•December 27, 2011 • Leave a Comment

I do not abandon – people, souvenirs, memories, thoughts. I am not abandoning this blog. I am just moving on to a new one. If you would still like to read about me, what I’ve been up to, this is the place to visit – http://postelectrocution.blogspot.com/  — Samraghni Bonnerjee

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“On Whom the Rain Comes Down”

•April 23, 2010 • 6 Comments

I love the smell of the first rain. I’m crazy about it. Just the smell. I always hated it when it rained. When the first droplets reach the parched earth, the smell makes me heady. I find the sensation undecipherable, enigmatic – unrequited romance (though the smell isn’t remotely like your average bitter almonds) diffused with painfully-sweet nostalgia.

My affair with this smell began very early, when having barely learned to walk, I would tiptoe to our garden when our Malikaku would water the plants. I was surprised to see how greedily the ground would drink in the water, and I would offer to help, by drenching the roots till I could smell no more. When it would rain, I would spend the initial moments in my verandah inhaling the essence. As the smell faded and the intensity of the rain increased, disappointed with the dark, cloud-laden sky, I would march indoors.

I utterly despised the rains. I despised the drops falling on my spectacles and blurring my already flawed vision; I despised the water trickling through my hair; I despised the seeping drops soaking my clothes and my body. I thoroughly loathed those long, depressing days spent indoors watching the merciless beating of the raindrops against the window; the world outside looking strangely hazy and desolate. I have always associated rain with being forsaken and helpless; assumed it to be dictatorial, as it has always restricted movements, dominated thoughts. I have friends who associate rains with all sorts of gay and romantic things, and I haven’t ceased being surprised about that.

For me sunshine has been the metaphor of hope for which I have craved all my life. I would look at the blue sky and feel assured, while the dark clouds pregnant with moisture always made me helpless and insecure, as if they represented my repressed forbidden desires, chasing me into accepting them in front of the big, bad, judgmental world. The rain held a threatening menace; and though disconnected from the world during the long rainy season of North Bengal, I would still feel assured in my pseudo-safe (dry) house leading myself to believe that I was unscathed from the threatening rain because it couldn’t reach me there.

Now I know how I deceived myself into living in two radically opposite quasi-imaginative worlds. Ironically my days now are the sunniest (literally) yet the flicker of hope is palpably absent. The sun has betrayed me, not having given me what it had promised to. I think the grey clouds wouldn’t have done that. I fervently yearn for the rains which will offer me a respite from the falsehood that the beating sun bears; I wish I had not scorned the soaking drops; I am hungry for the smell; and this time when it rains, I know I will get drenched, long after the smell has died out.

•March 1, 2010 • Leave a Comment

I so liked spring last year

Because you were here:-

The thrushes too-

Because it was these you so liked to hear:-

I so liked you.

This year’s a different thing-

I’ll not think of you.

But I’ll like Spring because its simply Spring

As the thrushes do.

-Charlotte Mew

Purgation

•February 18, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Myriad thoughts, diverse memories, laced in shame.

She opens her eyes – splitting headache – remnants of a forbidden pleasure.

Unrequited love, unfulfilled sexuality, intoxicated admissions,

Love, revenge, lust, hatred, mistakes, tears-

She had been through it all – embarrassment filling her reminiscences.

Solitary bed, lonely confinement, melancholic convalescence,

Eloquent apology, but no one to acknowledge them.

Dried-up tears well up in the inebriated eyes.

Chink of glasses, water, soda, beer, vodka, whisky-

Her body repels every drop of them; yet promises of withdrawal seem a farce.

“What’s done cannot be undone”, another She had said.

The hurt-marks on her body refuse to go.

It isn’t a nightmare.

Water rushes through her body now, dripping from her hair.

It drips as she climbs the stairs leading to the terrace.

Drink had betrayed her – provided no liberation

Which the free air would do now.

As the heady air fills her lungs, as she tumbles head-long down,

She is purged.

•February 9, 2010 • Leave a Comment

Daydream delusion, limousine eyelash

Oh baby with your pretty face

Drop a tear in my wineglass

Look at those big eyes

See what you mean to me

Sweet-cakes and milkshakes

I’m a delusion angel

I’m a fantasy parade

I want you to know what I think

Don’t want you to guess anymore

You have no idea where I came from

We have no idea where we’re going

Lodged in life

Like branches in a river

Flowing downstream

Caught in the current

I carry you

You’ll carry me

That’s how it could be

Don’t you know me?

Don’t you know me by now?

