It has been over five years that I am here in Bhubaneswar. I have been fascinated by certain aspects of Odia culture, and I have drawn much inspiration from it. In fact, when I make Odia films like ‘Capital I’, I wish to contribute to the cultural stream of the region, along with the effort to retain universality of its aesthetics. Whether the majority wishes to accept it or not, is a different question altogether.

In my span of over 5 years in Odisha, I have met a lot of people from this state. On one side, I have been blessed with the opportunity to interact with great cinematic minds like Susant Misra and Manmohan Mahapatra, who are not only great filmmakers, but I honestly feel that they are amongst the very few truly educated minds that I have met. Such people inspire me as a person, more than anything else. Every hour spent with them has enriched me, in some way or the other.

Well, on the other hand, I have met people holding top portfolios in the cultural department who have asked questions as lame as – “If you have a source of income from your job, why do you need to make films?” Even after the written go-ahead from high authority, the response to my request for shooting at a reputed auditorium is pending since the summer of 2011. They are still looking into it!

As a matter of fact, neither of these two extremes determines the contemporary Odia culture. Let me shift my focus to cinema, to be more specific. It’s not that I neglect other forms of art. I have great admiration for Odia classical dance forms like Odissi or Gotipua. I am fascinated by the ‘Idital’ paintings commonly associated with the ‘Saura’ tribes of Odisha. And of course, one can’t ignore the class of ‘Pattachitra’ or the colourful ‘Applique’ works of Pipli. I will definitely express my admiration for all these forms of art, but let me keep them on hold as of now.

Coming back to Odia cinema, we mostly know where it stands today. But the question is – why? Why is it that an Odia college student spends money to go to a cinema hall for a Hindi film or an English film, but not for a film in his mother tongue? Why is it that I was mocked at by an Odia person for making an Odia film?

“Oh, you’re making Odia films? Come on! Think big! You should rise up to the standards of Hindi films and English films, if possible.” – mocked an Odia gentleman when he came to know that I made an Odia film. Well, I don’t know how to think big if the standard of my thought is to be judged by the language of my expression. I just don’t know!

Few months back, I got an invitation at the Premiere of an Odia film (by a popular director). Well, it was a true comedy. Not that the director intended it to be a comedy, but the way the film was made is such that it is bound to entertain you. I consumed the ‘Samosas’ in the food packet and was waiting for the half-time. Coming down the stairs of Kesari, I found a young gentleman (may be an actor) giving interview to a TV channel and addressing the film as “bold”, “courageous”, “artistic”, etc, etc. I was sure he was referring to some other film, but then I realized that Kesari is a single screen theater. So, in short, he either doesn’t understand these words, or he has never seen a bold, courageous or artistic cinema in his life. Third option – he is a damn liar! As I moved towards the exit gate, I almost gate-crashed with a newspaper reporter and he asked me how the film was. I signaled him that I need to run to the toilet saying that I’ll be right back!

Now the fact is that most Odia films made nowadays are such that one can’t afford to waste their time and money by watching them. It’s tuff to understand how the culture of good and artistic Odia films of the 80s and 90s (I have watched a few of them) has faded away with time. Nowadays, some people are claiming to make artistic films, but all they are doing is projecting some rural or tribal stories and triggering viewer’s sentiments. I am not trying to demean their documentary importance, but that has nothing much to do with art. I am not attacking anyone or any film in particular, it’s a general perception that I have gathered from watching few of such films.

Well, criticisms don’t solve all problems. Of course, it’s important to react, but it’s even more important to act. I know there are people here in Odisha who wants good Odia films to be made. It’s just that they aren’t vocal enough. I have been told time and again that Odisha is not at all a good market for art films. But I strongly stand against it. My poetic psychodrama ‘Boba Mukhosh (Translucence)’ was screened at a prestigious college in Bhubaneswar – ITER (Institute of Technical Education and Research) in 2012. I must say that the way students have reacted to this film, had opened my eyes. Those who have watched the film will know that it isn’t an easy film to grasp in one viewing. But the kind of questions that the students asked me made me feel that there is definitely a section of viewers who wants to dive deep into creative things. It reassured me that there are art lovers in Bhubaneswar, just like in any part of the world. It’s just that the commercial market suppresses these unexplored minds for their vested interests. We, as art lovers, must bring this hidden section to the surface. It’s ‘you’ and ‘me’ who define ‘us’.

