Tag Archives: Human behavior

Hello World! – part 6, the last part

Suddenly some changes were noticed by few people who always smell foul in everything around them. Kalu was seen in good clothes, from his face it was realized that he was well fed and his hair looked well combed and beard was trimmed. His brothers who lived in the same large house built by their father had started living in separate quarters after their parents’ death. They had their separate kitchens and separate electric meters and they were not in good terms among themselves. While further probing it was realized that there was competition among his brothers to become closer to Kalu and each and every of his brothers suddenly started talking to him, their wives started feeding him good food, and his nephews and nieces also joined their parents. While probing further it was realized that each brother was trying to get Kalu’s share of the ancestral property in his name, and they were in a race about who could get it first. People in the neighborhood realized that if any of his brother could ever become successful in acquiring Kalu’s share of the property then Kalu would not have any place to sleep at night and the villagers would not only have to provide him food but also to find a room for him to sleep at night. Few of them went to the local police station and informed the officer-in-charge about their suspicion. The very next day the officer visited Kalu’s house, he also called those people who visited the police station the day before and in their presence threatened his brothers about the serious consequences they would face if they ever tried to deprive their brother of his due share. It was a terrible shame for Kalu’s brothers. As it was expected, immediately after receiving the threat from the police his brothers and their families did not see Kalu’s face again. However, how much that mattered to Kalu was unknown.

Everyone started taunting his brothers, their wives and even their children were not spared. His brothers realized that complaining to the police would not help as their evil intention was already exposed and they suddenly realized that since their father did not make any will before his death, their only sister who was married should also receive equal share of the property. When everybody in the neighborhood went against them it became impossible for them to stay any longer in the house and they left the house one after another leaving Kalu alone. Since nobody was there to pay the electricity bills, the power was cut. Soon the large house started looking like a haunted house where Kalu used to sleep alone at night.

Immediately after hearing the suicide attempt by Kalu, Shravanti’s family moved out of the village. People had no complaint against that family as they realized that Kalu had no income and there was no hope that he could do anything in life. But her parents never wanted their daughter to hear about Kalu from anyone in the neighborhood when she would come to visit her mother.

Gradually people forgot how handsome Kalu looked, how pleasant his voice was when he used to sing. Of course they did not know that he was also a poet as he used to write poetry only for one person, the woman he loved.

It was this Kalu whom my friend Tapan greeted with his first ‘hello’.

But in spite of this bizarre first attempt, Tapan still greets others by ‘hello’ every day. Whenever I call him the first word he utters is ‘hello’.
As for me, I do not know whom I first greeted with the word probably it was while talking to somebody on the phone.

Kalu died few years after I graduated. He died from some liver disease, he was even taken to a doctor and some minimal care was also provided but that probably was not enough.

Shravanti’s best friend got married a year after Shravanti’s marriage and she started living in a faraway place with her husband and nobody received any further information about Shravanti or her family.
Shravanti found the love of her life in her husband and immediately after marriage she resumed her education.
Nobody knows if she still hates Phillip Ray, the miller’s only son and if she has forgiven Annie Lee.

************* THE STORY ENDS HERE **************

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Hello World! – part 5

Few days after Shravanti and her husband returned from Goa she visited her mother’s house with her husband. He drove his family car while she was sitting beside him. Kalu knew about their visit through her best friend. The physical abuse he had received in the mango orchard was still fresh in his memory and he did not want the same experience to be repeated. He was hiding behind a bush at a safe distance from her house. He was expecting her to look very unhappy and thought she must have pined away thinking about him all the time. He imagined tears rolling down her cheeks, black mark around her eyes &c. As soon as their car arrived he saw the couple got down from the car, she looked gorgeous and extremely happy, her shampooed hair was flying gently in the morning bridge, there was radiant smile all over her face, the golden morning sun made her golden colored skin even more golden, he found her husband very handsome too and looked equally happy, she was explaining something to her husband with a smiling face and he was all ears and nodding his head at regular interval. Kalu realized that there was no hope that she would ever comeback in his arms again and he disappeared immediately. Nobody had seen him for few days and nobody cared to notice him either even Shravanti’s best friend did not bring any message from Shravanti for him.

