Rath Yatra comes year after year to remind us of our childhood. Rath Yatra would always mean walking down the lane of Jogomaya Kalibari, my tiny hands clasped in the huge palms of my Ma, savouring lozenges. I do not remember how long it has been since I last visited the ‘rather mela’ (the fair held during the week between Rath Yatra and Ultorath).
And it was not just rather mela that made this day special. All of us, the kid brigade at home, would decorate our ‘rath’ with multicoloured strips of paper and flowers and then take it around the whole para. The ‘pronaami’ collected was used to buy nokuldana and batasha – small joys of life, the value of which will be lost on the current social media generation.
Actually, it was a time when the size, magnitude or grandeur of an article did not matter, rather its mere existence, simple and beautiful filled one’s mind with wonder and stirred the heart with unadulterated joy.
Rath Yatra brings back countless emotions, scenes, sights and smells from the deepest corners of the heart, feelings which have lost their way in the crowded melee of present day busy schedule. They form a part of my life that has moved away with the ebb and flow of life.
The rather mela was like a fairyland which we would wait with bated breath throughout the year. From the various knick-knacks for rannabati to the delicious kochuri and singaras – the fair was worth the wait. Starting from toys, flutes, animals, the decorated stalls offered a variety of delicacies including jilipis, khurmas, and what not! Could there be such happiness, wonder and magic anywhere in the world?
Today, when I look around me, I fail to discover the same enthusiasm, or curiosity and childlike charm which inundated my life at one time. I cannot find the ingenuous naiveté even in myself. Perhaps the world has changed. Innocence is fun no more.
We just have to move on with memories to cherish….. Choreibeti…
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I have never met him in person. We interacted on Twitter often. I often wondered what won me the honour of being among the priviledged 733 whom the iconic Bengali followed on Twitter. The person who can answer the question is no more. Was it just a Twitter relationship that numbed me on 30 May, 2013? Or did the relationship go back 13 years in history to 2000, when I first watched his film Hirer Angti?
It might seem strange to people, that one can break down at the news of someone’s death – someone he has never met in life, a celebrity. Distant, to many. His films communicated. His shots spoke to me. His dialogues friended me; his music made me fall in love with him. And all those tumultuous times when you had to face your own self to come to terms with your sexuality, he was like the guiding star…
8:45 AM on 30 May, 2013. As I stepped into office, I habitually logged into ABP News website to read the headlines from Bengal. Yes, I was away from Kolkata, in Bangalore, cocooned in my office cubicle. But my soul was weeping, like the rain drops that swept away all happiness from the City of Joy. Tears came naturally to me. A member of my family was no more. Bonds that had no definition lay shattered. He had no right to leave, without even saying the final goodbye.
In 2010, I had the opportunity to meet him. I used to write for an online magazine, for which I had to interview him, in light of his debut in acting with the film Arekti Premer Golpo. Although initially excited, I developed cold feet. How would I face the man, who occupies the highest chair in my heart after Tagore? How would I even speak before him; I have learnt the art of writing (whatever little I can manage) thanks to his screenplays! How would I face the man whose persona was so powerful that it would overbear your senses? I couldn’t. I lost a chance I would regret for the rest of my life.
Last night I was listening to his audio diary. It felt like he was sitting right next to me, sharing his innermost thoughts. Reality dawned in the morning. He is just another date on the calendar for news channels to air Features, movie channels to stream special packages and bloggers to post tributes!
But for every sigh that escapes my heart, I miss you, Ritu da. I really do.
Bonomali tumi, poro jonome hoyo radha….
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