Memories In March

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Image Courtesy: BlogAdda

Memories are best served cold. They are created while you’re young, so you can carry them inside your head till it is alive. As you grow old, day by day, it’s time to ruminate on the memories, warm them up and have them served apiece within a mundane daily routine. There are some that don’t taste the same after days or years, and then there are others that sizzle up with time and fill your senses with longing for loved ones.

Watching young ones in the family grow up is a beautiful process that enriches one and makes for endless memories. I’ve had the scope to witness my young sister-in-laws (SIL) transit from school to college and transform into beautiful ladies from cranky teenagers. For a large part though, we’ve been living in radically different cities and corresponding through occasional phone calls, text messages and holidays. The moments spent there would be hurried and sporadic, in a frenzy over a few days to soak away the minutes slowly into our togetherness. We’d catch a movie, hop off to lunches, meet at their places, our place and any other relatives nearby, sneak away time for a chat on the terrace while mothers and aunts carried on their chitter-chatter. Each holiday would remain a collage of these moments, with images popping up in our minds months later, causing roars of laughter on either side over a call.

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You and Us

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

Image Courtesy: Indiblogger

“When being together is more important than what you do, you are with a friend.” – Connie McMartin

I’ve been friends with S for the last 11 years now. Now that’s a bloody long time to know someone, isn’t it? We had begun our acquaintance with peals of laughter on the University staircase, if you’d believe. Both of us are infamous for our laughters, which can easily be compared with flight take-offs. They start with a giggle in unison and end up after reaching a crescendo that has offended a mighty lot of people then and now. But we wouldn’t be us if we had actually cared about that!

After hanging out in University campus for almost three years, we had to part ways. While I flew off for academics, S continued hers in Calcutta. It’s been mostly social media and very occasional meetings for the next few years. We’d plan in advance and meet for a movie and lunch, blabbering away the happenings in our lives, mostly love lives. We had created the record of chatting hours at bus stops before heading for our homes, respectively. There seems to be a throttled river of words that comes to life and rushes along whenever we see each other.

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Books for life: Celebrating #IAD

 

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

Image Courtesy: b00kr3vi3ws

“You can never get a cup of tea large enough or a book long enough to suit me.” ― C.S. Lewis

Writing is not everyone’s cup o’tea, but reading is, or at least it must be. It’s not onerous to read – a book, a magazine, an article, a paragraph, or even a single sentence. Reading is a habit that will take you places, through magical universes and realms you have longed to visit, through the past and future while you read them in present. “I have been an avid reader” – I bet many of us must have begun their #IAD blog posts with this claim and they are very well so. Debdatta of b00kr3vi3ws has been extremely prudent in conceiving the idea for International Authors’ Day and a blog hop. We’ll write all about books, reading, writing and more – for you.

Few favourites.

Few favourites.

I can’t recall how long I’ve been reading, but it has been nearly three decades. And now when I introspect, I haven’t even read a sensible portion of everything I ever want to read. My parents had been kind enough to hand me books along with food from a very tender age. The rhyme and picture books have slowly graduated to fairy tales, mostly translated in Bangla/English from Russian and Ukranian folk takes. I’ve been lucky enough to scourge through those books in the Kolkata International Book Fair for a few years and enhance my collection. Shelves started spilling books and my father had to find me a study desk with bookshelves beneath. As my trips to the Book Fair increased each year, the bookshelf started shrinking. Innumerable Bangla and English books spilled over to my bed, the dining table (except for lunch and dinner times), the television stand, a piece or two inside the almirah, on the fridge top, and even inside my school bag.

I couldn’t buy every book I wanted, as I have been taught to respect and judge the value of money. I used to wait for gift cheques and solid cash from my grandmother(s) on birthdays/Durga Puja/Saraswati Puja/Poila Boishakh (Bangla New Year). My first Tintin (in Tibet) was courtesy maternal grandmother and I still cherish the copy for a handwritten note from her. I would demand for books rather than dresses on each occasion and it certainly made my relatives wonder if I were feminine enough. My father wasn’t worried, he built huge book-almirah with four shelves for me. For us.

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Of Rain, Calcutta, and Other Lores

It’s raining in Calcutta now. And I’m writing about it sitting in a sunny, humid, sweltering city a couple of thousand kilometers away. That itself should be proof enough of my yearning for rain, in Calcutta. Every year at the advent of monsoon, there is a part in me which unfailingly craves to be in Calcutta to savour the climate. The dilapidated city looks surreal, feels surreal, and infinite memorable moments are born with each earthward drop.

Photo Courtesy: Subhamoy Sinha Roy

Photo Courtesy: Subhamoy Sinha Roy

I have lived in Calcutta for eight years only. I have also lived in a few other metropolises of the world during rains. Miami – yes, Mumbai – yes, Hyderabad – yes, New York – briefly yes, London – briefly yes, Belfast – yes. I have watched the preparation, the actual precipitation, soaked and froze myself in those rains, and yet, whenever it rains anywhere it reminds me of Calcutta. I have eons of memories as I spent the crucial monsoons of my life in the city. The shadows of deep dark pregnant clouds on the moss-lined walls of our old Ballygunge flat used to bring out the poet in me each monsoon. They were not necessarily works of art, I must assure you, but they never failed to fill the pages of my diary. I was naive then, yes. Even an edged word from my best friend drove me to melancholy and made me seek solace in the rain. I could sit hours on the window sill and day-dream with incessant patter in the background. That is something I still do. The rains compel me to day-dream. They make even amateurish dreams seem achievable.

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Picturesque Memories

Mum(me) at Batasia Loop, near Darjeeling, circa 1991.

Mum(me) at Batasia Loop, near Darjeeling, circa 1991 (photograph taken by my father).

*The image is perfectly old, from a non-digital camera, untouched and unedited. I have just scanned it and added a watermark to thrust my copyright on it.*

Memories are sometimes like the silver bubbles of surf on the top of a wave which are transient, and yet linger even after the wave is dissipated. I am a very picture person who loves to store and cherish photographs as testimonials of the time passed by. The crumbly texture, pale yellow tinge, musty smell and flood of memories captured in an old photograph are often priceless.

The photograph posted here makes me recall a memorable trip to Darjeeling in my younger times. It was remarkable for more than one reason. For starters, it was my first trip to any hill station. The excitement for the journey was more than exploring the destination. I was old and thoughtful enough to start enjoying overnight train journeys. But, the part that followed was so much more interesting – it was traversing uphill from Siliguri towards Darjeeling, stopping by famous stations like Ghum and Batasia Loop (where this photo was clicked). Our deluxe bus (yes, they still have those running in West Bengal) had stopped at the Batasia Loop for tourists to take a look. It is the same spot which has been used innumerable times in many Indian movies, most famous being the track ‘Mere Sapnon ki Rani…’ from Aradhana (1969). Sadly, the charming toy trains shown in the movies didn’t run the year I went.

The photograph actually depicts a mesmerized me humbled by the view of Kanchenjungha mountains and soft misty clouds floating low enough to brush my face once in a rare while. In contrast, my mother seems too happy with the fact that I was enjoying the most. I am still in awe of this image of ours together which is a gem, finely cut and sparkling from my resplendent childhood trips.

This post is my entry for the ‘One Picture From My Photo Album’ contest conducted by My Yatra Diary and CupoNation.”

I nominate these three fellow bloggers to participate in this contest:

1. The Whitescape (http://thewhitescape.wordpress.com)

2. Mixi ( http://fisheyes-meanie.blogspot.in/)

3. Jas (http://goingbeyondthepages.wordpress.com/)