Friday, 12 June 2015

The hills are alive

The Himalayas
An appreciable part of 1965-66 and later was spent in cherishing the goodness of ‘ Sound of Music’ and Julie Andrews. Such powerful was Rogers and Hammerstein’s presence that fifty years later humming the score flawless is easy and meaningful. Since then I find no actress equal Andrews’ vocal chords, beauty, mind and ability in togetherness.
Reminding Ray's Kanchenjunga
 Satyajit Ray’s depiction of human faculty of consciousness in the backdrop of Darjeeling’s mist and sun is another world away from Austria.But  these two  films have one very vital entity in common, the hills.

Vast lush green hills lying before enormous length of snow clad Eastern Himalayas is undoubtedly a thing of beauty seen from Shrubbery in Darjeeling town. For that all you need is silence. A child not more than six, so garrulous, holding his father’s hand on way to school had just turned the corner at Lover’s Walk (Mall Road in Darjeeling), went mum in the face of Kang-chen-dzonga standing tall, heavily dressed in white before azure (sky).
Lover's Walk
 Such is it’s authority that the father drops the school bag from his left hand and genuflects, now face to face with the mighty Himalayas. Seeing his father do so, the son acts accordingly but not that fast with ease. I am sure he too will follow the humble weakness unspoilt, soon. Such human behaviour exhibited by this man who has not even seen the walls of a school, is the need of this hour.

Darjeeling for that matter is still alive adapting to the changes of human behaviour. So long you are alive you change adjusting to the new conditions within and without. A man, likely a tourist from the plains, had littered the clean asphalt down the hill toward the Nightingale Park only to be cleaned by a little boy silently walking behind him unnoticed. Such appearance though not common puts a slap on my face, but not silently this time assuring Darjeeling is breathing. Changes are there with  heavy carbon deposits from the innumerable four wheeled modern dragons. Glenary’s
still exists but without the table being laid immaculately, the fork and the spoon equidistant from the plate. Das Studio’s existential agony to upkeep the city’s history is visible in spite of  Mrs Das’ veritable presence adorning  huge displays of old world Darjeeling.

Business is in the air like any other metropolis. The seller  must sell his  product  whatever it may be, by hook or by crook. Rule books disappearing fast in modern  world, chaos is imminent. With the vanishing of Capitol Cinema and Rink Cinema the Englishness is no more a feast. Now is the time for the ‘Desi’ idiology to come up, making it known to all what’s cooking in the  kitchen. Loud gestures mainly from the tourists fill the air throughout the year. Morning walks are difficult, the air seems heavy. The Natural History Museum behind Alice Hotel is in a shambles but still holds the rarest of collections from the hills only for the man who has an eye for it. The Mall is now called the Chowrasta,
The Mall
kept fairly clean when you take into consideration the quantity and quality of crowd it has to bear with. Makeshift shops populate the narrow stretch down from Sunflower Hotel to the home for government vehicles. Some congest the romantic walk toward Mahakal Mandir likely waiting for an extension  till the view point.

The concrete is eating away the cooler presence of  hills.
C R Das' House
The humankind knows it well but have no strength to resist.  Neither they have the courage of Aurobinda nor the humanness of Tagore. The hills no more breathe air, it breathes money. From Tagore to Goswami or else from Gandhi to Basu the hills are alive,may be in their own different way, crying out for a passionate, peaceable coexistence.

