Saturday, June 30, 2012


That day, as I watched those raindrops sliding on our window, I remembered him again. ‘Pagla Hawa, Badol Dine…’ echoed inside my heart. Looking  through the window, I imagined my nephew’s paper- boat trembling and stirring in the monsoon. Somewhere deep inside, in the heart of my heart, an unsung pain kept craving for something. The moth-eaten meaninglessness tore me apart as suddenly the outside became discoloured with irrelevant marks, smudges and gaps. The man as I told you, was always there . Inside my now, grown up head.



Corporate Offices, if you ask me in some way, is nice. At least they won’t let you feel the weather outside. Sweaty mornings, Scorching afternoons, Crimson evenings or Clandestine nights, all looks the same from your pushback chair and eternally drawn curtains. Whatever the weather outside, you remain cool inside. And whatever be the time, nine o’clock in the morning or nine o’clock in the night, if your gruesome Manager smilingly ask you ‘Howz going?’, you make a face like Alfred Hitchcock and say ‘just Great!’ . I have been doing this for long. From the day I enlisted myself in the rat-race. From the day I started searching that crisp currency paper happiness. I read somewhere that the greatest John Lennon wanted to be happy. Just happy. By profession! Contrary to our usual choice of being Engineer, Doctor, Lawyer, Professor and so on. It so happened because the legend was told by his mother at the tender age of 5 that ‘Happiness was the key to life’. I don’t remember if my mom had told me so and ever if she did, for the less mortals like me happiness was always the by-product of the golden word - Money. I have also heard and somewhat weakly believe that this money brings Honey too, but I won’t get into that right now. I want my article to be filed under Parental guidance, so Honey gone.

                                       So, as I was saying, I have been packing bags, travelling places, shuffling jobs, meandering life in search of that happiness. I don’t know how close or how far I am from it. But still when it rains in the evening and I suddenly pull up the corporate curtains to have a glimpse of it, I can clearly hear my heartbeats. Like dull thud on your ear bones. It gives me the feel I am still alive. And I badly, sadly and heartily miss my Naughty Boy days.

               Those were the days of my life! Feeling a thousand rain needles on your face and running with the plastic ball towards a hazy water-bottle crafted goalpost. Or playing Hide & Seek on the cemented grounds of your school. With Naughty Boy at your feet. I remember it became a fashion in those innocent times, wearing the shoemaker Bata’s Naughty Boy. And I remember I pestered my father to have one. Concrete classrooms, muddy playgrounds or tarmac roads, it never left you. Nor did the innocence .In those happy times. When life was without video games and Spellbee competitions, but with lot of fun. When radiant eyes were filled with dreams of ice-cream and chocolates than the bundle of crisp notes in our opaque times. When the girl who sat next to you was really your dearest friend. In those innocent times!

                               Days changed. Time passed. I grew up. Naughty Boy was gone. Torn and tattered. Thrown away from my life. But even today, somewhere I dearly miss that Naughty Boy in me. I miss it badly. And every day wearing those Ganuchi shoes makes me feel so pretty incomplete. And every day while on the roads, as I watch those innocent faces in not so innocent times, in our metro jungle, video game addicted kids, with mammoth sized schoolbags, I miss their happy smiles. Where Skyscrapers, plush malls rule without a single playground in near vicinity. I stop my car, and at times try to look at their feet. Do they still have that Naughty boy in them!

Thursday, June 14, 2012


Of Love, Longing and loathing
 – Hating the Bearded man in the month of May

                   I remember I wrote my first poem at the age of seven. It was ‘ Ek je chilo Bador, Se kheto sudhu Gajor (Once there was a monkey, who ate only carrots)’. My parents had a hearty laugh on it. My father, then had told me that Gurudev’s first poem was ‘Jol Pore, Pata Nore (It rains, the leaves tremble)’. Perhaps, the most powerful line I had heard till then. Time passed and I left my futile chase after poetry and concentrated more on the F-letter word, don’t take it otherwise, its football. Perhaps every Bengali has a sleeping Maradona or Pele inside him. But Gurudev remained with me. Inside my little head. He was everywhere. In the faded morning hours, the tiring afternoons and the restless evenings. He was everywhere. As in my love, longing and loathing. I remember my lazy mornings were mostly occupied by the resonating voice of Debabrata biswas. Our old gramophone would be playing, my father sitting beside, his eyes closed. I must admit, that I couldn’t decipher the meaning of all those songs at that age, but the tune struck a chord. It hummed inside my soul, vibrating on its hollowness.

