Sunday, 16 December 2012

A Chicago evening

A big city, thousands of lonely unfortunates sniffling in the rain, their shoes dragging on the concrete. A child falls down and makes the fall a somersault. My boots go click click click and my cigarette leaves a trail of smoky anticipation. A man glances at me, his eyes taking in my red lipstick and tired bleary eyes. I kiss the filter longingly, fatigue...I hope my print of Man Ray does not get wet in this silly Chicago rain.

B and S walk ahead, their coupling makes me wistful, here I am holding petite and two dimensional Nancy Cunard in my arms. Why is it always creepingly cold in Chicago? I trip on the debris of some homeless man. I have to go back home but not study Sanskrit tonight. I am too ill to drink. I puff tiredly on the cigarette.

I fancy something more exciting, it seems like the fun seeped out of me when I left Oxford and the spires of eternal loneliness. There's a repulsive charm to solitude, but this rule does not hold in Chicago. I miss the boy, and his snickering self assurance. I miss something else, but I don't know what. It keeps raining, and a man plays the drums on Michigan Avenue. S dances on the pavement, a strange flexible and funny jig, his red hair rendered clammy and cold by the December rain. B smiles at him, he is in love, it is the smile of love that  B gives. B is my lovely Viking in love, my little Ohio Viking.

Somewhere during the afternoon of Grecian urns and high Impressionism, my lipstick rubbed off, my eyeliner disappeared. B and S and their friend proceed to a bluesy night. But could I go through a night of aching blues?
All that was left of the evening was a persistent gnawing feeling in the stomach.

I had a burrito and came home.

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

what causes sorrow

It is hard not to come back, not to come back to the moments of your own creation. I have been trying of late to be far more analytic than I have ever been. It's hard when I close my eyes and dream of golden afternoons which existed an eternity back, in another life it seems.

"Au-ho-naa" has become Ahona, nobody knows it's "Pahndaa" and not a bear? Ahona sounds foreign, un-Bengali, I find myself foreign sometimes, I don't recognize this person who speaks in a neutral accent which sounds a little British at times (Watuh! Remembah!), a little American at times (Reeelly?), I don't know who this is, who stands here, with a firm grasp of historiography, but with no sense of history, history is slipping away, and I am helpless, helpless as another world has embraced me, a world of grammar and logic, of arguments and catfish. I struggle alone in my apartment, often battling hunger and despair, because I hate shopping for groceries and cooking.

Ahona. Who is Ahona? The novel lies unfinished, tired and weary. There is no time to think about such trivial things. Will I grow old without seeing my fiction in print? Will my heart grow tired and disenchanted and disenfranchise that aspect of life? I don't know. So many old faces jostle in my mind, their contours trouble me, and mingle into each other. How much I thought I had loved! What fools we are...fools of time. Time erases, erases the past. Remembah, remembah, remembah!

I don't know, I don't know how to deal with the blazing memories that threaten to incinerate my very being. I close my eyes and imagine a mythical future, but always, always, my mind returns to a few recurrent images- orange november calcutta sunlight filtering through husky green leaves, ma putting her hair up in a bun just before going out, hiding my head in my grandmother's lap chupichupi (so tired, shhh thakurma, babu ektu ghumiye por, 40 winks 40 winks suddenly it's evening, conch shell blows, but will god bless me?), baba saying hey are you mentally retarded or what OR Babahaveyoupassedthatexam? Wow! How did you manage that! Little Plato being born, that seems like yesterday but yesterday was more than four years back, that goddamned math exam, autumnsmells, my first kiss-stolen, surreptitious with a symphony of trainsounds, reading reading reading all afternoon, summerwinterafternoons, Gone with the Wind. Pather Panchali, and  Goopy Bagha! How do we forget Goopy Bagha? (What causes sorrow?) I know what causes sorrow. Childhood. We do not know when we experience it, we do not know that our minds are being formed, we do not know (but perhaps we sense) dukkho kishe hoy, what causes sorrow, what causes sorrow.

Tuesday, 14 August 2012

Calcutta

Calcutta.

Perhaps one of the last of my truly nostalgic posts.


