Category Archives: On a serious note !

Slice of an eye!

After weeks of thunderous rains, the day shone like a rich bride heaving herself with gold. The wet roads, or whatever was left of the roads, the fallen trees and destroyed bamboos everywhere made it look like the bed after the first night. Rain gods knew how to romance the rustic earth. Not that earth would be complaining, she knew it all would climax with something this beautiful like this very day.

In the midst of this romance, in the luscious green Manipur, staring out of the window from her bamboo hut, Maria knew her day wouldn’t be any different from the previous 4 years. She was sure that it would just end in an endless wait. Those tiny slices of eyes that adored her beautiful innocent face, had every possible trace of that endless wait. Little did she know that her wait would finally end today!

“Yoimayai Khongsai…?” yelled a stranger as he knocked on the door. The last time she heard her full name from someone was around three years ago when she was sent a letter from her husband, Lalboi Khongsai. The letter just had enough information to let her know that he was now at Kashmir as a Border Security Force personnel. She didn’t even have an idea if the letter was actually written by Lalboi. It just had those precise details, without anything addressed to her personally. She wondered if the person who wrote that letter had any time to write. It was like a hand-written telegram just before someone died. It was this thought that killed her everyday. The couple just had each other. Although they had their relatives who lived far away in different tribes, there was no communication between any of them since their marriage 6 years ago. She was alone, on top a hill, in a bamboo hut, living on herbal soups and an occasional chicken sautéed rice, to ease her craving for a delicacy. Her every day was a routine which just had around three events in the same order! But today, a stranger’s voice calling out her full name was something new since three years.

Around 5 steps from the window and she had walked all the way to the opposite side of the hut to the door. Taking a quick peek through the gaps of the bamboo door, she saw a man in uniform. She was sure it wasn’t Lalboi. But she wasn’t sure who he was. She shivered as she opened the door. The man outside immediately saluted her and said something in Hindi. She didn’t understand a word. She could just see the grief in his eyes. She was glad she didn’t understand anything. She did not want to understand anything that might end her wait filled with hope all these years. But the grief in that man’s eyes definitely stirred her thoughts to churn out some depressingly devastating assumptions.

Days passed and gave way to numerous months ahead. Years passed. She had now accepted the fact that she was alone now. She had her own hut and the whole hill as well. Trees around her hut probably knew her loneliness and they definitely tried their best to keep her company. They housed some beautiful birds. Gave away juicy fruits. Showered dew drops on her as she plucked flowers underneath. The creepers around the trees sometimes swept their tender stems around her to give her a sense what she missed from her long-lost husband. In the midst of all this natural gestures from the nature itself, she stopped missing Lalboi. She started to cherish those moments because she had not one but many of her husband’s sensations all around her hut.

That day, she cut across the misty fresh air, danced her way on the grass through to the door. She had forgotten how a human’s presence around her would feel. She had not seen another human in years. But she somehow felt that lost sensation in her this time. She knew there was definitely someone inside. She waited outside the door for a few minutes before getting in. She was scared. She was angry. She was curious. She was restless. At some level, she was even happy for having realized that she was indeed alive in the same human world. She peeped in and took miniature steps to see who it was.

Months had passed and she had fallen in love with a small boy who had strayed into the jungles and had smelt the chicken. He was slurping the soup while he enjoyed the fresh peppers garnished on it. She had first felt a shock but then after seeing his hungry innocent eyes, she had managed to accommodate another living person in her world. She had nothing to lose. For Maria, the little boy was like a child she never had. She knew a small kid like this boy couldn’t leave her deserted like Lalboi. She taught him to cultivate vegetables, to sow seeds, to pluck flowers, to fix their bamboo hut when the storms left it messy. She taught the boy everything that Lalboi knew. She taught him to take care of her. She taught him to live, her way.

A gun was something she had just heard about. She had never seen one. Finding it within the bamboos hid somewhere in the roof was that last thing she could have expected. There have been no person in this hut since she built it years ago except the little boy who had been living with her since months. She had never cared to ask him about his life before. She was just content with what she had got from him, in the present. But now, she had to know. She pulled out the gun and headed out to ask him. He was lying on the misty grass bed staring at the cloudy sky. He was probably counting clouds and trying to make sense out of the shapes it formed.

