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Europe Food love Marriage Travel Uncategorized

La Dolce Vita – The magical Amalfi Coast!

Two summers back, I had spent a memorable  time in Italy, Europe. While the rest of Italy remains well charted out in the Indian travel scene (that includes the bus full of people doing Europe darshan), Amalfi and the beautiful coastline of Southern Italy was quite a chance discovery for me.

We were staying in Germany and I used to switch on to German television channels to learn Deutsch. It was a trick that my “lehrerin” (teacher in Deutsch) from language school had suggested. Germans are known for their wanderlust and it is during one of those binge watching of travel shows on television, that I discovered the dreamily romantic and the holiday hot spot for the rich and famous – Amalfi Coast.

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Calcutta colours Home Home Decor India love Marriage Memories nostalgia romance Uncategorized

#HomeKahon – The story of my Indian Home

They always talk about first love, but rarely in our documented history do we prefer talking about our other firsts?

The first job, the first salary, first car, first home….

You may call me severely materialistic, but all these hold a very special place in my heart, just like my first “Aam Panna” I shared with my husband, the first story that got published or the first ‘Phuchka’ that I had in Calcutta after returning from Europe after a year and a half.

Designing and making a ‘home’ out of a ‘house’ is always a challenge, especially if it is your ‘first’ one. You want it to be special and unique. My wishes were no different. I was a never a big ‘home decor’ enthusiast.

In fact, I often scorned at my mother who would scold me or my sister at the very sight of us sluggisly sitting on the sofa and squishing away her cushions. I was always the lethargic kid (“lyadhkhor”) as they call in colloquial Bengali), who loved her sleep.

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Home Home Decor love Marriage Uncategorized

Making memories together….

I am writing for the #ShareTheLoad activity at BlogAdda.com in association with Ariel.

Household work in India is often undermined as ‘no work’. I remember having a conversation with a friend where we were discussing how being a ‘housewife’ in India meant that you are completely unproductive and have nothing to do in life. Even a few years back, people rarely understood the value of wholesome support that our mothers’ and probably their mothers’ generation have put into our upbringing and running an entire household. The house continued to run like well oiled machinery, with everything in place – well dusted living rooms, book shelves, warm home cooked food and ironed clothes in the morning, and yet our mothers never got paid anything for all that. I realised the true value of that wonderful support system when I ventured out to make a home of my own.

It is often told that when you educate a woman, you educate a generation and with our generation, women became aware that it was important for every human being to have world of their own. And so today we are taking flights in every sphere of life. Needless to say, all that would not have been possible without the strong support that we get from our better halves – our beloved husbands!

I got married 3 years back and I wanted to be a strong home maker just like my mother. But I had other ambitions too. I have a day job as a lawyer and I follow my creative pursuits in the form of writing. I love doing things for my home to make it a cocoon of peace and love, but sometimes I am short on time or patience. It is probably the story of every young family today.

My husband has been my strongest pillar of support since our marriage. He has always encouraged me and supported me in all my ventures. Apart from the moral support, he has shared the load of household chores with me. I remember I was the hesitant one to ask him to do some housework just after our marriage since we have traditionally seen female members of our family doing everything related to the household. But it was he who insisted that we sit down and sort out all our ‘to do’s and responsibilities’ for the week.

So while I was good at cooking, I hated doing the laundry and he took up the job. He appreciated that I had a career of my own and when we both returned dog tired from office after work, it was not only my responsibility to make the evening tea or cook the dinner. We both took turns and as a result, we enjoyed the best of both of our culinary talents. I am the more traditional cook while he remains the experimental one.

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Bong way of life Europe Food love Memories romance Travel Uncategorized

Of cities, short stories and memories of a lifetime – Paris

Prologue:

Every city has a tale to tell of her own. Some are rather bland, some colloquial enough to hold your attention, some refuse to leave your mind long after its all over and some are just timeless…just like Waheeda Rehman. I cannot imagine any city to be a man. In my mind every city is distinctly a woman – with a scent of her own.

