The Month That Was

>> Thursday, December 27, 2007

As the year ends, I realize I have absolutely nothing to post about. There are no more ideas, no more thoughts, and sadly, no more useless rendezvous in front of the computer. I have suddenly started living usefully. All those hours I would spend in front of my blog, blankly hoping a comment would arrive just by sheer force of will power, have now been replaced by hours I give very serious thoughts to what to wear to this year's new year party. Clothes are now sadly occupying a major part of my brain functioning, thus leading to unfounded comments about my sudden embracing of my femininity. Thus, my year end post is mostly going to be about conversations regarding this and other feminine topics. I assume it would be vastly uninteresting to the male segment of my readership and hence, to entice a bigger audience, this post is being rated as adults only, due to allusions to topics the censor boards happily imagines 17 year olds do not know anything about.

Conversation 1
(Bonky and I, while on one of our expeditions)
P: So, I have been thinking, all these guys I know, they look at me in a very..umm.... asexual manner. What could be the reason? My demeanor?
B: Dude, you realize you just said 'I entreat..' to a guy while trying to juggle two handkerchiefs. While each by themselves are not very appealing, both of them together are fatal for your romantic chances. What you need to do is be more feminine. No more coming to college with unbrushed hair.
P: Feminine huh? So how do you go about this feminine..uh..thingy?

(A few minutes later, the time interim having been spent on saving a centipede from a professor's footsteps)
B: Since we did save it, should we adopt it? It is one of our responsibilities now. You know, once you save someone, you are doomed to protect it for ever?
P: Oooh yes, and you could be its mother. I am obviously the godmother since I am too creeped out to touch it. We could call it Pintoo.
B: Huh? I was thinking of Albuquerque. Why Pintoo?
P: Association of ideas.

(after 5 minutes spent in profound thought)
P: Say, a centipede bites a man, and the man becomes centipedeman, what colour would his costume be?
B: Hey, it could bite us too, so why not centipedewoman?
P: Dude, you really want a hundred legs?
B: We could have retractable legs. Though I wonder what use they would be. Does not look as if a hundred legs make him any faster than two.
P: Uhh...their extreme hairiness which protects us from bullets?
B: (after pondering long and hard) You are right, there can never be a centipedewoman.
P: So, chrome and platinum should be ideal, what?
B: Yup, chrome outfit with platinum legs.
P: That should do it.

Conversation 2
(Berry and I in an auto)
P: So, this femininity thing..I got this new jacket, you know, and it does make me feel very girly, not the usual tomboyish self. I have been thinking, is femininity about what you feel rather than what you look? Coz, I guess I look the same, but you know, the feeling thing is there and are you even listening?
B: You? Feminine??
P: Uh..
*pregnant pause*
B: Can I borrow it?

Conversation 3
(Gupi, Sakes and I, meeting up after two years. The first line spoken goes down in history of first lines spoken between friends after 2 years)

G: Hi, yeah, I need you guys to help me rob a teacher of a law book.
P: Get in the room, if he is there borrow it, if he is not, steal it.
S: But why?
P: Eh? How does that matter?
S: I am sorry. What was I thinking?

(Gap of fifteen minutes)
G: Of course, Sakes can not have non vegetarian.
S: Yes, never had it before. Never will.
P: Er.. you have. Once at school. From my lunch box. Class 7.
S: I was a kid then. I will not be losing my religion over that surely.
P: Ahh, but you see, religion is like virginity. Once its gone, its gone.
S: *blushes*
G: Still the kid, are not you?
P: Say, suppose we end up as single mothers?
G: (dumbfounded) If that happens, one has to be really unlucky. What with all the technology and stuff...
P: Do you deny the possibility completely then?
G: Hmm..OK, what if we do end up as single mothers? How is that fun?
P: But don't you see it? We would have full freedom with its upbringing. He could grow up to be a Kalahari desert tribesman. Or the King of Cannibal Islands!!
G: And eat you?
P: Course we tell him relatives are not food. But it could eat all the people we do not like. We won't even need to worry about disposing the body.
G: Oh no. I am not murdering anyone. I stick only to robbery.
P:Hmm..we could be like Iago, you know. We instigate others to murder and just use the body to feed the kid.
G: You realize we just created a foolproof plan to feed a cannibal child we are supposed to be giving birth to?
P: I know! We rock!

This post, though seemingly senseless and pointless, is meant as a tribute to one of the happiest years of my life. To all the friends and to all the laughter. And Economics. I guess. Someday, you will be my future. I guess its about time I started liking you. You are my New Year's resolution.
And my blog readers.
Thank you.
I will probably be out of ideas till next year.
So here is wishing you a mad and silly New Year.

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The Perils in the Life of the Indian Student

>> Friday, December 14, 2007

While the whole country discusses in a hush tone the degeneration of the moral responsibility of students regarding the all important question of the health and mortality of their fellow classmates, one remains tolerantly amused. Yes, murder is a serious threat to the peace our society is accustomed to, but it is such a rare occurrence that one glances over the newspaper, tut-tuts, and promptly switches over to semi-naked pictures of Hrithik Roshan in the entertainment section.

OK, one does not do exactly that, but one does exaggerate a bit. But let one go on to what one means to post about.

The average student life is fraught with enough mortal dangers. Even if one decides to forgo the possibility of self annihilation, education is not exactly a path of strewn lilies. There are blood thirsty teachers, spending years of their lives waiting for that one particular bit of homework, which inspires and alleviates one to the level of hair pulling younger siblings. Of course, they take it too literally, and there is a certain amount of one sided hair pulling involved, but one does not go further into it either. The case in point was never very satisfactorily solved. Of course if the teacher does not get you, there are always your classmates. Even if most do not have access to revolvers, they could always get you with a good hard shove in the back. Of course if you manage to dodge classmates, its usually the volleyball which has it for you, or the chair has a faulty leg, or the chalk gets you in the eye. If not facing enough impediment from the inanimate world, you could of course get yourself. Let the shot put drop on your leg, be a boy, or just find yourself dozing in the class. Danger lurks at every corridor corner, behind every library shelf, inside every cobwebby desk shelf.

But these, are of course common dangers. There are also the more unusual, though not unknown forms of dangers. These kind of dangers are first intimated the day before voting day for election of the college union. Knowing one's perfectly apolitical stance, party members and hopeful representatives, people who never look twice at one during average, non-political days, begin calling you up and talking about providing bodyguards on your way to the college. When the same one is not exactly built on slender lines, and is accustomed to carrying The Suitable Boy as a light read in ones bag, one begins to wonder on what diabolical plans the opposition might be planning to actually nullify the effects of both of ones strongest weapons. Kidnapping- possible. Threatening- probable. Sexual Harassment- not unheard of. But one braves all odds. One refuses guards. One goes to college and immediately realizes both parties are waiting for one because most votes are known except one's. One revels in the importance. Then one feels foolish. Then one gets disgusted. One somehow manages to elude the hypocritical fools and vote for one she hopes is lesser of the two evils. One thankfully goes back home. Then does the excitement start.

News starts pouring in. Two members of one of the parties have been kidnapped. There has been a lathi charge. The winning CR has been gheraoed. The principal has been gheraoed. Students have been arrested. You switch on the news and see the person you usually sit behind of getting beaten up. It becomes an unreal world. Not the place you drag your sorry behind to morning classes. More so when the kidnapped guys actually have been arrested for eve teasing a woman. And these are the people we vote as our representatives.

The actual danger all this while had been the idea that a couple of eighteen year old students actually believe they realize what political ideology is all about. But then, how many older people can claim knowing it either?

Of course, there is another sort of danger, which does not really lead to physical harm...I think. At school, a girl with lovely, shiny hair used to sit in front of one. One and her were never particularly good friends. But one envied her lovely hair. One used to wonder whether ones superior intellectual skills ( modesty is not one's besetting sins) was a compensation enough.

One day, one grows up. One enters college. One decides to do the ultimate grown up thing. One consults a few friends. One goes out and buys beer. One drinks beer illegally at Forum. One actually opens it with her teeth in the bathroom at BURP! Transfers it to a cold drink glass and drinks beer openly. One gets a little high. Ones friends actually get drunk on beer, having no constitution whatsoever. One meets the lovely haired girl. One knows she is in one of the city's premier colleges studying some obscure subject. Girl says she is very happy. Girl is 18 and she is getting married to someone seven years older than her in a matter of two weeks. Ones friends and one keel over in shock. One thinks one is having hallucinations. Three weeks later, one meets the same girl, in jeans and sindoor.

An year later, when one struggles with her first University examination paper, shiny haired girl struggles to bring the first of her many babies to this world, education and ambition long forgotten. Girl is perfectly happy. One is perfectly happy too. In different worlds. Where one is still a child and another a mother of one.

One wonders, is one too judgmental?

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Hallelujah

>> Sunday, December 09, 2007

I have been tagged by Moo-lah :P
So this tag basically wants me to reveal my maddening music choice to the unsuspecting cyberworld. I apologize unreservedly for affronted feelings.
Rules:
1. Put your MP3 player/Media player on shuffle
2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
3. You must write the name of the song no matter what.

IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY?” YOU SAY?
Flipside [Nitin Sawhney]
Okay, it would make sense in some kind of a parallel universe, I guess.

WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY?
Beautiful World [Colin Hay]
So, yes, basically I am a happy person, so I would send this answer to the parallel universe too.

WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL?
Letting Go [Nitin Sawhney]
Ho-kay....

HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY?
I could have danced all night [My Fair Lady]
Not really....

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE?
Show me the meaning of being lonely [Backstreet Boys]
I knew it!!!!

WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO?
Call of the tribes [Karunesh]
This, I did not expect.

WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU?
As long as you love me [BSB]
Selfish Creatures.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS?
Boogie Wonderland [The Emotions]
I am so glad they do not know I blog.

WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN?
Overkill [Colin Hay]
True! True! True!

WHAT IS 2+2?
Khoya Khoya Chand [Khoya Khoya Chand]
Reason no. 124 why I screwed up my Maths pass paper.

DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND?
I'll Be There For You [ Rembrandts]
Uncanny.

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Hold on Hope [Guided By Voices]
Thats exactly what everyone else says.

WHAT IS YOUR LIFE STORY?
Nadia [Nitin Sawhney]
The song is mostly about calling out to an unheeding lover. So, close.

WHAT DO YOU WANT TO BE WHEN YOU GROW UP?
I like to move it [Reel 2 Real]
Whaaaaat??!!!!

WHAT DO YOU THINK WHEN YOU SEE THE PERSON YOU LIKE?
Sting [Desert Rose]
He is always making out with his girlfriend, so true. Very sting-y :(

WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU?
I'm a Believer [Monkees]
Eh...?

WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING?
Dracula From Houston [Butthole Surfers]
Its got lines like " I know that you’ll miss me, But I’m never never never, Comin’ home". It also has lines about buying beers and painting bikes. It probably means I will elope.

WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL?
Heartbreak Hotel [Elvis Presley]
Yay-ee

WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST?
Move your Body [Johnny Gaddar]
What is wrong with the bloody shuffler?

WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET?
You got the Hooch [Everything]
....

WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS?
Nostalgia [Nitin Sawhney]
Hmmm...

WHAT SHOULD YOU POST THIS AS?
Hallelujah [John Cale]
Amen to that

Whoa..over..

I tag arsenik, doubletake doublethink, firewhisky, new age scheherazade, the ancient mariner and what's in a name.

Go, go through hell. You have my blessings.

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The Terrible Two and the Mystery of The Reluctant Child

>> Saturday, December 01, 2007

Prelude

Scene : Near the Gariahat flyover. One surprised looking man, one bawling child, two girls, one angry and the other with a crude mask over her head. The unmasked girl glares at the man. The air is charged with the essence of an unanswered question. The masked girl seems to be shaking with rage. The child continues to bawl. No one else seems to care. No cute guys around. Both girls carrying bags where huge notebooks do not seem to fit.

Time: somewhere around seven in the evening.

Chapter 1
The Only Chapter There Is


It all started one fine Thursday afternoon when I realized I was not receiving respect enough for my existence. On roads, I am either passed over, or have the wrong body parts stared at by the all and sundry of the eve teasing population. It was while my dramatic soul cringed against the unfairness, my sister came in sporting a laboratory coat all Science students are expected to wear, as an impenetrable protection against the deadliest acids. Needless to say, the selfsame cloak of invincibility was stained and holed, her entire class having had the mind boggling idea of having an early Holi party with the more dilute versions of the same acids and a few bases. But, like the sight of those who bring good tidings to the mountains, the coat lay in front of me, bright, shining and beautiful.

The lab coat, in all principles, resembles all lab coats in the world. Specially the coats worn by the unfortunate few in the medical profession. It was not surprising that a few hours later, I started out for my Maths tution dressed up as a medical student. Who does not respect medical students? Someday, I might presumably be saving the very lives who give me a blank stare and add to my insecurities.

It was a nice trip. But nothing unusual. Apparently, there are too many doctors in this world and beyond for people to bother. The conductor did manage to find me a seat though. Was it because of my gender, my alleged profession or the fact that I perpetually look like a helpless cow, I will never know. But at my tution, I caused sensation. Its a different thing only one person was there, but she was curious enough. But as usual, Berry took it very sportingly and even came up with a madcap idea to justify the presence of the lab coat. After the diabolical lie was cut and pruned to perfection, we realized the brainstorm had made us hungry and we went outside to forage for anything which looked cheap, unhealthy and fattening.

However, our journey to the world of further obesity was cut short by the sight of a man dragging a child of about four, who, as was obvious, did not want to go and was using his lungs to its fullest capacity to state his objections. Since all detective novels require a description, the man was of North-eastern descend, dressed in something blue and cheap and his front pocket seemed slightly bulgy. The kid looked like all kids, snotty, wailing and at the stage of life when kids stop being cute and become noisy. Berry and I looked like ourselves, sharing between us neither egg shaped heads, nor pipes, nor moustaches, nor trenchcoats, nor even knitting, the trademark of Miss Marple. Our detective trademark, if any, would be bags filled with ill-fitting notebooks and wrappers of chocolates hidden from discerning parents.

Both Berry and I read the papers. She reads them to know what is going in the world. I read the comic strips and the TV guide. But I have read enough crime stories to know an attempted kidnapping when confronted with one. We both shot a look at each other and decided to follow the man. All this, of course, was done wordlessly. But we had enough time later to exchange words. People who belong to Kolkata might be better able to estimate the distance. We started at the beginning of Ballygunge Phari near Merlin Court and ended up near the Gariahat flyover. Our dialogue during the stalking went on these lines :

P: We are not exactly very inconspicuous, are we?
B: You find trees and bushes on this footpath, and I name thee Mrs. Feluda.
P: Shucks, you are too kind. How did you know I have been totally in love with him since like when I was fourteen?
B: Will you kindly concentrate on the matter at hand? You talk too much.
P: Oh yeah, the kidnapped kid? Do you think people know what we are upto? I have been catching a few glances.
B: None of that, I assume, has anything to do with your weird choice of wardrobe today, eh? Darn, its seven, sir must have arrived. What are we supposed to be doing today? Testing?
P: Test? Test? What test? Did he say anything about a test last week? Was that when I was looking at Zombie. He is kinda sexy, you know, in a very warped sort of manner.
B: Its the name of a chapter, woman, the one we did last week. And Zombie is shorter by a few inches. Oh God, we are just behind the man, what do we do now?
P (while opening coat): OK, how about I put the coat over the man and you grab the child and run away with it? Also, FYI, all guys in this city are either shorter or younger.

Berry, not very impressed with my idea of re-kidnapping kidnapped children, decided to put things in her hands. While I crept up close to the man, ready to muffle him with the acid stained coat, Berry shoved me aside and decided to confront him, woman-to-man.

"Oi, mister," she demanded in her most severe tone, "where do you think you are going with the child? Whose child is it?"

Thus arose the situation described in the prelude. I promptly put the coat over my head to prevent the man from recognizing me in a line-up and began laughing hysterically behind it. The man looked amazed to say the least. The kid, of course, could not care less, his lungs being the envy of all asthmatics worldwide. Berry continued to glare in an uncanny resemblance o my eighth grade Biology teacher.

"I..you...this kid..you see...my employer's child. He asked me to get him to his home...making too much noise...office being disturbed...says mother will see to him," the man faltered, either in nervousness (having two mad girls attack you in the middle of the street can never be easy) or having hopelessly fallen in love with Berry and thus rendered semi tongue-tied.

"Figures," I commented laconically from behind the coat.

Berry was not easy to convince though. She demanded proof. The brave, brave woman, standing in the middle of the street, ten minutes late for tution, walking up to a random stranger and asking him to prove he was not a kidnapper. This girl is so gonna grow up into a social activist. Or a policewoman. Or a mugger.

It all ended when the man finally offered to call up his employer and convinced us that it was indeed his child. Finally satisfied, she permitted the poor man to withdraw with the yelling kid to the mother, possibly a harassed, tired woman prematurely hard of hearing. We trudged back to our classes, complaining bitterly about how nothing exciting ever happens to us.

Case satisfactorily solved.

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War and Peace

>> Friday, November 23, 2007

"Once upon a Time," says my Grandfather at story hour, " we had a curfew. This was even before your parents were born. I was a young boy then."

Look of disbelief in my face. Are not grandparents born silverhaired and wrinkled?

"Back in our days, we had real curfews. Lasting for hours, with armed policemen, ordered to shoot on sight. No newspapermen to warn us about numbers to call if one falls sick. Back then, if you fell sick, you waited. You could recover or you could die. The alternative was certain death. So people waited. People nowadays get it all on a platter. Yet they complain.

"We used to live on the first floor of an apartment building. Not an apartment in the truest sense though. They were two roomed flats. And we were eight brothers and sisters. We were a bit hard pressed for space. Look at you. You insisted on a room of your own because you could not stay with your one sister in the same room without breaking into free-for-alls."

I have two cousins. Were all those brothers and sisters celibates? Or was my grandfather a black sheep and casted off from the family tree?

"On one those curfew nights, all was silent on the streets below. The girl living on the rooms above looked out of her window to see whether anyone was about. She was shot through the head. Her age? Possibly fifteen. Maybe fourteen. Definitely not more than sixteen. Her religion? Its more than sixty years now girlie, I do not think she cares anymore."

