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srijanibanerjee

It's all about being craaaazy !!!!

Beauty and the Beast😍

I am a movie buff… yes I like to believe so. I am not well versed with the works of Mrinal Sen or Ritwik Ghatak, neither am I aware of the cult films of the west. Yet there is one section of films I am totally crazy about..the animated ones. I have seen 97% of the Disney and Pixar movies (according to Oh my Disney!!!) and I haven’t missed the remakes of the Disney princess movies..

Cinderella was the beginning and Beauty and the Beast was a cherry on top.
A few months back some random Facebook post decried the Fairy tale Princesses as the wrong role model for a child. It was surprising as I have seen a lot of strength and determination in these princesses. While Cinderella, Snow White and Aurora did introduce us to concept of Prince Charming and the proverbial white horse, things were a lot different for Belle. She didn’t find her handsome prince till the end of the story.
Belle inspires me to beseech the beauty hidden in a person. In today’s world it is a difficult thing to ask or expect. A world where acceptance is difficult, the beholding of beauty within is a faraway dream.
Beauty and the Beast touches on some extremely delicate issues with such subtlety that one may not realize how much of it is actually a tale. The way Gaston takes it for granted that Belle has to marry him is reflective of the patriarchal society we still live in. When Agathe is forced to beg and leave the village because she was a spinster shows the mindset of people who dismiss her as the old hag. But Agathe shows that marital status has nothing to with kindness and generosity.
The final ball has a tiny moment when Lefou finds himself “gay” with a partner and they dance away into the evening.
All apart there is one person who has a mixed bag of all good things and that of course is Belle. Unlike the other Fairy tale protagonists, she lives with her Papa, has no evil step mother, loves her books and is fearless. Fearlessness would be the one thing that can be learnt from her. How many can be selfless enough to give up their freedom for others (easier said than done)? How many can give up their one chance of running away to save a beast that almost snapped her head off?
Tiny and itsy bitsy things that form a beautiful foundation for a lovely friendship which paves the way to the happily ever after. Accepting the shortcomings of another person and gently helping him overcome them.
Imagine seeing the world through someone else’s eyes and suddenly everything familiar looks different. Oh my..isn’t it dreamy?
If Cinderella made me believe in magic, Belle showed the magic is within.
There are moments in life when we find ourselves bogged down by what others think about us. A lot of self doubt slowly creeps in and we haven’t the faintest idea what the future holds for us. I have had that moment when the safe bet was extremely tempting but in floated Beauty with the scary Beast tagging behind. What hope did she have that one day he will change back or that there might possibly a life filled with happiness for her? What signs did she see that one day she will get her adventure and something more than the provincial life? None!! Other than a belief that it will work out in the end. While some may say taking counselling sessions with a fairytale princess is sheer madness, I say why not? All the pieces of the puzzle do fall in place and if it’s not happy, it’s not the end.
Till then hear the strains of music and sway gently to the tune, for its true.
Tale as old as time…song as old as rhyme… Beauty and the Beast…
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A Christmas routine…

