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Halftones

the motley musings of a maverick

A note of thanks to the people close to my heart…

When you all asked me what I would like for my wedding gift, I answered that give me anything that will remind me of you and our bond forever, but you all came up with a better gift: you gave me moments and few snaps of some (thanks to Aaditya and Dinesh… Hrishi, I am still waiting for the official photographs ;)) I can never part with. The fact that you enjoyed throughout the event was so evident in your faces that it made this event the most beautiful one in my life. So here goes a publicly declared confession of my gratitude as a return gift, although I know it’s nothing in front of what you all gave me…

My first thanks would go to my Maa and Deuta, for their patience with me, for never curbing my freedom and for always believing in my decisions and choices…

Deuta, ma and me (1)

Deuta, ma and me (2)

Thank you Chayan- my friend, philosopher, guide, sibling, son and now my husband as well, who stood by me through thick and thin in the last eleven years (and some toughest ones) of my life. Thanks for allowing me such joy.

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Us in 2009

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Thank you Ankur, Prakash and Jai (both of you were missed at the wedding), and Aaditya (Kanna) for being there at different phases of our life and helping us, albeit unknowingly, move through some rather difficult phases. The conversations I have had with you all have helped me grow, and if Chayan and I are together now, a little credit goes to each one of you. Hope we will continue to be there for each other always.

Ankur, xin and me on 3rd
Ankur and Xin, thank you so much for this click and for travelling thousands of miles to share our joy
Aaditya and me (2)
Thank you for introducing me to simplicity, for taking the baggage of knowledge away and for making me value what really needs to be valued…

 

Aaditya, Chayan and me

Thanks to the bride’s sister who was in great demand throughout the occasion 😀 Love you a lot for tolerating my grumpy and grouchy moods and for handling every responsibility efficiently.

 

Sister, me and husband

 

 

Thank you my four knights in shining armor: Udipta, Pulak, Kanna and Dinesh. Don’t know what I would have done without you all. You literally relieved me of all tensions, from taking care of car arrangements to making all of my guests feel welcomed and cared for! I must include Sam as well here, although you arrived late and went back early (you missed out on the real fun…wait for the photographs in the second part). Also Bhaskar, even if you ditched me by being on the groom’s side (so no photos as of now), I must thank you as well. If this event was a success, 50 per cent of the credit goes to you guys, especially to Udipta for leading on ;). Thanks for bearing with all the inconveniences without even a slight ‘ouch’. My family is already missing you all a lot. And yes, Uma mentioned in her email to me that “from Berlin to Bangalore- you have a truly impressive ‘gang’ of friends” 😉 Imagine the amount of charm you spread!

Udipta
My childhood buddy, the commander of the gang! Thanks for everything!
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And he managed to fall asleep wherever he found some space! 😀
Aaditya and me
Thank you for everything!
Pulak and me
Will value your guidance and especially the advice you gave as we parted at the airport. Thank you for being there!

 

Sam, Pulak, Udipta and me

Aaditya, Dinesh, Pandian, yeliz and me
It was absolutely wonderful seeing the three musketeers wearing the veshti! Thank you guys for keeping my request 🙂
Pulak, Ankur and Sam
Pulak, you finally managed to have the Pathaan look and along with the attitude 😀

Friends intently watching Juron

Friends taking care of groom
And last but not least… thanks for taking care of the groom for the bride 😉 Chayan and I are lucky to have you all.

 

Thank you sis cum bestie: for always being there, for never questioning my steps and having faith in me, for the wishes and prayers and for the ‘almost daily’ dozes of bugging 😉 

Subasana and me in Juron
Love you!

Thank you Anee and Ayantika (you were missed at the wedding), Srujana, Titu, Anjaly for giving me such a beautiful bachelorette party. When the journey begins with as wonderful a surprise as this…

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…it means that more beautiful surprises are on their way. Anee, kudos to you girl, for eliciting the responses to those questions from Chayan 😀 I had fun!

collage bachelorette

Titu, Srujana and Anjaly before Juron

Srujana, Titu, Anjaly and me in my reception

Thank you Sabiha and Rituraj, for lighting up the whole atmosphere with your cheerfulness, and for your love…

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Thank you Ajit, Uma, Karthik, Yeliz, Shalini and Purva for your presence and for your appreciations. I am glad you enjoyed 🙂 

 

Yeliz, Karthik and me

Purva, Shalini and me

Thanks to my family for managing everything in the best way they could within a short period of time. I can assure you that this event of my life taught me why ‘family’ is important. Perhaps, it’s an essential realization when a couple is on their way towards building a new family. Special thanks to Apu da and Roon, for always having faith on me and my choice and for loving Chayan since the day I introduced him to you.

