Monday, 28 December 2015

2015 -- The annual round up

The year-end synopsis is well due I guess. Also, I should follow the ritual that I had started about 3 years back—Looking back at the year passed and end it with an eye to the future.
Well, here goes …..
2015 – A watershed year surely in my life ; a year that pushed me into the abyss of financial trouble with all sources virtually drying up. It was an hourly fight for creating funds for survival. Having said that, this was also the year where benefactors loomed up and lent me their shoulders to help me scrape through at the very last moment.
Maitreyi De Sarkar, Shubhayu Sengupta, Anannya Chakraborty and Antora Chauhan—if you are reading this – I owe you all big time and would pray to the almighty to provide me with the necessary muscle to shore you up if, God forbid, you happen to land in a dump. Even when the accounts get settled, these debts would remain unpaid as it was not only the finances but the psychological boosters given by you which pulled me through.
This year would also surprise at the very end with me deciding to leave business and take up a job again after 8 long years.6 months ago, I would have scoffed at the possibility of such occurrence as frivolous and impossible. This goes to show how the plans for the future are best left to the almighty.
The consistent positive has been my daughter. She has been a constant source of joy and fun and has grown every hour. Also, a word for my family who have really felt the brunt of this crisis without much ado!
That brings us to the next year.
As I said and learnt the hard way, planning for the future is for fools but I can always hope for an easier time ahead --- specially more comfort in finances , more work , more joys from my daughter as she grows up and challenges me to grow up with her and consistent improved health from my now rapidly aging parents. Also, I hope that my partner in crime, my wife, gets her due in her career. God knows that she deserves it.

Au Revoir and wish you all a very happy new year.

Friday, 7 November 2014

My dear Mamma,                                                                            07 November 2014

I prefer calling you that! I also know that you will not be able to read this letter now. If at all you get to read this , then hopefully by then , you would have grown up to understand what lies beneath the letters covering this page.
Tomorrow you turn Three! It’s your birthday tomorrow! A grand old age of 3 years J.
Mamma, mamma, I have such a lot to tell you and i know not whether I will be able to share it all with you, because, you will realise with time that I am not really a very strong person who likes to share all in public.. But I guess that this is the right time to start and as your “mumum “says I am probably better off with the written word than with the verbal.
Tomorrow also marks more than two years of sheer unbridled joy for me! It’s the joy of having you in my life. It’s the joy of growing up all over again with you, it’s the joy of smiling with you, playing with you, fighting with you and getting my tear wiped by you. It’s joy of riding the roller coaster of life with you, the joy of belonging to you.
I remember the lusty cry that you gave once you were placed in my arms and how you quietened down and slept on my shoulders. I remember how I did not move a muscle for an hour lest you would wake up. But I remember the most the sunshine that you brought into our lives the moment you smiled once you woke up.
It has coincidentally been a rather trying period for me professionally and financially. Some days it has been more than an effort just to drag one off to home. It has been a tightrope jugglery for over a year and as I write this, this is not over yet. It is consuming every inch of my energy and patience to pull through. However, the moment I reach home and get welcomed with the yelps of joy and a hug from you, I get an added boost to take upon the whole darned world.
It is at this crucial juncture that I finally get my mind together to write to you.
My love, in you I see a rare understanding self and a rather soft and caring persona.  That I dare say is a lovely combination. But the world that you inherit would be a harsh one and my job would be to groom you with the shield for protection against such barbs.
I would not burden you with much more in the first letter itself. Hopefully, I would continue this trend of writing to you till both of us mature enough to talk and understand directly.
At the moment, let me raise my hands in silent thanks to the Almighty for selecting me as your father.
Happy Birthday my dear! May God bless you!
Love and Love again,


Friday, 5 September 2014

My Teachers

I have always been lucky that I had been taught by people with special acumen.

Starting with my parents who quickly understood what the need of the day was promptly got me admitted in a great school ( first in my family to be admitted to an english medium ICSE school) and also allowed me the leeway to form my own opinions about life.

St. Xavier's School , Durgapur would be the institution which really created me as I am today. it taught me that education is serious business and education is fun. I shall not mention any one separately lest I commit the sin of missing out someone. I learnt that maths, physics, chemistry, biology is fun. I learnt that history created me, geography lives round me, and english is a love affair. I also learnt that cricket , football and table tennis is serious business. I had also learnt that exams are routine affairs which are not to be frightened off! Above all, I learnt to get along in life with a smile on my lips come what may!

