Saturday, October 08, 2022

A suitably (heavy) book

Standout event of 1993 was possibly Vikram Seth's A Suitable Boy! I was still a student and my pockets weren't that deep. All the world was a buzz with the book, the advance, the number of pages, the story. And then, it arrived in our building, bought by a young couple! Hurrah. And one fine sunday (I think), their baby sitter arrived at our apartment, their baby cradled in the crook of one arm and the other holding on to the tome of 1349 pages + hard cover! OMG. That moment was greater than the actual reading of the book (which was also terrific). 

It has taken me 29 years to do something similar! This morning, I sent Robert Galbraith's The Ink Black Heart (Cormoran Strike book #6) over to them. All 1462 pages of it! Yes, yes different genres and not really comparable, but this was something eagerly awaited by both families. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

A library closed down

My book haul! Usually a thing of enormous delight. Not so this time.

Ekta library bondho hoi gelo. Aar kichu diner modhe, the owner D.P George will pull down the shutters to this tiny one room library and leave Kolkata forever for his native Kerala. A combination of reasons. Primarily, not many patrons for libraries now a days. Well times, they are a changing.

 Eloor Library closed couple of years ago. That ground floor of the white building opposite Bharat Sevashram Sangha was my favorite go to place. Nothing so calming and exciting at the same time to be lost among towering shelves of books! George who was a staff there, decided to open his tiny library mainly with a few patrons like me who couldn’t do without the periodic pottering around bookshelves.

 He WA the members about his decision and the impending book sale. I was a tad late. I wanted the Yuval Hararis, the Tin Tins and the Asterixs. All gone. Am happy with my haul though. My last take out from this library. 20 years of memories.

Sunday, September 13, 2020

Anandamela & Anand Bazar Patrika Puja Barshikis arrived together a week back, heralding the advent of Maa Durga!  

Shirshendu Mukhopadhyay has a story in both.  I am more familiar with his bucolic sagas in Anadamela with 100s of characters each with separate stories all coming together in a madcap, side splitting way. Hirangarer Byapar Syapar promises to be the usual laugh riot set in a village with an ensemble cast. On the other hand is the curiously titled  “Amake Biye Korben?” (Will you marry me?)  in AB Patrika, for an older audience. 

I settled for the latter for my bedtime reading. The opening sentence didn’t read very romantic. More like a crime thriller. Curious. Suspicions confirmed a few lines down. Shabor bench e boshlen. Detective Shabor Dasgputa of Lal Bazar!!

Whaaaaaaat? A new Shabor Story? Hurrah. Then a new film in the offing.

Story wasn’t too great. Hirangar should be more fun.

Tuesday, September 01, 2020

2 cakes, 1 Birthday and 1 New Year

R baked my favorite apple cinnamon upside-down cake on my birthday eve. Pater, Mater and perhaps sis were expecting I’d cut my cake soon. I desisted. Birthday cake must always be cut on one’s birthday. And at a decent hour. Not at midnight for the middle of the night social media pix / fix! Which anyhow, rest of the world would see the next day.

Next morning, or on my birthday, I cut the cake after our (R’s, ma’s, and mine) morning cup(s) of tea. Conversation flowed like it does every morning, about this and that and menu for the day. Suddenly ma sang out “Happy birthday to you” and just as sudden went back to conversing with R.

A couple of hours later, ma asked me to get some dhania pata from the fridge. I told her that it was already in the kitchen. She then asked me to get something else out, which too was already in the kitchen. She seemed to think of something else and then laughed. Open the fridge. Your cake. What cake? Its already on the table. While I was in my room doing yoga, a white forest cake was delivered, which R had to receive and then hide it in the fridge. Now I had 2 cakes. Felt for R. All her plans to surprise me, bheste gelo!

In the middle of it all, Baba came out of his room, saw me and said “Happy new year”. Bojho! Seeing the look on my face, he said, “New year, for you". 


Wednesday, May 06, 2020

A 100 years from today

The problem was further compounded by the fact that the killer disease, influenza, had broken out in the ashram… He (Rabindranath) had heard about cases in Kolkata, ....Now he was horrified to hear that four students had been affected and the contagion was spreading fast. Circa 1919-20 

[Daughters of Jorasanko, Aruna Charkavarti]

Imagine the coincidence of reading these lines in the lockdown due to the COVID19 Pandemic 100 years later! Aaji hote Soto Borsho pore!

Sunday, May 03, 2020

The Bagdi Meye

Suddenly her eyes fell on a corner of the courtyard where Ullashi Bagdini had just put down her basked under the Shaddock tree. Ullashi was the wife of Rama Bagdi and between the two they supplied fish to the Tagore households.

I came across these lines in the marvellous, poignant "Daughters of Jorasanko"  by Aruna Chakravarti. I had bought this book couple of years ago but reading it only now, housebound as I am, in the LOCKDOWN. Just as well because any earlier, I wouldnt have known what Bagdi was. At best I'd have thought it to have been a surname.
Thanks to a wonderful gift by a generous friend, I now know better. I am the proud owner of a Pot Chitro of "Bagdi Meye" by the Late Shantanu Potua, fishing in their traditional way!

Read if you will

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