                                                                          As days passed by, and I ripened, the man inside my head took a more firm grip. I listened to his unsaid words. His poems helped me sail through my sufferings. But all these remained a secret affair. Since I was neither educated at Shantiniketan, nor at Visva- Bharati .I always kept a low profile, when it came about Gurudev. I must admit my failure in keeping a long beard, an unkept hair, roaming in Nandan, attending theatres at the academy or applying for a course in Art College. I open-heartedly admit my ineligibility for the above creative and fertile grounds. My friends with their prized collection of girlfriends from Shantiniketan also openly warned me. I was cautioned not to try experimenting with Gurudev’s works as it was a highly sensitive issue.

               Some more days passed .I was struggling with my mind into the barrel field of mechanical engineering. Our world famous ‘Bangla’ at time soothened my soul. I was amazed to know that geniuses of the stature of Ritwik Ghatak, Sakti chattopadhyay and even our very own Sunil Ganguly maintained such ‘high’ habits. I was extremely proud that at least my ‘Bangla’ love somewhat matched with them. It really gives you a wonderful feeling, you know that your habits matched with legends.It swept me of my feet and I devoted my entire evenings and nights to the attention of precious ‘Bangla’. On one such lovely crimson evening, while I was happily gulping my beloved liquor at Anup Da’s Thek( or Adda you can say) I met Gurudev again. I was sitting on the mud floor with a farmer, a Rickshaw-puller and a local matador driver. The topics were taking interesting turn. I, being the most educated of the lot, was made to judge who was the richest among them. It was tough choice you see. And being inhibited already by few glasses, I was having a tough time to decide. It was all going on smoothly, till the farmer suddenly started crying. He gulped two quick pegs and stated that he had a son near about my age who was no more. Painfully, it all turned sombre. The old man kept on crying with the pain that he couldn’t save his son. And then the man inside my head appeared again. I ,with the ‘Bangla’ reserve inside my belly, was amazed to hear the old man singing with his harsh voice. ‘Je raate mor duwar guli bhanglo jhore......’. And then the pain melted in those cheap glass containers. I closed my eyes and felt united with the old man’s song.

                               A few more years passed. I was in London working for an Insurance company .It was perhaps raining that day. You know, the Queen’s land is always cloudy and raining. That day, as I watched those raindrops sliding on our window, I remembered him again. ‘Pagla Hawa, Badol Dine...’ echoed inside my heart. Looking down through the window, I imagined my nephew’s paper- boat trembling and stirring in the monsoon.Somwhere deep inside, in the hearts of my heart, an unsung pain kept craving. The moth-eaten meaninglessness torn me apart as suddenly the outside became discoloured with irrelevant marks, smudges and gaps. The man as I told you, was always there .Inside my now-grown head.

                    Such was the pain that I tried to pour it down on a crumbled piece of paper. As the words started flowing, I felt relieved. And relaxing. I thanked him and continued. But then all went futile. Few days later, as I was flipping through the pages of Macmillan pocket Tagore edition of Gitanjali, I saw the same sense. The same feelings. Thousand times better than mine. It made me loath. I kept on writing a few more lines and then I surrendered. For I could find nothing new in my words. All had been previously said by that bearded man, in much better and splendid way. I hated him for it. For having known all my feeling. I hated him more. For turning me into a puzzled half-creative human being and then mocking me again and again. It was perhaps in the month of May. When Hyde Park still waited to be lush green.

                           Autumn was there. While I was still fighting. The decision to come back to Kolkata permanently was unsettling me. Then on one such gloomy night when the great Bay area happened to look not so great, I heard that man inside my heard again. I was then looking at the Golden Bridge and comparing it to our Howrah Bridge. My friends who were still in United States of America, termed my decision as ‘ Utter Foolishness’ .Those who were in Queen’s land said ‘ Preposterous’ .And those who never had set foot abroad asked ‘ So you want to do something here?’ . I asked the true meaning and they said ‘like opening up an NGO, helping people ...bla...bla....and bla....’. They were surprised since I said ‘No...I am back for myself...for my love, for my city’. And again I heard the term ‘utter foolish’ in hush whispers.

