Happy Days

Gentle breeze, soft sun, a few John Denver song, extra layer of clothing, laziness, friends, family, a few plans, cakes, coffee, good food - this has to be the best time of the year in Kolkata.

Merry Christmas and a very happy new year.

What's Totto?

If you go ahead and search "Bengali Marriage Rituals", you will get a bunch of sites dedicated to the subject. But those that I have seen does not cover one essential practise: Totto.

Totto is essentially items that are required in other rituals. One small set is sent by the groom's family to the bride on the morning of the marriage. The other set of gifts, which is much bigger, is sent by the bride's family to the groom after the marriage, usually after a day. Please note that there is no pressure on any family from the other family for dowry or anything- not at least in urban Bengal. So, it's the happy families sending happy gifts to happify others. Now, I can't possibly stop others from carrying on and thus encourage this apparently nice part of marriage. But I have my reasons to promise myself not to allow this if (that's a big if) I ever get married. Of course, I am the loser. Here's why:

I won't get to see my relatives shop, pack, unpack, dishevel my house, and repack for several weeks before the actual marriage. Of course, I will miss out on their encyclopedic knowledge of marriage rituals. It is really interesting to see people debate over what is followed in the bangal (East Bengal) way as opposed to ghoti (West Bengal) way, which unfortunately I will have to pass. I will miss remarks like "We only sent 72 trays of gift? At your cousin's marriage, we sent 101", which, btw, happened 17 years ago. I didn't realize we were still playing that game.

In case you are interested in things that I will NOT get, here's a few: shoelace to things to wash your face; suits to boots; shaving cream to gadgets that trim; powder puff to handcuff (oops, disregard that - that's just the sadistic poet in me), savory to lingerie, furniture to fruit hamper. It's demeaning, as if the groom is a beachcomber.

So, my future in-laws, please don't let your relatives pressurize you, or pressurize yourself to show off, by gifting these things: I use them anyway. And if I don't have something, I probably don't need it. I know as a Bengali you are proud that these days there is no dowry, but if you are anyway going to spend lakhs of rupees on useless / perishable things, what's wrong with dowry?

Strange but true

Observations from the latest few days of my life:
  • I went to a party of mostly second and third cousins, some once or twice removed. I actually enjoyed the party!
  • At the same party, I heard two young girls discussing Bajaj Pulsar 220 vs. Hero Honda Karizma!
  • Some people want India to attack Pakistan, though there are countless problems, including terrorism not sponsored by Pakistani elements, within our country.
  • We still don't know how to handle people. If only you saw what happened when Maradona was in town, you would know what I am talking about. Hundreds of people on the stadium ground, with otherwise no business to be there, trying to get close to him, or get a snap, or get an autograph.
  • Just when I was giving up on my old laptop, it started working on it's own.
  • My pen-drive went through a wash and spin cycle in the washing machine along with my pair of jeans. And it still works! Transcend rocks!
  • It's a quarter month gone in December, and it's still warm here.

Rebuild India Mission

One of the interesting projects that I have seen post the Mumbai terror attack is the Rebuild India Mission. There are a lot of positive discussions and actions (which is more important) going on in the mission: I request all of you to go through their website and share your views.

If you want to show your support by adding a linked logo (widget) on your blog:

India Crying: Politicians face the people

One sentiment coming out clearly from the Mumbai terror attacks is the lack of credibility of politicians in India.

Be it Mr. Hemant Karkare's family refusing the one crore offered by the Gujrat CM Narendra Modi, or Major Unnikrishnan's family refusing to let Kerala CM, V S Achuthanandan inside their house, the mood seems to be unanimous. BTW, only if all the philanthropies came a little earlier, maybe our soldiers would have better equipment / protection and not lose their lives so cheaply. If only the sniffer dogs sent to sniff out bombs in the late Major's house (so that the CM can be safe there) were deployed elsewhere, maybe the terrorists would be caught earlier.

Sobhaa De's angry reaction on television to the attack was "Remove security cover for these politicians. Only then will they act". I totally agree with this. What's the point of giving highly trained NSG commandos the duty to protect politicians, when it takes hours to deploy them in a crisis situation like Mumbai?

I have even heard of conspiracy theories about Maharashtra CM Vilasrao Desmukh being involved in this attack to get him out of the MNS / Marathi Manoos row! Though far fetched, if people can even think that the CM of a state may be involved, it shows what respect they have for him. The less said about his deputy, R. R. Patil, the better. Times of India, today, on the first page called him a joker. If he says one more sentence like the one he said earlier: "Small incidents happen in big cities", devil help him from mob fury.

Several SMSes are doing the rounds asking where MNS chief Raj Thackeray is, and why he didn't tackle this problem of non-Mumbaikars attacking iconic landmarks in the capital of his beloved Maharashtra?

I didn't see the Home Minister, now ex Home Minister, Shivraj Patil, giving any statement, or reaction even after couple of days of the attack. Instead, the foreign minister gave most of the statements. What is the use of a home minister, if he can't stand up during times of crisis and lead the operations?

Several people I know, and some eminent personalities are asking the common people to refrain from voting, and electing scumbags. The only meek response to this seems to be "What will happen to our democracy?". No one is saying that voting allows the right people to run our country. Seems everyone is sure there is no right person to run the country! I would have endorsed this boycott votes too, but I, like many people, do not know the answer to: What's the alternative?

Politicians: Please show us some sign that you have the desire and will to lead this country.

Emotions: I am

  • tired from all the physical work that I did for the last few days.
  • happy that the marriage went smoothly.
  • not sad, and neither did I cry, when it was time for me to say goodbye to my sister after her marriage. I have been asked this question a hundred times, and I don't see why, after planning her marriage for the last several months, so that she starts her own family, would suddenly regret it at that time and cry. My relatives found this a bit un-emotional.
  • amused at how some people try to make their living by dishonest means.
  • a little sorry that I missed all the football matches over the last week.
  • absolutely disgusted at what's happening in Mumbai.

The big, fat, chaotic, funny Indian wedding

Have not been able to write anything in the last few days as I was super busy. There's a marriage at home, and you know how things are, in any Indian house, when that happens. Lot's of shopping, planning, re-planning, more shopping, invitations, bookings, caterers, decorator, flowers, etcetera, etcetera.... most of our close relatives are visiting us often to help us. Some of them have already traveled to Kolkata for the event. It's family reunion time.

In the midst of all this, I have found a new pastime: Sudoku. I only attempted my first Sodoku a fortnight ago, and the first two days, couldn't solve anything! But now, I am able to solve them everyday, and one of the very first things I do each day. It's fun.

Most likely, won't be able to write anything in the next two weeks. Till then...

