Grains of Salt #2.

No one likes stereotypes.

When I was in school, I used to debate. And every time I would  slander someone up on the podium because of some stupid comment they made, my classmates would refuse to believe I came from a Bengali family.
But Bengalis eat a lot of sweets,they’d say.
But Bengalis have a sweet tooth,they’d say.
How can someone who consumes that much syrupy sweetness at one go, say something so bitter?
Or worse,sour?

No one likes stereotypes.
Not when they’re about us.
Especially when they’re about us.

There was a child left alone at the school gate that afternoon.
School was over.
He wasn’t one of them.
He didn’t wear a tie. Or a belt. Or carefully parted and combed hair. Or spot less washed every day uniform.
He wasn’t one of them.
There was a child left alone at the schools gate when school gave over.
He watched the golawala making colorful goals out of ice and coloured syrups.
He watched the mithaiwala at the other side of the street stirring the ladle in a vat of pasteurized milk sitting atop a gurgling pale blue fire.
He watched the mithaiwala as he poured sugar into the milk and stirred the ladle some more.
The sugar melted in the hot milk.
The way a thousand lover’s heart melted at the iris of their rosy dames.
He watched.
He watched.
He watched as the first bubbles of froth appeared on the surface of the sweetened milk.
It said, there’s no milk now.
It said, there’s no sugar either.
It said, both have lost themselves in one another. Both have given themselves into the fondling warmth of togetherness to become something more than they ever were alone.
Milk in sugar.
Or sugar in milk.
There’s no way of telling now.
All there is to do now, is drop the fried chhana balls into the infused syrup.
In faraway Sutanuti, it seems like centuries have passed in between, someone cooked the first Rasmallai and Rosogolla.
In a school gate sitting homeless child’s Boroline devoid nostrils, it seems like centuries have passed in between, the smell of freshly cooked sweetmeats waft fresh as ever.

The child gathers his coins from a day of begging and buys a plate of hot rosogolla today.
Maybe its his birthday, and no one knows except him.
Maybe he just made 5 coins more than yesterday.
Maybe he knows there won’t be 5 coins extra tomorrow.
Standing on the paved dusty footpath, I watch as the child bites into his rosogolla and chokes a little because it is hot.
Have you ever seen something like this?
A single lone kid with dirty hands and tattered clothes and nothing to call his own in this world biting into a rosogolla which burns his tongue with its fuming hotness and the kid takes another bite and another while his eyes tear up from the stinging hotness and the wind is a little reckless today as it slams against his body and mine and blows with a song of never ending woes.
A rosogolla tastes a little less sweet than it smells because your saliva kills a little of its flavour.
A dry tongue kills more.
A hungry dry tongue makes everything you eat taste a tinge of bitterness.
Go hungry for sufficient time and you can eat your way through a landfill of sugar and come out spitting bitter bile on the sidewalks.
That’s what hunger does to you.
Quells your taste buds.
Quenches your sugar rush.
Go hungry for enough time, and you’ll never want to eat again.
The child bites into the rosogolla with the fierceness of a starving gazelle, and if you ever saw something like that you’d wonder, is sweet really as sweet.
Was it sweet ever?
Or was it always bitter, it was we who romanticized it into delight?

If you ever saw something like that, you’d spend your days asking, is it he who never felt what sweetness really is?
Or is it us?
Has it always been us?

No one likes stereotypes.

If you saw something like that on a dull afternoon outside a school gate where you really had no work being at the first place, you’ll spend your days asking, what makes up stereotypes?

No one likes stereotypes.

Well, almost no one.
Some people, live life never knowing what a stereotype is all about.

Lucky people.
But who?

Grains Of Salt #1.

The baigun bhaja-bhaath touches down base of my tongue and then I’m choking on my own tasteless lunch with an invisible noose around my neck.
My father makes a polite “I’m not hungry” excuse as he pushes the chair away and gets up and I see his invisible noose where he’s supposed to wear a tie. He probably choked a little on his baigun as well.

This household will self-destruct in 5 minutes.

