Sunday, November 2, 2014

November Rain

Today is just another Sunday. You wake up in the morning with gloomy eyes, desiring to go back to your bed. But Sunday errands stop you from clutching onto the bed sheet. With a mild curse, you drag the body out of the bed and rest of the actions followed.

Then you find sometime of your own; grab the book which you have been reading for a while and engross yourself to the world of fiction. Suddenly you find, each and every line written there is your state of mind. You feel, it is just a coincidence; but you cannot deny that the author actually relates to a situation you are living. 

In the evening, you decide to stroll around with someone and you wish to do that forever. As you sit beside one another, stare at the same old boats on the river and find men dipping themselves to clench off the daily hear someone to breathe. 

Everybody does! 

But how many times you feel that breathing can speak or may be it can dream? Yes, it actually does, only if you have the ear to listen. It’s a big dream on a rough canvas. It takes a brush and start painting from the bottom of the page with the zeal to color the whole canvas with wishes, desires and hopes. The air exhaled is so strong, you feel holding the elbow and speak, but it’s already said. 

And then you come back to your senses, wishing from the core of your heart, may all that you breathe get a shape, a life that says, “You made it!”

Saturday, August 23, 2014

Red Light in Amsterdam

Everyone is typing around me, everyone is so darn focused; as for me and my colleague, we rarely get these times, when there is nothing to write for the whole day. However, I suddenly found her tapping the keyboard as well; she caught me staring and said, “Got a chance to write my blog!” She grinned and started typing again.

Being a travel blogger myself, I know how it feels to write your own thoughts rather than doing something instructed. So I smiled back and fixed my gaze on an interesting blog, which I suddenly came across, searching God knows what in Google. 

While reading the travelogue, I realized why I love this genre. It is here that I can be myself; I can explain my feelings without thinking about the various saintly concepts. I can use words, which actually describe my state of mind. I am more myself when I am writing about traveling. 

Adam AKA Chirpy, the travelogue’s writer shared all his travel experiences using the utmost funniest tone in the blog. His trip to Paris and the amazing rendezvous with an Indian is hilarious. While going through other write-ups, I suddenly came across a blog on the Red Light Region of Amsterdam. His memoirs took me down the memory lane, when I visited this enchanting city of canals, back in 2011.  

Never would I imagine walking through streets filled with prostitutes in Kolkata. The eerie feeling along with sad reality shakes me, every time I pass that area. But things are pretty different in Amsterdam.

First when I was told about the region, with dazed eyes I said, “People stroll around the area as a part of their trip; insane or what?” But l must confess there was a bit of excitement too. After all, who gets to visit a country everyday, where prostitution and drug is legal! 
P.S: Photography not allowed, so we took it, legally of course!
And then those houses with red lights come, where girls stand in the glass window wearing bikinis. They don't look poverty-stricken rather in good shape (looks are always deceptive, I know and they of course need to maintain). Men were nearly pounding on the doors, mostly to have a talk with the good looking ones or to make a bargain. Some might enjoy the legal right whereas some only enjoy the mood of window shopping. As per me, I found my blood pressure rising. What the hell! There were bikini girls everywhere and after a point of time I found it boring. Western culture is always very receptive about all these stuffs; so what's the big deal about an area specified for sex. Stupid dramatic fuss!!! (Nautanki sala!)

But then there was another surprise, shops selling drugs openly. Yea I know it’s legal, but a huge shop like that selling only substance was shocking. There were even museums of sex!! I feel enlightened and saw what Red Light Region actually is as well as learnt the real meaning of the word. 

As I stand on the small bridge facing the canal, the entire region was lighted with red or pink lamps. Red happens to be a color that symbolizes love but to be more precise, it is the color of temptation here in Amsterdam.  

Sunday, June 1, 2014

Dark Tourism- A Mirror of Your Life

Few days back I was reading a blog that speaks about Dark Tourism. My first reaction was, what does this term actually mean? How tourism can be dark? Is it one of those life challenging trips? And then I learned dark tourism referred to those places, which have left a dreadful impact in the minds of people.

