

This one is for you the hopefuls
with dreams, aims and desires
there shall be failures, heartbreaks and melancholy
none gets of all that he aspires

This one is for all of us the mortals
we shall not stay here all around
but let us care for the future and live in the now
within us lies possibilities of goodness
and joys, unbound

The Tanima Ailment-



One
And strangely his heart craves for not her
but Dolai Kaki's Radhabollobhi or another of those nolen gurer sondesh
And that he wants to get up and walk
and then run far away to the jungle and not to her
For the umpteenth time he is trying to remember the name of the first poem
that he wrote and the name eludes him
He just knows
that he writes cheap poems
has a woeful sense of fashion
a minus two on his eyes
And that even if he tried he could not have cried
like one of those charecters in Sarat Chandra books who hide behind their smiles
but he wishes he could just hold onto her and cry

Two
We found him near a rail road track near north Dinajpur
wonder how he reached there
He was tired and drunk
and muttering obcenities
Every once in a while he spoke some Shakespearean line
I think from "taming of the shrew"
He had a scar near his upper lip and his right palm
Even after such a tragedy the first thing he asked me was,
"O ki gelo?" [Has she gone?]
I just held onto him

Three
I woke up with a backache exactly like I had after those tennis sessions with you
I smell of cuticura
and from the windows I can smell Adam's Marlboro
I wanted to moan his name out when he entered me last night
instead I said God
Never have I believed in God before
but only he can be so brutally honest and painful
I wonder if I scream who shall know
Or it'll be interpreted as a dream
Honestly Sayan, there is nothing romantic about pain nor life
I wish I could tell you this
and cry

Four
The morning reminds me
of the early summer mornings in Lancaster
I can smell her on me and jasmine
Today strangely I think of the twelve year old Adam Marlowe
and how he wanted to know India
There are things that shall stay with me from the foggy today
The special tea that they gave me in the morning
Her painful smile last night
And the trace of tear that left her eye just then
Have I failed you Tanima
I wish you would wake up and talk to me
I wish we would just hold on to each other and cried


Afterword
And the illusion of love and life stayed ever after

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Dreams

Dreams, you know we lived in this place till I was sixteen. My Grandpa lived there since partition and all my father's side was virtually born there. I still sometimes have these dreams where I go to that place and everything has changed around but that home of ours is still intact and I see my Father's Hero Honda kept outside our place my Grandpa sitting and dozing in the mild warmth of an approaching evening, my Grandma up on the roof watering the tulsi, my Sis a dressed up three year old walking holding my mother’s hand and my Dad standing on the doorway hands folded on his chest a picture of strength and reliability as ever.

This dream in particular has no Freudian explanations but somehow this is one image, one dream that gives me hope, something to carry on. And years after when I am old and worn out and erasing I want to still see that dream so that I can believe that when it all ends I shall still be a living dream in someone’s memory.

Some of you might say that am holding on to something that has already been emptied and shall never be. But for me it is an unadulterated image of all the love, warmth and care that is irreplaceable.

I have almost never had a nuclear family and even now when all my Dad's siblings have a separate home we almost all live together. So, the way I am today is a reflection of all those people in my life. And hence I have these collective dreams. I have never been the blue eyed boy. I have always had someone else to emulate someone to be like and truth is I never could.

I never could be the first in class or the first in a hundred meter sprint and all those things and I have envied those people who did. People who had things to show for in their success charts. But I still have been loved by them all without questions but sometimes just sometimes you want to give back and so you dream.

I have been liked and mostly I have always been considered good but these things were never quantitative and we cannot state success in qualitative parameters. So, what I want is to run for my goals perhaps be amazingly good at something, I want to be the stand alone in crowd as after all what you want is to be loved and respected and wanted. I want people around me to be proud of me. I want to be proud of myself.

But I know again that such happiness’s are sadly momentary and as soon as you get something the world shall make you run and want to achieve the next thing because as far as society is concerned perhaps you are never good enough.

And hence as much as I would want to be in the race I would like to be detached of it all and know that I am living in the now and the now contains no success, no failure, and no rejections nothing except me and this state of mind. I am ambitious but I want to condition myself to be receptive and reflective and yet happy within me.