Those who expressed their admiration for good cinema have often said that they have never been exposed to such kind of films. Neither the newspapers, nor the TV channels show them reviews or trailers of artistic films. This is something that none can write off. Although I feel privileged to get some support from the Bhubaneswar based media houses, artistic films have by and large suffered due to lack of promotion. Of course, an independent film made with 60 watt bulbs and DSLR camera cannot afford to pay for promotion. Does that mean we should keep them suppressed? It doesn’t require a lot of intelligence to understand the basic constraints of an artist. But a culture needs to evolve, you can’t restrict them within the confines of nonsense remakes and mindless melodrama!

Though media plays a very important role, it’s the viewer’s interest that eventually is most important. Media can build the interest to some extent, but one needs to come out of his house, and move to a theater hall and watch a good film. The tragedy is that we spend money and watch trash Bollywood films even after knowing that they are bad, and we watch good films by downloading free versions on our desktops and laptops. So, what’s the outcome? We give business to the undeserving, and we deprive a good film of the basic return that it deserves. Remember that film-making is expensive, and a filmmaker too needs to survive. He has the same basic needs as you or anyone else in the society.

Most industry producers don’t mind losing money by investing in 70-80 lacs for a cheap copy of a South Indian film, but they really feel the pinch to even spend 5 lacs for a good film. So people who can make good films, doesn’t have the money, and people who have the money doesn’t know what to do with it. Though most of the Odia films made today lack creativity, I feel that time will change very soon. But it needs your support, more than ever. ‘Their’ ignorance and your negligence have done enough of business, now for a change, give art a chance!

– Amartya Bhattacharyya

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Am I writing this because today is the world poetry day? I don’t think so. May be, I’m writing this because the world poetry day is an excuse that I may use to write something which you really “hate”. Yes, that’s what I have observed. It’s not that people don’t love poetry; they literally hate it. Why? You should know that. Didn’t you watch my film ‘Hoyto Kobitar Jonyo (In Poetic Hues)’? Ooops!! Another bad expectation. It’s fine if you haven’t. It may not be worth your time and attention.

Well, this is an age of smartness, a time of lazy “modernity”. People won’t think. Why should they? If they have a smart gadget in their pockets, they may well afford to stay dumb. After all, we have one life. Why should we waste it on thinking? Why should we stress ourselves?? Chill guys!! Just chill! Those are but fucking fools who bothers about those fucking shits called poetry. What the fuck do they write? What the fuck do they cultivate? All crap! Let’s party babe! Shake your hips! Yaa .. yaa !!

The hatred comes from this “fucking” attitude of a “fucking” modern mindset. Poetry is an expression of your inner self. It calls for serious thinking. It calls for scholastic introspection. But where is the time? Today, everyone around us are running. They are running hard, though they don’t know what they’re running after. But that’s Ok. They must be running after “materials” that attract the materialistic. There’s nothing wrong about it. It’s a matter of choice.

But who the “fuck” am I to talk about this? I wonder myself. It’s true. I’m no one. Neither a voice, nor an authority. Neither a necessity, nor an ability. Then why do I scribble? I scribble because I’m “fucking” disgusted with this “fucking” indifference shown to the “fucking” understanding of our “fucking” cosmic self.

Poetry is no garnishment. Poetry is no pretention. Poetry is the soul of you. Poetry is the soul of me. It doesn’t matter to a poet if we neglect his/her poetry. Poets are not fools. They know they’ll suffer in this material world. They know they’ll suffer in an age of intellectual suffocation. But it’s a conscious choice, because they believe in you, they believe in me, they believe in us and our expressions, our desires and our dreams.

My first exposure to poetry happened through my syllabus. I must admit, I was equally pissed off as you. But when I ventured beyond the syllabus and looked into the vast omnibus, I could see the light of poetry, I could feel the charm and seduction of a mesmerizing poetic fantasy. No one can explain you what poetry means to someone who is addicted to it. Only the addicted ones will know. But of course, as a very naïve supporter of poetic spirit, I can guarantee you that poetry can change one’s life.