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Thanks for this supposedly pre-wedding shot, Roon 😀 Love you!
Apu da and me
Thank you for being more like my own brother than a cousin. Love you.

With family during my reception

 

 

Two bou

 

With cousins
Thanks cousins!!
With in laws family
And before I end this part… Thanks to my new family!!

 

When the best of friends and the cousins team up, the bride and groom are the ones who get the most joy out of it. Thank you so much for making such a wonderful team and for taking care of literally everything with a smile on the face…

With cousins and friends

 

 

Sabiha, Rituraj and my cousins

Cousins and friends during reception

Thank you all for the enthusiastic participation: beginning from 3rd evening till the wee hours of 5th morning and for the appreciation and wishes. Waiting for the photographs. Will upload them once I receive them from all the photographers 😉 but for now we have these (in a sequence):

3rd February: Arrival of the first batch of guests

3rd Feb Traditional Dinner (2)

 

3rd February: Traditional dinner

3rd Feb Traditional Dinner (6)3rd Feb Traditional Dinner (5)3rd Feb Traditional Dinner (4)3rd Feb Traditional Dinner (3)3rd Feb Traditional Dinner (1)

 

4th February: Juron

Juron aaha

 

Mother in law and me in Juron (2)

 

 

4th February: Bathing ceremony

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Whoever has more photos please email them to me! Either the photographers weren’t aware of the event or they weren’t allowed!

 

4th February: Pani tula ceremony before groom’s arrival

 

 

4th February: Groom’s arrival

Grooms arrival (2)
Shower of rice

Grooms arrival (3)

Grooms arrival (4)

Grooms arrival (5)

Grooms arrival (6)Grooms arrival (7)Grooms arrival (8)

Dora and Xokhi
Dora and Xokhi 🙂 Thank you Pranjal for the promise of being the brother-in-law forever!

Although it’s considered a duty of the family to take care of guests, to see the family doing the same with pleasure is a thing of joy… thanks for that!

 

But seeing them wait for the last rituals, trying hard not to doze off completely gives more joy 🙂

 

 

                  THANK YOU

Tale of Twelve Nights

Kanna, Dinesh, Pulak and Udipta thank you so much for giving us company right from day 1 (30th of January) to day 12 (10th of February), from helping my father with the shopping to the end of all ceremonies and celebration. Can’t thank you enough for making each day special, by being my family instead of just close friends. Will remember seeing the supermoon together (the once-in-150-years one :D), the late night talks over bonfire and the planning sessions; the Tamil songs vs. Punjabi folk music sessions 😉 , the noisy lunches and ‘laage’ and ‘naalaage’s and most of all the laughter that made the house lively each time it echoed 😀

Thank you so much for these moments (8th and 9th February):

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Berry games!

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Sugarcane thieves 😀

 

 

 

Ahem! Ahem! ;P

 

 

 

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 These have been the happiest 12 days of my life till date… thank you guys! 

Let me end by sharing with you all the pictures of part of the house, which some of you perhaps had a glimpse of when it was in a rather messy state. Also, you will see your gifts being put to proper use 😀 Thank you so much for the wonderful gifts! 

 

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I might have missed out thanking some of you… Bijit da, Bistirna da, I don’t have the pictures I clicked with you all yet. Nevertheless, will always remember your roles in our life and the wishes. Thanks for being there to share our joy. Lastly, I take the opportunity through this occasion to thank each and every friend and family member of mine with whom I have had some good memories in the last 30 years of my life, and whose company has, intentionally or unintentionally, contributed to my wisdom and contentment. Love you all!

Crossings and Convergence

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In that world, where we were first introduced

I laid my eyes on a poem

The beginnings of a blue, tender.

We prepared to play you in me, and I learnt

Poetry is more than stroking this tapestry-

Life?

In this world, where beauty is in dawns never meeting

Twilights

And the pond the sky,

We must sing you in us, in them.

Aren’t you a song now?

Drifting above mortals,

Travelling towards another world

Where blacks and whites disappear in harlequin chess boards,

Where birds of first flight flittering their wings

Give the highest delight?

 

(Dedicated to the artist- caught between the child and the saint- who is forever seeking home and freedom. Do not falter: they will come to you in time. You must never leave the road! You are in my prayers)

अहम् के बहाने?