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Bollywood Cinema Europe India love Marriage nostalgia romance Travel Uncategorized

The DDLJ trail – In search of the Bollywood fairy tale in Switzerland

Every year thousands of people from all over the world visit Switzerland and a vast majority of those tourists are people from the Indian subcontinent. Undoubtedly, it is one of the most beautiful countries of the world. But apart from that there is one very important thing that has influenced every one of us – the ones who grew up on the staple diet of Bollywood, SRK and the nostalgia of the 90’s, to visit the nation. No prizes for guessing the answer – Yashraj Films.

We have to accept it that when Sridevi romanced a ‘starting to be potbellied’ and sweater clad Rishi Kapoor, while wearing impeccable Chiffon sarees and pearls and singing – “Tere mere hoton pe meethein, meethein geet Mitwa” in Chandni in the lush green Swiss valleys – we all wanted to be there and do a role play!

And then came the game changer called “Dilwale Dulhania Le Jayenge” (DDLJ) which has probably defined romance for everyone who belongs to my generation. When a young SRK flashes his dimpled smile and looks at his best onscreen partner Kajol to mouth the golden words – “Koi baat nahi Senorita, bade bade deshon mein aisi choti choti baatein hoti rehti hain“, we have no other alternative left other than going weak on our knees.

DSCF2998

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love

Date a girl who loves her ‘Phuchka’!

I am catching up on lots of things these days. And one of them was a fad about dating a girl who apparently read, travelled and what not…there was one on Biriyani also. Needless to say, the foodie in me said the most thumping ‘aye’ to that one! But I was surprised to find that nobody had written about dating a girl who knew her ‘phuchka’ well, very well. And so, I decided to write one. My ode to the girl who knows her ‘phuchka’ too well.

Ask any ‘phuchka’ lover and the person, if he or she is as crazily moonstruck like me, will answer by saying that the flour balls laced with tamarind water are sheer poetry making their way through your lustful hunger. Ok! jokes apart, there is no doubt that knowing one’s ‘phuchka’ is an art. You either know it or you do not.
Date a girl who can tell you the difference between her ‘phuchka’ from the close counterparts called ‘golguppas’ or ‘panipuris’. If she swears by her ‘phuchka’, know it for sure that she is loyal (at least to her city), headstrong and has a great taste to match.
Date a girl who can tell you the exact places where to find the best ‘phuchka’ in any geographical location she is. Be it Dakshinapon’s Rajender’s Phuchka or Vivekananda Park’s Dahi Phuchka, the amazing phuchkawallah outside CR Park Market Numbe 1 in Delhi or the one in Sindhi Colony in Hyderabad- a girl who knows her phuchka well, is a connoisseur of the best tastes in the town. No less! 😛
Date a girl who asks you to accompany her for random ‘phuchka’ eating sessions. It is not only romantic if it drizzles a bit but more importantly, it is extremely easy on your pockets. You can have a date by spending only around Rs 20 to 50 (depending on the place) on the food. Mind you! I am not a big fan of McBabbar. One thing that you can be assured of that if the place is of her choice and she enjoys the ‘Phuchka” she is in one of her happy frames of mind and it is a cakewalk from their on.
P.S. Date a girl who fights for her right over ‘phau phuchka’ (free one). If she does, she is going to save you a whole lot of money while arm twisting her way through bargaining for Diwali or pujo shopping 🙂
Categories
love short story

To say or not to say is the question!

“Have you seen the Taj before?” Amit asked Deboshree while staring at the white monument termed as the symbol of eternal love by everyone alike.
                                                                             I
Amit could never recall being in love. He was not flamboyant, rather shy by nature. His small town upbringing did not give him a chance to be suitably equipped for a lengthy conversation with a lady. Probably this was the first time in 26 years since his birth when he was alone for so long with a lady, the daintily made Deboshree, his newly married wife of 14 days.

