Friday, March 7, 2014

Timing Is Everything

I am hugely grateful to Garrett Hedlund, for his beautiful song – “Timing is Everything”, from Country Strong. Because, he told me – When you think true love is hard to find, that’s when love comes along, just in time”. He beautifully analyses how, had things been different, he would have never met her. How I could have been another minute late, you never would have crossed my path that day”. He sings about destiny and fate and above all, waiting for the right person and meeting her at the right time.

Time is a funny, unpredictable bugger. Let’s go a year back, sometime in the middle of February last year (2013). Things were terrible then and there were more downs than ups in my life. I was beginning to feel Time’s playing games with me. But just when I was about to give up on him and all the notions about the good things in the world, he bestowed upon me, my miracle. My time, you see, had come. My savior, at last, was here. Right now, when I look back at things, I can almost see Time smacking his lips at the brilliance of his creation.

My D day was just a usual one, in fact, it was quite a while before I realized that I had met the one I was waiting for. She was here, it was her sitting on the other side of the desk and I had no idea. Because, as John Lennon sang, “Life is what happens to You when you are busy making other plans”. So indeed, it happened to me and I had met my angel and the whole Universe was clapping and Cupid was gathering congratulations and I was busy analysing the correct process of making 0.1N Sodium Hydroxide. Never mind, I was always an idiot and thankfully, the Universe had my back this time. Nothing could go wrong now.

So we started spending our days discussing Potassium Metabisulphite and Silver Nitrate and the parts per million of Sodium Benzoate required for paste preservation. All the while, the Universe was getting impatient, probably cursing me and my inability to be normal with a beautiful girl. Thankfully, I got the cue and one fine day, we were discussing Arnab’s “Shey Je Boshe Aache” and Notting Hill and then How I Met Your Mother and Big bang Theory! I was so comfortable that I went ahead discussing Messi and Manchester Untied (to which She only smiled though, a “I-am-not-interested” smile). And the Universe was in his easy chair in his lawn, basking in his glory, listening to Love will keep us Alive”

Are matches made in heaven? I have no idea, but I guess there is a greater magic at work here. So we were born and brought up miles away and every decision I took, and each one I didn’t, all my life, brought me closer to Her. Truth is, I waited 28 years for her, moved from Dooars to Guwahati via Bhutan. We spent 3 years living in the same city without even meeting each other. Timing is everything. My wait was over, ‘coz I knew She was the one and She was worth the wait. She was worth every stumble, every hurdle and every bit of pain I had to endure, and when I was hanging off a cliff, She just held my hand and brought me up.

Garrett Hedlund ends his song with this classic line – because You can be hurt by love, or healed by the same, Timing is Everything. When I pick up the guitar tonight to dedicate his song to my love, my wife, my thoughts will go out to him and I'll say cheers brother, I have been healed and Life is Good. My time, is now.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

How am I doing, actually?

For past 10 months, a lot of people have been asking me how I have been. And I’ve always maintained that I’m fine. But I guess it’s time I brush aside those fake one-liners and honestly ask myself, “How am I doing, actually?”

I thought I would give up blogging after Baba passed away. Yet here I am, remembering Him, and trying to make a comeback of sorts. I remember how He always encouraged me to write, saying that it was important to have different aspects of one’s life, and not just work till you drop. How do you cope with life after losing that pillar of your world? How do you get a grip on yourself and try to fix your messed up life? How do you take that step ahead, knowing that now there’s no one to fall back to if you make a mistake? Simple, You don’t. There’s no written protocol, no Standard Operating Procedure. Like they say, life simply doesn’t come with an instruction manual.

I remember I used to have a decent life, not a care in life, no worries. I had my parents to do my worrying for me and I naively believed that would be the way all my life. But when reality strikes, it’s like an extra time goal in a game of football. By the time you realise what hit you, the moment’s gone, you are on the floor and the game’s lost. You are left wondering the next few days, you have only two words running through your mind – What If? You think of all the alternate conclusions, what if we played safe in the last few minutes? What if we had not missed that easy chance in the first half? What if we had played the off side trap better? What if? What if?