“Kalu has committed suicide”, there was a clamour all over the neighborhood. It was about a week after Shravanti had visited her mother after returning from Goa. Everybody started running towards Kalu’s house where he tried to kill himself locking his bedroom from inside.
In the morning when his father could not get any response even after repeatedly calling him, his brothers broke open the door and found his body lying on the floor of his bedroom. There was dry blood all over the floor. A rope was tied around his neck. It was soon realized that Kalu tried to hang himself from a ceiling fan hook in his bedroom but the rope broke and he fell but while falling his head banged against a wooden furniture and it started bleeding. He became unconscious due to excessive bleeding from severe head injury. But nobody was sure for how long he remained lying unconscious. He was rushed to a nearby hospital.

Kalu survived after struggling with life for almost two weeks. But the head injury caused a permanent damage on him, he could not recognize anybody whom he knew before and he was not able to communicate with anyone in a meaningful manner. Every person, whether an adult male or a female he saw he started calling the person by Shravanti and his immediate and only question was – Shravanti when did you come? The incident acted like a terrible shock to his parents. His father died after few months and his mother followed her husband immediately after. His brothers, who were married and had children and lived in the same house moved on with their lives. Kalu roamed around during the day and at night slept in the same room where he tried to commit suicide. His brothers ignored him completely and people in the neighborhood used to provide him food, twice a day, sometimes people used to offer him a cup of tea or some tiffin and when he started stinking people used to give him a bath in a lake. When his clothes looked tattered people offered him some used clothes which were still in good condition.

Hello world – part 2

Kalu did not know how to start working in the Bombay film industry but he thought he would go to Bombay and as soon as he would reach the railway station he would ask for the direction to the Film City. He was confident that he would be very successful because of his handsome look, great voice and his ability to sing. When he shared his plan with Shravanti she thought that was a great idea and she started dreaming that they would live in a small house in Bombay, Kalu would work in the Film Industry either as a singer or as an actor, in the evening when her husband would return home she would recite her all-time favorite poem ‘Enoch Arden’ to him while in his arms and he would listen to her recitation while slowly smoking a cigarette and making perfect rings of smoke. She had started dreaming herself as Annie Lee of Alfred Tennyson’s poem and Kalu as Enoch Arden and decided that she would not tolerate any injustice to her Kalu. Since the time she had read the poem she openly hated Philip, the other character of the poem, always considered Philip as an opportunist, a person with no courage, and a kind of scavenger. She also secretly hated Annie and decided that she would set things right with her own life otherwise she would not be able forgive herself. Of all the great qualities that Kalu possessed, the thing she admired the most was the rings of smoke he used to make while smoking a cigarette. She imagined each ring of smoke being metamorphosed into a garland of flower and slowly coming down towards her.

Both of them tried to keep their affair a watertight secret. Every day in the afternoon when she met Kalu in a large mango orchard little far from her house he read a new poem which he had composed just for her the night before. She always admired his God gifted voice when he sang in her ears. It did not matter to her whether he would be successful in Bombay Film Industry or not because she knew she could spend the rest of her life happy and satisfied listening to his poems and songs, she did not want anything more in her life.

It was one such late afternoon, she had already finished listening to his latest poem, listened few romantic songs and after having endless chatter she was about to leave for her home and as a last ritual for the day he was kissing her, lifting her face a little by holding gently with his both hands while her eyes remained closed; even at the moment of euphoria her ears could send a signal of heavy footsteps and before she could completely open her eyes she felt her one hand was tightly held by a strong man. She recognized it was her maternal uncle, her mother’s youngest brother, an amateur boxer but otherwise known to be a kind person, who always cared for his sister, his brother-in-law and their children. With his other strong hand he was holding the neck of Kalu. As soon as he separated both of them apart, he kicked Kalu with such an enormous force that he fell at a distance. “Mama ore mairona, ore chara ami bachumna” (Uncle please do not beat him, I cannot live without him) she started begging to her uncle not to be cruel. “Tui chup kar, ei shuar ta re ami thiik koirai charum” (You shut up. I will teach this swine a good lesson today) her uncle scolded her while still holding her with one hand so that she could not stand in between her uncle and Kalu.

As soon as Kalu came out of the terrible shock he stood up and started running as fast as he could. “Shuarer pola amar bhagnir dike ar ekbar chokh tuila takaibi to tor hath ar pa kaitta janto kabor dia thumu” (Son of a swine if you ever dare to look at my niece again I will cut your limbs and bury you alive) her uncle shouted from behind while Kalu was running for life.

