totem

My Totem

Each one of us have either a living, non-living or a dead entity in our life which is a symbolism of our
unique existence and quintessential to our growing up. Something like, what you call a Totem. I have
long thought about my own and have floundered for answers. Last evening the moment-of-truth
suddenly stumbled upon me as I was devouring my “fau” fuchka and the pleasant breeze from the
adjoining pond (pukur) of my neighborhood (para) played with my untied strands of hair.

Say, for example, in Panther Panchali, it’s the train which symbolizes the endless saga of the road and is
pivotal for catapulting the transcendence of young Apu from the known to the unknown. On the
contrary, the pukur to me, symbolizes stand-stillness; all those things and moments which have frozen
since time immemorial.
Below is a humble attempt to upload few of those priceless pictures which have been captured with the
most precious lense in the world.

Blessing

Picture 1: Picture taken with low shutter speed, a defocused Kanjilal dadu with the sprinkled droplets
frozen in mid-air

The immersion of the idols every year on Dashami, the shantir-jol collected just after the proceedings
from the pukur in a ghot and sprinkled generously on us with aamer pallab by the late Kanjilal dadu.

Pleasure

Picture 2: A close-shot of the gleeful face of a kid wearing a red swim cap
My first swimming lessons with baba, giggling with joy as the school of tiny lil fishes nibbled at my
tender feet. That tingling sensation!

Celebration

Picture 3: Monochrome side-profile of a 7-year old (focusing the eye) with colourful bokeh effect in the
background

That year when we had a bumper budget for Kalipujo. The glint in my eager eye as I gazed at the
dazzling reflection of the famed ChandanNagar lighting all around the periphery of the pukur.

Reverence

Picture 4: Silhouettes of the elderly visible faintly from between the loosely-coupled hands (focused)

Letting go of the secretly held hands every time I crossed the pukurpaar, where the elderly would be
enjoying the cool evening in their ritualistic adda sessions.

Anxiety

Picture 5: The back of a teenage girl standing against the window sill.

The incessant peeps from babar-ghorer janla to see if Tapan-kaku’s stationery shop (on the other side of
pukur) has opened in the evening as Wednesday’s project submission was due. The line-of-sight had to
be cleverly adjusted in order to overcome the rich spread of the leviathan mango tree branches.

Immortality

Picture 6: Youthful exuberance captured with perfection with the blurred Kali idol behind.
My late chotokaka, towering like Hagrid, wearing an yellow-ochre tee and grey discolored trouser,
dancing the “bhashan-naach” to the tunes of Daler Mehndi’s tunak-tunak-tun, sweating profusely,
turning to smile at me, minutes before the Kali idol would be immersed in the pukur.

How many times have I set my eyes, passed by, stood by the banks of my beloved pukur in the last 26
years of my life? Nothing has changed. Except for my own reflections in it’s cool green water.

2,607 thoughts on “My Totem

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