May be, my cloud died. May be, I cried.

Posted: March 15, 2017 in Uncategorized

“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.


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

  1. The movie is very sensitive dude. We must connect. Specially rattirer ongshota jekhane ase kolkata shohorer bibhinno unstable imageries.


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