I am at work and am supposed to WORK. Instead, I am staring at a blank document with a blank mind. All I can hear are the sounds of the relentless typing on the keyboard, my colleagues speaking in low voices, phones ringing and the humming of the not required cool air of the air conditioners. I have papers on my desk, a blue pen without a cap, a half eaten bar of chocolate and the cold bottle of water. I lean back on my blue chair and wonder what makes me so melancholic today.
Maybe it is because winter has finally arrived in Gujjuland, without much fuss, without knocking me down with few bouts of cough and unruly cold. Here, the winter is like an imposter, comes out as the sun goes down.
Or maybe because I miss November in Calcutta. I miss the feeling of Durga Puja, Kali Puja, BhaiphoNta being over, the familiar feeling of approaching Christmas, the trips to Vivekananda Park for phuchkas. November used to bring the sunlight in my small balcony back home where Maa used to put the blankets out for sunning one last time before winter finally arrived.
My boss gives me a look with an arched eyebrow, may be its time for me to write – write about the boring job scenarios all around the planet followed by the humdrum of ‘Global Warming’. I smartly don an idiotic ‘opppss... I did it again’ minus Ms. Britney’s glam-doll-lollipop-sucking –duck-faced look and pretend to work, as my mind takes me to the lazy evening in Oly Pub.
It’s just a matter of a week. A week in my city. The time when my city dresses up, puts on some make up and spreads her arms a little wider to take in the maddening crowd. Unstoppable of energy bubble that bursts only after rueful New Year’s Day.
It’s been a while since I’ve been this homesick, it really doesn’t go too well with my feelings now (yeah, one more time, word is sucha bitch). I wanted to have cha and fish-finger in a crowded premik para of Nandan. Wander mindlessly around the JU-r math whilst munching muri-alur- chop.
The mild winter breeze, grey skies, over bearing crowd, traffic snarls followed by the bells of cycle rickshaws. And the horns. And now, a list of my ever loving old-maiden Calcutta:
The CNG autos. The low floored buses.
The mouth watering rasogolla at the neighbourhood sweet shop.
The familiar smell of warm toast in the morning. The tinkle of a spoon against a tea cup. “You still prefer black?”
The endless fish curries. The waiting for biriyani. The mutton rolls.
The plans changed. Times not kept.
The doorbell ringing in the morning. “Didi, aajkey oi baari tey ki hoyechhey jano? ” (“Do you know what happened in the other house this morning?”)
The news bulletins on CPM, TMC. The heated discussions on politics, ideals and beliefs.
The new literature festival. The book fair missed.
The walks around a park. The life that seems a little troubled. A friend’s shoulder. A patient hearing.
Evenings spent with relatives. Neighbour’s lives. Gossip. Smirks. Laughter again.
Shawls and sarees. Kashmir emporium. New Market.
Sitting by the side of a mighty river. Staring out into the open.
Dreams had. Dreams lost.
Peace. Home. Hope.
Heartache. Soulmate. Best friend.