Thursday, August 20, 2020

Luckily I...

 August 20-2020/ Blog #3

I would have found it so difficult 

to remember all 

I knew…

When it rains, she loves the ripple in calm water.

It was simply a special moment to see her celebrate that ripple.

I stood…

At a distance, staring at him.

Even at the age of sixty, he stood there.

Tall, unbent, youthful.

Eyes shut, hands folded; offering prayers to Goddess Durga.

I waited…

For her to grab the colored pencils.

Joy was written all over her face.

She knew she had to follow no rules.

She released all the colored pencils on a blank white sheet.

Since she didn’t have any form on her mind; she scribbled.

It took her exactly ten minutes to turn the blank white sheet into a festival of colours.

I saw…

He had just lit the cigarette.

His first two attempts weren’t successful.

From the third puff, he started releasing white and thick rings of smoke.

There was no going back for him.

Through every puff of his, he was now the Lord of the smoky rings.

I witnessed…

Her evolution.

She had stepped out of the western attire.

The red bordered Bengali silk made her look like a queen.

Absolutely picture perfect; she shone like gold.

My heart prompted… Behold, behold, behold.

I heard…

Three of them chasing a lonely soul.

The competition was stiff.

All of them wanted to grab her attention.

But she would grant access only to one.

The chase ended; the commotion ended.

She escaped from their clutches, leaving them feeling absolutely defeated.

I sensed…

Every single breath of hers.

We had erased all distances long back.

Right now we were caught in an undefined moment.

The memory of which, we shall cherish for a lifetime.

I tasted…

Hot and spicy. 

Served in a steel bowl.

Garnished with fresh coriander.

Festooned with chopped onion.

My tongue flip flopped.

Nothing had been tastier than this one.

I would have found it so difficult to remember all the above things.

But luckily I CLICKED with my camera.

In the form of photographs, each of the above stories will continue being with me.

(*My ode to World Photography Day-August 19,2020)

-Virtuous Vociferous/ What If/ 2020

Thursday, August 13, 2020

The night and the conversation

 August 13-2020/ Blog #2

The conversation, I wish to have with the night 

is about this love, this longing and the unknown rhythm

I wish to have a deep conversation with the night.

Because I am in love with its silence.

Also I guess my relationship with nights is deeply emotional.

In no other way am I trying to say that my camaraderie with days isn’t enjoyable.

Just that I find the night to be a little more compassionate and a lot more understanding.

I know I might have begun writing by saying - I wish to have a deep conversation with the night.

I am sure I have left this night and the few other nights a little amused with this statement.

Even though I cherish their company. For the last few nights, sleep has been my constant partner.

Yes at times, I have ignored the miracles of a good night’s sleep.

Yet, not so unknowingly I got to discover them and continue to reap their benefits.

And while I write this, I am thinking about those nights, with which I conversed nothing.

But today since morning, I was sure of having atleast a word or two with night - my most favorite friend of all times.

So, what is the deep conversation between us (between the night and me).

The conversation has commenced on a good note of love.

The night is of the opinion that we haven’t spoken anything about our love lives for long.

I love to see the way the night is trying to put forward an animated account of the intimate moment it spent with the Full Moon; just a week back.

The night knows I am a keen listener.

Immediately after, the night is done with its own share of conversations, it will politely request me to begin with mine.

I too wish to begin with my account of the love I feel when I come across it - the night.

This love story carries its own romantic vibe; I don’t think so it is possible to feel this vibe by only staying widely awake till late. At times, the vibe can be felt by simply reminiscing. 

But I would say, it is my personal opinion. 

If I come across any other lover of the night, he may share a completely different opinion.

The fun part about this entire circle of love remains unchanged…

The conversation, I wish to have with the night is about this love, this longing and the unknown rhythm to which we groove to...just like addicts of a tribal dance form.

Nights are an addiction. There isn’t a single night, which I might have felt less addicted to.

Every night has come my way in the shape of a poem or in the attire of a prose.

Every night has left me rich with multiple conversations around it.

This night is one such night.

The conversation is still in progress. When do I see the possibility of ending this conversation? I don’t think so, it will end so simply tonight. This conversation is going to continue for some more nights.

I would like to add that there is another reason as to why this conversation won’t end so suddenly. Every night is special. Every night is different. The conversation, which I am having right now with the night may not be the same for tomorrow night.

Even though I don’t know, I may be in a mood to have an altogether different conversation with the night, which will take another twenty four hours to come my way.

