Friday, July 26, 2013

The Eastern Comedian

Posted by at 11:08 AM
'The Eastern Comedian'  was a well-known name in the alleys of Kolkata in the early 20th century. He used to do his shows for free and to entertain poor people. One day, he was noticed by some European tourists who were amazed by how he used his bodily gestures to convey a situation hilariously. These tourists took back the memories of his amazing performance with them.

Soon, he was signed up by a popular European theater house. The signing amount was a meager one; but money did not matter to our 'Teko Buro' -a name he was fondly given by the people back home when he had done a hilarious caricature of a bald old man. He used cheap props to look like the old man, and it emerged out as one of his funniest gigs. (Teko Buro means 'a bald old man' in Bengali)

His European tour became a success and he went on to do shows in other countries. People loved The Eastern Comedian. They enjoyed when he tried to offend the rich with his mimicry.He was touted to become a legend, until one night, he experienced a cerebral attack, that left him paralytic for the next decade. By the time he was fit to perform, the newer generation wouldn't recognize him anymore. Heartbroken, he returned to Kolkata and took up a job as a clerk.

Decades passed by. Our comedian was an old man now. He had a hunchback posture (the effects of the paralysis) and clear signs of old age. People called him 'Teko Buro' because of his appearance now. Nobody seemed to remember him as 'The Eastern Comedian' anymore.

But he had faith in himself that if given a chance, he'd gleefully reprise the role of 'Teko Buro' without any props this time.


Saturday, July 6, 2013

Realizing Supernatural..

Posted by at 7:39 PM
A relative of mine had died a few months back. I never got a chance to familiarise myself with him but he was a very close relative belonging to my maternal side. Everyone in my family was deeply saddened, but was a bit relieved because of the fact that he was cured, well, in a way.

He had cancer.

I don't want to go into the specifics of the diagnosis but I had learned that the cancer had reached a very advanced stage before it was diagnosed, and to think that he was well and good when he saw through the wedding arrangements of his daughter, just a year back. My parents had attended the ceremony though I couldn't, owing to my college work. I couldn't attend his funeral as well. I did not want to.

Owing to the treatments and the recurring household expenses , his family had seen some serious financial crunch. This is where the central topic of my post begins.

My parents had coughed off a substantial amount of cash when they bought a new flat here in Kolkata last year. It was an urgency and wasn't being financially planned for years, as people usually do. Therefore, although the deal was a good one, the financial crisis had become mildly apparent. So as we were doing some cost-cuttings in our lifestyles, this sad demise of my relative had happened. And at the same time, I was in an emergent need of money for some work in my college. I usually wouldn't have to worry about it , I needed only ask my father for the same. But this time, I was short of some 20-30 grands, and as my family was in a bit of that financial crunch at that time as mentioned above, so my Dad had to delay the transaction for some time. Only that since I was unable to make the purchase, the people concerned with my college-work would ask me as to why I was delaying with the transaction. It was a casual affair so I did not worry about it much. Although, I would toss around a 'cover-up' story about my relative's demise-that my family had to aid them with some financial aid therefore my transaction was getting held up for some days.

I might have said this story 2-3 times to very few people, and when I did that, I had a certain eerie feeling inside me, that it was not a right thing for me to do, as in reality my parents weren't really helping the relative's family with some aid, as they themselves were caught up with that temporary short-coming. Today I realize in hindsight, that it was a terrible thing to do on my part.

Because I believe what had happened with me soon after, was nothing less than an act of supernatural forces. I am trying not to dramatize this, but trust me, I was so afraid after the incident that happened to me, that I haven't narrated this story to anyone till now. It was equally terrifying as it wasn't just a mere result of human error.

I met with an accident two days later.

It was 23rd Jan 2012, and as superstitious as I am with the date, here is an account of what had happened that morning. I was handling a company along with two other fellow coordinators. It was a mildly chilly morning. We were setting up the mini-audi where the pre-placement presentation of the company would take  place. At the last minute the laptop ceased to work. And we did not have another one at our disposal. So I decided to get my own laptop from hostel. I took the keys to my friend Sahil's activa and I drove off towards the hostel. Time was running out. I had to come back fast.