Going to Esplanade before Christmas is a routine… every year religiously I go to New Market to get the annual body massage by the throng of crowd squeezing around to buy Xmas decorations and cake. So it happened last year that I reached late and saw Nahoums bang their shutter on my face… I had to slink away quietly and buy my share of cakes and goodies from Imperial. Mind you Imperial also has a fan following of its own but Nahoum’s is a different story altogether. It’s like comparing Rabindranath Tagore and Kazi Nazrul or Shakespeare and Dickens or Michelangelo and Bernini. Difficult I know. Anyway with the shuttering incident fresh in my mind I decided to pay my annual visit a little early this year. So 2 days before Christmas I finished my breakfast early and pushed off for Esplanade. Mission Nahoum’s was underway but unlike James Bond, I had to travel by bus number 54 from Ballykhal to Esplanade. May be you can assume the time taken, in case you can’t, it took me 1 hour 45 minutes. I usually walk as if I am being chased by a fat dachshund. So in 15 minutes I was in front of my target. A cold hand clutched my heart as I saw the painted red shutters firmly in place. After a little sniffing around I discovered the entrance where I was greeted by a queue. Yes a bloody queue to buy a cake. Being used to queueing up, thanks to you know who and you know what, I first stood behind the last man standing before finding out where was the queue heading. Hardly a minute or so and I was ordering around for tarts and a nice special fruit cake for the holiday season.
These people nestled in the old section of New Market hold on to their traditional cakes and recipes… and mode of payment!! If they didn’t have change they were efficiently removing the sold items from the clutches of hapless customers who immediately asked them for more tarts, pastries and cakes to increase the bill amount.
After I had finished the necessary exchange of goodies and currency I stole a glance at my timepiece and imagine my surprise when I saw the whole thing had taken hardly 15 minutes. It was now that I had the time to curiously look around… my body was still aching from the bus ride, what was missing…hmmm… hmmm..uh..something was definitely not right. Then like a flash of lightning it struck me… the crowd… where were the people who were supposed to knead me to pulp on New Market? The Christmas decorations looked lonely and the cake shops were swatting flies…
May be I was early or may be people were more guarded about the money they spent..
I was so preoccupied with these thoughts that a loud blast of horn sent me flying up a few inches.. as I descended I slowly looked up and immediately bowed my head in reverence for in front of me stood the majestic Nizam’s. This place had taken a place of honor and pilgrimage in our lives thanks to Ashim Mukherjee who introduced us to the amazing beef kebabs. Thanks to Mad cow disease and Hindu fanaticism the beef had disappeared from the menu long back. Yet the chicken and mutton Kathi kebab were something that couldn’t be ignored easily. So I trudged in, sat in my regular place (yes I have a regular seat in that place) and ordered for the paratha and the birdy variant of the kebab…
After my gastronomically satisfying episode I resumed my walk to the bus stop.. when something strange caught my eye. Just near the Municipal office, there are numerous ATMs of different banks and there was no queue. Just when I had assumed that there must be no cash I saw a person smilingly come out with crisp 500 bucks. I gingerly walked over and swiped my card.. lo behold as crisp New 500 rupee notes started falling in my hands. I took a quick look over my shoulder and there was no one waiting so I moved on to my other card. This continued for some time and words fail to express my happiness on becoming the proud owner of some new crispy 500 rupee notes. This glee though didn’t last long because as soon as I came out of Kolkata to the suburbs where I live , the boards of “No Cash” greeted me.. the queues were still there and the resigned look on the faces of people was quite disturbing.
A quick trip to forget this monstrosity of you know what just brought me face to face with the great divide between the cash distribution in the city and rural areas.
Well it’s time to be merry so forget about the cash crunch and drool over the chicken kebab..

Up in Love…

For most girls love is like a chocolate sundae. The first bite is the warm and fuzzy brownie which leaves us drooling for more. Then comes the chocolate ice cream, sweet and mushy. With every bite our taste buds hypnotize our brain to keep stuffing spoonfuls of this sinful desert till we are on the verge of throwing up.
Love follows the same principle. It begins with all cosy and lovey-dovey feelings and then the sweetness builds up threatening to drown our very existence.
I am officially not a male-basher but I have learnt that men are capable of bringing out the worst in most woman while serving guilt as a side dish. A very dear friend of mine is a living example of how the men we fall in love with can show us our greatest weakness. She is a lovely person, so lovely that I find her a bit stupid. Her weird and cringy love story showed how women can lower their self esteem, expectations and desires.
We hear feminist women screaming out for their rights but as soon as some random guy comes along and says two sweet things, the feminists get hooked like a fish to a live bait.
Spiritual leaders say women are emotionally stronger yet women are so scared to let go. So afraid to live life without men. This fear of being unwanted is so big that we forget our true selves.
The other day while watching “something borrowed” I realized that it’s so easy for a guy to sour the relationship of two childhood friends. Puppy sad eyes, a sob story and BAM he is conveniently riding two boats at the same time.
Who decides our personality? Who decides how many chances we should give a guy who is siphoning off our money or sucking out our emotions? At which point do we stop flogging the horse and shove a shoe deep in his ass?
Love can’t be a passive thing, neither can it be something where the involved parties have to kick the bucket. I see love everywhere. The way my parents have been sticking around each other for so many years even though they have totally different perspectives.
Love for me is when people share the small joys every day. Cleaning up after meal, fighting over which side of bed to sleep,hating each others nosy relatives and yet loving their interference.
With changing times love is not Shakespearean anymore, it is the daily adventures of Ed and Callie in Up. People who spend almost all their lives together and grow old together.
It’s not just sweet, it’s also tangy, spicy and tastes best with a pinch of salt.