Amit’s father worked in Jamshedpur. Throughout his childhood days, he was always taught to study hard and be suitable enough to fetch a job in the company which defined the future of iron and steel industry in India and needless to say, Amit was very successful in his endeavour.  He bagged a job in the company as Graduate Trainee after completing his engineering from IIT Kharagpur.

On the other hand Deboshree hailed from the big city that troubled Amit all the time- Calcutta. He visited the city during every school holidays since his grandparents still stayed over there, but the sight of the the monstrous Howrah Bridge made him feel uneasy. The crowds on the streets, the ‘phuchka’ vendor who served his mother’s favourite flour balls with tamarind laced water, the tram ride from his Kalighat home to Dalhousie- every thing reminded him of how his world had the peace and vanity of silence where nobody intruded. He sometimes wondered whether he was a loner…whether he disliked Calcutta. He durely did not because he loved his breakfasts at Flurys and the pending birthday treats from his grandfather at Mocambo. But his heart was set out in the peaceful haven of his Bistupur home.

In fact, Amit was stunned by the opulence and grandeur of Deboshree’s Shyambazar home when he first went to see Deboshree. He wondered how she managed to stay in such a big house alone with her parents, whether she would be able to stay in that 3 bedroom company provided accomodation in Jamshedpur. He truly had the luxury of a small custom made garden, but it was no match for Deboshree’s house which was at a stone’s throw distance from the famous eatery which serve Calcutta’s most favourite mutton curry. However, 15 minutes in the drawing room of the Mukherjee household he understood that Deboshree had company, a rather large one including her cousins, uncle an aunts who were rather excited with the prospect of Deboshree getting married off to an engineer.

He was scared, very very scared to meet the Loreto Convent educated girl shortlisted from the bunch of photos by Mr. and Mrs. Banerjee becuase she was pretty, had a degree from Shantiniketan, was apparently well read, cooked, sewed, had a good family lineage and to say the least- could be the ideal companion for their son.

Amit was not a part of this decision making process. He had left the choice on his parents. But he could not deny that there was something in that one photograph of Deboshree that he had seen, that made him agree to make a very short visit to Calcutta in the scorching April heat. The match was finalised soon enough. The families talked, Deboshree was asked to sing by his mother. The customary questions later Amit’s mother had asked her whether she would be able to adjust in Jamshedpur, since it would not have all the amenities of  a big city.

Deboshree’s ‘jethima’ (aunt) had replied – “Parbe, Parbe! sob parbe- Of Course! she can, girls can adjust to anything didi…..consider me, when I got married I was just 16 and I did not know how to cook dal even…from there on, I have been cooking every day for this entire family of 34 members. You don’t need to worry at all.”

Amit had tried to steal a glance at Deboshree, to understand what she would have told in answer to his mother’s question but the conversation had by then moved to the ideal marriage dates. A monsoon wedding and the customary “Oshtomongola” (visit to the bride’s house after 8 days) later, Amit and Deboshree were off to their honeymoon to Delhi and Agra.

Amit had long planned for this vacation and she had once called up Deboshree on her family’s telephone- the only time before their wedding, to ask for her permission. He could overhear the hushed tones of excitement in the background surrounding his call. Even on the day after Oshtomongola, when they were scheduled to catch their train for Delhi from Calcutta, he could feel the palpable excitement in the Mukherjee household for their daughter travelling on a honeymoon vacation.

“Oh! chordi, you are so lucky….he is a man of exquisite taste” Deboshree’s cousin Nita had commented.
“Aha! how do you know?” Deboshree replied with a flirting gesture.
“Arrey baba! he is taking you to Delhi and Agra…..imagine you are the first girl from our family to go on a honeymoon…..last year my friend Piyul had got married and she was so prouf that she was going on a trip after marriage…..and that too, she was going to Puri…where everybody goes…but you are going to see the Taj Mahal in Agra…please get us replicas Chordi”
“Okay baba! I will” Amit could well sense the hint of pride in Deboshree’s voice when she replied. Amit thought she was happy and that made him happy since he wanted to know about the person that Deboshree was.

