Another day…another year…another age passes by….
Hmm…and yet I grow in mind, body and spirit….
No…no more such starters…

From sneaking out for the night…and moving lost round and round…
From getting slaushed…and dancing like a mindless freak
From staying out on the streets all night and seeing my day through its end…with the sunrise of the morning after….
From still being unhappy with the insatiable quest for happiness in the end….and beginning the next day with the exact same heavy heart…..as the days before…

All being said and done….
There just remains one thing to say..


The king and the fool....

Time does not wait for you or me..
Days pass and years pass..
You miss your best ones
You move away from your close ones.
Friends change, people change!
But your heart has those precious moments etched in it.
Its always there making you happy at sad times and sad even at happier times.
Your heart has those moments in that corner where no one can see what it is.
When others ask by seeing your face you just smile and say


And “Nothing”….it will be for most part of our stories…
Stories that bear the marks, the stretches and the scars of our growing up days…
Tales of our agony, dilemma, hysteria….
All blended in those brilliant hues of youthful passion…
A passion that had no equal..
Laugh and be merry we will be told…
Our journey has just begun…
What makes us soo world-weary?
As infants and as adolescents we believed we knew everything there is to be known
About this world and its ways…
As we grow old…we realise that we know so less…
In those helpless and lonely moments…perhaps there’ll be one consolation….
Memoirs of our euphoric tales hidden behind…


“Oh it is a very fatal disease”….. “ Sometimes there are no early symptoms…!”… “ My uncle died on schizophrenia…” Mam….. Schizophrenic people are mad people basically…..right?”…. No!… not exactly!!…see you shouldn’t see it that way!!!….but mam…its one and the same…”… and soon after the bell followed!!!…Instinctively the students got up…and began to leave the class… teacher un finished! Conversation unleaded…. Meaning… misunderstood which is far worse than not being understood at all…

Margo who was always the last bencher…as always got up at the last…left…after every one else had…
Margo…a quite and reticent fellow….remained in his world of silence…and barely reminded the world of his existence…. Dark, shinny and observant eyes hidden rather skilfully behind heavy weight, high power glasses…a kind face… mislead by Expressionlessness… a perfectly carved out soul buried underneath a hefty and obnoxious body…an enterprising and imaginative mind veiled by obscurity….
In a world where every other thing is relative….his silence seemed to be the only thing that was absolute….and undeterred!..
It seemed as if no pain, no grief, no joy…remorse or shock could stir in him…. What lingered only…were the sounds of his ambiguous pathos…. Unspoken no doubt but felt never the less…. Far from the façade of this world of flamboyance…in some remote and undiscovered corner existed his heart…its beats…understated and submissive, just like the boy himself…

With his heavy steps…Margo walked the length of the school corridor…and walked little more all the way to the bus stop…10 good minutes…
Waited for a while for the bus he usually takes, climbed it….and went away.
The bus was moderately crowded!… fairly enough for Margo to manage a seat…
Margo sat by the window…as the bus rolled on….
But today he saw something really strange…. Wherever he looked….outside the window or inside…the sight was unavoidable…
Wherever he looked. .he saw faces.. lost and dreamy…
Every one seemed to be out on a purpose… purposes which made them appear busy.. and occupied….
But their frowning and busy looking faces could not hide their eyes…
Eyes which when seen carefully revealed all….
Eyes which seemed to see what could be seen…yet believed in an alternate reality… the eyes…along with the faces…were lost, dreamy and absent mind….
people from all walks, people of all types, places and cultures…beautiful and ugly.. rich and poor…well read or illiterate…. Bore within them a common stigma.. a dream of an undivided heaven.. a belief in an existence quite different from their own…

Margo thought to himself… “how are we… different from the ones who are diseased with schizophrenia? ….why aren’t we called the diseased as well?”….. schizophrenia is a state when the human mind deems what isn’t real as reality… “but that is something we all do…each one of us…in ways known best to ourselves…”…. “Then why this divide between sanity and insanity…”…
“ Hope”…..he said aloud to himself unintentionally startling the man sitting next to him…
“yes…hope is the word which the common man uses to hide his schizophrenia…”.. His obsessive belief in an alterior and better reality…attains acceptance when misquoted into words like “hope”…
This world is indeed an eerie place…and the cons of men lie too deep and too perfect to be corrected…

The bus halted abruptly…and all what it contained uncontrollably jerked forward… and so did Margo… from his thoughts…
His mind remained idle for a while…and then thoughts flowed in again….

“Kubla khan”….by Samuel Taylor coleridge…fascinating poem.. Margo thought to himself.. like the ethereal world of a perfect dreamer…painted in colours unknown and then one by one….he remembered the stories that he had read.. the poems, the plays.. the comedies, the tragedies… the great wars of troy…. The mythical lords of religion…. The mystical travels of Ulysses…. The Iliad, the travels of the magi…. Joan of arc, the Nostradamus code…the genesis, the theories of all…
Everything illusionary…and vivid…yet unanimously acclaimed to be masterpieces….
“Hmmmmm”…. Margo sighed and smiled to himself…
“Fiction…he said to himself…is the word used by the men good at their words to hide their insanity… their schizophrenic tales are read as their creative benevolence.

“ Yes it is indeed an eerie world and the cons of men lie too deep and perfect to be corrected.” and that is why when learned men with carefully parted hair and ironed clothes speak prooflessly it becomes a hypothesis and later a theory, they call it science…. while men too naïve to know the games of pretensions are called lunatics… and it is largely true and finds evidences wherein the glorified theories of Marxism….proposed by Karl Marx.. Find no realistic implications and are completely economically fallible. Yet governments have and are following them…nations are run with those principles.. such are the ways of the world….such is reality: the greatest illusionist of all times…..

