Highway to men’s heart

Since last one week, I am on bed, isolated in one room. Neem leaves spread over the bed and I am awaiting for blisters to dry up and back to my health again. I, with two more colleagues got chicken pox at the same time. Not sure if its the temparature humidity controlled AC room and another colleague who have just recovered up or being blessed with the Mata not blessed earlier (Chicken pox is still considered the blessing of Godess in many part of India). Anyway it has to happen!

During the course, the fever, headache and the weakest feeling have changed the taste buds too. Earlier days as the mouth was affected, even a bit of salt or slightest spicy food was intolerable. I was given boiled food with little salt and turmeric. I used to have the changed menu even in those days. Though I must admit, the boiled food has been tasty really. Dear used to have the same food, prepared for me. Not sure, how! Note worthy here is we both love spicy food!!

Today’s lunch was again simple and again same dull looking because of the little oil and microscopic masala but it was plateful rice, dal with lauki, bottlegourd bhaji, aloo gobhi sabji. After the weakness in this recovery period, I had finished them in a shot and asked for a second little serving!!

May be its again one of the tastiest food, I had from her. May be spices that contribute to the taste, but its something else than spices that makes food so tasty! Love you dear !!

I used to have little argument with her on the old saying that, the way to men’s heart is not only through stomach but other things too. But I guess there exists ‘a way’, and infact there must be a national highway in construction !!

How Many Roties Your Guest Eat!!

Case A: “How many Roties you eat !!”  – The host asked the Guest before going to prepare dinner for him.

Case B: During dinner, host has served 2 roties and curry to the guest, a grown up person.  After some time, curry is there in Guest’s plate but roties has finished. Host comes with a single roti in a plate and asks the guest, “Do you want more!”  Guest hesitantly says – “okey one”.  After few mins – host asks from the kitchen ” Do you want more roties!”  Guest says – “No its okey”.

Having been in such places – wish I could put the plate down and move out.  But bonded with some social terms – had to gulp food unwillingly.

I guess  – these particular hosts behaviors, they don’t do knowingly, but they inherit it. Playing host is an art as well a religion – that’s mostly inherited. At least in Indian context – host must GUESS out (or ask politely, if the need arises) the food interests based on the time of day, the distance the guest has come or anything that gives a clue. His hesitation must be respected instead of exploring his belly volume or level of hunger.

In former “Case:A” a person will not eat 50 roties – so preparing a few more roties than a normal person eats, is not going to affect the hosts kitchen budget significantly. In later “Case: B” extending the hand with few rotis over guest plate will give a clue- if the guest wants to have more.

Preparing food for any one is preparing “Prasadam”. If you believe that it will satisfy the a human’s first basic need. And if this belief is right – the right attitude will come. And if you have the right attitude the prepared food will look great – aroma will make guest more hungry – and of course the taste will be great.

I will put two more cases of Host’s attitude that I saw again closely:

Case C:A guest arrived at somebody’s home. Around 15 mins of talk is over. The guest is now about to leave. At the time guest gets up the chair , the host asks ‘Should I prepare some tea for you’. Guest replies – “No thanks its okey”.

Case D:A North Indian host arranged party for the friends, which comprised mostly of south Indians. But the host arranged the venue where north Indian food is served. Its not because the south Indians wanted to have the north Indian food, but the North Indian Host does not like south Indian food !!

To “Serve” a food to guest – one must behave like “Servant”.

Photo of Lily..

Casting: That evening, little did the smart ladies, knew that in the shopping mall, their voice was loud enough to reach the audience. And the audience knew their dialect very well.
First Lady:

“You know – hearing the words of mother – he immediately jumped off Sofa . And when her mother said – “Beta, it have been long time that I have seen the photo of Lily – Can you send me one photo of you and Lily?”
“Where as he does not moves out of Sofa for three days !” – She added.
“Nipun got up the sofa and dressed up and went to the photo lab. Within two hours he was back with washed photos. I was surprised. Next day while leaving for office, he sent the photos to Yadavpur (Kolkata) by Courier. He did not washed the photos of our honeymoon even after long time and even when I said. And after hearing the Mothers word’s he jumped from Sofa……. How much Nipun Changed in three years of knowing me in Bangalore! Before how much he used to just love me. Everything changed now. How do I feel..
You know that old lady when fells sicks – its seems that she is almost going to die. Every time she fells sick – it seems that  this time she will die…

