Saturday, September 20, 2014

'Happiness' Diary :D

What is happiness? That elusive emotion of delight, briefly warming up our hearts and opening the gates to Heaven... 
Is it real? Or is it the mere idea of 'happiness" that makes us happy?

Of late, I had been inspired by my young students to escape the tragedy of human existence by focusing on the happy moments that shape my life. I was immersed in the pursuit of happiness...rather tracing the 50/100 shades of Happiness..."Impossible", said my Mind; "Hmm...challenge accepted!", high-fived my Heart.

Chasing the rainbow got a new hash tag on Facebook: #100_happy_days.

I must say that this supposed act of frivolity added a new meaning to my life. Instead of whining and complaining about all the wrongs that happened in my life, I took baby steps towards optimism. I found courage in my words, hope in my smile.

Initially it started as an act of enlisting the personal triumphs of the day. Gradually, I transcended to telling stories...discovering joy from observation, fabrication even.

I would like to share a few such posts with you. Hope you like it:

Day 1: Happiness is talking non-stop about the good ol' days of Bollywood over shingara and rosagolla on a warm and lazy afternoon. 

Happiness is being shown a crappy poem that you had composed for a friend ages back and to realize that after all these years, she still has it!


Day 3: Happiness is locating a place correctly without GPS and reaching the venue on time. Thanks to the directions given by my colleague, Mrs. Malabika Chakraborty

Happiness is waking up to early morning rain and feeling the gush of sweet wind on my face.

Happiness is dancing to Jessie J's Price tag all by myself...a free style P.T.kind of dance...It's a mood lifter ...really!!!

Happiness is finally getting over the misgivings of a few and realising the importance of inner peace. Yo Po!....


Day 7: Happiness is going on a walk after ages,flexing those tired muscles. 

Happiness is getting drenched in the rain. 

Happiness is feeling super good in your own skin and not aspiring to be someone else....


Day 8: Visiting a bank is always a nightmare. The long queues, the moody tellers and all queries beginning with the line "Na,eta to hobena..oho..uff..." causes nothing but distress. But today this lady took me by surprise. Not only did she attend my query super fast but also flashed a big smile saying,"Kono osubidhe hobena,sab hoye jabe"( All will be fine, don't worry). I walked out of the bank,pleased and contented.


Day 16: Waking up late in the morning to the smell of luchi and begun bhaja,abar mishti and mishti and mishti, khichdi, long afternoon nap, long drive with hubby,polao and chicken and fruits and ice cream.....aur jeene ko kya chahiye...

Happiness is happy being who you are...You may be arrogant,cranky,obnoxious, self-depricating but you are you...and somebody(not every Body) loves you just the way you are!!! So I'm awesome, you're awesome, everybody is just-soh-Awessomme!!!


Day 17: Happiness is smiling not to shoo away troubles but smiling because you want to,you feel like it. 

Happiness is a happy end to a beautiful weekend and steeling up for all the trash that life may drown you in. There's always an escape route. You only need to know where and when to run.

"I am bullet proof, nothing to lose, fire away ,fire shoot me down but I don't fall, I am titanium... "

Happiness is discovering your inner strength.Am ready. So hit me with your best shot..


Day 18: What makes you waltz, 
             What makes you sing?
What gives you joy,
The long-yearned zing?
Is it the rain,
The puddles or a paper boat?
Or the sky,
The trees or the creaky window?

The lanes,the smuck?
The sitting duck?
The rings of smoke?
The vendors crying hoarse?

A special company
Or in a hive?
In a pensive mood
Or a long drive?
Lip-smacking food
Or a long walk?
A moment of silence?
Or an endless talk?

Memories or the present
What makes you smile?
What ticks your heart?
What keeps it alive?

Happiness laughs,
Nods her head and says,
"This makes you happy.
This lights up your face.
Don't look for a reason.
Let's rest the case."...


