লক্ষ্মীমন্তঃ

লক্ষ্মীমন্তঃ—

খয়েরি চুলের টুকটুকে ফর্সা পদ্মপ্রিয়া। বয়স সতেরো পেরিয়ে আটেরোতে পড়েছে। ছোটখাটো চেহারা। সারা বাড়িময় উড়ে বেড়ায় প্রজাপতির মত। যদিও সে একেবারেই লক্ষ্মীছাড়া, কোনো ঘরের কাজ ঠিকমত পারেনা, পারে শুধু খেতে, ঘুমতে, তীব্রবেগে বাহন ছোটাতে, ই-বুক পড়তে আর একটুকরো কাগজ পেলেই তাতে আঁকতে। ওর আঁকার হাত খুব ভাল। তবু দুরন্তপনার জন্য ঠাকুরমা কোনোদিন ওকে আলপনা আঁকতে দেয় না। পদ্মপ্রিয়া মনে মনে হাসে। কাল কোজাগরী লক্ষ্মীপুজো। ও বেশ কয়েকটা লক্ষ্মীর পট এঁকেছে। সেগুলো যথাসময়ে পৌঁছেও গেছে ওর বন্ধুদের বাড়ি। ও সকাল সকাল উঠে পুজোর জোগাড় করলে বসল একটা লাল কুর্তি পরে আর ঠাকুমা গজগজ করতে লাগলেন, “আঠেরো বছর হয়ে গেল, এখনো শাড়ি পড়তে শিখল না। উনি চুল রঙ করে, গলায় ফাঁস দেওয়ার মতো হার পরে, একপায়ে নুপুর পরে সাজের বাহার করছেন। এই মেয়ে কোনোদিন লক্ষ্মীমন্ত হবে না।”

পদ্মপ্রিয়া ভাবল ঠাকুমা বকবক করতে থাকুক, মা যখন নাড়ুগুলো বানিয়েই ফেলেছে, আমি যাই একবাক্স আলাদা করে রেখে দেই। যেমন ভাবা তেমনি কাজ; ও উঠে গেল প্রসাদ সাজানোর ছুতোয়। তারপর কিছুক্ষন আর ও ঠাকুমার কাছে আসেনি।        

লক্ষ্মীঠাকুর আনতে যাওয়ার কথা উঠতেই ঠাকুমা বেঁকে বসল, “থাক বাছা, তুমি যা লক্ষ্মীছাড়া মেয়ে, তুমি আর লক্ষ্মীঠাকুর আনার কাজটা নাই বা করলে। ওসব আমার নাতিরা ঠিক সামলে নেবে। পদ্মপ্রিয়ার দুই দাদা তখন ঠাকুমার দিকে তাকিয়ে হাসছে। পদ্মপ্রিয়ার মনে হল এই হাসি অর্থপূর্ণ, যদিও মুখে কিছু বলল না।
পুজোর সময় পদ্মপ্রিয়া সেজেগুজে এসে দেখে তার আঁকা একটা পট বসানো হয়েছে, যেখানে লক্ষ্মীঠাকুর বসানোর কথা ছিল, ঠিক সেখানে। তবে কি এবার পটে আঁকা লক্ষ্মী পুজো হবে? এরকম তো আগে কখনো হয়নি !

“এস ম্যাডাম, তোমার জন্য সারপ্রাইজ আছে।” বলে ওঠে ছোড়দা।

“সারপ্রাইজ? কি জন্য? দাদা তোরা ঠাকুর আনতে যাসনি? এখানে তো পট…” পদ্মপ্রিয়ার দু’চোখে তখন বিস্ময়।

তুই চলে গেলি সাজুগুজু করতে আর ঠাকুমা কাঁসার বাসন নামাতে গিয়ে আবিষ্কার করল তোর পটে আঁকা লক্ষ্মী। দেখে ঠাকুমার এতো ভাল লাগল যে ঠিক হল এবার ওই পটের মা’লক্ষ্মীকেই পুজো করব আমরা।
“কিন্তু তাহলে বাড়ির ঐতিহ্যের কি হবে? কতকাল ধরে তো…”

