Sunday, January 17, 2016

 Munin Barkotoki
(from Essentially Speaking: Biographical Snapshots, a collection of selected biographical essays by Munin Barkotoki, translated to English. Edited by Meenaxi Barkotoki and Stuti Goswami, Gauhati University Press, 2015)
Nilamani Phukan (1880-1978), popularly known as ‘Bagmibor’, meaning an eloquent speaker, was a poet, freedom fighter and politician. His publications include Jyotikona (1938), Chintamani (1942), Gutimali (1950), Jinjiri (1951), and Mahapurushia Dharma, Omitra (1952). He played a pivotal role in establishing George’s Institution in Dibrugarh and was its founder Headmaster. Later on it was renamed Bagmibor Nilmani Phukan Higher Secondary School. He was one of the editors of Alochani and, later on, the chief editor of the first Assamese daily, Dainik Batori. According to Deepali Barua in Urban History of India: A Case Study (1994), though Sadananda Dowerah was the first editor of the Asamiya Phukan handled editorial duties to a great extent. He was the President of the Asom Sahitya Sabha at its Sibsagar and Dibrugarh sessions in 1944 and 1947 respectively. This essay taken from Bismrita Byatikram is translated from the Assamese original ‘Amar Methuselah Koka Phukan’ by Stuti Goswami.

One of the greatest playwrights of the world George Bernard Shaw—a man who lived a long life, who was vegetarian and worldly and yet an ascetic, a vibrant personality, one kind of a sage of our times has, whether on the strength of his philosophical, imaginative, mysterious life-force or the so-called élan vital2 or else some astonishing medicine, sought to show today’s short life-spanned people—the path to a long life like that of the Biblical Methuselah, and give them the requisite ‘know-how’. ‘Back to Methuselah.’ It is said that in the Bible, Noah’s grandfather Methuselah had had an astonishing life-span of a nine hundred and sixty-nine years.