What I have learned is that the saddest thing that can happen to you is to see your folks cry for something that has happened to you and the happiest thing is to see a reflection of happiness in their eyes after you've done something, something as small as making a cup of tea for them.

What I have learned is that success, failure, losses and wins are all a matter of perception. That the guy who you see all successful and achieving is lacking something that you so easily have. That if there is a word called love, it has unconditional attached to it there is no love absolutely no love that shall ask of you something.

And people who do love you, they shall just love you and while I write this I think of the image of my father, mother and my sister I know I have let them down at times but what they remember now is that they love me and that I love them back.

I have learned that in the long run nothing else, no achievement shall count as much as the people for whom you want to achieve them. So, I have learned that you must know that those people are far bigger and important than any achievements. And that sometimes, sometimes you shall give the whole world just to see them smile.

I have always loved books not just reading them but sometimes just being around them looking at them. Someday I would like to own a library at my place and a fireplace too. from the love of books steams the idea of perhaps penning down one someday I do not know what and how it is going to be or even if am going to write one at all for now I’d just like to think that I would. I want to read everything under the sun what I would want to have is some knowhow of everything that has to be.

It’s strange but even as a kid I never wanted new clothes or toys.
Even now I am not a gadget freak my ideas barely qualify as luxury I want good books, good food, great thoughts and riveting conversations.
I want to grow as a human every day, every moment and yet be me.
I want to know and yet not let knowledge corrupt me.
I want to see things unseen and yet not be too proud or too vain.
I want to be deep and meaningful and yet fun to be with.

The problem has always been not being able to produce something exceptional to be something great. I have always been one of the nice guys, one of the good students, one of the better writers, one of the best friends and I always wanted to be 'The Guy' but then again when I look at it aren't all our lives lived that way don't we all see ourselves in so many strata’s and don't we all want to break off the shackles and be free.

Eventually we all realize that life is a prototype same experience that we all have. Life is mostly lived in these almirah full of emotions.

I always want to remember that this is one life that we all have been given and I am not here for long and hence act accordingly I don't want to fight, live in bitter memories, pity myself do anything like that I do not want to leave my footprints of bad moments here I want to love unconditionally those who love me.

I want to meet people and learn about their lives and vicariously live through their joys and smiles, I want to travel the whole world, I want to be unknown and experience life first hand, I want to let go of all the expectations attached to achievements and live, I want to be filled with life.

Because mind has an amazing ability to restore your happiness’s and moments spent in love rather than material possessions as the time goes by.

I want to marry the mind of my woman I want to love her thoughts and I want to find her beautiful even when am seventy as her eyes still have the same twinkle and her face the same old smile. I want to make her feel loved and beautiful just by the way I look at her or sometimes by virtue of the things I have written. I want to evolve with her I want it all to happen as naturally as season changes and still I want at times to feel special.

I want to be accepted with all my follies and I want to be comfortable in love and understand that things shall not always be smooth and one needs to work on as you go along but yes I would want a shared experience of intimacy.

I do not want to be waited at dinner for that would be unjustified. I do not want to be treated as perfect because I am not. I do not want to be loved because it is what you are meant to do. I do not want to be respected out of tradition. I want to be written a diary entry about and not be told. I want to be loved because I can never light match sticks. I want to be cared for because it is something that so happens. I want to be looked at with admiration because I make you proud.

I want to look inside me and find warm cares for people I have not yet met. I want to be responsible for my family both that there is and the one that shall be, I want to go on holidays and send picture postcard of my whole lot smiling and standing in the snow. In simplicity is where I want to find pleasures. In books. Music, family, love and Nano-moments of shared smiles.


