Kaashi: the city that wasn’t!

Kaashi, or Varanasi, is one of those places to surely feature on anyone’s Freudian bucket list.

It is one of the oldest cities in the world and it makes sure you understand that while roaming about in its organic lanes and by lanes and by by by lanes and so on.  My last trip to this place wasn’t my first, but I can say that it was the first time I looked at it through my own eyes. I won’t be documenting the various places of “so-called” worship because everyone does that.

The hotel where we stayed this time was a remarkable one (hold your hats folks!). It made me wonder about a lot of things, most of all, I wondered if Dante had decided to include the 10th circle of hell, it would have been something like our place! Sounds Warm, doesn’t it?

I am not really a shutterbug, but an entire canvas of myriad experiences made me want to document this unusual journey.

I have heard a lot of talks, especially from the foreigners that they come to Varanasi to “find” themselves! This time I realised a teeny tiny bit of how that happens. One fine evening, I found myself sulking in the audience of the evening prayer, which happens at the ghats. Therefore, I decided to take a walk by the ghats and explore the literal margin of this antique city. I jammed my earphones in and started to walk. What song was I listening to you ask? Oh, I was listening to American Idiot by Green Day. Is this Globalisation? Multiculturalism? Post Modernism? Frankly, I don’t care.

Look at this boat, sailing the lands forever!

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If you stand with your back towards the river and look up towards the skyline, believe me, for a moment I thought I was there in favelas of Brazil!

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Nature, I believe, has its own rhetoric. A place called “juice bar” is promoting their brand by showing the way to the burning ghat of all places. I am not going to elaborate on this beautiful irony and destroy your poetry.

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Let me remind you, this graffiti is in Varanasi, beside the Vishwanath temple, on the lap of the Ganga.

I’m j-u-s-t saying!

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These two holy souls are here seen drawing their daily dose of inspiration from a heavenly conflict between Ray Mysterio and Randy Orton.

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I have never had the guts to visit a burial ground, you can call me a coward in that respect. But, here, an inexplicable urge led me on towards that “fatal” place. Is this the force that nature has? Was this what Wordsworth meant?

I kept moving, felt more alive as I did. And when I reached I felt a wave of souls moving through my body. Scores of logs were stacked on all the sides, as the vehicles for the dead. Looking at them made me wonder, someday some log would be mine too!

I don’t really know if dusty the real term to describe the place, because the dust has- me, you, and everyone: the biggest family on earth.

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Bodies piled on another, wrapped in white, all set to be launched into eternity. A “grave” situation you’d wonder, right? I am not sure if I can say that because as the enlightenment was dawning upon me, my castle of glass was immediately shattered by a nonchalant tea seller nasal screaming “lebuuu chaiii” (lemon tea). Oh yes, who wouldn’t want refreshment while disposing of the dead!

The power of this place was such that I wanted to go there day after day to drink life from the dead.

Also, every damn creepy house I saw above a few flights of steps, I thought that it was the abode of the great MOCHLI BABA! ALAS! I never found it. Sad.

I have finally reached a moo point

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amar kotha ti furolo
note gaach ti murolo

By the way this was the most stylish guy I found there:

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oh, the swagger!

All the pictures as you have already noticed are shaky. No! I am not imitating Mrinal Sen or something. It’s just that I wanted to give a feel of the bustling life through these pictures. The city was moving and so was I.  This definitely not all, from a personal perspective, this trip also featured one of the best co-incidences I have ever seen in my life. I couldn’t believe something so poetic could ever happen to me! What the co-incidence you wonder? Maybe, I will tell you someday over coffee, but it has to be your treat!

I hope you enjoyed this trip.

 

 

 

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ANALOG INDIA

Two friends, Anik and Barnak are writing in class whilst
talking in whispers.

ANIK
Seen Sacred Games yet?

BARNAK
What?

Anik stops writing. Looks at Barnak in disgust.

ANIK
Oh yes, I forgot, Doordarshan is
more of a comfort zone for you!

BARNAK
I told you, man… I’m not into all
these–

ANIK
What else do you do but cram stupid
notes all day?

BARNAK
It’s called self-study fool, ever
done that?

ANIK
Ever done that without books?

BARNAK
I don’t really prefer manuscripts,
thank you!

ANIK
You’re undoubtedly the worst
comedian I have ever heard of!

BARNAK
But you have heard of me…

1983_h

ANIK
So you do watch movies?

BARNAK
Occasionally.

ANIK
Talking of books, you can get loads
of that on the internet which you
can’t even dream of getting in the
market, what do you say to that,
Homo-habilis?

BARNAK
I don’t know if your updated mind
has come across this term, but we
laymen use a thing called the
‘li-bra-ry’, ever heard of it?

ANIK
Seriously? A library? You’re funny!
You think one library can match the
entire online database?

BARNAK
Maybe it can’t, but, if you had
been to one, you’d understand that
a library is more than–

Anik tries to cut in, Barnak gestures him not to interrupt.

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Just a storehouse of books, it’s a
place of meditation as well, which
offers tranquillity and
concentration! Tell me which of
your ‘websites’ does that?

ANIK
Libraries are currently doing one
thing, and that is digitisation!
Try and access Jstor sometime!

Barnak nods his head in acknowledgement and carries on
writing.

ANIK
Let alone all the web series’,
chuck them, they are just for
entertainment. But, don’t tell
me, the lectures and videos aren’t
helpful. They are done by the best
in the world. Admit it, you also
watch them.

BARNAK
I prefer a hands-on discussion with
my teachers, thank you very much.
Can your ‘best in the world’ give
you that?

ANIK
But you can at least check them out
Gestures at the blackboard
The one of differential calculus
was awesome, just awesome! I sent
you the link, you probably haven’t
even bothered to check it out.

BARNAK
Can’t take these–

Gestures at the blackboard

Down properly, and here you are
talking about more stuff. Pfft!

ANIK
As I said, they aid in your
understanding only–

BARNAK
As I also said, my home teachers
are perfectly capable of that!

