A woman with the potential to make it big. It is not that she cannot: she simply will not.
The closest anyone has come to being an adopted daughter.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

The obligatory February post

It is yet another February. It is just that I am not in Kolkata this time either.

Exile hurts. Self-exile, on the other hand, can be excruciating.

It will not be an exaggeration to call Kolkata February the best month in any place in the world. And this time I chose to miss it.

I chose to miss that smell of dry dust in Maddox Square in the evenings. The first time they brought the football out and tried to conquer the cricket battlefield.

I chose to miss that near-itchy feeling that makes you crave for someone would scratch your back for ten minutes (at least). You know what I am talking of, right? You sit under the ceiling fan, and then, suddenly at two in the afternoon you get the first prickly-heat feeling on your back, and…

I chose to miss Book Fair (which meant I lost a chance to get copies signed first-handed by Tanmay and Kuntala — two of my favourite authors — both of whose books came out this year). I do not miss Benfish, though. I wish I could finish an entire book on the grounds the way I did in 1997.

I chose to miss the late nights when you feel that a very light sweater wouldn’t have been that bad an idea. You work all day in an air-conditioned office till, say, midnight: and then, when your office transport races down the Eastern Metropolitan Bypass, you decide after a while that it is time you rolled up the window pane.

I chose to miss the month that evokes childhood memories the most.

I chose to miss the month that brings the orgasmic best out of ice-cream. Especially at Scoop.

I chose to miss Saraswati Puja for no apparent reason. Okay, maybe because girls used to look pretty in yellow sarees when I was young. Especially that girl I had seen crossing Manohar Pukur Road in 1991. I wonder what her name is.

I chose to miss the breeze against the shins for the first time in the year when I summon those shorts that had been tucked away neatly for winter.

I chose to miss facing the shower with my head held high for the first time in the year.

I chose to miss toying over that thin line between nothingness on one hand and the ceiling fan-quilt combination on the other.

I chose to miss the anxious, animated couples getting quieter inside the Nandan Complex as evening happened: after all, the excuse of shawls will not be an acceptable one for about a year.

I chose to miss watching the perfectly diagonal flight of those gray-white birds at Rabindra Sarobar. I wish I knew what they are called.

I chose to miss Kolkata turning a Pantaloon’s end-of-sale into a Choitro Sale.

Kolkata did not choose to disown me. When I look back at the barren sky on my way to work I realise it’s the same sky back there. I know it’s further towards the East — or rather, from where the Sun rises. I realise the Sun kisses my city on its way to this city; and then the rays kiss my cheek.

Maybe, just maybe, if I search frantically, there is a little bit of my city hidden somewhere in those rays.


  1. Why don’t you write as well as you used to?

    This read a li’l formulaic, and mandatory. May be because, as you say here, you are craving but NOT really getting the magic! :)

  2. Kolkata is at its seductive best,
    But the poor man needs to earn his bread :'(
    With such love buried deep and sincere
    You will always be each other's dear :)
    Little effort can put our muffin through
    If only to look back one day and see how time flew!

  3. Abhishek da, you sound quite upset. No, not the nostalgia-wala upset, this'll be the 'Why-is-it-not-a-rainy-day?!'-wala upset. Well if it is any consolation, it rained here and reverted the whole scenario back to winter. Winter, at least to the indigenous population of hypochondriacs.

    1. Yes. I am upset. Or well, sort of upset. But then, I chose it.

  4. Touched a chord, and the line 'Maybe, just maybe, if I search frantically, there is a little bit of my city hidden somewhere in those rays' won hands down. Onektai Kolkatar moton tobuo jeno Kolkata na. But yes, you can indeed do much better, I second Shinjini.

    1. I would have preferred if it had touched a cord instead. Also, "Shinjini" may not want her name to be spelled that way.

      All that apart, point noted.

    2. I LOVE my name to be spelled that way! I haven't really ever forgiven my parents for spelling it the wrong way.

    3. You have a nice name anyway. Reminds me of Monginis.

    4. Your name remind me of.... Thak, ar bollam na! :/

    5. That, my friend, is a mere typographical errors. Ignoring such trivialities is part of common etiquette.

  5. Any thing born on 20th Feb, will have my support :)

  6. Tanmay's book released last year from Srishtishukh.

    1. Indeed. And this time there has been a reprint with a lot of additions. You don't know what you have missed out on unless you've acquired it.

  7. You also chose to miss the rains, this February. :)
    I loved the last line.

  8. :( i don't know what I miss more. My city or the memory of my city that was.

    This is tugging-heart-strings stuff. Truly.