Kolkata Madness

I had to write today. For I’ve been trying to push things into a pattern, for I’ve been trying too hard, for I’ve been trying for too long – few years, to be precise – of me, in this city. Kolkata.

When in the chilled month of November I’d seen the city’s silhouettes of highrises in contrast with the 'purono diner bari', sloping roofs and sacred banyan trees spreading under a purple dusk, I’d wished, desperately hoped, it would be mine.

But the more I tried to make sense of Kolkata, the more it eluded me, leaving me confused and a little scared. So now I’ve let it be. My 'Tilottoma' is so many things…one day it will be mine.

My Kolkata lives in the past, its cosmopolitanism underlined with an aged, quotidian routine, like the restaurant names that are written, in very fine print in Bengali and 'almost' English, at the bottom of the glittering boards.

So while in Town there are lovely edifices – carved and pirouetted, riddled with arches and adorned with turrets – the road between home and Gariahat is congested with heart-repair ‘doctors’ with their mumbo jumbos, shops that sew you the exact new Bollywood or Tollywood style blouses and salwar kameez and nooks that sell coconuts. But at Southern Avenue the road widens, gives in to boulevards and trees, to old Bengali bungalows and old ladies in cotton 'ghore pora' sarees.

My Kolkata is in the by lanes of Bhawanipore and Rash Behari, tea shops under gnarled Banyan trees or those small little pan shops. My Kolkata is the taxi-wallahs outside CCD in Lake Road, their never ending slumber up on the bonnet – fanning their red piece of cloth to drive away the invisible insects ceaselessly while flanked by skyscrapers.

Sometimes my Kolkata is Park Street; many times the desi Manhattan within the city. With purple, green and pink neon lights, with several sinuous curve of the cross roads.The place where Lata Mangeshkar and Metallica earn a different kind of exuberance. My Kolkata is the exhilaration that comes, again and again and again, at looking at Maidan covered with fog.

My Kolkata is the sigh that escapes, looking up at the stars while surrounded by Victorian monuments, all bathed in an orange glow. My Kolkata is savouring this sumptuousness of space in a cramped, crowded city.

My Kolkata is the breathless, merciless torture of a claustrophobic afternoon before rain. My Kolkata is the bobbing psychedelic umbrellas on soaked roads, after rain.

My kolkata is the explainable enthusiasm for those sudden cemetery visits. My Kolkata is the Chinese breakfast at Teriti Bazaar with the desi touch of oriental delicacies. The cheap cigarettes and the cheaper 'bhanrer cha' at the Academy foot hold.


My Kolkata is the shelves of books in my living room, in the shadow of hot pink curtains. My Kolkata is the blue and green orb-lamp that hangs at my window. My Kolkata is the smell of paint that hits me every time I open my creaky almirah. My Kolkata is the best friend I have coffee with. My Kolkata is the home of a deceitful Illusionist, Aarshi Nagar with the heartsick Dreamer, weekend escapade of my Maya. My Kolkata is the sudden boy I found for life, called the Heartless Casanova. My Kolkata is a motley of midnight conversation with the Moon-Man and his 'Hope' tattoo.

My Kolkata is the city where the air is always laden with moisture, so much so that when you breathe, you take in its water and its sweat, hiding some part of it within you, for leaner, meaner times.

My Kolkata is all sepia. Dusty and musty, it’s the colour of milky tea, dusk and deserts.

Looking like faded photographs, Kolkata’s dilapidated houses run by me on the way home. Through tiny windows you can see tube-lit dens, bright blue walls, shabby lobbies; a lungi hanging from a pew in one room, ornate pictures of gods in another. One day, they will not awe me with their sense of easy belonging. One day, I will stop trying so hard to belong. One day, Kolkata will be mine.

Endless Soliloquy


Toke aaj ekta kotha boli, may be I will never say such things ever afterwards.

I shall be missing you Dreamer when you are not here. I won't have anyone who will listen to my late night blabber.... My endless grumbling about something called 'your career'. How horrible was that. To my every nonsense you have been an active listener, all my tantrums you have dealt with forbearance and a happy face. What would I do without you I really wonder, my sudden day's escapade to the famous "Aarshi-Nagar" with cups of black tea/coffee, nico puffs and endless meaningless banter with child like photo shoots. I shall miss these greater halves of my life! I never found someone like you, who's always there donning that 'ready to die for' dimpled smile. Ah! The smile indeed; an escapade to my lunacy...Hori-dar cha-er dokan-e mosha-r bhyan bhyanani aar tui, Vivekananda Parker unchu unchu ghas peyire bench ta dokhol kora, hothat kore gaan geye kende phela, othoba "MORTICIAN tumi kintu bodle jeo na..."

You gave me all that I always WANTED in this wreck-less life.

There are times, when I scream at you. Just like a little girl who screeches in the middle of the night after seeing a nightmare. There are times when I ask you not to cry, your tears scare me and I ask you quite brutally to stop it. Though I know within, that these drops of eyes, are hard to resist. There are times when I look out of the window or read a book as you call and I say " I don't wanna talk anymore..." I do it all, everything that can justify me to be an inhumane. But behind every savage act there lies a subtle love, something that only I can feel and you can understand!

