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Musings

Where have all the stories gone?

by Suchismita Ghoshal

I close my eyes in isolation and wake up from an abrupt slumber. I wake up to brew my favourite cup of green tea flipping the pages of my diary. The unfinished stories now embrace me more, their dormant urge has suddenly caught pace, and now they crawl up to me looking for fulfillment. I set my floating brain up for a moment, concentrate on a point and dip my heart straight to the blank paper to pen down my stories one by one.

But these days are quite different. Every morning, a tune of ambiguous chants pester me. Now, I can clearly hear the transparent music of Gayatri  Mantra. My maa, busy in doing household work, silently joins her hands for an unheard prayer to Lord Shiva. Her worries increase a little more every time she checks the headlines of death tolls and new cases. She always mentions that prayers clear all doubts, all sufferings, and all hurdles at once. I never cared to pay heed to such talk. I thought the mantras were merely an amalgamation of some Sanskrit scriptures.

I heave a long sigh now. My head unknowingly rises up and I can see my hands come together to share a prayer. Have I turned into a believer? Has Corona turned me into a theist?

I always curse myself for living in this reckless twenty-first century world that has no remote to pause. Everything in this world moves without any hint as to where we are headed but makes sure, we join the race. If I were born in the  60’s or 70’s where pausing was valued, where people patronised art, where old civilisations were valued, where cellphones did not interrupt one’s Muse, when the air was fresh and  there was no COVID 19, how fantastic would that be!

Maa serves hot parathas on my plate and I start blabbering in front of her. I say, “Please go back to the 60’s, I can’t live in between the dust and darkness.” In between our cold silent gestures, Corona silently enters and giggles with its dusky intent.

My unfinished stories these days loiter in every nook and corner and refuse to let me pour all my heart into my art. They loiter from the streets of daily wagers, to the homes of starving poor, then the vacant paths where stray dogs cry out for hunger; then the hospitals of the assiduous health workers and bounce back touching the sinful desire of those who sneakily break quarantine rules. Everything creates a whirlwind of emotions inside my head and I stop my writing. What happened to me? Corona might have blessed us with the recess for art but this art cuts my heart!

I am not a web series person But the drastic change in atmosphere penetrates through my skin lighting up my heart. I am hypnotized by the mellow tone of arresting sunsets, chirping birds, clear azure skies, green leaves and letting them etch stories in my heart so that even after lockdown I can cherish them forever.

I pass nights with the thought that if everything settles down again, the world must return the pleasures of nirvana, the world must sing sufi songs and ghazals, the world must unfurl the doors of open minds, the world must stop comparing the weight of money. This world must turn into a lover — not an angry rebellious one but one that heals with love, tolerance and gentleness.

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Suchismita Ghoshal is a professional writer, poet, published author and storyteller from Malda, West Bengal. She has co-authorized for more than 140 anthologies, journals and magazines both nationally and internationally. Her debit poetry book “Fields of Sonnet” has launched on last September.

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