Day 19: Plans are tossed out of the window with the darkening of the sky. The furrows between the eyebrows deepen. The oldest saree is chosen. Floaters are made ready to be worn.

"It'll rain today." No sooner did I utter these magical words than the sky poured out with all its might. The rain was lovely,redolent of the happy days of youth but I had promises to keep...attend to my duties,rush to work! Yet there is something about the rains..a cathartic effect.

Happiness is celebrating an early morning shower as the woods of Robert Frost change into the vignettes of a city,the drone of its white noise filling the insides.

Happiness is singing "Ei ekla ghar amar desh"(a song by the popular Bengali band-Fossils) with your colleagues... the after effects of the beautiful weather! Solitary is not the same as lonely after all.

Happiness is discovering a new lane while taking a walk...the path which I had never before explored. Happiness is being unafraid to set out new benchmarks for yourself. Where there is a will,there is always money,I mean, a way .


Day 20: How many kinds of friends do you have? 

Best, not-that-best, hi-bye sorts of friends?
And how many dare to be friends with yourself? 
How many have the courage to stand before the mirror and look yourselves in the eye and say," You're perfect. You're beautiful. "?
But then what makes you beautiful?! 
One Direction may like the casual carefree beauties but the world still falls for the stereotype.

When Geet in 'Jab We Met' says that she's her own favourite person, it sets one wondering. When was the last time I told that to myself? We hate our misshapen nose,hair,complexion, height,nails,weight...oh! The list is endless. But the day we start loving ourselves for who we are,I guess all conflict can be put to rest. You'll not be lonely anymore as your shadow will either follow you or walk ahead of you and if you're really lucky,be one with you.

Hence, Happiness is being friends with yourself and chanting " Main khudki favourite hoon"  


Day 21: It has been years since I've visited Nicco Park. The roller coaster rides gave me such a thrill. It made me feel liberated, as if anything was possible. But each ride cost money. And money was always something that held me back from enjoying all the amazing rides. But today when I boarded the sparsely occupied E1 bus while returning from school,it seemed as if the driver had read my mind. He drove at such a speed with liberal jumps and jerks that I relived my childhood fantasy. At the end I was aghast at the ludicrous driving but secretly thrilled at how little things can make you smile. This is happiness. 

Happiness is watching 'Singin' in the rain' and aspiring to dance like those actors. Just wowed by their performance.

Happiness is giving yourself a new haircut...snip snip snap! 


Day 22: Scene: A regular classroom. Students,all tired and yawning, uninterested in what the teacher has to say. The teacher,on the other hand, encourages the daydreaming youth to critically analyze the wall magazine. Big words? Just say what you liked or didn't like about it. A few hands rise up.

The moment the conversation begins the mood of the class changes. The ones who contributed to the wall magazine are eager to hear how well their articles have been received. The rest try and explain the reasons behind their choices. And the stars are born. Budding poets,authors,artists.The nobody become 'some'bodies.

Being appreciated is definitely wonderful. Even when the criticism is negative, something positive can come out of it. We can always work on our shortcomings. I mean,life would be so boring if we were always perfect. Imperfection adds the spice...that's nice.

So,I hereby take the opportunity to thank all the lovely people who both hate and love my work.The pat on the back or that little colon and a 'closed' bracket 'opens' the floodgates of happiness for me 

Happiness is watching the pictures of a friend from college with her little bundle of joy. Gosh! We have come a long way since our 'chyablamo'days. She is a wonderful human being and I am certain that she'll be the best Mom to her li'l angel.Congratulaions Debarati Sengupta.May God bless you and your family. Always.


Day 23: Happiness is not always waking up with a Close-up smile.It is a journey towards contentment and reconciliation with the inevitable. 

I had been holding on to two little things for the past ten years of my life. One is my trunk that had been bought to me when I first came to Kolkata and the other my book rack,the one I had bought during my M.A. days in Phoolbagan. 

