The Things They Carried to Durga Pujo

In the calm sea of brightly clothed humanity, inching towards the Gariahat Pujo Pandal, there were several things bobbing up and down that caught one’s attention.

The narrow streets carried over a thousand men and women and people of the sex no one wanted to acknowledge. The air carried a hotness and humidity that could only have been the vapours of hopes and ambitions rising from the bodies of these thousands on the streets and the thousands who were here before them. The tall bamboo frames on the side of the road carried branded promises of prosperity and future security, with tiny bindi shaped stars that talked about terms and conditions immediately below the message that celebrated unconditional love. Continue reading

Though Much is Lost, Much Abides

The Mumbai-Nagpur Duronto Express on 23rd June did not come even to the starting station until it was well over an hour late. Expectant passengers passed their time looking from the announcement screen to the digital clock hanging all along platform number 18. Bored of the wait, a group of three friends, well past their age of retirement, sat down and decided to play a game of Hearts. Only god knows why they were bent on playing a game of four when they were only three. Perhaps, it was some wisdom that a 24 year old cynic did not possess. It was definitely beyond his understanding. Continue reading

How I met our Game of Thrones

 “You have anything I can watch on Saturday?”

I stood leaning on the door of the piratemaster of our undergraduate hostel, scratching my left forearm under the elbow. The day was really sunny outside and if you were someone sitting inside the dimly lit room, high on the latest episode of Breaking Bad, one look at me would have gotten you cracking. With the rich, bright, sepia sunlight streaming in from behind me, I looked totally like a goodoldgone addict itching for more methamphetamine to shoot up my bloodstream — even mosquito bites on my forearm, from last few nights, had been scratched enough to look like puncture marks from overused needles.

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“Looooook at meeeeeee.”

I tore myself away from page 136 of The Further Adventures of Brer Rabbit to look at her. She had her head thrown back, laughing out into the sky that would have been moving so fast in front of her eyes that the clouds would have seemed to be coming alive and running around like little white rabbits let loose in a barn full of hay. She was taking that swing as high as it would go, kicking hard off the soft tonsured soil in the grass from where thousands of children had previously taken flight. As she launched herself again, she nodded at me asking me to join her on the swing — come, there’s enough space for both of us. Continue reading

An April Fool’s Day

“It’s a girl.”

24 years ago, when my mother heard these words, she was so thrilled that she forgot all about the pains of her pregnancy. Her pregnancy had been taking a toll on her lately with the weight increasing too much in the past two months – she had known ever since that it was going to be a big baby and a difficult one at that, given all the kicking it had been doing. Moving around also had not been so easy since her feet always hurt and she wanted to sit down anywhere she could. It was one such occasion that led to the events of her getting the news, which came as a welcome relief from the pain she had been handling in the past nine months. To top it all, she had always wanted a girl. So, in a way, her prayers were coming true. Continue reading

“Here, drink.”

“Can I have a look at your work?”

For a long time now, I have dreaded that question. For me, my writing is private. It is not meant for those who do not know the context and so I choose very carefully who sees my words. And yet, if you know me well, you would know that I have tried in the past to overcome this dread, that this page that you see today is not my first blog. I have, in the past, started and abandoned three of them. Each of these blogs has a story of its own and each has quite an independent share of my writings on it. I will not migrate my work from there, though. They belong there, crystallised in the amber of time. But I will tell their stories here. Continue reading