Thank God its Friday

There are so many things that people do in their lives that unconsciously become a part of their life and they dont realize that until much later. I am sure each one of you who is reading this must have had something or the other which you might or might not still have realized.
Today when i look back at those fridays in Kolkata i realize how part of life my returning home on weekends had been.

Here is the a typical extracts from my past life on Fridays

6:30PM: My childhood pal Arunava calls me up at the mobile and asks me not to board the TCS bus to Howrah station coz he also is going home. Going by TCS bus is a lot less hassle but who cares. I loved making the more challenging and demanding alternative journey with Arunava.

6:40PM: I walk the 10 mins to InFinity building in Salt Lake sector V where Arunava works. Its getting late but the idiot is still not around. Finally he arrives panting and the exciting journey begins.

6:45PM: We board the first 215A that arrives. Its packed at that time more so on Fridays and somehow Arunava and I manage to get in front of the Ladies row. If lucky get to see some good gals if not doesnt matter better luck next time. Karunamoyee takes around 7 minutes.

6:55PM: We board the auto to Ultadanga Station. Most of the time the auto is filled up with guys like us who need to catch some train from Ultadanga station. Invariably the approach through HUDCO used to be mess. The endless queues of people, cars and buses all trying to somehow get in first. The auto is such a good vehicle in these times and we used to reach Ultadanga station through the back alleys by the side of the Kestopur canal.

7:15PM: Getting an auto to agree to go to Ahiritolla ghat from Ultadanga station is a pain at this time because everyone wants to go only till Central. Anyways we used to be lucky on days but on other days we had to pay at a premium to get one driver to agree.
This second auto ride is another experience altogether. This can match any thrill ride in any amusement park in the world.U have to cross the dreaded Khanna, Hatibagan and central crossings.Anyone who has not had an experience on travelling in this route a warning - never board anything other than an auto on this route. It was like playing this video games. We used to back the driver to drive faster and ourselves estimate the time remaining. The launch arrives at Ahiritolla at 7:35 PM.

7:30PM: We have ticket of the launch for Howrah and stand aboard the jetty. The hustle and bustle and the frantic auto ride gives way to a serene quiet atmosphere. The gentle flapping noise of the water of the ganges againts the jetty and the gentle converstations of the waiting passengers are the only sound you can hear. We used to share the events of the day during our 5 minute wait for the launch. Although i must admit here that i have a great fear of water and generally avoid boats if not absolutely necessary. Somehow i found this ride a bit different. I actually have to admit i really liked it.

7:35PM: The launch departs from Ahiritolla for Howrah station. We take up a position in the front deck where the wind is high. The bright lights of the city recede into the haze of polluted air and smoke as the launch moves to the middle of the river and sets off at full throttle. Time for some snacks in this enjoyable 10 minute ride. Arunava would invariably come with the two packets of hot Chanachur( called Ghati Garam in bengali - i guess that explaisn it for most of you) from the guy who is a regular hawker aboard that launch. It such a calm and enjoyable experience to travel aboard a launch in the evening ...I really cannot explain to someone who hasnot experienced it.The light of the Howrah bridge appear like beads and grow in size slowly till we pass underneath it for the final approach to Howrah station.

7:52 PM: Its the final lap and time to run through the taxi stand of the station through the main building to the ticket counter. We used to stand on separate queues and most of the days i used to get the ticket earlier than Arunava. It was a lot of debate and talking point among us.
Then comes the final dash for Bibhuti express on platform number 10.

8:01PM: We find that the train still is stationary and start going through the reservation lists. The idea is to find berths which are empty till Durgapur so that we can get our tickets converted and reserved.There is a secondary parameter too in the search.Additional bonus for finding such berths in vicinities of F(18-25).....plzzzz dont hate me for saying this but it surely was a secondary consideration during our search. Finally the train starts to roll and we have to make a decision. We decide on one of the options and hop onto the train through the nearest door. No problem most express and mail trains these days are vestibule.