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Poetry can change one’s way of looking at life, one’s way of looking at the world and beyond. It opens up the unknown. It destroys the arrogance of ‘material’ possession and places your humble self under the vast stretch of an endless universe. You may lose yourself beneath the blues, or above the greens. Poetry gives you “nothing”. Neither time nor money. Neither a job, nor a bread. Neither a house, nor a car. It just gives you an enriched yourself. But isn’t that precious too? Well, it’s again up to you to decide. I’ll rather end with a few lines of my poem …

If you have never drowned in yourself, you’ll never know what poetry is.

If you have never been burnt in your own fire, you’ll never feel what poetry gives.

If you have never been lost in your own darkness, you’ll never know what poetry sees.

If you have never been buried in your own desires, you’ll never know where poetry lives.

“Cloud is considered masculine” – said Amrita Chowdhury, who is the voice of the cloud in my film ‘Darjeeling – a celebration of solitude’. She didn’t even read the script then. I was just telling her the basic concept.

“Cloud is masculine?” – I was shocked. I had already written my script.

“Cloud is masculine, and rain is feminine by convention” – she said. I recalled my vernacular lessons and realized that she was indeed correct. ‘Megh’ (cloud) is considered masculine and ‘Brishti’ (rain) is considered feminine. I was momentarily baffled by the conflict between my personal instinct and social convention. But only one of them could win. As always, I played for my personal instinct. It won. Convention lost.

That night I thought about it. I thought deeply. By no stretch of imagination could I imagine the clouds of Darjeeling to be masculine. It had to be feminine. Its very essence was feminine. Deeply feminine. I felt that femininity intimately. My senses wouldn’t betray me. I had no second thought in my mind.

Many of our languages play this gender game with the gender-less. It is a very interesting matter to me, though a little confusing. There are certain conventions of gender which you instantly relate to. But there are certain conventions that you feel are questionable. For example, a tree. There are many trees which appear feminine to me. Yet some appear masculine. There are many hills and mountains and rocky cliffs which appear masculine to me, yet some appear feminine. It is difficult to ascertain a generic gender in such cases. It would probably be wise to keep them gender-less and the gender could be associated with the perception of the observer.

I’ll talk about gender some other day. Right now, let me shift focus to the milieu in which my film is set. A cloudy Darjeeling. A mystic view of a historic hill station. Many people have visited Darjeeling. Even I did visit twice. But what is it that comes to mind when people think of Darjeeling? Most people say, the clear view of Kanchenjunga, and the Mall.

The obsession with the view of Kanchenjunga appears very strange to me. Strange because it is visible from many parts of Northern Bengal in clear winter conditions. So, what is so special about seeing it from Darjeeling? I fail to understand. And the Mall? Well, hmm … some landmarks in the Mall, yes, they are special. But that can never be an identity of such a heritage hill station. At least, I don’t think so.

Some people might think of serene landscapes of open vast valleys and mountains. But if that is the sight I’m looking for, I’ll choose some places in Sikkim instead of Darjeeling. One must not forget the uniqueness that prevails in such a heritage city. It is therefore a conscious effort to see Darjeeling in its own attire, in its own characteristic beauty.

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I have always heard that winter is the best time to visit Darjeeling because the sky is clear and there is no rainfall or clouds around. I did visit Darjeeling in winter. But this time, it was monsoon. And I must say, the monsoon Darjeeling is a heavenly place, only if one knows how to interact with the city and nature. I loved the monsoon Darjeeling. I fell in love with the clouds, with the feeling of misty solitude. Every feeling can’t be expressed in words; some are to be experienced. It was one such feeling.