The city's contours are fading even as I trace them lovingly with my own hand. My childhood flashes by, outside a speeding car on Park Street. It used to look so big a decade back- hesitant, not decadent, not crumbling, not going up bit by bit in tired smoke. It flashes by again on Gariahat- impossible Gariahat where huge crowds jostled for clothes, and gaudy jewellery, and chicken rolls. I close my eyes and I have reached home, Jodhpur Park, which has changed beyond all recognition. The old houses are no longer there, monstrosities have been built on their pyres, and the ashes lie scattered in the murky zones of memory, memory and sorrow, and regret.


Phulu pishi passes me by. Many years back, she was young and innocent with two young boys a bit older than me, and she looked after me when my mother and father were away for work. She would cook for me and clean my room, wipe my nose, wipe my tears. She would smuggle in puppies into the house, and smuggle them away again, resting on her warm breast. I went with her many times to her one little room in the nearby slum, Gobindopur, and played with her sons, and laughed and sang, and did not know that she was poor and I was rich, for she never told me. But one day, she could come no longer to our house, her husband Busto was living with some other woman, but that did not matter, I forgot her I think, and then Nondo pishi came, Nondo pishi who cooked prawns in mustard and cream, who smuggled in chocolates and put me to sleep on her lap, who never made me feel like the child of working parents. Nondo pishi who embraced my grandmother when dadu died and she came to live with us, who cooked her meals which was better than non vegetarian ones. Nondo pishi who woke me up everyday for school by throwing off the covers and screeching in my ear...I don't know when I began to love her so much, until she was too old and weak to work, and then she retired and went to live with her nephew because she was unmarried. She was willing to stay with us without wages and for only food (as a member of the family as she rightfully was) but my parents-still young, foolish and unsentimental- sent her off to the nephew and kept on sending her money and clothes, until he stopped communicating with us. Perhaps she was dead.


I think after that I grew up, and went to high school, and gradually my heart hardened, and I stopped thinking  that I had an imaginary dog called Bhulu. My little Lucky dog was dead by then, and then I had a cat called Kopalkundola who also died, mewing pitifully at my feet. I was eighteen, and I still remember how helpless I felt. I couldn't eat for days, but crying had also become difficult by then...I dealt with things with the help of caffeine, nicotine, alcohol, the works. Or so we think. How charming and exciting Calcutta seemed then! How entirely vast and miraculous! New Market, Park Street, Camac Street, Prinsep Ghat, Salt Lake, North Calcutta! I had no sense of boundaries, and the biggest adventure was Jadavpur itself. I was in university, and it felt like all my life I had spent within four walls, and discipline, and now I knew a taste of anarchy, and I liked the taste. Until anarchy threatened to be an addiction.


I started reading seriously and soberly and systematically. At 19, I fell in love all of a sudden for the first time, and it was startling and strange. Perhaps it was delightful. I realized that one must look good. All of a sudden I realized I need to dress well. This was a difficult period because I did not know what a relationship should be like, and so we went ahead furtively, foolishly and beautifully. But ambition does not flourish in Calcutta. Calcutta is on the fringes of ambition and hard work. Sultry, humid, dreamy and yet argumentative, it lies in the liminal zone of freedom intersecting with anarchy, desire and memory. Perhaps we should have moved on to better pastures, but this idyll was so extremely idyllic, until it crumbled...because everything crumbles.


My father's white hair has not given him much wisdom, I used to think. H told me how she knew another man in the 70s who was flamboyant and defiant, a committed Marxist who actually read Marx and therefore decided that he needed to go to Oxford, a man who dated beautiful women and told them that they bored him on their faces. He was petulant and pithy, always blithe and always cynical, but a man who would never give up without a fight. H told me that people either hated him or loved him. The only things that have changed: marriage since 1982 and the colour of his hair. I asked him about this. He then told me something that has shaken me to the core.


"I might be successful, but I am not great. I have made no lasting contribution to society, and I do not know who exactly will remember me. Those who are remembered are those who do change, who move on with the times, who accept the unknown and challenge it, who transgress barriers and boundaries...they are the ones who cross frontiers-of land, and knowledge, and people. But that does not mean you must forget. If you forget, you are dead a hundred times over."


And this time I know I leave Calcutta for good, but it lives within me, those eternal afternoon hours of sunlight and puppies and later, of music and love. I have laughed and cried and lived and breathed this city and its people, but its boundaries are shrinking, its barriers have stifled me, but the people I have loved will not fade- they will live and shine in the pages of my autobiography as I write it on borrowed typewriters in distant lands-and I will remember an elderly maidservant hugging a scared and teary ten year old on a full moon night in 1998. I will remember rolling about on the sand in Goa with my grandmother staring at eternity in the guise of a serenely endless sea in 2006. I will remember closing my eyes and tasting tongue in 2008. I will remember many things and hope that I can translate these into words some day.


