[First write: January 18, 2011. Revised today.]
Englishmatics! It’s that simple.
Or, you can call it Englisharing. No, here it is: Speakometry.
No? Want some easier to read, quicker to clarify, and less headache to walk home to bed (sex or no sex)?
How about the Theory and Practice of Plain Mathematical Formulae to Format Life’s Most Complicated English [or put your own language here] Conversations in the Simplest-Possible, Minimized-Risk Way not to Cause Major Harm to Yourself or Those Who Still Love You and Don’t Want to See You Perish (and vice versa)?
Great! So, we can call it Englishmatics (my top preference), or TPPMFFLMCE… (look, don’t get mad — you went for this one…I told ya!).
Let’s not waste no more time. Recently, I got news from Kolkata that two artists — Geeta Dey who ruled the theater for fifty years and was undoubtedly one of the best Khal Nayika‘s (lady villain) Bengali cinema has ever seen, and Pintu Bhattacharjee, an adorable voice in the world of romantic Bengali songs, suddenly passed away. Just the other day, an unsung rufous of Bangla music Mrinal Chakraborty left us, and I didn’t even know it until two weeks after. Of course, in early January, the death of Suchitra Mitra — the prime princess of Tagore songs — rocked us. And, then, just last week, our beloved Tareq Masud of the world-famed Bangla movie Clay Bird, was instantly killed when a crazy-speed bus demolished his car in his beloved Bangladesh.
Now, not that sitting here in the U.S., we could do anything about anything when it comes to dealing with deaths of famous and loved personalities in the world of music and art back in Bengal; really, for that matter, what could anybody do, including those sitting in Kolkata or Dhaka, where such events were unfolding almost on a daily basis? Isn’t that how the “Third World” with its third-rate unpredictabilities are supposed to be — be it Kolkata, Dhaka, Port-au-Prince, Colombo or Kigali?
In fact, it’s nothing but a luxury to lament (Dukkha Bilaas) — life’s easily-disposable facet far-removed from the daily struggles especially for the struggling, immigrant middle class. Yeah, first-generation at that too. Why, look at the twenty-something sitting across from me in front of the furnace, taking that special geriatric care of the ninety-plus-year-old rabbit. She’d be least bothered with the news of Dey, Bhattacharjee, Chakraborty, Masud or even Mitra — all of whom she knew through movies and CDs carried back from India on trips since her childhood!
She uses a completely different Englishmatics than I do…or one that her mother does. The mother has found her own Speakometry…to balance the emoticlock between the second-generation Bengali-Indian-American-International and first-generation Bengali-Indian-American-pretend-aspirant-International. The mother managed to find, rather effortlessly (how in the world!), a special oil to oil the emoticlock that ticks almost the flawless tock, back and forth, between the two generations whose Englishmatics are so similar, yet so different.
I promised my blabber and my jabber wouldn’t be more than brief. Five minutes of your time I asked for…remember? You do? Yes? It’s up now. You can now walk back home leisurely…with your own TPPMFFLMCE…and do whatever you do once you put your night pajamas on…who am I to intrude that closely-guarded unguard?
But listen before you go. Carefully choosing words? Or, excluding words? Judging the tick-tock of that stupid-old emoticlock? Or, delaying, slowing it down, silently, gently, one…two…three…seconds…minutes…hours…days…weeks…to make it a “Conversation in the Simplest-Possible, Minimized-Risk Way not to Cause Major Harm…?” [Just so you know, it’s also known as CSPMRW…].
What if I had to disclose that my brother-in-law, only forty, on his early morning innocent bike ride on a romantic Dol Purnima day, was hit by a drunk driver, and brain-dead on a ventilator, to die in a week? What if this morning’s — any morning’s — scoop was that my uncle-in-law, a teashop vendor, only fifty, with two little kids, has been electrocuted by live high-voltage wire snapped and hidden under monsoon street-water, and instantly killed (like Tareq)? How do you break the news you just got through a lacklustre email or a rare air letter — to yourself or your loved ones ? Isn’t that exactly how you got the news of Subroto getting killed under a speeding local train?
What if the news is that my sister (whose husband was in irreversible coma) is now harassed and threatened by rich and powerful family and friends of the crazy driver, because she had the guts to actually go to the police station to actually report it? She must now face consequences: consequences commonplace in “revolutionary” West Bengal, and trivial in feudal India.
What would be my Englishmatics now, in plain and simple terms, to myself and my TPPMFFLMCE…?
What should I do?
Remember, I’m a first-generation, middle class, Third World immigrant in America with hardly any affordable time or treasury, either here, or back there.
Any ideas? You can use your own terminology.