ওকে থামিয়ে দিয়ে ঠাকুমা বলল, “সে তোকে ভাবতে হবে না। আমার লক্ষ্মীমন্ত নাতনির জন্য সেসব মঞ্জুর”।   

আনন্দে চোখে জল এল পদ্মপ্রিয়ার, ছুট্টে গিয়ে জড়িয়ে ধরল ঠাকুমাকে। ঠাকুমা নাতনির মাথায় স্নেহচুম্বন এঁকে দিলেন, “তোর যে সত্যিই এতো গুণ আমি জানতুম না।”

দুষ্টুমির হাসি হেসে পদ্মপ্রিয়া মা আর কাকিমাকে বলল, “এবার তোমরা খড়িমাটির আল্পনা দেওয়া ছাড়ো। আমি ফুলের পাপড়ি আর গুঁড়ো রঙ দিয়ে রঙ্গোলি করে দিচ্ছি।”

তারপর পুজোটুজো মিটে গেল খুব ভালভাবে। পদ্মপ্রিয়া একফাঁকে গিয়ে সেই বাক্সের নাড়ু বিলিয়ে দিল বস্তির কুসমি, পল্টু, জিষ্ণু, হিয়াদের মধ্যে। ছোড়দা গেল ব্যানার্জীবাড়িতে নিমন্ত্রণ রক্ষা করতে আর সুরভীর সাথে দেখা করতে।            

ও ছাদে উঠে দেখল খুব বড় কোজাগরী চাঁদ উঠেছে, ঠিক ঝকঝকে রুপোর থালার মতো লাগছে চাঁদটাকে। হঠাৎ কোত্থেকে একটা সাদা লক্ষ্মীপেঁচা উড়ে এসে ছাদে বসল। আর ঠিক সেই মুহূর্তে উষ্ণীষের ফোন, “তোর জন্য একবাক্স  নারকেল নাড়ু আর নারকেল সন্দেশ রেখে দিয়েছি, কাল আসছিস তো?”

©জয়ী  

আজ “ক” নিয়ে কাব্যি হোক

কুন্দনন্দিনী কাঞ্জীভরম আর কানবালায় সুসজ্জিত হয়ে চলল কাঞ্চিপুরমের কমলাক্ষ্মী মন্দিরে পুজো দিতে। কিঞ্জল কান্তিবিদ্যা চর্চা করছে সেই কান্তারমরুর দেশে। আর কল্কিনারায়ণের বাড়িতে তখন কলাবৌ স্নানের তোড়জোড়। কনিষ্ক বসে বসে কিষ্কিন্ধ্যাকান্ড পড়ছে। কৌশল্যা কোষাকুষি নিয়ে ব্যস্ত। কমল কলাপাতা কাটতে গেছে। কমলিনী আর কুন্দন কষ্টিপাথরের খোঁজ করছে। কোকিলকন্ঠী কৌশিকী কোকনদ ফোটানোয় ব্যস্ত। কাকাতুয়া ‘কোজাগরী’ ঘাড় বেঁকিয়ে সবকিছু পরখ করছে। কৈলাশেশ্বরীর পূজা চলছে কিন্তু কেউ এতটুকুও কুশল বিনিময় করছে না। সকলেই কালের কণাদে মনোনিবেশ করেছে।

অন্যদিকে কৌশানী কংসের কারাগার, কেদারনাথধাম, কনখল ঘুরে এখন কাশীতে এসেছে। কাশীশ্বরকে পুজো দিয়ে ও কচৌরি গলিতে ঢুকল কচুরি খেতে। কমলাভোগ ওর খুব প্রিয়। কেশরীজির কুঠী হল ওর কাশীর আস্তানা। কাশীতে ওর পরিচয় হয়েছে কিয়েভবাসী কেভিনের সঙ্গে; কেভিন কাঠিয়াবাবার শিষ্য।