Darjeeling brought me closer to the cloud, closer to nature. She was undoubtedly feminine in her mysterious haze. She was lovable. She was caring. She was beautiful, graceful and charming. She was seductive. There was an essence of intimate privacy, even amidst a chaotic city life. There was a sense of freedom. But I have become very selfish, very possessive about my love. I was naturally so, right from my childhood days. I used to capture the dragon-flies and butterflies I loved. I used to buy or catch the fishes because I loved them, and kept them captivated in aquariums. The tendency was always to possess the ones I love. Most of my loved creatures have died of suffocation, but I have tried to keep them closer to me. Now that I have grown up, I still have the same habit. I wanted to capture the lovable clouds of Darjeeling. It could be my heart, it could me my lungs, it could be the 50mm lens of my Canon DSLR. But I had to capture. Selfish that I am. A possessive lover that I am.

I didn’t know whether my beloved cloud would die if I captured her. But there was always a chance. So I made her die in my script. Every captured soul must die. They die in peace, so that the guilty killer in me desperately craves for creative satisfaction. May be, my cloud died. May be, I cried.

Oh, I forgot to tell you something. After the film got made, no one has yet complained why cloud has been treated as feminine, and not masculine. Even Amrita said – “After reading the script or watching the film, there is no question of raising any question”. So, my cloud remains feminine. If not to the world, at least to me.

WATCH THE FILM – Darjeeling – a celebration of solitude

The City of (lost) Joy

Posted: March 2, 2017 in Uncategorized

I faintly remember an image of Calcutta (at that time, the city still retained its identity as the old British capital) which I could never capture. I was sitting on the front seat facing the engine, on the top deck of a double decker bus (Route number – 5). The front seat on the top deck opens up the front view from a top angle. It would almost give you a sense of riding over the streets of Calcutta, as the bus moved through the rough streets. I remember one such riding over the Howrah bridge as a white tram approached from the opposite side of the bridge. It was winter morning. The Ganges looked like a mysterious river flowing under us. It was a delightful cityscape, lost in oblivion. I must have been less than six years old, because trams were discontinued from Howrah bridge since 1993. The little child in me always wanted to ride the double decker buses, the trams, and the hand-pulled rickshaws. No, I had no camera back then. My love for Calcutta heritage was not a photographic opportunism, it was a soulful affection and admiration of an introvert middle class child.

Just like the landscapes of a captured land, cityscapes too change with time. It is not the presence or absence of something that matters, but the scape in its totality no longer resembles the same image as it used to. Calcutta became Kolkata. Red and green flags fought with each other for power and authority, autocracy and ego. None could win, except in elections. The city suffocated. The culture suffocated. And with it, suffocated the introvert middle class child who never voted for a party, but waited for a change.

The warm lights gradually gave way to cooler tones. The sepia tone was replaced by a clownish amalgamation of multiple colors. An orchestrated chaos turned pretentiously organized. Shopping malls popped up like sophisticated ornamental plants amidst a fertile paddy field. People were attracted by glittering colors, by the gloss of an unsubstantiated fetish. Calcutta became neither London, nor Mumbai. From a gorgeous city with a soulful presence, it transformed into a corpse clad in branded attire. Monkeys danced to the tunes of the day, but the soulful suffered.

It reminds me of a poem I had written few years back. No no, I’m not going to write it here. Relax! It was rather a dream, which later turned into a poem. I dreamt that someone had tied me to a post right at the center of the Shyambazaar crossing. It was dark. Traffic was coming from all sides and the headlights of cars and buses were dangerously intense. The lights were burning my skin. I was crying for darkness, but alas, lights had to fall on me. There was a traffic police who was wrapped up with slogans and he had fire in his eyes. He heard me cry. But he didn’t help. I saw a dog with two faces, barking at the headlights. He must have felt my pain. Then a white fox jumped out of an ambulance and chased the dog. The dog and the fox ran in circles around me. They ran very fast, and appeared to be chasing each other. After that something happened. But I don’t remember it anymore. My dreams are used to silent deaths. They come to me at night, and perishes in daylight. Some dreams like this stay back as a faint memory. But why did I write about this dream? Was it a dream or a nightmare? What is the connection between my dream and this city? I lost it. I lost it. I lost my track.

Whenever I lose track of something, I leave it right there. I start something else, right from the scratch. Manipulations don’t bring one back on track. But alas, the city of joy, has been manipulated in order to be kept on track. No one left her, as she was, set free to be herself. Everyone forced her to be the one they would want her to be. She had her own grace, her own charm, her own beauty. She was a goddess in herself. She was complete and divine in her own traditional attire. Why did they give her a mini-skirt then?