In nutshell-
My dream is to dream, hope love and live

Incognito in Bombay-

And she walks in with those hazy eyes and a little overdone mascara
She is the only woman in Bombay that Sayantan wants to look at
around her eyes corners, around her almost eraseable dimples
when she licks her lips after two minutes of continues blabbering
and at nights while she is sleeping next to him
but he knows that she is not Tanima

And she asks him,
"Aami ki ore moton?"
(Am I like her)

And he knows not
For he knew her when she was eighteen and had just entered Presidency
For he knew her when she felt Jane Austen is too widely-limited
When she first went out with Debashish and kissed him
When she wrote her first poem about a woman who is clueless of her way
When Deb left her and she cried till four
and he had to physically take her out of her bed to brush
when he wrote her a poem and kept it to himself not to let it be seen
when she wore that blue denim for the first time
when she used the f word and felt liberated
when she was the only woman he could fall in love with
when she had not met Adam

And he smiles
You know I once wrote a poem
Let me read it to you,

And he rendered his only bangla words
in his glib South Calcutta style

"Tumi aamar moner moton,
kintu tumi shey to naa.
Tumi to shriti'r bagan'e
krishnochura ekti phul.

Aami tomaye proti'ti ronge prem korbo.
Aalo'r moton opekkhakrito thakbo
tobe phul tulbo na.
Shokal'er aalo shudhu amaar jonne to nei.

Aami jani tumi aamar shokal na
Aami bujhi tumi shey na."

Which roughly translates into
"You are like my soul's song
But you are not her
You are a daisy in the garden of my memories
You are a delonix

I shall love you in colors and hues
And await you like the morning lights
Though shall not displume you,
you are not meant too
The morning light is not just for me, dear.

You are not my morning
you are not her."

And yet he caresses her face
And yet his fingers instinctively find hers

And she buries her head and sobs

And he tells her with a wry smile,
"You know her tears on my shoulders were never shed for me.
And anyway there is no woman named Tanima
or no city like Calcutta any
more."

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

None at all-

There is an unhinged door
and a closet filled with spaces,
where sunlit noons make way for the evenings.
And a solecism of voice and colors
draw patterns on a river
where waits a boat of poetry
as I begin to sail along words and verses.

Sometimes I make no meanings at all
as night calls me
I just walk along the path of meaningless metaphors
and a quiet subdued home of a frayed yellow page.

Then something draws me to write

something intangible
and an overwhelming figure of a poem taps on the door
with a hope to grow full
breathing the essence of your name and nothingness.

And amidst
many titles that I could
call this poem of yours by
I call it silences.
Living,
understated
and understood
making meanings sans words
like you
to me.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Strangers in the Night-


Zero

Across walls
he can hear a familiar hum of her breaths
he has gone through it the whole night
and for exactly fifteen minutes after three thirty
she snored which he knows she would never admit
and he smiles
perhaps for the first time in the last eight hours

Four

Just a month after their wedding
he was running hundred and two
and she the woman with ocean eyes
and salt pepper lips
winner of Miss Scottish Church-99
holds his hands and cries all night long
strangely comforting him
and he says, “I’ll not die of fever you know."
While she punches him through her tiny palms.
And then that morning he wrote a note to her

"At night my lost memory of you returned
and I was like the empty field where springtime,
without being noticed, is bringing flowers;
I was like the desert over which
the breeze moves gently, with great care;
I was like the dying patient
who, for no reason, smiles."

Faiz- Agha Shahid

Three

He sat quietly without any idea of what is happening
For all he knows they may marry him
The quacker way
It’s strangely humid in there Alipore rd home.
Thinking of Coetzee and his book Youth
and yet her
"It’s warm dammit."
As she sees her
clad in the Benarasi
she mentioned in their phone calls
a month ago
smiling, face downwards, walking
and he realizes what exactly was she bearing
in this Calcutta summer
and he wants to reach out and say-
"Are you mad, by any chance?
how can you wear it in this season."
But silently watches her carrying herself
in the whole pageant beauty way that she has.
And falls in love all over.

"In centuries. She comes to stand at dusk —
Her spot each time the same — and to foretell.
She is a hollow, wrinkled husk,
Dark as a fire-gutted citadel.

Around her. Then, returning home to roost,
They find a perch beneath her eyebrows' eaves,
And in that shadow wait for night to fall."
Rilke

He wrote in his diary
just an hour after
he made love to her
for the first time as a wedded pair.