The innocence of this very sight of the little boy staring at the clouds with a mesmerized look, changed her mind. She threw away the gun in the bushes and headed back to routine life. Over the next few days, she noticed the kid was pretty disturbed and didn’t enjoy his days like he used to. Hardly a couple of weeks had passed and the boy disappeared into thin air. She got up one day to find him missing from everywhere she thought would find him. She searched him for many days around the little hill she lived. She was scared to go beyond the farthest boundaries she had ever been.

The thought of sudden disappearance made her restless for many nights. But yet again, Maria made peace with her loneliness. Her life was a little different from what it used to be till a few months earlier. The vacuum that the little boy left in her life was imminent but that didn’t stop her from getting back to her previous life. She was back being a part of the nature in its true sense.

As she plucked those juice ripened button peppers, she felt a shiver down her spine when a rustic hand rubbed across her naked shoulders. Before she could grasp any sense of what was happening, she was stranded on the floor of her hut. 3 men in uniforms yelled in excitement and laughed their way into her soul. One of the men held the gun that she had thrown away in the bushes a few months back. One of the men held a bunch of shrubs in a sack. As she moaned for help, she realized that those shrubs were the same that had mysteriously grown somewhere down the hill around the same time when the little boy had strayed into her hut. It had gotten wild and had gone uncontrolled after the boy disappeared. She had only heard of those mysterious herbs which were not to be grown anywhere, and was pretty much abandoned by everyone. Yoimayai knew she was going through the most horrific moment of her life right now as she was bitten and eaten by these monsters. She laughed at herself thinking of the pieces of chicken she used to quarrel with Lalboi. She always wanted the best cooked chicken. That light moment flashed in her subconscious as she equated herself to that piece of seasoned chicken being the source of heavenly pleasure. But this time, she was only giving it but not indulging in one herself. She was left torn.

After years of being estranged by the humankind, she found haven in the innocence of a boy who she later realized was just using her to grow weed. Probably he felt insecure after his gun went missing. Within a few months she met another three men. Probably she wouldn’t even recognize their faces if she ever meets them again. She was too much at awe and petrified to even realize that she was gang raped by three men in her own hut in the midst of her very own nature. She felt helpless as the breeze, trees, creepers, flowers and peppers just watched her being used like a toy for carnal pleasures.

Again, months had passed. It was almost a year since that disgraceful day on the tiny hill of Manipur. A dreadful wilderness had grown on the hill with a dense silence. The grass had grown taller than the herbs. Some trees had fallen without anyone to care for them. There was no clue of color from the flowers which were once visible from down the hill, once upon a time. The whole hill now looked deserted. There was no sign of a living soul anywhere around the broken hut. Amidst all this, a familiar but estranged voice was heard. “Yoi….” yelled a man with distressed voice. The last time this voice had echoed this land was almost a decade ago when Lalboi bid adieu to his beloved Yoimayai. He had returned. He ran across the wild hill to reach the hut at the very top. He stepped into the hut with a little hope to see his sweet innocent Yoi breathing. His hope came real. She was alive, but the very state of her life made him choke his heart. It pained him to see her naked, dry bruises. Slandered hair, dry scaly lips were the least of his worries, but her very existence in such a state wished he had not been able to see her alive, not in this life at least.

He took care of her without uttering a word. He dressed her fussy wounds which were unattended for months. He bathed her, hoping to cleanse not just her bruises but her pain. He fed her with fresh food. He cleaned the hut. He trimmed the bushes and huge bamboo grass that had grown all around their hut on the hill. He made everything intact just the way it was before he left. But every single thing he did was just to make her feel at home again. He wanted her to know that her Lalboi was back. He never intended to ask her about what she went through. He could possibly do it much later. He didn’t say a word about his abduction and him being held hostage for over 7 years. He didn’t want to ask her about the messenger in uniform that he had sent to convey her that he was alive but as a hostage. He didn’t know if she had understood his friend’s words, because she could hardly speak any other language other than her native tongue. Every single thing that had gone past in the past decade had torn them apart. All he wanted now was to see her just the way she used to be. But, he didn’t speak a word to her.

