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sushmita bhowmick

Abstract Romance Fantasy


sushmita bhowmick

Abstract Romance Fantasy

The Diary of an Armchair Romantic

The Diary of an Armchair Romantic

9 mins 186 9 mins 186

Before we go through the dairy, let's clear the air. We do not know which year it was written; we do not know for whom it was intended and who wrote it. The family had shifted to a new city and a new house. Settling themselves in, taking out the previous owner's left over, a tattered copy book was discovered. Or rather thrown out. These are some faded reconstructed pages; reconstructed with compassion.

30 June ....

Well, though I say I am an 'armchair romantic,' it's actually a sofa; yes I am sofa bound. No, I am fine, only lazy. A deep down fatigue. You may think its the heat, but I would like to believe that it's sorrow. Am sleeping most of the time, fading in and out, the borders of fact and fiction merging, to form a pattern I rather like. I read a bit, watch a bit and scribble a bit. While constructing the scribbling in my head, the idea of a dairy seems structured, if not by thought, but at least by date.

I have settled into an addictive practice...that of waiting for you. But, I will be honest...I don't blame you if you cannot be there. I am more in control of my emotions if I can create you. I was getting Sylvia Plath's collection ready for you. Googling it, of course!! So while doing a rapid fire 'Ctrl+C' 'Ctrl+V', I tried to pause and read her. Well she was mighty difficult, went top and above, most of the time. Understood your special liking for her...pure stuff man..potent and lethal. Well the simpleton that I am and the mad person that I am and the armchair romantic that I am, I quote here what I liked best and most importantly understood...

Mad Girl's Love Song

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead; 

I lift my lids and all is born again. 

(I think I made you up inside my head.) 

The stars go waltzing out in blue and red, 

And arbitrary blackness gallops in: 

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. 

I dreamed that you bewitched me into bed 

And sung me moon-struck, kissed me quite insane. 

(I think I made you up inside my head.) 

God topples from the sky, hell's fires fade: 

Exit seraphim and Satan's men: 

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. 

I fancied you'd return the way you said, 

But I grow old and I forget your name. 

(I think I made you up inside my head.) 

I should have loved a thunderbird instead; 

At least when spring comes they roar back again. 

I shut my eyes and all the world drops dead. 

(I think I made you up inside my head.)

1 July ....

Guests at home, or what we call home, with a few chairs, my sofa, and a few beds...a few pots and pans in the kitchen...a voice says inside me, 'my child it's not the possessions that make a home...but the people.' Ok, ok, ok...voice you have a point. What I meant was with this infrastructure I had the gall to invite four hungry adults for lunch...and lunch they had, not entirely unsatisfactory.....I had to leave my sofa and in the bargain stop thinking about you for a while. 

A little agitated, as my time with you has been eaten into....can't explain this to anyone, I rush to find you...too are rushing home...and you can't wait for me. So, I embrace the sofa, my black beautiful perch, and I talk to you, all that I wanted to say - '...and the rice was a little soggy...I don't have proper utensils here...but the chicken was great...added a bit of Biriyani masala....ha ha...tell you what...that masala is a great saver.'

'Loved that baked chicken au gratin that you had made once..,' you may have said.

2 July ....

It's a Sunday; it is my day off from waiting....on Sunday's I do not wait for you. I rather think of you...the past....the future...carefully skipping the's too real and even with all my romanticism I cannot imagine something so real. The past is relatively safe, as time hazes memory, and one can always tweak it a bit, to match a fantasy. Hope I am making sense...what I really want to say is on Sunday's I keep my distance from you. It's a kind of relief too. The pain is less from when I wait and you are not there. 

3 July ....

When you recited Whitman, I was sure it was me....

To A Stranger

Passing stranger! you do not know how longingly I look upon you,

You must be he I was seeking, or she I was seeking, (it comes to me as of a dream,)

I have somewhere surely lived a life of joy with you,

All is recall'd as we flit by each other, fluid, affectionate, chaste, matured,

You grew up with me, were a boy with me or a girl with me,

I ate with you and slept with you, your body has become not yours only nor left my body mine only,

You give me the pleasure of your eyes, face, flesh, as we pass, you take of my beard, breast, hands, in return,

I am not to speak to you, I am to think of you when I sit alone or wake at night alone,

I am to wait, I do not doubt I am to meet you again,

I am to see to it that I do not lose you.

