Posted by: Tanmoy Chakrabarti | September 21, 2008

Should I close my eyes?

It has been long since I have written something nice about India. I so desperately want to feel proud about certain things that have happened in India in recent times (viz. Abhinav Bindra winning gold in Olympics) have been comparatively insignificant to the worse that is visible there. It is saddening for me and thus my numerous rants have increased which has added to my usual nature of being a habitual melancholic. I know I should not but the stories that I get to see on Indian news media, the calls that I get from my family and friends don’t make me long for India but it makes me feel if I could bring them all to me. Most people who know me shall ask me to ignore these issues or at least put them on the back seat for the time being and enjoy the moments. Trust me, I would love to do that too but just that my eyes and mind can never be shut.

 

How much I wish at times that I had a filter in my eyes?  I cannot afford to have one but having said that, I do feel perhaps I need to refine myself because at times relatively micro issues are ignored by me when I tend to worry a lot about the macro ones. I feel this undoubtedly is not right because a human being should not really judge happiness as well as problems like that. It is very much like saying “ just 20 people instead of 50 died in a bomb attack since it was luckily a low-intensity bomb blast” – which is I feel is cruel since a life is a life and it does not matter whether 1 or 200 gets killed because of some uncalled for attack.

 

It must be Durga Puja time in Kolkata and people must be really excited about it. I don’t recall when I last visited Kolkata during Durga Puja and I was telling my father that over time I have so little to write on Puja. I get the feeling that sponsors have changed the face of Puja but I assume the enjoyment still remains the same. Three years back I wrote a series of nostalgic posts on my earlier blog on Durga Puja and I have not moved a single inch from that. In the interim, I saw a few Puja in Delhi which did not excite me that much. I am sure Durga Puja is being held in New Zealand and we may land up there. One of the main reasons why I don’t like Durga Puja outside Kolkata is because of my inability to contribute to the organisational aspects of the event. I am not very good at those things and that is why I tend to avoid such associations and thus I am sure things would be similar even here. Otherwise community events outside the region are sometimes organised with greater passion and enthusiasm and since I don’t see myself being in the organising committee thanks to my inability I don’t know whether I shall be welcomed in such an association.

 

Having said that, I do miss the time when I used to take long walks with my father on Durga Puja and I do not think this can ever come back as neither the streets of Kolkata shall become better in terms of my ageing father and I take walks nor I have retained the innocence of my youth. Thus, in effect my best Durga Puja days are excellent memories!

 

Why did Kolkata change so much from my childhood days I wonder? Oh yes, I am again becoming melancholic and I wondering whether I should allow the reader to get tortured by making him read through my definitions of change or not!

 

Whenever I visit the Auckland city library, I wonder why it is not the same back home. I know Ramakrishna Mission Institute of Culture Library is good but the culture of reading books, listening to good music, watching decent films is restricted to few or since we are big country the proportion looks smaller?

 

Should I close my eyes and not talk about Kolkata or India in general?

 

——-

Postscript

 

Two of my friends who have recently made me feel good.

 

Srijit Mukherji and  Sabyasachi Patra

 

People like them show the courage to pursue their dreams with full vigour and I wish them well. These are the people who do not allow me to shut myself off. 

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Responses

  1. “… the culture of reading books, listening to good music, watching decent films is restricted to few or since we are big country the proportion looks smaller …”

    Might this be because India is going through a rapid transition to modernity, and transitions are rarely smooth? It is of course possible that India might not come out of this transition for quite some time. The culture, albeit a somewhat different one, should reemerge once the change has subsided and people have more time to ponder on things other than earning/stealing their daily bread.


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