The noose tightens uncomfortably around my throat.
I know at this moment,my mother is trying to loosen her knot, without consequence, as well.
“Arektu bhaath nibi?” She says. “Ato chinta’r ki ache?” She says.
Hangman’s knot. And its only supposed to get tighter as you struggle against it.
You’ll lose the fight the more you try to fight.
You can’t breath the more you try to breath.
You can’t swallow lunch the more you try to gulp it down.

4 minutes till debilitation.

The worst part about hanging is, that it’s still not accepted as a faithful prodigal son of rules for intended death by the churches and religious whorehouses.
They still call it a woman’s death. Like it matters. Or cares about cute names.
The last man to die by hanging in Britain was dragged through the streets for 23 miles and dumped in a landfill to feed maggots for someone’s gangrenous heel.
Like it mattered to his corpse. Or that it cared about niceties.
“What’s done is done. Akhon bhebe ki laabh?” Mother tells me.
Women are thrice as likely to commit suicide by hanging.
Men are twice as likely to succeed.
Efficiency begs to be calculated.
Let reason to suicide be X.
“It’ll be okay”, she says.

3 minutes to suspension.

The worst part about Hanging is,it works by either or all of 3 simple methods.
First, your spine snaps under the torque and the jagged piece penetrates the small baby creche at the base of your hyperventilating brain like the Chrysler building does a Godzilla with lubricant.
Takes your breath away. Literally.
Second,your carotid artery is crushed violently, shooting up fluid pressure in your arteries as high as the Lion King on Meth, causing them to burst internally eventually.
Ever seen a pipe burst in winters?
Now imagine them. Thousands of them.
Now imagine ten thousands of them.
Bursting.
Inside your drawing room.
All the sewage they carry spilled over your interior designer fuelled drawing room. Imagine spilled sewage on your Indian teak-German Saint Gobain Glass centre table.
Imagine frothy warm gooey shit on your beautiful ocean-red flower-etched sofa cover. Imagine it seeping through the plush cushion,staining it black and yellow and algae green,never to go away again.
That’s your body now.
Third, strangulation.

2 minutes to execution.

“Aajkei berobe toh? Jigess korechis toh bhalo Kore?” Says dad.
The worst part about hanging is,its not pretty.
You can’t fake a smile as if you’re gonna pop back 3 days later with a few scars and a million followers right where you turned stiff. You can’t cross your hands over your chest. Or let your eyes droop ever so slowly like portraits.
No,you can’t.
No,its not pretty.
Your jaw is distended under enormous pressure. Your tongue hangs out, licking the dry afternoon air desperately for the last time. Sometimes,your yellow porphyritic teeth bite into your tongue,and blood drips to the floor like paintbrush rollovers.
“Its of no use to not eat now. Its not the end of the world” dad assures me. People lie.
The worst part about hanging is,sometimes you spoil your pants.
Like babies.
Like terminal old men.

1 minute.

The worst part about hanging is,you don’t know how fast you’re gonna die.
It may take up to a minute to lose consciousness, four minutes to lose muscle tone, thirteen minutes to lose complete muscle functions.
If you’re unlucky,which of course you are,the suspension might sever your head.
If you’re lucky,you might get a turgid shiny erection, as blood starts rushing to your proximities.
The last thing you’ll know before you die,is the warm gushing feeling of release in your pants.
No voices. Or light at the end of the tunnel. Just an earth-shattering orgasm.

Its okay son, dad smiles. Its okay,you passed. Now take off the noose. Now more studies. Now graduation. Now a high paying government job.   Now living a life of futility.
Now breath.

Dyspeptalk #16

I.

I am a name. I am also the person. I am the institution. I am also the cadre. I am the face you’ve known since you knew how to remember faces. I am also the face you’ll remember when you don’t know any other faces.
I am the dictation of your daily freedom. I am also the freedom from your daily dictation.
I am the immortal being behind your mortal society. I am also the mortal society behind your immortal being.
I am the tangible amongst your perceptions. I am also your perceptions behind the tangible.

I have.

I have lived a thousand years and shall live a thousand more.
I have stood the oily shores with predators that hunt for food and men who hunt for good.
I have strolled the roads with pimples of gravel before they became highways.
I have controlled your vitamins and regulated your carotene intake.
I have sipped your coffee when you weren’t looking and ate your sandwich before you could put the butter on it.
I have taken your life and filled your void with crassnecks and reality shows.
I have spent nights lying under your bed, hearing you breath and mutter and cry out in your sleep.

