Tag Archives: Jamshedpur

Chingaari!!!

By Joybrato Dutta

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Do you know why people prefer porn that has stories in it? We don’t just want to watch two people having sex. We want to know the build-up. A slight hint of courtship can make it more relatable. And then of course the foreplay. Which by the way is more arousing than the actual sex (I mean watching). In other words we all enjoy watching other people having sex. We would love to peep through windows. No wonder MMS clips are such a huge hit. We all are voyeurs.

When I was 9 years old I witnessed such a moment without even peeping through a window. It has been enshrined in me in such a way that today after 17 years I sit to write about it.

My apartment in Jamshedpur was located at quite a height. Anyone standing on the terrace would get quite a good view of the city. However, other people can hardly see what’s happening on the terrace making it a safe house. Precisely why my friends and I often performed Planchet there. Also, every social gathering pertaining to the residents of the apartment always happened there.

The biggest event on the terrace happened to be the New Year’s party. So 17 years back on the 30th of December we were sitting in Mr. Ghosh’s house finalising the plans for 31st night. My friends and I were trying to be useful. Those days we were treated as servants by the middle-aged women.

They used to command us like:

Beta zara kursi le aana                                                                                                                            

Beta dekhna zara nal chal raha hai ki nahin                                                                                            

Beta dekhna darwaaze par kaun hai

And we proudly performed the tasks. Some future ass-lickers even tried to make sure they performed all the tasks before others, just to impress the aunties.

So we were all sitting there waiting for instructions, when suddenly Mukherjee aunty said “Chalo abb chat ka muaayna karte hain, wahin chal ke decide karte hai ki dance floor kahan banega aur Housie kahan khelenge”

So the future of then’s tomorrow hurried up the stairs to the terrace. While the aunties followed us. Rahul and I were the first ones to reach the terrace. We ran towards the corner guarded by the water tank. And then ……..I saw it.

The most gorgeous body was lying naked on the cemented porch. Along with the most hideously hairy ass.

Numerous logical questions occurred in my mind

What are they doing?                                                                                                                                  

Why are they naked?                                                                                                                                  

Why are certain parts of the body the way they are?                                                                        

Most importantly, HOW DARE THEY USE OUR TERRACE?

I was too young to know the process of sex, even the significance, probably even the meaning of the word. Bollywood closed the doors, or switched off the lights or showed waves dashing against the shores, even a cork popping out of a champagne bottle. I hardly understood the metaphors.

But what I was seeing was heavenly. The most beautiful woman in the world was lying in front of me. Naked. Blood-flow found a new passage. A road it had never travelled on before. I felt weird. I felt the urge of doing something, but just didn’t know what. All I knew was that life had unravelled its deepest secret.

Amidst that moment of revelation the super-idiotic friend of mine shouted out “Mummy dekho yahan kya chal raha hai”. They hurriedly wore their clothes. Surprisingly the hideously hairy ass guy decided to wear his shirt first.

Just then the gang of aunties arrived. What followed was a deafening series of howling, shouting, swearing et.al. One aunty came and chased us out of the terrace. In fact she locked us in her house so that we can’t watch the show any longer.

We ran to our balcony to get one last view of the girl. She was beautiful. She had the most amazing body any woman can have. Her eyes were……….I don’t exactly remember her eyes. She wore a red t-shirt. I was praying to God for one last eye contact. And then for a fraction of a second she looked at me. One last look. Probably she was abusing me, probably she found me cute. I will never know. She left with the guy.

I tried looking for her, but I was too young to look harder. She will never escape my mind. She is the reason I like women wearing red. She taught me so much about life. She ignited a flame in me. A flame no one can extinguish. She turned me into a voyeur at the age of 9. And each time I watch porn I know that deep inside me, the 9 year old still lives.

  • Porn and I (missionsharingknowledge.wordpress.com)
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The Untold Story of Arpan Chatterjee

How important is the word ‘success’ for you? What if ‘success’ costs you your happiness, isolates you from your closest friends and family? Would you still call yourself successful? Joybrato Dutta explores these questions through the life of his best friend who died of Malignant Malaria, but who he feels became a victim of ‘success’!