We all love to see those beautiful castles, royal palaces, blooming gardens, cascading falls and other such pleasant depictions. But do we like to visit places where tragic incidences haunted life of people? You may frown but think for a minute, why won’t you visit these places? Traveling ought to give you pleasure but it must also tell you that life is not always about happiness and comfort.

Death, blood, flesh- a sight which you will definitely hate to experience but why deny the truth! Human civilization is not all about positivity, it even bears the burden of clashes, betrayal, hatred and torture. 

Dark tourism is about a feeling called silence that comes after a series of frightful events. It is about witnessing the fight which comes with a hope to live again; it is a struggle against what was wrong. Dark tourism is a reality check to the sweet melody of life. It proves how pathetic we, the humans are! 

But is it that dark? I guess not! Dark tourism is a warning to the mankind. It points out a period in our life which is depressive, yet promises to give a better tomorrow. It proves, life never stops and there is always a bright day on the other side of a dark night, giving you a chance to live again from the ashes of a horrifying life.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Plastic Bag, Bus ar Ami!

Habiddar moto khawar habit ta amar nei, tobe thalar samne half plate chicken bharta pore ache ebong keu na khele  bekar jabe, eta mone howar sathe sathei ekta dwayitto bodh jano kaj korlo. 4 number ruti ta soja samner thala theke tule bhartar plate ta samne tene niye bina dwidhai mere dilam. Besh anondo sohokare Murshidabad e thakar sesh khawa ta sere soja hotel er room e chole gelam.

Kono anusthan barite ba onno kothao gele ma masi der sathe sowar ekta bhalo dik holo prochur golpo sona jai r kharap dik holo, sudhu sunei jete hoi, ghumate r para jaina. Ta jai hok, bohu koste ghum elo jokhon tokhon baje rat 2to. 2 ghonta jete na jetei kirom jani mone holo peter bhitore kichu dourache, ebong seta rocket er moto opor dik e uthe asche. Chokh khulei soja chhutte bathroom e; biday chicken bharta ebong chothurto number ruti.

Bomon kriyar por sadharonoto lok e klanto bodh kore, tobe amar khetre bapar ta onno rokom. Oi karjotir opore amar besh bhaloi ayotto ache, tai jokhon dorkar pore seta k atkateo ami sokhom hoyechi bohubar. Bakider moto amar sorir e khub ekta probhab porena. Ei bisesh khomotar karon, onek choto boyesh thekei amar bomir sathe ek gobhir somporko. Eta niyei likhbar chinta bhabna ami korchilam ei Murshidabad er ghotonatir por. Tobe lekha ta pathokgonder nasika kunchito korbar moto hobe na karon bomir bisleson ami korbo na.

Boyesh tokhon koto hobe mone nei, tobe uttor Kolkata theke dokhin Kolkata jawa amar kache ekta romchakor din chilo. Sokal theke barite ma baba chintai thakto ado amake khaiye niye jawa hobe ki na. Tarpor suru hoto plastic porbo. Barir joto packet thakto sob motamuti ghorer ek kone stupakrito hoye pore thakto r segulo k fuliye dekha hoto futo ache kina. Tai hotath kore keu amader barite erom dine ele obak e hoye jeto sobai k plastic folate dekhe.

Obosese S5 e chore amar barir samne theke suru hoto jatra Esplanade obdi ar seikhane theke sukher jatra chilo patalrail e Tollugunge obdi, amar mamabari. Tobe ei barir samne theke Esplanade pouchano chilo amar kache marubhumi otikrom kora. 

