‘Chera Cambiser Bag’: Review by Anirban Bhattacharya
…and the silence rolled up to a clandestine College Street junction, Subhas-da (Subhas Mukhopadhyay) cracked the silence with a soliloquy – ‘dekho bhebe dekhlam potrikata bodhoy hobe na’..(I think, the daily magazine, probably, would not take place’. There was not an extra frustration in his voice. But the readers have. They will definitely deserve it after a complete journey with Sankho Ghosh’ ‘Chera Cambiser Bag’ (a torn cambis bag) published by Ajkaal. Legendary poet Sankho Ghosh, earlier proved his very genius in his prose for example in ‘Ghumiye Pora Album’, ‘Urbashir Hasi’, ‘Ei Sohorer Rakhal’ etc, also, ran here and there with easy glib and spontaneity in writing, spoke on his social and cultural circles, on the eminent Bengali luminaries, like a perfect raconteur. What he had earlier written some his old reminiscences in Ajkaal Sarodiya are complied here under a same cover adding some other writings after the request of long time friend Alok Chattopadhyay.
The book contains two parts – ‘Chhera Cambiser Bag’ and the second one ‘Karun Rongin Poth’, more or less having the same sense of serenity and memories. There occurred a tone of loss – a sudden luminance that was arose for having a hope of a good poetry magazine was suddenly marred by a conflict, when poet Alok Sircar claimed for having no direct connection of his writings to the social upheavals and Deviprasad Chattopadhyay denounced it – when a sudden joy for having a daily poetry magazine was tarnished behind a dilapidated press machine and abandoned papers of book binding office – when the room no. 11 of 2nd floor of Asutosh Building confounded by a somber utterance and departure by Sambhu Mitra who was expected to give a seminar lecture on Bengali Drama beside the legendary Shisir Kumar Bhadury – when some Satyen Basu-inspired young zeals to start the first science college in Bengali medium were brought down by some yet to be deciphered reason – and so more. A pitch of humour flows over page by page – when Sandipan Chattopadhyay complaining his lack of rooms to write, ended a part of his novel ‘Ekhon Amar Kono Osukh Nei’ beside a narrow dark stairway – when the much hyped kabi sammelan was narrowed by the sudden announcement for the poets to read only their significant part (‘proyojoniyo ongshotuku’) of their poems due to short time and Purnendu Patri protested and mocked by reciting a longest one – the funny incidents with friend poet Alok Sircar and with the Latvian Tagore researcher Victor Ubulis – and so on. The readers can feel the tension that was spelled behind the half an hour meeting with taciturn and sentimental Tarashakar Bandopadhyay. They can feel the light of unaquaintance (‘Oporichoyer Dyuti’) watching Buddhadev Basu, taking a green double-decker bus and departing without noticed by anyone except the writer. The legends talk on their reminiscences, walk down the memory lane ‘karun rongin poth’ of Santiniketan to 202 Rasbihari Avenue. Moreover, Sankho Ghosh, likely to his shy and introvert image, hide his genius and casts the spell on the other legends to mingle him easily with the readers.
Debabrata Ghosh illustrated the simple but thoughtful cover – enough to bring the sense of a torn but golden treasury in between two old almirah in the Bangur Avenue house of late Satinath Bhadury – dreamy enough to bring about the compilation of Satinath Granthabali by Signet Press. In an epitome, ‘Chhera Cambiser Bag’ bring backs the essence of bygone Bengali literary society in a simple austere tone quite likely to Sankho Ghosh, the man of genius.
Felicitation of Poetry (Kabitar Somadar): A translated piece from the book
The team Krittibas used to arrange their evening jamboree at Deshbandhu Park or Shyambazar Coffee House. I was an irregular member of that auspicious gathering due to the vicinity of my house. Some of them like Sunil, Sharat or Shankar used to knock at my door occasionally. Often they were drunk a little bit. I was aware of their midnight loud laughter due to the slight intoxications.
The master of those laughter was, Shankar – Shankar Chattopadhyay. Once, he exploded with sudden laughter, unending, while visiting me. I asked the others – ‘what happened?’.
– ‘Oh..ask him. Have a lot of fun on the road. That’s it.’ – ‘fun?’ – Shankar quenched my thirst – ‘you know….we punched him today. We together…’
‘Punched him? Whom?’ – I asked, apprehensive. There were a lot of rumors on that group in the cultural cycle. So, my tension was not so irrational then. They engaged in a few fits of anger, sometimes physical ones, amongst themselves quite a lot of time. But, what is the reason of that uncontrollable mirth after a furor …? I asked – ‘whom did you punch?’ – ‘We punched Samarendra.’..
But, Samarendra was a man of strong figure. It was tough to punch him. ‘Why? Where?’ My confusion continued.
‘On the road. We were on a gathering. In the end, we told him, seat…seat here. He sat at once. And we, one by one, thumped him at his back….’ And the laughter went on.
Its really was mystifying to me. ‘Why? What he did he do?’ – ‘Please don’t ask that question. He wrote a lot of great poems.’
I asked, again dumbfounded – ‘poems?’
They all informed me that Samarendra, today, recited a few poems written by him, and all of them are good, really good.
‘Good poems. And so you all hit him?’
‘Oh…please tell me another way to felicitate him. We told, we have to celebrate your poems. But how? seat, seat on this pavement. And we started the beating. He sat, got the punches, amusingly….’ And Shankar carried on his unruly mirth.
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