Sunday, December 11, 2011

Dum Dida

One Saturday morning as Bokreshor(aka Boka da) was immersed in watching reruns of his favourite TV shows which he had missed the entire week, he received a call from his uncle. His uncle said in a sombre voice that his grandmother was no more. Boka da was stunned and few seconds passed before he could use his vocal chords to make some sound.

How did this happen.

Well as you know she was not keeping well for quite some time. For past few days she stopped eating as well. The doctor said there was no hope. Every morning she would ask for me. Today when that didnt happen i went to her bed and found she wasnt breathing.

Ok. Did you call the doctor?
Boka da just wanted to make sure she had indeed died. There had been previous instances when she had suffered fits and most people thought she was dead-but she would rise up again and give that lost look.

Yes, he pronounced her dead.

Boka da wanted to be there for the last rites but his uncle said it would be impossible to wait that long. She was already a thin and whatever was left in that bare bone structure had to be immediately cremated.

Boka da had to let go.

As he kept his cell phone his mind wandered to the memories of his grand mother. He was not sure whether she actually knew he was her grandson. She had lost touch with reality quite some time ago. She belonged to a well to do family in erstwhile east Bengal. One night she had to leave everything behind in a mass exodus. Then started the endless journeys from one refugee camp to another. Her sons and daughters adjusted with relatives where they were barely able to sustain a living. Somewhere in between she lost her husband, and also her connection to reality. Her mind refused to believe all that had happened. Gradually her schozophernia reached high levels and she lived in her own utopia where everything was as before.People called her dumb.

Its not that she wasnt taken for medical consultation. Shock therapy was also used. But it got worse. She completely went out of sync with the present. For people taking care of her, it was good in way. She didnt complain.Ate a meager meal and kept talking to invisible neighbours and people. Every cry of child was one of her own. Her sons and daughters didnt age.

But sometimes she would be in a fit of rage and go out of control. and start abusing some people of betrayal. This could be triggered by a simple thing like a wheat bread or a dark skinned person.

However Boka da's memories of his grandmother were rather fond. She would call her by a different name and sometimes would say he was her son . Other times it could be grandson. She would recite some poems to him and would caress his face with those wrinkled hands. When Boka da was a kid, he would be very eager to visit her during summer holidays. She was his best playmate as she would always relent to whatever he said. Later in his life when things would go wrong with him, he would wish he could develop the same kind of world his granny created for herself in which difference between the real and unreal ceased to exist.

The brahmin was chanting the mantras. Words that said the departed soul of his granny to go to God, and live in holy places and the holy rivers.As the brahmin in the ghats chanted those mantras to Boka da, the mantras that ask the soul of the departed to relinquish any attachments with the loved ones and be with God forever instead of coming back to earth in new incarnations. Boka da didnt want to do it. He didnt want the soul of his beloved granny to be lost like that, to be part of God or live in holy places and holy rivers. He didnt want to sever the attachments. He wanted his granny to come back to him-to live the life she rightfully deserved- the life that was changed when few people decided the fate of an entire generation-the life that she made believe in her distorted reality. He wanted her to live a fulfilling life and not in deprivation...

He didnt repeat those mantras completely. When the rituals got over he switched on his cell phone. There was a message from his wife. She had tested positive for the pregnancy test.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Remembering Mr Bose

A song from a new movie-Delhi Belly has been occupying continuous bandwidth-be it FM or television. The producers of the album claim it to be the next youth anthem. On a closer look or shall i say hearing, i heard that phrase wrapped in a punk rockish music. Bhaag DK Bose..bhaag.

This immediately set me back to seventh standard. Being a convent school run by the strict disciplinarians-The Brothers as they liked to be called, we the students were not allowed to utter an iota of expletives. But as the old adage goes-you can take out the boy from the country but cannot take out the country from the boy-so were we so much influenced by the society around us, it was impossible not to have an urge to bring out the unspoken from the mouth. But in school, any swearing was treated like blasphemy in the dark ages-if the teachers or brothers came to knew about it you would be made to face the Khandwa friend-which was akin to burning on stake of the dark ages. And no matter how hard you tried to be conspicuous you would get snitched. But as they say necessary is the mother of invention so we did develop some unique phrases to bring out what was forbidden. This particular expletive we are taking about, referred to female genitalia and was on a common usage. On reversing the expletive it became a common bengali name DK Bose.So the guys who at best could say idiot and stupid and same to you inside the school walls now would say- Shut up you DK Bose or Whats up DK Bose. This started a revolution of sorts and people came up with more innovative phrases to disguise the expletives. These are few of them that i can recollect now:

Jha saab Tu Saab-Disguised as calling someone with respect this actually referred to pubic hair. Other variations of this included jhandu balm and jhand muraina.
Kaun dam de raha hai- Although translated from Hindi this would mean who is threatening you but a closer look will reveal this referred to condom.
You cant do-although plain looking this referred to sodomy.
BC-A historical distortion of Before Christ to refer to someones sister.
As we learnt biology we came up with a peculiar way to pronounce Mitochondria that sounded like an expletive referring to someones mother.
Then as information technology took over we hashed Mother board to sound like the worst of expletives.

