Thursday, November 30, 2023

Rise of the black proletariat and the bard


Bengalis across the globe celebrate Rabindranath Tagore, or do they listen to him? He speaks …but we miss the forest for the trees.

I have a dream

The Taoist proverb goes: “No one can see their reflection in running water…It is only in still water that we see.”

The still waters of our society do often show us a scary reflection of ourselves.

Water, we had learnt in our school days is a universal solvent, but sadly there is more to learn, for it does not dissolve class distinction, which is why the swimming pool of a certain society is only accessible to the HIGs, The MIGs can fight N number of battles but winning access to swimming pool may be a war cry, but it remains a far cry.

“Koi koi koi? Aamader Kochi koi? ( where is our little baby?)

Parveena Di helps a HIG mother of a 21-month-old with her household chores. Parveena Di has a little daughter, Shabeena who loves playing with Tishya, the 21-month-old daughter of her mother’s employer. Parveena Di tells Tishya’s mom that it is difficult to stop Shabeena from coming to play with Tishya after she returns from school, and one should see Tishya’s smile when she sees Shabeena. Almost every day Shabeena comes down to play with her “Kochi”. Yes she calls
Tishya by the name of Kochi.

“Koi koi koi? Aamader Kochi koi? ( where is our little baby?) is what Shabeena says when she sees Kochi and Kochi giggles and says “Didi”.

It was a hot summer afternoon, and Tishya’s mom was having a severe headache not being able to put Tishya to a nap, baby Tishya was all excited seeing the swimming pool being filled up with water and kept saying :

“Mamma tol tol “.(Tishya meant Jol (water)

That is when Shabeena comes as a relief:

“Koi koi koi? Aamader Kochi koi? Kakima aami chole eshechhi.” The relieved Kakima said: “Aay…School theke eshe kichhu kheyechhish?

She meekly answered yes to the question. Tishya without much ado ran to Shabeena and held her hand and pulled her towards the balcony to show ‘Tol’ filling up the pool. An amazed Shabeena’s eyes twinkled at the sight of the swimming pool, and she clapped her hands and said:

“O Kakima ki moja ki moja, aamader Kochi saming [sic] pool e chaan korte jabe…bah bah”\

And Tishya jumped and danced to this. What did little Shabeena know, that the pool was all but saming[sic]. She was still to know that the grown-ups had divided the world into three simple water-tight compartments: The HIGs, the MIG’s and LIGs, with the LIGs being nowhere close in the league. Every summer the MIGs and the HIGs did not see eye to eye on this not saming [sic] pool issue and the MIG children stood with long faces around the hedge-bound swimming pool watching their HIG friends chilling in the ever so inviting clear blue waters.

So for the children of the society, until summers come it is a game point, and then the Saming [sic] pool gets filled up, and they no longer remain the same…what a shame!

Tishya and Shabeena were playing, and the tired mother had dozed off on the couch only to be roused by the loud clapping and cheering and giggling of Tishya and Shabeena:

“O Kakima…dekhe jao, dekhe jao”

Kakima replied: “Ki holo re?”

Tishya ran to her mother and babbled:

“Mamma…tol tol…pakhi pakhi”

She pulled at her mother’s hands urging her to come to the balcony while Shabeena cheered:

“Ki moja…ki moja”.

Tishya’s mother went to the balcony from where she saw one of the most impressive sights. The swimming pool was filled with clear blue water…and a blackest of black Paankouri Pakhi that is Indian Cormorant had flown in the face and poked fun at all those who see to it that the swimming pool remains watertight in every which way. It had blown raspberries at all rules and was happily swimming in the saming pool. Yes, now it was a saming pool. Therefore that day Tishya‘s mother witnesses the rise of a black proletariat.

She witnesses another saming when she sees Tishya who was one of the HIGs and Shabeena who belonged to the lowest of low LIGs in league with one another cheering the black proletariat. What a wonderful world!

Tishya’s mother believed she saw a very old, very tall bearded man wearing a jobba strolling beside the pool. In the meanwhile the rehearsals for Rabindra Jayanti had begun, and she could hear the kids singing:

“Aamra shobai raja aamader ei rajar rajotte”

Four scores and one year after the Bard’ left for a better world that it took a Paankouri to realize what he had written in 1905:

“Raja shobaare dyen maan
Shey maan apni phire paan
Moder khaato kore rakheni keo kono awshotte”
(The king of kings pays respect to all and receives respect in return, none can make the other feel petty)

1990 22nd Shravan Tishya’ mother had asked her father:

“Papa ajke ki? Ora shobai Thakurer paye phool keno dichhe?

Her Father replied: “Ajke onar tirodhan diwas toh tai onaar paye phool dichhe.”

“Tirodhan ki hoy Papa?”

“Tirodhan maane maara jawa Maa”. Her Papa replied.

“Kintu uni toh Thakur…thakurera to mara janna …Maa bolechhe, onara shob shomoy aamader dekhe rakhen.”

Her father smiled “Thiki bolechho Maa…Thakur mara janni…aamader koto kichhu dekhiye dyen.”

Also Read: In hope of meeting Saraswati

(Nilambara Banerjee is a former professor of St. Xaviers College Ranchi.)

(Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the author’s and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.)


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