Circles: Part 3

An unknown number. Before Amrita could answer, it got disconnected

Muttering under her breath, she wondered if she should call back. Was it Shubho? Would it seem “too much” type? Chewing at her lower bottom lips, she thought of letting it be.

Coming to her in laws was always a tad depressing. It’s weird you know, when you have to keep up a facade and cling on to something which died a premature death long, long back. Arranging her lips into a smile she stepped into the lift with Riju holding her hand and Rupsha almost clinging to her.

Ringing the bell of the house which had once been one’s home never ceases to feel surreal. Walking amidst lot of oohs and aahs, and ‘kamon acho’, ‘omma Tora koto boro hoye gechis’; her mother-in-law came towards her and asked with a smile, “ Ki khabe Amrita’? Amrita smiled with a genuine warmth and said, “please kichu koro na, khide pachhe na”. She wasn’t genuinely hungry. She looked around and asked “Papa kothay?” Her father in law was a very, very warm person and Amrita looked upto him a great deal.

He has gone out for his walk. Amrita took out her phone and checked messages. No message. There was a brief irritation in her. She dialled the missed call number- it beeped. No result.

Amrita went into what used to be her bedroom. The cupboard housing her books, had the key hanging from it. She opened it, rummaged and took out the Jesperson. One of her students has taken up English and needed the book.

She looked around. The broken white coloured walls, the Kanthaa framed in one wall, corner racks…The room held so many memories and yet Amrita never for once felt like coming back. It was from a different lifetime, it was the room of a different person.  She had done up the flat with such care. Getting the wall paints changed, curtains changed… putting up wrought iron racks, hanging chimes, having beautiful indoor plants…Because she always read in the bathroom, she had even put up small magazine holders in the washrooms. A Doll’s House.

Rajddip had come in. She exchanged a cursory smile and walked past him to open the door to her father in law. He was  one of the major reasons why this facade of a marriage was still existent. He touched the top of her head and asked “kichu kheyecho?” She smiled slightly and said… “na khide payni.” He said, “but you must. I have got your favourite things”. Nodding her head she saw her daughter casting furtive glances at her… Tua too wasn’t too comfortable here. May be she remembered the ugliness of those years.

Tua often bothered her. Amrita firmly believes that we all have our own destinies. She regularly wondered if she should have divorced Rajdip rather than subjecting Tua to a confused family system.

Her phone rang. It was the same number. Hurriedly she swiped it to answer… static and then Joyee’s voice floated in. ” Shon na, busy chili”? Amrita walked in her once-upon-a-time bedroom for some privacy and stood by the window.

“Ager barer phone ta tui korechili?” Joyee said, “Hyan. Kawtha ache.” Amrita smelled something amiss, and turned her wrist to check whether it was Joyee’s usual time to call her. It wasn’t. Something must be wrong. She was calling from an unknown number too. “Ki hoyeche”

“Something’s not right with Anik.  It’s been a while, don’t know how to approach it.”

Amrita’s brows puckered in deep concentration. Nothing could be wrong between Joyee and Anik. He kinda dotted on her. She said… “have you tried talking? kawtha bol. and what number is this?” Joyee said save this…I will call from this number, anyway ekhon chharchi…pore phone korbo. ektu bade free thakis kawtha ache.”

Amrita heard the beep and the phone got disconnected. She came out and said… “aj ebar berobo.” Raajdip got up from where he was having a chat with Riju and said “cholo, ani tomader drop kore dicchi.” Amrita was about to refuse when she remembered getting a taxi in this part of the town was an ordeal in the late evenings.

While she was putting her seat-belt on, her phone beeped. Shubho has messaged. “can I message you in a while please?”

