Saturday, 28 March 2009

Mukul Revisited

I do not like going to movies. But because of my love for the Feluda stories I accompanied my parents to see ‘Sonar Kella’—the first film that Satyajit Ray made with the story of Feluda (the middle class, intelligent, super sleuth created by Ray himself). That was somewhere in the early eighties, if my memory serves me right.

I fell in love with the film. The immortal characterisation of Lalmohan babu, the photographic tour of majestic Rajasthan, the legendary background score and the handling of the film-making by the master himself, made it a film worth remembering. To my teenaged eyes and mind, it was an experience worth remembering for life.

The film spawned a lot of new stories about Feluda and continues to be the benchmark for the new films being made now in Bengal. But what remained in mind the most is a rather strange thing happening at the end of the story.

The story is based on the quest of a previous life of a child named Mukul who remembers bits of it in his present birth and culminates in him finding his old place of residence in a Golden Fortress in Rajasthan. The film shows the child crossing the ruins mentioning each house with the name of an occupant who used to stay there during his previous birth. Then he approaches his own residence of his previous birth and breaks down into tears in front of it.

As a child and later on too, I have often thought about the reason behind his sudden tears and have never found a plausible reason behind it. After all a child having got what he was looking for, should have laughed out in sheer joy!!!

I have been travelling to Durgapur (the place where I was born and lived up to the first 22 years of my life) quite sporadically of late to meet my professional demands. Durgapur is place of nostalgia to me since the time we left it for good in 1995. Since, the restart of my journeys I had been feeling the ‘call’ to visit the house where I had spent my entire growing up period; the place where my entire childhood and a major part of my youth were spent.

Last week, I had decided to answer the ‘call’ during my visit to Durgapur. The moment I entered the area, memories came flooding into my head. I remembered each of the residential quarters and the names of the occupants who had been my neighbours during the two decades of my stay. I felt like Mukul and just stopped short of mentioning the names of my erstwhile neighbours audibly as I crossed the respective quarters.

Then I stood in front of my beloved house----- the quarter which housed memories of twenty years for me. I looked hard and saw what a lot had changed. The manicured garden is gone, the peripheral hedge has been replaced by concrete fencing, the veranda has been converted into a room and the fruit trees have disappeared. The only remembrance is a single mango tree, planted by my mother, standing tall.

I felt a strange sense of loss, as if, someone has wiped clean a slate containing my childhood.

I suddenly knew why Mukul had cried.

11 comments:

Pradip Biswas said...

I spent a major time of my boyhood days at B-zone Durgapur and stayed in a quarter near the junction of Newton Avenue and Marconi Avenue. Last year I went there to attend a marriage in the groom's party. I was lucky that four of us were alloted the same quarter where we used to stay. The mango tree inside the house was the same. I had the same feeling as yours.

Lazyani said...

Aah Pradipda. I knew that you had have a Durgapur connection somewhere:) . I was a B-Zoneite too, of Joydeb Avenue. Thanks for sharing the empty feeling.

Sucharita Sarkar said...

I had visited Durgapur long back in 1990, when I used to stay in Lady Brabourne Hostel and my roommate Mousumi (now, where else, but in the US), lived in Durgapur. Even then, the city had a sense of being laden with memories of people who had lived in it and loved it, but had gone away for ever. Even the trees lining the grey roads seemed bent with memories in the hot afternoon sun, dreaming of the past.

Sharat said...

Very well written Ani Da. Makes me want to go back to Dhanbad and see what has become of once my home....

Pinku said...

so now u know why Mukul cried...for all those things lost forever...which though fresh in the mind's eye are actually no more.

Pradip Biswas said...

LazyaniJi
I want to discuss with you but no contact e-mail address is given.
Mine is pradipjuly@gmail.com. We may discuss many things. i feellike opening my mouth sometimes. Promise no bad odours but neem fresh discussions only.

SGD said...

A first timer to your blog...
A poignant post!
True, a sense of loss and hollowness pervades when we are brought face to face with our oh-so-loved and familiar surroundings of the past in a completely changed form.

Lazyani said...

SGD, Welcome and I am honoured.

Sucharita, Durgapur is now a more lively place than what it was a few years back, thanks to new job generation.

Sharat, my experience should act as a warning and should make you stronger against a possible heartbreak.

Pinku, yeah , you are right. These days I rely solely on mental pictures for nostalgia.

Kum Chini said...

Now I know why you felt nostalgic reading my post. Lovely write up. Sure, going back to the days of yore is more golden than possibly every other lure taken together!

Mampi said...

beautiful,
and how true,
i dread going to the mansion where i spent 13 years of my life simply because I fear that it might have changed beyond recogntion.

Oreen said...

ah...did i feel the same when i drove to durgapur...didn't it feel strange to know someone else stays in what were our houses?

tumi koto ki likhechho, ekhon porchhi boshe boshe...