Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Suicide of a farmer

This is my sin, your sin, our collective sin. Where is the society heading to ?
Politics be damned. How do we reconcile with these people, our own countrymen.

Deaths of farmers by suicide all around the country are just statistics for the administration, issue to be exploited by politicians, News headlines for the media and impotent intellectual masturbation for us all.

But do we realise, do our rulers cutting across party lines realise, do the opinion leaders realise the other aspect of these suicides. All these suicides mirroring helplessness is spreading through the society like a cancerous epidemic. If left unchecked it will not remain confined to the farmers only.

There is a lot of stress,depression and vulnerability all around. If  these farmer suicides  continue then a day will soon come when people from different sections of the society facing financial loss will chose this as the best solution for them. And repeated instances will have a negative impact on the younger people too. We may believe that all such discussions are just time pass but in fact have lasting effects on the psyche.

So, where are we headed to ? What development are we speaking about ? How long will it take before we begin our walk on the road to perdition ? 

Friday, 17 April 2015


I have always believed  in the importance of history. Though not academically endowed, I have tried to take more than ordinary interest in events from their historical perspective. But the cynic in me often try to beat down the romantic self and raises some uncomfortable questions.

Can history, as we know it, be relied upon? Does history represent the viewpoint or rather the bias and prejudice of the writer (s) ?  Do people in general really care about history, or is it just an indulgence of the elite ?  Is it a fact that what passes as history is largely a myth and accepted according to the prevalent mores and convenience of the contemporary society ?

It is said that history repeats itself. I hope that it will repeat for me and I will regain my interest in it. Till then let history speak for itself. 

Thursday, 16 April 2015

Jnata parivar

A lot of sarcastic cynicism and jokes are doing the rounds in the wake of the Janata parivar coming together. People seem to be quite amused by this development and looking forward to another squabble and infighting in the not too distant future. And they may be right too, going by the past form of the stalwarts who have come together to forge an alliance, once again. More like the Afghan warlords during Soviet occupation of that beleaguered country.

But however much they try to roll the four decades back , the world is a different place today . A merger only highlights the insecurities faced individually by all of them ; not from the weakened Hand or the blooming Lotus ; but from the sturdy Broom that has the power to sweep everything away. Writing a fresh chapter of history without understanding the new idiom of politics  is just an attempt to hold onto straws while the floodgate opens up.  

Make no mistake of the agenda and the concern of these Janata parivar sataraps who are coming together on the platform of convenience and necessity. They are worried about the force of BJP no doubt but actually afraid of AAP or some AAP like regional formation ( if AAP decides not to spread). From the lesson learnt from the Delhi debacle of Congress, these wily power players know that they stand the chance of being thrown to the dustbin of history, not by BJP wave but something which is completely different.

So the hurry and  bonhomie for the one last hurrah. Because time is running out for them. The whole space of alternative politics is wide open for a new call.

Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Kal-Boishekhi the summer storm.

A bout of short and sweet unseasonal rain in the afternoon, after a siesta on a stomach filled with a lunch of Mangsho-bhaat  on a midweek holiday. Heaven must be somewhat like this. The God is so kind to this lazy soul, I think. The pleasant surprises coalesced into a gift wrapped with the fragrance of petrichor and  the temporary relief from the heat and dust really lifts up the spirit.

As  I sit  by the window with a cup of steaming tea savouring the rainwashed surrounding below from my perch, I can also feel the coolness of a light wind entering inside. But strangely I am thinking about the thunderstorm,  or rather the absence of it.

Of my ten plus years of existence in Mumbai, I have missed the summer squalls. What we call the Kal-Boishekhi in Bengali. These thunderstorms occur during the summer months of April and May and hence the association with Boishakh, the first month of the calendar. Generally they happen after a scorching afternoon just before evenings and followed by heavy showers. People who have not experienced them will never understand how quickly nature can unleash its fury or appreciate the beauty of its terribleness. The main characteristics of a Kal-Boishekhi is the swift,  sudden intensity with the element of surprise always associated with it. In North India it is known as the Aandhee.

The weather along the coast of the Arabian sea, at least the northern part of it is much less dimensional compared to the Bay of Bengal. The near absence of storms  may be due to this reason That's why I  say one has to experience the Kal-Boishekhi to understand what it is. And preferably not in the city but in a rural setting.

The fury of nature and the calming effect thereafter can be c compared to the mythical Tandav of Lord Shiva in his Rudra manifestation. A real Kal Boishekhi does not only change the weather but can also change many lives in a very short span.

You think I am romanticizing the storm. Just ask the person who misses his train while going for a job interview. The lovers who get caught in a secluded place and have their first kiss on a dark wet evening. Or the widow  who loses her husband suddenly due to  a strike of lightning, from nowhere.

My childhood was spent with large family at a place called Karandih, in Jamshedpur but at the outskirts of the main township. Almost like Nazafgarh to Connaught Place, if you want a comparison. Four or five decades back it was more of a village with much less of the urban trappings. In front of our modest single stoeyed (then) house by the side of the road on the northern side  was a vast space of a barren stretch of Khash (Government) land. On a clear day we could actually see people, vehicles and houses almost two kilometers away over an expanse of eight to ten square kms, on a conservative estimate, if my memory serves me right. Now of course development and  Jharkhand has changed the landscape.

My vivid reminiscences of Kal-Boishekhi is shaped from my childhood experiences.  Some times I have been caught in this storm while coming home from school or while playing with friends on the field.  In the inocence of childhood, I used to run in an attempt to beat the storm before it reached our house   and was always so excited  about it. Then sometimes  I would run out with our pet dog to retrieve our  cow and her calf grazing in the fields.