August 18, 2002, and if I’m not wrong it was around 12 PM. I got off the rickshaw and was walking towards my junior college. It was my first day in M.I.T. A narrow stretch of mud connected the gates to Paud Road. And I was walking on the mud trying to make sure it doesn’t deface the shine on my boots. Hair oiled, silver rimmed spectacles, double pleated trousers, clean shaved, tip of my tie touching the tip of my belt, I was truly a banker in the making. But destiny got rewritten the moment a white van whizzed past me painting my black shoes with brown. It went ahead and stopped in front of the gates. A tall fair guy stepped out of the van with his father. A man as tall and fair as him. As I walked towards the gates I saw him smiling at his father as he bid him farewell. His smile was the epitome of innocence and the proof of a pure heart. I couldn’t help stop myself from going towards him and asking him if it was his first day. Nodding his head he said yes. I asked his name. Arpan Chatterjee, he replied. And thus a Bengali from Jamshedpur met a Bengali from Ballarpur in Pune.

arpan-IOur friendship grew in leaps and bounds. Our classmates thought we were childhood friends because of our initial bond. We always sat beside each other in every class. And we did that for the 2 years. Such was his charm that guys envied him and women adored him. He had no match. His every action was appreciated, his every mistake was forgiven. In the realm of green eyes and beating hearts we did find true friends. Saurabh Ambure, a guy whose surname overshadowed his name. Later he was also known as Ambure Papa because of the kindness he bestowed in the form of money and food. And of course love. Raunaq Dubey a.k.a. Ronky Donky. No clue why Arpan named him that, a guy who was born to attain fame. Panchali Gadre a.k.a. Pancho. Unlike her name she never dated a guy. Yet stole the heart of Arpan. Shweta Gujarathi a.k.a. Maggi because of her hair. Payal Chakravarty, she loved us so much that she decided to make us her brother. Later she cursed us so much that till date no other girl has accepted us as their brother.

raj-gang(RAJ gang: R- Raunaq; A- Arpan; J- Joy)

We were a strong group. We came and left college together. Post college we were usually spotted at Durga or Zest. The waiters knew us by our order. “One cold coffee with 5 straws please”, was our usual order. Back in those days we felt rich even with empty pockets. Childishness, immaturity and stupidity were the virtues we truly believed in. For example it so happened that we were partying at Shweta’s house and Arpan touched something sharp and started bleeding. Any sensible person would have got Dettol but Shweta was different from the crowd. She got phenyl.

Ambure papa wasn’t far behind. A hot girl fell off a Kinetic Honda in front of him. It’s a moment every guy dreams to get. All you have to do is lift the girl and you will be her hero for a long time. But Ambure dreamt different. He didn’t lift the girl. Arpan and I who were walking 10 steps behind, rushed up to him and asked him why he didn’t pick her up. With as serious as expression Ambure replied “Maine isse bhi bura accident dekha hai”.

28818757(Me with Arpan and Ambure papa)

40709_415254080795_6888394_n(Panchali, Shweta, Ambure and I)

And Arpan with his carelessness could not have been left behind. On the last day before summer vacations Arpan was so happy that he decided to skip a flight of stairs and jumped only to land with a broken ankle. Of course he didn’t realise that until 6 hours later his brother and I forced him to get an X-ray done.

But like every other dream this too ended. Arpan and Panchali decided to part ways. And that marked the end of our gang. The second year of Junior college saw the meeting Arpan and Janhavi. I am sure Payal still curses herself for this meeting. Such was Janhavi’s aura she overshadowed the rest of us. Some loved her, some hated her. But no one could ignore her. Arpan who was recuperating from heartbreak found peace in her arms.

But Arpan’s love for me didn’t diminish. He loved me like none of my girlfriends did. He was possessive, he was bossy, he was stubborn. If for 2 days I didn’t call him he would call back saying “Tumhaare aur dost bann gaye kya”. But he was the guy who helped me woo my first girlfriend. Not before he had changed my image. Oil gave way to gel. Sleeves were folded. Collar button was always undone. My vision was no more obstructed by silver rims. It was a new me. I was what Arpan made me. And the new me had the courage and confidence to woo Tejas, the most beautiful girl of our college. The four of us spent a lot of time together. From films to road trips. From Durga to Barista. From NDA to ARAI hills, we left no street untraveled.