Friday, 29 May 2015


Sundays are always an obdurate melancholy. Appearing uninterruptedly every sixth day it hardly promises imagination. Much of the day is passed in the thought, ‘So many things to do, so little time left.’ While  doing nothing and idling away your brain is a difficult task too. It may give the cerebrum some serious rest, a much sought after relaxation of twenty-first century but it spoils away your time.Unable to do so, one lazy Sunday afternoon I was struck with the idea to research “Information, Intelligence and Common Sense”.  Are any two of those same? Or separate entities deserving togetherness.  Are they comparable? Is one dependant on the other? Such random thoughts having descended on made leave my cozy divan for an Oxford face saver (my dictionary) and finally internet.
 I wondered, if one has some serious intention of listening to others in a harmless spying mood, even  to those unknown,  at street corners, one will often find talkative individuals superiorly ‘intelligent’ and  knowledgeable. Such knowledge was not available some twenty years or so, before the internet and opening up of the society to everything that is available, good or bad, rational or irrational, sense or nonsense.
This flourishing business of ‘Information Technology’ with management spree produce learned humanoid , half hearted, indecent, arrogant, good looking, smart and  handsome population. They exhibit  knowledge about everything  and an empty pocket with a plastic in it. On a Friday evening a distinguished friend of mine and secretary of an updated, upfront, up market club took the risk of inviting me to a sitar recital. There I found so many upwardly mobile men and women discussing Israel conflict to innocent herbals without side effects in weight reducing drinks. So knowledgeable were they, that it would put you to shame. I couldn’t resist inviting one of them to deliver a quarter hour lecture at our university club only to listen that time is too scarce for him. Knowledge here seemed ample, making everyone proud with unputdownable heads and glamorous grin.
 So what is this knowledge about? This age of information technology brings enormous amount of awareness  but only in the form of half-hearted learning, popularized by the present generation to be kings in their own world. A man who had surfed internet in a desultory way comes out from this veritable ‘net world’ remembering little about the pages he had visited. It’s rightly called surfing, I believe. Touching everything but nothing is in vogue and it guarantees social standing.
 ‘‘Keep talking’, the golden word for cell phone companies is no more restricted to billboards. It is now part of our life. We keep talking, often ejecting unhealthy unverified data. Smart and convincing are we now, much more than our forefathers .With so much in our head, ready to be displayed like throwaway objects in glorified gatherings funded by billion dollar establishments, is the  trend of this age ,a prestige indeed for the  speaker.
  A few decades back when knowledge was not that rampant,  learning was slow  like a fat lazy lady strolling about one winter afternoon. Not many a bright student would care to show off their reference books. A score card never nearly touched the full score. The readers chewed each line like a cud in search of thoughts kept out of sight. Chewing the fat at street corners was common. In modern times this phenomenon will be looked down upon as obsessive compulsive disorder. In countries like India where buying magazines like National Geographic and Life was sheer luxury, bibliophiles would throng around dusty old book shops mining earlier issues for a bargain. Books and magazines would never turn old and obsolete and would rightfully occupy spaces in a voracious reader’s unkempt rooms.
  Is it really necessary to slowdown? My honesty murmurs, “ I don’t know.” Speed though measurable, is incorporeal to modern man making it difficult to ascertain its power to push human race to destitution. But there is no harm in pausing, I believe. It may provide a closer look at your heart that occupies your brain. It is the ‘mind’ you had forgotten. It gives you the free chance to breed your good sense and reasoning. It gives you the rich thought of understanding and perception, regaining the power to think rationally. For the time being it may be enough of what the human race had learnt provided it forgets unshackling it’s destructive powers. The nous may be shedding silent tears. Heraclitus had complained “much learning does not teach nous” and this saying still stands upright.
 So where is this four letter word ‘nous’ gone? But the modern man has forgotten this word remembering only one four letter word that kept missing from dictionaries in our childhood days  some fifty years back. Believe me, I won’t lie, the nous is at nadir impatient to reach zenith. If intelligence  is human discovery, nous  is the application or technology we enjoy. So long we don’t appreciate nous, we are all humanoids, heartless engines running after “ Buy one get one free’. 

Wednesday, 24 December 2014

মুক্তেশ্বরে মুক্তি ( Manumiting mission Mukteshwar)

For a metropolitan individual peace to ears is heavenly dream. To him silence is scarce while for those in the lonely hills, noise obliterated. This unfriendly and distant human behavior brings noisemakers from the plains to disturb peace in hills, while the reverse simpletons tend to lose their sanctity.
Whichever the case may be, silence is hard to find these days in the hills in India and it’s a luck to discover a whispering, winding,  way lined by rainbow colored nameless little flowers. Ready to perceive and withstand,  obnoxious, high pitched odours from Indian Railway toilets for two nights to discover a road without shoe marks, a voyage from Calcutta was eagerly waiting. Mukteshwar was the name that came first likely for it’s mystical Bengali script that lay before you a journey to freedom reminding you of the word ‘mukti’. Little did I know about Mukteshwar’s windy nature, its jaw dropping temperature and the sound of rain it mimics bolt from the blue when the wind streamlines through the Deodars .