Celebrating Difference

When my Ma fell ill in the middle of the night several years ago, it was my Sikh neighbor who brought out his Taxi and helped us to the hospital. No, he didn't charge us a single Rupee.
When I flew overseas for the first time, I had a senior with me from Bihar. We goofed up in the foreign land together, helped each other and discovered things together. We even sang at a party together.
When I started my career in Bangladesh, I became friends with some of them. I even have an adopted sister and brother there.
When I shifted to Delhi, I made a few friends who formed my support group and still remain close friends. They happen to be Rajasthani, Malayali, UPite, Himachali, Uttarakhandi, Tamil, Maharashtrian, Punjabi etc.
When I was in Bangalore, my office friends were Tamil, Chattisgarhi, Malayali, Hyderabadi, Kannadiga, Kashmiri, etc.
When I traveled to Sikkim and Munnar, my friends from Karnataka were there to share those moments with me.
When I got lost in Thadiyendamol, a friend from Maharashtra and a Punjabi friend from UP were also lost with me and fought with me over interpretation of the map.
When I was traveling through the barren hills of Ladakh, there were friends who happen to be Bihari, Punjabi, and UPite (I guess, I never checked).
My chat history shows I chat a lot with my friends who are from Assam, Manipur, Delhi, etc.
When I find a long lost non-Bengali school friend on Orkut, I am equally elated as when I find a Bengali friend.

Yes, we are all different. Maybe, we speak different languages at home. Maybe, what we eat given a choice is different. Maybe our prayers are different. Maybe our traditional clothes are different. But isn't that a good thing? How boring life would be if everyone around me were similar in taste, manners, and habits! I can't alienate people because they are different. I will go on celebrating the differences. Are you with me?

Happy Diwali

Global economic depression, terrorism, racial fighting... nothing stops people from celebrating their festivals.

Similarly, if there is something bothering us from inside, no matter how many people around you are celebrating, how much lights have been lit, how many fire crackers are been burst, we can't enjoy.

May we attain inner peace this Diwali.


I like you. I like the way you show different shades and various moods. I like you in the morning, when the sun's rays touches your beautiful face, and you glow like a goddess. I like you when your calmness matches the mood of the setting sun. Or when it rains, how it leaves you with a nice fresh fragrance. I like the way you make me want to be near you, and just when I try to go near you, you make it difficult. Sometimes, when I do get near you, you really take my breath away, and of course I like that too. It's been a while I have seen you, and I miss you. I am sure you know that I love you.

P.S: Her photograph as promised. Photo courtesy: Om


What does Himesh Reshamiya have that Shankar Mahadevan doesn't?

Clue: No, it has nothing to do with natural flowing hair.

More Clue: Ustaad Rahat Fateh Ali Khan or KK doesn't have it; Kailash Kher only has half of it; Sukhwinder has one too, and Shaan has one and half of it.

Answer: It's the Filmfare award for male playback singing.

  • Legends Kishore Kumar and Md.Rafi leads the male singers with the highest number of Filmfare awards with eight and six awards respectively.
  • Kumar Sanu has won the Filmfare award a record five consecutive times from 1991 to 1995.
  • Kailash Kher's only Filmfare award shared with Shaan is for singing the words "Subhan Allah" 16 times in the song Chand Sifarish (Fanaa). Subhan Allah!

The Political Parties of Waste Brinjal

These are some of the political parties of the present day of a fictitious state of Waste Brinjal:

The government is made up of a coalition popularly known as the Theft Front. Leading the pack is the Creating Perfect Election Manipulation (CPEM). Among the other big parties in the Theft Front are the Corrupt Practises Expert (CPE), Backward Flock (BF), and Resisting Forward Progress (RFP). The government of Theft Party has ruled Waste Brinjal for over several decades. For their own benefits, they backed unions: who at every pretext harassed industries, and in some cases, stopped work as well. All for gathering popular votes from the villages. And another standard feature for decades has been opposition to whatever the ruling party at the center does.

The main opposition is a decade old party called the Grasseater party led by Ms. Mega Chaos. Her and her party’s reason for success has been successful emulation of whatever Theft Front had done for years. If Theft Front can rig votes, so can Grasseaters. If Theft Front backed unions organized most of the bus workers, then Grasseater backed unions got majority of the auto workers together. In addition, they oppose almost anything the Theft Front does, and is known to call for the use of Article 356 and President’s rule at the drop of a hat.

Now to the present situation:

The coalition government of Theft Front, after resisting change and industrialization for years, finally wants to catch up with other states. It has taken some steps to make the state investor friendly. But the opposition, out of habit, or out of fear of the ruling party taking all the credit for the state’s development, opposes everything that the government does. The Theft Front’s cause is not helped by some members of the Front itself who opposes some of the moves fearing loss of votes from villages if industrialization happens. On one hand, the state’s Minister of Industries, Mr. Nice Effort, goes to Ruritania to bring business; and on the other hand, a government agency controlled by the Backward Flock refuses to renew a trade license of a major investor from Ruritania.

Even other than industrialization, any change is resisted by the union structure Frankenstein that the Theft Front created. If they want to evict the hawkers who were not there a few years ago and have taken over major parts of the cities, the unions are there to back the hawkers. If the government wants to remove illegal autos and autos which use illegal fuel to curb the pollution problem, again, they can’t, because the unions won’t let that happen.

Now, the question is, where is Waste Brinjal headed?

Issued in Public Interest

This is a message on our cell phones that most of us in Kolkata (probably throughout West Bengal) received last night / today:
Do not pay bribe. If Central Gov/PSU/Bank employee demand bribes for doing work in WB/Sikkim/Andaman & Nicobar, please call SP/CBI/Kol on 03322894404/9433060892 or email sp1ackol@cbi.gov.in

I know similar messages were sent in Bangalore and Delhi as well. Certainly a step in the right direction. Hope the state government agencies also take the initiative and set up something similar.

It's rock 'n roll baby!

As experience has taught me, I am sceptical about movies which everyone raves about. For example, people were going gaga over Chak De last year, and some even suggested that it should go to (and get) the Oscars. But I had a hard time digesting a women's international team playing a men's international team and keeping the scores close; or the entire team going to McDonalds for lunch before an international tournament (whatever happened to sports nutrition) and getting into a brawl with local rowdies and the coach encouraging that in the name of team spirit. I need spirit of a different kind to gulp that. For me, you either make a movie where practical scenarios can be tossed aside (like Munnabhai movies, superhero movies) or you make movies which are true to practical scenarios. Of course, when you tout the film as being inspired by true stories, I would expect you to stick to real life.

Why am I saying all this? Because Rock On comes very close to being a superhyped movie which lives up to it's expectations. The direction is good, the characters are well defined (mostly), and all the lead actors are excellent. I thought Sahana Goswami was outstanding in her portrayal of Arjun Rampal's wife.

