Those Must Fall
Fetch your tools, let us march and avert further damage
Our gardens are under siege, their greenery despoiled
They are marching, moving en masse as they raid and ruin
They devour just about everything in their wake, in their path
Fetch your tools, let us march and avert further damage
These destructive pets have no shame, silly insect armies!
Look how they are active at night, attacking our crops and grass
During the day, wriggling, hiding under our garden rubbles!
Come, let us take a closer inspection of our plants and prospects
Look at the armyworm eggs, let beneficial insects feed on them!
Set our caterpillars on them, hashtag: harmful little predators
Tell our farmers to take to twitter and twit: armyworms- must -fall
When the glamour of love fades
Christopher T. Dabrowski
There were so many crazy moments between us!
Moments full of sun, happiness and love!
So many beautiful words were said, so many statements
Ah, we had countless common dreams
More than there are rabbits in a warren!
So much passion, tenderness, kisses!
And then… Then something started to break.
First the soup was too salty. Too salty…
Next it was about coming home too late
And then it started…
What? It’s embarrassing to tell.
All in all, had to get used to it,
Bite the bullet and last, persist, survive.
An unceasing hiding started…
Disguising a black eye, a dissected lip
And the worst was when a bruise bloomed on a cheek.
God, what have I done to you that woman beats me?
The Innocent Blood (One Act Play)
Onipede Festus moses
Characters: Kòtófò, his son (Àselà), Customs Officers, and the irate mobs.
Costumes: fairly used clothes for Kòtófò, Àselà, other smugglers, and Customs uniforms.
Setting: A village in southwest border area
Act 1 Scene 1
(Kòtófò’s home – a two room boys quarters with thatched roof).
Kòtófò: (Talking to his son, Àselà) Àselà! I know you are now matured to take to my advice. I notice this day you don’t want to follow me to farm anymore. Farming is our family heritage which every male child must imbibe, but if you refuse to partake in it, do what you can do for a living.
Àselà: (Nodding his head in agreement and smiling) Thank you, baàmi. You have said it all but I want you to know that in this 21st century there are lots of jobs one can do for a living. I had planned to discuss my intention with you concerning this job issue. Baàmi, I am planning to join smuggling business. Some of my mates are into it, and they are making it.
Kòtófò: (Nodding his head reluctantly) Àselà, you can’t do that job!
Àselà: Why, baàmi?
Kòtófò: You know you are the only son I have. Smuggling is like ‘do and die business.’
Àselà: (In annoyance) Baàmi, I know but I will surely engage in it.
Kòtófò: Do you have charms?
Àselà: (Smiling) Baàmi, leave that to the gods.
Kòtófò: (In surprise) You mean God?
Àselà: No, baàmi. I mean the gods of Sàngó, Ògún Lákáayé, Èsù Láàgiri Òkò and others.
Kòtófò: My son, you know those gods you are referring to are small gods. Only Almighty God can protect you even though you are protected with charms.
(At the Customs checkpoint)
Customs Officers: (trying to stop the smugglers) Stop there! Wetin de your boot?
Àselà: (zoomed off) Leave the road! Leave the road! Leave the road!
Customs Officers: (shooting sporadically while running after the smugglers) Shoot him! You can’t go.
Àselà: (Heading towards bush) Let them shoot. I know nobody can shoot the air. Whatever we command, so shall it be. Èyí tawí fógbón logbón ngbó, èyí tawí fógbà logbà ngbà… Continue shooting.
Customs Officers: (Worried) Where are they?
Irate Mobs: (Moving towards the Customs Officers) Stop there.You have shed the blood of an innocent student through your stray bullet. Come to see his corpse. You cannot go. Say no to extra judicial killing! We are tired of you people. Stop shedding innocent blood!
(They start beating the Customs Officers until one of the officers is dead)
The curtain falls.
Tali Cohen Shabtai
They don’t know
Where I came from
I must connect the- leg
With the waist
And the pelvis to the spine
That’s the way when items
Are separated from bodies
And an artificial
Lens is implanted
In the – eye.
Who said it’s possible to move
Away from their
My mean pen has no ink enough to write,
Of what you have given us – the light.
Your contribution shakes our heart and pierce,
With myriad impressions,emotions,feelings and tears.
We knew men of poverty and power,
In your enchanting literary bower.
We never missed to meet freak and fascinating females,
With their resounding and remorseful tales.
Nor were we deprived of the world of children,
Along with nature’s beauty and its dirty drain.
You were a poet,a dramatist and a machine,
To scan people’s minds from their skin.
You have left not only your body and mind,
But a huge collection of books to find,
A source of inspiration of a new kind.
You are not dead but alive in our mind,
Your works are your breast and breath,
So long as people keep well their health,
Himalaya is standing tall and erect,
Ganga is flowing without its rhythmic defect,
And people keep reading your valuable texts.
Today is not only one of your birthdays,
But,the occasion of recalling all your glorious days.
