October 12, 2005

TJ2: Nutan (continued)

( … continued … )

Now that so much of background info about Nutan is given, it is better to start from nowhere: that is now and here. Better to start from the other end: presenting the present. The present the transient the cloud that you can never pin down, the sunbeam that you can never hold in your hand, that part common with Julie Andrews Maria in Sound of Music, but the other part is, ‘Present, this present/ Presenting and representing/ The ugliest songs of ours/ Relentlessly’. It was a very weak and feeble attempt, that is an attempt possible with my ability, in translating Jibanananda, the greatest Bangla writer ever. This ‘relentlessly’ part is extremely important, this is a dynamic situation. The present is always past, every moment it is happening, by the very criterion of happening it is becoming past, it is a process that you cannot describe, because every description is static, like the past. The description by virtue of getting described, that is, thought or spoken or written, is becoming dead and static, and how a dead and static thing can describe a live process that realizes in its ever-changing dynamics?

But, this Tridib’s Journal Entry 2, TJ2, is not about present-description-past. It is about Nutan.

Nutan. The sister Tridib could have but did not. Making something real doubly proves that it is not real by the action of making. This is not just playing with words. What is making? It is forcing squeezing pressuring some of the infinite variables of the reality to behave in some particular way or structure. That is, making some loose ends meet there, that would not meet in the real case, and make some closed ends unmeet that have already met in reality. But this intervention in the history of the variables itself becomes a history. And you are always conscious that you are enacting a play, you have to go on playing it, that itself changes the play.

This was the mindset that remained there in Tridib’s head towards Nutan. Maybe that was a bit caused by his laziness too. Making something happen means a lot of labor and labor is always a negative commodity, one likes it if only it is someone else’s. And making any emotional event true involves a lot of labor. Like falling in love. At times Tridib thinks, middle age is here, and old age is knocking at the door, it is better now to fall in love once again, for some time to come it will make so many things so magically dynamic again. But, the very next moment, the fear of that astronomical amount of labor looms large. That much transport, that much sudden change in plans, that much remaining ready on your toes that any moment she needs you, emotionally, telephonically, physically, letterically, you have to be there. Maybe the same fear worked in the case of Nutan too. Getting into a relationship is so much of a responsibility, and if you are not responsible, it seems that you are a bloody cheater.

So, as everything happens around Tridib, being a big brother to Nutan was there, and simultaneously, not there. There, in his head, and not there, in reality. Years were going by. Within this time, he knew that Nutan was ill, got her news from his friend. That it was a peculiar kind of illness. A continuing low fever, and a lot of cough and other things, a cough that is making her vomit once or twice every day, but no diagnosis at all. Twice she was hospitalized. Once taken to some renowned hospital in some other state, that the disease can get diagnosed, with absolutely no results. Then, slowly, the fever went away. After some two years, without any known reason, exactly as it came. And this was the time when Tridib’s personal life was breaking down. He was trying to re-generate himself on his personal plane, taking resort to his writings, political economy, literature, philosophy, computers and every thing. He was writing a lot. Writing is always easier than reading, when you are disturbed. One year, two years went by. Tridib married again. His old political party, all this time in power, bit him a lot, as these things happen, actually the party does not bite, but some people there, and after all, they are the party. They abused him on lack of politics, lack of morality, lack of everything, and, maybe to generate and demonstrate a lack of entirely new order, ransacked his house and threw his books into the nearby pond: lack of books: was it very poignant in terms of surplus meaning?

All this time, Tridib was wanting it so hard to go to Nutan, at least once or twice. Every year, after the Pujo Festivals in the autumn, in fact as if marking the end point to the Pujo, comes the bhaai-phnota. And every year, without fail, he suffered on that day. That he did not go there. Going there, to take the phnota, that a sister gives on the forehead of a brother, would be playing too much of a second fiddle to a badly constructed mythology, but, not going there had its own price too.