Before the middle of December on the thirteenth I guessed it would be chilly but sustainable with layers of wool and a jacket. The first evening passed by in lazy walks for a kilometer or two around the village bazaar of a few shops and a ‘choumatha’ ( four roads crossing)in front of IVRI’s (Indian Veterinary Research Institute) main entrance. This crossing is a vast open space very unlike that in crowded cities. Acclimatization at around 8000 feet was not that adequate on the first day. So we returned to our hotel only to find that the electricity had vanished. But the service men cared little and kept smiling much to our awe. Electricity keeps fleeing here giving you little chance to store some hot water or charge your modern day connecting device. The men from the hills are not worried about this. They kept discussing about the present political scenario in the state. It had already started drizzling by then.

After a sumptuous, affectionate dinner from the hotel boys we planned to be back to our room in search of a cozy space below the specially made blanket for the hills. It was when we felt something soft below our shoes. The snow had started settling. Unable to witness in sheer darkness the only thing we could do was to curse our fate realizing little what was in store for us next morning.
Sleeping well in pitch darkness and nothing but absolute silence, we were awakened by impressive heavy knocking by  Surinder  the ever smiling, helping running man with a pot of hot tea to sip and a picture perfect view of four feet snow. In whichever direction we looked through the large sized window, it was a thick blanket of snow and silence. The nature was unwilling to speak. Such succulent silence you never would witness anywhere.

After we had burnt our lips unable to restrain ourselves to put our feet in knee deep snow for a few clicks with Canon, someone reminded me of Calcutta. It would snow more he said for the forthcoming days and the roads will never be cleared for the next seven days or so. It was such a sudden sullen thought that it made me sit and put my fist below my chin, plunged in shattering thoughts. The roads will be closed and I am a prisoner in Mukteshwar, I thought. The electricity was still not back and the storage geyser surprisingly empty.

It was ten in the morning when we were ready for a splendid breakfast with ‘puries’ and ‘alur dom’.  The snowing had stopped, the sun bright right over our head but the mercury kept plummeting . It was such a distressing event on one hand while an unbelievable thought of silver screen heroines in scantily clad dresses in ankle deep snow and ice crept in my mind. I imagined how the prisoner of Zenda felt during his days in castle unable to leave.

If you don’t do it now you face the music , I told myself. With a little life left on phone I rang up the police to listen ‘ have patience’ in a compassionate voice. Mukteshwar  remains closed to traffic for now was what I heard. I contacted my friend Kushal  Dasgupta at Calcutta and asked him to help us out.  It took another ten minutes to clear the bills. With four of those ever smiling hotel nonentities and a broken plastic room- cleaning  stick for support,  I started my voyage with a salute to Columbus. The snow was not less than three feet deep and my legs kept slipping, unable to trace a rough surface. But the four held me as tight as they could never leaving me for a moment. Who they were I thought, forgetting that  they were only those common simpletons from the hills extending their help for nothing. The walk that started nearly three feet deep in snow with hard  rocks below lasted  four hours covering eight kilometers with no less than four falls strong enough to break your patela  or ankle. But it never happened for those four,  who lifted us each time with sheer muscle power. The walk was a hell for the weak novice cosmopolitan so  called entity, who hardly utilize ten percent of their endurance. I still remember the four- hour  unbearable physical exercise up and down the hill, waddling in heavy deposits of snow and ice on the shortcuts away from the main metal highway only to cut short time and reach destination by daylight. Each time I fell sick it reminded me of Dersu Uzala, the man born from mother nature whose sheer endurance still puts every human  being to shame.