Tonight, I passed through all those areas war was declared in yesterday. The bus I took included sleeping men, lecherous men, blank faced women, absolutely no cute guys and me, trying to look like a sad faced Madonna (the Raphael version, not the pop star one). However, as soon as we entered Park Circus, everyone suddenly got alert. Eyes began to search the roads, stripping it of all humility. What were we looking for? The illogical fear that someone might decide to stone us? Or, like the vulture every human is, for a remnant of the horror yesterday, one sign to show us how civilization died? But there was nothing. Just common men walking around for common businesses. The city had moved on. Not proudly, not with a head held high, but with sheer doggedness and force of will.

Which is how I will always identify the spirit of the city as. A bent backed sweeper, sweeping all signs of sins committed yesterday to create a cleaner place to live in. There is hopelessness, for one knows it will get dirtier during the course of the day, but, as always, there is no dearth of new beginnings. So the sweeper sweeps on, too proud to beg, too ashamed to forget, yet, too desperate to give up.

Yet, not a shard of broken glass...


Results come out this Monday. If you hear a silence on this website for more than a week, please assume I have gone on a self-induced coma.

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Reflections on Oranges, Death and Om Shanti Om

>> Saturday, November 17, 2007

Its five months since my first University examination (yes, this will be a cribbing, moping, depressing post again). They have been an eventful five months. I have been hospitalized, fallen in love twice, have suffered an entire month of joyous celebrations, have convinced my parents that I actually have an ambition by sheer glib talk and have made a foolproof plan of bombing the University building. However, the people in charge of correcting my papers appear to be having an even more eventful time, for the results are still as far off now as they had been five months ago. And there has been not one day since these five months I have not moaned and groaned and wished death on myself. Yes, I have been a pretty depressing company. My university does that to you. For all I know, my examination answer sheets have been recycled as flyers in the Nandigram issue, used to make temporary refuges in the cyclone ravaged areas (bit of a prediction here) or crafted into jhalmuri containers. They may never have been checked. I may not exist in the University registers. Its the sheer madness of uncertainty which actually brings on the severe depression and the forewarnings to close relatives to buy something white this Puja.

It was while I was watching OSO when i suddenly realized what is the implication of death. No its not the reincarnation jazz. My very own personal view of the movie is that its sheer rubbish and watching Budhdha Mar Gaya is more fruitful. At least you know what you are watching will give you the headache of a lifetime. But it did give me food for thought. So I will be more kindly to the movie and agree it has a few amusing moments. And I do wish Shahrukh Khan's hairdresser has that baby and gives him the damned hair cut already. He is beginning to look like a mop.

Death, I realized, is not just the end of troubles, its the end. A simple end of everything you know, wish, love, think and experience. Its not a forced removal of the future, its the discontinuity of the present. The end of the sheer excitement of existence. When I die, it just would not be the things I am looking forward to I would losing out on, even if they are rather nice things like finally getting to watch all the F.R.I.E.N.D.S. episodes, actually watch the last episode of Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi, know why Kyle XY has no bellybutton (I am thinking I watch too much TV), marrying Johnny Depp, and, of course, see how I finally turn out.

But there is so much more to life right now. There are some lovely things to live for even if Johnny Depp never finds me maddeningly attractive. (This post is just another way to convince myself that life is not all about getting a first class, bear with me). So I began listing out all the reasons I enjoy just being alive for. Here is a bit from the last revised draft

  • Oranges : They mark the beginning of winter for me, my favourite season. What is winter if not spent on some rooftop, soaking in the afternoon sun, eating orange after orange and doing Maths? (This actually goes in good points about High School. Nowadays, I do maths with the radio on, snuggled in rugs, with mugs of coffee surrounding me).
  • Mathematics : Much as I hate the subject, I love the organization which comes with it. It appeals to my messy self like a spirit finite calling to the infinite (I do not know what that means). It has begun affecting my writing style. Now whatever I write has to be bulleted. Its by sheer force of will power that I do not add footnotes.
  • Mosaic floors: They have all these small stones where, if you squint slightly, you can actually make out faces. Marble floors are cold, inhumane things which provide us with no imaginary human company. When I have a home of my own, I will keep the marble floors and get a puppy. That, I think, will be slightly less mad.
  • A.R. Rahman
  • Chalk: I eat them. More accurately, I nibble them. I find the dry texture fascinating, despite the fact I often choke on them. Of course, I mean white chalks. Coloured chalks have a weird bitter taste.
So there you go University Examiners, even if you fail me now, I still win.

You have not broken me.

Yet.

As a byword, in case you watched OSO, they show SRK's reincarnated self was afraid of fire because he had died in a fire. I am afraid of
  • fire
  • water
  • ghosts
  • heights
  • dogs
I am guessing in my previous birth, I died when the ghost of a dog, blazed in flames, attacked me on a rooftop, from where I was forced to jump, falling right in to the middle of a swimming pool where I drowned. Only then do all my rational fears make sense.

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Filler

>> Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Andha saalayil nee vandhu saeraamal
Aaru degeree-il en paarvay saayamal
Vilaki poayirunthaal thollayae illai
Ithu vaendaathe vaelai
- An excerpt from the song Hey Goodbye Nanba
Film Ayutha Ezhuthu
Lyricist: Vairamuthu

(If only you hadn't been on that street;
If only my eyes hadn't tilted 6 degrees;
There would have been no trouble...
For we have landed ourselves into unnecessary work)

Found this paragraph extremely cute which, obviously, led to an incessant need to share it with the rest of the world. In case people are wondering which song this could be, its the Tamil version of Hey Khuda Hafiz, from Yuva.

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Because I am Not Sleepy

>> Monday, November 05, 2007

This post is about nothing. It has no literary value whatsoever. No opinion will ever be dictated here. I probably should be sleeping while I type this, but I do not care. Let dark circles remain a permanent feature of my physical attributes. I will show them they are not everything.

Love is a weird thing. Here you are, thinking there is no man on earth who could be everything you wish him to be (which includes having the guts to dance on the roof of a train and be a criminal mastermind) and then suddenly you see him serenading Audrey Hepburn. Life suddenly becomes topsy-turvy. And anyone who suggests this is a school girl crush, may you get the Wagga Wagga disease.
Kolkata buses have many faults. But no one could label them dull. From banters between a fisherwoman and the conductor to free-for-alls, they never lack the human element of comedy. However, the government thinks otherwise. What with too many passengers being dragged to depots because they fall asleep on long bus rides and snore past their stops, they decided not to risk the unpredictable presence of over sensitive passengers and went and added radios. They possibly voted for television firstly, but what with the universal demand for soaps clashing with the fact that they are mostly R-rated, they decided on the radio, where the most harmful thing for children's ears would be the Bula-di advertisements. But since everyone knows them and can recite them backwards, word- perfect, that was not much of a scare.
(BTW, what is it with minibuses and Big FM? Has Mukesh Ambani taken over RT-72 bus? Is a chain of buses the next big thing he wishes to gift his wife after that joke of a jet plane?)

So here was I, one sad Friday afternoon, dragging my sorry self to a Statistics class, pondering on the meaning of life when the friendly, neighborhood radio decided to play the title track of Bhul Bhulaiya again, for what I could make out, the fifth time in the hour. That was when I realized how desperately I was in love. For Gregory Peck materialized in front of me singing that very song, for ME!!! For the next five minutes, i gazed openmouthed at the conductor, for Peck always seemed to hang around him, resurrected from death, lip syncing a pseudo-rap song from a Hindi movie, all because I have a wild imagination and have watched DDLJ absolutely too many times.

I could not concentrate much on my tuition either. Peck seemed to hang around a lot near my teacher's left ear, just looking in that heart warming manner of his.

As if I do not already have enough reasons to quit bothering to educate myself further.

I still do not feel sleepy. I might prolong this post a bit more. I wonder how many of my blogrollers are busy deleting my link.

People who have ever loved Mathematics might appreciate this. What with too many late nights trying to deduce why a particular question was taking you three months to solve and was a possible contender in next year's examination, the subject tends to overcome your senses. You live, breath and feel Maths. I went a step ahead, I started walking Maths.

The area I live in has islands. They are the names for circular edifices at every crossroad, with shrubberies in them. If the following picture belonged to wikimapia (it does not, its a Palit original), it would show islands like this.



Yes, slightly messy. So was Picasso.

Anyway, here is a crossroad, many cars, its late in the evening, Spiderman here is a figment of my imagination and there I am, in the right hand corner lower footpath, waiting there for fifteen minutes. All because I wanted to reach my destination by taking a path which was tangent to the island.

Given,
OP is the radius, not that it matters.
The red star shows my desired destination.
Drivers do not like me. I am a bad pedestrian.

Required to find:
A tangent which does not kill me.

I actually went to and fro the footpaths, around eleven times, till I found the right tangent, starting somewhere two meters away from my starting position.
Also, the angle alpha signifies nothing. I have forgotten what two tangents do when they intersect. Probably start a family of baby tangents and eventually end up getting divorced, but by then, I was home.

Ah, the first glimmers of sleepiness. Let the end be now.

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Ode to Too Many Failed Attempts to Solve an *expletive* Maths Question

>> Saturday, November 03, 2007

Staring out of the window,
At the lone light, struggling for existence,
Like the last beacon in a tempestuous gale,
At the silhouettes, endeavoring to recognize each.

