Keep burning..

I wish I can open my heart
But, I am tied by the void of time
As sterile as ashes,
I lay still
Is it the same heart
inflamed in love?
The facts grew stronger
The magic blotted out
Are you disappointed by this?
I sometimes try
To write a line
of my cheesy love poetry
To enkindle my belief
That you were not meant
To be snuffed out
So easily
Keep burning in my heart
Silently

Open letter to Suman Chatterjee aka Kabir Suman

I was sixteen when I first heard your song. It was, ironically in a CPIM’s meeting at Brigade Parade Ground. I have always been politically conscious, but never involved in active politics. The only reason me and my friend went to the Brigade, was to watch Utpal Dutt’s play (most probably ‘Tiner Taloar’). It was getting late, and as usual, the play was delayed. We decided to abandon the plan and go home. We had to pass through the front of the podium to go out. Then suddenly one guy with a guitar, started a song – ‘Haal cherona bondhu…” (don’t give up my friend…). We stopped…and keep on listening to your songs, one after another…for another hour.

I am still standing there.

Correction, I was still standing there, until recently, when you decided to run for the election as a Trinamul candidate!

I have all the songs sung by you. From ‘92 to 98, I went to at least 50 of your live performances. Anywhere you performed, from Kalamandir to Girish Mancha, I was there. In fact, one of the main reason I started this blog, bigbangbong, is to translate your songs for one of my non-bengali friends.

I never judged you by the context of your personal life, only formed your image in my mind by your songs. Turmoils in your personal life never touched me. Neither I was surprised when CPIM (and their nasty sidekicks) tried to run the dirty character assassination campaign against you. Given their track record, it was bound to happen sooner or later. I never met you personally either. There were many opportunities, I never wanted to. Near Asuthosh college, we were returning from tuition – I saw you at the sweet shop. All my friends rushed to get your autograph. I didn’t. Years later, you were waiting at Dumdum Airport, for a Biman Bangadesh flight to Dhaka, I was waiting there for my flight to Singapore. I felt like going in front of you and say ‘do you know that, whatever I am today, my sense, my soul, you have a huge contribution to that’. I couldn’t. I was scared, what if Suman in person change my perspective of of Suman the singer and one of the building blocks of my life?

And now, you are running for a political chair, as a Trinamul Congress candidate, shoulder to shoulder with Mamta Banerjee! With one statement, with one news – you just massacred one part of my identity. Your political viewpoint and actions are not a matter of your personal choice only, they are the foundations of your songs.

Don’t get me wrong here, I would’ve been same way disappointed, if you decided to run for CPIM. Also, I strongly believe that mass de-politicalization of youth is one big reason of the political downfall of India. But, Trinamul Congress? Why Sumon, why? ‘Enemy of my enemy is my friend’ – is such a medieval sentiment!

I am deleting all your songs from my music library. Thank goodness I don’t have the disks and cassettes here with me – I would’ve shattered them in thousand pieces by now. Thanks for destroying one huge portion of my identity. One thing at least I learned in my 33 years of lifeform – everything changes, still somehow having problems internalizing this!

Dekhte dekhte shaab palte jai

Rehna tu translation

A non-hindi speaking friend of mine had asked me the meaning of “Rehna tu” song from Delhi-6. Since I love translating songs, I couldn’t stop myself from translating it instantly. Prasoon Joshi’s great as ever. Without much frill, posting the translation. I am not much clear about the deeper meaning of the last stanza. Any suggestion people?

Rehna tu, Hai jaisa tu
Stay as you are
Thoda sa dard tu, Thoda Sukun
A little pain, a little relief
Rehna Tu, Hai Jaisa Tu
Stay as you are
Dheema Dheema jhonka, Ya phir junoon
A gentle breeze, a strong gust of wind
Thoda sa resham, Tu hamdam
A little silky, you are my love
Thoda sa khurdura
A little rough
Kabhi tu adh jaaye, Ya ladh jaaye
Sometimes you are stubborn, Sometimes you end up fighting
Ya khushboo se bhara
Sometimes (you are) full of fragrance (sweetness)
Tujhe badalna na chahoon
Don’t want to change you
Rati bhar bhi sanam
Not even a bit
Bina sajawat milawat
Undecorated, Unaltered
Na zyaada na hi kam
Neither more nor less
Tuhje chaahon, jaisa hai tu
I like you, just the way you are
Mujhe teree barish mein beegna hai ghuljana hai
I want to drench myself in rain (of your love).. I seek union with you

Tujhe chaahon, jaisa hai tu
I like you, just the way you are
Mujhe tere lapat mein jalna rakh ho jana hai
I want to get burnt in your tresses…burn away to ashes
Tu zakham de agar
If you torment me,
Marham bhi aakar tu lagaaye
You soothe me too
Zakham mein bhi mujhko pyaar aaye
Even in pain, I find you adorable

Dariya oooo dariya
Doobne de mujhe dariya
Doobne de mujhe dariya
Let me sink in your love (river-like)
Rehna Tu, Hai Jaisa Tu
Stay as you are

Thoda sa dard tu, Thoda Sukun
A little pain, a little relief
Rehna Tu, Hai Jaisa Tu
Dheema Dheema jhonka, Ya phir junoon
A gentle light breeze or a strong gust of wind

Haath thaam chalna ho
If we hold hands and walk
To dono ke daye haath sang kaise
Then how our right hands will be intertwined
Haath thaam chalna ho
If we hold our hands
To dono ke daye haath sang kaise
Then how our right hands will be intertwined
Ek daaya hoga, ek baaiya hoga
Only the left and right hands can join
Tham le, haath yeh thaam le
Hold my hands…hold my hands dear
Chalna hai sang thaam le
Hold my hands…in the journey (of life)

Valentines day, an alternative story of origin.

