Nowhere to Go but the Horizon

FeaturedNowhere to Go but the Horizon

67676135_505806576833583_1473838029285097472_nEverybody feels a sense of coming back to home while reading anything written by one’s favorite writer. And The Namesake ironically, is a novel about coming back to one’s home or more precisely , one’s roots. Having read it after The Lowland , Jhumpa Lahiri’s true to self description of the Bengali way of Life and of Kolkata, and how these two mingle and make thier way into the households Bengalis living in the States, was not a surprise. For example, how a package from homeland, after travelling thousands of miles can bear the smell still of the dominant spice of your mother’s kitchen. Jhumpa Lahiri , does not ever go straight into the life of the protagonist but goes on detailing the live of his or her family, as it is them who builds a self. But as the story goes on, and the namesake and its significance is revealed to us, the readers, it becomes evident that Ashoke was not only the person who gave Gogol his namesake, he was also the person who lent him his ”overcoat” through his life. This particular instrument which shapes the whole novel at the end is beautifully depicted in the movie adaptation of the book by Mira Nair. Gogo,l, from infancy till his thirties, did everything , he could to make his place and belong to a country he was born in , but always with a prevalent cry in the background from the two abodes of College Street and Alipore, calling him to be part of that life. The first sense of relating to the place where he was born took place with the dead people , in a graveyard.

Coming back to the context of the movie, the only difference that mattered except the small ones like changing the name of Dimitri without any cause, is that, in the movie the relationship of Gogol’s parents as a married couple was not less forced than the one in the book.

The story is not about the several journeys made by Ashoke and Ashima to Kolkata but a journey of the protagonist’s slowly coming back to his roots rather than going far away from it as he was never actually there.

A Knight of one’s own

Irony was a familiar word from high school days only, but it was my first semester of college in which I learnt about it in its true; vast sense , while reading Oedipus Rex. But it was my recent discovery of daily soaps of the Bengali Television that cleared every aspect of the term to me. Let me explain how.
The shows consider themselves to be the greatest propagandists of Feminism , yes they are bigger than Virginia Woolfe and her own single room. This is vast mansions in every corner of Kolkata with one bachelor always in search of a damsel in distress kind of big. The shows have one girl or woman who is either great at sports or something beyond the female reach till the last decade with ten other women who are more passive than the kid who is yet to start talking. Because how else can you show the transgression women are making in the society. There is one other necessary element ,a woman definitely whose only purpose in the show and in life , is to be the thorns of the road to the protagonist. Because feminism is all about women bringing each other down. To show the protagonist as the epitome of goodness; the vamp should have all the worst characteristics one can imagine. Now coming back to the rich businessman whose favourite age is the Medieval and whose ambition in life from infancy is to be the knight in shining armour to a heavily tortured ; confined woman. The protagonist has to meet that person either just days before her wedding or the knight’s. The weddings cannot take place, no matter what. Either of the weddings has to be stopped and the knight has to take a handful of Vermillion and spread it all over the heroine’s forehead BECAUSE what on Earth is even consent! Moreover without the knight and the damsel’s marriage, the latter’s dream of transgression can never be fulfilled. But naturally after the wedding; the woman has more important battles to fight now. She just does not have to please her boss or coach or any relevant authorities but also her sister-in-law, mother-in-law and heaven knows how many in laws in queue. Her choice suddenly is mummed or totally ignored for some days until she makes a place in her “new ‘home then ,of course comes the secondary thing of making a place in the world.
Hence, I realised how Wolfestonecraft missed so many tenets in her vindication , so many important ones.

A Knight of one’s own

THE TRAGEDY OF W.W

THE TRAGEDY OF W.W

It was during the fifth season of Breaking Bad, that it struck me that it is a Tragedy. A tragedy not in the non-academic meaning, but one with elements both from the Aristotelian definition and the Arthur Miller definition. The story is after all Walter White’s gradual journey towards doom and death because of his hamartia ( tragic flaw) ie, his over ambition, greed and inability to stop because of these two. But the plot also follows Miller, as Walter was nothing but a common man. Discarding the rules that a tragic hero has to noble born, this modern tragedy creates a protagonist who is a high school chemistry teacher.

But unlike the modern ones, the predominance of fate from the Aristotelian Tragedy and free will from the Shakespearean Tragedy, are what drives the entire of the show as well as Walter’s actions. Fate brought him cancer which grew or reincarnated in him his desperation for money and the excessive ambition for it. He went on the path because of his cancer and to secure his family’s future, without taking a single penny from his friends , which can be interpreted as his excess of pride or Hubris. But he followed his free will and went deeper and deeper into that path. In this (what-seemed-to-be ) a never ending feud between fate versus free will throughout the seasons of the show, it seemed that fate finally won when Walter’s cancer was back. But the last episode changed it all with Walter’s last conversation with Skyler about how he did everything because he loved to and dying by his own bullets before giving up to either the DEA or the cancer.

