Categories
Kinda funny

Intimate bonds

A year back, when I first moved into hostel more than a thousand miles away from home, I felt all alone.

For the first time, I had no mother with me to wake me up every day (which is no easy task); I had no father to guide me about my decisions; I had no grandmother to feed me with her own hands (a privilege I still enjoy every time I am back home); I had no grandfather to thrill me with the stories of his exploits in faraway lands. All I had with me was a cauldron of emotions: a whirlpool of sayings, advice, stories and morals.

The first day I was in my hostel room alone, I felt like crying. It felt like I was on a lonely unguided ship taking me to a desolate place far, far away with no promises to return soon. I started thinking, “What if my grandparents die while I am away? What if something terrible happens to my family?” I broke down and started weeping. Which was when the phone rang up.

Maa is one of those gentle souls who cannot be at peace knowing that someone somewhere else is suffering. So when I picked up Maa’s call, I pretended to be alright.

Quite obviously, she saw through it.

But she knows best how to calm someone down. She took my mind off by weaving a story about our winter vacation plans and asked me what I felt about it. Then she recounted the story of how Dora, our cat, was finding it difficult to get up on the window sill, so she just had to claw and chew through the expensive curtains which kept getting in the way. Maa was almost sympathizing with Dora though I could hear Dad grumbling about Dora’s elevated position in the household. At the end of the phone call, I was genuinely happy.

There’s a unique lesson to be learnt from each elderly person, because they have all grown old with their own set of ideas and experiences, tied together with intimate bonds. While Maa taught me how to control outbursts of anger, Dad taught me how to solve problems rationally. While Dadu (grandpa) taught me how to think, Ammi (grandma) taught me how to feel. Even before I learnt to read, Ammi used to read out Amar Chitra Katha stories to me, enthralling me with stories of Lakshmibai and Shivaji, inspiring me with stories of Netaji and Swamiji, entertaining me with stories of Akbar-Birbal and Vikram-Betaal.

Generations
Rommel and me with Ammi and Dadu

The support my elders have given me, is enormous. Their influence, all-encompassing.

Is it possible for me to support them back for all that they ever did?

Surprisingly, yes.

Maa once told me how Ammi loves telling her sisters when I do well in an exam or win a quiz. She feels good knowing that there’s her grandson leading a healthy life (ignoring the chips and soft drinks) miles away from home, making her proud. Dadu’s expectations are somewhat higher: he wants me to wake up by 6 every morning.

To conclude with two lines from one of my favourite songs, from Ek Phool Do Mali, where the father sings to his child:

“Aaj ungli thaam ke teri, tujhe main chalna sikhlaaun

Kal haath pakadna mera, jab main buddha ho jaaun”

(Today, I enfold your hands and teach you how to walk

Tomorrow, do clasp my hands when I become too old)

***

Really want to thank Support Elders and Kolkata Bloggers for having this, and stirring up a flurry of emotions.

Edit: This blogpost came second in the Support Elders Blogging Contest. Heartfelt thanks to all who read this 🙂

Categories
Photography

DP story #2 : Avirup..!

That was the first time I had gone on a trip outside Kolkata, without a single family member; but then, Avirup and his dad are as close to me as are my family members.

Sorry, Sir, but the bar is closed for tonight,

It was a one night trip to the Sunderbans. Upon Anirbanda’s advice, I had recently purchased my 75-300mm lens, and was desperate to show it off, and the trip presented the perfect opportunity. So I went along, with my tripod stand, camera, and a bag. What did the bag contain? Well. Three clothing items, a toothbrush, a dabbah of moisturizer (which Mom had optimistically packed), and a Chemistry textbook (which I had optimistically packed).

 

Anyway, the day we reached, the locals presented a Yatra. No, not the yatra.com stuff, but a “jaatra”, as they say in Bangla, which is a very crude yet refined form of a play. Before the play began, when people were unsure what to do, I was not. I said, “Avirup! Stand!” and got this.

The next morning, while returning, I spotted very interesting nail-colours on Paavni’s nails.

Paavni

Paavni who?

She is a very nice Punjabi girl hailing from Faridabad who is a class senior to me though a year junior.
They say, “The only person a woman carefully listens to, is a photographer.”

paanvi
Affection

That was how I got her to pose for me.

Before you ask, “Arreh bhai, ye kaise ho sakta hai?” I did not fail any class, thank you.

Despite the way I wonderfully captured her beauty, she flatly told me.

Bhai. Your Hindi is hopeless.”

Her sister, Sugandha, is an Amazon of a girl, who tried (and failed) to teach me fluent Hindi. Here is a picture of her with her Dad, a very nice person too.

And oh! I showed Paavni’s picture to Mom, along with all the other pictures of Sunderbans which came out nice. My grandma (Ammi) was also there. Later, Mom confided in me, Ammi allegedly asked her to find out about my “relationship” with the girl. Lol!