Second Lady:

Oh that party.. All had nice Maal (drink) …
You know na what Kushal did -She did not wanted to take me for the outings..To save money. But when his father came – He took him to Pondicherry tour. Would you believe…
You know what they think… I am brainwashing you…
And my mother-in-law… Pathetic…. I will not be silent unless I get her the air of prison. You know what …. one case of Domestic violence, if I put – they will be behind bars. Just only what need to be done is give a statement of domestic violence and first thing police will do is arrest the entire family.


First lady is paying her bill by Meal Pass.
First Lady: Would’t you buy anything?
Second Lady: No.. I just came to have some Puchkas ( Pani Puris)……
Audience was shocked to see one another world of-in-Laws-inside-out.

Love Letters

Byomkesh Bakshi – the detective’s character of a TV serial,  I liked a lot, whom I knew quite later as Rajit Kapoor.  Today we four friends went to see his live performance of Love Letters at Rangashankara. This play written by A R Gurney had been nominated for Pulitzer Prize.

This play has been said to be performed more than 250 times. The dual character drama is based on the letters sent by each other over the span of 50 years. The act of “Andrew Makepiece Ladd III” performed by Rajit Kapoor bought the life in the character. And on the other side the role of “Melissa Gardner” was well justified by Shernaz Patel.

The narrative letters orated by both of them from the two side of stages over their changing years/ scenes was taking audience though the different times and moods of two persons sharing their almost all kind of feelings. Both the actors , in the roles of school students to aged people’s role – they seemed completely immersed into.  A flawless performance indeed !  And at the end (when like all love stories) the drama was sad Andy(Andrew) was near to the grave of Melissa – Rajit was crying. And  around 3 hours immersed in the role of Andy at the time of the final stage appearance – his eyes were still wet.

Adding to wetness of his eyes – was his happiness seeing the standing ovation of  houseful Audience. He shared a really good chemistry with Shernaz and I guess they just perfected the characters of ‘Andy and Melissa” without memorizing the script word by word.

It was my first live classical theater experience and was a really satisfying experience.  Wish to see more such live performances of great actors in coming days..

( Photo credits: The Hindu , The Tribune )

Kiss of Red Skins

I should not have written all these – but today I can’t help myself , its all unbearable – and I have to write all these !

In day time mostly, I see her along with her friends. Their thin waist and sharp features are remarkable.Their disciplined walk along the same road, I do really admire. Their walk seems, they are walking on ramp. Should I mention about their pink- red skin. Above all, her and her friend’s hard work everybody praises in our locality.

On our personal interactions, she always used to praise my cooking – And many a times, she used to sneak into my kitchen. It was great, when she used to come alone. But when she used to came along with her brother and her niece and nephew’s friends, I really did not liked that. One day she came along with her parents ! Anyway I do like to make adjustment and maintain a private territory many a times.

Everything was going right. Neither she, nor I had any complaints against each other. Beauty is to see, not to touch, Beauty is to touch not to destroy…

Day before yesterday, I was ready to go to office. Just I left the house, near to gate- she kissed me. It was too much in the hot season of May.

It all happened just before I started for office.Yeah she kissed me on my chest. I came back in the house again along with her. Her kiss was hot. I took out my shirt. But it was still unbearable. Why she did so ! I picked her hands and moved her away. Thanks that she did not kissed me on the main road. I like to forgive many a times, as well as I wanted to forget everything.

In night I slept. She was there near to me ! Near to my pillow. I got up feeling her touch. How she came there, I could not believe in dark !

I switched on the light. She was there along with one dozen friends. Her demand of Cookies and Chocolates and all my affection I can meet, but her presence along with all her friends is now unacceptable. Seems, what a sweet person I am !

