Dance

Sharing a short little verse that I had written few days back in the train for Ink Elan

Image Courtesy: https://www.pathofshe.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/01/Imbolc-Teaching-Shadow-Dance-Blog-02-18-550×343.jpg

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Pulwama Massacre

Dr Partha Banerjee wrote a fiery article in Bengali on the Pulwama attack, here’s the link to that:

https://goo.gl/DcTstr

I translated the same in English:

https://humanitycollege.org/2019/02/16/pulwama-massacre-and-the-politics-of-hate/

Do read, react, comment and share the thoughts.

Image Courtesy: https://images.indianexpress.com/2019/02/pulwamablast3-759.jpg

Midterm Elections

Dr Partha Banerjee wrote an article in Bengali for the Abp on 31st October 2018 on the American midterm elections, here’s the link to that:

https://www.anandabazar.com/international/us-midterm-elections-2018-i-hope-my-prophecy-will-prove-wrong-1.890021#.XGhCxcGB1iM.link

I, in turn, had translated it to English, which was uploaded to
HUMANITY COLLEGE here’s the link to that as well:

https://humanitycollege.org/2018/10/31/november-elections-hope-my-ominous-predictions-are-wrong/

Read any at your convenience and let me know.

Image Courtesy: https://a57.foxnews.com/images.foxnews.com/content/dam/fox-news/midterm-2018/bg-1280-2x.png.img.png/0/0/1524864838003.png


Maha-Alaya

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

Here’s the link:

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.

 

 

 

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

Image Courtesies:

https://goo.gl/W5Thf6

https://goo.gl/4WLs9z

https://goo.gl/DCH4VC

https://goo.gl/vAid4d

https://goo.gl/h3vahU

|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

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.

Capture

Capture

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

 

 

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

https://goo.gl/uSmwEw

https://goo.gl/WaMTh2

https://goo.gl/pC4jU7