In 12 days time you shall be off to the Gujju Land with your life covered with strangers, some of them might also be your friend. And here I shall be all by myself thinking about your Assam expeditions. But that is life I guess...that is the ONLY way to remain with someone with a handful of memories.

My secret keeper, my friend, my masochistic angel; be happy as happiness could be, be strong like the rocks can be and remain JUST the way you are .... ‘Cause you are a BLESSING for people like US! I Love you!

Live well, drink and be merry DREAMER, with or without me! :)


Yes I will be off to the dry state of Gujarat, pay five times the price for drinking, get lost in the folds of the Himalayas, call up Bihu-man, throw tantrums at him and sulk about how horrible Assamese foods are.... all these I will do, but somewhere deep down a bit of the Mortician would also be there doing all these with me.
I will miss the scared hands that always held me tight while crossing the roads making me realise that I better grow up and learn to take charges. I will have fun in the weekends but the joy of having you at the “Aarshinogor” would always be longed for. I will meet many new people, see new rivers but in my mind I will always hum the same old river songs that you always sang for me. The steps of Bihu would be echoing in my ears and hammering on my head, the solace won’t be there, because there would be no Mortician or Maya to drag me to sing.

With every taambul that I will chew I know for sure I will be missing Ruu and her funny ways of blaming me for having paan alone.

I will wear the white Tee that you have gifted me for my birth day. And yes may be I will also miss the Lunatic thinking of my last birth day....

I will be missing you all....


We spend most of our time talking about nothing but I just want to let you know that all these nothings mean so much more to me than so many somethings. I don’t regret the rain or the nights I felt the pain or the tears I had to cry some of those times along the way. If you’re leaving, take me with you. If you’re running away, take me too. If you’re jumping off, hold my hand as you do...But these good byes are painful!

Life takes a different run, each time I read your thoughts. Yes, I can READ them all. And then those endless telephonic conversation that determine 'how we should be or how we are'. Life goes on, as it never ends! With Maya by my side, and Ruu on another, I shall be living YOUR life, here, in this reckless city, where life refuses to gain momentum.

Think what you have while I narrate this life story to you, so that you can also have time to smile a bit and say, "Life is short, but this time it was bigger"!


You have never accepted a second rate life story, so have I tried following your footsteps. But none of us have seen the end, we know not what we are, what life is, how the ending is like.... no one knows the end before the end....

You and Maya always ask me to grow up. You scream and shout at me, I remain quiet; not because I don’t have answers, not because I don’t want to piss you off; it’s because I know I need to be shouted at, the child in me always feels safe with you around. The screeching and scolding gets surpassed with the love and affection you have unconditionally showered on me. I never had to ask for anything, but you have given me all that I had so longed for....

Grown up Maya often says we are all alone. I bargain saying “we still love to act as if we are not alone”. I shut Maya up, I shut you up; but at one point I see a reflection of this Dreamer in both of you. So yeah, we all are sailing the same boat, through the "shorbonasher nodi" hoping "lagbey tori kusum bonn e...." I can’t promise you anything, because I really can’t afford to break the promise if I make one. I know how it feels when promises are broken. I don’t know exactly how short life is, and this time how big it had been like. All that I know for sure is that some short stories are ever so long.... "sesh hoiya hoilo na sesh...."


Ever wondered how will my trips to the cemeteries be? They shall be as ghost-like as the graves themselves. I will be carrying the same camera, with a bottle of lemonade and few note books in my bag. But the charm of these little excursions will vaporise, with each passing day. I don't know whom to call when I need a smoke in the middle of something; I don't know who will hold my hand as I walk the streets gallantly while talking to one of my friends over the phone.

Rita mashi'r cha-er dokan will have one empty space, Indthalia will have one chair free, Nandan-Academy will have a spare place to sit, Cafe Lounge and Cha Bar will serve one person less, the cinema-hall Ajanta will have just one more ticket to sell, CCD, Barista, Maharani'r Kochuri, the ol' alleys of the New Market to the unpredictable "Sinful Afternoons", everything will miss one more part of this worthless Mortician. And I will be missing, my most beloved half, YOU – The Dreamer.

The regular walks from Lake Road to Rashbehari, the sudden afternoon showers, lazy clicking sound of the camera, the occasional shopping, my encounter with Robi Thakur, those unending midnight conversations, your love for Love and my hatred for the same or the smoke with whiskey filled glasses will never be the same!

You are the world-class fool indeed! Cause you in turn befooled the world!

....Till we meet AGAIN!


Don’t get distressed when I cry, let me cry and feel sorry for myself.... many a times we have called each other up complaining about the over cast sky or the traffic on the roads or the hiking up of the prices of cigarettes.... and then consoled ourselves with the thought of there is always a tomorrow. It’s just that this time the night would be a little prolonged before tomorrow comes.