Margo got down from the bus in his usual spot… the twilight had set in… it submerges every good and evil in its profound aura of oblivion… and Margo too disappears in them…. Never to be remembered because he together with them remain eternally forgotten……


....My fair lady....

The Old..…. The new, The Rhetoric…. The Reality…

“ If you ask me, I know not …… if not asked, I know”

In lonesome and contemplative moments, when I close my eyes and utter the word ‘woman’ to my silent self, trying to gather the vastness in her constitution, the essence of her existence, this seems to be the only phrase lingering within me which with all its skilfulness and witty articulation rightfully describes the paradox called ‘Woman’.

According to Greek mythology, the lord of all gods Zeus, created man first. Initially all was well and Zeus was very pleased with his earthly beings, then one day they did something gravely wrong and defied his laws. Enraged Zeus greatly detested the turn of events and decided to condemn and curse mankind. A curse so powerful that it in one hand was empowered to nourish evolution and one the other, possessed the ability to cause wholesome destruction. And that was when, in order to punish mankind, he created Woman. She was like an elusive dream, like the ever-widening horizon, the closer one got to it, the farther it seemed. Her form was impeccable, her beauty…unparalled, Her eyes had the precision and the accuracy of an archer. Her words were charming, capricious and treacherous; they spoke of the thrills that lied in the perilous world of the unknown. But most enigmatic of all was her age old, Spartan heart which hid within its veil of anonymity, numerous tales, accounts, and experiences of grief, happiness and desire.
And from then on began the journey of man through eras that marked the various stages of his evolution: From the age of barbarianism to the dawn of civilizations.
His has been an eventful journey marked by numerous encounters with the forces of nature, toiling for the purpose of food, self exploration for the attain enlightenment, dealing with the hopes and despairs of life and most essentially unravelling the mysteries of woman, the woman who was his companion in all tasks, someone who enabled him to attain material, spiritual, physical and emotional totality, The companion who was an integral part of all his activities, his household and his society. Her presence was as definite and commonplace as other natural aspects that governed his life yet there was this sense of mysticism in her that intrigued one and all. An invisible yet invincible force seemed to constitute her being and her soul seemed to be an undiminished and undisputable source of power and creation.
From time immemorial, several attempts have been made to explore, experience and express the obscure world inside a woman. She has been the object of deep curiosity,
admiration and study. Collecting the bits and pieces of her entirety in numerous poems, parodies, portraits and musings, The ideal woman of our imagination yet seems to be in an insatiable pursuit of fulfilment which still remains unattained. And then there is this constant conflict between the Ideal and the Real. Where the ideal woman seemingly lives in eulogised mounts of philosophical and cultural utopia, and the real woman toils amidst the tragedies of life making difficult choices between virtues and vials.
Such an observation is in all terms very superficial and one-dimensional.
The ideals that existed in the historical and religious texts and the epics do not stifle reality within the confines of stereotypes and clichés…. When carefully observed and rightly understood they stretch far beyond and depict a picture more contemporary in thought.
One such influential character in the Indian mythology is Sita who has played a significant role in modelling the ideal woman character in the Indian society.

Sita – Wife of Shri Ram, who followed him selflessly through fourteen years of exile and is supposed to be the epitome of righteousness, chastity and virtue. A character like Sita would seem extremely fictitious and as a phenomenon that happened only in myths with very little realistic relevance. But if observed carefully, the characterisation of Sita alone speaks much more of the real Indian woman than the modern woman herself. From, being demure, diligent and assertive to standing up and vehemently and fighting for her rights, Sita is reflected in every aspect of an Indian woman’s personality, she is in every choice a woman makes, be it personal or professional. Sita was some one who by birth was of high decree, she was found by king Janak, while he was ploughing in the fields, as is said to have been born from the earth. She left her life of comfort, extravagance and hierarchal respect to observe and safeguard the resolution of her husband and lived the life of a forest hermit. She honoured her Gods, respected her Father and her husband, saw Lakshman as a brother, and followed a life of humility and chastity. She was a woman who had very little expectations and demands and lended out unconditional love and support to her husband. She in turn was honoured and respected by all, She was held at high regard not only because she Shri Ram’s wife but also because of her principles. She was a role model for women in her time as well. She was a perfect woman, blended in her were the brilliant hues of beauty, wisdom, endurance, love and loyalty. But that one instance of her crossing the forbidden line better known as the Lakshman Rekha changed her life forever. Sita represented that aspect of the Indian society, which still now remains highly impressionistic and speculative. Which believes that a woman is virtuous and holy as long as she does what she is told. As soon as she over steps the line to seek the unknown she is bound to make mistakes and commit sins. Post the incident of the lakshman Rekha. Sita got abducted by Ravana, and from then on had to face various difficulties and accusations which finally led to the agni pariksha, where a woman like sita had to prove her chastity by passing through the fire.
In real life ancient or contemporary, every woman passes through phases where she has to compromise and sacrifice. Even today, it is the woman who leaves her family and follows her husband to a new life. Today’s confident, educated, bold, industrious, and fearless Indian woman has somewhere deep within…a sita, which no matter how much she argues to be fictitious, impractical and an outcome of man imposed pseudo morality, she strives hard to compete with. Deep within her lies her enigmatic soul, which remains, unchanged from the time that it was created.
We then realise that the concept of Ideal and the concept of the Real are two forms of the same soul. Within the real the ideals exist and within the ideal exist the real.
So in Sita as well there existed the instances of a modern self respecting woman that led to her resolution of not returning to lord Ram even after he apologised for putting her loyalty and her love for him to test, and also waiting for her forever. She foregoes her duties as a wife, which was and still remains to be the quintessential obligation of a woman only to protect and safeguard her honour and pride of womanhood.
A woman therefore would fundamentally always contain the unabashed desire for freedom of the present and the reticence of the past. Such is her genius and such is her folly.


