One of my most surprising choices of music, even to me, has always been Meatloaf. Things happen. People, books, movies, music happen to enter your life suddenly without a warning and they hang on for the rest of your life. Meatloaf has been one such band. One night, in my first year, as I sat in a room in Bhag, trying to type in something for the Press Club, I wondered, who on Mother Earth was this band. The Floyd era in my life was yet to start. I still was a part of the rustic ruffians whose only understanding of Floyd was to head bang with “We don’t need no education.” But I digress.
As I grew up (not apparent to most people), I must admit and somewhere around 2005 I guess, I realized that getting old is biological. Growing up was not. And I tried to stop the degeneration. And I began to consider few things sacred, sometimes to the point of creating an idiosyncrasy out of each one of them. Calcutta was one of them. I have always felt a little lost when it comes to Calcutta. I am the prodigal son, the deserter. I left Cal for what seemed better opportunities and have never been able to come back. It seems unlikely that I will be back anytime soon.
And so as Cal goes to the polls with the results fated to be historic one way or the other, I find myself in a dilemma. I won’t be voting in this election. But the 85% of my electorate will as they decide their fate and a part of future history. When I was in college, dad ensured I voted in most elections. Luckily the timings aided his efforts. But this is the third I will miss after the Parliamentary elections and the last assembly.
As I moved around Calcutta trying to feel the pulse of the city before the much awaited elections, I noticed things that have changed over the years. The bookshop where I used to buy most of my books from is now a gift shop. Clearly the bongs don’t gift as many books as they used to. The street food vendors I had grown up with change slowly every time I visit my usual haunts. The changes in Pilani were at the blink of an eye, the changes in Calcutta were more subtle. And it made me ask again, “Is nothing sacred anymore?”
But then something happened. The memories came flooding in, the good and the not go good. But however different they were, they kept on reminding me of a life that was innocent and beautiful.
Memories – they are sacred and they help you keep the faith. Always.