 

 

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Circles: Part 2

“Hey buddy, finish your breakfast please…we’ll be late for school!”
The little boy with his serious eyes looked up from the bowl of Cheeerios with which he was intently playing a rather complicated game and stated, “Mom, I don’t like Kevin! He upset my blocks yesterday!”
Fishing for the car keys in her dresser drawer, Joyee absentmindedly replied, “Aww..it’s okay bud! I’m sure he didn’t mean to…now, can you hurry up please?”
Taking her boy’s hand, Joyee stepped out into a beautiful Fall morning…
The sky is a Robin’s Egg blue and the sugar maple trees have turned to a brilliant shade of red and gold. There’s this delicious little nip in the air and Joyee loves the way it fills up her nostrils with it’s still-faint scent of frost!
Fall is definitely her favourite season in this part of the world.

After dropping her boy in daycare, Joyee pulled through the Dunkin’ Donuts drive-thru and picked up her regular latte.
Cranking up the car speaker, she started her daily commute to work.
Just a normal day in her normal life.
Yet, there was a speck of uneasiness that was spinning it’s fine web like a little spider, hidden in a corner of her mind…
Of late, Anik’s behaviour has started to worry her a bit. He’s so quick with his temper these days, and ready to fly off the handle with the slightest excuse! She understands that he’s under a lot of stress with his new job and the expectations from him, but keeping up with his constant mood swings are beginning to take a toll on her.
Lately, sometimes she doesn’t even recognise the man anymore who has been her husband for ten years…
Is she becoming a little scared of Anik?

Her musings meandering, she was suddenly caught unawares by a sharp pang –
“I want to go back home…”
The unexpectedness of her thought almost took her breath away!
Home? But this is her home now! This upscale suburb of the nation’s capital that she fell in love with. The cosmopolitan air, the beautifully preserved colonial houses, the eclectic and quirky shops and cafes and the colourful ethnic restaurants..
Why then, will a lovely October morning suddenly make her long for faraway skies brush-stroked with cirrus clouds, tufts of ‘kash’ swaying their wispy heads, and ‘Shiuli’ scented mornings wet with dew drops?

She forcefully pushed the thoughts away and decided to focus on the radio news instead.

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Circles: Part 1

Amrita’s phone lit up. precariously balancing two bags, she took out the phone carefully from the pocket of her jeans. An FB friend request and message. It could wait. 

Paying the rickshaw and depositing the bags, she opened her messenger. A ball dropped. Shubho Gupta. Amrita clicked on the DP and zoomed in it to see whether it was someone walking over her grave.

Shubho, a piece of her girlhood. no longer bespectacled, but somewhere abroad. Totally realising that the systole and diastole were shooting up, she bit her lips and wondered whether to accept the friend request or not.

She told herself to let it be. 

Sundays are always hectic. Cooking. Getting the whole week’s wardrobe sorted. Her friends often tease her about being OCD, which she pertly corrects saying she is the OCP… obsessive compulsive personality. Thus putting things into place and cleaning house took away the most of this Sunday too.

What’s Sunday without a siesta? While lying down beside her son, she reached for her phone again. women, I tell you! Heaving a sigh she opened Shubhos profile and typed… ” received a fb connect”.

Pat came the reply,” accept. What are you waiting for, Christmas? ”

Her lips curved in a smile. He could still , after what… nearly 18 years, could still make her smile.

Amrita typed in ” But why after so many years and how?”

Shubho – “small work. long story. you use a BB, give me your connect”

The afternoon that Shubho audaciously had boarded the same auto while she was enroute to the professor’s house just before finals, brought in a smile to Amritas face. shubho had always been just that. dating, he’d say.

she again keyed in.. “why”

reply was ” we need to talk. it’s been too long. 18 years.

Amrita punched in her BB keys. There! That’s it. Sometimes it’s better not to ponder too much upon things. But what could Shubho want from her? And how on earth had he even managed to track her down? Last heard he was in Mumbai, and prior to that, not all that she had heard were great ones.

Amrita opened the FB profile again to figure out this new Shubho. Nothing much… barring couple of pics amongst which just one with wife. Only couple of photographs in Foreign locales. She zoomed into to see his wife. Not a stunner, but then cute she told herself.

The message has been read, but no reply. Amrita definitely disliked people who what you call it… seen-zoned her messages.

She had to visit her almost non-existent in-laws place today. Sighing, she turned away to try and sleep.