An english summer...

The sunlit cafe..

The main plot revolves around a small town called Serampore, located at 10kms from the main city of kolkata. Maya Bhattacharya who now lives in Delhi has come home for her mother’s funeral. Her home, a three bed room apartment
In the centre of the town now has only one member…her 62-year-old Dad.
Maya had not been in good terms with her father from the time her parents got divorced when she was 13. Maya moved out with her mom and lived with her for the rest of her adolescent life. In the year 1990, Maya graduated in science and went abroad for further studies. From then on she had never been home bound again. Her mother retired as the asst. head mistress of a school and also was a renound social worker.her father who was a very famous travel journalist of his time spent most of his life travelling from one place to another. He writes travel books now which are very popular because his books not only tell where and how to travel; they also say why to travel. Both of her parents never married again. Her mother had been suffering from heart disease for a long time and the week before died of a sudden heart attack. Maya got the news from her father, when she was in the office. She rushed immediately. Maya, 36, works as a production assistant in one of leading media houses in Delhi. She is married to Rajat Mukherji, a lawyer from Delhi itself and has been married for 8 years. They have no children as of yet.


Maya {packing her bags… when her father enters the room}: aaaaa… has Roy uncle got my flight tickets done?…

DAD {not looking up at her, responds}: Things take time around here; he’s going to do it, that’s his job, have patience…

Maya: I am afraid I can’t do that; I have a life, a family, a career to think of. I can’t put everything on hold…I mean….

Dad: Are you up for dinner?… Mauli maasi has sent food.

Maaya {angrily}: give me Roy uncle’s phone number. I want to talk to him.

Dad: its in my telephone diary, I’ll give you once we are done with dinner.

Maya {adamantly}: I want it now!!!….

Maya takes the number and calls up the travel agent ….while her dad sits on the couch and watches the T.V on mute…..

Maya: Hello Roy uncle? …. Hmm aami Maya bolchi!!!…. aamar tickets er ki holo?……ki??….. Ticket hoyegeche?…kobekar?…..day after tomorrow morning flight? Jet airways? ohh…ok…tickets gulo collect korbo ki bhaabe?.. aaachha!!.. oooook….ok..fine!….good night and thank you!…bye

Maya : Roy uncle lives near Shiddheshwari kali baari naa?…I have to go there tomorrow to collect my tickets.

Maya gets up and leaves for the next room….

Dad : dinner?…dinner korbi naa?

Maya: there’s time, I’ll serve myself…you go ahead with yours.

Dad: but I have already set the table…dekh!… have it now, the food is getting cold Mishti…!

Maya {shocked and furious}: PLEASE!!!…DONOT CALL ME BY THAT NAME AGAIN!..I CANT STAND IT!!

Dad: sorry… I didn’t realise.

Maya: and why should that happen..? this is the first time we are talking in years…

Dad: …………a long drawn pause… Roy uncle has shifted to a new place, near our old house….. if you want I can take u there tomorrow…..

Maya: ..no thanks!!……

Maya leaves the room in anger; her dad sits alone in the table, serves himself and eats alone. Stares at the television screen, on mute.


She is lying on her bed…. Reading Satanic verses…the room is lit by the diffused light of a table lamp made of bone china. Her parents’ anniversary gift….

Dad { standing at her door…speaking reluctantly } : when you leave take the keys of this house and hand it over to Sharmila aunty from prarthna…

Maya: www…..wwwhhat???….

Dad: your mother has left this property to the woman’s development group. The one she worked with till her last days…

Maya: I cant believe this!!…..was mom practically insane??… I mean who does this kind of thing?….

Dad: { laughs..} why do you say so?….do you need the money more than those underprivileged women and children?…

Maya { unmindful….still recovering from the shock}:…hmmmm?…..no!!…its not like that ….we both know that the money would never be used for the right cause… it’ll all go to that Sharmila aunty….mom’s best friend…

Dad: even if it does go to her, you shouldn’t be complaining… she has always been there for your mother, she was there at the time when she was dying. Hadn’t she been there your mother would not have lived through many things in her life..don’t you think?…

Maya: it’s funny to see you showing so much of concern…{ says mockingly}…. And besides I don’t owe any one any explanation, you of all the people don’t stand a chance!!….

Dad: {…laughs}…i know….i know…!!…you make it quite clear through your actions….heheheheh…. the picture is quite clear to me, so don’t bother….and good night!!…

Maya: {agitated and restless…sits up, stares at her mother’s photo frame on the bed side table for the moment….} aaaa…..i think if you come with me tomorrow… it would be good…this place has changed so much…I don’t know it any more…

Dad: where?

Maya: Roy uncle’s place..

Dad: hmmmm…..you have to walk a lot then….with me!..

Maya: mane??… where’s your car?

Dad: sold it!…was a pain riding in that in these narrow roads… these roads are meant to be walked upon….

Maya [interrupting him]: ok…..! good night!.. I need to sleep!

Dad: reading Rushdie?

Maya: why?…what’s wrong with that?….

Dad: nothing’s wrong!… its just that you don’t seem like a person who would understand and like Rushdie!

Maya [irritated]: of course I don’t judge his books with pseudo intellectualism {sarcastically pointing towards her father} and yet I like them!

Dad: hmmm….yes that’s true you’ve always had a lot of objectivity in you, you see things the way they are and not the way you want them to be…

Maya: things have never been the way I wanted them to be…
Dad: anyways shuye poro… good night, and don’t read too much in that scanty light! I’ve been telling you from the day you started reading your first book!…. but always….you , your favourite little room and your favourite little bone china lamp!…

Maya: some things never change.

