Tuesday, February 13, 2024

He doesn't write because he cannot

Getting reminded of my inability to write is not a pleasant feeling. Especially when I have spent all of my professional life as a journalist!

If I am seeing a smirk and a desperation to hide the derision I wouldn’t blame you. Or if it’s a pity I wouldn’t fight that either. Because one cannot hide from the truth forever. So the earlier the better.

Earlier! Yes, I know. It makes me dumb. Anyone who takes four decades of one’s adult life to realise that one has been deluding oneself and steadfastly ignoring the reality has to be conceited beyond doubt.

I buy books throughout the year. Not that I read all of them. But like many others, I like to live surrounded by books — dust, and my wife’s disapproval notwithstanding. And I also buy books written by my friends.

For example, this year at the Kolkata International Book Fair, the first book that I picked up was the book on Dipankar Dasguta’s book on food. For want of a better description I am leaving it at that. I will definitely write about his book in this space some other day.

I have known Dipankar for decades. He started his professional life as a journalist with Bartaman. And then he moved on to the United States Information Service. Younger to me by a couple of years he has retired. Together with his wife he roams the districts of West Bengal and shares his experience of tasting food on Facebook. Incidentally, his wife, Krishna Sarbari, has also written a book and yes, I have bought her book as well.

And there are others. And many young publishers are bringing out commendable titles being written by them. So there was this young publisher I was chatting with. Stupid me in the flow of conversations had to say, “Bengalis hardly write about their professional experience!” He instantly latched onto this and turned it around against me. “Who is saying? You are said to be the first in Bengali media to build a bureau specialising in business. Yet, you haven’t written anything about it!”

And all of a sudden the reality dawned. I didn’t write because, perhaps, I couldn’t write. Dipankar wrote because he can! Simple. He didn’t buy it. But it is what it is.

A Bong will always be a Bong

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