ANIK
When did I say they are not? Come
on! E-learning is in demand bro!
They even offer certificates on
completing courses!

BARNAK
Nowadays they give certificates for
everything– someday I’ll hear
mothers handing out certificates to
their children for successfully
bringing dhania from the market!

ANIK
You’re tedious!

BARNAK
The point is, we’re ultimately
gonna toil night and day in some
corporate firm, so, what’s the
point of all this anyway?

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At this point, Anik comes out of character, breaks the fourth
wall and directly talks to the audience as an ad-hoc narrator
of sorts. Light focuses on Anik as Barnak is not seen.

ANIK
Eventually, after some more witty
repartee with Barnak, the bell rang
to mark the end of the tiring maths
class. Immediately, Barnak gets
called by, Shruti, another
classmate of ours, to solve- what
she calls- an ‘IIT level’ Maths
problem. For Barnak, this sounded
like a call for the show valour and
chivalry. He puffed his chests out
and went to rescue his damsel in
distress. It all looked very much
like a page from Walter Scott.
After a few moments, a dejected
Barnak quietly returned to the
seat, it is evident that he has
lost the battle of sexes. Not only
was he unable to solve the problem,
but Nayanika did it for him.
Shame…Shame…Shame…

Anik goes back into character as the lights now show both of
them.

BARNAK
Eh, Anik, umm, could you send me
those links today evening?

ANIK
Oh, there are loads, I have to
search for them…

BARNAK
Please man…

ANIK
Won’t be possible today evening, in
the night perhaps?

BARNAK
Are you busy this evening?

ANIK
Yes, have Roshni ma’am’s tuition.

fin

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FROM DENYING RUSTICITY TO RONALDO

Ink élan is at it again by launching another fabulous series called  “Bishwo cup of tea” (world cup of tea)!

Like the previous immensely successful “Baishakhe chander haat”, I have also contributed here with the story of a very inspiring individual!

After reading the post, I can assure you that this guy is a “keeper”.

Read it here:

https://www.facebook.com/inksfromyoursoul/posts/1842219349150679?notif_id=1531931262050235&notif_t=mention

This time my post has been illustrated by the very passionate Sayan Mukherjee

HIM AND HIS WOMEN

This poem of mine was published by The Literary Herald, go on, give it a read:

http://tlhjournal.com/uploads/products/47.samya-poem.pdf

Image Courtesy:
https://goo.gl/zz7PCB

|Narayan Kotha|

Amader Ink élan r Baishakhe Chaander Haat er 10 nombor porbo ti amar sesh obodan ei series e, asha kori bhalo lagbe Narayan babu k nie amar ei lekha ti, bhalo lagle ekta like deben please!

Ebare kintu bangla horof eo lekha hoeche!

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1728057193900229&id=986575891381700

Artwork by Sourin Das and Designed by Arghadeep Saha

|Aabeg|

Amader Ink élan r Baishakhe Chaander Haat er aath nombor porbo ta likhlam bangalir shera khelar dui “king”bodonti der nie: P.K and Amal

Like and Share!

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1726116014094347&id=986575891381700

Artwork by Arghadeep Saha

||Guru kotha||

We at Ink élan are doing a special tribute series about many eminent Bengali personalities called: ||Baishakhe Chaander Haat||

I have been fortunate enough to give life to the third instalment of this amazing series.
It’s a tribute to a revolutionary of Bengali Literature!

Read and spread it as far as possible here!

Thank You!

Featured Image by Sourin Das and Arghadeep Saha.

 

Bonhomie with the Bard.

An amateur’s recollection/review of the Workshop on Acting Shakespeare
hosted by The Heritage College in collaboration with the Shakespeare Society of Eastern India as the part of an international conference on 25.11.17.

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Being an enthusiast of Literature, precisely theatre, I was elated when the little Facebook birdie told me that there was going to be a Workshop on acting Shakespeare. Without much ado, I instantly applied for it.

After a lot of restless waiting, the day finally arrived!

At 2 PM sharp, I was escorted through the sprawling greens of The Heritage Campus to a certain room; which without my guide would have permanently been an enigma. Finally, I met our teacher for the day, Prof Amitava Roy. Honestly speaking, I was intimidated by his presence at first (later it eased out though).

Armed with all the googled knowledge, I ogled at him for a considerable amount of time and let everything sink in.
A few moments later, at about 2:30 our workshop began.
Sir had made sure that we sat in a circle. He stepped into the ‘ring’, gestured at the circle that we had outlined, and asked about it. Some hesitant answers later, he told us that the ‘circle’ or the ‘ring’ that we had outlined was called an ‘open space’ or ‘empty space’. “Theatre”, he said “is a circus” or a bare “boxing ring” where the actors are “opposed to each other” or “fight each other”. The only difference is that most of the boxing that takes place in this ring is of the “intellectual faculties or the ideas” and sometimes it gets “physical” as well. He further added that in theatre “people represent ideas which are in conflict”.

The discussion went forward to “theatre in the round” and what it’s like in the folk culture. Prof Roy gave us an example of a hypothetical performance of The Ramayana in the open. Considering a scene with Sita in it, it is understandable that the actor would be engrossed in the work; but when Sita is required to make an exit, the actor would move out of the circle and sit amidst the crowd, remove his wig (considering women weren’t allowed to act back then) and light up a bidi perhaps!
Here, Prof Roy introduced to us what is called, “Brechtian Alienation”: once the actor moves out of the open space, he alienates himself from the acting space and blends into the reality and vice versa.
“Chhau”, the warlike dance form from certain parts of India can also be considered as a good example to understand alienation.

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We were eager to know more about the processes of entry and exits, so he moved on to tell about them in proscenium theatre’s full curtain and the other half curtain form. Full curtain form is just the normal form of revelation in a stage: the curtain moves apart and we get to see the character or the character enters from the backstage. The half curtain tradition, on the other hand, is far more interesting! When a character makes an entry, two other are fixed to usher that character in. The element of suspense is maintained by covering the character’s face with a short curtain and playing suitable music at the back. After some more suspense building and dancing, the veil is lifted and the character is revealed to everyone. People might already assume who the character can be, but it adds an excellent edge to the production which, in spite of being ancient, is more dynamic compared to the proscenium style entries. He added however that this type of an entry is befitting only for a grand character and not for anyone else. An entry of Macbeth, with the combo of song and dance, is appropriate but the case is not so for Rosse and Angus.