Two

It’s the chilly Boston winters
with snow white and long nights
and in the newton campus hall he receives her letter
and it has
Tolstoy,
John Denver,
Neruda,
Hindustan Times edit cut
and her words
as he thinks of her
standing in queue back home
for two hours to send him this

"The snow unfurls in dancing figures.
A silver gull slips down from the west.
Sometimes a sail. High, high stars.
Oh the black cross of a ship.
Alone.

Sometimes I get up early and even my soul is wet.
Far away the sea sounds and resounds.
This is a port.

Here I love you.
Here I love you and the horizon hides you in vain."
Neruda

One

And he heard
for the first time
while she was talking
of this new writer she really did like
And he listens and walks in the labyrinth
of her voice
he has heard of the writer
but he keeps mum
he cannot let go of the magic

And that night he did try to count the stars
and in the morning
called her again
to make sure she was alright
and he heard her smile on phone
and he knew that he shall fall in love
“Take Care.” while hanging up he said
I shall, she said

He wrote

Of all things
Socialism,
Sicilian defense,
Sunday afternoons,
The Ninth Symphony,
Salinger,
The Voluptuous Mrs Chaterjee of the fourth floor,
Caucasian Chalk Circle
And Amy Goodman
Of all things said and done
I fell for you

Zero

And she
breaths
with the silent slow hum
eyes opened and heart too
as she feels the bedroom door unlock
and closes her eyes
pretending sleep

And he
falls next to her
burying his nose on her neck
She feels his warm breath on herself
after eight lifetime long hours

And a noiseless smiling tear
traces her face
he says
"Believe me you snore.
But you smell great.
You do"

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Friday- The nameless girl

1
She has those eyes
that remind him of Katherine Ross, he thinks
as he goes down on her.
And she slowly sighs.
Lips twitched
She has a mysterious face
and a sunset dusk on her skin.
And he feels with her he has to be cautious,
he slows down
and so does she
but he knows he shall devour her.
And 'Hello darkness' plays

2
After everything he stays awake
besides her
as she asks him all those things
like his earliest memories
his dreams
his fears
childhood summer vacations
his folks
Looks at him like a child, expectantly
as he smokes
and he asks her the only question
the only thing
"Do you write?"
And doesn't wait for an answer

3
Closing his eyes
for a moment inbetween his drag
he feels it is still Tanima
he can smell her
as he always could
like the faintness of his own old spice on her lips
like mornings
like the fresh pages of telegraph
like the tea at Esplanade
like the water of Hoogly
like the winter breeze in Park street
like 'Purano shei diner kotha' on transistor
like reruns of Seinfeld
like 'Shesher Kobita'
like Presidency
like 2001
like only she could

And she says-" Shono Sayan,
make love to me again,
will you?"

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

meaningless, nothingness

Unhurried and monotonus
I walk back from the sea shore
With wet feet
and a soul
that refuses to be pleased

And the sunset behind
holds the crawling magic of mundane
With beauty and nostalgia
and an everyday panorama as it lies

For all I know
years ago a man who looked
exactly like this
would have walked back
from a similar sea shore'd sunset
as tranced and yet banal
as I have,
now
and years later
there shall be
the same looking me
walking away
of the same sun
unhurried and monotonus

The only movement
that there is
the moving time
and relative
nothing else moves
and yet all of it does
with me and past and future

Strange as it is
Once I look back again
and think
of how this nothingness
and stale prose
that is life
holds infinite meanings and yet not

Unhurried and monotonus and mundane
meaningless,nothingness

Evenings & Nights & Homes

There are evenings
hidden in the closet of memories
a fragrant smell of the
faint dry winters
and incense stick
and of prayers
with whispering voice of grandmother

Of memories at home
of childhoods
refusing to let go

And then there are you
walking by me like a moment unadorned
like a night
moonless
of a thousand fireflies

where I sit by the river
calm yet enchanted
and you
.. you walk and draw a ripple in the silent night waters
becoming a quaint white shadow
of me
and sometimes
my home