I will miss Calcutta. As my friend M said, "To the city of joy, or what lasts of it."
Let it last, dear God, let something last. Let me not claim to have known the city entirely. 

Thursday, 12 April 2012

The 7th Symphony of Beethoven

http://www.youtube.com/watch?NR=1&feature=fvwp&v=wBfKXHoSvDM

This piece of music reminds me of my death.

And if that confuses you, let me tell you I did a very good job of writing my obituary and read it aloud over my coffin, just after they had finished scattering my ashes in the Ganges.

But it is really strange- since childhood, I have felt impending doom at every step. As if I will die very very soon. As if nothing nice is supposed to happen. This is why I am strange and bitter and an infidel and an ingrate at times. Because I can hear the seconds ticking near my ear, telling me that the sands run dry, making my throat run dry.

A long time ago, in a lonely house in Oxford near the meadows, my father played the second movement of Beethoven's Seventh Symphony. And staring at the vast greenness outside, I knew things would never be so peaceful and easy again. That life would unfold less tranquilly, that ma was going to sacrifice something, that baba's forehead creased and nose crinkled when he sat down to read- he was not going to be a scholar. I knew it. Ma was not happy when she was alone and I had pneumonia. That night I saw my father standing near the French windows, illuminated by a smiling moon. He has come, mummy! I said, but he hadn't. He was away, and we were alone to cope. I also heard the 7th Symphony, but there was no music in the room. My mother chose to leave soon to join her husband, and hence gave up on what could have been a prolific and beautiful career.

And perchance I heard this music again, stumbled across it much later. It reminds me of profoundly uneasy things, both personal and political. For one, it was used in
The King's Speech, and it fills me with a sense of what England is: a magnificent civilization in perpetual decline, sad because it's like the monarchy; grand and impotent and yet significant because of its beauty. Senescence is sad, but the end must always be elegant, and England is elegant, isn't it? Elegant and elegiac like a pastoral, and in my life it has acted like a pastoral (albeit an expensive one).

I miss my father so much at times, and when I talk to him, I try to explain to him that he shouldn't have left England and academia, but his hair is so silver, I can't bear to reproach him. I wish he would concentrate on things more though: his brilliance is so spontaneous and ephemeral, he could have made it lingering like mothballs, but he didn't- it's always a whiff of Chanel 5, always.

And mother, I miss her too. But she kept telling me the sense of doom and the premonitions were rubbish. But I know she gets these strange feelings too. And hers are more acute, and mine aren't. Mine are vague premonitions of self destruction, I feel stifled and heady from the feeling of disaster at times. And sometimes this music used to play in my head, along with the 9th symphony, and Madhu malati, and Tartini's The Devil's Trill and the voice of Begum Akhtar.

But this music, this music is so apocalyptic for me, it reminds me of my death. Every time I hear this, I stage my own ending, an intense self-execution, not suicide, no not that, but an enactment of release, of passion and of delirium.

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

love

It has been a long time since I felt a mellow winter, a winter that was no winter at all, now that I've lived alone through snow and frost.

It seems like a distant life, when I wondered what it would be like to be kissed. The first kiss, in a hidden corner of the university, as a train sped by-thunderously, rapturously, drowning his heartbeat and mine. Far into the distance, some wretched boys clapped and cheered us on. A guard came and turned us away-furious, blushing. That day we had discussed de Sica, ethics, and desire. He was wearing an orange kurta and he had an orange bag. The first taste of tongue-unfamiliar, unwieldy,alien.

It seems like a distant life, Saraswati Puja. Heels, Flury's, my mother met him and liked him. I was 19 and I had a boyfriend and I wanted to be pretty (something I had never wanted before.) The first wearing of sari for someone else's gaze. Conscious of cleavage. Subtext, subtext, textile. Throat ran dry.

The first date we had-a quiz we did not sit for, peanuts, Calcutta, roaming endlessly, my feet hurt. Calcutta. Another city, another life, when will we ever go back? Perhaps never, never, we will never go back.

You did not amuse me, but I loved you with a fierce and tremulous conviction and determination, the worship of a child- and then you failed me, and my idol fell from his pedestal.

