You and Me Tag || The Blogger with a Recorder

Her forehead still bears proof of the overload of vermilion dumped on it on her marriage day. Her hands jingle with the sound of the conch shell bangles they put on the same day. Her always-bare hands are suddenly full of marriage jewelry. At times she still gazes at her hands and wonders if it all really happened.

The beach air is lusty on her face, playing havoc with her hair. The waves are lapping at the shore. Vacationers, foreigners in bikini, roam about, laze about on the white sands. She looks ahead to her husband, who seems busy in building a sand castle in the distance. She smiles at his dedication.

The stranger sits a few feet next to her. He is wearing a flower-print shirt and military green shorts. He has a small device in his hands. He switches it on and lays it on the sand. He then looks far ahead into the sea, a look of content in his face.

“Hey, you!” She calls out.

The stranger looks at her. “Hey, yourself!”

“Don’t mind my asking, but what are you doing?” pointing at the device.

The stranger gives a short laugh and walks over to her, picking up the device.

“It is a recorder. I am recording the sound of the waves. It relaxes me.” He holds the small, black thing out to her.

She holds it in her hand, presses the little red button and the sound of the waves start spilling, only barely audible above the growl of the actual waves.

“Wow! It’s amazing how the waves tone out every other noise. Is this a hobby or something?” She asks.

“Well, sort of! I use the sound for my website too. I am a blogger.”

“Ah! Well, I am one too… or rather, I used to be. Don’t get much time these days. I knew someone who used wave-sounds in his website as well.”

“Oh, you did? The waves are fascinating. And calming. It is a significant part of us who live by the shores.” The stranger extended his hands, “I am Savio. And you are?”

She met his hands, “Arpita here. But wait, you’re Savio? I think I followed your blog! The extra mile or something… with a lot of a’s?”

Savio beamed. “You bet it is! Wow, it’s great to meet you, Arpita! How’s your vacation goin so far?”

“Honeymoon, actually. Goa’s lovely!” she smiles a shy smile. She points at her husband, who has now completed building the castle and is busy taking pictures of it. “That’s my husband.”

Savio gets up and gestures her to do the same. Arpita follows. “Well, let’s get to know each other then,” he says as he starts to walk towards her husband. “I am happy to be your  local guide too, if you’d like.”

“Yes, of course. We’d love that,” She smiles. In her mind, she thinks, “What a small world!”


Inspired by the You and Me Tag post on Savio’s blog.

@Savio – I mostly read all the followed blog-posts on the reader itself, so I had no idea how absolutely refreshing your blog theme is. And the wave sound part was amazing – I had no clue you could add sounds to blogs. I literally finished writing this blog-post to the sound of the waves. Hope you enjoy reading it!

Copyright © 2017, Arpita Pramanick

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Laughter is the best medicine

The last two weeks had been crazy at work – I had been returning late everyday. This week things are starting to look better.

Here is what I ensured to make sure we start leaving on time:

  • Setting right expectations with onsites – pushing back on deliverables that I do not foresee team completing without stretching
  • Trying to plan the day better

I realize that it is a continuous learning process and mistakes will happen. There will be days where we have to stretch, but things will get better as well. We just need to keep faith in ourselves.

The other thing that really keeps me going is the kind of fun environment we have at work. We are all mostly of the same age, so there is a open camaraderie. We are constantly cracking jokes, making fun of each other over silly things and laughing it out. Due to this, even during the most trying times, we can stay cool.

Tell me about some hard times you faced at work. What did you do to make things better?

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Never let go

WordPress reminded me it is my 2 year anniversary today. To celebrate that, 8let me share with with you all a story I wrote today. After all, the primary reason for starting this blog was to become a better story-teller. Let me know what you think!


Never let go

Arpita Pramanick

It was the spring of 2009. The winter chill had not yet gone from the suburban air, but summer was slowly making its presence known. People had begun to turn on the ceiling fans.

For the past few days, thick dark clouds hovered over the small, independent houses as soon as the clocks ticked four. The air would suddenly stop moving. There would be a momentary hot phase. Then the cool winds would start rushing in. The trees would bend with its vigor and the clouds would look darker than ever. They seemed to be carrying deep, dark secrets. Only, the rains would not come as fierce.

In the newly painted Mukherjee house, Supriya was pacing in the balcony. She was frustrated with the clouds. Why couldn’t it rain and be done with? She desperately needed to make a move. Tomorrow, the boy’s family would come to bless her. Probably, the final plans of marriage would also be chalked out tomorrow. Ever since her uncle brought news of this probable match, her mother had been extra cautious with her. She would not let Supriya go anywhere alone. Even her phone calls were monitored, Supriya realized. They would not let her go to the roof even to pick up clothes in the afternoon.