[to be continued…….]

Still Ready to Help

After completing my post-graduation in Biochemistry I decided to bring some radical change in my life. I had a long desire to learn some musical instrument. But I had to wait till I could earn some money to realize my dream. I could find only one musical instrument teacher, a retired professional violinist, in his seventies, at a walking distance from my home.

When I asked he agreed to become my instructor. He used to play violin in theaters. He had three daughters, who were all married and a son who was also married and had a small boy, only few years old.

I used to practice violin seriously, morning and evening, every day and he used to appreciate a lot for my effort. I had never felt so happy in my life before. One day, probably after a month since I had started learning he introduced me to a ‘Raga’ called ‘Yaman Kalyan’. It was like a dream come true for me. I realized that if anything I wanted to be in my life it was a musician and not a biochemist.

I used to take lessons from him on Sundays. It was a Sunday evening, almost three months after I had started taking lessons from him.

When I visited I saw he had some guests in his house. He introduced me to his son-in-law, his daughter and his daughter’s son and asked the grandson to be with me till he could make himself free.

His grandson who was few years younger asked me to play whatever I was learning. I played the Raga ‘Yaman Kalyan’ which I had played few times before my instructor and heard him saying I was playing well.

After listening to my play for a while he started playing the same Raga using my violin. I was surprised to hear how nice he was playing. On being asked he mentioned that he had learnt violin from his mother who had learnt the same from her father.
Then he asked me to play all the seven notes (like ‘Sa’, ‘Re’ &c.). After hearing me play for a while he started playing the same using my violin and I realized that the notes played by him sounded different and that should not happen because they were produced by the same musical instrument. I realized that from the very beginning I was playing everything incorrectly but was never corrected. The young man sensed my thought and told me that almost seven to eight years before his grandfather lost his hearing, to a great extent, because of a bomb explosion which had exploded few meters away from him. The explosion did not cause him any physical injury though. People at home always talked to him standing close and he could make out what the speaker said partly from the sound he could perceive and partly from the lip movement of the speaker.

I never went back to him and never played violin again. It was lying idle in our home for few years. One fine day I gave it to another young man who wanted to learn the instrument.

Look at me again

The act of taking one’s photo with the built-in camera of a mobile phone, called taking selfie, is primarily a favorite thing among girls. For some reason boys are not so interested to learn from others how they look.

Taking selfie is a very difficult art. Almost in any selfie the girl’s neck appears at least one inch longer than what the length of her neck would be if she were hanged from the neck until death. It appears that the head lost interest to stay with the rest of the body and was about to leave. But that is not all, her one eye, depending on which hand is used for taking the photo would appear so large that one might think that it is about to come out of the orbit.

When these photos are posted in social networking sites there would be hundreds of ‘likes’. Selfies are like modern art. Each selfie signifies something very-very deep but the hidden message is known only to one person and the rest including those who ‘liked’ them will have no clue about it. The compliments that will be posted with those photos are also very thought provoking, e.g., ‘you look beautiful’ and the invariable reply would be ‘ten q’ (means thank you).

These days every boy and a girl are having at least one camera phone and as a result old days’ photography with an analog camera (sometimes called film camera) has lost popularity. Gone are those days when a photographer was called home on special occasions for taking the picture of children with their parents and grandparents. Everyone was asked to smile just before the shutter was clicked. After taking the photograph the film was sent for developing and everybody at home would wait to see how he or she looked in the photo. Sometimes the waiting period was as long as one week. One never knew how he or she would look in the photo, which generally was in black and white, when it would be washed and developed. It was almost like a film star giving an interview to the media and never knew how his or her statements would be twisted when published in a film magazine. Immediately after I passed out of high school I visited a photo studio to get a passport size photograph of myself for college admission. When I went to collect my photo I was shocked to see my face in the two inches by two inches paper. With almost tearful eyes I asked the owner of the photo studio, who was almost of my father’s age, “Uncle why do I look like this in the photo?” He examined the photo and then looked at my face for even less than a second and said, “Stand in front of a mirror.”

During those days very few people had their own cameras. A camera was expensive, films were expensive too and so was the cost of developing films. But we had a camera in our home, a very old Kodak camera, a cuboid shaped mysterious looking black box, similar to a pinhole camera in a physics laboratory. When I was in standard five our eldest brother bought it from a gentleman who got rid of it because its viewfinder glass had a scratch.