Sophistication (as they meant it to be) has always tormented me. Sophistication is like a plastic that wraps up everything in stereotypical packages. It suffocates the city, as much as it suffocates that child in me. Today’s generation identifies with the shopping malls, the newly constructed parks, and the high society night clubs and discos. But they fail to identify with the roots, the cultural depth that once prevailed in this magnificent city. Whatever culture is left in the city, has been obsessively manifested into iconic benchmarks. The city had much more than a Ray and a Tagore, a Didi and a Dada, a Mahanayak and a Rasogolla.

Whenever some outsider visits my city, I ask them enthusiastically about their experience of the city. Unfortunately, they reveal no experience at all. They talk just about the bricks and concretes, glasses and glosses. They talk about South City mall, Nicco Park, Science City, Victoria Memorial and Park Street. Of late, Salt Lake seems to be the hub for rich outsiders. When I hear from them, I feel the blood intensifying in my veins, I feel the tears accumulating behind my plastic smile. I don’t react. I wish I could show them my city. The heart and the soul that is embedded behind the bricks and concretes. The last remains of heritage and culture that is hidden behind the predominant intellectual bankruptcy. But alas, the introvert child has long been sleeping. He doesn’t wake up in front of anyone. He wakes up only in lonely midnights and tells me – write, write, write! I explain him that words have lost all power and relevance in today’s world. No one reads anything except purposeless chats through their dumb gadgets. I try to convince him with utmost conviction that time has changed. I try to thrust the truth on him that the remains of this historic city will soon be wiped out. Old buildings are brought down, one after the other. Libraries are closing down, cinema halls are being brought down and reconstructed into shopping malls. I tell him that he must stop thinking. Today’s world is all about buying. Just buy, and buy and buy. Don’t think. But he cries. He insists – write, please write! So, unable to control him, I waste my time in writing. I write just for him, not for myself. I’m matured enough to understand this world, but a child is a child.

Oh no! Again I have lost track. I write just as non-linearly as my films. But I don’t mind that. There’s no obligation to join the dots. The few of you who will read my blog will be able to interpolate and extrapolate, wherever necessary. I am certain about that. So, yes, I was writing about my city. I haven’t been very specific though. But do I need to be? Just visit my city, walk on the streets, explore the place with your own eyes. That will be an effort worth spending. But I started with an image of my city, I need to end with something significant. But I’m not finding words at present. Diving into the past, I remember a song by Suman Chattopadhyay (Kabir Suman) which made me fall in love with Kolkata all over again. It’s not a tough guess …

তোমাকে দেখছি কফি হাউসের কাছে

তোমাকে দেখছি খুঁজছ পুরনো বই

পুরনো কিম্বা নতুন মলাটে আমি

আসলে কিন্তু তোমাকে খুঁজবই

Let me try to translate the lines for you:

I find you near the coffee house,

I find you searching old books;

Be it in old cover, or in new

I’ll always keep searching for you.

P.S – The ‘you’ in this song is not just another lover, but she is the city of Calcutta personified as a lady love.

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Once upon a time, human beings were like trees. They had deep roots. While Adam’s heirs were gradually civilizing, it struck them that they could fly if they had wings. They wanted to break free; they wished to be adventurous.

Education gave them wings. They started to fly. They could pack their roots and keep them in a secret chamber of their hearts, fly to some distant world, land again, and root themselves back to the ground. Adam’s heirs were growing – stronger and smarter. They soon became the most supreme species of this planet. At least their successors would claim so. They had reached the peak too soon. There was always a fear of fall.

They branched out their understandings and philosophy into subjects of interest. From Mathematics to poetry, astrology to physics, they spread their knowledge like wild fire. The fire had glory; it had majestic flames. But destiny had secretly demanded ashes, and the flames had to be extinguished. While they still enjoy their own glory, they fail to perceive the gloom around them. They became smarter than their creator. They tried to overpower nature. Little did they know about nature’s power to evolve, the power to give birth to a supreme species and the power to make them extinct. Their smartness introduced in them, a sense of hollow pride, and an air of arrogance. Through the crevasses of over-smart skulls, crept in stupidity.

