'Herzlich Wilkommen!'

'Memorie Dolcie' is all about my cherished memories. It also contains reviews of movies I really liked and articles on various scenarios. Writing, for me, has been an important aspect of my life, so me without a blog, is like a fish out of water. So, this is what I give you. At times, my articles are extremely naive, but then, it's just me. A warm thank you is extended to Ms. Arundhati Chatterjee, my second cousin (yes, my Niece, brightsparks!) and help when it comes to reviewing my articles. Hope you like my blog. Any queries can be directly addressed to me at rrivubanerjee@yahoo.in Auf Weidersehen!
Thank you,
Rrivu Banerjee

Friday, May 3, 2013

From the Most Beautiful to the Most Celebrated

Calcutta, IndiaLondon, United Kingdom3rd May, 2013-
It's easily one of the world's most celebrated cities. The location for many a Bollywood song and dance sequence and even of Mr Bean's countless shenanigans. At the end of it though, you realise just how similar Great Britain's capital is to it's once Indian counterpart Calcutta. That is, however, a different tale altogether. 
Having had an orthodox Catholic upbringing for fourteen good years, I was almost prepared for a week's stay at the Salesian House in Chertsey, Surrey; or so I thought. Through the heart of Chertsey runs Runnymede where King John had been compelled to sign the historic Magna Carta. Much like most of Britain's countryside locales of repute, one does not see thousands of people flocking to Runnymede to look at the fields. In fact, neither did we (nor our host) know of the place's historic significance until rather late into our stay here. 
I've known Fr Andrew since 2009. Every February, he comes down to visit Calcutta (which is coincidentally, where he originates from) and Don Bosco Park Circus with students of The Salesian School and Sixth Form Centre, essentially run by Priests of the Order of Salesians of Don Bosco. And so, as luck would have it, it was now time for us to tell Great Britain that their Danny Boyle had got India all wrong in Slumdog Millionaire. Post an uncountable number of correspondences and questions by the visa authorities and immigration departments at both NSCBI and at Heathrow (the validity or usefulness of which has still failed to dawn on me), we finally were in the United Kingdom.
To be very honest, the UK is strikingly different from what social media has portrayed it to be for us Indians. Firstly, each and every Indian student does not get attacked or heckled for the colour of his or her skin. The idea, on it's own, is rather absurd especially in a country where their national dish is the Indian Chicken Tikka Masala. Having spent each awake hour with them, I can safely conclude that if you create an issue, an issue persists. That, to be honest, is the situation anywhere in the world including India. I think we've all lost count of the number of jokes we've cracked about ourselves as 'whites' and 'browns' (even going on to deduce that the attention we received is simply because we are of a colour as desirable as chocolate) and I'm pretty certain we all host an adequate amount of respect for each other and appreciate the impact the others have had on our lives. 
Secondly, the English need English lessons, but more on that when I engage in personal rendezvous with the readers of this essay. 
Whilst in Chertsey, we had the opportunity of speaking to a total of twelve classes - each an hour. I might have now begun reconsidering academia as a backup career option, but the joys, the laughter and the sheer pride of informing (and in the process, even building better relationships) a group of young, enthusiastic British students about India and how we aren't simply the land of the Great Indian Rope Trick or where everyone pets elephants. In addition, the sadistic pleasure of scaring them by letting them know of the strict rules and norms we follow in India when it comes to scholastic education is unparalleled. 
London, on the other hand, is far more chaotic. A city so small it would cover ground area of just about South Calcutta, London just needs a reason to celebrate. In fact, I now know why so many Bengalis flock to London and live there all their lives - the Queen's Birthday, the Prince's birthday, the Duchess's baby-shower - London just needs a reason to celebrate and much like the average Calcuttan who doesn't mind celebration to be the norm of life, the Londoner isn't complaining. Give them a top hat, a trench coat and a rare week of bright sunshine and everyone between the ages of nine and ninety will queue outside Buckingham Palace and around Victoria Memorial just to watch the Red Coats change guard. Poor Lizzie can't seem to be even able to soak in the fresh air in her nightgown without having more than twenty times four score eyes fixed on her. As much as royalty irks my interest, it does not dwindle in causing annoyance either. 
If nothing else, go walk down Her Majesty's Jubilee South Bank, catch a glimpse of Her Majesty's Tower Bridge or even Her Majesty's River Thames. I trick you not, you'll enjoy every moment albeit the freezing cold winds which the British so happily 'bask' themselves in. Post sunset, all you need to do is go up on the London Eye to find out exactly why this city is so very popular. In a sense, you begin to fall in love with the city despite it going off to sleep after a long day at a quarter to ten. The Tube too, as much as you may draw comparisons and secretly feel happy on deducing how much better the Calcutta Metro is, does not fail to draw your mind to the intricately themed stations - Baker Street Station has Sherlock Holmes silhouettes all over and Victoria Station presents tiles embossed with the face of the former Empress of India (or so, each of her statues all over England still proclaim). You may even decide to visit Clapham Junction, Britain's busiest station where you can hope to meet drunks from places even outside of Ireland or in a rather matter-of-fact manner walk into Harrod's and pretend to be too rich to buy anything that someone else might also have a chance of owning. 
At the end of it all, however, once you land back in Calcutta, you will realise what you've missed for all these days - the very endearing reference of every stranger as 'Dada' or 'Didi.' In London, you can bump into people and they won't even stop to offer an apology. Everyone there is too busy listening to what I assume is therapeutic chants. Neither Calcutta nor London are squeaky clean; and strangely enough, I've even managed to come across beggars on Oxford Street in London, but the soul (and the rather warm temperatures of Calcutta) will always attract you back even if you've been an infidel and accommodated place in your heart for London. 
To sum it up, the experience guarantees to be the celebration of love because of the love for celebration - from London to Calcutta. Perhaps, they're the same after all.
And if you're still not convinced, I suggest you stop scrubbing your dishes, put them in dishwashers (the idea of which still eludes me) and pick up a bag of Her Majesty's Peanuts. And yes, remember to check if it mentions 'Contains Nuts' on the backside of the pack.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Ranjana...tumi aar esho na

