Sunday, April 09, 2017

Grief struck on facebook

4/8/2017... I was jet lagged, woke up at weird hours and started browsing my Facebook feed casually. I was making a vain attempt trying to find some humor in the memes, trying to scroll through the political rants and enjoying some of the amusing pictures and stories that a few friends shared.

As I was feeding my instant gratification monkey, ignoring the real work I had to attend to, something struck me quite deeply.

It was a quote that someone had shared.
"Grief I’ve learned, is really just love. It’s all the love you want to give but cannot. All of that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go." 

Suddenly, I felt the melancholy set in... a heaviness for no apparent reason. Exactly not the plan when I opened up my Facebook page. But.. Hey! 

My mind started wandering through several incidents that left me grieving for days, weeks and months. The incomplete conversations, the moments that show that life is way shorter than what we think it is and the deep bruises left by life's own plans... 

Predominantly loaded with thoughts of my dad, cherishing the memories of time spent together, futility of the meaningless dad-son fights, and the way things changed once and for all with no notice. 

Unlike the people that stay in someone's life for a season or a reason, some relations are for a lifetime. Grief that goes along with it is also for a lifetime... Lifetime of love that you cannot give! 

Saturday, October 01, 2016

Kolkata Connection

Kolkata Connection

“This place is all about the past.” Very few will differ on this opinion of mine.

My visit to the “City of Joy” happened with the admit letter from IIM C for the ”One Year Special Management Program”.  I was extremely happy to have gotten admit for this program. On the other hand, there were butterflies fluttering in my stomach thinking about how I am going to survive this place and the course.

After reaching the Calcutta airport, I took a cab to Diamond Harbour Road, Joka.

The first impressions of this city are overwhelming imageries of the abysmal filthiness, shocking poverty and the innumerable number of destitutes. I started wondering as to how one can describe this city as the “City of Joy”.

Reaching the campus was such a relief. Campus was sprawling with seven lakes and 24 by 7 life that is so unique to the hostel dwellers.

Today, I cannot believe that I love to make another visit to Kolkata. The cut-throat competition at IIM, the hot & humid weather apart, Kolkatta had authentic cultural experiences to offer.

The Bengali Sweets
“Top of the mind recall” as the management gurus may call it, Bengali sweets are the best part of Kolkata.

If you think Bengali sweets are limited to Rosgullas, and Jamuns, you are mistaken.  Kolkata showed me a vast array of ‘Bengali Mithais’. Though these are available all over India. Nowhere do they taste as they do in Kolkata.

Sandesh, Mishti Dhoi (the recipe I got from the canteen worker and tried it at home), Motichur Laddu, and Malpoa were the new loves of my taste buds.
Ah! My mouth is watering as I am typing.

The Canteen connections ensured that I get two to three servings of the sweets per meals. ;-) A foodie like me can thrive in Kolkata.

The Mainstream Bengali Cinema – “Chowker Bali”
Kolkata being a place of the elite, the newspapers carry articles with strong view points. The one that I read was “Does Bengal need a Mainstream Cinema?”. It talked about how the elite Bengali people preferred watching Hindi or English movies over the deteriorated Bengali movies.

I wanted to watch a Bengali movie in the nearby local theater. After enough convincing my friends about watching a Bengali movie in Kolkata, I and a gang of 3 others went to “Chowker Bali” at the Ajanta theater, Behala. This was before it became a national sensation.
I understood the Bengali dialogues with the help from one of my bong friends and the understanding the context from the scenes.

After thoroughly enjoying the Bong movie in the bong theater, we came out to taste the hot “Chai” in Matka. “Is this place not affected by inflation?”. The chai was 1 Rupee.

The Shopaholic
Kolkata is “Shoppers Paradise” as long as its my kinda shopping.

The street-side shops were filled with the beautiful small bells made of terracotta or ceramic. I picked up an abstract “Ganesha” formation in a conch and one more abstract “Ganesha” formation in a Lotus. I also picked up a beautiful standing terrakota Saraswati idol, the miniature look-alike of the one in BITS Pilani.

I also went on the “Ethnic-Wear” trip at Gariahat and Bahela, as I picked up some of the best kurthas in my wardrobes. The best part of these shopping trips were the breaks for the mouth-watering Falooda and the Paneer rolls.

Heritage, Culture, Blah Blah!
I managed a visit to the Belur mutt. My companions almost fainted when I said that I know one of the people in the mutt. The banks of the River Hooghly and the sprawling prayer hall add richness to this mutt.

I also visited the Victoria Memorial, the inherited legacy from the British.

Park Street and the Piscine cravings
Every now and then, among the strict assignments, we used to sneak out to the Park Street, Calcutta. The hotel Park stands elegantly on Park Street. The friends of mine indulge in their piscine cravings and me being a strict veggie, just stuck to the Panner rolls and Egg Rolls and matka kulfis. “Tantra” in “The Park” is a perfect chill-out den, with flamboyant colors and beanbags you can just sink into.

My Deja Vu
After my stint with Principles of Economics at BITS Pilani, I was extra-cautious with the course Macro-economics. Professor Alok Ray started the course and he talked about the way his recent visit to China and the way Chinese communism and the industry collaboration made such a deep impact on him.

Wait a minute! I knew exactly what he was talking about. I rushed to my room at the end of the session and took “The Telegraph”. There was an article on “Communism with a difference”. The article was penned by the same Prof. Alok Ray, who was teaching Macro-Economics. I was so thrilled at this “Goose-pimple effect”.

The Bengali Connection
I introduce myself to people as “Guha” to save myself from the trouble of repeating my name some three times before people get a hang of my unique name.

Thanks to my tanned complexion and the confirmation of my name, the other person, with a glow in his eyes, sometimes asks me “Kamon aachen?” or “Bhalo achhen?”  (How are you? In Bengali).

I end up giving a bigger explanation on how “Guha” is the first half of my first name and not the last name as the Bengalis have. I made it a point to introduce myself as “Guharaman” till I came out of Kolkata.