Turning Thirty Three

Turned 33 yesterday. It was time for me to ponder over the life that went by. The lessons that came along.
Few more years down the line, these may sound absolute foolish. But, for now, this very moment, these are my manifesto. Some of these came easily to me, like the paka hua aam in my jholi. Others, after a turmoil that made childbirth look easy.

1. The SI unit of life is happiness. Believe it, even if it is not true.
2. Feel gratitude for the givers. For example, Nature.
3. Complement people generously. You never know, when that becomes their sole surviving kit while struggling against low self-esteem.
4. People tend to remember others’ bad words more than their good acts. Thus, even if ‘help’ becomes optional, let us at least not be mean with words.
5. Friendship makes marriage easy. Marriage makes friendship difficult.
6. Sex is overrated. Chocolate is not.
7. Love yourself always. Mainly when you fail miserably.
8. Wait. Until you know what you are moving for.
9. There is no career which is ‘highly paid’, it takes something and gives something. There is always a tradeoff.
10. Hate is not worth of a feeling. It is a transit period between two loves.
11. Always try for two things. 1. A hobby. 2. Time to cultivate that hobby.
12. There is no concept of ‘successful life’. The best one can have is a ‘relatively happy life’.
13. A quick question that might answer many apparently big questions of life is “does that even matter?”
14. Give back, whenever you can. Sometimes, even before getting.
15. Try to grow the things that can’t be measured. Measurable things are mostly corrupted.
16. Transgender, bisexual, lesbian, Gay, Disable are terms used by people with extended vocabulary. These words are as trivial as varied shades of black.
17. Have at least this much money that you cook what you like to eat, play an instrument you love to hear, and buy books you love to read.
18. No one will love you for what you are, unless ‘what you are’, fits their definition of love with minor adjustments. And this definition, changes.
19. Saying ‘I understand’, fix up many things. Especially, when you don’t.
20. Choose your battle wisely. Not every discontent is worth engaging.
21. The only thing both male and female have to be cautious while wearing, is attitude.
22. Travel. Read. Eat. Rinse. Repeat.
23. Whatever attitude you carry, life gives you a way to carry that on. For a snatcher, life will force ways to keep on snatching to survive. For giver, life will make ways to keep giving.
24. Religion is set of beliefs and faith defined by set of people for humans to perform similarly. Hence, not needed.
25. Having a surname means, first name is extended. Yes, that simple.
26. Hug is more honest a gesture than touching feet. For hug is the act of embracing someone whole heartedly for that very moment.
27. Over complicating and over simplifying are two different end of same disease. Quite like low BP and high BP. Ability to see the fact as a fact for the fact it is, is an art.
28. No need to be communist, secularists, feminist or any other yeast as long as you can believe and practice the equality of one and all.
29. Dreams are the restless guests. Don’t keep them await for long at the door. Else, they might go leaving whooshing sound behind.
30. Expectation is our brain child. Can never held anyone responsible for failing to meet the goal we set for them inside the chambers of our tiny brains.
31. The definition of healthy is standard, while the definition of beautiful varies. Thus, easier to be former than latter.
32. When in doubt, love.
33. Love. Because, there is no easier way to live.

Since I manage to catch your attention till the end of this list, let me know on a scale of preachy to honest, how useless it was.

Mahalaya

Mahalaya marks the beginning. Of festive fervour. Of celebration. Of Durga coming home.

Big eyes of Durga started doing the rounds couple of months before the actual pujo, in pandals and on Sarbojonin patrikas. New dresses, Shuili flowers, holiday liberty, trips to never land, gifts and galore all started becoming part of any typical bong household. In talks, smells, spirit and in boxes.

After the end of preparation, celebration starts. Thus, Mahalaya is officially the end day of the start. Mahalaya is the epitome of spirit, while Durga pujo is the execution of that spirit. That is why probably I liked Mahalaya over Pujo itself. Then, there is more to it.

In formative years of my memory, the uptron black and white TV played the Mahalaya special program at 5AM to start the day. In adjacent room Panasonic radio was tuned into AIR. “Mahisasura Mardini” or “The Annihilation of the Demon” started echoing from every corner of the house.

Amidst all, what stayed in me most, was the power image of Durga. She was not showering blessings and emitting rays from the palm of her right hand. She was not punishing the evil by sending snake to bit someone at middle of the night. She was not thrown flowers right on her face or chandan teeka to smash her forehead. She was not overburdened with garlands around her neck. She was not confined in the chants. She was not restricted in the bhajans.

She was rather born to kill the evil. She was a powerful female. She had ten arms, all equipped. She was mahamaya. She was the Mother of the Universe who embodies the primeval source of all power. The Trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara (Shiva) come together to create her. She was the ‘Durgatinashini’ who was able to slay the ‘Asura’ king with her trident. She won. She was therefore earned rejoice. She was celebrated.

She was the epitome of woman empowerment. She was power celebrated by wide acceptance of heaven and earth.