“You are getting married in a month,” her mother said. “I don’t want to wear you out with all these chores now. Just rest and try to look perfect for your wedding.”

But no matter how hard Supriya tried, she could not get rid of the dark circles under her eyes. No matter how hard she tried, she could not close her eyes in the night.

Her mother would notice her restlessness and run her fingers through her hair.

“It is for good, this marriage,” she said. “The boy is an accountant. He can take care of you.”

Supriya tried to think about the boy. Arohan Banerjee. Tall, fair, well-mannered. His hair was neatly combed and he wore a distinctive perfume. He liked books, he had told her. Yes, if her heart was not someplace else, she could willingly marry Arohan Banerjee. She could probably fall in love with him too.

But every time she thought about Arohan, the simple eyes of a dark face would rake through her mind’s eye. Yagnik Roy. Her first love, her heartbeat.

They met in college. He was one of those rare people who was rowdy and polished at the same time. He fought with the guys in the football field when they called names. He answered every question the professors asked with deep thinking and always said something that no one else in the class seemed to come up with.

The beautiful Supriya Mukherjee was initially duly ignored by Yagnik Roy. But once they started talking, everything seemed pre-determined to Supriya.

But Yagnik was not the one who let his feelings be known first. It was just after the Durga Puja holidays in the second year. She had not seen him after the college closed for vacation. Unlike every year, Supriya did not enjoy one day of the glorious festival. Not seeing Yagnik bothered her more than she had thought.

After the college reopened, she had called him after class, held his hand urgently in her hand and told him to accept her. He seemed surprised at first at the urgency of her emotion. But then, the gentle pressure of his hand in hers told her his answer.

Yagnik was a passionate lover. Ever since he discovered love in Supriya, it seemed something in him changed. He became more polite outwardly, but would be very upset if Supriya did not turn up for college one day. It seemed that he wanted her every moment he could have with her. If he saw her talking to some other boy, he would grow tense and refuse to talk to her for days. The said boy would definitely get into some kind of trouble afterwards.

When Supriya finally confronted him one day about his behavior, he simply said, “You are my need. I need you completely or not at all. Your choice.”

As she paced up and down in the balcony, Supriya thought what Yagnik must be going through now. They had not spoken in ten days. He was appearing for job interviews. He had known Supriya’s parents were looking for her marriage and that bothered him.

The last time they had met in a tea shop near their college.

“Give me two months, Su. I will not disappoint you,” he had said. Her hands trembled in his. Had they been in a more private place, they would have kissed.

“I cannot live without you,” he said when they said their goodbyes. “You know I can’t. You have to wait for me.” Supriya almost had tears in her eyes.

Surpiya needed one chance to speak with him. She needed to tell him she was waiting. He  could take all the time in the world he needed, she would still wait for him.

The winds stopped blowing. The clouds vanished. The sky grew dark with evening. The womenfolk began to blow conch shells. The Mukherjee household was preparing to receive the would-be son-in-law and his family the next day.

***

Arohan Banerjee had loved Supriya the day he had set his eyes on her. She had looked absolutely stunning in the blue, checkered sari she had worn when they first came to see her two weeks ago.

Today, however, as she sat on the sofa in front of Arohan and his family, she looked tired.  She would not meet his eyes.

Nonetheless, it was a big day for Arohan. Besides his father, mother and younger brother, his grandmother had also come to see the would-be bride. Madhulika Banerjee put her thin, crumpled, trembling hands on Supriya’s chin and said, “Such a lovely girl. You will be loved more in our house than your are in this house. I, the groom’s grandma guarantee this.” She put her hands on Supriya’s head now. “Don’t look so sad, dear. You will not miss this home at all once you step foot in our house.” She gave Supriya a small golden coin. “My husband gave this to me on our wedding day. Small token from an old woman to the Banerjee family’s would-be daughter-in-law.” Then the old woman kissed Supriya on her cheek.

Supriya fought hard to resist her tears. Somehow, she felt a connection with the old woman. She felt like she could tell her all her troubles. Something Supriya did not even feel about her own mother.

Then the moment passed. The servants brought in food. The elders started discussing possible dates.

Arohan tried to speak to Supriya. But she could not answer any of his questions. His brother, Anuran, was a different case though. He had already started calling her Boudi, the name reserved for sister-in-law. He was still in school. He made her take him into the house, show him around. He looked at Supriya with interest and a happy smile. Clearly, she had been a huge hit with him.

“When you come to our house, I will eat only what you cook. Dada said the fish you cooked the other day was delicious. My mom makes horrible fish. You must cook for me.”

