Of FO-tick and Chhuti Chhuti

By Jaydeep Saha

When the company I was working for put a “tick” mark on the names of many like me on its Fuck Off (FO) list in May end, it successfully managed to do two things. One, get rid of the “liabilities” and two, made me write independently whatever I wanted to. And, I am doing it!

So what I made out of the process and its aftermath?

1. Felt very depressed,

2. Thought I was worth nothing,

3. Kept applying here and there,

4. Stayed home as much possible so that I don’t end up bringing the virus home,

5. Taught my the-then toddler how to walk,

6. Spent as much time as possible with my daughter,

7. Kept burdening my family members with my mental state,

8. Approached as many people as possible for a job,

9. Wrote movie reviews for free for a website,

10. Watched new releases in the process,

11. Couldn’t manage to find a job yet and…

12. Brought home no money for the last three months and few days.

In the midst of watching these movies and web series, I saw there is one such film that is not a new release but has been on my list for a long time. Today, I thought I should write about it, not as a review for the website but for many such like-minded people who surprisingly still love to read what I write. They find strange relevance and connections with my words. And perhaps make me feel worthy of something.

Few weeks ago, a college friend — who is now a new mother — had called me at the “parent hour” between midnight and 1am just to say that she loved to read my small piece on Bandish Bandits. I was pleased to know that something close to my heart, which was not put up on the website as its content, made way to the heart of a like-minded buddy.

Parent hour is, btw, when a father or a mother finds time out for himself or herself after a baby goes to sleep!

So what’s with the double quote around the word tick at the beginning of this article and the name of the list? Well, I call it FO-tick! It sounds and has deep meaning that a long article hater would not end up reading and knowing.

If you managed to read or reach till here, lemme tell you the rest now.

Remember Rabindranath Tagore’s Chhuti? The legend, in this short story, wrote about a naughty teen named Photik who is brought to Kolkata from his village by his maternal uncle and how survival becomes difficult for him at the school his mama gets him admitted to, as well as life at his mamabari with his maami and brother Makhon (butter).

Those characters and the names still hold relevance and play/ed new roles in today’s life. While those who could apply butter and lick asses survived, some like me are the FO-ticks.

Talking about Chhuti, there was a series meant for Bengali children way back in the 90’s, named Chhuti Chhuti, on Doordarshan.

Many like me, on their summer vacation, stayed so obedient throughout the day and listened to their mothers only to watch this show at around noon every day. It was bliss, to say the least. From the movies of Satyajit Ray, like the Gupi Gayen Bagha Bayen series, to other similar films, this period of the year was something I waited for eagerly.

Yeh Meri Family on Netflix is about a boy in his teenage years who has his own problems in life. He lives in Jaipur but his family and the culture is similar to the one I was brought up in. The poor soul was born in May and could never give chocolates to his friends in school due to the vacation. He has an elder brother and a younger sister, a dominating mother and a carefree father — a family you would love to watch. And then, a gyani friend and a crush who rides a Ladybird. An overall 90’s lifestyle!

#highly recommended. A must watch – this one.

While life in this lockdown and the stay-at-home habit slowed things down in every aspect, the Nadeem Shravan and Anu Malik songs from the adjacent construction sites often take me home to my adolescent days. The recently shared video by my brother while he was sitting in our verandah in Bandel recharged those memories of fishing on the flooded road in front of my home. He just shot the rain and the beauty of my mother’s plants in the downpour. My home, my love, I just don’t know when I would be able to go back. Tagore’s homesick Photik had longed for a similar trip back home as he watched the rain from his mamabari’s window. One fine day as he tried to escape, the rain-drenched body caught cold and a fever followed. Photik was sick and then he died.

But that was his story. Today, the challenge is to survive and keep my family safe. Forget going out for no reason, I did not even get wet in the rain even once this year.

Note: If you want to watch the story of Photik, watch Stories by Rabindranath Tagore, also available on Netflix with a thumbnail of Radhika Apte as a newly-wed Bengali bride.

P.S: Millennials and Gen Z, this one was not for you and I don’t think you are reading this line! 

Jaydeep worked as a journalist till May 25 and then life changed upside down from the very next day. His 11-year-old career stopped abruptly, leaving him without a clue what the future holds for him.

To share your Covid-19 experience or to publish your articles, stories, poems and artwork, write to us (in বাংলা or English) at timesofcorona@gmail.com or use our submission form.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *