There was a time when this blog was all that I had. Facebook was still hiding in the future, my books were still in the womb of my ambition. I did have a column in the newspaper I worked for back then, and even though it was a slice-of-life column where I had a wide canvas, which I often painted with personal experiences, the voice was that of a journalist and not a writer.
It was this blog, therefore, that helped me find my voice as a writer. For several years I nourished this space like a sincere gardener, growing plants of several varieties. Today the garden has gone to seed. Thoughts are now shared on Facebook. Once upon a time I would pour myself a drink and expand on a thought — sometimes as mundane as the moon, or idlis, or touch — to produce a decent blog post.
Today Ganga Mail completes 15 years. I have nothing much to say on the occasion — there's a lot to say actually, so much that one is better off being reticent — but since the milestone needs to be marked, I am taking the easy way out by sharing a small portion of something I wrote this evening:
In Chandannagar, some of the shops, sitting slightly apart from one another, happened to be tuned into the same radio station. Or maybe the whole of Chandannagar had just one station. The song that was playing, therefore, accompanied them for a while as they parked the car and walked towards the Strand: Gapuchi gapuchi gam gam, kishi ki kishi ki kam kam. A lightweight song — from the film Trishul, now a childhood memory — which still drenched him with youthful freshness.
‘I have a confession to make,’ she said.
‘I know the opening lines are silly, but I still love this song. As a kid, whenever someone asked me to sing a song, I would sing this.’
‘I love it too,’ he squeezed her hand. ‘And what a coincidence, only the other day I was reading about this song in a book. Sahir Ludhianvi wrote this song, and it’s not a typical Sahir song, but it seems the opening lines were given by Yash Chopra, who thought they would catch the attention of the younger generation. I think he was so right, because even today the song feels like someone handing you a chilled bottle of Limca while you are walking in the sun.’
‘Didn’t Sahir write the songs for Kabhie Kabhie as well?’
‘I love every single song from that movie.’
‘I would like to tell you something.’
‘First let’s settle down by the river.’