Before Sunrise (1995)

ding-dang-dong

•December 24, 2009 • 5 Comments

With the nip in the air, and the year drawing to its end, I suddenly feel nostalgic… It’s time for the Christmas bells to ring, and those familiar chimes – or the absence of them from my present life – take me back to the winding bylanes and labyrinths of my childhood.

Growing up in the proximity of a church meant that, for seventeen years, my Sunday mornings were synchronized with the ringing of the bells – ding-dang-dong instead of the usual ding-dong. As a child I was elated; and I would rush out of bed and run to our Scottish tenant, Mr. Clinton. My earliest memories of the church are, walking every Sunday along the dusty road from my house to Don Bosco, with my little hand carefully ensconced between Mr. Clinton’s fingers, and attending the prayers, during which I would only stare wide-eyed at the towering crucifix, the beautiful candles, the intimidating musical instruments and the rows of friendly neighbours. Often when Mr. Clinton’s daughter, Fiona (who was studying in the hills and was two years younger than me) would come down to the plains to spend a short weekend with her father, she would join us on our weekly tryst. We made quite a spectacle I guess – two tiny children, one blonde, the other black-haired, one on either side, with one of their hands outstretched, clinging on to the massive palms of a towering gentleman.

Strangely we never knew the name of our neighbourhood church. We always called it the ‘Don Bosco Church’, probably because it happened to be either built by the authorities of the school or maybe simply because it lay near the school. Anyway, the absence of a proper name never bothered us, and even after Mr. Clinton and Fiona had moved, I spent a large chunk of my childhood, playing in and around the church with my friends. It’s unassuming, yet looming Gothic structure welcomed us and the well-manicured garden was the perfect spot for us to play hide-and-seek and get lost among the bushes. Those were the days of carefree childhood, before the internet had come to keep us occupied. We spent long afternoons frolicking about, slyly opening one of the massive windows to see how the sleepy church looked when there was no one inside. We climbed the winding stairway to the terrace, only to come rushing back again, or simply sat on the grass and watched the already long shadows growing longer.

Beside my first alma-mater, Auxilium Convent, which was nearly opposite the church (save for the winding road which led to it), was the infamous graveyard of the parish. All of us had conjured up horrors related to it, but would still venture out before it got dark, maybe to just savour the fear of standing in front of a graveyard. I imagined many romantic stories related to it – stories that I had read in long-forgotten books having fantastic settings… Till I left for Kolkata, I would often stand on my terrace at night and look at the red light at the church’s spire, and wonder how peaceful it was then.

Kolkata greeted me with all its hustle, din and activity, and my earliest days here were spent in a tiny room on Bidhan Sarani, overlooking the busy street as well as (coincidentally) the not-so-high towers of Christ Church, adjacent to Bethune College. In the new city, I was acquainted with many other kinds of sounds, and my day began by waking up to the rumble of one of the innumerable trams. My varied acoustic platter provided no room for the familiar “ding-dang-dong” and before long, the memory of those chimes vanished to be replaced by the new sights, sounds and perceptions of this amazing city. After I had shifted to a different and quieter neighbourhood, for many months I couldn’t decipher the reason for my emptiness every Sunday. It was only before my first Christmas here that all the memories came flooding back…

I haven’t been able to visit the church for nearly four years now. I have no touch with those childhood playmates; I don’t know if the church still looks the same; if it still has the red light looming every night; if the graveyard still gives that familiar chill mixed with a strange sense of longing…

Ding-dang-dong always rang the bells of the church. It wasn’t long after I had deciphered the reason for the difference in its chime, that I moved to Kolkata. The familiar chime from the ghost of my childhood reminds me of passing time, of the innumerable journeys that I have to make, and that time is running short.

“Misery Acquaints us with Strange Bed-fellows”

•December 6, 2009 • 2 Comments

For a couple of days, I can’t help but wonder, how strange human mind is. As I write this blog today, I’m constantly reminded of Miss Austen’s and later, Miss Christie’s remark…I will lead you on to it, slowly… It happens that my little canvas (which I call my life) is dotted with quite a few people. I am not one of those who boast of knowing a large circle of people, and are capable of making useful connections. Yet that doesn’t deter me from possessing an interesting mixture of characters in my canvas. I wouldn’t declare to be very adroit in the study of human characters, yet I could safely say that observing random people is one of my hobbies-one which never ceases to amuse me. Consequently, my limited canvas provides me with a rich resource to my hobby, speckled as it is, with varied characters. It is here that the remark of those literary greats comes to my mind. Both of them had said how a small community provides an attractive hunting ground for the study of diverse natured people; and what I observed and concluded today, after careful study of a particular character (many other interesting specimens can wait, to be perused later) will form the subject of my random thoughts today (and I know sadly, will occupy a cosy little place in my mind for quite a few days, following).