Dad: yes that’s true…

SCENE 3: 5:30 in the morning, maya is in deep sleep, when she is woken by her dad.

Dad: maya….wake up!……


Maya: what time is it….{sleepy…}..

Dad: its too late, we have to go to Roy’s place!!….

Maya: { yawning….gets up with her eyes closed}..its 5:30!!!!!…..what will we do going there so early, he would be sleeping!…

Dad: look either come now or go on your own…!

Maya: shit!!….

Maya gets up in haste and gets ready..Agitated!….at around 6 am, they leave. They step out of their flat in the Ashirbad apartments and walk down towards the G.T road.

Maya {walking along with her dad}: hey!! That used to be the stop from where I took my school bus, I cant believe josh uncle’s grocery shop is still there. Like its been there forever.

Dad {looking at the other side}: josh got a massive stroke two years ago and since then he has been bedridden, his son mac takes care of the shop now.

Maya: that’s sad! Hey…these fields near the E.S.I hospital, houses have come up, this whole place is chocked!…this used to be empty remember?

Dad:. Yeah this is where you learnt to ride the cycle for the first time…pretty late actually, you were 10 . I remember how strongly u resisted learning it, making all sorts of excuses, screaming and yelling. I had to literally drag u out of the house.

Maya {a little embarrassed}: don’t exaggerate, it was not that bad, but each time I fell from the cycle, you would laugh hysterically and in front of all those old diabetes people who came here for a morning walk.

Dad { laughing}: you used to be so clumsy, toiling to handle all that puppy fat of yours, hehehehe….it was funny!

Maya: stop it!!…hehehehe….
Maya: but when I will teach my child bicycling, I will be there to pick him up each time he falls…and not stand at a distance and laugh and give my expert comments.

Dad: that way he will never learn. Follies are always one’s own, what we learn from them is also our own thing. No one can ever bear the load of them, the sooner we realise it the better..

Maya: I am glad that most part of the rest of the world does not think like that…

Dad: To each his own….

Maya: precisely!….

They walk through the lanes of lahiri bagan and go towards Goshaai para.


Maya: Of all things that have changed in this place, the mornings have remained the same. Typical suburban mornings with the diffused sunlight slowly emerging from oblivian, the whole sky ringing with the early calls of the morning local and the sound of the conch shell. This place is so small, so tiny that all of it could be held in one’s fist at once, its makes you feel secure, not lost in the multitude like in big cities..

Dad{merrily surprised}: that was a nice way of putting it!…you still have that don’t

Maya: what?

Dad: the ability to think, feel and emote in a way no one else does..

Maya:{ silent…..}

Dad: do you remember the time you wrote a thing called “ dad and maa: the two men in my house”…for your English project?. in the 8th standard?

Maya: what?….it was like ages ago!…cant believe you still remember that?

Dad: it amazed me then,{pause} when I read it for the first time, it gave me Goosebumps thinking how closely you observed us and how clearly and effortlessly you could express and explain our minds on paper. Something I have never been able to do in my entire life.

Maya: it was a long time ago…most of it is forgotten !…but yeah I would like to read it again someday….i want to know what I used to think like at that time.

Dad: I have it with me, if you truly want to read it then remind me of giving it to you.

Maya: { shocked, cannot believe her years} are you serious….laughing… I mean u seriously have that age old ammetuar stuff with you still now?….hehehehe….maa was always right about you…you are indeed “ a crack brained fellow!

Dad: laughs….is that what she said?….hahahaha…..doesn’t seem like a compliment to me….

Maya: neither to me….

Both of them share a short glance and a laugh….becoming conscious again, they regain their reticence and their conversation abruptly comes to a halt…


Maya: where are we right now..?

Dad: At goshaaipara…near the raj baari…

Maya: is it? have we come so far?….then the Ganges ghat must be nearby.

Dad: yes its few minutes from here…

Maya: lets go there for a while, I want to see that place once, the fondest memories of this place are entangled with my visits to the ghats….

Dad {smiling}: don’t worry we’ll cross that place on our way…

Maya: as if looking for something…..

Dad: what is it? What are you looking for?

Maya: huh?…nothing..

Maya: where’s that famous sweet shop?….i remember It used to be somewhere around here…

Dad: Maheshmaayera…hehehe…there it is!

He points at an old shop around the corner undergoing renovations….

Dad: guess he finally gives in, who can resist change?

Maya: what?….

Dad: you know naa that they are one of the most famous sweet makers in Bengal, so initially all through these years the owners were very sceptical about making majors changes to the décor and the outlay of the shop, they did not want to modernise it a single bit, said that it went against their sentiments…but I guess eventually they realised that the world they live in at present has no regard for resolutions and to keep up with it, one has to go according to it! And so these renovations….

Maya {walking along.}:… I guess I was wrong about some things never changing…

They walk through another road which is a short cut to the ganges ghat , reach there, find a small public bench to sit on the river side, and sit there quietly….both lost in their thoughts and absolutely silent….the Serampore college snapped on the river side looks like backdrop of pleasant memories…. The swift ganges wind blowing through and through….making them nostalgic…..

Maya: the launches and ferries still run on the river…..i used to enjoy them, I remember… each time you went to Barakpore on the other side of the river… I always used to accompany you…whether you liked it or not…. Just for the ferry rides…

Dad: hmmm… the ferries, the boats have always been here, from the time when the Dutch came and made it their colony, till now….they have been an integral part of all settlements on the bank of the ganges….

