Just a brief encounter!

Standard

It was definitely a feeling of excitement for me at least. I always thought, Kolkata will be the door to opportunities to shape my career. Packing and moving is tough. After shifting houses for the 5th time, I now know the hassles, stress and struggles of it. I shouldn’t forget to mention that all shifting actually happened when my father had  job promotions. Every change with a larger house, of course! The final shifting was to Kolkata- our own house finally!!

“We are traveling to Kolkata- the final destination,”said my father when we learnt he was retiring. With all the indecisiveness and confusion, my elder sister convinced my father to buy a house before he retires. My father was never very serious about owing a house or making future plans. He is an idealist and always believed in spending time reading books and writing. I was then, just a budding journalist, trying to make a mark in the field. It was may be three and a half years of experience then, when fahter decided to shift to Kolkata after his retirement.

Looking back those days past, I feel so grateful to my sister and brother-in-law who gave so much dedicated time for us in shaping up an accommodation in South Kolkata, despite their busy job life. It was approx. a 1000sq. ft. Flat. Every weekend they used to visit the site, so that it is ready by the time we shift.passenger-airplane

I had to travel few times to kolkata to settle things before my parents joined. During one of my final flight to Dimapur (where we last resided), I met a gentleman who sat next to me. He was, may be in his late 50s. He became friendly with me and kept sharing so many of his strange, interesting experiences. I was so engrossed by his conversation, the flight of about 40 minutes seems to have flown off in few seconds. I learnt, he worked with several media and publication houses and was very happy to know, I was also in the same profession. As the flight hit the landing, I thanked him for making the journey so amusing.He was equally very happy :).He helped me with my hand baggage. On getting off, I  saw my father . He was waving at me. I waved back and hurried  to said goodbye to the wonderful man I met on flight.”Hey young lady!” he called me back and gave me his visiting card. I thanked him and without checking, I put it in my purse.

It was peak summerpic, and the passenger waiting area was a tinned shed with few ceiling fans. Our flight was already one hour late and I could imagine the pain of the “wait” for my father.As he drove me home, he discussed several of his plans on shifting and stuff. He then asked me, who the man I was talking to. I then, took out the card to check. Oh! wow! my eyes instantly caught “Doordarshan!” “He is the director of Kohima Doordarshan!” I told my father. I only wished I’d stay more years back.  :(  :)

N.B.: Doordarshan was the only government run television channel way back in the ’90s

Images: google

Valentine with Love

Standard

vdIt seems just like yesterday I received a beautiful Card- A Greeting Card. It was may be a decade ago. On a Sunday evening I was checking a box of old hand written letters & greeting cards. Few of them have faded and grown brittle over the years. I randomly picked up some of them and my thoughts traveled to the past as I read. They brought flashback moments shared by so many beautiful people who touched my life. My parents initiated the habit of writing letters.My grandmother (my mother’s mother) with whom my bonding grew since childhood was through letters. I met her only once, a very simple and soft spoken lady she was.My mother and all her sisters and brother inherited the humbleness of her. Till her last days, her inspiring stories she shared through letters- simple things of life was the only medium of our attachment.

I was recalling the day when the postman dropped a greeting card in our letter box. An unusually big card it was. Stamped from New York(NY). It was a simple Valentine card  with a big heart outline and few printed wordings. The opening sentence inside the card was hand written in bengali “Pran bhora bhalobasha shobai kay” which means “heart full of love to all my dear ones”. She was my youngest aunt- my mother’s sister who was from NY. Valentine’s day was never a big celebration here in India as it is now.She never failed to amaze us by her mails. It was like a ritual for me too. I learnt from her that Valentine’s Day is for all of whom we “love”. “Love is not just between boy and girl.” She would say, “God loved us and asks us to share His love with everyone.”V-D

We always used to look forward to mails and postman. The thrill of surprises then was unexplainable. These days the e-world changed the dimension of letter writing.Today, the wait, the patience and the fun is missing. We always expect an instant reply whenever we mail someone. In this fast world, everything is instantaneous.

