Telegraph Calcutta

Shall we serve it tukde tukde?

Ran into, quite by accident, the other day, TukdeTukdeFang. Not a pleasant prospect, nor easy. Fang said hello, but bit in the process. Politeness bites. Proximity bites. And there was more fang than just one fang. So you know. You escape one polite fang, and a familiar fang gets you. But Fang seemed to have a point of view. And points of view should be permissible amongst us. Even acceptable, although a point of view, or several, may not be acceptable for this reason or that. But to have a point of view — that should be acceptable. Even welcome. And so TukdeTukdeFang. In fact, truth to tell as I earlier indicated, two fangs. And therefore not one tukda, but tukde-tukde, one tukda for each fang. And why ever not? Everything is tukde-tukde. Look around. Talk around. Friends. Family. Dear folks. Yaars, langotiaas. All tukde-tukde. You say one thing, they will piece it. They say one thing, you will piece it. Tukde-tukde. Maan lo.

That is how days begin, in pieces, tukde-tukde. That’s how the night marinates them and that is how they come to fall on fortuitous mornings. In pieces, tukde-tukde. I am talking of waking from dreaming and coming into waking, fraction upon fraction. Dream, but very often nightmare, moulting away and becoming, fraction upon fraction, waking. What were you thinking? Oh that? That beginning? But that too. That’s essential. The shedding away. Of night. And of soil. Bit by bit, tukde-tukde. If it happens. How you wish it happens. You pine for tukde-tukde, don’t you? Gotcha!

But that’s not all that’s tukde-tukde. You eat at some point. If you are fortunate. If you get a breakfast. Or that one meal. How do you consume it? Tukde-tukde, hai naa? You go off to work. If you are fortunate to have work. And then you spend a day at work. How does that go? Tukde-tukde. Hai naa? A bit of this and a bit of that. He said this. She said another thing. There was an argument. Tukde-tukde. He had his say. She had her say. We went our way. Tukde-tukde.

Oh, but in between we went for lunch. But that too was a little like that. Tukde-tukde. Where do we go? Tukde-tukde. What do we eat? Tukde-tukde. Tandoori Murgh? Tukde-tukde. Seekh Kebab? Tukde-tukde. No but we are vegetarians. We wish other things on the table. Shahi Tukda? Tukde-tukde.

And then we came out, having paid, tukde-tukde, and we heard people were on the streets. A few here, a few there. But no. A few hundred here. A few thousand there. Demanding this. Demanding that. Demanding one thing. Demanding just the opposite thing. And some of them were getting hammered. But one tukda was feeding into another tukda and there seemed to us, at one point, that those tukdas will all join and become one huge tukda. And it will become a tough task to call them tukde-tukde simply because they will have achieved a size too humongous to be called tukdas and tukdas. And also too humongous for fang and fang to bite and break. Not one fang. Not the other fang. Not the two fangs together, bhai samjhaa karo.

But you know what? This was just what I feared. A tukde-tukde waking up. Between dreaming and nightmaring and waking. The original tukde-tukde of each day, with all its tukde-tukde things still left to go through. No wonder she had cried. And no wonder she died crying. Bechaaari Meena Kumari. What a true and dripping tragedy she had already made of what we have now come to:

Tukde-tukde din beetaa
Dhajjee-dhajjee raat mili
Jiskaa jitna aanchal thha
Utni hi saugaat mili.

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