Mamabari jawar uchas uchho marge thakto prothom 20 minute, thik porokhonei sei matrata kromoso nimnogami hote thakto. Rastar jam, garir horn, chitkar, bus-er bhir, dhulo ar egulo sob chapiye chilo petrol er gondho. Karur nake sei gondho na eleo, amar nasikai se thik probesh kortoi; ebong thik tar porei sei lokhon gulo suru hoto. Pete pak, charidik bibhrat r sathe matha bhar. Ek dubar janla diye bairer hawa newar prochesta, kintu sob chestai bifol jeto. Jam er thelai poribesh hoye uthto tikhto r tokhone amar mayer bag theke beriye porto sei plastic-er bag. 

Bomon kriya sarte lagto 5 minute er o kom, kintu sei bag ta k jhuliye bose thaka r nongrar jaiga dekhte pele setake fele dewar dwayitto chilo amar. Mal nijer dwayitte rakha j kotota chaper seta hare hare ter petam r tar opore mal ti jokhon erom torol podartho, tokhon r o koster bapar e bote. 

Kolkatar rasta chirokali khorakhuri chole, 'Khurchi Mati Dekhbi Ay' er doulote; ebong uttejito bangali ar ase paser lokeder udgrib hoye rastar majhe dariye ‘han’ kore sei kaj dekha, khub ekta birol drisso noi. Obosso, dinosaur er moto jontro gulo ke dekhle je keu dariye dekhbe, amio ekdin dekchilam office jawar pothe. Se jai hok, ami jei somoi er kotha bolchi tokhon modho Kolkatai jor kodome cholto patalrail er khora khurir kaj. Amio asai asai thaktam kobe ei kaj ses hobe r ami Belgachiya theke Tollygunge bina plastic jhuliye jete parbo. 

Kintu ekhon chinta holo ki kora jai, hate plastic er bag ta felbo kothai? 

Janla diye hath bariye soja patal rail er gorte!    
Kar gaye j porlo ka jane r tar koto gal j kheyechi ami tao janina. Tobe eta ami protibar e kortam ebong ottonto obhodrotamo setao ami jani. Kintu oi bag ti ami jhuliye boste raji noi. Mamabari pouche prothom prosnoi hoto, “Kire!! Ugrechis?” Ek gal hese hain bole ami tokhon khelar khusite mete thaktam. 

Kichu diner modhei ei urganor obhes ta ami utre gechilam r onekei plastic er bag er dhakka theke rehai peyechilo. Patalrail ta sese uttor dokhin jog korate, plastic er dorkar o kome gelo. Tobe masir bari Behalai jete hole onek somoi hoye jeto r ki!

Bhaggokrome aj r sei obosthai nijeke porte hoina, tobe pertrol er gondho aj o nasikai probesh korle kirom ekta guliye jai, jodio seta samlate r chap hoina.  
Ajkal Kolkatar patal pother jatayat eto besi hoye gache j matir opor e rasta ghat er jamjot ar dekha hoina, jodio akhep nai, manush aram er dash. Tobe majhe modhe jokhon sujog pai sei S5 er rastata diye kothao jawar, ei smriti ta mone pore jai. Lojja to paee kintu sei bhoyaboho drisso ta bhebe hesei feli- ekta bikrito mukh ar plastic-er bag!        

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Bravely She Walks.........

She was on her second day. A single movement or a simple jerk was unbearable. But there were 6 human shadows at a distance. She couldn’t recognize anyone of them, but then she was already aware what was about to happen.


Monday it was! Another long week and a busy schedule! Her mother was busy preparing her lunch. She prefers it the home way and loves to share it with her colleagues. It reminds her the school days. The 1 hour break at her workplace is the most rejuvenating moment of the 9 hours monotonous life.  

Her father was busy with the morning newspaper. She finds it really annoying each time when her father reads aloud about any crappy news. “Listen Munai, its better you come home early. You can see what kind of news these papers are filled with”. “Come on Baba! What can I do? Should I stop working for those bastards? Please stop reading these! I know you are worried. But I am not doing a 9 to 5 job.” She might have defended herself. But she knew that it was just a compromise with her mind. Her mother came out with her lunch box and said nothing, but “Sabdhane jash.” (Be careful on road!) 
The sweetest exchange of “Aschi Ma” (Am leaving mother) and “Aye” (Come back), has never been missed out. The love and fun ingrained in these words add charm and love between the mother and the daughter. So, it is very hard to miss out this moment no matter how late she is. 

