Tuesday, September 29, 2009

"Me" - time

Socialising is the greatest form of masochism. You put time, effort and money into meeting new people or catching up with old acquaintances…and then let these very people steal your peace of mind, increase your stress level and leave you disgusted.

The one thing that I really want to be is:
“Self-motivated to be happy” (as one of my wisest friends, Sus di puts it)

As each day goes by, I realise how badly I need to master, or at least acquire this skill. At the moment, I am far from it…depending on “external factors” for my daily dose of happiness.

Friendless, in a far-away land that has offered very few like-minded people, I absolutely MUST learn to be happy alone.

Wish I could be happy in my own company (which is hard…because I am quite boring unless drunk)

Wish I did not need "people" to talk to(I could talk to the trees or insects in my garden and am sure they would reciprocate better)

Wish I had as much fun reading a book or watching a movie as I do when I am with friends (which would also help build that dream library I want so badly)

Wish I did not need to call a hundred people in India to feel good (which would save a lot of money too)

Wish I wouldn’t let random comments from random people affect my peace of mind (which would let me concentrate on other more important things like cloud-watching or cleaning the toilet)

If only I could start enjoying the “me” time, I would be so much closer to the person I want to be.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Aroma therapy

If I could have perfumes specially made for me, I would order these:

Pujo-pujo smell

Ma-ma smell

Bari-bari smell

Kolkata-kolkata smell

Hill station- hill station smell

Brishti-brishti smell

Lazy Sunday afternoon smell

Summer holiday smell

Shiraz Biriyani smell

Bikel-bela-tele-bhaja-and-cha smell

Holi’r abir smell

Bedwin mutton roll smell

Sea-side smell (not the stinking fish types…but the fresh cool breeze types)

P.S. I wouldn’t really “wear” these (I don’t have too many friends here, anyway…and I have to keep my job too). Would just smell them occasionally, according to my mood. I am particularly missing the first one now :(

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Home is where the familiar “smell” is.

I never quite understood the romanticism/obsession about a “house”, though it has been the bricks of some great literature. It could be a menacing backdrop, as in Pinter’s The Room or a symbol of “purpose in life” as in Naipaul’s A house for Mr Biswas. Whatever it was, I never quite connected with it, till I visited my “home” two years back…after ages.

Opening the rusty lock, I entered a house full of dusty memories. Having been deserted for quite a few years, the smell of “dust” was beginning to overpower the smell of “home” that I so longed for. Fighting the cobwebs that hung from the ceiling, I tried to concentrate. The sofa that was also a clever little spare bed for cousins who stayed back the night had been specially designed by Baba. I removed the batik-printed bed cover from it (covered by Ma, to protect it from dust), to see if the colour was still what I remembered it to be. It was…only slightly faded.

The pegs on the wall smiled a strange naked smile. The paintings and photographs of friends and family had been dismounted when Ma went away to stay with Didi. They are kept somewhere safe in the cupboards, I think…but the walls look bruised without them.

The book-shelves in my room had also been wrapped up in a floral printed bed cover that I remember on the beds where I sat to do homework. The books were still there…neither Didi nor I could carry them all to our new cities. I picked up the Byomkesh Bakshi : Collection that Mama had given me when I did well in college. The second page had that beautiful handwriting, almost like calligraphy:
Dear Tuli,
May you enjoy the “search” as much as you enjoy the “find”.

The pujo place, which was actually a shelf converted to a place of worship, was empty. Ma had carried the Gods that she could…and the rest were sent to Mamabari, for regular “jol, batasha and dhoop kathi”. What remained was an old brass dhoop-kathi stand, which didn’t seem to find a new home and lay there all alone. I tried hard again to remember the smell of the incense sticks that Ma used…a chandan one, I think. But the cobwebs distracted me again.

Desperate for some fresh air, I went to the balcony. There were a few pots still, but no plants. Ma had given away most of her potted plants to neighbours and family. She could have left at least the old cactus behind, which always reminded me to a toothless, hairless old man. Cacti don’t need water or care, so am sure it would have survived. But no. She left all her loved ones, with some other loved ones.

I plugged in the old tape recorder that Didi and me had bought with our saved money (years later, we came to know that Baba had to pool in 90%, as our savings could buy us a few cassettes, not a whole cassette player. But we always thought it was “our” hard-saved money…and when Baba asked us to lower the volume, we sometimes told him that we won’t because it was OURS and we could do what we wanted with it.). Luckily, there was a cassette in it “Cliff Richards: Young Ones.” Half expecting the player to crash at my touch, I pressed the Play button.

And to my surprise, the magic voice started singing, low but clear. Clearing away the cobwebs from my home and from my memories, the music brought that familiar “smell” back.

Inspired by a recent conversation with a friend who is also visiting her home after ages.

My home on GoogleMaps:

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Therapy for a bad day...

It’s one of those days when suicide seems to be the best option…or murder.

And anybody who asks you to “take it easy” or “take a few deep breaths” reserves a place in your serial-killing victims list (an Excel sheet with no colours but grey).

So here’s an exercise for world peace. Am trying to think of all things I want, badly want:

A tree house where I can vanish…and simply disappear

A hammock in my backyard that overlooks the sea

A massage that just goes on and on …and on…and on

A sunny window sill where I can read, day dream and doze off

Is it too much to ask for?

Images - Gracias, Google
Acknowledgements - Gracias, Debanjana. I remember one of your posts on these lines.

The Mythical Land of "Maike"...

I have no doubt that most women today are more privileged than their counterparts from the black-and-white days. No getting married when you would rather go for school camps….no being thrown into the fire when a granddad of a husband takes off for the other world….no being mistaken for firewood by a dowry-greedy mother-in-law…no becoming mothers when you would rather be a kid yourself.

Having said that, I think the women today are deprived of a rather cool privilege. That of rushing off to the “maike” (parents’ place) when they got angry with the husband. It must have been so liberating! One had so many options to choose from:

Light anger – Don’t talk till forgiveness is asked for.

Medium anger – Have a war of words…cry a little…and threaten to go away to your “maike” till the opponent is moved to the golden words of “I am sorry.”

Heavy anger – Cry a lot…pack your clothes (don’t forget the novel you have been planning to read for a while) …walk out of the young man’s house…to walk into the old man’s house (who is always happy to see you, no matter what).

And then, life would be such a party! Eat and sleep and chat and read…and do what you want to do, while closely monitoring the number of times the husband calls in a day (of course you have given out strict instructions that the phone should not be passed to you, no matter what). And when you are sure that he has suffered/felt guilty enough…give him the chance to say “Sorry” or “Please come back home” or “I miss you”. Cry a tear or two to prove once again that “You were really hurt”, but say “yes” when he asks you if he should come to pick you up.

Then go back to a home where the pleasantest surprises are awaiting you. Dinner is cooked (for a change)…maybe a bunch of flowers somewhere to welcome you back home. What bliss!

There was something romantic about the whole episode, don’t you think? The parents are aware that it is only “one of those fights”, and don’t really force you to go back. The neighborhood friends pour in to ask “What exactly happened?” and you spice up the story, where obviously “he” is always at fault. And all this happens under the quiet, reassuring feeling that you will make up with him in a day or two and the two of you will live happily ever after… till the next fight.

Alas! “Maike” these days is as much a mythical place as “Kailash” or “Brindavan”.

We can fight and scream and cry and go into the “I-am-not-talking-till-you-say-sorry” mode. But we can’t rush off to the “maike”. Unless we are ready to apply for a visa, take annual leaves, buy last-moment expensive train/air tickets and travel a few thousand miles or nautical miles.

There is just no fun in marital fights anymore.