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The journey of a poet

Image credit: Google images I understand who I am through the records of my life I land in sound, silence some hear...

Thursday, October 12, 2017

What is (not) in a name?

O my name!
What is it? Shoe what? Could you please come again Mr Shoe…
No problem sir, you can call me Super Tech
Hey …that sounds so cool…So you are Super Tech for us here in XYZ.

In the professional world, that was my first attempt in twisting my name for the benefit of my clients. I became Super Tech for my American and English speaking European clients; much later, when I came back from France and was given charge for France and Francophone countries, I became Sous Pratique for them. Never mind that it meant someone who was kind of deranged? Jesus do I even disagree; the other day I saw myself kissing my plate because I could have my meal on it! Even now, I sometimes kiss my pair of sneakers after coming from long walks! But that's how I am!

And those childhood scribbles on the walls? Did they ever show any sign of being ‘normal’; my mom, while cleaning the walls had just one word as a refrain, obnoxious! And she was creative enough to stress her syllables that could mean as someone who is perpetually or incorrigibly obnoxious! These premonitions were stark and vivid in me since childhood, and I am quite composed with my state of insanity; so coming back to the main stroy of Super Tech or Sous Pratique now - that was how I was known to ‘them’; the names became so popular that I even heard discussions on whether the two were one and the same; I was flattered, but deep inside, somewhere I was also reminded of Dr Jekyll and Mr Hyde too. But in my case it would be Dr Jekyll and Dr Jekyll, wouldn’t it? Enough! Enough of basking in self glory!

Worst moments

Let me now bring out one of the most embarrassing moments concerning my name; I went to Delhi to deliver a training on 'cultural sensitisation', and had two juniors with me. As was the norm, one was not supposed to talk too much with the juniors, maintain a distance, have different rooms; I never gave a damn to all these, never, ever, and I had one room booked for three, with one extra bed. One of the juniors brought me the first bill from the reception and was laughing his lungs out. Now laughing being infectious, we two also started laughing without knowing what the reason was; sometimes it does happen, doesn’t it? But when he pointed out the typo in my name I was shocked; instead of a ‘t’, it became a ‘d’; and because those juniors were so close to me, they were asking me, is it?

I was furious, and thought, for the first time, of my mistake; maybe I should have booked a different room, and maybe what they say about maintaining hierarchical difference was true; I hated them at the moment. I took the bill and went straight to the reception, was about to storm at the receptionist but couldn’t say a word because there was a lady sitting there. When I went back into the room, I saw the disobedient grins on their faces. How irreverent I thought, they never call me sir, they hug me instead of showing respect. Wait I will see them at their next appraisal I thought! Next morning, when I saw a different receptionist; I explained, and we three left for our first day. The second day’s bill was even more shocking; supra became super; luckily the bill was with me this time; I sat with a different receptionist and saw to it that my name was correctly spelt once and for all, but will I ever forget this worst moment ever in my life I wonder! Never mind, I became my ordinary self with my juniors again, as it were.

Names at different places

In Hyderabad, I was referred to as Supratika; however much I tried to make them stop at the /k/ sound, it became /ka/ changing my gender; later on I thought of it as a compliment; didn’t resist anymore because it was pointless. In Kerala, I was called Suprakrishna, I still fail to understand the logic, but when someone called me as Muthukrishna there, I thought I have to accept anything that came with my name, it’s good as long as they are calling me something.

The origin of the sin

My mom first named me as Pratik, then she added the ‘Su’ to mean a good symbol; later she was happy to discover that Supratik is also one of the elephants of Indra, the God of rain; she always wanted me to be fat, don’t know why; much later, when I shared with her different versions of my name, she thought she could have called me Pratik, or Gaurav (that was the first option, to rhyme with my elder bother’s name, Sourav). But what is done cannot be undone, besides, having your name changed is quite an ordeal and could land you up in even more trouble. I have grown up being in soup with my name; literally, because for most of my friends, I was soup; I was also called tick by many of my colleagues; one of my bosses would call me tic tic tic thrice. My non-bong friends would make fun of me by making the ‘su’ sound like a ‘shoe’ and pronounce it as ‘shoeproteeek’! They knew very well that for Bongs, it is pedestrian to pronounce /s/, so for all /s/, it is cultured to say /sh/!

