"Amay khub jante icche kore, na?" - the question which took me back to some long unforgotten years! Little did I know that the guy from the Dreamer's Sylvan Retreat, The Aguntuk shall delineate the Punk Bangalee in me.
His love for Kolkata or Calcutta — the media-distorted British-raped “City of Joy" and my utter dissaproval for the same, his proud confession like " “Food, music, film, dance, fun, literature, politics, science, arts and what not…in spite of all the problems and stupid politicians and promoters today, it’s just incredible. And I’m not even talking about her GLORIOUS history.” And my silent disapproval always criss-crossed each other!
Meet the guy from the Nilgiris where the weather is much cooler than the post summer evenings in the city, the guy who can sell his soul to the Devil to return to the land of Robi Thakur and Bangla gaan - MY 'Baul in Denims'. With his bright, big eyes, he wants to capture all the detailed varieties of life. While am a proper Dilli-wali whose mind always wanders among the crowded bylanes of the capital. There are old stones everywhere with hints of blue glazed tile and flocks of bright green parrots, and you keep passing monuments that have stood witness to centuries. I always imagined that if I start digging in these places, archaeological treasures will start poking out of the ground. Layers of civilization will peel away to reveal even deeper secrets.
Me: Aami dumb-i bhalo achi. Tomra amar theke onek beshi buddhi rakho!
Aguntuk: Eta ekta rog ... nijeke Gobet bhabte bhalobasha !
Me: Tomar-o toh rog ache, nijeke na bhalobashar!
Aguntuk: Hain ache toh!
Yes, it started with little exchange of stale secrets, the boredom of being lonely and the spark for the city of love or Kolkata! What happens when a Mohiner Ghoraguli Bangalee meets The North-Indian rustic Bangalee? - A total disaster!
Aguntuk: HaNslam keno bolotoh?
Aguntuk: Jodi boli je tomar sab hotspot e jatayat nei?
Me: Aamar hot spot toh Aarshi Nagar !
Aguntuk: Konodin decker's lane Chandni Bar-e gecho? jaoni....
His longing for the city made me to come closer with it too. Not that I wanted to! But I did, may be the Aguntuk was too fasinated to see the love of his life through the eyes of an apathetic dweller! His day dreaming with a flavor of "jukti-tokko-golpo", his love for the South Indian dishes, his madness for the maddening crowd and his "joghonnyo" - always took out a little bit of Bangalee in me! How strange does the stranger become when he suddenly professes his hidden inner ailments by saying, " Shono, ami "bhalobashi"...anek kichui bhalobashi, abar kichu kharap bashi, shob miliye ami ebong amar beNche thaka!"
Five years is a long time. To be up-rooted from the city where I grew up and descending to a place which was never mine,long enough to make one homesick (sic.). Long enough for the mind to wander. And wonder. I have witnessed a lot of changes in Calcutta. For the better.
And I wonder how much things could have changed.
And in turn, I question if they are going to change my childhood. My growing years. My memories.
The Aguntuk keeps on taking me back and forth the timeline which even Facebook can't really do! I mean at least there, you have an option to scroll while here,you jog your memories till they are scrambled enough! His continuous enquiry like if we still have the sudden clap of thunder and the ominous darkening of the sky with the mad frenzy of a rain shower bringing respite on a sweltering Summer afternoon. Kalbaisakhi as he calls it. And ek poshla brishti.
And in return it gives me the detailed picture of Kaki closing the shutters on the window to keep out the scorching sun. And turning on the radio and listening to the Bangla natok as she prepares for her siesta in the afternoon. Ghori Rahashyo. I still remember the name of the natok!
The stranger, my Dreamer's "Ek class-er dost" and I get entwined in an elusive journey, where we bump against the "phele asha purono din-er gaan". His college days, mess, "chaNda tuley mocchob" to his translations of several Bangla words for me - everything made me to learn a bit more of the sweetest language, Bengali! He still brings out that Bangalee in me!
Me: Aaii tomar case ta ki bolotoh
Aguntuk: kiser case?
Me: Dwosh (10) baar kore dakadaki korte hoy kyano?!amar na bhalo lage !
Aguntuk: Shohoje dhora dile aar ki moja!!
Meet the brutal "Twins" who make you to wait though he says like a saddist he loves the joy while inflicting the pain!
Aguntuk: Aami unpredictable ...unpredictability theke sabdhan!
Me: Amar toh mone hoy tomar baire lekha ache, Handle with care, Fragile inside !