Likes and Loathes

He woke up as usual at 4 a.m, quite unnecessarily, as per me, because with no work to do, and zillions of negative thoughts and reflections to ponder on and curse, it’s better to stay in bed and keep the mind dormant for some more time. But who’s there to make the mighty Mr. Roy understand, as everyone knows he wouldn’t.
For those who think, that was an abrupt start, let me give a bit of prologue. I am talking about Mr. XYZ Roy. I don’t know the first name (either he didn’t get a chance to tell me, or I didn’t care to remember). So let’s keep it. He’s Mr. Roy- a tutor in his mid 50’s who loves everything that’s Bengali as much as he hates everything that’s not. When I say he ‘loves’ in the preceding sentence, I mean, he idolizes, venerates and worships. And by he ‘hates’ I mean, he abhors, detests and loathes.
That was Roy. An extremist in every manner. He teaches languages for a living. He is a scholar in German language and runs a small, remotely located tutorial for anyone who’s interested to learn German, and anyone who’s interested to listen to his endless hymns on West Bengal.
I was lucky to be one of those few who got a chance to meet this extreme personality. I say lucky, because even after 5 good years, his character is as fresh in my mind as day one because of which I got today’s blog idea. Interesting, yet perturbing, I would say, he is.
The breeze of the dawn is fresh and fragrant. The streaks of orange rays show up from behind the dark clouds portraying a masterpiece overhead. The chip of the birds is as sweet to the ears as the soulful sitar. It’s time to inhale peace. It’s time to experience divinity. … But my Mr. Roy is well above all these petty scenic spells, as he calls them. Muttering curses on the joggers and other early birds of that opulent colony in the southern part of New Delhi, Roy watered his Tulsi and bougainvillea foliage. “ these products of garbage..pure filth .. inherited huge bucks from forefathers.. now have nothing to do…. Running mindlessly round and round to kill time…slimy bastards.
The nirankari apartment in Saket, South Delhi is definitely a hub for the rich north Indian surds. Business tycoons and corporate magnates have one of their numerous dwellings here. Roy hated them for everything. “We Bengalis don’t boast on our father’s and forefather’s money. We learn and earn. These prodigies of dirt, show off their inheritance as if it’s their own sweat and blood.”
During one of his usual classes, he quoted, “ we Bengalis know the art of seizure. Black Magic. Captivation and arrest of the soul.”
“ Let me tell you one incident. There was a thickhead Marwadi who once foolishly ventured into the majestic realms of West Bengal. There he was, high on money and power. Little did he know that there are things much higher than these insignificant pieces of metal and paper that he possess. A very revered Tantrik or Gobiraj as we fondly call them sent him totally out of his senses with just a wave of hand. Now that son of a bitch lives in a mental asylum, I got to know recently.” To my utter dislike, there was a mocking smile on his face that lingered for atleast half an hour even after the story ended.
“Liking your own native place is one thing but loathing other cultures to this extent, sir!”
He dismissed my comment with another mock and a wave. “There’s nothing outside Bengal, there’s nothing in non-bengalis worth liking.”
He crossed the threshold of sanity, when a day after the serial bomb blasts in Gujarat, when everyone, however detached they may be from the victims, mourned the mishap, he commented, “this would never have happened had Gujarat been West Bengal. We Bengalis never indulge in crimes, hence we never become the target.”
I could never take in the character. Roy was extreme. But there is a bit of Roy in everyone of us. There is a broad difference between ‘I am fond of my culture’ and ‘I hate the other culture’. We sometimes cross the line that separates the two.

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