Evergreen and a symbol of eternal youth Shri Nilamani Phukan—regarded as the universal grandfather of all our children, youth, even those who age prematurely due to the tarnishes of the Kali Yug3—has entered his ninety-fifth year. Of course, there is a great divide between ninety-five and nine hundred and sixty-nine. And yet, probably because my attention is focused on the ‘nine’ in both cases, I am reminded of the fabled Methuselah that Shaw, himself as evergreen and youthful as Phukan, was reminded of. It is only in fairytales that one is fortunate to live up to a thousand years. And yet one need not be a thousand years old too—in this world besieged and half-deadened by horrors of all kinds, it is a curse to wish even ones worst enemies to remain alive a thousand years. May our dear Koka Phukan live up to a hundred years, may he live even beyond that, may a day like this day come once again. It is my sincere wish that Nilamani Phukan, our Koka Phukan, becomes our Methuselah.
            Bernard Shaw had said—‘You should live so that when you die God is in your debt.’  With an illustrious, profound and dynamic life traversing more than ‘four score years and ten’4 of the Bible,  I wonder if there is anyone else among us who has been able to realize this Shavian philosophy as well as Koka Phukan has. He has repaid, with interest, the debt of each moment of this long life that the Almighty has bestowed upon him. I have seen him and known him since the time I was a youth; from close and far and it is my belief that Nilamani Phukan epitomizes a rare harmony of work and thought, pursuit of beauty and indefatigable passion for work.
            Almost four decades ago, when the eminent educationist, founder of George Institution,5 resident of Dibrugarh and the Phukan of Upper Assam, Nilamani assumed responsibility of the chief editor-journalist of the first Assamese daily newspaper Dainik Batori, thereby appearing on the public sphere in Jorhat in a different role, the figure from that period had an altogether different image from the man as we know today. At that time, I didn’t know truth from falsity, but had heard and therefore nurtured the thought that the member of the Legislative Council (Phukan was probably an M.L.C.)6, educationist Nilamani Phukan was an Assamese gentleman  devoted to the Western ways of life, a follower of the middle path, an epitome of etiquette and sobriety.  I had read about his speeches, heard about his matchless oratorical prowess, and learnt that he was a magnanimous personality, free-spirited, and a worthy inheritor to the legacy of the great Maniram Dewan..
             At that time, it was natural for our young impressionable minds to draw comparisons between this Phukan from Upper Assam and the other eminent Phukan from Lower Assam. Though my subconscious mind derived satisfaction that we too had a Phukan in Upper Assam who could stand up to Tarunram Phukan, the Phukan from Lower Assam; yet the conscious mind refused to place Nilamani Phukan on the same pedestal as the other Phukan, in spite of the fact that Nilamani Phukan was as independent minded, as splendid-looking, as good an orator, and as devoted to his motherland. Particularly in the light of the widely circulated notion, whether right or wrong, that Nilamani Phukan was on intimate terms with our then colonial masters, there was a sense of hesitation in us while drawing such comparisons. Also, whatever we heard about the difference between the oratorical skills of the two Phukans was a little inclined against Nilamani Phukan.
            However, when I finally had the opportunity of meeting Nilamani Phukan as the editor of Batori at Thengalbari, later on the famous Raibahadur bungalow of Jorhat7, many of my prior notions were forced to undergo change. There were, I discovered, so many differences between the man of my presumptions and the man as he was in reality; and this unraveled a new facet of his personality before my eyes.
            When an erstwhile educationist surfaced as a foremost journalist of Assam, we were both surprised and amazed at this new aspect of Nilamani Phukan’s personality. Of course, much before this, he had been the editor of the famous newspaper Alochani. But was he a journalist in the real sense? When viewed from today’s perspective, he too would probably agree, with a smile, that he wasn’t a journalist per se, but had to become one. He hadn’t assumed responsibility of the Dainik Batori to become a journalist; nor did he possibly nurture aspirations of being the Motilal Ghosh or C.Y. Chintamani of Assam. Rather, he had jumped into this field because he had found in journalism an effective medium for disseminating the ideas of Assamese nationalism and the ideals of Assamese philosophy that he felt strongly about. At that time, another Phookan worked as Phukan’s associate—Lakshminath Phookan—who was a journalist right from the inception of Dainik Batori. The very fact that he remained faithful to journalism till the end and Koka Nilamani, despite taking up editorial responsibilities with a missionary zeal, became disillusioned soon after, in my opinion, aptly exemplifies my contention. However, like the streak of lightning that illuminates the world, Nilamani Phukan opened a new vista in Assamese journalism in the early twentieth century and that immortalizes him in this field. Of course, journalism is just one marginal facet of his personality.
               The daily Batori died an early death and with it, curtains were drawn on Koka Phukan’s journey as a ‘pure’ journalist8—this, of course happened a long time ago. However, a part of Phukan the journalist continued to live: though he bade adieu to news journalism, Koka Phukan tried his hand at literary journalism—something he had engaged in prior to his days at Batori. And so a monthly newspaper Na-Joon (literally ‘The New Moon’) emerged from Jorhat. One cannot assuredly say whether Na-Joon contributed anything seminal towards Assamese literature during its brief existence, but I shall always remember it with immense gratitude because through this monthly, for the first time, we the younger generations came to know the real Nilamani Phukan, the man as we remember him till date; and also because he inspired, encouraged and filled with hope, the emerging generations in their ‘adventure’ of foraying into a new sphere in contemporary Assamese literature.  Nilamani Phukan, the eternal youth and the man with a vision to the future, welcomed us newcomers, struggling to find our ways in the dark, with open arms and by giving us an opportunity to express our thoughts and beliefs, lent confidence and recognition to an entire generation of new writers.