The Empty space is filled with a lot of possibilities and theatre keeps exploring those possibilities. Waiting for Godot is a modern tragicomedy. In spite of being so modern, it goes back to the use of empty space and has a minimalistic set design with mostly a tree in it. Talking about the art of acting and production, the discussion then went forward to how technology has thwarted human expression and finally about the Method acting of Stanislavsky who tried to make the audience believe in the reality of the event and not the fact that a conscious actor was playing the role of it.

After a lot of chit chat, we moved on to the acting part. Sir declared that a fully fledged workshop on a play takes at least 9 months whereas we only had a couple of hours. In that brief time span, we learnt a lot about performing the witch scene. Sir had the scripts ready for all of us and we too were raring to go.

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The next two hours were over in the blink of an eye. In the meantime, we learnt a lot not only about playing the weird sisters but also how to act like a crooked tree and make strange noises which would go with the supernatural setting. We were divided into groups of three and were given full license to be as ‘weird’ as possible. Needless to say, we had the experience to savour. For that duration, Macbeth wasn’t a mere text written in dry ink only to prepare an answer from, it became a living and breathing entity. It felt as if the Bard had risen from his ‘downy’ sleep only to spend a little time
with our bright-eyed bunch, without anyone having to ‘move’ his ‘bones’.

Apart from all the education, Heritage also gave me a platform to come across some fascinating people for which I will always be grateful to them. I hope they keep re-organising such events again and again!

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Image Courtesies:
Sayan Mukherjee (Facebook)
The Heritage College
Shakespeare Society of Eastern India
Google Images

Well Past Midnight

It is well past midnight now and I am here sitting in the railway station with you. Countless earthen pots are lying beside me as you can very well see.

Heyy! Look!—What? Don’t you see?

See that young lady over there, gracefully mixing with darkness at the horizon. She is out my sight now. Fear not! Her silhouette is with me and I will tell her story, yes I am determined now! I will only tell her story!

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And you, will you listen?

She was stranger, true, but in this godforsaken place, she became a stranger to herself as well. She felt lonely. Nobody knew her and she knew nobody.

The isolation was eating her by the day

She had no one to say ‘hey’

We are a rational animal they say

And True!

A social animal, yes, so was she…but an animal without food

Isn’t that an insult to the neighbourhood?

She didn’t know how this world worked; she was an amateur, a hungry amateur.

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Come on let’s get on this train, it’s the last one! We’ll continue our story there. Make sure you put on your woollens properly, it’s chilly.

Ahh! There’s a seat, come.

Whooo does that yuckkkk! Look at that kinky poster and it is stuck with a gum, how cheap is that!

I can never get these people with stupid agendas you know, I mean, how foolish do you think people are huh?  To fall for these cheap tricks? The government must do something to protect the innocent people who perhaps are getting fooled by these tricksters every day! My head is so on fire you know, I will write a letter as soon as I get home to the highest of authorities.

I have a LOT of connections!

Ohh! Damn it why isn’t the train moving yet?! I need to have a chat with the driver, pronto!

Come down the platform with me……

I need to talk to the driver about the problems and the damn posters people are sticking, incorrigible!

Oh, your story! I am so sorry, I almost forgot, happens to creative peo—-

Isn’t this that girl??? Yes, it is her!

What is she doing? Is she, OH MY!

She is putting up a poster… it is the same poster…

IT also reads…

RIYA WANTS TO BE FRIENDS

CALL  **********

She’s the one who really needs the FRIENDS.

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You see I may not be the most popular guy in the world, but I have you as my friend and I am grateful to you for that, and I will be in this year and in the next!

Make friends; talk with people… because you never know who might need one!

Don’t just wish Happy New Year,

Make someone’s New Year, Happy!

CIAO! This train was for the Car-shed anyway.

Image Courtesy:

 

Google

 

 

Observations of an injured mind

When you are injured…be physically or mentally– it leaves a mark

Can a mark really alter your approach to reality?

Can it play with the very notion of truth?

With Ink Elan I bring a quasi-fictional (*wink wink*) experience to life

market-psychology

Here

“Observations of an injured mind” (click it)

Please leave your feedbacks, they are important to me.

Image courtesies:

https://goo.gl/TaK1ew

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Finding the Calling

A play of sorts in one act

Narrator: Ladies and gentlemen, attention please, A red digital clock at Howrah station platform no.3 showed 4:29; the diabolical figure resonated through his mind, as missing the 4:30 local….oh the horror! He dragged his over-exhausted right leg amidst the sea of people and managed to somehow scamper into the much dreaded first compartment.

Boy: Phew! That was so close!

Narrator: His momentary inflated ego was crushed immediately by a nonchalant hawker who shrugged him off as if he wasn’t there.

Boy: Heyy! Can’t you see me? Huh?

Narrator: No brother, you’re John Cena. (pause) Just as he had managed a decent standing place, saw something very odd lurking in a general compartment, (bold sarcastic voice) two young ladies (yay!).

Boy: Oh crap! She is looking at me!

Girl1: Umm…will the train stop at konnagar?

Boy (blabbering): Well! The train, madam, stops at every station but you know, the journey never ends.

Just like love, it goes on and on and on…

Girl1: stupid! (aside)

Boy: (to the audience)

Forget trains!

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in love, must say yes to everything at first. And…I think…yes, I am in Love.

Narrator: She was not the one for the poets and it was exactly that which made everything so poetic.

Girl1 (to Girl2): Why is he being so weird?

Girl2 (smiles while looking at the boy through the corner of her eye; speaks distractedly): What do YOU think? … well, you should know!

Girl1: NO, I mean..umm …wait! What do you mean by that?

Girl2: Ummm… nothing.. well, I prefer speaking in innuendoes you know!