Maya: and….hey the Serampore college looks as beautiful as ever…. Even now I’m sure that by noon time these parks and benches will be full with those college students bunking classes and giving “adda”… hehehehe…

Dad: that’s pretty inevitable and perhaps incorrigible….

Maya: yeah I guess..

Dad: remember we used to come here every day….riding on our bikes!!….

Maya: yes I do….

Maya {speaking suddenly out of her turn…. and coming up with something unexpected}: did u miss us baba?

Maya: I mean post your divorce with maa….did u miss us?….did u miss me?

Dad {taken by surprise at being called ‘baba’ after such a long time..doesn’t know what to say}: I did give you a call every alternate day to which you mostly did not answer….doesn’t that say something…?

Maya: why did you do that?…I mean why did you and maa get separated?…things were fine weren’t they?….i mean she and you shared a great friendship and that I noticed!…. and even if you had differences, who doesn’t ?…I am married for the past 8 years and there have been times when I could not bear rajat, but not to an extent that I take such a drastic step as a divorce!…

Dad {uncomfortable}: I don’t understand why you bring up this topic after so many years. The time when you needed to ask questions, u didn’t pose any…I thought may be we are never going to have such a conversation, but like always you’ve surprised me.!

Maya: don’t change the topic baba! Tell me! I need an answer!
Dad: it was complicated!..

Maya{unable to control herself, speaks in gushes} : oh!..that’s a very cliché comment baba!….we’ve heard that a lot of times right, I have always felt that maa and you were always very self centered people. You always placed your personal interests and ideals before your family.. maa was always busy with all her social bandwagon of woman’s rights….and crap. And you with all your philosophies and desires for travel.. For one moment neither of you thought of me…. When you decided to part ways it was all mutual and agreed upon, as if it could bear no consequences, but did you ever realise what impact it had on me…?

Dad: it was not as easy and painless as you think it was…. I had never felt so
compelled and helpless ever in my life again….To let go of the only thing that you love the most in your life is never easy Maya….

Maya: then why did you do it? there was no compulsion?….do you think that marriage is a child’s play? Do you remember that night when maa and you came to talk to me about your decision of separation? …. I knew that it was coming, but I was too scared to admit the fact to myself… I remember how stoically you brought out that whole act of yours. I remember the expression on maa’s face….cold as ever she was looking straight at the wall, unable to stare me in the eye..

Dad: don’t say like that Maya…

Maya; why not….i have been carrying this load forever, Maa is dead now, what difference does it make! What difference has it ever made!..

Dad: MAYA!!!…. {Outraged}

Both of them turn quite. Maya rebuked, looks sternly at the distant horizon, her vision is blurry because of her tear filled eyes…there’s a lot she feels like saying today, but doesn’t know how to put it. She feels disturbed and perplexed at not being able to let go of her inhibitions. Her father in the other hand is taken a back by the sudden attack of her questions and grows defensive. He hadn’t seen Maya behave that way before thus cannot come to terms with it. Her questions have invoked in him a melancholy, which he thought he had put by a long time ago… but never actually did so. And now at the event of the death of someone he used to call his wife once upon a time…this pain in him has risen, it seems like it had been corroding him for years, like a cancer of sorts…but now its worse…the pain could be beard no more..


Dad: You know Maya; I have regretted doing most of my actions in life. But that one decision at that point of time made a lot of sense to me because it was for both of us.
You know Maya, we were exactly like you described us to be. ‘The two men in our relationship’. Brave, wonderfully aggressive, unconventional and vehement believers of our ideologies. Pratima was not like every other woman, something that at first glance fascinated me. She was undefiant and undefeatable. A dedicated social worker who believed she could change the world. A hopeless literary lover. an atheist by profession a humanist by choice. She was an iconoclast of sorts. I used to admire her courage, her adamance for doing good, her passion for life and for what she believed in. I admired it. I fell in love with it. But falling in love with the woman of your dreams and making her your lawfully wedded wife are two different things.

Dad: I was not like her, I could not be as brave and strong as she was. I was footloose and fancy free, for me life was not full of glum realities that I needed to make amends to. For me it was like a journey, an awakening, i needed to travel far and wide, be a man from many places, a man of many faces. A man, whose stories were good enough for many shots of drinks. All I wanted to do in life was to be able to flow like the mountain torrent, continuous and unstoppable. I needed a companion more than a wife. Someone who could come along with me each time I went backpacking and road tripping, stagnation was like death. Being in one place forever that was something I could never bring myself up to. Pratima needed a companion too, being a docile, self-centred housewife never suited her as well. Her beauty found full bloom when she was out on the streets with her propagandas, fighting the battles of the ones who had lost, invigorating the masses with her speech, rebelling against the political and social dogmas. That was the real Pratima but sadly enough I couldn’t be her companion!!…

Maya: ….And me?….then why did you have me in the first place?….if being solitary is all you both ever wanted!

Dad…{ silent…}…

Maya:{says in stone cold voice} Probably you thought that you both could actually pull of ‘the perfect family’ act by having me which later to your great dismay back fired!!…{ laughs unwillingly}…

Dad: {as if paying no attention..} ‘ Daddy’s little girl…paints the world with her magic wand” {singing}…heard that song?…

Maya: huh??…

Dad: how can I forget that day, 29th of November 1969!The day you were born to us. You seemed to appear just out of a Robert frost poem. A wild wood fay with gleaming blackberry eyes…every body at the Milan ray’s nursing home congratulated me. And then on began our journey as father and daughter. Though short lived it was and still is the best thing that ever happened to Pratima and me. You inspired me Maya in fact both of us to go for what we believed in. your presence made life all the more meaningful. You gave us the strength to be just like you were since your childhood!…objective. You showed us that we as individuals seek two very different worlds and we are a part of two different realities and that in order attain fulfilment we must make our own choices.

