Faces


There are so many faces around me

 

Good faces, happy faces, sad faces,

 

Gloomy and the dumb faces

 

Faces and some more faces

 

I glared at these faces for hours once

 

I realized there were some more faces behind

 

I went deep inside

 

There was a downpour. Downpour of emotions

 

The waves were overriding each other

 

High and low, high and low

 

It is a rivalry – a race

 

Which face will win? Win or lose?

 

The good and the bad, the triumph

 

Love and deceit

 

And the crime

 

When the treacherous wins

 

You see more faces

 

And some more!

 

 

 

 

Not always parents are correct, not always children are wrong


The above headline has a profound meaning and I know, many will second the thought. I cannot start talking about this topic if I do not mention about a film I saw a year ago ‘Icche’ (desires). This Bengali film was based on a topic which seemed too trivial to even ponder about. A mother obsessed with her only child (son) and levying all her aspirations on him to fulfill. Refusing to accept that the son had become a fully grown up man who had a personal life, the mother continued to suppress the son to seek her goals.

Few scenes still haunt me such as tucking his T-shirt while he is leaving for college, barging into her son’s room when he is changing, and worst of all, reading out his love letters aloud in his absence to his friends. This phenomenon may not be too peculiar with Indian society in mind. Possibly, a lot of parents tend to trespass into their child’s life in the name of ‘concerned towards well-being’. Chances are, many parents do not realize what they are doing.

Considering age gaps between parents and children, opinions are ought to differ and make them distance from each other. Parents should use their wisdom and a realistic approach towards children, and therefore, keep up a logical methodology while bringing up their child. Listening to the child is extremely important and knowing what he wants. No wonder why, celebrity children appear more mature and sensible.

At this point, I am bound to share a family friend’s story. This girl had a Master’s degree in literature and was a teacher. Being born to a Bengali father and Punjabi mother, the upbringing did not keep her stick to any particular community. Hardly aware of Bengali language and culture, she was married to a Bengali from lower caste and least education. The striking part of this marriage was, the girl did not speak to the man before wedding. The story followed an awkward camouflage of two people from two backgrounds where the man suppresses her with mundane demands. In addition, this person expects a plot of land and money from his in laws. I wonder,whatever made the girl remain mum throughout.

It is important to value your child, his/her talents and listen to what he or she wants. I repeat ‘listen’.

Across a lot of families, a daughter’s life is still restricted to only education and then marriage. I appreciate that over the years, approach has changed and higher education has become a strong emphasis. But, what is the point in earning an MBA and then clinging to the household forever. My friend has a similar story who was at home since her degree completed in management (her family doesn’t allow daughters to go to work). After reaching heights of celebrating doldrums, she exhibited her unwillingness to stay at home and do nothing. Four long years of youthfulness and not doing anything, sigh! Finally, she joined an organization after she had enough with idleness. I appreciate the fact that she raised her voice and aimed to do something for herself. I wish if all sons and daughters raise their opinions and share it across. You see, not always parents are correct, not always children are wrong.

Why universe? Why?


How the universe conspires against you?

  • A pimple on nose right when you have to attend a party
  • Excessively sleepy during office hours when you are surrounded by mounting work and ironically, you feel no sleep at home
  • Perpetual traffic when you have to reach a place on time
  • A crush who is always taken
  • A major job opportunity when you have just joined a mediocre company
  • Favorite dress at the showroom which costs nothing but a bomb
  • That ever favorite dress which doesn’t fit
  • A queue at a Government office which doesn’t seem to cease
  • Tripping over a pebble just when someone super attractive is passing by
  • An unexpected sneeze just in the middle of a meeting and you have no tissue
  • An urge of scratching yourself head to toe when you are looking great
  • That deep desire to dig your nose in public
  • Scattered hair and face rubbed with dust during your rickshaw ride towards an interview
  • An unwanted tiff with mother just when you are going out
  • No change with the shopkeeper when you are in hurry
  • Always falling for the wrong person
  • Getting backstabbed from someone whom you trusted the most
  • Electricity cut just when your show is beginning
  • Rejection at a job interview you always dreamt of 
  • Festivals falling on Sundays

Reading – a culture


Reading! Yes reading! I remember, I was at an interview when this officer asked, “hmm! So you like reading. Which novel?” Staggered a little, I was expected to gag out names of a certain number of books. I wasn’t ready because the list I knew was too trivial to mention. Seems, if you do not carry a fleshy book of umpteenth pages, you are not manifested as a reader.