My wife, who was a bit ahead in the race, suddenly looked back and cried aloud, “Look, at the end, there is no more snow.” There was so much joy in those words that it took me another half a minute to realize the truth. The risk of this journey is hardly one percent of what the mountaineers face and   this put my smartness in a shambles. 

That very moment my telephone started  ringing, Kushal Dasgupta was on the line. Hearing that we were out of danger and as if  he himself  was out of penance he jumped out in sheer ecstasy saying, “If Jatayu would have been there he must have uttered, Mukteshwar theke mukti  (free from Mukteshwar)”. This witty  alliteration was so appropriate and so powerful that it made me lose my pain in joy. I looked at my saviours and asked, “Where are we now?”. To my utter disbelief they replied,” Why Sir? We are in Mukteshwar,  Sir. We have only left behind the campus of IVRI and walked another three kilometers.”  Nothing but the sheer size and the vastness of  IVRI campus put me to embarrassment unable to compare it with anything I had witnessed so far. Does the BHU have a larger campus? I wondered. Dasgupta was still on the line expecting me to reply.” No you are wrong my dear, its not ‘from’,  its ‘Mukteshwar-e mukti (Free at Mukteshwar)”, I said and kept on laughing like Jatayu all the way to Calcutta on train.

 I felt happy and fulfilled that I  could pay those four ever  smiling men for their hard work, realizing every moment that the money I spent never equaled their worth. It was for the first time in my tenure on the holy platform that I touched O.Henry’s heart and felt the resonance of the saying ‘It is better to give than it is to receive’. It was a life time experience, a God gifted one, of my approval of the thought that  one could never touch  the wit and the wisdom of  a language until he knows how to read and write it and truly accept it to be ones mother tongue.

(After I had resumed my office at Calcutta I came to know that about 100 tourists were rescued from Uttaranchal and at least 50 poor men and children died from cold.  )

Friday, 15 August 2014

A miser and a conservationist

Away from explicit, rigid, non negotiable expressions of disapprovals live a layman’s world where these two are inseparable and coexistent like one’s shadow. I have often found a conservationist being referred to as a miser in public place much to the latter’s amusement. These days the educated form crowd, bringing into shape those invaluable existences into valuable standards of behaviour. Every one seems to be educated in this age of internet, ready to put forward his views like a cheap ‘ready to fry’ envelope of mouth watering battered marinated fish. Silence is scarce, beyond reach of a gullible magic box eligible to cast his ballot in an untruly democratic country.   The public is thickly populated in twenty-first century, much thicker than the quiet listeners of the sixties of twentieth. You rarely would find people listening to you and pay heed. We are all kings in this new world but not very much like what Tagore referred to in Amara sabai Raja amader ei Rajar rajotye (we are all free like king in our state).

            My father’s friend, already dead by now, quietly put off the electric switch behind a person, carelessly leaving an empty room. People use to call him nuts, saving money for no one. Improperly turned off taps would find him finishing the left out work. It was one thing that made co-habitants see shades of red but they kept on reffering him as hoarder . This half dead, lean, meatless man would save, torn pieces of blank unused papers believing trees will be lost soon for making as few as half a dozen paper.

            Who is this ‘nuts’? I don’t know. I have often seen a scarcely read man, likely self groomed, a self styled existence who persistently nurtures his nous, unnoticed, an un-smart soul indeed, haunted at every corner of his living by his nonexistent, tempestuous dumb countertenor.    

            In today’s world where human interest other than in self is absconding, conservationism is in exile making room for a miser impersonating others. This is likely the future of modern man with changes coming faster than the speed of an  ultramodern computer chip. He adapts to the speed very much like the inhuman ‘transformers’ on screen unable to role back to his basic self.