A wooden rolling pin
“Velan” via Wikipedia

Got a mail forward from my sis Anu. Enjoy!

In spite of what you have been told by everyone, the truth is that Valentine’s Day originated hundreds of years ago, in India, and to top it all, in Gujarat!!

It is a well known fact that Gujarati men, specially the Patels, continually mistreat and disrespect their wives (Patelianis) . One fine day, it happened to be the 14th day of February, one brave Pateliani, having had enough “torture” by her husband, finally chose to rebel by beating him up with a Velan (rolling pin).

Yes…the same Velan which she used daily, to make chapattis for him….only this time, instead of the dough, it was the husband who was flattened.

This was a momentous occasion for all Gujarati women and a revolt soon spread, like wild fire, with thousands of housewives beating up their husbands with the Velan.

There was an outburst of moaning “chapatti-ed” husbands all over Anand and Ahmadabad. The Patel men-folk quickly learned their lesson and started to behave more respectfully with their Patelianis.

Thereafter, on 14th February, every year, the womenfolk of Gujarat would beat up their husbands, to commemorate that eventful day.The wives having the satisfaction of beating up their husbands with the Velan and the men having the supreme joy of submitting to the will of the women they loved.
Soon The Gujju men realised that in order to avoid this ordeal they need to present gifts to their wives….they brought flowers and sweetmeats.
Hence the tradition began.

As Gujarat fell under the influence of Western culture, that day was called ‘Velan time‘ day.

The ritual soon spread to Britain and many other Western countries, specifically, the catch words ‘Velan time!’. Of course in their foreign tongues, it was first anglosised to ‘Velantime’ and then to ‘Valentine’. And thereafter, 14th of February, came to be known as Valentine’s Day!

Happy Valentines day everyone! 🙂

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Open letter to all my Muslim friends

Prelude: this introduction is unnecessary for the people who know me. But, just in case… I am atheist and against any organized religion. I am all against discriminating two human beings based on ‘my imaginary friends are different from yours’ basis. I am against all fundamentalism. I am ashamed of incidents of Godhra as well as Mumbai. I am not a Hindu or Muslim or part of any imaginary classification. I am a human being, I bleed red – just like you.

For a long time, any rationalists like me saw religion as harmless nonsense. Beliefs might lack all supporting evidence but, we thought, if people needed a crutch for consolation, where’s the harm?

Mass genocide of World War II changed that, innumerable riots in my country changed that, “Ram Janambhumi – Babri Masjid” changed that, Gujarat Massacre changed that, September 11th changed that. And now, the recent Mumbai Massacre changed that. Revealed faith is not harmless nonsense; it can be lethally dangerous nonsense. Dangerous because it gives people unshakable confidence in their own righteousness. Dangerous because it gives them false courage to kill themselves, which automatically removes normal barriers to killing others. Dangerous because it teaches enmity to others labeled only by a difference of inherited tradition. Dangerous because we have all bought into a weird respect, which uniquely protects religion from normal criticism. Let’s now stop being so damned respectful!

On February 6, 2006, three Pakistanis died in Peshawar and Lahore during violent street protests against Danish cartoons that had satirized the Prophet Muhammad. More such mass protests followed weeks later. When Pakistanis and other Muslims are willing to take to the streets, even suffer death, to protest an insulting cartoon published in Denmark, is it fair to ask: Who in the Muslim world, who in Pakistan, is ready to take to the streets to protest the mass murders of real people, not cartoon characters, right next door in Mumbai?

I am sad. I am angry. Not only for the destruction of hundreds innocent lives. I am deeply hurt by these one after another blow to collective human spirit. I am scared by the increasing probability of the fact that now one non-Muslim will look at a Muslim with more mindful of doubts, fear and prejudices. I am scared for you my friend. Now, no one but you can take the first step against this marching parade of lunatics. Only you can start the jihad against this state-of-fear!

The only terrorist who were captured alive – is just a 21 years old boy!

What kind of brainwash can fill up a 21 years old heart with so much bitterness and hatred? Did he never hugged a kid? Never kissed a girl? Never walked in rain alone and thought, life is not bad after all?

Don’t you have the fundamental duty to condemn everything related to this monstrosity? Stop being just an apologist, I desperately need to see your rage! If your sacred-religious-holy-believe played even 1% part in this, don’t you have a moral obligation to be vocal against that? If your fundamental believes are susceptible to a misinterpretation in this humungous proportion, don’t you HAVE to stand up and scream – I am NOT part of this barbarism!