Difference between the beautiful game and life is, with a heart breaking defeat in the beautiful game, you can always fall back into life, do the usual stuff and life goes on. There’s always the next game, or a fresh start the next season. But, it’s all different when you are dealing with reality. Like they say, life doesn’t give you second chances. Once you are hit by the lightning bolt, you are left rueing the missed chances. You thread through the “what ifs”, but there’s no next game, no new season. It has happened, you are broken and life is moving on. Life doesn’t wait for you to recover, life doesn’t give you time to get a grip on yourself. There’s no pause button, where you take a few days off, cry to yourself, wash your face and un-pause. In reality, once you are steady after a setback, you are already playing catch up with life.

Initially, support will pour in thousands, but sadly the melancholy is your own. Hand printed by the divine Lord Himself. I sometimes think of it. If there’s really an Almighty, does He pack sorrow, grief or pain in a small red box and address it? Does He include the instruction “To be showered upon the addressee and the addressee alone”? Because in reality, no one understands your loss like you do. Instead, you are surrounded by advisors, social, cultural, financial, even political. With one loss, your life is suddenly crowded. But even in the waves of condolences and support coming through, in the dozens of “Everything will be alright” hand squeezes, very few actually touch you. You best friends keep a tight grip on you, but most of the times all they see is a blank stare and all they can do is talk to someone who isn’t actually listening. Sadly even they cannot always penetrate that cold wall of grief surrounding your heart.

I stopped listening to a few selected songs, put a few movies in the no watch list, because frankly, they made me sad. They brought up memories that I didn’t want to think of. I put up a brave face and an “I’m fine” look. I knew I had to change myself. I had to be serious with life. There were too many responsibilities on my shoulders now. Yet, no matter how much I tried, I couldn’t get one thing right. I kept making mistakes with no one pointing them out to me and correcting me. I thought about life seriously, I made plans, chalked out routines, but nothing materialized. I kept getting frustrated with myself. It was as if there was this little child inside me I had to throw out now, but no matter how hard I tried, I couldn’t get a solid grip on him to pull him out; I just couldn’t grow up and change.

Yet here I am, 10 months on, still naive, still understanding life. Manchester United played a terrific season, providing me with my usual dose of highs and lows as we won the 20th League title, ultimately gifting me a deep sense of ecstasy. But Sir Alex and Paul Scholes both retired, leaving me with another deep void and a deep sense of anxiety regarding what lies ahead as a true Red Devil. Personally, I haven’t reached anywhere either. There has been absolutely no progress. Nothing spectacular has happened; my life’s no fairy tale. I still can’t do a lot of things correctly, but I haven’t given up, not yet, mostly by the grace of the greatest magic in the world (according to Albus Dumbledore), a Mother’s love. The way She took a grip on our lives and held everything close is phenomenal. I understood the strength of a woman, my Maa, and in Her strength I found strength myself. And never to forget, also partly due to some crazy friends who haven’t changed any bit. They are still as warm as before, as insulting as before and sometimes they still don’t give a care. In a sense, they were the few stable things in my life left remaining, silently standing by, waiting to help, to comfort or throw some nasty swear words as the situation demands, but all the while restoring parity in my life. They were there, Maa was there, Manchester United was there, all these 10 months, all the time, and I was not alone. They all make me remember this one Coldplay song I really liked from a long time and always found the true meaning when pulling myself up. Lights will guide you home, and ignite your bones and I will try, to fix You...

So I cry. I laugh. I stay merry. I feel awesome and I feel wretched. I stop trying to be serious, I stop trying to change. Because whatever I am today is because of Baba. He knew me this way. And a part of Him is bright inside me, into my conscience, guiding me, taking me forward, slowly, one step at a time. My very own Light, to guide me home. So now when people ask me, I say I’m not fine, not yet, but someday, someday soon...

Sunday, June 17, 2012

A Letter to Dog-Heaven

How do you communicate with the departed? What if there’s no last meeting, what if You are 2 days late? In a first of its kind in my blog, I’m writing a letter to Dog-Heaven, where my beloved angel is probably spreading her love and her laughter…

Dear Scamper,

It’s been two months now, but I think of You every day. You are always in my mind. I’m sorry I couldn’t write to You earlier. I am sad. I am still gutted but I understand why You left my side. You have been fighting illness for the past 2 years and more, to the point where finally You had to give in. I am still hollow today, hurt beyond imagination at this loss. But don’t worry too hard, dear, I’ll make it through.