How many times in the recent past had you witnessed a comon man on the street, conserving? Conserving a clean environment, not throwing his empty chocolate wrapper or an exhausted cigarette packet on the pavement. Not honking an enormously sharp sounding exhibitionistic car horn without suitable cause. A rareity indeed you never even thought of some twenty years back. At one time, a quality which showed up automatically and no one botherd to call it humane as it came up without a conscious thought and willingly with maturity, is scarse and may be needs ‘Finishing Schools’ for a come back. So the water keeps flowing, unused and uncared for  in government taps on streets, street lights keep burning at seven in the morning may be throughout the day, a noisy thoroughfare becomes a smarter avenue for the modern man, slangs flow down the lips in public places, newer babies keep seeing the daylight on pavements without their parents rarely using their brains, teachers slap their pupil without loving and caring for them.

Its time to conserve, not only the water on the street but the slang too, you had memorised in your childhood. May be the next door neighbour with whom you had never cared to talked to, is conserving the air for your next generation. Its time to conserve the word ‘ miser’ you often use for a quiet backbencher who keeps using his dusty gadget which has lost its shine.

Wednesday, 19 February 2014

My Tendulkars, My Cricket

About the size of two bedrooms an utterly undulated piece of barren land occupies right across my ground floor terrace. Like birds flock to their torn nests by the turn of the evening, eight under weight cricketers, surely below the age of twelve, appear one after other with the little one carrying a drowsy looking bat under his armpit. The shapeless, lustreless rubber ball will now change hands bringing thrill, no less than a seventies’ five-day match with daring Farook Engineer at stumps. There is no one standing behind the wickets, I find. A rather doubtful set of three ugly looking, crooked vertical lines on the moss filled broken wall, marks the fate of the batsman. No one complains about that. No spectators, no actors, no cheer girls is in view. Only a rarely summoned third umpire waits to-day’s thrilling half hour.

            There is so much fun and excitement in this friendly game that it puts the bribe trodden international cricket to shame. Even the honest that cheer the international players and watch these pre-decided matches should hide their face in disgust. But to my utter disbelief the friendly cricket game opposite my balcony too has some fighting inherent. All of my little friends love to bat, none care to move their arm like a half drawn cartwheel throwing the ball. Bowling seems to be tiring. To them bowling is a less attractive option than hitting the ball hard and bringing it to tears. So sometime there is difficulty to get the bit between one’s teeth and often expression of childhood anger evolve disappearing within minutes. These lilliputs  fight, some sort of transient jostling I should say which soon turn into human bondage. Such charming, unadulterated expression of human behaviour you always would envy in your adulthood.

            My duty is restricted to watching. But my honesty and rationality shine high in their mind. One day after some extended display of anger for who should bat first I was given the chance to decide their fate. I took it seriously, encouraging a fair play. I drew numbers one to eight in a row with a prefixed dash and covered the digits with the bat. The younger one was asked to choose a dash first and then the others. After all the markers were chosen by eight of them, I uncovered the digits by removing the bat. It was an easy task with impending clarity and little punctilious behaviour from me at sixty.

            The game was high on note but confusions came faster than the runs. Markings made by the ball on wall came one above the other, making decisions difficult. Display of anger followed by cries became obvious. No one was ready to leave the bat and take up a fielder’s job. Then one day larger controversies came, stopping the game like a bolt in the blue. I had no other option but to interfere. I couldn’t be a dumb spectator and watch these little champs display disgust like the adults. And then I thought, why don’t I gift them a set of real wickets and a piece of nice cricket bat?  The ball came next putting me to tears to see their joy.
CHARLES COLLYER AS A BOY WITH A CRICKET BAT by  Francis Cotes (1726-1770) from Wikimedia Commons

            While watching one such local game of cricket on a lazy Sunday afternoon I thought, how immensely fool the human race is, spending hundreds of pounds for a pre fixed, well rehearsed, pre decided match at an international arena. That half nourished, ill trained juveniles with their never ending energy, I contemplated, play and play and keep playing not loosing their honesty for even a second. The light was dim by now and the kids have reluctantly called off the match at least for today. I felt sorry for them. I said to myself,” Hats off my children, hats off to your truthfulness, righteousness and honesty.”