She crossed the road, plugged in her ear phone and started walking to reach her workplace on time.

Monday morning blues, that’s what written on everyone’s face. Each of them was wishing the other ‘Good Morning’, knowing the fact; it was not at all good. But you cannot ignore the British courtesy, especially when you are working. Thanks to the colonial yoke!    

Her closest pal was on leave that day. She was missing her; but the heaps of tasks engaged all her attention and forced her to stay glued onto the computer screen.


The lunch break was a relief.

But the intense heat kept her enclosed within the claustrophobic cubicle. She enjoys reading online journals and e-newspapers from all over the globe. She loved to see how international personalities react to the same events, especially when the country itself is connected to the unfortunate incidents happened in a distant land. 

Unfortunately, all the national newspapers had the same news, which her father was referring to. It was depressing and filled with apprehensions at the same time. She tried to ignore it and scrolled it down, but her mind was jammed with several disturbing thoughts; Why? How can one be so heartless? Is this a political game? It was too much to take and she finally settled down realizing, if the destiny has made such a plan then none of the women are safe here. Her health added more grief to the present scenario. She sighed and started working again.

Finally, office hours came to an end. 

7:30 pm and the office was already filled with empty chairs. Suddenly, an urge grabbed her, or may be a fear that made her realize she would be returning home alone. She turned her computer off; grabbed her bag, ran down the empty staircase, crossed a long dark passage and hit the main road. There was still life left on the road, which brought back a sense of relief to her anxious mind. But that was just for a minute because she was sitting all alone in the auto for next 30 minutes.

It was really weird to see such a deserted scenario on Monday. Well, then you never know, anything can happen! This thought brought back to her some glimpse of the morning conversation. Something crept inside her and she gulped down her fear waiting for the auto to start. At last, 3 people turned up and the driver tuned the engine on. She held the bag closed to herself, the pain in her abdomen was getting back, nearly bringing tears to her eyes.

8:30 pm. She got down from the auto and started walking. Another 15 minutes walk would take her to home. She had returned late from office and she had even returned alone; but this sudden trepidation was all new to her. She was restless and desperately wanted to see her parents.

There was no one on the road and added to it was the sudden darkness that hovered over the place because of the faulty lamp post. She wished she could walk fast, but she couldn’t.

And then she saw them; 6 figures walking straight towards her. Male voices, she couldn’t see their faces, she didn’t even want to. But their vociferous nature and fast movement frightened her. Are they coming to get her? How can this be her destiny? Should she shout? 

She felt the horrible pain and the headlines of the morning newspaper flashed in front of her eyes. She pursed her lips tightly and kept on walking. The voices were close and nearly choking her up. She closed her eyes and suddenly everything was numb. 

With lots of courage she opened her eyes. She was standing all alone. The voices were fading now as she saw the 6 figures walking away.

She took a deep breath, ignored the pain and ran for home…………… 

SHE was saved that day. Lucky SHE was! 

But why should we even call this LUCK!! Doesn’t SHE have the right to walk alone on the street? Why should SHE live in fear? Why should SHE confine herself fearing a physical assault passing an unknown place or a dark alley? 

‘SHE’ has been through such a moment many a times. No matter how fearful and filthy the path is, SHE will walk bravely. Someday SHE will be recognized and respected; till then SHE is prepared everyday to face this challenge.  

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Thirsty Walkers on Earth!

For the past few days my mind is boggling me and keeps on telling me... What am I doing? Do I actually need to do what I am doing? Is it the life that I want?... Well I knew all the answers, but only if I could make myself understand what is possible and what’s not!