Bidhan Institution taught me competition and time management--- how to snatch time away for a cricket match when you are getting ready for the heavy duty things like entrance examinations.

Durgapur Government college taught me that there is nothing called ultimate failure. There is always a new path to take once the original one is closed.

Department of Business Management , Jadavpur University taught me the rules of daily survival  and broke the shell of the shy little boy that I was then.

Work took me across the east and north east of India and the different bosses taught me how to build the future and how to think on my feet.

And of course, my friends!! They continue to teach me till date , every moment!

Thank you my teachers! I am truly blessed!

Monday, 14 April 2014

Shuvo Naba Borsho

My parents, like all middle class Bengali parents, believed that an extra training in fine arts was an additional shot in the arm along with the traditional education imparted in the school.

As a result, I was inducted in the drawing class conducted on Sundays in the local club. It took me 3 weeks (that’s 3 classes actually) to understand that I hated sitting in a room staring at an object and that I could never ever have a co-ordination between my mind, my eyes and the pencil in hand. I bunked the next class to join the cricket coaching class being held outside. It was obvious when my father came to collect me from the class that no amount of effort in drawing would create a bruise in the knee and the knuckles simultaneously. In short, I was caught red handed and we came to attend a ‘gol table boithak’ (round table conference) with my parents.

They reasoned with me that everyone my age had some ‘EXTRA CURRICULAR ACTIVITY’! Playing in the sun and rolling in the mud or climbing trees was not qualified to be taken as such. So, I had to learn something!! Playing the tabla or guitar was suggested and harmonica was the compromise solution. Not even my otherwise doting parents dared to suggest singing as they knew that I would probably create disharmony in the neighbourhood through my ‘hende gola’ and lack of understanding of ‘sur’! I was gifted a harmonica and there I was trying to blow my lungs out. My friend/brother next door played this instrument like a dream and when I heard him play better with every passing day, the harmonica took the shortest route to my drawer.

Well, that was the end of my tryst with fine and performing arts!

It brought a relief to me and my energy was shifted to my love of cricket and football. My parents knew when to retreat and they never tried to convince me again.

However, there was a time every year when I really regretted my inability to play the instruments or sing or get involved in such ‘cultural activities’. Come the month of Baishak with the ushering of the Bengali New Year and every corner of the then Bengal would have thousands of cultural programmes commemorating the new year and the birthdays of Rabindranath , Nazrul and Sukanto. These would be ‘para’ based and all local ‘para’ artistes would get to showcase their skills in the stage created in the local grounds. The rehearsals would continue for about a month before the D-day.

This was the period of romance.

All ‘eligible’ boys and girls would get to meet and showcase their talents to impress the chosen one. The hot and often humid air of April would hold an additional burden of such budding romances and the heat wouldn’t seem so oppressive! But this was limited to those who could perform and people like us would watch from a distance and go green with envy. As one of those who indulged in outdoor games and lacked the fine arts, we had the duty of volunteers. It was to keep the outside crowd at bay on the day of the programme, or function, as we called it then. Other jobs would be to carry heavy articles, collect chanda and other such odd jobs!  I would stop near the rehearsal area, listen to the songs or discussions or the strains of music emanating from behind the doors, cringe at the bonhomie between the boys and girls and curse my inability to be a part of it. This feeling would last till the start of the next cricket season when all such things would be drowned under the sound of the willow hitting leather.

I would reason that after all someone has said that cricket was the poetry of the willow!

Today, I wonder whether such tender moments still spring in the summer under the guidance of the three bards of Bengal! Or whether, poetry- fuelled romance has vanished like the romance having vanished from cricket!!!

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Aajkaal brishti porley boro bhoy korey
Jhann chokchokey flat er rongin dewaler
Phaank diye purono quarter er dewal tah beriyae porae
Proshno korae kotota paeley aei jeebon thekey
Amar ferari bheeru mon paliyae beray
Nijer kachhey jobabdihir bhoy
Janalar paash diyae unki mere daekhi
Notun swapner notun suryadoyer asha
Bheshey otha notun asha ra proshno rekhey jay
Purono shopno gulor ki holo sheshey!