Then I grew up. Mornings started becoming late. Mahalaya became infrequent. Radio got broke. TV got changed. Doordarshan was no longer remembered.

And I met new Durgas.

mahalaya

The one that lived in nearby tribal community. She had scars all over. Bruised and disguised.

Then there was Durga aunti. She always sounded insecure. She once mortgaged her mangalsutra and sold used liquor bottles to kabadiwala to pay back the mortgage money.

Then there was a maths teacher Durgesh Nandini. She was always mocked by her male like name, but her mathematics blown us all. One day she left everything because she got married and her husband never liked her working.

Met many Amba, Ambika, Baruni, Bhargavi, Ishani and synonymous. And like Mahalaya, the strong image of real Durga, kept on fading with today’s Durga.

Autobigraphy of a purple rakhi

I was born in the factory specialized in making Rakhis; packed among my likes. In all assorted colors.
I was unpacked in a shop on the busy streets of Janpath. I was priced Rs 25/- for the zardausi border and silk threads. Three of us together cost little less. A dozen, even lesser.

I was picked by a lady of petite figure, sharp eyes, small nose and uneven teeth. She picked me for her fascination of color purple. I learnt it later while lying on her shelf, overhearing her conversations.
“I love purple. A king’s pride, a women’s sensual add-on and a flowers fragileness.” she muttered. Lying next to me, a book titled “When I am old, I shall wear purple”. Quite a long name I thought, but it had a portion of me. The purple connection. Also, a black fossil watch that she kept by my side every night after she was back home. We three became quite good friends.

Watch telling us stories every night of his day-adventure. I often confided in the book, to seek some warmth, Quite literally at times.

Watch was the most intelligent among us, I asked him when is Rakhi. “two more days to go, buddy, then you will leave us for decorating her brother’s hand” He said. We sighed.

In our world we never knew what brothers and sisters are. We are pieces. Together in a box. We have a price, a color and some decorations. We live a simple life , I thought. I had seen her repeating her day. Picking up the watch and putting it back. A countless similar things, which she repeats in between.
Book told me , many humans spend thier entire life in search of a purpose. Me and watch laughed our hearts aloud. “Purpose” for us was something which gave us birth. I am born to be tied on a wrist, with love, for protection. My friend, watch, tells time and few itsy-bitsy stuff. It was unimaginable thing for us that humans are born just like that , spend thier entire life doing the same thing everyday and they live a huge life finding the same “Purpose”.
“How Lame” the watch said, something he heard during his day outings on her wrist.

Book has poems written on various stages of a woman’s life and that confused me even more. Humans define so many relations in their life and they all spend all their energy to live that pre-defined relation. She will tie me to the man who is born to her mother, she cannot tie me to the man she will marry. For us, things are much simpler. We are all buddies. Me with Book. Book with watch. Me with other pieces. We dont have any pre defined norms to live by, no one tells us how we have to behave with someone just becuase the other person makes a certain relationship with us. I am free. I decide how I want to behave.

Came the fateful day. A new guy, round shaped face and a parrot nose was sitting on the bean bag lying next to the shelf. She tied me on his wrist, touched his feet and sweets were exchanged. Book told me this guy is now liable to protect her, as a brother. He comes once every year, this day. I wan’t sure how will he protect the woman staying alone, working round the clock, sleeping tired every night.

We know her enough to know how lonely she is. Book relaxed her many tired moments. Watch helped her counting the moments. I helped her in moments of living expectations.

I will be with her brother, henceforth. Only to be replaced next year, with another purple rakhi.

She was a WOMAN

I was staying in a remote village, a beautiful pond by my side. Every full moon day, I saw the moon blushing by its own image looking down at the pond. Coconut trees in surrounding, stood still, like night watchman taking care of the pond.

But this full moon was different. There were high tides. Water rose above the normal level in the pond , engulfing the temporary fence.
Me with bunch of my friends rushed to save the local people, but to our surprise loads and loads of tribal women with kids were jumping straight into pond. Vanishing in no time. Changing the color of Pond from shallow green to pink to red.
Breathing heavily, I barely managed to catch hold of a tribal woman who was rushing by all her force, clutching a four month old baby, tied in her saree.
“Don’t go near” I warned in my fumble voice. Tried stopping her as strongly as I could.
She pushed me , “We waited these many years for this flood, if we drive straight into the pond right now we will meet our God, as the color of Pond will change with more shades of Red, the darker the shade the better the crop we will be having in years to come. Not every women get this chance, I’m lucky enough to bring the change.” She said in a voice much stronger than mine.
I was surprised to see her conviction. No Logic can beat that.

For a moment I didn’t want to validate her theory, but admire..
the strength of her faith, even if it was wrong..
her sacrifice, even if it was useless..
her strength to loose herself for a hope to bring the change.

She was a WOMAN.

I suddenly felt weak, I surrendered. I let her go.

Weird dreams I have these days.