                            I must admit, I struggled initially. It was hard. My bank balance decreased exponentially. I pondered if my friends in both US and UK were right. I pondered more .And then, flushing out all such thoughts in the KMC drain, I switched on the old gramophone. Still it’s alive. It still brings back those old memories. I smiled. I was relieved. And the man inside my head was again back. I walked along my favourite road in Kolkata .Beside the race course. I hummed Gurudev. The crimson evening was slowly getting dark. I looked up and saw birds returning home. I closed my eyes and said to the man inside my head, ‘ I simply love you for it’ .

                        So still I am fighting here. In my beloved city. The City of Joy. Kolkata. Morning sweats, abnormal humidity, endless traffic, increasing pollution, ‘Manchi na...Manbo na’ marches. I am loving it. For even the polluted air is still pregnant with the magical words of that bearded man. It will be, forever. Amen!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012


It happened perhaps in early 2011, while I was in San Francisco. One fine noon while sipping hot coffee and enjoying the beauty of the golden bridge from my cabin window, my Onsite Manager Mr.Padriag (pronounced as Parag, like Pan Parag) asked me about my hometown. The very mentioning of the word ‘ West Bengal’ excited him to pulsating extent. He said that he had watched Song of the little road (Pather Panchali ) by the world famous Bengali Director,  Satyajit Ray, at one of the local theatres in his hometown ,London. While he admired his work open heartedly, he somehow felt pity of the extreme poverty we,Bengalis are in. I remember that I had vehemently protested then to this and said that our Beloved Didi had promised that she will soon turn my hometown into his hometown. It was early January and our Didi was fighting all odds to come to power.

                          Then, somehow a year passed by. I happened to return to Kolkata and was eagerly waiting for its turning into London. Things changed a lot, I felt. Deep in my heart. I did believe. That we had overcome. I was returning from a short trip to Singapore and while I landed on Netaji Subhash Chandra Bose International Airport, Kolkata, I felt so proud. I felt it was almost London. Except, humans and dogs roamed with equal ease at the luggage conveyor belts. I took it in a positive note and felt Didi’s love towards animals. As I reached the exit gate, the air remained pregnant with a high pitch drone. ‘ Taski,Taski...’ . I was about to search for a taski when an emaciated bearded man came near me. His secrecy and hush voice made me think him as a pimp, but then he whispered ‘ Dada, Taski lagbe naki ( Brother, do you need a Taski?)’ .I immediately nodded. Then ,he raised his hand and within a fraction of a second, a yellow Taski ,oops Taxi came. I was relieved. It felt like London.

                    I kept looking outside the window of my Taski to note the new changes. I read ‘ Maa,Maati,Manush r joy’ around hundred times. I saw Didi’s picture another two hundred times. It was all green. I mean my Kolkata- turned London city. Green auto, green hoardings .I was perhaps dreaming when suddenly the harsh voice of the taxi driver brought me back. ‘ Oi Sala Tempo...tor Ma*** %^^?&***’ . He, then turned back and said ‘ Sorry Dada, ei Tempo gulo eto bereche na ( Sorry Brother, these  Tempos are hooligans)’ . Then he again started driving. I, slowly was getting out of my dream and my city felt more Kolkata and less London. Then he again started talking. ‘ Dada, bhison Tenshon e achi(Dada, I am in big tenshon)’ . Tenshon, if you have understood, is not a variety of Bishon, oops Bison, but tension.


Pronunciation: /ˈtɛnʃ(ə)n/
[mass noun]
1the state of being stretched tight:
the parachute keeps the cable under tension as it drops
the state of having the muscles stretched tight, especially as causing strain or discomfort:
the elimination of neck tension can relieve headaches
a strained state or condition resulting from forces acting in opposition to each other:
enormous tension can build up along the margin of the two plates and occasionally explodes into immense earthquakes
the degree of tightness of stitches in knitting and machine sewing.
electromotive force.
2mental or emotional strain:
a mind which is affected by stress or tension cannot think as clearly
a strained political or social state or relationship:
the coup followed months of tension between the military and the government
[count noun]:
racial tensions
a relationship between ideas or qualities with conflicting demands or implications:
the basic tension between freedom and control

I was unable to understand his tenshon, sorry tension. I asked ‘ Why? Don’t you like the change...’ and then I added with my westernised accent ‘ It feels so Londen’ . He looked back with eyes as big as golf balls. ‘Dada, khepechen ( have you gone mad)’ . And then ,i was amazed to hear his English. ‘ Portiborton cutting  back side , Dada’ . I really felt annoyed. I kept my cool, and kept looking outside. The beautiful smell was everywhere, thanks to our beloved KMC. So, after a few minutes, I had to close my window. Still, I backed my heart, that Kolkata ,if not in totality, but had become somewhat near to London.