Till then… the conversation with this night shall continue.

-Virtuous Vociferous/ What If/ 2020/ 12.11 AM

Thursday, August 06, 2020

As a writer in the Freedom Month

Notes from 2016

August 06-2020/ Blog #1

I am wondering 

as to when I’ve enjoyed 

writing the most.

At times, I feel good to introduce myself as a Writer.

Writer by itself doesn’t sound like a designation.

It is a title. A title not necessarily bestowed. But an earned title.

A title, which is so close to my heart and (maybe) to the hearts of those, who know me as a writer.

I do get asked:

Are you a writer?

What do you write about?

Why don’t you write love stories?

How about trying your hands at writing a movie script?

Have you considered writing a web series?

When will you experiment with something sensuous?

Do you write porn?

After that first book how long should we wait for your second book?

What does it take to become a writer?

Which writer inspires you the most?

I don’t deem it necessary to answer all of them.

I think I am content with the fact that I am a writer.

Some might also argue that they don’t get to see much of my writings. 

I’ve never disagreed. Maybe because I am not in a mood to make everything too apparent or visible to everybody.

So here I am, the so-called Writer.

Thinking about myself and writing a little part about myself by being myself.

As a writer in the Freedom Month, I am wondering as to when I’ve enjoyed writing the most.

Naturally I’ve enjoyed writing the most when I have felt free; free of prejudice, free of malice, free of botheration. 

But then someone will again argue - Writing comes from within; it doesn’t need a day, a date or a time for something to evolve. I would again not disagree.

As a writer in the Freedom Month, I would only wish that the freedom to write is never taken away from me.

-Virtuous Vociferous/ What If/ 2020

Thursday, July 02, 2020

July’s rain-less beginning

Photography by Purnesh Bhattacharya

July 02-2020/ Blog #1

It is not my nature
to complain against
Mother Nature.

Turning a new leaf of the calendar; stepping into the new month; breathing in a new aroma; it is time to embark on a new journey. No, if you think, I am going to step out; it isn’t practically possible or advisable at this moment. We have to practice patience for the good times to make a comeback. The agents of change are working towards it. Let’s have some faith. Let’s strengthen our belief.

July’s advent at this moment seems a bit odd though. If you’re in Mumbai right now, you should be knowing that July is one of those months when the clouds are in good mood. But this time, the clouds seem to have proceeded on an undeclared holiday. The skies are clean. This morning, we did see some clouds hovering around. But like a misled fleet of birds, they left almost immediately. The atmosphere somehow continued being fragrant. This fragrance seemed to have traveled our way from a distant place.

At this juncture, I would like to say, I had really wanted to begin writing this piece by seeking your attention and mentioning Greetings of July. We can still wish the same to each other; isn’t it? Greetings of July. Why should we leave the month feeling discriminated just because the first signs of a healthy monsoon are fading out fast! Let’s leave it to Mother Nature. She might have her own plans to organize the entry and exit of clouds. I hope when the clouds come next, they take a pause for some while. They can simply spend quality time with the skies, which spread over our city.

Our city comes alive in rains; I have been witnessing this phenomenon for the last four decades. Wouldn’t you like to see it come alive yet again? In fact, few days back when a storm had developed on the western coast, I had pulled out an umbrella. I had also sought the assistance of a friend to cover certain parts of our home’s exteriors with the blue colored plastic sheets. Our only goal was to protect those certain parts from leaking.

Speaking about leakage, mom and I sat discussing those days of our lives, we spent in heavily leaking homes. We would not dread the monsoons; but, we would certainly dread the repercussions of rains. You may also laugh at me, while I confess that I still see those homes in my dreams. Even in dreams, I see them leak, a lot more profusely. The leakage was rampant during this particular month of heavy downpours; the month of July. Now, here’s this July. We are waking up to sunshine every morning; bright and happy sunshine. Am I complaining against the sunshine? No, it is not my nature to complain against Mother Nature. I am just wondering, if we are missing the rains or the rains have given our city a miss. This prolonged phase of cloudless skies and rain-less surroundings leaves the heart wrenched. Since we are still inside our homes; just imagine staring out of the window to catch a glimpse of the rains and its unmistakable melody.