At the last scrap of paper, with the futile attempts
Of an entire day, smudged here and there
With hopeless tears, betraying the anguish
Of a bitterly disillusioned mind.

Praying with the belief of an atheist,
Looking out at the night sky, with a new surge of angst,
Light breaks out, the firmament lightens slowly.
Dawn arrives.

How desperately do I need to sleep.

And I have yet not solved the sum.


I am a bitter woman. I can't rhyme words. I suck at poetry. I am sick of Mathematics. If you hate this poem, its perfectly reasonable. I hate it too.

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Herbert- A Rambling Non- Review

>> Tuesday, October 30, 2007

I was supposed to write my more serious experiences during these Pujas. I had had the most amazing, earth shattering ideas, thought up the sharpest of phrases and probably would have won the Pulitzer for that post. Unfortunately, by midnight yesterday, I had forgotten all about those experiences. I am flaky, absent minded and, possibly, a blonde with a permanent brunette hair colour. I blame it on Economics. The subject does not suit my mental prowesses. I am taking up Philosophy as soon as I can scrape up a graduation degree. However, till that happens, let my once-widening-and-now-stuck-at-seven blog reading population suffer more of my flakiness.
(What? I am a brute! The last post says so.)

My results are coming out. Possibly everyone I have ever been acquainted with knows about it. I have cribbed about it, cried about it, and warned people not to be surprised at the news of my death. Behind this scared exterior, however, lies an even more scared girl. The University I am registered under is not a very kind University. In fact, its a positive lemon in the garden of Universities (more Wodehouse plagiarized lines here). It revels in making its students psychotic killers. Not surprisingly, all the worry and the wonder has turned me into a zombie. Or an owl, if you prefer it. Sleep eludes me until its day break and then I sleep for fourteen hours straight. I am, of course, hours away from being disowned, but that is a secondary topic.

Last Saturday, after partying hard for seven hours straight, I trudged into my home to face another bout of insomnia. Television, my solace and savior, beckoned and at two a.m., I was enmeshed between a sofa and many cushions, channel surfing like there was no tomorrow.That is when I came across a Bengali movie. Normally, I do not watch Bengali movies, not being very well versed in the language (my ancestors are probably rolling in their graves now), but this one had English subtitles. Needless to say, I was intrigued. Any Bengali movie with English subtitles is an intellectual movie, at least that is what I believe, and intellectual Bengali movies are just the thing to make one a politician. Thus, I settled down more comfortably and started a movie marathon journey called Herbert.


I was not mistaken. The central theme was politics. Unless it had some obscure inner meaning I completely failed to comprehend. It started with the investigation of the death of a man called Herbert, who had caused a terrorist attack. The movie thus began unfolding, telling the story of Herbert, as a young, orphaned boy who was brought up at his uncle's place, treated miserably as a servant, growing up to become the supposed terrorist of the present year.


The movie, as many reviewers have noted, is perhaps a time traveling journey through Kolkata, showing it in its many facets, from the politically tumultuous 1970s to the more urbane, conscious city we know today. And we see Herbert suffering through it all, losing his loved ones one by one, through this amazing journey called Calcutta (I revert back to the name. It wasn't Kolkata then). We first see Herbert as dysfunctional, gawky, the proverbial idiot nephew in every family. But he grows on us, and we begin to see a more defined Herbert, the one who has a beautiful penmanship, the one who writes nonsense poems, the one who needs a hiding place, the one who flies kites, the one who has a vivid imagination, the one who has his unnamed longings, the one who dabbles in paranormal studies. Suddenly, he is not the idiot nephew anymore.

Another extremely important facet of the movie was its language. Possibly all the Bengali expletives known to man (and apparently unknown to Calcuttan policemen) were freely used. My knowledge of Bengali khisti increased overnight. Sadly, after I woke up next day at some time late int he afternoon, I had forgotten them all. Hopefully, someone else might fare better.

Predictably, since this movie was about politics, my college had a bit role to play. Its like second nature, a movie with few political leanings and suddenly, my college is a part of it. Though they did have a good view of it. And I liked the way the Presidency staircase was juxtaposed into the the 'Odessa steps', the site of a workers' uprising supported by the crew of the Russian battleship Potemkin and Lenin's Iskra, where hundreds of Odessan citizens were murdered on the great stone staircase (copy-pasted from Wikipedia). Some things, apparently, never change. Not that I understand anything about politics. I never did. I saw the movie from the viewpoint of a person wondering why the screen was moving. I did not attempt to delve deeply and certainly do not have any political illusions.

The movie also used several interesting techniques of movie making, among which, is an interesting craft, called by reviewers the Brechtian art of Alienation. I do not know what it means. I do know what it referred to, though. Herbert's parents were shown in certain shots, filming the life of their son, giving a tragi-comic twist to the entire plot line. Perhaps that was what it was about. A tragi-comic life of an idiot who got entangled in situations beyond his comprehension. The story of a foolish do-gooder.

It was a sad movie. A bitter one. Not a movie I should have watching in the middle of the night. But the memory lingers. There still is an impact. I am yet to fathom of what.

To read more coherent reviews of this movie, go here and here. I write rubbish reviews.

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The Personality Defect Test

>> Monday, October 29, 2007


Got the link of this site from Firewhisky.I knew I was evil, but they make me sound hideous. How I love them.
To realize you are not as flawless as you thought, go to
http://www.okcupid.com/tests/4741219933576750506/Personality-Defect



The Personality Defect Test

Your Score: Brute

You are 28% Rational, 28% Extroverted, 57% Brutal, and 85% Arrogant.

You are the Brute! You are introverted, arrogant, brutal, and more intuitive than rational. Like a big, dumb animal, you are driven by your emotions more than your reason, and as a result of the fact that you care very little for the feelings of others, you tend to be rather selfish. You also possibly fling your own poo. Because of your selfishness, you also tend to be a bit arrogant, seeing yourself as big or strong or smart or always correct. This makes you a stubborn, irrational, emotion-driven brute. King Kong best represents the gorilla-version of your personality. Emotional, introverted (King Kong was isolated on his own island, after all), brutal, and arrogant (proud to be the largest ape on Earth!), Kong would probably get along very well with you, seeing as how you share many of the same traits. Aside from, you know, all the fur. You probably keep to yourself and take great pleasure in watching fat people fall down stairs. (But who doesn't, really?) You probably also have dreams of becoming famous or well-known, but this most likely won't happen because your introversion limits your Hollywood connections. Being introverted, ape-like, and arrogant isn't so bad, though. It beats being dead. So your personality defect is simply that you act like a large, overgrown ape that thinks highly of itself whilst brutalizing buxom blondes. Or something.

Try to stay off of buildings.

If you do the tests, do leave your results. They make an interesting read.

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My Ramble-Scramble Pujo Post-I

>> Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Five Rather Weird Pujo Occurences 2007

  • Even at 4:30 a.m. at Maddox Square, it is perfectly possible to meet someone you know, complete with additional props like drunken stupor . Our group had 9 girls and had the innate power to wake up around 73 guys, all resplendent with their cameras and weird hairstyles, which, as everyone knows, is the mating call of our generation. The presence of 7 boys with us could not defeat their purpose. The spirit of Maddox Square glows splendidly in these 73 men.

  • Houses actually have signs stating "Ei gate-r shamne roll ba Pepsi jatiyo khaddyo grohon korben na (Do not consume eatables like Pepsi and roll in front of this gate)". I still don't see why. Pepsi is possibly the least likely thing one would spill. Unless they used is as an example of the genre it belongs to, alluding to tequilas or beers. Though I do not see people trying to have tequilas on a corner plot at God knows where, where everyone in the world, specially relatives, are liable to see them. But why rolls? I like rolls. Long live rolls. I do not like cockroaches.

  • At Ekdalia and Singhi Park, they cordon off people like cows (not people who look like cows, but the act of cordoning them was similar to putting cows in sheds. No, I do not look like a cow). Though I have been told its quite an usual phenomena during pujo. However, what was more creepy was the fact that just a few hours before, I had watched a friend being turned into a cow in a play. Coincidence? I think not. Our existence is an illusion which is preventing us from realizing that we are all cows and after the famed nuclear holocaust, cows will be the only living creatures left for they are actually cockroaches in disguise. What we call cockroaches now are actually the real human beings. For do not they outnumber us all and behave as if they are planning a devious attack to wipe us from the face of earth?

  • The major Pujo headlines this year was the fact that both Rani Mukherji and Kajol wore sunglasses on Ashtami. Half of the world was scandalized at this apparent blasphemy in the name of Ashtami Anjali, the other half was busy admiring them. Of course, there is one section left, who do not belong to the world, mainly because of the fact that they do not really understand why it is news. Why is it news? Someone's hair got stuck in the blades of a table fan during Anjali last year at our para. Where were the scandal mongering journalists, I prithee? Does not this incident count as profanity?

  • They had a Pandal based on Central Jail. Durga, I am assuming is the warden. Unless it is Durga who is the innocent victim accused of some heinous crime she did not commit, Shiva is her lawyer, Ganesha and all her prison mates and the Asura is therefore either the true perpetrator of the crime or the warden. Unless it was the warden who did it. Damn. Why can't butlers be wardens? Then the butler could do it. Butlers always do it. That is what butlers are for. It justifies their existence.