“Acha! chordin.” Nita had further enquired, “I heard that Amit da would be traveling to America for a training for 3 months…are you also going with him”

“Let’s see, it’s not decided yet re…but high chances”

Though Amit was eavesdropping into the conversation, he could see Nita’s face turn a shade greener with jealousy. Of course! she was a year younger than Deboshree and was yet to complete her graduation. But she was dark and not as well mannered as Deboshree…rather coquettish to say the least, a fact which made her and her parents aware that she would not be as lucky as Deboshree in her quest for the perfect husband.

Amit and Deboshree had talked during the train journey. They had reached Delhi around the noon and she was excited to see the Red Fort from a passing distance on the very first day of their travel. amit had planned to visit Agra on the very next day and stay there for a night. So the very next morning they were off to Agra. Deboshree was initially not happy and wanted to visit the shopping arcade Karolbagh hat she had researched so much about. Amit had to pacify her that they were staying in Delhi for 2 more days while returning back. The conversation had led to breaking of ice between the two and Amit was happy about it. He wanted their visit to the Taj Mahal to be perfect, just the way he had planned.
                                                                               II
“I haven’t. You?” Deboshree replied ” In fact I have not visited any place other than Puri, Darjeeling and my college in Shantiketan”. She giggled with a flirtatious wink in her eyes. Amit tried to concentrate in her eyes. In stead it was the big red bindi on her forehead, the shankha pola, the never ending vermillion streak and her crisp cotton sari that drew her attraction. She was the perfect bangali bou. The way he saw Ma Durga. The moment they entered the Taj, Deboshree was overwhelmed by the gigantic architechtural wonder….her hand quickly sought refuge in Amit’s hands…and that very moment he felt happy.

“Yes, I have been here..with a few of my college friends”.
“You are so well travelled na Am…err”
“You can call me Amit, I won’t mind”
“But I am not supposed to na…after marriage you are not supposed to take you husband’s name…..your mother can mind”
“As you wish…but in my college many of my friends had girlfriends and they used to call them by their first names”
“Pagol! they had a a love marriage na!”
Amit laughed. He was scared to tell that his college was reputed to have one of the scariest gender ratios in India…and besides the one or two love stories that he knew never ever matured till the wedding platform. He just wanted to be friendly with Deboshree. Besides he would be travelling to America with her in a few days time…he had read that there even the wives addressed their husbands by their first names.

“You didn’t sya where else have you traveled” Deboshree interrupted his chain of thoughts”
“Me? well some parts of Bengal, Darjeeling, Delhi, Agra, Varanasi and Palamau in Bihar…you know Palamau?”
“Palamau’s jungle? where Aranyer Dinratri* was shot?”
“Yes! have you seen the movie?”
“Of Course! it released 2 years back na?”
“Yes! a few of my friends…we were all very influenced an wanted to make a trip to Palamau”
“So very exciting…..even I want to go there”
“We may…”

The conversation was interrupted by a photographer who wanted to convince the honeymoon couple to take a picture in front of the Taj Mahal. Deboshree was eager and Amit had to relent. He was keen…he has been advised to tell the three golden words to Deboshree in front of the Taj Mahal..the perfect romantic setting by his friend Shyamal. His trip to Taj Mahal was planned accordingly.

“Ei…come here…let’s go in….acha! can we see the original sones that were fitted inside or have they already been lotted away by the English before leaving the country.” Deboshree asked. She talked a lot. Amit was not used to the sounds of lady’s constant giggle and chatter. But here he was admiring a girl who had the child like char intact inside her crisp red cotton sari. And the bindi which made him fall in love with her again. Deboshree stole shy glances the very first time they had met in the drawing room of her Shyambazar home. She was too scared to look at Amit during their “Shubho drishti”, a ritual were the bride and groom were supposed to look in to each other eyes’s before being tied up within the knots of holy matrimony…but here she was free, thousands of kilometres away from the prying eyes of her cousins, her parents, her newly found strict mother in law….she was herself, the Deboshree Amit wanted to know. But Amit wanted to tell her that she looked extremely beautiful that day.