Supriya laughed at the young boy’s innocent demands. No wonder she would be deeply cared for in the Banerjee household. She saw herself in the evenings, watching TV serials with her future mother-in-law and grandmother-in-law while Anuran studied in his room. Arohan and his father would not have returned from work yet. Supriya would be cutting the vegetables as they watched the television drama. Suddenly, her mother-in-law would say, “Careful, Supriya! You would have just cut yourself.” And then she would take the knife and the vegetables and start chopping them herself. She would not listen to any of Supriya’s entreaties to let her continue.

“Just watch and learn. You will have to do this for many more years, silly girl! Enjoy while the old ladies can do the work for you,” her mother-in-law would say.

Four hours later, Arohan’s family left.  Supriya’s father beamed at the hospitality the guests had shown towards Supriya and her family. “Such lovely people! Supriya Ma, they will really take good care of you.”

***

After many days, Surpiya had a good sleep that night. Towards the morning, she was dreaming. In her dream Arohan’s grandmother was patting her head, giving her the gold guinea. Then she was in the bedroom. She was lying on the bed. Arohan came inside and shut the door behind him. It looked like they had been married for some time now. In her dream, Supriya was happy to see Arohan. She was smiling. He came to her and hugged her. His lips touched hers. After a brief moment, when he let her breathe, she looked into his eyes.

And then Supriya woke up with a start. She felt like the dark pair of eyes was still on her, looking at her with pain. Slowly, the pain became disgust. Supriya struggled to breathe. A deep sense of shame filled her entire body. She felt like she had cheated on Yagnik. She felt certain that he had known her deceitfulness and would never accept her again.

“Please. I love you and no one else,” she entreated. Beside her, her mother shifted in the bed, not quite awake yet.

That morning, it rained like it had never rained before. Supriya was completely drenched when she knocked furiously on the blue door Yagnik had shown her. She had never been inside his house.

“Coming, coming,” Yagnik’s voice came. “Don’t break the door please.”

Yagnik was surprised to see the drenched woman at the door. His lips curved upwards in a smile.

“About time,” he said, holding her hand and pulling her inside. “Let me get a towel. The Mukherjees don’t have umbrellas or what?”

“Wait,” Supriya held on to his hand, stopping him from getting that towel. “I ran from home.”

“You did what?” Yagnik cried.

Supriya looked into his deep, dark eyes searching for an answer. Was he angry? Would he make her go away? What would she do then?

For a moment, Yagnik looked into her wet eyes. Then Supriya felt the familiar pressure of his hand in hers. Her heartbeat relaxed. Her body felt limp as he pulled her into a hug. “Good thing is,” he said, “I have a job now.” His lips kissed her hair.

Copyright © 2017 Arpita Pramanick

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I am confused because…

While I was growing up, when being a writer was not the primary need for me, I wanted to be a good person. That was a time when my mind was less conflicted, the definitions of right and wrong were clear. I judged easily, with no remorse.

One thing has remained constant through all these years – I have always wanted to be good, wanted to make things better. I tried to reason with people and make them see a different point of view. I am pretty convincing the way that I am, and I find people generally find it easy to accept my reasoning.

However, a flaw in myself that I have learned to see in myself over the years is: hatred and anger runs too deep in me. Don’t get me wrong, I give people enough chances. As deep my anger is, I am equally patient. The thing is people do not change easily, even if you give them chances and ignore the issues between. I only speak my mind bluntly when I see that no matter how much I ignore, things are not going to change for the better.

And once I reach that stage in any relationship, I sort of give up on it. I am never again ready to reconcile. I won’t speak to the person again. I am perfectly content not having to cross paths with that person.

As a writer, however, I try to be an observer than an active participant. I think being an observer is the driving force of any newly formed relationship for me. I see, I try to understand the person and take him for who s/he is. I become an active participant much later, defining my opinions for/against that person. Interestingly, because I speak up so less for a major part, people accept me as naive and set too many expectations. Of course, in the recent times, I have taken an active measure to put every other person’s expectations from me straight. I am currently following a zero-tolerance to nonsense policy.

But even that makes me sad sometimes, because when I am angry I am very blunt. When I have withdrawn in a relationship, I never give another chance. The back of my mind, the writer in me, the observer still continues to observe the person, and tries to find signals of change. That part of me tries to find the effect of the last conversation I had with the person, how that is changing the way the other person is acting around/with me. I keep trying to find signals of how s/he is changing for the better. Even then I am not ready to reconcile. In fact I know I will not reconcile because I do not trust people to change their nature completely. But I cannot ignore the small changes in behavior and I feel guilty because I am not giving the other person another chance.

I am very much interested in people, in observing people. I know why certain people are doing certain things, why they are conditioned to do certain things because of certain behaviors they have exhibited before. But I still struggle to be an active participant in relationships. That has harmed a lot of relationships for me. Over the years, I have realized that I will be truly close to only a handful of people. That bothers me at times. The emotional loneliness bothers me sometimes. Not yet at a point where there is a harmony between the observer and the participant. Any tips?


