O Sweetness! O Love!

I recently wrote an answer on Quora professing my love towards a certain food item. I admit I got carried off in the midst a bit and the picture of the mishti in my mind got intertwined with something else, or maybe someone?…

I should have written this in Bengali, but here goes nothing, hope she understands. And I hope you, the reader, too forgive me for (1) some of the Bengali and/or Hindu motifs I use (I shall try to explain them as well as possible if asked in the comments) and (2) the length of the letter (I tend to be over-expressive…)

My oporupa shundori (of limitless beauty) Sandesh,

Do you know that Ma used to say I was always an overtly sentimental child, even by Bengali standards? A tragic ending to any story would make me get the entire para (locality) on our doorstep with my soulful sobbings, while the stories of happy fantasy – the Rajkumar (Prince) and the Rajkumari (Princess) would get me all dreamy eyed.

As I grew up, age kindled the quintessential Calcuttan rebel in me, made me haughtily look down upon the finer sides of love and life for utopic ideals of justice and revolution. The same law of age got the better of me as hearts started changing rhythm. I became the eternal traveler, searching for two fleeting moments of love, the eternal tormented one looking for that which fits my idea of pure beauty. (*)

And then one day suddenly… well not suddenly, you were there but I simply never glanced. As Tagore would have said, I spent a whole lot of energy search for that which the world hails as beauty, but never glanced at the simplest of dewdrops on one blade of grass. Huh! Silly me!  … (**)

Suddenly, I realized where I had been all these days. I cannot but call it Providence. And it made me realize what you meant to me. Your delicately carved face, enchanting smile, heart-melting sweetness, your ability to draw all so close to yourself… In all your varied forms, you represented the infinitude of Goddess-like forms I had grown up hearing. You were the veena of Saraswati to fatigued ears, the rice of Annapurna to the famished being, the kiss of a mother to a crying child, the caress of a loved one to a parched soul.

In your most elemental form, you had all the ruggedness of Nature, the flowing cascading hair, the coquettish smile, the doe-eyes – you were Simplicity; and when you decked yourself up in all finery, the breath-taking shapes you assumed – the scintillating conch-shell, the towering elephant, the queen of the waters – you were Bibhuti – transcendental opulence; the nectar you held in your bosom, the fruity and rose-y essence you incorporated in yourself, O, you were Poetry herself! *sigh* … I guess in this way you unassumingly occupied my heart – slowly first and then exponentially, all at once! – thus becoming inseparable. 

But alas, there were times that were tough. I had to go far, leave you, travel to foreign lands – face the period of biroho-bedona (pangs of separation) that Radha would have us believe is so essential for hearts to grow fonder. I saw not your face for sooo long, though I could always imagine it to be in front of me, imprinted as you were there, always. I could feel not your delicate delicious self on my dessicated lips but my human brain allowed me to get those memories back slowly. I know, you had your obhimaan in these times – times that would wrench my heartstrings. O how can I possibly describe those feelings? Some things, words fail to capture.

You know how people have warned me against possible insanity and obsession? Diabetes or something. But you are one intoxication this teetotaler cannot get over. How can I do so before I find the answer to the tortuous questions flooding me? Of what is there in the chhena that causes your charm? In the gur (jaggery) that makes me believe the body of Rabindric songs were written with you in mind? In the curves of your mould over which the steadiest minds slip? In your varied constituencies, some as fluidic as the mellifluous notes that to me constitute your name, some as tough as the toughest hearts you can melt? Perhaps they may never be answered.

I am a student of the sciences, but I have to go against the scientific spirit I am supposed to nurture by saying that maybe that is all for the better. I find supreme enjoyment in the path that you lead me – amar ei poth cholatei anondo! (I find happiness in the simple walks along the path!) – the answers and the destinations matter not! I wonder if that makes me a hypocrite… But who cares, right?



(the kanchagolla – rugged beauty)


(the many shapes – the transcendental opulence)
(the talshansh – with nectar in her bosom)

(Photos were picked from Google Image Search and are not mine)

(* Reference to the poem Banalata Sen by Jibonanondo Das – the translation is by a Professor here at IIT Kanpur, Dr. Amitabha Mukerjee)

  “Bahu din dhore, bahu krosh durey                                                    বহু দিন ধরে, বহু ক্রোশ দূরে
   Bahu byay kori, bahu desh ghurey                                                    বহু ব্যায় করি, বহু দেশ ঘুরে  
   Dekhite giyachi porbotmala,                                                               দেখিতে গিয়াছি পর্বতমালা
   Dekhite giyachi Sindhu.                                                                        দেখিতে গিয়াছি সিন্ধু
   Dekha hoy nai chokkhu melia                                                             দেখা হয় নাই চক্ষু  মেলিয়া
   Ghor hote shudhu dui pa felia                                                             ঘর হতে শুধু দুই পা ফেলিয়া
   Ekti dhaner shisher upore ekti shishir bindu”     একটি ধানের শিষের উপরে একটি শিশির বিন্দু
I traveled miles, for many a year.
I spent a lot in lands afar,
I’ve gone to see the mountains,
The oceans I’ve been to view.
But I haven’t seen with these eyes
Just two steps from my home lies
On a sheaf of paddy grain, a glistening drop of dew…

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