Tuesday, 9 July 2013


For ‘idiotes’ away from the modern world jargon, perambulating in silence is paragliding decamp parachute. It’s a difficult task indeed, even in dreams. Promenades are scarce and silence expensive. Each time you visit a known place, your thoughts are saddened with the new moronic concrete that has evolved without resistance. Whereas for the intelligent gasbag circumambulating in made to order royal gardens is his relaxing arrogate endeavour.

Burmaik en route Kalimpong from Rangpoo via Munsong cherishes simple ‘home-stay’s facing mighty Kangchendzonga. Rainbows seem frequent in rarefied rascal air increasing your rapacity. Teesta flows like an enormous ophidian down below blue hills. Here silence is in plentiful. Endorphin flows effortlessly making ten- kilometre walks spasm free. In June, when it rains, thickly populated pines make vibrations seeking soul mates. Clouds make lose your loved ones, promising reinventions across hand’s breadth. Omnipotent presence of silence only intensifies the sound emanating from your moving body inviting embarrassment. A bunch of school goers breaks the complete lack of sound putting my endurance to shame.

At four forty in the morning I rise, to opiate myself with the nature’s tyranny. The white giant in front of my window kept changing its colourful robe not paying a heed. But soon the rain came down like an organdie spoiling my awe and the orography in front of my balcony.

Burmaik’s ostentatious presence on national highway 31A close to Sikkim’s border seemed fragile. My brothers from metropolis are not that good in conserving memories, I believe. Lush green opulent hills bounding serpentine tar make cars stop. But with it come empty bottles and tobacco wrappers. The poorly literate cinchona plantation workers know that. It’s their place where they were born and where they idle away their evenings after a tiring days work five kilometres down the hill. The Shiva temple up thousand odd stairs does bring brisk business during festive month without much harming the warble and the falaise around. The ‘Kokomhendo’ is still a produce expanding its foliage. This small deciduous tree (Oroxylum Indicum), found in the lower heights of Sikkim (unaware of  the boundary that restricts Burmaik to be a part of  Kalimpong subdivision and not Sikkim) gives birth to big two feet long sword shaped fruits. Large purplish flowers beautify the tree in May and June. Flat seeds have broad, white tracing paper like wings. These wings are sacred to the people of Sikkim. So sacred that it ornaments the Buddhist temples and even bond the newly wed. Its juice also calms down the fiery throat when fever and cough strikes. The pharmaceutical companies are aware of its medicinal properties. You are aware of the story of Basmati rice by now.

On the third day morning we decided to say good by to Arun Khaling in whose ‘home-stay’ we were cared and protected like the very best seven star ones that I had never visited and never would do so. Khaling’s wife was expecting her first child when we bid a tearful escape. This broad shouldered, tall, fair complexioned lady kept smiling the same way she did on the very first day but with a saddened eye she cared not to hide. Khaling reluctantly stopped a car that was heading Kalimpong to let us in on a shared trip. After I had secured my trolley bag in the carrier it suddenly struck me that I had carelessly thrown a chocolate wrapper in the home-stay. I hurriedly went back to hide it in my pocket. The little one will be there in August, reminding me of Tagore’s Balai and the hills should not be in torpor. 