He could not. He was tongue tied.

The guide was explaining the history of Taj Mahal while they stood with the Yamuna river at their back. A few minutes later they were instructed to be back in the tourist bus after 20 minutes.

Image Courtesy:  http://rajivawijesinha.files.wordpress.com/2010/08/taj-mahal.jpg

Amit was busy wondering at what must have struck Shahjahan to build a mausoleum so huge, only to commemorate some body’s death. and the poetic injustice that surrounded the walls of the Taj….a symbol of love built over the agony of so many..their pain and humiliation. He was lost for aminute when his blood rushed up to his cheek turning it a few shades red. Deboshree had just done the unthinkable. In the few moments that he had been lost, Deboshree had managed to whisper “Aami tomake bhalobash” (I love you) in his ears.

                                                                               III

Today is the 41st wedding anniversary of Amit and Deboshree and she still maintains that the moment which defined a lifetime of their relationship was absolutely spontaneous. Amit had tried to extract the secret about how many times had she carefully planned to say the golden words in front of the world’s most romantic monument, but the answer had always remained the same.

*Aranyer Dinratri ( Days and Nights in the forest) is a Bengali film released in 1970 and directed by Satyajit Ray.

[This story is set in the mid 1970’s when the world was a far more romantic place to live in, far removed from the cacophony of cell phones and social media websites (well! a necessary evil)]

Categories
bengal love short story

A few springs in between….

                                                                                   I

“So, Mamoni! all set?”

