It’s been more than a month that I have written anything. The toddler and I kept falling sick and despite my frustration of feeling stuck in such hapless circumstances, I learned to slow down while convincing myself to adapt to the situation. March is a reminder of the hectic life that April with its A2Z challenge is going to bring. I had Bengal as my theme last year but I am still undecided about a theme for this year’s challenge. So I am going to request all those who read this post to leave their suggestion of a theme in the comment box.
The best way to restart any job is by beginning with something that is fun. And I have always loved photography and the layers of emotions that every picture can bring to one’s perspective. The theme for TPC this week is ’round’ and I couldn’t resist myself from putting up a wacky picture relevant to the theme.
So, those who know me are well aware of my love for momos. I can survive on momos and coffee for life. As a student, there were days when I had momos for breakfast, lunch, and dinner and yet I never got tired of them. When we visited Shillong in Meghalaya in Oct 2017, I couldn’t miss tasting momos at Shillong Cafe famous for this delicacy. Since my husband doesn’t share my unnatural enthusiasm for this dish and the toddler was more interested in his strawberry shake, I had these soft and delicious momos arranged in a perfectly round shape on a white round plate all by myself. I feel grateful for such moments of little joy in my life.
2018 ended on a high note for me. I was hoping for 2019 to have an equally great start. After welcoming the new year by organizing a picnic with friends followed by a family get together, we returned back to Kolkata in the first week of this month. The pending writing assignments got me busy immediately after and then it was time for the toddler to get back to his preschool post the holidays. My 3.4-year-old happens to be one of the most gentle, caring and compassionate souls in my life till date. In an era of eroding humanity and decaying conscientiousness, he is unbelievably empathetic and understanding for his age. It wouldn’t be unfair to say that I am learning to be a better person through his actions.
Within three days of joining back preschool, he fell sick because of a stomach infection. We had to coax him to skip classes on Thursday and Friday to help him recover. It saddened me to think of the consequence of this sudden illness. In all probability, he was likely to miss the preschool carnival scheduled on 12th Jan (yesterday). When he woke up yesterday morning, I was furiously typing on my laptop trying to attempt writing a few words for my second novel. I had expected him to start nagging me to stop working and attend to him instead. But to my surprise, he asked me if we could go to the carnival for a little duration.
October 2012 – it was the first year of Durga Puja without Ma being around and cajoling T and me to try coming back to Bengal at least for a week during the pujas. We had decided to go for a small trip to Kerala instead. Our three days trip had three places on our itinerary – the backwaters of Alleppey, the Chinese fishing nets of Kochi and the majestic waterfall of Athirapally.
Athirapally was our last destination before returning back to Mysore. When we drove down from Kochi through Challakudy to reach this place, we had only heard about this place because the movie ‘Ravana’ by Mani Ratnam starring Aishwarya Rai, Abhishek Bachchan, and Vikram was shot here. However, when we witnessed the 80 ft fall in front of our eyes and heard the sound that the water generated, we stood mesmerized.
2008 – I was in my first year of B-school. Four of us took an all-girls trip to Chennai followed by Pondicherry. The trip was my first sojourn with my girlfriends and the city mesmerized me with its beauty, cleanliness, and calmness. The sea was both rough and serene here. And the environment of the Aurobindo ashram had a deep impact on my thoughts.
2011 – After the sudden demise of my mother, grief had engulfed my life in a way that rendered me static at Mysore.
2012 – this was the first city that my husband had coaxed me to visit. He insisted that a change of location was needed for my mental health.
This picture was clicked from the room of the hotel in Pondicherry where we had been put up. The balcony had the most gorgeous view of the sea. I sat out for hours gazing at the sea. Probably it was the enormity of the sea here that absorbed some of my pain during that phase.
Today when I look at this picture, I see a perfect frame of a beautiful world captured by a person in the most imperfect state of mind, fighting her inner demons.
This is the twelfth and last post (nonfiction) written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign on the theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the previous eleven posts here.
Delhi is the first city that gave me a feeling of responsibility that comes along with freedom. I had spent three years at the Presidency College Girls hostel in Kolkata during my graduation. But, in 2002, when I moved out to Delhi for my first post-graduation, it was also for the first time that I realized the state of being very far away from home. During my two-years stay there, I made some wonderful friends and was exposed to multiple cultures, languages, cuisines, and festivals.
