Monday, December 31, 2007

Christmas Chronicles

Let me list down what I did in last 12 days.
I can't remember any other thing! Did I spent the whole holiday week in doing nothing? I didn't do much of work in my research or academics, didn't went out to anywhere.
Lets change this lazy habits from the coming year!

Monday, December 24, 2007

End of Semester

I have become so lazy... I didn't write any entry for almost a month! Well, semester pressure was on, all right; but it was not too much. It was just laziness to be honest.
Now semester's over and there can be no excuse of academic pressure. So let me list my planned activity for the semester break at least. Day after the exams were over, I went to library and checked out some movies. So now during these few days these are the movies I'm going to watch:

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

We are in the same boat brother!

"PARIS, Nov 27 (Reuters) - Life has not improved for the inhabitants of France's poor, ethnically diverse suburbs since the riots of 2005, despite millions of euros in cash pledges and President Nicolas Sarkozy's election promises.
"High unemployment, underperforming schools, poor relations with the police, inadequate housing and controversial new immigration laws have created a generation of frustrated youths ready to turn to violence at any time. ...

Doesn't it sound familiar? Politicians are all the same across the universe!

Sunday, November 25, 2007

Advent of advertisements

Palashda had once told me that advertisement industry in the west is pretty much matured and advanced whereas in India, as usual, getting matured and in middle east it's still in late childhood! No wonder I had some expectations on advertisements after coming to USA. This is what I got!
Advertisements here can be divided in main six categories.
  1. Food and food chains
  2. Advocates & Law firms
  3. Insurance
  4. Medicines
  5. Cars
  6. and others
Food related ads are really very stereotype except one or two. Insurance and law firm ads are the worst in the entire sector, either entirely out of context or totally vague. Medicines have the longest ads on TV, and they are boring. However, they follow a very common pattern; first they describes a very common feeling, then makes it a point to prove that that is actually a disease and then gives you the cure along with the side effects! ...
'Does your head jerk when you sneeze?'

'You may be suffering from sneeze-jerk disease!'
'Ask your doctor for sneezocure! Side effects may include nausea, sleepiness, lethargy, occasional urge for sex and gambling, depression, occasional urge for suicide, etc.'
Car advertisements are typical just like any other car commercial in any part of the world.
One or two are creative others are normally just eye candy and few are really dumb. 90% of the all commercials are the first five categories. Rest 10% others are also nothing notesworthy.
In Indian TV, the products, whose commercials are shown are pretty varied. So we have a huge range of advertisements and some of them are really good. The worst ads are shown in regional channels, poorly packaged and poorly executed ads. No US ads are of such low quality but the Law firms' ads often are on the verge of competing with these regional channel ads! But in National TV of India commercials are really well packaged and aggressive. Some of them are really heartwarming like classsic Raymond, Cadbury or Titan ads. Indian commercials are I felt not less matured, if not more, than US commercials.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Nandigram and beyond!

So much agitation is going on on this issue, and me being from Medinipur, I always get questions like, 'What exactly is goign on there?'
Honestly, I am totally confused and ill-informed! I am away from Medinipur for last three years now, and the news I get is from my some-what-pro-left-liberal parents who are not really into politics and believe in what newspapers say and from newspapers. Essentially the sources are almost the same! So disillusioned, I stayed away from this issues. But this is getting stronger day by day.
I don't know where we are heading ... things look very grim.
Here is a nice analysis of the Nandigram situation.
The point is Nandigram is just an outburst of our governmnetal policies, "social awareness", political propaganda, "democracy"... but what happens to the real people? Where will they go?
Its all dark in the future.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007