For obvious privacy reasons, and to avoid being the subject of a brawl, I’m not naming the person about whom I’m writing today. Yet, the person has to be addressed by certain pointers. So let’s decide. We first fix the gender-it is inevitably male, for I haven’t had the good fortune yet to come across such atypical characteristics in a woman before, and I’m pretty sure, won’t come across one in the near-future. So it’s a “he”, but he should have a name, right? How about the clichéd “Mr. X”? It also renders a whiff of mystery to his personality (Mr. X, where ever you are, you should be thankful to me for making you seem mysterious-young women, I’m told, find a mysterious man extremely attractive…). So the ritual of naming is over, let’s begin with the analysis.

Now, to aid you with forming the exact picture of Mr. X in your mind, I will have to describe his looks. Yet, I’m not going to give an exact sketch, for I wouldn’t want people to recognise him and then go and bug him. See, I wouldn’t like to intrude on someone’s privacy! That’s unethical! Anyway, Mr. X is the conventional handsome young man, and so good is his looks, that (silly) young women trip over when they see him, and profess to be head-over-heels in love with him at the first sight. Thrilling though it sounds, Mr. X, incidentally looks down upon all this with extreme disdain, and with disapproving, crossed eye-brows, flings his head high up in the air, pinches his nose as if he were smelling something foul, and with long strides walks past the gushing females. He has his own pleasures though-chiefly among them, is looking down upon people and giving them the impression that he is way better as far as looks, qualifications, manners, knowledge, smartness, tastes and upbringing goes. It is during these moments of self-appraisal and realization that he is truly divine and above these lesser mortals, that a faint trace of a beautiful smile-subtle yet elegant-passes from his lips. It is indeed a treat to watch him chance upon that smile of his, and through this blog, I would also urge all of you, not to rob the suave Mr. X of his tiny moment of epiphany and happiness, and continue with your follies in front of him-my observations tell me, nothing amuses our flamboyant Mr. X more than to regard the behaviour of lesser mortals with amusement, as they talk to their friends, read, study, brood, eat, drink, smoke. It is only by our stupid, uncouth, daily actions that we can keep our genteel Mr. X entertained, and that, I promise you, would be more important and relevant than serving our society.

Mr. X has sophistication oozing out from every atom of his divine body. So we should only kindly grant him this understanding that even after sitting in the same room for months on end, often sharing the same table, and taking part in the same conversations, during which the names of the lesser mortals are often pronounced, Mr. X cannot remember the names of the unpolished mob. It is only just, that he should not deem it necessary to cloud his superior mind with those mundane and unimportant names. It is equally understandable that he deftly chooses to ignore a (otherwise fair) young maiden in public transport and should rest his perfectly sculpted body on a comfortable seat, while that lesser intellect-laden woman should stand uncomfortably in the over-crowded bus. Yet, what intrigues me more than all these superior qualities of Mr. X is his tactful way of both being in a conversation and outside it. As mentioned before, he engages himself in the engrossing act of observing people’s follies; yet sometimes, he also intrudes (good-naturedly, of course) into their conversations, dropping a line to show how utterly foolish their words were, and how utterly tactless their actions. If you have ever been a subject to this chiding, then you would know how fortunate you are, for not everyone has the good luck of being bestowed with Mr. X’s gracious presence (even if it is for a few minutes) and being the subject of his taciturn remark.

My recent observations reveal that after searching nearly the entire women’s world for that perfect female whom he could entrust his heart with, and nearly declaring himself failed in the effort (for the first time in his life, mind you, had our cultivated Mr. X been so close to failure), Mr. X is finally in love. I have an irrepressible urge to see that fair young maiden, for, prior to his meeting her, Mr. X had written off the entire woman race as empty-headed creatures. Even now, except for his lady-love, whom I can sense that he treasures as a real gem, his notion about the woman-race remains pretty much unchanged. I can imagine her to be petite, dainty, svelte, submissive, intelligent, wraith-like- just the sort that would be right for our Mr. X. I offer my heartiest congratulations to the couple.

I consider it to be my extreme good fortune to have known someone of Mr. X’s stature, and his personality alone makes my otherwise mundane canvas look so brilliant. Currently, I’m trying to soak as much of Mr. X’s essence as I can, and his brilliance and divinity, for it will be short-lived. My sources tell me that Mr. X will be forsaking our circles before long, for his attention is required in other fields more important, and our frivolity is only making him waste his time. I wish him the best of luck and joy with his more pressing ventures, and hope that he knows that there will be a hoard of lesser mortals who will miss him sorely after his departure, and ever ready to welcome him, if he so much as thinks, of coming back.