250858_10150195785385796_128470_n(Pic: Janhavi and Tejas)

But time tested us like a mean professor. Just before pre-boards I broke up. Shattered and tattered I was sitting in one corner of my apartment on Paud Road while my friends Ambure, Ronky, Bhajji, Gafoor, Biggie, Ved and Gawade were all trying to empathise with me. But not Arpan. He didn’t believe in empathising. He never believed that to solve one’s problem one needs to understand his/her problem. He simply believed that smile was the solution to all problems. And to make anyone smile one doesn’t need to know the problems. That’s what he believed in and that’s what he did. He danced, he sang, he cracked the most pathetic jokes but that stubborn ass didn’t give up on me. He made me smile. A night before the pre-boards when everyone was scared like hell. Arpan danced like a madman. Ambure, Ronky and I danced along.

After the 12th boards time had come for all of us to bid farewell. And in 2 years Arpan cried for the first time. We didn’t know when we will meet next. But I didn’t know that post this farewell I will meet a new Arpan.

12th results were announced and Arpan had flunked. As of today for most of us it won’t seem like a big deal. Back then, for Arpan, it was. It changed his life. It killed the child inside him. It mocked his beliefs. The teachers who once treated him as a son, humiliated him, the green eyed rivals pounced on this opportunity to desecrate him, people who were really close to him, whom he really relied upon, desolated him. The college which was once his playground, turned into hell.

I was in Bangalore doing my Engineering. From there I constantly called to check on him. As days passed his voice turned paler. His confidence grew weaker. But somehow his determination grew stronger. He wanted to prove a point. He wanted to take revenge. He wanted to humiliate everyone, classmates, teachers and our college. And he grew impatient. That must have been the longest 6 months. After which he could re-answer the boards. And this time he passed with flying colours.

aa001(Pic: Arpan and I in his house in Bangalore)

I remember an evening when Arpan and I were sitting at a bus stop on Paud Road near Krishna Hospital. The hospital where once I was admitted because we didn’t have a television and Arpan wanted to see some match. So he thought if I could get a cabin with a television, that would solve his problem. And boy that hospital had celebrated the day they discharged me. Ideally 2 people are allowed but Arpan made sure a minimum of 20 people attended me. The only time 2 people were attending me was one of the most awkwardest moments of my life when I was lying on the bed in the cabin with Panchali on one side and Janhavi on the other. I was anxiously waiting for Arpan to turn up but that sadist was out enjoying with other friends.

Anyways, getting back to the conversation. My apologies for getting carried away. We were sitting at a bus stop discussing ambitions. We both had the same. We both wanted to become filmmakers. In Bangalore while I was doing engineering simply because that’s what 75% small town boys do, he was in Australia following his dreams. He hadn’t forgotten about it. He didn’t let me forget it. His impatience to achieve success fast made him unstable. He hated stability. More than that, he hated me for not following my dreams. He called me every day and tried to convince me to do so. And one day he succeeded. After my second semester I quit engineering and joined a film school. He was the happiest man on earth. Happier than me.

Arpan moved to Bangalore. He joined Arena Multimedia to learn animations. He made sure I regain my confidence after my break up and woo other women. And thanks to him I met the 2 most contrasting women in my life. Anusha and Anwasha. Anwasha was an outstanding student, and undoubtedly the most innocent soul alive. While Anusha was bold, practical and undoubtedly the most matured girl I have met in my life. Arpan was a brother to both. And both respected him equally. While Anwasha and Arpan’s connection was short-lived, Anusha and Arpan had a stronger bond. Even after I broke up with Anusha Arpan was there with her. At times they hated each other at times they loved each other. They were everything a brother and sister were meant to be. After my college got over in Bangalore. I went back home for 15 days. It did seem like 15 years though. My parents who never supported my choice of career had abandoned me. Only my sister, Arpan and Anusha stood by me. And thanks to them I decided to join advertising in Delhi.

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I moved to Delhi and so did Arpan. He was my soul. Literally. He joined a small production house there and was doing pretty good for himself. His sense of film making was outstanding and he defeated his counterparts at the bat of an eyelid. But his past kept on haunting him. I wish I had the power he had. I wish I could have stopped him from leaving Delhi. He moved to Mumbai. He joined a bigger production house. He was doing well there too. But then he quit.