A lot happened these Pujas. Most importantly, I fell in love. Some people do it madly, some idiotically, some precipitately. I? I do it in all three ways. For I went and fell in love with Gregory Peck. He is dead. But he is gorgeous. He has that aquiline nose I could kill to get into the genes of my future generations. For I have one which would put Indira Gandhi to shame. Does he have a son? A grandson? Does he look like him? I solemnly believe people as good looking as that should reproduce like crazy so that at least one kid turns out exactly like him. Though how Rakesh Roshan begat Hrithik Roshan remains a standing mystery, right after the great question of Who funds Dev Anand movies?


I also broke up with my long standing boyfriend of one year, who turned all of five this year. Reason being he prefers being carried around by my sister rather than me. Any person who prefers my sister to me has absolutely no taste at all. So we decided to end it this year. (I am not a pedophile. I would have waited for him to turn 21 before we got married. Its just that he was not maturing fast enough to realize the enormity of our relationship. Plus, he has a crush on this four year old. I can fight tooth and nail for my man but I cannot defy age. Youth calls to youth. I am nineteen, going on forty, with mid life crisis fast looming. I had no hope.)

Pujo this year was not only about failed romances with deceased men and alliances with babies. It was not only about Pandal hopping either. I hope to write more about it in my next post. Until then
Shubo Bijoya.

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Mostly About Bellybuttons

>> Sunday, October 14, 2007

Disclaimer: If any reader actually thinks this entry will be perverted, explicit and a joy to an entire section of male population, I am afraid I will have to disillusion you. Not only is it only partly about bellybuttons, it mostly talks about male bellybuttons. There, you have been warned. Now proceed at your own risk.


A Saturday night is usually a very evil way of ending a week when you have

  1. no life
  2. no chance of midnight revelries
  3. a broken down computer, mainly because you repeatedly curse at it
After weeks of slogging for *mumble mumble mumble*, I finally had a morning when I could sleep for as long as I liked, for I have been blessed with parents who actually think I need as much sleep as I can get (They live in la-la land). Which obviously meant that I had an entire night to myself to do anything I liked without parental control or sunlight (I personally am not very fond of sunlight. Its way too over rated anyway). Hence I gave up some of my most precious, treasured, cherished and rare to find free hours to channel surfing.

After wandering around aimlessly at a few Bachchan movies, I finally reached Star World where they were showing Kyle XY which is about some boy who is different from everyone else. Why? He has no belly button. Oh, granted he has this really super memory and he completed reading every section of some encyclopedia in just an afternoon, and, oh, he has these amazing reflexes, but I mean, come on, no belly button? How cool is that? Spiderman did that reflexes thingy and androids or whatever he is supposed to be have huge memory reserves. Everybody knows that. But absence of belly buttons is the most unique Superhero trait ever. They might actually call him the NO BELLYBUTTON MAN, for he would roam around masked but topless, the bellybutton-less, washboard flat stomach being his stock-in-trade. It also helped that the robot or whatever the lead character is supposed to be playing is gorgeously cute which held my interest wonderfully. But his bellybutton-less existence had me spell bound and I spent a major part of an hour wondering what would life be like without a bellybutton. Other than the fact that if one did not have a bellybutton, there would be just one lesser body part to pierce, nothing really came to my mind. Does that make the belly button a vestigial organ?

The next batch of channel surfing led to a not-so-obscure movie called Dil Vil Pyar Vyar which is basically a meaningless movie with too much of sentiment, something I abhor, but has a few songs by Hariharan. I realize Mukesh loyalists cringe at the thought of his classics rehashed, but personally, any song sung in Hariharan's mellifluous voice is magical and an entire experience in itself. Hence, I steeled myself to watch a movie I would probably whimper for the rest of my life at the memory of. Unsurprisingly for a movie with 14 songs, one soon came along with a skimpily clad Hrishita Bhatt and a horror called Jimmy Shergill who actually had the gumption to wear an orange floral shirt with white trousers and a white jacket. Mercifully, the camera did not concentrate much on him. It was too busy following Bhatt's bellybutton in and around the railway station the song was shot at. It was then I made an observation that Kyle XY would not be much good as an actress over in India.
Because he has no bellybutton.

It was over an hour when realization finally struck me. I mercifully went to sleep.

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Falling

>> Monday, October 08, 2007

Some day the wind will change and you will see me clearly
One day these dreams of mine will bring me to my time
Some day i will become what i am meant to be coming to
One day but that's a million some days from today

Lately the sunshine makes a different shape around
Lately my music has a different sound to show me
Lately i ask questions of the world but no one is listening
Tell me when i go to sleep what will the morning bring me?

Falling, falling, falling, or am i flying?
Flying, flying, flying, or am i falling?

Though this is perhaps one of the most beautiful and lasting songs I have ever heard in a lifetime of music, I never could fathom its meaning completely. Sometimes I thought I understood what it was all about, but the last refrain always jumbled up all meanings born in my head. Until, that is, I came across this.



The song has a whole new aspect now. And never was it more beautiful.


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Reflections on my future

>> Sunday, October 07, 2007

Sometime last year, while having the all important decision of choosing a life-defining career option thrown at my head, to be resolved in a couple of days, I chose Economics as a graduation subject. Now, everyone who knows me realizes I am a trespasser through the complex nitty-gritties of the subject, not only because I wandered into it by accident, but because I am sticking to it by sheer will power and the fact that most of my closest friends seem equally immune to its thrills and joys. Solow Model gives me no hope for humanity and I would rather worship the duo of Jeeves and Bertie rather than Hicks and Slutsky, notwithstanding the fact that the name of the latter partly borders into an adult context.
[For the uninitiated and the interested(why?), Hicks and Slutsky are famous economists known for deriving a couple of graphs no human could ever reproduce without losing a thick thatch of cranial hair and a couple of fingernails]

However, I do not vex over the question of my future, do not fear unemployment (specially since I have to read an entire chapter on it for the next term) and certainly do not worry about ending up as a vagabond. For while at school (it was school where I devised most of my hair brained plans, aided and abetted by one of my best friends and maddest companions, ad libber KS), I had devised a career option, certain to provide me with ample means to lead a life of luxury and have a twenty-four protection from all kinds of lawful segments of society. For should not terrorists be eternally devoted to the teacher of their young, fragile youth who accompanied them in their joyful gambols and taught them the name of their first revolver?

For KS and I have decided to open up a Kindergarten for Young Terrorists for specialized attention in their selected stream of study. Both KS and I believe that the molding of an young mind should begin early and if kids were born to bomb innocent human beings, they should learn to do so early, so as to prevent any symptoms of actually having a heart. We even charted a whole new course plan with a revised system of teaching alphabets to young kids using words and metaphors familiar to them with regular usage. Which brings us to the purpose of this post, the public unveiling of

The Revised Alphabets for Kindergarten Terrorists

A is for AK 56
B is for Bombs
C is for Cartridges
D is for Dynamites
E is for Enemies
F is for Fireguns
G is for Grenades
H is for Handguns
I is for Incendiary Bomb
J is for Jail
K is for Ku Klux Klan
L is for Laserguns
M is for Machineguns
N is for Naxalites
O is for Osama
P is for Pistols
Q is for Qaeda
R is for RDX
S is for Suicide Bombers
T is for Terrorism
U is for USA
V is for V2
W is for WTC
X is from Xenophobia
Y is for Yataghan
Z is for Zealots


However there still remains a certain trepidation as to some of the mentioned might come and kill us in our sleep (I actually am presumptuous enough to think Osama Bin Laden reads my blog) so I would like to clarify with them that KS and I are not innocent citizens and murdering us would be a great service to our nation, which, as an act, is complete contrary to the image you are trying to build of yourself. Hence, if you want to remain the feared and favoured few, the best decision you could ever make is employing us as the basic infrastructure in your economy. That, my friend, would be your greatest and most fearless act as a terrorist.

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Bonky and Pongo's Day Out- II

>> Friday, September 28, 2007

The all-pervading aroma from the door on the right proved to be a unisexual bathroom while the door on the left was stoutly locked, which led to an inevitable choice of the center door. The first room turned out to be a hall which had been converted into a sales counter. The compulsive shopper in me called out to look at the delights at display, books mostly, with cheerful titles like "Governor Generals of India during the British Raj" and "British Trade Policies (1870-1930)" . It was again the more practical Bonky who came to my rescue by reminding me that if we pooled our funds, we would only be able to scrape a few hundred bucks for a book we would end up gifting to our grandparents. Better sense prevailed and we moved onwards.

Actually we did not. The sales counter man doubling up as a security guard asked us to halt and said visitors were supposed to go the rooms to their left, the rest being private quarters. Our conspiratorial minds immediately went haywire, forming theories of a room where skeletons were kept, hung from the overhead chandeliers which where the last governor's wives' corpses after he had consumed them (cannibalism happens to be one of our many interests). However, remembering the fact that even Scary Movie 3 scared me out of my wits, we dutifully went leftwards where the treasures of Metcalfe Hall were laid in front of us in all its splendour and glory.

"Bricks?"