कोई कला का कैदी तोह कोई कृत्य का

बिच में उलझेलूल हम

क्षणिक सुख की झलक क्या मिल गयी

तलब पे उतर आये हम

 

सोचा था कि अपने बारे में कभी न बोलेंगे, पर

क्या करें

अल्फाज़ मुलाज़िम जो ठहरे सुर्ख आँसुओं के

दबी हुयी दुखों की बुनियाद पे

जिंदगी खड़ी तोह नहीं की जाती

हर ग़फ़लत की जड़ अहंकार तो नहीं होती

अगर होती तो

खामोशियों से यूँ दोस्ती न होती

सालों की बारकियाँ

आज बिखरती न दिखती

बर्फ से बनी मकबरों में हरियाली की अहद न होती

हम तुम न होते तुम हम न होते

आज तूफ़ान भी एलान कर रहे हैं

खुशी की

पलों में बसी दास्तांओं की

 

आज आगाज़-ये-कार कला व कृत्य की मिलन की

लफ्जों में एक पल को कैद करने की कोशिशों की

खुदा की चाह की

 

कल का क्या पता

कहीं वज़ूद को कायम किये बिना ही

मुक्त न हो जाएं हम

 

क्षणिक सुख की झलक क्या मिल गयी

तलब पे उतर आये हम

CORRIDORS OF TIME AND THE WITNESSES

The eucalyptuses swayed, embraced and kissed, and swayed away. The wind blew harder and they swayed again, this time embracing each other for a longer moment before they swayed apart. On the backyard, I stood amidst the bamboos and wilderness, withdrawn from the world, my eyes following the movements of the two eucalyptuses.

The wind had not blown so fiercely in the last two years. The scene outside was exhilarating. In fact, coming from a world where sounds of drilling machines, horns and loud stereos reign, I didn’t have any idea what it was to see and hear nature dancing to its own tunes. I came out of my room to feel the first drops of rain on my face, to inhale the scent of earth, to turn nostalgic.

“Laal? Where are you heading to in this storm?”

“To fetch the cows, they must be frightened. This time we are going to get a good harvest, though.” He went on, whistling.

Laal was the oldest man alive in the village, still hale and hearty in his mid-eighties. He often whistled while feeding or rearing his cattle. I caught the festive mood too; I brought my umbrella out and stepped on the first puddle, then the second, the third and marched ahead, splashing mud and singing to myself without any destination in mind. Yet, I knew I would struggle between my heart wanting to cut short in front of Deepti’s house and pay her a visit and my mind forcing me to shed off any hopes lingering at the back of it. I turned to take the outer road, the road which passed behind Deepti’s house and in front of the richer part of the village with wealthy settlers and a buzzing market area.

“Samiran, it seems you are enjoying the weather. What about a hot cup of tea?” Nirmaali offered, standing sheltered in the verandah of her house.

I halted at their entrance. “No thanks; some other day.”

“Out on business?” she asked again, smiling.

“Yes.” I lied and sauntered on.

I reached the abandoned rice mill from where the main road divided into the inner and outer road. I saw the eucalyptuses moving to and fro. Tall as they were, it was easy to notice them from any point in the village. Some used to say a young girl hanged herself from the large peepal tree behind the mill and her spirit roamed about.

A while later, I crossed the largest grocery shop in the village; it was owned by Dhanuaa, a short and stout man in his seventies. His son Mantu ran the business now. He was younger to me by a few years but he looked older and wiser; unlike me, he had stayed in this village since his birth.

“How is it going, Mantu?” I greeted him.

“Good! Good! Where are you heading to, Doctor?” Mantu asked, as he pushed a carton of uncle chip packets inside the shop.

“Nowhere in particular; just enjoying the weather.”

Thunder cracked again and the wind blew harder. Shivers ran along the exposed part of my hands. I bade him farewell and walked ahead. My heart thumped louder as I approached Deepti’s house. She always brought the worst out in me; at all times her eyes were aflame Continue reading “CORRIDORS OF TIME AND THE WITNESSES”

Pichavaram: the aquamarine charm of Tamil-Nadu

The sight of a family of seals staring back at me, through the patchy openings of a thick mangrove forest, with their round and gullible yet inquisitive eyes, was incredibly delightful. At least for those rare moments I was delivered from my certainty of a distinctive existence to that of one where I might be the alien instead: unfamiliar and ready to be accused of trespassing or experimented upon! Thankfully the population of these curious seals is way too less to be a threat to us humans- the constantly burgeoning mass- on the surface of earth. We- my friend, the boatman and I- travelled for some distance, rowing through a narrow waterway between two mangrove islands and them-the family of seals- travelled parallel to our route through the forests on our right. To listen to the squeaks of the little seals was another delight, and I asked the boatman to row the boat closer to the forests.

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The head of one seal: My reflexes aren’t good enough to capture “the” moment; it usually passes by the time I recover from my awe and remember that I need to capture it, nor was my camera pro enough to capture telephoto shots. Hence, the pointer to help find the main object of my focus.