8:15PM: We used to have our favourite Jhalmuri and then slowly doze off to sleep as the train used to make the sweeping turn through the Dankuni approach. The run to Durgapur is enjoyable. Bibhuti express always was on time in Durgapur and we used to stand at the gates of the compartment as we could see the bright illuminated Rajbandh oil complex and the new L&T plant and the Graphite factory lights.

10:20PM: Dad is standing on the overhead foot bridge to recieve me and so is Arunava's dad. We part ways after making appointments for going out somewhere the next day morning. 5 min ride to home and mom is finishing up making some fries for dinner.

Ohhh isnt that sweet .....Home sweet home.

Memories of Childhood

Those days were real good. I used to get down from the school bus at around 1:45PM. It used to be blazing hot during the summer with temperatures touching 50 degrees. But be it the blazing summer or incessan rain she used to wait for me there.....My mom. We used to walk the 5 minutes home and i used to talk most of the way about what interesting had happenned at school. Each day the topic was different. Sometimes it was about the fun we had while at other times it was about the fights or quarrels. She would patiently listen all the way carrying my bag and the water bottle.
It used to be almost the same time each day. The postman used to make his daily rounds and i would ask him if we had any letters. I was too young to recieve any but the fact that my dad or mom had recieved a letter used to somehow thrill me.
Once home i would open up the sports page and read through it. I think that i was addicted to sports from an early age. My mom would have a hard time pushing me to take a bath before we sat down for lunch. Again the stories and discussions of the day ensued. Invariably half way into the lunch my dad used to call to enquire whether i had reached home and i would rush up to pick up the phone. I would tell him anything i felt he needed to know or was important enough ( though now i realize that the definition of important varies drastically with age). Then as always he used to tell me about the best dish that mom had cooked that day. Actually my mom is a wonderful cook and my dad a connoiseur of bengali food. I used to return to complete the rest of my lunch. Still today i consider mom to be the best cook i have seen( sorry to be biased about this)
Time to sleep. I used to ask mom to call me up at a particular time depending on the appointment time i had with friends ( for evening games in the local field). By the time i got home dad was back. i used to freshen up have complan and snacks and sat down to study. My dad would join me. Ohhh man .....he was really regular. 6:30 to 8:30 was serious study time - homeworks, preparation of exams whatever depending on the needs.
My father believed in regularity and i guess that has always helped me later on in life. He had the energy to make me study, check my homeworks, correct my practice work and teach me new lessons. Now when i get back from office and hate to cook food that too for myself i realize what a pain he had taken for me all those years.
Dinner time by 9:00 and then i would get to watch TV perched comfortably between my mom and dad for about half an hour. Then time to pack my bag for school the next day. Dad used to read out the routine and i would put the books and the notebooks in. It used to be a mess when on certain days i realized i had to complete some work or had to memorize some poem for class the next day. I had to complete it though and my parents both used to sit by me till i was done.
Then off to sleep with mom and dad. Dad is real quick when it comes to sleeping off. But i would be awake for a while chatting with mom before dozing off snugly in her arms.
I guess each one of us have such fond memories and i hope my children are as lucky to get the same love,attention and quality time from their parents as i have. Its really the time children need parents the most.

Is This A Love Story?

