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.
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.
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
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’.