I looked for other idols, but they were all hollow, and I shed tears.
Years have gone by, and I no longer eat peanuts.
Calcutta is far away, and the coloured fountain, and everything costs so much money.

Somewhere along the line, the pedestal tarnished and crumbled away, and now I no longer need idols. Snow has gradually given way to spring-there is a chill in the air, but there's also sunlight.

And yet, we will never have those magical afternoons when we curled in each others arms and our eyes glistened with tears as we listened to strange, familiar, forgotten music and felt, felt, felt-as you forgot philosophy and I forgot literature-and we felt, felt, felt. What did we feel? What does youth feel? Golden, hidden, effervescent light- a light that was sepia before we knew it was slipping by...and my other idols have crumbled idly, everything crumbles, and there is no certainty

there is no certainty

except some kind of lost, lingering, (legitimate? perhaps not) love.

Thursday, 22 March 2012

Laocoön



Laocoon.

Was it in Virgil that I had first stumbled upon the name? I forget, one has better memories of the age of eighteen. I remember feeling Laocoon need not have gone and told the Trojans about the Greeks: my edition had a page long commentary on his famous warning. Equo ne credite, Teucri / Quidquid id est, timeo Danaos et dona ferentes!

At an early age, one learns to distrust the Greeks (just like a good Roman.)

Laocoon of course was killed, it is argued, by Poseidon/Apollo/Athena for his presumption. He and his sons were devoured by snakes. I cannot think of a more unpleasant death. However, to turn to a more aesthetic appreciation of these grisly events needs a neoclassical mind, which is when we remember Lessing and his comparative analysis of the verbal and visual arts in Laocoon: an Essay on the Limits of Verbal and Visual Poetry.

It is interesting to see how Lessing deviated from ut pictura poesis to argue that which seems intuitively obvious now: literature is a function of time, painting is related to space. However, this is not what I remembered when I saw the sculpture at Ashmolean. What struck me was how much pain the face expressed. It was a face experiencing pure agony, I had never seen such an expression of pain before. It struck me afresh that being eaten alive by snakes must be one of the ugliest ways to die.

Inherent beauty? In a man being devoured by snakes? Aha! Now Lessing's dense prose (and terrible outdated translation) finally made sense. The artist/sculptor has to retain the beauty, the aesthetic enjoyment that all mimetic art commands. I took another five photographs out of sheer horror and ecstasy at Laocoon's pain.I was falling in love with one who, as I have emphasized enough number of times by now, was eaten alive by a snake and hence a dubious candidate for such amorous feeling.

The Ashmolean sculpture is merely a cast, the original resides in the Vatican. The sculptors have never been determined for certain, and Sophocles wrote a tragedy about him, which of course like most Sophoclean tragedies, is now tragically lost. I find Laocoon fascinating, and I would like to examine in greater detail, the Neoclassicals' obsession with Laocoon. However, I don't want to.

I don't think that the beauty and the suffering are incompatible or one gets precedence over the other. They are practically indistinguishable. Perhaps that is the greatness of the Hellenic world, the level of sublime to which the Romantics strove so hard to achieve. Shelley even said that he was Greek. I wouldn't trust Shelley, though I'd nod vehemently to anything Sophocles or Aristophanes would say. It is indeed hard to trust the Greeks, but it is also impossible not to.

How does one react to ecstasy outside religion? Painful pleasure which is the prerogative of not faith, but art itself-since there is no higher truth.

One becomes Platonic, and makes a copy of a copy.

Tuesday, 20 March 2012

Once again embracing my inner anarchy, much to the detriment of life.

Saturday, 17 March 2012

Mathematics&Me

I had this strange realization today. I realized that when I was younger, I loved mathematics. However, I did not give enough time to it because I would read novels all day (and all night.) After that, mathematics became a chore. In high school, we were not taught the beauty of mathematics, and I remember certain topics made my head ache (trigonometry, calculus, probability.) Anything which made me think too much, I shied away from. I just did NOT want to think. This was a fundamental flaw in my character.

Not loving mathematics and not trying to get into its depths made me an irrational and undisciplined person who looked towards literature as a means of escape. Today, trying to be a successful academic and scholar means that I have to question everything. This is where my irrationality and neurosis helps me to define my analytical self better. From Monday I sit down with mathematics, and start right from the very beginning.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Whimsy

I have often wondered what the source of literary greatness is. Is it dazzling originality in affect or intellect? Is it audacity? Is it depth? Is it that self reflexive awareness, the sense that what we are doing is literature? (That is why I love Umberto Eco, or Borges-or even Shakespeare.)

