Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Looking Back

Castrating Falguni Roy with cohesion

A play transcreated from Falguni Roy's writings by Parnab Mukherjee

This entire writing was conceptualized to be developed into a project that shall culminate on the 60th birth anniversary celebrations for Falguni Roy slated for June 7, 2005. In some sense this is a finished work and in some sense this is a work-in-progress.
This play was first performed as a dramatized reading by Out of Context-a theatre project of St Joseph's College, Bangalore, directed by Parnab Mukherjee on June 7, 2003 at Shilalipi bookstore. On February-March 2004-as a part of their new production-Out of Context extended the concept of reading into an "A T-Shirt play for Falguni Roy." The poem in the T-shirt was penned by Parnab Mukherjee-who also conceived the idea. This act of T-shirt performance took place in Bangalore.
Following is the T-shirt tribute to Falguni Roy

I Chant I Rant I Cant
I Untie I Unending I Unzip
I Surrogate I Levitate I Prostrate
Acoustic Plastic Sarcastic
Soot Grime Sublime
Rhetoric Generic Harpic
Theatre 1 Theatre 2 Theatre 3
Postcards from 9/11 Snapshots from 9/11
I Asymptote I Quixote I Gloat
I Davos Circus I Mumbai Circus I Apollo Circus
I Ridiculous I Stupendous I Sensuous
Your Performance, of Reading This, is finally over

Subsequently, an interactive performance of Castrating Falguni took place in Shilalipi* on June 6, 2004 directed by Parnab Mukherjee with musical reactions by Pradip Chatterjee and Dibya Mukhopadhyay of Mohiner Ghoraguli*. A montage of shots on Falguni's ancestral house was documented by Anwita Thapliyal, Charu Maithani and Namita Singh of Indraprashtha College for Women-Delhi as a part of their summer project under Parnab Mukherjee.
All this and more keeps Falguni alive.

Here’s the play. But you must read the preface.
Oh! You have read it already.


Before the space is opened up you can hear sounds of wood being split. And a chorus of voices-disjointed, disembodied. A roundtable with skulls. Inside the eyes of the skull-there’s this glowing candle. And two persons-one with his back to the audience absolutely naked and the other one with a flowing robe and dark glasses. The space has only two principal properties- a wax coated television and a televiosn without any hardware inside. Both have a white banner stuck to it. Written on this banner-using dripping read-is a phrase that says Television for lost souls.
A third person walks up and starts speaking:

Private Bed (1968)
Not Radha, Not only radha
Even the prostitute menstruates
Father of 3 children-the idol for
Family planning
Masturbates from childhood
Doesn’t he
I don’t want to be Rabindranath Tagore
Not even Raghu –the dacoit
I just want to be Falguni Roy-
Falguni Roy
I stay in a road
Where the fertility centre and
The crematorium
Face the opposing ends
You don’t believe
bus route 4,32,34,43
I have noticed that the word
Magazine is more relevant
While applied in the context
Of Rifle

Naked Man: How did you leave the job of the police. Tell me how? Searching for which neon. Now don't argue listen to me carefully. Whenever, I smoke grass I think a number of eyes creep inside my skin and there's this strange tumor that envelopes my consciousness. Maybe grass is greener when smoked. It gives you a vision. See if you have stomach-you will have stomach problem and if you have the willingness to survive then of course there will be hunger.

Naked Man (continues): I don’t have a problem with humankind (1970)
No, I don’t have a problem with humankind
No problems whatsoever
If my moneylender falls sick
I can take him to the hospital
From my former lover’s husband I can easily
Ask for Charminar
My life’s easy like beard creeping on my face

Watching Ramakrishna’s love for Kali
My sexual unrest subsides
Babli’s love for her husband fills
Me up with my kind of meditative wetness
If my chappal gets lost I buy a new pair
No I don’t have a problem with
The humankind

My gaze shifts from my sister’s breast
The day of ‘bhaiphonta’ I walk on the
Streets of nearest brothels
I visualize that when I die I’ll be
Able to see this corridor down
The horizon

I don't know moments before I
Was born that: I’ll be born
I’m a-without-consequence man
I’m a-without-death semi-terrorist being
I’ve noticed a dog inside me weeping in
The dog in me has
This want for mating like the
Saint who’s forbidden apple
Is a craving to screw around with a female saint
Finally, I seek the happiness of life
Through my poetry
Through my rhyme scheme
I don’t have any problem with life
I don’t have any problem
Whatsoever with the humankind

Dark glasses Man: But I do have a problem with mankind. I was this policeman. Once I had a duty in front of Rajbhawan. There was this procession-long, meandering and never-ending almost near the Gandhi statue. The crowd near the statue was getting restless. for peace-I fired tear gas and then fired some rounds and then fired some more (drinks preferably liquor) and then from one of my bullets there was this 23-year old girl who's breasts were filled with blood. From then onwards I started selling life insurance. I left the police job. You can call me a person afflicted by mental disorder. Yes, I did enter a movie hall once to see a Gina Lollobrigida movie and the witch in this seductive thriller laughed and I noticed a little bit of blood on her teeth. My mother's blood. I probably nibbled too much in the womb as did countless other children, husbands and wives.
I came out of the hall and fired at the banner. And the Gina Lollobrgida face in the banner mocked me. No it’s not about a guilt complex. You know till you don’t murder, you won't know a murderer's mindset.
You know sometimes my rifle becomes my bible.
Infact, all the time.
My rifle My Bible(1972)
My rifle; My Bible; I take poems
Of this name and insert them
In my pocket
and start walking towards a prosperity terrain- in this path there is a road and a bazaar named after a revolutionary and a memorial tablet>
named after a slain activist of the 70’s .
College square water reflects the
dangling shadow
replica of a new
library belonging to an older university situated not so far
Away Medical College morgue and bang opposite the place of worship and
from the library a furlong away there's this road meanders into a prostitute Quarter area. I walk this road towards a
Prose poetry terrain- in my pocket
Instead of currency I have 2 poems
There is a vast underneath and
Underneath the white skin- underneath
the skies there is a national conjunction
that pierces my heart but I’m yet
to go to the skinny alley-harkata galli
with a few writing clutched, clasped . I still
walk on a prosperity terrain- with the<
desire to learn. I headed towards a she lover- the book declined my thirst-the woman did not- so I drank her-then I sat near Red blue aquarium and consumed fried fish and gazed at the large protruding
breasts of a prostitute- infact the mound looked less sensual but more
a godown of flesh- my old lover's current husband’s smile recently
reflected less of triumph almost
like a toothpaste ad- infact even the ad reflected a botched triumph I didn’t notice any- pity me