Day by day his past was haunting him more fiercely. His dormant anger was reigniting rapidly. He could never forget the humiliation he had received after his failure. He could never forgive them. He had understood that no one supports failures. Even while he stayed amongst friends he experienced loneliness. He had just one dream. He wanted to go back to M.I.T. and invite all our classmates and then to tell them how superior he was to them. He wanted to humiliate each one of them. Everytime he called me, every time we sat to drink he said only one thing “Ek baar Pune wapas jaayenge aur sab ko batayenge aaj apni aukaat kya hai. Yeh saale kal hanse the mujh par, ek din inn saalo par thukunga mai”. Arpan could never forgive his past. This hunger for success led to his failure. It led to his instability.

In the next few years. Arpan travelled from Mumbai to Kolkata to Delhi to Kabul, to Sydney to New York to Ghana. Today I wish I could have convinced him to stay back in India. Today I wish I could convince him to rest for a while. Arpan the dream-child for every parent had succumbed to his anger. He started drinking and smoking. Once when he visited me in Delhi he entered with a crate of beers. My room-mate Abhishek and I were shocked. He drank a bottle after dinner and one for breakfast. That was a time when I felt my soul had been snatched from me. And I was helpless. Each time he called me it was from a new number and he was in a new country. He grabbed every opportunity that came his way. And his career soared higher than any of our classmates. In this process he distanced himself from love.

In times when men hardly find true love he found it more than once. But he distanced himself from it each time. He felt they were speed breakers. But Arpan still had a heart of gold. He just couldn’t tell those women he didn’t love them. Because even if he didn’t love them he cared for them. He simply walked away. Women misunderstood. Some even hated him. But little did they know of the greatness of this man. And finally this year he had decided to settle in life.

But then came the evening of 8th June. When it rained for the first time in Mumbai. I was sitting in my apartment in Andheri drinking and watching a match when suddenly I got a call from Aanchal. In a shaky voice she asked me to check Arpan’s wall on Facebook. I didn’t have access to the internet at that moment so I asked her the reason for her anxiousness. She cried and disconnected. I was shaken by this call. I called Arpan’s dad to get Arpan’s number. I will never forget that conversation. I called uncle and said “kaku Arpan er number ta daao na, aamar kaacher theke number ta delete hoye geche (Uncle, please give me Arpan’s number I have lost it). He replied “Beta Arpan to aa neyi, o kaal rate maara geche” (Son, Arpan is no more, he passed away last night).

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(Arpan, after he started drinking and becoming careless about his health)

I don’t know how to describe what I felt. It was something I had never felt before. Being a writer I usually am good with words but I know of no such adjective that can truly explain what I felt. A part of me had died. A part of my existence had died. But one thought kept on lingering in my mind. What was the cause for his death? I don’t mean Malignant Malaria, which was the medical cause. I meant the real cause. Why would a guy who was doing pretty well in his career in Mumbai and Kolkata have to leave for Kabul and Ghana? I don’t mean to belittle the places but they definitely aren’t obvious choices. What was the reason for this instability? A fun loving guy who believed in staying happy and making others smile, why would he impatiently grab on to opportunities that would distance him from everyone who loved him. It wasn’t malignant malaria that killed him, it was his constant search for success, it was his impatience for achieving his dream that one day he would avenge his self-respect. It was this dream that led to his demise. But this was never his dream.

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(Arpan and I in a pub in Kolkata)

Ask the 18 year old me who sat with him in the bus stop and heard him share his dream of becoming a film maker. That’s all he wanted. One bloody failure and it ruined the life of an 18 year old. You should have seen the smile and the enthusiasm with which he was talking about his plans of becoming a film maker. Little did he know back then that his dreams would end in a year and his life in 8.

Today as impractical as it may sound I hope he is reading this because that stubborn ass inspired me to write. He read every bloody post of mine. Every pathetic story every crappy poem. And if you are reading this Arpan, I would want to thank you for a lot of things.

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(Pic: Arpan’s initial attempt at photoshop. He always went wrong with the spelling of innocence and friends.)

Thank you for changing my look

Thank you for helping me woo Tejas

Thank you for dancing in front of me just to make me smile

Thank you for encouraging me to follow my dreams

Thank you for helping me get over Anwasha

Thank you for helping Anusha and I remain the best of friends

Thank you for encouraging me to join advertising

Thank you for applauding to my boring ads

Thank you for scolding me each time I fought with my family

Thank you for inspiring me to move to Mumbai

Thank you for calling me your best friend

Thank you for forgiving me even when I chose not to forgive you

Thank you for reminding me each day what my name truly means.