Dad: whether you believe it or not Maya, your mother and I love you very much. Till her last breath she had been thinking of you, stopping everyone from calling you and telling you about her ill health. She said she was going to be ok and you need not be bothered and disturbed. She never wanted you to leave your work and come here unnecessarily.

Dad: and as for me, I have been visiting every place here that has our memories as father and daughter. The park near the baren babu’s, the fields, the ganges ghat, bahir serampore, the melas, the rath yatras in Mahesh…. everywhere. Only to see if I could find you again!….remember the place where you went for your English tuitions?…

Maya: dipankar sir!

Dad: yes him, he is an old man now, and he still asks of you. And I tell him stories of your achievements, that you have got a great job and are well settled in delhi, that Rajat is a great guy and keeps you very happy. I talk of you as if you are some one who I know distantly and not my own daughter. It rips my heart to think that my only daughter probably does not consider me as her father….i….iii….

Maya: we’ve been sitting here for long…lets go now.

Both of them rise and leave for Roy’s place…. far from behind the songs of the fishermen can be heard…the air is too of emotions…numerous birds in their cheerful chirps…are seen leaving their nests…… they walk a few miles without speaking to each other then finally arrive at roy’s place.


Roy: aare….aasho aasho…..Maya maa….kemon aacho?….too sad to hear about your lose….ki korbe maa bolo….that’s the way life is…it gives, takes away and gives again…..

Roy: {calling his wife}…aaare shampa!!…..dekho ke esheche….bring something to eat!!

Roy’s wife comes out from inside, she had never been very fond of the Bhattacharya family and their strange ways…used to say “ mayemaanusher ato jed aar dur shaahosh thaakle sansar teke naa….sharakhon toto kore ghure berale poribar ke dekhbe ke?….baba oyi shob social welfare thakuk nijer jaayegaye….what can be more important than family?”…{ a woman who was so stubborn and obstinate could never make a good family.. If one is out the entire day loitering about in the streets then who would take care of the household. Let social work and all that be in their place what could be more important than family?}…Mrs. Roy held a master’s degree in political science and was educated enough to have a very successful career but remained a housewife essentially for most part of her life. she gave a fake smile as if empathising with their loss but soon enough she let go of her little pretence and curiosity took the better of her…

Mrs Roy: { Maya goes to touch her feet...to which she promptly declines}…Naa naa thaak…no need of that.. how are you….?…god! I must tell you , I went into a trauma when I heard of Protima’s death. She was such a lovely lady, my very close friend. Poor thing had to die all alone, with no one by her side. We cant blame the children these days….they are busy with their own lives… who belongs to whom in this world!…

Roy: {interrupting her}… aha Shampa!!….get something for them naa….
Maya: no no uncle….we’ll not have anything…please uncle.

Roy: uma…sheki?….you’ll not have brealfast?..

Dad: Roy….chere de bhai….some other time…

Mrs.Roy: chhaaro naa!!!….you and your habit of coaxing... we should understand what they are going through…{as if to establish the turn of events more prominently}

Mrs Roy { turning to Maya}: all final rights are done…? So you want to leave immediately….!!.. aarkota din theke jaa spend some time with your dad!… I am sure that is what your mother wanted. Her family to be together.. unfortunately she couldn’t see it all in her life time…. {Maya looks at her sternly….not speaking a word}

Maya: Naa aunty its not like that….i have a lot of work pending… my holidays are coming to an end….


Mrs Roy: where’s Rajat? Why isn’t he with you at this time of loss? { she spoke so loudly that every one in the room could hear it…to Maya it seemed like every one in the world heard it…Mr Roy and her dad stared at her face, as if asking the same question in their own silent way}

Maya: He’s gone abroad!…Germany!…will be returning in November.. so he couldn’t come.

Mrs Roy: why?.. for work I suppose, good good! Its nice to see you turned so well on your own!!{Maya’s dad who was speaking to Mr Roy all this while suddenly stopped}

Mrs Roy {coming close to Maya} shob kichu thik to?….when are you planning your family?…I have always told your uncle that you are very mature, much more than your parents….and morever…..

Maya: thanks aunty thank you for your concern…uncle please give me my flight tickets naa…we gotta rush!!..

Roy: yes maa…sure sure….

Maya and her dad leave Roy’s place and return to their apartment…


On their way….

Maya: b****!!!!

Dad: wow…wow…what was that?

Maya: didn’t you see how she was talking?…she was the one who always spoke behind maa….and even spread malicious rheumors about her being involved with other men..

Dad: with the little entertainment that she has in her life what else is she suppose to do Maya?….also people here are not used to such dynamic women like your mother, they interpret it in a different manner…

Maya: you mean you never believed a single thing…?

Dad: not that I did not acknowledge that there was a possibility but I knew it would not happen..

Maya: that’s just a clever way of putting it!

Dad: I knew Pratima too well for any speculation Maya, I knew what kind of a woman she was and what kind of men she liked!…and trust me no man could be man enough to stand in front of her.

Maya: hmmmm….


Maya: baba!…today is rath yatra? See these children are dragging their raths along the road!!….i used to do this remember?…then maahesh would be jammed and mobbed today!!…

Dad: yeah…according to the myths lord jagannath, balraam and subhadra are going to their aunt’s place today, which is like in the next lane…{laughs}….

Maya: of course I know what a Rath yatra is!…you don’t have to explain in details like you do in your travel books!

Maya: you know the ‘Rath yatra’ is conducted on this day only in two places… Serampore in Bengal and Puri in bhuvaneshwar?….it is covered by all news channels all over the country…

Dad: feels good to see you know so much about your native place.