Recently, I have started watching a program on TV, run by Nat Geo, it’s called Roads Less Traveled. Yesterday’s episode was on Morocco and today it showed some of the most unknown regions of Laos, justifying the very name of the show. While keeping myself glued to whatever the host was doing, a sudden thought hit me hard. Why do they travel so much?

The host for the episode of Laos was Tony Wheeler, who is the founder of Lonely Planet. He is nearly 70 years of age and travelling the unknown courses of Laos with a bag on his back, sleeping in rough places, walking the hard roads, crossing streams, crawling through the caves and doing things, while I sit here to watch his activities with awed eyes. He even hurt his back at the beginning but then after 3 days he was in a kayak, crossing a river to reach a tribal area. The question hit me again; why a man leave all his comfort to be in a place that does not even have a civilized place to pooh!

There were many other travelers with their backpacks and maps trying to find their way out. But why in such a remote place, where you would hardly anything to see? Well the answer was right there… it was the thirst for travelling of course! It’s the urge to see something in nothing. May be they are bored with the monotony or seeing the same wall around you, with same faces and same talks.

There is a statement made by the protagonist of The Namesake, a book written by Jhumpa Lahiri;
"Do yourself a favor. Before it's too late, without thinking too much about it first, pack a pillow and a blanket and see as much of the world as you can. You will not regret it. One day it will be too late."

Yes, there are some people on this earth who live by this statement and they are known as Travelers. They do not care about comfort because to them comfort is all about hard routes and challenging plans.

Hah! Have said enough….  I need to pack my pillow and blanket soon.. because I am thirsty too!!  

Monday, January 13, 2014

A Thoughtful Sunday!

Sunday mornings have always been lazy for me. I hate to run around and follow the daily schedule, which haunts me throughout the week. So, when I opened my eyes today, and found my mother smiling at me; I pulled the edge of her sari and asked her to sit beside me. This was the beginning of a chatting session that continued for nearly 1 hour. She talked about my father’s maternal family; which is referred as Mamabari in Bengali.

There will always be a member in your family, who would make you curious and for mine case, it is my grandma’s sister. The best person to tell me about her would have been my grandmother herself; but she is no more. So my resort was Ma, who went on sharing all the information she had about this woman. My grandmother comes from a well known family and her father was a renowned ophthalmologist in Motijheel, Dumdum. Mita Dida, my curiosity, is the youngest of all her siblings. She was loved by all but the albino problem made her life more complicated.

My grandmother said to Ma that she was a very beautiful lady and could even play piano. Well, neither can I doubt that because even today, behind the wrinkles and albino patches, her eyes glow reflecting the long lost beauty. I could clearly visualize, how wonderful the scene would have been where a charming lady sitting on a stool and playing a piano...!! 

She was married off to a lawyer and that is when her future took a turn. May be she was suffering from a depression for long, which pushed her away from the normal walks of life. There were signs of abnormality in her behavior. My mother said, her husband was a pretty talented guy. On my parent’s first visit after marriage, he even narrated a poem. But my mother found him acting in a very different manner while talking to Mita Dida and trying to change some of her gesture, which she kept on doing deliberately. 

Now comes the hardest part, which is still gloomy! As per my grandmother, Mita Dida had a daughter. But something happened and the child died. Things became rough and her husband left her. To be more precise, Mita Dida was cheated and left penniless. No one ever came across this man and his whereabouts.

It’s been years that I have met Mita Dida. The last time I saw her, she recognized me and was talking as a perfect normal individual. I remember she made me a raincoat stitching all the milk packets that she collected. It was funny but some creativity was still left in her. Well, there got to be something in a woman who knows how to play a piano during the 1930’s era.

May be I am exaggerating my thoughts. But how would be the life of a woman, who trusted a man and thought of living her life and then suddenly found herself lost? Then again, how would be the life of a man, who thought of sharing his life with the woman, who finally turned out to have an unbalanced state of mind? Who is right? The one who wants to live a life or one who wants to live a sound life?