Pet name

When I hug my friends now, I distinctly remember how I hated them during our cricket-football days. Most of our friends remember those frustrating days of hatred and animosity, which mostly centered around distorting names, with love and affection. Those who still do not know, Bongs have two names, one exclusively for the families and relatives and the other for the outside or for the professional world. And in Bengali, it is called ‘daaknaam’ which loosely translates into pet name, pet meaning ‘daak’ or ‘posha’, hence pet. I was named as Anto, as a short form of Antony; again it was my mom’s imaginative mind that tried to trap the glory of a film, a super hit one called Antony Firangi where our all time favourite Uttam Kumar played the role of Antony. Just as my bhalonaam (or good name, you get to hear this literally translated into English quite often, like what is your good name sir?!), my daaknaam (pet name) too went through many versions, of agony and discomposure; Tanto, Santo, Langto (in Bengali it means naked), Sando banyan, Aunty (this seemed like Supratika or Supreeti, much to my chagrin as a child) and a whole range of them; until much later I decided to give a meaning to it; I changed the spelling of my name as Unto, which means a preposition ‘next to’ or ‘toward’; I like the way it is enunciated in English by also maintaining the same momentum in Bengali too! I perhaps meant I could be next to or toward most anything? Nah!! But chalo thik hai.

What is (not) in a name

With time, with all the versions of my name I have come to realize the flexibility my name has; therefore, despite the vexations and mild irritations at times, I have come to terms with it; I have started loving it since a long time; from food to mood, my name, what does it not have in it I wonder! But I am what I am.

Monday, October 9, 2017


Introducing photopoems:

Following are the twelve simple rules:

1. Small poems, of about two to four lines, shorter the better, it can be from 1 to 20 words, all in lowercase
2. May be with or without rhymes
3. Should necessarily be embedded in the image (photo, hence photopoems)
4. Highlight the image, may be talking for or against the photo
5. The text should have a lasting and relevant message necessarily for the world
6. It should help the readers retain and recite the lines with the image in mind with a connecting word, viz.  here it is kalidas
7. No names, except they are photopoems
8. Every form should contribute to the understanding of the text, e.g. here the font comic sans ms is        used to depict a comical situation
9. Texts may be ideally placed according to their starting point, e.g. for English, it is left hand bottom, for Arabic, it is right hand bottom; however, they can be modified according to the coloring and spacing of the image (photo)
10. The image credit to be given as per the flow of the language
11. The name of the author to be placed outside the text box, preferably beneath
12. No highlighter is allowed

Sunday, October 1, 2017

Death falls in place

Everybody dies
the child, the adolescent
the middle-aged
all dead
live in the mind
or in the picture frames
everybody denies death
for the lying breath.

The man, the woman
and continue to live
a thousand lives
alive body and mind
stories write
air plays a thousand tunes
through running nerves
sing, play, moan and dance
yet one day, the flute will stop.
Will arrive the final goodbye
but so what
for as long as they are
they are
those persons in the frames
light and sound
resting in the memory lanes
are dead in them
still in them they are!

Hearts still palpitate
brains catch the rainbow
mountains, rivers, high and low
you find the you in you,
treasured senses and their hues.

Everybody dies
yes, yet relies
on the stage and the skies
​​​​​​​death rests and lies
breath travels, sings, flies
life lives through the ears and the eyes.

Saturday, September 30, 2017

Shubho Bijoya

Sweetest part of India

If West Bengal is busy publicizing itself to the World and its cousin as the ‘Sweetest part of India’, it is quite literally for the variety of sweets, ranging from misti doi to more than 500 types of sandesh and rosogolla with all its different mouth-watering shapes, sizes and hues. And it is during this time of Dussehra that we get to see a parade of sweets hopping in from the plates to the mouths of people in and around the pandals as also in every begali household.

About Vijayadashami

In the eastern and northeastern states of India, Vijayadashami marks the end of Durga Puja, remembering goddess Durga's victory over the buffalo demon Mahishasura to help restore Dharma (Virtue). Vijayadashami, also known as Dasara, Dusshera or dussehra is a major Hindu festival celebrated at the end of Navratri every year. It is observed on the tenth day (hence called Dasami which in Bengali means tenth) in the Hindu calendar month of Ashvin. Vijayadasami is observed for different reasons and celebrated differently in various parts of the Indian subcontinent. In the northern, southern and western states, the festival is synonymously called Dussehra (also spelled Dasara, Dashahara). In these regions, it marks the end of "Ramlila" and remembers God Rama's victory over the demon Ravana, or alternatively it marks a reverence for one of the aspects of goddess Devi such as Durga or Saraswati.

Mysterious Mythology

Mythology is full of mysteries and one of them is that the goddess Durga is also known as Rama (pronounced as Roma in Bengali); so Durga and Rama are also namesakes doing the same work to help conquer virtue over vice. Vijayadasami celebrations include processions to a river or ocean front that carry clay statues of Durga, Lakshmi, Saraswati, Ganesha and Kartikeya, accompanied by music and chants, after which the images are immersed into the water for dissolution and a goodbye. Elsewhere, on Dasara, the towering effigies of Ravana symbolizing the evil is burnt with fireworks marking evil's destruction. The festival also starts the preparation for one of the most important and widely celebrated festivals called Diwali, the festival of lights, which is celebrated twenty days after the Vijayadashami.