Girl1: INNUENDOES???   Ughhh!! You and your “MILLS AND BOONS”!

Narrator: The switch my friend is ON!

Girl1: No INNUENDOS and for your kind information No Love Story here..

Girl2: By the way… When did I say it’s a LOVE story? Huh?

Boy (sudden excitement and despair): Oh GOD! I can’t find my phone! (to Girl1; panting) Excuse me! Can you please give me a missed call?

Girl2(whispers): Ahem! Ahem! Divine intervention you see…

Boy: Well, yeah… I do understand it’s awkward for you, please help me out here…

Girl1: Why do you think brother I will help you? Do you think I’m a nun in some Cathedral ready to help everyone?

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Boy (whispers): What! Brother!
(aloud): Okay, sorry to brother you… I mean to bother you… wait! Why should I be sorry? A nun is never bothered anyway. After all, she’s the harbinger of love.

Girl2: Whoa!.. is something on fire? Or someone diss-appointed?

Narrator: On hitting call after moments of reluctant dialling… the compartment was instantly graced by the tunes of “Can’t Help falling in Love”, thanks to the Chinese speakers! (pause) After few moments of rampant rummaging, our boy discovers his device, lying below a seat and picks up in the blink of an eye.

Boy: Thanks… (whispers) It is truly said that one can never predict them… (pause) Okay, sorry, don’t mind…

Narrator: She smiles away with her friend on another side of the compartment; leaving the boy red-faced. Thank god for the climax, that was one intensely boring narration! So, ladies and gentlemen, that was our—-

Girl2 (interrupts the narrator): Hey, narrator! You didn’t tell the full story?

Narrator: What story? My script ends here!

*gestures “she is crazy” to the audience*

Girl2 (to the audience; *Girl1 and Boy high-fives*): Allow me to finish it then, and take you all into the future (points at Girl1 while she hides her face)you know “A lady’s imagination is very rapid; it jumps from admiration to love, from love to matrimony in a moment.” Well, what started as a mutual admiration laced with scorn has ended with the two smiling.

Narrator: What are you talking about?

Girl2: Can’t you see the mutual glimmer in their eyes? The glimmer of happiness

Narrator: Happiness! A thing which started as an act of incivility has culminated otherwise? Really!

Boy: See sometimes even a simple start can…

Girl1: …lead to a story!

Boy: (to the audience):

Well, everything said and done,

I hope you had much fun;

I would now like to conclude by saying this—

So as to leave you all in bliss:

You might as now well think, that I had kept the phone there on purpose…..

Well….. Did I?

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-FIN-

 

This was performed as a closet drama by the SA Jaipuria team at Shri Shikshayatan College.

It is inspired by Com Partment:  https://thepenarchist.wordpress.com/2017/08/23/com-partment/

, originally written by Samya Brata Roy.

However, it was adapted for the performance by a lot of people:

Samya Brata Roy

Srija Chakraborty

Susmita Roy Chaudhuri

Shreya Banerjee

Chandrani Sanyal

and last but not the least

Mr Bimal Chakraborty or as we lovingly call him Bimal sir.

We enjoyed working on it so much that we even plan to release a video of it in the near future.

image courtesies

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One fine Opportunity

The sporting dreams of millions in our country have been thwarted in the past owing to countless obstacles. Of late, Lady Fortune has finally turned her nonchalant head towards us with a blessing of hosting a grand event. Hope we, INDIANS can take this a launchpad to give the countless sporting dreams a decent trajectory.

I wrote this article for the lovely folks at Ink elan– check out our page and leave us a ‘like’ for your daily dose of beautiful art.

Here’s the link to my post

“One fine Opportunity” (click it)

Please leave your feedbacks, they are important to me.

I dedicate this writing to the sports fraternity of my country— let us unite so that we may prosper by leaving the obstacles behind!

Single Leg Amputee Sports Club (SLASC)

image courtesies

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A Little Messy

To M.R,

Nothing special about today you know, yet here I am scribblin’ away about the happenings o’ the day for you my sister.

The day was extraordinarily ordinary, regular stuff happenin’ the way it should.

At Ten o’clock sharp in the morn I jostled my way through the dizzy streets and finally reached my destination: my cubby hole in the office (which I had graciously accepted).

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After signing below MACEY in blue bold letters (yes we have a register for cryin’ out loud), I sat down in my rusty chair and started making certain arrangements.

After a few moments, I heard muffl’d voices emanating from the grandiose chamber just in front o’ my humble abode. The ‘show’ as I understood, was ON. It was that good ol’ hag again, his favourite nourishment amongst many others.

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I, on the other hand, work behind the scenes and prefer to relish the magic on stage. He brings people in, shows off his guns n’ whistles whilst I keep ‘em polished and prevent ‘em from gettin’ any wee scratches.

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Okay, the hag is about to leave now, which means it’s my time to look after his needs once again. As soon as the octogenarian was out of earshot, I received his call in a broken voice.

He, ‘Boss’ as people like to call him sat like a duck, drenched in his own tears.

“Not again!” said I and rush’d inside his office to console him.

“How will I pay for all this? The green leather armchair? The electric heating? The bloody wine cellar!?” he whimpered.

“How many times do yea need me to tell yea that I’ll take care of all that? huh?!”  replied I with a reassuring tone.

He picked his turquoise blue tie with shaking hands and said while dabbing gently at his wet bloodshot eyes “It was all for him, all for him” and broke down again while pointing towards a picture of a grim looking boy in a soldier’s uniform.

It was my turn to do something else I would lose him forever, that can’t be good!

So, I went beside him and whispered in his ears “If you are his father, I am his godfather too, you aren’t the only one with responsibilities! Now, do yea want to sacrifice all our efforts down the drain?” Yes, my words were having an effect on him, I could see him clenching his teeth and practising a firm jaw. “Now stop acting like a child and do what you are here for… play the BOSS for god’s sake!”

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No teary-eyed reply came shooting back. He was gone, the ‘Boss’ had finally replaced him for good.

He then gestured me to return to my cubby hole to which I replied with a smirk.

