Thursday, March 26, 2009



As I have clicked many 'street' scenes, I have collected photos of otherwise unnoticed scenes.Like ablutions in streets and 'ghats'... sometimes in month of January ! These are not the occasions of mass-bathing on religious occasions , but, an every-day chore , where there is hardly any 'story'.

I have, so far, avoided clicking any woman taking bath in public. But, some of the male bathers I clicked deserve a second look. All these photos are clicked from a distance.Therefore , the quality of these shots are not great, but, the content is candid.

The first photo here is that of a boy in the open yard of St John's Church, Calcutta in a morning of January, 2009.Notice the broken bucket, attention he is receiving from the viewers and his being totally absorbed in the act !

The second photo is that of two 'mates' in overtly sexual postures. One of the mates is seen cleaning and stroking his crotch with both his hands, with his backside to the street ( and therefore away from my camera).The other person has a clear 'hard-on' and looks down at it in half-jest ! This photo was taken on a Sunday at BBD Bag this winter.

I discovered the small deity's position in Babughat ( on the Ganges,Calcutta ) while waiting for a Draft to be prepared in SBI's MainBranch in BBD Bag .Big men and young boys were swimming in the heat of April noon. We can see a vermilion-coloured 'Hanumanj' here. I have another photo of this location where we can see a 'Shiva-Linga' submerged in knee-deep water !

Here is a photo of a site of two mates again far-off from a 'ghat' . This is 500 yards from 'Kasto-Haarinee ghat' on the Ganges at Mungher,Bihar. The posture of the man applying soap standing comfortably on a stone appeared as if he was standing naked under a shower . He did not swim at all unlike his mate who finished his swim, dried himself and now ready to change his wet loin-cloth.

I was in a hurry and therefore could not do justice to this location. The river was cool and blue, simmering in the afternoon sun. Romantic with country-boats plying . Photos taken from a turret that rises from the shore to and beyond the level of the road, clearly 35-40'' from the river-bed.

Next is a photo of a man very shy about taking a dip.He was standing on the shore for a long-time whereas his friends were enjoying a swim in the Ganges.This is mid-day of January,2007. I went to a village in Murshibad district and was on my way to Katwa station, accompanied by my cousin. The location was ' Uddharanpurer Ghat'. at least 50' from river-bed.His red swim-wear and silver-chain quite noticeable even from a distance !

I end with with a photo of young swimmers, enjoying themselves in a June morning The location is a large water-body at Parnasree, Calcutta, where I stay.One point is very clear : the young persons in this photograph do have the privacy of bathrooms at their homes.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009


A letter I sent to Mr DMR Sekhar of

Dear DMRS saab,

When you suggested a few days ago to write about ‘Meghnad Badh Kavya’, by coincidence, I took out an anthology of writings of Michael Madhusudan Dutt with the intention of reading this ballad once more.I wanted to write a blog on anti-hero of our mythology and who can be better than Ravan to be the person to write about!

Michael has broken many grounds with this ballad. He has introduced a new style …’amitrakshar chhanda’ ( the lines of his ballad do not rhyme : blank verse). More importantly, he has portrayed the characters of Ram, Lakshman, Ravan and Meghnad in a very unconventional way. The story has been told in several layers and he followed western grammar of epics , specially Virgil.Though reading ‘Slaying by Meghnad’ by Cinton Seely in the internet , through the window I suggested , is not easy to manage, it is the 2nd best way for you to savour the ballad….since you cannot read the original. The following two links will give you a good idea about the ballad and there are couple of points I would like to add .

While Michael has shown Ravan and Meghnad are victims of Destiny (the poet has repeatedly used the word ‘Bidhi’ which means ‘the god above’), his narration brings out a picture of conspiracy by the gods and deception by Ram’s camp being at the root of defeat and fall of Meghnad, not the valour of Lakshman. He has portrayed Meghnad as invincible in face-to-face battle with both Indra, king of gods (that is why he used to be called ‘Indrajit’,he who vanquishes Indra) and Ram. Please read this quote : ‘….duibaar aami haranu Raghave, aar ekbaar pitah deha aajnaa more;dekhiba ebaar beer baanche ki oushadhe! – twice I defeated Raghav; father, you give me permission once more, let’s see which medicine brings him back to life this time ) !
Night of the long knives : Indra convinces Parbati to influence Shiva in accepting that Ravan and Indrajit do not deserve any more support of Shiva. Kamadev aids the process. With Shiva’s acceptance of the proposal in principle , Mahamaya hands over the weapons Kartikeya used to kill Tarakasur and Indra arranges to deliver the same to Lakshman before the day-break.
Deception : Bibheesan shows the path to the place where Meghnad has lighted the fire for his Yagna at dawn before he will proceed for the battle and obstructs Meghnad’s exit for acquiring weapons to fight Lakshman . Please view the panel Bengal’s artist portrayed decades prior to Michael’s penning this ballad.

