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|by Atasi Sen|
May be it all came about when I started imitating my Dadu, my maternal grandpa who was a renowned lyric. As a child I grew up in his shadows. When one day I grumbled before him that I too wanted to write but did not know what to write about, he suggested me to try my hand in diary writing. I was nine years old then. By assuming myself to be a writer everyday since then I sustained to scribe something or the other in the date printed diary pages. With years this became a not only a habit but also a kind of dependency. As I kept growing I started experiencing so much, which I simply couldn't hold only to myself. I sensed the unavoidability to throw up before someone. But I did not have adequate reliance upon any of my acquaintances where I could confide entirely. Ever since those days, diary became my most bosom-mate. Time rolled by. Growth progressed. Circumstances altered. So many people visited and left. Life exposed and presented so much to me. Fate changed, ~ sometimes for the good, sometimes for the bad. There came in renovation in preference with transition of phases. As moment galloped by, the collection of my life's account too swelled. During the years, there were hectic demanding phases as well as those when there were breaks. But what ever came and went I never failed to put in black and white. Following next is one such account, just a torn page to share with you all.
DIARY: 12th May 2002
The full moon is shining brightly in the still blue sky. The color of all the things around is not yet shadowed by the shades of the vigil. The olive tree standing next to the boundary of my villa is still green; the bed of roses in my garden is still red. The slice of view I get of my neighbor's house, through my barred door is also appearing not to have lost the fair earth complexion, but then there is a change in hue of everything around. The dark elliptical-shaped olive leaves have turned darker still. The roses have turned a few shades redder. The rock-cut wall of my neighbor's house has lost that daytime charm. It is white, but without the dazzle. The streetlamps are not yet lit. I know, when the oranges in the trees will lose their glow and will become only orange, will the streetlamps come to life.
With the sunset, there are no crows heard cawing on their way back home. There are no eagles flying high up in the air, giving out shrill cries, announcing the departing hour of the day. How I miss the busy chirping of the sparrows finishing their last bit of chitter-chatter, before they retire for the day. Here the end of the day becomes evident with the increase in the frequency of the passing cars, and the changing of hues of all things around, till everything becomes black before the shawl of star-studded clear sky.
No melody reaches the ear as was heard in my Kolkata's home. The evening is invited there with the blowing of the conches, which is soon flavored by the aroma of the burning frankincense. In a little while follows the sweet voice of the budding singer from our next door, practicing with her harmonium. From time to time when the pieces of the title songs of the TV serial reaches our ears from the neighbor's high-pitched television set, that is also music. In this part of the world human voice is heard from the outside five times a day routinely, when the Muslim priests call their followers to gather in the mosques for praying. That's it. Unless I switch on some sort of music, nothing is to be heard from around. Why only music, even human voices are rarely audible.
The darkness is descending slowly. The surrounding air is becoming cooler and so I am really relishing the steaming cup of kahwa (Arabic coffee) sitting in the lawn, listening to Ustaad Vilaayat Khan's sitar recital. Khan-sa'ab is playing Yaman. He is my all time favorite sitarist. Since my childhood I heard his performances recorded in cassettes. But when I heard him perform live in the Dover Lane Music Conference for the first time years ago, say when I was fourteen, or fifteen may be, I was so inspired that within the next one week's time my parents were forced to buy me a sitar. The craze has lived on.
It is the spring season here in Jordan now. The days are warm and the evenings are pleasant, followed by a cool night. Here things are as peaceful as the nights. There is no violence, no commotion. Only harmony, solace and tranquility dwell here. This is what every human soul seeks for. I too tried to find the same and I am blessed with one. I always wanted to live an isolated life, away from the daily hustle and bustle, in a world of my choice, where there will be no tension, no struggle, no competition.
Here things are so perfect, it bores me at times. That is when my mind flies back to my hectic city of Kolkata. I start to feel nostalgic. There arises a longing to go back to that city which is so much attached to my past. Even though my parents lived away from Kolkata for more than a decade, I was residing with my grandparents in the heart of that very city. How I still yearn to go back to that old house with its huge rooms with dampen, discolored walls and dimly lit eerie corners. This house was a palace years back. The air inside the house smelled so different, so musty. I still remember when in the summer afternoons my Grandma used to lie down for her afternoon siesta with me beside her, telling me tales of Lord Krishna. Then I started going to school. By then the Lord so much occupied my heart that, during the break hours when all the children used to play around, I used to search for lonely corners in the field. I relaxed upon the earth and in those lonely moments I could see the little boy with the peacock feather stuck on his head, posing before me amidst the swaying grasses. He breathed so exotic tunes in to his flute for me. When I came home and told my mother about it, she considered it to be hallucination, as I believe too today. This spiritual faith barred the evolution of a sense of realism in me for quite sometime. Where is the Lord now? Time and tide has washed away all such innocence from my life. No such illusion visits me any more. I still do reflect on it at times, is it that He never came, or may be he materializes only before the naive souls. So with years as I profited maturity did I lose my inner purity?
How I pine for all those days lost forever in the tides of time. I do not know anymore what my today holds for tomorrow. I don't even want to know. I feel so lost, just like a rootless tree I am struggling to survive but with only failure. When I first reached this alien soil I tried to grow all those native vegetables in this fertile land. But not a single seed germinated. If insensible seeds could not grow how can a being with sensation bloom in this foreign environment? My heart aches for my motherland and I yearn to go there again, where I left my roots to once again breathe in the air of warmth.
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