রঞ্জনা আমি আর আসব না | পাড়ায়ে ঢুকলে ঠ্যাং খোড়া করে দেব, বলেছে পাড়ার দাদারা | অন্য পাড়া দিয়ে যাচ্ছি তাই |

   Ranjana is basically about this young girl, played by Parno Mittra, and her rise to fame due to the "Devil turns Messiah" like Anjan Dutt, as Abani Dutta. If you can get past the immense alcoholism, cigarettes and the annoying mannequin (yes, a black mannequin adorned the hallways of Anjan Dutt's house), maybe you'll like the essence of this movie. Although the plot is extremely thin and there is absolutely no matter in the plot, the movie primarily grosses on Dutt's popularity.
   The movie begins with the cult hit 'Ranjana' and then goes on the exact same way Dutt's earlier 'Madlee Bangali' ends, a ride through Newtown, Rajarhat and that gets you hopeful of the story and the wonderful world of sheer Anjan Dutt magic that is to unravel itself, only to disappoint you miserably.
   The first half of the movie primarily deals with how, despite the immense alcoholic problems and the frequent visits to Medica Super-speciality Hospital, Anjan Dutt manages to stand up, force his doctor to let him leave the hospital so that he can go back home and take his pills with a glass of whiskey. Not to forget, the annoying black male mannequin that ELVIS, Abani's servant, played by Kanchan, spends dressing up. 
   The second half is on a prophetic level with Stanlee, by Kabir Suman, playing Conscience to Abani and the latter helping Ranjana technically replacing him in the band as he died in true blue Kal Ho Na Ho, sorry, Shah Rukh Khan style.
As always, however, there are certain instances that annoyed me to no end:
1. The black mannequin. Could there be NOTHING more ridiculous?
2. Nandan Bagchi and his pronunciation of 'NYPD'and his annoying accent all through.
3. Dialogues. All dialogues are extremely repetitive and the same character repeats them like the chorus of hymns in one breath. The same applies for actions.
4. Abani Sen's house has been done up the way Ranbir Kapoor's was, in Saawariya. Was the illuminated guitar on the wall absolutely necessary?
5. Most of us associate Anjan Dutt with the dark glasses, black T-Shirt and Blue pair of jeans. All that seemed to undergo a change as our icon wore (believe it or not!) a pair of swim trunks, at times a pair of bermudas and an overcoat.


Anjan Dutt-As Abani Sen, Anjan Dutt is good, if you can get past the alcohol and the cigarettes and the numerous times he's fine and flees the hospital although his doctor tells him that he isn't doing too well. Dutt is at his best when dealing with the emotional outburst during his birthday when he screams at Ranjana. He also does a commendable job when the scene where he goes through Stanlee's letter unfolds.

Parno Mittra-Parno, as Ranjana, is natural. You feel with her and you believe that this actually happens in real life. She is brilliant when she tries to bring Abani back to consciousness and of course, when she performs for the last time.