            The memory is still fresh of how we, rank newcomers would approach Koka Phukan, with his voice akin to the sound of two mikes booming across the open space in front of the dharamshala-like Phukan Bhawan at Jorhat, with fear in our hearts and our writings in hand; and how he would make us patiently listen to the aphorism-like poems, prose poems he’d compose and read aloud seated in his courtyard; and how in turn he too with infinite patience would go through our writings, and rectify and improve them. The remembrance of Koka’s fiery words in those discussions in his verandah, along with the inevitable rounds of tea, fills me with delight even today. Even today it surprises me how, detached from the outside world, seated in that open space in front of his large house behind Chowk Bazar in Jorhat, Nilamani Phukan would frame ideas of profound Romantic poems to political booklets, and how he could manage his poetic exercises along with pamphleteering activities. If Carlyle was the seer of Chelsea, I think Phukan was the seer of Jorhat.
            It is true not only in our country but in the whole world that there is barely any  divide between journalism and politics. And therefore it was not surprising when the man who had thrust his head into politics, and had become an editor in between, increasingly turned towards politics and oratory. What was surprising, however, was that  at around the same time, Bagmibor Phukan also appeared as a bright star in the Assamese literary firmament. The radiance of Jyotikona revealed before us a new Phukan, a man who belonged to an entirely different world, far removed from the man of politics and public life. Gradually, this Phukan became the President of Asom Sahitya Sabha and the lone Assamese Fellow at the Sahitya Akademi—and thereby leaving a political past behind him, he established himself as the national laureate of Assam.  
            Do we discern any sign of, what psychologists nowadays commonly term, ‘schizophrenia’ in Koka Phukan’s personality and in his mental evolution? From the very beginning of his ‘conscious’9 life till the present day, the kind of simultaneous evolution and brilliance he has displayed in active politics as well as in the fine arts is a unique and thrilling exception in Phukan and also in the front-ranking figures of our society. There are many eminent persons engaged in politics, poetry, or in ‘creating literature’ in our country, and in our state too. But it is hard to find another instance where two such divergent streams of life have simultaneously flown with such power and vitality. We have instances where a talented poet-writer, despite immense potentiality, has struggled to stay afloat in the whirlpool of politics, dousing his poetic talent or literary expertise in certain drawing-room soirees; or else a writer who, in the process of crossing the boundaries of literature and seeking the ‘loaves and fishes’10 of power politics, has ended up losing his hold over both domains. Phukan is probably our only active politician whose political activities haven’t rung the death knell of his literary exercises; an artist-poet-thinker who despite entering the literary field in the sunset of his life has established himself on the highest seat in the hallowed precincts of literature at the national level—bringing honour of the highest kind to Assamese literature.
            Just as Phukan’s ‘translation’ or evolution from the comparatively secondary level of politics to the highest echelons of literature is amazing, equally intriguing is his easy movement from one position to another in the limited world of politics. In the earlier phase of his political life, Nilamani Phukan was a spokesperson and a guiding beacon of the movement for establishing Assamese distinctiveness and Assamese self-assertion. The kind of politics he advocated and the kind of political whirlwind he had stirred across the length and breadth of Assam with his ‘Sangrakhyini’11 at one point of time, leading the likes of late Ambikagiri, Gyan Borah, Madhav Bezbaroa and others in the endeavour of establishing ‘Assameseness’ against the diluted so-called national politics of the Indian National Congress, would seem outdated today, in this age of ideological clashes devoid of intellectual-stimulation. But the eternal youth Nilamani Phukan did not hesitate to march in step with time and forge new alliances. This virtue of flexibility enabled the erstwhile Congress-hating Phukan to voluntarily come forward to the party, and with his extraordinary oratorical prowess and earnestness, he took a front seat in the country’s national movement, accepting sorrow  and offering valuable contribution towards politics.

1.  Koka means grandfather in Assamese. Here, the term ‘Koka’ has been retained because ‘grandfather’ or ‘grandpa’ does not seem to convey what ‘Koka’ does in the context of Nilamani Phukan. In fact Nilamani Phukan is popularly known as Koka Phukan in Assam, so much so that the form of address has virtually become synonymous with the man himself.
2. Élan vital is a term coined by the French philosopher Henri Bergson in his book Creative Evolution (1907)  to imply the creative force (in Bergsonian philosophy) in organisms that is responsible for its growth, evolution and adaptation.
3. Kali Yug or Kalyug is the last of the four yug or eras that succeed one another in a cyclic manner in Hindu belief. Kali Yug is said to be the era when vice asserts itself. The age is named after Kali, a demon and enemy of Kalki, the tenth incarnation of God Vishnu.
4. 'Four score years and ten’ refers to Psalm 90: 10 of the Bible
5.  On 2 February 1912, the foundation stone of this institution was laid. It was named in honour of King George V who had paid a royal visit to India in December 1911.
6. Member of Legislative Council
7. Thengalbari is Thengal Bhawan, the residence of tea planter and philanthropist Siva Prasad Barooah in Jorhat. It was built in 1880. In 1937, he was awarded with the title of Raibahadur by the British government and thereafter his bungalow began to be known as Raibahadur bungalow.
8. By ‘pure’ journalism, Barkotoki possibly refers to news journalism.
9.  By conscious life, Barkotoki probably means the time from which Phukan had moved out of infancy.
10. ‘loaves and fishes’ is an allusion to ‘Feeding the multitude’, a combined term that refers  to the two miracles of Jesus mentioned in the Gospels; the first being ‘The Feeding of the 5,000’ with five loaves of bread and two fishes while the second is ‘The Feeding of the 4,000’ with seven loaves of bread and fish. As an idiom, ‘loaves and fishes’ means material wealth.
11. In 1926, Nilamani Phukan, along with Ambikagiri Raichowdhury, Gyannath Bora among others formed the Asomiya Sangrakhyini Sabha or Society for the Preservation of the Assamese. This organization in its memorandum submitted to Nehru in 1937, the Sabha argued that since  Assamese nationality was facing grave threat and danger, separation from the Indian Union was the only alternative if the rest of India did not look into the concerns of the people of Assam.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