I have seen.

I have seen all there is to see.
I have seen the submission in mankind.
I have seen them embrace their inequality like inevitable monsoon rains.
I have seen them come out of closets and crawl out off the deep abyss of self-pity.
I have seen liberty and integrity, they were both type of jeans at a showroom.
I have seen sighs of dissatisfaction rolling the winds but no one to achieve them.

I have seen you.

I have seen your cowardice when asked to wear the dress you like, to parties.
I have seen your most private lovemaking.
I have seen your fetishes. I have seen your embarrassment when they pinch your fat and kick your face.
I have seen you ironing your dirty laundry.
I have seen you hide your secret stash of cigarettes and secret stack of DVDs.
I have seen your toddler tears.
I have seen your senior citizen drool.
I have seen every aspect of your life, that you know nothing about, yet.

I have seen you live.

I have seen you live your life of fear.
I have seen you live a life of checking phone lines and television networks because you know I am watching.
I have seen you live out your paranoia, feed it with your nightmares, nurture it with fidgety attempts to hide like a mouse in an empty house.
I have seen you live under shadows, trying somehow to evade me, to evade all the prying eyes that look at you.
I have seen you live amongst trust issues and disbelief.
I have seen you live in your own insecurities, hiding your honesty under buttoned silk shirts on discount.

I have seen you live your life.

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Dyspeptalk #15

There is a stench of failure in the wind.

You have tried enough. You have given yourself into what you did.
Exams. Relationship. Baking a cake.
But you failed.
That’s inevitable. Try as hard as you can and should, you will inevitably, fail.

The fault lies not in you. The fault lies in a thousand statistical probabilities and a million hands playing the card of fates that have condemned you to embracing you the tag of a loser.
Win, and it shall be your own virtue.
Lose, and it is the vice of fates.
Don’t blame yourself. It will do you no better than the results which have abandoned your happiness today.

The world is full of problems.
The world is in a steady state of disintegration.
Don’t blame the realists because they see it sooner than you do. Don’t blame the rationalists because they believe in it.
It’s a law of nature. Nature and science. Science and futility. The entropy of the world consistently increases.
The waves shall break the shores some more. The trucks shall crack the highway wider.
Failures shall send your efforts to waste.

But listen to me, try.
Try even when there is no point in trying. Make a joke even when no one is laughing. Laugh even when bizarre events of cacophony stares you into the face.
Because, what more can you do?

You know you tried. You know you remembered everything you studied out of your xeroxed notes, until the exam pressure swept it all off and left you with a blank head with buzzing lyrics of half finished songs.
Disconcerting than a hornets hum. Disturbing than radio static.

I know. I have heard it play in my mind, over and over again.
But don’t give up. Not yet.
Nukes are flying our way. The sun is pulling us into its fiery grasp inch by inch. There will be laws that shall imprison our thoughts soon.
Till then, we are society’s only hope.
To protect them. To save them. To rescue them.
From themselves.

We are the border between what’s good and immoral.
We, who fail, who cry, who fall down. We know how to pick up the pieces. We know how to live even when there is no reason to live for.

Listen to me, live.
You’ll be doing yourself a favour. You’ll be doing everything you’ve strived for, a favour.
Don’t give up. There is a plan somewhere. You’ll get to it somehow, somewhere.
Till then, make a joke.
Till then, crack a smile.

Because apocalypse is coming for all of us, just or unjust, alike.
Let’s prove a few points before we go down.
And when we do succumb to battle wounds, let’s go out fighting.

Because what else in life makes sense, but that?

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Dyspeptalk #14

“I was visiting a new city for the first time all alone, and I was scared about how the wind blew and the leaves rustled and people looked at a 19 year old boy with eyes too small to look into and a bag too big to carry on his shoulder.
It made me realize a lot of our fear comes not from what is truly terrifying, but which doesn’t comfort us or throw warm arms around our shoulders.

It is that sense of fear that makes love seems so distant even when lovers rub their lips on each other’s navels.
This sense of fear keeps us holding onto what we believe should be done, and not what we should do, because we are more afraid of trying and failing, than we have been of trying all the same.
This fear culminates in our words and thoughts and moments of the day, ticking like an exploding clock inside the membranes of our mind.

