“Manasij” vs “Monosheej”

Tintin was one my favorite cartoon characters during my childhood days.
I absolutely loved them and enjoyed flipping through the pictures much before I could actually read the English and comprehend the storylines.
Tintin’s talking dog Snowy was a very loveable character and time and again a situation would arrive when Snowy would have a critical choice to make.
Like the picture above, Snowy gets torn between two choices; one delivering the letter to Tintin and two enjoy nibbling the bone…..
The “good” Snowy (as denoted by the white fairy) and the “bad” Snowy (as denoted by the red devil) would wage a battle till one emerged as winner.
And, just in life, so in the comics, the battle of alter egos was really interesting.

This blog is dedicated to the battle of two identities within me.
“Manasij” is a cosmopolitan youth who believes sky is the limit where as the alter ego “Monosheej” (the real Bengali pronunciation of Manasij) is a more anchored to traditions guy- a little fastidious to accept new things, a little frightened of changes and wants to weigh down his alter ego “Manasij”.

Let the battle begin………….

I was born in Kolkata, brought up in Patna, did my engineering from BITS Mesra Ranchi, worked in Trivandrum, Kolkata, Delhi NCR and Indore. Being born as a bong, it was just a matter of time when I started speaking absolutely hilarious and sometimes outrageous Bengal-ised Hindi, like Mamta Bannerjee and Pranab Mukherjee do all the time.

However, my parents sent me to a Hindi medium school, for they wanted me to speak fluent Hindi and appreciate the linguistic richness of Hindi. I grew up reading Nagarjun, Nirala, Premchand, Dinkar and loved them. We used to get the Hindi literature magazine “Hans” at our home each month and that kept me glued to the new age Hindi writers like Azgar Wazahat, Rajendra Yadav et al.

Side by side, my mom was extremely particular about me learning Bengali. So I read all the contemporary and classical Bengali writers ranging from Ravindranath to Satyajeet Roy. And of course, I was reading Enid Blyton and Agatha Christie even before majority of my schoolmates ever new their names; blame it on the Hindi only medium of teaching and thanks to my mom’s English lessons at home.

This exposure to multiple languages paved way for the appreciation and respect for every language and their identities. Advantage to the cosmopolitan “Manasij”!

My childhood days saw the biggest shame of the free India enacted right in front of my eyes. On Dec 6th 1992, we pulled down the Babri Masjid. My family was politically aligned to the left ideology and therefore naturally I disliked it, as a direct result of home grown political beliefs. I would have long debates with my mates, who would defend the destruction and that would bewilder me. The fact that I was brought up in Patna, a deeply casteist society and equally fanatic and that I was swimming against the current, made me appreciate the “different” religions and their customs. Another advantage to “Manasij”.

I ended up marrying a girl after a long standing affair in Dec 2004. She is neither my caste, nor speaks Bengali. But I know you don’t need a linguistic pretext to connect to someone. Advantage “Manasij” once again.

By now, it seemed as “Manasij” was winning all battles hands down. But then on June 10th 2002, I entered a new phase of my life. I joined the beeline of the worker ants of the Indian Software market.

I had entered the software sector dreaming of creating bold software products hitherto unheard off. Soon, I realized that Indian software services scene is a tragedy than a heroic tale of success. Mediocre mundane tasks dominated the scene with ferocity. For the first 4 years of the journey, I largely surrendered to it. I quickly learned about the charms of going abroad, owning flat, driving cars, craving appraisals, anticipating hikes…… “Monosheej” was getting back on track.

If not for an unanticipated governmental dictum of January 2006, may be “Monosheej” would have crushed “Manasij” under its wheels. In Jan 2006, I did a land deal and “Monosheej” was smiling, for finally “Manasij” had succumbed to the peer pressure of buying a land/house/flat. However, a governmental decree sublimated that victory. A six lane highway was to be constructed where “Monosheej’s” kitchen would have been erected.

I don’t know why, but I was gripped by euphoria about this cancellation of the land allotment. I suddenly felt free and save one botched attempt of buying a flat- never again treaded the path!