The music is ok, but nothing great. I mean I am not keeping it on a repeat loop on my player or eager to learn the lyrics like I did with Life in a Metro. Prachi Desai's character for me was a little too sweet for a lady from the portrayed society. Not complaining about her acting though. I didn't care about a band member getting brain tumor and dying soon after their last performance sub-plot: too filmy and repeated too many times. I would have loved to see the characters physically change (weight gain, muscle definition change) between the 10 years gap, and not just through change of hairstyle and clothes. I am really nitpicking here, isn't it?

Overall the movie was enjoyable, and while watching it, one does wish that the band get together again, and sort out things between themselves. And kudos to the producers for investing in a film with a uber-urban subject like Rock band.

Where are you from?

Let me write the disclaimer first: I am not a Raj Thackeray or MNS or Shiv Sena fan, neither do I have any connection with them. Personally, I don't see the reason for the hue and cry over Mrs. Jaya Bachchan's recent comment in the music launch of a Hindi film, "Hum UP ke log hain, humein Hindi mein baat karni chahiye" (We are from UP, we should talk in Hindi). It was a Hindi movie after all! If these guy had their way, they would make it mandatory for all hindi movies to be dubbed in Marathi before release in Maharashtra. Won't even try to find a reason for their actions, as I don't think they apply logic.

But Jayaji, tell me something: You are from a fairly well known family in Jabalpur / Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh), and your first few acting ventures, all in Bengali movies, are well documented in Kolkata. So is your move to Bombay, and subsequent achievement of stardom and marriage to Mr. Amitabh Bachchan. Now, how the hell did you become "UP ke log"? Your family has Mr. Bachchan Sr. who is from UP but spent few years in Kolkata, and then settled in Mumbai; you, yourself a Bengali now settled in Mumbai; your daughter-in-law is from Karnataka and has represented India internationally in a beauty paegent: you could have projected your family as a perfect example of national integration. But instead, you choose to make off-hand, ill-thought comments. You are a Rajya Sabha member - you should say "We are the people of India, let's speak the success language of India".


Last evening, I stepped out of my house for a stroll. After a few minutes, I was on a semi busy road, when suddenly, barely 10 mtrs in front of me, an elderly man let go of his walking stick and fell on the road. He was in obvious discomfort as his whole body was trembling and he was sweating profusely. I helped him stand up but he was unable to grab his walking stick or stand on his own. I asked him where he stayed or if he had a phone number, but he couldn't answer. He just stared blankly. Till this point, I am alone with this man, and no one stopped to help us. After a few minutes, another elderly gentleman came and asked about the problem. We called a local lad and arranged for a chair to sit and a glass of water to drink. Meanwhile, he still couldn't remember where he stayed. Neither could he remember his name. We searched him for any identification, but to no avail. Many passed by after saying they have seen this man before walking nearby, but no one could tell us where he lived. Fortunately, after a few minutes, he started feeling better. He told us his name and address. We took him to his house shortly afterwards.

Two points here:

Each of us, specially elders, should carry some sort of identification with address and contact numbers. If this man would not have regained his memory / speech, we would have been in big trouble.

I am disappointed by the apathy from people. Most people just looked and walked away. Some people would stop and comment, and soon be on their way. Just two men were there to help this man! All this, in the city of joy, where people are known for being helpful to others!

Homecoming anniversary celebration post

Last year at around this time, I was still a normal guy. A guy working for several years with reputed companies, working his way slowly up the corporate ladder, enjoying his travels, his photography and football. One unsuccessful relationship leaving him devastated, difference of opinion with part of his family leaving him hopeless.

Then I quit my job. A lot of people ask me why? Well, to start with, it was all getting too boring for me. Going to office, coming back, getting ready for next day's office, waiting for the weekend to arrive, only to find it gone too soon. I had reached a point when I realized the bigger company I joined the lower the job satisfaction I had. I wanted to take a break from this life.

The second reason which is harder to explain is a calling from within to come back home to my family. Inexplicable, since I was not too happy with things in Kolkata and kept myself away from here for a long time. Looking back, it may have been a premonition. Since only a few months after coming here, my father passed away.

So, while I try to escape the normal life, life drags me to lead a life that I never thought I would live. I guess that's why they say - Cest la vie.

Last word on Indians at Beijing Olympics

My 82 year old aunt was greatly disturbed the other day because of India's Olympics performance. She said, "Boxing, wrestling... are these sports? Hurting each other... ". I pointed out that the other medal, the big medal, came from shooting guns, which if someone from Iran or North Korea would have won, Mr. Bush would have labeled as WMD. She said, "Still, they are only practising... hitting targets, not a person".

Then I came out with my ace of spades, saying, "These games of archery / shooting was the cause of Ramayan. If only King Dasarath would find a gentler pastime than target practise with arrows, Ramayan would never have happened". To avoid any counter point, I quickly added. "And look at how much drama a game of target practise created", referring to the archery competition during Draupadi's swayambhar. My aunt diverted the topic, "I like gymnastics".

Talking about gymnastics (and India and Olympics), did you check out the Israeli rhythmic gymnastic team's performance in the three rings and two clubs routine? The background music was "Dhoom Tana" from Om Shanti Om.

Indians at the Olympics

As the Indian participation in this Olympics came to an end today, everyone is going ga ga over the Indian performance in the Olympics. We have managed one Gold, and two Bronze medals - the best ever by any Indian contingent in the history of the Olympics. Already crores of rupees has been promised to these guys as gifts or prize for getting an Olympic medal. We, as a nation, are very emotional and show this outburst of generosity whenever someone from our country achieves something in the international arena. After all, we saw the same frenzy when the young Indian cricket team won the T20 World Cup. Being emotional is good, at least in some situations, but unfortunately, not in this case. We tend to reward those who achieves something despite the system, where we should really develop the system so that future athletes achieves due to the system.

Don't get me wrong, I have no problem in these champion sportsmen getting money or accolades, they deserve it. It's just that I think if only a fraction of that money was spent in development of infrastructure and other aspects of sports, we would have much better chance of achieving something in sports in future.

And there is no better time to say these hard words than now: when the nation is overjoyed and celebrating, before we stop forgetting about them. Otherwise, before the next Asian games, Commonwealth games, or Olympics we will suddenly wake up and start finding medal prospects.

Bloggers of the world, united

Rohit Talwar a.k.a RT had been making plans to come to Kolkata to meet Sayantani Dasgupta, when she is here in Kolkata and me. So mid July, we had booked tickets and made a plan for the long weekend of 15th August.

After much confusion, cancellation (of tickets) and change of plans, RT finally arrived in Kolkata late on Thursday night. We came home, and talked, gossipped, discussed everything under the moon. Also since he came with a long list of things-to-do-in-Kolkata, we discussed those and decided that only a quarter of that could be done in the three days he was here, and made a feasible plan for the weekend. This was accompanied by the usual snacks - biscuits, potato wafers, and Maggi, of course. Finally slept around five in the morning.

