Friday, October 28, 2011


Delhi, leaving aside its architectural marvels, the sweeping roads and countless markets, is a place that is deliberately hurtful. MSWord helpfully extends a list of synonyms: upsetting, unkind, cruel, spiteful, cutting, wounding, insensitive… The only saving grace is that I have my friends around. I have a fantastic room-mate in D who’ll prod me into eating when I sulk, who’ll light up the house with diyas, who’ll return to Delhi every time with a bagful of cookies and cakes. Yet, sometimes I see worry creasing her brows, and I think about how we named her Giggleburi, and how slowly, but surely, she smiles lesser and lesser these days. There is A with his all encompassing love, his non-stop stream of witty gibberish and poems that go both forward and backward. Yet there are spurts of sulky silences. When both of us know that nothing we say can make us feel any better. We just have to grin and bear it.

There’s S and there is G with their unselfish, take it as it comes way of life. They have restored a bit of sanity to both me and D, sheltering us, quite literally when we landed here. Otherwise, I am pretty sure, my sissy sensitive self would have cried buckets every night before going off to sleep mulling over upon how the maid and the guard and the mother dairy man and the jhaaroo-wala and the countless rickshaw-walas and the plumber and the electrician and even the man selling EGGS misbehave. Rudeness is their religion. Screaming, their normal conversational tone. Cheating, and lying? Why, these are honest ways to earn their living. I know that Calcutta is not the perfect place on earth, and I know that in Calcutta one would still meet scumbags, but this place is oozing with them. Growing up is not pleasant if all it teaches you to do is to grow fangs and sink them deep into one and all before they get a chance to strike at you. That’s how you live here: you kick and scream murder before the other person does that to you. You also learn the art of glib, oily smiles. At least my workplace is wonderful. Deadlines can drive you crazy, but there are so many known faces all around. And the book you have worked so hard for, now printed and bound and nestling in your palms, feels like heaven. Forgive the wonky grammar and the countless punctuation marks. It is a deliberate departure from what I do for a living. (livelihood, income, wage, source of revenue, alive, breathing, existing, live)

1 comment:

Elendil said...

a) There is also a P, who is dying to meet his old friends and make their world a bit warmer. You have his number. Give him a call on weekends. He doesn't mind a train ride to Noida either.

b) I completely agree with you on Delhi, even though I live in a separate world within it. It's fucking evil.

c) Because I'm having to read up on the bhadralok concept as part of my RA work, I now understand why this culture (or lack thereof) particularly hits us Bengalis so hard. We are a degree more civilized, that's all. You could argue that that's a colonial, Enlightenment notion, but who cares. Humanism is not overrated.

d) You haven't singled out misogyny. I'm surprised that it's not the first thing you rant about. On the metro, men sit in the womens' seats, and if they complain, the men turn a blind eye and a deaf ear.

e) I am generalizing here, but I also find north Indian culture very fake and ostentatious. Everything is glitz and glamour, and depth is hard to find.

f) I see you too are being afflicted by editing-induced self-awareness while writing. Gah. It sucks.

Jai hok. Phone korish.