We live through life complaining of indifference, of people being rude, of protests and counter protests.
We go through the motions. We have anxiety because we take the 8 AM bus that drives over potholes and rushes in the face of certain plummeting death with the grimness of a rabid hyena. We can’t sleep because the house next door erupts into yells of anger and pain every time we reach a 129 sheep on our sleep countdown. We have fatalism. We have primetime television. We have lube.

What we must know, is that it’s okay to be scared at times. Monarchs were afraid of the dark, doesn’t mean they were kings of any less repute.
What we must understand, is that we need to do what scares us the least. No matter how often someone would come and tell you that was the only thing you were good at, don’t. Because being scary, beats being good in the “reasons to drop the idea” checklist.

What we must trust, is that there is more to life even at the bleakest of moments.

Especially at the bleakest of moments.”

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Dyspeptalk #13

“Sometimes it’s just easier not to acknowledge that things are not the same.
At this moment, a rare species of singing cicadas are crossing the line into extinction far away in the mossy underbelly of Central Amazonian rainforests.

At this moment, a hundred Bangladeshi social activists and writers and bloggers are changing their names, changing their houses, hiding from neighbours who know what they do. A hundred Bangladeshi artists are painting with hurried strokes, writers are writing their final testaments, bloggers are posting details of the threats their lives bear.
Another blogger hacked to death in his own home while his wife and son remained locked in adjoining rooms, and religious fundamentalists are unfurling banners of their beliefs on the minds of the common man. The air smells of disbelief and segregation suddenly.
You start suspecting the person who prays everyday, you start suspecting the person who doesn’t pray at all.

Four bloggers have died already, some hacked to death in broad daylight on the streets of Dhaka, some in their own houses. The cost of speaking your mind suddenly weighs too heavy on your conscience. The non-believers are cornered, the atheists are cornered, the liberal minded are cornered, the free thinkers are cornered.
What starts as a random act of violence, slowly gathers the momentum of a rolling stone, suddenly threatens to crush us all.
How little shall we speak, how low shall we stoop?

In this moment, an entire species of Cicadas are being silenced.
In this moment, an entire community of men and women are being silenced too.

We are drifting seamlessly in an ether of misogyny and cynicism, cutting from news of spilled guts to food festivals to religious propagandas to selfie quotations, till the very repercussions of our morality feels as unreal as the society.
One by one, the singing is dying down.
One by one, the atheists-conservatives-liberals-free thinking-educated-progressive, are cornered and slaughtered.
Fundamentalists are coming in the open with proclamation of who they killed and why, while you and I delete blogs, sell houses, flee countries, hide in rented basements.
One by one, the rainforests is becoming a hauntingly quiet place to be at.

Yeh khamoshi humari nahi.
Yeh khamoshi jhooti hai.”

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Dyspeptalk #12

“I bet some people are better at friendship than the others, and that like sex, friendship is performance oriented too, so if you can’t find what makes them tick, all you get are pretentiously fake orgasms if they are too polite, and then the whole standard philosophy of ‘don’t think of yourself any less just because you can’t fuck’.
What it really means, is that there isn’t something specifically wrong you’ve done for them to not take your calls, or even if they do, speak with an urgency designed to make you believe they are indeed too busy for your petty misgivings.
Its just who you are as a performer.

I find it really irksome that my father’s friend carried him five and a half miles on a cycle to get his ruptured appendix operated upon while the friend’s father was only two days dead and his family still in mourning.
I find it irksome that my mother kept a fast that rushed her to the infirmary because it was three days since she’d eaten and her gods still hadn’t answered and her best friend was sick with grovelling malaria that parched her skin brown with fever.
Its irksome to think there was a time when a long distance pen friendship worked for decades, and they wrote to each other when they first menstruated and they wrote to each other when they completed college and they wrote to each other when their only child walked off a roof because his long distance relationship didn’t work.

Its irksome that the immediate issue we have to address is a generation of self-obsession and cheap plastic bands on August Sundays.
Its irksome that we have become people who push each other off cliffs when we don’t need them, and cling to the hems of their sighs when we do, that we have learnt to live on the edge of a relationship, that there is no temperament for that which comes with conditions anymore.

