|does time freeze?|
From managing to pack one and a half years of life into twenty-three kilograms of checked in baggage, to taking out two kilograms from the backpack in front of the servicemen and piling them back once away from their view; from reaching the sweltering, humid hometown and running into its warm familiar arms, to dressing up in the best silks for the wedding at home, getting drenched in the rains and the sweat, staining the sarees with both – phew! life has been busy ever since the last time fingers were put to the keyboard!
Amidst the familiar smells, the familiar loud laughters and unending adda (chat) sessions, the familiarity of the keyboard, the blog-roll, the interaction with you, the social networking sites have been missing. Action in the social arena sapped away all the time one could manage between maintaining the unabashed eight to ten hours of sleep per day, in spite of continuous encouragement from all quarters to improve upon that inappropriate scheme. But that is not what this post was meant to be!
Monday, 8th August, was 22nd of Srabon, the fourth month in the Bengali Calendar. It was the death anniversary of the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore. Tagore is written as Thakur in Bengali. This surname of Rabindranath literally means ‘god’ in Bengali. The deification of Rabindranath, though a reality in the intellectual life of the Bengalis, is not the topic of discussion here. The topic is the almost impromptu celebration, on the evening of 22nd Srabon, with songs and poetry of Tagore and thoughts on his vision and works. Some of us sang with the melody of our voices, some of us sang with the melody of our hearts; some of us recited from memory, while some recited in silence; some of us danced, breathless without practice, while others swayed to the rhythms rising in the soul.
Women who are busy with household chores day-in-and-day-out, some on whom age has begun to sap away the youth, women for whom Tagore is sometimes a name in the distance, sometimes a song in solitude, sometimes the face that stares down from the framed image on the wall, were soaking in the Tagore as a realisation in their daily life. From the bounty of innocence in Sishu (The Child), to the voice of change that resounds in the poem “Africa”, to the voice that spoke about freedom, women and nationalism, to the vision of life that spoke of continuity in spite of the natural course of decay, our discussions were marvellously amateurish and intensely passionate at all times.
As we sat haphazardly across the room, and, as Tagore’s side-face looked on from the cover of a Bengali magazine, the name of which was hidden by a garland, the only thing that kept occurring was steadfast outbursts of life. What better way to celebrate the death anniversary of the poet who wrote “Sesh nahi je / Sesh kotha ke bolbe” (Since there is no end/ who can announce the end)?