And then, exactly fourteen years after the magic dawn in their Purulia home, Tridib went to Nutan’s place. And not on a bhaai-phnota. Within these fourteen years, thrice Tridib went to his friend’s place, and all three of them very short-time visits, the last two of them Tridib was accompanied with his wife, one just after the marriage, and Nutan with his husband and child had once come to Tridib’s place too. All of them very social and low profile meets, never the emotional variable flowing very high. And for a few years now the contacts with this old friend, husband of Nutan, were alive once again, that he was coming back to political economy research and all. Then came this meet with Nutan, fourteen years away from that first meet with the newly-married balika-badhu. And this was after her long disease, and Tridib was tense within himself, what he is going to see of her, on the way to their place.

It was a week-day, and it was noon. The scorching sun and the humid air. Temperature around 40 degree Centigrade, and humidity around hundred percent, as it happens in Calcutta summer on a June day. The house, the room, with all the windows closed to keep away the heat, actually did give Tridib a sense of comfort and relief, and sitting on the bed, usually middle income households in Bangla speaking people do not have a drawing room in that sense, and, in a way, Tridib was a family, so he sat on the bed of the bedroom, almost the only room of the apartment, the other one being a passage before the kitchen turned into a dining place, a bed that he had to almost grope for, it was so dark inside, after coming in from the burning sun. And the cot, made of old teak, from the marriage, the bed-sheet on the bed, the metal cupboard, the dresser beside the bed, everything being of a dark color, the whitewashed wall getting morose from the dirt of time, the light was not adequate by any standard. The young boy was sleeping on one side of the bed.

Nutan was already gasping for breath, from this action of opening the door and getting surprised and pleased at seeing Tridib on the door. Not that Tridib was hungry, but it was not very normal for her not to ask him if he was hungry from the long journey, she actually told Tridib to take some rest. “You better lie down a bit here, he has left some papers and journals and things for you, better take a look after taking some rest. You have all the way from there, in this heat.” Nothing normal was happening here, at least with respect to a Bangla household. Could Nutan see it, or couldn’t she, that Tridib’s shirt was absolutely wet from sweat, and if she could, it should be the first reaction of her to tell Tridib to take off the shirt, but she said nothing, together with not asking him if he is hungry or not, and actually asking nothing at all, and just telling him to lie down there, it was all so abnormal. Tridib got the answer a bit later. And it was one answer so very painful.

More to cope up with these things that he could not understand, Tridib lied down on the bed, like that, with that wet shirt on him. Though it was extremely soothing now, with this darkness and cool within the room, the fan running at full speed. And within moments Nutan lied down there too, beside him, between the sleeping son and Tridib. Tridib was actually a bit uneasy, not that any sexual context was ever present there between him and Nutan, still it was not a run of things that happens every day in your life. And the apprehension of what his friend could think if he knew of this was making him a bit alert too. And by that time Nutan had taken a pillow below her head and her eyes were already closed. Tridib’s eyes, now a bit habituated in this darkness, started discerning things. And because they were now lying, the window was very near to their heads, and the slits and joins of the wooden planks of the window were letting in microscopic amounts of light.

Nutan spoke again, and this time due to the vicinity, Nutan’s head was now not more than thirty centimeters from his head, Tridib was hearing it clearly over the drone of the fan, and some occasional fluttering of the Goddess Kali on the calendar hanging on the wall, Tridib now got the ring of the voice. It was a stoned voice, as if drugged. Was she that ill?

“If you smoke, the ash-tray is on the window. Just a bit back I had my medicine. I don’t get anything very clearly after this medicine. You get some rest.”

Oh, then, this is the thing, Her illness, her medicine, Tridib thought. And as if to fulfill her wish, and maybe he was longing for a cigarette too, he raised his body a bit on his left elbow and opened the window just a bit that it lets out the smoke, most probably it would be harmful for her. And the moment he hid it, he wished he had not, but it was too late. The soft light from the partially opened window, it opened towards a verandah that had a big bushy tree outside, made Nutan’s face visible to his eyes. Was it Nutan’s face at all. She was around twenty on that Purulia morning, and it seemed she has aged at least twice those years, and not just that, all very miniscule crows’ feet now filled her whole cheek and forehead and all, the hairline receded so far back, it was not the face he knew. With his elbow now on the window sill, and his head rested on it Tridib looked on and on: Nutan, the same Nutan, really? All of a sudden, the cruel irony of the name shot him back.

Without knowing it fully well that he was doing it, Tridib put his right palm on Nutan’s forehead, and started playing his fingers through it. And so matte and lifeless and dry they seemed. Why? He could not understand that. Understood later, on the way back.