“I am sure you are wondering what the hell happened to me. Well, I’m glad you asked! You were dead to me” she murmured one fine day after a few weeks. “I didn’t really hope that you would come back. A man in uniform came a few years ago to tell something and I assumed it was about your death. A lot has happened these years since you left. I was alone. I had somehow found happiness in my life, but then I got raped by three men. I got betrayed by a kid. I got stranded in my own garden. I kept living these past few months just because I lacked the strength and courage to kill myself. I wish I had died. I did not want to see you. I wish I had died when I was of the impression that my Lalboi had died years ago. Now I feel more sad that you were alive and you let all of this happen to me. At some point I was fine being a widow to a soldier. But if being a soldier can do this to their loved ones, I wish they stop making new soldiers. I am very sure there are women and families who just stick to their pain and sorrows just because their support is striving hard for their beloved country. But don’t you think they deserve a minimal attention from that same nation? I do. I didn’t know that I did before, but ask me and I would say… yes!” Silence is the best answer Lalboi could come up with.

Several days passed and Yoimayai had somehow recovered. Lalboi had groomed the vegetation around their hut to be just as pleasant as it used to be before. On a sunny morning, a man in uniform knocked on the door and called Lalboi’s name. She saw him go to the door and speak to that man. She knew it would be another summon for him to get back. But Lalboi closed the door and came back to her. What he spoke next made her comfortable but at some corner she wished to see the patriotism she had seen in him 10 years back. His words “After what this nation has done to you, I would leave it, but will never leave you alone, ever again Yoi”

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The Adventures of Tintin: Secret of The Unicorn – Review: Whoaaaaaaaa!!!

The Adventures of Tintin - Secret of the Unicorn

It all starts with the very first frame and keeps you at the edge of the seat till the very end. The only time you get to take a gasp of breath and relax is when the movie credits roll.  This is probably the best animation that you have seen off late! The sheer imagination that Stephen Spielberg has managed to wrap within an already established theme is definitely worth a standing ovation.

For those who expect a lot of subtle moments and soulful conversations, well, this movie might not be for you. But I would really suggest them to leave their adulthood behind and venture into this adventure ride. I bet you wont be disappointed.

You probably know that it’s an animation movie and might be hesitant about the realms of the journey, but when you enter this creation by Stephen Spielberg and Peter Jackson, you will experience an entirely different style of animation, which is more real than the real..!

The most pivotal aspect of a movie’s grip is its screenplay. Stephen Moffat, Edgar Wright and Joe Cornish have managed to come up with a screenplay that can get your heart pumped up like on a roller coaster ride. John Williams’ score is anyway top-notch just like any Spielberg / Peter Jackson movie.

If there’s someone who deserves a major portion of the applaud apart from Spielberg and Jackson, then its the deliciously crispy editing by Michael Kahn. The same guy who excelled in Spielberg movies like Raiders of the Lost Ark, Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan.

The most lovable character in the movie for me was Haddick played by Andi Serkis. Remember Gollum in Lord of the Rings? If yes then you should probably thank Serkis for that as well.

Tintin and Snowy are anyway a treat. Sakharin played by Daniel Craig is mysteriously evil as intended in the script. Thompson and Thompson are the two cherries on top!

All in all, a movie worth more than just one viewing. And yes, did I mention about the awesome 3D? One of the rare movies where 3D is just a factor and an avoidable character like loads of other scum coming our way. This has some awesome frames designed to enthrall you just in 3D, but if you’re watching it in 2D even then you are surely gonna enjoy anyway.

I am a nobody to rate a movie made with such passion and fun. 107 minutes is much too less for a movie as enjoyable as this! Go for it.

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Dr. Bhupen Hazarika – A Legend!

A Legend

There are very few voices which emerge from the beats of the heart!!! The thump that it leaves when it stops beating forever is what I just experienced when I heard today that Dr. Bhupen Hazarika has, in fact become a legend and completed his journey as a mortal!