The query resonated throughout the room. All the room contained was glass cases with bricks laid lovingly and protectively in them. Wondering slightly at the hobby of the last resident of the Hall, we roamed around, trying to fake an interest in stones, if only to please the septuagenarian
looking wonderingly at us from his post at the sales counter. It was then that we discovered a brick derived from the foundation of Bethune College. (A query here. How do people acquire foundation stones? Do they dig the place up? Or do they take it out before the rest of the building is made. If so, then can it be technically called a foundation stone since it never was allowed to remain a part of the foundation?) College loyalists that we are, we made it the mission of the next fifteen minutes to hunt up the foundation stone from our college among the fusillade of bricks collected in the room. Sadly, the stock of the foundation stone of our college had apparently been low and the room lacked severely in any bricks ear marked thus. On a happier note, none other bricks were found from any other college and we left the place, disappointed yet pleased.


Bonky suggests an inventory to be made of the bricks we met there so here it goes:

  • some bricks from a temple
  • many other bricks from some other temple
  • ditto
  • ditto
  • don't remember much else
The next room had a few canvases with pictures of less known temples in West Bengal but a cursory glance was enough for them. What really intrigued us was a couple of spiral stairs at two ends of the room leading to a balcony giving a bird's eye view of the room (not that it needed it). The conversation which ensued between us brilliant and absorbing conversationalists went like this :

P : Stairs.
B : Guk.
P : (in case something had missed Bonky's eagle eyes)Two stairs.
B : Indeed.
P : You take the right and I take the left, I guess?
B : (as always the more practical one) The balcony will fall down under our combined weight.
P : (avoiding looking at the carved structures which were an excuse for supports) Not really. People must come here sometimes and use it.
B : Oh yeah? How many brick lovers have you exactly met during your lifetime?
P : (hazarding a guess) Sweepers do come, right?
B : Oh, lets do it. At any rate, we might be able to avoid looking at our results.

And on this happy note, we comported ourselves on the stairs when we deduced the main reason why the balcony had not needed ample support. The stairs had been made to fit Chinese women in the age when their feet had been bound in yards of bandages owing to the lack of shoes for size ten feet. Holding on to the banister for dear life and almost tip toeing on the stairs (which had hollows, which meant a wrong step could lead to a foot hanging mid air from one of the steps), we finally reached the balcony. The next conversation we had went like this

B: So, sweepers, huh?
P : What I can't fathom is how do birds reach a room where there are no windows?
B : Mysterious indeed. So, do we get down the other end?
P : Hey, descending was never a part of the contract!

For here, a forgotten fear of heights attacks one of the protagonists and she begins to find excuses to remain on the balcony until she loses enough weight to have her knight in shining armour arrive and carry her downstairs. She was wondering at repercussions of the plan when

B : Dude, I believe that is the secret room.
P : (Immediately closing her eyes) Can you see the skeletons? Is there muscle peeling away from the bone. Will I be able to sleep tonight? Oh, THE HUMANITY!!!
B: Yeah well, all I can see is more books. I guess that's the stock room for that sales counter. Who do you think buys these books? (The economist in her perks up) Is that like an inventory investment?
P : (giving a look no one should give a friend and a fellow sufferer in the cause of education) Will you please concentrate on how to get me down from here? In case you don't remember, we have a movie to watch in, like, three hours and neither of us likes the idea of watching a movie alone. Also, the food is in my bag.
B: Oh, come on. The most that can happen is that we break our necks here and die, our dead bodies undiscovered till two more jobless girls come around here. On a brighter side, death can't be that bad. After all, we did give miserable examinations.

The question of dying thus admirably settled, we proceeded on our way down. It was the classic RDB moment. We had faced so much fear in the name of the impending results, that we had actually gone to a point beyond fear. It was more with the hope of death in our hearts that we tried to fit in our big feet in the tiny foot rests.However, as it is during times when you actually want to die, we did not manage to break our necks and came down, with clammy foreheads and hands a mysterious shade of brown as the only memento of our great climb.

Our journey back from Metcalfe Hall was eventful enough, what with absence of trams, burgers for ten bucks each, visits to haunted churches, trying to find our way to a movie hall in the middle of nowhere, having softies, gazing enviously at young people for their youth and the fact that all of them had boyfriends (at 19, we are aging young), happily gazing at tall guys in blue shirts, green shirts and white shirts and of course, cheering loudly at the women in Chak de India when they beat up the guys at MacD. However, that is a tale for another rainy day and as far as Bonky and Pongo are concerned, the tale of their day out is over.

Next story in line is hopefully the results of using a candid camera at Elliot Park.

p.s. The cartoons are highly amateurish in nature since I have never drawn anything in my entire life and used photoshop even less. Their purpose is nil and will probably be removed someday. They are to be taken in a humorous stride and all evil critics commenting against them will have the curse of the backside itch put on them. If you are a nice critic, may you have a harem of your own :)






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Bonky and Pongo's Day Out- I

>> Thursday, September 13, 2007

(This post is dedicated to Bonky, the person who has always inspired me to never follow my own decisions about dieting, but to go and stuff my face if I have the money, and, if possible, lend her some too.Hence, I openly proclaim that I will name my first child after you, regardless of its sex, if your husband murders you before it is born.)
It all started with the usual level of frustration with life for Bonky and me. Looking comprehensively at the fact that we were turning into amoebas, hated our graduating subject and had mistakenly arrived an hour early for our morning class on a warm, gentle Saturday morning, the next obvious step was walking dejectedly towards the college gates, wondering which stagnant waters would we end up being mosquitoes in. One of us opined (at this precise moment, I forget who, but it doesn't matter, both of us still think that) that we were total losers to be hanging around in the college for classes on a Saturday, when other people our age would be
a) sleeping
b) preparing for some date hours later
c) sleeping
d) getting rid of a hangover
e) sleeping
f) staring at the ceiling, blowing air bubbles and wondering what would be there for breakfast.

At this psychological hour, a tram crossed our path. We, pseudo economists and self proclaimed unicellular organisms when it comes to survival, think alike and think different. A tram with an unknown destination was accepted as our calling and we got up on the next one (we had missed our first inspiration while we were busy reading each other's minds).



This wasn't our first ride. We have had many such impromptu escapades from the humdrum menace of classes. Yet, the first foolish questions in a series of foolish questions happened to be, "where does this tram go" to a bemused conductor, possibly unused to absent minded, bespectacled, foolishly blinking young girls with as little clue of their destination as he himself. We got two tickets to the last stop, hoping against hope it would not be beyond traversed paths or recognizable tracts of civilizations. It was while we giggling away to glory at our daring, adventurous spirit (we are young girls who haven't been left alone beyond a fixed diameter around tuitions) that we suddenly found ourselves amidst a glory of British architecture and a bevy of business people amazed at the spectacle of two tripping teenagers staring goggle eyed at everything. The more erudite Bonky recognized the place as Dalhousie, the place which houses banks and churches with equal élan.

Traipsing around like little girls, an eye opened for food shops, it was not long before we saw a supposed minaret at a distance. Close inspection proved it to be the General Post Office. Following Rikki Tikki Tavi's motto, we went and found out all we could about it, which was not much. Though we did find a couple of cute guys we could stare happily at, our lack of post office etiquette rose a few eyebrows. Our girlish exuberance at the sight of the stamp corner and a computerized section was not well received and it was not long before we were looking somewhere else for luck and interest.

More aimless wanderings and a roving eye brought us to a building covered with beggars which proclaimed itself to be Metcalfe Hall on a disused pillar. Having heard the name in one of my rarer non-orkutting browsing of the internet, I dragged a bewildered Bonky to the bird defiled exterior, with its impressive rows of columns and wide staircases one could play hopscotch on (we did try to, as a matter of fact).

The interior was not very impressive at the beginning. A huge notice loomed proclaiming the legend that we needed to get permission of the security guards to look around, not that we saw any scope of doing anything illegal there, except, maybe, practice our cheerleading skills. Perceiving our hesitance, a man, posing as a security guard (oh, come on, why would Metcalfe Hall need security guards?), rushed us off upstairs, the ground floor being cordoned off for the birds, we presumed.
However, things started looking up with our ascent. Our journey was assisted by sweeping, wooden, carpeted stairs while the walls were adorned with pictures of Victoria Memorial in all its splendor (we suspect those pictures had been photo edited a bit, Victoria Memorial never looked like that ever since coloured photo films had been invented). Muffled footsteps accompanied us to a landing with three, yellow, paint-chipped doors.

Which door did we choose? Did the day bring forth further minor adventures? Were there any more philosophical musings? Did we discover a dead body sprawled across the middle of the Metcalfe Hall with an oriental knife sticking through its heart? Find out later in the sequel to Bonky and Pongo's Day Out.

(OK, fine, I am too lazy to complete this.)

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Onion Soup for the Drunkard's Soul

>> Saturday, August 25, 2007

(Dedicated to the only professor who thinks I am of Tamil parentage)

Have you been stopped receiving indirect hints about the membership openings at Alcoholics Anonymous? Does a half empty glass appear half full to you when you are on your penultimate peg? Is the first thing you desire every morning a black coffee? Can you actually pretend to be sober while you are stuffed to your gills? Then, hold your drunken breath, you are not being true to the code of the drunkards, the oaths and protocols of the distinguished few who have managed to immerse their whole lives to boozing and staying inebriated in all their waking hours, if, they can be called awake. So here is another vignette, chosen carefully and written with the toil and sweat of a few sober people, in an attempt to rouse the world to the joy of staying sloshed and never to put down the cocktail until you are being dragged homeward bound.