Nutan, sleepily, and spontaneously, as it seemed, moved her head a bit, and made the smallest of motion of her head, in reply and acceptance of Tridib’s hand on her head. Did she do it really? Or, she was already asleep, it was just one physical movement that people do while asleep, without knowing that they were doing it? Whatever it maybe, Tridib went on doing it. And all these years, all the images of Nutan and everything around her, in retrospect were running through his head. Can living people become this dead so fast, without actually dying?

In the afternoon, on his way back, the mystery of those dry and matte hair cropped up in Tridib’s head. When she got awake in the afternoon, one of her very first reactions was a surprise, full of pain, by looking at Tridib, “You are absolutely the same, how it happened: you did not change a bit?”

At times Tridib is reminded of this by some of his associates, he did age really far less than many other of his friends. When someone says of it, on the next morning, after having his bath, while backbrushing his hair, Tridib looks at the image a bit more attentively, is it true? It seems, this is the face he is seeing there for so many years, something like fifteen seconds every morning, that is the time it takes to comb the hair, once. Obviously, in his childhood he had no beard and moustache, but he can’t remember it any more. At times these comments gives him a silent pleasure and satisfaction: see, that is the plus point of workouts and exercises he does every morning for the last two decades. But, this is the first time he felt a guilt. Why he did not age? Why? Why this difference in aging between people, a difference that makes Nutan go into a futile attempt of hiding her age, by applying dye and all that made her hair so listless and lack-luster and dry? This occurred to Tridib that very moment, going by a barber’s shop. This barber was giving the evening time incense and good-luck lamp to his shop. Tridib told him to crop the hair and beard as small as he can. Tridib wanted to do something but he did not know what.

For the last two or three years, the explosive energy in his friend’s work and a changed way of behaving with people first gave him the hunch, and then, later, Tridib discovered, his friend has found a woman of his own. This woman is good, Tridib saw her too, once or twice, good-natured, intelligent, communicative. It is OK, Tridib is no judge of morality or something. Tridib’s friend was never engrossed in Nutan. Tridib knew it all along, even the night before that magic dawn the conversation they had between two old friends. It was more a marriage of responsibility than a marriage of love. Nutan does not know of it too, as his friend told Tridib. Though Tridib has a fair amount of doubt. Can a wife not-know sufficiently well? Life is not a film after all.

And this aged woman, this wreckage of a person that was supposed to become a woman, full of life and vigor and everything, but that never really happened, why she continues to miss everything? Why? This barber was doing his job very inefficiently. Every move in the scissor was giving a sparking pain in his scalp, but at this moment Tridib loved the pain, he wanted it to be harder still.

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত, মানুষ — dd @ 8:12 pm

October 11, 2005

TJ2: Nutan (continued)

(… continued … )
In the next few years to come, so many things were happening around Tridib, in his personal life, and so many times Tridib would like to return to this picture of a girl becoming a woman. Sitting there, beside him, on the floor, and making him eat “everything there”.

Tridib knew, Nutan did not have a happy family life before her marriage, the same man who named her Nutan, most probably, who else can it be, his affects to the daughter, the daughters actually, Nutan had a sister too, to the mother of the daughters, all the affects had undergone a queer but common turn, violence becoming its primary language. Tridib once saw this man too, a very strongly built physique, a kind of biological force emanating from his every gesture, maybe he was more than dissatisfied with his frail and asthmatic wife, suffering from malnutrition, and so, naturally he tried to settle the unsettled conjugal account in every possible alternative way. Almost every night, all through Nutan’s childhood, he would beat up this wife, not that his physical vigor could achieve a full-employment scenario even here, so little of violence was required at all to overpower this junk of a woman. And if the terrorized daughters happened to be there, they too got endowed with their share of familial affects. A common tale but true, that repeated every night, after his regular quota of alcohol.