Next day, RT woke up at one in the afternoon (despite my attempts to wake him up since 8:30), which meant all the plans that we made last night were to be reworked. So we ended up having lunch at Mocambo in Park Street, and I showed him Park Street. Then we went "sightseeing" - Eden Gardens, High Court, GPO, Writer's building, Howrah bridge, 2nd Hoogly bridge, Race course, Victoria memorial, Fort William - all from outside in an hour or so (I am proud of myself). Then we strolled in the old market area of Esplanade called New Market. Rohit finally had something that he liked - the mutton roll from Badshah. We took the Metro to Rabindra Sadan and had coffee and browsed books at Crosswords. Later in the evening, handed him over to Sayantani, who took him to her grandparent's house in Salt Lake.

On Saturday, RT came back around noon, and informed me about yet another change of plan. He had to prepone his going back to Delhi. So we had lunch at home (he liked the poshto or poppy seeds, I think), got his new tickets online, and cancelled his old tickets. We had fuchka (paanipuri) nearby, and strolled over to Rabindra Sadan / Nandan complex. We saw Victoria Memorial, and then went to Park Street once again. Had tea at T3 (The Tea Table) and then went to the highly anticipated (by RT) Someplace Else - a pub. A few drinks later, we came out and had rolls from a local vendor and came back home.

On Sunday, we got ready early and then went over to young blogger Sinjini Sengupta a.k.a Butterfly's home. Sayantani and her brother - Aritro also came there (Sayantani and Sinjini are first cousins). We took a cab and went to Vedic Village, a resort in the outskirts (technically outskirts, looked outside) of Kolkata. While going there, we revised our discussion of the remake of Sholay that RT and Manasi are supposedly making, with all the meaty roles going to them and people they like. Meaning, I am reduced to the minor villainous role of Kalia, and Sayantani is Samba. Watch out for this movie, as this is going to be the first time that Veeru (played by RT himself) is going be be beaten (badly) by Kalia.

Anyway, so we reached the middle of nowhere Vedic Village. The resort is nice with spa facilities, conference facilities and nice restaurants. We chose Bhoomi, the bengali restaurant, and enjoyed the lunch (not sure about how much RT enjoyed it) there. Here is Butterfly's version of our day at Vedic Village.

As Rohit's flight was later that evening, we came out soon after lunch. Dropped the Dasguptas and the Sengupta at Salt Lake, came back to my place at Bhawanipur, quickly packed and went to the airport to see off RT. A very enjoyable weekend came to an end with a tired me reading Haruki Murakami's Underground, a gift from RT, just before going to sleep.

P.S: The title should really read "Bloggers of India, united", but then, Sayantani does stay in the US these days. Some photographs to go with the text will be published as soon as RT sends me his set, or Sayantani uploads pictures taken from her pink Nikon Coolpix.


Yesterday, I had gone to a village about 70 kms away from Kolkata to attend a wedding. It was a distant relative's wedding (infact she happens to be my grand niece), and I had only gone there once as a child. Anyway, the plan was to go there in the afternoon and come back early in the evening. However, it rained heavily here in the afternoon and it took me quite some time to reach the bus terminus. Another hour of queue and waiting, and it was already early evening when the bus left the terminus! A few rounds of traffic jams and snarls, and I finally reached the place well past eight! As soon as the pleasantries were over, I was quickly informed that there was no way to return to Kolkata at that time. So, there I was, all dapper and dandy, stuck in that far from anywhere village, with the prospect of having to stay with the 'wedding party' looming large. No way, I was going to do that! Damn, if only I had my all-terrain boots on (or even my sneakers) I would have started to walk back.

Just when I was about to embark on my backup plan of going to the nearest town - Diamond Harbour and stay put there in a hotel, my aunt (maternal) appeared. Now, I was not even expecting her to be there (the marriage was on my father's side), but somehow (long story) she was invited too. She happened to be associated with a school nearby. After she heard of my plan, she recited a grand plan of taking me to the school, which had a guest house, and where she would be staying as well. A quick ride and a short plod over mud road to the school, and I was in a comfortable guest room, with clean sheets and towels and all. The bonus was total isolation from the urban world, meaning frog croaks and cricket sound mixes were playing as lullabies. After a good night's sleep and a great cup of tea in the morning, I caught a bus for Kolkata.


The Olympics is on! And what a show the opening ceremony was! I have nothing to add to what the world is saying: "Wow"! One reason I always watch the opening ceremony of the Olympics is because each time I learn about new countries. This time, I heard of these countries for the first time: Kiribati, Marshall Islands, Micronesia and Tuvalu.

I had already seen numerous pictures of the Beijing National Stadium a.k.a The Bird's Nest. But what impressed me was that the inner rim of the stadium is actually one giant (and I mean GIANT) screen!

One thing that could improve about this Olympics is the coverage by Doordarshan. I am already tired of the blabbering by the hosts, who doesn't seem to have any clue about what they are talking about. I am particularly fond of the gentleman who was wearing a "cricket ball and bail" motif tie (and covering Olympics)! And each time the lady says "Olampics" (I swear she says that). And each time they say "Maruti Suzuki Olympics update brought to you by Maruti Suzuki" (what a miracle!).

Anyway, so everyday, while working I keep checking the widget on iGoogle, which updates me on what's happening. And whenever I get TV access (damn I need a TV for myself), I am checking the Olympics. I saw the first match of Saina Nehwal. She is good! She outplayed her opponent quite easily and seems to have a cool head. Oh, talking about Saina, wonder why TOI published a huge picture of her showing her midriff (while she is in action). Trying to create another Sania Mirza, are we? Let the kid play! Don't make her a fashion icon, model youth, youth symbol, sex symbol, and what not... like you did with Sania.

I hope the games is without any political disturbances. It was good to see a Russian and Georgian share the podium in the 10 mtr air pistol event without any problems. Rightly so, there shouldn't be any politics in sports.

Update on Monday, 11th August 2008: Abhinav Bindra won the 10 mtr Air Rifle event, becoming the FIRST EVER Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympics. Way to go! Am I happy or am I happy?

Some songs and memories associated with them

Tomake chai: A song by Suman that changed bangla music scene in the early nineties. It literally means "I want you", but the entire song is about wanting a cigarette, without mentioning it once. It's part of my growing up years.

Country roads: Another part of my growing up. Listening to it a thousand times and thinking about how to get a voice like John Denver.

Hum dil de chuke sanam: That was the summer of 99... my first job, and most of my colleagues made this a quasi theme song, and sang it in various tunes every day. There was also this teasing me about a friend, but that's another story.

Leaving on a Jet plane: My favorite airport / railway station / bus stand song.

Jab koi baat bigad jaye: I sang it once and the listener cried.

Comfortably numb: Well, my favorite "comfortably numb" song.

Bidhir badhon: A subtle yet strong patriotic bangla song by Rabindranath Thakur. Used brilliantly by Satyajit Ray in his film "Ghare Baire". Sung by Kishore Kumar with no background music.

