Tuesday, March 16, 2010

The More I Learn, The Less I Know

It was my friend Sayak, err..Swami Sayakananda who quipped "The more I see, The less I understand" when we were walking down memory lane, literally. The road in front of the Srishty Complex at Durgapur. On a March evening. He didn't know how he formed the words, except that he was trying to recall a song, which had a similar line in one of its stanzas. Twenty four hours later, when I was turning over his statement in my mind, I came up with "The more I learn, the less I know." I didn't mean the same thing as he did, even if the two sound structurally similar. I meant it in a more academic way, seriously. Later, I found out, much to my disappointment, that what I came up with is exactly the line from the song that Sayak was trying to recall. Filmy, that I am! Why have I stopped keeping track of what I do? Because, these days, I don't do much, except depressing myself, with my own actions. Be it buying sweets for my extended family at Durgapur, or not going to my pseudo family's place for dinner, without a warning. Or, cycling in a breezy summer evening. Each time, I did it, and I realised that I should have known the outcome! But, factually, I didn't. When I bought the food for Ma and Dida, all that was on my mind, was filmily-happy imageries of me boasting "Here's my first income...this time you don't have to pay me back." I had forgotten, exactly why I had stopped bringing stuff for them each time I came from Kolkata. I had forgotten all the depressing drama that used to take place, that had prompted my "a-part-of-me-turned pollution" to ask me to stop doing it. She always knew what I should do. Like I always knew what she should do. I guess, in some ways, the aforesaid couple of sentences would hold true, even if they were in present tense. Chucking her out of the scene, as I've learnt to do, I should have remembered at least this, that Ma had asked me not to tell Dida about my new vocation: teaching kids. I spilled the beans, myself, and that resulted in a disaster, whose effects will never be erased, like everything else in my family. No one forgets the past; forgiveness, therefore, is unthinkable. Wait a minute, what am I hoping to be forgiven for? To try and introduce some cheer in my life, so that I don't have suicidal urges like I did in January? Hell, yeah. Dida, who unbelievably, is my own blood, retorted "You need to cheer yourself up? Tell me how money you need?" Next Day. Disha, and her family, which in the same tune, would be the Kolkata extension of my family, asked me to come over for dinner. I agreed. Then, I watched my first match in a stadium, yesterday afternoon. It was a well-chosen day. When my bus from Durgapur arrived at Esplanade, I was blinded by a purple blaze. Everyone was sporting the purple KKR jersey; everyone, everywhere I looked. The crowds spilling out of the metro exits looked like schoolchildren from a school, with mono-chromatic uniforms. The craze seemed to be worthier of my notice than the match that I was already late for! The bus had delayed, and I had to change my original plans. I had asked Disha to get the ticket from my place and deliver it to me at Eden. She came, after a lot of struggle (a kilometre on foot, in the sweltering Sun, and then a hot, dusty cab-ride in a typical tropical afternoon of Kolkata). It would be unfair if I went into the stadium without her. I got her a ticket at a slightly higher price, from one of the aimless people with tickets waiting outside the stadium, for exactly such opportunities! The first half of the match was essentially boring, more, because I had to depend on the screen to know who's who, than because the Royal Challengers of Bangalore were playing slow and stupid. The second half of the match was essentially an exhilarating experience, more, because Kolkata Knight Riders played a thrilling innings (one over I was sure they'll win; the next over, I was scared that they'll screw up), than because, by then, I could identify the players on the ground with my naked eye. Later I realised that I'd never enjoy a match on a television, after this experience. The cameras missed most of the action, that I, myself, deemed important. Later, I changed my mind about the dinner at Disha's, due to the chain of events that my match-watching had brought about in Baba's life. I didn't inform Disha's Ma. I informed her almost after dinner-time, and said that I'll come over the next day, that is, tonight! Amongst the other noteworthy things that happened in the meanwhile, Payal called me last night. And that too, at the very moment, I was having scary realisations about her role in my life. She relieved me. She didn't have any "new" news to give me, though. Life on the other end is still the same, pretty much as I expected. Then, today afternoon, when I was getting ready to go out to teach Anshul, very very reluctantly, I realised I don't enjoy doing it anymore. In the language that was used in my childhood, I practise "faaki diye porano". I have started responding to SMSes while I'm teaching. I have lost the desire to give him all I can, like I used to. I treat it as a liability, and want to leave their house as soon as the minimal 90 minutes of teaching is over, even if I haven't taught anything effectively, in those 90 mintues. Even if I ignore that, what I hated most about it was the compulsion. The barrier to my freedom of time. Now, I have a duty: to keep myself free for a certain amount of time, every day. I knew I hated that, didn't I? That's why, I never took tuitions myself, that's why I preferred to stay at Scottish Church College. The freedom of time, and movement that my lifestyle could afford, was my most valued possession. And I've lost it now. I started thinking of stories to use as excuses to leave the tuitions. But, now that Anshul was my responsibility (I can leave Mehan any day, it wouldn't be much of a problem) I had to think about other people too. And that, precisely is what I hated. Attachments, personal or professional, that bring about responsibilities and duties, that in the end, encroach on my very concept of freedom. Fortunately, Anshul's father paid me my half-month's salary today, thus making 'money' a good excuse to hold on to, to stay on. Next, I was at my favorite haunts Jadavpur 8B Bus Stand, and then, South City, respectively. After a long, long time (more than two months, almost) I travelled the stretch from 8B to South City with an un-swallowable lump in my throat, and an un-relievable sickening desire to burst into tears. It was the mild summer breeze that I let myself feel while having a fag at 8B, that brought out all these negative biochemical reactions within me, like a reflexive automatic reaction. I wasn't even thinking anything. It's as if, the breeze was some milder form of tear gas, with some more side-effects on the psyche. I had only one word on my mind, one word. I went to South City, and learnt that tickets for the IPL match that Payal had asked me to get for her, weren't going to be available till the end of this month. I went to Pantaloons, and emptied my wallet there. Money doesn't buy happiness, but it does buy off unhappiness. Both Alfred Hitchcock and Swami Sayakananda put it right. I came home, and Picco came too, to chat with his "someone special". The chat ended on a sad note, depressing me further. Baba, taking advantage of Shochi Mashi's absence, came home after having two mugs of vodka, leaving me to my own. He refused to have whiskey with me, obviously. I'd completely forgotten to inform Disha or her Mum that I'd decided not to come. I presumed that when we had talked in the evening, since I didn't mention anything about dinner or a night stay, she must have presumed, that I'm not coming. When Disha's Ma called me, and asked me, I had nothing to say. "Sorry" seemed to be an understatement, and so I didn't apologise. I didn't give any excuse either. I admitted it was my fault. I heard Disha screaming at me in the background, something like why should her mother wait for me with the food everyday, and why couldn't I at least inform them. I ended the call, and had that sickening I-am-in-tears feeling for a long time....in fact, till I started writing this. My blog to my aid, as usual. I have to think of something to make up for my insensitive irresponsibility towards the people I call my pseudo-family. Everything will be okay, as long as I don't give up. Academically or otherwise!

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