Now a tea-totaler for the last eight years, for quite a long time Tridib was himself an authentic alcoholic himself. His own experience with alcohol always falls inadequate of this: how some amount of that tinted liquid, a bit unfriendly with his digestion maybe, but how the hell can it make someone do this? This is actually unjust abusing towards that larger than life liquid. That man who named Nutan as Nutan, provided the patronymic and never lived up to becoming a father of Nutan, most probably, had his alcohol just to rationalize his violence. Why he wanted to be violent? In his own way, Tridib has discovered so many unpredictable ways of loving that it makes him think at times, is this another form of love? Poisonous, killing, dirty, but love still? Just that the man does not know any other language of loving? Tridib is not at all sure here, how he can be, who knows what works in anyone else’s head, but one thing is sure, if violence is there, it should never be one-way. Why the woman should not strike out? In fact, while writing this, this image comes to life in his head: man and woman fighting between them, fighting physically, the hard way, just as a variation on the theme of romance. Why not? At least it sounds less stupid and more full of life than many other so popular ones.

That Nutan was deprived of her childhood, a childhood that every child should get, makes it doubly magic, how she could remain so much alive and childlike, some savage paternal heritage?

Time was moving on its own course. A few meetings happened within that. Once or twice Tridib went to their place with an occasional set of Salwar-Kurta, that Tridib purchased after a lot of browsing in New Market, when he discovered that peach-colored salwar suit filled with Lakhnau Chikan embroidery it seemed that it was created just for her. Nutan liked Tridib’s going to her place on bhaai-phnota, the traditional autumn ritual of brothers and sisters, the whole thing getting more authentic because, as if providence set it that way, “see, you don’t have any sister, and I don’t have any brother: when I was young, how I would like it, if I had a big brother”. Tridib, though getting touched by these, actually feels kind of uneasy with every expression of emotion, as if it is getting recorded somewhere, and some day, when things have somewhat changed, and things do change, really, they are going to return to you and ask, ‘did you cheat that day’? Something like this happens with him, and so, Tridib does never feel at home with these expressions, and so would reply back with his stupid grin, time now to make it a global patent, but why, why others should not have any right to use it? Copyleft is the name of the future.

Like this it was going for years. Peaceful and everything, as one expects any story to be. Then things started changing.

( … continued … )

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত, মানুষ — dd @ 5:27 pm

TJ2: Nutan (continued)

(… continued …)

The first time Tridib saw Nutan, she was actually a child. Though at her nineteen, she laughed like a girl of nine. The horrible part of the whole thing is that, the last time Tridib saw her, once or twice she tried to laugh, at least smile, and every time Tridib could discern the same movements of muscle and face parts that she remembered from those first time laughs, exactly the same movements, the same form, only the content has changed. Not exactly the same form though. So many years of suffering from an unknown disease, and that the disease is unknown makes it a bigger terror, has changed the face a lot too. Though, that day she tried hard in her own way not to look as she is now, but, more like as she was, as wants to be remembered by Tridib. Or, maybe, she did not think that much at all, Tridib is making them up.

Tridib imbibes Nutan with a lot of the glory of magic. Actually, not exactly Nutan. But some context. Some very special context that goes on working down under and generating unexpected new turns in meaning in apparently very expected way of things and events.

That time Tridib was working in Purulia. For one year or so. A village so many miles even from the distant district town of Purulia. And this place Manbajar actually brought to his mind the name of the film, ‘Christ Stopped at Eboli’. He used this phrase so many times in his mind and in his conversations too, Christ stopped at Purulia. Manbajar is a place beyond all reasons, an uncertain barren piece of land full of chunks of stone everywhere, a place where even Christ has never treaded on.

A place where he had to take his dinner within six in the evening, because that is the time when the last shop in Manbajar closed down. And the house he lived in was geographically on the extreme end of the village, just beside the village’s own burning ghat for burning down the corpses of the indigenous dead, and the nearest house housed two chained insane people, who cried at some ungodly hours at times, and that is a tautology, because no hour was ever godly there. He lived in this house, because in the history of the village he was the first person to rent in any house in that village, outsiders are very much of a novelty in those areas.

But that was not the most important thing. The bigger thing was his own history though. For the last few years, that is exactly from the moment of marriage, the moment of truth when he understood he should not ever have entered into this marriage, he was sleeping on a broken bed. That is again a grossly overstatement, in a way he was still sleeping in his bachelor bed. So very few nights he went to the place where he should have lived, that is, with his wife, preferring his small lonely corner room, full of so many political memories, in the big bad parental house, a house where never ever a family has lived. But through the years of childhood and youth the house was, by that time, a habit, not any kind of emotional demand any more. So, this return to the old parental house after the college, actually helped him cheat himself that, yes, every thing is exactly as it was, that he was never married at all. Anyway, all these were just the backdrop that actually worked underground to make this second interaction with Nutan doubly rich all possible layers of emotion.

