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Prehistoric Memories

Discussion in 'Snippets of Life (Non-Fiction)' started by ojaantrik, Mar 30, 2014.

  1. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Thank you Kamal. You may well be right. Being exposed to a person like Utpal Dutt at an early age may have made me who I am, for good or bad. For the young boy that I was, he must have represented an ocean. Endless. He made me unforgivably romantic. You know what? In my book (in Bengali) titlled 16 Mandeville Gardens (the address of the school I went to), I named the chapter devoted to him: Utpal Dutt -- Face to Face with Eternity!! Well I said it in Bengali, but this is what I said.

    It was a small fairy tale school. Full of magic. It gave me so much that I can leave it all at your door and still be left with more and more and more. You are right. I think I still have a great deal to share with the right kind of person. I can be a little mad as you know. So, to listen to my tales, one has to have a bit of madness in him or her too.

    I know such people exist. They are the ones who keep the world going.

    All the best.

    oj
     
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  2. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Savitha,

    You hit the nail on its head. It was indeed a wonderful period, probably the most wonderful period of my life. Only, I have begun to realize how wonderful it was when it has vanished into the distant past. But that is an advantage too. I feel like an explorer. An explorer of memories, my own memories. Sounds a bit like Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter of Maladies. May be I should collect these little pieces and produce an imaginary book. With that title. I won't call it "Memoirs". That's too flamboyant. I want the title to be romantic. "Memoirs" sounds too pedantic.

    The routes I follow during my exploration are devious. Some I am familiar with, and there are others that I think I am familiar with but am really not. The characters I bring up may or may not have existed. An explorer can make mistakes, can't he?

    The way Columbus discovered America!! Ha, that's the right analogy. May be I should name my imaginary book after Columbus.

    Love.

    oj-da
     
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  3. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Jasmine25,

    Thank you for reading this. Perhaps I remember, perhaps I think I remember. I don't know which for sure. Following manjureddy's advice, I can recollect them. Only I may never be sure if my recollections are dependable. It's fun though to build a structure and believe it to be the edifice of memory. Perhaps the beliefs are true, or better still, they will perhaps come out to be true. That would be gorgeous.

    I imagine a world that probably never was and insist that it come to exist. In the shape of memories.

    Best wishes.

    ojaantrik
     
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  4. Manjureddy

    Manjureddy Gold IL'ite

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    Dear Ojaantrik


    Firstly, the sheer length of your response sent me reeling . After parking myself securely inside the voluminous cusioning of our old sofa, i started reading what you had to say about why you thought of Raddy on that particular day and how the by -now -universally -loved -post came to be. Just the opening lines, with the Ghost of Raddy Past perching on the corner stool and balefully accusing you of amnesia, had me thinking : Ojaantrik has wasted some wonderful material on a mere response to an admirer, when it could have become a Snippet or short story by itself !


    ....and I read on, entranced by the tormenting sprite and the distraught you slugging it out , to the consternation of the long suffering Missus.....the dickensian dark comedy is coming along nicely , when out of the dark blue, what should pop out but a name, MY name.I was flabbergasted ( yes, yes, i looked up the dictionary to make doublysure this word means what i meant and was doubly endured that 'flabbergasted' is what i meant to mean ) and off I go reeeeling again , in disbelief, inordinate pride and delirious joy. I, as a Character, figuring in a narrative of Magic Realism by a master story teller ! Deathless I become ! .....


    It may not matter, but it COUNTS. Be-ing in this moment has been made fulfilling.


    No rain pours outside my window, but I hear , not just a jugabandi of thodi and megh malhar, but some Verdi Aria and arabic beats as well. I am one of those who dont sing rain songs, but i think i understand what that vacated stool and the scrawled message mean. And why the unlamenting little boy, scared of the long streak of lightening, cried a little.


    Thank you, Ojaantrik ,thank you very much for this response.




    PS : and then you go and tell Dear Jasmine25 : " I imagine a world that probably never was and insist that it come to exist. In the shape of memories. "


    After becoming recently deathless , i am now thrown into a despair of existential quandary. . Can it be that the Reddy character , as your Raddy character, too probably never was, but one you insisted on coming into existance in your imaginary world ?
     
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  5. satchitananda

    satchitananda Moderator Staff Member IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear OJ-da,

    So good to see you after this long hiatus! Even more delightful reading a memoir about a childhood friendship. :-D

    I could not help fall in love with the child Raddy who felt free to cry whenever he felt like without any inhibitions. He was what he was. No airs, no facades ...... absolutely genuine. You got what you saw. The simplicity and innocence is so refreshing to read about, so I can only imagine how it must have been to witness it first hand.

    Sad that he did not get back after a couple of times, but then as others here have said, he must have had his reasons. Times change, people change, interests change ..... But the memories are vivid and live on forever.

    Thanks OJ-da for that wonderful read in your own uninimitable style.
     
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  6. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Cheeniya,

    A million apologies for this inordinate delay in responding to your lovely feedback. I was struck by the James Bond idea. I have been asking myself if I was influenced by Fleming or was it my own creation. One never knows you see. Lots of things lie hidden inside the subconscious. But then, even if I copied, unconsciously from Bond, quite clearly, as you have observed, I had no intention of drawing parallels between Radhakrishnan and Bond.

    I recalled as I was going through your fb that on one occasion some of us were discussing Radhakrishnan in his presence and I think it was I who finally concluded that Radhadrishnan was a serious scientist down inside his heart. As soon as he heard this, he came out with his adorable childish smile and protested loudly, "Oh no. Not at all. I'm just a fun loving person." I can't recall the exact words he had used, but something pretty close.