Dr. Rajat Mukherjee was all smiles today. A glint of pain showed up now and then but he hid it well enough. He was proud, very proud of his only daughter Debolina. Getting one’s PhD application accepted in one of the world’s most revered universities is not an easy ask. Debolina had done it and how!
Debolina was happy. Relieved to the core. For years in to her graduate and post graduate studies in Jadavpur University, Debolina was always taunted by her relatives- for studying Literature. She was glared upon when her father’s friends from medical school asked- “So what are you studying now?” and she answered back in a wimpish tone- “Literature, Comparative Literature.” The presumption was always in favour of Medicine, Engineering or for that matter Sciences. But Literature came as rude shock to all.
And now she was going to Harvard. What an answer to all! A country where “Made in Vietnam” but “Marketed from USA” still sells like hot cakes, this was an achievement, nonethless. Dr. Mukherjee had arranged for a family get together before the day Debolina was scheduled to leave for foreign shores. Mrs. Mukherjee was busy attending to all. 
“Taposhi Di, take one more bhteki fry, please!”
“Laltu Da, one more, one more chom chom…this for Tukun”
Bits and pieces of conversation strewn across the roof followed Debolina, Tukun to her immediate family. She was ready to leave this place of her own, the only place she called home in her twenty two years of existence. She was excited about all that was awaiting her. But she felt remorse too. Boney mashi, the one who had trashed her future prospects as- “Useless!” a few years back came with a bouquet to congratulate her.
“Daroooon Khobor!! Congratulations! So very proud of you :)”
“Why are you so late Boney di?”
“Arey the traffic….so Tukun when is your flight tomorrow? Are you carrying woollens?”
“Take a few spices also….for immediate need”- Rani dida jutted in the conversation.
Tukun smiled. She smiled a lot, until she boarded her flight. May be that was the only way she could console Ma. Her mother who always took a backseat in every decision made in the household. Her mother who loved playing second fiddle to the awe inspiring personality of Dr. Mukherjee, her father. Her mother who did not cry a bit before she vanished beyond the point of security check and immigration cues in the airport.
Tukun looked up. The Air Hostess was here to ask for her meal preferences. She had a long flight ahead….and a longer journey.
                                                                                   II
“Are you looking for this?”
Debolina was startled! She was so engrossed in her search for her cell phone that she failed to notice that someone was standing right next. The Library still felt jolted to be waken up by the shrill sound of the cell phone ring. 
“Thank you so much! I just couldn’t place it.”
“Happens! Happens more in case you read Jhumpa Lahiri too much”
“Hey! you like her?”
“Well, being a Bengali, and that too a graduate student in an American University, if I claim that I don’t like her works of Bengal, Boston and Beyond…I will surely be lying.”
“You are a  Bengali?” Debolina exclaimed with joy!
“Yes Madam, 100% pure breed Bengali….I swear by my Robi Thakur.”
Kabir had already extended his hand for friendship and Debolina couldn’t refuse the easy going charm. Kabir, as she later learnt was a Bangladeshi. Debolina had first mistaken her for a Calcutta bong. To which Kabir had joked- “Snobbish Calcuttan, It seems you think all the bengalis you know hail from Calcutta and read in your convent schools. Huh!”
In stead Kabir Siddiqui hailed from Dhaka. A bright young Statistics scholar from Dhaka University, Kabir was also here on a full scholarship. Their area of research was way different, and the cities varied, but poetry and rhyme found them. And the language. Debolina had spotted almost thirty desis in and around her apartment and Department but none of them spoke her mother tongue. 
Language, what an amazing creation was it. Debolina sometimes wondered whether she would have taken that instant liking for Kabir, if not for Bengali language, a language they both communicated in. There were days when Kabir stayed back in her apartment for an extra cup of tea while they both hummed their favourite Rabindrasangeet. 
“Bujhley Debolina, This tea is a wonderful boon to us…the ‘still’ colonized souls from the British. This Starbucks fed nation doe snot know how much are they missing out because of coffee.”
Laughter and a Joy Goswami later, Kabir would stood up to go and finish his assignment due next week.
Debolina, would wave her goodbye.
Two months had passed on since the day Debolina had left Calcutta. Her mother now knew how to use Skype and communicate. She wrote her emails. There were emails from her dad too. He spoke to her at length on the weekends. Today was one such day. Her parents were pestering her to come back home during the winter break. Debolina was disapproving. She and Kabir had made plans to visit New York around that time. A plan her parents would never approve of. She tried to divert the topic of the conversation.
“Bapi, you always told that our ancestors were from Dhaka”
“Yes, from erstwhile East Bengal. Why?”
“No generally. Where in Dhaka Bapi?”
“Bikrampur. but that was long back….why are you suddenly interested Mamoni? I say you come back this winter. Don’t think about funds. You won the scholarship and am mighty proud of that. But I can fund your travel expenses.”
“It’s not that Bapi. I have lots of work pending here”
“Can’t you come for two weeks?” Mrs. Mukherjee jutted in between the video call on Skype.
“Aha! can’t you see she is telling that she has important work. you will never understand. But still Mamoni, try to come.”
“I will try Bapi”
“Ok! Maoni I have to go now. I have an appointment with you siddhesh Kaku today. He is coming for a routine check up.You remember him right? His son is now working with Microsoft in New York. You can meet him during the winter break. He was thinking of visiting Boston too.”