Wish you were here: Another Pink Floyd favorite. Just plain soul.

Zindagi mil ke bitayenge: The seven of us in a team made this our theme song, especially for the lines: "Hum to saat rang hai, ye jahan rangeen banayenge". And boy, did we make our life colorful or what?

Everybody hurts: Hope! Eternal hope!

I am sure you have your songs and memories attached to them. Please share, if you wish.

2008 - Spain - Sports

Rafael Nadal won the French Open, Wimbledon, and now the Toronto Masters.
The Spanish National football team won the Euro 2008.
Carlos Sastre won Le tour de France 2008.

Phew! What are they eating for breakfast? Super Paella or something?

Wonder what they will do in the Olympics!

Profound Thoughts

Kolkata is plagued by power cuts these days, and during those times there is practically nothing to do... and as we all know, the idle mind is the devil's workshop... so these profound thoughts and observations are a direct result of Calcutta Electric Supply Corporation's inability to produce adequate power. Samples, not only mine but others in my vicinity, in random order:

  • In Kolkata, specially buses, there is no concept of a singular lady. There is only the plural: Ladies! Even if there is only one of them trying to de-board, the conductor still cautions the driver: "Ladies"; or "Ladies, ek jon" (translation: Ladies, one person). Haven't tried to correct them. It's like "Xerox": no one says photocopy here. it's 'xerox', even when done on a Canon or a Panasonic.
  • The worst ads are those by "saria" (iron rods). All of them feature a celebrity with the iron rod in their outstretched hands. Be it Sanjay Dutt, Mithun (here in Kolkata he is still the rage), Prosenjit (national award winning actor) or Sourav Ganguly. Oh man, the creative geniuses behind these ads need some serious help.
  • We need to introduce CAT style entrance exam for politicians. To prevent overage participation, a hundred meter run (target: in 14 seconds) would also be part of the exam. This should take care of 70% of our politicians.
  • DB and I were seriously considering the options of buying an island each near India and proclaiming ourselves as the Kings! The discussion went till the point we reached United Nations, but then, power supply was restored :( India just lost two new neighboring countries!
  • Oh, btw, it's Aro's birthday today. And I have promised Prashant that my gift to Aro this birthday would be a matrimonial ad in this Sunday's TOI Delhi on his behalf. Let me go ahead and execute this. I can almost audiolize (did I just make this up? If we can visualize, why can't we audiolize?) the conversation between Aro and me, between the numerous phone calls he would get on Sunday, cursing me and promising me that he would take revenge. Can't wait, really. Once in a while I do enjoy these sadistic pleasures. Happy birthday, Aro :P
Long live power cuts!

Investment of a different kind

The buzzword is "invest in art". So I did! But this time the investment was not for me. I invested in a child's future! Here's the story:

My friend Prashant, and in recent times Aro and Tushar, were involved in various activities of the ASK Sankalp project. The motto of the project is "Ensuring normal childhood to working children in brass industry of Moradabad". Recently they organised a painting competition for children at Moradabad. Prashant decided to take it further and showcased select paintings from the competition for sale on his blog. The condition was the interested person should be ready to buy each painting for Rs. 500/-. I chose the painting by Sadim of class III which had nothing to do with the theme of the competition: child rights / child labour / rain. Instead, it covers the bigger picture: India, her flag and the national anthem. I like that vision!

Prashant had collected Rs. 10,000/- (with pledges of a few thousands more) in a few days, which is almost double the target and should cover the non formal education expense of two kids. While I was in Delhi, I accompanied him and Aro to the ASK office in Gurgaon, and delivered the cheque. It was very interesting to chat with such passionate and focussed people as Dr. Khan and Bindiya about their work. Hope to be actively involved with their projects in future, and turn ideas in to reality.

Of all the 500s I have spent on fancy clothes, food and beverages in a fancy restaurant, or accessories to go with my laptop, this 500 makes me proud!



Yesterday, all my troubles seemed so far away... well, isn't that always the case when you meet old friends, after a long time, and have a blast? The occasion was Dibakar's (popularly known as DB) office opening anniversary, and I was so full with the tonnes of biriyani, chicken tikka masalas and the gallons of carbonated drinks we had, I almost skipped dinner.

Today, I played football after at least two years, and at least a decade later at the same slushy ground (it's still slushy the exact same way) where I used to play as a kid. And with couple of old playmates in the team as well. It was a eight-a-side "Senior" vs. "Junior" match, and we, the seniors, totally turned it in to a one sided affair. We beat the kids 6-0, and I scored a hat trick! True to old habits, some of us carried a ten rupee note each (cell phones and wallets are not carried to the field), just to celebrate after the match. Remember we hadn't spoken about this, it's just a old habit from the last millenium! So after the match, we pooled in and treated both the teams to soft drinks and biscuits (that's all we could afford with the ten rupee notes). One of us dumped his wasted shoes in the garbage bin, one of us lost his pair of shoes, and both walked home barefoot. Finally, after letting the entire neighborhood of the score, returned home.

I have a swollen ankle, which is getting an alternate hot and cold compress. Also getting an Iodex treatment for the ankle and it's wrapped in a crepe bandage. I am walking with a limp. But who's complaining?

"The return of the native"

So, I had to come back to Kolkata! Couldn't meet a couple of friends in Delhi, which I regret. But really, was too busy there in a blurry way. Next time, friends, I promise to meet you guys first!

The train schedule was revised the day before, so I checked trainenquiry.com and got the new schedule. I planned to catch the Metro from Dwarka Sector 9 to New Delhi station (approximately 55 minutes). Aro and I went to Pizza Hut for a quick lunch before he was supposed to drop me off to the Metro station. But he got stuck in some bank work, and I forgot a very important item - charger, at home, so he drove me 10 minutes to the Nawada station, bypassing all the Dwarka stations (8 stations) saving almost 15 minutes.

Note: After assuring me that the T-shirts he stole were all out of shape and discolored and what not, Aro gifted me with a T-shirt of his own. And he did return my suit that was with him. However, just when we were about to leave the house, he HAD TO change in to one of my T-shirt, which I should add, didn't look discolored, nor out of shape (the wearer did look grossly out of shape). Damn that scheming mind!

In the train, I played a version of the Snake-Ladder game, only this time for berths! I chose Upper berth while booking, since they are the best place to have - you can climb up and lie down any time you want, and sleep till you wish. However, when I boarded the train, the lady in the lower berth wanted to shift to my berth and give her berth to me! I reluctantly agreed. However, another lady, destined for the other upper berth, later wanted to swap berths with me! Again I oblige! So, I guess, after all this match-the-following-seats combination, everyone was happy, which is most important!

The train had to take a detour and hence was delayed by over an hour and half, because a bunch of losers thought all the problems this country has will be solved if they could block the train line.

