Monday, May 18, 2009

Ova and Oudh

Some last words as some last hours slip by. ....

Well, I would say that I reached here about 15 years back, started living here about 10 years back and well, did not particularly like the experience. I found a lot of stuff, made some money, met some interesting people, knew a few women, and got a degree. I also lost an important person and found that life could change overnight and not necessarily for the better. In addition, after a few false starts, I also managed to get married.
What have I learnt? Nothing. Except all the things i always knew.
Why am I leaving? I don't think I am leaving but it is time to move on.
Of course, a certain Ova and a not so uncertain Oudh helped me along the way.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Sorry for Interruption

Rukavat ke liye khed hai. I almost was interrupted, and by a man peddling life insurance policies. But I refused to be interrupted and carried on.
Kind of unlike the poor soldier who stopped a bullet and gifted Robert Capa with immortality.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Misoprostol and the War Memorial

It was kind of late evening, the match on the IPL was so boring that anything would be better than having to go through another hour of that muck and I was feeling kind of alone. So I decided to go out and have a bit of a walk and take in some fresh air. So I got into my car, and drove out trying to find a place where I could take a walk. I suppose the carbon footprint of the drive is bigger than the walk but that is another matter. As I drove past the War Memorial opposite the Secretariat, I thought I might as well take a look at the memorial. I had never been there before. As I parked the car and got out, something crunched under my foot. There was enough light to see that it was a carton of medicine. As I picked it up, I could read that it had once contained Misoprostol. I tried to remember what it is used for when I recollected that it is a drug used for inducing first trimester abortions. I threw the carton away and took a couple of rounds in the park and saw the war memorial. So many men have died, and I could feel that maybe some of them were out there visiting the place. There were a few people around, couples, and groups of boys with songs playing on their mobile phones.
I wondered why someone decided to take a misoprostol tablet at the war memorial rather than any other place. Maybe, it was a war too that led to the ingestion of the tablet. I walked on the soft track made up of cinders and it was kind of nice and soft under my feet. kind of springy.
I reached back home and took of my shoes and saw that the distal half of my left foot had turned black. I thought maybe I had developed an acute diabetic foot or something when I realized that it was the ash that had seeped through a hole in the sole of my shoe. And I love those shoes, I wonder where I will get a replacement.

Friday, May 08, 2009

The Bong Biography

I got this as an email forward from a Bong friend. It is quite interesting and funny at times. What is interesting is that it is written by a Bong and it is too long.

Enjoy this one too & share it with Bongs who have a sense of humor

This is for all the proud Bongs and those who can have a hearty laugh at
themselves.. .

There are two kinds of Bengalis that I know. Probashi or Expatriate
Bangalees, a fairly large and diverse group about which I can't write as I
am one of them. And Bengalees who are from Kolkata. This group is
incorrectly known as Bongs, as they are merely a subset. However, this is
the only group which matters. Gokhale told of them, long years back, "What
Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow." To which Rene Descartes
responded, "I think (today), therefore I am (Bengali)." Like all other
Nobel Prize Winners, Oscar Awardees and most successful Indian cricket
captains, Rene Descartes was also a Bong (this fact is not known outside of

Physical Description:
The Bong has a large head, glasses, glistening hair and dark skin. Older
Bongs develop an ample stomach to balance their large heads. This happens
by the age of 25. They smell of Keo Karpin or shorsher teil. The average
life expectancy is 65 years. What is even more impressive is what they do
in those years. Outside Kolkata, regardless of weather, sex or age, Bongs
can be seen in Monkey Caps. This is a must-have accessory as well as a sign
to recognize other Bongs. (please see second update for more). The Bongling
can often be recognised in either over-sized or under-sized school
uniforms. The Bong mother's second biggest fear (See diet for the biggest
one) is that the "porer bochor o lomba hoye gele abar notun skirt kinte
hobe!!" or "Next year, if you grow taller, we'll again have to buy a new
skirt!!" Thus, the school uniform is selected to last at least three years.
Thus the uniform sits as conspicuously on the Bongling as the plumage of a