I have often wondered where the split between the affect and the intellect is, and whether the two are incompatible. Of course, when you read Marquez or Neruda or Rulfo, you realize that there is no essential split. This is through the sheer powerful daring of Magic Realism: by evoking the supernatural and the whimsical, it recalls to you the human.

I have often wondered what it is to be human.

It is true that to be human, you must embrace the mediocre and the mundane, and make it part of your life. I never wanted to be anything less than dazzling, and beautiful, and audacious-yes, audacious. I wanted to always (always) speak in poetry, speak in verse, and live a life of utter, utter desperation. This kind of desperation you feel when you first read Ginsberg, and realize that words are not words, they are fireworks across some night sky, or the bluegreenredsparklylight in the nightclub which shines across your sweatingmadcreaseddrunkenforehead as you are dancingprancingchancing your life away on weekends.

This kind of desperation you feel when you have read Horace in Latin for the first time, "I will build a monument more lasting than bronze"-you think Shakespeare read this too, and he loved a Dark Lady, whose breasts were grey and whose hair was wiry. He loved a man too. And you feel this strange tenderness towards the man who wrote Hamlet. How many times has Hamlet made you cry? How many times have you looked at your sons and friends and lovers and brothers and haters and enemies and people, and thought

What's Hecuba to him, or he to Hecuba
That he should weep for her?

I have always been obsessed with Horace. Why not Sophocles (who heard things on the Aegean), or Plato(because he was a poet despite himself), or Seneca(who can believe in his stoicism after the madness and anguish of his plays?). Why Horace? (Don't say it was because he was funny, because then you would worship Aristophanes, but you don't, it has always been Horace with you.) Though I worshiped Byron, I did not agree with him when he hated Byron not for Horace's faults, but his own-because Horace made him look unsophisticated in comparison.

Stupid Byron! For once in his life, he was unbelievably smug. I can forgive him for incest, but I cannot forgive him for not feeling Horace, for not understanding that we (we who have strung together a few words, phrases, sentences together) have this terrible habit of actually wanting to shout: Non omnis moriar multaque pars mei vitabit Libitinam. How can we altogether die, when we can write? Byron, who was my favourite literary siren, completely misses the point here.

Speaking of literary sirens, of course what I love about myself is my androgyny, my sleek and sharp jawbones that I am sure Virginia Woolf would have loved, would have wolfed down for breakfast, though even this would not make me forgive her for The Waves, which seems like a wrong kind of Joyce, reJoyce in the fact, Mrs. Woolf, that you wrote Mrs. Dalloway, To the Lighthouse, and Orlando, if I were you I would always try to look into the next room, the next person, the almost gender, the half class, but not embark on a doomed project of impossible poetry. Sometimes the way we wonder, what if Eliot wrote a novel, what would have happened? I don't know, I don't know what would have happened if Tagore and Yeats had not met, Modernism is counterfactual enough without branching off into impossibilities...and I don't know, when I think of literature, I really don't know.

And this brings me to the end, I always wanted to learn French, and wept when I saw a print of George Sand and Chopin(or was it Musset?), because I loved George Sand-who dressed like a man despite being so feminine, who was a boy despite being stout with a double chin. I always thought she was compulsively heterosexual, but impulsively homosexual, or perhaps (like Peter Pan) she was not sexual at all. And this is what brings tears to my eyes, how judgmental we can be without knowledge (for the path to knowledge is a cul de sac, the voice of Billie Holiday singing "I am a fool to want you!")...and then I wanted a joust with Proust, but it was really George Sand and Berthe Morisot, never Balzac or Monet, never, never! Just as it was always was the little Apu who had to grow up, but who never grew up, to whom the path whispered, "Let us go on", but he never went on, and traced the eternal seasonal cycle, for time is not linear, time is not endless and relentless march, time is not Tagore, time is something else...

...and I am not very sure what it is. Perhaps it is the obnoxious audacity of a drunken Shakti rolling about in the sewer shouting "I can go but why shall I go?" Perhaps it is l'etranger having his last epiphany as the crowds cheer on his execution, and at times I am convinced it is the final moment of The Tale of Two Cities, when two characters die heroically in a moment of anaphora and empathy. ("It is a far far better thing to do than I have ever done, a far far better rest to go than I have ever known.")