A Tale of Two Hippies

(from The Heart is a Secure Address by Pankaj Thakur, translator: Stuti Goswami)

            The dictionary says...A hippy is a rebel against middle class values, especial during the 1960s…adopted an unconventional way of life, particularly in clothes and behaviour. Jim Morrison has this to say regarding hippies—
“I like ideas about breaking away or overthrowing of established order. I am interested in anything about revolt, disorder,chaos, especially activity that seems to have no meaning. It seems to me to be the road towards freedom-external freedom is a way to bring about internal freedom.”

            A Saturday in Mumbai . The name of the cinema hall eludes me now. After an evening with Barbara Streisand and Omar Sheriff in the  touching motion picture, ‘Funny Girl’, I was tracing my steps homewards, from Flora Fountain to the South Valley Guest House at Colaba where I was put up. Being a late night show, it must have been about twelve-thirty at night. The pavement bookstalls, the kolhapuri chappal , and other such stalls on the left, just at the entrance of the road from Flora Fountain to Colaba had long closed shop. Of course, a few steps ahead, at the Leopold Café the usual bustle of a number of foreign customers was still to be seen.  In the distance, on the other side of the road, the popular restaurant Delhi Durbar, famous for its tandoori-fish, too had luxury cars covering its precincts at that hour . Of course, the roads were fairly empty, nor was there much hustle on the pavements. The crowd, overall, was thinning out.  I was hastening towards my destination. Our guest house was about half an hour on foot, from Flora Fountain.
            In all probability, it was December. Taking advantage of the silence of the night,  a gentle gust of breeze slipped in from the sea through the tall buildings and reached the main road…and reaching there, seemed to whisper  something to the few odd pedestrians, like me. I checked if my shirt was firmly buttoned, to the uppermost. Just then I noticed a group of hippies on the footpath.  A couple of them were loitering casually. There were  four young men, and two girls in that group. At that time, most of India ‘s cities witnessed a surge of inflow of hippies . Mumbai especially had a large population of hippies. The  expanse of Mumbai city,it’s proximity to the sea, its varied culture and the impersonal nature of the Mumbaikars were said to be the factors that drew them to the city.
            I had great curiosity towards the lifestyle and philosophy of hippies. Apparently, they seemed to be advocates of  an aimless, disoriented and unplanned life, without the least sense of responsibility. However, I always believed that beneath this surface, there were significant societal questions associated with the hippy movement; at the same time as I believed it was important to analyse these questions. Because, it wasn’t merely to savour a different kind of lifestyle that thousands of people had suddenly given up their comfortable lives to embrace such a harsh and uncertain life what was it that lacked in the established social order, that had led so many multitudes plunge towards change… The question is—what was it that had created such ripples in the depths of their hearts to respond to such beckonings? What anguish led them to rebel against and violate the norms and rules of society?  They must have felt strangulated by the excesses of the Western lifestyle, their souls must have experienced a profound yearning, a fierce urge for alleviation of their emotions—in opposition to all those repressive prevailing societal practices and norms—those hippies sought a liberated society and a liberated life of love-warmth-and peace.  Therefore it is said, the influential class of society had  been scared and had tried to trample under its feet the rising hippie movement of the 1960s.  though the hippie movement had a  strong ideal, the movement couldn’t achieve permanence; because they couldn’t prepare a definite power centre that was required for them to successfully  hoist their flag of an alternate route of life. Their faith on life, their ideals were individualistic.they ever refrained from imposing their faiths on one another. Consequently, though each hippie was driven by an inner pillar of belief, they never had a united platform for themselves to establish themselves as a formidable force in society.
            Cuddling those thoughts inside my mind, I kept walking when suddenly I was conscious of somebody following me, and muttering something. I turned around and saw one of the two hippy girls I’d seen awhile ago, standing quite close to me. I became aware that she was saying something I couldn’t understand. The girl was robust, slightly taller than me, with  a shock of unruly muga-coloured hair.  She was wearing a brown skirt  and a loose black top. At the first instant, I took her to be a projection of the thoughts I was cuddling. But my illusion broke in a moment.  I saw that the girl was beside me, trying to keep pace with  my steps. I thought it would be better to lag behind;but at that instant the girl spoke up—“Please give me fifty rupees.”
            I wasn’t at all prepared for such a situation. As a student in an expensive city like  Mumbai, I had to manage things quite hard every month, given the limited money I received from home, every month. Except for helping someone in an emergency, the thought of donating money  never entered my thoughts. In fact, at that time, spending money on good movies was the only luxury I afforded myself. Therefore, thinking that if I kept pace with the girl, I’d have difficulty escaping, I quickened my steps. But, the girl didn’t give up. She too increased her speed and kept beside me. Then, surprising me all of a sudden, she clutched my shirt sleeve, and muttered, “Please give me fifty rupees. Give me fifty rupees. Only fifty.” There was a deep languor in her voice; but somewhere in her unconscious mind, there seemed to be the consistent pressure of a tumultuous belief—fifty rupees, fifty rupees. As if, getting that fifty rupees would erase all problems from her life, it was with such confidence that she was speaking.
            I felt extremely uncomfortable. I couldn’t decide what to do; how I could possibly free myself from the clutches of that hippy at midnight in a deserted Colaba street. The unconscious seemed kept hammering inside, “give her whatever you have in your pocket and run.” Because the picture of a lack of money brimmed clearly before my eyes,   escaping without paying the money seemed a better option that giving the money—at least that’s what my conscience kept harping.
             As I was thus tugged between opposing thoughts, the girl languidly placed her hand on my shoulder, and spoke gently, as if I was a dear one, “Only fifty rupees.” Without thinking twice, I took out my wallet from my pocket and handed her the only note I had (it was a hundred rupees note), and relieved, had taken just a few steps when she almost ran to me, and blocking my way, said, “I need only fifty rupees. This is hundred. please give me only fifty rupees.”
Now what! Even after giving the money, the problem didn’t ease. it was midnight then, and there was no way I could get a change at that hour in that near-deserted Colaba street. There was not a single shop opened. “That’s okay. I don’t have change”—the words voluntarily came out of my mouth.. the girl thrust the note into a bag tied to her waist, and said, “I can’t pay you back. But…”, she paused, and seemed to be in thought for a moment. Then,she grabbed my hand with both hands and , slowly, pulled it and pressed it over her breasts. This was beyond my imagination. I realized that young girl was trying to express her gratitude by giving up her last and most precious possession . but, I found it difficult to understand what suffering had degraded that girl to that state; and if such circumstances were a fall-out of that path to liberation of humanity, or, if a girl had to play with her chastity, the last of her possessions, for the sake  of mental/intellectual freedom, was such a  journey worthwhile? Does .such a life logical? such thoughts speedily entered my mind.  Mechanically, I drew my hand away. But, the girl didn’t stop at that; she once again  tried to pull my hand towards her, saying “Yeah, you can do that…”. For a few moments, my mind seemed to stop working. This time, without wasting a split second, I forcefully my hand away from her hold, and started running. When I finally reached the guest house, I found the old Parsee caretaker chacha at the doorway (we all used to address him so). He sensed I had some trouble, and on instinct, to protect me, ushered me in, in a paternal tone, “Go, go inside. Go to sleep, it’s quite late.”
            The incident had taken place,not far from  the guest house. The girl must have seen me hurry in. she followed me and arrived at the doorway. Of course, I got to know this a little later when chacha came to my room. He spoke in a Marathi-Hindi mixed accent,” Why did you go to such badnaami (i.e. infamous or base) girl? You seemed quite a good boy. you never seemed like Gupta at all (a gentleman called Ravi Gupta, another inmate of the guest house was known for his intimacies with several call girls)…chased her away.” After some time, he spoke in a softer tone, “It’s okay, hundred rupees was alright. She had showed me the note also.”
            Chacha’s words sent me into a stupor, and I could do nothing but gape at him open-mouthed. I could never explain to him, that the girl had actually come there to express her gratitude, and I wasn’t ready nor willing to accept the form in which she wanted to offer her gratitude, and it was to escape such a situation that I had run away…
            That girl’s behaviour didn’t arouse  hatred or abhorrence in my mind. Rather, what perturbed me was the thought that from some faraway unknown land, that girl had come here to experience a free life, and in what circumstances was she living here. I wanted to know what would she do once that one hundred was over. Did she leave her own home prepared to embrace such a life as this? Or, had she simply departed, unprepared—and when she arrived here, she had to face all these?  I sought to ask that girl. Did any conviction sprout in her, any conviction that motivated her  to easily embrace such hardships, and move ahead towards that desired point, that final goal? My reasonings couldn’t contend with such queries that flooded my mind, and slipping out of such enclosures my thoughts unknowingly entered the imaginary world. Where I saw innumerable unfamiliar figures like that girl advancing in search of an illusory truth, along a shadowy-unclear roads; but then, at the end of this journey, at its ultimate point no one had the keys to those riddles—such heavy realizations overcast my thoughts, and increasingly created a tumult inside me. At that moment, it seemed as if I would run nd find out that girl,and make her return….
            Even today, whenever I see a person who vaguely resembles that other girl, that hippy girl’s   suffering face brims in my mind’s eye.