Anyway, I reach Kolkata, have lunch at home, and catch up with Ma. In the evening, catch up with my childhood friend (it's high time we had langotia yaar in English) who has come for his vacation. Ended up having dinner together over laughters and hilarious recollections of the many misadventures we have been part of or privy to. As is the common joke in our neighborhood, a book should be written about them, with chapters dedicated to each protagonist!

Tease me, tea-se me, Tea-is-me, baby!!!

07:30 a.m: Wake up after a few hours sleep. Stayed over at Shaji's place, after some good drinks and private screening of "Varekai"a circus DVD by Cirque du Solleil. Had good strong milk tea prepared by Betsy. Only the other day when we visited Shaji's place, and Betsy made tea, came the remark, "The best tea I've had in a long time". But, today Betsy outdid herself. Needless to say, the breakfast that followed was neat too.

11:00 a.m: Shaji comes to drop us at Aro's place and Sunil joins us. Probably inspired by Betsy, Shaji prepares tea. I have never seen a man so dedicated to a cause. For half and hour, he labored to prepare the four cups of tea. The result: the most awful, tasteless tea that you can have anywhere. A more detailed and accurate description is here.

Shaji: We all love you. You do a wonderful job of mixing the drinks ( I particularly loved the small whiskey, large soda in a bottle mix that you did last night), but please don't ever (and I mean, ever) make tea. Please!

04:00 p.m: Reach Prashant's place and have good strong north indian style tea (extra milk, with CTC tea leaves boiled a few times). Conversations, insights and foresights later, move out and hang out.

08:00 p.m: After shopping for CDs, DVDs, and books (all by Aro - he bought at least a dozen CDs and the entire Calvin and Hobbes collection!), we went to Sector 37 and visited a place called "Teasta" - the tea shop. Sampled Darjeeling tea and was disappointed as it was served with a hint of milk. Sampled the iced tea, which was awesome. Bought some tea leaves and later, had samosas from a shop I used to frequent when I stayed in Noida.

00:10 a.m: Made tea from the leaves bought earlier from Noida. Now settled in front of the TV, sipping the tea and watching the Euro 2008 final match between Spain and Germany.

10:30 ki second last local

Apologies for not writing as frequently as I would have liked to, especially since a lot is happening here in Delhi. Here's what is happening, in short:

Meeting old friends. Mostly from the Hughes gang. Somehow, the Hughes gang has remained friends although most of us left the company three or four years ago. Changes from last time: Good to see Sunil lose a quarter of his previous weight; Milind and his new car, and his special "friend"; Shaji's son Shaun, and the new sprawling apartment he has moved to; and Rahul's son Raghav.

Watching great movies as varied as Sideways (2004), Casablanca (40s), Cleopatra (60s), "The Matador" (sometime this century), and "One flew over the cuckoo's nest" (70s). Aro has a great collection; hope to explore a few while I am here. Unfortunately, not getting enough time to read the books he has.

Having varied food as Chole Bhature (how could I skip this in Delhi), Momos, Dosas, Tikkis, Dal-Roti (at National Dhaba in CP) and the hundred different types of finger food. Not to forget the drinks, the star of which has to be the milk shake from Keventer's in CP.

And did I mention that I am now an expert on CP? Four different days there for me in less than a week here!

As far as the title is concerned, that's the Delhi Metro train I took to reach Aro's place in Dwarka tonight. Nothing as dramatic (none actually) happened as in the movie, but I guess you need to take the last train for that.

Where my "Dil" is: Dilli

On Tuesday, I took the Rajdhani Express to Delhi. This was after a long time that I was traveling somewhere, that too alone. The journey itself was pretty uneventful, although the pretty girl who borrowed my spare book managed to change the physical shape of the book! I badly wanted to return the favor by spoiling her make-up, but then, I was in a good mood otherwise. After all, I was back in Delhi, although for a short time.

The change that immediately caught my eye was the Delhi Metro. It's efficient, fast, far reaching, and clean so far - truly world class public transport system. The other positive change is the green low-floor public buses. Looks like Delhi is getting into the international mould. Like every other time, this time too I noticed a considerable increase in the number of flyovers here.

One thing that has not changed much in Delhi is my group of friends. They are still the same goofy, fun loving, mis-adventurous bunch. Great, great feeling to be back among you guys.

In case you doubt my choice of adjectives for my friends, I give you one example:

On Wednesday, I reached Aro's place (the guy who stole my T-shirts) in Dwarka. Arun (Salwan, our friend, and my flatmate in Bangalore) had taken Aro's car to office. Despite Aro's warning that the fuel gauge is not working, Arun thought he had enough petrol in the car. His car stalled at 11 p.m. He could only manage to call us to let us know that the car was stalled when his cell phone battery called quits before we could get the location. Fortunately, he had another phone with him (which didn't have our numbers) from which he called a friend in Bangalore, who in turn called me on my Kolkata number, and gave me the details of his location. We rescue him and get back home, and guess what he does? Leaves the car keys inside and locks the door! And there was no duplicate key at home, since, just the day before Arun had managed to break the duplicate car key as well. Any doubts anymore?

But make no mistake about it: no one was angry with this whole episode. Only laughters, and jokes, and my promise that I would put this on my blog.

My most intimate secrets - revealed!

Tagged by butterfly! This one's short compared to the few 100 pointers I was made to attempt!

Name three most valuable assets.

Ability to see, walk and laugh.

If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, who are the three blog buddies you would take alongside with you?

Arun "Sallu" Salwan, Prashant "Om" Bhardwaj, Bhawna "Bhaws" Rao - travel buddies first, blog buddies later.

Where is the place that you want to go the most?

Machu Pichu.

If you can have one dream to come true, what would it be?

To be a professional athlete.

What are you afraid to lose the most in yourself?


What would you do if you found a briefcase full of money?

Contact my lawyer and go to the police station.

If you meet someone that you love, would you confess to him/her?

Yes. Meeting someone is the difficult part :)

Which type of person do you dislike the most?

Dishonest people.

If you were given the chance to have one super power, what would it be and why?

Power to fly! Why? Flight tickets to Machu Pichu (so with other places) cost a fortune, that's why!

If you could do one thing different in life, what would it be?

Not lose friends.

Are you a shopaholic?

I used to be. Not any more.

Which actor/actress would you like to be?

Charlton Heston. Ever since I saw Ben Hur as a child.

One song that gives you goosebumps?

"Jab koi baat bigad jaye" - it's the memory with the song, and not the song itself, which gives me goosebumps.

Do you have any plans for tomorrow?


I tag?

DK, Rohit, and Aro - long time since they posted anything.

I am losing it... para pa pa pa!

Points in case:

1. While troubleshooting my friend's Windows access problem, I tried replicating the same problem at my end, and created a new administrator account. Then conveniently forgot to delete that account. As a result, a few days later, when I restarted (which I normally don't; I hibernate), I lost my default administrator account! Meant, setting and customising the entire system almost all over again.

