Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Calcutta - the City of Joy?

As the day went on, and Calcutta sat through another bandh (after very long, though), I fell back into my thoughts. I have been brought up in Calcutta. I have always considered Calcutta to be my hometown. I love this city and would have happily spent all my life here. Until recently!

Calcutta for me is a city with boundless love for all those who come to her. It has heritage, it’s rustic, has an earthy feeling. It’s laid back, far away from the world’s rat race and yet you don’t feel like you’ve been left behind! Sometimes when you walk down it’s streets in the afternoons of summer, you’ll feel like you’ve landed in one of those R.K.Narayan stories centered on villages. The dusty streets, the scorching sun, only a handful of people around… One thing I’ve always felt is — No one gets lost in this city! They just can’t! Because someone’s always ready to help!

Yet somehow over the past few months, I’ve been feeling detached from the city. People are getting frustrated, mindless quarrels are waiting to happen at every corner, the youth is going away, the industries don’t even think of coming here. Calcutta’s been in the news for all the wrong reasons, of late! And our new CM seems to be making matters worse. Today, she declared another rape case as an attempt to malign the Government. Excuse me? Malign the Government? How exactly? More importantly, why exactly?
All those crib deaths happening in Bengal for the past year have been labeled as the Opposition’s conspiracy! The lady’s comments defy all logic! Basically, the Left didn’t do anything in their 34-year rule and now they are the ones who are doing everything wrong!

Every morning the papers bring news of another murder, theft, sexual assault or suicide!
It’s depressing to see that a city I once found to be so safe is now turning into a dangerous den of criminals!

I can only wish that Job Charnock’s City of Joy regains it’s allure and charisma before it’s too late...

Sunday, 19 February 2012

One day at a time!

“All the world's a stage,
And all the men and women merely players.”

Golden words by William Shakespeare which still hold true. But unfortunately there are very few among us who actually live by these lines anymore! We’ve forgotten that we’re here to simply play our parts and leave when the time comes.

We are busy trying to create a niche for ourselves or planning for the days ahead or hoarding wealth, yes hoarding, or simply feeding our egos by the apparent material success achieved!

How many of us have dreamt about a bigger house, a bigger car, a brighter future? All of us I’m sure.
And how many of us are living entirely in the present without speculating or worrying and making elaborate plans for the future?

I’m not saying people should stop dreaming. That would be a rather unfortunate end to man’s passions and soul.
I’m saying people should start living. Living in the present, rather than waiting to live in the future.

Enjoy each day as it comes. Live life one day at a time. Today, we’re all in a rat race, trying to outdo each other and ourselves too. We don’t have time for our own self, leave alone time for others! There’s this huge rush to reach the finish line before it’s the right time.

We all have to leave this life behind at some day, no one knows when. Don’t you think you’d rather want to live to the fullest instead of regretting in the end and wishing you’d lived and enjoyed every moment of your life and learnt something new each day?

Do something new each day. Learn something new each day. Smile and face the troubles. God won’t make you face any troubles you can’t overcome.
Let go of the crease on your forehead. Let go of all the worries.
Sit with your loved ones. Share a joke or two. Smile at the people at work.
You’ll feel good.

Life itself will look better. Of course, your troubles will still remain, but your strength will increase. And what’s more, you’ll feel happier!

It’s now or never.
If you can’t learn to live ‘now’, you might just ‘never’ learn to live!

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

The precious smiles!

My day started like it usually does on all working days. The same rush to leave, inevitably getting late, getting a bus in the nick of time! But it surely wasn't meant to be the same after that.
Travelling in the mornings by bus means lots of school children too. Some travelling with parents, others in groups without any adult. I saw two young boys today in the same bus as mine. As their stop neared, they held each others’ hands and guided themselves through to the swerving bus's door. One of them started rummaging through his pocket for the exact fare when the conductor smiled at them, and said in Bengali, patting their heads, "You don't have to pay the fare. Leave it. Go to school and study properly, both of you."

Smiling at the incident, I forgot about it as quickly as it had happened.

In the evening after leaving from work, I was waiting for a friend. With nothing to do and not wanting to immerse myself in my cell as always, I started looking around. A young couple was having puchkas nearby. A small child, a beggar’s son, maybe around 5 years old, came begging towards the couple. Immediately, without hesitating or thinking twice, the guy handed over the puchka he was about to eat, to the child. The small child walked away with a smile on his face and such excitement in his eyes, it touched my heart!

It was then that I remembered the incident in the morning. 

It is these little things that we notice on and off which can make even a bad day worth remembering! And am I glad that I noticed not one but two such incidents in a day!

It feels nice to see a little humanity, a little humility and a little care when all you keep reading about in the papers are gruesome stories of crime, ego and passion!

Wednesday, 1 February 2012

Colours in the skies!

Recently while going through the Google News section, I saw a write-up on a solar storm approaching the Earth. What caught my eye was the part about Aurora. I remembered faintly reading about it in some school text-book but nothing beyond that.

Wikipedia says, "An aurora  is a natural light display in the sky particularly in the high latitude (Arctic and Antarctic) regions, caused by the collision of energetic charged particles with atoms in the high altitude atmosphere (thermosphere). The charged particles originate in the magnetosphere and solar wind and, on Earth, are directed by the Earth's magnetic field into the atmosphere."

I say, "Forget the science behind it, just look at the pictures below!"

Instantly I Google-d Aurora and the images which were shown rendered me speechless!

Here are some of my favourite shots :

Whoever's taken these, I salute them! Not only did they survive the bitter cold and witness the beauty but captured them and shared it with us!

Single rainbow, I've seen. But imagine yourself on a plain landscape and two rainbows adorning the azure blue sky!

And sometimes when the skies are adorned with beautiful shades of violet during twilight, it takes your breath away!