I don't know how to end this. Everything ends. I don't like endings. Do I like closure? I will ask Kafka, and get back to you tomorrow.

Sunday, 11 March 2012

Sunlight


What is there to say? I have new ways of looking at sunshine, I should be happy, I have been experiencing epiphanies.
There are five different kinds of sunshine, the last and most beautiful is pure epiphany.


So basically it shines on you-warm and mellow-and gradually it sparkles and dazzles until your head starts pounding with beauty. However, it's the sun-it's bound to set, and it sets. Then you walk away, down the long road which leads nowhere, because every path to knowledge is ultimately a cul-de-sac, the voice of Billie Holiday singing, "I'm a fool to want you."

I don't understand why this particular kind of sunlight is orange all over the world. In the hemonto understanding of November that I once I had, orange sunlight was a strange, melancholy sorrow when light would fall slanting, obliquely through those dazzlingly green leaves. I shall always associate it with hot,milky, gingery tea and cigarettes and the absolutely still water of the JU jheel, which would seem to be strangely animated by the sparkling, slanting light. I remember a conversation with Sunrita, "Hemonto hurts me", she said, "What is this tightening of my guts that I feel? Look at that sunlight. It speaks just one word, one idea, one thought."
"Despair?"
"No, death."

That is when I understood that for us Bengalis, there were two kinds of autumn- a happy autumn (Sarat) and a sad autumn (Hemonto). The former means carnival, worship, peace, life. The latter means orange sunlight.

This winter, in frozen crazy Oxford, I witnessed a moment of Hemonto. Now it is Basanto, but let not spring make us forget the values of autumn. Autumn, in the parlance of us literary people, is the periodic memento mori in our lives.

Cowley Road is a strange street. It is diverse, and bustling, and multicultural. It stretches on and on, but I haven't walked down it ever, to that part of Oxford. That day, I had Max's camera and I wanted to capture the sunlight before it went away, and so I walked down Cowley, but I couldn't go very far, because of the cough and it was cold. This wasn't warm sunlight, this wasn't warm...

Two men walked past me, they looked so happy. One was animated and was laughing, but a little too much-and the eyes of the other were glistening, strangely. I thought their faces were very interesting, and I wanted to speak to them. That was a very lonely period of my life, but how does one approach strangers? "Hello, I would like to find out why your eyes glisten with unshed tears?" "Hi, I like stories, and you and I-we both have stories-like everyone else in the world. Maybe we should share a few over coffee?"

But the real world is not like that. You want to help old women and carry their shopping, but they defiantly hobble on and you never ask, you want to play with little children and pull long faces at them and giggle like you're five again, but you just resolutely walk on to the library.

I pulled out the camera to capture the glistening eyes, but they moved on, and walked away in the oblique sun, and I got a picture of their fading silhouettes. I never saw them again, and would not recognize them if I did. I don't think it matters really, because the tears of the world are a constant quantity.

I hope Cowley Road is not a cul-de-sac, I would like to walk down it soon.


Thursday, 8 March 2012

Zsa Zsa Gabor

This post has nothing to do with Zsa Zsa. The title is a red herring.
I come back to this blog only when I am stressed out, or tired, or ill.

This means I have grown up sufficiently and am not excited about comments anymore. This then means
1. I don't have readers.
2. I don't care about readers.

There was a time when I was obsessed about the comments my readers would post on my blog. I would savour each comment and think about it.

But now I don't.

There are many reasons for this.
1. A lot of people talk shit about me. So I have stopped caring about what people say. If they say bad things I am indifferent, but this has a reverse side to it. I don't expect or care about good things either.
2. I am scared of growing old and I am growing older, if not old. My contemporaries are getting married. This is scary. Marriage is what happens to older and usually taller people.

After finally doing a BA and MA, it is only now(after weekly bouts of binge drinking and dancing alone at nightclubs) that I can read theory like a professional and understand it in a very short span of time. I can separate the grain from the chaff, the shit from the pee, the champagne from the dry white in academic writing. This means that
1. I really am old.
2. Perhaps I should get married and have babies before I become a feminist-marxist-deconstructionist-hedonist-sadist-masochist-critic.


I have a lot of pizza and burp comfortably in my room. Again, impending old age.


