Saturday, June 13, 2009


No, the reference here is not to Chetan Bhagat’s IIT-reminiscing bestseller FIVE POINT SOMEONE. Peter Rozovsky, who writes a full-of-twist-and-turns crime-fiction blog, has forwarded an interesting four-cornered meme. Digging into multi-cornered memories and fancies, I came up with:

Four Places I’d Like to Go, or Things I’d Like to Do:

1. The British Isles. Of course, in the 1990s, most students of English Literature in India were fed on an almost-exclusive diet of British fiction (as opposed to writing in the other Englishes), and so I have grown up visualizing (and being forced to write long answers about) Shakespeare’s London (and Stratford-on-Avon), Wordsworth’s Lake District and James Joyce’s Dublin and the place near Westminster Abbey where all the famous poets are buried (to name just a few of the Eng Lit hotspots). Besides, when I was in school, my Pishi (father’s sister) got herself photographed standing beside the wax statue of Indira Gandhi at Madame Tussaud’s, and I’ve always had a yen for doing such deliciously desi touristy things myself.

2. Switzerland. The Hindi movies of our childhood might be set in Mumbai or Delhi or anywhere else in sweltering India, but most of them would zoom straight to the snowy Alpine slopes for a song. And the unskilled-in-skiing heroine would tumble straight into the hero’s arms, and the cold weather would be a nice excuse for a cuddle. So environment-friendly, na?

3. The United States. Which we called “Aay-mey-rica” in unsophisticated Bengali. Associated in my childish mind with Walt Disney and Disneyland. And a Bengali translation of Uncle Tom’s Cabin which wrung out a flood of my tears. And HOLLYWOOD highlighted against the hills. And then, in university, with the Great Gatsby and the “green light at the end of the dock”.

4. And Enid Blyton’s books (like The Caravan Family and Five Go Off in a Caravan) have made me yearn to have a holiday meandering through the countryside in a horse-drawn caravan (with bunk-beds and neat shelves and a cooking stove).

Four Places I Have Lived:

4. -----
(my imagination may fly, but the body had been fairly rooted)

Four Places I Have Been on Vacation:

1. Digha. My first visit to the sea. Digha was empty and unspoiled then. And I collected so many tiny colourful shells.
2. Darjeeling. My first visit to the Himalayas. The sharp frosty cold. The warm delicious momos. The white-crowned majesty of the Kanchenjanga peak.
3. Benares. Crowded with people making a living out of religion. Not really my cup of tea.
4. Goa. Blue sea. White sands. Quaint churches. Lovely people. Heaven!

Four Food or Drinks I Have Liked:

1. Fish. Especially freshwater fish. Especially silvery Ilish bought during a boat-ride with our entire family (father, mother, grandmother, uncle, aunt, cousins) on the Ganga on a long-ago New Year’s morn.
2. Rezala (a yogurt-based mutton preparation perfected by the Muslim Nawabs) and Roomali rotis (handkerchief thin wheat flatbread) at Shabbir’s in Kolkata, a Durga Pujo treat given annually by Baba (father).
3. The kuler-aachar (sweet-sour berry pickle) and aamsi (sweet-sour dry mango pickle) bought from the vendor with the little wooden pushcart on the long walk back from school.
4. Natural’s Ice-cream. The sweetest, creamiest, fruitiest, yummiest thing in Mumbai.

Four Books or Movies I could Read or Watch Again:

1. All my dog-eared, much-thumbed, yellow-pages-falling-apart Agatha Christies.
2. The Harry Potter series for their intricate simplicity.
3. Sholay. The drama, the comedy, the romance, the banquet of emotions. And every time I do, I never fail to cry at Jai’s (played by Amitabh Bachchan) sacrifice and death.
4. Dr Spock’s book on Baby and Child Care. Endlessly fascinating for the last eight and half years. (Just kidding).

Four Works of Art Before Which I’ve Stood (or Sat):

Since I’ve never seen any really famous work of art up-close, I thought I’d mention four works which I’d love to stare at.
1. Michelangelo’s Pieta. How can marble express such pity and tenderness?
2. John Everett Millais’ Ophelia. How can such overloading of earthy details be so ethereal?
3. Claude Monet’s Waterlilies series. How can one subject produce so many variations?
4. Dali’s The Persistence of Memory. A perspective-puzzle or a new truth?