Tuesday, 29 November 2011


                  With the November breeze came a little astonishment from an unusual quarter. Literary works of Tagore and the bard’s perception of colour were to be discussed by the Ophthalmologists at their annual conference. Ketaki Kushari Dyson, the well known litterateur but an odd man out amongst the medical professionals was invited to deliver Major S.C. Dutt Memorial oration making it obvious of a unicameral origin of human knowledge. That he was a colour blind more specifically a protanope, was known to Tagore himself. He discussed at length with Indira Debi, Roman Rolland and Rani Chanda how disturbing it was. But those around him who made him into an institution tried hard to keep it a secret. Rarely would you find Viswa-Bharati publishing books on poet’s colour vision. In the last decade of   Nineteenth century, Tagore discussed his problem with eminent scientist friend J.C.Bose. Dr. Jyotirmoy Bose, another eye surgeon and R.W Pickford jointly published an article in British Journal of Aesthetics (Volume 27, No 1, winter 1987) about Tagore’s colour perception. But it was Ketaki Dyson who opened the doors into the inner world of Tagore’s psyche. Colours have so many things to say, so many things to do. Much of our thinking and a large part of the human soul is dependant upon it. When one does not perceive colour in its full spectrum he is ought to sustain breaking down his peaceful behaviour. How distressful it was when Tagore was at loss in describing the colour ‘red’ and its nearer spectrum. You can’t write about colours without seeing them. While Tagore came up with innumerable unusual words like ‘ranga’ (eng. Deep colour), ‘shyamal’ (eng. Cloudy greenish yellow) to describe primary colours like red, green etc, alliterations sprung in abundance evolving the Bengali language into an ornamental one. He was so helpless in appreciating sunsets (to Tagore it was yellow or orange like yellow) and sunrises (helplessly describing it as golden) that such colours like ‘red’ brought different meanings to his life. He thought ‘red’ to be darkness, painful, death, hidden, sadness and he was hurt by this colour. ‘Red’ to him was elusive and invincible or an absence of colour. Blood became a phobia or near black. And from it arose plays like ‘Raktakarabi’ (red oleander). Next time when you read this play, appreciate it in this unusual angle. ‘Red’ to him was of two types, good red or bad red and with it alliterations emerged in vivid sound patterns as ‘ranga hashi rashi rashi’.  In Purabi she said, “You will find the mournful sound of colour of sindur or red vermillion worn by married women on their forehead as a mark of respect to their married life.” Colour vision decides so much about one’s writings that Tagore gave birth to unimaginable usage of varied words in his published works you would never have dreamt of. Tagore is likely the end of Bengali language and it will take years to come up with some thing new. Ketaki said that Tagore would rarely write explicitly about colours. Tagore talked about colourful garlands, colourful clouds without describing the colours individually. With this came the glorification of the unseen. From not seeing, came touching. Colours turned out to be haunting and inflicting pain and then slowly turning into monochromatic ones. Tonal variations became rarer and Tagore started brushing layers after layers in search of the true colour. Paints took longer to dry. It took longer and longer, as the days passed by. Blue was seldom used. European skin became difficult to distinguish and the bard compared it with the colour of the grapes. There was immense problem with the green and red and as a result there was no green-red contrast. Tagore turned to primitive art like African wood cut masks, wood cut prints and expressionism. Usage of brown emerged in abundance while details in paintings lost its importance.  It was only the lines and boundaries and shapes that mattered.  

Rabindranath Tagore (Photo wikimedia commons)
   Only a few months (27.2.2011 to 8.3.2011) before this deliberation by Mrs Dyson, the Government Art College at Calcutta witnessed a unique incident hitherto unheard of. It held an exhibition of twenty-seven paintings by Tagore celebrating the bard’s sesquicentennial anniversary and managed to declare it open by none other than the Governor of West Bengal. Out of these twenty-four paintings emerged as fakes. Little did the deceivers remember that Rabindranath was a red-blue colour blind individual. He was an informal artist, untrained in the chiaroscuro effects of trained painters. Imagine the devastation if the culprits would have assigned a colour blind, untrained human hand. A painting by Tagore displayed here, named "Dancing Girl"  will tell you how unusual the colors are.
            This oration by Mrs Dyson was preceded by a series of scientific papers on eye surgery, presented to the august gathering in form of a cricket match like platform in which each team scored runs to ultimately win a trophy. It was a packed house witnessing ear bursting applause. What came as a surprise was the thinning out of the crowd with the beginning of Dyson’s oration reminding me that hardly a few are interested in serious interdisciplinary discussions. Where there is fun, more is the number of audience. This is not only true for the illiterate and poorly groomed community but also for the elite educated class too. It is one who has an inclination towards extracurricular reading and matured thoughts, actually wins the trophy. My hat goes off to Dr. Jajneswar Bhunia, the dynamic eye surgeon, who dreamt of this oration and finally put it to shape. Many a surgeon may not pat your back Dr Bhunia, but one is crowd here.

            For those who are not comfortable with Bengali literature may know, Tagore is often referred to as ‘Kabiguru’ which means, poet of poets.