I was calling home. My parents are moving. We've got a new home at Kolkata, so we are leaving father's quarter at Midnapore and going to settle there. In fact this move was scheduled long ago before my coming to USA! But the VISA episode got all plan disrupted and so now I'm far far away just listening them packing things and getting ready to move.
We stayed at that place for ten years. Ten years - long time huh? This has been the longest spell we've stayed at one place. We never had a fixed home. Moving with my father's workplace like nomads. Just the time you feel to grow roots on a place - its time to move. Its hard. I lost many friends and gained many, too. But somehow as I grew up, I never could mingle up properly in a new environemnt, i.e., our new quarter; probably because I knew its painful to grow association at one place when you know you have to move out one day. Still once you start staying at a place
for couple of years you are bound to have memories.
May be I am fortunate as at our last quarter I haven't styaed much. I moved to college hostel and then to Pune ... Midnapore was my vacation time! But it was home. I have some memories at every corner of that house.
When my mother told me they are packing I felt as if I am losing my memories. I know there are some old book, some old letters, may be some old gifts ... which I had forgot long ago, will remain unnoticed, un-taken-care-of. Its not that if I were there I'll carry them but its worth to have a touch on them once again before letting them completely drifting into oblivion and I'm sure there will some forgotten moments associated with them. I can see my entire home, I can see them packing. When I'll be back in India we'll be well settled in Calcutta.
And probably I am never going to go to that quarter ever again. Will I miss it?

Saturday, September 15, 2007

The Progress!

Some official said after the test,
"At the same time, I want to stress that the action of this weapon does not contaminate the environment, in contrast to a nuclear one."

Do you wonder what it is? What breakthrough weapon Russia had made that doesn't pollute the environment - the eco-friendly weapon? It is what they call "FATHER OF ALL BOMBS"!

It is a fuel-air explosive massive vacuum bomb that first spreads the explosive wide in the atmosphere by a small detonation and ignites the atmosphere by the second detonation creating a very high temperature and powerful shock-waves under which 'all that is alive merely evaporates'!

So it leaves no harmful byproduct, no soot, no radiation even no biotic organisms that may contaminate the environment in future by trying to live its life!

The breakthrough progress in the history of mankind!

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Box office in a nutshell

Here are few movies I watched over last couple of weeks
2010 - Year We Make Contact
I was spellbound by '2001 - A Space Odyssey'. So much a suggestive movie - hats of to Kubrick. The almost three hour long movie might have total talking time of an hour! It leaves a space for the audience. And it creates an expectation for a good sequel. So when I realized I am watching '2010 - Year We Make Contact', I was expectant. But I am disappointed. It has lost all of its flavour. The main reason may be absence of Kubrick. '2010 ...' is just another Hollywood sci-fi. Nothing else.
My Life as a Dog
I heard of this 'weird-titled' movie while surfing Yahoo! Movies almost eight years ago. It had a very high rating. I had watched two Lasse Hallström movies - 'Chocolate' and 'Cider House Rules.' They are good movies. So I was all the more interested in 'My Life as a Dog'.
Hallström has done a wonderful job. Child psychology is so different that the grown ups often miss out the point. The most cherishable part of the movie is acting of all the child actors; they are so natural. A simple but complicated story of a village, young boy named Ingemar, his friends, his ailing mother, his dog, some weird people of the village and the dog Laika who was sent on Sputnic. The thing that makes the movie all the more enjoyable are occasional narrations by Ingemar when he ponders over his miserable life and takes into consideration the life of Lika the poor dog who had no benefit of space research but had to sacrifice her life in space for sake of her human masters. And he always comes up with the positive attitude, 'I'm lucky in a way, it could have been worse.' It is wonderfully positive and fresh movie.
Autumn Sonata
When two Bergmans come togethre on a project which in a way is so much related to their real life, what do you expect out of it? A Sonata in Celluloid. Magnificently supported by Liv Ullman. I already have written something in it!
The Barbarian Invasion

It really hurts when at the end of your life you get to know that you have achieved nothing! This movie really kept me thinking what I am here for. Its a comedy of all the trifling things like politics, various isms, sex, addiction that keeps on invading in your life and makes you confused about your goal. I will like to watch it again along with its prequel, 'Decline of the American Empire'.
The much waited musical. I wished to watch it on the Broadway someday. But the movie served the purpose for the time being. As a matter of fact, I felt it could have been better as a stage-play only; not the movie. The style is not really suited for screen. It is very good, though, but still... It is well acted, well sung, and indeed well cinematographed but still, the way it is presented, I mean song in every two dialouges, it better suits the stage. But still to me this movie version is lovable. Because I really love the songs of 'Rent'. And the movie is worth of my love for the 'Rent' soundtrack.
Children of Heaven
They say, Iranian directors know how to end a movie. This was my first encounter with any Iranian movie, and I'm bowled over. Kudos to Majid Majidi. A simple tale, brilliant acting by the children and brilliant cinematography and really brilliant closing sequence. I wish to write on it in somewhat more detail someday. So lets save for it. After watching this, it seems the movie could not have ended in any other way. It lost its 'Best Foreign Language Film' award at Oscar, 1998 to 'Life is Beautiful', which is also a wonderful movie. But 'Life is beautiful' seems too artificial after this one! I love this movie.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