If you are interested in my writing, you can check out my books on Amazon by clicking on the below images. If you are an KU/KOLL user, you can read both the books for FREE.


cover2    bbl1 (2) - Copy

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‘Getting it’

Life hasn’t been particularly nice since I returned to Bangalore two weeks back. Work has been crazy. I got into a couple of fights. The fights I had came from a place where I was trying to make things better, for myself and for other people. But in this universe, it is really difficult to communicate with someone the exact motivations of your actions.

I have started being more accepting about some things, a little defensive about some other things. Feels like I am reaching a point where I am really ‘getting it’. I am getting what all the politics, all the TV shows are about. It is like I am seeing things through a new lens. I am finding it easier to relate to symbolism and metaphors. Even though the last two weeks have not been spectacularly nice, I am gaining a rare clarity in my life.

I am also realizing a braver side to me which I did not know existed. It is interesting how certain losses impact us, make us stronger. I feel like I have shed a self. I am standing up for my beliefs more often now. I am learning to be more straightforward, because the situations are making me do things that I couldn’t possibly have done before. There are still pangs of guilt for when I feel I have been a little to blunt. But sometimes, there is a point of no return. It is not a happy place yet, but I am getting there.

Nothing much is happening on the writing front as of now. I have not even got the time to properly promote my second book. So here goes:

If you have read How I tamed the dragon named fear, please leave a review on Amazon. It helps me see through the flaws in my writing and become better at it. It also allows other readers to decide whether they really want to read the book or not. So exercise your right of expression and let your thoughts be known. Even if you absolutely hated the book! 😀

Done reading-.png

“How I Tamed the Dragon Named Fear” is an interactive self-help book with an autobiographical element designed to guide individuals in dealing with fear and anxiety in everyday life. Engaging, encouraging, and easy to follow, this book motivates the reader to live a fuller life by changing their outlook towards fear and the negativity induced by it.

 

 

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Of Wiccan beliefs and feminine thoughts

I started reading The Wiccan Waltz by Pragya Vishnoi today. Pragya was one the beta reviewers of my second book, How I Tamed the Dragon Named Fear and I was happy to be able to give back by reviewing hers.

Since I have just started reading the book I can’t go into details about the plot, but the book sure got me interested to look up Wiccan beliefs. I spent close to an hour today watching videos about Wiccan culture.

I found it interesting how Wiccan beliefs stress on the power of the feminine energy. It got me thinking: fundamentally, would the world have been a better place if it were women who were the forefront, writing the history of the human civilisation? I am not a feminist. I believe in the equal rights of the individual irrespective of their gender. At the same time, I take pride in being a woman. In my own family I have seen how women have been the pillars of strength and how much they could sacrifice.

The male ego is that of a conqueror. They are the dominant force. Since women are go through the pains of labour, they are naturally inclined towards being vulnerable, providing and caring. Due to this, I feel naturally women are more tolerant than men in many cases. In today’s world of hate crimes and terrorism, maybe if our history was primarily written by women, we might have been a little more compassionate of other  people’s needs and not our victory over others.

Look forward to hearing your thoughts on this.

Happy weekend!

P.S: For those who likes some magic and fantasy, please give The Wiccan Waltz a try. As a first impression, I thought it was a well-written book. I will probably do a detailed review later. But if fantasy is your genre, you should definitely give it a try.
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Back to Bangalore

I came back to Bangalore after a brief but amazing trip to home this Sunday. Meant to blog earlier, but this week has been crazy so far. The last three days I have been returning at 11 PM from work. I am having trouble sleeping the night – Bangalore suddenly feels hotter than how I left it. And I am constantly thinking about work-related things because that’s where I am spending the lion’s share of my day.

Thing is, my team lead will transition out and I have to step up. I am comfortable with the level of ownership I have shown towards the team, but leading is a different game. The first few weeks are going to be difficult I believe.

Anyhow, I am utilizing my sleeplessness phase to actually start on my third project. It will be a work of fiction, but this time I am attempting a novel and not a book of shorts. It is going to be a challenge for me because I have tried writing a novel and failed on multiple occasions. I struggle with staying in the same story for the entire expanse of the book. In a way, I feel I am more suited to short stories.

But I intend to do differently. I do not have a plot of the book yet, but I have an idea what emotion exactly I want to write about. The  best way I can describe this upcoming project is summed up by this quote:

There is no greater agony than bearing an untold story inside you.”
― Maya Angelou

Hopefully, I take out time from my busy schedule and do justice to what I want to do. Fingers crossed.

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