The other factors like the hero being not entirely good or bad was given a whole another direction, as Walter seemed to be the epitome of goodness at first who only did good things. But then he started doing things a common man will not even think of doing for very good reasons. As for the catharsis, the fear definitely arose inside every viewer and for the pity part, one had to wait for Walter’s bloody hands to slide down the silver equipment and him lying dead with the perfectness of ‘Baby Blue’ playing at the backdrop.

THOUGHTS ABOUT ‘EKUSHE PAA’

THOUGHTS ABOUT ‘EKUSHE PAA’

I started reading Ekushe Paa for a reason which almost everybody around me thought to be stupid. I asked my sister one day last year after finishing a book that what I should read next from her and my grandmother’s enormous, never-ending book paradise. She suggested Ekushe Paa , but the maniac that I am , I saved it to read just before my 21st birthday and so I did. I read the lines printed at the back of the novel and feared only one thing, i.e., diving into one of those movie scripts many people call novels by Chetan Bhagat. But as I started reading it , within the first few chapters only , I knew I would love it and so I did and here I am writing about it. The novel is set in the 90s and was written in the middle of that decade as well. Two things that stuck me the most. First is the nostalgia it gave me about my mid-way forbidden college days and the second is how surprisingly ahead of its time the narrative is.

Bani Basu caught every aspect of a typical Kolkata College life and students , from politics to political discussions, from never ending wait for classes to end to the eternal wait for the classes to actually take place some days, from that first immature love turned the worst mistake of your life , from the introverts to the extroverts and introvert turned extroverts, no corner of those three golden years has been missed. Mithu, Ujjaini , Venkat, Ritu , Emon, Gautam, Tanmoy, Vishnupriya, Rajeswari and their dual existence as students of a single college and as newly emerged adult for the world and for their families filled the narrative with unputdownable turns and twists. Sometimes, I felt myself wanting to be there and gave my piece of advice and let them how much our lives are relatable.

As mentioned before, the second thing that left a mark on my mind is how Bani Basu ended the novel like I did not think she would. I was certain that , like popular culture arts of the 90s, specially the movies , end with the females ending up the man of their choice or with any man for that matter, because you know, that is the “happy ending” . Given the fact that there were almost similar number of males and females in the narrative, I was sitting there; ready to be disappointed. But boy was I surprised! The author gave a cliffhanger ending to the love lives of the characters only leaving hints. The cliffhanger ending is also applicable for most of their careers and academic lives as well, indicating that end of college is just another beginning – the beginning of LIFE.

I AM HAPPY

I am happy. 

And this time I am not misunderstood. 

This time, I am scared, but happy. 

I see leaves fluttering and knocking on my window pane, I am happy. 

I hear the sounds of praying all around me in symphony every day, I am happy. 

I see thousands of words together inside a quadrangle, waiting to be devoured, I am happy.  

I feel the crisp winter breeze on my face, reminding me of things of the previous winter, I am happy.  

I am scared of this happiness slipping away, but I am happy because the key to finding it again lies with me.  

This time I am happy because I found it within myself. 

The Bojack Everyman

Even though the BoJack World is a world where birds talk, horses sleep lying on their back , dogs are not loyal and cats are Hollywood Agents ,BoJack Horseman is the most realistic series I’ve come across in a very long time. Why so? Because it is a world of “worldly” problems and predicaments. I started watching the series at a point , where I had to encounter some really shitty people and really shitty situations. If I map out the time when I started watching it and the time when I finished it , the path between the two would be very stoney , but at the other end of it stands a stronger and free self of mine, a share of credit of which definitely goes to BoJack Horseman.

Let me start with BoJack then. Can selfish be the right word for him? Apparently yes, but delving deep into him would bring out a lot of regret and a constant will to change himself. Every time the silver lining was at his threshold, it got snatched away from him . But still, he never stopped trying to be better. He knew he had an extra point from the other assholes of the world because he knew and accepted he was one . Even when the world would be against it, he will hide from it for sure but surely will come out and face it.

Princess Carolyn , the workaholic, super strong and super independent agent turned manager turned producer, is the Capricorn of the characters. We all know someone like her who would take nothing but perfection. She will do anything for her close ones , though very few people can enter the ” close to Princess Carolyn zone” . Her characters shows how an independent person also needs someone to depend on, someone who will let her depend without letting her loose her independence even a tad. She shows that it is never late to search for that one particular piece that would finish the puzzle of your perfect life, the piece that was needles and Judah for her.