When the songs of Rudaali played in Rangoli on Doordarshan, I loved it for its sheer tune! My father was the one to let me know about Bhupen Hazarika, the Singer. I was left with no option but to watch him sing at the musical concerts that played in Doordarshan at the National Musical Congregation which was telecast live. My father, being his ardent fan, never let me change the channel(although there was just one more channel to see back then…! DD and DD Metro). Those were the times when I was forced to listen to his music, but then, when I look back, I was glad I lived at the times when I could watch him perform live.

Being an Assamese folk singer, he never restricted himself to any particular genre of music. His genre varied from films to pop, from folk to classical and even English songs. The sheer brilliance of his baritone voice made the words that were expressed in his music, gems.

I do confess that I was not an ardent fan as my dad, but having heard his “Dil hoom hoom karein…” or “Ganga behti ho kyun…“, I was aware of the kind of Legend he is, rather he was.

Very few voices can cross the barriers of generations with their music. Dr. Bhupen Hazarika’s was definitely one of them.

An irreplaceable loss to the world of Music and Art.

“… ek boond kabhi paani ki… morey akhiyon se barsaayein…

dil hoom hoom karein… ghabrayein…”

Photograph credit: The Hindu.

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My Name is Kishore and I am not Anna !

Anna Hazare says his next mass movement would be for introducing “Right to Recall” in the Electoral System in Indian Democracy.

In different news, an idiot poured insecticide into a bowl full of milk to kill an insect which was happily taking a swim.

Coming back to Anna Hazare, well, please go ahead Sir. There are thousands of followers who will strongly support you.

About the bowl of milk, there are reports that it’s lying uselessly on the table. The same idiot savior will now go down History as the person who valiantly killed the insect in that bowl of milk.

By the way, apologies for the mix-up in news!!!

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Moon Bites

Moon bites... on shore !

Moon bites... on shore !

They loved. They lost. They got married but not with each other. They spent 35 years of their family life with content. They were now back being alone. He sat on a bench facing the lake and stared at the moon which seemed like a quick stroke of light. It reminded him of his remaining life. At least the moon will re-gain its glory as the time passes. But he had lost his glorious days and now was alone. She stood thousands of kilometers away staring at the same moon. She knew she had achieved enough by making everyone around her comfortable to lead their own lives. It was now her life; and only her life. There was no one left for her to take care. She could finally have her own life now. The same moon reminded him of his remaining pitiful few days while she felt an uplifting spirit to lead a life of her own.

They had never stopped loving each other. They had somehow just forgotten about their love as their responsibilities had overshadowed that tiny flame in their hearts. But now, that spark was in the verge of setting those responsibilities on fire. They both longed for love at the end of their days.

“Are you kidding me?” she blurted out.

“No, I am serious. No one would care. It’s a market. They’re all busy bargaining. Just give me a quick peck; at least on my cheek. Come on. It’ll be so exciting” he pleaded with a wicked smile.

“I know it’ll get you excited. That’s what is worrying me, you idiot”

“Ok. Let me do it at least”

“Grab these bags and let’s leave. Aren’t you ashamed of making your girlfriend carry so much of baggage”

“Nah… I am trying to carry your stupid ego! It’s heavier”

“You’re already tired of my ego? You have to carry it for the rest of your life! Beware!!!” she teased.

“Are you expecting us to get married? Nah… I am not as stupid as you” he shot back with the same wicked smile.

“Who spoke of marriage? I am just telling you will have to carry my ego for the rest of your life. If we get married you’ll repent forever. If you don’t you might repent not just excruciatingly more but also carry the guilt of giving up on me! Now shut up and carry these bags. My hands might fall off”

Although 35 years had passed ever since, both of them remembered every bit of that conversation. It played like a nostalgic movie in black and white in their mind as both of them stared at the same moon on the same night.

She wondered if she can call up some old contacts and try to reach him. It wouldn’t have been that difficult to find about someone like him. She had voluntarily severed all sort of social ties of their lives. She loved him too much to manage to let him walk away again.

