Sometimes,it’s the light which attracts. At other times, it’s the deception beyond the light which attracts even more and in our quest to get the light and due to our ignorance of what all lies beyond the horizon, we often land in a zone of broken darkness that is utterly irreparable nd irreplaceable.
So, even if the sun’s there overhead,there are cracks and sinuses you never know. Life’s all the same. It unfurls itself at the most unexpected time in the most unexpected hues. And so does the age old Ozymandias hold in place forever. You never know what lies beyond the cross section of life and a sinister disaster may hurt you anytime, utterly.
Anyway, the thought which has been lingering in my brain for a good while now is quite simple and I’m quite motivated by myself that I should give a shoutout to this. It was all triggered by an instance in the Dankuni station last week and then a chain of imageries stuck cords of my heart at quite different frequencies. A man , middle aged, probably daily labourer , was sitting on the platform with his two huge sack like bags and taking chop muri as a mere breakfast. His freshly bathed and combed hair, the shabby sweater wriggled a strange puzzle of emotions in my mind. But his eyes, a subtle mixture of shallow yellow and red filled with lacrimal secretion was enough for me to bring me too a standstill but then the whistle blew and well we all suffer from the perks of being too much mundane.
It was just another morning for me. I was enroute Kamarkundu (my native) to attend the funeral of my grandfather (not my own!). We had to break our journey at Dankuni and take a train to the chord line. Dankuni was all the same to me that morning . The milkmen were loading and reloading, young children were running in Methodists’ uniform and girls in salwar gossiping in village accents enroute college. The farm women with a shirt on their torn and blackened sharees were chatting as well. The pucca tea shop in platform 2 was crowded as well. The Sun was shining. The birds were flying. But I felt different, very much.
Taking a window seat, I started to recount. And the first of all I saw was a young man not more than 30 simply sitting and begging. I didn’t give him a penny nor sympathy because I hate cheap sympathy as the means of survival. He could have easily done something to earn a living, he was not handicapped. And then came the faces of the old, wrecked faces of men and women with skin wrinkled and teary eyes and eating dal mixed rice ravenously lining up the passage in Dumdum that I used to regularly encounter on my way back from “pathfinder”. And my chest pained maybe.
Well, i don’t feel pity or bad for beggars out there honestly. But then I feel bad for these strawed classes of people who toil like primeveal animals to earn that day’s bread only, never gaining an ounce of respect . They shout in the rail compartments till their throats dry up but no one seems to notice the tears cloying in their throats. And at the end of the day, what happens to them? Yes, they return to a Dumdum passageway, too weak to even ask for a penny but only staring with tearful eyes after being vigorously tortured by their children and thrown out of their roots or maybe with white hair and worn out legs stroll slowly selling pink candies and banging a heavy metal to draw attention and all that reflect on them is perhaps the trodden way to their childhood. The childhood never splashed with rhododendrons but spent wearing torn rags with a little brother in arms to give the money to a broker and sit half empty stomach. Indeed life’s s strange loop. Ain’t so ?
I remember how in childhood, after seeing a girl of my age begging in Bagbazar during puja that after growing “big”, when I’ll have a lot of money, I’ll feed all of them, I’ll buy huge tracts of land for their rehabilitation, residence and education. But hey, in this world of irony and nihilism, childhood fancies are too unbelievable fairytales. Growing up made me realise it’s not always possible to conquer tears but the one question that leaves me frozen is , can’t I be someone’s reason of smile? Can’t I ? But then, how ? And I don’t know. Sorry.