Wednesday, November 30, 2005

A story without an end

Clouds play chiaroscuro with the hills, kids play hop scotch. Mist covers the valleys beneath, a thick white wall erases all. That was Darjeeling, a decade back. Daaju gets me a steaming hot cup of tea.

Cha, shaab.

I am huddling myself into a ball, hood tight on the head. The tea warms my insides. I light a cigarette. Dark clouds force the mall into frenetic activity. Quick last minute deals and ponies trotting back to their shelters.

A girl, shivering in the cold, emerges from the mist and hurriedly enters the tea shack. She is in a red pullover and jeans. And asks for a cup of tea. I can see her companions across the road, buying woolens.

Quite cold, I say.
Yeah, and it’s going to rain, she says, looking at the ashen sky.
You’re from Calcutta?
Yes, and you?

An uneasy pause follows. I think hard what to say next. I remember rainy days in Calcutta. Moss green walls. The Lake, full to its brim. And I remember my days in Ranchi. The small black hills and the lolling heath-like wastelands. All covered in mist. Pullover sleeves stretched over fingers, even as the lazy game of cricket continues.

But I just say, the tea’s good. She nods, blowing into the cup.

The sky opens up and cold raindrops spear the hills. Everybody scampers for shelter. Kids playing hop-scotch disappear up the road. The shack has an asbestos roofing and the sound is deafening. In seconds, I can see streams rushing down towards the Keventers lane and giant conifers swaying in the distance. And I see this unknown person, fugue like, half hidden in the charcoal smoke of the shack, cupping the hot cup of tea.

I feel a strange kind of bonding with her: consigned to a small shack in some remote magical land, while the elements play out their part outside.

I say, with the glory of a poet in spate, Time stretches when it rains.

She smiles. And I happen to see a copy of The Catcher in the Rye popping out of her bag. My mind is almost made. I love it when it rains. I love it when clouds hang low and play with tree tops.

The next half an hour, contrary to what I had just said, flies. We talk about Salinger, cult novels, Beatles, smell of old books, getting lost in nowhere… We talked with our eyes, our breath. My smiles, her giggles…

The dream is jolted by grating cries from the other side of the road. Her friends; they are frantically calling her. The rain is holding up a bit. The hills on the far side are clearer now. She pays the daju. I am frozen. I need to say something but I cannot. She smiles at me. Says, bye.

I manage to mumble, Can we meet? Later?
We are leaving in half an hour, say says.
In Calcutta, I mean. I am getting desperate.
Park Street crossing. Next Saturday. Five in the evening. I rattle out as if there was no tomorrow.

Her friends’ cries are getting raucous. She smiles, and runs across the road…

I light another cigarette.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005


in decrepit
make me
think of


Thursday, November 17, 2005


I don’t know what a tag means. But here I am, tagged by Marauder’s Map. I have to do what my tagger has asked me to. So, here goes:

Seven things I plan to do:
1) Grow hair on my scalp. SOS Dr Sarkar of the Arnica-trioffer fame.
2) Be more articulate.
3) Have a proper English breakfast on a sunny Saturday morning
4) Play cricket with gay abandon, like I used to do many, many years back, and bowl toe-crushing inswinging yorkers.
5) A road trip down the Malabar coast, preferably from the northern tip of Goa to Trivandrum.
6) Time travel to the sixties and tour with The Beatles.
7) Flush and pee, and finish before the flush whirl ends.

Seven things I can't do:
1) Grow hair on my scalp.. alas
2) Deal with things financial like investments and filing returns.
3) Put an end to the compulsive habit of zapping mercilessly, and then getting stuck at Fashion TV. (I really like the fine cut and the fall of the outfits)
4) Understand the Eric Segal phenomenon.
5) And the brouhaha over graphic novels. And why Kill Bill is seen to be such a cult movie.
6) Be suave and act sophisticated, like the guys they show in Raymond’s ads and all
7) Flush and pee and finish before the flush whirl ends.