Soft breeze flows in the open window,
On a calm? morning,
The silence broken by a piercing siren,
The ambulance hurtling down the road,
Adding to the numbers
A mother, a father, a son, a daughter
In random order, no longer statistics
A friend, a face of a loved one.
Staring out the window, looking for a soul
Deserted roads, leading to no particular destination,
Searching for an oasis, a green patch for a choked lung
Last days of spring coming to an end,
Giving way to the summer waves
A lull after the first wave, then the second, third
In a horrific rush, bodies tumbling into pits,
Onto pyres, in a rush, pushed over the edge,
Not ready, dreams not fulfilled, no time to say goodbyes,
Denied of dignity in death.
The tsunami of disasters
Ushered in untold grief by the apathy of the ones,
Who should have been responsible?
Scurrying, scrambling with the dogs, and animals,
For the ephemeral fame, to immortalize? a puny life.
Careful culling by the power, strategizing
Cultivating selfishness, materialism
In the garb of bringing development
Economy precedence take, self-glorification,
Leaving a path of destruction and death
In his quest to become a god.
To be loved, the Bengali way (Article)
Have been recently watching a lot of stuff on OTT – movies, serials. Of the regional language. And discovering what fun it is to switch from a Tamil movie to a Malayalam one – and the Indian ness that envelops them all. (Late to the party!)
In this, one comes across the Bengali movies. Of course, these were chosen through “critically acclaimed” googling, and the ratings.
And discovered a world of love – of how women are loved the Bengali way.
Here are the discoveries –
That two men remain in love with a woman – who is married to a third man – and though rivals in love, remain friends throughout their lives. The husband who comes to know of the recent coming together of his wife and her former lover, sadly and gracefully accepts it. (Choktushkone; Director Srijit Mukherjee).
A woman has walked out on her husband and is now living with another man. The husband who encounters the lover a few times, advises his wife “marry him, he is a good man”; A mother who has had a lover and now a daughter who goes to live with that lover – grieves and accepts it. (Aami Ashbo Phirey; Director Anjan Dutt).
A husband who comes to the house of his wives’ lover, and they talk of what happened, what they did to the love of their life. It’s not a happy dialogue nor a comforting one. But it reveals the dynamics of relationship in an intimate way and portrays the woman – idealistic, impulsive, and extremely beautiful, broken hearted- through their eyes. (Teenkahon; Director Baudhayan Mukherji).
An older man, who through chance has a young girl staying over at his place, keeps the maturity of being older by letting go of her. (Finally Bhalobhasha; Director Anjan Dutt).
Not to forget the movie of the Tagore family. Though with the limitations of having to portray Tagore in a strict not to be touched way – manages to convey through the excellent Konkana Sen, the love between her – a sister-in-law – and Tagore. With fluidity, poetry, gentleness, without taking away the fact that it is love that is both of this physical world and of the imagination – of poems, writings, intellectual arguments, and daily intimacies. (Kadambari; Director Suman Ghosh).
And the movie where a young girl with little experience of the world is exposed through the gentlemanly but misplaced trust of her husband – to his friend who is politically ambitious and knows ways of seduction way beyond her understanding. “bhediya ghar le aya uska pati” (‘her husband invited a wolf to his house’ – my inner dialogue). (Ghawre Bairey Aaj; Director Aparna Sen).
One is enchanted.
Then I turn to potboilers. A movie about guptdhan (Durgeshgorer Guptodhon; Director Dhrubo Banerjee). And the Bengali movie has not yet lost its innocence. The villain is a true villain – laughs like one, but does not do anything to the heroine beyond holding her wrist to a snake (!). The whole movie is the experience of old fashioned story telling – enjoyable, thrilling, but in no way breaking the good world that one lives in. (the bhadralok?).
And last but not the least. Two gems.
The labor of love (Asha Jaoar Majhe; Director Aditya Vikarn Sengupta). A movie to be watched for the sheer poetry of images. Of devotion and love and trust in the daily acts in a metropolitan city where the couple is bound by the necessities of earning a living, of the daily grind. And it conveys the poetry that love is.
The second gem is from a movie based on an old story by Rabindranath Tagore. Where the star-crossed pairs of husband & wife and lovers, unite in the end. Among the last scene is one that captures the essence of the movie – the man and the woman he had looked after ‘in trust’ (being the wife of another man), meet. The husband quietly ushers the man in his wife’s bedchamber, and leaves them together. The scene is no more than a few minutes of the movie – and yet it captures the tenderness of human emotions. (Naukadubi; Director Rituparno Ghosh). Gulzar mentioned as the second screenplay writer along with the Director.
The sensibilities that Tagore, and his ilk, put in the middle of this bhadralok thrive and give new and amazing ways of looking at love at women at compassion and kindness. Not confining it to the relationship between women and men – but encompassing all others – of and with older people, relatives, children, young women, young men, parents…
It is a way of looking at love – an attempt at enveloping, engulfing that space with grace.
