After a hangover from the previous evening’s ultra cool boozing ,I woke up at dot 11 am. It was a laid back start to the last day of the year. My cellphone display showed 38 unread messages. It seemed people were really excited about 2010. I hate forwarded messages still I went through all of them. By 12 , I aligned myself infront of my lappy , checked some so called important mails…replied to new year greetings that were pushed through and even wrote a testimonial at gunpoint. I was rest assured that this day is going to beat the worst 31st December record and it was going to be hell boring. Nothing was working according to plan for past 2-3 days. I said no to my family outing as i wanted to accompany friends on 30th but eventually it got cancelled. It was like “dhobi ka kutta ,na ghar ka na ghat ka”.
It was around 2 pm when I got a call from my cousin, he asked "what’s up bro???"
“chilling out at home “ is what I replied, but actually I was far from chilling out or in.
He said , “me too”!!
I got the signal that am not the only one left out , it makes you feel better when somebody else is also in same soup as you are in. It makes your stay(read as agony) more “comfortable”(bearable). Though my cousin is half a dozen years elder to me ,still each and every time he looks up to me for some weird ideas and invariably I deliver on his expectations. By 3 pm he was at my door and my hand was on my head, scratching to unearth some idea where we should head for. I took my little rucksack and climbed onto his newly bought FZ 16. I didn’t even gave him a chance to ask where are we heading. I said “SINGUR”. “What !!are you crazy?” is what he managed to say as we left for our destination Singur .
It took about an hour to cover the 58 km distance. The view of the defunct nano factory was bit saddening. It was definitely not a year gone right for the people in and around that place. I don’t know who won in the political tug of war of singur but what I knew ,was that a family doing well with farming was forced to put up a roadside tea stall and was struggling for survival. As I paid up for the tea & snacks, Rony threw his bike keys at me. It was a clear indication that the stud was little sad ,else we cousins never let each other our bikes.
“hey hey!!aren’t we supposed to turn back and head home before dark…why the hell are you going straight??” he shouted in vain.
“We are heading straight, switch on the GPRS and give me the direction”...i said.
“Direction of what??? Where do you want to go??
“BOLPUR ….ahh make it SHANTINIKETAN, give me the direction and distance coordinates”
“Hey brother its 139 km, scrap your filthy idea and lets head back home. This 139+ km journey will exert undue pressure on my bikes engine and engine is the heart of the bike. It might get a heart attack.” He howled under his pillion helmet.
Heart, veins, arteries, etc etc …..he continued his anatomy and possible ailments his bike would suffer ,as I headed for Bardhaman. It was 5.30 pm when we reached there. It started to darken as we stopped by for a tea. Many picnic parties were heading for home after a days of hulla bulla….We again commenced our journey on NH-2 towards Bolpur ,it was about 7 pm when we reached shantiniketan.
It was an awesome feeling , this was my second visit to the campus and on both occasions I was just bowled over by the scenic beauty , the calmness and the lovely ambience of the very place. A “baul ashor” was going on ,so we decided to sit there for some time .You cannot match a cold December evening with Baul sangeet at shantiniketan with anything else on this world. The words ,the lyrics ,the very person singing the song makes it so special that it directly hits the soul somewhere deep inside you.
We went to the nearby canteen to find out what was on offer. I was very hungry ,so was Rony. We finished our dinner and came out of the campus.
While lighting a cigarette Rony asked “do you know any good hotel nearby???" Yes I do, but what for ??? I said. “Where are we going to stay, I don’t even have clothes with me .I can’t sleep in open like you.” he shouted at the top of his voice. I really like the way he shouts at me and the faces he makes. But the face he made to my reply was out of this world.
“we don’t need a hotel, we are heading back home”…..i said.
To which he gave a dirty look , a dirty grin and a dirty growl.
“ami tor sathe jibon e arr kono din kothau berobo na” is what he managed to utter which when interpreted to English reads as “you are the best brother in this world and love you a lot”
It was already 9.10 pm on my watch and my calculation keeping in mind the traffic said if we start now we could reach home by 12.30.With some more protest from Rony and his theory of bikes heart ailment we started our journey back home.
He was angry with me and he was letting this frustration out on his wheels. He was surely burning the roads. I had managed to provoke the beast in him and the beast was now ruling NH 2. The cool slow breeze quickly turned into chilly gust of air . It was extremely cold ,by 11 pm we reached the same tea stall at Singur & to our surprise the stall was still open. It was not the new year bash that had kept the stall open ,it was mere struggle for existence which I don’t think understand language of any calendar.
After having another shot of tea we two left that place wishing that the new year brings some smile instead of agony to these people of singur . We intentionally slowed down near Howrah as we wanted to cross the bridge, right at the strike of 12 . For a change my idea sounded “mind-blowing & fatafati “ to my cousin.
We executed it to perfection and we soon realized , we were not the only one with that idea. The bridge and the banks were crowded. The noise, the lightings ,the happiness all around was a treat to watch. I love to stick around my place i.e. Barrackpore, it was first time I was in Calcutta on a 31st Dec night and it was surely something special. The upbeat mood , the loud music , the bustling streets and the full moon above made a perfect setting for a grand way to welcome 2010.
By 1 am we were at home. My fingers had gone numb, it was so cold.
As I locked the garage door & turned back , I saw Rony with a smile of utmost satisfaction.
“yes bro, we did it….it was crazy but we have done it” is what he yelled.
I smiled back ,exchanged a hug and wished him “happy new year”.
I climbed up the stairs to my room just to find out how bad my back was hurting. I hate those Yamaha seats. They are terrible for a long journey. I could not catch a sleep partly because of the backache and partly because of the mixed emotions that I went through the whole day. The faces of the chai wala , the BAUL and the people in the new year BASH and even Rony ,were gyrating in my memory. The perspective of life from different angles was what keeping me awake. I don’t know what 2010 had store for them or even have an idea what’s in store for me. But I really wish the political turmoil ends and it ends for a greater cause and a better Bengal.
The burst of madness , the all of a sudden tour de shantiniketan and the interactions along the way were extremely satisfying in itself. It turned out to be the best 31st December night ever spent .
Things do happen when you hardly anticipate them to happen and that’s what is life .
AND sometime in Life it’s good to be mad and awe-inspiring to be crazy!!!
N.B – this goes to my cousin, I know you will read this. I want you to know that your bike’s seat sucks still I love you a lot brother. Will put your bike’s anatomy on test again very shortly, so get ready bro!!!! and the best part :- today on bike I used up half of your gprs usage limit…feel free to shout at me ..:):)