PHOTO TALK OF SANTINIKETAN 10December2017


Would you believe that this baby Doel just got adventurous and moved out of nest for its first tread into real life? Well, that’s precisely the case. Still not mastering the art of flying, it just crawled out of the nest to move few steps out, and had a harrowing time crawling back to the nest. Just opposite my house, I was enjoying the scene, and yet quite anxious as the mother was nowhere nearby! Honestly speaking, being a child at Santiniketan, I thoroughly got absorbed in the act, my heart thumping each second. I had quite a few such moments in my life, especially after climbing up a particular branch of the tree fairly efficiently, when I realized that getting down by the same route is almost near impossible!! I reckon quite a few tree climbers had some such harrowing moments in their lives at Santiniketan. Ha ha..those incredible days.

I was also fairly impressed by Carola, an Italian girl, doing some translating work on Baul song lyrics into Italian, as a University student at a research project quite a few years back. Do not see her around these days, infact for more than two years by now, so I reckon she left Santiniketan. Never into the mainstream of Visva Bharati University, she conducted her works independently staying at rented houses periodically when in Santiniketan. She also translated ‘Rupashi Bangla’ by Jibanananda Das into Italian and presented a copy to me. It was always a very pleasant and sweet surprise to talk with her in Bengali, she mastered the language very well. Once, I recall, she wanted me to explain the word ‘Bhaba’ of ‘Bhaba Sangsar’ to her, and she was thinking in terms of real, surreal, and unreal planes of philosophy. Being not too accustomed with high platitude philosophy, I quickly equated ‘Bhaba’ to ‘Existing’ and Bhaba Sangsar to existing life all around. She was still too intrigued by the real, unreal, and surreal planes, so the rather crude idea of mere ‘existence’ did not catch her fancy. Then I said “Well, you can say we exist in this world, but do not know if the world or we are real.” Actually I intended it to be a joke, but she was amazed at the explanation, and thanked me profusely, and said that it helped her to understand a significant bit of Baul Philosophy! To be honest I had no idea on what I was saying…ha ha. At times, at Kalor Dokan or Nabadwip I do miss the inquisitive mind of Carola. Wishing her the best, wherever she is now.

I never really understood the significance of grass flowers till I got a bit close with the butterflies. The incredible contribution and utility in the life cycle of the creation even by the tiniest, remains one of the most profound learning for me. That everything around us is linked in some way or other with every one of us, put me is the real alignment with life, I would say the real alignment with cosmic life. For example, it is one thing to read about Moon, and another thing to realize that the pull of moon on Earth and the other way, affects our lives in real terms. A bit of aberration can actually create a huge real mess all around! But, interestingly the Moon hardly exists in our real life, except few songs when not disturbed by halogen lights! So, it is really a something to contemplate abour our alignment with life, society and the world, or ‘Bhaba Sangsar’ in short! It may be a valid question if we or the world around us is real or not! Ha ha…a joke really, but intriguing..to say the least!

Some memories are really too nostalgic to summarily dismiss, like the rickshaw. The dramatic takeover of local commutation by battery driven Totos, with near decimation of the Rickshaws, is a very real story here at Santiniketan. The few Rickshaw pullers still remaining is at their very last lap. I think, in real terms, this can be interpreted philosophically as ‘the speed of peace has also increased these days”! Well, it’s a weird phrase really-‘Speed of Peace’. But can be a good topic for discussion at some intellectually nonsense gathering over few cups of tea at a tea stall of Santiniketan. Cannot it be?
All these, and many more are part of the incredible collage called Santiniketan. Enjoy, as long as you can!
Regards,
Shubhashis

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