So when i heard this new youth anthem i figured this is not new after all. My generation has already grown up on it. If this is the measure of the creative ability of our movie industry, i must say we were more creative than this in seventh standard. Back then we thought this was all useless stuff but it seems people are minting money out of it. There are so many more creative things we did but now we have no track of it in our memory. If only we could have documented them...

A last word of caution to Prem-Going by what Bollywood is serving us, next you may hear a song about Ganpat Rai- a character created by you and etched in our memories forever.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Deikha Lomu Toray a.k.a Revenge is mine

Modna as he liked to be called himself, was absorbed in the latest video gone viral in the internet. The explicitness of the acts performed in the video made Modna less and less aware of the environment around him. He felt he was very much part of the video-as if he was in it. He was so engrossed that his senses had numbed. All of a sudden a pinching sensation in his ankle brought him back to the world he was living in. A mosquito bite. Although he had been bitten by mosquitoes in the past but this time he felt a surge of anger. As if an ancient hermit had been disturbed in his penance. He wanted apt retribution. Kill ..Kill ...Kill that was all that was coming in his mind.

The seething built up of anger was overwhelming. Modna was an open admirer of Donald Rumsfeld and believed in Rumsfeldian doctrine of proactive homeland security and wanted a hot pursuit for the perpetrator of such a dastardly act. He did a visual reconnaissance of his room to find trail of the blood sucking creature. The trail led him to the north west periphery of the room. A dark coagulation was visible there. A closer look confirmed it to be a herd of mosquitoes. Although Modna had taken every protection against these creatures. But it appeared there was a big security lapse. A window was left half open and it was enough to invite these malarial beings. Modna closed the window. He came back to the north west corner of the room. It was apparent that one among them was responsible for committing the crime. He wanted to bring the perpetrator to justice but had no idea how to single out the one who had committed the act from the rest of the herd. He took out his cell phone and punched the number of his good friend Prhaem . The call was picked up in exactly three rings . Modna narrated the incidence to him. Prhaem said that it was inevitable that justice be met to the creature who had done the act. His religion and years of being a member of the anti death penalty lobby forbid him from coming to such a conclusion but he believed that the case was rarest of the rare and had to be seen in that light. However the toughest question for both of them was the identification of the perpetrator. Was there a scientific method available that would conclusively single out the perpetrator from the innocent. A blood test perhaps that could tell whether there were traces of Modna's blood in those blood suckers.
Unable to decide they decided to bring another of their friend into the conference. He was Chuck. Hearing the gravity of the situation he abandoned the 'tadka'(an ancient method of adding additives to pulses) he was about to perform. He articulated the following points post discussion:

Obstruction in the flow of information was a serious offence in itself and the mosquito had committed it when it bit Modna as he was helplessly surfing the internet.
Taking blood from a person involuntary was an unpardonable crime and the mosquito had committed it.
The culprit lies hidden among a group and there was no precise way of identifying who committed the crime and even if they could google the process, the time and cost factors would be roadblocks in application of such a process.

Chuck said that the only way justice could be met was by liquidating the entire group. This would also set an example for the creatures who could be potential perpetrators in future. This also went well with Rumsfeld's policy of proactive homeland security. Phraem still felt that punishing an entire race for the act committed by one was genocide but he had to take his wife to the mall and hence didn't wanted to discuss further.

Modna brought the flit gun from downstairs. He made sure he was wearing the correct gear before he proceeded to do the cleansing. He tiptoed to that corner and in one large push sprayed the entire area with pesticide. There was nascent hushing sound and as the droplets spread, the mosquitoes fell to the ground, dead, like the dead leaves in autumn. As Modna stood beside the area where the mosquitoes had fallen, he felt content in his heart for he was able to avenge the wrong done to him but at the same time he felt remorse for the slayed creatures .

He suddenly remembered that it was quite some time now since he had kept the chicken marinated in his kitchen. He aimed to prepare yogurt chicken today.

Photography: Ankur