i had been so long with my opiates
that i thought my pain was gone
but it rained. and someone brought news from home
and there i was, as freshly homeless again
funny how life goes. I found this old blog post from 2005. It ends saying another year is over, who knows what the next year will bring. If only I had known, it brought the most exciting, transformative and yet deadly years of my life. Years to which I sometimes think, the rest of my life will but be a lame sequel. And yet years which are irrevocably gone - like borrowed moment lived in somebody else's life, or a dream. You would think it was unreal, and yet it has really changed you forever
"its december: that time of the year, again. there has always been something magical about winter, for me. Shamiana's in the sun, international-night, bakery carnival, steamer parties, baba's holiday home, endless invites, baba's birthday bash, baba's month at home, boro din, Flury's, cakes, santa claus, christmas trees, picnics, the zoo and a gentler sunshine.
and now its carols, live at surprising places; decorated shops, eateries and office spaces; twinkling street lights every evening; long luxurious nights and tiny quickly over & done with days; cuddling in under big, soft blankets with Floppy, a book and a hot drink. buying cards; getting cards; looking for robins; fairs and markets on blocked streets; glittering frost and snow, on everything;
there's a village-market-style fair set up on fredrick street. as well as, the german fair in princes gardens. tomorrow, some people from work are going to see the roselyn chapel. i want to go but i want to sleep, as much! I am reading the town below the ground: Edinburgh's legendary underground city: its not awfully well written, but its about Ediburgh, and its got some interesting explanations. i think i fall a bit more in love with this place everyday. of all the places i have ever lived in, or even visited, this is the sweetest, funniest, prettiest, to date! and the people are the wonderful!
so 2005 is nearly done. at the end of every year, there is a sense of excitement and anticipation; a rustling in your breath; like the tissue paper under a folded party dress. making progress. getting along. rocking on. what happens next ... what will the new year bring?
Originally Posted at Prerona."


oday I went to a meetup group in san francisco that reads hindi and urdu poems together. it was spectacularly fun. like the tag line of meetup says "come find your own people".
today for the first time, I read out in public something I had written. I felt so scared inside that I could die. But I forced myself to just go through it blindly. I also shared something I had written with someone for the first time, whom I have known forever but never shared anything like this with. It takes a lot of courage, coming out
today i discussed exile and migration - the things I feel so passionately about - with a group of unknown people. to be away from home, alone, can feel like exile. but to be away together, can become an adventure
today, as I rode back from the center, down California street, I saw a young man sitting on one of two fascinating benches, that face each other, right next to a busy intersection, and reading. I have walked by them so often and thought of sitting on them I had felt like they were mine, in a small way. In new places where I am unknown, in airports, and stations, I always feel stripped of my some of the burdens of my identity. I feel free. And strangely I feel at home - just in my skin. That is how I felt about that bench - so that the young man became a guest in my home.
today for the first time, for fraction of a second, this strange place looked like home

Our ways. Their ways

We went for the Durga Pujo at some California suburb. Wandering about in San Francisco, where I dont know a soul except my husband and have noone but my sister on another coast on my speed-dial, I could never imagine so many bengali's existed somewhere nearby. Resplendent in red, white and gold, smeared with sindoor and smiles, I could not help imagine what they would look like tomorrow, back in their "normal life".

As I got ready to leave, I thought about watching my mother get dressed every morning. The whole process had its own grammer. It was made up of little things she did, like holding the sari pallu with one hand and the pleats with the other in a final adjustment, before she turned away from the mirror.

I never thought - maybe I dreamed and wondered - but I never really thought, that my life will end up so different from hers. I wore a Tashor sari today for Ashthami, and in my head I could hear the litany of voices explaining every thing that made the material special. Usually followed by a smooth segue into how everything is a metaphor, Hindusim is philosophy and not a religion, etc. I think about how noone will tell my my children - or rather my sisters children, more likely - these things. They will grow up in a different world and inherit another.

Sometimes when she was in a specially good mood, my mother used to say "I took flesh from my flesh, bones from my bones, heart from my heart, and I made you. My grandmother as she washed and fed me, and caught out my ridiculous lies, used to say something like I made the womb that made you. I know you because you are a part of me. Thus I carry them in my flesh, and in my heart. As long as I live, their hearts will go on. As long as I talk, dream, think, their stories will live.

But then our ways will die out. the saris, the ululation, the stories, the romance, the madness. Maybe my grandmother felt like this too, moving into a virgin south calcutta flat in salt lake with a man from another world. Maybe the world changes on every generation. But it turns slowly, so we don't get giddy and feel too scared to go on.

But like a rolling stone, before it festers, it turns.

Pujo. Crowds. Sari's and Jewelry. Beautiful laughing children. Young couplE looking for a perfect selfie shot. Later I see her stare longingly at the playing kids. Woman singing from Chatuskon. Surreal suddenly, bangla songs in the dark school room. Woman with chicken roll stall shouts at her husband - he is not being very competant in his helping out. An elegant old man & older lady - a couple - sit in a beautiful companionship - looks like an old marraige or friendship.
i have so much, i feel like i am suffocating
and yet i feel bereft
i have walked for miles and miles
and still i could not escape my shell