Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Sudeshna Mitra (b. February 21, 1985 in Calcutta , West Bengal ) is the tragic protagonist of a French opera in her head, an engineer trying to master business administration otherwise. At present she divides her time between SOPs and sobs, surveys – of markets and men, apart from the usual – eating, drinking, sleeping, chattering and yes, whining. Mitra, a non-residential Bengali, is settled in Mumbai for the past one year but has her loyalties devoted to Bangalore – it’s dry-unmanageable-hair-friendly air and its mangoes. Kolkata mango lovers might take offence, but Mitra firmly maintains that Bangalore ’s mango, like its air terminal, is ten notches above its Kolkata counterpart. She should know, she has spent the first 18 years of her life in Kolkata.

Early Life (1985-2003)

Was given a blunt cut that was to stay for 18 long years. Art lessons like all good Bengali girls, and reportedly classes in Meera Bai’s bhajans like … (the only prototype that comes to mind is Ekta Kapoor’s heroines – the Tulsis and Parvatis. Though the emotional framework is dangerously close, we don’t want bloodshed over an intended bit of enlightenment, so we will let be).
Was the brightest (read Math-friendly) in a group of un-sexy, tongue-tied, math-physics-geography etc struck group of three. The Vijender Singh of a little nerd-commune. The first to graduate to Ken Follet when the rest were struggling with Mills and Boons of the ’80s. The first to devise an electromagnet without a core. The first to raise her voice against the colorful torture that was Abhishekh Bachchan, a decade ago. The first to outwit the Samba-ish pair of school darwans and sneak in mango lollies.
Acquired talents, later in life, include finding houses around ponds and writing sexually-implicit poetry.

Finally bid a cheery goodbye to the blunt cut. Got cooler. Reportedly was the ‘kitten’ in a college full of what we can assume polar bears. Fell in love. First with Bangalore , then its mangoes and only then, with man/men. Landed gift vouchers for crunching codes successfully – the result of which was a collection of racer-back tees, worn with jackets. We never said she ceased to be a good Bong girl, you see. Forgot important people’s birthdays, thought up the very first names for imaginary/future son/daughter – Subhasish/Raj, Subhechcha/Shirin are the ones in our records.
Also showed the first traces of Britney Spears-isms. Phone calls to friends started with ‘I am confused’ and ended with ‘It’s very complicated’. In between, there were sighs, some more sighs, a cute purring whine and an unh-hunh-hunh (an expression of discontent that can be deciphered, only if you are a proficient Bong).
Also, let the CAT into her bag. The one that was belled a year back. And Mumbai happened.

Mumbai happened. But not its hot pants. Not its ‘shake-your-bon-bon’ parties. Who knew Bangalore ’s mangoes would have the last laugh over Pav Bhaji? Britney Spears grew up to be Paris Hilton with a little more knowledge of Geography, ‘I am so confused’ graduated to ‘Baybeeeee, I hayyte my life’. She doesn’t like breaking hearts, so the rubble around must be very disconcerting. The racer backs shrugged the jackets off, and phew, the good Bong girl gave way to a good Bond girl.

Future Projects
=> Sleeping/Facebooking through classes to become smart enough to sell Vivek Oberoi to Aishwarya Rai, Shah Rukh Khan to Bal Thackeray, pink chaddis to Ram Sena and a Nano to Mamta Banerjee.
=> Buying an LCD TV.
=> Finding a man who fixes phones and computers, baby-talks, moonwalks from pillars to posts, and should be ready to fly down to mourn a mosquito bite.
P.S. If you are a Bengali and feel sudden urges to evoke the mother tongue in company of Non-Bongs, run for cover if you see her coming.

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of her today is an eight year old, tucked away in a corner of III-B, sketching away on some random scrap of paper, with a handkerchief clutched in her free hand, pushing away wanton locks of hair that strayed into the frame…and the mischievous smiles that lit up all the vapid classes…a gap of two years…and am transported to 1996…and how I was amazed by her ability to come out with flying colors, at the top of the class, every term, despite having finished the syllabus at the last moment! (at least Sudu always said so!)…came 1997…and brought with it marathon Nancy Drews’ sessions...the class magazine…and how we forced her into the role of film critic, which she carried out with remarkable √©lan….Class VIII meant constant complaints about Sucharita….IX th and Xth were the best years I guess…. she pined on Hrithik, hated biology, found solace in the fact that this would be the last battle with history…and how we used our English tuition class as an excuse to chat some MORE time, after school…Vibes 2K! ….XIth –XIIth were the years of Bosepukur…arbit poems…random phone calls…chit-chat during Bangla attempt to hold back what we were about to lose….our school days…beyond 2003, we have met… rarely… but those few rendezvous’ meant a lot….over sessions of her encouraging me to be a little less clumsy and mine asking her to settle down a bit with her personal life.. :P…both knowing that nothing we said could possibly induce any change in the other…Sudeshna is the first girl I truly became close to in GDB, and my school days would never have been so carefree and gay, had I not known her. Love you Drama Queen Sudz...muah! :)’ – Ushati Das, then a prominent member of the nerd-commune, now a Graduate School student at the Cornell University, New York

Chhoto/Bodo Goba, Chhoto/Bodo Pingoo, Chhoto/Bodo Haanshu, Chhoto/Bodo Shaapu… yes,our childhood was spent imagining ourselves to be residents of this fantasy animal world where penguins went to school, ducks did not know how to swim, snakes did not bite and there was a ‘small’ and a ‘big’ version of everything. She was the one who refused to wear anything that went above calf level (yes, even knee level was too high for her) and be every parent’s dream with those class topper marks while I was getting over trying to be Kareena Kapoor :P Yes, I did read my Robin Cooks and Sidney Sheldons years before I should have but THAT, is completely her fault ( you CANNOT keep those books at home and expect me not to read them secretly  ). Yes, she was the one who fought with me about exactly how much of the bed was hers, she was the one who fought with me over the T.V. and Computer (this should be fights and not fought btw), she is the one who considers her holiday a waste if she doesn’t get to try her newest “attayachar” techniques on me, she is the one who keeps me updated on exactly what mom cooked when she’s at home while I am thinking of throwing up after seeing the mess food, she’s the one who tells me she’s seen all the latest movies coz the multiplex is right next to her college when she KNOWS I live in this village called NAGARBHAVI! Yes she’s all that evil and more... Yes, we do not get to meet anymore (except if our holidays happen to clash for 1.5 days after 7 months or she comes over to Bangalore for 1 night) but she still knows what I like and what I don’t, what to tell me and (mostly) what NOT to tell me, she’s still the one to know my “sheikh” stories (and use it against me on Facebook), she’s still the one who imitates “Mrs. Sen” with me, she’s still the one giving me all the ‘bad Bong girl’ advice about love, life and law school issues… she’s the sister of my heart  Paroma Mitra, sister

Twenty one years ago, I met Miss Sudeshna Mitra. Of course, to me, she was Sharmi. As she shall always remain . We used to sit on the landing in our pennies (or whatever they're called) and play myriad silly games. I can't tell you what games we played or what stories we made up, but till the time I was in class three or thereabouts, Gunja, Sharmi and I were inseparable. There was much silliness, like wanting to slide down the chaad and having impromptu biscuit-jam picnics. The details are fuzzy. But in retrospect, those days were the best. She moved, I stayed on at 226/5/2; we remained in spite of everything, friends.

SM was always (seemingly) practical, sane and driven. I did say seemingly. Oh, and we were always experts at bitching.

We’ve come a long way, baby. Happy twenty fifth. Love lots.
- Ishani, childhood friend

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