In an early morning in late September I made a visit to Kunjnagar haat. The street from Falakata to Kunjnagar was almost deserted. A few peasants in lungi and napkin sat on haunches on the both sides of the street and smoked bidis and began day’s gossip. The village was all silent. Rows of betel nut trees guarded the tin-roofed huts. I passed the neighbourhood and came soon to the open ploughed fields and drove straight to the haat. Some dogs lied at one corner of the haat like logs of wood. The haat was littered with plastic cups, bottles,
Teja, the great old man, aged seventy five, was sitting on his haunches on the open yard of his tin-hut. He was all bare, except a short napkin stuck to his loin. He was huge, over six feet and well-built. He was almost bald, and his thick eyebrows all white, nose sharp. The man was clean-shaven. He had bulging muscles, though loosened at the burden of age. His face was square, and eyes small but keen. And the veins of his neck, when he spoke, twitched, and stirred. His marooned teeth were in perfect array, and he enjoyed his food
Jaldapara National Reserve Forest once boasted its exotic and lush green beauty with tigers, elephants, deer, chitahas, ghorials, and myriad birds like parrots, mynahas, peacocks, doves, herons, wood-peckers, sparrows, cuckoos, of exotic hues and cacophonies. One can see in the brilliant radiance of blazing sun set the crowd of parrots and sparrows flung over one’s head. Your hair will be flicked with a bird’s sudden swift flight almost touching your head. Somewhere in the upper sky among the tinged cloudlets a lone eagle lazily supervises his vast empire. His eyes glisten, and far flung heavy wings mellow with the reddish
Between the Jaldapara forest and the village lay an acre of land, cultivated, furrowed, unweeded. Yards had patches of all sorts of vegetables, maize, and tall lean betel nut trees. Men and women still working on their fields. Children were all barefoot and some of them had running nose. Elderly men and women sat on their haunches on the dusty path, and gossiped. It was winter. The day was chill and icy. The sun for the whole day hid his face under the veil of smoky clouds. And a mild breeze blew. It added more bitterness to the cold. Still
Last week I visited nine or ten school children. The school was in the middle of a Adivasi village. The children sat on the dry grass and dust, and the headmaster on a red plastic chair. I spent a hour with them. The children all were wonderful, and the teacher was so kind. And I loved the place. The school was surrounded three sides by vast farm lands, and only by one side a path went to the interiors of the village. It was late noon, and the weary winter days were in adieu mood. The trees began to shed
At Kunjanagar beside the potholed street stood I at blazing sunset lone. The orange cloudlets scattered the western horizon. Slowly evening descended, and tiny dew droplets began falling. The birds went home and stopped their songs and fell soon asleep. But a wayward parrot flicked in the air still. Later a full moon bathed the harvested field, and crickets sang incessant, and eyes feasted on fireflies’ dance round the bogs. Frogs croaked, and the clusters of stars hung heavy over me. The silence broken by the occasional barking of the dogs and motorcycles’ whiz. The air was heavy with scent
A gifted versetile writer who writes excellent stories and poems on the invisibles, pariahs, margins, aged, weaklings of our society. A rising star on the literary firmament.
“Your story Undersell left me with a lump in my throat, so did your poem, He also lights candles.”
"A finely honed observational piece recording the minutiae of everyday life. Rendered with the author’s customary poetic aplomb suffused with a Borges like quality of the mythic."