কৃষ্ণরাজ এখন কলকাতা ছেড়ে অনেকদূরে, সুদূর কাবুলে। কষা মাংস আর কবিরাজী খায়নি অনেকদিন হল। কিয়ারার সান্নিধ্যেও কঙ্কাবতীকে এতটুকু ভোলেনি ও। কঙ্কাবতী এদিকে কার্ডিফে বসে কাস্টার্ড খাচ্ছে। কৃশান্যা, কৌমুদী, কর্ণিকরা কস্মিনকালেও কল্কিবাড়িতে পুজো দেখতে আসেনি; কেশব কাজিরাঙা বেড়াতে গেছে; কানাইলাল কাজু, কিসমিস, কেসর সহযোগে কাশ্মীরী পোলাও রাঁধতে ব্যস্ত । এরা সকলেই কল্কিবাড়ির সদস্য ! সৌভাগ্য/দুর্ভাগ্যবশত একমাত্র সেটিই এখন যোগাযোগের সুতো।

“Thanksgiving & Hilsa”

Story of a geek guy with Hilsa memories:-

It was probably your way of “Thanksgiving”. You had cooked two Hilsa preparations and invited me to relish the same. I was scared to accept your invitation. I was scared to invade your home with my ruffled thoughts of last summer. However, I couldn’t resist the idea of having food made by you; I couldn’t resist the idea of looking at you without any interruption. You are so irresistible!

When I reached, your captivating smile and a delicious aroma of freshly cooked mustard Hilsa welcomed me; I felt like home.

“I thought you will not come; still I hoped against hope…” She smiled at me.
“You invited me…how can I skip?” I assured trying to forget the issues called ‘past’.
“Thanks.” You led me to the dining table and I noticed a row of ornamental vines hanging happily near the balcony. A few paper-made wall hangings are trying to give the home a happy look. You are trying earnestly to act like a happy person. Sadly, I too act like, everything is okayed.
And then, the celestial moment came. You served me rice, “Sorshe Illish” (mustard hilsa) and “Illish bhapa” (steamed hilsa). I was elated with food and you, both.  The pungent green chillies and notorious mustard seeds set my taste buds on fire. I was untying the banana leaves to expose the queen of fish and you were looking at my finger movements.
“What’s it dear?”
“Nothing,” you chuckled, “you eat very slowly.”

“I am just cautious” I replied.

“Are you afraid of fish bones?” you laughed musically and I smiled like a stupid dolt.
“Let me separate the bones…”
“No, it’s okay; I’ll manage.”
You made me eat four pieces of fish. Deep inside, I felt something strong for you; I am still drunk of you just like before. Your yellow-green saree was so enticing. You are like my mom; so loving yet so pungent.
I was a bit uneasy while having the fish. I was trying not to wet my eyes with memories; I was attentive to behave normally.  

I couldn’t say, “I still love you.” But that day felt like a dawn of civilization; so new and so fresh. I consumed the food made by you. I consumed the purest form of “amrito”. I couldn’t ask for more.

She softly started, “For once I wanted to feel like I am your wife. For once, I ate after my beloved finished his meal. For once, I felt like I am living my dream.” She stopped and I looked at her teary eyes. I felt like I was alive to listen her musical voice and these words.

©Joyee

The Ganapati Diaries

To the girl I met during Ganapati utsav,

It was my first time in Mumbai. I was still trying to connect the lines of the sleepless city. And adventitiously, Ganapati festival hit Mumbai to overwhelm me. I timidly showed up at the society’s Ganapati feast. In such an evening of drizzling rains and the boisterous Ganapati festival, your eyes met mine! You were wearing a green-pink paithani silk in Marathi style. And you were looking fabulous. Your Marathi nathani (nose pin) made your face even sweeter; the small crescent moon bindi on forehead snatched all my concentrations. You smiled at me and one thousand chandeliers lit up. A smile simply crept into my lips.
You said, “Take a modak, it’s delicious” holding a big bowl of modaks before me. I don’t like sweets but I took one just to make you happy.
“Thanks” I uttered.
“New here?” You asked spreading the luminous smile.
“Yes. From Kolkata”. I replied.
“Happy Ganesh Chathurthi” You greeted me.
Your happy face made me happy inside.
“Same to you” said I. I wish I could show you how fast my heart was beating at that moment. I waned to talk to you. I wanted to say “You look beautiful”. But my lips lost words. You got busy distributing sweets among others. I realized, suddenly all my sadness, boredom and homesickness are gone and I am loving this evening. I am loving the Ganapati festival. I am loving life once again. I am not lost anymore. I looked at lord ganesha. He is staring at us with omnipresent eyes. I asked for blessings.
My eyes searched for you once more. My eyes wanted to get a glance of your face but you were nowhere. Finally, I discovered you at the feet of Ganapati Bappa. You were sobbing. And a girl was trying to console. I hesitantly walked towards you. The crowd was light by the time; the rain had stopped.
“What happened?” I asked. She looked up hearing my voice. The teary eyes were too sad to look at. She continued to sob while the other girl replied.
“Her lover Amrut died last year during immersion of Ganapati. Today the incident completes one year.” I was shocked. I don’t know what to say. She was hiding so much pain under those greeting smiles. Slowly, I held her hand, “Girl, I will give my shoulder whenever you want to cry.” I don’t know what magic my words did but she tried to erase the tears and looked at me.
“You don’t even know me.”
“I will” said I. Once again her “nathani” winked at me as she tried to smile amid those tears. No one noticed a nerd Bengali boy won the heart of a Marathi girl.