While she was adjusting Riju’s collar in the car, her BlackBerry beeped. a connection request this time and also an FB message. “Sorry for the late reply, got stuck”. Can we talk sometime. Like todaay?” 

Before Amrita could reply, the phone rang.

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Chel Chitong – In search of myself

It was exactly one year after. The suffocation had started. Memories rushing in, jostling for space. I needed time out. Needed to go somewhere which was uncharted, far from everything I had known. I needed to go far from the Madding Crowd.

A friend had magnanimously offered her beautiful and quaint homestay in Chel Chitong.  This is near Gorumara, in a place called Paparkheti.

I decided to pack my bags and leave. I have been travelling quite extensively (extensively for my humble soul, anyway) for the last one year. Something was driving me away from the city, from the known memories, from the life I was living here. Trying to get over the betrayal from so-called friends, of women bringing women down, being portrayed as a typical Bollywood vamp… I was trying to get over a lot of hurt and lick my wounds in private. I needed to go somewhere and gather myself; I was tired of putting up a brave front.

Chel Chitong 08

Me with the kids, though Kriti no longer a kid – rather has become a confidante, and Shraboni – my friend turned sis, boarded a train that took us to New Mal Junction. We were met there and started our journey towards Chel Chitong. The serene mountain air, the pines, rhododendrons and the sharp bends were most exhilarating.

Chel Chitong 10

We reached Chel in an hour. The homestay is almost in a private gorge. Walking down steep stone curved stairs, we could hear streams gurgling forth. The two rooms currently available are straight out of a fairy tale book. Windows opening up to endless green, colourful and twinkling bamboo lights gently swaying in the wind, tiny fireplaces!  Table laden with simple yet delicious food, laid out in the open… under the sparkling blue sky that became overladen with grey clouds when the mountains were sad.

I sat under a tall pine tree and read boChel Chitong 02oks. A small waterbody, where Boogie and Homy threw stones to create ripples, the crickets and birds keeping me company.  And when the wind blew… the dried leaves made a strange rustling noise… dead leaves being blown away like doing away with all that is redundant, all that is inessential.

We would walk to the private waterfall every day. A narrow, up-hill-down-hill trek leading to the waterfall.Chel Chitong 07
Clear, cold, bubbling water that, perhaps, could mirror your soul. We would lie down on a carpet under a small shed and listen to the sound of the water. Eternal and elemental. Far above, trucks like the ones Boogie played with when he was little, would move by a winding road. Time would pass slowly. Kriti would hum to herself, Boogie and Homy would bring bouquets of unknown small flowers for us. I would lie there with my eyes closed, rewinding life, and then open them to see that the world hasn’t changed. It’s only me, who’s trying to come to terms with the changed times.

Chel Chitong 04Darkness in hills come down suddenly, like a blanket thrown on you. We would light a fire and toast our cold feet or we would have bonfires. Under the clear, starry, inky black sky, we would tell each other ghost stories; every small sound here and there would be like someone walking over a grave!

I have been to places, and I will be going to other places. Chel offered a balm to my soul. It’s that gem that is tucked away in your heart, the memories remaining precious forever. The time spent would be like an album, of which I will keep turning the pages.

I will go back to Chel everyChel Chitong 06 now and then – to be at peace with myself when the burden of the world becomes a little too much. I will go back to Chel whenever I can. Because I found myself at Chel. Because you find yourself at Chel.

Thanks to Brinda Sirkar, Shraboni Bose and Purba Ray Chaudhuri. Couldn’t have made this trip without you.

 

Love & light.

Sudarshana.

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Joydeep Roy- a tete a tete

joy1Joydeep Roy, is a known name in not only the Kolkata designing circuit, but pan-India as well.  He burst into the designing scene in the year 2013 And since then hasn’t really looked back.

Joydeep lived up to the saying,” that details are not the details, they make the design”; and went on to start Coloroso, a niche handloom saree store which immediately brings to mind a burst of colours, a meaning and an exclusivity all its own.