My Aunt fought cancer and gracefully left this world. I still wonder how she cracked jokes in her death bed and made people roll on the floor. The little things I learnt from her will always be cherished. When I look back, I still feel the warmth of her beautiful voice and the letters enrich my soul.

Pictures :Google

Sunshine from our garden

Standard

ca I inherited the love for gardening from my parents. My hill days are full of memories so vibrant, I enjoy recalling them. They bring smiles as I remind those beautiful gardening moments to my parents and siblings. From a variety of roses, hollyhocks, gladiolus to dahlia to a mixed bag of vegetables, our endless garden space always kept us busy every morning and evening. The weather is always favorable in the hills to grow seasonal plants and vegetables.

pet

After we shifted to a warmer and humid place in West Bengal, our garden adorn only those plants that can sustain the heat, humidity and pollution.Winter bring back a lot of smiles to our faces, as some of the hill seasonal plants can remain for about, till the cold winds up.I got some succulents which  survived when we brought them from the hills and they still enrich our garden. Though we do not have enough gardening space, we have a huge terrace where most of our plants grow in pots.suI’ve added few pictures of our garden flowers like the calendula, Petunia, Marigold, Beach morning glory, adenium and some succulents. I picked up the beach morning glory plant during one of the visits to a beach resort nearby, and may be after two years it started giving those purple blooms! The white blossoms are the kamini flowers, having aromatic smell. I googled for the botanical name called Murraya paniculata.

flo

Three years back four of my favorite rose plants died of extreme heat.I did not risk buying again. Last summer was not very hot & humid like the previous years. Lets see, I’ll check when there is a plant fair during the monsoon and add roses to our garden.

veg

Our winter vegetables includes spinach, green peas, califlower, cabbage etc. The photographs will tell you rest of the story.

veg1We have a rose apple fruit tree and a mango tree. Long back some of our relatives from Digboi, Assam sent us some Rose apple fruits. I planted  the seeds. It is five years now. A total of seven plants grew, but due to lack of space, we had to cut down all of them except one. Surprisingly, after the first year, we saw a number of buds, the blooms and then the fruits. Interestingly, this plant bear fruits twice a year, during August-September and February-March.

rap

Rose Apple (Gulab Jamun)

Gems of the African Jungle!

Standard

The zooming of the eagle eye and the bird trailing away to the mountainous thick of the African jungle, I felt as if I was watching the wild135263_bd National Geographic channel when the camera changes track to a village somewhere in West Bengal, India, a humble abode of a young bengali boy’s family.

The boy named Shankar, the protagonist, was passionate about geography and history of the African jungles since childhood. He wished a life of adventure. The scene starts with a family friend bringing good news for Sankar, a job in the Uganda Jungles.

Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay the famous bengali novelist, whose Chander Pahar ( Mountain of the Moon) was an instant adventure hit for readers, way back in the year 1937. Interestingly, the writer never visited Africa when he wrote the story. A prolific writer who conceptualized so well, with his imagination. Kamaleshwar Mukherjee, the director, turned this book into an engrossing movie, with an overwhelming viewers’ response. Though, I haven’t read the book, but I feel the movie is an honest try and if you ask me to rate, it is a good movie,where bengali adventure film is concerned.Screenshot-04

Sankar’s dream job as a station master starts in the rugged uninhabited jungles of Africa, with his first ever encounter with a ferocious man-eater lion followed by a deadly black mamba. The Man versus Animal scene-sequences were edge of the seat experience. Dev(actor from Bengal), who plays Sankar made a brave effort with his skills.IMG_2598

During one of his wild expeditions, he encounters a bruised and wounded Diego Alvarez, a middle-aged Portuguese gold/diamond explorer. He rescues and nurses him back to Life. Alvarez shares some of his chilling escapades in his search for the precious gems, when he loses his friend to mythical monster the Bunyip. The adventure instinct made Sankar decide to leave his job and join Alvarez and this is where starts their united gamble to explore the wild, to the diamond caves of Richtersveld area of Africa.

