There is always a light

There is always a light
Don't be afraid if you are alone or surrounded by darkness. In some part of the world, the day has just begun. There is a always a light waiting for you to find your way to touch its radiance.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Eternal Love, My Supermoon

By Smita Hirlekar
Mumbai, India

Tagore in Full Moon

By Partha Banerjee
Brooklyn, New York, USA

Rabindranath Tagore creates a mood, and then in his characteristic way, takes us slowly through the song's subtle message. A poor, incomplete translation does not do justice to its melody and nuance; I also believe translated songs are truly inadequate to understand and cherish the ocean-deep Tagore treasures largely unknown to the world outside Bengal or India.

User Warning: my translation stole most of the intoxication of the songs, and the out-of-the-world tunes too. What's left here is practically harmless. (For me, I'm in deep trouble: in a trance, and can't get over with it. I need help.)

Cheers to us -- the cheerleaders. Homage to the poet of all poets on his 150th birth anniversary.


naiba ele jodi samoy nai
khanek ese bolo na, bolo na go
"jai jai jai"
na, na
naiba ele jodi samoy nai

You might as well not come
If you don't have the time -- at least some
But please, don't come only for brief
And then say you must leave, must leave
No, no, no
You might as well not show

amar prane achhe jani
seema-biheen gabhir bani
tomay chiradiner kathakhani
bolbo, bolte jeno pai

I have deep down inside, I know
Limitless abyss of words that grow
Eternal are those conversations
With you I wish to share -- back and fro'
Back and fro'

jakhan dakhin hawa kanan ghire
ek katha koy phire phire
purnima chand tare cheye
ek taane daye akash chheye

When the southerly breeze blows 'round the reed
Utters the same words in an ever-repeating deed
The full glowing moon stares down at him
And paintbrushes the sky with one long-drawn hymn

jeno samoy-hara sei-samoy
ekti se gaan gai

As if in a time-frame of precious frozen time
He sings the only song he can ever chime

[You might as well not at all come
If you don't have the time -- at least some
But please, don't come only for brief
And then say you must leave, must leave

No, no, no
You might as well not show]


tomra ja bolo tai bolo
amar lage na mone
amar jaye bela, boye jaye bela
kemon bina karone

Whatever you say, you say
It doesn't affect me, no way
I choose to live life 'most without a reason
My days and nights keep flying away

ei pagol hawa ki gaan gawa
chhoriye diye gelo
aaji suneel gagane

Only this crazy wind, this crazy song
Blow over my mind, blow it all along
Today, this moment, this life with no clue
Scatter over the sky the beautiful blue

se-gaan amar laglo je go
laglo mone
ami kiser madhu
khuje berai bhramar-gunjane

My song then does it: it plays the right keys
It does it, it does it deep down inside
I look 'round and over the ever-buzzing bees
I search for the nectar in a relentless stride

oi akash chhawa kahar chawa
emon kore laage
aji amar nayane

Whose vision is way out and up above there
Whose vision's wide across the serendipitous blue
Surely it reaches up my own mortal eyes
Finally it finds way, and lights them up too

Monday, March 21, 2011


By Sudeshna Dasgupta

Thursday, March 17, 2011


By Mithu Chakraborty

Tuesday, March 8, 2011


By Samarpita Mukherjee Sharma
Raipur, India

Today is International Women’s Day.
I woke up this morning to have my mobile flooded with SMS(s) about how great a woman is and how lucky I am to be born as one. Well, I don’t need anyone telling me that…. But would Sahiba agree?
Sahiba and her misfortune were pushed to the farthest corner of my mind; until I sat down to write this. She was a 20-something Bangladeshi refugee I had met about 5 years ago. Here’s her story –
“Can I get some money in advance, please?” Sahiba, who worked in my aunt’s cottage in Mython, asked her. Her husband had got a job in Oman and while he would be earning well, his company had refused to pay for his flight.
My aunt gave her the money, which Sahiba promised to pay back in a month’s time.
Sahiba was excited. “He will earn three times of what he earns now,” she told me happily. I re-visited Mythion a few months ago and I found Sahiba to be a mere shadow of her former self. Her face looked pale and her eyes, bloodshot red, had deep hollows around them and her appetite had waned considerably.
I found her crying uncontrollably one day and when I asked her what the matter was, I learned that she and her husband had been legally wedded ten years ago by virtue of a Nikkah, but since her husband was completing his studies, and Sahiba was only twelve years old at the time, both families decided to delay the rukhsati. Ten years later, Fatima is working as a housemaid, a period during which her husband not only completed his studies, but had also found a job in Dhaka and then a better one in Dubai.
He had met someone else in Dhaka and married her. Now, very unceremoniously, he informed her that he cannot “maintain” her expenditure and the best way out would be divorce.
Once her utility was back to zilch, Sabiha’s husband dropped her like a hot potato and was never heard from again.
I wonder if Sabiha, back in Mython, even knows what today’s significance is? Does she know that the world is celebrating her existence? Would it matter to her, or scores of other women who are raped, beaten, left to die, not allowed to be educated…??
The whole world gets together this one day to celebrate woman and her existence, her sacrifices and her sufferings.
So, a question? Why does a woman need to justify herself. Why are the women the loudest in this day, screachin (yes, screaching) to any one who would like to wait and listen,
“If I have curves, I’m fat.. If I wear makeup, I’m fake.. If I dress up, I’m a Show off.. If I say what I think, I’m a bitch. If i say nothing i hv ‘attitude problem’, If I cry sometimes, I’m a drama queen.. If I have guy friends, I’m Fast. If I stand up for myself, I’m mouthy. Its like you can’t do anything nowadays without being labeled. So what? I give a damn!”
  • We need to wax every 15 days.
  • We have been and shall endure the horrors and pain of child birth, and we want to or not, we would still need to accept, “Child birth completes a woman”.
  • We would still be the weaker sex, physically.
  • We would still be beaten up, raped, mutilated and left to die.
  • Women would still be referred to with derogatory words and judged about everything they do….or don’t!
  • An outspoken and broadminded woman in a Corporate is regarded, subtly branded approachable right away.
  • Actresses, be it Television or Cinema, Personal Secretaries, Models, Air-Hostesses, Housekeeping staff, Hotel Management industry people, those working under many of the verticals that are a subset of mediaindustry and a lot more fields where the glamour plays a predominant role, the women are mostly Character Assassinated (CAed) by default and retrospectively classified.
  • Divorcees, spinsters and widows come under another larger section of women who are talked withandtalked about on such similar coveted lines.
  • Women drivers, however accomplished, would still be made fun of!
Yes, the woman of 2011 has come a long way from where was restricted to, in say, 1911. But is it really commendable, when we still need a day to stand on building tops and yell about how great we are? Is it worth to be treated like a queen on one day of the year and be pushed and kicked around the rest of the days? Is it really a victory for a woman who has a successful career, but gets tortured at home, for money? Do the wins over poker at kitty parties make up for having to sleep with your husband’s friends, in return for office tenders?
Let aside all tortures inflicted by men on women, is it justified when educated, apparently modern women refuse to see their daughter’s face … just because she is a daughter?
With Aruna Shanbagh and her misfortune so fresh in everyone’s memory, ever wondered – what today means to her? A 20-year-old, raped and abandoned by family and fiancĂ©e, who was choked with a leash and 
raped after the oxygen supply was cut-off to her brain – how liberated does she feel today?