The month of July as we have known it throughout our lives has always packed a surprise. Maybe the July of 2020 too has some surprises in store for us. So, as I reach the last part of this post, I am staring out of the window. Our gallery is looking brighter; not because of the sunshine alone! The picturesque bloom of fresh marigolds has changed the otherwise somber mood. Just like the marigolds keep coming back to make us smile; this month of July shall also return to its full bloom. The clouds would return; so would the rains. Till then, let’s celebrate July and be happy about turning another leaf of our lives.

- Virtuous Vociferous | What If | 2020

Tuesday, June 30, 2020

The last six months and the next six months

Picture courtesy: Google
It is time to start writing
the story of the
next six months.

It is 1 A.M when I start writing this. By the time I finish writing this, the time might have changed.

But does time really change? Or we use it as a metaphor to talk about the changes, which keep taking place in our life and in the lives of others. Just think about it.
By the time you start thinking, you will realize that there’s a change in the date and in the day.

It is June 30th. The last day of this month, which also marks the completion of the last six months or the first six months of 2020.

You might now say, ‘Time flies’. Should I then ask, ‘Does time really fly?’

Please don’t mind my questions. I am not questioning you alone. I question myself too. In the last six months, I’ve questioned myself more than I’ve questioned anyone else ever. Did I find answers to my questions? I haven’t; at least not in the last six months. Now, if you ask me about the next six months. I may just remain quiet. Or I may speak plenty. You might then ask me to simply Shut up. I won’t mind being reprimanded.

Would you mind, if I tell you, January 1st arrived in style. It was a good beginning, isn’t it? Yes, it was. At least I ushered in the New Year in style; hugging, singing, celebrating and of course with a glass of fine wine. The food was cooked with so much love; the memory of its delectable taste hasn’t faded. Going by my fondness for food, I am not going to let it fade either.

Then came February and that quick trip to Kolkata. Accompanied by most loved friends, the joy of being at the Book Fair grew manifold. We went sightseeing, shopping, tram hopping, bus hopping, train hopping. In March, the road trip to Aurangabad again turned out to be exceptional. So much happiness in the first three months; all of which, if transliterated would earn the status of being magnificent.

Unaware of a fast approaching crisis; still footloose and free; in a mood to explore, we were on one-of-its-kind of a joyride. By mid of March, everything changed. The change continues. Some of my friends, family members and loved ones said, ‘Times have changed’. I asked them that question again, ‘Does time really change?

Of course, they said. They went on to say, ‘Time has changed for us. Time has changed for the world. Time will change for you.’ But, I as ask again, ‘Is time changing or is it us changing?

This debate won’t end so soon. This debate has been going on for the last six months. In the next six months, this debate might grow fatter with a new layer of interpretation. But I am interested in knowing, if I will ever stop being in question!

So, it is June 30th. The pandemic hasn’t shown any signs of retreat. The lockdown rules have been reinstated; the vaccines are still being tested in labs; nothing seems to be at as much risk as our level of patience.

We are done with the story of last six months. It is time to start writing the story of the next six months. Some words have already come flying our way - #NewNormal, #StayHomeStaySafe, #LockdownDiaries, #BeSelfReliant, #TameTheDragon, #BeThereForSomeone. There will be newer words. There will be newer thoughts. And there will be a new time? I will be there, asking a new question – Is there anything of that sort called New Time?

So, till you start engineering a reply or orchestrating an answer; let me go ahead and publish this post. Because June 30 will be with us and we will be with it, only for a day. It will take another 365 days to meet the next June 30 (provided 2020 ends on a good note and 2021 promises Good Life).

- Virtuous Vociferous | June 30 | June Blog-2 | What If | 2020

Monday, June 08, 2020

What is the next new thing?

A perception of the outer world on my soft board.
The theme for this whole month is ... WHAT IS THE NEXT NEW THING?
Words: Michelle Obama, BECOMING documentary, Netflix
Art and Photography by: Purnesh Bhattacharya

2020 is a horror story
with surprises
beyond imagination.

When I posted this question on my Instagram update titled ‘NEXT NEW’ on my handle @instapuruinsta, my friend Camelia didn’t waste a second to reply somewhat this way:

The idea of what is in store for us this year is so terrible that I don’t want to know. 2020 is a horror story with surprises beyond imagination.

So true. There has been no dearth of surprises ever since we welcomed the New Year with the magical numbers of 2020. So does this year stand as the year we didn’t expect, imagine or foresee? Replies and interpretations will always stand mixed in their own sphere.