Now, the one whom I am most excited to write about . Diane Nyugen. It has been very long, since I related to someone so strongly, maybe when I was reading Harry Potter, such a strong connection happened last. She came off as indifferent, someone who does not care about anything much and is very very arrogant. But by the end of the series , you will die to have a one and one conversation with her . By gradually accepting her true self through the span of six seasons, Diane Nyugen taught me how important it is to accept yourself first in order to let people or expect people to accept you. She taught me that life turns into a mess , and it is okay if you cannot stand up , it is okay to lie down there for a while after all it is your mess and a part of your being. She taught me that it is okay to loose it on people and not everyone has the capacity or capability or patience of those layers of you and see the real you. Not everyone deserves that too. And someday someone will be able to dig all the way down there and will embrace it. Just like “guy” of Diane who gave her that faith where she could say , ” I don’t trust the happiness in my life to last, but I trust him and I am not scared”. How asking for a little help to clear out the mess is okay and if they do , you know the rest.

Todd, Mr. Peanutbutter, Hollyhock, Herb, Penny every other character shows different sides of day to day and some non day to day issues one faces in life.

So BoJack Horseman is Everyman, Princess Carolyn is Everyman, Diane is Everyman just like you’re the Everyman of your life. Everyman who came out of being an asshole , from an addiction , a trauma or some physical or mental illness, just like BoJack Horseman.

I see a dark , deep dungeon

I see a dark , deep dungeon.

I am falling into it .Slowly, painfully.

When I look up , I see faces calling me up.

Some are giving their hands to pull me up as well.

Yet , I am falling into it gradually.

On some days, I feel a flash of soothing sunlight falling on my face.

But it doesn’t last long.

Sometimes , it comes again , but without the fortifying warmth.

Sometimes, I mistake a bit of light on my face for the Sun.

I open my eyes, it was just a firefly.

The Withheld Summer

The Withheld Summer

The bustle of one bus standing in the bus stop to take in as many people as it can

The people catching my eye while walking in the sidewalk while I sit at the farthesr window ~seat of the bus

The smile on my face of seeing a red flame tree on my way

The disappointment on the face of the woman with three bags after she misses the bus just because she was not fast enough

The conversation between a grandfather and his granddaughter , while the grand father takes the granddaughter back from school

All these seem like Summer now. some transient episodes , like a grasshopper lamenting the cricket’s departure, which once seemed mundane to our post ~modern mindsets. It once existed and surely will exist again but after this long phase of winter where ironically all the elements of Spring are thriving.

I have Lost Everything for You

I have Lost Everything for You

I have lost everything, Spring said to Winter.

All my blossoms, greenery – Everything.

You came and took away all my colour.

now it’s dark , gloomy and.. confusing!

nothing else can prevail once you arrive

How can you be so selfish?

Spring asked..and Left..

Winter smirked and thought,

If only you knew,

I have to be harsh, for you to be a lover – soothing as you are.

I have to be destructive, so that everyone gets how beautifully constructive you are. I have to be numb, so that they understand you are not

I have to be me, for them to appreciate who you are.

Caged

Caged

Weren’t we in a lockdown from some point of time in our life? Lockdown as we know is the closing of everything, the stagnation of our ‘’normal way’’ of life. But who can derive something definitive about what actually is normal? One can say that normal is what we have been doing since infancy. But as we grow older that ‘’normal’’ daily lifestyle changes as well, doesn’t it?

What is our present state of mind now? What almost all of us want to do now?To be set free from the bondage of something right?Be it home or/and the fear of something. But isn’t this what we face or seek most of our lives as well/ Even if when we could do ‘’whatever we want to’’, could we or did we actually did, whatever we wanted to?Did we just wake up one day with an extreme urge of going to Alaska or maybe even Nebraska and gone there just because we could do whatever we wanted to? Because life isn’t that easy, not now, and it never was.

Most of the people roaming the Earth lives in a state of lockdown for their whole life. Their life ends with an unfulfilled desire of going out or more precisely coming out. The people forced to live by their undesired gender identity. The people who went out , yes, went out of their houses everyday but were too scared to independently live by their sexual preference, choice of clothes, job etc. Weren’t they in a state of lockdown?Or are’nt they still in a lockdown?

The thing that troubles us is our lock up more than the lock basically! But weren’t we locked up from living our heart out ?loving our heart out? Aren’t we still? I can’t help but remember what Red from The Shwashank Redemption said,

I’M TELLING YOU, THESE WALLS ARE FUNNY.”

“First you hate them. Then you get used to them. Enough time passes, it gets so you depend on them. That’s institutionalized”