By then I had moved to a new company, which made software products. Innovation, striving for inspiring ideas became a way of life. The next 3 years, I did some of my best works in the office and met people who seemed very satisfied. As the CTO of the company said: “the pull towards making more money is real, but not at the cost of sacrificing the innovation”. “Monosheej” was in trouble again!

Then, by a quirk of fate, I happen to pick up a mountain bike one day in Oct 2008. That changed the game for “Monosheej” for ever. Now “Manasij” was travelling all over the mountains on his mountain bike and meeting people who turned a mild infection of “zest for life” to a full blown pandemic. I met people who were travelling round the world, meeting people- seeing places- seeking diverse experiences- building friendships- not worrying about an uncertain future but living the present to its best.

Risks exist in life and surely exist in the future. But, the fear psychosis of risk is more paralyzing. Status quo is seductive and always attempts to capsize the voyage to the unknown. As far as I am concerned, “Monosheej” is dead for all he does is psyche “Manasij” about the uncertain future and pulls the strings to walk the path treaded by almost everyone.

Now, a career break for 3 months does not sound scary at all. It appears as an option to pursue an interest with vigor and return to work with more intensity. Neither does a decision that I will not buy a house puts me under any duress. The fascinations of going onsite are long dead and promotions and appraisals have started to look just as mundane as shaving and shampooing.

Life is a great journey and I am surely a very late starter. The fact that it took me so long to embark on it is itself atrocious but then when you have so many “Monosheejs” around you, it was just an imbibed pathogen.

So who wins the trophy “Manasij” or “Monosheej”?
My answer is simple.
I am “Manasij”.

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20 Responses to ““Manasij” vs “Monosheej””

  1. Anonymous Says:

    Not ‘Ravindranath’, it’s ‘Rabindranath’. Not ‘Satyajeet Roy’, it’s Satyajit Ray’. Be careful with proper nouns 🙂

    And maybe the third identity of yours is ‘Maansij’. If I’m not very wrong, most of your ‘cosmopolitan’ friends utter this word. Does ‘Manasij’ have any statement for ‘Maansij’?

    -Bratish

  2. Prabhu Says:

    Manasij….Nice blog man
    You have nice way of narration…liked it much 🙂
    esp I liked the photos…..Live the present!
    Have fun as you always.

  3. manasij Says:

    @Bratish: Sorry for mis-spelling Robi-thakur and Shottojit Raay!
    About “Maansij” and the “cosmopolitan friends” I guess mum is best 🙂

    @Prabhu: Thanks a lot for your encouragement. It feels good when someone likes your writing. It really makes your day!

  4. Bibudh Says:

    Babri Masjid was demolished on December 6 1992, not 1991.

  5. Raja Says:

    Manasij:

    Very well said. The battle is on between two identities, the one your inner self and the other is in the rat race….and eventually the inner self should win…because even if you win the race, you end up being a rat…

    ~Nilesh ‘Raja’

  6. manasij Says:

    @Bibudh: Corrected. Thanks anyway 🙂

  7. Saibal Says:

    Man… I have been reading your blogs. You have met my wife. She is not my cast, doesn’t compliment my height & she is a doctor while I rate myself as a semi-employed middle aged man. I believe marriage is a sacrimony, not a contract. In Indian terms getting rid of the daughter & responsibilities of keeping a grownup daughter home & because of what anonymous individuals may think of her or the parents. Before getting married I was interviewed by a lot of prospective brides and their guardians but in their minds, they seem to try to get rid of their daughter, in the form of getting her married to someone with a source of income & may be a roof over his head. They always tried to impress me by presenting something known as a biodata along with a re-touched digital photograph of the prospective bride and filling in with information that she knows computers. Cooking & her brother lives in the USA or Austrilia and has been there for computer related things. They didn’t give any damn thought, if the live long partners would have the same wavelength of mindset & get along together for the rest of their lives. This all happened a long time back and still happens today. I can confirm this as I always see it, when arrangements are made for the marriage of my nephews and nieces, where I am made a party to the arrangements.
    As per the language of Bengali or Hindi, I can speak, read and write both with equal competence although I went to an English medium school in West Bengal, where Bengali was second language until the ICSE, & Hindi was third language until class seven. When I speak Hindi, I stick to the Hindi vocabulary as much as possible, with the minimum usage of English words. I think the competence and love of the language comes from within, after one’s been introduced to the language, not because of the peer or parental pressure. I have read Tintin and Munshi Premchand in English & enjoyed it as much as the Hindi version

  8. siraj Says:

    Nice Blog ” Mansij ” ….One slight input from my side. As fart as I remember the Babri Masjid Demolition was done on Dec 6, 1992. In your blog its mentioned as Dec 6, 1991. Apologies in advance, if I am wrong. By the way, your blogs are really nice, and so your decisions..