    On another occasion, recall we were adolescents, we were discussing the most prohibited of subjects in a coed school. Sex. And we approached Raddy. Raddy reacted almost with revulsion. This time I remember what he had said. "Look, I don't want to talk about this. It's a big big thing that big big people do!!" The rest of us, at our precocious best, burst out laughing. It was a quote that did its rounds for several weeks.

    Well that was Raddy. Raddy was innocent, Raddy was childishly naughty, Raddy was most lovable. And I share your feelings towards Utpal wholeheartedly. I disliked the tearing up of Raddy's comic book so much, that I remember it vividly so many years later. My heart went out to Raddy. I agree with your analogy. Now that you say so, I too am reminded of the Nazis. And remember, Utpal Dutt hated Hitler and expressed himself in no uncertain terms to his students. And I don't really know what went wrong between him and Mr. Vishwanathan, but he certainly did accuse him of lacking impartiality. I also remembe Mr. Vishwanathan looking visibly embarrassed.

    And yes, Julius Caesar, Hamlet etc. were available those days in comic book form. I thought they would attract young boys and girls more than the hard bound complete works. But there you are. It was taboo. Also, I don't think Raddy really read Julius Caesar. He read the gun toting comics, which is somewhat surprising, given that guns were the last thing anyone would associate with him.

    No Cheeniya, I don't expect a middle-aged man to sound like a little boy. Around the time I contacted him through email, he was late middle age I suppose. And he is now as old as you and me for sure. I didn't expect him to behave like the child he used to be. What I had hoped was that we would pick up our friendship after so many years. That didn't happen. So, I was left only with my childhood. Nothing more than that.

    The way I ended it had something to do with the style I have adopted. No more, no less. This is not to suggest that I believe R.K.Narayan would have ended this way. Especially when I remind you of Fleming!! Sigh, sigh!!

    oj
     
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  7. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Kamla,

    As in Cheeniya's case, I begin with an apology. I took much time to respond. There were reasons too. But I don't want to present excuses.

    When I read you calling yourself a South Indian, I could not help noting that I am a South Point-ian in my turn. The school Radhakrishnan and I went to was called South Point High School. When I studied there, it was a tiny village sort of. It is now one of the biggest schools, not just in Calcutta, or West Bengal, or Inidia, but in the world. It made its way into the Guinness Book. Seriously, no joke.

    I understood most of the Hindi words in the song, but had fogotten what titali meant. Anyway, I know now. But I have some doubts if the word is titali or simply titli. I am no expert, yet I think I heard people in Delhi call it a titli. Besides, someone made a Bengali movie (with Aparna Sen, Kankana Sen and Mithun Chakravarty starring in it) which was called Titli. It was probably Kankana's name in the story.

    I will check on internet and see if I can locate the Geeta Dutt song. She is one of my true favourites.

    You may be right about the chirpy and cheruby Dipankar. But Radhakrishnan was not the sober type either. He was smiling most of the time. And when he was not smiling, he was crying. Quite an extremist he was, don't you think? No range of varying emotions separating the smile from the cry. Rarely the serious sober type.

    I wonder what made knbg recommend me. Only yesterday I got a different message altogether from a close friend. She said, after reading this snippet, that my language skill was not up to the mark. The precise expression was that I was "archaic" in my expressions and that no one will care much for what I write. This was a sort of remark that could have upset a writer. But I wasn't upset in the least.

    I told her that I wrote for pleasure. I enjoy writing. I don't think I ever expected a reward for it. I sing to myself as it were when I write and if anyone else enjoys it, s/he is welcome to join me. In not, so be it. I am the last person to feel concerned. OK, I did express concern that I didn't receive fb's at IL. That was a mistake and I think I have grown out of it to a large extent.

    She said my blog site (the one you are familiar with) will not attract followers. I didn't tell her that this was not true. According Wordpress, there are 20 followers. They are from across the world and don't know anyone among them. I really don't know if they do actually follow. But I couldn't care less. I am happy enough to upload my stuff on the net. If anyone notices, well and good. If not, hard lack, but no laments. I told her further that when she called my style archaic, she was probably suggesting that I am influenced by someone or the other. This is just not true. I know for sure that I created my own style. It's possible that Wodehouse (such as in http://www.indusladies.com/forums/stories-fiction/31947-paradise-regained-a-hairy-tale.html) had an impact on me once in a while and among Bengali writers Parashuram (such as Metamorphosis à la Vyasdeva). But it was all quite indirect. I really don't think I used borrowed language or style. Archaic or modern or whatever.

    I didn't tell her this, but I am telling you now that her opinion had no impact at all on my confidence level. I will not rush around searching for what's so modern about modern writers, as far as the use of the English language is concerned. For once, I am happy doing what I am doing and will continue to be happy to keep my language use the way it is.

    I may not sound original for sure, but my faith remains unshaken.

    Love.

    oj-da
     
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  8. ojaantrik

    ojaantrik IL Hall of Fame

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    Dear Satchi,

    No, there is nothing sad about what I wrote. I wasn't being emotional. I was just writing as well as I could. And you cannot afford to be emotional when you are composing something. You need to be analytical. I am sure that I was desperately analytical as I wrote this piece. Being analytical means for me at least, writing with a purpose which transcends the beauty or ugliness of language. You are experimenting with the readers' minds. The sole intention being to extract an emotion from the hidden recesses of their hearts. But the writer needs to remain absolutely dispassionate. Or so I believe as far as writing as an art form is concerned.

    As I have often quoted from Wilde: To reveal art and conceal the artist is art's aim.

    I may have produced the impression of feeling sad and lonely or missing the friend. But if I were really suffering this way, I doubt that I would have been able to write. On the other hand, to the extent that I was able to produce this feeling, I should think I was successful.

    :)

    Love.

    oj-da
     
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