In recent times, I have observed that reading is solely identified with reading a book, a thick one to be precise. It doesn’t really matter, even if the respective reader couldn’t yield a morsel of wisdom from it.

Reading is one thing and putting a scene is another!

Reading is a profound activity in itself and it is a culture inculcated! From reading one’s face to reading a banner of a shop is reading (hardly acknowledged). In that case, we all read. Yet, when it comes to attaining knowledge or wisdom, how do we relate the ‘reading habit’?

Reading encompasses embracing enormous amount of content available everywhere. Any single sentence or a huge paragraph which is positive in thought and insightful is worth reading. I make it a point to read every day. Anything! Almost anything! But if asked, following are few things I usually keep in my habit:

  • Articles: Across web, if you navigate, you will realize there is abundance of content. I habitually read content written by Vir Sanghvi, Kushwant Singh, and an array of burgeoning bloggers. On top of it, I read content such as product descriptions and various corporate communication based articles. They all write substance.
  • Short stories: Nothing is beautiful than reading a beautiful short story. Day is made. I frequently read Ruskin Bond’s stories which almost take me back to my childhood. And, if I deny reading RK Laxman, I am a sinner. I read all.
  • Print: Just the other Sunday, I read a column on Cairo and its food specialties. Such an impressive piece of information it was. Later, I read how to positively take charge of relationships and make peace with them. This is how I just keep reading and reading.
  • Quotes and phrases: I read quotes by Chanakya, Vivekananda, Audrey Hepburn, Betty White and a list of many renowned people who have been through rocks and roses in life.

Thankfully, reading as a habit was inculcated in me right from childhood and later, it was fueled by my school. My mother would buy me books like Champak and Lotpot during vacations and keep me distracted from worldly affairs. She would also buy cursive writing books so that I would hone my hand writing and remain engaged in something constructive. That was beautiful.

Further, at school I read a good number of books like Noddy, Enid Blyton and books with full of pictures. Adolescence involved lying to mother about a certain book and instead, reading Mills & Boons (at home, it wasn’t a good girl’s thing). Later, I read Shakespeare, Prem Chand, Tagore, Harivansh Rai Bacchan (courtesy – syllabus) and Agatha Chritsti in tits and bits.

By the time, I was in college, I was navigated to Femina, Cosmopolitan and bunch of Times of India on a daily basis. Yes, I admit, I read Grihashobha too and grasped a lot of information which was otherwise not possible. I never realized, when did writing bug bit me that during my sixteenth summer, I penned my first poem. I took the hobby to a higher pedestal and today, I am a writer myself. Also, I used to draw and sketch too but the aptitude faded away in oblivion. Though, reading continued in its own stride.

Even today, I do not have a list of books worth mentioning under the section ‘hobby – reading’. I can just mention a few like Daughters of Arabia, Malgudi Days (shorts story collections), Triumphant of Maladies, Sethji, Life is what you make it and few deep glances at Buddhism books. Like any Indian, if I haven’t read anything, I have read the very much admired ‘2 States’. Right now, I have ‘Season of the Rainbirds’ and Manto’s short stories in pipeline.

I know a few friends of mine who are self-confessed avid book readers. They sit for hours engrossed in turning pages and keep the world a distant department. I am not fully sure of the wisdom they nurture but I respect their practice.

