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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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Ambulance

The Ambulance

Ambulances arouse a strong reaction in me. During the years when my mother’s schizophrenia necessitated a series of forced hospital stays, the arrival of the boxy white transporter outside our home was proof that my father, younger brother and I had failed in our efforts to bring her back. Everything we’d done in support of [...]

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MickeyShot2Edited

Surfacing

In September my son Mickey was born. Oval head. Pink sausage link of a torso. The hands of a geriatric in miniature, lined and curled into themselves. The doctor placed him on Erin’s bare chest and gently turned his head to face mine. He opened his eyes, and with a shock I realized that we [...]

AnishM.Teen

I Was Not Cool In High School

When I think, honestly, about my days as a high schooler, I experience an awful sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach. My God, the embarrassments. Now, I’m proud to say that I’ve made an ass of myself THROUGHOUT my 32 years on this planet. But being a six-foot-plus Bengali bookworm with zero coordination and [...]

Eric.Parker

Kolkata On 3 Wheels

After a few days in Kolkata being hosted by relatives, my wife and I decided to reciprocate by taking them out on the town. This is no small task. For starters, there’s a 40-year age difference separating us from the youngest of the 2 Aunties and 1 Uncle we’d be escorting: an entirely different generation [...]

groupshot

The 5 Rules of a Bengali Party

One of the strangest side-effects of growing up and leaving the world of my parents behind is that, after countless bar crawls and mornings feeling like the Cryptkeeper, I find myself missing the rigid frivolity of a Bengali party. There’s something masochistic about this. Few occasions are as deeply rooted in secret rules of engagement (and [...]