Writing a novel of 4 siblings’ childhood & the coming of age of one of them
|Manu had come back from Kolkata and as usual had brought Kolkata back with him. Aditya felt that Kolkata rejuvenated Manu and made him more Manuish. He would never tire of describing the city that he loved more than any other. His stories and descriptions brought alive the city Aditya had never seen but dearly wanted to.
Manu took leave from his classes, his students , Revathy and his responsibilities for two weeks every year and went to Kolkata. He always went alone. He said he could savour the city only if he was alone. He went in the second half of November when there would be a delicious chill in the air. According to Manu, that was the best season in the world. Not hot, not too cold, just right. He would spend most of his time walking through the streets eating golgappas and rolls. He refused to eat anything but street food when he was there.
He would describe to Aditya how he loved the happiness that engulfed the city. He would describe tram journeys at night where people would be chatting incessantly, animatedly. Badly paid government employees, chana chor garam sellers, chaatwallahs, young men in T-shirts, all smiling and talking when they had everything to crib about. And all in that lilting, melodious Bangla language. Manu couldn't understand Bangla but he always heard Salil Chaudhari' s melodies in the conversations.
Manu would spend a couple of mornings at the Salt Lake watching the tiny fishing boats making their way across the water. He would watch the birds diving into the water for the fish which made circular patterns everytime they breathed. He would leave only after all the bird formations in the sky above the lake had gone home to roost. He would sit in parks watching old men discussing football, the Indian cricket team's fortunes and the difference between the communism of their day and the communism of today. He would come back satiated, content and full of life.
Manu would bring back a tin of rosagollas, 2 kurtas and a couple of gramophone records of Manna Dey - every time. He said it was the only place where he wanted to buy everything. It was also the place he couldn't wait to go back to again.