If you are a literate, you are gifted. Reading is a beautiful virtue. Our parents send us to school – we learnt reading letters, pronounce them and weave them beautifully in a sentence. Yes, there is a significant difference in ‘cannot read’ and ‘doesn’t read’.  In my opinion, the latter is a deprived one. He who can read and write doesn’t make an effort to read good things is definitely miles away from learning. Though, many who read also fail to bring in the acumen. Reading makes you wise! I have observed lack of wisdom and values in them despite a pile of books was stated as ‘reading’. It is beautiful to read and you are lucky to have been blessed with education. Remember, there is someone in the crowd who is not able to decipher the bus number and name!

I am a Bong, Probashi Bong


Before, I start; let me tell you who are Probashi or Pravasi Bengalis? They are the ones whose roots are from Kolkata or places in West Bengal but for various reasons, they relocate to other parts of the country or globe. This gives an emergence to intermingling of cultures.

Born in a Bong family in Delhi/NCR, I was raised amidst Baniyas (a north Indian community known for minting money), Punjabis and a gamut of other communities (mallus to be precise). The growing up years were beautiful and very much camouflaged. By camouflage, I mean, my culture easily got under wraps of other communities. I would say ‘auntyji namaste’ and join Kirtans with mother. I would speak Bangla at home, English at school (courtesy – convent education) and Hindi with friends in Kaloni (read colony). Somewhere in the middle, my mother tongue got religiously butchered. I would mix and match things and give birth to things like, “Ma aami thoke gechi.” (Mother, I am tired – actually, it should be – Ma, aami klanto hoye gechi). But, I must confess, my Non Bong friends have been the most loving people to have come to my life.

My blossoming years involved ardently attending a gamut of North Indian weddings and savor Baraat, loud DJ and an animated kin. I still attend them and I am often found peeping at someone else’s plate in the food section and seen sighing, “Oh! Where was the Manchurian?” Or some other dish. I trip through the lanes of food section in a wedding. On one hand, I am balancing my platter and on the other, managing the saree so that the attention remains intact.

The women especially are in a marathon to spearhead and treat it as a gateway to Bollywood. Over the years, Bong weddings have gone the North way. Women do not prefer the traditional Benarasi sari anymore but rather a tube light integrated saree along with Chura (bangles worn by Punjabi brides and newly married women). Bong nuptial knots mostly go to oblivion and gets in unison with North. So, you are nowhere a complete bong nor do you pay full justice to the North Indians. You are a Khichudi.

While my partial life has gone is explaining the peculiar sound we make during our weddings, the rest has gone in teaching people how to pronounce my name correct. Just the other day, while voting during MLC elections, I realized my name was written as Bibishri. This wasn’t the first time, I came across this. Since birth, I wonder the number of versions I have seen. So, here are some of the diverse versions of my name – Debashri:

  • Debooooshree
  • Debashish
  • Debojit
  • Dabbashri
  • Devaasri
  • Devshri
  • Dibeshri
  • Bibishri

My noble friend Shuborno became Shaparna, Shuporna and almost a female to the election commission. These days, he is proving himself with a ‘moustached’ picture of himself (because his robust built up also doesn’t do enough).

While, we bongs are busy gelling with other communities, we never skip Durga Puja. You see, it is mandatory. No matter, the gen X is aloof of Tagore but is seen dancing at top Hindi numbers. An unusual merge of language is seen where I saw a kid speaking to his mother, “Mummy, dekho to amar tika ta feliye geche.” (Mother, see if the mark on forehead got scattered.)

Though, there are always exceptional people. With a major flow of Bongs flying from Bengal to other cities, at many places, roots are still respected and followed. A large number of Durga Pujas are taking place in different parts of Delhi/NCR so it is giving birth to Durga samitees, committees and more. Lot of cultural activities take place such as dance dramatics, Rabindra sangeet and a chunk of Bengali festivals. Wherever Bongs go, they leave their mark, they leave their essence of intellect, wit, and talents. Somehow, we remarkably amalgamate ourselves with diverse cultures across the world and tie knots of unity.