Mobile Memories

“Ding” is the sound which I hear when my smartphone receives a message. There are others too. Swoosh, Tri-tone, Horn, Chime, etc.  Different apps have different tones now. But  looking back in the recent past, it all began for me on a simple note with a Nokia, then Reliance 501, then the camera phones, then came the great blackberry revolution followed by the current Android invasion. Everyone by now must have forgotten the famous Nokia SMS tone which had Morse code depiction – “Connecting people”.

Coming back to that Ding, an old college friend is asking if I can still remember him. A decade has passed without being in touch.  He was a class mate, spent so many unforgettable moments together at Ramesher Chaer Dokan (Ramesh’s Tea Stall) during our college hours. The seniors warned us about a statue to be  erected next to Vivekakanda’s on the Golpark Cirle, if anyone failed in class (“ Keu jodi fail kore tahole golparker more tar murti banana hobe, Bibekandander pashe “).The boiling blood inside always stopped us from entering the class. But till today, Vivekananda stands alone in the middle of the circular park.

I wanted to surprise him with a call in the middle of the night. But with the passing of time, you change phones, add new numbers and lose the older ones. I couldn’t find the one that I was looking. A corner of my heart started reacting strangely. How to retrieve those lost numbers? The last blackberry is long gone. What about the old Nokia? I asked myself. I could not sell off that model since my father had gifted that to me at a time when both of us were jobless.

I dragged a chair below the loft. After searching for almost an hour, I found my old Nokia 3310c. Rains fade into drizzles outside. The shiny leaves are reflecting faint lights coming from full moon covered with translucent clouds. I stood by the window and switched on the phone without any hope. Moments later two hands come from both ends of the screen and my old phone woke up like a fairytale princess. I followed her down memory lane.

The wallpaper has a picture of me and my girlfriend (now wife) at our younger days. I took this picture when she was really angry at me for forgetting something which I can’t remember now. But the look in her eyes reminds me of our sweet little memories in her small hostel room. Then there was a message from my mother (which was typed by my sister) to check if I had dinner. An SMS from my best friend Peeyush to inform that he also got a job in Mumbai. Few pictures of my colleagues taking quick naps during a rigorous night shooting schedule being clicked discreetly. Flat mates asking to get bottle of rum on my way back from work.  The immediate next sms carries a request for packs of Wills Flake too. Reminders of unpaid mobile bills along with amazingly unwanted value added services. Loads of old birthday messages and pictures of friends putting cakes all over me. A grainy image of a Bengali boy meeting the Spartan king and so on. It seemed like it was  just yesterday. I kept on surfing through the phone and rediscovering lost memories.

Suddenly, I stopped. This was his last picture which I had taken during a short trip to Kolkata while him licking all over my face with a quick wagging tail. Rocky passed away few days after I left. My grandmother told me that he was waiting to see me before leaving all of us. That was the time in my life when I realized what it is to lose a family member. A drop fell on the screen and slowly the screen immersed itself into darkness.

The rains started pouring again while I kept on trying to wake my princess up for retrieving those lost numbers.

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Thank you all for liking my first post. Here’s the love theme from Chinatown. Composed by Jerry Goldsmith. One of the greatest Jazz score ever created for a movie.

Chinatown

So here I start writing a blog of my own. Not sure how long I will actually continue to do so.  Now let’s come to the reason, why I wanted to write this one? Well, people change over time. As they say that Change is the only Constant. I think, I have also noticed it inside myself. How?

Cut to Flashback, I was a young kid from South Calcutta. Not one of those snob wannabes. We used to stay in Chetla, occupying 2 corner rooms of a 100 year old house, somehow standing to prove something, which no one knew. My grandfather, late Pronab Roy was a writer and a film director.  Although he passed away long before I was born but the essence of his works were being felt all around that house which became an integral part of my metamorphosis.

Later during my college days, two of my friends were Abhishek and Avishek. Avishek was also my cousin. Both were students of Mass Communication Curriculum. Although I was a commerce student, since my father wanted me to be a chartered accountant, and said would not settle anything below an MBA, I was more drawn towards films. I still remember those sunsets when Abhishek and I used to discuss about the difference between a cut and a jump cut while creating a fresh layer of nicotine inside our lungs while sitting at his terrace. Then there was that late night Rum and Coke session when Avishek used to tell me stories about how American Zeotrope was formed. Those were the days. I used to suck out every possible bit of knowledge about cinema which they studied in College. We use to watch movies in theater mostly, sometimes 3 shows in a row between Lighthouse, New Empire and Globe. Then Abhishek used to borrow movies from his college. So many masterpieces we had experienced then. Battleship Potempkin, Breathless, 400 Blows, 8 ½ was to name a few. I wanted to kill people in my mind after watching ‘Cidade de Deus’ while Abhishek wanted to name his son Vakulinchuk from ‘Bronenosets Potyomkin’. And then there was of course Mr. Ray.

Now, I must admit that I did not understand most of those masterpiece works of great filmmakers.  But it was the peer pressure then, I guess.

One of those masterpieces was Roman Polanski’s Chinatown (1974).  Pianist was released in 2002 and Adrein Broody had won the Academy Awards for his work.  We saw the film in Jamuna theatre ( as far as I remember). I loved that film. So Abhishek asked me to watch Chinatown. Avishek got me the film. It was in the middle of a cold December night when I started watching it on my desktop. After 15 mins I started yawning and in the next few minutes I was on the bed. Precisely, I thought it’s one of the most boring films I saw in a long time. Why do they call it a masterpiece?

Ten years have passed. Now I work in Mumbai as an associate director to an eminent feature film director and struggling to make my own film. Recently I met a couple of software engineers who had written a script, genre – Investigative Thriller, Noir. So before starting to read the script I thought of watching a film, called Chinatown. It was a rainy night and I started watching Chinatown again on my newly bought LED TV. But this time I loved the film. Not only loved, I enjoyed every shot, every cut, the music and every piece of acting which created this masterpiece. I kept on thinking the whole night about the film and what a big fool I am to discard it then. For all those people who must be thinking – “didn’t you like Manorama 6 feet Under?” No I missed that one as well. But am sure nothing can beat Chinatown. The way the narrative shapes the story is so orthodox yet so different.  The best part of the film is the name – Chinatown and the mystery behind it. The list goes on and on…

So why am I talking about this, now. Because I started understanding films which I pretended to like at one point of my life. But the question remains… Is it the film or Is it you, who changes with time. Then I tell myself – “Forget it, Jake. It’s Chinatown.”