    Hats off to you..Keep Going

    Love,

    Siraj

  9. manasij Says:

    @Siraj: Corrected. Sometimes I sound like an ass. This was one such moment. Thanks for making me look better 😀

  10. mou Says:

    kudos to Manasij……..

  11. Ritesh Anand Says:

    VERY Well said Manasij

    AND

    Well commented Saibal!!!

  12. Alok Bhushan Shukla Says:

    DALE CARNEGIE SAID -“NEVER CRITICIZE”–
    This is a sure way to make enemies.
    Now I don’t wish to turn my long standing friend ‘Dear Manasij’ an enemy…But could not stop my self from commenting
    —for good or bad—
    Dear Manasij,Its a nice blog that you are rolling out!I’ve always admired your rational thought process and artistic talent.
    However I cud easily see the thread of pessimism running through your blog.
    Whats wrong mate??
    Negativity and Cribbing about the system alone will bring you nothing.
    Software Industry in India may be dishing out mediocre work but who stops
    you from raising your own bar…from innovating and creating something different.
    From being India’s Linus Torvalds??
    Ok leave it,If codes bug you & you like creative writing then the multi talented (gang)man that you are – who stops you from surpassing Chetan Bhagat?
    You said – “I quit” –in one of your posts.I ssy you need not quit.
    There are poor kids out there on streets fighting out for for survival.Many of them more gifted than me and you…If they say ‘Quit’ then that’s understandable.
    ‘I quit’ – does not make sense coming from you while still blaming the system! If this quitting is about quitting the rat race than ok ..but it seems
    You are quitting because either You are not making use of your talent/true potential,or you have none period.
    To give you an example – The one genius – Srinivasa Iyengar Ramanujan – The Man who knew Infinity –
    lived in abject poverty and was often without food – And probably lack of fund forced him
    to only note his final results and omit proofs in most cases.Still his ‘notebooks’ are worth more than million gems.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Srinivasa_Ramanujan

    It does not matter if you own a flat or not.You have gone onsite or not.Its not about’Manasij’ or ‘Monosheej’.
    The question my dear friend is Have you done justice to your true self and your full talent?
    And you only can answer this one.
    This all may sound too paternalistic and intrusive coming from me but oh a frind has to don many roles,right?

  13. Riggi Says:

    Another great nerration from your stable. I just love to read your eshtyle. Keep doing it..
    -Amit

  14. Anonymous Says:

    hey i am not sure what you wish to clear out of it, but presumably defaming your school where u learned to walk is atrocious crime i must say….
    after all you are man of ur words but ..i think you have forgooten man is social animal… and we all are free to speak but not the issues where many are concerned…
    school was my macca madina…my golden temple…. any thing u may say plz dont say anything being its hindi medium…you had choice to select school, not the school had selected
    you….
    i am loyal to the teachers…
    you mean to say though such brilliant fraternity were there but there hindi ideology made them dumb….
    good keep up this spirit….i think that was what we expected out of you….
    see no one is perfect in this world …the one who was …jesus he was crucified…this will keep ur blogs alive by criticizing others …you have many topics…go ahead….
    but plz leave the school aside….
    thank you….

  15. Saibal Says:

    Alok!! You seem to have hit the nail. Manasij needs to think positive and be what he wants to be and give a damn to what other people think about him. It’s your life my young friend and try live it to the fullest. There’s never has been complete satisfaction, complete love, complete happiness and a lot of completes that we strive to gain. Smart people try and make the most of what life has to offer to them and strive to get more but they sure draw a line somewhere & enjoy whatever they have on them. For the little bit of time that I have spent with you, you seem to be disturbed deep within.( I am not making a generalisation, it’s what I have felt)
    For a middle aged man like me who has survived depression for two years and anxiety problems which I have survived, I have got back a new life and re-learnt the meaning of living the life to the fullest. Take care of yourself and most importantly your inner self. It’s you & only you who can make a difference in your life. We as friends can only give a patient hearing, support and simpathise.
    Saibal

  16. manasij Says:

    Some very interesting comments have come through…..
    It is great as a blogger to see your blog roll have lots of comments 😀
    But I think I am still not being lucid enough in my writing.