I am tired of these little lovely ladies, though they are very hard workers and innocent too, but I am tired of these omnipresent creatures – the small red ants.

Though I keep my house clean like any other Bengali house. But now, their intrusion in my territory is unacceptable. Because apart from kitchen and book selves, they are present in bed cushion, shirts, computer speakers, keyboard, and believe it or not inside one of the computer hard disk !

Temple(s) of we mentally retarded people

I have been to ISKCON many a times but to a NGO it was my first visit in Bangalore.

On the 80 feet road, there on a wall written – Asha Niketan. It is a NGO – where SDIPA students decided to make friendship with.

Asha Niketan – a simple building with brown brick walls. With the packet of cloths and other things given by M.S., I entered the gate. And the wavy stairs reached the verandah. There on the bench sitting were some persons.One can see their bent heads, hanging hands, drooling tongue and the dull looking persons – we call them mentally retarded – who don’t have a home like ours !

After entering there, suddenly a feeling came to me. And the feeling I did compared my entry to another famous place – the ISKCON. But both feelings did had a contrasting experience !

When I go to ISKCON – there I try to be good devotee for the minutes/hours – I spend there. There I don’t find the priest’s eyes welcoming me. They seem to be immersed in a another world, in the greatness of the great temple. Of course the security guards, do welcome me as I am a patron member there ! I do get special entry with a life time pass. But even at the temple, truly I don’t feel on the ground in that way I did felt there.

At Asha Niketan, within the dull looking boundaries – everyone is welcome equally. I was said to wait for sometime – as some authority was to come to collect the things. Soon a tall white lady came and took me to a small room. An inadequately lighted house with a PC on the table. In the room, there were other donated things kept in a big bag. She was so busy that she did not opened the things donated earlier. Down the corner, in another room, I can see elderly people sitting down for meals.

And my eyes were feasting on the walls. The walls had paintings – must be made by the members of Asha Niketan. The painted human figures were not as beautiful as I did saw the Bal-Gopal’s paintings on the walls of temple. But these dull colors in painting were speaking aloud. They do make candles, cards and do sell them. ISKCON too make agarbattis, sweets and so many others things and help many needy persons.

Both are temples to serve the human kind. And the fact is, at the NGO’s, we don’t expect the blessing deity idol there, so most of us don’t go inside the NGO’s making a big queue. And of course in temple, most of us do like to go in queue or become life patron ( for shortcut entry or special treatment or big donation) for the essence of some assurance of heaven out of hell life or for fulfillment of some wish. Anyway in front of deity, we do chant and dance too.

Here they learn dance for therapy, dance for happiness and dance for friendship. SDIPA instructors do train the mentally retarded people free of cost, and make them dance on stage. Imagine the different level of grasping power of mentally retarded people. On the stage, all persons trying to follow the steps of instructor lately and one person just moving the hanging hands sidewards throughout the dance.

The dance of life.. in the different coloured beams focussed on us on the world’s stage. Yeah we all the dancers , tied with HIS strings.

We dance, act, sing on the stage of world. And there are some persons, who play the relationship acts beyond blood relations and they run the NGOs.

The deepest need of each one is to love and to be loved.” – the leaflet of Asha Niketan says.

Have Feet – Will Dance

Have Feet – Will Dance ™ – The motto of SDIPA.

For the uninitiated – SDIPA stands for Shiamak Davar’s Institute for the Performing Arts.

I saw the poster of SDIPA classes in Jayanagar 4th block last year itself, but somehow the I was late to call the enrollment office, but this time I did not missed it and got the seat.

Learning dance was needed from childhood itself. It was a forceful push by Ma, to a dancing group in the durga-puja became a obsession later. Yeah, I do love to dance  on my feet to my own tunes, when ever I do get a chance.  But I needed a professional touch and discipline to it.  And in the month of January I joined it at SDIPA in Winter funk to learn Jazz. 

After training of 12 classes, our adult’s beginner’s group made the final presentation at St. John’s Auditorium on the rocking song of Jab We Met – Mauza hi Mauza. And the synchronized entry and exit towards audience (to make them dance) was really good. The song required a lot of energy and hopefully the group did its best. The quite good ( pretty too :p )  instructor made the tough steps easy and learning dance was really a fun for the beginners like us.  Her smile made the whole batch learn smile a lot.  