The two stood for the distinct phases of my maturity. While one encompassed all my dreams, trials and disappointments, the other shouldered my ambition, aspirations and trinkets from my lost self.
I had wished never to let them go. I had wished to move on with them all my life. After all, they were an integral reminder of my past,my beginnings.

However, one look at my space and everything looked cluttered. Physically and emotionally. How could I aspire to start anew if I held desperately on to the past? One person called them a 'liability', the unessentials, that I was foolishly not letting go.

But today I did let them go. I sold them off. Gave them away. Burned a chapter of my life.
All that's left now is the wisps of smoke and ashes. Yet am happy. For I am ready to create a beautiful tomorrow. I am free. The weight of yesterday has been lifted. For now. ....


Day 24: Hitting an all time low. Have you ever encountered days when you feel that the universe is conspiring against you? When all you do is branded as wrong? When you feel that nothing will be ever right again? Of course, you must have. And what do you do then? Complain.Cry. Curse your stars.
High-five! I did the same.
But this post came to me as a saving grace.
Somewhere in between those uncontrollable sobs and shooting pain in my heart, I searched for the silver lining. The mere thought of it was soothing.
I still believe in Karma. And am thankful for the chain of events that has helped me discover the reality. The illusory bubble that I had been dwelling in is finally pricked. So,happiness is embracing the reality and taking stock of situations.

Happiness is your loved ones trying to cheer you up. Nothing like a good family time.

Day 25: The earth is spinning on its axis as we speak. Spinning at a dizzying speed. Moving on its oblong path. On and on. The silence in the space is countered by the din of human life. Emotions drowned in the white noise.

It's strange. So strange. If one face of the earth receives light,the other is clothed in the dark. Such that all things spoken by us are only half-true. For when you say,"It's day now", at that exact moment a mother must be cradling her little one to sleep in some long forgotten part of the world.The multi-faceted monster. Truth.
Yet misunderstandings are born out of this very word for it is colored and spiced up to suit various purposes. Yet unfailingly all seek the Truth.

To me, happiness is not relying on the Truth, the absolute, but in nestling in the 'in-between'- the Middle Path. In a world of lukewarm sentiments and 'half-girlfriends', half-truth can be satisfying. At least,it allows you to live at peace. Better than turning into a misanthrope...


Day 26: Once upon a time there lived a student who was fairly good at recitation and drama. The opportunity to escape the monotony of text books excited her. She participated in several intra-school competitions.

Accolades only reinforced her dream, whetted her appetite for more. She yearned to participate in inter-school competitions too. This is where her parents stepped in. 'Good marks are more important than any stage business',they said. 'After all that is what will help you succeed in future'. No drama. No participation in such 'useless' enterprise. "Porasona kore je,gaari ghoda chaure shey"(In order to lead an accomplished life,one must study).

That child in me cried herself to sleep. For she knew her parents would never understand her undying love for stage. The dream was murdered in cold blood. Strangely no law in the land could offer protection against this.

Today when I saw my students enthusiastically participating in large numbers in the Horlicks Wizkids Competition 2014, I saw the ghost of that child, jumping in glee, never leaving my side. She knew that the times had changed. No child would suffer from a broken heart. Today parents realise the importance of extracurricular activities. Hence, they are no longer perceived as an added or an 'extra' means of educating a child. It is co-curricular, i.e.moulding the child to be humane and just not a literate homo sapien.

I had a vision of that child sitting wistfully at one corner of the auditorium, with tears streaming down her patchy cheeks. Her dream was not a dream anymore. It was a tangible reality. She was finally happy. 


Day 27: Her little eyes wandered across the stretch of the busy lane. She took in the familiar smell of the food rotting at the nearest corner, the sight of a mother treating her little one to an ice cream, the unceasing string of vehicles. She rubbed her dirty cheeks and took one quick look at her tattered frock that barely covered her body. She saw a group of giggling girls boarding a bus. How she wished to be...oh! was she bold enough to dream?

