Friday, July 25, 2008

She's here!

Usually, for me, Tuesday happens to be the worst day of the week. Somehow, I always want them to end as quickly as possible. But, Tuesday, the 22nd of July,2008, was bright and cheerful right from the morning. The weather was beautiful. It was neither drizzling nor was it too humid. A very pleasant wind was blowing. All this perfectly matched with the fact that we would be going to the airport that night to receive my cousin Woodsmoke.

I would be meeting her after two years. During these two years, we have mostly communicated through blogging. We have sent emails but not regularly and when we used to talk over the phone, those five minutes of talking were too less to express our sentiments properly. Unfortunately, I did not know the Google Talk formula for a long time and when I came to know about it, I could not download it properly. So, I was counting the days and the nearer her arrival time drew, the more excited I became. So, the most recent Tuesday was very promising.

My uncle and aunt(Woodsmoke's parents) came to our house in the evening. After having dinner together, they went to the airport along with us(me and my parents). It takes just about 15 minutes to go to the airport from our place. So, we were there in a flash. After a few moments, board showing the schedules of different flights informed us that the flight from Frankfurt had arrived at the expected time(11.05 p.m.). Those were some moments! My excitement and impatience was increasing every minute. The first passenger to come out was a swarthy German man. As my aunt and me were standing in front and smiling widely in happiness and in the hope that any moment we would see my cousin, that guy smiled back at us. Probably, he had thought at first that we were the ones supposed to be receiving him.Anyway, then two more Germans came, then an Indian family, then three Koreans and so on. But where was Woodsmoke? Just when we were thinking that she would be the last passenger to show herself, we saw her coming! As she came closer, I saw that she was looking extremely pretty. Her smile somehow looked more charming that night.

But, I won't be able to say that the Tuesday was 100 percent good. When I was returning home in the evening after attending school and tuition consecutively, I fell down from the autorickshaw. I am used to sitting on the front right side seat with my bag but that day I was a bit absent minded. My right leg was very badly injured. I didn't realize its seriousness on Tuesday because of all the excitement. Besides, there was only a burning sensation on Tuesday. But, the wound started showing its real colours from Wednesday. Yesterday, I was walking on one foot. Couldn't even dream of going to school. Today though, its much better and tomorrow nothing will stop me from having a grand time with my cousin.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Diary of a Young Girl

We all have read about the Second World War (1939-45). In all history textbooks, the important events and battles, the decisions of important people and leaders and dates are written. Sometimes, we get tired of learning those long paragraphs about the treaties, their causes, thier consequences, etc. We think we know almost everything about the War. At least, that's what I thought till last week.

But, after reading 'The Diary of a Young Girl', by Anne Frank, I feel that my knowledge about the War is zero because I had no idea about exactly how much the common people, specially Jews, had to suffer. Anne Frank was a German Jew whose family had sought asylum in Holland during the Second World War. They used to live in a proper house till July 1942 but were forced to go into hiding like millions of other Jews because the Jews were being captured by the Gestapo ( Nazi policemen) and sent off to concentration camps. Just because they were born Jews, Adolf Hitler had forced billions of them to live a life of misery and had given orders to murder them mercilessly. Even when Anne Frank and her family had not been compelled to go into hiding, their life was troublesome, thanks to Mr. Hitler. Anne had devoted three-fourths of one page of her diary to writing about the restrictions imposed on Jews. They had named thier hiding place as The Secret Annexe. They used to live their with the van Pels( referred to by Anne as the van Daans) and Dr. Dussel, a bachelor. Anne had started writing in her diary from 12th June, 1942 by describing her feelings and experiences in letters addressed to an imaginable person named Kitty. We first get a taste of Anne's happy life as a teenager at school, with many friends, many admirers and at home. But, at the Annexe, her life was f ull of troubles. Life was hard for them. The Annexe was part of a big office building and a warehouse was also attached to it. Few of the office members namely Mr. Voskuijl,Mr.Kleimann, Mr.Kugler, Miep and Jan Gies and Bep had secretly helped them to hide at the Annexe for two two years. There wasn't always fresh food, they could never open the windows beyond an inch, there were rules regarding the use of the lavatory, they could never raise their voices and they obviously could not go out. No one else knew what had become of them. Anne had written about the conflicts between different members of the Annexe, her love for her father, hatred for her mother, relationship with her sister, the irritating habits of Dr.Dussel and Mrs. van Daan and affectionate relationship with Peter van Daan. We get to know how her feelings gradually changed over a span of two years. When Gerrit Bolkenstein, a member of the Dutch government in exile had announced that he would collect eyewitness accounts of sufferers during the war (like letters or diaries) in 1944, Anne began to edit her diary. She hoped that a book would be published based on her diary.