Sincerely yours,
That Bengali boy

©Joyee

 

The shade of yellow

The afternoon was sunny. We fought with words and slayed each other with the swords of hatred and love. And you left never looking back, never giving a fig. Your yellow dress slowly mingled with other people walking in the busy street. I stood there, alone, motionless, broken and upset. I looked at the street lights, the crowd and felt the boisterous noises surrounding me. I found myself standing before a very famous café and people inside might be engaged either in small talks or heavy conversations. They might be enjoying their cappuccino or espresso. The lights inside the cafe were pale yellow. That very shade of yellow carries a color of frustration. I lit up a cigarette.

By chance, my eyes caught a couple inside the café; they were too adorable, intensely engrossed in each other, sipping the cold coffee from the same long glass. I felt bad…for myself, for my girlfriend and for our love.

Evening is the time when you are bound to be alone or sad. I tried to control myself, stop my tears, tried to look at other girls walking in stilettos and hotpants. I tried to avert myself from her thoughts. I lit up another cigarette. The smoldering fire was trying to calm me down. I remembered how many counters we shared. Again my eyes rolled into the cafe. The lights inside were still dim but slightly brighter than earlier due to the upcoming darkness. And finally it darkened. I decided to have something from the cafe and walked inside. The sweet creamy pastry seemed insipid to me and the milky coffee didn’t give me any charm. I ordered a cupcake. It came in a white dish; the cake topped with a little chocolate ball and a little candy floss. Surprisingly I enjoyed it like girls do. I enjoyed the cupcake as if she was with me. Slowly, the thought separation walked out of my head and I only thought of the still fresh memories. I remembered how much she loved the cupcakes.

I looked at the streets. A child was selling roses. Another child was busy selling balloons to a child sitting inside a car. I packed a box of cakes and went outside. The busy city walks around, rides bikes and cars never showing some love to the street children.

When I distributed the cakes among children I saw the café lights glowing in brightest shade of yellow.

©Joyee

A lot can happen over a plate of momo

They say, “A lot can happen over a cup of coffee”. I say, “A lot can happen over a plate of momo.” It is a story of a plate of hot piping momos and how it had become one of the good vibes of my life. My city was truly busy enjoying the sudden 9°C temperature; the crazy north winds shivered my bones, a multicolored muffler protected me from cold, a glass of hot ginger tea from a roadside tea stall gave me some comfort, the swarming crowd near Esplanade metro made me realize the presence of strenuous Monday and then, adventitiously you appeared before me when I just ordered a plate of chicken momo. God knows, why you had to come on the same stall to have the momos.

You are not my parallel, not my almost, not my ex, but something I can’t name. You looked at me whenever you got slightest opportunity, I even caught you smiling when I passed by on office corridor. Sadly, you never made any move to talk to me; probably you were happy just seeing me there just like people enjoy an elegant piece of art in a museum. I was stupid enough to believe, you were in love, in love with me; but I was so wrong.

