Sunday, August 12, 2018

10 Years Down The Line

"Ae Waqt Ruk Ja, Tham Ja, Thehar Ja
Wapas Zara Daud Peeche
Main Chhod Aayi Khudko Jahan Pe
Woh Reh Gaya Mod Peeche...''

(Oh time, hold still, stop, wait
Start running backwards now
I have left myself at some point
That road is long gone...)

Remember those lyrics from the 90s most popular movie DDLJ? Yes, the whole India crooned these lines as Kajal and SRK lipped the soulful song. How we all wish for the time to stop at those bends of life where we left our most cherished memories. Recently, accidentally my mother came across an old prescription of mine of 1998. And an epiphany occurred to her that every 8th year of the decade has been a milestone in her daughter's life.

1998: I was just a school-going teenager aged 14. But the year was significant in the sense that I was recovering from a serious illness in that year.

2008: It was the year I appeared for the West Bengal Civil Services. I had left the campus job offer as a Software Engineer (Trainee). Not just the job, I didn't utilize my GATE rank which could have easily landed me into one of the prestigious IITs to pursue masters. Leaving everything for the sake of civil services seemed almost akin to putting all my eggs in one basket. And I was scared that if I failed to crack W.B.C.S., my career would be doomed. That year, my 24th year, turned out to be a major milestone in my life, as that was the year of my one and only attempt at W.B.C.S.

2018: I am the single mother of a 6-year-old boy now. Leaving behind the tumultuous years, life at 34 is on the threshold of another major change.

2028: I'll mother a teenager and god knows which crisis of adolescence we both will have to face.

But time flies as if it has got wings. And we go on achieving new milestones, adapting constantly with changes occurring with time.

Saturday, August 4, 2018

Cheers to Friendship

Sharing this selfie with my bestest friend  Priyanka on the occasion of Friendship Day. She has been my friend since the time we were in school. She always lends me ears when I want to vent, gives me shoulders to cry on when I am at my lowest. She is the one who knows me perhaps better than me - she is someone who knows all my secrets. Together we have so many memories that I am at a loss when I mull over which one particular incident to share. One incident which still makes me laugh is our reading together of the first love letter that she received, sitting in the last bench of the classroom of class 11, after the classes were over. All I want to say on this Friendship Day is, "Tere bina ho jeena, Woh din kabhi na aaye."

This post is written in association with Women's Web #bestfriendstales contest.

The Chessboard

My army now confronts your horse,
Putting your King's life in jeopardy-
On the black-and-white chessboard of life.
One wrong move,
And you lose the game.
I gaze into those black eyes of yours,
And I fail again to figure out my next right move.

© 2018. Swagata Tarafdar. All rights reserved.

Bengaluru Poetry Festival is a celebration of all things poetry. The third edition of Bengaluru Poetry Festival is on 4th and 5th of August 2018, at the Leela Palace Bengaluru. Women's Web hosted a poetry contest in association with Bengaluru Poetry Festival. The prompt was to write a poem in 7 lines or under with the picture prompt given below. This poem was among 3 winning entries. I won a copy of the Nine Indian Woman Poets: An Anthology by De Souze Eunice.

Saturday, July 21, 2018

Your Sunflower

I won't be the rose,
Whom you'll pick for it's beauty,
Or for it's heady fragrance -
And discard when the petals will get dried.
Rather, I'll be your sunflower,
Obsessively dependent on the sunshine,
Blooming only at the gentle touch
Of the first rays of the sun.
Now that the monsoon has arrived in the city
With rain-clouds hovering,
Impeding the incoming rays of sun,
Your sunflower's existence is at stake.
Gasping for it's breath,
It is yearning desperately for a sliver of sunshine
To sneak through the thick clouds,
And kiss the tender petals of the sunflower.
But the persistent rains refuse to go,
Making this monsoon season longer than usual.

© 2018. Swagata Tarafdar. All rights reserved.

Tuesday, July 17, 2018

What's in a Surname?

change surname

Amidst the incomprehensible chant of the priest in Sankskrit and flashes of the cameras, he put sindoor in the parting of my hair, while my nanad (sister-in-law, or my husband's sister) covered my head with a red tant saree, known as lajjavastra in marriage parlance. The cameraman asked me to sport a smile- the coy smile that a newly wed bride was expected to sport. The smoke from the sacred fire was stinging my eyes and I ended up with rubbing my eyes, smudging the carefully applied kajal by the make-up woman earlier that evening, as I tried lamely to smile looking at the camera. Looking back to that fateful day after a couple of years since my divorce, I think that was a decisive moment - the moment of my transition from being Miss Tarafdar to being Mrs. Das. Now that I am no longer married and no longer part of the Das family (which I have grown to despise since my marriage), I often wonder how easily women are expected to blend in with their matrimonial family, how they are expected to leave behind their maiden surname effortlessly while they take in a new identity - the identity of being someone's wife, the identity of being the proud Mrs. X, Mrs. Y or Mrs. Z. Marriage for a woman entails a vast change in her life - from change in the place of residence to change in the family members to change in surname, while for a man it means simply a change in his relationship status.

Image source: pexels

This post titled "Why Won't You Change Your Surname? Even Priyanka Gandhi Changed It To Vadra!" has been published on Women's Web as a Featured Post. Featured Posts are a careful selection of highly relevant and interesting posts picked up by the editors of Women's Web each day. To read the full story, Click here.

A Mediocre Dream


"Some men are born mediocre, some men achieve mediocrity, and some men have mediocrity thrust upon them."
-----Joseph Heller

Blue curtains
Lie crumpled on the floor,
Like the remains of a dream.
They are not needed any more
To adorn the windows,
To prevent the glaring sunlight
From entering the bedroom.
They are not needed any more,
For nobody inhabits the house any more.

The balcony lie empty,
For nobody cared to clean it.
Once someone wanted to
Deck it with potted plants.

Windows with blue curtains,
Balcony with potted plants,
Modular kitchen,
Branded water-purifiers -
All the ingredients of a mediocre dream
Breath their last,
For nobody cares for that dream now.

Mediocre dreams are like plants,
Needing someone to water them,
To care for them.
But I have traded them
For achievement.
And my fragile mediocre dreams 
Failed to withstand
The glare of brilliance.

© 2018. Swagata Tarafdar. All rights reserved.

This poem has been published at Women's Web. Click here to read.

Come July

Rotation and Revolution of the earth bring forth another July;
July - the cruellest of  all months,
The seventh month
In the calendar fluttering in the wall.

Seven is a magical number,
Like the seven steps around the sacred fire,
Or the delusional togetherness for seven lifetimes.

This seventh month is magical too,
And enigmatic,
Creating illusions of making the earth fecund,
Bringing the promise of incessant downpour.

The July sky is overcast again
With clouds pregnant with the hope of rain,
But the water-drops coming down
Don't always soothe the frayed nerves,
For this July brings only acid rain;
Corroding the soul,
Bit by bit,

© 2018. Swagata Tarafdar. All rights reserved.