Maya: and Serampore is supposed to be the place where India’s first jute mill came up!!!… now beat that!!!

Maya and her dad break into childish laughter…and finally enter their apartment.


Maya: Daddy remember the time when I was 4 yrs old and you took me to maahesh to see that giant rath being pulled on the streets….by thousands of people… I remember I used to be very tiny and had this habit of holding you by your pants..

Dad: yeah you used to refuse to get up on the lap, you preferred to walk!…and people thought that I am the only demented fellow who makes a 4 yr old child to walk!.. the moment I picked you you started crying..

Maya: hehehehe….but that’s not the point!!…remember this one time we went and as usual I was holding you by your pants and I was walking…then after a long time I realised that the man whose pants I was holding was not you…and I started crying hysterically…..i had let go of you long back…and was holding someone else his pants…ehehehehe..and walking along with him…hehehehehe….

Dad: you remember that?

Maya: naa….maa kept telling me…laughed hysterically!

Dad{ with a sad face} perhaps by then only you knew that I am going to let go of your hand one day and leave you all alone to face this world all by yourself!

Maya stopped laughing….stared at her father’s face….and started crying….loud and uncontrollable. She broke down for the first time….after her mother’s death. She went down on her knees…covered her face with her hands…And cried….


Dad: Maya!!!….Maya???….ki holo!!….

Maya starts crying even more profusely….

Dad: kaande naa maa…..please don’t cry….what’s wrong mishti!!

Maya: I miss maa daddy!!….do you realise she is dead!!!!…. dead!!….oh my god!!!…cries even harder……

Her father lifts her from the floor….and embraces her…..

Maya: all my life I have tried very hard to hate you both!!….i have tried to be as indifferent as possible….!!… but the more I did so….the more I missed both of you… why did you leave daddy!….you should have tried harder!!…. now look what I have done…i have lost maa….i wasn’t there at the time when she was dying!….cries…… I just want to run away from this place!!…this place, this house….every corner of this house….suffocates me with all its memories….. I hate this place!!!…..cries…on and on… I hate this place!!!….

Dad: Maya…my little girl…I am sorry maa!…..i am sorry!!…I am sorry to put you through all this…. But your mother is the only woman I have ever loved…. When she died and I went to cremate her….she was lying there…lifeless yet her entire body was gleaming, bright with vitality and life!…it shocked me… scared me!….i have become very old now Maya…and my capability to take shocks has gone down with me!…. I have not been able to sleep since then. That one phone call from Sharmila that night killed me!!…yes I died then and there!! I died when I realised what I had let go off once is never going to come back!!.. I cant live through all this…if you are not by my side shona!…..please forgive me!!…. please!!! Her dad starts crying as well…..

The whole day goes by and the evening sets in…..Maya and her dad sit in one corner of the house…Maya’s head immersed in her dad’s shoulder….she sobs silently…


Maya has opened her dad’s bag and is doing something…her dad enters…

Dad: what are you doing?

Maya: packing your stuff!…tumi aamar shaate aashcho!… your coming along with me to delhi!!

Dad: naa mishti that is not possible!

Maya: {screaming} ofcourse it is.. baba no arguments this time… I am not letting you live your so called “ free” life selfishly anymore. I need my father, and you need me!!

Dad:{smiling} dhat! Paagli! I have a better option…. I am going to take care of Pratima’s prarthana… this is what she has worked for all her life!!..i wont let it fall apart!…this is the least I can do for the woman I love don’t you think!

Maya goes foreward and embraces her father…

Dad: and don’t worry about me…maa… I will be fine, you are there for me naa….i will be visiting your place once in a while…. So you go ahead….and be free of all worries….baba is there now….

Maya felt secure in his arms….as if a long storm has just died down…she is finally composed….finally content…feeling that she would disintegrate into a thousand pieces if she lets go of his arms….” Baba is there now”….she utters to herself!!… as if it were all a dream…


Sharmila:{ enters the room} buro meye babar aador khaachche dekho!!….{ look how such a grown up girl is getting pampered by her dad}….i am afraid I need to talk to Maya personally so all this father and daughter bonding is to be kept for later!

Maya’s dad takes the que….smiles and leaves the room….

Maya: kemon aacho aunty?…come sit!!

Sharmila: no! I have come here to scold you, what were you upto Maya, I never thought you could be so stupid! If I hadn’t read that mail which you sent through my computer… to Rajat! I don’t know what would have happened!

Maya:{stunned} I cant believe you read my mail.

Sharmila: yes I did! After your mother it is me who is going to take your responsibility!!!…..you had not informed Rajat about your mother maya?.. I mean what were you thinking?…

Maya: aunty it doesn’t matter to him….he is too busy with his preparations of going abroad!! And there is no way I am going with him, I cant live in an alien land….not now ofcourse leaving baba!

Sharmila: and that’s why you wrote to him that he was free to go and live on his own? And that you would not stop him?….you didn’t even tell him that you were here! Poor fellow do you know how tensed he has been!!…
Maya: no aunty, he must be in his flight right now…on his way to germany! I called at home no one picked up and in the office they said he had left for the airport! It is ok aunty if it has to be this way…it will be this way. I know Rajat, he wouldn’t stop for any one… he has worked very hard for it!!…he deserves to have it!… I shouldn’t be stopping him….i don’t want to end up like baba and maa. I’ll wait for him….its only a matter of few years….

Sharmila: your stupid Maya….you still haven’t grown up!….

Maya: I know what you think aunty….but its not like….

“ MAYA”!!!!……..

Maya is interrupted by a voice….and recognising it she impulsively turns back…..


none the less...