It is really hard when you have plenty of choices. Everyone seems to be equally exciting. Its not difficult to pick out the good ones from bad ones; but to pick the better one from a lot of good ones - a tough game. It becomes a lot tougher when you don't have any constraints at all. For me right now there are a number of project to work on. I've to chose any one. And current situation is so favorable that it won't matter for at least a year if I don't chose any project; I mean I can just fool around for a year and get paid! But practically that is, you know, never advisable.
So be it!

Monday, August 20, 2007

Culture shock

Its been two weeks now. And I am coming in terms with the situations. The things are different here. The culture, lifestyle, socialism - everything. To be honest, the society seems more organised, more professional. Thats the good part; but that makes them more self-conscious and to some extent more conservative in the thinking process. I mean, they are so organised that they don't need to use their brain for everyday situations, and thats why they become dumb if life the daily routine goes little astray. Overall, I must admit its better to be organised.
The most striking part for me was traffic. India you never think so much of traffic rules. Especially in places like Pune, Mumbai, following traffic rules may sometime causes accidents, because nobody ever obeys them. But here the story is just the opposite. The cars stop at a stop signal even if no one is around. In India if you are confident, you just cross the road dodging the traffic, forget about zebra crossing or pedestrian walk signals. But here if you do that, or rather, I feel guilty in doing that because the traffic is so so so organised and law-abiding.
Second thing that is different is what is called freedom of an individual, i.e., no one is bothered what you are doing, may it be public place, but is is your choice. No one will poke his nose unless you are doing something awfully wrong. And if you ask for help, they are ready to help. May be this is the characteristics of a small college town. Things are different in big cities, as my friend Benny was telling. Thats what I like about small towns - the homely-ness. This weekend I went to Cleveland, OH. And I liked it. An old city, big city. Old buildings, little shabby buildings. People are more casual; they are walking down the road on shabby, or rather commonplace attires, wooden houses, brick roads, and so on. It looks like it has a root. But State College is a mixed culture. Most of them are students. If you take a cross section of the streets, you will found most people are dressed carefully and consciously. They are always busy, and little more populated than a town like this should be. This town seems more urbane than it should be.
But overall, I like State College, after all this is going to be my home for coming few years.

Monday, August 13, 2007

...and the Seven Dwarfs!

The other day my good old friend Arin was desperate to watch samurai movies! He could recall only one samurai movie - that too because this samurai movie was inspiration to a big-budget Hindi movie named 'China Gate'. So he rented the Kurosawa classic 'Seven Samurai'. Though I had watched it earlier, but how can miss a second screening if its being played in home! We watched the movie together that night. Enjoyed Mifune's (Kikuchiyo) eccentric role play, Shimada's well planned strategy, Kyuzo's cool swordplay.
The next day in the same video store Arin found 'The Magnificent Seven' and readily realized it to be a western remake of last night's movie. Still charmed by the Samurai chivalry, he rented the 'Magnificent Seven' (Mag7). Again we started watching it together along with Benny, who liked Mag7 a lot because it was one of the movies he grew up with. I've heard of Mag7, its an undoubted western classic; and I liked the theme very much.
So we started. And was disappointed.
Mag7 is basically same plot set in Mexico, where poor villagers speak in English only to end the sentence with a Spanish word to let you know that they are actually Mexican! The village, which is basically supposedly a farming village is situated in the midst of arid valley with hardly any greenery surrounded by. The villagers are as dumb as they can ... they don't have any expression at all. In the first five minutes I was getting a feeling this is going to be a bad remake, and I looked up at Arin. He lets out a sigh and states, 'I'm never gonna watch a remake after I had watched the original!'
Well to be honest, we couldn't find out why Mag7 is so great. The acting is poor, the script little shaky, too much of statements in form of dialogs. Whereas in 'Seven Samurai' even the small extras have done wonderful believable acting, the script never loses its focus of defeating the bandits. Mag7 has tried to put some subplots but before the subplots mature they are abandoned (e.g., Lee's nightmare). You wonder why were these situations brought into the movie at all! I'm not mentioning the scene by scene or sometimes word by word copy of the original (e.g., closing dialogues)
The final conclusion was pretty simple. Arin had already spelt it out, 'Never watch a remake after you have watched the original!'. I agree there are some exceptions, but this is the general truth. And as per Mag7, it turned out to be Seven Dwarfs in front of the Seven Samurai.