The Reformation
J.D. was a drunkard. He also was in love. Usually one begets the other, but he managed to perform both individually, with neither of the sets intersecting each other, though, of course, the lightheadedness associated with his drink did create an illusion of his beloved having more beauty than the Lord had bestowed on her. But the illusion helped and thus, every day, in every way, after his fourth peg, J.D. realized what he really needed was a woman in his house, in front of his favourite armchair, with limpid eyes to gaze into through the end of a glass and eager hands eagerly bringing in soda every half an hour. The future was not unthought of either. He already had plans to open a brewery with his eldest son while his youngest son would own a vineyard. In fact, everything was settled upon except for the asking of the woman's hand. Our brave protagonist did not cringe there either. Without the assistance of any additional alcohol to his regular amount, he went and braved it, the odds not withstanding.

However, the girl's acceptance had the predictable condition, she wanted her future husband to abstain from all alcoholic drinks. The reason behind this seemingly lay in an unhappy childhood consisting of a drunkard father, a long suffering mother and midnight brawls in front of their home with the renegades of the night. She refused to foresee a similar future for herself despite J.D. 's forceful recital of the midnight brawls being sources of general knowledge, usually regarding natural history. It pertained, she was not very fond of natural history, due to having a Ph.D. on it.

Such was the power of his love for the girl that J.D. actually contemplated taking up sobriety as as a natural form of existence. J.D. had never drunk to lessen pain, there had been no sorrow gnawing at his heart. He drank for pure pleasure. Intoxication came to him as inspiration comes to a writer. The artist in him took delight in discovering different forms of drunkenness, and, though not a well known fact, he had even composed and published essays on this. It was to explain this and beg for understanding and pity that he landed up, late one evening at his betrothed's.

It was his future mother-in-law who received him, informing him that her daughter was away. Seated in a very feminine living room, with more drink sloshing in him than he was used to, the motherly concern shown by his fiancee's mother regarding his pallid looking skin and a distraught expression made J.D. break down into fierce hiccups, an emotional outlet to his real feelings. Not being able to hold them any longer, he cried out all his troubles and worries and begged the woman in front of her to have mercy on his pitiful state and ask her daughter to reconsider her decision. It was the eerie silence of his audience which woke him up to the fact that this woman herself was a victim of a drunken husband and was not wont to sympathize with his case. It was while he was trying to find a tactful comment about the weather when she quietly spoke, "It wasn't her father. It was me." While J.D. blinked away his confusion, she explained her husband had always been a strict teetotaler and it was she who had been addicted to the glass. It had meant a painful childhood for her daughter who adored her father, who disliked his wife's little luxuries. An impressionable girl, she felt her mother to be in the wrong and sided with her father when it came to the question of the habit of drinking and found the act reprehensible. However, her father having died due to natural causes a few years ago (possibly because he did not drink, everyone knows alcohol kills germs), it was he his daughter attributed the drinking habit to, too ashamed to confess she had a drunk mother. She finished her story by offering a glass of whiskey to J.D. who rose to the occasion by asking for two.

It was while consuming his fourth glass while the lady was on her fifth that he realized he had met a kindred soul. Not only did she gulp down whiskeys with the fine artistry of a camel, she had a rare, shining, truthful spirit, who was not ashamed to own up that she drank, nay, was actually proud of it. He compared her to her daughter, who not only deceived him, but also disliked alcohol, classifying her as a lemon in the garden of paradise. It was on his seventh glass that a sudden realization shook him to the core and he saw what a fool he had been going to make of himself.

J.D. and his once-upon-a-time future-mother-in-law are happily married today with two adopted sons, both of whom, though young, show a healthy interest in the making of alcohol. Though their father does not allow them to consume it till they are of age, it is clear that his dreams for his sons will surely come true.

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Which FRIENDS character do i resemble?

>> Friday, August 24, 2007

Which Friend Are You Quiz on tbs.com

Okay, so this may be a waste of time and space and effort, but I am most like Chandler!!! Yay me!!

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My Superhero Alter Ego

>> Thursday, August 23, 2007

Your Superhero Profile

Your Superhero Name is The Mammoth Zombie
Your Superpower is Complements
Your Weakness is Handshakes
Your Weapon is Your Solar Rusty
Your Mode of Transportation is Elephant
What's your Superhero Name?


How did they know an elephant is the only living being physically able to carry me- except the blue whale, that is. Gawd, Blogthings has a satellite above my house!!!

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The Railway Children - A Very Personal Reflection

>> Friday, August 17, 2007

At 19, when one is supposed to be reading Dostoevsky and ruminating on Kafka's works (I attempted to do both with very minor success), I still remain in denial that, at this age, The First Term at Malory Towers does not really make an appropriate reading material. Maybe I just chanced to retain the child in me or, more plausibly, the child in me has kidnapped the part of my brain which should feed me information about my mental and spiritual growth and is doing cannibalistic ritual dances on it. However, the moot point is, one of my best beloved books happens to be a children's classic and I type this reflection proudly, sheltering under a hope that my readers, a population of possibly five people at most, will agree with me.

For people unfamiliar with the book, Edith Nesbit's The Railway Children is about a family of three children and almost perfect parents whose life is transformed after their father mysteriously disappears. They face the fear of poverty, change homes, and, the most wonderful bit of all, get acquainted with the railway running near their new cottage. How their lives are intertwined with the railway and the friends they make there, their adventures and misadventures, and how it all becomes a process of growing up is what the book is about.

This is not a review. I cannot be presumptuous enough to review a book I loved as a kid, still love when I am pretending to be a kid, and hope some day my kids love it too. Though if my kids are anything like me, they would certainly prefer The Criminal's Manual to Lock Picking. This is just a very unsuccessful attempt to share the sheer magic of innocence and charm of a lost tribe of childhood. This is about a time when kids actually went and explored places when they had nothing to do-an Enid Bytonian era of childhood. A phase unknown to most people. Though what attracts you most is that there is no heavy morality, no adventures with smugglers who are apparently found at every nook if you are a band of at least four kids and a dog with ESP. At least that is the impression Enid Blyton gave me. For heaven's sake, 21 adventures!! All they did was make a plan to have a picnic, and whoa, suddenly there is a bunch of thugs looking for hidden treasures or Uranium five paces from there picnic spots.

Mind it, I love the Famous Five. Its just that I am mildly jealous of their luck.

What they do is what mostly every kid dreams of doing. The kind of dreams the BFG blows in the twilight hour. Stopping a train from accident, saving babies from burning buildings. Yet, more than bravery, what touches me is the other emotions explained here. The terrifying doubt of failure, the embarrassment at being felicitated, yet, an anticipation for it, the self recrimination, the childish attempts to make good, an undying belief in the goodness of others and the ability to love selflessly.

The Author's favourite character Bobbie wins my heart very time I read it. The unselfish love for her mother, the maturity of the young mind, the generous and impetuous actions and a brave little heart creates a little girl, not nauseatingly perfect, but lovingly real and beloved.

The story itself holds no mystery. There is no thrill of a suspense, no part where you grip the book in chilled anticipation. The charm of the book lies in the hearts of the children, who live in a world of their own, where their is imagination, adventures and friendship which blends easily with their trials in real lives-the boredom of lessons, the lack of playmates, the strain of work and, of course, the absence of their Father. Thus a book is made, where children are children, not young moral heroes, where they make mistakes and learn from them, where they have accidents, where the mother is a wonderful figure of motherhood, morally upright but with a sense of humour, where she is both understanding and generously loving, where, after all said and done, she is a beloved mother, like mothers everywhere.

Why do I suggest the book to a world of adults out there? I don't. Its a part of my childhood and hope it was a part of yours.


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Ode to my Mathematical Economics Professor's Class on a Thursday Afternoon

>> Saturday, July 07, 2007

Thou might be teaching thine students a thousand words of thine expertise
But dost thou never realize how utterly futile the purpose of education is?
Whence comparing our existence to the cosmos beyond the boundaries of all imaginations
Dost not thou comprehend, how entirely insignificant set theory is to the universe?

Dost thou have no inkling that man was created to enjoy His gifts
Not question, ponder and contemplate on them
Why are not thee satisfied that we are able enough to drag our sorry selves to college every day
That thou have to complicate all matters by adding derivable functions to them?

For what does it really matter in our inconsequential lives
That linear functions are odd or even,
When no one will remove the dust from our graves
A hundred years hence?

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The Deathly Hallows

Possibly the most faithful of all love stories begun when someone lent me “The Philosopher’s Stone” for a week to peruse and ponder upon. Thus spawned my one sided love affair with the most brilliant and ingenious of human creations ever ( For people who think the most brilliant and ingenious of human creators ever is Tolkien, Shah Jahan or Paris Hilton's dress designer, I agree with you all. Each to his own). My young, teenage, perpetually unattached heart, felt a whole gamut of emotions, from exhilaration to resounding grief, in the span of seven years as I followed the hormone ravaged, angst filled, replete with desires for revenge and other unmentionable stuff adventures of the boy-man Potter. Needless to say, this devotion affected my reality, where I ended up defining my ideal mate as thin, bespectacled, hopefully scarred and with lots of issues against life. So here I am, 19, loveless, and waiting for the final bugle call- will He live?