Demonetisation & Blood Sucking Monsters…

A late afternoon post (was supposed to be a late night one but I dozed off with the phone on my face)…
My fb timeline seems to be overflowing with fights and facts of demonetisation. Life is suddenly very busy these days. Mornings are spent in queues outside banks and evenings are filled with visit to every ATM around the place. In a few days I might be on first name basis with the ATM security guards. Anyway this post is not about the horrors or slight inconvenience. Neither is this about the 80% who are dancing with joy and thrashing others with vengeance about demonetisation nor about the remaining 20% rolling their eyes and cursing the 80%.
When you are blessed with a lot of free time with insufficient number of available flies to swat, you tend to observe the most mundane things with extreme interest. Recently while clapping my hands and slapping my face outside an ATM I realised that there is one group that has only benefitted from this demonetisation, no slight or major inconvenience at all. This post is about that fortunate group.
I have always wondered what is the need of existence of these blood sucking tiny monsters? Aren’t there sufficient poor government decisions or natural calamities to kill people that we need these little germ carrying creatures to cause a variety of diseases.
If you have had the fortune of visiting different places you might have noticed that they vary from place to place.
The ones in Bangalore were quite tiny and slim but damn those things knew how to induce pain. My staff room used to be infested with them and they would sometimes enter the Sari and rest is all imaginable. A lot of dancing and flapping would follow. Finally the fast card brought the necessary relief.
In Delhi, while roaming around in the park,I had noticed a very interesting bobby printed variety. I really liked their fashion sense but hell no way was I going to let them suck out my blood!! Later I learned that the dengue mosquitoes are bobby printed, so I anxiously waited for 3 days and kept checking for any symptoms if at all. Luckily the only change I noticed was an excessive increase in weight due to the my aunt’s exceptional cooking.
After shifting back to Kolkata for reasons that are not important, I had extra time to goof around and do nothing. During this period, some person holding a place of honor in our country dropped the figurative nuclear bomb on us. The demonetisation saw the black money hoarders and owners heading off for vacations and shopping sprees abroad while the rest 80% and 20% queued up in places where they could exchange and deposit the old currency.
Coming back to the BSMs… they were having a field day.
Most Bengalis love their protein rich meat. The day seems incomplete without the daily ration of egg, chicken, mutton and of course fish. The demonetisation also failed to bring any change to their menu. Beg and borrow was the most common means. Now when these protein enriched and hot headed Bengalis were standing in queues, these mosquitoes were having surplus of dietary supply. The lesser access we had to currency, the more access these mosquitoes had to our protein rich blood. Very soon the mosquitoes like 90% of Bengalis became grade 1 & 2 obese. The BSMs were attacked relentlessly with mosquito coils, bug sprays and dhunuchi. While the attackers were sneezing coughing and gasping for breath, the BSMs continued to flourish.
These mosquitoes have special tricks to escape all the clapping and slapping. Some of them seem to have masters degree in acupuncture. They prick in quick succession over a large area leaving one with a burning sensation all over. The person can only shimmy a bit but can’t run off as he might lose his turn in the ATM queue.
Another type of BSM manages to stir up referred itching. It’s like it bites you in the calf but your butt starts itching. This gives rise to a peculiar situation and since the person can’t directly scratch his butt in public, he smartly starts rubbing his posterior up and down on a tree or wall.
As the days are passing by, these mosquitoes have slowly started resembling sparrows. Maybe they will grow so fat that they will pop open on their own and die.
Or may be we could start dancing garba.. we might manage to smack some in the process and the continued movement won’t let them sit on us steadily. Now that’s a wonderful idea isn’t it?