There is epilogue. Benny now wants to see the 'Seven Samurai' and Arin wants to wash away the memory of Mag7. So we may rent 'Seven Samurai' again very soon.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

There's many a sleep ...

More than two months have passed after the last post and by that time I've learnt what the good old proverb really means. I have left my old job and jumped into something, which I thought was sure to get. But, as I mentioned... till the final day I was unsure whether I'll be able to launch my new career. As a matter of fact I was jobless, uncertain and stressed out for more than a month as one after another petty problems came up on the formal path. Now I'm an expert in all Passport and VISA hassles (Yes it had something, sorry everything to do with foreign travel)!!! Any problem in these front ... I have the expertise. Even I was seriously thinking of opening a VCS aka VISA Consulting Services if I don't get my VISA in time and be left jobless in India! But things have clicked finally.
Now I have made the first sip from the cup.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Lonely Runway

For last couple of weeks I was at a remote place on official field duty, so remote that there was nothing in the ten kilometer radius of the guest house. The place where we used to go to work was again five kilometers away form guest house. Every morning a car used to come to take us to the field. When we returned from the field it would have been 8pm in the evening. So boring, so hectic the days were, that either we would be found slogging in the field or sleeping in the guest house.
Only good thing was a runway! We had to cross a deserted runway on our way to our site of work. Years ago it must have been full with activity, now the concrete slabs of the runway has cracked giving way to saplings. There is nothing all around, only trees and bushes and the runway lying between them.
Last day when we finished our work early in the afternoon, I started walking along the runway on my return to guest house. Everybody else were waiting for the car to come. As I walked and walked along the almost-two-km-long runway I was getting engulfed in it. A plethora of sights of sounds hitherto unnoticed came to my senses; chirping of unknown birds, insects; sunset on the horizon, group of birds flying back to home, few birds looking out for their prey in the cracks of the runway ...
I remembered one of my favourite songs. I never realized how real the imagery of the song could be. But this runway gave me that feeling. The lyricist must have been in a place like this.

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Putting in other's shoes!

After a long time I was back in my Verandah with a cup of tea after the office. For last couple of months it has been somewhat tiresome. Going off on official tour on every week, being stuck in office for petty issues and blah blah ...
Well, actually all these are excuses. I was very much undecided on what to do next! I was all the time calculating and re-calculating my personal schedules and programmes for next few months. It seemed time was running out. So I was never free to relax at my verandah. But it doesn't mean that I am free of all the doubts and dilemmas right now, but still I can sense I'll be, very soon; because I have decided the final date - I'll be resigning by end June.
I am going for pursuing PhD at PSU. But now I have a different kind of dilemma. It is always difficult if you have choices, almost equivalent in various aspects. I have the same problem now. I rang up two of my close friends who have already tackled this choice problem in their PhD! I asked their opinions about the choices, asked what would be their choice if they were at my position. They answered honestly. I came at my verandah and suddenly I realized - there is no point asking their views.
I remembered a scene from Godard's 'Masculine - Feminine'. The protagonist and his friend were having coffee at a cafe. Suddenly a man came from outside hastily and asked the receptionist some direction and went out in same hurry. The protagonist suddenly stood up, went back to the door and enacted the same sequence as the man did and asked the same direction from the receptionist and went out hastily. Seconds later he came back and sat again with his friend. Then he said, 'Putting oneself in some other's shoes does not make him realize the situation at all.'
Am I trying to play the same thing?