Four Figures From the Past Whom I’d Like to Watch at Work or Meet for Dinner:

1. Shakespeare at work on King Lear.
2. Cleopatra arming herself in glamour and guile.
3. Charles M Schulz at his studio, discussing the daily Peanuts-dose of innocent wisdom.
4. Rabindranath Tagore sitting under trees with his students at Shantiniketan.

Four People I Think Might Take it Upon Themselves to Take Up This Meme:

(Feel free to alter/add/adjust at will. Anybody else can also join in).





Mampi said...

You are our "Past" Queen, not as in a queen gone by; but as a queen who does stuff in such a graceful way that she makes past alive before us. Even in this Tag.

Miss_Nobody said...

Lovely!I have always wanted to visit a Shakespearey England.And Enid Blyton's Countrysides?Simply awesome.Goa is fab!

Miss_Nobody said...

Oh,I left you an ward @

Swaram said...

Interesting read :)
Reading Agatha Christie and meetin Shakespeare and Tagore - me tooooo :)

ZiLliOnBiG said...

Nice knowing you better. I too would love visiting these places.

And i have this awe and respect for anyone who says they love the writings of James joyce. I have tried and for the past 1.5 years sitting with "portrait of the artist as young man" but not reaching anywhere.

thanks :))

Peter Rozovsky said...

Many thanks; your writing is always worth reading. You are not the first respendent drawn to Cleopatra. Liam Hoyle, who received the meme from someone I'd tagged, also has her on his list.

I shall look for some Natural's ice cream whould I visit Mumbai.
Detectives Beyond Borders
“Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home”

Roshni Mitra Chintalapati said...

sounds like fun!
All I can do is extend an open invitation for you to California!! :)

Priya said...

Oh..choice of places reflects your love for the subject and your flair for writing "the -best" stuff.

2 places that you have lived matches with mine, barrackpore, i used to visit as a kid to my pisi's place.

2 places where you went to spend your vacation again matches with places where i have spent vacations. Benaras, studied there, so this was the place where i spent time when it wasn't a "Vacation".

1 thing i miss here in Kolkata- "Natural's Ice-cream"

:D :D

sujata said...

quite a few of those things would be on my wish list too!! Great to know this part of you Sucharita.

Kavi said...

Thanks for the tag !And yes, i will take it up. I dont know when though !

But its great to know more about you ! The people that you would like to meet speaks volumes about what matters to you in life !


Rajesh said...

Interesting how you have limited choices to only 4. My list is pretty big. But I would love to travel to Europe.

Anonymous said...

You have done the tag in your unique style as only you can:))

LOL@so environment friendly na? :D

all the 'four somethings' were amazing to read..none more so than the works of art and the four figures from the past...totally in awe with those last eight names:)))

Peter Rozovsky said...

And who would have thought that Switzerland could loom so large through the influence of Hindi movies?

No, wait ... Himalayas ... Alps. I withdraw my surprise.
Detectives Beyond Borders
"Because Murder Is More Fun Away From Home"

Aleta said...

I love how you didn't just answer the questions, but you explained and shared more.

I've seen some of Monet's art ~ I could look at it forever and drink in the beauty and still not have enough of it.

There are so many places I'd to visit in Europe, I wouldn't know where to start. But first, a few more places to go in the US - I haven't been to Yellowstone. I love nature and this would be a highlight moment. And though I've seen the Grand Canyon, I'd like to go back there with Greg. He'd love it and I want to share that experience with him.

Ankit said...

Hey Sucharita

Nice post. Your post had me thinking about all the four things I wanted to do. I got seriously confused.

But it was good to know about you.

Ugich Konitari said...

Yes, Ma'am. Meme done. Submitted. :-)

seanag said...

Sucharita, very lovely post. It is fascinating how the West and the East hold mirror images of glamor and adventure for each other. I'm a bit intimidated to tackle India myself, but Peter Rozovsky has mentioned thinking about a trip there on Adrian's blog just now, and of course the idea of a visit provoked much animated discussion.

I hope you get to go to some--or all!-- of the places you've dreamed of.

Koel said...

too good!!!