Early Years :
While most Bongs are born with innate talents in singing, dancing,
painting, film-making, cooking or embroidery, their creative talents are
honed even before they can start speaking. Frequent meets are organised
between infants and their successful ancestors and other relatives. MA
degrees (preferably from Cambridge , at least from Presidency or Jadobpoor)
are displayed over the cots. The infant is exposed to the best of Bengali
thought - Marx, Bentham, Kalidas, Tolstoy, Chekov*. This increases the
sizes of their heads and the height of their ambitions. Similar examples,
though rare, can be found in European tradition as well, like in the case
of Mozart. In India , however, Bongs have the sole preserve on such
activity during infancy. Soon, when they grow up a little, their characters
are honed in the best of schools. Here, I am not referring to the South
Points, La Marts, Don Boscos and all. They are important in the nurture a
Bong child goes through. What is even more important are the schools the
Bong child passes through before school and after school. Many a Bong child
wakes up at five o'clock in the morning to attend swimming classes. After
one hour of swimming, he attends tennis coaching before rushing off to one
of the South Points, LaMarts etc. mentioned above. School finishes by two
or so, from where he scoots along to Singing/ Instrumental Music/ Dance
Classes, then tuition (for at least three of all five subjects). He rounds
off the day with coaching on either Debating or Quiz.
Many a Bong mother will carry the child along through this day, feeling
equally energized. This behavior is again not restricted to Bongs. It also
seen within kangaroos in Australia who rush along from one clump to another

Growing up:
Soon the Bong attains adolescence, doesn't find friends of his age (since
everyone is competing for the Nobel Prize or the Indian captaincy) and
finds intimacy in conversation in his/her parents and poems of T.S.Eliot
and Pablo Neruda. When school ends, they move on to the good colleges-
Presidency, Xavier's or IIT Kharagpur. The best of them, though, move
straight to Joo (Jadobpoor). However, in recent years, Dilli (Stephen's
obviously) is becoming the preferred destination for some escapists. In
colleges, they decorate their rooms with books or portraits of Robi Guru
(Tagore). On the opposite wall, men would have posters of Che/Maradona and
women would have Enrique Iglesias, thus expressing solidarity with Latin
American culture. All of them share equal interest in the Bong-Rock (Bhumi,
Chondrobindu, Cactus, Usha Uththup, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep

Later Years :
Bongs mature early. Critics have said that they grow old early, but that is
nothing but old hat. Years of toil and Eliot would obviously bestow wisdom.
The reason they look older is because the sole purpose of a Bong's life is
to win the Nobel Prize or the Oscars (and in recent years, captain the
Indian team). With great responsibility comes great age. Add to it the
chlorine in the swimming pools and you know why Bongs grey prematurely. As
far as their mission in life is concerned, they have been very successful
at it. Every Indian Nobel Prize winner has been Bong. So have the Oscar
Awardees. And most successful Cricket Captains. And Bipasha Basu. Once
Bongs have kids though, their mission on life changes. The only raision
de'etre for them is making sure that their progeny achieves the heights
that they could (or couldn't). Hence, they are mostly found outside of
schools, colleges and tuition classes, with mats (madoors), mugs (of chaaa)
and mouthfuls of goppo.

