For the last few weeks, I've been mostly spending my nights reading things like the Iliad or Aeneid. They are a part of the course, and so I have to read; not that they are not enjoyable. But sometimes I decide that I've had enough and turn to Wodehouse or Tintin. They help. (Now that I come to think of it, I realize that I do read the latter much more than course material.) Anyway, today in class I saw this cat drawn on the black-board. I decided to rub off the right forelimb and turned it into the mota shota, laal toktok-e Hojoborolo cat. We wrote lines from Sukumar Ray around the drawing; things like (and I may be misquoting here): Gorom lagey? toh Tibbot gelei paaro and Chhilo ekta dim, hoye gelo dibyi ekta pyankpyanke haansh. E-toh hameshai hochchhe. Much to our dismay, this was subsequently rubbed off by our teacher, who needed the board to write down for us certain terms related to Greek tragedy.
So, tonight, instead of Wodehouse or Tintin, I turned to Sukumar Ray, and realized that no matter how brilliant and sublime Wodehouse's comic genius is, there's a different kind of comfort in total nonsense, which nothing else can provide. Take for example:
"Kon kaatth-e koto rosh jano nako totwo -
Ekadoshi raat-e keno kaatth-e hoy gorto?"
'Chenchiye boley, "Phaandh petechho? Jogai ki tai podey?
Shaath German, Jogai eka, tobuo Jogai lodey!"
Utshahete gorom hoye, tidingbiding naachey,
Kokhono jaye shamne tedey, kokhon jaye pachhe.'
I've often felt that I came much too late in the line of history, missed the Beatles and lots and lots of other stuff which I really shouldn't get started on! but now I just feel happy to have come after Sukumar Ray and his works. I know I could have been there during the Beatles era and still not missed Sukumar Ray, but for now, that doesn't matter so much. Nonsense rhyme is the most comforting thing in the world.