At this side of the moon, he was wondering how it would have felt to have her right beside him at this very moment. His senses still lingered every bit of her. He remembered how she smelt. He could remember how her touch felt. The way she breathed. He remembered the way her hair romanced her eyes, and sometimes his eyes. He remembered her favorite dress. He knew she wouldn’t have changed. He knew that no amount of wrinkles can hide those sparkling eyes. He knew the color of the hair wouldn’t weaken their urge to romance those eyes. He knew her age wouldn’t have managed to take away her natural aroma. He knew she might not fit into her old favorite dress anymore but she would have a new favorite dress.

“You’ve gone fat. Stop eating” he teased her as she took an insanely huge bite of a burger.

“Do you hear yourself and can you at least see yourself?” she said casually without taking her eyes off the burger.

“I have always been this way, although I keep fluctuating. But look at your flab. Don’t ask me to buy you new cloths” he quipped.

“Yeah right!!! As if you have bought me any. I am just trying to match your size. What if guys start flirting and I get tempted? I might as well put on more weight to ward off those horny eyes!!!” she mumbled as she munched the French fries.

“Ha haa… You’re so funny. I will dump you when you get fat!” he said sarcastically.

“Great!!! I have had enough of you in these 6 years. Now I am surely going to order more of these burgers with extra cheese!!!” she said with subtle laughter.

Clouds gathered around the moon and it was now hardly visible. She just stood there sipping on a cup of coffee. He had always made fun of her habit of drinking coffee before going to bed. He never missed a chance to tease her to ask if that cup of coffee was to energize her in the bed. With a grin she went inside and shut the drapes. She dimmed the lights and wondered what she could possibly do to lead a life she always wished for. Either she had forgotten that she was nearing 60 or she didn’t really give a damn. Her cell phone started vibrating. It was an unknown number. She wanted it to be him but for a quick moment which felt like hours, she thought what she could possibly speak to him after so many years!

“Hello..?” she said curiously.

After an elaborate pause came a voice “Hi… Hey… This is…”

“I was just thinking about you”

“Oh is it? How come? How did you know I would call?” he asked with a little sarcasm and mostly surprised.

“No I didn’t expect your call. I was just thinking about you. I just finished my coffee and was on my way to crawl into my bed” she said bluntly expecting him to make that coffee joke!

“Oh your husband needs your energized version is it?”

“Aren’t you too old to make a stupid joke like that?”

“Aren’t we both too old to repeat this conversation for a millionth time?”

“It’s been more than 35 years. Why did you call now?” she choked as her voice came out.

“At least I cared to call”

“Of course you would care. After all, caring for someone else actually starts at around the age of 60 for men!” she shot back.

“That’s all they’ll be left with to do. Nothing else would be as firm as caring”

“Stop being vulgar with a lady at this odd hour”

“You’re a lady now?”

“I was always one”

“Ladies don’t kiss guys in a market in front of hundreds of people” he said with a wicked tone to tease her.

“I didn’t kiss ‘any’ guys. I kissed you”

“Of course you would. I was quite hot then..!”

“I know you were. Your stink wasn’t really hiding your heat”

“Oh you’re still a pig”

“Aren’t we both?”

“You didn’t answer me when I asked if your husband needs your energized version. Hope I am not draining out your energy”

“I can make another cup of coffee for myself” she said with a sharp voice.

“You didn’t answer me”

“You are trying to hit on me?”

“Nah, I am just trying to hit you” he giggled.

“It’s too late for this you know”

“Oh, you are sleepy?”

“I am not. But you slept for 35 years.”

“It was a mutual decision. Wasn’t it?”

“Was it? For me it was more like one’s decision and another’s agreement to that decision”

“We have matured way too much to argue on that now” he shrugged.

“We are speaking like the same couple who fought as to who would carry the baggage in the market. It doesn’t feel like we haven’t spoken for decades.”

“Haha… I know” he giggled but she quickly added in a serious tone.

“We would have been great if we had spent our lives together. Instead we just spent it”

“That’s why I called. I had tracked you down months ago. It took me all this while to gather myself to call you”

“That’s probably because it’s your birthday today and you’re too drunk”

“In my medical condition, even spelling a-l-c-o-h-o-l is deadly”

“So you called to say sorry?” she groaned as her pitch peaked to its highest but settled down in an instant.

“Why should I say sorry? If anyone needs to be sorry then it’s got to be both of us or none” he shot back with his most serious tone.