Was it? 'It's been raining off and on....the kind of rain that makes you go all sad...that makes you want to take a ride on the low-hanging cloud....Come ride with me, will you?'

4 July ....

Sultry afternoon... the kind that wishes for rain. My sofa leather feels hot on the skin..we spoke for long today. Not my imaginary conversation with you, but a real one. We discussed children, challenges and changes. Well there were other things too. Books, trilogies, sequels, prequels....missing you....loving you...

There is a soft, rainy breeze blowing....I look it's not raining....but the promise of rain is in the air. The promise of love is in the air...someone is waiting for you...

The pages went missing at this point .....and it started again about a month later!

31 July ....

A little semblance of normalcy; the beginning to an end seems to have started. There is finality to things this time. I came to manage some personal things. The kind of things that you get done, to close a chapter of your life and start another. Next week this new chapter will be waiting for me. And then you will slowly blur out, till it's time to meet again, in a new way, on a new day. Time is such a relief and distance such a ruse.

2 Aug ....

A few days in Kolkata and I am exhausted. Even the delicious pani puri and chicken roll cannot soothe my high-strung nerves. I feel like a villager in a city. Funny but true; all the vehicles seem to be rushing towards me. I remember Tagore's 'Kabuliwala,' where little Minnie's ma is afraid to let her go to the station, lest all the trains leave the rail and come rushing towards her! Had serious arguments with inane shopkeepers on mundane transactions! Every day old problems get solved and new ones crop up. 

I miss you. But I know these feelings will dull with time and distance. I am not being pessimistic, its just being real.

3 Aug ....

Slept in the bus while the green countryside swept by. What a waste. But there was no option as the mental and physical fatigue stressed me out. This hinterland town has remained unchanged through the years and it is a relief. With things changing fast and the books consoling that 'change is the only constant,' this place seems to be caught in a timewrap. You come back and you feel familiar with the sights, smells and senses. It is comforting. But this is a one-off situation, and 'change' as they say is still constant.

I have never been too particularly fond of this place. The simple reason being I have never lived here.. The green has remained; in fact it has spilled over to cover the red mud in some places. The hutments neatly swept and tidied, creates the much romaticised village ambiance right in the middle of this 'industrial' town. Industrial I say, but most industries are long dead and buried. The new ones are fledglings, yet to spread their wings. It remains the memory of a dream, the dream of a visionary. The town is surrounded with miles of uninhabited land and human settlements interspersing these miles; their lights shining distant and dull, sometimes white and welcoming, but beacons all of them!

4 Aug ....

Friendship Day. My best friend told me that even though we may not wish each other on this day, for us it's friendship day every day. It's hot here. How I want this phase to get over, knowing well that once it is over, there would be no turning back. Though I wish that there was a turning back! 

7 Aug ....

The gap in my scribbling is evident that I did have some other work and no 'me' time. Hilarious, harrowing and humbling, my Kolkata experiences are piling up. From witnessing the inside of a police station to watching the incredibly slow service sector in Kolkata, I am frustrated. That a paying customer/client can be at the mercy of a 'seller,' has been proved true by Kolkata. 

In all this, you are a distant presence; a few minutes on the telephone, quick and routine. How I wish that you would hug me and say 'all will be fine.'

I forgot to tell you some stories. It did not fit the time allocated to the quick routine calls. Passed by some interesting places on my way back to Kolkata. 'Budbud,' 'golshi,' 'kulgoriya.' What might be the stories behind these names. I have always been intrigued by this. The stories behind each name.

14 Aug ....

The new Kolkata airport is lovely, very international in look and feel; however this had ruined the typical Indian look that it had with the colourful tapestries that gave it a perennial festive look. The shops are also the same that you find anywhere across the world. I was hungry and asked for coffee. I wanted to have my last authentic 'samosa' before leaving. I asked the man, "Do you have any Indian snacks?" He waved his hands and said, "of course." I looked at burgers, sandwiches and pizzas. Welcome to globalization. The flight was good. They are feeding you well on a budget craft. I doubt if they are going to last the year. I open my book. Of all the gifts that you have given me the reading glasses are my favourite. Silly? 

Maybe there will be no dairy now. Just so that you know. The Sylvia Plath collection is ready. I posted it from Kolkata. Cheap spiral bound. With love. Maybe the last time ever. 

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