I bet some people are better at reading the manual that comes with friendship.
I bet they can take the good- the jokes  the crushes the shared plates of food, just as well as they can take the bad- the fights the mood swings the mistakes one makes.

I bet what we need, is to believe we can, as well.”

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Dyspeptalk #11

“Some religions command that a grieving person mustn’t be allowed in the family kitchen. They say, you infect the food you touch, with your loud sighs and your sadness that weighs three parts lead one part acid and it’s eating away at your heart even before you can take your first morning breath. They say, every grain that passes through your hand shares your secret, it rubs into your cigarette smoke and flaky skin, and when someone else consumes that grain, they too become a part of your emotions keeping you up at 2 in the night gulping for more oxygen than your lungs can feel.

All this while, I’m standing by the balcony and looking at cars go by and I’m wondering if someone in those cars is breathing in the smell of metal in the morning air and thinking of last night when they had an empty house and a razor to their wrist and their lover on speed dial.
I wonder if they’ve held their fists to their chests and wondered if their hearts are sweaty just like their palms. I imagine for them a life with meaning, where they know how to unbutton a shirt to show their scars to a stranger and talk about jumping out of the 12th floor window because someone forgot to kiss them goodbye and hug lovers clumsily because of societal sobriety and because they smell of defeat and because they were 6 pounds too overweight last week.

I wonder if anyone told them, this universe cares about you too, and because you chose to play your favourite song on repeat today, in the Indian ocean two prawns are making love three thousand feet deep under water. I wonder if anyone told them, don’t let the one you love put on their blouse or shirt while you were too busy counting your misfortunes on their fingers. I wonder if anyone told them they deserved to be held too, not because they are worth it, but because what else is there to life.

I wonder if they have thought of overdosing on pills their doctors gave them, and if the thought of having another sandwich with their mother is all that keeps their breathing in sync. I really want to ask them if the sky is bluer for people who smile and if sitting naked at a restaurant scares them and how much.

Yes, mourners aren’t allowed to cook because their sadness seeps into everyone and turns them a little bitter somewhere where they remember their lover’s name to be.
Yes, people love without promising to stay after they have tasted your desire and crushed your pants under their thighs.

And out of the two, I don’t know which one scares the fuck out of me.”

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Dead Flowers #2.

Shorir er moddhye bhangche shorir
Bhenge choriye dichhi nijeke ami
Tomar jorayu’r protiti gronthi te.

After half a century of tireless masturbation
Under the blanket of your leathery breasts,

I’ve broken off the tip from my flaccid organ
And painted your forehead with blood.

Throw away my useless aching bones a
As far as your little finger can fling memories.

Throw me away so no one can build me again.

Throw me under the tire treads of a tractor
Let my bloated stomach burst and impregnate the streets the lampposts this city

With 3 million unborn babies of lust.

Ei shohor tomar noi,
Ei shorir amar noi,
Ei shohor baatil tokma pawar ashai
Bose ache, tomaar chokh cheye.

Ask me why my armpits my throat my tongue doesn’t taste as intimate
As your heroes who lust for unbroken hymen.

Ask me why the poet doesn’t kiss his muse’s ass out of gratitude

Why writing another urine smelling poem is unnecessary.

Throw me away, and don’t look back

Dying cities don’t need your empathy
To end.

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Dead Flowers #1.

Shohor er raasta bhangche aaj, bristi’r jol,Protibader istehaar,
Ar amar jomiye rakha, tomake lekha chithi.

Some nights the rain pounds too hard
On my scalp on my skin

Seeps through the crack of my ass
And trickles down like urine
From wet dreams of a desert.

I’ve dreamt about deserts for so long now
My tongue rubs like sandpaper

On dark nipples of yawning prostitutes.

Tumi jano na kibhabe ami
Jol bnaachiye choli, ei shohor er ghat bhengeche bonya tohbil,
Ar motadorsher nongrami.

The mind, like every complex beehive

Can be broken into separate rooms inside its own captivity.

There is a kitchen, where salt pepper scissors litter a worn out cooking counter.

There is a bathroom that smells of loneliness and strands of your hair
Littering pipes.

There is a bedroom which has longed for childbirth

And has seen too many silent abortions, on wrinkled bedsheets.

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