Son of an impractical philosopher type of guy with a taste for literature, I got inured to hard work, privation and stoic life, and all the more importantly, as it will have consequence to the rest of my life, to abstract things, quite very early in life. When I think of my father, now a diabetic invalid, and then of myself, I can’t but think life is too vast a field for one person to live the entirety of it, but when you choose to live only certain parts of it, that may turn out too narrow to support its own weight that you sink. An economist of an artist–perhaps a flawed one–I don’t like many things about life to form part of the art called my life (for example, I hate earning for survival, detest eating, hate me being wished unmeant and meaningless good mornings and birthdays, the formalities of life such as schools, colleges, universities, jobs, making friends, chit-chats, workshops, conferences, etc.), and I don’t want to go through these processes, and without me undergoing them, I have to pay for it, by ruining my own life, and that is what I am doing, most of the time. That is why I am in a troubled relationship with life.
As a boy, I wanted to become a painter, philosopher, sculptor, dancer, filmmaker. Some sort of artist. But I always wanted to live in the woods without much contact with the world. Then at school, another ambition caught hold of my mind–a scientist. A physicist. Working in the field of energy. I read a lot. Actually a lot. Infatuated. I did not know what formalities it took for one to first go through before one reaches there. You need to pass through a lots of gates, and the gatekeepers don’t let you pass that easily. I took up science at secondary school, where my first ever ambition was shattered. A lot of things happened. I gave up that ambition. Streaks of that desire still swell weakly in me, once in a while. Quite a familiar stranger now. A sleeper in me. Deep sleeper. One thing that has made sleep beautiful for me is this sleeper inside me. In deep slumber, turning over once in a while.
What do you want to do in life? I ask myself. Nothing. Seriously, nothing. I can paint, think, dance, and believe I can still do sculpture. Clay. Wood. That’s just the force of life. Primitive. Like the wind blowing, dogs barking or wagging tails, stone just being hard on the cold ground. They serve no purpose. I have no purpose in life–not just mine, I see no purpose in life and this is making me feel empty. Just purposeless, I don’t want to enjoy life. Gay abandon. Eating around. Sleeping around. Fucking around. No carpe diem for me, please. No advice.
Why is it that humans, at least some of them, want to die when they have nothing to do in life? Do they want some job to do in life? Do they want to be busy? No. It’s not that simple. To exist, to undergo the process of existence in the stark meaninglessness, is a torture. Injustice. It is irritating. But why don’t I just commit suicide? Why not just blow my brains out? I wonder why I don’t do this–kill myself? Seriously. I don’t know. It seems like underneath I am a detective, justice of the law of the universe, that senses something is not quite right and wants to figure this out and fix it. Sort of some buried anger deep inside me. A quiet but burning desire to bring the culprit–if we can call it so–to justice. This is the violence in me. The cool violence. The icy cold stiff die-hard, stoic in me. Waiting patiently. But punching once in a while into the walls, on the floor, breaking my valuables all of a sudden. As if madness emerging out of nowhere. The violence in me.
Art gives me solace. I am an artist. I live as an art. My life is a work of art. There is pleasure in this art, this me. And I am not for show. How does art give me solace? Art distracts me from the meaningless elements of life. I remove parts of life I think do harm to life. Weeds. I live like an editor of life. Artists are editors of life. I edit my life. I live in my edited world. But it is also true that I want to die along with art–this art. This art is too delicate for the wake-up knock on the door. The membrane between the rumbling life and this dream called art is too thin and fragile. But I do not know how I come to the conclusion that death puts everything to rest. What is that logic? I am not sure. No, I am not sure.
I have no ambition in life. That’s true. No ambition. That did not result from any failure or fear of failure or any kind of fear. I just don’t like much about life. But that much of life I like, I want to live that much in the woods. Raising a small family. Raising birds and animals, too, as part of my family. Fish. Feeding them. Flowers. Trees. Farming. Producing my own food. Being part of nature. Dying of snakebite or being tiger-food. Or dying in the lap of my wife, surrounded by my children and grandchildren. Or dying alone in a cold bed. Unseen by any, except fruitflies. That would be a pleasing one. That is the life I am looking forward to now.
A child was born with death, a poppy birthmark
tattooed cutely on its tender skin adding art to flesh.
Pulling long carrot roots from the soft mulch
one weary evening, the boy saw sleepy time,
inveterate as an old hoary smoker, drowse across the valley
like a lucent birthmark floating free of skin.
What’s the body to the earth?
It reaches for and slips down to the floor
when breath begins migrating
and the blood slows down to a thick stop.
The accordion, singing voices, loud laughters and cries
and brisk and elaborate movements of dance
have made it a warm winter in the suburb pub.
The cold of the floor creeps up his cheeks
in exchange for the warm flow from
the cooling hole in his heart—
he is drowning in his own life.
A dancing girl takes a break, sits down
at a stool by the counter and tosses a swig
of red-blood hot life into her life-sucker.
Crimson seeps through the cotton clouds
slowly revealing the sky bleeds—
crimson drops trickling down the cold earth.
Death is quite different when you’ve survived
Several suicides and several other deaths—
Death is so useless; life—you’ve nowhere to go!
