Friday, March 13, 2009

Train Conversations

So am back from Shantiniketan, drops of abir-stained sweat have dried and have been washed away by shampoo. I didn't want to come back. Can I go back sometime soon, very soon? Probably not.

There were a lot of West Bengal Police personnel in the compartment during the return journey. They graciously offered us seats. And were generally v inquisitive about the firangs. So we got talking. They were from the Asansol corps (or was it battalion?) and were posted in Shantiniketan for the Vasntotsav. They were all from Purulia. Couldn't follow what 'houding-mouding' these firangs said. Had been posted in Salt Lake. Got only 30 days earn leave per year. Had been posted in Singur. I asked him about Singur. The answers were so casual. This wasn't a fraught subject with him (them I guess). Initially with the water logging and no facilities it had been tough. Later there was a mess where they ate. The hairdresser had made a lot of money from their stay--since everyone presumably needed shaving and their hair cut and there were few napits. Now the people are suffering (postachhe). Okhane factory hole bhalo hoto. Ekhon to shudhu rajnoitik khela hoye gechhe. It has just become a political game. Yep, that's what he said. It is so easy to demonise people. Once you do that there is nothing to hold you back from gassing them in the concentration camps. Adg had said that once. A humbling lesson, relearnt from a man who couldn't figure out whether Nikki was a boy or a girl.

There was this other couple sitting on the seat across the isle. They kept saying how important it was to learn 'ingliss' and how they are sending their daughter to a St. Xavier's in Bolpur (instead of Patha Bhavan) so she could learn 'ingliss'. They get fined if they speak Bangla there. They have to say even the trivialest of things in 'ingliss' while addressing the teachers. The daughter complains how the parents can't speak 'ingliss'. The woman concluded that I could communicate with the firangs so well as I was studying 'ingliss' MA (I said ingriji, but that went completely ignored throughout the conversation). Just these normal people anyway. Why did they piss me of so, then? Felt cynical, snooty and old. Not a valuable lesson or any unexpected insight.

I desperately need to lose myself in the oblivion of alchohal and meaningless laughter. Since there is not a chance of an insight when all of them are fucking away in Dilli and US of A and Oxford. I miss. Badly.

PS: Quote of the day by Adg- "Many interesting descriptions of tyrants. If you ever consider becoming a political journalist keep Erasmus by your side"

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

very interesting.