The daredevil cliff climbing,camping,wild encounters,volcano explosion and their endless hike gives viewers a feeling of suspense. This is where the actual thrill starts.I’m not going to share any further as the movie is presently on the box office hit list and is running full-house. Watch “CHANDER PAHAR” to believe!

N.B. : My personal observation :

  • I thought, Alvarez’s wounded look was an excellent work by the makeup artist. His recuperating fades of his injuries were worth to be noticed.
  • Shankar could’ve been painted to a rough/rugged look, with faded injury marks, less smiles and more expressive eyes.

Images : Google

The Guns could not silence her

Standard

Malala-YousafzaiThe twinkle in her eyes made me sit back to watch her talk. It was about two years back, to be precise; an interview with Malala Yousufai was on air on BBC. She was just a budding little girl, may be, of 13 years. I sat through till the end, little realizing, that, this very girl would be the target by the Talibans. The zeal and perseverance showed on her face as she was answering all the questions. What amazed me is her simplicity and determination. She is not just intelligent but beautiful. Her eyes are so expressive. She is exceptional! I instantly took a keen interest to know her more.

A Pakistani school girl from the Swat Province, Malala started off early at the age of 11 for women’s right to education.

As the camera rolled to their humble house, I saw a glimpse of the man who backed this sweet girl. A sturdy young gentleman with ever smiling face, any child would be proud to have him as his \her father. An educationist, poet and an activist for girls’ right to education, Ziauddin Yousafzai was little known to the world. He was introduced as Malala’s father in the interview, a rare breed among the staunch fundamentalist ruled parts of Pakistan where the talibans strongly oppose women education. I salute this man who gave voice to Malala.

The Talibans- the fundamentalists from Pashtun are condemned internationally for their brutal treatment on women. Some fringes of Pakistan still live in terror where  a section of the people support the Talibans. It came as a bolt from the blue when news of Taliban’s attack on Malala scrolled on television as the breaking news! It was in October 2012 .News spread like wild-fire. The bullet that hit her brain was successfully removed by Pakistani Doctors. She remained unconscious for few days after which she had to be shifted to England for further rehabilitation.As surgeons said she was just millimetres from death,as the bullet grazed her brain. She was already a star in her own right. The Taliban changed her destiny further by their cruel bullets and made her a leading light for the oppressed young women of her country as well as the world.

With pouring support from around the globe, she found place to speak her mind at the UN. She made one of the most powerful speeches and saw her parents sitting among the audience, with her mother’s teary eyes and a smiling proud father and her very innocent brother too. “They thought that the bullets would silence us, but they failed. And out of that silence came thousands of voices,” Was her opening speech.

Check out the video clip:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QRh_30C8l6Y

She spends most of her time reading books and in a period of a year or so, we saw a major transformation in her, a very matured person. Her father is always beside her in all invitations. The latest was her visit with the Duke of Edinburgh. She couldn’t contain her giggles when the Duke made a joke on how the children are forced to school in Britain.

It is a great achievement for a girl of 16 to be nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize . We see in her a teenage campaigner walking in the way for a great reformer.

photo : google

Slice of most Indian women!

Standard

Curling up shivering, Aparna pulled out a blanket and wrapped herself. Strange dreams startled her awake! Her heart beat seems to  pound through her mouth. It was peak summer and the whirling fan and air conditioner was pretty annoying. The other day, she went to visit her friend, unknowingly that she was down with viral. Initial symptoms are body ache and shivering. Since the day her friend was down, little did she realize, the viral was on the prowl. Without thought, she popped paracetamol in intervals, the only remedy for the 3 long days of rise and fall in body temperature. In more than a decade of marriage, never did she fall sick. She felt terrible.

Nobody came to see her except her hubby when he is around from work. She really did not want anyone to visit her least the virus spreads. When the temperature drops, she is just normal but weak. “Bowma! Kabar jaiga lagao”,(set the dinner table!) calls her father-in-law. How does it matter even if you are sick? Daughter-in-law’s work cannot be compromised.