I promise to come back as soon as possible. You just promise me to be the same Mortician you always have been to this Dreamer.

.... I would just be a phone call away.... and yeah I am sure dirty Santa’s would not sleep switching off their mobiles this Christmas.


Remember Me..?
Am your sanity...
We used to walk hand in hand
But you could no more stand
The incisions of life
And chose to stay the horrid way....
In a life of illusions
And smokey repentance...!!!

Remember me.....???
Or should I believe
You've lost your head drawing pictures,
Scribbling things that dont make any sense
Waiting for the Eternal Death...!

I shall be writing such a History. :)





Delivery Rejected

I have waited for you for 2 years and I will wait for you for the rest of my life. Even if that means I have to give you up for the rest of my life, I will wait for you. I love you that much and nothing will ever change that. 'coz I'm holding on to something that used to be there hoping it will come back, knowing it won't. Its an irony you know when I see a lot of people walk in and out of my life, but... you're one of the only ones I ever really wanted to stick around.

Just because I moved on doesn't mean I won't be here if you change your mind, but I know those things will never happen.It's been quite a while... I must say I miss our friendship. I miss you, but what I really miss the most is not just you or us but how it all was.I often catch myself constantly wondering how you are, sitting alone with my mind set so far, reminiscing about your smile, voice and touch, damn this life...!!!We've gone our separate ways and I know it's for the best, but sometimes I wonder, will I ever have friends like you again? Sometimes, no matter how much faith we have, we lose people. But you never forget them. And sometimes, it's those memories that give us the strength to go on. Now when things have started falling in places, I miss you most when I'm sad. I miss you when I'm lonely. But most of all, I miss you when I'm happy.

Lastly I wonder, now when I'm not there... do you think of me? When you're sad and something's bothering you... do you wish I was there to help comfort you even if it's just for a moment? When you lay down at night... do you look back and cherish the old memories you made with me? Because that's how I think of you...

I have loved you unconditionally enough to hate you the same..I have surrendred unconditionally enough to take it back the same...I have walked hundred miles yet trusted you from the word go...you walked the same and lied from the first footstep...yet I forgive you...'coz a person who lies looking at the mirror , the mirror does crack in the end....

Reflections: Turning 30

"I turned 30 two weeks ago. I'm just kind of neutral about it right now, and maybe still a bit stunned. It's a little hard to believe that I'm not in my 20s anymore; it's a whole new decade!" This has been written by someone who was probably getting nervous about entering into his thirties!

Now that the man has lived through the 20s decade and had many eye-opening experiences - jobs that brought lots of surprises, relationships that were difficult to foster and maintain, and neighbors that were a source of friction - he has become less idealistic about the world than he once was. But he does feel the pivot happening. He does feel childhood and adolescence and young adulthood receding. There it goes. Like a wave in high tide that washes in, that slaps the sand with its crunch and its sleekness, spreading out among the particles, picking up stray bits of crab and shell, of sea weed and kelp and other marine vegetation, brooming across the beach, and then, hanging there, suspending for a second, it begins to pull away. To go back into the rolling blue ether of time. To join all the other childhoods and adolescences. To smash them together, rubbing their mass together, all the laughter and pain and joy and horror, the tragedy and the elation spuming together in a spray of foam and air and total complete effervescence.

Until that mass lifts and disintegrates into time and space and place.

B-i-g 30.

That man with his wounded scars, meandering ways with dreamy big eyes peeping through the
glasses. That BOY who suddenly turned 30. He wipes his glasses and sighs...memories of long lost
past came down in a flash of a second.

He wanted that last one kiss from his young blood love, that last puff of the adolescent cigarette, the
shy glance of that un-named girl in the park. He inhaled deep and tried to sense the air that he smelt
when he was 20 - a decade ago when he was a bit of a rebel, he used to wear love stained glasses
then. He tried to go through and mend all the pages that he once unread, all the works that he kept undone, all the promises that he never kept. All at once, one by o-n-e.

"You know that feeling you get when you gaze into the campfire? When you can hear what’s being said, but still you let your eyes get lost in the dancing, formless flames. You think of earlier, when everyone worked together, how the flames roared up. You couldn’t have gotten there without them, but now it’s just you, alone in you head, watching the fire flicker, and subside, slowly…", he whispers.

He stares into the blaze of thirty birthday candles on the cake. Inhaling deeply, and blow until his lungs are empty. The room goes dark, and all he can see are the glowing orange wicks.

The room got filled with laughter and happiness. He wiped that invisible tear from his eyes...while Guns N' Roses sang..

"And the cat's in the cradle and the silver spoon,
Little boy blue and the man 'n the moon... "

The years of our lives are like the leaves on a tree - we should not mourn for the few that have fallen when we could celebrate the many healthy ones that still remain. Thirty is much too young to mourn the loss of youth and the shortness of life. I am healthy, happy and would rather spend my time living my life than futilely mourning its mortality. Mortality is something that we cannot change, but what we can change is what we do with our time. Pack enough into your days and you will feel no need to regret the years behind you - rather you will treasure them.