They are saying you have died and you are no more among us. Little do they know that you are up there smiling. And your smile grows bigger each time I shed a tear. Little do they know how big a sadist you were. God save the angels!!!

A Lifetime Spent

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It was her 25th marriage anniversary. They had decided to throw a party in the evening. But instead of being ecstatic she was in a reflective mood. Thinking, wondering, pondering…a whole series of events and images came to her mind. Not all of them were pleasant but definitely memorable. Sitting with a cup of tea in her hand in the small yet cosy balcony she thought about her marriage to a stranger whom she had eventually befriended.

They had spent twenty-five years with each other. This was unbelievable keeping in mind the first impression she had of him. Their parents had fixed up their marriage. He was thirty-seven years old. She had freaked out when she heard this. How could she marry a man ten years older to her? Her mother consoled her by saying that he was a rich and a self-made man. And although he was not good-looking by normal standard, everyone thought well of him. They were no longer wealthy enough to spend lavishly on her marriage as they did during her sisters’ marriage. Moreover, his family had no demands. They were strictly against any form of dowry.

She was not consoled but resigned to her fate. At five feet and one inch she definitely was not tall. And although her features were not as sharp as a classic Indian beauty’s should be, she possessed a complexion lighter than wheatish but darker than fair and an innocent face which appealed to most people she met. She had another asset – her keen sense of perception.

She had to go to Jamshedpur to meet him. Her relatives wanted her to see the groom once before marriage. She wondered why she was asked to do so since she did not exercise the actual choice of denying him. Perhaps, it did not matter whether she met him or liked him after meeting but that he wanted to see her. This very thought filled her with distaste. Moreover, she did not like the idea of living in a small city after being in Calcutta all her life. She would have to begin her life afresh in a new city, with new people. This terrified her. She would have to resign from her job in the Bengali medium school she was teaching in. There were no Bengali schools in Jamshedpur. How would she ever adjust was the question of the hour.

She met him in the evening. Her initial sense of repulsion, doubt and fear came back. She tried to fight back the feeling of being commodified; something that she always felt when any man came to see her with marriage in mind.

He was pitch dark. About two inches taller than her, his appearance was a far cry from all the good-looking men she had met and who had rejected her on the basis of being too thin or too short. She refused to look at him, partly because she was shy and partly because she was horrified to see her future glaring at her. Through the formal conversation which carried on for about two hours, in which her future was decided for her by her elders, but in which her opinion was not asked, she gauged that this man had a good sense of humour. He smiled quite a lot and made others laugh around him a lot more. Though she would have liked to be an audience to some of his jokes, this would have been unthinkable. So she continued her conversation with her prospective sister-in-law.

The date of their marriage was fixed on 24th April, 1983.

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The days after that passed in a daze. With all the clothes and jewellery shopping, distribution of cards, meeting the bridegroom’s relatives who could not contain their curiosity to see the new bride, she hardly had any time for herself.

On the day of her marriage, she observed the customary fasting ritual. She did not care much for it but with vigilant elders around her, she had no choice. She did not feel the pangs of hunger until late in the afternoon but on complaining she was reminded that she would have to go through it for her and her husband’s well-being since starvation on the big day would guarantee a lifetime of happiness. On inquiring whether her husband would also do the same she was told that it was not incumbent on men to perform these rites. Again the injustice of it all struck her. Everyone seemed to be implying that the welfare of her marital life would solely depend on her actions and her fate. But what about the person she was marrying? Was he not going to share her responsibilities? She helplessly accepted this contention too.

Her aunts tried to force her to go to the beauty parlour in order to look beautiful for her husband-to-be and the guests. She noted that it was not for herself but for others that she was supposed to look good. Immensely irritated by everything that had been happening to her for the first time she vehemently refused to comply. She was never fond of artificial colours anyway. People not so good-looking required make-up, she reminded herself. Her husband would have to accept her the way she was, she thought with some pride.

bouBut she did look enchanting. The lack of makeup heightened the quality of innocence in her face and everyone praised. Some neighbours and distant relatives congratulated the bridegroom’s family for having coveted such a prize. A prize indeed she was and she hoped that they would prize her even after her marriage. Although the stories she had heard from her married sisters about their married life was in no way consoling.

