Tuesday, January 23, 2007

My mother and Ma Saraswati

It's that time of the year again when a small vacation comes our way, thanks to Netaji's birthday,Republic Day, Saraswati Puja, etc.It usually means a lot of fun. The annual exam starts knocking on the door during this period. Before this mini holiday begins every year, I promise myself that I'll make the most of these few days and study as much as I can. But somehow or the other, I don't quite feel like studying when my parents are at home...... feel like going out with them.....somewhere, anywhere. Again this year , this mini vacation is giving me extra time to study. And yet again,the situation is the same. I didn't quite feel like solving the Geometrical problems which I had planned to solve this afternoon. So,here I am, sitting and typing another post for my blog on the joint occasion of Netaji's birthday and Saraswati Puja.
Day before yesterday, we celebrated my mother's birthday. Unfortunately, she had to attend office, although the day was Sunday. The work that she had was extremely important. So, we thought it best to let her attend office. She said that she would come back early. After a good breakfast, I went to attend my drawing class. I was exactly an hour late. Our drawing Sir had called us an hour early that day and the class had begun at 9 a.m. But, for us, 9 a.m. on Sunday is equivalent to 7 a.m. on a weekday. So, we are always very slow on Sundays. Anyway, I must say that I did a good amount of work even after being an hour late. Sir was not angry either.
Saraswati Puja is celebrated at my drawing school every year. This year, our drawing Aunty ( who is the owner of the school and also, the original teacher) requested a few of us to arrange for the decorations of the room in which the Saraswati idol is kept. I knew that there were very few people who could help Aunty this year. Our seniors have all left owing to pressure in their studies. So, me and another student are the present seniors . After our drawing session was over, we took suggestions from Sir regarding the decorations.Three of us( including me) went to the market with Aunty's assistant to buy the idol and the things needed for decoration. This was a new experience for me. Inspite of being a part of my drawing school for about ten years, I've never helped to arrange this little event. This year, for the first time, I felt that I should help. So, we walked all the way to the market and bought a red marble paper and certain things made of thermocol. Then came the most difficult part.....choosing the idol! There were so many Saraswati idols ......some were big while others were small, some were clad in orange saris, some in green, while others in purple. Price was also a factor, as our budget was not much and the idols were expensive. After surfing for twenty minutes, we found the idol of our choice. Ma Saraswati looked gorgeous in a silver-cloured sari and her face looked as pretty as ever. Soma Didi( Aunty's assistant) did some useful bargaining and bought the idol for Rs.200, for which Rs.320 had been charged initially. Then, mounting Ma Saraswati on a van-rickshaw, and sitting on it ourselves to guard her, we headed back for our drawing school. Once the goddess was safe and sound in the second-floor room, we started decorating the room. In an hour, we did a very neat job. Satisfied with what we had done, I came home with my father at about 2.30 p.m. We had almost finished our lunch, when the Birthday Girl called to say that she was on her way home. Immediately, we finished eating and went out to buy Mammam's birthday cake. She doesn't enjoy cream cakes much, so we bought a fruit cake for her. When we came back, we saw her standing outside our apartment.
In the evening, she cut her birthday cake. Although she protested, we went out to buy her gift and returned with a dazzling set of fashionable earrings and necklace. She was very happy with her gift and then, we went out for dinner. We went to Red Hot Chilly Pepper on Ballygunge Circular Road. As is evident from the name, the food there is very spicy. But, at the same time, the food is very good. The menu was Chicken Clear Soup( with some momo in it), Rice Noodles and Shredded Chicken in Green Chilly Sauce. In this way, we enjoyed ourselves a lot.
Today morning, I went to my drawing school to attend Saraswati Puja. The puja was also held in our house, but in a very simple and short way.