Next,she did what she had been taught as a toddler. Cup your hands, cast a sorry look, plead for alms. But just when she was ready to follow the drill, a litter of puppies caught her attention. The puppies were all set to play. They rolled in the dust,climbed atop each other while their mother watched them,bemused.

She knew exactly what she wanted to do. She forgot all about the drill and ran towards the pups. Initially, the pups tried to run away,scared, but the soft comforting sounds disarmed them. They gathered round the girl and licked her hands till she laughed and laughed.
While the girls in the bus chatted merrily, that little girl on the street felt no different.
A song had filled her heart too.....Now this is happiness...


Day 28: He is just another guy boarding the bus or on his bike. An average man by all means. Not one who you'll consider giving a second look. Yet the moment he strides into his office and takes his seat behind the teller's counter with flair, you know that this man is different. From old to young,the common men look at him in anticipation. He has the power to get the money into our accounts. And everybody addresses him 'Sir'. Not out of admiration but out of the necessity not to annoy him. If he is not in the mood, he'll hold up the queue. You may shout, you may grumble. But you'll still stand powerless before him. That is the power of a public servant.

Think of the bus conductors and drivers in Kolkata now. In a city which follows the rule of arm i.e. you stretch that hairy arm, non- hairy arm, black arm, white arm, no arm, the bus is sure to make a halt. But who decides where to stop? The bus conductors mostly. Who asks the driver to speed up or slow down with the liberal string of abuses? Our very own "kaandaktaar dada". This is power.

Power cannot be bought. It needs to be earned. Every person in the society is empowered in his own little way. We don't need to hold big positions in our work field to make a difference. The toddler in his cradle weilds power too. When he cries, the house members run helter skelter to look for ways to appease him. He silently makes them ready for a set of compromises. His wish is the parents' command.

Happiness is the realisation that the power to make changes lies within you. It is not in the hands of God who is generally assigned the responsibility of shaping destinies. Each is powerful in her own way. So it's time we acknowledge it, and use it wisely....


Day 29: God knows how many times I have lied at social gatherings when asked about my favourite dish. Even my dabbawallah refuses to cater to my request stating that the others won't like it.

I'm in love with khichdi. Have been in love with it since that particular rainy afternoon, when it was served hot by Dida. Since then I have longed for this yellow porridge solely. Served with papad and alu bhaja, my day is made.
But my lack of culinary skills makes me dependent on others. You should see how people smother a laughter when I express my love for this delicacy. "Khichdi? Are you serious? It's food for the sick." Sigh! I have stood in queues of puja bhogs only to taste a plateful of heaven. Every time it rains I look puppy-eyed at my dabbawallah and every time he scoffs at the idea or worse, makes a disaster of it.

Somehow I guess this time my prayer reached the ears of my favourite God. As soon as he was done celebrating his Day on earth, he sent in my prayer-papers to the office of Lakshmi to calculate the costs and via a Devdut, my dabbawallah was instructed to do the needful.
Result? Saturday night was khichdi night. I folded my hands piously and thanked the Lord.Jai Ganesh!

Happiness is staring wide eyed at all those titles at British Council Library and wondering if I'll ever manage to read them all. There's so much to read, so much more to learn every second of our lives. Our lives are enriched by what we do and not by what we daydream about. So, I borrowed a book and made my start on the road to knowledge.


Day 30: It was that day of the year again when the Pisces in me was fully awake. The morning was overcast with a hint of grey today. Not the usual flood of strong light that awakened my stupefied senses. My mind urged me to go outside,cast away the mundane work and do something worthwhile. Watch a movie, may be. But just as I was about to give in to sweet temptation, my pragmatic self took charge and shook me up from inside. I have been procrastinating this work for quite sometime now. Can't hold it up any further. More so, I've a reputation to maintain.