Kanchan Mullick-Conspicuously called 'Elvis' by Abani, Kanchan essays the role of the servant perfectly and is extremely pleasing to watch as he is a relief from the the numerous mannequins that filled up the silver screen all through. We wish he had more screen space.

Kabir Suman-As Stanlee, Suman does a wonderful job. His acting prowess comes into view when he brilliantly performs the routine of an aging man losing out on his nerves and his control, as his hands refuse to remain steady while talking on the phone.

Amyt Dutta and Nandan Bagchi-They cannot act to save their lives. While Amyt Dutta kept reminding me of Gulshan Grover (minus the acting capabilities), thanks to his look, and remained plastic all through and showed no emotions, Nandan Bagchi tried, overdid it, and failed. The latter seemed immensely annoying in every frame he was in, where he did everything apart from what he can do, music, especially when he proclaims himself to be working with the New York Police Department and Lew Hilt being part of the Kolkata Police.

Suman De (STAR Ananda)-If you thought Bagchi was annoying, welcome Suman De, our very own STAR Ananda Editor-in-Chief. With his annoying and monotonous voice and lack of acting skills, each frame that had him was painful.

Dipannita-Like Kanchan, she deserved more screen presence, especially since she's one of the very few who could act. Every emotion of hers conveyed beautifully.

Lew Hilt and Abir Chatterjee- Neither of them do anything at all in the film. Hilt is seen speaking only a few lines towards the end. The rest of the time, all he does is play his bass guitar. Chatterjee, on the other hand, deserved a better role in the movie. With his feeble role, however, we will not do anything.

All in all, Ranjana Ami Ar Ashbo Na is obviously not a movie you'd watch again and again. This movie is strictly meant for the teens and they'd probably the music, if not anything else. 
If you want to watch it at all, hire yourself a video.

Rating: 2/5 (Poor)

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

A Sin To Be Born

The rains came down just then.
First drop by drop, and then all together,
Washing off the vermillion from her parting
As minute streams of blood.

She stood there by the river
As the levels rose and the current grew stronger,
Not caring about whether she'd be washed away by the fierce lashes of the heartless Ganges
Her only concern, her.

Sound asleep she lay in her arms
As she shielded her from the ruthless pours
Using nothing but the end of her sari,
While she soaked to the skin.

The sun by now was hiding behind the clouds,
And it went well, the situation,
With her life's journey
As she went for a walk down the lane of horrid memoirs.

She remembered the day she first got news.
Her home sounding shrill screeches of joy and ecstasy
As family circled round her and celebrated
The coming of a son.

The wonder of nine nights lasted nine months
Until the day arrived
When the little infant born out of a mother in excruciating pain.
She named her Aziza.

Suddenly, the reassuring cries of happiness
Into wails of sorrow
Unheard of.

Some suggested murder, while others
Spoke about setting her afloat
In the hands of the mighty river that would take her
To the Heavens to repent her sin.

Back she came into the world she was in,
The mighty river in front of her,
As lightning struck
Somewhere close.

Unknotting the end of her sari, she then,
Threw away the bunch of keys
That were they keys to her home
And her world.

She then looked at the Heavens one last time
And cursed her self for being the woman and bearing another.
And then, she slowly walked towards it,
As the mighty Ganges swept her away into oblivion.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Rendezvous with the Ice Maiden

Through the glass it looked beautiful,
The picturesque city drenched in the first rains.
The setting went well with his mood,
His mind flashed a thousand images.

Turning, he looked at her again.
On the cold floor she lay
Staring blankly at the ceiling.
 She was cold too. 

He knelt down beside her
Running his fingers up her arm 
Until he reached her neck. 
He stopped to glance at her necklace.
It was a present from him.

He remembered that fateful day.
Roses decked up her house
While she sat with him on the couch
And he knelt down and then looked at her.Then, he gave her that.

A sudden noise brought him back
And he smiled at her.
A smile not of a sinner, but of a lover
Honest and true.

 Then a look so menacing,
Rarely did a lover look so.
He clasped the pendant once again
And ripped it off.

An emotion of calmness then set upon his face,
As if it were a job swell done.
He got up and walked across the room
And heaved himself upon a chair.

There, he slept till morning.
Ere the big ball of fire rose again.
The rays struck his eyes to bring
Him back to the world again.

And then, he glanced at her once again.
A heavenly face so pristine,
He fell in love with her
Once again and over.

He then got up from his throne
And walked up to the ice maiden.
There, he dropped his gun
And turned to leave.

Just then, he stopped.
Turning, he went back again. 
Kneeling, he took out his knife
And struck it six times.

Finally he got up to go
And his phone rang. 
'Are you coming, honey?' said the voice.
'In a minute!' As he wiped his knife.