William Radice is another person who has done a lot of serious study and work on 'Meghnad Badh Kabya'. His article is available in :,M1

Saturday, March 14, 2009



It was another tranquil evening in Dankaranya. After the sunset, birds were quiet…. the forest did not betray any movement. Mild fragrance of wild flowers hung heavy among the trees . The river Godavari was flowing as usual. Stars were shining on the sky above. Neither the river nor the sky betrayed any fore-bidding of an epoch of the millennium which would have its first act unfolding next morning in this forest .

This evening , a young woman was reclining on a flower decorated divan. placed on a raised platform adjacent to the river’s bank. Her supple athletic body betrayed slight tension. Her companions had lit up the platform with decorative lamps and placed incense sticks in its four corners . One of them was playing a stringed instrument softly. Her favourite masseur was ready with lukewarm oil, mixed with herbal ingredients and bowls of warm water, waiting slightly impatiently for the touch of her sensuous body his deft fingers would get during this chore and the pain of his ever-unfulfilled arousal. Her favourite snacks and drink were ready on a silver platter placed near her divan. A perfect set-up for relaxation of this special woman who spent the day riding through the forest on horse-back and hunting.

One of her companions came near her with slow-burning camphor, soaked in aphrodisiacs. She informed her that three young satraps of this forest were waiting in her pavilion .......invited to join her for a sumptuous dinner and later a session of
wild revelry and dance to the tune of orgasmic drum-beats .

But, her mind was wandering far away from this set-up and another evening of heightened pleasure. She was staring at the flicker of light coming from a distance through trees of this forest. She was intrigued by the dwellers of the sprawling cottage where the light was coming from. This cottage came up after she last visited this favourite hunting place of hers. She was , therefore, naturally curious about the dwellers of this cottage. She found there were three persons in this cottage. Two young men, one practicing archery and the other repairing the thatching of the cottage….. and a veiled beauty, humming and watering the creepers on the fencing. One thing she noticed : They were so different from all the people she knew in the power circle she belonged to.

This woman was no ordinary person. Her father was a very respected sage, her eldest brother a very powerful king, dreaded for his exploits of kingdoms and women, and her half-brother the richest person of the universe. Enlightened and sophisticated woman she was, with huge resources placed at her disposal. Her prowess has attracted many virile men to her inner circle. But, for the first time in her life, she felt attracted to a man, in a way she could not fathom herself.

These three persons staying at the distant cottage were no ordinary persons either. But, they were busy with their lives, having no idea what would befall upon them the next morning , when their neighbour would walk into their cottage with an unexpected request. The course of event would change not only their lives for ever but those of thousands whose existence they were not yet aware of.

This was the night before the start of a war Gods would watch with trepidation. One of the greatest poets of India will write an Epic based on this war . Can you guess who this woman is ?

She is Soopananakha, grand-daughter of sage Pulastya, daughter of Visrava and Kaikasee, sister of Ravana and half-sister of Kuber. Next morning, she would put on her best dress, jewelry and demeanour , and offer herself to the archer she saw from a distance. The other young man , the archer’s younger brother, would jeer at her dark skin , taunt her for her amorous advances and throw her out of their cottage . Losing her cool, she would turn blind with rage and create a ruckus. In a cruel act of retribution by the younger brother, she would be disfigured permanently.Her bodyguards would be killed. Soon, her eldest brother Ravana would abduct the veiled beauty to avenge this insult. A devastating battle would engulf her country bringing in immense tragedy into the lives of the all the valiant relatives of Soorpanakha as well as to the person she wanted to allure into her life.

This is a tale of India millenniums ago. To-day , Anurag Kashyap finds her heroine carrying a bed-roll to the shade of a tree and inviting her lover Dev D to have sex with her. Dev D disappoints Paro and the audience . Tragedy follows but, of a different kind and scale !

A conventional portrayal of Soorpanakha under attack - Jorbangla temple ,Bishnupur

Wednesday, March 4, 2009


Man walks into shadow.

Yet exposed to the forces from the dark !
He would not know what awaits him.
Shelter, respite or a tunnel downhill.

Darkness envelopes him... his manhood.
Weeds tie him down.
Will he emerge into light again?

PS : This collage is PSed from a photo of a nude in the internet.