I remember the first time I saw You, I remember it so clearly that I feel younger right this moment. I go back roughly 12 and a half years , that enchanting morning when the quirky 14 year old version of me rushed into the living room and saw You sitting solemnly in a little box. You little face was puzzled at the newness around You and I remember holding You in the palm of my hands, bringing Your face close to mine. Your eyes were ever so lively as You looked into mine and I hope You remember licking my nose for the first time, for with that began the special relation between You and my nose. I felt a certain charm, like a fairy tale coming true. I used to live in the world of Enid Blyton even then, reading her books and imagining a special world of my own. You were the first person to be part of that world, instantly, and I named You from out of Enid Blyton’s books as well. My very own Scamper. I don’t think I realized then how beautiful life would turn out to be with You around.

We both grew up together, I was in my teens, You were a toddler. You were even more beautiful with each day and naughty and restless like me. I dare say Maa had her hands full, bringing us up. And how You loved her! You’d sleep peacefully on her lap, lay tangled in her hair and smile. We all knew You could smile. And whenever we were naughty, Baba would scold us and then You’d sit quietly in the corner, feeling sorry and looking so sad and dejected that Baba couldn’t help but call You back lovingly. And You’d rush to him, like You knew heaven was in his arms. Days were beautiful with You around!

From the middle of class 10 to the end of class 12 and until joining college, I spent every single day with You. You showed amazing ability to recognize all of my close friends and welcome them. My days were brighter with You around. You were my world, You were my everything. And then, we grew up, living life on weekends, cheering Manchester United or listening to music and then later on jamming alone or with friends, with You always by my side. I would have been a totally different person without You, I realize I learnt so much from You. I guess a little bit of Your free spirited nature, Your jolliness brushed into me and made me a better boy. I still have a little bit of You inside me and that makes me a better man each day.

So goodbye, my friend, my angel, my sister. I shall miss You. I shall stay awake late at nights and think of You. Maa and Baba misses You every moment, home feels so empty now without You. Right now, You are probably in dog heaven. I heard there’s miles of green grass for You to run there, loads of biscuits and carrots that You loved so much and so much love that You shall be happy forever. But sometimes, think of me and remember all those good times we spent. Because I remember You, I miss You. Because I think of You everyday, You are always in my mind, You’ll always be. Because, with You gone, I just became a little bit more lonely.

As I write this, Regina Spectre’s “The Call” is playing in the back drop… it’s as if You are speaking to me “I’ll come back, when You call me, No need to say Goodbye”.. and I'm calling out to You...

The Nose Guy

Monday, September 19, 2011

A year older, A year wiser – a blogger’s realization that time, in fact, heals all

What is the most common free advice you get when you are down?

-          Time is the best healer”

This has to be the universal counsel for people going through a low point in their lives. One phrase, translated in probably all the languages in the world, ending with a wise smile and a nod from the adviser. And every receiver of this free bit of good will has different phrases going on inside of them, all which basically reflect on one idea – “Wait till it happens to you, JERK!”

Thankfully, I have come to a point in my journey, where I can have a say in this matter. I have, like the rest of us, always given free advices at will. In fact, this is something every person is capable of. I have, of course, used the widespread phrase Time is the best healer many a times, but the beauty of our world is that Aristotle was right; The Earth is, in fact, round. What goes around, unfortunately, comes around and about a year ago, the positions had changed.

Last September, sadly, my life got jeopardized and instantly I was receiving back, with interest, every goddamn bit of valuable advice I ever gave. But even though the frustration and sadness is one’s own to bear, knowing that people around are trying to help, somehow makes you feel less vulnerable. But all the same, I was beginning the journey which I felt had no end; I honestly believed, at that moment in my life, that I’d never ever be okay again.

A lot of things changed about me. Sadly, I almost gave up blogging. There was nothing worthwhile happening in my life and nothing to write about, I was having a hard time surviving that torrid first month. Thankfully, it was the best time of the year next (Durga Puja) and the fun I had with my close friends was out of the world. I realized how important my friends were to me. But I was still going through the roller coaster ride of emotions and that was when I wrote Moving On. That was the time of teeth grinding restrain and a desperate urge to move on. But moving on is never that easy. I had yet to learn that you cannot force yourself to move on; rather, you have to let it happen to you.

