Sunday, October 31, 2010

All things Bali and Beautiful...

Bali is paradise for sure. But what I am not so sure about is what kind of paradise it really is:

A shopper's?
A surfer's?
A foodie's?
A beer-lover's?
A silver-craver's?
A home decor maniac's?
A massage-o-holic's?
I don't have the answer yet. But maybe I will...after a few visits (for surely one is not enough).

But I know what it did to me. It turned me to a bundle of senses.
The five senses that human beings have, I mean. For the grilled lobster tickled my taste buds like nothing else did...the fragrances from the massage oils look me to another land....the massages themselves were a tactile treasure...the art and craft (stone carving, wood work, silver engravings) were a treat to the eyes...the sound of the waves breaking on the rocks seemed straight out of meditation music....

Sometimes, you want to express so much....that words fall short. So I leave you with some pictures...

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Puja 2010

It’s that time of the year again when you curse the day you left home. “Was it really worth it?” Leaving friends and family behind....for bigger homes, better roads and a so called “work-life balance”. Where is the “life” without friends and family? Where is the life when you eat oats for breakfast and yearn for the luchi-aloo dum that’s being served in the puja mandap back home? Where is the life when you take the same route to work on Ashtami morning, remembering how you pandal-hopped in new shoes that gave you shoe-bites the size of craters?

All you can do is call up friends, who will be kind enough not to ask “So, what plans for puja?" The kinder ones will not talk at all...will just let you inhale the sound of dhaak and kasha in the background and imagine the whiff of the sandhya arati...that fascinating mix of flowers and dhoop and ghee and prayers.

Or perhaps you can download a dhaak beat as a ringtone. Each time the phone rings, your heart misses a beat. But it’s always the mower or the doctor’s receptionist or a credit card seller. It’s never the people you want to be with....because everyone back home is too busy with festivities. You can call your mother at the usual time...Saturday morning. But the phone rings away. She must be at the puja mandap, cutting fruits with the other kakimas and talking about her favourite article on the Puja Barshiki of Desh. And suddenly, you can see Baba....closely inspecting the caterers at work and instructing that the beguni better be crisp and warm when the afternoon bhog is served.

Confused, disoriented and totally out of place, you take resort in Facebook. Status messages range from “Bolo bolo Durga Ma” to “Ya devi sarva bhooteshu”. You smile at the para youngsters chatting about their dance and natak rehearsals. Weren’t you one of them not so long back? Weren’t you awake all night before your performance, practising your lines in your mind and thinking of the make-up man and the costume-designer, who could turn you into Sita, or a tree or a soldier or a princess or a monkey with their magic wand? Weren’t you in the best of behaviour a month before puja, just so that Ma would let you wear her favourite saree for a dance drama?

Nostalgia makes you sick to the core. But the launch of the new website means that you need to be at work. Vivid before your eyes is the scene of the kakimas in red-bordered white sarees, betel-leaf in hand, smearing Ma Durga with vermilion. But all you can do is munch that cheese-and-lettuce sandwich and talk about the Commonwealth Games with your colleagues at lunch. And when voices saying “Asche bochor abar hobey” float into your ears from distant lands across the seas, you cannot hold back the tears anymore. Blaming it on hay fever, you excuse yourself from the lunch gathering. Because it's almost impossible to express how it feels to miss home during durga puja. You tried to explain to some... “It’s like our 5-day long Christmas”. But you knew that wasn't even close.

And so you go for a walk by the river, close to your office building. Where there are some flowers that will pass as kash phool...and some waves that remind you of the Ganges on the night of bishorjon.

Monday, October 4, 2010

This or That

As my social life has blossomed and bloomed lately, I am spending more time pruning, watering, fertilising my priceless social-networking theories.

WarningPlease do not try these at home. There is a high risk of alienating people you like and attracting those you can’t stand. Practice under close supervision of self-proclaimed experts is recommended (and my diary looks pretty full at the, don’t practise at all).

OK, so here’s my first theory called This or That (my take on “there are two kinds of people in this world”). Basically, this involves categorising people as per a list I have created. It assumes that every person can be either this or that.

Click image to enlarge.

Am sure there are more kinds...I’ll just have to keep updating the list from time to time. If you are 1, 3, 11, 37, 39 or 41....good for you. If you are 5 or 8, you don’t know what you are missing. If you are 14 or 20, shame shame. If you are 25, stay away from me. If you are 34, are you retarded? (and that includes me).

If you think you are 2, 7, 12, 17, 21, 28, 29, 36 and 38... STOP COPYING ME!

But don’t forget to tell me whether you are this or that...and whether you can think of anything else to be added to the list.