Wanted: a non-vegetarian, bespectacled, broad-shouldered, narrow-minded, orthodox, cow-eating, bullshitting, theory-spouting, rules-flouting, smoking, drinking, low-thinking but not slow-thinking, sexy man. Has to be essentially but not really Bengali. He has to accept that I am a Byronic hero, that I will always be cleverer and more charming than him, and on no account must he write poetry.

If you find him, leave a comment.
Well, leave a comment anyway.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

What rubbish. *facepalm*

Thursday, 16 February 2012

রাজহাঁসের রাজকাহিনী

ওই রাজপ্রাসাদে একলা ছিল নেতা--
তার বড্ড ছিল কেতা |
চুল গুলো হচ্ছিল সব সাদা
প্রাসাদের চারিদিকে যে কাদা |
রাজহাঁস খেলা করে নাকি পাঁকে
তার কি আর ঘৃণা বলে কিছু থাকে?
তাকে দেখে হিংসেতে সব জ্বলে
পোকামাকড় কত কথা যে বলে!
কাক কোকিল দেখে কাঁদে
সুর কি আর কাকের মনে বাধে?
কাকের বিশ্রী কলরবে
পৃথিবীর উন্নতি যে হবে |

তবে যদি হও ভালো পাখি অন্তরে
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Sunday, 5 February 2012

A bit from my novel

Sneak peek:

From tomorrow, he thought, he would write. That endless tomorrow which refused to come, which refused to form contours in the present, like an obscene totality that encroached upon the now, the present, that horrible thing in the future. They called it kal. Kal meant both tomorrow, and the end. And this is how things end, by promising to happen—tomorrow.

Friday, 13 January 2012

Le prix d'Amour, c'est seulement Amour

Just as beautifully as I find it
I shall lay out my heart
in its fragments-jigsaw puzzles,
hoping to reconstruct
and in it finding, New York City,
a city I had never been to-

Bombay,
the city where I learnt to dream
and also where I built
a funeral pyre for my dreams
puked beer
smoked in my hotel room
as I watched a blue green sea

And London,
where I lost myself
found a father in a stranger
saw my friends in love,
where a man held me
against his heart
whispering no promises
where I began a novel
which I was not meant to write.

And in the mythical contours of
my fevered imagination
lie other cities
Paris, Cairo, Amsterdam,
Roma
Buenos Aires
Cities I may never see.

Paris,
just across the channel,
shall we not always have Paris? I
who can weave words
and melodies
out of thin air
I
with
dyed red hair
and patience wearing thin
Shall I never know
Paris?

And all I recall

Not the blue green
of my vanished adolescent sea
Not the provincial
education
that I tried so hard
to escape
Nor the endless cheap
smokes, and the
over-boiled milky tea.

And all I recall

the first time he smiled
at me,
and his slightly sweating
hand. We talked
about ethics,
and peanuts,
but contours fade not,
though horizons dim.

But even that's not
what I should remember.
Perhaps the hashish
which made me smile
and drift
away into other
counterfactual worlds.
Perhaps not.

Mid-2006. Drizzling rain. A
cigarette and coffee
and a few lavish, too easily shed
tears on a page
of ...Matthew Arnold?
Because he spelled
Margaret wrong.
Because he called her
Marguerite. By making her
French.

For the greatest French man
of all time,
Camus-he said-
that to love is to give
everything away
and to expect
nothing
nothing at all
in return.


Hot tears burn
my eyelids,
Cities
matter no more,
what good are cities
without expectations?
And because
I have never learnt
not to expect,
I have never loved.

Tuesday, 3 January 2012

g'nite

I'm just so tired. If things go wrong, Morpheus will show me the way.

But contemplating this just makes me more tired. I don't approve of drugs. I don't approve of death, clinical or spiritual.

Yet, this poverty is draining me. And I feel so old. The lonely, only, ugly nights-spent with faceless and nameless strangers in duffel coats, smoking cigarettes outside seedy nightclubs. No, I don't have a spare fag.

Regrets, I've had a few. But then again, too few to mention. And now I have fewer fags.

I'm sorry for being so tired. If things get better, I'll send you a postcard. I'll sign it off with love.

Morpheus? He came by earlier this evening, I wasn't at home. He left his card with a hastily scribbled note. I'm supposed to call him when I'm free.

Goodnight and goodluck.