I have a strong dislike for permanent tattoos. The pain and bleeding that people undergo while getting themselves tattoed is, I feel, completely unnecessary. It sounds like vandalizing a perfect work of art.
I have often seen people impulsively making strong, indelible statements through tattoos and regretting them later. Sometimes tattoos have grammatical errors too. See here: https://jasbirchatterjeephotoblog.wordpress.com/2016/05/12/tattoo-english/
But yesterday, on 16 June 2017, I came across one tattoo (see pic above) which completely bowled me over by its beauty, simplicity, and profound meaning. It has just one word, ‘Musafir,’ written in Hindi, meaning traveller, but its significance carries the weight of thousands of words and emotions put together… It reminded me of my short story “A Fellow Traveller” which got published in a stories website.
So, I guess, tattoos are not such an evil thing, after all!
Copyright Jasbir Chatterjee
A well-meaning close relative once remarked, “You shouldn’t look at sunsets for too long. They bring on dark, negative thoughts which lead you into black, bottomless spaces of destruction.”
This is very good advice indeed, But being a poet, my heart wins over my mind and I choose to ignore it.
As soon as I step out of office in the evenings, my eyes instinctively search for the setting sun. That’s when something snaps within me and I feel absolutely free. Liberated from tight deadlines, politically correct atmosphere, made-up faces, and artificial smiles, my thoughts become mine alone as I head towards home, sweet home…
While the clouds play with the sun and create their own paintings with different hues of yellow, orange, blue, and black, my thoughts turn into characters of a drama in the backdrop of those divine paintings in the sky; together, they create sagas of their own…
Here are some of my recent evening shots…
A few days ago, I made a beetroot chutney. It was meant to be an innovation dish. It had everything right when I began; the beetroot, green coriander leaves, green chillies, salt, jaggery (gur), and tamarind paste (imli). But when I checked the taste of the end-product, all the four main flavors, sweet, sour, hot, and salty turned out to be in excess! Even the maroon color from the beetroot had a darker shade than normal.
It was, I think, a day when I didn’t quite feel okay and my heart and mind were at loggerheads with each other. Things rarely ever work out when you are in this kind of a state of mind.
The chutney, to my great disappointment, got no takers and it sat in the fridge, unwanted and unloved. But I didn’t want to discard it. So, after much deliberation, I used it to make another dish, a plateful of beetroot and potatoes tikkis. This time, I was lucky. My family loved them and the tikkis vanished that very day itself!
Here are the step-by-step pics.
1. Add the beetroot chutney paste to mashed potatoes, chirwa (flattened rice), bread slices. I didn’t add any spices, not even salt, as the chutney already had far too much of everything. The dough that you see here has got all tastes balanced out.
2. I made balls out of the dough and pressed them to make tikkis like the ones you see here.
3. Shallow-fry the tikkis on a nonstick frying pan till they turn brown on both sides.
4. Here is a pic of the first lot of tikkis. Enjoy!
My walk to the Metro station on my way to work on 23 May 2017 had something new and exciting in store for me; an Amaltas tree; a tree that Mayank Austen Soofi, my favorite writer and blogger, often writes about. I considered it my great fortune that day to have discovered one right inside my neighborhood!
It looked so gorgeous with its abundant golden yellow flowers in full bloom! A mere sight of it lifted me from the pall of gloom that had been over me for the past so many days. I could not help stopping by for a few moments to feast my eyes on this ravishing sight. Just below the tree, there was a yellow carpet formed by the fallen Amaltas flowers. I had a strong temptation to cross the fence and sit on it…
Just in case you are wondering if I reached office on time that day, well, yes, I did, quite miraculously indeed, in spite of so many obstacles, a stuck metro, a traffic jam, and aafreshly water logged road right outside the office building.
Here are some pics I clicked during those guilty moments near the Amaltas tree…
Monday, 8 May 2017, turned out to be a super special day for my family! It made me glow happily, like the moon basking in the glory of a shining star.
While the hot, orange-yellow sun blazed outside in a clear, blue sky over the dazzling, golden-yellow Amaltas flowers, my husband Sukhangshu presented a program inside the Jamia Millia University premises on the occasion of Tagore’s 156th birth anniversary celebration. I was pleasantly surprised to see that most of the audience too were dressed in yellow!
In his soft, gentle voice, Sukhangshu talked about Tagore’s famous stories ‘The Kabuliwala,’ ‘Tota Kahini,’ and ‘Homecoming’ to a spellbound audience, which included my 21-year-old daughter Suroshri and me.
For Sukhangshu, this event was another feather in his cap, worth cherishing all through his life, because getting invited to speak on Tagore in a reputed University like Jamia Millia is by itself a big sign of recognition for the work he has done till date in theater and theater education in schools.
The program was interactive in nature. The participants wore bright yellow tops, T-shirts, and kurtas in keeping with Tagore’s ideas on beauty of nature. Somewhere in the middle of the program, while Sukhangshu took a break, a group of children performed a dance based on Rabindra Sangeet, a collection of songs and music composed by Tagore. They looked very cute. If Tagore had been present that day, I am sure he would have been very happy too.
In the end, Sukhangshu was gifted a lovely momento made by the children of Aseem- Asha Foundation.
Just before we left, we were shown around the arts gallery by the organizer Aseem Asha Usman himself and the artist kids who created those lovely paintings and photographs. All the works on display were inspired from Tagore’s works. It was really amazing to find so many talented, young people under the same roof.
Here are some photos I clicked that day.
Program banner: These were placed all over the place. Sukhangshu is in 3rd row, 1st pic.
Here, Sukhangshu is talking about Tagore’s story on education, ‘Tota Kahini.’ The children made the session lively by singing a few lines in chorus from Sukhangshu’s Hindi adaptation of this story.
Sukhangshu, in the backdrop of paintings and photographs…
Organizer Aseem Asha Usman
The children, performing Rabindra Sangeet nritya.
An excerpt of a page of the program booklets distributed among the audience.
And now the momento ceremony…
Outside the auditorium, as we walked out…