Joydeep left a high paying job and went on to chase his dreams, encouraged by his wife – a different and a colourful dream!

It’s not every day, that we come across such bravehearts, who can to chase a rainbow, leave an established career. We sat down for a tete-a-tete with Joydeep, and here’s an excerpt from the same.

  • Were you always planning to bedeck gorgeous women?  what were you doing prior to this Avatar?

Well… Prior to this Avatar, as you call it, I was a Salesman. Well, I still am to an extent, but then I was selling Dantmanjan! (I roll my eyes). It’s true, after graduating from Management School, I joined a FMCG Multinational Organisation and then later on went on to sell diesel, fuel, BFSI, Telecoms…. You name it. But while working with big brands, I realised that servility isn’t exactly my cup of tea, and Voila!joy2

  • When did you then decide to take a plunge?

As I said… It was more of an inspiration and a thought process that I wanted to create a brand and leave a routine job. I wanted to be a creator… wanted to create things, visions. I wanted to create A brand that would have a recall value and a brand that I can be proud about.

Products which can be sold off the shelf and products which would have the mystical alluring charm & grace of the six yards. And as I mentioned earlier, I just coined the term Coloroso… because I wanted my brand to have everything to do with colours…colours and more colours. Thus Coloroso.

  • When did you exactly start out?

It was precisely on the 10th of August 2013

  • In this journey, there must have been numerous highs, but what comes to your mind right now, when we are talking?

There’s been lots and lots of memorable moments so far.  Taking the decision to start something on my own was a major high only! Difficult to single out incidents, but one definite high would be Ms Vidya Balan dropping in at our store to pick up our sarees!

  • Why do you think your aesthetics are different?

I firmly believe that my aesthetics are a little different cause I have tried to weave the six yards saga around the ethnicity of the Indian crafts only. I have explored the myriad and magical worlds of Benarasis, Chanderis, Linens.  Its actually having a fusion of modern designs with the traditional Indian crafts; and which are completely hand-made, which makes them of limited editions and exclusive, to the truest sense of the term.

  • If I were to ask you, that What’s that one song which is just on your mind right at this moment?

Pretty Woman! (Sees a whole lot of them, in his line of trade!!! We are certain)

  • Who has been your design inspiration?

It cannot be anyone else other than Sabyasachi.

  • In this chequered journey, what would you say is your personal quote?

Its fairly simple actually… “Life is a blink of an eye,so we must not ignore it. It’s precious”.

  • If I were to ask you, that amidst this plethora of saree designers and stand-alone stores; what actually makes Coloroso  and you ,different?

I would say, it’s our 4-pronged USP – Good Quality Fabrics, Unique Designs, Colours and last but no way the least, our Customer Services.

  • Off lately Coloroso in association with New Lights, Kolkata has taken an endeavour to rehabilitate some women from the Red Lights Area. What prompted you to do that?lavanya

Not wanting to sound superfluous, or pompous; I wanted to give something back to the society. These 5 women, all want to change the course of their lives, and I felt, that if Coloroso and I could at least do something for them; then there would be nothing better.

So, we have created and assigned a line of Benarasis on each and featured them too in those sarees. A part of the proceeds from the sale of those sarees will go to these girls, whom New Lights will help to charter a different life path. Frankly, it’s been one of those fulfilling things that one does in life. I’m glad I got associated with this project that we are calling Lavanyashakti.

  • What are your plans for the future? Where do you retail from?

We want to be present in all the major cities in India by the end of 2018. Currently we are available in Collage Shop in Bangalore and Amethyst in Chennai.

  • Just a couple of very personal question….

Shoot!

  • What are the books in your bookshelf right now?

I just read Girlfriend in a Coma by Douglas Cookland… Then the one by Murakami-  Men without Women

  • How do you relax, at the end of a taxing day?

I read… listen to a lot of music and cuddle up with Oliver, my dashing golden retriever.

  • How has life been?joy3

Life’s been good. Touchwood. My wife Aparne, has been an immense pillar of support. My son, Aneek is in 1st year and is one my buddies! So, I am living, loving and having a lust for life.

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