The door chime signalled the arrival of a new client/guest to be taken ‘care’ of. One glance told me it was Katherine, crazy girl, thinks that I am a servant here, well that’s a “win-win” situation for me to be honest. As soon as she entered I gave up the stern demeanour and bade her “good evening” in a very docile voice.

Rumour has it, that the girl writes, god knows if she has written about us as well.

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thepenarchist:

This story was originally intended as prequel/sequel to Katherine Mansfield’s The Fly, which on much introspection I decided to give a stand alone appeal.

 

Image courtesies:

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Com partment.

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A red digital clock at Howrah station platform no.3 showed 4:29; the diabolical figure resonated through my mind as missing the 4:30 local would surely have been fatal. I dragged my over-exhausted right leg amidst the sea of people and managed to somehow scamper into the much dreaded first compartment. My momentary inflated ego was crushed immediately by a nonchalant “Murshidabad er gamcha” seller who shrugged me off by a very courteous “dada shorun”. Just as I had managed a decent standing place, I saw something very odd lurking in a general local train compartment, a young lady (yay!).

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As fate might have had it, she was directly looking at me(now that doesn’t happen), only to ask me if the train would stop at Konnagar (such a romance killer). A nod came in reflex.

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She was not the one for the poets and it was exactly that which made everything so poetic.

The tired train moved with a grunt and slacked like a baby to school. She couldn’t find the perfect posture in the overcrowded compartment and kept turning; new to “daily passenger-i” I thought. With every turn, it seemed she stole one glance here and another glance there as if it opened up different facets to her.

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I, the skilled playboy that I am, remained silent and observed the proceedings in awe. Her protruding rucksack hit me sometimes as a reminder from my inner Barney Stinson to start up a conversation. I did, in my head of course as the hawker raved on about his “quality cotton maal” in the background.

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I don’t know if it was fact or fiction, but after a few moments, I saw her conversing with another guy. A flurry of emotions wrapped around my brain as if to make folly out of my failures. I didn’t know if I should laugh or cry.

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There was nothing romantic, or there was I don’t know! But at that very moment, I realised what could have been! There are so many people, we don’t know, who could have been so much more, if only…

I didn’t know if she knew him or she did not (please be the former), honestly I don’t care! She was all smiles and so was he.

Is this a tale of love lost or stalking gained I don’t know. But what I do know is that trillion tales have been told of this style but very few are actually experienced.

Everything it seems stopped that day, for them, for me; except the train, which wasn’t supposed to stop at Konnagar (which I remembered after getting down at Bally).

What have I done! What have I done! What have I done!

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The Last Ball

Two groups of women were battling for supremacy on a foreign turf. But, the fight, irrespective of the context, seemed familiar to many others who observed it from a great distance. The world had never seen anything like this before.                                                   Like many other high-born women, Raima was also traditionally sold into another household.   Putting her dreams in the dumpster, she took charge of the kitchen during day and kisses during the night. The noble Pal bongsho had just acquired a new scapegoat.

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The match was nearing a nail-biting conclusion when the gods of thunder from all mythologies joined heads and decided to intervene. The ominous clouds came from all directions to dampen their spirits. To their utter shock, nothing could deter the spirits of these amazons.                                                                                                                             Raima wanted to be a player herself but failed, as maintaining a chaste demeanour was considered more important than the very unwomanly barbarianism she was interested in.

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It was a do or die situation now, the last moment of action would seal the fate. On one side, a burly lady was charging in to deliver at a great pace and accuracy; on the other hand, a meek Raima was attempting her first roti. Stakes were high: pride of the team and the soshur-bari were at stake on both the sides. The lady delivered with great pace but it was dispatched with equal vigour. Raima flamed one side of the roti for far too long: it was burnt!

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The girls’ team were distraught, it was the first time they had reached such a stage but couldn’t capitalise on it. Raima was shocked on seeing the shape of the roti and had started imagining the unimaginable.

Just when everything was falling apart, the girls saw the entire stadium giving them a standing ovation. Kottababu was taken aback by Raima’s grim look. He went beside her, smiled and said “ashte ashte hobe” and hugged her tight.

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It was then that these women realised, the apparent defeat is just another stepping stone for success.

What if a war is lost? The battle is there to be won!

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Glossary

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roti– a type of flatbread

soshur-bari– in-laws’ house

kottababu– head of the family

ashte ashte hobe-give it time

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Peace,Protection,Patriotism.

A hand rises amidst the sea of heads…

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*silence*

The speech begins as the mic lays out a high-frequency screech…

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Hello,

You might want to sit back and clear your mind (or your bowels if you want to) for this. The matter is serious and has already gotten out of hand. So, I have decided that enough is enough, and speak on behalf of my community.

Considering the majority of my audience, I assume that most of you might have used us over and over again till we have given your senses a sore.

You have oppressed us, ogled at us and even thought of exchanging us, but we didn’t complain. You judged us by our “brands” and our so-called features, we suffered in silence. We charged your soul with hours of emotions: laughter, anger, angst et all! Yet you resorted to other means of entertainment leaving us high and dry! Did we retort then?

Then why do this to us now?

Why do you keep breaking us over and over again? It is true that we can’t speak or say a word against your supremacy, your control, it seems we are to only dance to those signals you throw at us!

So, think before shattering us, breaking us with your pseudo-brutality, because remember-

What goes around comes around!

Yours Truly,

The Television Union

and its predicament after the face-offs of arch rivals.

11

The silence is broken by a young guy draped in mono-colour…

How can you be so cruel, madam? You can be a very good orator and everything but you can’t randomly sexualise this matter for your ends! Do not think that we all are sitting ducks here! Do we not understand your propaganda? You are deliberately trying to make us empathise with your problems by giving it the subtext of a sexual harassment! We do think that your issue demands an answer but please don’t use one of the most pressing issues in our society for your benefits!

The young man has to stop now as he realises that the lady has already left without paying heed to his comments.