By the time they would realize, stupidity would have poisoned them and their successors. Brains, by then, would have become a rudimentary organ. That brain, which made them human, would have made them no dumber than their smart gadgets. Their thoughts would gradually fade away with their inabilities to think. They would smile, but wouldn’t perceive any reason to. They would cry, but the tears would be as material as their desires. Emotions would have been flushed out of their souls by then.

While I narrate to you about a dreaded future of a smart species, I must tell you how the decline started. It was a subtle way of evolutionary erosion. A bloody son of rational thought once injected the virus of machine obsession. It wasn’t a very destructive thought, but the smart species acted too smart. They tied to replace all their abilities with machine-driven performances. Their reliance on machines only increased with each passing day. They trusted machines more than the ones who drove it. The tool became important, not the driver. The driven had no brain, and the driver was stolen.

You would be astonished to know that members of the same species played tricks to misguide others. They handed over weapons and asked them to fight against each other. They said it was revolution. They revolted with pride and might. But they just didn’t know what they were revolting against. One bloody son of consumer fetishism introduced the obsession of buying. Everyone started buying, but none knew the purpose of their purchase. Luxury became an ambition, and ambition became a luxury.

One fine day, it occurred to them that their roots were a burden. It was not of any worth to possess roots anymore. They became ‘modern’. Fucking modern! They raised their swords and cut off their roots as an act of trendy sophistication. They threw away their roots into a dustbin of wise boredom. I told you, human beings were like trees. It was that day I realized human beings are actually like trees. Why? Because when they cut their roots off, I could see them fall. They were all high on their exotic and erotic fantasies. They didn’t get time to look into the mirror. But I did see, as I can clearly visualize …. with my eyes wide open I saw them fall.

“O, what a fall was there, my countrymen!

Then I, and you, and all of us fell down,

Whilst bloody treason flourished over us.

Oh, now you weep, and, I perceive, you feel

The dint of pity. These are gracious drops.”

As I narrate to you this secret tragic tale of a smart species, I feel much grieved by their fate. I narrate to you without inhibition because I know you aren’t a member of that species. I could have felt the fear of being attacked by the members of the fallen species, but let me tell you, they don’t read anymore. For them, education is a luxury. For them, reading is a waste of time. So I am safe. They won’t read this, ever. While we shed our tears for their tragic fate, they are busy dancing in discos and night clubs.

Now that I have told you the secret story, I hope you’ll stay aware of members of that species. If any messenger of lucrative provocations ever tries to ruin your dynasty as they did to human beings, resist him. Now that you know how the human beings have fallen, it’s your responsibility to protect yourself and your successors from such disgrace. It’s always better to act today than to react tomorrow.

Sometimes our excuses to endorse stagnation crosses all limits of sanity. We say that we want change, yet we don’t change ourselves. We wait for ‘that’ outsider to bring forth the change. He could be a man, he could be God, he could be anyone but ourselves. Our reliance on outsiders never allow us to change ourselves, our society and the systems that we unhappily compromise with.

I have always believed that human beings are, by nature, reluctant to change. Most people disagree when I say so. But it’s a proven fact in my belief system. If a change happens in our society, it happens so smoothly that it fools the people to perceive it as a mere modification of the existing, and not a complete change or an alteration. A sudden change causes disruption, and people hate to be disrupted. Take a basic example. If you go home today and enter your room to see that your mother has changed the orientation of furniture and objects in the room, the first thing that happens to you is a shocking exclamation of “Why did it change?”. The judgment of whether the change was for better or worse, comes later. It takes some time. The suddenness is not welcome. But a lover of change would always welcome the suddenness. Therefore, I say, we are naturally against change. The irony is, yet we evolve. Change is inevitable.

