Friday, 11 January 2008

Do I need a name ?

That was an early January noon. I had been badly stuck up in office until it was quite late as I could finally jump into my car. The train was schedule to leave within half an hour, but thickly jammed up road did not allow the car to budge a little farther. It was just a mile or so that I needed to traverse, but it seemed quite long in the time and speed dimension. Instantaneously I left the car and boarded in a Water Transport’s vessel.
I was floated in leisure of a ten minutes’ voyage. Gentle rays of sun had smoothened ripples on river Ganges into some sparkled stripes and I found myself seated alone on one of those passengers’ benches. It was not a time for daily commuters and I could only count three more heads sparsely distributed over at as much distant as they could be comfortably settled. Nevertheless, I could locate two more sitting on the floor of the standing area. I must have crossed them while coming to that passengers’ bench, but somehow did not notice. It was lunchtime in Kolkata; street-side stalls would have already been crowded and people, in comfort, might be savouring over favourite dishes, but on a stretched makeshift dining parlour upon that dancing boat I could see one little girl and her brother enjoy freedom in munching Muri (baked rice) from a single paper packet. Sunshine and wintry breeze together kept on playing with their uncombed hairs in a wanton manner. The girl had been wearing a gauchely tailored attire that seemed to have some decorations with feathers, but could retain only a few. Her younger brother did not although have any such special dress but had been adorned with ink-drawn moustache and several marks on his uncovered parts of hands and legs. They were half-leant over the floor. Drawn against the dazzling sunny noon, I could see a silhouette of my primitive past. I could interpret some reflections on those tiny faces that would expose its utter nonchalance in attempting to explain its own existence. I failed to fathom out what had been hidden under a maze of complex texture. I could only see those tender buds whose unfurled soft petals had yet to experience the pleasure of its blooming. Still I could visualise amusing moods of daily commuters while those two little children might be toiling to entertain them the best in displaying what a few tricks of Eagle-Cat game they might have learnt.
I stood up and got near towards them. The boat was sailing smoothly in the mid-river. I could clearly see the reality extracting its dividend out of sweet lives of two innocent kids.
I asked not what they had been there for and where did they hail from. I knew of it from within me. I could only ask, “What’s your name, baby?”
Those innocuous eyes sparkled in astonishment and she replied, after a neat pause for a while, “I don’t have a name. Do I need one?”
I was dumbfounded. I never knew before anyone living in this world sans a name to be called by. I said, “I don’t know whether you need it or not. But, I would call you ‘Durga’”
Before I could complete I could hear her sweet words rummaging my soul, “What’s about my brother? He also doesn’t have any!”
With all pains inside I could only smilingly add, “I would call him ‘Apu’”
She smiled, and her brother too grinned. I too smiled. But, neither I nor could they realize why we all did so.
In the meantime, the vessel had already reached the other side and started cajoling with the quay; maybe, they were engaged in a quick embrace before it would be the time soon of parting again. I had just ten more minutes left.
Smilingly we parted, silently too.
I boarded in the train. It started moving; slowly—then taking speed—then running fast and fast with landscapes flying away outside.
Only a few words kept on spiralling through the alleys of my mind, my soul, my conscience—“Do I need a name?” I could not decide, I could not think more and I could not answer myself if I really needed a name. I remained besotted with an unrequited question—“Do I really need one?”
I am yet to get an answer!!


  1. It's amazing to see how you use the right choice of words to describe an ordinary scene and event into an extraordinary one.

    With this captivating post, you've left me wondering on the question as well.

  2. Dear Celine,
    It is nice to learn that it remains an unanswered question to a few more souls........
    Take care,

  3. wonderful imagination saibal...
    how nice it is to see the beauty in the mundane...

    and the question is everpotent
    the name we hold on to is so much symbolic...

    very beautifully you have expressed :)


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Between leafs of time  S leeps the untold tale of life, In dreams of love and love of dreams. Smudging the margin in between The ...