            I had stopped at Calcutta on my way back from Chennai to Guwahati. At that time,my college friend Anup(Ajit Bhuyan) too was posted in Calcutta, as a senior officer in the Central Inland Water Transport. I had called hi up to inform of my arrival at the certain date and time, at the same time requesting him to book a room for me at Assam Bhawan, Calcutta. Anup promised that everything would be arranged. Once Anup took up a responsibility, one didn’t need to worry even a little. Therefore, no sooner had I landed at the airport and set out to look for a taxi, than I saw him standing at the exit door. It felt nice. At the same time, I was a trifle surprised too. For, I hadn’t asked him to come over to receive me.after some time, the matter became clearer: Anup was taking me to his residence at Park Circus, Anup hadn’t even booked a room at Assam Bhawan for  that purpose.
            Te next day was a Sunday. I was quite free. After my morning cuppa, I was lying on my bed, flipping through a magazine. At intervals, the sound of passing trams outside the window brought back to mind memories of traveling in trams during school-college days whenever  we came to Calcutta.
            At about nine, Anup informed that  he had to go to his office  at the Hooghly dockyard for some urgent work. He added that I could come along as well, if I pleased. After breakfast, we got onto Anup’s jeep. It was decided that while returning, we would have lunch at a Chinese restaurant at New Alipore.
            Clear Sunday morning. The jeep ploughed through the crowded streets. Anup was busy driving with care, while I sat beside him, free from all care and anxiety, enjoying the sights along the road. The roads and streets of Kolkata are always busy, choc-a-bloc with people. An assemblage of numerous multitudes. Varied people.busy people.  Everyone seemed rushing after something or the other. No one seemed to have time to spare,time to stand and stare at the sights and other people around. Shredding through such a timeless and everlasting crowd, our jeep carefully advanced,in the opposite direction to the flow of crowds. I sat there, enjoying the sights, unhurried, sans any anxiety. After sometime, leaving the main road behind, our jeep slowly entered a soft, a narrow earthy road in the Hooghly dock area. Even there, on both sides of that road, there was such an impassable crowd.  The crowds seemed to comprise workers of that area—diverse multitudes once the distance,I noticed a goods-carrying ship standing in the water.a musty smell-- mixture of the salty sea and sand-mud emanated from the area, and clambering across the wind, entered our nostrils.just then,the narrow road bent and laid before us a long wooden bridge-like narrow path.on either side of that bridge-like wooden path there were firm walls of thick bamboo. A little ahead, we noticed a group of labourers, covered with mud,trying to heave out a heavy something from the waters . the efforts of the labourers was noticeable even from this distance. There was something else that also drew my attention tothat particular group of labourers. At the same time, I alse became curios. Normally, Indian labourers’ skin  are tanned, but amidst that dark-skinned mud-covered group, there was oe who was extremely fair-skinned. . he didn’t at all look like an India.his features, his countenance,everything was so un-Indian.the only similarity was that, that fair skinned labourer too was pulling and tugging with all his might, as sincerely as the others, at that heavy object. My inquisitive mind quickly made a calculation--that fair-skinned labourer must have been a hippy who  had come from some country in the West.  Suffering poverty, and helpless, this man must have taken to working as a daily wage labourer in the dockyard here in Calcutta. This equation seemed quite sensible tome,and convinced, and proud and eager of my discovery, I  blurted out, “Anup, that white-skinned labourer, he is definitely a hippy. Poor fellow, out of hunger and poverty, he’s now…” But before I could complete my sentence, Anup spoke urgently, “Don’t say that! If anyone hears this,we’ll be in trouble.can’t you see? There are so many people around? We’ll talk about this later.” I hadn’t anticipated such a reaction.Why should Anup react in such a way to so little a thing?and that too, in such stern tone?it was just a guess on my part. People can make so many such assumptions. What was there to react that way! i fell silent, enmeshed in such thoughts.though I didn’t show it, I did feel a trifle upset. Whatever, I looked forward to Anup’s explanation—that, as he’d said, couldn’t be discussed with so many people milling all around.
            The jeep meanwhile came to a halt. Promising to return as soon as possible, Anup got down from the jeep and walked towards his office. I remained inside the jeep,observing the people and happenings around.
            After some time, Anup hurried towards the jeep. I thanked him for the cup of coffee he’d sent for me, from his office.the jeep cautiously passed through the narrow roads and finally entered main road. In the meantime, the musty smell that had ensheathed us till the too remained behind. The damp sea breeze too gradually withdrew. Both of us, sat silent. Anup’s reaction to my assumption of that hippy had,knowingly or unknowingly left behind some trace of hurt in my mind... Anup too must have concentrated more on the driving,since the roads were now even fuller….
            After some time, we arrived that Chinese restaurant at New Alipore.once we’d settled ourselves comfortably, and I had gulped down a glass of water, I brought out that hippy-issue. Anup smiled a little, and then began--“I knew you were upset by  my reaction then. But, I just wanted to warn you, given the milling crowds on both sides. That  fair-skinned youth that you’d thought to be a hippy is nothing like that. He’s actually the son of the Managing Director of the Mitsubishi Shipping Company,japan. You must be aware that the management system in Japan is of a high standard, and there, they value traditions a great deal. Though he’s the son of the MD, he won’t be able to sit directly on his father’s seat or at least beside his father, as is the case with so many of our Indian an ordinary employee, like every other humble employee,he too has to begin from the very  step. And then,he will move upwards, inch-by-inch,learning the nitty-gritties at every step.of course, compared to other workers or employees, he will get lesser time and the training period too will probably  be shorter. But he cannot afford to bypass any of those saw that ship anchored at the dock, didn’t you? That’s a Ship from the Mitsubishi Company itself.  The goods unloading work has begun since yesterday.that young man’s training has begun from here itself. He arrived here a couple of months ago. And now,he’s working alongside the other labourers in unloading the goods. Here he will learn such tasks and after four months, he’ll return home. It is this hands-on training that will teach him and make him realize how much time it takes in loading and unloading a ship,how is the loading process executed, the psychology of the people involved in such tasks,the nature of problems that labourers face and how can solutions be found out and so on..This way, the young man would receive a practical,  meticulous understanding of the nitty-gritties at their level. This is also the main objective of this kind of training.”

