Yes, one happy moment, frozen forever…My parents, looking happy and carefree…That’s the way I like to think of them. Always. When things go downhill, I look at these pics and I feel better. Ready to go on again…
Sleep as you will…
In 2006, my life turned completely upside down. Nothing seemed to work. It was during this tough phase that I wrote my poem ‘The Delhi Metro.’ I had no idea why I wrote what I wrote and what I was going to do about it. It was just a spontaneous expression of hope, strength, and courage to carry on and I felt light after writing it. The idea of getting it published some day never occurred to me and I wasn’t even sure whether it had any literary value at all.
When I showed the hand-written poem to my husband, he thought it was ‘nice’ and suggested some minor changes.
I subsequently uploaded the corrected poem on Poemhunter.com because every poem has a life and a destiny of its own. A day or two later, everything became as usual and I forgot all about the poem. Like me, the poem too wandered in the wilderness.
In 2012, however, six years later, Connie Robertson, an editor from OUP (Oxford University Press), UK, picked it up and chose it for inclusion in one of their upcoming textbooks! I still think I was a poetic Cinderella that a Fairy Godmother launched into the publishing world. Why else would a world-famous, prestigious publisher like OUP wish to engage with me, an obscure writer living in a poor country like India, doing a job that had nothing to do with writing, publishing, or poetry.
Connie’s first message to me was through Poemhunter as she didn’t have my email id. She requested me for “non-exclusive rights to OUP to publish my 60-line poem ‘The Delhi Metro.”
My first impulse was to count the number of lines. Yes, it was 60 alright, but I still had my apprehensions.
In my reply, I asked her to explain what she meant by “non-exclusive rights” because the idea of giving any kind of rights whatsoever, as far as I was concerned, felt like giving up a baby forever; a very painful thing, not something I could imagine myself doing.
Connie’s response was, “By non-exclusive rights, we mean that
a. You retain the copyright and you have full freedom to get the poem published elsewhere.
b. By allowing us to publish the poem, you will get the opportunity to show off your baby to the whole world.”
I was really touched after reading this. About 6 months later, OUP sent £200 into my bank account through RTGS and an author’s copy of the book at my residence through courier. I still have the courier packet as a momento…
I recently came across a very cute newly-married married couple in a Delhi Metro train. While they smiled, laughed, kissed and hugged each other in gay abandon right in front of my amused eyes, they reminded me of the newly-married couple in my poem ‘Delhi Metro,’ completly immersed in each other’s company. I could feel the dreamy, magical aura they created around themselves and I gave in to the strong temptation to freeze those ecstatic moments forever by clicking their photograph. They are now the hero and the heroine of this poem on Poemhunter. Here is the link:
Only Time will tell how this poem will lead its life in future.
Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee
On 5 September 2017, two groups of exhausted, overworked, and digruntled managers sat in two different rooms of a 5-star luxury hotel in Delhi. They were participating, or rather, trying to participate, in a new product launch training session of a well-known car brand in India.
It should have been a very refreshing session as it was held in the best possible setting that any corporate employee can imagine. Even the washrooms looked like well-maintained lounges with round tables and plush sofas.
With well-fed stomachs and fulfilled palettes, they sat through the one-day session crammed with several days’ content and ‘Group Activities.’ Their trainer tried his heroic best to keep them awake and ensure that they grasped as much of it as they could. At 6:30 PM, the session ended, to their utter relief.
With crestfallen faces, these young people walked out of the hotel, bracing themselves for another hectic day at their dealerships . The women, especially those who had come from other cities like Agra, Mathura, Jabalpur, etc had something additional to worry about. How to reach home in time and safely too within the constraints of a limited budget.
That evening, on my way home in a crowded mini-bus, with only a fraction of the new-product-launch-training in my head, I scrolled down the photos in my cellphone camera. The three most recent ones clicked that day made me smile. I was thrilled and I felt special. That’s when I realized that you don’t need too many things to be happy. Little ones are enough. Here are those pics.
My poem ‘Modesty Personified’ inspired from this pic is now on poemhunter.com. Click on the link below and read on.
These street dogs have found a way out. With the trees gone, they sleep, dream, and ponder in the shade of a concrete wall…
Every photograph has a story knitted into it. Like this one…Theirs hasn’t ended yet, it seems, and has probably just begun…
Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee
This Kachoris-and-Sabji seller began his business recently this month near Uttam Nagar East Metro Station in August 2017.
Capped and aproned, with prices clearly and proudly displayed on a small board next to him, he serves his stuff from a clean, specially designed cupboard; very much like a McDonald’s employee. If you look around here closely, you will notice that no other hawker is as obviously fussy about cleanliness and style as he is. His stall seems to be like a little lotus in the middle of murky pond occupied by a busy bus terminal, hundreds of autos, gramin seva minis, and e-rickshaws; a Sulabh toilet; and other street vendors. He is, I think, the first street food hawker in this area who has responded positively to the challenges of rising living standards and higher expectations of the general public. By setting himself apart and walking the extra mile, he has already ensured that he stays ahead of competition.
A lot of health-conscious people like me who don’t normally trust street food might be tempted to try out his kachoris on their way to work during morning hours.
Congratulations, dear Bro, and best of luck!
Copyright: Jasbir Chatterjee