 

Pichavaram is the first mangrove forest I have seen closely in my life. The boatman- a robust Tamil fellow in his early twenties perhaps- told us that the mangroves are not only home to the seals, the fascinating migratory birds, the fishes and crabs but also the only major livelihood alternative to farming for the villagers. They have shaped the lives of the villagers as much as they have for the estuarine biome. If it were not for the mangroves, there would have been irredeemable damage to the villages of the region during the devastating Tsunami on 26th of December, 2004 that ruined many coastal areas in South-east Asia beyond recognition.

What makes it a wonder:

At some places, as we rowed, the route turned pitch dark, the prop roots and branches of the relatively short Rhizophora trees hung over us and some prop roots protruded lower near the ground to interweave with their neighbours, creating some forbidding motifs, all of which reminded me of fictions and movies plotted in the Amazon rainforests and the like: eerie! Numerous unfamiliar small insects and butterflies abounded these zones. Now and then, I spotted small crabs crawling on the roots as well.

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A tiny crab

However, silence is no stranger to me and to anyone who’s familiar with nature’s Continue reading “Pichavaram: the aquamarine charm of Tamil-Nadu”

Epilogue to Her Fancies

In her childhood Beth often listened to her granny’s wondrous tales, as she rested on a cot under the starlit skies…

“…and the fox turns into a huge gourd, it slopes down swiftly through the dense jungles to reach me…”

Nine times out of ten she fell asleep before the story ended; her night a world of vivid dreams.

Then, in her teenage, she read Marquez: of colourless glasses turning blue when people are in love! Perhaps they did too! Why, even the most ordinary villagers had so many extraordinary tales to tell…

“…there’s this brook in our village, which lend gold to the villagers in their times of need given they promised to repay back. Sometimes someone wouldn’t and no sooner were they filled with greed that the curse of the brook brought grievous calamity upon them!…”

To Beth, Marquez’s world frequently came alive when villagers regaled such stories and in

Continue reading “Epilogue to Her Fancies”

Tourism Industry in Sikkim: Boon or Bane?

Just three days in a place like Sikkim and that too in the rainy season didn’t quench even a speck of my thirst for the beauty I encountered. Surely another trip is due and next time I’ll stay for a longer duration. But my observations while travelling around the place and my word with a knowledgeable local man led me to a lot of pondering, which, it seems is going to culminate into another post in my blog.

I had been hearing and reading a lot about Sikkim off late; especially about the Kanchenjunga Landscape Conservation and Development Initiative (KLCDI) taken up by ICIMOD (International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development), based in Nepal, and assisted by Indian institutions like the GBPIHED (Govind Ballav Pant Institute of Himalayan Environment and Development). A large part of Sikkim (in fact, almost the whole of it) falls under the Kanchenjunga Landscape. So, when I got a chance to visit Sikkim (I was to accompany a family member) I took it.

Transboundary Ecosystem Management is a growing need of the world. During the present UN Decade for Biodiversity, focus has been largely placed on conservation of biodiversity through ‘ecosystems approach’. Sustainable development strategies, of any country, work

Continue reading “Tourism Industry in Sikkim: Boon or Bane?”

To a John Keats of Today

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O Love,

 

Why’d you wait with bated breath?

For your Bright Star: a glimpse, a word, a dewy-eyed kiss?

The romance has gone, my friend, the winds restrained

It is Love that’s lost; it is Love that we miss

Continue reading “To a John Keats of Today”

As the Ice broke, Water was Everywhere

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She was there,

Where it all began and all ended

Neither the bright afternoon knew

Nor the sad evening

For they were mere visitors

The tree, though, seemed to know it all

Continue reading “As the Ice broke, Water was Everywhere”

ख़ामोशी-ए-लब

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ए फ़क़ीर,

तू अपनी सुना

अंजाम-ए-कहानी होठों पे ला

 

तू भी था ख़ौफ़ों और शकों की

बेचैनियों में बंधा?

या…

सहसा, दुआओं की ऐसी भीड़ लगी

Continue reading “ख़ामोशी-ए-लब”

Suspended in Space

(I)

The night drew out on his last words.

Silence, like a palm reddened in vermillion,

Tenderly touched and left its print on a new leaf.

It’ll die with the mark, will it not?

(II)

Many a winter stumbled

Over the heap of results of someone else’s

Continue reading “Suspended in Space”

the mad man

what in us

the teaching thorn

the hardened rock

the wonted morn

for him

the swaying of a tender leaf

in his heart

and he dreaming

Continue reading “the mad man”

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