It seems, at that moment, like all the freaking desires of your whole life seem to be hell bent on breaking your will. But with time, being alone becomes a habit. You thrive in the solitary situation life has thrown you into, the darkness feels good. Also, with each day passing, your hopes are weaning out; you begin to realize that, the call you are patiently waiting for is never coming, your email(s) will never be replied to, and no one is going to give you a surprise visit. No matter how much you wonder, there are no explanations, life leaves lots of queries unanswered. It is during this time you look back at the sweeter parts of yester years. Memories are cruel sometimes, but sometimes, you need to look back at the good things too. Once you begin to look back and smile, realization is slowly creeping into you. My nascent stage of understanding life came out in 8. And from then on, with every passing day, things have been different.

Have you ever looked back at the things that happened in a past year? In this last year, I watched maybe a hundred movies, listened to thousands of songs, googled, buzzed, facebooked, twitted, even blogged a little, all under varied degrees of despair. I disturbed few of my good friends a lot and made 2 of my closest friends go through un-believable stages of my depression without complaining. I watched my only friend in Guwahati fight brain cancer and survive. I caught a glimpse of my Aunt in an artificial respirator after her heart surgery and saw her recover by the day. And I opened up to Maa like never before. My whole world went from one end to other in a span of 12 months. And as time passed, I looked back and felt all the negative memories fade.

I do not know if I’ve actually moved on, for strange things make me feel strange sometimes even now. But I have to say last September, I thought I was heading for the end of the world and yet, this September, I feel fresh and significant; I feel a year older and a year wiser. Movies don’t help, neither does music. Manchester United winning helps a lot, but one loss jeopardizes all the good work. Nothing helps, except perhaps, having a desire to wait patiently and knowing that time is the best healer. Moving on happens when the time is right.

Even with the understanding of time’s healing powers, I have learnt my lesson with free advice, I no longer use that age old classic phrase, instead I take a couple of inspirations from Guns ‘n Roses and tell them Nothing lasts forever, everything good or bad eventually comes to an end, all we need is just a little patience.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


I was thinking that the number 8 has been unlucky for me recently.
But why? When I first started following Manchester United, Nicky Butt used to clad the number 8 jersey. Not my most favorite player in the world, but he did what was required from him. In came one Wayne Rooney to take over the number 8 and hit the right chord in me. When he moved on to number 10, Anderson took over the number 8. That is one for the future.
I tried harder, had to be something worse. But no matter how deep I went, there seemed to be nothing wrong with the number 8, except of course, for 8th March, International Woman’s Day.
You might be tempted to think what could be wrong about the day, but 8th March has actually been a memorable day in my life. It was the day I first confessed my feelings to the only girl I ever fell in love with. I proposed and got disposed, sadly. But, with some divine intervention probably, what followed was a memorable 8 years together, which unfortunately could not proceed to the 9th. So now, the ghost of 8 haunted me, banishing the number 8 forever as ill fated.
As the date approached this year, suddenly I was losing all my restraint. I was turning into an immature lump of overflowing hormones and hyperactive heart. To make matters worse, Manchester United lost two consecutive matches away to Chelsea and Liverpool on 1st March and 6th March. United had just lost two matches prior to that all season. Even East Bengal started losing matches suddenly, after staying unbeaten and untouchable for so long.  This made me realize how my passion for football was helpful in keeping the blues at bay for all these months. This was it, I realized. I was doomed.
As I always do, I turned to two of my closest friends. He was excited, because the rival supporter bugger long hibernating inside him was making victory laps now and why not. His team Arsenal was in contention for a first league title win in probably 9 long years and also Mohan Bagan supporters always enjoy East Bengal losing (and vice versa). After exchanges of our full vocabulary of swear words, I hung up on him. She was more supportive and listened to me, advised me and showed me the brighter side as we talked at lengths. Both made me feel better in their own special ways for the time being, but I knew the inevitable was just around the corner.
Yet with time, things change. You forget all the bad memories, nightmares fade. Only the goodness of a person persists. I looked back at that day and smiled now. It all happened so fast. So many essential parts of the day that shaped my life was long gone. My Hero Bicycle, who was part of that ride to ecstasy and then agony, was stolen 2 years later. The 3 poems I had written and delivered, which said all I wanted to say and a lot more, never came back to me. The princess who was once mine, how nervous She was that day..
It’s funny how some things work out and some don’t. It is funny how taking separate roads makes for such an intense, ever-changing emotional journey. You start with hatred, wrath, take a U-turn to sadness, despair and agony and finally, realization hits you slowly. Then you just smile, because you know you have spent some unforgettable moments with a special person, you have had a good time and that shall forever remain that way.
So on 8th March this year, ironically, I broke my numerical 8 jinx. Instead, I closed my eyes and went back to that day, that noon, the copying of the verses on a clean paper with my best handwriting. That wait for the indication that school was over, that afternoon ride on my violet-blue double shock-absorber Hero Rock-shock. This time, I felt the wind blow into my face, I saw people on both sides of the road, I realized I had missed so much in the excitement of the moment. I turned a corner, and there she was, walking back from school alone, that grey and white dress…

