A Memory Down The Chatterjee Lane
I find myself suddenly amidst the loud sound of the chiming clock, the smell of old furniture, the white sheet with light coloured embroidery, the smell of fried eggplants and the solemnity of Mr Chatterjee’s face as he reads through the lines from a Rabindranath’s. The scene of continuous folding of the first two toes of his feet that were covered by the white flowy pajamas with that simple cotton Kurta that he wore was distracted by a voice that demanded his presence for breakfast.
I could smell the fried Loochi (Puri as we call it) and the Begun Bhaja (fried eggplants) with the omnipresent dal taking a little posh wear- Sweet Cholar Daal (Chana dal) that were laid on the table with the two long green chillies that served the hot tongue. All this while, I was not talking, rather I was just an audience to the scene. Mr Chatterjee, with a simplicity and a satisfaction on his face, looked radiant. His happiness made me jealous. How had he been contented with the little joys of the great world, a little Rabindranath, a little joy of sports, a little politics and a lot more on the plate. Soon, the scene of the same old bed with spotless embroidery, the room smelling of holy sticks with the solemn Mr Chatterjee stood in front of me taking me to an unparalleled universe of tranquility. Nevertheless, the tick-tocking of his toes continued as he enjoyed his visuals as an aficionado to sports. Soon, the tick-tock stops and finally Mr Chatterjee faces me, the first time in this tableaux, and addresses me “Bhalo Theko” (stay well!) with the same love, affection and warmth that somehow is a treasure.
The same chiming of the clock happens and soon takes the form of the harsh, screeching of the digital that I suddenly wake up to. I realise that the day mourns of Mr Chatterjee’s death that I have to attend to. Attending the body to the pyre as I bid my final bye, I notice the locked toes, the same position that they were in my dream as the cave takes my grandfather into its arms.