Of all my experiences in handling companies, I remember  keeping my composure , always. I never went astray with my actions, especially with my driving. We had faced worse situations than this, so it is evident that I wasn't supposed to drive rashly. But strangely enough , I did so , that day. It was as if I wasn't able to control my urge to speed up.

I reached my hostel in 2 minutes. I went to my room, took my laptop and before heading out, I checked it out just to make sure it was working. To my surprise, it wasn't. There was a serious display problem and it wasn't the problem of the screen, but of the graphic card. So I took my neighbor Pramod's laptop and started to drive back to the Placement Cell.

While crossing an intersection, there's a speed-breaker which is very much visible in the daytime. But strangely enough, as I drove, I couldn't see it from a distance. As I neared that intersection, I suddenly accelerated to a speed of 80. Unbelievable , yet true. No one drives above 60 in the college grounds. And yet I felt like going to 80. My cell was ringing. I paid no attention to it. I was 50 meters away from the intersection when suddenly that speed-breaker popped up. It was almost that it had appeared  out of thin air. Instinctively, I reached for the rear brake, but instead of pulling the same, my hands moved on to squeeze the front brake. So as the vehicle began stopping instantaneously, it hit the speed-breaker. Everything happened in less than a second.

I crashed, and flew away a few meters, leaving the activa behind. I went sliding on my chin. For few seconds I couldn't make sense as  I felt no injury in me. Then I got up, and one of the passers-by helped me to do so. There was a prickly feeling on my chin and as he looked at it, he gasped: 'There's a deep cut on your chin bro, we must--' and before he could finish his sentence, I saw drops of blood dripping out of my chin on my shirt and fingers. It was almost as if I had turned a tap of blood-storage tank on.

Shortly afterwards, all my friends who were there nearby, attended to me, taking me to a hospital , arranging for my transportation to the hostel room and getting my meds. Upon reaching my room, apart from informing my girlfriend and my father  (he informed my mother later, as I knew it won't be easy to handle it over the phone), I checked my messages. I saw there was a message from Sahil , who was also handling that company with me in the morning , that the mini-audi laptop had started to work and that there was no need for me to get a laptop. This message had come around the time of the accident (remember that ring I sensed while driving).
All in all, I had received four stitches on my chin, my palms were severed and were almost rendered useless-I could barely manage to hold a spoon to eat. I had to get the wounds dressed for the next two weeks , as they wouldn't heal so easily. I would wake up at nights with excruciating pain (it was winters, so Jaipur would be really chilly at night). It took me a month to recover completely. I could begin driving , two months after that.

On reading this, you might think why I talked about the supernatural forces at the beginning. I have a strong feeling that indeed it was an act of these forces, that came to me as a warning- for cooking up a false cover-up story. A story that I had foolishly and shamelessly conceived in order to not let out the details of my personal crisis. I used the demise of a human being as my element of the cover-up , and you can consider this as an honest confession that what I did was horribly wrong.

The things that happened that morning weren't in sync: Firstly, I was losing control over myself while driving which I never do- especially when I am driving in my campus. Secondly, my own laptop had broken down- which was an indication that I shouldn't really go back. Thirdly, finding Pramod and him readily agreeing to give me his laptop was something incredibly extraordinary- no hosteler can part from their sole source of internet connectivity for a some hours! Next, the speed-breaker wasn't visible to me when I was going back- this NEVER happened before, it was a clear day and there wasn't a tinge of fog. Also, me increasing my speed to 80 and using the front brake instead of the rear one to slow down, and finally , that text message I received exactly at the time of the accident.

I conclude by saying that what I feel is- there were two forces that were acting that day. One, which wanted to punish me because of my actions, and the other , which simply wanted to warn me of what I had done, while at the same time, prevent me from getting into the horrible accident( the breaking of the laptop, the text message that wanted me to stop going back ) . Almost as if these two forces were clashing with each other, and finally the first one won. You may also call this nothing more than just a string of coincidences, but for what I had experienced as a person, I sincerely believe that indeed, supernatural forces are out there, watching our actions , and they don't fancy us spreading a fact based on false premises, no matter what.

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