2. In the process of the last part of Pt#1, forgot to switch on the internet speed tweaking software. Without realising that, for about a week, have been cursing Tata Indicom for their slow speed, blaming others for frequent disconnects from chat, thinking of writing to Facebook since their page was not loading fast enough etc, etc. Sincere apologies to all of them.

3. While watching France's game against Romania in the Euro 2008, couldn't remember the name of the french goal keeper who won the world cup in 1998. Could remember his face, how he kissed the forehead of team captain Laurant Blanc before the start of every game, how his jersey looked, everything but his name. Finally, after 45 minutes, during the half time break, got up and googled - Fabien Barthez!

And I used to be a regular in the local school / college quiz circuit! Chyaaah! What happened to that brain? Really, brainbit = bit of brain that is left!

BTW, if there was anything more painful than realizing the degeneration of my brain, it was watching France play without Zidane (and Viera) like a headless chicken.

The atheist's guide to change of fortune

Five tips to Kolkata Knight Riders for next year's IPL:

1. KKR should change the name of the team to Kkkolkata Kite Flighters according to Robin Jumanji. Non-believers, think about this: Shah Rukh Khan can make it sound sexy (remember Kkkiran from Darr?)

2. Shah Rukh Khan should start wearing jersey # 42. Since Shah Rukh is in his 42nd year, it will prove lucky for him. Also according to the Douglas Adams Thought school, that number is THE answer (do I see RT starting a mexican wave here?).

3. KKF should only have three cheerleaders at any time wearing golden dress instead of black which will invoke positive energy to the field. They should also wear flouroscent green (glow-in-the-dark) head bands, arm bands and shoes. This has nothing to do with Fengshui - just to track them even when there is a power malfunction in Eden Gardens!

4. KKF should shift their dressing room from South of the stadium to West. This will remove the vaastu doshas. Also, the cool breeze from the Hoogly river will flow from the west keeping everyone cool.

5. All team members should go and pray in the Siddhivinayak temple at midnight on a Saturday just before the tournament starts. Actually, early morning is a better time, but chances are Amitabh Bachhan, Abhishek Bachhan, Aishwarya Bachhan and thousands of "journalists" following them will also be there at that time! If the players are too tired after attending one of the parties thrown by Shah Rukh, and want to go in the morning, they should check if the Bachhans are attending any award function out of town.


Satisfying Saturday

First up in the morning, I received two pleasantly surprising and nice phone calls from friends in Delhi and Mumbai just saying "hi".

Then Naveen called and said he was in Kolkata for a hiring event. "Come and meet me", he said. So after lunch, I go and meet him. Along with him were two more ex-colleagues - Rupam and Indrajit Sir. While talking to them I saw another guy looking at me trying to place me in his memory. Even I thought I know this guy from somewhere. Then he came up to me and introduced himself as Vipin. We had worked together for a brief period in different teams, and know each other through common friends like Aro and Arun. And the biggest surprise was that he followed my blog! Even Rupam said he read it from time to time! Err... I didn't know my blog was that "famous"! Damn, I could have charged a subscription fee and got rich ;-)

Anyway, so after reminiscing about old times and cursing Naveen for not telling me earlier that he was coming, I came back home. I expected guests at home in the evening. So, I cooked up a dish quickly and tidied up the room a bit.

My schoolmates Arindam and Soma along with their respective spouses Sharmistha and Amritendu came fashionably late, but once they were in it was chatting about everything from pets to pyrotechnics with intermittent discussions about IPL of course. We never realized when or how a couple of hours passed. Only when Sharmistha reminded us that their pet Labrador Ghnoton* is alone at home did we rush to dine.

*Pronunciation Guide: First syllable is a nasal ghow rhyming with mow; second syllable is a soft T - tone. The resulting sound is the most disgusting name ever given to dogs or human.

All in all, a highly enjoyable day. Can't think of too many better ways to enjoy a Saturday!


This story is about two people who stays near my house in Kolkata. Both of them were known to me as family acquaintances.

The first, Subhash uncle, was a fan of my father's football, and later became his friend. The son of a well known Professor, he was an engineering graduate from a premier engineering college in Kolkata. He ran a small printing press from his home. However his main passion in life was politics and social welfare service. He is a member of a minor local party. As long as I have known him, I have always seen his tall lean frame riding an old Hercules bicycle.

The second, Piyush da, much younger, was also from an average middle class family. The only distinguishing factor about him I remembered was his less than average height. But then, on an election day, he was seen running through the streets brandishing a pistol. Only then did we came to know that he was a cadre of a ruling party. This was in 1998.

Cut to 2008:

Nothing much to report on Subhash uncle. He has an email address now and has grayed a bit. Otherwise, everything else, including his Hercules bicycle remains the same. Maybe he is now involved in a few more community welfare projects.

Piyush da now has a construction "consultancy" business and takes care of bottlenecks for building developers or promoters as they are known here. He drives a bike and three cars, including a Mahindra Scorpio SUV. His wife is the local councillor, and he is known to have "powers". He is now a well respected man.

Special Disclaimer: This is a work of true fiction. None of the characters depicted in this post are real and any resemblance to any person living or dead is purely consequential ... blah blah blah...

Boon or Bane?

The Ford model T - the first mega successful production car was produced in 1908. Since then, in the last hundred years, we have built millions of cars, each more powerful than the other. Cars provide the means for man to reach faraway places that took far greater time before. That also means greater de-forestation, as people now needs roads to reach those places. As distance is not a problem, more forest lands are reclaimed for urbanization. More petroleum is needed every year to meet the global demands of automobiles pushing oil prices to an all time high. Since all other commodities' price, including food, is directly linked with petroleum price, there is a global inflation. Cars also produce active pollutants, which directly affects people - more people have asthma and other breathing problems than ever before.

So, is it a boon or a bane? Or like many other scientific things (remember atomic energy and atomic bomb?), we have managed to turn a boon in to a bane?


Just look about 30 degree right, or 1 o'clock if you prefer, and you will find my virtual pet Baghemian also known as Bagha.

Thanks to Butterfly and her pet Muskaan for the idea! Now a little bit more about Baghemian:

Baghemian is a three year old Bengal Tiger (Panthera Tigris Tigris) from Sunderbans, West Bengal. His favorite food is deer steak (rare). He likes walking and swimming. His favorite song is "Eye of the tiger" by Survivor. His favorite movie is Two Brothers. His favorite cartoon character is Hobbes.

If you have any more questions for him, please let me know.

The king is dead...

Long live the King!

Rahul Gandhi is often called the "Prince" - a reference to him being the heir "prince" of the Gandhi "empire". Rahul Gandhi recently objected to that, saying it is demeaning. One can understand why. After all, we all want our own identity! However, to understand why he is called the Prince, one needs to look at the Indian psyche.