The whole impossibility of a woman being like that, the wife of one of his friends, being so much like a child in the first interaction when Tridib met the friend with his friend and his friend’s fiancée who were planning to marry very soon, in fact got more highlighted and underlined by this second interaction, when this child, a child that a girl can ever be, was married some time back with Tridib’s friend, and so, appropriately run through the ‘Wife’ template, with all those due attires, with a household of her own, with the whole house under her command, that is exactly in every way as a wife should be, and still so unseemly in every way.

Her tip, that is the bindi, the sindur, the vermilion dot on her forehead, as any traditional Bangali bou or wife must have: even that small thing too was so much of a massacre. She has not even learned to wear her sindur, Tridib thought. This second interface with Nutan, after her marriage, from the very first moment made Tridib so conscious that all his childhood he has longed so much for a sister of his own that he never had, being the only child of his parents, and what a emotional necessity it was. That very moment the feeling that came up within him that, yes, maybe this planet is not that bad to live on, what he had started believing for quite some time, specially after this ‘punishment posting’ in Purulia. ‘Punishment Posting’ is the common term in the related circles, when some powers that be punish someone by the posting, for his impertinence, and yes, impertinence, that was one thing that Tridib was never short in supply with, with an in-built attitude problem. These problems now added up with his becoming renegade to the politics that was now in power in West Bengal.

That primary moment of feeling the bubbly soft buoyancy of a hill spring after a long way up hill, the water is taking away your weight, all the bubbles are playing with you, your body, your soul, you are relieved of carrying yourself, that lingered on and even swelled on more, and in a way inundated Tridib on the next morning. As Tridib and his friend, went on talking into the late hours of the night, eager to exchange so many things, meeting after a long time, and so, it was fixed the earlier night that Tridib would rise very early in the morning and catch the first local train, without waking his friend. That Nutan, the child-wife, balika-badhu, as Tridib was already teasing her, and Nutan never failing to get angry, would rise from her sleep at such a small hour, and prepare breakfast for him, was, very truly beyond the wildest imagination of Tridib. Maybe more so due to his semi-nomadic lifestyle for many years, political and impersonal, and more due to his never finding a family in a real way, and he has seen his own wife in many occasions like this without ever getting an experience of this kind. That morning, it was even not four on his black Seiko digital watch, that watch was lost very soon after that, Nutan in her commanding voice, how a wife that runs the family can talk without commands in her voice, told Tridib to sit calmly there, the seat for breakfast that she prepared for him on the floor, with a folded table cloth, and have the whole plate of food without leaving a single morsel on the plate. That was the ugliest fried potato that Tridib has ever seen, now that Nutan has learned her life and her trade and her efficiency she will never be able to produce that ugly that beautiful pieces of fried potato any more in her life, every piece with a thickness of its own, and that some of them are over-fried being compensated by some of them remaining quite raw.

(… continued …)

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত, মানুষ — dd @ 10:20 am

TJ2: Nutan

Nutan is not her name, obviously, she is a real person.

Then why Tridib chose Nutan: a name that sounds as much non-Bangla as it can be? If in Bangla, there had been no word like that, as an alien but nice-sounding word it could be very much used as a Bangla proper name. But, there is a Bangla word ‘nutan’, the old-diction version of ‘notun’, ‘u’ not like ‘o’ in ‘done’, but as like ‘oo’ in ‘moon’. It is an adjective that means ‘new’. And because ‘nutan’ is so widely-used an adjective, it can hardly be conceived as a proper name for a Bangla speaking person.

In this last sentence Tridib was a bit hesitant about the word ‘person’, first he wanted to write ‘girl’ in place of ‘person’, then he asked himself, why? The old-diction ‘nutan’ or new-diction ‘notun’: none of them has any gender thing with them. In fact gender is hardly there in any Bangla adjective, except in some direct imports from Sanskrit or tatsama words. Actually, here, in his hesitation lies the point of naming ‘Nutan’ as ‘Nutan’.