   At last, after around two and a half hours journey, I reached my place. Thanks to the beautiful roads and the efficiently managed traffic, otherwise it would have taken another two hours more. Then, as usual, I had a big quarrel with the taski driver. His meter was somewhat out of control .But he did present a printout which showed more inflated figures. Tired, drenched and thirsty, I took my luggage out of the car.I looked up into a movie banner. It read ‘ LE HALUA LE’.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012



Saptarshi Basu tries to find the answers for problems of today's youth in the context of their busy lifestyle  


A recommended story for today's youth 

Autumn in my Heart is composed of many narratives of individuals seen wrestling with their thoughts to attain the true meaning of 'love'. We commence our journey as one of the detached readers trying to get a peep into the lives of a bunch of youngsters and their struggle to understand love. Slowly, we begin to find a resemblance of our own 'love' chapters (if any) in at least one of the characters' stories etched out by the author 


While young authors tend to stick to boy-meets-girl romances, Calcutta boy Saptarshi does not shy away from subjects like homosexual abuse and the confusion of a young man as he is forced into an unknown world of sexuality by his uncle 


Written in "Chetan Bhagat style" in a colloquial language with elements of a typical Bollywood love story thrown in, the readers are left spellbound as equations between the central characters of Deb, Ayantika, Saurav, Tina, Vinod and Sagarika change faster than one can think 


For a complete MEDIA Coverage, read below

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Eating ‘Cookie’, Travelling ‘Java’

A Smiling face welcomed Samaresh inside the flight.
                                                             The beautiful Air hostess of Jet Airlines International flight handed over the Menu card to Samaresh. He began to search quickly for the price tags and got more confused by not founding any. The soft face of the air hostess reminded Samaresh of someone back home but faded quickly over the missing price tags. The menu was like a highly decorated wedding card with elaborate and minute specifications about each food. The flight was quite cosy felt Samaresh. But something was making him feel uncanny .The atmosphere inside the Boeing was too much sophisticated he felt. He tried to concentrate more on the food. His search was halted by the renowned names in the liquor section “Johnnie Walker, Jack Daniels, Australian Red wine.....”It was obvious that someone of his age would have been the happiest one but the prolonged warnings of Partha Mondal had its own effect.
   “Samaresh, This is your first International very cautious...Don’t have any drinks in the flight...Remember you are representing not yourself but your esteemed organisation” .Partha, his offshore Delivery Manager has thundered over a trembling Samaresh.
He felt he should adhere to Partha’s gospel and he had done before. Even he was carrying 12 sets of underwear, socks and vests as dictated by Partha. On another note, He had to buy Jockey undies very unwillingly as it was highly costly compared to his age old companion Balaram, only because of Partha.”Carry quality clothings and...Dont wear the same underwear each day”...Partha bloated out in the conference room....

                              Oops...Sorry...I ...I haven’t given my introduction, I am Samaresh, Samaresh Bagchi and yes, I am a Bong.   A Bong and a Sofo.  No, no ...I am not a sofomore, sorry sophomore. Sofo stands for Software engineer. You see, it’s the generation of short forms. Papa has become Pa (in Bengali, it means leg though), Brother has become bro and so on. That’s why sofo .Short, sweet and a bit aristocratic too.  I know you might be angry already. You happened to visit searching for some Java interview questions or about how to hack with cookie. But sorry, I am not sharing any computer knowledge here. It’s about the spicy travelling pursuits of a nomadic sofo. You might again be wandering. Bong and International flight? Bongs usually go to Puri, Darjeeling, Shantiniketan, Kashi or max to max OOti. Dhurjoti Sir, one of my reverent teachers in school once said he went to a rich place called Goa. When I told about those magical stories to my uncle, he just shaked his head in disbelief.  ‘Beta golpo dichhe (He is a liar) , I am sure he has not gone an inch beyond Digha’ .  But let me tell you, Bongs love travelling. Might be Lalbazar or London, bongs love to go places. And I am no exception. I , from my very childhood, loved travelling. Mostly in my dreams as it was cheap and inexpensive. It was with my tryst with destiny that I, who happened not to have crossed beyond Silliguri in the world map, was flying to San Francisco.

                                                                                                To be continued............