After moving out to Bangalore in 2004, I never had a chance to return back here. Two months back, my husband had an opportunity to visit the city for his official work. Knowing my attachment to Delhi, he booked tickets for both the toddler and me. When we checked into the Taj hotel property, little did I expect the room to become a personal favorite! It wasn’t just the huge glass window pane that provided a gorgeous view of the Delhi sky but also the corner of the room dedicated as a working space that stole my heart. In the game of peek-a-boo between light and darkness, I sat down to write my second detective thriller.
This is the ninth post (nonfiction) written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign on the theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the seventh flash fiction around this picture prompt hereand the eighth one here. For the first six posts, you can click here.
This January, I decided to work on a travel diary based on the rich historical background of my home district Murshidabad in Bengal. I had moved out of my hometown Berhampore in 1999 for higher studies. For sixteen long years, I stayed in different cities owing to education and job assignments. When we moved back in 2016, Kolkata had become our new home. In the backyard of my memories, Murshidabad always had a strong influence. I extended my stay at my in-laws for a month this time. Every alternate day, I visited places of historical significance in Murshidabad to understand the folklore surrounding it, read up history books, listened to a tourist guide’s version of its history and clicked numerous snaps. This series formed a part of my BlogchatterA2Z challenge based on the theme ‘A dollop of Bengal”(letters H – M).
This photo was clicked at Nasipur Rajbari (Palace). This palace used to be the court of Debi Singha – the tax collector (in)famous for his atrocities towards the poor. A portion of this property has now been converted into an art museum and library. These steps with a tainted history of bloodshed and pain evoked a feeling of eeriness in me.
This is the third post (nonfiction) written as part of the #MyfriendAlexa campaign on the theme ‘Shades of Perception’. You can read the first flash fiction around this picture prompt hereand the second one here.
My husband (T) and my toddler (also T) are the best of friends. Senior T is posted in a city far away from Kolkata. He travels back to the city only over the weekends. Whenever Senior T is at home, Junior T doesn’t leave him even for a minute. With the onset of monsoon seasons, Junior T has been suffering from recurring viral fever. A couple of weeks back, he was still in the recovery process and had been missing his father a lot. His father decided to surprise him by turning up a day earlier than usual. On spotting his father after waking up, the surprised toddler jumped on him out of joy while senior T instantly lifted him up higher leading to a moment worth capturing.
This picture is from my wedding in 2011. Though the Hindu Bengali wedding is full of such beautiful moments, this particular scene is a personal favorite. I feel that this frame depicts one of the most poignant moments of my marriage. For me, it signifies that two souls united by the threads of love, trust, and understanding have chosen to walk together in this new phase of life.
If you want to read more about Bengali weddings, you can read my personalized post here.
There’s an assortment of toys lying at various corners of my apartment. From soft toys to remote-controlled gadgets suitable for his age group, the soon to turn three-year-old cherishes every single purchase. Until a certain point, his favorite play items were pieces of paper, empty cartons, and discarded boxes. His next favorite became the huge collection of soft toys that were mostly accumulated as gifts. But the preferences shifted at every phase of growing up.
However, if there’s any toy set that has maintained the consistency of being his favorite for a year now, it will have to the plastic kitchen set meant for kids in the age group of 2 – 5 years. Other than the fact that we get to eat some delicious items cooked by him, this set also has a high sentimental value for him. It was gifted to my son on his second birthday by our cook who saved up money so that she could give him a gift.
Today is India’s 72nd Independence Day. Decades back, there were ample opportunities to move out and make a more developed country my home. But I chose to stay back for reasons close to my heart. Despite the number of years, it pains to see that my motherland is still shackled by quite a few regressive thoughts and practices. My son and his kitchen set are not mere toys in our household. They stand for our thoughts in trying to bring a change in the tiniest of ways, It is our way to break the taboo associated with gender stereotyping or casteism.
My husband and I have always grabbed the slightest of opportunities to travel to the unexplored destinations. During our first road trip from Mysore (Karnataka, India) to Kodaikanal (Tamil Nadu, India), we were exhausted after traveling for nine hours. As we got down near the reception, this is the first sight that greeted us beyond which lay the cloud embraced hills.
The row of flower pots arranged symmetrically added to the beauty of the place. During our three days stay there, we realized that almost everything about the resort followed an alignment in the pattern of rows. The planning of cottages or placing of chairs and flower pots were evidence to our conclusion.
At times, I wish I knew how to arrange my life into a neat and symmetrical pattern of rows since chaos seems to be a permanent guest here.