When the announcement did come through that my life was soon going to be complete with the release of the last book, God was in heaven and all was right with the world. In sheer bliss, I fascinated all the neighbourhood window-peerers, which includes the next door grocer, garage hands from the garage opposite and the twelve year old brother of a former beauty queen, who, thankfully, now reigns somewhere in suburban America, by a pseudo jhingalala dance, which uses hair brushes, sofa sets and remote control sets as props . After all, what could prevent the solemn union between the beloved and the lover? Was not I a true fan? Did not I despise the movies for insulting the very foundation of my reason for existence? Did not I pray every night despite being a confirmed atheist for Ron and Hermione to come together? Did not I know where “armadillo bile” is mentioned in the entire series (For those who do not know, Harry spills it in the fourth book to eavesdrop on Snape and Karkaroff)? Could the powers that be prevent a union as holy and hallowed as mine and the Deathly Hallows?

Turns out, it could.

To think Romeo and Juliet thought they had it hard.

With pecuniary conditions equaling the amount of calories received by prisoner of wars, I hardly had much of an option left but to broach the subject of an additional payment for his virtual son-in-law to my father. When the daughter of the house spends most of the money she earns trying to replenish the calories she loses while turning pages of heavy books, it is the duty of the patriarch of the family to fulfill her spiritual needs, namely buy the stuff lying beyond her budget constraints.

The stage layout was perfectly set. My dad was dreamily reading a book the life and times of Jute factory owners after the Scandinavian literature breakthrough (or so I presumed). My mum looked equally dreamily into space, possibly wondering on the merits of marriage to men who seem only to care for tragedies and troubles rampaging the world only if its taking place at least a few thousand miles away from their door steps. Fingers crossed, I asked them about the possible loan, with full assurance of a future pay off of a thousand rupees, zero interest scheme. My mother had an instant aneurysm. My father, meanwhile, is a steady sort of a person with the patience of a man who has seen inflation steadily and seen it whole. He calmly asked whether my new found economic knowledge actually concurred that it was a sound budget policy during the period of economic depression my family was facing (which, may I add, we have been facing ever since my sister and I have been old enough to demand for our financial rights). After all, with ambitions ranging from being research assistants to professing on the nitty-gritties of economics, all of which pay a salary equaling cost of prison fare per individual, my claim of returning the money back was indubitably questionable. It finally ended in a stalemate where my dad took a look at my mother and opined her expression was similar to a Russian peasant who had just been intimated that his goat had crossed the path of the Czar and went back to peruse his book on the Japanese opinion of the state of anarchy raging in the Texan lands (or so I presumed again). My mother, realizing the demand of monetary assistance in the face of an unequal supply had been refuted, if not in a very direct manner, resumed her contemplation on the wisdom of marrying men who had hearts big enough to worry about the political state in Timbuktu but could never care enough for the fact that the plumber needed to be called in.

I have a feeling, this time, my reunion with Potter will be with a much thumbed, broken spined library book with traces of tears all over it, reminding me of the fact that He is in the habit of keeping concubines.

Now I truly know the pangs of love and separation. Ignorance had been truly bliss.

I know, weird ending.

The End.

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What Kind of Atheist are You?

>> Sunday, June 17, 2007


You scored as Spiritual Atheist, Ah! Some of the coolest people in
the world are Spiritual Atheists. Most of them weren't brought up in
an organized religion and have very little baggage. They
concentrate on making the world a better place and know
that death is just another part of life. What comes after,
comes after.

Spiritual Atheist


100%

Apathetic Atheist


67%

Theist


33%

Scientific Atheist


33%

Angry Atheist


33%

Militant Atheist


17%

Agnostic


17%

What kind of atheist are you?
created with QuizFarm.com

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The Pitch Called Life

>> Friday, June 01, 2007

The sun rose with all its majestic beauty, overpowering the evanescent moon and the few remaining ephemeral stars, alighting the dark hills in a golden frame. However, this was completely inconsequential to Ganga Kishore Bandhopadhyay and I, who were seated in my club, in one of the most urban localities in Kolkata, nine hours after the sun had so risen, two hundred kilometers away. Sunrises here are visualized on television screens. Ditto for sunsets and all the other natural phenomena the Romantics seemed to be so fond of eulogizing about. Modern poets are much more inclined towards the global unification, doubtlessly to gain access to a cheaper Macdonald’s.

“So, how has your ‘Midnight Murders’ fared,” I questioned my lunchmate, a beatific smile playing on my lips, as it usually does after I partake of heavy, oil laden or chocolate coated victuals, a smile profitable to all waiters and beggars in the vicinity. Food does to me what Rome did to Caesar. I come, I see, I conquer. My vision of Utopia is one where desserts can be consumed without facing any qualms in fear of gaining calories. My demeanor at this point of time was convincing enough for all atheists to believe that God was in heaven and everything was all right with the world. However, my companion did not seem so assured. He raised morose eyes towards me, sighed and went into a brown study.

“Hullo, Ganga, are you feeling all right,” I asked him with incredulous amazement, astonished at the fact that one could not feel all right after consuming five thousand, seven hundred and forty six calories in the guise of cordon bleu continental cooking.

“Scrapped”, a cry came from the bottom of his heart. “ Not good enough! The murderer is apparently obvious even before the murder is committed and anyway, the cause of the murder was unconvincing rendering it needless! Unrequired! Hah! Oh, the unfairness! Where is the equality which made our country famous? Where is the freedom of expression?”

Ganga Kishore Bandhopadhyay, a friend ever since I had discovered what teeth are actually intended for, was born to be a clerk. Clerkdom beckoned to him as a flame beckons to a moth. However, while passing through the phase of vulnerable teenage, a reckless astrologer had predicted great success for him in the field of creativity and my friend turned into an aspiring Agatha Christie, avoiding any allusions to gender confusion. Yet, the gods of murder mystery writers had apparently missed him during the blessing ceremony and success eluded him the way I elude cholestrol-free diets.

“Umm… That is such a tragedy. Talent is seldom appreciated nowadays. People never realize it when brilliance knocks their door.” I tried to fake some sympathy on my round and satiated face, which effused contentment. “So what are your plans for the future?”

“The critics have predicted that I will be a hopeless failure in this field. Why do I live?” I avoided saying that I had been asking this to myself ever since I had known him and persisted with the sympathetic look envisioning chocolate-coated wafers.

“Now I have no other option left,” he continued.” I think I will have to turn into a poet.”

“A what,” I reeled. “Where in the world did you acquire such an idea?”
I was completely taken back by Ganga’s statement. Ganga as a writer was overwhelming enough for my senses, but Ganga as a poet shook me to the core. My profound astonishment almost led me to miss his next words.

“…extremely impressed by the works of Arnold. My palm lines apparently are very similar to his. In fact I have even planned out my first poem.”

“ Indeed! That is marvellous!” Amazing would have stood more true. “What is it going to be about?”

“I am going to call it ‘The Pitch called Life’. It will reflect all the disappointments I have suffered in this lifetime. The starting goes something like this,
‘Oh how true it is my life can be called a pitch…’”
he sang out to the utter surprise of all people unfortunate enough to be seated within half a mile of him. Then he stopped abruptly looking uncomfortable.
“Well? What about the rest of the lines?” I queried, refraining from providing an opinion.

“That is where the tragedy lies,” he ejaculated. “ I cannot find a rhyme for pitch!”

“Oh, umm…..disappointing! How about ‘rich’?” was my brilliant rejoinder.

Ganga rolled his eyes and replied in the strained voice teachers employ for their mentally retarded students, “ What do you want me to write?
‘Oh how true it is that my life can be called a pitch,
Because I am tired, bored and rich!’
Where is the poetic beauty? Where is the lucidity of words?”

“Even I have to admit the lines sound ridiculous! How about ‘witch’?” But my help went unappreciated as he muttered something about his wife.

“Then why do not you use free verse,” was my next advice.
He tut-tutted. “Free verse is a form employed by amateurs”, implying he had been an expert since he was conceived.

Looking at his desperation, I was compelled to try and free him from all his worries.

“ Why can not you write another poem?”

“You do not understand! My senses have been completely overcome by this inspiration. I can not rest in peace until I have completed the poem,” he declared and went into throes of despondency.

“Oh, then, how about stitch?”

He shook his head. “Forget it, old friend! I will have to bear this burden myself, burn alone in the fire of my own creation! There is no escape for me now. Either I will complete this poem or embrace death. That is, after all, the only end for dreamers and believers. Today I might be laughed at. Tomorrow, when I am dead and decaying, I will be receiving accolades. This is the future I will face as will others after me who will make the mistake of believing in themselves,” and after making this highly dramatic speech he got up and went away leaving the entire burden of the unpaid bill on yours truly.

Another meeting between my friend and I was not in store for us. Two years later, while waiting for my poached eggs (sunny side up) one cold morning, I chanced across an article in a newspaper which reported the death of an obscure, aspiring poet, 'Gouri' Kishore Bandhopadhyay. He had died due to a massive stroke in a famous bookstore, with a dictionary in his hands. His last words apparently were “Pitch, rich, what?” I turned over to a culinary article in the next page.



Ritika Palit

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