The gender thing is very much there in the name ‘Nutan’. Nutan is Bimal Ray’s Nutan, Nutan the actress as in ‘Bandini’, Nutan as in ‘Milan’, Nutan the somber the deep the mysterious the beautiful. Or even in the so innocent looking and still so endlessly emotional grace with Dev Anand in ‘Tere Ghar Ki Samne’.

Tridib once saw a song, in his childhood they used to hear songs, now it has changed, Nutan and Dev Anand coming down the Delhi Kutab Minar: romancing, that is, dancing and singing together, as only happens in a Hindi Movie. Magic, so much magic was there in this song, in Nutan, that once Tridib thought of writing a story around this magic, appropriating this magic. This story talks about a magic sequence of stone blocks ─ all the stones that Nutan touched during the whole song sequence within the Kutab tower. The story says that this sequence describes a magic series, and if one can touch all the stones in that particular sequence one gets the love of one’s life. But you are given only one chance to touch the stones in their proper sequence while coming down Kutab Minar. As it happens in the story, unknowingly, just by a fortunate-unfortunate chance, this happened with a young girl, and readily she got the man of her love. But, there was another young man, not this girl’s love, who loved this girl, and this was the end of everything for this young man. He now goes on searching the sequence, in every possible and impossible way. After seeing the movie for a thousand times, he finally discovers that it is dissolved in the terminal dissolve of the song sequence whether Nutan touches the last stone or not, and no one any more can tell it for sure. The film has dissolved on that shot, and all the crew that made the film are dead. Now, for this young man, to touch or not to touch is the question. He is literally and poetically standing eternally on the stairs. The story ends with a dilemma for the reader: if he gets it right the love of his love’s life is ruined, and if he does not, his own love is ruined, which one is going to happen, why?

Anyway, this lady-or-the-tiger is not the point here. The name ‘Nutan’ is. This name actually swaps the real name of the real woman that i Tridib must not mention here. She was a girl in her late teens when Tridib first saw her, and now she is a woman, no much more than that, in fact much less, she is a old woman now, prematurely old, old and crippled and rejected in every sense of the real life. And the ring of the name Nutan actually comes very near to the real name of the real woman that was once a girl in her teens too. And, every logic about the name family and films in Bangla-speaking life tells Tridib that the affects that went into naming a daughter as Nutan is not at all far from the possible affects that went into the real name. The same non-Bangla feminine aura that was there in the original is there in Nutan too.

[This is going to be a long post: will complete it later]

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত, মানুষ — dd @ 12:58 am

October 9, 2005

Is it me?

Is it me? Am i always asking this to myself?

Just a few minutes back changed the setting on my KDE browser Konqueror to make this blog the ’starting page’. The earlier one was the Google search page. Why? Just to get assured: yes it is me, i am there, yes, here it is. Why the hell so much i am preoccupied with myself? Lack of self-esteem? Maybe?

All these years, whenever anything bad or good happened with me, has it not been the guiding thing anywhere, oh, this is me, this is how i react in a context like this? This going-on-observing has given me something, i think, when i depict a thought process, it seems, this practice vests it with a kind of authenticity. But, by the same sleight of hand, it takes away anything that may even suggest of any spontaneity.

Many years back, on a train journey, i read the autobiography of Ingmar Bergman, ‘Magic Lanterns’. I was so startled to discover he was actually writing something that i thought within myself for so many years: a microsecond lag working everywhere?

I feel so jealous to everyone that reacts spontaneously. I cannot be ever like that? Or, maybe, their spontaneity is a mythology too, maybe a bit more all-pervasive one, such that she herself/himself is knowing herself/himself as spontaneous? The myth-making is so complete.

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত — dd @ 7:15 pm

October 6, 2005

TJ1: The Bee

Tridib was standing there, his side-bag, as the thing is called, a black cloth sack with long handles made of cloth, full of intricate embroidery, a bag that he prefers to look like that, continuing to prefer it for the last two decades or more, always searching for a look-alike when the old one is worn out, why preferring it that way? It is his identity? When a bag like that hangs down his side, whenever his glance fleets past his body, his self, it seems: yes it is me?

