Chumbakiye Bharat!

ImageThere is this India which is playing on tablets and then there was that India which was contented with Doordarshan. Somewhere in the middle of a revolution, I wonder if we lost our charm, the very Indian charm. Those days when sunbathing during winter was divine and eating pakode by mother was all that we wanted. By then, momos didn’t replace our things and touchscreen didn’t fiddle with our talks. We listened, we chatted and roamed to places – we weren’t confined to our walls.

I was just in the middle of this chaos when I wondered the entire magic of being a typical Indian might fade away. At the pace at which we are aping the west, and embracing technology, we will be mechanized and camouflaged Indians soon. Rather we already are. In the middle of this westernization, I came across ‘Chumbak.’ An organization which has made a mammoth step to retain that appeal of India through various materialistic ways such as stationery, stickers, apparels and various other items.

What is so special with them?

Designs & themes: Indian! Everything is Indian out here. The designs and themes have been inspired from those little things we often come across and don’t really acknowledge at a larger level. For instance, a mobile cover with scooter theme or a key chain in the form of a sardar. Characters like neighborhood aunty, classical dancer, and similar more can be seen which you can easily relate with.

Vibrancy: Across the products when you take a tour, you realize, it is all colors. So colorful and so appealing. Real Indian I must say.

Chumbak has enhanced its spectrum to a level where you can find chat stickers on Facebook.There you may find animated characters and themes like Bollywood, a Rajasthani guy with a turban doing a namaskar and some more funny characters. And again, yes, Indian. From cushion covers, notebooks to apparels, you name it and you get it. In all shapes, sizes and designs, you get what you have been looking for. I am planning to get something. Aren’t you?

Photo courtesy: Chumbak


I and the scribbles

I am standing at the bus stop

I come here every day, yet, it looks like a crossroad

Tired in disguise and my mute mode

Today, I am going to a new place for my wage


I am standing bewildered

There comes the bus

Is it the one I should board?

Why I cannot decipher that has been scribbled?

I am a mellowed man and seen lot of festivities

How do I question the populace?

Mortified, I am mortified

I want to recite

Learn to recite

Talk like those courteous men

Those, yes, those standing in the crowd

I will not, I will not sham when I am learned

I will learn and share

For I, I am an illiterate.

The pat on my back

Today, it seems the human forgot his lunch. She is blasting over the phone for the other person’s forgetfulness. I tell you, it’s all mushy mushy between them. And ya, their only child, that fair and chubby kid is very naughty. He keeps playing all day long with the pups. Somehow, I wonder if he runs behind his mommy the way these pups do. The mother feeds him with her own hands unlike what I do. Good catch huh!

Right now, I am gazing at the woman who is busy with doing something in her kitchen. The problem is I cannot look beyond the height of the window pane. All I can see, is her hands working swiftly making breads and there, there she keeps the food container. It’s a huge one. The window is translucent so I see partially what is happening in the other house. I am eyeing at everything. Still, post lunch this is what I do. And then I wait for their lunch time to get over. It’s time. Guess the tail should wag now. Fast, fast and very fast! Pups are calling. The humans aren’t listening or what. They used to toss the pack much earlier and call me for the glory. Food making is taking time now or is it that kid is hogging on everything? But the older humans used to pat me so well. They even gave a small peck once. Would my jumping help? The tail should wag very high and low now. Aah! They are at rest.

It’s getting dark and it is getting cold. The fog in the night creates wetness in the bushes. Pups feel uncomfortable. They cry. Guess, they will sleep like that. Let me run, run towards to the other house. Oh look there is I see light in the other abode. I will find something.                                                      

P.S: The story has been written from the perspective of a female dog living near a flat. This canine has got attached to a housewife who used to pat on her back and throw bread occasionally. The description revolves around one of those days when the dog is unable to feed anything to her puppies. 

Notes to self – Never go for a coffee

coffee_watercolor2Never go for a coffee

No never!

Coffees ruin you

Yes! That stupid mug of coffee and that festooned cafe

The best dress you wore was not you

The hand shake you did, it didn’t mean any warmth

With coffee, you do nothing but pretend

You fake it and you fake it

That, yes that phony smile

Those intellectual talks

The ones you never meant

That mass of people around you

Those eyebrows, those painted nails and your alert heart

That dusk behind the glass door and the balcony

The brewing coffee

And the other person’s disguised felony

So, when someone next says, “Coffee’’

You know apocalypse is here! Right here!

Shomoy kom,bodo kom – Bengali poem

Shomoy jaacche joler moton

Boiche nodi, boiche jhorna

Puraton dewal gulo podche aaste dheere

Bheejte chai

Puro puri bheejte chai ei brishti te

Jaak chole jaak shei bhabna shei chinta

Shei Bhoye

Oi je shopno gulo

Jei gulo bendhechi khub mon diye

Eto dine daariyegeche onek shopno

Bodo ekta khelaghor

Chai shob chai amar

Shob kota taara, shob kota pahad

Shomoy jaacche joler moton

Boiche nodi, boiche jhorna


Here I grow and here I fly!