Anup’s words filled me with shame, for my habit of making presumptions and arriving at a quick decision based on those assumptions. In the environs we’d been through in our lives’ journey, we had never had even  an inkling of such profound thought. Probably this is one of the factors behind our ignorance and backwardness. Such planned, practical and rigid training  ways  has definitely and undoubtedly raised Japan’s position in the world.

Saturday, July 7, 2012


            Arun Basumatary, a python and management skills.
                                                                              Pankaj Thakur                                                                                                       
                                                      Translated by   Stuti Goswami
(an extract from the book 'the heart is a secure address'-a series of autobiographical episodes written by Pankaj Thakur)

I was an area officer for the North East zone of an automobile company, Ashok Leyland Ltd. Another organization, Walford Transport(Eastern India) Ltd. was the North East dealer for Ashok Leyland. Walford had its branch offices at many places in the North East. One of them was at Dimapur. Most of the offices and workshops of Walford had spacious compounds; such that the  chassis  of the trucks brought for sale could be properly kept.
                          It is a priority for all manufacturing companies to keep a sharp eye on its dealers. In case of automobile companies, the watch has to be even sharper; for otherwise, there is every risk of financial mismanagement in addition to unnecessary bureaucratic hassles. This might implicate not only the concerned dealer but the company as a whole. Ashok Leyland was very particular about its dealers’ operations; especially we Area Officers, as the heads of a particular zone, had to be extra vigilant.
                          For quite some time, there had been many complaint from the Dimapur office of Ashok Leyland. For almost two years, customers had complained that whenever they bought vehicles from that outlet, they often didn’t get many accessories they ought to have. In fact, there were several cases of alternator, battery, even gear box disappearing from the trucks when they were lined in the yard for sale.because of this, many trucks remained unsold. Though it was Walford’s responsibility to find out the reasons behind such discrepancies, since the complaints had reached the company’s the Head Office at Madras, Ashok Leyland decided to investigate matters itself. Consequently I was sent to Dimapur to enquire into the matter.
                          And thus, on a day in 1980, I arrived at Dimapur. At that time, a man called Arun Basumatary was the Manager of Walford’s Dimapur office. Unfortunately Mr. Basumatary is no more in this world. Anyway, late Mr. Basumatary was a man with a distinctive personality. Though not very tall, he was of stocky build, with a robust face, and a smile ever twinkling in his eyes. A man of few words, his distinctive ideas  were however evident in his measured utterances.  
                          I was received at the airport by Mr. Basumatary. From there, I was taken directly to the  hotel(I can’t recollect which hotel it was though at that time there were just a few good hotels in Dimapur). Once I had checked in at the hotel, Mr. Basumatary left, with the words, “Please rest awhile, I’ll come back to take you”. After this, he literally vanished. Dusk fell. But there was no sign of Mr. Basumatary. Soon, it began to seem as if Basumatary was trying to avoid me. The suspicion arose in my mind that probably Mr. Basumatary was himself involved with these discrepancies; and therefore, keeping me at bay would be to his credit. I felt foolish at having trusted him so much while I had come for such an important investigation. I  felt distressed: I had reached Dimapur at eleven in the morning and here  I was, having wasted the whole day merely sitting at the hotel, doing nothing.  I felt like a puppet in the hands of the man against whose office I had come to investigate complaints. Whatever, I decided, I’d go to Basumatary’s office directly first thing in the morning without waiting for anyone. Having decided that, I decided to take a stroll out in the vicinity.
                          Just then, there was a knock at my door. I opened—Basumatary was standing there, with that familiar smile plastered all over his face. I had hoped he would be sorry for such delay. But, to my utter dismay, I could discern no trace of apology on his expression. Though I didn’t let it show on my face, I was offended. Signaling him to come in, I offered him a seat, without uttering a word. He sat down. After a few moments of silence, he said, “Let’s go out for a while”.
                          Though I had got ready to out for a walk myself, I replied that I didn’t feel like.
                          Smiling, he asked, “Then why have you put your shoes on?”         
                          Though that unsettled me a little, I tried to smile. I didn’t say anything, but couldn’t help admiring Basumatary’s observation.
                          Basumatary spoke again, “I suppose you’re angry at me for being so late. There are not many facilities of telephone and all that here, therefore the arrangements took some time.”
                          What arrangements were he speaking of?  I had not asked for anything! I asked, “What arrangements are you speaking of, Mr. Basumatary? I really don’t understand.”
                          “It’s okay sir, let’s go. You’ll get to know of it yourself. After all, you are a young man with fine tastes, you’ll like it for sure.” In almost an authoritative voice, he requested me to come along.
                          I noted that the man of few words had said quite a few things. He had said I would understand everything when I saw, he was assured of my tastes, he had also seemed to caution me that I was a young man and at the same time he sounded so confident that I would I would love it! As far as my age was concerned, he wasn’t wrong. At the same time, even I thought I had decent tastes. Till that extent it was all right. But, what about his confidence, that I would definitely like the ‘arrangements’? I couldn’t understand. Most importantly, I was absolutely unaware of what it was all about? It was such an uncomfortable, inexplicable situation. Basumatary’s words had seemed more of a command; and so I had neither opportunity nor the atmosphere conducive to express my thoughts openly. I began to feel as if Mr. Basumatary knew some magic to bring people under his spell.  Without uttering a word, I stepped out of the hotel. Silently we sat in the jeep.
                          The jeep moved on. Both of us were silent, lost in our own thoughts. Basumatary was a man of few words anyway, added to that, probably my countenance had made my thoughts clearly perceptible, for I was sure Mr. Basumatary understood that the heat of my anger had lingered on.
                          Most probably it was the month of February. There was still a tint of cold in the air. That feeling might have been caused by the fact that in a jeep, one feels the wind a little more. It was pitch dark outside. Not a soul was in sight. In the distance we could see a flickering light or two, glimmering, waving out to us. After travelling some distance in this manner, our car turned, veering into a small path towards left, away from the highway. An uneven hilly road. I guessed we had long left the boundaries of the town of Dimapur. Suddenly, Basumatary spoke up, “The road isn’t very good. Please hold on tight.”
                          I didn’t feel the necessity of answering him. To be honest, I didn’t want to reveal my caution. I remained  seated in silence. Arun Basumatary was carefully steering the wheel, busy negotiating the uneven path. Enjoying the fragmentary sights made available by the flashing headlights, I increasingly entered a different world. I had a little acquaintance with the hills. But this particular area was unknown to me. We were trundling through the dense forest, with an assortment of unknown trees and climbers on either side.  Though seated in the same vehicle, I realized that both of us were wafting in two different worlds.  Prior to this, I had no idea of how enticing such brief flashes of sight in the dark could be. All of my anger had long evaporated and escaped through some tiny vent in the world of my thoughts. Instead, my mind was now filled by enamouring images of  the verdant hills, images etched by the play of light and shadow.
                          The barking of dogs wafting in from the distance, and at places sounds of the keko snake fell on my ears. At some other places, fireflies in bunches were dancing an ancient rhythm, as if, secretly conspiring to wean us away from our paths into some other world. Immersed in such thoughts, I did not realize how much time had elapsed. Suddenly, Basumatary spoke up—
                          “Kindly look upwards, to your left. Do you see something?”
                          I glanced in that direction. Indeed, a little ahead, at an elevation, I could see flashes of firelight at several places, close to one another. I replied, “Yes I do. Seems like a village.”
                          “That is exactly where we are going -- a big Naga village of this area. It will take us some time to reach there though”, Basumatary said.