Seven things I say quite often
1) Abe saala
2) Gajjjab beta
3) Anyways…
4) Maaaaan (In the Carribean/American black accent)
5) Ki be? Ki khobor? (Or, Kya be, kya haal hai?)
6) Cholche… Ei aar ki…
7) I’m on a story (Mostly as a deterrent against more work)

And I tag ghetufool, passing shots, raconteur and acidrocks.

Monday, November 07, 2005

Chele dhora

It all started one day when Rituparno Ghosh asked Mrs Moon Moon Sen, the mother of all bong boudies, in that coy tone of his: “Moon Moon Di, toke shobai naeka keno bole re?” The goddess of voluptuous said: "Achha, Ritu, tui naeka’r definition ta bol to…"

A snapshot from the Antarmahal floor:

Act I Sc I: Love-making scene between Jackie Shroff and Soha Ali Khan

Rituparno Ghosh (RG): Ei Jaaggu, shon! Tui na, laav-making’er scene ta ektu Rangeela’r moto kore dichis. Amra janish, oto overt hobo na! Eita art house cinema, toder Bollywood bioscope na.

JS (Jackie Shroff): R se Ritu Da. Ch se cho**n dekhalei shudhu hobe? Ektu..Ch se chulkuni na hole ke hobe? (Aside: Na se Naeka ch**a, saala. Bombay te role pachhina bole ei Pa se panpenani sojhho korte hoche)

RG: Ki shob je bolish. (blushes ruddy). Chhhi. (Bites his fingers) Jaai hok.

RG: [Picks up the megaphone and simpers into it] Soha, tui shuye por. Jaaggu, tui or opor chor.

Soha: Ritu Da, maa je bole pathiye chilo dummy diye korate?

RG: Aha Soha, eta to reality. Bresson’er moto. Tui o-shob bujhbi na. Kochi khuki tui.

Soha: (affronted) Ami shob bujhi. (Winks at Jaggu)

RG: Ei je, tor dada ke dekh. (Drools) Ki sexy. (Twitches nipples) Kemon jangiya oonki marchilo? (Gets transfixed, megaphone in hand, thoughts wander, starts humming the Salaam Namaste theme song).

Spot boy: Ritu Da, Ritu Da! Obhishek Babu eshechen.

Ritu Da gives Obhishek a good prolonged hug. Pecks him on his cheek.

RG: Mon-ey thake jaeno, tor gaye ekta bodka gondho aache. Tui to potua. Maatir manush. Maati diye putul gorish.… Davidoff’er perfume lagale cholbe na.

Obhishek: (Takes RG aside) Jaggu buro bokac**da ke oto gulo scene deyecho? Khan**r chele ekta hulo beral. Aami ki khoi khachhi naaki?

RG: Obhi, omon bolish na re. Dhoom’e tor lom bhora buk dekhe’i aami thik kore niyechi je pore’r cinema te lead role tor. Bogol ta kamiye nish na kintu. Ota’i to appeal.

O: Kintu…

RG: (Completely oblivious to O’s protests, drooling again) Ke intu-shintu korli oi bongo lolona ke nei. Tota Raychaudhuri’r moto koyekta topless scene debo toke. (Gets excited, touches Abhishek’s shoulder, makes funny sounds)

O: Shono Ritu Da….

[Not listening to O at all, RG gets all excited, hands flailing like a manipuri danseuse, kurta flying, hips swaying as he moves towards the bed, where Jaggu and Soha are already giving trial love-making shots one after the other]

RG: Jaaggu! Soha! O shob ki hochhe. Chhhi. (To Soha) Ektu aagei je naekami korchilish? Jemon tor maa, temon tui. (To Jaggu) Ei je rongila, boyesh to kom holo na! Ekhono chelemanusi keno? (A coy slap on Jaggu's posterior)


The shoot commences. Jaggu is asked to burp while consummating. Soha is asked to mix the pleasure moans with painful groans.

Poor Obhishek is asked to crouch on the other side of the bed and tug it so as to create the mochor-mochor creaking sound. So realistic.