I died there in that city, in that small, dark, boring room
In those monotonous restaurants
Those parks, those benches, those thorns
Those hospital beds, corridors and clinic rooms
Those same boring streets, same boring traffic
Day in, day out. Year in, year out!
I lived there, across the city, digging a grave across it
I died there, across that city, in that grave
Buried my dead body there, in that grave, across that city
With the body of my dead love—
Love, nowhere to live, nowhere to die.
A piece of me still moving—a sure sign of life,
Like a dead actor in an olden movie.
Something doesn’t quite let it alone—life, death,
And I love it and I hate it—it just confuses me.
No name! My heart just pumps it, and it flows
Through my veins and capillaries all over my body!
Quiet like a dark mountain at night.
পোৎয়োমসি অসুম পুরিবনি পুনীংদুনা, নুংশিদুনা
উহৈশিংসে ফংদবদি নত্তে য়ূমগি হৈকোলদুদা
শাত্তবদি নত্তে নাচোমশিংসি ইপাগি লৈকোলদুদা,
অদু পুরক্লিবনি নুংশিদুনা চৎলুবা লমদমশিং
খূদোলজনীংদুনা লেম পানা ৱাৎত্রবা ঐগি নুংশিবশিংদুদা
হেকচরক্লিবনি হৈরাং লৈরাংশিংসে থমোই কয়াদ ঈরাঙ হৌনা
পীবগি অপেনবদু ফাওজনীংদুনা, থারম্লবসু পূম্নমকসে মখোয়না৷
চৎলিবনি পোৎলূমসে পুদুনা ৱারবসু ৱানা
করম্নদি লংথোক্লমগনি অদুক নুংশিনা খুদোলবীরক্লগা নঙনা?
করিদি পুরুনি নুংশি খূদোল পোৎলূমসে নত্ত্রদি?
করম্নদি খূল্লুনি চেগায় চেগুম খুলগি লম্বী মতাইদগি
থাদদুনা নুংশিবসে লম্বীগি ঊফুল মথক্তা?
ও! করিগি অসুক নুংশিরিবনো নঙনা ঐবু?
নুংশিবা য়াদব্র খরা তপ্না, খরা থোৎনা, মতম শাংনা?
তৌফম খঙহন্দ্রে নঙগি নুংশিবনা ঐবু
চৎফমসু খঙহন্দ্রে লম্বীসি নীং তম্না
অসুম নীক্তুনা লৈরে থমোই মরীসে ঐগি!
চৎখি নুংশিবা কয়ানা ঐবু লান্দুনা অসুম
হাইফেত্তফাওবা য়েংলমদনা করিসু মরী থোক্নদবগুম
ঈচেলগা তোর্বানগি উপালগগি মতৌগুম৷
ফজবা পূম্নমকসে য়েংজরিঙৈ ঙমজদনা ইশকসে শেমজবা
মিপাইজরিঙৈ থোৎল লৈনাশিংগিদমক উনখাসিদা
মথূম মরাঙ হৌরিঙৈ পীক্লবা থমোইসে ফজবগি ঈথক্না নীকপিরদুনা
অসুম লেপতুনা লৈরম্লে তোর্বানসিদা, লম্বী মতাইসিদা
খঙজহৌদ্রে করিম’ ঐসু চৎকনি হায়বা৷
ফজবা পূম্বসে য়েংনা য়েংনা
নুংশিবা পূম্বসে উনা উনা
ঈখৌ লাংলক্লে ঐ অসুম অসুম
ইখূবামসিদগি অসুম য়ুখ্রবদা পুন্সি মহীসিনা৷
ঐ অসুম চোকথরক্লে,
নুংঙাইনা অমুক্তং তূম্নীংখ্রেদা!
The fingers of time—
They press me out of life.
The light from the stars—from ancient miles—
And the present glitter in my eyes—
They meet in a kiss—
Sucking the breath out of me—life.
I run away from time
From bodies of time creeping around,
and here in the dark
I struggle to plug every hole
with time-tight tissues
I have torn away from my heart
to keep myself warm
and untouched by decay
until I stop my breath.
He sleeps like a man dead with his eyes half open
Who does not seem dead on a baroque couch.
What he has seen, a lot–accreted on those eyes
Like a civilization–don’t let the snow-laden eyelids close fully.
A headful of life to sleep away, and a few crumbs
Of new memories to pick up from under life’s table,
Under meaty munches and hearty laughs
Among fidgetting fashion boots and colorful stilettoes.
When you’re broken and can’t fix it at all
You want to throw away life like used boots.
But you ain’t that hard, are you? Your life becomes
A town you built, brick by brick, one after another,
A town you hate now, but one you can’t ever leave.
The bent man sweeps the still morning
After Diwali, littered with pieces of spent revelry,
Still warm and smelling of yesterday—
A spent night fossilized in the morning’s flesh—
And disappears into the woods with his wheelbarrow.
A cold morning clean and clear like a spring dewdrop.
The old wind sweeps south taking the tar
And smoke hanging in the air above the city
Away with the smell of the festive night
And what remains sticking to the ground
Slipping through the hair of the old broom.
The calls of morning birds fade out in the din
Of a bright new day under the October sky.
The shadows of buildings creep across the city.