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I, myself, standing right at the corner of this very room was carefully observing the proceedings till now with a solemn brow while impersonating a serious Sukanto. But, me being dormant thus far now feel a need to say something to you, my friend… Be it the communal, sexual issues or the protection of certain lactating herbivores- every issue demands our undivided attention, true, but do you know what we need more at this crucial juncture…. unity. Why do I, a mere narrator/writer thus far, feel the need to say this to you (without being a character in my own story)? I do because it is not the race for the throne which is a real threat to us it is the things that lie beyond the wall. Period.

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image courtesies:

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Oh God!

The darkness of the stage is broken by a momentary flash of blinding light and loud cracks.

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The light silhouetted darkness is now pervaded by two characters who enter from both ends.

[drum roll]

enter Oh and God!

Oh, a highly cynical lady of age surveys her surroundings and keeps stuttering towards the middle of the stage while letting out a puff or two. On reaching, her eyes fall on a young man who wore deep purple robes, a cap and a shiny long necklace, which was the cause of much amusement for the lady.

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God!, a young lad, most probably a teenager, perhaps the calmest one there ever was; casually strolls into the stage and looks at the smoking old lady dressed in a curious manner. Her head was covered by a cloth, like a hippie! He couldn’t control his chuckle and let out a loud sneer.

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[The coincidental bursts of not so subtle scorn swiftly gained their ways into each other’s ears.]

[Long pause and melodious violin plays as the characters start to dance towards each other and stop at once when they meet]

Oh: So, why do you dress in such a fancy manner eh? RELIGIOUS ARE YOU? Don’t you know that there is nothing called God! How can you be so backwards that in spite of living in the modern times you still cling on to these ancient beliefs? Allow me to illuminate you, YOUNG MAN!

There is no proof about God! Science triumphed way back when Darwin paraded the minds of the intellectuals with his groundbreaking theories! And yet, you crackpots…still believe that someone is up there who created us, eh? Do you even Science, huh?

Religion was introduced as a mean of oppression to thwart the voices of the subaltern! It was nothing more than a fancy narrative, meant for striking fear in the hearts of the laymen. The oppressors enjoyed the shunning of these classes as that allowed them to reap the fruits of their “sinned” lives! How else do you explain the concepts of sin and retribution or whatever measures they have for wiping sin away in a jiffy!

And, you know what, all of y’all think that your faith tells the absolute truth and all the others are absolute nonsense! And that’s MY BOY is the root of all evils in the modern society!!!!!! The devastating wars are wiping the universe of anything human that is left in society, Why doesn’t your God look after us now? Do you have an answer you ignorant fool?

[The young man, after a long period of constant ranting, finally opens his mouth while fingering the insides of his ear]

God!: Calm down madam, such rage is not good for your pursuit to heaven.

[The lady’s face turns purple and she prepares to throw her walking stick but decides against it at the end]

Why are you so angry madame? The evil forces have taken your soul over I am sorry to say. I do understand what you’re trying to say, madame.

See, we, the so-called religious people do understand the reason for your frustration as you all will never be accepted by the almighty. So, you all decided to rant against him to hide your deep seated angsts.

[The lady manages to keep her cool, in spite of shaking vigorously with anger]

And with your science stuff, with all due respect madame, your lot are always coming up with new explanations and theories every day…

Which one do we believe?

Are the modern explanations true? Not even you can guarantee that! Can you?

Coming to the tortures and making others to forcefully believe in your belief,

Is that not what you were doing to me till now?

[The lady opens her mouth and every sane living being could foretell the ranting that she’d be going on right now]


But, whoops!!! Powercut !

All the cast and crew are left irritated with this mishap, the room was pitch black.

The final rehearsal of “Oh God!” sadly met an abrupt end.

The director was forced to scream “Pack-up!” and promised that he would try and squeeze in another session or two before the first screening of the already full house production!

The main characters Oh (played by Adidi Warrens) and God!(played by Hitchen Dawkins) were left disgruntled but hugged each other out after a virtual phase of mutual scorn.

Before leaving the set, Hitchen came running towards Adidi and returned her cross necklace which she takes everyday to church. He almost threw the necklace to her and ran homewards.

“Have some respect!” the lady yelled.

“You and your religion..ugh!” came the reply.


Rumour has it that never again were actors so committed.

One can show their bodies in spite of reluctance but,

Can one reluctantly acknowledge the other side of their beliefs?  

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He is Manik and He is Felu!

 

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Satyajit Ray

Contributed to Ink Elan for observing 23rd https://www.facebook.com/inksfromyoursoul/photos/a.1388273137878638.1073741829.986575891381700/1740521299320485/?type=3&theater

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https://goo.gl/Uynbri

Commonly Uncommon

We have a man with us today, a common man, just like you and I; but, today he made a fatal mistake: he entered a Modern Art Gallery.

I didn’t know how he committed that howler, till he told me just now. It seems that his mind had plunged into the great depths of depression. I should not make fun out the follies and failures of my subjects but this incident was something a little too special to keep it from sharing it with y’all.

A storm was brewing, so the layman sought refuge under a grey canopy. Some five minutes later he was caught off guard as few uninvited droplets embraced his cheeks like a pin on a cushion. Betrayed by the shed, he decided to move and that is when he noticed a glimmer at the corner of his eyes. He rolled them eyeballs to look at a sign in subtle blinking neon: “Musée des Beaux Arts”.

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He looked in awe, not at the sign, but trying to imagine the possible pronunciations of the foreign script which seemed like English. And then the unthinkable happened; to the incredible incomprehension of the old gods and new, he, the ordinary man decided to step foot inside the hallowed grounds of the modern art museum.

The security guard looked at him with a solemn brow and cheeks pale to the very lips as if to say: “What on the seven continents are you doing here?”

But he ignored all the possible omens and with a denim reminding his passersby about what he had last night, a shirt too tight and a misspelt Starbucks cup, he entered the infamous place.

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He felt like the only sane person in an asylum as the glances from all possible directions were shot at him as if he was a platter of delicious meat waiting to be fed to hungry lions.

With trembling limbs and a wearing, a shawl of naivety he proceeded in his business but the tragedy was that he didn’t know what it was.