Friday, 31 August 2012

Her small hand held mine, the head rested on my shoulder and from a moment of tears she went off to sleep. Seeing the trust in her closed eyes and feeling the tug of her other hand on my collar, I gave my heart to her.  She slept the entire way and when we entered our home and tried to let her slide onto the bed, she opened her eyes wide and smiled. Everyone in the room smiled back and my daughter had reached her home.

It took 14 years for our family to be complete. It was a fight of 14 long years through an emotional rollercoaster. But when she came home, it was worth the wait. Our world has changed since then and these days we spend our every waking (and sleeping) hours trying to adjust to her whims and fancies.

These days the small toothless grin and the artful raising of her eyebrows make our day worthwhile and every hint of tear is met with anxious glances. She is all of 9 months now and yet, my daughter knows how to rule already! She has won over the most prosaic men and she has more well wishers than what I could have ever envisioned.

These days as I play with her or just let her cosy upto my amply cushioned stomach, I feel a sense of pleasing warmth creep up my spine. I pray to the almighty to let me have the strength to help her realise her potential and to help her lead a fulfilling life.

Monday, 28 May 2012

Kolkata and KKR

Phew!! The hectic month of IPL is over , finally!!

For the last one month the country had been divided on regional lines depending upon the allegiance to the region based cricket teams. Yesterday night all of Kolkata( at least the most of it) erupted in unadulterated glee after Kolkata Night Riders managed to stage a wonderful win to lay their hands on a lovely cup and about 10 crores INR among all other things. The glee of its famous owner at having won the cup for the first time hogged the television screens and the daily newspapers of today. After all, the much beleaguered backbencher city had some achievement to show!!!

The present local government was overjoyed and promptly the airwaves were ruled by the right comments. Suddenly, local sweets like rossogolla and mishti doi was the toast of everyone and every heart started beating for the city.

But , it was a tough day for me!! Having  been identified as someone whose sympathies were not with the 'local team' but with an individual who did not play for the team, all hell broke loose the moment the winning runs were hit by Manoj Tiwari. In a span of about 5 minutes I was called some beautiful names like parochial, loser, worthless, and some other ones which I would not repeat here as I guess that would lower the dignity of this blog.

However, I was happy that KKR won-- for two reasons. Reason one was that CSK was trying to armtwist the tournament as a personal backyard tournament and reason two was that my Kolkata had some thing to cheer about.

But, the cynic in me has a few more questions to which I seek answers:-

a) How is KKR representing Kolkata? After all, this a profit seeking commercial venture which operates out of Mumbai and do not , I repeat, do not, till date have an office or representation in Kolkata.

b) What happens if tomorrow, the name is changed to just knight riders and it operates out of Bhubaneswar or Dhaka? After all, the owner is free to do it!!

c) Heard that the state government would have a grand reception for the winners! Great idea this! but what about the Bengal cricket team which had won the Vijay Hazare trophy for the first time this year. I know that most of us do not know about this. Just for the information, this tournament is the premier tournament for one dayers in India. This year the champions team list had the following names:- Manoj Tiwary, Laxmi ratan Shukla, Debabrata Das, Anustup Mazumdar, Wriddhiman Saha, Sreevats Goswami, Ashok Dinda, Iresh Saxena, Shami Ahmed, Sourav Ganguly among others. Any plans for felicitating these pioneers? Or will it be the only those guys belonging to the Mumbai based franchise?

I know these questions are uncomfortable but these are to be asked. After all, it is the name of my beloved city that is at stake.

P.S.:- Mr. SRK, if you really mean what you said after the match, one would expect you to invest a sizeable amount of your huge earnings at the expense of the loyal Kolkatans in making the game grow and in nurturing talent from this state. But I guess, that is expecting too much. After all, you are here for business and you would like to encash on ready talent. Nurturing young talent is someone else's forte and I guess you know his name rather well!!! 
And a friendly caution at the end :- this city is infamous for being ruthless against its own icons at the first hint of failure or mis-step . You can ask Sunil Gavaskar, Bhaichung Bhutia, Jose Ramirez Baretto, Sourav Ganguly , old players of East bengal and Mohun Bagan for reference.
God Bless You for the moments!!!