Friday, February 9, 2018


While many of us are fond of Eagle's Hotel California, Gipsy Kings hold special memory for me. Baba introduced me with Gipsy Kings and their version of Hotel California. I nevertheless became fond of Eagle's version lateron, like many others. He once took up the tune of Gipsy Kings' guitar in his Sitar. He played the entire tune in the thickest of the strings to create that rough and 'rocky' sound. While it ended he smiled and said "don't think we cannot play what they can play and make you people dance all night long." He never played that again in his entire life.

There are sounds roaming around us, whispering somewhere around the corner of an empty room, somewhere down the memory lanes.

Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Everyday experience of smells and capitalisms.

When smell gives you an idea of the space that surrounds you, its cultural perception. Kaleidoscope on his way to the built in city usually experiences  a transition from his peri-urban neighbourhood through part of the old city ultimately to the late capital built in city. He travels along with people from the hinterland. People who work as construction labours or as informal economy entrepreneurs. Kaleidoscope smells the unadulterated human bodies - straight and unfiltered.

However, as he gets down to board the AC volvo bus the crowd disappears. He leaves his  human 'smelly' world of the masses and enters into the builtin airconditioned bus often carrying the smell of a 'refreshing' roomfreshner. Then comes a series of people wearing different 'sexy' smells. Kaleidoscope's cultured nose can now differentiate between the a feminine and masculine smells. The smell instigates grains of charms! Kaleidoscope unknowingly recognises the urban elite smell which occupies the less crowded bus destined to the information technology hub. He readily forgets the human 'smelly' overcrowded buses which often overtakes his bus and vice-versa. Suddenly the world becomes contained with a feeling of cool breeze containing built in and constructed smell of success!

Kaleidoscope knows smell changes and he is taught that it changes for 'better' - no need to have communism in so far as you can avail the 'charming' smells surrounding you! If you disagree ask kaleidoscope, how happy he becomes when he rides the volvo leaving the overcrowded buses coming from hinterland!
A still from the movie "Perfume"

Friday, February 2, 2018

Outskirts of New Town- Juxtaposed lives and unknown stories

When a satellite town is planned suitable land is sought. Those who are occupying the suitable land are usually asked to abandon agreeing on the compensation offered. Often the compensation remains inadequate and people protest eventually disposseing the land and their everydaylife.

Eventually, they leave and settle down in crowded outskirts of the township. The state takes initiatives to build construct as many things as possible to restrict entries. New Town, Kolkata, surrounded by numerous villages is no exception. There are existing villages and shanty like neighbourhoods for uprooted people. Many of the settled people had to abandon land at a price which is more than 100 times to 1500 times less than what they were paid about 20 years ago.

Hence, people here, the 'indigenous' ones can barely overcome the trauma and the loss. Meanwhile, Kaleidoscope belongs to a college which is established at the heart of the new town with  a postmodern glassy building not much different from the shopping malls which are concentrated in the region. Students here comes from those villages and shanties. On the one hand they experience their uprooted everydaylife and on the other hand they witness all the gated communities, mall going youngsters. There seems to be an identity crisis as they are squizzed between the extravagance of IT industry based  satellite town and its outskirts. There are juxtaposed realities and the fleeting positions which continue to seek for an anchor which is long lost.

Meanwhile, when Kaleidoscope attempts to explore some of the villages he could readily identify the boundaries. In a village near Shapoorjee complex there are farmers still unwilling to give up their land and cultivating while a fast food chain Katleen has entered. Meanwhile, cash is coming through the occupation of house keeping by the men and maids by the women. There are opportunists forming syndicate of labour and material supply to the massive constructions working with an alliance to the local politics. Hence, there are all sorts of juxtapositions. While there are still basket makers, farmers and fishermen; starving bodies in the shanties, people living in extreme poverty,  people trying to marry off their daughters in tender age and seeking superstitious practices for remedies; there are others enjoying the seepage from the capital intensive exchanges in the areas where the city is growing fast.

Kaleidoscope along with few of his willing friends went crossing the sweage that carries most the waste water of the town to explore the villages of the uprooted. However, there are only bamboo bridges which allows the villagers to walk through only or at most carry a motorcycle slowly without riding. This perhaps represents how the canal is 'protecting' the .'outisiders'  to intrude the planned everydaylife of town. On their way back, Kaleidoscope and his friends discovered the tea stall near the college being evicted! Perhaps the 'outsiders' were intruding as a mechanism to earn a livelihood!

A couple of photos and supporting story may be found in the following links.

