Sunday, June 19, 2011

that house does not stand anymore.
the house that smelt of water boiling over wood, that had a dark kitchen with very tall shelves.
i remember tall jars of papery, round sohan papdi stacked in a row and this woman who fed them to me. i remember her sari's end that went all over my face in order to wipe out the sticky threads of the sweet.
her sari smelt of the day's lunch. and a little bit of the breakfast.
her hair was bundled up in a tight bun and i, a girl of six or seven, stared at the amount of hair she had.
hardly shampooed, seldom oiled. washed, dried, tied up. sometimes combed.
the hair was cut to the shoulder by my mother one afternoon when she couldn't take its weight anymore. there was a newspaper spread across the floor that filled up with hair. thick strands of black hair.her hairline reached her shoulders and ended at her temples.
i began to miss the big smear of vermillion on her forehead, she did too. but never mentioned.
she missed my pishi, who died some ten years back and my jethu whose dead body she never saw through the bomb blast rubble.
she didnt cry for them. not in front of us.
there were these days recently when she did cry taking their names. and a few days after that she died talking, asking her attendant to call her sons and daughters. people noted how in her last years, she began to look like her brothers.
a fight that spanned over decades, across countries finally ended with that inexplicable, nauseatingly sweet smell of flowers mixed with that of incense, room freshener and ogoru.
Rest In Peace, Amma.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Megh peon er bag-er bhetor monkharaper deesta…

(The cloud postman’s bag is full of sad papers…)

This was what I was listening to when it finally rained today. Life loves a laugh.

Rains are very good storytellers.

They tell me very old stories of running around in uniform around the school field. I feel a weird tingle of joy rush up to my head that makes me want to keep turning in giddy circles. I feel the wetness of the thin white cloth on my back as the air fills up with screams of giggly, running school girls who were in too much of a hurry to grow up.

At times, they tell me of a boy and a girl sitting at a bus stop. The lanes in my head fill up with roadside puddles as the girl’s sandals get muddy with the muck reckless taxis splash on her feet. For those twenty minutes it doesn’t matter that her feet turn a dirty shade of brown, or that they don’t have money for a cab. The boy rummages through his pocket and takes out a soggy handkerchief and the girl smiles and refuses to wipe her feet with it. He probably decides that when he grows up he’d make sure that this girl never has to take a cab, or wait for buses with dirty wet feet. Water droplets run down their hair but for those twenty minutes, it didn’t matter that they’d catch a cold or that their bus had broken down somewhere in its route-far away from their muddy potholed bus stop.

I hear of a woman who remembered how her husband used to silently wipe a tear in movie halls, how he sniffed at some music. Maybe it rained one of those afternoons when the vinyl screen flickered and he sniffed silently so that she wouldn’t know, and when she stole a look at him sniffing and faintly smiled to herself. Maybe it got very difficult to get a cab back home that evening.

Rains always paint me a watercolour of a very old story-hurriedly scribbled and hidden away in some moth-eaten, dog eared diary. Rains make me wish that they weren’t in so much of a hurry to grow up.