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Moving on

I have been pondering over my next blog article for quite some time now. My emotional instability during this period vetoed me from concentrating on my blog. But I needed to take a break from all that and return to my passion despite the fact that a lot was changing in my life. Summing up all courage remotely available within me, I decided to emphasize on what a part of my life felt like, as I was finally walking alone.
Moving on is strange. You are always hoping that with each day, things will get easier, but there’s like a small cloud of sorrow over your head all the time and it’s always raining tears. And then, suddenly you get tired of the rain and long for a little sunshine. For the first time in days, you want to move forward and leave the pains behind. So you think all’s done and dusted and you are ready to start a new life. What is behind has been left behind and you are all ready to look ahead with renewed vigor and enthusiasm. The laughter and fun seem to be back, again, with old friends and new. You have moved on; or so you think.
The lengthy forgetting process seems suddenly over, abruptly, and the mind seems to be recuperating. All of a sudden, after days of brooding over, reading old mails and letters, filling draft folders with unsent messages and emails, suddenly the desire is gone. The number’s still in the back of your mind all the time, but the yearning to call is lessening by the day. You decide to take the next step ahead and delete all the photographic memories and even that process doesn’t hurt much. You feel fresh, you feel… Awesome…
Everything is fine, until again, emotions keep mounding up with time. It generally starts with an old piece of memory, a song, a movie, almost anything that reminds us of what we left behind. Somehow, unknowingly, we are again walking down the memory lane. And all of a sudden, it’s too much to hold back. Neither boozing nor fagging helps then. One fine morning you get up and realize it’s been days since you heard that sweet voice, held those heavenly hands and the emptiness is back again. You are back to square one and the process starts again. When this vicious circle ends is something I’m yet to know.
Like most of my posts, there’s always a musical reference… Some of my favorite English songs (there are plenty of Hindi/Bengali ones we all know of) which could make one realize that he is yet to recover are:
  • ·         Christmases when you were mine – Taylor Swift
  • ·         Back to December – Taylor Swift
  • ·         Put a record on – Unkle Bob
  • ·         Teardrops on my guitar – Taylor Swift
  • ·         Here without you – 3 Doors Down
  • ·         Don’t know you anymore – Savage Garden
  • ·         Heaven Unplugged – Bryan Adams
  • ·         Forgiveness - Eagles
  • ·         Second chance – James Blunt
  • ·         The reason – Hoobastank
  • ·         Fifteen –Taylor Swift
  • ·         What If – Kate Winslet
  • ·         Tonight I wanna cry – Keith Urban