Photo Challenge: Endless H2O

The sea and Me, Rameshwaram
The sea and Me, Rameshwaram
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It keeps coming back
Can you see the 3 different seas??
Can you see the 3 different seas??

H2O scares me & intrigues me unless served in a glass… I avoided the sea for years till I landed up in a sea beach.. the waves crashing along the shore and the never ending blue water mesmerised me. The first two pictures just show how the sea never keeps anything.. The further I stood the closer the waves rushed in…

I took the third picture in Kanyakumari… a point where 2 seas and an ocean meet. They keep overlapping each other before separating again..a unique phenomenon where neither loses its identity yet always merges together…

via Photo Challenge: H2O

Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

There couldn’t have been a better time for nostalgia.. As the sky turns blue with tufts of cottony white coulds and the Kaash flowers sway in the wind, the childhood memories of Durga Puja rush into my head.. Spending Durga Pujo away from Kolkata is a punishment in itself but having my parents in a different country altogether makes it unbearable.. The unfinished clay idols and the Durga idols remind me of my childhood, the impatient wait to meet my cousins, the crisp touch of new clothes, the days spent running from one pandal to another..

 

via Photo Challenge: Nostalgia

Better Things: Quest

Quest: noun : Long and arduous search for something

Every travel I have gone on has led me to something new. A better and peaceful me, stories on the temple walls and scary hikes with beautiful sunrise as a reward…

This one was just the beginning of a journey which ended the quest for food… the drive was the highlight.

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Spending time in search of peace..

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Every inch of those wall were covered with stories dating back to the beginning of life may be…

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And these innocent looking stairs led me to the hardest hike I have done…(actually I have have done only one and it was the hardest one)

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via Photo Challenge: Quest

Beyond the Edge:

It all lies in the eyes of the beholder. The round world gives us edges across every landscape and beyond every edge there is a new world waiting to be discovered.

Edges give me the thrill. One more step ahead or back…

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Chitrakoot Falls
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Hampi from the edge
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The waves at the edge

via Photo Challenge: Edge

Will you marry me? The epilogue…

Some of the people were asking for the ending. I know, out of the minuscule number of people who actually read it, some did ask for the ending.

A week later, she was lying in her bed, listening to Cheap thrills. With her resignation in the sent box, she was officially jobless. Dreams about the life she wants were stuffed in her head like the mince meat in her favourite potoler dolma. Unfortunately the prolonged REM phase was not letting her wake up and start fulfilling her dream. The snooze button was her new best friend.
She was already planning her next trip… may be to the mountains or just a ferry ride across the Ganges.
Focussing on the real agenda of the blog, here is the closing chapter.
The first ring in the hell is the girl herself. Fiercely independent, opinionated, judgemental and slightly narcissist (maybe a lot) she loves to spend time with herself.
Suffers from frequent bouts of verbal diarrhea but if she is quiet, she is probably thinking of ways to get rid of you.
Doesn’t resemble any beauty queen, and actually managed to scare her mother out of her wits on their first meeting. At present covered in a perfect layer of tan from all the traveling.
Speaks her mind and is ready to debate anything. She can argue for both sides of a Mobius strip. Sings to herself and actually dances when no one is looking.
Yet to find someone who actually can hold her attention for more than half hour, someone who can shut up and enjoy the calm, someone who doesn’t start discussing wall colors and baby names in the first ten minutes.
She intensely dislikes people who don’t have the will power to stop blowing out smoke like a steam engine.
She has loads of lovely dresses stocked up and with every brother and sister already married; she is desperate for some family function. And the only next big thing in the family is her wedding it seems…
Feels like a matrimonial proposal isn’t it? But hey what did you expect??? I did ask Will you marry me??? So what do you say… interested??

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