It is uncertain whether God created man, but it is certain that man created the concept of God. It is a beautiful concept, but what has often gone wrong is the way the concept has been interpreted. Over-reliance and over-dependence on God has solved no purpose. In fact, it has made man more rigid, more intolerant and eventually given rise to the politics of religion. Ultimately, change didn’t come from the outsider. He inspired, as he is well capable of. But changes have been brought about by the people, the insiders, just like you and me. The same has been the case with knowledge. Knowledge inspires, but knowledge cannot perform an action. The action has to be performed by the possessor of knowledge. Knowledge, here, is the outsider and the knowledgeable, the insider.

We love to wait for change to come. We love to wait for that outsider who will come and change the settings of our rooms. But we are so dumb that we will not change the settings ourselves, though we are in the best positions to drive the change. People have peculiar excuses for being indifferent. They throw litters on the streets with the excuse that the street is already dirty. Again, ‘that someone’ will come and clean it for us. ‘That someone’ will bring the change. But we will not.

An agent of change is there in each one of us, who hopes for a change. But for change to happen, we need to leverage that agent of change, that agent of non–conformation. That spirit in us which defies our dumb selves. Whether we want to become active change-makers or a passive face of a grumbling species, is indeed our choice. But ‘that outsider’, that poor outsider, is not just strong enough!

As I write these lines, I’m itching to switch to poetry. But I know you won’t be interested in my poetic sighs. Since I’ve resorted to prose so far, for your easy comprehension, I do demand your attention to two lines of my poetic expression:

O lazy souls, you created God, for your benefits and celebrations,
But your God says – “Oh God, spare me from your expectations!”

-Amartya Bhattacharyya

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While today’s generation is so obsessed with communication, one must not be blind to the adverse effects of it. People say that the more you communicate, the closer you get to one another. It strengthens relationships. I dare say, it is absolute nonsense! And I’ll explain you why. Feel free to disagree.

Relationship in itself is an illusion. At least, I call it so. We are born as individuals, and we die as individuals. Our relationships are nothing but attempts to socialize. We feel good to be in a community, and in company of the ones we are fond of. When we build a relationship, we mutually create images of each other in our minds. These images stick to us in a way which makes us comprehend the other person. For example, the way someone thinks of me is not my true self. It is an image of myself that he/she has created in his/her mind. That image has been created not just based on my attitude, behavior, actions, reactions and my personality, but also based on the nature and perception of the other person who has created my image. When the person likes me or dislikes me, loves me or hates me, it is essentially that image which he/she likes or dislikes, loves or hates. It is therefore a fact that we are seen differently by different people. We don’t change, but our images do.

You might be wondering why I am relating this image with communication. The reason is simple. Every communication between two entities or individuals will modify the images that they have created for one another. The more frequently you communicate, the more frequently the image modifies itself. Now, in today’s time, people can’t just get rid of their habit of getting into smart-phone conversations. So there is continuous communication. In other words, an image of a person created in another person’s mind is in continuous modification. A continuous flux. The image is therefore not stable. It is blurry and mostly an in-transition image. This is often a reason why doubts creep in, and destroys the purity of an image. An image of certainty apparently appears blurry and mystic. Unable to ascertain faith on the image, people act and react. Gradually the image becomes even more blurry, if not faint.

Take yourself back to what the situation was a few decades back. People seldom had the opportunity to communicate. Once they did, there was a lot of excitement. An element of attachment and joy. Why? Because the communication was rebuilding the image that was under threat of being faded away with time. The change in image was not perceived as a change. It was more of a re-construction, a re-creation, a reprise. An added certainty to a certain image. Therefore, communication helped. It reinforced trust and confidence in relationships.

But time has changed now, and so have the situations. Had communication strengthened relationships, we would have had the strongest relationships in our generation. But the fact is, human relationships are becoming weaker and fragile, day by day. Statistics will show you the proof. There is an optimal point and a threshold value which we have crossed. Communication (the obsessive communication) therefore, no longer strengthens us. They don’t make us intimate. They, in fact, make us separate. However, the image can be perceived and preserved even if communication stops. In fact, you can seal the image with a stamp of certainty, till it fades away naturally with time. It reminds me of a poem I wrote a few years back. The poem ends with these lines …

“You may wish to part away from me, as a matter of your choice;

But who are you to shatter the image that I’ve created of you?”

                                                                                                                         -Amartya Bhattacharyya