    @Alok and Saibal: I always thought that I am an optimist. In fact I am neither judgemental nor critical. Yes, I am opinionated and use this forum to express them. It was terrific to get responses from you. May be my next blogs would portray the +ve side.

    @Anonymous: I read my blog again and could not figure if any traces of derision of St. Xavier’s High School was present! Anyway, if it hurt you I dont have a problem in apologizing :-). BTW, it would have helped if you had identified yourself, after all we sang “HUm Sab Sathi St. Xavier’s Ke….” for 10 years together mate 🙂

    This blog roll is a buffet dinner. What you don’t like, just ignore them and move on. May be the next dish would be better.

    As far as I am concerned, I will surely cook a better dish the next time.

    Cheers,
    Manasij

  17. Saibal Says:

    Anonymous!! The school I went to is also Mecca-Medina for me. It was a residential school and my parents being teachers, lived in the staff quarters. I was therefore brought up in the school. It was my childhood home, followed by being a student in the school. After passing out, my parents were still serving the school, so I went back to the school during the holidays long after passing out. My dad is the only living teacher who has seen the 75th year, centenary & 125th year celebrations’ of the school. My dad served the school for 45 years, my mother some 30 years. So see, how the attachment grew towards the school and still going strong. I however accept any valid criticism made about the school. I guess Manasij was pretty young when he did get admitted in the school, without having the choice or knowledge of the finer points like the medium of instruction.
    Manasij my friend, you are optimistic too the highest limit and that is what troubles you when you don’t see equal optimism in others. Just be cool mate, it’s your life, and live the way you want to live within reasons…..This is what we are trying to point out.
    Saibal

  18. manasij Says:

    @Saibal/Anonymous: I went to St. Xavier’s High School which is one of the best schools of Patna. My parents deliberately put me into a Hindi medium school because they WANTED me to pick up Hindi very well (as mentioned in my blog). I have written in many hindi dailies and my hindi science fictions have been published in many places. I have recited self composed Hindi poetry in many gathering in Patna, including one at which Hindi’a one of the greatest poets Baba Nagarjun was present. Time and again, when I have served as editor of many magazines in college/companies my Hindi prowess has helped me immensely. So, I guess making any assumption that I do not see eye to eye with Hindi medium schools is a false assumption. I believe our education system has many flaws (a view my parents who have been educationists for their whole life concur with). It has nothing to do with the medium of education and the school.
    BTW, optimists are never swayed by the lack of the same emotion from others. I am surely an optimist and the path of being so is mandatorily solitory.

  19. C.S.Yeh Says:

    Manasij vs Monosheej, Manasij or Monosheej? Honestly…I don't give a toss! (here's where I state that I'm joking) ha ha?? :)Here's an interesting poem I came across a couple of years ago when I accompanied my father to the cardiologist. It was neatly tucked under the glass on his desk and somehow it's always stuck with me. Obviously I didn't get the chance to note it down then, so I googled it and voila!Man in the mirror,If you get what you want in your struggle for self And the world makes you king for a day Then go to the mirror and look at yourself And see what that man has to say For it isn't a man's father, mother or wife Whose judgement upon him must pass The fellow whose verdict counts most in his life Is the man staring back from the glass He's the fellow to please, never mind the rest For he's with you clear up to the end And you've passed your most dangerous, difficult test If the man in the glass is your friend You can fool the whole world down the pathway of years And get pats on the back as you pass But your final reward will be heartache and tears If you've cheated the man in the glass.-AnonymousNo matter who you are… always be true to oneself, is what I believe.

  20. Priyank Says:

    “Life is a great journey and I am surely a very late starter….” great insight , matured beyond years? 🙂 keep writing. cheers!

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