Diptesh liked rain very much. It had this strange mystery around it that never failed to enchant him. It was raining that evening too as he stared blankly out through the windscreen of his car at the intersection. He could see through the haze the bright halo of the red signal as the wipers tried in desperation to get the water clear. A lot of other thoughts churned through his head and the honking of the car behind him made him realize that he had indeed failed to see the light change to green.
Damn the people he thought. What has happened these days to people? No one can seem to wait for a second. Where is everyone going? Do they have such a wonderful time waiting for them at the destination that they can’t wait for it? Maybe …. Diptesh has no answer. He definitely doesn’t have one at least these days ever since he has left home for his job and neither is anyone waiting for him at home to rush to….someone he loves. The signal turned yellow at the next intersection but Diptesh took the turn. And then it happened. A speeding car from the other side rammed into his side at full speed. The sight of the lovely rain which was so beautiful just a moment ago went black…
Life is such an irony sometimes isn’t it? Diptesh who was cursing the rash attitude of others just minutes ago now faced the penalty of being rash himself. Or was he indeed rash? It might be possible that he was so mystified by the rain he loved that he got distracted or it could be all those thoughts that kept him busy all weekend which got better of him. Whatever it was we might not ever know …or even if we know does it matter? In fact who on earth really cared to know of those thoughts? Maybe his parents….again for them the loss of their only son is enough cause for grief. His mom probably will not survive this grief with her weak heart.
So what now? Friends will mourn the loss of a wonderful guy….A fun-loving guy who used to light up any gathering with the incessant blabbering and jokes. His managers will remember him as a very hard-working sincere and extremely talented guy yet will be looking for an able replacement…..that is life cliché it might sound.
But no one will ever know that behind the façade of this very jovial fun loving guy were loneliness and lots and lots of it. Loneliness which probably every one of us has felt to some extent in some phase of our lives. But why was he lonely? In fact he had lots of friends and loved making new friends too. Still he was lonely. He wanted to be in love. He wanted to share his feelings with someone- someone who would love him just as much and would always be there for him.
Actually Diptesh craved for his true love craved for the company of a girl who would mean everything for him. But funny that he really did not have any girl who was a good friend leave aside loves him. He had been through the same teenage life as any other normal guy and was quite popular in school. Still why this apathy for girls?
Actually he did not have apathy for them. He wanted to make friends with them just like any other guy but he was shy and afraid. All his extrovert nature all the qualities of mixing with friends suddenly vaporized whenever he interacted with girls. It was as if he withdrew into a shell. Part of this was nature but a part of this was the fear. Fear of the unknown and the fear of what if? What if he liked the girl and the girl did not like him? What if the girl liked him and said that to him? What if they were seen at some public place together? What if some girl breaks his heart? What if all of this hampers his studies? What if his parents got hurt due to some of his actions? Any person who has grown up in a typical middle-class Bengali society will understand his feelings. So he withdrew into the shield he had created for himself and in that “safety and comfort” he did not realize when his teenage was gone.
Still he felt that he loved a girl whom he knew since childhood. They had grown up together and Diptesh seemed to be happy spending time with her. But as always the shell got in the way and inspite of the feeling inside him that said that the girl liked him too he never found the guts to say anything to anyone. So he buried all the feelings reasoning it was some teenage crush and tried to get over it. But still the last day he actually did not forget the girl. All the wonderful times they had spent in childhood were as fresh as though they happened yesterday. First Love they say is irrepressible……
College was the same. Although the time spent was wonderful it was remarkable again in the fact that he made friends with not a single girl. Ohh poor guy this time the ego, prestige and the fear of refusal got in the way. He saw friends entering into relationships, breaking up and even getting engaged and comforted himself…He felt he was better off than them. He has no dependency on anyone, no time commitment for someone and freedom to enjoy life with friends immersed in booze and smoke. But deep down in his heart he knew that these was not the thing he really wanted and all these feelings were as the saying goes “Grapes are Sour”
Days and years went by like this till just a couple of months back. And he felt that he had found someone- the girl of his dreams that he had been searching for so long. Oops how did he get to know the girl? That is a story by itself but anyways he felt deep down inside him that she was the ONE. He had spoken to her only a couple of times and so when he got an assignment at another location he felt the urge to forego it. But he did one bold thing. Before leaving he could muster enough guts to ask the girl for her phone number.
Having got over the first real challenge he felt that he needed to call the girl up too. The first day he called her he could almost feel his pulse racing at around 120. His heart seemed to pop out when the girl first said hello. His mouth had gone dry and he could hardly talk for more than a couple of minutes. Everything that he had planned for hours before calling had evaporated at an instant. He felt dejected at himself and kept wondering till late in the night as to why he had become so nervous. She was only a girl after all. He did not realize when he had drifted off to slip on the couch.
The girl called back in a day or two and Diptesh fared better this time. He had a grip on the rush of adrenaline and talked to her for quite some time. That’s better he thought. He kept going through the entire conversation in his mind. He could not get her thoughts out of his mind. Not a day passed when he would not spend time thinking about her. It was as if his vision had gone hazy just like the wonderful sight of nature when it rains.
The conversation became more regular with time and Diptesh got to know more about the girl, her family her values and the more he talked with her the more he liked her. He thought what a wonderful thing it would have been had he not taken the assignment. He could have taken the girl out possibly on a date by now and then found the courage to express his feelings to her at an opportune moment. However he should not miss the opportunity when he returns home. Diptesh for the first time in many years had a dream- a wonderful dream he did not want to wake up from.
Then suddenly one day he lost contact with the girl. He could not get her on the phone for a week and neither had the girl called. Diptesh was very disturbed. Zillions of thoughts ran through his mind. What had happened? Was she well? Did he say anything wrong to her? Why was she not reachable? These telephone connections are no good these days. He should have taken her mobile number.
The girl at last sent him a mail explaining why she could not call. Diptesh felt relieved somewhat but a new wave of thought hit him. The last 13 days seemed the longest period in his life. He understood that he needed to express himself. This could not wait till the time he went back home. It might be too late. He already had wasted enough of his life alone and did not want to waste any further time. The girl had promised to call that night. Yah this was it. It had to be now. Diptesh went over the exact sentences in his mind as he prepared….. The Moment of Truth had come”
That evening as he left office he had become very calm. Just like the lull before the storm. He seemed to walk to his car in a trance. The rain however diverted his thoughts. But the exact sentences and the words he would say kept on ringing in his head. And then the unthinkable happened…..
The phone at his apartment rang constantly for half an hour but no one picked it up. The love story ended just before it was supposed to begin.I consider this a love story although no one would ever come to know that it ever existed. It was stacked up in the farthest corner of his heart forever.

