Saturday, January 21, 2012

Tales from a Migrant World- Bucharest

Tales from a Migrant world is a collection of short stories that I've been compiling over the past few months. Bucharest was the first story that I'd written under this collection. I hope I did justice to the places, and the cultures that I have described.
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Bucharest.


Bucharest
10th October 2011.

Baba,

It has been a while here now, and I have derived upon the conclusion that my city of joy is so different from yours.

While the green and yellow of the mangled autos flash past you, every time you take Ma out to Chowringhee for a night of sophisticated celebrations, I see polished trams, and Mercedes Citaros hurrying down the lit roads while I head out to a lonely celebration in the DownTown Pub.
Ah! But the pub is exquisite with its high life, hazy brown-gold lights and loud music emanating from the corners..I even made a friend a few days back.. Regina, she’s a beautiful Romanian, baba.  Thick, flowy dark hair shining in the lights, while her jet black eyes smolder into yours, and her high cheekbones promenade across the expansive smooth plains of her olive-skinned face- all of which makes me wonder, if you’d really get angry if I get married to her and bring her back home.

Don’t worry, I’m laughing as I write this, for I know that Ma will delve into never ending lamentations of the Transylvanian curses upon her Arko beta.
That reminds me, I plan to vacation around the Carpathian delight next summer, so try to convince Ma that Count Draculas’ aren’t really parading the place, will you? In return, I promise you a trip to a jatra of your choice. Just imagine baba! I’m willing to sit through 4-hours of loud music for your sake! That’s the extent of my sacrifice!

Uh yes, so that last paragraph pretty much made it clear to you, that I won’t be coming home for my next vacation. The boss isn’t letting me out for long..the man says he needs his Bengali genius. Can you believe the hypocrite?! He dragged me halfway across the world and won’t let me in sit in peace for a single minute. Obviously, his referring to me as a Bengali genius must’ve got all your patriotic juices flowing out of your ears..yea yea Baba, I can literally hear you saying while you read this- “See, we Bengalis are everywhere! Our rich culture, heritage, our beautiful…  blahblah”
But you know, I would give anything to hear your voice say those lines. I know I can call you, but God, one call downgrades my wallet to terrifying extents, you know it. And well, I’m a grown man now, I should be learning how to deal with all this without running to you at every instance.

You know, I write this letter sitting at my favorite place. Yes! You guessed it right… the glass window. God, it still takes my breath away. The only high point of my “Bucharest adventure” as you call it. How silly it seems, a window being the best  part of a place thousands of miles away from home.
It’s beautiful in the beginning, a fresh relief from the dusty roads, the overcrowded, packed surroundings, where a man has to share his oxygen with million-plus people. The high levels of noise- human, vehicular and machines riping through your ears. Yes, baba, I’ve mentioned it before. These strokes of tall, straight Neo-classical and Bauhaus buildings, standing erect- some new, some old- having witnessed heartbreaking histories, tragedies, floundering rulers, drastic changes, scores of ethnicities living and breathing within its walls, fires, wars and whatnots.
But then, when I think it through, isn’t that what Cal is about too? Isn’t that what all of us are about?

But I miss the addas, Sandipto running around wildly flapping his flabby arms while we chased his fat figure down the lanes of our houses, Adito Da gently pulling me into arm wrestling and pretending to lose to me every time. And then you’d return from office, Baba, and I’d wait to hear the sound of your scooter, loudly whirring into stillness in the sonorous garage. I’d wait, and just when your footsteps came close enough, I’d open the door and you’d show me the same look of surprise, everyday of your working life and demand,
“Tumi amakey protikbaar obaak kikorey karo!”

I miss it all baba, and this city of symmetry and right angles becomes a burden after a while because everything in your life becomes square, and rectangular- shapes that soon appear to be shapeless.
 I’m happy, do not worry, and try not to read out my last few paragraphs to Ma, because I know it will cause her endless anxiety.  But, all I say is, after I’m done in Bucharest, I’m coming home. And I don’t care if it is a transition from String Quarter, Bucharest to Salt Lake City, Kolkata, but I want to grow old with the people I’ve grown up with.

This city of joy would’ve been a delight, had it been mine.

You’ve always taught me to be daring and open minded, but tell me, is this rumination of mine too obtuse and orthodox, Baba? Should I be at peace, though my heart flutters at every memory of home?

Give my pranam to Ma.

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