Robinson Street, Kolkata: To be disreputably honest and true to what I witness in my everyday life, I presume there is a mentally ill Partho De in all of us. “No one can be good for long if goodness is not in demand”, as Brecht said… There is a front page article on The Telegraph today (Sunday, 14 June 2015) by Mita Mukherjee, where she described Partho’s academic career in such a regular succession of admiring information that it might even beat Partho’s best cover letters written during the tenure of his professional career. However, what Partho did or what his intentions suggest is still something that is utterly vague. The print media, satellite media and online media of Bengal got a story to munch on for at least a week – is not the picture that I personally have. I have followed the story from day one and I strongly believe that he was not happy with the demands of this world and thus tried to create a small parallel world where his goodness is in demand.
#selfTALK: Don’t we? I am sure we all are cool, alive and pretending to be happy people with a smart motive in life (even if we don’t have a goal)! However, occasionally or frequently we speak to ourselves. I don’t know if everyone has a tendency of arguing but I am sure you all speak to yourself. Who is the second person you are talking to? Or do you want to be the other person talking to you? This is quite amazing but that’s okay, you don’t have to get cautious while you talk to yourself from now on. I am just taking a guess which is not very wild when I am saying that there is a Partho De in every one of us. I back this up with a comprehensive introspection of human behaviour. Read further, you will soon figure it out…
Partho’s sister reportedly died out of starvation. She used to read a lot, but she was superstitiously dependent on some guru. “Hungry man, reach for the book: it is a weapon.” Brecht exclaimed to instil a sense of faith among the poor. But Partho and her learned sister were from a pretty well to do family. Like most of us, Partho and Debjani must have crossed those tricky years when their passion and abilities had a regular duel. After his mother’s death, Partho gradually became a loner, a person who sought respite in books, music and non-materialistic research. He was drawn to a particular subject that enticed him to experiment and rediscover himself. Well the subject could well be exorcism! This decision probably had a connection with his career where he chose an IT job over a golden opportunity to earn a doctorate degree and pursue advanced research. Amid all emotional disturbances he was hungry, hungry to invent.
#unhappyCAREER: I am not talking to the lucky ones! But three in every five urban soul is not happy with their career. They wish they could be in a different role doing something else even if that is harsh on their wallet. And then again they succumb to the rules of the universal rate race and start concentrating on their ties and formal shirts. However, the urge to be different and the evident ardour of an individual never fizzes out completely. The erudite brain demands food for stomach and mind. The hungry minds reading this post will understand why Partho went back to books or something that will air the fire within him to invent. If you, my reader haven’t had a single revolt against your plastic-sophisticated life, the Partho within you is still sleeping or busy with something else.
“In the dark times,
Will there also be singing?
Yes, there will also be singing
About the dark times.”
Yes this is by Brecht again and I am deliberately using his quotes because he saw a piece of art as a hammer to shape the reality and not as a mirror to see the reflection of the real society. Creativity and the love for art can be traced in both Partho and his sister Debjani. However, the unpleasant and uncanny outcome hardly speaks anything about the hope that the brother and sister found when they were in laps of music. People are busy calling it an incest relationship defying the thought that they might have developed a paramount depression out of some materialistic or spiritual loss that kept on haunting them. It could be the death of their mother or the deviant sexual orientation of the family. It could be the indecisive nature of their ancestral property or it could again be the hunger for being someone different, someone unique. If one delves into the kind of music (sermons by Joyce Meyer who is famous for his lessons on practical Bible) that Partho used to listen, he will automatically figure out an unnatural taste. He was going through dark times, he resolved to music that sang about dark times.
#sadSONGS: A survey found the share of sad songs over jolly peppy tunes on the iPods of a thousand random people and it came out to be 4 out of 10. However, each one of them said that the sad ones are few but they love them as they help them to recuperate their grief in a better way. For all of us who witnessed the internet gradually becoming the immense thing that it is now, we know how we have an access to a million different form of music and we chose our own style. Some of us parade a versatile choice while some of us resolve to a particular genre or form of musical expression. A few nurse the scars while others would like to keep them afresh. Don’t you indulge in a particular list of songs when things are not so bright?
The meaninglessly nostalgic culture of the so-called learned Bengalis, the disgust of mediocrity growing like unwanted creepers, the desperation to prove a point that voices an alter philosophy, the hypocrisy of spiritual promises, the morbid competition, the demise of joint-families, the celebration of selfishly attained success, the fading strength of cooperation, the increasing tendency of sexual indistinctness, inflation, pollution, dishonesty, insecurities, indiscipline and a future based on false dreams and real defeats make us stand on the same podium where Partho is standing right now! He wanted to be with his sister, probably the only person he had a connection in this world. At least he tried to figure out a solution which is indigenously his effort to revolt against all these negativities that constitute our life.
“Alas, we who wanted kindness, could not be kind ourselves.” – Brecht.
Yes you are right, living with a skeleton is not a form of expression that suggest contemporary taste for art or creativity to say the least, but aren’t we all trying to preserve some moments of our otherwise boring life like they are still flesh and blood? Consciously or unconsciously we are gradually becoming obsessed with the success, love, recognition or attention conferred on us, once upon a time. How will you deny this behavioural similarity with Partho De? Is it suggestive of the fact that human nature yearns to conserve the proper as well as the abstract nouns of life in the form of tangible collectives. We too believe in a reality which is comfortable for us to believe. To sum up, I feel Partho and his skeletal mania is just an intense chapter that can be found in the books of numerous eccentric souls walking up and down the streets of this crowded city called Kolkata.
We are failing to cope up with the fact that we are lonely but we are not alone… As Brecht would exhale a cloud of smoke and sigh, “Sometimes it’s more important to be human, than to have good taste.”