Tridib was standing there exactly that way that day too, exactly like every other day, he is returning from the college, exactly the same tired and worn out for exactly the same lack of reason. The laptop within the bag pulling it hard on his obese shoulders, maybe not that obese really, this is going to be one hell of self-conscious prose full of a lot of self-defense. And then, while staring glumly towards everything around, the light-accessories, the loudspeakers, the window, the fan, the people, and nothing in particular, he saw it. The bee. Tridib knows, his wife knows, everyone that knows Tridib knows it that he is afraid of insects, and so, maybe to continue the continuity, who the hell wants to break continuities, this time too, Tridib got afraid.

There, within the metro, blanketed by the infernal noise, not even a cacophony, shouldn’t a cacophony have a life or voice or character of its own, a carnal Dionysian life-force playing it up? The metro is just hard dry noise, and Tridib was standing amid his pensive gloom that is always there in and around him. Before discovering the bee, all this time, getting aboard the metro from Shobhabazar, Tridib stood in the corner, just beside the vestibule door. As Tridib always does, in metros, meetings and life, a lone and tired voyeur everywhere.

Tridib was standing there with some care that the hard heavy corner of the laptop within the side-bad does not brush against anyone. And a young guy was sitting there, prim decorated and dumb, the usual stuff. Handling his cell-phone exactly the same way as he does with his phallus in private, this one in public. And he was sitting cross-legged. This manner of sitting cross-legged people are learning fast, pretty fast, mainly from advertisements, depicting and thus glorifying a Westernized lifestyle, but the poor hapless Eastern third world life is not changing, and hence at every moment the society and life are getting richer by another self-important stupid-ass sales-person: youth.

This youth was sitting crosslegged like that, without a care towards if his shoe is brushing against someone else in so intense a crowd, but fight-apprehensive Tridib did not say a thing. Once or twice before he has tried speaking out, but that always finally leads to fights, and a lot of violence. Once, that led to a very stupid thing, Tridib with his slap broke the some-foreign-brand sunglass of a young man and made his cheek bleed just by the shock of falling within the young man’s teeth and Tridib’s slap. But, what can be more stupid than these stupid violence? Violence: the thing that goes on lingering the feeling of dirt within the one that got violent even many many days after the incidence. These days Tridib is always under a persistent apprehension, no, never, he is not going into another fight. These people are spared the stick in their childhood by their parents, and Tridib is not the chosen one to bring them into light. With all this apprehensiveness and the ambiance of the college still persisting in his head like a pungent throw up after getting overfed, he was standing there, when he saw the bee.

First he was afraid. Is it going to fly? Is it going to sting? These were not the issues actually. He was just afraid of the bee. A bee? Here? Here, on the inside of the glass pane of a metro window? How come it could get in here?

Then he went on eyeing it. Usually, standing in the metro, or, in the local trains of the Bongaon section, trains that he has to catch when the metro ride is over, trains even more, unthinkably more, crowded than this metro, he stands somewhere and goes on doing Pranayam, breathing in with three consecutive Oum, pronounced mentally, and breathing out with five. This is a very nice thing. It helps him go beyond all the continuous pushes and pulls from different parts of different bodies from and towards every direction, go beyond all the occasional bad words going to fro between some of them, go beyond all the bad smells, 3.3 million years of human civilization has not still made them prepared about basic hygiene and all, and maybe go beyond himself, all the flows and pressures and eddies of thought running within his head, whenever he is not doing anything in particular. He was just starting to do his Pranayam, when he saw it. And now all the concentration focused in on the bee. Why? Why anything happens the way it happens?

He went on seeing it. The bee. Tridib.

The wings of the bee folded together in a semi-triangular formation on the back of the bee. How intricate are the lacy veins on the wings. Are they veins at all? Does an insect have veins? Tridib cannot see them fully well. Maybe his mind does see it, from prior experiences. The veins, the lacy lanes and by-lanes creating a curious and intricate labyrinth, like a princely arabesque from the chamber windows of an Arabian Nights princess, lighted from within. Tridib was getting lost within the labyrinth. How many millions of years he was roaming around these streets and lanes and pathways?