The strangest of objects surrounded him and it was supposed to be art for it had classy Italian names.

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From empty frames, 3-D burgers to random stones behind glass panels everything was supposed to be a piece of modern art.

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Moving on from every piece to another, it seemed to the innocent man that his life was flashing before his eyes and questioning every decision that he has ever made.

With every piece of art came a connoisseur, upon whom the gods had bestowed the duty to evaluate true art whose knowledge they get from the back covers of the reputed books. They are obviously rich, otherwise, how can you appreciate art? Have customary long and unkempt beards, resembling the forlorn lovers of Shakespeare and wear the trousers which surely were an heirloom. The half moon Dumbledor-ish glasses certainly add to their expertise. The long flowing ethnic top wear with gibberish decor fits right into place.

One such species was explaining a rather curious piece of art: a pair of glasses which were lying on a stand just beside the washroom. Our man edged closer to his heart on his hands and listened with intent at the random throws of a little Derrida here and a little Foucault there.

Then, the unthinkable happened, an old man stepped out of the washroom and was taken aback by the humdrum near the glasses, then he lowered his hat, wore ‘his’ glasses and left at once.

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The world stopped rotating, everyone’s hearts skipped a beat, no one looked at one another, they all ran in other directions and started to sob. The common man stood still, his nouveau knowledge about the -“isms” and its appreciations went for a toss, he ran outside and screamed and kept running till he reached here.

-A CYNICAL GOBBLEDYGOOKER

Inspired by true events: https://www.theguardian.com/us-news/2016/may/27/pair-of-glasses-left-on-us-gallery-floor-mistaken-for-art

Source of Images:

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Deconstructing Sheeran!

There is always that song which is stuck in your head! Ed Sheeran’s latest phenomenon: Shape of You is one such track. I have listened to this song so many times that I form new critical viewpoints every time I hear it again! Vomiting my rather ‘uncanny’ thoughts on paper can be seen as a way to get rid of them which has been troubling me for quite a long time to get out, a dirty place my mind must be!

In accordance with the en vogue way, the songs present themselves in a tripartite manner: the audio, the lyric video and the video. In this case, these versions add to the diverse interpretations.

The song in itself is very catchy with its peppy tune, sharp beats and free-flowing lyrics. Apart from that, if anyone listens closely, Shape of You has much more on offer.

The club isn’t the best place to find a lover
So the bar is where I go
Me and my friends at the table doing shots
Drinking fast and then we talk slow
Come over and start up a conversation with just me
And trust me I’ll give it a chance now
Take my hand, stop, put Van the Man on the jukebox
And then we start to dance, and now I’m singing like

Initially, it seems like any other boy’s pursuit to ‘find love’ and dance ‘at the bar’ as ‘the club’ clearly isn’t the best place. The narrator here is recounting the events of his past and moves on to talk about a song which he sang to his partner while dancing in a bar. So, it’s a song within a song!

Girl, you know I want your love
Your love was handmade for somebody like me
Come on now, follow my lead
I may be crazy, don’t mind me

The first part of the song within a song is that of a boy who directly addresses the girl and carries his flirtatious attitude forward with a lot of subtlety by accepting his weirdness.

Say, boy, let’s not talk too much
Grab on my waist and put that body on me
Come on now, follow my lead
Come, come on now, follow my lead

The wilful coyness of the boy is shattered by the girl as she doesn’t pay much heed to the foreplay and almost orders the boy to keep dancing, rather sensuously, and insists on following ‘her lead’!

I’m in love with the shape of you
We push and pull like a magnet do
Although my heart is falling too
I’m in love with your body

Moving on to the refrain, the boy finally confesses that he is in love with the ‘Shape of You(her)’ and that he is in ‘love with your(her) body’. This is where it interests me the most, but more on this later! In spite of stating that they ‘Push and pull like a Magnet’ and ‘Although my (his) heart is falling to’ reaffirms the fact their relation is one of mutual participation and not platonic in any sense of the term as they have their own viewpoints and do disagree with each other on certain aspects. It also suggests their intimate physical relation by hinting at the sexual movements with the image of the pushing and pulling magnets.

And last night you were in my room
And now my bedsheets smell like you

The physical image is extended in the very next line to almost a metaphysical sense where the boy states ‘last night you were in my room /And now my bed sheets smell like you /Everyday discovering something brand new’. 

These lines heighten the intimacy, quite similar to that of Andrew Marvell’s declaration where he requests his coy mistress to ‘roll all our (their) strength and all our sweetness up into one ball’ indicating an organic whole.

Every day discovering something brand new

I’m in love with your body

Every day they discover something new which proves that there is no monotony in their relationship, they don’t need to roam the world in order learn something and can easily do that in each other’s company! This statement alludes to the poetry of Donne where he counters the Elizabethan spirit of discoveries by stating that ‘

And makes one little room an everywhere. /Let sea-discoverers to new worlds have gone, /Let maps to other, worlds on worlds have shown, /Let us possess one world, each hath one and is one.’

Faiz Ahmed Faiz also shows similar sentiments in his famous Urdu Shayari:

‘aur kyā dekhne ko baaqī hai /aap se dil lagā ke dekh liyā’(what else is there now for me to view
I have experienced being in love with you)

Oh—I—oh—I—oh—I—oh—I
I’m in love with your body
Oh—I—oh—I—oh—I—oh—I
I’m in love with your body
Oh—I—oh—I—oh—I—oh—I
I’m in love with your body
Every day discovering something brand new
I’m in love with the shape of you

 The repeated Oh-I’s in the next few lines can be seen as a reaffirmation of his admiration for the girl, or, can also indicate the moaning sounds made during sexual activity.

One week in we let the story begin
We’re going out on our first date
You and me are thrifty, so go all you can eat
Fill up your bag and I fill up a plate

The song progresses as the narrator proceeds in recounting the phases of their relationship. The ‘story’ apparently begins after a week when they set on their first date. It interesting to note that, the first significant date takes places only after the relationship has been consummated, so is the body just a key to the mind/soul?