Animals always had a better idea about the impending storm, I realised whenI was a child. They would be homewards and under a shelter much before the squalls hit. Be it the sparrows or the cows. And invariably before the storm, there was a rush by my mother and aunts to fetch the dry clothes and  pickle jars from outside. Then all the doors and windows were securely bolted. As explained earlier, our house had to bear a heavy brunt of the storm due to the vast open space  in  front of it.

Mostly these storms disrupted the electric supply. So it was dark inside. From a vantage point behind a pillar or a half open door we used to see the approaching storm with our heads covered by a scarf or gaamchha leaving only slits for the eyes. And after the storm subsided, there would be a shower accompanied by thunder and lightning . Sometimes there would be hailstones and we used to run to collect them inspite of warnings.

The best part for us the young ones was the evenings, when one by one the men folk would return ith their tales of the storm in the town and getting caught in it. And good old DVC was always there to support us by the discontinuance of electric supply. So minimal studies and participation in the evening adda of the adult family members around a lantern or  a kerosene lamp. Some ghost stories from an obliging uncle or an aunt. What a life it was.

Later in my life also I have witnessed these storms in varying degrees of turbulence and enjoyed them or got inconvenienced by them. But I  still miss the feeling of the ten year old boy running ahead of the approaching storm on a vast field against the backdrop of a darkening sky. Let that be the symbol of my life.

Monday, 13 April 2015

No more needs to fulfill

Come to think of it ;
at some point in all our lives, perhaps,
there will be no more needs to fulfill .
Only the burden of the tired existence
to be carried as a daily routine
through each of the exhausting days
sucked into the flow of a filthy rotten drain .
But people, in all their cleverness,
adjust to everything and make simple rules
to avoid the stink  of the rotten garbage.
Scented handkerchiefs cover the nostrils
while passing morgues , denying its existence
or maybe lifting the window panes
of your air conditioned car helps.
All of these and more ways to  avoid
even as the decaying putrid corpse ,
lie inits elusive naked loneliness.
It has no more needs to fulfill .

Saturday, 11 April 2015


Never met you
don't even know if I ever can.
Still when  I saw your lovely face
smiling to the world
from the perfect picture.
I realised why there will always
be a reason to feel happy.
You reminded me again,
there are things beyond this world
right on this earth.
We miss them everyday.
I  was aware again ,
how much time we waste
defining selves through relations
of blood, mind and body.
then forget to honour them.
To worship, humans need a God.
With you, there is no reason
for me to chose a  God of my own.
I can worship you anytime
wherever and however I want to.

Friday, 3 April 2015

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy

Detective Byomkesh Bakshy

Whether Saradindu Bandyopadhyay was influenced by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle to create Byomkesh is a debatable point. But it is clear that Dibakar Banerjee kas tried to emulate Guy Ritchie to direct this movie on the style of the two recent Sherlock Holmes offerings on screen.

Dibakar Banerjee has tried to give a new spin altogether to the Byomkesh saga. But he has tried too hard. And experimented too much with the script. So inspite of good direction, photography, location, costume and period atmosphere, the film lacks the basic soul. In spite of a farfetched but plausible yarn the story loses its way  at many points and fails to keep the audience from drifting away. This, in the case of a detective story is unpardonable.

This movie is a lesson for everyone to undetstand why music, particularly background music is so important for a film. Here , whatever hopes of redeeming the movie could remain has been dashed by the jarring and experimental music which has no relation or connection with the scene or the moment.

In acting department , Swastika Mukherjee stands out with her screen presence.  Sushant Singh Rajput as Byomkesh has acted well but his character itself is different from what we know as Byomkesh. In the search of creating  something new , the cerebral quality of  Byomkesh has been sacrificed . Other actors are competent and carries along the support as per the requirement of the script. The characters are as created by the writer and the director has taken wide liberty to present them as per his perception .

I really don't know if I am too harsh because I believe all creative people should enjoy a degree of freedom to present their views. Here , the whole movie has been based on  experimentation, some of it quite bold. But my personal feeling is that somewhere along the line Dibakar Banerjee fell prey to his self indulgence . His presentation is neither a good detective story  or an action thriller. It does not keep you glued to the screen or the seat.

I failed to connect with the movie. It left a boring taste overall. A few days back I had watched another Byomkesh movie in Bengali directed by Anjan Dutt. It was better. And a regular Bengali serial on Byomkesh is being shown on TV. I like my Byomkesh a little old fashioned and in sync with the story. Sorry but this was a bad experiment both from Dibakar as a director and me as a viewer

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

You have failed your planet

The warning has been sounded long ago
through the cover of smoke , now;
Try to look far enough and see
as far your burning eyes take you.
This burning acrid smell of rotten flesh,
this surely is the smell of death.
From the stoked embers of the heaped ash
will rise the God of death .
Human beings , beware of his wrath
you have all failed your planet .
Learned men, who are you to decide
what’s right and what is really wrong.
There should be a way to run off from it all
when its time for old debtors to recall.
Healing of old wounds takes time
so does the torment of souls to die
even a hundred years of falling rain
will not wash away the blood on your hands
for you have all failed your planet.
The future you have written with your deeds
is so bleak damp and grey .
That even rays of light will just be trapped there
Hopeless abode of wretched souls
who scrawl profanities on the walls  

That’s the future you are looking for.