The celebration goes abroad

Owing to its popularity in England and the US of A, Durga and her family have been seen many times being immersed in the waters of Thames and Hudson.

Sindoor khela (game of vermillion)

Sindoor Khela is a tradition which is followed every year on the day of Vijayadashami. For all the Bengali women, this is the final ritual which holds a great significance. On Vijayadashami, or the last day of Durga Puja, married women put on sindoor or vermilion on Maa Durga's forehead and feet and thereafter they apply it on the other married women present around them. This ritual is enjoyed just like a game and thus it is called "Sindoor Khela". Women enjoy smearing sindoor on each other. Since sindoor is a sign of a married woman, this ritual means to wish each and everyone a good fortune and a happy married life.

A reason to celebrate life

While it is true that human beings need an occasion to celebrate, these celebrations also have a purpose behind them; mostly they would also be celebrations for the victory of good over evil, knowledge and wisdom over ignorance, light over darkness, kindness over cruelty, and finally sweetness over bitterness.

So here’s wishing a very happy dussehra to all our friends at Your Space. But going with the title, it is Shubho Bijoya in Bengal, the sweetest part of India!

Source for some information, viz. about vijayadashami, is Wikipedia.
Images a collage from pictures available in Google images

Friday, September 29, 2017

Family friends

Who is that spoilt little brat,
who whispered in our ears?
Negated family members
at the drop of a hat, for years
so we look at each other like that!

Father is rather not interesting!
Mother the perpetual oppressor!
Children are a burden; they’re boring
Family, a prison, less said the better!

This image is so unfair and untrue,
we look out for family, in our friends too!
Watch the serial Friends, where undeniably
you see a perfect picture of a family.

Chandler the dependable father with gumption
steady income, coveted profession,
Monica the affectionate mother in the kitchen
occupied and engaged, to satisfy their children,
Joey is the truant unruly child
cries being thirty, forever hungry and wild,
playing the big bro, a real boss
is the famous professor Dr Ross
a sibling rivalry with Phoebe
comes Rachael fighting like a baby.

Now it’s time for us to look around
we can be surprised, almost spellbound
to discover that in our friends too
we looked for a family, it is true!

If it’s cool to search for a family in our friends
why not try to be friends with our families then?

Note: The poem refers to a very famous serial called Friends, still telecast, from time to time, in various TV channels, especially in the Star World.

In love with the lines

I love
living in the leaves
letters lie,
revealing the lines
leaving a lingering tale
of time,
in between many tales
with my ears on them
sometimes through the wind,
at times with my hand
I listen
to horrors, wonders
I see the world as Echo*
lashed for love
I read and write,
what others wrote and read
in my mind
on the same inky space,
I let the leaves be
just being with them
I love

The poem is in reversible style*

1. Echo* - In Greek mythology, Echo (/'?ko?/; Greek: ?χ?, Ekho, "echo", from ?χος (echos), "sound") was an Oread who resided on Mount Cithaeron. Zeus loved consorting with beautiful nymphs and often visited them on Earth. Eventually, Zeus's wife, Hera, became suspicious, and came from Mt. Olympus in an attempt to catch Zeus with the nymphs. Echo, by trying to protect Zeus, endured Hera's wrath, and Hera made her only able to speak the last few words spoken to her. So when Echo met Narcissus and fell in love with him, she was unable to tell him how she felt and was forced to watch him as he fell in love with himself. (Source:Wikipedia)

2. Reversible style - Poems written in this style can also be read upwards. The idea behind the style is to let the poem rise above (a leap in existential term), even in its physical form.

Wednesday, September 27, 2017

Looking out

Three people cannot stay together
One spouse is bi-polar
Untreated, on the loose
With words can never choose
What is wrong or right
Throws tantrums, fights
With the other two members
Threatened for life, take sides.

The other a megalomaniac
Always doing all the work
From running errands
Has piles of bills to pay
For every matter, has a say
Angered here, worried there
For nuts, cannot stand the bi-polar
Who once upon a time, was the lover
Since long it’s over.

The third person is the child
Confused and wild
Encourages the working parent
To date with new friends
Has fun with its own;
Family finds a tragic end
All the three members
Ping or sometimes phone
But with each other,
They could never stay together!

Yet the three
Flying independent and free
In their own ways willy-nilly
From strangers around
Wanting their feet to be
On the ground
Are searching every moment
Getting cheated, being silly
Looking out, for a family.

They will never look inside
For they know they’re quite right
With treasures of affection in them
The three, a mystery, playing the same game
Of blaming and calling names;
But one thing is dead and clear
They will never explore love together
For they cannot stay with each other.

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