                          After overcoming several hilly curves, we finally halted before a particular house.
                          We got down from the jeep. Several elderly Naga gentlemen advanced in our direction, with  heartwarming smiles. I noticed a vast courtyard, and a house on one side. On another side, in the light of the fire, I noticed a big barn meant for storing grains harvested in jhum farming. The fire had been lit on the other side of that wide courtyard. We were offered broad wooden murhas to sit, near the fire.
                          I noticed, men young and old had trickled in ones and twos out of the darkness, such that, soon enough quite a crowd had assembled in the yard. Just then, a large group of ladies too entered, raising a tumult in the air with their tinkling laughter. From within the house, four young girls came out, with bowls in hand. They courteously placed the wide bowls on the slightly raised table-like wooden stools kept before us. That was modhu-- a local drink—served to us. A radiant smile was glimmering on each of their bright faces, the irradiance sprinkling on their entire bodies. The elderly gentlemen were talking amongst themselves, Basumatary conversing with them in their own tongue. At times, he conveyed to me a few important information. That house was the village headman’s. The girls were from neighbouring families. They had been brought in to serve the guests. Many of the villagers had already arrived; some were yet to come. The modhu that had been offered to us was their traditional beverage, made of the local sweet rice(mitha saul), through a special technique. If the guest refused the drink, it was taken as an affront to the hosts.
                          Following Basumatary’s hint, I took up a bowl. Cautiously I took a sip. It felt really nice. It had a slight taste, and was slightly warm; which lent it a different savour. At a definite interval, I sipped in the drink from the bowl.
                          Meanwhile, the question that thronged my mind was—why had all these people assembled here, that too in such large numbers? Was there some festival? I asked Basumatary. He smiled, “There’s  no festival as such. When I had said that I would bring you here in the evening, they invited a few other people from the village as well. And so, they have lit this huge fire. And made arrangements for this special drink. After some time, the young men and women of this village will perform a dance in your honour. Meanwhile, dinner is also being prepared. Two pigs have been slaughtered already and are being cooked. But the dancers will continue in turns, till they are wearied out. If you wish, even you can participate in the dance. Of course, there’s no compulsion, for you are tonight’s guest of honour.” After this explanation, it wasn’t hard to understand why Basumatary had said things like, “(you’re) a young man, have tastes, and would enjoy”. Further, I understood what arrangements Basumatary was speaking of, and which had taken a long time to arrange.
                          Meanwhile, the girls had poured some more modhu into our  bowls. The fire was burning bright. The warmth of the fire and the drink together aroused a rimjhim sensation that spread across my body, and I was smitten by the evening. Further, the fragments of animated voices emanating from the young men and women’s lips fell onto my ears, filling me with a strange ecstasy. Some time passed by in this way. Suddenly, an elderly gentleman raised his hand before the fire and mumbled something,as if offering prayers to their God, and pointing towards inside the house, seemed to signal something. At once, a group of girls rhythmically came out of the house, into the courtyard, performing the preliminary steps of a dance. They were followed by a large group of young men. The girls formed a line, and first slowly, then with increasing pace, matched steps to the beat. The boys were uttering something that sounded like haiyahaa haiyahaa, while taking jumps at the same spot. Though they were uttering the two words as softly as they could, in varying tones, those words didn’t enter my ears. The elegant swaying of the girls amidst the play of light and shadow created a mystical aura that ensnared me; such that harsh sounds like haiyahaa seemed out of place. At least, that’s how I had thought then. The dance continued. The bowls were emptied and filled in turns. As time went by, practically everyone present , sans the elderly gentlemen, participated in the dance. Once I noticed, Basumatary too was in their midst, immersed in the dance. I was enjoying the sight. Just then, Basumatary and a young lady, matching steps with the others, approached me, and with the utmost respect invited me to join the dance. I too, spontaneously joined them, holding them with either hand, and entered into the heart of this marvelous  world. At times, that picture of robust and striking faces of the young Naga girls glistening in the firelight, wafted before my eyes; on my ears fell the unwanted cries of haiyahaa; in my nostrils tickled the sweat-scented odour emitting out of the bodies of young men and women dancing incessantly for a long time.
                          Time flew before we even realized. No one had the intention of glancing at the watch.  At one time, at Basumatary’s beckon, I traced my steps towards the jeep. I do not know what scenes glimmered before Basumatary’s eyes as we drove back; but in mine wafted the beauty of the smooth movement of the dancing Naga lasses.
                          Next morning, Basumatary arrived at the hotel at about nine. We came out together to the office. I thanked Basumatary for the incredible arrangements of the previous night. Basumatary didn’t say anything, but summed up the matter with a simple smile.
                          We reached the Walford office. Beginning the investigation, I sought the necessary papers and documents. Basumatary showed that the allegations of many parts disappearing from the sessis of the trucks lined in the yard were true. It was further proved that the thefts were conducted in the dead of the night by thieves crossing the brick wall despite the presence of the chowkidaar. Such thefts went on,almost regularly for two years. However for the last eight-ten months , such acts had abruptly stopped. I requested Mr. Basumatary to  explain how this was suddenly made possible, what steps had the Walford management taken to ensure such sudden change. Mr. Basumatary hesitated. At that the thought struck me that probably he had himself  planned and enabled such thefts to occur; and now with the increasing infamy he had himself had such acts stopped. Of course I couldn’t say that openly and so, preparing to take down the record his statement officially, I indirectly pressurized him to reveal the truth. (In between it even occurred to me that Mr. Basumatary had stayed away from me the whole of the previous day to keep me away from the investigation; and that in the evening, he had arranged for that trip to the Naga village to either divert my attention, or weaken me.).
                          After insisting him for a while, he finally agreed, “Okay, I’ll tell you, but before that, let’s have a look inside.” Saying this he  got up from his seat and led me in. Between the backyard of the house where Basumatary lived and the yard where the trucks were lined up there was a small wall, though the two campuses were almost adjacent. There was a door in that wall, through which one could move between the two sides. My suspicions thickened. By then, Mr. Basumatary had walked through the house and slipped through that tin door and reached the yard. Behind us, a chowkidaar followed carrying two cane chairs.  He placed the chairs in that yard. Soon tea was brought in. Though the cuppa was needed, I began to suspect Mr. Basumatary of unnecessarily trying to delay me. I seemed to smell a mystery. Probably an impatience had rooted inside my mind. Therefore, finishing my cup of tea hastily, I said, “Mr.Basumatary, please tell me what you want to say.” Once again the man seemed to hesitate as he stood up, “Please come .”
                          Mr. Basumatary went and stood before a two-layered five feet long wooden door right next to the wall, at a distance of about thirty  feet from the tin door.  He ordered the chowkidaar to unlock the door. I felt as if I was that traveler awaiting the opening of the magical door to the cave containing precious stones and pearls in that Arabic tale I’d read in childhood. The door opened. I couldn’t contain my surprise. At a little distance from this door, there was an iron cage—fifteen feet long, six feet wide and five feet in height. Inside the cage,a huge python, almost ten-twelve feet long, was lying peacefully.
                          What relation had my investigation with this python? Unable to comprehend anything, I asked, “Mr. Basumatary, please tell me the real thing.”
                          “This python has lived with me for a long time now. Actually, I had earlier kept him  out there, at that end of the courtyard. Then, I used to take him out of his cage and allowed him to roam that part of the yard for two-three hours every morning.” Saying this, Basumatary pointed to one end of the courtyard,
“After which I would put him back in the cage, give him his food, and go out to work.”