“I do Bapi and I have told you many times that I don’t want to meet his son. I don’t find him good.”
“Ha Ha Ha, take your time. Signing off! Mamoni”
The window on her laptop disappeared. Sometimes she felt that her loving father was indeed very cruel. Very, Very cruel. He did not even let ma talk properly. She could not even say a bye. 
“Madam, busy?”
“No Kabir Da, come…look what I got…a brand new collection of Suchitra Bhattacharya stories. It’s available on Amazon!”
“Aha! don’t call me Kabir Da…how many times should I tell you that it doesn’t sound good when a beautiful girl calls you as her brother. Btw, I am only 25 and quite eligible”
“You and your flirting.”
“Madam, what will you understand of flirting. In this land of foreign beauties, nobody apart from you understands Rabindranath and Kadambari Debi.”
“Aha!He was wrong. Kadambari was his sister in law.”
“Debolina, when did you start thinking in the box full of black and white? Isn’t there something called grey? Kadambari Debi was his inspiration.”
Days Passed. The frolic and tinkle grew. Kabir was a year senior to Debolina. He had introduced him to many other Bengalis in and around Boston. Some were here for work. Some studied in the University. ! few were part of the IT crowd. Whenever they assembled, Kabir was always in the centre stage. Debolina’s stolen glances caught Kabir busily distributing luchi aloordum to one and all during Saraswati pujo. The meet for Tagore’s Birthday celebration found him hogging all the limelight for singing multilingual renditions of “Ekla Cholo re”. He was the star. Debolina was his happy shadow.
“Your parents must be a big fan of Anjan Dutta right?”
“What?”
“Jah! You are from Calcutta and never heard of Anjan Dutta?” 
“Of course I have…but why?”
“Arey they named you Debolina after his favourite song, right?”
It was Ina di’s house one summer evening where they had all gathered to watch the fresh off the rack DVD screening of the very popular and award winning Bengali movie of the year. ‘Antaheen’ as it was called. Rajeev Khemka, Kabir’s batchmate had nervously followed him to this full of fishhead eating bong gathering. It so happened that Kabir had suddenly visited his apartment to find him doing nothing and being the strang head that he was, forced Rajeev into this. The Gujarati in him was very scared of being served non vegetarian food. It took a lot of coaxing from Ina di   to make him have the vegetarian pulao. A few minutes into the screening, Debolina was serving as Rajeev’s official translator.
“What does Antaheen mean?”
“Endless wait” Debolina answered, only to be momentarily clouded by her thoughts of the wait that she was put into. Kabir was a Muslim. He was a Bangladeshi. Her father being the high caste Bengali Hindu Brahmin would never approve of the match. 
Was there a match? 
Kabir was flirting with Ina Di’s sister who was visiting her from India in the other corner of the room. He was humming a famous bengali song to her. “I need you”. Yes! that’s what it was called.
So from Debolina to another songwriter’s dream, it didn’t take much of Kabir’s time. Debolina often wondered whether Kabir even had a hint how since the New York trip of theirs, the stupid whispering of “Aami tomake bhalobashi” (I love you in Bengali) in the Central Park, her entire world revolves around Kabir?
Kabir obviously broke into a peal of laughter when Debolina turned a tinge red while being whispered those three magical words in Bengali. 
“Pagli!! scared you! Don’t take it seriously. Actually the weather, the surroundings….can you not be in love right now?”
That was Kabir. Whimsical. He could make such fun of people. Debolina did not talk to him for the remaining two days of the trip. But she had to eventually give in.
“Madam, seems like you are day dreaming….what’s the matter?”
Debolina was startled by Kabir’s booming voice yet again. He was driving on the way back from Ina Di’s house. They had dropped Rajeev in his apartment. There was a joke going around in today’s gathering. 
“Odol bodol”. They were obviously referring to Kabir paying more attention to Ina Di’s cousin and Debolina sticking around with Rajeev for the entire evening.
“Seems like some one is turning green with envy.”
“Why should I be?” Debolina reeacted
“Who told it’s you? But, you may say whatever you like but Rajeev will take a million years to understand the pains behind Bhindeshi Taara (the distant star) in translation.” Kabir winked.
“So who will understand Kabir Da?”
“Arrey, I was just saying that it has been beautifully sung by Anindya. The reworked version by Shantanu Moitra in the movie is quite good too.”
“Don’t divert the topic Kabir Da. You always do. Tell me who can be my distant star? ? My bhindeshi taara?” tears welled up Debolina’s eyes while she spoke.
“Crazy woman” Kabir laughed. “Have you been possessed or something at this hour of the night? Ki bolchish? Go back home and sleep.”
“You know how much courage did it take for me to ask you the question. You know it right Kabir Da? Who will under stand my language? that distant star”
“I do”.
                                                                           III
That winter Kabir went back home. He returned with his wife Sakina. Kabir never spoke much about his family in Dhaka but whatever Debolina could make out from bits and pieces was that he belonged to a very wealthy political family. Sakina, who took an instant liking for Debolina, had later told her that she was the only daugfhter of one of the richest industrialists of Dhaka. Kabir and she were family friends. Theirs was a ‘love marriage’. They had met at a party thrown that December in honour of Kabir. Their parents approved of the match and it didn’t take much time for them to get hooked.
Debolina returned to India to teach languages at JNU. She later married a colleague of hers there. she lives in Delhi with her two kids.
(P.S.- All characters mentioned in the story are purely fictional. Any resemblance with anybody, dead or living, is purely coincidental)
  