Just a little mindlessness… that is how I explain it to myself!.. and what is that “it”… well it is that one little thing…it is those many things….

When I get overwhelmed seeing those wild life documentaries.. and even to an extent that I tip over and cry…
When my mind goes blank while listening to ghazals..… to an extent that I cannot think of anything else…
When I try and philosophise the existence of everything..
When I feel too embarrassed to express my anger or resentment and coil into a puddle of misleading expressions…
When I stare at myself in the mirror for hours…honestly believing that I am beautiful.
When I get Goosebumps standing underneath the sky just when its about to rain..
When I talk too much…when I don’t talk at all..
When I unassumingly smile at strangers.. and they look at me suspiciously unable to recollect where they have met me last…
When I wander like a lost soul… inside my house in the wee hours of the night.
When I secretly miss my loved ones.. but never give them a call even if I want to.
When I am scared to death to meet my old friends who I love dearly.. fearing that they would have changed.
When not love but the anticipation of it makes me want to fall for it…
When I seek silence and solitude amidst a lost and baffled multitude.
When I get shit scared to climb escalators and cross roads and get hell conscious later.
When I drive my laughter to an extent until it becomes a cackle.
When I spend nights…. sleepless.. just thinking… neither joy nor fear nor sorrow…thoughts and only thoughts…occupy my mind…
When left on my own, I speak to myself…just about anything because I love hearing my voice….
When I write meaninglessly…
When I love hopelessly….
When I dream aimlessly…. But never the less… I dream on ceaselessly…

Just a little mindlessness… that is how I explain it to myself…and what is that ‘it’
Well it is that one little thing….it is those many things…

Dead letters



“ Dear friend,
I really don’t know how to begin and where to begin, it feels strange that I am writing to you, you of all the people. Letters are always written to people who are distant. Far and remote is their existence in your memory so much so that you need to write to them to remind them and mostly yourself that they exist! It was just yesterday when each night I went to bed, I knew I am going to meet you in the morning! Every thought, every word, every memory has you in it! So now as those statistics have changed, I feel a little awkward. A little ill at ease you could say.

Mumbai is a strange city friend, too big in many ways and too small in many. It sometimes fascinates me and sometimes makes me choke. Sometimes I think that perhaps its not the city, perhaps it is ‘change’ that makes me feel so. And change is always difficult. I stare at the blinking cursor again, don’t know what to add to the few lines I have just written, see… this is what mumbai has done to me…it has made me numb. Or is it change?……
I feel this numbness most of the times now… nothing surprises me any more, the star struck wanna bes, the open prostitution carried out on the streets, the overdressed or the underdressed.. Nothing intimidates me, the high rises, the expensive cars, the brands, cigarettes, alcohol…nothing…Mumbai most of all..only inspires me..
It inspires me to survive and to excel. Like the city has done in itself. To others it might seem that terrorist attacks are the biggest challenges the city faces.. but I know the biggest challenge it faces..{like me}…is change. Everyday…its government, its people..are trying to make some or the other changes to it!.. Slamming it with elite offices, choking it with lavish eateries and extravagant malls… folding it into wraps through fly overs and well connected roads…squeezing out every bit of its existence and making it more and more modern…more contemporary!!…it is always alive…its nocturnal beasts never let it sleep…it is always burning.. With buildings and railways being bombed down over night…and being rebuilt over night! Everyday mumbai survives another day and looks forward to the next…it dies a thousand deaths. And lives a thousand lives.. Everyday scores of people come to this city…hoping that they would rule over it someday.. Thinking that they would exploit its opportunities…and make success out of it!…I don’t know whether its ironic or its sad! But the city does have a soul!. Which people fail to rather don’t choose to recognise. Not much botheration is given to its culture or heritage.. everything is overcast by its ‘oh so celebrated’… fast pace which is more of a Babel than a euphoria. ‘yeh mumbai hai bhai…yaha paise se zyaada wakt kimti hai’….that’s what they say here friend. The people don’t recognise this city in any other way.. And the city in turn doesn’t recognise its people. Not knowing who it makes rich and who sleeps hungry in the streets, It works in its own autonomous whim.
So while travelling in crowded buses when I clutch my wallet and keep it close to me… a voice inside tells me…don’t be scared to lose…be prepared for it, be prudent enough to find alternatives….be strong enough to survive. In these few months of my stay I have managed to find a friend in the soul of this city. There have been hard times, moments of dire loneliness and desperation.. there have been nights I have sobbed silently in the darkness of my room.. Yearning, cribbing and feeling lost!..and the city had contained me within itself!.. Showing no mercy or consideration. it had consumed me and made me disappear within the night time darkness. Giving me all the time in the world to cry but never falling for my weaknesses and never letting me show them either. Yes, it has its own way of empathising… so each morning I re-emerge with a new spirit just like the city as it emerges from oblivion. My eyes, not wet from the night…give an expression rather more befitting of what others think of me!.. and hence I set out …pursuing the course of my day..and inturn my future. It keeps reminding me that it is not my home, that this is not where I belong….that I need to travel the world in search of belongingness and I’ll return home to find it. With my spirit imbibing the city’s deliberate numbness and its techniques of survival and success..i would say these are indeed my days of enlightenment, an enlightenment of a different genre..i guess. And long after..when my days are done in this city.. perhaps it would never remember me..but I shall remember it always….

There are many things I wish to say…but I restrain myself thinking all can’t be said at once. So I make an end here my friend. An interim pause is what you should consider this end to be…My days as you can see are eventful. Of all other things your absence is very discomforting. When we shall meet again.. too remains indefinitely undetermined. But I hope that it is soon enough. Take care of your self. And I don’t know what else. Hehehe…”