At the Ramakrishna crematorium
Nemai sadhu consumes burnt corpse with the
Same sense of relish as roasted mutton
Occasionally he consumes even his own shit, grass, mud and then
nonchalantly chants the name of Hari- many believe he’s a liberated man also wanted to be liberated but
Not by consuming the same bullshit-<
Even the desires for such a bullshit freedom

is something which I categorically reject
A poet of the colonized India
Once wrote God lies in those hands that tend the land not in the temples- now here I am
A poor poet from free India
Shackled by poverty and by the
Hopeless wish that we shall-we shall
and will unshackle these children who
Still smile wistfully, smiles out

Of innocence, smiles helplessly

Instead of napalms carry two poems in my palm and walk Towards a prosperity terrain
Where there is a road and a bazaar named
after a revolutionary and a memorial after a 70’s activist
who consumed bullets.

Naked Man: I love a girl called Anuradha. We shall get married soon in this place near the Jhajha Mountain. Both of us will sit on the slope and look at the star spangled sky. As the silence will pierce through the cosmic blueness and the green slopes will merge into a blue horizon almost like the endless darkness of the vagina mixing with the breasts. Tomorrow is the independence day. I'd like to smooch somebody that day. But after the smooch, I am fairly sure if the woman is interested in having sex with me and I am game too-before the act-all that I will see is mutilated vagina of Anuradha. I am a murder. I shoot bullets of poetry across fractured vaginas.
Poetry bullet(1984)
Somewhere the memorial tablet
Was broken to give rise to a
Shani temple
Come come let’s break the mandir
And let’s once again
Construct a military base for
An army of marginal voices
Who lost everything
To all comrades who
Died for the overt need of their last sexual
Let us pay respect
As a mark of my respect I
Stopped masturbating
increasing number of TV sets in the prostitute
There is even meat for their
As God dangles in their wall
with a sardonic look
How many genuine girls
For reasons of revolution
Have had their private parts
made Aglow
with marks of police atrocities
How many more women
Will be looked down because
Their lovers are not careerists
And all those intelligent fucked up
Poets crowd coffee house
After the culture pandals get dismantled
In the maidan all
these screwballs who walk in maidan and graze sheep
Let poet’s finesse be known through his craft
Let well earning assholes go to
Marriage parties or brothels
My body will ebb away
But my consciousness will be alive in the body of my words
Future readers are not bothered
How much salary a poet received
Infact they aren’t bothered at all

Third person: We need food-house-clothes
We need wife-poetry
We need liquor-hard liquor
Art is our liquor
Literature is our liquor
Our liquor is the sensation of hunger

Naked Man: There's this twosome standing in the middle of the road
The he revolves with the she
She asks he
he asks she
they reply
in signs and unsaid impulses
only the eyes talk
take our love away
take our love away

Dark glasses man: I want a theatre where one of the drunk person-say me goes to this skull, takes the candle from the retina, inserts his finger inside the blank spot and then the explosion of the skull and then spurting of blood near a cock and then the cock explodes in a pattern of flesh-like ribbon-and then these ribbons take shape of man, woman, dog, goat, pig, piglet, vagina, clitoris, blood-stained pancreas and of course innumerable nerves ripped open. Then in this newly created orb every pattern that was hovering around as images so far turn into a burning candle
And we see the naked man(gestures-naked man comes)turning into Christ (in a crucified posture) and the cock turn into a black serpent and the serpent engulfs the body spewing venom and the Black Christ stands their unapologetic.

Chorus: Can your theatre take this?
Can you show me the tram in which Jibanananda died?
Can you show me an authentic pair of glasses which
Manik Bandopadhayay wore, Roy Gilchrist, Frank Worrell,
Tagore-men-machine gun-Shantiniketan beggars
Pros quarters-one foot below Khidderpore bridge
Why not hungry? Psychotronic poems,
Maternity home, burning ghat, aircooler, refrigerator,
16mm projector, tape recorder, Mark II
my obsession for Benoy Mazumdar
and remember
my death day: 31-5-1981
and my birth day: June 7th, 1945
It is cricket dear
It is cricket
They all raise a placard and leave the space. The placard
says: "Art is Subjectivity-Jean Paul Sartre”.

*Shilalipi a bookstore of alternative Bengali literary books in Kolkata sponsored by GRAFFITI.
*Mohiner Ghoraguli the first alternative Bengali band.

Parnab Mukherjee :A media analyst by profession and is considered as one of the foremost directors of alternative theatre movement in the country.


  1. Here are a couple of links relating to Falguni.