Wednesday, August 27, 2008

"The bottle has been vacated and needs to be refurbished" said my colleague Jeevan Ballav Panda as I asked him to hand me a bottle of water today morning;

".....with reference to our past experiences, we must ask Shambhu to restore supply of fresh water in our chamber hereinafter unconditionally, I am tired of having to pay him that additional remuneration (tip) every time he brings us bottles of water, it is totally unfair and frivolous, furthermore, I have reason to believe that he talks about us behind our backs!"

I was enlightened that like Jeevan, the madness was getting the better me too when I replied mechanically, "paying him Rs 5-10/- doesn't hurt and let him talk, unlike the others he doesn't have malafide intent!"
Am I on the right tree?...

Well, here I am in office, it has been pouring outside since early morning and here I am INUNDATED with work; one of the cruellest predicaments known to the average, office-going Joe; rains and work aren’t exactly the most encouraging of combinations…

Work in the form of fleshy stacks of pre-pre-historic case-books and files with little chips of rotten paper peeping out from everywhere lay before me, their covers looked horribly worn out and the hand-typed words on them, obliterated beyond recognition.

I’d like to think of these as obese, old men and the torn bits of peeping paper as their lolling tongues; how perfectly these leviathans reflected my state of being, exhausted, old and panting!!
Yet the cruel pace at which more and more files kept flying out of boss’s cabin and appearing on my desk could give any cash-dispensing machine a run for its cash!

Well then why am I writing this and not working? Good question, just common phenomena seen in a few people; when work overwhelms one tends to freeze and go into a prolonged stand-by mode. I am one such “office philosopher”; when the work is too much, let the steam out, start writing.

The subject of this post is a squirrel. One that hesitates but eventually goes for the kill and then screws up. The thing gave me a real shot of life; I can still see him through my window, propped up on the muddy ground, shaggy haired and dirty, looking out at the street.

I first spotted him trying to climb onto an extremely long rope stretched out and tied between two trees quite far away from each other. Balancing himself nervously he scurried along a little distance on the rope, paused, turned around and ran back to the tree. Appearing again a little while later, he scurried a little further, a longer distance this time but stopping again, he turned around and scooted back to the tree, quite apparently scared of the altitude he was in and unsure whether he could cover all that distance after all.
I kept observing him coming forth and going back for quite sometime waiting for an act of bravado, an inspiring example of the will and the way, of the brave and his triumph, of persistence and reward; but our furry hero kept pacing up and shooting back to the branch equally fast.

After quite a while, a side of the rodent’s face peeped out from between the leaves. I thought I saw a glint of determination in his eyes this time, our man was desperate and quite surely this time around he pounced on the rope immediately and started racing towards his destination with lightening speed. As I watched with gaping awe, the squirrel, displaying a dazzling permutation of endeavour, will and natural balancing abilities sped like a fire ball on the rope and reached almost half way between the two trees…and then it happened. The instantaneousness of it was almost cruel; the fur ball slipped and down he went! It must have taken him a less than a few seconds before he plunged into the muddy ground with a soft ‘plop’.
Our man remained there for sometime, utterly shaken and dishevelled.

His messy, mud stained fur sticking out in all directions, he reposed amidst the muck like a beaten soldier. Still as a cadaver, he sat there looking out at the hustle and bustle of human civilization. I sat watching his tiny, lone, tousled silhouette against the busy hustle-bustle on Old Post Office Street; the contrast sent a chill down my spine.

I saw the other side of the coin today; I saw the beaten and the down. The endeavourer yet the failed, a proviso to the age-old notion of ‘try, try and try again till you succeed!’ Do these proverbs do nothing but encourage our minds to escape, to run away from the thought of failure or the inevitable? This is of course not to say that failure is actually inevitable, but how big a role does fate have to play in our lives? Seated at my desk I wonder if all the work I am doing is ever going to be of any real use to me if destiny makes all the decisions, was I born to fill out files or was I born to be a dreamer. You achieve if you dream.

If I ever felt that the tree I were on, was not the one I was meant to be on, and if I tried crossing over to another, undergoing great risks, would I end up deep in the mud one day all alone, staring out at the world rolling by?

After some time the rodent seemed to decide on moving on, he quickly crept up the tree and disappeared inside a hole in the tree-bark.

I’ll try looking for him tomorrow again. I admit, I am a little anxious. Maybe a little desperate. I hope that he keeps trying to get to that other tree. If he finds his tree, I am sure I'll find mine too.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

My work-in-progress compilation of Bus-art (Subject: Spidey)….

Presenting the ultimate Bong avatars of the webbed hero, your friendly neighbourhood- the ‘Bhodro’-not quite in shape-Bangali Spidermen!!

The artistry in these masterpieces is significant as the artists seem to have kept in mind the proportions of the everyday Bengali while painting them; also, these paintings seem to be subtly conveying that a Spiderman lives in every Bengali...

Theres lots more to come!