“I was sorry back then itself. I was waiting for you to be sorry but as it turns out, it’s my turn again. Sorry but I have to get back to bed. I have a flight early tomorrow”

“I am sorry.”

“I wasn’t lying about the flight. I really have one”

“… and I wasn’t lying when I said I am sorry” he swallowed a nervous gulp to ease his choked throat.

“I know.”

“I might not be able to call you again. It took me a lot of courage to do this now. I will probably succumb to the nervousness next time” he confessed.

“I know.”

“Stop doing that. You’re just as annoying as before”

“And you’re just as late as before”

“Am I really that late?” he asked with the last hope.

“Probably not, but I have responsibilities now. My grand kids need me. It’s their first day at school tomorrow and I need to be there”

“Do you ‘want’ to be there or you just ‘need’ to be there?”

“Did you want to keep up your responsibilities back then or did you just NEED to keep up those?”

“Don’t be rude”

“Wound is fresh you know”

“We both needed it back then”

“But I changed my decision immediately after that, you were stubborn. You didn’t even try”

“We tried for two years. It was too late to change our decisions”

“Its 35 years more now… what makes you think it’s not late now?”

“Probably because it’s way too late for the time to matter”

“Your theories still doesn’t make any sense”

“Can we at least meet?”

“What do you mean ‘at least’? You haven’t yet asked for anything more. Why did you say ‘at least’?”

“Do I have to ask?”

“Yes. I have forgotten to read your mind with years. I can hardly read. Reading minds is out of question” she said, again with blunt sarcasm.

“Can I hope for this conversation to go anywhere?”

“Why do you leave everything to hope?”

“My god. You know how to hurt don’t you?”

“I haven’t loved anyone enough in a while to hurt this much. Probably this is more like a volcanic eruption”

“You haven’t..?” he asked with a tiny ray of hope again.

“No. I was drained even before I was required to Love after marriage. Sometimes responsibilities and honor can replace Love. Arguably even more effectively”

“What about now?”

“Age for my ‘wants’ have long gone. I am here for my grand kids now” she said. While she spoke those words she burst out with tears for being dishonest to herself. It was one of those rare moments when it was all about her but she just tried and pushed it away as someone else’s. In that dark room, her tears somehow managed to gloom. Her hands trembled as she wanted to ask him to come and meet her right this moment. She just wanted him, just him and an embrace she longed for years now. A hug would have compensated for 35 years of life spent for the sake of responsibilities but not love.

“But we have finally crossed that age when we are needed by someone else. Your grand kids have their parents. Don’t they? We have just each other. Let’s elope”

“And go where? To an old-age home?”

“I am rich! That’s all I am!!!”

“Of course you are!” she said with a tired expression.

“Brushing off your sarcasm again, we can have the life we dreamed of. Can’t you at least think about it for a while? You can have my number. Call me whenever you feel it’s the right time. All I am left with to do is wait” he said. He decided it would be his last try and gave his number. He didn’t check if she was noting down his number, but he didn’t try too hard. He understood what she meant when she said it was too late. But he had to try. Thirty-five years ago when they decided to break-up, the conversation ended with a sad smile. This last try was to keep up his last promise. He still remembered that last conversation.

“So we are now not going to meet ever again is it?” she asked as she grabbed that last tissue on the table.

“Let’s make a pact. When I am 60, I will contact you. We can just elope then and have a life somewhere in the world away from everyone we know.”

“Good way of telling that you give a damn what happens to me for the next 35 years”

“Don’t make this more difficult”

“I will” she said as she pulled out her hand from his.

“Expect a call on my 60th birthday”

“I hope you die before that” she was back to her brutal sarcasm.

“… and I hope your family would have succumbed to your brutality before my 60th birthday so that you can elope with me without any hurdles” he added with a quick smile which obviously looked like a failed attempt to make her smile.

Her heavy breathing brought him back to the present moment. There he was, keeping up his silly promise to try for one last time on his 60th birthday. She didn’t answer. After a pause that probably felt longer than those 35 years, she gathered herself and spoke.

“I really need to get my cup of coffee now. Good night”

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