The fish in me swam up to the shores only to dive deep inside. It rained intermittently. A strong breeze now and then broke into my room and ruffled the sheets of paper. No, I had made up my mind. Work is worship. As soon as evening set in, my pragmatic self allowed me to take a break. After all, she was pleased with my progress. As usual, I decided to go on a walk. Need to stay fit to keep lethargy at bay.

And that spelt my doom. I let the wind mess up my hair. I let the rain drench my heart. I let the potholed road lead me nowhere. I felt a sense of calm. I was Nature. My mind had been cleared of all doubts. My pragmatic self had been locked up by the dreamer in me. I simply wanted to walk on and on and never feel baffled by earthly desires again.

Once a friend had shared her deepest desire with me. She wanted to stop the traffic and dance on a Bollywood number. Crazy,huh! All of us had laughed at the impracticality of her dream. Yet now I understood the thought behind it. Today as I was washed away by the steady downpour, I wanted to write. Write on something...anything at all. Write and love and write again till all the ills were purged.

And then I entered my room. My work glowered back at me, hurt at my indifference. With a deep sigh, I took up the pen...not to free myself but to get holed up again. This is the discombobulating life that we all lead. Reality can be escaped but never be ignored.

"I have miles to go before I sleep"


Day 31: With neatly parted hair, he looked at the mirror again. His uniform was ironed, spotless. It smelt of detergent. His shoes shone black. He checked his bag once again. Tiffin? Check. Water bottle? Check. Homework copies? Check. His mind was riddled with algebra. He had a test in the first period. "I wish my teacher were absent." He muttered the small prayer like a mantra. Honk,honk! It was time to leave. He carried his backpack and locked the door behind him. As he handed over the keys to his mother, she smiled and said," Hey,Champ! Ready for school ?"He smiled. He liked it when his mother called him Champ. He sat behind her on the scooter. Wearing his helmet, he put his arms around her. They vroomed away happily, chasing the wandering cloud.....This is happiness.......


Day 33: There is a rhythm, a passion, a madness in how she dances. She glides across the stage like a dream. Her smile is the ecstasy she feels. Her verve is infectious. She sways and glides and lives the beat as the music reaches its climax. She is a fire that sets ablaze everything she touches. An absolute visual delight. She scarcely does realise that as she is liberated at one small corner of her bedroom, her parents discuss her future - for her report card is out. She has failed... Yet she stands victorious, dripping in sweat, ready to be applauded by the esteemed guests that afternoon, a host of stuffed animals....Isn't this happiness?...


Day 34: The song on the neighbour's t.v wafted into her room. She knew it was morning. The 'another' same day. Her maid servant was due to arrive in an hour. It gave her enough time to enjoy a quiet cup of tea by the balcony. The sun was always so comfortable until it shone with vengeance as minutes ticked away. Her husband was still asleep. She hadn't taken retirement this well. She missed being busy.Missed the chalk dust on her saree. Missed her red pen. Missed interacting. She didn't talk much now. She didn't need to.

But as she got ready to prepare her Darjeeling tea, she heard the swish of the newspaper slide inside her house. That unmistakable sound. A welcome sound. She put on her glasses with her wrinkled hands. She took one look at the date and her heart skipped a beat. September 5.

As the aroma of the hot beverage filled her senses, a zillion memories swirled through her mind.

For those few seconds she was twenty eight again. In her school. Her workplace. Amidst glowing young faces. Wishing her a Happy Teachers' Day.Complimenting her. Making her feel special. Nobody had made her feel this special before. Had she really affected so many lives?
She was amazed. Moved. Thrilled.

She kept aside her tea cup. Removed her glasses. Went back to the bedroom, and opened her cupboard. There it was. In one special corner. The handmade cards which read 'Best teacher ever'. Strange how simple words can make you cry...The sun was finally up and she was happy again. She let the tear fall on that card. Once a teacher, always a teacher...


Day 35: "...I know that you'll bring me down. Bring me down with your over enhanced vocabulary. With your literary allusions. With all your angst punctuated by strategic pauses. I am your only consolation in grief, ain't I ? 

