Maha-Alaya

This post was written for the occasion of Mahalaya for Ink Elan

Here’s the link:

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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.

 

 

 

|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!

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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

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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.

 

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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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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Image courtesies

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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

bongsho-family

roti– a type of flatbread

soshur-bari– in-laws’ house

kottababu– head of the family

ashte ashte hobe-give it time

Image Courtesies

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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

Image Courtesies:

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Life in little rooms

Link to the Ink Elan Post:

https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=1914459091926704&id=986575891381700

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Image Courtesies

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