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love Marriage

The Wedding Story!

It’s quite exciting you know when three months after the wedding, people are still gung ho about eagerly waiting to know your story 🙂 the story. Well! I never officially published it on the blog. Never expected that there is an audience for the story too….then I never expected people to actually read the blog and write me warm emails about how my blog constantly remind them about Kolkata. And they being eager whether I will reply back or not 🙂
Woah! I am surely not a snob…neither a celebrity who gets fan mails by the dozens…but truly speaking your mail or word of appreciation truly makes my day 🙂 Like every other Bengali woman worth her salt, I too wish to publish my book someday, soon enough :P…..just wasn’t sure if somebody will buy a copy or not….Kind of relieved now. A few will see the light of the day I think 😀 Thank you is surely not enough :))

And for those who wanted to read my story…our story rather (Mine and Deep’s) you can surely do that on our wedding website, the one we had prepared to share the moments of the big day with our friends and family before the wedding-

http://www.biswawedspaush.com/

Please do sign the guestbook. We treasure your good wishes dearly. It’s kind of late and awkward but may be that’s the way it was meant to be. I began content writing for it vehemently, but the wedding preparations took its own sweet toll. But then again…..have I ever plunged into anything which looks certain? No, and I don’t want to also. Being certain is boring. Welcome to the tanginess of life. A hint of Phuchka laced with tamarind water.

Did it make you lust? Yes! that’s life for me 🙂

Categories
love Marriage

Married!

Married!

Quite a crazily proud proclamation as it may be- but yes! am married….to the man I knew was the one quite tailor made for me. The realization had struck me the very first time we exchanged emails….and rituals, customs, lal benarasi sari, topor mathay bor, a rather warm December day and the big fat bong wedding over……almost a year later since the day we keyed in a few words through a very formal mail on our parents’ insistance- I, sorry, ‘we’ stick to that.

People often ask me whether it is an arranged marriage, how did we meet and stuff. I suppose people going through our wedding website must have an idea by now(the one I laboriously did content writing for and my utterly geeky tech friendly hubby dearest supervised :p). We met through a very traditional arranged matchmaking set up where our parents talked first….saw whether our educational, professional and family backgrounds were compatible. But somewhere I started believe in the lore- ‘every marriage is based on love’- without that it just cannot survive.

Yesterday or the day before that while setting up our new place in the city of my dreams- Calcutta- I asked him a question- “did we actually have an arranged marriage”. “We had a marriage….a lovely one…Let’s not call it names”.

I think that profoundly describes it. He is surely the best best thing to have happened to me in a really long, long time…..and I hope it stays like that for years to come. I am not saying that because of the unlimited shopping bonanza he treated me to while in Bangkok. But for the way he held my hand and reassured me while that scarily dangerous snake show in Phuket. To the time we held and hands and took small baby steps in the pristine green waters in Phi Phi….Cheers….here’s to many more to come.

Love you Deep. Stay the way you are. I love those fights we have over who is a better cook. And you know I love cooking for you. Thanks for gulping down the gibberish. Thanks for the wonderful family that I added to my own kitty. A mom in law who cooked me a proper six course Bengali meal on my birthday right after the wedding.

The day I turned twenty three, I was holidaying in Agra…visiting probably the most romantic monument on earth- the Taj Mahal with my family…..I had one day thought of finding someone whose love was a as pure as the “subhro sommujol” Taj Mahal…..never knew by the time the days took a turn and I grew a year younger, my life will be so different…for the better. Never knew I will meet you.

Thank you is not enough. **Touchwood** (Am very scared of the evil eye) 🙂