Monday, May 23, 2011


His right hand was dead,
Blood oozing out through his vein;
He felt numb 
And contented. 
His whole life flashed by 
In euphoria unparalleled.
The long walks down the dimly lit lane,
The fleeing when time had crossed its bounds.

The graffiti on his arms he cherished. The smile,
Breath-taking to say the least. He believed
She and he were meant to be.
Together and forever.

And then, he came back, 
To the world that now knew no pain.
By and by, he shut his eyes
Never to open again.

Yet, his heart still beat,
For the woman for whom he paved a bed
Of a colour richer than a Marshal Niel.
He remembered that day.

The fireworks shone brilliantly,
Welcoming a new year to oneself.
And this was a new year that'd be the worst 
For all the hopes he'd piled on, were shattered.
And he had not the courage to build them again.

Days post, they met again, her smile
Lit him up. An emotion
So strange it were
To cry and smile together.

A week that'd been the most magnificient of all, 
And yet on the day it was last, she broke him
Her heart was for someone else: the person 
She loved. And he stood there, yet again, dumbstruck.

Tears rolled down his eyes as 
A smile he braved for her
To be happy was all he'd hoped 
For her.

Since then his eyes and heart
Craved for once a sight of hers.
A futile wish, he knew, for
She didn't care at all for him.

And thus, his wrist bleeds
A red that's not just his blood
But an ocean of emotions and pain engulfed.
He shuts his eyes for ever.

The Value of Unimportance

The day isn't at all different. 
He gets up, like he always does,
From the dilapidated sheet of plastic
And stares. 
There's a brilliant spark in his eyes, 
A bottomless ocean of many
Experiences, memoirs and happiness. 
Men and women walk by in apparel,
The weather suits his mood. 
He is happy, for new clothes shall he wear
The tattered old rags. 
Drums beat with an unsual mix of rhythm and raucousness.
The music brought by the cool winds
That kiss his beardless cheek,
A cold, yet pleasant kiss.
And then, he stares
Into moments of time faded into oblivion.
Happier times, perhaps, they are
History, we wish,
But illusion, alas!
He stares, yet, eyes fixed
On a memory that existed, Or
Probably never did.
And then, he thinks of other things, 
Memories he shall not like to recall. 
They're events and circumstances that have led to this futile life,
Humiliation and shame filling the void of the soul.
A hand so soft, then touches his face.
A touch so heavenly that takes him to a world unknown
Yet, wished for, in his dreams.
The nimble fingers wipe off something from his cheeks
As drops of dew fall on his cold, weak arms.
The universe he now belongs to is above
And beyond all that man hath perceived. 
You and I shall never know
Realisation might never dawn
Was it God or Nature 
That took pity on this unimportant creature
And released him from a life so used to humiliation and torture?

The little boy remains there, holding on to the man
Father, he called. Streams of realisation flow down his tanned cheeks
Of loneliness dawning. 
The man now looks not towards the Heavens,
Or the life of the Chanel clad lady in red.
Yet, there's a smile unparallel. An expression
Truly worth this futile life.

An ode to the Unsung Hero

Draped in a white sari she looks
A lifeless glimmer in her eyes. 
She sits on the sidewalk as thousands
Of feet pass her.

Today is a special day, she recalls
A day that changed the world. 
The eye has turned chaste, years of memories
She recollects.

She remembers the day she felt
Worthwhile for once.
Having fled from a husband abusive
She sat by the street.

That day it poured, as if
Heavens seemed in accordance with her.
The first rain of the year, a concoction
Of happiness and grief.

Exhilarated as she was, quite obvious the emotion,
 She named the child Jim.
The sound of tears that made her smile
Was a sound unforgotten.

On and on years passed by,
The first words he spoke.
Her elation knew no bounds when
 'Maa,' she had heard.

Henceforth life went on,
To school the little boy went.
Yet, the mother stayed back on that pavement
To make him his lunch.

And then came the day that changed
The lives of both these beings.
A letter from a boss that took
Jim away and afar.

Hurt she had been, yet took immense pride
At her son's successes and the beginning of a new stride.
She dabbed her moist eye with the tunic
As she bid him goodbye.

Since then, years have passed,
Life has moved on. 
She has been asked to leave 
The room she called home.

Today as she remembers her son's birthday bright
Deep down, she hopes that he would
Once at least call on
A mother missing the glimmer of her son's eyes.

She still recalls his darkish skin,
Hair rough and eyes light a brown.
And today as she keeps his birthday,
It's a sea of emotions that fill
A tear drop from her eyes.