Do you think this will help you? Help you attain peace of mind? Help you to lessen the pain you feel? No...don't do that.
Look, I am ordinary. Average by definition. I was made to serve Peace and not spark off silly squabbles.Why treat me such? Why make me bleed?
Why don't you just ease up a little, let go that rage and come back when your senses are not slashed by those scathing words?..." said the Pen to its Master.

The mere mortal, being freshly soaked in the wisdom of the blessed Pen, took a stroll outside, only to return glad and contented. She sat down to share her happiness with the world.
Pen smiled as it knew that this wasn't just pent up feelings. This was mirth setting aglow distant horizons.
And it scribbled away...let itself bleed to see her eyes sparkle....


Day 36: When do you know that this is it? That life-altering moment when everything changes for the better? Bollywood has corrupted my senses into believing that such moments will be accompanied by some background scores or better still, everything will fall silent, and that defining moment will unfold in slo-mo. That's fantastic but hardly real. 

When I first met this handsome man outside Pantaloons for the very first time,little did I know that he was the one. When I first stepped into my first class of B.Ed, I didn't know if I had it in me to be a good teacher. So how did I know? How do we recognise 'the voice', our calling? The world around is chaotic. There's too much of noise. Too much of talk. Too many choices. But I guess, things always work out in our favour if we are earnest in our desires. It is this strength, this determination that finally paves the way to the 'this is it' moment.

Today as I am inches away from taking another big decision of my life, I wonder if this is it. It is a risk, a challenge I am meant to accept. Am I ready? Am I up for it? What if I fail?
So,happiness is staring into the eyes of Life and saying...The Game is on..


Day 37: So you are mad.

Really, really mad at yourself. At the world, at society, at humanity at large! What do you do? 
Scream, jump, eat chocolates and kill yourself? 
Or write a bad poem, a bad blog?? 
Yesterday I decided to do nothing. Absolutely nothing about it. 
Anger doesn't need to be controlled everytime. 
At times it can be a driving force and can help you see the real purpose of your life.
I let this anger consume my soul, eat away my heart...yes, I would change, be ruthless. Might is right. I don't need the world...Nobody cares...and then..boom!
I ran into this friend from college and her sister. My Anger was confused to see my heart taking over and stretching my lips into a wide smile. We chatted for about three minutes at the most. Those were the best three minutes of my life.
Once I turned and walked on, I realised what a fool I had been all this while. Can anger ever heal? No. Can anger bring peace of mind? No. The 'drive' is fuelled by vengeance, and vengeance has never done anybody good.
I came back home. Took a last look at Anger and tossed it into the bin. Will not need that for a long time now. Am awesome just the way I am. Happiness is welcoming my old self back...Hello Me! ...


Day 38: The tap had run dry. She was standing at the end of the queue. 'No water. No food' echoed through her little head covered by dirty, tangled brown hair. Her little brother tugged at her skirt. "Didi, chalo na!" It was just another day.She looked around at the querulous older women abusing one another, cursing their fate, taking the name of God, pleading for mercy. God. She muttered the words under her breath. Her one time friend. Now her sworn enemy.

As she walked away from the smelly bodies, she took the hand of the little one. She recalled how it was only a year back that her mother had passed away, burning in fever. She had been wearing her favourite red ribbon that day. She had even tried selling it off but who would buy a ribbon? She had wept at the altar of God. Her Ma had said that God looks after us. Then why won't he cure Ma? Why does he want to take her away?

Knee-deep in her thoughts she scarcely realised that her little brother had slipped away. He was running far ahead of her, singing a song that he had picked up from somewhere. Life was cruel but what did he care?

"Didi dekh...paani paani.." He pointed at the water flowing down the gutter. Black, ridden with the decomposed leftovers of the wealthy. Yes, that's what God leaves for them to thrive on. The gutter. She couldn't control that pain shooting up her heart. A tear rolled down her dense black eyes. And then something happened.


