>> Apr 12, 2011
23, Kashi Bose Lane, Calcutta, then.
This is about a time when Calcutta was still colonial, atleast by name. A time when hand-pulled rickshaw and its chime used to define the sounds of the city, a time when communism was still red, seasons were still interested in being theatrical. Relations were earthened by writing letters, rhymed and novice poems. Festivals then were celebration of life, first. They had souls. That was the time, more or less, all the cities like our emotions were simple, unambitious and honest. It was before options decayed life into ashes.
On festivals like Durga puja, we would gather in our grandpa's house. I remember our parents were uncomplaining that way. They knew the quiet maturity of gatherings. The long verandah with black and white squared tiles, that has seen generations crawling, walking, running over it, was wise. Even during the summers, it would be cold, thus. Men, all wearing kurta pajama would sit on it and play cards, talk business, futures and ofcourse cricket. There was never a hurry. Technology was still pregnant with 3G and mobile phones. People were slow, quiet and understanding. They won't excuse themselves from elders. Relations were proud and respectful, those days.
Women had their own warmth and vibes. I used to wonder, how a double bedded cot could accommodate all my aunts and mom happily. Their noise was undisturbing. They will laugh, talk proudly of family, whisper new recipes and remember and resurface every tiny moment that had impacted them in the last year. Waves of emotions had a symmetry. Their sixth senses used to create the high and low notes of resonance miraculously affecting none.
The festival and its schedules and celebrations had dedicated followers in all. Us, cousins will keep memories like gifted story books, secretly. There was a heart that used to make us aware of the specialty of the moments and that they may not be continuing forever. There were moisture in the air during the end. We have seen men with wet eyes, then.
23, Kashi Bose Lane, Kolkata, now.
There are no stereo-typical comparisons to be drawn. We still get the blue inland letter from the above address, in a shaky handwriting, every year. An invitation that calls us to our roots. Conveniently we ignore the postbox at times.
We gather once in a while and play cards on the old verandah, Spouses gather and secretly talk bout their changing priorities and busyness, we excuse ourselves frequently from each other. On the last day we go to the same room and follow the traditions of showing respect to grandma.
There, just there, in a squarish room, under a dim lit bulb, infront of a weak 70 year old soul - engineers, doctors, lawyers cry silently. Guilty they are may be. That living soul puts her hand on our heads to bless. The warm touch assure us of forgetting. It assures us of forgiving.
Quietude performs a different resonance then. While leaving, We regret the times we have pretended to be busy.