“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

কোনএক একাকিনীর কথা

আমি তো আজ বেলফুলের মালা গাঁথি,

সেই মালায় সাজাই বেণী,

সেই সুবাসে করি নিজেকে উজাড়;

কখনও বা একমুঠো রঙ্গনফুল তুলে আনি

ছড়িয়ে দিই বিছানায়

একমুঠো শিউলি পেলে রেখে দিই বাটিতে

সুগন্ধে ভরে ওঠে জীবন;

আজও খোঁপা সাজাই স্বর্ণচাঁপায়, কখনও বা সূর্যমুখী,

আসবে না জানি…তবু,

তোমার চোখে নিজেকে দেখতে ভাল লাগে, খুউউব…

দোরের মুখে করতে বসি গাঁদার রঙ্গোলি,

কোনও অতিথি আসবে না জানি,

তবু কেউ আসবে ভাবতে ভালবাসি,

আসলে এসব কিছু করে নিজেকে খুঁজে পাই।

হয়তো ছিঁড়ে ফেলব বলেই লিখে ফেলি তোমাকে চিঠি,

সেই চিঠির প্রতি ছত্রে লিখি তোমার নাম,

হয়তো বা বৈষ্ণব পদাবলীর উপমা…

কেউ পড়বে না জানি, তবুও লিখতে ইচ্ছে হয় খুব,

কৈশোরপ্রেমের কথা,

উল্কাবৃষ্টির কথা,

আমার প্রথম সোনারদুল হারানো,

ঠাকুরমার দেওয়া কানবালা,

পুরীর মন্দিরের লাস্যময়ী পূজারিণী,

বিষ্ণুর দশাবতারের কথা,

অস্সিঘাটের উদাসী বাউলের কথা,

বাড়ির পুরনো তানপুরার কথা,

কোনএক সুপুরুষ শিবভক্তের কথা…

আমার বলতেও ইচ্ছে করে খুব,

যদিও শোনার কেউ নেই,

তবু দেয়ালেরও কান আছে,

এই প্রবাদ মেনে নিয়ে,

ইচ্ছে হয় বলে চলি অনর্গল

আমার প্রথম সর্ষে ইলিশ রাঁধা,

মায়ের বানানো চিতলের মুইঠ্যা,

আমার প্রথম কাজল পরা,

কোনএক সাদা পাঞ্জাবির জন্য অপেক্ষা

তার জন্য কবিতা দেখা,

এক নিঃশ্বাসে পড়ে ফেলা “ভারততীর্থ”

প্রতিমার থেকেও মণ্ডপসজ্জা দেখে বেশি উৎফুল্ল হওয়া

দোলের দিনের উদ্দাম নৃত্য…

আমার দেখাতেও ইচ্ছে করে খুউউব,

আমি যা দেখি তাই,

যা দেখে আমি উদ্বেলিত হয়ে উঠি,

বাবুঘাটের সূর্যাস্ত,

পরেশনাথ মন্দিরের কারুকার্য,

ভিক্টরিয়ার উদাসীন পরী,

শোভাবাজার রাজবাড়ি…

ইমামবাড়ার সূর্যঘড়ি

ইচ্ছেকরেই নেড়েচেড়ে দেখি,

আমার বানানো গালিচা,

দেওয়ালে ঝোলানো ছবি,

নখের নকশায় আঁকা আজটেক চিত্রকলা   

তবুও দিনের শেষে একাকী থেকে যাই,

আর কিছু হই বা না হই, নিজকাব্যের নায়িকা হই !!

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 thousand years from now

A thousand years from now…

I will only remember how we loved each other

how I forgot about the world on seeing your beautiful face

how we looked at the full moon

how we enjoyed the summer breeze

how we enjoyed a motorcycle ride against the winds, how we were scared to ride on a merry-go-round; how we spread colors in the air

but…I will never remember how we fought daily, how we spent sleepless nights after quarrels

how we cursed each other

how we prayed for separation

how we never stopped each other from walking out

how we tried to destroy everything in our living room
the mementos!!

Love, I will remember you, not the destructive storm you carry inside!!

©Joyee

‘A Walk to Remember’ in Calcutta

“I am the man with the tambourine…”

It was a steamy summer night. The humidity level reached a new high and Calcutta was all wet in sweats. Everyone was praying for rain.
Suddenly I got a call from Esha. She is my childhood friend and my friend Asmit’s fiancé. When she said, “Let’s go for a walk” I was quite surprised.

“Is he busy? Or you guys had a quarrel once again?”

“We called it quits” She chirped.

“How dare you?” I was astonished!

“Just for tonight, let’s forget that I have a boyfriend, let’s forget that you just broke up with Emilie; let’s forget the outer world and chat like there is no tomorrow…as we used to…before this Asmit thing happened.” I used to know her crazy nature, so I had to agree. I came out from my ‘uncle’s cabin’ and she came out from her ladies’ hostel.

We didn’t go for sophisticated ice cream cones or tubs decorated with chocolate bars and Oreo biscuits. We simply slurped our desi “Kulfi malai” and it was truly my own ‘A Walk to Remember.’

“You are still a mental.” said I.

“You must appreciate me for being a mental.” she chuckled.

And we talked and talked; we gazed and gazed at each other with a smile on lips and glitter in eyes. I saw the city lights less lucrative than her eyes. For once, I forgot she was not mine.

She described how she loved watching the sunsets and blowing the dandelions, how she adored Chinese cuisine, how she took weeds to get rid of frustration, how she watched clichéd romantic Hollywood movies to believe in love, how she matched the steps with a Latino dance teacher, how she spent nights reading Paulo Coelho, how she spent days reading erotica, how she spent nights at Park Street bars, how she met a handsome Irishman at the Irish pub, how she tried to make a documentary on Armenian culture of Calcutta, how she rode bike in full speed and how she kept her boyfriends totally unaware of these.

I felt she is a silent scream; I felt her really addictive. I didn’t want her stories to end.

“Thanks for sharing things with me” I greeted.

“And you didn’t interrupt a single time.” She poked my nose.

I poked her belly, “One should not interrupt the storyteller.”

“The kulfi is tasty, isn’t it?” She chuckled and I came back to reality; I saw my kulfi has already melted a lot and I forgot to slurp.

“Now it’s your turn”

“My turn? No way”

“Yes…you have to.”

She pleaded like anything but I didn’t agree. I just loved to look at her without a blink and she twittered the whole time. I was flooded with emotions and words. Before leaving, she gave me a ‘goodnight peck’ on the cheek. I was happy and startled!

“You are not mine, but I’m a bit yours today!” I murmured myself and returned home.

©Joyee