Instead, to my utter disbelief, I find that you are too busy to decide if Yoga is haram or not! 

Instead, I receive chain mails from some of you, somehow justifying the Mumbai massacre by the ill-treatments of Muslims in India. Well my friends, here are two points summary for you –

  1. Over 90% of Muslims in India are descended from people of converted muslims, people from lower socio-economical strata. They had no other options to escape from the barbaric and ugly manifestations of Hindu caste based discriminations. And unfortunately that sorry state of classification never changed. It’s nothing unique, many civilizations face the similar carry-forward effect of socio-economic strata in various form and format. The religious rigidity didn’t help much either.
  2. There are plenty of Muslims in India who are successful, ironically much more successful than Muslims in Islamic countries. Ever heard of Abdul Kalam? All the top actors in Bollywood are Khans! I can go on, but what’s the point!

Also, please do not try to tell me that all of these are just misinterpretation and Islam got nothing to do with it. Just as a random example –

They desire that you should disbelieve as they have disbelieved, so that you might be (all) alike; therefore take not from among them friends until they fly (their homes) in Allah’s way; but if they turn back, then seize them and kill them wherever you find them, and take not from among them a friend or a helper.

~Koran 4.89.

[Just an example verse; there’s a lot more of this nonsense. In case this comforts you – not only Koran; all Abrahamic religious scriptures are full with same tonality of aggressive medieval statements. Fundamentalist Hindu’s are oxymoron by definition, there are NO ‘fundamentals’ in Hinduism to start with. Still they are too all ready to take another human life in the name of their own imaginary friends]

It is the time for you to stand up my friends, to declare those can’t be the god’s words. This is the time to declare you are not only sorry about the incidents, rather you are ready to take on face-to-face with all those murderers.

Because, this kind of murderous violence only can stop when all the good Muslims, including the community elders and spiritual leaders who want a decent future for their country — declares, as a collective, that those who carry out such murders are shameful unbelievers who will not dance with virgins in heaven but burn in hell. And they do it with the same vehemence with which they denounce Danish cartoons.

Let there be light. It’s too dark here now.

Please also read : Thomas L. Friedman | Preet-O | Julia Suryakusuma

Effortless writing – Does it come naturally?

I am not a writer in the true sense, but my job(s) has been closely related to writing. I came to this field by chance and I am quite fond of it by now. Some people may consider it (my job) as writing. I know it is not. I consider people who can create wonders with words as true writers. I am just stuck in a writing mode. Sometimes, I am even tired of writing. Writing does not come naturally to me. I am jealous of the ones who write effortlessly. But, I secretly harbor the dream of being one (not a secret anymore).

My writing sucks. I lack vocabulary skills. I have to open a synonym-finder to search better words many times every time, which makes writing so technical. I don’t prefer it that way. Some people have inborn talent of their brains feeding their writing – right words at the right time. I wish my brain also works that way. Sometimes, I wish to join a creative writing course. But, will that really help? Ability to write seems to be an innate talent. I have my own doubts if it can be established by conditioning or learning. At the most, I believe the natural talent can be refined.

One thing I dislike is planning before writing. Some people say – it works better that way. It works for technical stuffs, like scientific writing. Planning where to write what takes away all the fun for me.

I am perpetually suffering from writer’s block. I have so much going inside my mind, but I find it difficult to put into words. The previous sentence can be written in a better way: My mind is oozing with ideas, but it’s difficult to translate them into words. Though it’s not the best way, I have to put some effort to make it sound better. Do all good writers have to put some extra effort too or their first draft is good enough to be the final?

These wonderful quotes sum it all about writing:

Forget all the rules. Forget about being published. Write for yourself and celebrate writing.~ Melinda Haynes

My purpose is to entertain myself first and other people secondly.~ John D. MacDonald

In my experience, the best creative work is never done when  one is unhappy.~ Albert Einstein

It’s better to write about things you feel than about things you know about.~ L P. Hartley

The faster I write the better my output. If I’m going slow, I’m in trouble. It means I’m pushing the words instead of being pulled by them.~ Raymond Chandler

Hardly anybody ever writes anything nice about introverts. Extroverts rule. This is rather odd when you realise that about nineteen writers out of twenty are introverts. We are been taught to be ashamed of not being ‘outgoing’. But a writer’s job is ingoing.~ Ursula K. LeGuin

The secret of becoming a writer is to write, write and keep on writing.~ Ken MacLeod

I can’t help but to write, I have a inner need for it. If I’m not in the middle of some literary project, I’m utterly lost, unhappy and distressed. As soon as I get started, I calm down.~ Kaari Utrio

BBB is 2!!

I can recall an old quote about Love/Friendship:
Love is easy to start, difficult to maintain. And impossible to forget!

I feel it’s same about blogging too and my lack of post confirms this. Blogging regularly doesn’t come easy to me….Nevertheless, I am grateful that I have such a good platform to vent out my thoughts when I feel strong about something (rare these days).

One more year added yesterday…I wish a long life for our blog. May posts and comments flow….

Happy 2nd blogiversary/blogoversary/birthday to BBB!! 🙂

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