Decades after India's independence and subsequent abolition of Rajas, Nizams and Zamindars, we still have a fascination for all things Royal. And not just the poor village man, not just the uneducated laborer, it's still existent among educated, rich, corporates.

Point in case, the IPL team names:

Chennai Super Kings
Bangalore Royal Challengers
Mumbai Indians
Deccan Chargers
Rajasthan Royals
Kolkata Knight Riders
Delhi Daredevils
Kings XI Punjab

Quod Erat Demonstrandum!

IPL - at last!

My first IPL post when half the tournament is over! And one would think that everything that was to be written about IPL had been written. But no! Here I come with a criticism of IPL schedule!

We are familiar to the home-away league concept, thanks to English Premier League (now Barclays Premier League) and football leagues around the world. The league there is played over several months, and teams normally play one match every week. Only the elite teams playing European (and World) tournaments play twice in a week a few times. Also note that England and other european countries are much smaller. Traveling to another city to play one match every two weeks on an average is not so difficult.

Even in NBA, teams play in a home-away style. Again, the championship there happens over several months, effectively making it one game per week for most weeks (except play offs and championship weeks). The schedule is also such that teams nearer home play more matches between them than far off teams - more intra division matches, fewer inter division matches and still fewer inter conference matches. It's a bit complicated, but the idea is to have sufficient rest period for the teams.

Here in IPL, each team plays 14 matches within 40 days! Effectively a match every third day. With all the traveling involved, I doubt whether even "home" is really a home. The players and entourage are constantly on the move. Seems to me that the schedule was made keeping in mind the viewers and not the players or teams.

If IPL plans on continuing this tournament yearly, I think they should re-look at their scheduling strategy.

Letter to the Health Minister

Dr. A. Ramadoss
Honorable Cabinet Minister
Ministry of Health and Family Welfare
Government of India.

Dear Sir,

I am a humble citizen of this country run by you and your esteemed colleagues. I quit smoking a few years ago, as I am mildly asthmatic. I drink alcohol socially.

Sir, I have noticed your often-made statements in media asking filmstars and cricketers to stop smoking on screen / appear in surrogate alcohol ads. Your logic for that is a star influences common people, and more importantly youngsters. I appreciate your concern for the health of citizens of India.

However, Sir, I doubt the will of your department and the government to rid us of the evils of smoking and drinking. If you so wanted people to stop drinking and smoking, why not ban the products itself? After all if there is no cigarette / no liquor manufactured, no one can buy them legally! Isn't there a ban on marijuana? Or cocaine? So, ban all tobacco companies! Ban all liquor companies! Can you do that Sir? It is impossible, is it, Sir? Is it because these tobacco and liquor companies are the biggest tax payers and hence biggest contributors to the budget? Your government need these companies to thrive. So on one hand, your government happily banks the money from these evils, and on the other hand, a part of the same government (read you) makes occasional brouhaha over these evils. This is hypocrisy!

If your intentions are right, then why not implement (and not just provide lip service) a ban on smoking in public at least? I have been fortunate to visit Singapore, where cigarette consumption in public is unthinkable, thanks to the strict laws and more importantly strict implementation of the laws. We all want a healthier India, please take small but definite steps towards that, we are with you. And please stop this sensationalism of playing to the media.

Yours very sincerely

A health concerned citizen of India

The Toilet Brush

As promised! Don't expect anything gross (although in a way it is)!

In several of my previous posts, I have mentioned how passionate I am about my national flag. I am a fan of Naveen Jindal just because he took it up and made it possible for all Indians to flaunt the tri-color proudly, of course with respect!

Now, the other day, my mom went to the market and bought many things from the market for the new house, which included a couple of toilet brushes! The bristles of one of them happen to be in tri-color! No mistaking it! It is saffron, white, and green - in perfect order. That, to me, is disgusting!

I want to see something happen about this and similar issues, however, don't know how! Any idea?

The bear

wakes from his slumber, hungry for some food. My fingers have been itching to type for a few days now. With so much happening around, it was a pity that I was not updating this site.

Personally, I have moved on. Quite literally, since we moved to a new apartment. Also figuratively, since a lot of priority changes (and change of plans) happened. Maybe I will write about some of it someday.

I feel some of the most interesting topics to write on arrived in the last few months. I could have written five posts on IPL alone with a couple more about IPL team owners (read Shah Rukh Khan) and their antics! Of course, a post about Maharashtra and a bunch of jokers playing "politics, politics" there would have been scathing. Then there was (and still is) inflation! And, reality shows - oooh, I am drooling! Surely, one topic would have been "The Gill War" - I can almost see myself writing "The fight is on between the two Gills (M.S. Gill and K. P. S. Gill), when clearly the need of the day is fresh oxygen". And one topic I HAVE to write about is a toilet brush!! No friends, I haven't lost it, I promise to write about it sometime later! Not today!

Today, I would like to add my five cents (inflation, dear!) to a topic some people seem to be very passionate about - A dog! Not just any dog - it's the pug from the Vodafone ad. For the uninitiated, Vodafone released a series of ads in India, continuing from the "wherever you go, our network follows" theme from Hutch. All the ads feature a pug following it's owner. In the controversial ad, the pug is seen running after it's owner's school bus. Animal activists and rights groups are livid about the conditions under which the pug was made to run after a bus! Thanks to them, I now know that the pug is prone to breathing problems due to some abnormality. If you need the details, check out today's newspaper - it's complete with all the technical terms and expert comments from a psychiatrist too (or was it some other article?). Yes, I am concerned that the pug was made to run! But there are more things that concern me from the series of ads. I am also concerned that the pug was made to lick several stamps - was the stamp glue tested for dog hygiene? I am concerned that the pug had to carry socks in it's mouth! But the thing that concerns me most is the girl in the ads. She gets ready all alone, leaves the house unattended (but for the dog, of course), plays alone and also sends letters without any adult supervision! The pug might die soon due to breathlessness, but I am sure this girl would grow up and kill others! What happened to the child rights / girl child groups?

Am I being too sarcastic and mean here? I am so sorry! I should appreciate the fact that this story, along with another involving Mallika Sherawat, made me laugh heartily early in the morning! In case you missed it, someone filed a petition against Mallika Sherawat for sitting cross legged while wearing a short skirt in front of the chief minister of Tamil Nadu! The report did not clarify if the objection was against the short skirt or sitting cross legged!

Coming soon: The toilet brush!


I wished the year would bring me cheer
Alas, it only poured pain and tear.

Changes my whole process of thought
What's important in life, and what's not.

The idea of closing this blog, I hate
But at the moment, let it hibernate.

Happy New Year

Hope you have a great 2008!

I like the fact that most people, including me, are optimistic during this time of the year! Even if they are going through a turmoil, they hope that everything will fall in place in the new year! I am doing that too!