“Maa looks different this year”,she says
And indeed this is another year and another fall
And another bout of fevered dhaak with broken bits of sun
Peeking through white tufts of cloud for company.

And indeed this is another girl
Half suspended in the realm of the future
And this is another goddess
With darker eyes and a fuller mouth
Stained a little redder than it was last year.

And this then is Maa,still,in all her tender fury
But now we know how the earth spins
Too fast for us to keep track
And now we know that glory is spun everyday
From mud and clay and smirched faces bathed by the sun
Still brutal in September

And we know how our mothers were built from the dirt
And sunk and splintered and sown over and over again
And now we know our hearts home a thousand glorious deaths,a thousand bloody births with every new dawn.

So now and so what,that the goddess is a little different this year
And we are a little more broken,a little more saved
And this is enough for us to open up our selves to be claimed
By the melange of lights twinkling at us
From darkened window panes.

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This blog gets more introspective (ridiculously self indulgent?) with every new post,and more personal than I had ever planned on letting it be.

And still,the old cliches,how much the personal is really shaped by the not-so-personal:the social,the economic,the political-at the risk of sounding like a throwback to class 11’s social science courses.

When I think of those “externals” shaping me, I can’t help resorting to the cliche of this city-the remnants of a fractured, not-so-old culture still bubbling in the cauldron.

I am always dreaming of leaving this city. I love this city.But to belong to this city the way I do-to be girl,to be then,woman,to be hopelessly middle-class here means to be largely excluded from this city and all the chaotic glory it has to offer. That is the paradox of my love affair  with  my hometown-I love it,I wish to inhabit it for good,more of it than just this cramped apartment and a sprawling,yet not big enough campus.And the violence,the misogyny,the patriarchal codes of conduct keeping me from doing so are just as much part of this city as anything else.

I want to take metros and buses and trams to explore every corner of this city-dig my nose into every shadow of glory past, peep into every glimmer of hope future. Capture all the ugly,all the beauty,all the shame,all the majesty.And maybe someday I can,I will-the only condition then being to detach myself from what fiercely anchors me to the city now,know this city as a hometown.The tourist knows the city extensively perhaps, the resident is claustrophobic with intensive knowledge- in knowing too much of the bits to which she is confined.I want both-not the claustrophobia,of course,but to know as much as I can and yet the unfiltered realities,all those details you miss by not really belonging,by only ever looking for a way out even in your time here.Am I in love with the city for what it is or for the possibilities of what was,what could have been,what might be?All the was-es and the could have-s,the eternal romanticism they say ruined Bengalis for good.

To love and to need to leave,if only to come back,to only ever really belong by not belonging.Among all the paradoxes this city is teaming with,this particular one seems to have seeped right into my soul.