A distant rumble was heard. The sky grew dark as dull grey clouds assembled out of nowhere. The hot air was pushed away by a cool wind. The bucket that she had been holding in her hand dropped on the dusty ground.And then...she felt something fall on her head. Lightly at first, slowly picking up pace. The qurarrels had ceased as every inch of the land was drenched in its rhythmic beat. A new sound had emerged. The sound of a victorious fleet.

Her brother started dancing. " Paani, Paani...kitta paani..."

She stood there. Silent. Bewildered. Amused. Should she thank God? Or was she still 'katti'? But as her brother took her by the hand and entered into another celebratory jig, she sighed and whispered to herself, "Chal maaf kiya."....


Day 39: How she hated falling sick! It was as if her life was slowly draining out with every breath that she sucked in with great difficulty. She had always loved her fast life. Party. Shopping. Chilling out. Yes. That's what life is all about, isn't it? Popularity, good looks, she had it all. The most sought after person in her college, the life of all parties off campus. Her seniors even took fashion advice from her. How cool was that! And yet now she was lying on her princess bed. Running a high temperature. Alone.

She had a hundred friends on Facebook, eighty on her phonebook but she had none to discuss her illness with. Her best pal had been catty sometime back, rekindling ties with her ex-flame. Her next bestie was at a reunion party, posting selfies and tags stating how she missed her. Awww ...

Huh! Her eyes were red. Her skin looked patchy in the mirror hanging opposite her bed. Her hair was sticky with sweat. She looked haggard. Old. The sickness was unveiling her hideous self. How she hated it! Hated the reality of her life. That she was alone. All alone.

She stared at her smartphone and gazed at the messages. "Get well soon,dear"...blah blah. All the same. Empty...empty words. She knew it. She had done the same to others before. She hated it even more.

Yup. She was sick. This sickness was getting her emotionally fuzzy. So, she pulled herself up and did what all ill girls should do.
" Hey guys, down wid fevr..(sad face smiley) Miss me @Reunion??" .... and click and post.
The message was up for the uncaring world. A final attempt at sympathy.

While she coughed and sneezed, somebody pawed in through the door. He leapt up on the bed and cuddled right under her hand. He had not been sick yet felt neglected all this while. His friend was so busy partying and socialising that she had hardly realised his happy tail welcoming her into the house with a happy 'woof'. He was undergoing a lonely phase too. And now she was sick. Wouldn't be out of house for sometime. Blessing in disguise. His playmate was back! At least for some time. He gently licked her palms, till she giggled and took her eyes off her smartphone. The reunion was complete.

Meanwhile, her status had received 50 likes and 20 comments. "Sry wl sn ." The notification sound was drowned in the loud joyful woofs mixed with a hearty laugh. 


Day 40: A fat and ugly girl took one quick glance at the three mirrors in the trial room. The dress was too tight. Too uncomfortable. It brought out the worst in her. That thick mass of flesh bursting out of the satin was indeed laughable. She was short and round like a drum. Her freckled face did nothing to accentuate her looks. She twirled as she heard the restless shuffle of feet outside. She was holding up the queue. Yet this was her inner sanctum where she could introspect at peace.Her diet had clearly not worked out. Damn the advertisements! They'd made such tall claims. She stared at herself. Wide eyed. Fat and hence,ugly. That's how she was known. Her name was forgotten. What was it? Maitreyee, Srinjana or Roopkatha? She could be anybody and a nobody. In that moment she certainly felt so dwarfed, so puny. Her self esteem was shattered, all set to grovel in the dust.

Why couldn't she administer self control? Why couldn't she be metabolically blessed? Why did the puchkas beckon her? Why was she led astray by her sweet tooth? She had a zillion questions with no answers. "It's your destiny to be fat", sermonised the sage-like elderly at home. "Things will change for the better when the time is right." Destiny. Destiny. Destiny. The one to blame when nothing works right. 'Mera number kab aayega?' was the only question that riddled her mind. This caterpillar wanted its time under the sun. Earnestly and desperately.