Our brother bought the camera for ten rupees. Ten rupees was very serious money during those days which can be understood from the following real incidence.

My classmate Ashok Kundu, a boy having an elliptical shaped head with ears along the major axis and nose along the minor axis was asked by his mother to buy washing soda, coconut hair oil, mustard oil for cooking, and some biscuits from the nearby grocery. She gave him a one rupee note and also reminded him that all those things combined would not cost one rupee and therefore he should count the changes carefully before leaving the grocery. When my friend reached the grocery shop he realized that the one rupee note was missing and he discovered a hole in the pocket where he had kept the money. He searched every single inch of the road he had walked, from his home to the grocery shop with a hope that it would still be lying on the road. But that was not his lucky day. When he reported about the loss to his mother with tearful eyes she only told “Let your father come home.” My friend having never lost so much money before did not know what to expect when his father would return. When his mother reported the incidence to his father immediately upon his return from work his father gave him a sound beating for being careless. When his father had finished his part his mother gave him few slaps. Probably she was waiting for her husband to ‘cut the red tape’. Her beating was not so severe but she was also screaming and cursing. Then it was the turn of his elder brothers, probably two or could be three. Everybody in his home stood up in solidarity for the noble cause of making a boy more careful to face the future and to be a better person.

“You have an elder sister, don’t you”, I asked Ashok when he was narrating the incidence the following day in the school.

“Yes I have”, he told.

“Did she beat you too?” I asked.

“No. At the end of the ordeal when I was crying sitting on the floor with my head down, she sat near me, pulled my head towards her and started wiping my tears with her sari.”

“So you stopped crying”, I asked.

“No, I cried even more” Ashok replied.

“You have no sister?” Ashok asked.

“No I do not have a sister. You are very lucky”, I told Ashok.

I felt a lump near my throat while Ashok was narrating his sufferings.

If one rupee or loss of one rupee could cause so much suffering to a small boy one could easily imagine the value of ten rupees. But still a new camera even during those days was not less than hundred rupees because those cameras were all imported.
Nevertheless the camera which our brother bought was good for taking pictures, only once my brother loaded a roll of black and white film into it because films were too expensive.

He never allowed any of his younger siblings to go near it, leave alone touching it. He used to make a ‘prrrrr’ sound if he found anyone was trying to go near his camera. Our brother used to hang the camera on his neck using red colored cotton string and roam around in the neighborhood. If anybody inquired about the black thing hanging from his neck he used to say that it was his ‘Kodak Camera’. He claimed to be having serious interest in photography. Every photo of his had some uniqueness, either the topmost part of the head or the bottommost part of the leg would be missing in the picture and sometimes the person in the photo would be standing making an angle with the ground, defying gravity. “That is the best you can get from a very old camera” he used to say if anybody questioned him about those pictures.

After roaming around in the street with his camera for few months he got seriously interested to teach others ‘how a camera works’. He opened his physics book and showed everybody present the diagram of a pinhole camera. He explained how images are inverted when light from an object passes through a convex lens and made his audience spellbound when he told that an image captured in a camera film is always upside down. “Now I am going to show you the internals of this camera so that you will understand why this camera is not any different from a pinhole camera, at least in principle.” And he started opening the screws with very small screwdrivers which we had in our home. But he could not assemble it back and make it work again. After that day everyone present had some better idea of a camera and they also learnt one more valuable lesson.

Three kinds of languages

If you have a visitor in your house you will find that (s)he is talking very polite and always smiles, everything looks to be picture perfect, no one is hurt. So why can’t everybody talks like this all the time and human behavioral problem will be solved once for all. The fact is this language has a very limited vocabulary, I call it programming language. Just like a computer programming language, this can serve limited purpose with its very limited vocabulary. When people speak using this language you will find either no limb movement or very limited limb movement.

Next comes the verbal or natural language. Experts claim that only 7% of our communication is via verbal language. Remember verbal abuse also falls under this category.

Most of our communication is via body language. Experts claim that before human being could able to speak meaningfully they used to communicate using body language, so this is very primitive and we speak in this language without even knowing. Like biting lips, crossing hands, hiding palms etc. are signs of body language. So when words contradict with body language we know which one to accept.

Author: Mintu Ghoshal

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