Frankly speaking, the impending summer heat and a severe bout of viral fever made me rather sloth. Visva Bharati is in all sorts of cross currents now, dampening the mood in general and suddenly I find myself digging hard within me for some spark of interest somewhere; which is hard to come by. So, eventually I revert back to photographs of Santiniketan collected over a few years.
I never imagined that flies can be that emphatically romantic. Actually in Bengali psyche ‘Machi’ is a terribly looked down upon a concept. I myself belong to the terrible ‘Machi Mara Kerani’ clan. In these days with a air-conditioned office with computers replacing dusty files ‘Machis’ have become absolutely rare though.
In any case the juxtaposition of life when a spider looms into the frame can be quite intriguing- ‘Love & Murder’- wow an intriguing cinematic plot indeed! All these were happening in a tiny ‘Bainchi Kul’ plant- after all be it love or death, life is certainly a thorny affair!
The courting beetles looked lovely. In fact one of them was in a big lady-impressing venture (line mara in Bengali!); with a lot of emotional talk going between them. The length of romantic conversation was equivalent to reciting a long poetry by Jabanananda Das or even Sunil Gangopadhyaya to the fiancée with quite a few meaningful pauses, and in consequence I captured a series of camera shots very dear to me. The interesting part was, so many times these two came close and then almost broke apart, and again came back to continue courtship the story appeared fairly romantically complicated. Though in my school days I was a huge fan of Sarat Chandra Chattopadhyay or even Guy De Maupassant – the master portrayers of romantic complications; I got exasperated soon watching this particular romantic saga- and actually I had no idea whether this particular courtship between these lovely looking beetles actually flourished or not!
These two fly-cathers (Banspati in Bengali) looked so much like our proverbial Bengali couples, perhaps enjoying a bit of healthy gossip meticulously observing their neighbour- that I really feel birds have much in common with human beings. The lady birds (along with few dude type gents) can be pretty fastidious about their get up, often spending half an hour or so just to clean feathers- only to take up the same task an hour or so later; then at times going for huge non sense talks so very similar to us the human couples; often they get into heated quarrels (some of the birds are indeed extremely quarrelsome!). And then when the bird tries to impress the opposite sex, my god, what perseverance; the aspiring human lovers can certainly learn a lot from them!
The tender lice (Ukun) cleansing act between two dear monkeys really catapulted them as quite respectable citizens in my eyes. The tenderly seriousness of the venture is something to really note. All I can recall that I never tried to pick up lice from the few Sree Sadan girl friends I had! Technically such tenderness should have been expressed on our behalf towards the lice clad hostel girls of Sree Sadana. I do not know if the situation has improved at present times!
Believe it or not, the dragon flies in the act, very much look like Yoga masters; and I wonder if the old yogic sages, like Batsyayana, invented a few tricks by watching the dragon flies. In fact such acrobatic interpretation of romanticism is a wonder in itself- kind of creates a complete absorption in the moods.
The complete antithesis to human tendencies is the Bayas (Babui in Bengali). The guy often creates two to three half finishes homes to impress the lady; and when the lady chooses one-he finishes that one with the lady just looking on! Imagine, in next season, the partner do not remain same; so one has to try out the whole exercise again! In human terms, if that was the case. Property business would have been hugely more lucrative-wow!
Though slightly out of focus because of the distance, this photograph remains very close two me. The two exquisite looking Munias (Shyamsundar in Bengali) really strike a pose. The synergy between the movements of these two birds easily tells us that they are actually two inseparable souls. Some birds do remain fairly ecstatic in many ways; one of that being the sense of total commitment- something which can never be questioned.
I caught hold of these two kennos (English?) too. In our childhood days, though we inserted a few under the shirts of our classmates, we never really liked to handle these creatures much, because of the smelly oily substance these kennos carried along with them. A few of us cut them into two, only to find the front part moving ahead as if nothing has happened! Ofcourse, now we have learnt to treat them with care (until ofcourse they do not get into our house!).
So, in a lazy afternoon I feel happy to share these amateur photographs with an auto shoot camera with you all. It is time to move for home.