Unluckily the fever extended to the fifth day, very unusual. Not a happy thing for a daughter-in-law of course. Newspapers lay strewn on the sofa, dust settled on the furniture, shoes lay un arranged, potted flowers drying up!

She wipes her exhausted sweaty face with the corner of her sari and arranges the table for dinner. Before the table is fully arranged everyone has settled. Sometimes, she is pained and wondered why they can’t wait, till all the food is warm and served on the table. Only when they are half way through, does she join them.”See Aparna, you shouldn’t be sick for so long”, tells her father-in-law. She gave a shocking glance at him without saying a word. Food was a thorn at that very moment. She hurriedly finishes the cleaning and everything and rushes to her bedroom, sits down on her bed and wipes her tears. She hates her husband more now.

Truly miraculous!

Standard

Muffled voices, echo from somewhere far and a feeling of being lifted, Rahul saw sparkling white glow descending and illuminating everything around. What could that be, he wondered. He was all in white and was being transported to someplace else. It was a celestial feeling!

Sunday morning was full of activity as usual. Rahul made the rounds to the kitchen & flower garden; repaired the Iron Gate that needed a fix, brought the car out from the garage and gave it a wash. After a sumptuous breakfast he decided to take Tuli & Ron, his two children for the weekend shopping. Weather was cool.

Rahul was posted as an officer in Public works Department in the North East of India. One needs a lot of nerve to drive through hilly terrain. It was a 20 minutes drive to another hill, towards the cemetery. The daily market was way down, around 200 stone steps downhill. You feel an eerie as you descend down the rugged steps -a rather creepy with mossy old buildings on both sides. Once you reach the market place you will find an open space where you get to see temporary sheds. Pork, mutton, beef and even deer meat etc. are hung in the shops. The locals’ main food is meat. Rarely will you get green vegetables.  Being a Bengali, Rahul was always on the lookout for fishes. He was not always lucky. So the alternative was eggs & chicken other than vegetables.

Once his shopping was done, he drove to a book stall where he mostly frequent while coming back from his work place. That day was also not different. An avid reader, he dropped by and brought newspapers and some magazines. He had a huge collection of novels which he thought useless at one point of time and there were no takers unfortunately. So he gave them for free to shops that sell grocery. They found them useful to make paper bags. His collection is a continuous one till to this day.

Car-accidentBefore he finally decided to drive back home he stopped by to buy some candies for his kids. Several thoughts were coming to his mind as he was moving home ward and within a split second he didn’t know where he was. Everything had gone black. His car suddenly jerked violently, losing control and came spinning more than 100 feet down and got entangled to a tree midway! All the residents nearby rushed to the spot and soon after, the police arrived and pulled Rahul and the kids and hurried them to the nearby hospital. He was unconscious and bleeding profusely from his forehead. His terrified kids were lucky with just few scratches here and there. News already spread to all his friends and colleagues.

The telephone screamed and a police was at the other end. Rahul’s wife received it and without giving a thought to change, rushed to the hospital. The very word “accident” sounds fatal, especially when any car mishap occurs in hilly regions.

The wrenching pain all over his body woke him from the reverie! He was blood soaked. He looked around to find himself in a room with a doctor and two nurses! His tearful wife beside him looked panicky. She hugged him and said everything will be alright.“Where are the kids –our son & daughter?,” exclaimed Rahul. “Do not panic Mr. Bose, they are doing absolutely fine”, said one of the attending nurse. With a pat on his wife’s hand he smiled, trying to recollect what went wrong.

Everything seemed to have changed. Rahul looked thinner and dull once he was done with the attending doctor. The car stuck up on a tree saved his life said many of his friends. It was indeed a challenging job to bring out all of them from a hanging dismantled car. The rescue operation took more than one hour. The steering wheel broke and a part of it struck Rahul’s forehead. He bled profusely and that might have made him look weak. Rahul, his wife and the two kids huddled at each other before one of his friends drove them to their home. Praise the Lord!

n.b.:  incident took place in the year 1980

image : google