Diet is as important as Robindro Shongeet. There's nothing that a Bong
can't eat. However, they prefer protein over other food groups. The largest
source of protein for them is fish, then meat, and then mishti (sweets)
made from milk. More than fish itself, it is the knowledge of fish which is
coveted and enjoyed. Carbohydrates are tolerated if they are fried in oil
or if it is accompaniment to fish. Luchis (somewhat like aPuri), Telebhajas
(pakoras) and Phuchkas (Paani Puri) are the favoured source of
carbohydrates. The young Bengali though invariably always has Farex,
Lactogen and Waterbury 's Compound. As far as they most important meal of
the day is concerned, please do note that what dieticians have been saying
in the last few years, Bongs have known for centuries. Breakphast/tiphphin
is an occasion where the entire family comes together, to watch the
office-going Bong male and school-bound Bonglings eat. The Bong woman's
biggest fear is that "Shokale bhaat dal mach bhaaja na kheye beriye gailo"
or "In the morning, He went out without eating rice, dal and fish fry." To
round off the calories, Dal is often accompanied by aaloo bhaate, aaloo
bhaja, potol bhaaja and various other heartily fried stuff. Not for the

Mating and procreation:
A few Bong end up being in relationships, which lead to love marriage. This
is sometimes shown in movies and song. However, most do not have any such
social malignancy and end up marrying the woman of their mother's dreams or
men of their father's choosing. This results in mixing the right genes for
the next cycle of Bongs.Love marriage, by its very nature, is random. It
sometimes results is tragedy, like marrying into another country (like
India ). Hence, it is avoided, wherever possible.

Social Life:
Adda, robindro shongeet and cha. Repeat. Do note that the young Bong
doesn't have a social life (at least not till he wins the Nobel or gets a
Government job). And phootball. the Bongs have had an illustrious history
of achievement in football. Every para (neighbourhood) has stories of when
they won the World Cup at the expense of the next one. The last time it
happened in my parent's para was in 1986, when Argentina won in Mexico .
Diego Maradona, who looks Bhodrolok enough, give or take a few lines of
coke, or a few sprigs of grass, scored famously using his hand, a skill
which he learnt in Kolkata.Over the last few years, Brazil has been
gladdening the hearts of the many Zicos being born in Kolkata after 1982.
The only team which is not Bong is Germany as they play with more
efficiency and no creativity, which thus not support adda. Do not ask of a
Bong ever doing anything of substance on the phootball field, as then the
Bong will keep you occupied about Jakarta ,1962. "Chuni Goswami je Ball
tule dilo PK ke. Match-er aagei bolechilo, "Ekta Ball debo. Daam kore
maarish. Gol hobe"." Chuni Goswami put a football up for PK (Banerjee). He
told him before the match itself, "I will give you one ball. Hit it with a
bang.Goal will happen." Obviously, it is also the crowning moment of Indian

While you may find a Bong in other places (like occasionally in offices),
the best time to observe a Bong is in his natural habitat - the best of
colleges, the best of schools, the best of coffee houses. It is here that
he will tell you about Balzac while she will recite poetry with gay
abandon. To mix in with the Bong, apply Keo Karpin to your hair and carry a
jhola......and dont forget the thick glasses. Hopefully, they won't notice
your small head. Do not worry about not knowing the language, as the Bong
likes being heard more than hearing.

Famous Bongs :
Many famous Bongs have been referred to in this extract. Hence, this
section is used to debunk that big myth about Big Bongs. People believe
that Bong men can't be hunky....... ...., or carelessly famous. If so, then
what about Abhishek Bachchan (via mother), Saif Ali Khan (via mother), John
Abraham (via girlfriend), Hritik Roshan (via grandmother) , or Sonia Gandhi
(via cat.... seriously, she's from Kolkata).

Bongs in Literature, Film, Art:
Everywhere you care to look.

Closing Word :
Being Bong, at the end of the day, is a state of mind. Or, a case of being
discovered by them.

The last Thing That Bush Saw

shoe gate
Originally uploaded by ravnos76

The Voter

Well, to my pleasant surprise I found that my name is included in the voter's list. So i went out on the afternoon of the 7th of May, 2009 and voted for the person I think should be the Prime Minister. I did not quite like the candidate but no matter.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

The Odd Man Out

the Odd Man Out
Originally uploaded by Shubh M Singh
Sometimes nature throws up surprises, sometimes good and sometimes bad. But it is precisely this randomness that is so much fun.
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