Why a partner?

I often wonder what it is that most of the people in this world are looking for a partner. Are they not happy with themselves or with their family? What is this which draws two strangers towards one another? An attraction that overcomes the inertia of having to leave the comfort of one’s close ones their love care and spend the rest of their life with someone they have come to know so recently.
I have known a lot of instances where the guy and the girl had to marry against the will of their families. What is it that gave them the strength to overcome the obstacles set by their loved ones - the ones who cared for them loved them dearly? Love people will say gives them the strength and I don’t disagree with that. But what is so special about this love? What exists between them and their close ones is also love, isn’t it? So how can one love which is so young overcome the love that had grown over the years as they grew up?
Hard to find an answer to this and that is intriguing. I feel happy when I see couples happy with one another deeply madly in love with each other but this question seems to bug me most of the time.
I have thought on this long and hard and guess I have a possible explanation for all of this. Human are by nature very self-centered. They love themselves more than they love anyone else in this world. I know many of you disagree with me at this statement but it’s true we accept it or not. I guess that happiness in life is one of the most important goals of our life and each human being strives to get it.
We all know very well that the comfort and love of our parents our family will not be there for us for ever. We realize that this is extremely precious to us yet deep down we are all in search of an alternative. An alternative that will sustain us and keep us in the same state even when the “comfort zone” of today is gone. That is the single most driving factor of finding a partner.
Here I must say I am specifically leaving out an important equation out which is the physical need of humans. I guess that is an entirely separate subject and dealt with separately although I have known people who want to treat that in the same domain. Have u ever read Ayn Rand? U will understand the philosophy of objectivism and what I am just talking though it has been exploited to a far greater degree than I personally believe in.
So when people do find their partners, their gateway to happiness in life, they don’t want to let go of it even if it means their sacrifice of their current abode of happiness and love.It might sound very harsh and objective way of looking at relationships but I guess it has truth in it. So all you couples I don’t at all criticize u….u have done the right thing and presented with an option I would do the same.