one foggy winter morning. amidst the hustle and bustle of canteen. you are sitting on a bench. a grimy, nondescript, shawl covering you. a fringe of your panjabi visible. and your golden head. you turn, slightly. steaming cha in your hand. how was i to know you knew bangla? you exotic creature with your bewitching golden curls. golden boy.
nandan. i had caught glimpses of you the previous day, or did i dress up then to please myself, because it felt good? queues in front of Rabindra Sadan. Machuca or Zivot Je Cudo. i rejoiced at our similar choice of films. i rejoiced (so easily!!) at everything, that magic winter. for the last time perhaps. you are with your (chomu--i haven't used that word since) friends. reading a bangla magazine from time time. damn! anyway. shameless, i keep looking at you. you steal surreptitious glances at me too. annoyed were you? but i imagined, the few times your gaze was broken only by my answering gaze, that it lingered longer...what despair if you didn't turn up at those queues!
that magic november week. the films. the often annoying crowd. the starlets from bangla films/serial with their insolent stares willing you to ask for their autographs. the cheapskate bangla film/serial director who elbowed me and pretended to read a paper while trying to look up my skirt. then she came. also in a queue. her mother standing in for her initially. curly frizzy long hair done up in a careless knot. beautiful. so beautiful. i had eyes only for her. her plump arms. her nose ring. her gestures. her smile. her di-vine smile. i was drunk.
i dressed up too. the long black earrings. they served me well, now rusted. the wet hair, the kohl, the blue skirt with zari border(faded), and the yellow sleeveless fab top. then jeans and sleeveless tee shirt and multicolored earrings: a gift from phoren (the stones are lost). but the compliment (dopka) came via a friend from someone whom i hardly knew and coming from him it was meaningless. soon, soon i was to get out of a relationship and fall in love and break my heart. the magic never returned. this dull bloody world of aggression. murder and rape. never went back to another film festival. i want to but do i really want to? will it be a let down? nostalgia covers everything with fine gold dust, i know. what remained of the schoolgirl died between that winter and the next summer. here i am, pessimistic, bitter, resentful, sadistic, masochistic. it shall never be the same...
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