Friday, January 12, 2007


Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Time: 10.20 pm.
" Baba, there is no laminated brown paper to cover my Biology project file."
This was what I told my father the night before submitting my project file. I had thought that there was enough laminated brown paper in the house, but I was wrong. I told my father that we would remove the cover from another project file very carefully and use it for the Biology project file. But he did not agree . Since my marks were related to this project, he immediately put on his clothes and went out at that time of the night to buy the required brown paper. We were lucky. The shop was still open and and he got the brown paper. But he did not complain even once, nor did he scold me. His only concerns were me and my marks. That evening, we had already been to the market once, but I didn't know about the brown paper then. It was my fault. I should have noticed. My father had to take up the pain and go to the market just because of ME.
My father is jsut like this. Incidents, such as the one mentioned above, have happened before too. But everytime, my father came to my rescue. Baba is absolutely a family man. He specially loves to spend time with me. As soon as he comes home from office everyday, I jump and give him a big hug, scratch is beard and pull his moustache. I also mess up his hair. Although he tries to protest, I don't stop. I even start tickling him. He tries to counter- attack, but is not successful every time. He never says it, but I know that he loves all this. I just know that he won't be able to stay calm even if I stop doing this for one evening. in this world will Baba talks to himself sometimes. When he is alone in a room, doing something, you can hear him murmuring to himself. He also murmurs in and even sometimes on the road. If he and Mammam come from opposite directions on the road, he looks at Mammam and then walks past, without recognizing her! So, he is a bit mad, but that, according to me, is also his special quality.
When I was in class two, Baba was transferred to Balugaon in Orissa. I mentioned in one of my previous post that it was very difficult for us back at Kolkata. But it was also difficult for my father. He had to live all alone. At least, Mammam and I were together at Kolkata, but who was there at Balugaon? Still, Baba managed to live there for one-and-a-half years without complaining about anything, even for one day. He would call us every night. I remember waiting anxiously for his phone-call. As soon as the phone would ring at about 9.30, I would run and pick up the receiver and say ' Baba' without saying 'Hello' first. I just knew it was his phone. I have been mistaken very few number of times. Baba stayed with us after his tranfer to Kolkata for three years. Then, he was again transferred, this time to Guntur in AP. This was even more difficult, as he was away for 3 years. This time too, it was just as difficult for him , as it was for us. But, he found a nice rented flat for himself and settled down well. In course of time, he learnt how to cook. He actually learnt how to live alone. I know that it was very difficult, having no one to open the door when he came back from office, to cook good food for him and most importantly, to share his feelings. He used to call us every night , but he did not let us realize for one moment that he was lonely there. This time, our new slogan was "O Baba, heh heh Baba" and we used to say it on the phone every night. We used to say it 5 times on one particular night and then, the number would increase to 10 on the next night, 15 on the night after that and so on, till it reached 50. After that, we would again start from five.
The most difficult part would come when Baba would go back to Guntur after coming home for a week or so. We used to get up very early to escort him to the taxi stand. After that, when I would enter our study, I would find it all neat and clean, very unlike what it is in Baba's presence.
Baba used to come home from Guntur once in two-three months. One such homecoming was in August 2004. But when we heard our calling bell and opened the door, we found Baba standing there with a peculiar expression on his face. We quickly brought him inside the house and discovered that he was very sick and exhausted. But we couldn't make out what had gone wrong. So, we took him to his physician who said that Baba would have to be admitted to a hospital. Baba had suffered a mild cerebral attack.For four days, he was in the hospital. He was recovering, but those four days were hellish.Not just those four days, the month after that when he stayed on at Kolkata to take rest, were hellish. Nothing seemed to be cheerful, beacuse Baba was ill. Both Mammam and I wanted him to get well soon. I had had experiences of someone else in my family falling sick and my father always rising to the situation. But this time he himself was ill. We could help Baba, but his physical pains were only his. We could not share them. Mammam did everything that she could to help Baba and it rent my heart to see them both suffering together. Why did God not punish me then, in some inexplicable way? I could have tolerated the pain, but why did my great Baba suffer? He does not deserve what he got.
I guess the only problem with Baba is that he snores very loudly.And there is a wide range of sounds that he can produce while snoring. If one finds different pages of the newspaper lying in different parts of the drawing room, then it becomes obvious that my father had been reading it.
Last word: " Dear Baba, to describe you very briefly, you are THE BEST. I can live without you for 3 years, but that life is very strange. It's like one part of my body staying at Kolkata and the other part going away with you wherever you go. It's not that Mammam doesn't fulfill my requirements when you are not here, but you yourself, is a big requirement for me. I am so lucky again that you are my father. Life has been very different and colourful because you have made it that way. Thank you and love you always."