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SOMESLAL MUKHOPADHYAY.

SONGSOPTOK THE WRITERS BLOG | 7/10/2014 |


A few more words on Ranjan

           and the world around him



Ranjan and soothsaying

Ranjan once went for holidays to Darjeeling with a college mate. One morning there, at the mall, his friend, while staring at the blinding glitter of the Kanchanjangha, suddenly asked him : “ Can you foretell what all will happen twentyfive years hence?”

Like a wise man Ranjan answered: “Many of our dreams shall be shattered – you’ll see!”


Ranjan and love

Ranjan had a strange experience about love. As things usually happen, one fine morning at some careless moment Ranjan, then an adolescent, suddenly discovered that he had fallen in love with a certain “Nandini”. It was what is usually called ‘first love’!

Thereafter, and quite in the normal course of things, Ranjan began spending day after day, hour after hour in daydreams about Nandini, and Nandini’s company. Many dreams were born, and many bundles of letters, never to be posted.

After quite a few days having passed in this manner, Ranjan suddenly came to know that the girl whom he took for Nandini for all these days, the girl about whom he had woven lots of dream-yarn for so many days, was not Nandini at all; her name was Nilanjana. And the one whose name was Nandini was another girl.

And surprisingly enough, after this discovery, Nilanjana started to gradually fade from the world of Ranjan’s mind.


The problem with Ranjan

“You know what the problem with you is, Ranjan?” – one of his friends asked him one day.

“Let’s hear it out!”

“It is : you’re much too religious!”

“Why? Why?”

“I mean, suppose, if any godman-like chap comes along and says that the height of religious act is standing naked in the middle of the Esplanade, then you’ll do exactly that!”

“Tushhh! All rubbish!” – Ranjan retorted.



Ranjan and ghosts

While doing their post-graduate studies in the University of Calcutta, Ranjan and some of his friends often used to have tea-sessions with some of their teachers. In such “adda”-s the teacher-student distance would lessen a bit. Tea, coffee, cigarettes, and at times a little heavier drinks too, would do the rounds. The discussions would center around diverse topics – both of the light and the heavy kinds.

One day the topic of the discussion was “Ghosts”. Hearing Ranjan make a light remark about ghosts, one young teacher who just returned from the USA asked him:
“Don’t you believe in ghosts?”
Ranjan smiled.
“Have you ever walked in and around the Dalhousie square or in front of the Metro cinema at noon?”
“Oh yes Sir, several times!” – answered Ranjan, a bit astonished.

“Can you make an oath to the efect that there and at those hours you took off the shoes of everybody to make sure that their ankles aren’t turned inside out?”

Ranjan smiled, without saying anything.

Quite a few years after this, Ranjan had to visit the same professor’s place. The professor entertained Ranjan amply with tea and snacks. For quite a while they discussed about the supremacy of the US. The professorr seemed hell-bent to make Ranjan see that today the USA was the last resort for the whole world. Al long last, after quite a bit of time, and after the deep purple hue of the falling evening covered the sky all around, Ranjan asked for permission to leave.

And, right at that very moment, in that creepily darkening verandah, and all on a sudden, Ranjan chanced to notice for the first time the young teacher’s bare legs. And he fearfully noticed that the ankles of both the legs were inside out!

And while approaching the exit in a deeply panicky and unprepared state, Ranjan also caught a glimpse of the caring eyes of the teacher. As he looked at the fond gaze of those eyes, it seemed to Ranjan as if those eyes were beckoning to tell him: “What you’ve seen, you’ve seen. Never ever disclose anything about it to anybody!”


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