She got off the outfit with great difficulty. Changed back into her old clothes that welcomed her back with the same old familiar smell. There was this faint fragrance of deodrant which she had liberally sprayed a couple of hours back. Then there was the musky sweat that she wore due to long hours of travel. Both mingled as lovers intertwined in long embraces.

The smell that finally awakened her senses was a unique one. It snapped her out of her reverie. It was the smell of her toil, her dreams. It was the smell of her laboured efforts on the treadmill. It was the smell of flowers that had been gifted to her by her baby girl. It was the smell of the meal she had cooked for her family. It was the smell of countless memories, countless desires. It was 'her' smell that completed her identity.

She dropped the dress into the basket outside, flung the side-purse on her shoulders and took confident strides. People made way as she passed. She had been correctly nicknamed the Queen.
She rejected the dress for it had failed to match the lovely blue of her eyes. It was fit for the lifeless mannequins alone, she said to the inquisitive salesman. It wasn't meant for the living.

She turned and strode towards another counter. Ready to try her luck and challenge her destiny... 


Day 42: Who do we trust when educated people unleash violence and terror?
What do we do when justice is denied?
When Law and Order becomes politically coloured, is it possible to remain indifferent? How long do we shut our eyes? When do we stop hiding behind closed doors? How long do we live in fear and dread?

You hit me
I will rise again
You knock me down
I'll not succumb
I am not I but the strength of WE
And We will not take it easy
Silence will be broken
A stand will be taken
The wrong will be forsaken
To prove that we're human.

Happiness is keeping alive the spirit to rebel against the wrong...Fight back Kolkata..


Bleeding and exhausted, she lay at one corner of the campus. Her shirt had been ripped off in places. A guitar lay broken, strings pulled out, crushed. The songs were muted. The lips were slashed. It was the kind of fear she had never experienced before. The horror swimmed in her eyes.

She thought about what her parents would say or how her responsible friend would react. 'We are respectable people. Ordinary men. Why get dragged in such affairs? Do your classes and come back. Keep out of their business.'

Peace seemed as vacant and shallow as a blank piece of paper. She heard a few cries and shouts, indistinct and distant. Few books lay scattered beside pools of blood. They were students...the flag bearers of a glorious nation.

And then she felt a fire burn. The flames set ablaze her sinking heart. She rose to her feet with great difficulty. No, she wouldn't let them get away. She wouldn't turn her back and flee. She had to continue with the fight. This was just the beginning.

This time the fire rises.

(In solidarity with the students of Jadavpur University)


Day 43: She was obsessed with big words. Anger was never anger but being tempestuous, livid, truculent. She was peeved and vexed and not annoyed. In smithereens by the tartness of the observations loaded with vitriol. On cloud nine, exuberant in joy. Vivacious and animated. Rarely lackadaisical.

To her everything was to be viewed in terms of symbols and metaphors. Every colour, every emotion had a deep underlying meaning. So a Word ceased to mean the obvious but chiefly implied the unsaid. The rigmaroles of such challenging existence excited her. Every bit of the world had a story to share. Her pen captured the sentiments of both a lonely kite and a group in agitation. She could rarely keep it simple. She raised everything to an epic-scale. Treated the trivial with profound importance. Everything meant something...something beyond ordinary, something exceptional. Magical. Fantastic.

On the other hand, her single mother came back home, tired and drenched in sweat after the long bus trip. Her cotton saree clung to her frail frame. A few cheap bangles adorned her right hand. The battery of her wristwatch had to be changed.

Her life was simple.
Job= Paycheck at the end of the month =Fulfilment of daughter's dreams.
No frills. No thrills.
Short. Simple. Real.
The end......

(Happiness is thus the coexistence of the real and the unreal. None can survive without the other.)



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