These songs are beautiful, but at times I wish and wish I had never come across them. Sometimes it’s out of your hands to make things right. You can just sit back, lie on your bed the whole day. Sometimes hope is not an option and then you are staying alive, arbitrary and lonely. It’s then you realize that life is too unpredictable; there might be a fun in not knowing what comes next, but there’s no pleasure in not knowing what to do to be okay.
Thankfully, for all the unpredictability in the world, there’s always a friend with a direction sign. Even though their novel recuperating ideas don’t always work, in some silly and warm way, they constantly manage to touch your heart and do stuffs to make you feel normal for a split second. And you realize there’s only way to move on. It’s by holding hands of your true friends. This write up is dedicated to all my good buddies who helped me stay intact and nullified any disintegration process arising within me. Thanks for being by my side when I needed you all the most yet couldn’t summon up the courage to say so. And thanks for helping me return to blogging.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Doggy Love

For those who know what it feels like to have a dog to call one’s own, there is nothing better than walking through the front door after a day’s work and seeing a furiously wagging tail and barks of love. Just drop the bag and get showed in licks of love as you are pounded by a ball of warmth.
I love Dogs. There is no doubt that they are my most favourite mammals in the world! I have been fortunate enough to have grown up in the company of great friends, many of them dogs (pun intended!). When I look back at childhood, there was Kitty at my ancestral place in Coochbehar. She’d drink tea, love to go to walks with us kids, she just loved all of us. I have so many beautiful memories with her.
Jespa arrived from Nepal when I was in class 8. My life changed instantaneously, ‘coz here was someone who needed to be cared for and loved and attended to and who’d give back so much more. Jespa was a gem, from saving my bicycle from being stolen to irritating people I loathed, She always knew what the situation demanded. But it was 2 years later when I really felt a divine connection between man and canine.
 When I first held little scamper in my palms (she’d fit into my palms, she was so small then!), I had only hoped that life would be a dream, growing up with her. 10 years on, life has been a dream with her by my side. On the very first day, I took her to our school ground and she took to the name “ball”. Running around like crazy, barking at the crows, little Scamper brought big smiles on my little face. In the chilly winter of North Bengal, She’d sleep with Mom, tangled within her hair, fast asleep. Jespa loved her like a big sister and Scamper in return was jealous of Jespa! My life was perfect.
Scamper had a dislike for cats from childhood, one “meow” and She’d turn into the angry hulk. Jespa on the other hand, showed examples of compassion worth speaking of; we’d often find her sharing her meal with the same cat, eating together from the same plate. She’d rest on Jespa’s tummy and Jespa would pet her and care for her. Scamper was furious with all these and resorted to letting everyone know how she felt. We had developed a unique understanding of our two furred friend; when Scamper barked, it was obviously some animal hanging around where as Jespa’s bark was more serious, it had to be someone mysterious at the gate.
When I joined college after school, I would only come home at the weekends. Scamper and Jespa would go crazy and I had to spend quality time with them both before I was even allowed entrance to my room. Unless both had licked my face pale and I was full of dog saliva, I would never be spared. After that of course, I couldn’t enter my room either, the washroom had to come first!
But nothing perfect lasts forever and so, suddenly Jespa was no more. I was heartbroken. As I would be sitting lonely, Scamper would come and sit with me, with her head on my lap, occasionally licking me to let me know that she was sad too. She had already helped me recover from the first loss of a kin when she was months old and years later, Scamper helped me get over the sorrows of losing Jespa.
Scamper has grown old and is weak now, She misses me a whole lot more than I miss her. Ever since I left home, first for Bhutan and now so far away in Guwahati, She has aged with time. Missing her has been something I could not get accustomed to yet. It’s frustrating how I cannot communicate with her when I’m out of sight. I know that she is sitting outside, with her eyes on the front gate, waiting patiently to see my familiar face. Every day I know she waits for me and I wish to run to her, hold her in my arms, but life has made me helpless. I can only wait for the day when I run back home and be with her.
I feel I have left the best times behind, golden moments which are forever memories now. I cannot go back to the time, but thankfully I have a lot of wonderful reminiscences to last this lifetime. Sometimes when I close my eyes I can see the bright sunny afternoons of my childhood, brighter than usual with Scamper and Jespa by my side. Someday we shall meet again, the 3 of us shall be together, for wherever my afterlife takes me, it has to be with them.
I wish to take this space to remember all of my friends, Dolly, Puchu, Tommy, Kalu, Jacky, JoJo, Beauty. It might look like I’m making a list of funny names for the lay man, but for me and many of my human friends, they are a part of a very special childhood, a time which would have been so much different without them.