The question (WHAT IS THE NEXT NEW THING?), I pose in here is not of my own. I discovered this question in the 2020 documentary ‘BECOMING’ aired on Netflix this year. The documentary is an intimate journey of Michelle Obama's life, hopes and connection with others during her tours to promote her book of the same name ‘BECOMING’. The question arises and fades out in a flash. During one of the many interviews featured in the documentary, Michelle Obama is seeing musing over a question, which she modulates and repeats in her own signature voice – What is the next new thing? Since then, the thought within the question has stayed with me.

I kept asking myself the same question: WHAT IS THE NEXT NEW THING?

Consider the tough times we are surviving through and ask that question again: What is the next new thing?

Some words, some replies might automatically start floating in your mind.
  •         A life, a little more mundane maybe
  •         Lockdown after lockdown and some more days of lockdown
  •         Louder debates and very less news
  •         Bigger blames, shorter claims

I don’t think so anyone of us has a definitive reply to that question, which may also start sounding sickening at times: What is the next new thing?

The next new thing; we may have to think twice before hugging, embracing, kissing our beloved. The next new thing; smiles, expressions, emotions will continue staying hidden behind masks. The next new thing; travel will feature as the last item in the to-do lists of our things.

As restrictions are being eased, curfew hours are relaxed and the idea of freedom is renewed in twenty first century, we are found staring at a bleak portrait. Sometimes termed propaganda; sometimes hailed as achievement, this portrait is drenched in colors of discouragement. The sources of encouragement, inspiration and motivation also seems to have locked themselves behind doors, which have now started jamming.

Summers’ time is up. The new season of monsoon isn’t too far from knocking our doors. The umbrellas will be out and so will be new numbers of sufferers, new numbers of detected, new numbers of mortality and new numbers of recoveries.

As I conclude this blog post in here, I wish to ask myself this question again: WHAT IS THE NEXT NEW THING? I hope till the next time, I write again, we will be having a definitive reply, an encouraging answer to this question. Till then we have to take our health a little more seriously and may have to continue chanting - #StayHomeStaySafe.

- Virtuous Vociferous | June 08 | June Blog-1 | What If | 2020

Tuesday, May 26, 2020

A summer so different

Courtesy: Google

This summer
is definitely different
by all means.

It is tough to love summers! No matter how long you stay locked indoors, it is still tough to love summers. And no two summers are comparable. No two summers can be hotter or less hot than the other. No two summers can be more pleasant or less unpleasant than the other. Summers or in that case, every weather is unique by nature. But what about the SUMMER OF 2020. Well, what about it? Simply a memory maybe! Of having stayed indoors throughout the summer of 2020.

Summers; all of us will unanimously agree; no summer sounds as poetic as Bryan Adams had made it sound in his all-time hot song - SUMMER OF 69. He had sung and I quote:
Oh, when I look back now
That summer seemed to last forever
And if I had the choice
Yeah, I'd always wanna be there
Those were the best days of my life

How memorable that summer could have been to inspire an entire song of such intoxicating nature!

Maybe one year down the line, we would look back to this SUMMER OF 2020. By the same time, next year, we should hope that things would be fine; life would be great; travel would be colorful. And we might sing… That summer seemed to last forever; but those days were not the best days of our lives.

This summer is definitely different by all means. No news channel is reporting deaths due to sun stroke. But there are deaths being reported due to a pandemic. A pandemic which shattered a part of our winter, a major part of our spring and now has almost spoiled our entire summer. Airports are lying empty, railway platforms look lifeless, roads wear an abandoned look. Who knew that in the year of 2020; there will be no summer vacations; there will be no summer picnics; there will be no summer escapade to the hill stations; there will be no quick summer breaks by the seaside!

We didn’t dread any of the summers. We braved the odds. Many a times, our skins have turned red, infections have taken over, sweat has turned sticky and throats have run thirsty. Yet, we never wished to miss out on those summers as well. But we are left with no choice; it seems like we have to give this summer a miss.

Mangoes have gone live. Watermelons are trending. Bananas are being shared and mentioned. Yet the fun of eating them during this summer seems to have gone missing. We can only expect the fun to return next year. Hope is our only umbrella. Let us seek some shelter beneath it. Let us enjoy whatever is remaining of this summer; if not being outdoors, at least being indoors!

Maybe ten years down the line, when we would be seated in some corner of the world, we would look back to this summer and take a long breath. We will shut our eyes, think of the tough times and then get back to life to narrate that one story of a summer… A SUMMER SO DIFFERENT.

- Virtuous Vociferous | May 26 | May Blog-3 | What If | 2020