For the Women

Right now, at this moment I am taking a break from writing a novel about sexual abuse and the journey has been more or less traumatic. And this isn’t even the first one I have written this year. If there is anything I have realised over the past two years it is the simple fact that sexual abuse is much more common than we think. It takes a simple story, a simple poem, and you hear their  stories, their anger and their sorrow, because they feel an kinship with you.
And that is basically, why I have always been a very vocal advocate against sexual abuse in all forms. For, me the reasons to report any instance of sexual abuse with you or around you is very simple.

You deserve justice 
This is about you, and you matter more than anyone else when you have been made to feel this way. You have to report it because you deserve an escape from the tormentor. Also, it is in your basic right, this person has affected you in a way that will strain you, that will very possibly remain with you for a long long time. So, yes, no matter who did it to you, you deserve justice.

It spreads on

Blaming yourself is easy. Blaming yourself and telling yourself that you are the only one who will ever be affected by someone who sexually abused you is easy. But, even from my personal experience I can tell that the buck does not stop there. And there is always someone else who will be tormented just the same. The courage you would need, that is large and I do not deny that. However, remember that the fight is for a larger world, a safer world. The fight is for every other person you want to protect.

It is closure
Speaking to the survivors group helps a lot, I attest to that. However, you need to understand that knowing that there is a greater authority to deal with these cases. That even if there is no ultimate punishment, the person’s name is no longer untarnished helps. And because you have sought help out in a proper way, you have an unblemished soul. You have done your bit, and trust me that is a good closure. Even if this means you have to overcome your fear of police, you should do this, for yourself, if for no one else

Reporting sexual abuse is very important. And this video tells us about some rights relating to the same

“I’m writing this blog post to support Amnesty International’s#KnowYourRights campaign at BlogAdda. You can also contribute to the cause by donating or spreading the word.”


An Ode to Will

You left me in a sort of darkness
Something that wouldn’t even let me figure out
How to make those special noodles
Because I had only ever made them for you
Truth be told, I forgot the way to grocery shops too
A leftover from when you jumbled up the roads
I guess, this means you left me alone
A loneliness that made me change
So much, that even the when I make my lasagna
I can’t make it for one person anymore
And your plate still awaits your return home
Strangely, I still warm that blanket in winter sun
Even though you would say that it was merely typical
Also, no one warms your side of the bed
So, while I do get invitations for the night ins
I don’t get a warmth beside me
When the untrained arm reaches across to you
Still, I do attend your classes
With perfect silence, maintaining decorum
I see you forget your tie once every week or so
And even I wear unmatched belts
You smile so prim and proper and fake
When you call me up and ask
Ask me to speak of these poetry you read
And I keep silence as my only answer
For, you should know what I would say
If I somehow managed to break out
I guess the poems didn’t matter when we were together
But, they do matter so much now
Say lover, do you still call me Lan by mistake
That name from an old pulp fiction
That you loved, and I couldn’t
For I know I still call you Endless
Since, some days you are only the scars you left
Poetry inside my leather bound heart
Stories on my walls and stairwells
All things that cannot be wiped away
Tell me Endless, do you still smoke your Camels
When I am so so far away?
And do you still buy our old whiskey
Drink entire bottles in one single day?
On one of those last days I remember so clearly
You reading Shakespeare and crying
Because you could not make sense of it
And I could never bear that
You were poetry, and being away from that
It made you some what less
So, in an impulse I forced you to leave instead
Doesn’t mean I do not want you back
For poetry and languages aren’t meant
To be barriers between people
Not that I have managed to understand your verse
Or those large epics that you read
And I still hold onto your voice before the fountain
And I remember the screams that followed them
Tell me, do you still howl at night?
Make your partner check for monsters?
Or was it me who made you so afraid?
Some days I see your monsters still
When your dress looks creased and crumpled
Or when you forget what you taught
Mostly though, it’s when you evaluate my essay
Insisting that I deserved the hundred
Your “friends” know now don’t they?
I am probably the joke they tell of in lunch breaks
Help with this, I might have if I had the courage
To write you these poems of reassurance
But, then my pen’s ink has stopped flowing long before
And my hand hurts whenever I start writing
I remember you being like floral arrangements
A bridal wreath that was placed before burial places
And even though you wear white in dreams
I cannot help but, wear black again
Two people whose love can never fit in place
Your verses that bite into me as gunshots
A wonder in the smoke that smells of sadness
No, I would not leak your secrets
They are mine to carry till the end
Nor will I share your breaths at the end of the night
Tell me, how to manage to sleep with this weight
Or do I stay awake
And if we are storms that will tear each other
Is that love still according to your poems?
Is this what it feels to be Endless?

Re-interpreting Rabindranath

It has been a long while since, I have seen you. The exams and college have kept me relatively busy these past few months and I have missed you all for every single moment of that journey.

Strangely, enough these long nights and terrible days have not be entirely fruitless. For better or for worse, I found a taste for an old artist from my heritage. Yes, like this typical Bengali boy, right now am eating a morning tea as Kishore Kumar sings “Amar Bela je Jay”, and it is making me feel good too.

And last time I went on a date, I sang “Amaro porano jaha chai” while I was walking on the road in celebration. I smiled to the sweetness of the song, I laughed at the versatility of it.

However, I am pretty sure, my Rabindranath is not the same as yours. Like any artist that has ever been, the poet is interpreted by me as a different being, an wholly different entity for me. What appears as merely romantic for you, is sexual for me, and a lot of other songs are songs written to a lover rather, than a God. Perhaps, because I am in that phase of my life, where my sighs command my personality, and where, I fall in love with every fleeting figure in my life.
Rabindranath has evolved for me, as had Sukumar Ray when I first encountered the motley of people at my college, as had Sukanto when I had seen poverty for myself. It has always been a part of growing up I mean, seeing artists change. You discover a second nature of works behind the surface and as you keep scratching, the world that you see is changed more and more.

So, consider my embarrassment when even my mother goes that interpreting Rabindranath sexually, to see it in that spectrum is not done. It is not that I do not get her sentiments. But, can you stare closely at “Purono Sei Diner Kotha” and say that it is meant only for the opposite sex friends you had? Or could it be applied to the childish romance you had staged with your best friends as well?

I mean, Tagore is known for depicting each and every spectrum of life through his music, through his stories. And even if the original intent was not the same, which I am very sure it was not, it can be interpreted as thus. Being an elitish in the matters of interpretation binds the poet into your mental image alone, and by all means you get to hold onto the image that you have of Tagore, but, do not ask me to hold onto your image.
What you drew with charcoal pencils can also be drawn with wax crayons.
This sis something I want you to understand.

Artists, readers, people… All see a poet differently, because poetry is flexible. Poetry is meant to mean different things. And the verse which sings of anger to you, sings to me of pain.

And no interpretation made thus, is terrible.