From a cocoon to a butterfly;
Debashri grew and flew
From Matriculate to a post graduate
Debashri became a literate
From the penny from dad to
Pennies from the work
Debashri learnt how to earn and how to work
From a baby to a lady
Debashri is no feather
And will not be faded by the windy
From a cocoon to a butterfly;
Debashri, here I grow and here I fly!Image

Destiny’s wit – a short story

It’s another mundane Monday and the usual club of labor class people is hastily walking towards Noida. Among them, Janardan is also following the footsteps and making his way towards his factory. Busy in managing his tiffin and gait, he is giving a small thought towards shifting his base to Kolkata.

“More development is happening there. Labor is in demand. And I will be near Purnia. And my mother. Bhola will do well too” – said his mind. The plan wasn’t bad. His ailing 5 years old son too will be at ease and his pillia (Jaundice) can get treated with Jhara (traditional treatment). Medicines were taking a toll on his pocket by now. The day started with a thought provoking opinion.

While walking back to his home through the epidemic stricken slum area in labor chawk, Janardan was trying to think how he will convince his wife. Crossing the narrow lanes would take turns and twists and demand one to cover his mouth due to the unmanaged drainage system making a mockery at the hygiene system.

Sharda, “How will we pay back our debt? Just can’t leave this at once.”

Janardan, “Who said we are leaving just now. I am planning to shift eventually. You, bhola and gudiya will shift first; meanwhile I will sought out the loan.”

Sharda, “But how? Bhola is sick. Vomiting every moment and is struggling to even sit. I do not understand your plan. How can we go in the middle of this turmoil?”

Janardan, “I will do some overtime and pay back.”

Sharda, “I do not know what to answer to your plan. Do what you think is right. Bhola should get well, all that I want.”

Wife on being partially convinced, the debate reached a point where Janardan decided to book tickets to Patna for four of them. Four days of leaves, within that he had to fix his work, wages and seek an economic Vaidh (doctor in remote areas) in the village.

Tickets were confirmed. Patna Express, time – 5:35 PM – New Delhi station: So many plans, little money, unadulterated exhilaration and a perennial fear, Janardan knew his plans were for good.

Meanwhile, he was voraciously working hard on paying back the loan of Rupees 50,000 which he borrowed from the factory. Overtime and some more overtime! He was doing it all. Bhola was getting worse on the other hand. Recently, they even came to know the 8 year child in the nearby dwelling couldn’t survive for long and passed away due to Jaundice.

Shocked and shaken, Sharda hastily asked, “Nearby kid Govind passed away due to Pilia, make your plans fast.  Medicines have exhausted long ago.”

Janardan,” Do not worry, Good things will happen. Have faith.”

Sharda asked, “To hell with your faith. I do not know anything. We have cut their education long back and now, we are cutting on their medicine totally. What shall I decipher from this? Seems your mother and money are all that you want.”

Janardan screams,”Kar to rahe hain. Jo ho paa raha hai. Yahan aur rahenge to mehengai aur karz maar daalenge.”  (I am doing as much as I can. If we stay here for long, rising inflation and debts will kill us.)

The night went in sobbing and contemplating the plan.

The next day, Janardan while at work, spoke to his owner on shifting.

Manoj, “Gaon waapis jana to achi hi baat hai. Mana kisne kiya hai.” (Going back to native is good. Who is stopping you?”)

Janardan, “Saab jaane se pehle jitna ho paayega waapis dunga. Anyway, I will be coming back after dropping my family so whatever amount will be left, I will repay.” (Before going I will return the money as much I can.)

Manoj, “Good! But remember, the factory work will be affected. Kaafi saara kaam kar ke jaana hai.” (Lot of work is required to be executed).

Mean minded Manoj had several plans to malign Janardan’s noble idea. The latter was asked to work till the particular project was over. This required him to work on the day he had his train.

The day arrived.

Bags were packed. Bhola was given an extra warm wear and juice Sharda got from the place she worked as a maid. Gudiya hung to the other side of the mother eyeing the baggage and luggage.

On the other hand, Janardan was hurriedly working at the factory so that he could catch the train on time. Manoj who knew that certain amount was still left and there were full chances of Janardan to cheat, he continued to send more work.

Janardan, “Saab ji, time ho gaya hai. Ab jaane do. Vishwas rakho. Aajtak kabhi bharosa toda hai kya? (“Sir, let me go. Trust me.  Till date, have I ever broken your trust?”)

Manoj, “Mana to humne pehle bhi nahi kiya tha. Ye pura to karo.” (I have never refused. But first complete this work.”)

Janardan while loading the packets said, “Gaadi choot jaayegi. Badi mushkil se ticket book hui hai. Paise lage hain” (Train will be gone. I have struggled to get the tickets. Money has gone in it.)

The conversation followed pleading and praying and eventually ended to an unhealthy feud.

5.45 PM. City was crowded as usual. Chaos and horns buzzing all around. Buses, cars and two wheelers were racing against each other to reach home. Making a gloomy turn towards home in the evening of December, Janardan was lost. Lost in a myriad of confused thoughts, he did not know what to do. How will he answer his wife?