The only single image that I could compare it within Hindi movies – was the scene in Dev D (Director Anurag Kashyap) – where Abhay Deol (Devdas) holds the modern Chandramukhi (Kalki Koechlin) with love and compassion – as she shares of the mms of her sexual act with another student circulated in the school and the public. He conveys the love – a love that contains both of this world and another – of the reaching out to another through compassion, comfort.
Else, the less said the better – the Hindi movie way of being loved, for a woman.
Does it mean that the Bengali movies eschew the violence in the present world? No – there is suicide, rape, murder…And remember, the story lines mentioned above are, sometimes, just a side story happening along with the main story line in the movie.
Yes, definitely – being loved the Bengali way – is worth exploring. I did this through a glimpse of a few movies. You may be lucky enough to do it through its literature, movies, newspapers, daily life.
The magic is still there in the movies.
Anyone who reads this is bound to be disappointed with their foray, within the realm of Bangla movies.
The writer’s understanding, reading, viewing of Bengal, Bengali movies and literature is limited. Many of you have a much larger and deeper knowledge and understanding.
Yes, the writer is a woman, and feels bound to state the above two.
PS: And if the attraction of viewing women kindly fails, there is always ‘The Great Indian Kitchen’ (Malayalam; Director Jeo Baby) for the true face of gender dynamics.
She Said That She Loved Him (Short Story)
Kolawole Mathew Ogundipe
Putting down the account of the questionable packed and structured single love between them, I think, is something that is pleasant sad to ears! Not to be ignored is the love which other scattered individual chain of flesh emulate in bringing together themselves and their associative soldier (ants) in this lonely world we found ourselves, where no one cares not for others except one’s companioned soldier on the battle field of life. Both sexes of human need a true love in which their individuals can confide themselves and draw near their happiness and joy, of which will be the sources of both physical and spiritual success, blessings and breakthrough to them. Should we say she loved him that way? Is the love she claimed to have had for him really genuine? In what way can we best describe her love for him? And how can we describe authentic love?
Earlier said I that worthy it would be to account for their love during their togetherness of existence, they dated each other for five annual time before they finally broke their mace of love. Adekola and Temidayo met in a company where Adekola worked. Then, Temidayo came to the company to work as an intern for her academic course of study. When they met, Adekola felt that he should try his luck before her. This was because he deeply had feeling for her but not sure whether she would append her signature to his proposal. After expressing his feeling to her, and her positive response thereafter, though she had not said yes then, it was as if Adekola was in a new world as he was very glad that he had seen a lady who would be the source of joy and a help mate to him in life. So, he tried his best, exhibiting all the effort at his reach to make her happy, and for her to reason with him by being considerate about his love toward her. Innumerable calls he did make! Countless number of physical contacts between the two of them; all prompted by him in order to draw her mind near him, and also, to win her love and affection to himself. Love is unpredictable at times. No one knows the direction it faces ̶ whether it is the left side it faces, whether it is the right side it faces, whether it is the front it faces or whether it is the back it faces; this becomes a riddle to all humans. Therefore, at some points during his follow-up activities on his marriage proposal to her, Adekola allowed despair to rule his mind. To him, were encouragements from friends and seasoned ones on the issues relating to relationship and marriage. This did lighten the burden of despondency in Adekola’s mind during that time.
Fortuitously, Temidayo came back to the company after her graduation in school to work as a permanent worker. Adekola was very happy to her decision to work in the same company HE worked. “Even though she has not accepted my marriage offer, I will be having discussions with her every time”, he often said this before his friends. They continued their friendship in the same work place with a lot of discussions and deliberations. Adekola showed true love to her through his cares and attention to her, and he never hide anything for her. He pampered her with the little he had; just to express to her, his feeling and how he would take care of her if she accepts and marries him. At very long last, she said YES to his proposal after one year and a quarter. Adekola was delighted with this; at least, the hope of being together as husband and wife was eventually created in him.
Adekola did not relent in showing his cares and love to her. At this time however, after accepting the offer, he was expecting her to reciprocate the cares and attention he did give to her. This is the hope of every man; after all, they where now in marital relationship and not ordinary friends as they were before. But what amazed Adekola was that his wish was not met by Temidayo. She neither called him nor visited him willingly unless he complained to her. And the more he complained to her about her nonchalance, the more she bore grudge against him! For three days sometimes, she would refuse to pick his calls or meet him for discussion. Once in a while, Adekola regretted that he met such a lady who did not even care about him despite all his effort to make her happy in the relationship. It would have been better if it was only her nonchalance toward him, but the grudge she did bear against him. On several occasions, Adekola would intend to play with her with jokes but Temidayo would change the intention of discourse and turned it to arguments. This made the relationship a hell! Of course, love can be best defined from the perspective of one’s patience and endurance toward another person. Peter urged brethren in the Holy Bible to have earnest love among them because love covers over many sins. Can we then say that she really loved him with those attitudes? She did verbally say to him that she loved him when they were together anyway. But I perceived that love as a horse that was drawn on a paper, where is the actual actions of such a horse?