While reading the diary, one will feel that the eight members of the Annexe were not united. There always was a quarrel between some of them. But, there are times, when one will feel that they were united. When Anne describes how burglars had broken into the office on two nights, how they had narrowly been saved on those occasions and how they all were waiting patiently for England to invade Holland so that they might be free once more, one understands that they were united. There was a lot of anxiety and optimism in Anne's last few letters. The invasion had finally begun in 1944 but before the whole of Holland could be occupied by the British, someone had tipped off the Gestapo about suspicious incidents at the office. So, just when Anne's miserable days had seemed to come to an end, they were captured. At the end of Anne's letters, we get to know that the different members were sent to different concentration camps where they ultimately died. The most painful part of it is that all Jews were liberated from each of those camps just two or three days after the members of the Annexe died there. Only Anne's father, Otto H. Frank, survived and edited Anne's diary and devoted himself to sharing his daughter's thoughts with people the world over.

So, when we read about a period of two years in textbooks, we never understand how the common people had to suffer. They had to live through each and every day of those two years in terrible insecurity. We might read that Holland was conquered in 1944 by the British, but it was not that easy. The leaders had to debate a lot before invading any country and any small town or city in the country. All this can be made out from Anne's writing. The individual amotional woes of the Jews in hiding were always there to add fuel to the fire. We will never understand them, no matter how much we try. We can only hope that the world will never see another Adolf Hitler. Oh, why was he so cruel? How can anyone be so cruel? If he had not been so cruel, Anne might have fulfilled her dream of becoming a journalist and later on, a writer. She might have been able to see this book being published and might still have been living.

Saturday, July 05, 2008


'Sinjini Sengupta is suffering from a nervous problem', 'Sinjini Sengupta had participated in a reality show', 'Sinjini Sengupta was eliminated from it', 'Sinjini Sengupta is now in a Bangalore hospital', etc., etc., etc.

All this was being flashed on every news channel last Saturday. I, Sinjini Sengupta, saw the images of another Sinjini Sengupta in hospital, on TV last Saturday. Sinjini had participated in a dance reality show telecasted by ETV Bangla. She had been eliminated in one of the rounds. She had been so hurt that she actually had to be admitted to a hospital. The news channels were so happy and excited. They had got some hot news and had got the opportunity to criticize ETV Bangla, the judges of the concerned show and all reality shows. Serious talk shows were being held by each Bengali news channel to assess who was to blame for Sinjini's condition. People were sending SMSs and presenting their individual opinions about the problem. It had beome an all-India issue.

I became a bit irritated of all this. It did not give me a very nice feeling to see my own name being flashed every time, stating that I was sick. Personally, I felt and I still feel that it was her and her parents' fault. She already had that nervous problem. In that case, they should not have allowed her to participate at all.In a reality show, one can be eliminated in any round. There will be a lot of competition. Not just reality shows, there is a lot of competition in every field now. If one does not have the guts or the mental condition to face that competition or to bear the misery of being beaten, one does not have any right to participate in the battle. Under such a circumstance, one should should not be forced to participate either. If one's performance is not good in any episode, one can't expect the judges to smile at him/her and shower false praises. One will deliberately be criticized and that criticism can help one to improve in future and to learn from mistakes.

Having said all this, I must also add that I am feeling sorry for Sinjini. From the deepest corner of my heart, I hope she gets well very soon. After all, it's not every day that you see people who have the same name and surname as you and even study in the same class! Yeah, she is a Class XI student! And, since all these particluars of mine have matched with her, some people actually got a rude shock at first. Richa, one of my fellow bloggers, had thought at first that it was me. The dreamer, another fellow blogger actually asked me whether I was the same Sinjini Sengupta or not. My most favourite teacher at school, Shaluk Ma'am told me that she had got the shock of her life on opening the newspaper on Sunday morning. Our Bengali teacher, Ratna Ma'am said to me in class, " You're Sinjini Sengupta. Then, how come you're here? Hadn't you become sick?"

Well, let me confirm in this post that I am not that Sinjini Sengupta. I had learnt Kathak till I was in Class VIII. But, I never ever thought of participating in any dance reality show!