Vermillion was applied on her forehead at 12:00a.m. By the time the marriage ended it was well past midnight. Everyone, including she, was exhausted and in no mood of celebrating. But she had to continue smiling, looking interested and shy, as was expected of her. Next day the journey back to her new home was a tearful one.

A long time would elapse before she could start considering her husband’s home to be her own. Nor did he make any special efforts to make her feel at home. He was too busy with his newly set up business and did not spend much time with her. They did go on a honeymoon which was short but pleasant. She found her husband quite weird. Although he did not give her any reason to complain yet she had no reason to praise him. He never stood up for her in front of his family. He tried to even know her better. In other words, he never bothered himself with her and left her to fend for herself all the time. He did not restrict her movements but being a newcomer to the city she did not know where to go and was inevitably left to the mercy of her in-laws to entertain her.

borShe would escape to Calcutta every now and then. Although her husband did not object to it her in-laws would harangue her about the necessity to serve and care for her husband and her sister-in-law would sarcastically remark that her home in Jamshedpur was more luxurious than her mother’s place. She felt like telling them that the size of the house did not matter to her but the amount of love she found in that place. She felt like telling them that she felt suffocated in this huge house where no one cared for her but where everyone kept reminding her of her duties towards her husband, although none educated her husband of his duties towards his newly wedded wife, which he neglected most of the time. But this would have been blasphemous. So she told them that she was lonely here without friends. This merest self-defence elicited a grunt from her eldest sister-in-law who told her that she had to be friendly person herself to make friends. But later, her younger sister-in-law approached and told her that she would have to adjust despite all odds. This was the fate of all women. Perhaps, she detected a note of empathy in her words which warmed her to this otherwise stoic woman. But she did not get to know her well. The only person who empathised with her in the new household died at childbirth five months later.

She found it extremely annoying that it was her conduct that was always kept under tight scrutiny. No one bothered about her husband’s code of conduct. What was his office like? Why did he not come home last night? Why did he travel so frequently? Why did he not take her along in these long tours? What did he do there? Such behaviour which would normally be considered abominable in a woman remained unnoticed in a man. This irked her. If she came later than usual from the market her sister-in-law questioned her on her whereabouts under the guise of being concerned. If she visited her friend then her mother-in-law would insist that her brother-in-law drop her to that friend’s place. She was self sufficient. She did not need a protector. All she had desired was for a companion and instead of that she found tutors, guides and protectors.

But she was one of the few lucky ones. She realised this on speaking to her neighbours. Finding her a reserved but comfortable companion, some of them confided in her. They told her about the problems in their households. Some of them were regularly beaten up by drunken husbands. Some had mother-in-laws who made them work whole day in spite of the presence of servants. Some said that their husbands had extramarital affairs. Earlier they were quiet about it but on realising the helplessness of their wives, they sometimes brought their girlfriends home under the guise of friends or business partners. There was no way to retaliate against such humiliation.

She felt mad with rage on hearing all this. Sometimes alone at home she would contemplate on such occurrences. Her mind would be clouded by doubt regarding her status in her husband’s life. Even he did not stay at home most of the time. Did he too engage in similar clandestine affairs? And even if he did what would she do to maintain her self-respect? Nothing was the answer. She could do nothing except for raving and ranting in front of him and even that would not help because he was hardly at home.

She decided to look for a job to save herself from such ignominy. She informed her husband about this and was a little surprised to see that he encouraged her whole-heartedly. She had not expected such cooperation. In fact she was banking on a lukewarm acceptance in a slightly disapproving tone since men in the modern days hated to seem outdated and yet preserved the centuries old chauvinist instincts within themselves. His enthusiastic response filled her with joy, moreover so, since her brother-in-law opposed to this decision. He considered this to be an insult to the supposedly hard working men when the womenfolk of the house took it upon themselves to earn a living. Very uncharacteristically and for the first time, her husband opposed to his brother’s viewpoint. Men should not take it on their ego when women try to be economically independent. After all, without economic independence all other form of independence is a farce, he told them. None dared to say anything to her after that.