About 1,500 students were present in the presentation day from all Bangalore centers !  Not caring for food or time, many of them seemed practicing slowly in small groups, still before the presentation! What makes such a large number of people dance ?  One may be surprised to know the student’s age group. Its ranges from 4 to 60+.

Shiamak must had some very clear dreams and willingness to live a life , that he thought to share, through the performing art forms – dance . 

Thanks to Shiamak, whose heart speaks –

“I am an eagle that soars over southern seas,
I am a reason for people, who want to believe,
‘I am’, ‘I am not’, ‘I should be’, ‘I could be’,
In a world of ‘I’, I’m a person with just one belief:
Love my priceless possession
& God my savior in need.”

Hope to join the next level batches in summer funk.

Healing Touch

Clock ticked 4 O’clock and he was getting prepared for the operation. Nurse changed his dress and he was in white. Though he was smiling, but his wife was nervous from inside – unable to understand – what and why its happening with her.

Waiting time was over and the ward boy came with a chair to carry him to the operation theater. Within minutes he will be on anesthesia and though there will be experts to take care , still she feared something. Why not – the doctors too get written the declaration of “no-risk” from the patient.

He sat on the chair and her hands were still touching her chair. He was moving slowly towards operation theater and she had to stay back. Moving two or three steps together – she bent down and hugged him lightly touching her cheeks to his – Wishing him….. 

I was the spectator of this – what kind of touch it was ? It was more than what destiny writes for us. Was it  in the return of the healing touch he had given to her or something else ? Perhaps many of these things only Almighty knows. 

Dhansirhi – the stories by Gargi Bhattacharya

One evening while returning from office, at the 7-Days shopping center, as per my habit, I checked for new magazines. On the upper racks,there were the recent issues of India Today, Readers digest, and few mores magazines and the lower racks were still holding the old editions.

At the bottom most rack were diaries, notebooks and few more books. Within them, I saw a Bengali book in brown cover. I picked it up and flipped through the pages and kept it back. It was a 26 short stories book, priced at Rs. 75/-. At the moment, there was not enough reasons for me to buy a story book.

Days passed on. I used to get a glimpse of bookshelf as usual. The number of that particular book’s copies seemed decreasing. Inquisitive now I was ! And I again picked up the same book to check – who wrote it?, as the writer’s name was not well known. I thought to buy it, as the writer was some Mrs. Gargi Bhattacharya from Bangalore.Dhansirhi

As the bookshelf is located at the main entrance, the book was getting dust over it along with diaries kept there. But the bright brown color of the cover and the painting was talking something to my instinct. I picked it up and wiped the dust out and read the preface.

I bought it that evening, and after dinner I started reading the stories. Having done my education in Hindi and English, the distance from Bengali literature makes my Bengali reading speed slow. The story writing technique caught my attention. It was story about a small bird and a famous female screen personality. The story ended with a message of need of indigenous methods and ill effects of using the pesticides. There are stories of love and tears and the complete saga of human emotions. One can just keep reading.

So did, I kept reading other stories. The way she picks the theme, and makes the scenario and at last brings her ‘message’ quite efficiently are really impressive. The sentences used are simple yet full of flow.

After few days of my reading, Ma arrived here. I let her read the book. She got something good to read at home, when I was in office. She read all the stories and was equally impressed by the stories. In evenings and back to home journey, I re-heard the stories from her. She just gets lost, while narrating the stories, after losing herself in the characters! It was easy to guess, how much she loved the stories.

I let Ma know, the writer is from Bangalore itself. She said to write her back congratulating on her debut story book.

After few days, I wrote Gargi back and she replied. And her reply again left an impression of earthiness and a humble appreciation of praise.

She told me about her one new book to be published. And I do hope, the new book will be a success again on the bookstalls and she will be a hit in Bengali literary circle.

Congrats to Gargi ! May God bless her pen and her supportive family !