Disclaimer:  The above mentioned is my opinion documented randomly and any resemblance to something you have seen or heard of, is purely intentional!!!

Monday, March 7, 2011


By Prodipto Roy
Kolkata, India

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Sita, Chitrangada & Beyond.....

By Tuhin A Sinha
Illustration: Ramyani Dasgupta Sinha
Mumbai, India 
Gandhi and Nehru: two of the most influential men in the history of Indian sub-continent. Yet it is difficult to ignore their differences not just on political matters, but even their personal outlook, especially when it came to women.

Gandhi, with a view to re-integrate our virtuous past into the present and future used the symbol of Sita to motivate Indian women during our freedom struggle. Sita stood for chastity, sacrifice and her selflessness towards her husband Rama. As a firm believer in a woman’s home-making abilities, Gandhi encouraged their participation in politics within certain parameters. By an inference thus, Gandhi expected a strong woman to support her husband and provide him the strength to rise up and perform greater deeds for the country.

By contrast, Tagore’s idea of the woman that he felt Indian women ought to look up to, was Chitrangada. The intrepid Manipur princess was unorthodox and epitomized equality. Nehru, who often found himself closer to Tagore’s thinking than with Gandhi’s, echoed similar sentiments. Talking about his deceased wife Kamala, Nehru wrote in his book, Discovery of India, “Like Chitra in Tagore's plays, she (Kamala) seemed to say to me: I am Chitra. No goddess to be worshipped, nor yet the object of common pity to be brushed aside. If you design to keep me by your side in the path of danger and daring, if you allow me to share the great duties of your life, then you will know myself…”
It may thus be inferred that while Gandhi was still largely conservative in the role he envisaged for Indian women, Nehru, in a truer sense saw them as equal companions.

This fundamental difference in outlook between Gandhi and Nehru extended to the way each carried their lives. While Gandhi preached ‘abstinence’ and control over one’s concupiscent desires, Nehru was a liberal in its truest sense. While the way Gandhi conducted his life bordered on the ascetical, Nehru was a romantic at heart. While Gandhi advocated some unnatural experiments in his ashram which even his staunch supporters would have found cumbersome, Nehru pursued some interesting relationships, which many believe provided the right intellectual stimulation to the genius that he was.

Today, several decades later, it is worth debating if Gandhi’s and Nehru’s ideas about the Indian women had been a bit too simplistic. For, Indian women in the subsequent decades were seen to evolve into far more layered beings. Nehru’s own daughter, Indira for instance, went on from being equated with Goddess Durga post the 1971 war to being generously hated just a few years later.

The Indian woman of today is a complex assortment and demystifying her would ironically require acknowledging some of the positive attributes of the most controversial woman in Hindu mythology, Draupadi. Two attributes of Draupadi that stand out are her strong will (she knew precisely whom she wanted to marry) and her ability to adapt to and succeed in adverse circumstances (it was but a careless sentence of Kunti that became the cause of Draupadi’s life long suffering).

These attributes are not uncommon to the liberated Indian woman of today. To that extent, apart from seeking Sita and Chitrangada, it makes sense to acknowledge the omnipresence of Draupadi.
Nehru, being the practical visionary that he was, would sure have evolved to arrive at a newer idea of the Indian woman, if he were alive today.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

My Anchor & Sail

By Pritha Lal
Springville, Utah, USA

To soar the skies, to swim the sea,
To be all, that one can dream to be,
To err and know there is hope tomorrow,
Let’s you forgive, and learn from every sorrow.

To ask for, and find new paths to tread,
To silence fears of which one has read,
To cry and laugh for another day,
To know love and hate can both hold their sway.

To live, and learn all this, and more,
To know behind tears, there are smiles galore,
To win each time even if you fail,
Is when you find within, your anchor, and your sail…

Tuesday, March 1, 2011


By Sudeshna Dasgupta