Very soon she had to face a disappointment. Bengali, her mother-tongue and also the language in which she had been educated proved a drawback. She had to know English or at least Hindi if she wanted a job as a school teacher in Jamshedpur. There was no scope for Bengali and even the Hindi-medium schools were fast disappearing. On hearing this, her brother-in-law gave a triumphant smirk, her sister-in-law made a sardonic remark about the more luxury people get the more demanding they become and her mother-in-law refrained from getting into this whole discussion.

But one thing was clear to her by now – that her husband was not a bad person that she thought him to be all this while. He was a workaholic for sure and also seemed to be a bit insensitive since he never bothered about her needs. Yet he was more humane and broad-minded than any of his family members were. Since she could not meet the professional requirements, she thought of requesting her husband to take her along with him on the innumerable tours he went to. Emboldened by the fact that he supported her once, yet fearful that he would think that she was crossing her limits, she thought of putting this proposal before her husband. Although hopeful, she was not entirely sure of a positive response. She was in for a surprise again. He readily agreed to the proposal.

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In fact she had second thoughts after speaking out her mind. She was not sure whether she would be able to converse with his business partners or mix with the people he socialises with. Her self-confidence received a setback with her rejection in schools. But he husband pacified her saying that the people he socialised with were down-to-earth and nice people, in the midst of whom she would not feel out of place. He had thought of asking her to accompany him long time back but was not sure about her reaction since she seemed so conservative and introvert and a nomadic lifestyle would not suit her, or so he thought. Coward, she thought to herself. Or plain disinterested. How can one ever decide about another person without even trying to know her?

In spite of all her anticipation, she did accompany him to all her tours. It was in these tours that she discovered the person she got married to. She had only seen the serious side of him. Away from home, she saw the romantic side too. He remained busy most of the time. He did have a streak of insensitivity in him. Or maybe his business demanded such dedication from him. But the ogre had assumed a more acceptable and human form for her. He had his own flaws. He was extremely stubborn; always refusing to listen to any suggestions she gave. In spite of all his broad-mindedness, he felt that since she did not have a profession, she should concentrate on the duties of the house and not instruct him about the ways of the world. She thought this was unjustified since she had a strong sense of perception which he lacked and which he should exploit to his best advantage than refute it. Sometimes he would even taunt her for not doing anything and would refuse to understand that household chores were also difficult and deserved to be praised.

It took some years for the stranger to become her friend. And their friendship consolidated with a birth of a daughter after two years of marriage. She had wished for a girl who would grow up to be her friend and companion. Her husband, laconic as usual, did not voice his opinion. So all her prayers to God would be a request for a girl child, which was indeed granted to her in December of the very same year. This gave a complete new turn to her life and filled the void that was created due to a very busy husband and lack of profession. Some of her neighbours expressed their sorrow on giving birth to a daughter but she was ecstatic. Her ecstasy was doubled when her husband’s reprove quietened the crowd who came to see the child and expressed grief in return. She had decided to live her life through the child, to give her every opportunity that she lacked in her life, to make her self-sufficient and in a way, make up for the shortcomings in her own personality. Many a time she had thought of breaking all the bonds that her marriage had imposed on her but she lacked the courage and even the financial means to do so. She was determined that her daughter would not go through the same trouble that she herself faced. And even if she would then she would also have the means to escape. She had reconciled to the fate that her elders had chosen for her but her daughter would decide her own fate. She was sure about that.

Twenty-five years seemed a long time ago but she still felt as young as before. She had not just adjusted but also adopted the culture of the place. Jamshedpur became her home. She never worked henceforth in spite of all the coaxing that her husband employed on her so that she would tutor students at home atleast. She decided that her profession and vocation would be to bring up her child. In spite of occasional bickering with her husband and the verbal clashes with her in-laws, she rated her marriage as reasonably successful although she was not sure if she was completely happy. Perhaps, she would have been if she could convince her husband to move out of a joint family and live separately and peacefully because the family never forgave her touring round the country with her husband. But her husband’s stubborn nature stood in the way of her happiness.

Twenty-five years later she was dressed up and still waiting for her husband, not for him to return from his business trip but from the other room where he was on the phone conversing with the organisers about the evening party. She was tired of waiting. After all she had waited all her life…for everyone and everything. At the moment she was eagerly waiting for the arrival of their beloved daughter from Delhi. They would have to go to the airport to receive her. So instead of waiting any longer she decided to call on her husband.