We talk for hours and hours about the sweet and the sour
And how your family is doing okay
Leave and get in a taxi, then kiss in the backseat
Tell the driver make the radio play, and I’m singing like

The deep bond that they now share is vividly shown through the lyrics here as they take interest in each others’ families! As the driver plays the radio, a hyper reality is projected as the refrain appears through the radio itself indicating a transcendental approach.

Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on
Come on, be my baby, come on

Once again ‘Come on, be my baby, Come on’ is repeated many times to suggest that they are taking their relationship to greater heights. In spite of discovering something brand new every day, he is still in love with the ‘Shape of You’ shows that he is not materialistic or hedonistic in his approach.

The lyric video not only substantiates to the claim made in the song but also unlocks another viewpoint.

The refrain part is seen as text messaging indicating the active participation of both individuals.

The graphic associated with ‘Body’ changes from a James Bond style image to a basic text as the song moves on which suggests a deviation from the physical pleasures as lovers mature in due course of time.

The discovery of something brand new in the lyric video has been associated with the images of a half circle transforming into an imperfect full one representing the ‘heaven on earth’ that they have created for themselves.

 

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The most striking image in the lyric video, however, is that of the heart sign in which ‘Shape of You’ is written. This raises a question of duality in the depiction of ‘shape’: is it the shape of one’s mind/soul or just the body?

The video of the song is the actual game changer as it deconstructs the entire concept as it has been built till now from the audio and the lyric video.

The video shows a ‘boxing scenario’ where the girl is a boxer. From here on, the entire concept of physicality changes as it is not limited to the objectification and commodifications.

It is very natural for an athlete to admire another athlete so as for being inspired by him/her. The ‘Shape’ here indicates the fitness and the perfect shape the girl is in and the boy is intimidated by her perfect shape and also is trying to imitate her.

The ‘dance’ can be an indication to the moves which the boxers practise in the ring.

Their mutual admiration takes the relationship forward where they indulge in the basic pleasures of life.They push the limits together and try to stay together through thick and thin.

The last part of the video shows the boy getting beaten into shreds by a sumo wrestler…

…and just when every hope was lost, the girl suddenly intrudes from the audiences and ‘attempts’ a kung-fu kick at his opponent.

The video ends as the screen freezes where the girl is flying mid air and the sumo has just realised about the impending danger.

By doing this, a finite closure is denied which forces the audience to think! 

This song along with another hit number: ‘Galway Girl‘, holds a mirror to the vibrant city life of the United Kingdom as evident by the repeated use of the ‘shots’, ‘bar’, ’club’, ’friends’, ’jukebox’ etc.. In the hindsight another hit, ‘Castle On The Hill’ puts more focus on the country life and its uniqueness. These songs present to its listeners and viewers a myriad of experiences and feelings whilst taking ‘em on a virtual trip down the memory aisle. Moving on to the little more serious and very relevant topic that ‘Shape of You’ puts forward is, of course, the treatment of ‘the body’ or ‘the shape’.

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On hearing this for the first time I was taken aback by the audacity of the artist to use the connotation of physicality in such a light hearted manner. Had the same opinions been put forward through a groovy item number, activists wouldn’t have wasted a single second in taking to streets and blatantly scream for ‘equality’.

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Another question that I would like to raise through this platform, is that why do we see objectification with such a perverted mindset? It’s nothing but an admiration for something which constitutes a human being. If someone is in love with one’s mental faculties, sassy terms like ‘Sapiosexuality’ is used to denote the superior intellectuality of that individual, but a person is immediately branded as a ‘meat-lover’, ‘objectifier’, ‘pervert’ and what not if the admiration is based on the physical aspects. At the same time, it is also true that taking these admirations to a level of infatuation or obsession is indeed not desirable, but that applies both in the case of physicality and the mental aspects.

The physical and the mental aspects together constitute the whole human being and without any one of these, a person is simply incomplete! 

So, let’s not unnecessarily discriminate between these, as “Sometimes a Cigar is just a Cigar”!!!

Note:

Many images used in this article are taken from the Youtube videos of Ed Sheeran, the rights are of-

Written by Ed Sheeran, Steve Mac, Johnny Mcdaid • Copyright © Sony/ATV Music Publishing LLC, Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Universal Music Publishing Group

The other images are taken from:

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SEARCHING

The ‘chamber’ was up in flames; every nook and corner of the much dreaded ‘machine’ set ablaze by the monster himself. The entire place was drenched with the stench of ‘crudity’. He couldn’t take it anymore, his universe seemed to crumble in front of his eyes and he could do nothing about it.

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His mouth is shut and he must scream, his feet are tied and he must run.

The contradictions of his life had shot through the roof so he decided to burn. Empowered with many theories and fictions alike, it was the only suitable option left for him.

He shaved his hair, trimmed his nails and took a long bath to try and clean himself for the ‘final cleansing’.

He felt his senses alienating themselves from his body as he started to devour them, one at a time. Having ripped himself to the ‘bare essentials’ he began his journey in the search for truth.

A foot long trail of blood formed like a red carpet behind him as he walked to welcome anyone who was willing to accompany him.

The main ‘brain’ behind the whole operation was hidden in some deep dark dungeon and he had to overcome the obstacles of the soul in order to reach there.

So, when he came near, he wasn’t afraid, he dived forward and attacked it with all his might. One after the other he eliminated all his obstacles and was left only with the ‘brain’ behind the entire conspiracy.

As soon as he saw it, he felt a darkness, a tangible darkness engulfing him for eternity, but he wasn’t the one to give in so easily.

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He fought with all his might but couldn’t help as he had to rip out the heart from his body to survive in front of the brain, and so he did, as a heartless zombie!

The man was a man of letters and reason, anything without logic and explanations had no place in his life at all. Therefore he had set out on a quest to resolve and find the logic behind all the mysteries of the universe and so he did. He did get what he aspired for: complete rationality but a price had to be paid in return, a sacrifice had to be made; which was his subjectivity and individuality.

In his quest for rationality, he had given his all and had lost the ability to comprehend the basic pleasures and joys of life.

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image courtesies:

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