“Hello Jinny” your sudden voice made me look at you; you are in a brownish yellow jacket and black jeans. You were looking really handsome.
“Hi” I responded slowly.
“How are you?”
This time I had to smile, “Like you care!” I felt some spots of guilt in your face as you looked at the billboards to avoid my intense gaze. A few minutes had passed without any words from any side. I patiently waited for the momos to come. I was astounded to realize we just talked for the first time.
“I do care…and stupid enough to realize things very late.”
I had to laugh at his words; a man calling himself stupid is a nice thing to watch.
“Thank God, you realized…sooner or later!” I sighed throwing my words; he too sighed. I saw a strange kind of pain in his eyes but soon he turned it into an awkward smile. Then, a comfortable silence clinged us into a nameless thread. Perhaps, time stood still for a while and we too. I didn’t feel uneasy; he didn’t feel any urge to look away. I didn’t notice when we both started having the mouth watering chicken momos.
“The momos are really delicious, aren’t they?” he said to break the silence. I just nodded. I didn’t know what to say. I didn’t want him know my helplessness, my loneliness. Probably he was eager to say ‘you look beautiful’, or ‘remember me’ or ‘let’s exchange the numbers’; I was eager to say, ‘let’s stay in touch’ or ‘let’s go for a walk’. Sadly, we ended up saying “goodbye”. We moved away without exchanging phone numbers, without looking back, with a constant effort to behave like a normal person. And once again head won over heart.

©Joyee

Life pot

The world is divided into two types of people,

  • One who speaks the truth and the one who believes in oiling
  • One who goes with the flow and one who goes against it
  • One who speaks his mind and one who reads your mind
  • One who is a daydreamer and one who is a night thinker
  • One who thinks, “If this day never stops” and one who thinks, “If this night never ends.”
  • One who is happy-go-lucky and who overthinks.
  • One who uses only shampoo and one who uses shampoo, conditioner and does hair spa.
  • One who is theist and one who is atheist.
  • One who loves sunrise and one who loves sunset.
  • One who loves to dance with others and one sings alone.
  • One who loves a crowded street and one who dances when the street is empty.
  • One who goes to party and one who stays at home.
  • One who understands poems and one who knows no one understands poems.
  • One who actually reads newspaper and one who reads only entertainment or sports page!
  • One who finishes a bad book and one who leaves in halfway.
  • One who makes paper boats and one who makes paper airplanes.
  • One who uses paper chits during exam and one who tries to write honestly.
  • One who sleeps under quilt and one who does everything possible under a quilt.
  • One who makes love at night and one who is lost in impulsive thoughts.
  • One who watches kites and one who stands under aeroplane to make a wish.
  • One who loves red & communism and one who loves everything but red.
  • One who wears yellow, pink, orange and one who wears blue, black, grey.
  • One who loves neon and one who hates it.
  • One who loves green & yellow and one who loves white & sky blue.
  • One who loves old world charms and one who loves skyscrapers
  • One who is an old school and one who is a new school.
  • One watches the beauty of shrines and one who watches the god resides inside.
  • One who thinks in omnipotent god and one who thinks his god is stronger than your god!
  • One who prays before little Jesus and one who prays before Balgopal (Little Krishna).
  • One who follows angel and one who follows devil.
  • One who is relaxed with life and one who is very scared of it.
  • One who forgives people easily and one who keeps anger wrapped in an envelope.
  • One who carries “Che” on left chest, one who carries Mao in red slogan.
  • One who loves a single woman, one who loves every girl possible.
  • One who remembers first love and one who pretends to forget it.
  • One who badly wants to be a bad boy and one who actually becomes one!
  • One who pretends to love his job and one who knows nobody loves his job.
  • One loves Marcedes-benz and one who wants to experience palanquin once.
  • One who is bossy and one who is friendly
  • One who loves daytime and one who enjoys nightlife
  • One who knows about Magdalena and one who knows about Vatican
  • One who makes your life a mess, one who helps you to clear the mess
  • One who hates opposite gender and one who speaks of gender neutrality
  • One who believes in leadership and one who thinks self education still rules
  • One who addresses himself by job designation and one who introduces himself without name, job, & social status
  • One who blames God for everything and one who praises him in hallway still he opens a new door!
  • One who loves to be busy at work and who has finished reading my bullshit.

 

©Joyee