Monday, January 22, 2018

Disciplining college street - The case of Presidency wall and Bhawani Dutta Lane

Two kinds of politics linked with colour Kaleidoscope knows, the 'politics of colour' and 'politics with colour.' The very idea that makes him feel fortunate that his species is not as colourful as birds and other animals. Has it been the case, history of homo sapiens would have seen more bloodshed in the name of colour. Meanwhile, he is witnessing what can be termed as politics with colour.

The blue white combination which now represents his cityscape and the 'statescape' - the paints of all public properties he believes adds to a great visibility to the state led development initiatives.

However, there are other forms as well. Most notably, at college street, as part of beautification the historical presidency university has transformed all the shanty like different looking old book stalls into similar looking smaller shops. They are painted in creme yellow colour and have thus lost their distinctiveness. One can rarely differentiate between them any more.

While, disciplining happens to be one of the primary aims of the late capital civilisation, Presidency, one of the important hotbeds of the promotion of distinctive, radical and often antiestablishment thoughts and actions is sadly following the similar trend. Not much ago nearby college square experiences a ban on display of protest politics!
The disciplined shops in Presindency wall

However, there are still those colourful shanty like shops providing a rainbow just inside Bhawani Dutta lane. For now at leasr 'corporates' are busy with the conspicuous spaces. This is why there are alleyways with wonders that embraces the old us... the happy us.

The old, colourful Bhawani Dutta lane

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

When you can not let go.

Its only that your dog doesn't want to come back from the courtyard where we kept you before we said our last good byes to you.

 Its only that we knew you will leave us forever, I thought the sooner the better, as you have suffered for so long, but deep inside we were never prepared to let you go.

Its only that the moment you left us forever, the moment when you looked at me and mother knew for sure you are leaving I didn't cry but only wanted you to stay back for one more time.

Its only that i have never cried, because, something kept reminding me of the things to be done when you are alone.

Its only that your sitar, esraje, tabla, tanpura look at us and i could hear you are saying ''my fingers are changing, I wont be able to play Sitar any long."

Its only the smell of your cancerous cells which I started hating now I miss.

Its only the sound of your pain that I miss...

Its only the world that has changed once and for all... because non believers know there is no comeback except for those tiny little memories you make. Its only that your dog knows so do we... there were more memories we wanted to make... there were more life we could have lived, together.

Saturday, December 23, 2017

National anthem and alcoholics - Simulations in ' Country Roads'

Just another drink or two perhaps three in just another day in a kind of familiar space is what makes you grow with time. Its more than the drink or the food and the increasingly loud western remix of 1980s songs the company
 Kaleidoscope keeps that matters. The conceived space contrasts itself from the yet to occupy status of the unfinished war affected like high rises, within the unoccupied and finished mall. The space in itself is in a dilemma to brew its own beers and then name them as scotland, germany or the like. It gives ample room for the frozen paradox. Its more paradoxical when it calls itself "country roads" which actually stands on the murdered country roads! The paradox of a new city - the urban lifeline of Kaleidoscope's country. What can be more interesting? Asks kaleidoscope more often than he actually visits the micro brewery.

The answer has been delivered yesterday. More interesting is when you see a group of five young men having rounds of whisky, beer, vodka  for hours and then standing up for national anthem played in the television before India Sri Lanka match begins.

Yes, the nation needs such programmed responses even after rounds of drinks in a pub build on murdered country roads, brewing beers named as scotland and playing remix of 1980s popular western tracks.

While Kaleidoscope was on his way back in American Uber someone whispers that its not Simulcra out there to study, you are tricked to be trapped inside and you too simulate everyday in a liquid reality.
An old photograph of country roads 

Friday, December 15, 2017

Letting go 18 - coffee cups, co-authors and future stories

While impossibilities can sleep together under the velvety bejwelled blanket - the night sky, there are untold stories to be co-authored. Stories of the beginning and continuation of the impossibilities. Quite the like the departed souls who climb mountains just to clear up the distance and spaces in a world that otherwise tries best to push souls to drift away, there are stories with with invisible trails.

Trails that melt the ice to make the travel possible. Trails that make you feel secure, to know for sure the connections exist between drifting planets. Possibilities for two and many different stories that are told and retold to the distance places but never co-authored, because so long as there are scores of trails and long vein connections, there are constructed spaces.

Spaces exist between cities, neighbourhood, apartments, floors and within the same bedroom! Space puzzles you as trails exist between thousand miles and there are disconnection within the soul frozen bedroom.

No matter how many galaxies away, for you and your co-author is there is one balcony with two coffee cups steaming to a distant future. Kaleidoscope can smell the caffeine and cigarette and the smell of the river nearby! Souls never let go! Never ever... never forever.