And finally, he took the turn towards his rented shelter. A very disturbing silence welcomed him. Clueless eyes of Gudiya and ailing Bhola looked up to him. Wife was in corner, all crumpled and teary. The night went in an unwanted commotion of arguments and an explanation on why he couldn’t make it.

Train was missed and a new story began.

The next day morning, Nandan, Janardan’s friend at work came running to his place.

“God is gracious.” Nandan repeated several times.

Janardan, “What all happened?” Sharda peeped from the door.

Nandan said, “The train you were going to board met with a fatal accident in the wee hours of the night. Four bogies burnt and many are dead.  One of the bogies was yours. How can you not thank heavens?”

Janardan threw the bidi he just had lit and looked behind at his wife. In a whirl of seconds, an unknown communication happened between the four eyes.

The day went in thanking and praying to god for all the good reasons. For two days, Janardan couldn’t stop feeling lucky till he realized that Bhola wasn’t anywhere fine. This time, he required medication.

A hubbub of thoughts and opinions kept passing by till a breaking news came flashing in front of the poverty stricken family.

‘Rupees 1 lakh will be given as compensation to the families who lost their near and dear ones in the accident.’

Janardan was blank at this. He knew, he wanted money. Nandan and Sharda discussed if any how they could get the compensation considering their names appeared in the casualty list.

Nandan, “I will go to the daftar (office) and claim myself as your brother. I think that will do.”

Sharda nodded and seconded the thought. Janardan remained quiet and confused.

After pondering for moments, he said, “They might ask you for papers.”

Nandan, “What papers?”

Janardan, “Arey hote hain kagaaz. Jaise janam, ration card, address ityadi.” (There are papers such as birth certificate, ration card, address etc.)

Nandan, “Arey to isme kya hai? Banwa lenge.” (What is the big deal. We will get them done.)

Janardan, “Aise kaise banwa lenge. Janam ke samay hi ban jaata hai. Humare ma baap ne banwaye nahi, ye kaun sune.” (How will you make it? These are made when we are born. Our parents did not make it, who will listen?)

What followed was huge arguments and yet it did not reach any standpoint. The family and the friend stayed blank. How will they goof up to the government that they are dead and still wanted money. Meanwhile, the news of them ‘being alive and yet announced as deceased’ spread like wild fire. People congratulated them and kept inquiring about their plans. A comedy of errors followed, fraud papers were developed and some more money was borrowed from Manoj, the factory owner. Bhola kept worsening to a situation where he would just lie down on bed and look at his father doing something he did not understand.

The fierce streak of giving an adequate treatment to his ailing son kept him moving. In this mayhem, somewhere life had become a cluster of mental and physical exertion.

Messy offices – unending queues – Babus – so many queries – insolent bureaucrats – Nandan and Janardan kept running from one corner to another. They were argued, demeaned and thrashed once for all the unfortunate reasons. Janardan was still in the queue towards the government office when a news came whispering in his ears.

Bhola was no more.

An uncomfortable silence! Janardan remained stood with a blank façade. Suddenly, the world looked like too populated where there were too many people everywhere, so many emotions intermingling with numerous hearts and minds. Janardan still stood in the queue.

Always respond, never react!

I sneeze and someone calls it fever. Just the other day, I said, “I am going to have lunch.” The ripples came in turn like this, “You know what, she consumes a lot of time over lunch and hardly does any work. Gosh! She lacks dedication.” *’yes’ in chorus* People have commendable abilities to churn stories.

We often get succumbed to rumors and almost surrender ourselves. People talk and talk. They narrate stories. They kill you with their fictionally created storyboards. Why they do it?  Because they hate you. There will always be a chunk of people who will hate you, and make a mockery out of you. That shouldn’t bog you down. Understand, no one is perfect and you can never succeed without doing a few mistakes.

Once, you are immune to mockery and criticism – you know success is no more a distant department. And yes, getting low is absolutely human nature. If you felt bad, you felt down – you did what a normal human being would do. But, how you bounced back and responded to the situation is definitely a mark of positivity in you.

A senior professional once told me “Always respond, never react!” The way you react speaks volumes about you. It also displays aspects such as:

  • Your upbringing
  • Your education
  • Your background
  • Your lateral thinking
  • Your opinions

Someone who looks upto you may lose his or her enthusiasm in you after your reaction. When I look at the celebrities, I realize they work so hard to maintain their reputation and one small mistake lets them falling apart. Many of them are also known for being so calm and composed. For instance, Vidya Balan who was mocked at her dressing to death never lost her calm. Rather, she was once heard answering back to one of the criticisms so steadily, “The problems have been fixed. There aren’t any more issues on that front.” Your composure should affect the other person positively and encourage him to be equally good. Let him feel ‘how I could be like him?’

The one who possesses qualities to be responsive and confident at his own rights will always nail the world. If we could all nurture such qualities, this world would have been a much better place to dwell in. Let us respond and not react.