It was then that it occurred to Tridib. The sitting posture of the bee was not exactly one of symmetry. It was sitting South-West to North-East, its head towards the upper right hand corner of the window pane like a supply curve from the garbage of a class that he poured out just some time back, but that was not the point. Sitting like that, it was a bit skewed towards its own right. Making all the limbs on the right side look smaller and more folded than usual, while all the legs on the left look longer and taut. Why, for the God of the bees, why?

And The Still Life with a Metropolitan Bee was as it is and remained like that for all these moments Tridib was looking at it. A bee frozen in time? It dawned on him at last: the bee was dead: its weight hanging on the left limbs, somehow they have got stuck on the glass. Maybe some death-time organic glue that exudes from the chitin joints of the arthropod body of the bee? Like the death song of the Cheyenne tribe of the American Indians, White Americans were killing them, each and every single one of them, like the White Americans, some time back, killed all the white buffaloes of the Red Indian valleys, in Tridib’s teen age the novel Last Frontier by Howard Fast always threw him into a whirlwind of affects, the image of a Red Indian girl singing on and on and on, till she dies, they always start singing when they understand that death has arrived. Deathsong. Song of Death. Death singing.

The bee was just stuck there, hanging by its left limbs, and kept in its fixed vicinity of the glass by the set of right limbs. It was dangling, actually, the angular argument of the dangle being very very small. Can Tridib see the dangle? Now that he knows it, it seemed as if it had a mild tremor, particularly when the metro train was passing over some curve or joint. The tremor, now it felt, was more horrible than the apparent freeze. The train is moving, as if the tremor was making the bee more a part of the body of the train, the walls, the wheels, the glass pane, everything. As if its death made it another accessory of the body of the trains. Some art-piece like the stupid pictures that hung on the walls of some metro compartments.

The bee. It sat there when it was alive. Gradually, it died. Not by some accident. Not that some other insect or something killed it. It died its slow gradual natural death. Did some image run past its head? Did it dream? Does an insect have those faculties. Tridib was looking at it and feeling its slow gradual natural death. Did it feel pain? Is death a pain?

All of a sudden, as if to break his stupor, as if to draw in some big gust of air into his breathless lungs, Tridib looked aside, over his shoulder. There was a baby boy sleeping, secure, cool on the shoulder of his mother. His father leaning towards him standing beside. They will get down at Belgachia, the last but one stop. Tridib, before he could really think what he was doing, moved towards that boy, went very near to him. Some comfort. The sleeping face. Some smooth comfortable living air was flowing here. Tridib went so near to the boy that at first the protective father thought maybe Tridib was getting down too at Belgachia, and so, moved his own body a bit, to allow Tridib the passage towards the door. And when he understood that Tridib was just going towards the boy, the father went a bit back, having a full view of Tridib, giving a closer scrutiny. A look of suspect towards some unknown came into the father’s eyes. Or, maybe Tridib was making it up. As it happens in a situation like this, Tridib gave a dumb grin, devoid of any meaning. The protective father did not respond.

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত — dd @ 5:18 pm

Tridib’s Journal

For a long time i was thinking on writing a journal, “Tridib’s Journal”. Everyday so many images pass by me, images events affects, so deep their effect lingers in me, so much thought generate around them. At times it feels like a crime not so scribble them down, at least a few of them. How do i choose? I don’t. They themselves get chosen. That is real what happens to get recorded. And why Tridib’s Journal? Who the heck is Tridib? Tridib was my pen-name. Those days i still was a political activist. I was almost nothing but a political activist. That is exactly one year short of two decades. Decades? I have got so old? Now talking with references of decades, no more months or years? And simultaneously, Tridib was the protagonist of so many of stories. And even two novels too. Just wanted to use the fun of making the reader uneasy through the tension of fiction/reality/fiction… As if reality gets doubly authenticated if the fiction is an autobiography, as if an autobiography is not a fiction, as if any fiction can be ever there that is not autobiography?
Let me start it here. On this blog. It is interesting to see how it goes on, goes on attacking me and transforming me. Will start it from tomorrow.

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত — dd @ 10:00 am

Scattered Letters

What is writing, if not a few scatterd letters, random, chosen but clueless …
And what is a writer, if not the one that goes on searching the reason why i put that letter there, why?

Filed under: ব্যক্তিগত — dd @ 2:39 am

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