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Scarecrow

Paper Tigers

The first moment when I saw things the way I’d see them as an adult occurred during a French class in Grade 5. Our teacher, a pot-bellied Frenchman named Guy, was the very definition of a bon vivant. Instead of teaching the ins and outs of verb conjugation, he much preferred to regale us with [...]

iversonic

The Ghosts of Bandal House

I recently learnt that my mother’s ancestral home outside Kolkata, sold off about 15 years ago to pay outstanding debts, is haunted. And not just by anyone, but the ghost of my grandfather, who passed away in the late 80’s. Apparently the sprawling expanse of Bandal House as it’s called, three stories high, winding corridors [...]

Girl Playing Piano

Waking to a House Filled with Music

Living with a family member who has schizophrenia is like sitting atop a mountain high in the clouds; you can see normal people far below, but the prospect of joining them seems impossible. From age 10 onwards I’d witnessed my mother withdraw from the world, put on black clothing, answer to different names, and lend [...]

CubaLibre

Cuba Libre

In the weeks leading up to the vacation, my father, younger brother and I called it by a variety of jovial-sounding names. A Guy’s Getaway. The Majumdar Men take Cuba. I was 25 years old and living in the basement, feverishly working on what I hoped would be a sellable first novel while ducking calls [...]

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WinterRoad

The Palace of Justice

During the winter of 2005, I watched my father battle Quebec’s Public Curator office for control of my mother’s future. It was a low point for us all- the financial and emotional strain, coupled with the challenges of trying to somehow stay connected as a family at the tail end of over a decade of [...]

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Zoomion

Guest Post: The Shifting Sands of Home

Perhaps it’s the natural instinct of an immigrant to want to make the new country his home.  Yet he continues to fail with every attempt because the birth country cannot truly be replaced. The definition of home becomes diffused, molded, and adjusted as time moves forward and the immigrant grows in his or her new [...]

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AnishMajumdarPhoto56

Returning to Douglas Hospital

During a recent trip to Montreal I had the opportunity to visit Douglas Hospital, a psychiatric institution where my Mom spent over a decade being treated for schizophrenia. It’s a place that looms large in my imagination. When you watch a parent slowly get stripped of a malignant new personality and see flickers of the person [...]

Shankar Uncle and Me

The Forgotten Family

Flying the 7775 miles from Boston to Kolkata with my wife, I kept thinking about the family members I’d be seeing for the first time in over 25 years. Who exactly were these Aunts and Uncles, these half-remembered faces gesticulating down at me and trying to make me laugh at 6 years of age? What [...]

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200 Days with the Others

In March of last year, I began writing my second novel, The Quarry. What began as a kind of waking dream, a young couple, marriage fraying at the seams yet still possessed of a visible love, taking a train through the heart of India became, over the course of the next 200+ days, a thread [...]

dropfocus

The City Block That Encompassed A Childhood

She was an Indian-American growing up on a block in Bayside, Queens that resembled Sesame Street. Only instead of muppets, she had imaginary friends that kept her company while she played in the dark, cavernous basement of her family home. To the left of her house were the Ongs, who gifted her family a box [...]