                          “But when there were frequent thefts in the yard, I suspected that the two night chowkidaars slept the whole night, taking advantage of which, the thefts could be easily conducted, and the culprits could escape without any problem. I devised a plan so that the chowkidaars would not fall asleep during their night duty. Accordingly I began taking the python out at around eight in the evening, and went off to sleep. Next morning, I would put him inside the cage. The dose really worked wonders. Ever since, the chowkidaars haven’t dared to sleep a wink, and the thefts have stopped. After the news spread in the neighbourhood, people have almost stopped coming to our place.” I was astounded at the management skills of this thoughtful man of few words. That brought the investigation to an end. There was just one thing I couldn’t decide—whether or not to mention the python in my investigation report.
                          Even today, when the topic of Nagaland springs up in some conversation I’m reminded of Arun Basumatary,of his management skills, and I’m reminded of those long mesmerizing moments from that enthralling dance performance in the play of light and shadows, nestled amidst the dense verdant hills of Nagaland.

Friday, July 29, 2011

I,Too Climbed a Hill

                                                                                  Kula Saikia
 Translator: Stuti Goswami

            The light of flaming torches in the far distance, a festive night, could be any festival—where music flows unhindered, where self restraint is let loose, where one rehearses to forget oneself, in just such enthralling  environs, along with music, probably a dotara or a Spanish guitar or a flute—in other words with consistent rhythmic background music, an ambience  created by an unknown web of mellifluous notes—amidst such pristine beauy, they climbed up the hill, a few utterances in between— a story read long ago, it’s title, comes to mind. The forgotten details dying away in talks of the hill they were climbing, the pebbles and the hilly stream, the desires of the grass and the innocent trees, in the jili’s voice, in the sounds of pebbles crushed under the weight of treading feet, together with fragments of Japanese poems and memories.
            The frame hasn’t changed, just the dimensions have broadened, and we can see, a moon-less starry firmament, the hill’s whistle on the background, the jharjhar of the stream, the sound of winds, as if, this moment, a gust of wind howled over our thoughts and desires—and then slowly, in a close-up shot, a lone star shining through two straight lines, and a voice is heard—“My star, my light, my being”
            Bas, this way, and after this, some other things will follow, but this is  the main thing, I mean such a  vow  or a promise, or something, like you’ve given me the hill, I give you the star.”
            Saying this, he lowered the glasses from his eyes, they should have fallen on the ground with a thud, but they didn’t. His eyes were a little moist, probably with emotion, possibly with the richness of his thoughts. I asked: “ The name?”, and indeed, he turned pensive, may be he hadn’t thought of any; this film’s title could have been the title of any story, and yet, he had to sift the idea in his mind, what could be after all, a special, interest arousing name?
            As he sat on the chair, he spread his legs apart, he felt a niggling sensation as the blood  circulated. He shut his eyes, and tried to peer into a list of new names, an appropriate title which would best reflect a film’s events, emotions, climax—and he jumped up, and said, “They too climbed a hill.”
            After many days, today, I met him; with emptied tea cups on the surrounding tables. The tung taang of glasses and bare plates are to be heard. The crowd is increasing, bringing variety to the adda’s colours. I ask, those two characters, climbing a hill, a friend’s hill, the tiny flickers of light from the familiar town in the distance illuminating their memories, who have given away a solitary star in the sky—from the hollow of an  innocent tree—in short, such a story, or a few montages of a film, or some such kind of a painting on a canvas.
            The crunching sound of the cheap nimki that had come to the plate broke my wave of thoughts. Disheartened, I flung towards him a questioning look, hoping to tell him how one day I had gone searching for him, without an address in hand, just a name on a piece of paper beneath which was written, c/o The City, where in numerous lanes and bye lanes I had searched for such an address—a broken culvert at Lakhimi Nagar, a blurred sign board, probably a coconut tree as the road bend a little ahead, or else Chandra Das’s tea stall, my be  if not a coconut tree then one or two expensive ornamental palm trees, or else Naresh plumber or Mahendra garage in puddles of stone and mud—somewhere in all these might stand such an address—it may not of course. Remember that haze, that feeling of incredulity at the beginning of the story—it may not be Nonkrem festival after all, it could be something else, probably a dotara’s notes, or else, a Spanish guitar’s.
            I wanted to tell him--whether I found him or not, in between these possibilities there might lurk a third, for instance, Aristotle’s arguments do not hold ground in Quantum Physics; or that an electron particle may be here or there; or else the condition of Schrödinger’s cat—dead or living at the same time—in other words, and in all probability, an in-between stage, a middle stage.
            “And this search of mine, looking for him in those two creatures ascending the hill, is that really possible? Often, the right and left halves of the brain are deemed for different purposes, for instance, as I pick the cup with my right hand and bring it to my lips, and then draw in a sip of tea, all the while cooling the air inside my mouth, probably at that very moment, numerous analyses are taking place at different parts of my brain, lakhs of cells are engaged in some other work, at some other instruction—the  neurotransmitters between the  two halves of my brain are not functioning as bridge—that is, right now probably I am a different person, a divided personality, I am not even aware how I am thinking of a hill, the slippery grassy tracts, the whistle of the wind, a few promises, faith—how all these have transformed into tiny microscopic pixels in my mind— to me, these feelings, this emotion-laden man is a stranger—I know not his address, or probably, for me he is an entirely revolutionary state.”
            I waited hoping to hear all these from him, but without a word he continued munching onto the fritters.
            “Another round of tea?”
            “Sure-but before that, a cigarette— “
            A stick emerged out of the box witha  bullock cart printed on the cover, a cheap brand of cigarette was lit. at each puff, the burnt end glowered in that dim room. And now, a table—it’s cups and plate and spoon—all vanished in the puffs of cigarette smoke. The tattered remains of the food we had, the smoke increasingly felt like dense mist and one of the two mountaineers said—“Indeed, the darkness grows denser. Can’t see anything. A little later, a thick blanket of fog would descend. Do you hear the sound of the pebbles beneath your feet.”
            A rustling sound came from beneath the table, out of a pair of weathered shoes.
            Different people areseen  thronging inside the tiny cubicles, their chatter, laughter-jokes come floating towards us—some of these words have incomplete meaning, some words are sheer nonsense.
            These meaningless words, with their rhythm, their wavelength, and their echoes—have some kind of inherent meaning. Probably sometimes we  do notice a kind of harmony, for instance, a man afflicted by Tinnitus too hears various humming, buzzing sounds, in which he may discern some kind of rhythm, some melody—what we may say, coherence within the incoherence of chaos. This powerful and consistent flow of myriad thoughts, which you and I are unaware, and yet, which if we pay a little heed can be aware of –sometimes those thoughts are frozen in our minds, like frames of a cinema shot, or in the smaller canvas of a painting, or else, if it enters the limited pages of a short story—in other words, if we colour our words within the proper contours of those laws which we deem to comprise a cinema or a story, wouldn’t those be a piece of art—cinema, story, painting? They say, Beethoven was afflicted with Tinnitus and probably that smooth surge and ebb of notes in his 9th symphony had emerged out of the meaning of certain unintelligible and unknown notes—in other words you may say that this is something like that Gestalt philosophy where one added to one is greater than one, i.e. some of these meaningless words of yours have brought in a meaning, which become our source of mirth, the pleasures of reading, the joys of listening.
            Probably I could have said all this, but I remained silent, for I didn’t feel like breaking this stream of silence that was flowing into me incessantly in the midst of such cacophony. My thoughts flowed uninterruptedly, and I contemplated—just like Gödel’s famous theory—in any system of rules we can always see how to go outside those rules—we too can break the boundaries of  those rules that govern cinema-painting-story--, for there is no completeness ever, everything is liberated from the limitations of fulfillment, and such a story too now draws to an end, but this is not closure, a film has ended, but some things have remained unsaid—leaving behind the pleasures of unfulfilment.
            He went away—through the mist of cigarette smoke
            I tried to recall his address, that address which I do not have, but which I now tried to imagine and I felt elated, for “imagination is more important than knowledge. Knowledge is limited. Imagination encircles the world.” And I unraveled the endless web of my imaginations—and now, I am ascending an unknown hill, with a dear friend—I read on: “…those thoughts and desires haven’t ended; but that courage is sapped, that right too is no more. Are you feeling cold?”… 
            Even I ascended the hill.

·         *dotara--two stringed instrument, used in folk music
·         *Jili --an insect, a cicada
·         *nimki is a crispy snack..
·         *adda--informal club, where people discuss life,philosophy,films,books,love...women(differs with the people involved in that discussion)