Monday, April 23, 2007

Fast Car

I was flying by Indian from Bangalore to Pune. I was tired. After boarding the aircraft, I was feeling sleepy. The aircraft was still awiting for clearances and a low tuned soothing instrumental was playing inside. I yawned few times and was almost dozing off, suddenly I heard a familiar tune. The tune just made me awake. It was an old song by Tracy Chapman, 'Fast Car' - A real neat story of a young girl bored of routine mediocre life. The song seemed to change the ambience of the aircraft for me. Unexpected familiarity - that's what makes you happy all of a sudden without any specific reason!

Tracy Chapman - Fast Car'

I want a ticket to anywhere
Maybe we make a deal
Maybe together we can get somewhere
Anyplace is better
Starting from zero got nothing to lose
Maybe we'll make something
But me myself I got nothing to prove
You got a fast car
And I got a plan to get us out of here
I been working at the convenience store
Managed to save just a little bit of money
We won't have to drive too far
Just 'cross the border and into the city
You and I can both get jobs
And finally see what it means to be living
You see me old man's got a problem
He live with the bottle that's the way it is
He says his body's too old for working
I say his body's too young to look like his
My mama went off and left him
She wanted more from life than he could give
I said somebody's got to take care of him
So I quit school and that's what I did
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so we can fly away
We gotta make a decision
We leave tonight or live and die this way
I remember we were driving driving in your car
The speed so fast I felt like I was drunk
City lights lay out before us
And your arm felt nice wrapped 'round my shoulder
And I had a feeling that I belonged
And I had feeling I could be someone, be someone,
Be someone
You got a fast car
And we go cruising to entertain ourselves
You still ain't got a job
And I work in a market as a checkout girl
I know things will get better
You'll find work and I'll get promoted
We'll move out of the shelter
Buy a big house and live in the suburbs
You got a fast car
And I got a job that pays all our bills
You stay out drinking late at the bar
See more of your friends than you do of your kids
I'd always hoped for better
Thought maybe together you and me would find it
I got no plans I ain't going nowhere
So take your fast car and keep on driving
You got a fast car
But is it fast enough so you can fly away
You gotta make a decision
You leave tonight or live and die this way.

Sunday, April 15, 2007


Yesterday was Dr. Ambedkar's birthday. The whole day local youths were busy in preparing for celebrations for that. Evening came. In the busiest part of Vishrantwadi (the place where I live) market the celebration started. Unfortunately I had to go to the market in the evening. As I came nearer and nearer to the market, I could feel my heart literally started pounding physically by the sound wave generated by a consortium of 24 sound boxes. They were playing tunes from popular Hindi remixes. Ten to tweleve boys were dancing in front of the dais with the tune of "Dhoom machale dhoom..." a crowd was just standing there and watching nothing. It seemed they got numbed by the sound and can't move! I don't know how they were standing there, because the sound level there must not be below 200 dB! Late in the evening, somebody informed me, there will be dance numbers from a local group of artists. This is the gala celebration! They wait for this celebration every year - the Ambedkar's birthday! How would Ambedkar feel had he been here?

And today, Poila Boishakh. I can't remember which year it is in Bengali!

Saturday, April 07, 2007

The Biggest Industry of India

I was just going through a week-old news paper when a piece of news caught my attention. It reported the lates findings of a nationwide survey on Worker Population Ratio (WPR) among the country's class I cities (i.e., cities with population more than one million, 27 cities in total). What I understood is that WPR is the ratio of employed persons over total adult population. So it might be an strong indicator of unemployment. The survey has been done on gender basis, and here comes the comparisons.In the male WPR, Mumbai, the so-believed promise land for the unemplyed youth ranks 11th with 78.6% score. Whereas Delhi is far below with 71.4% at 17th rank. The topper of the list is Surat with 88%. Clearly understandable. Surat is purely industrial town. In fact most of the cities appearing in the top ten are justified from a common sense. Say, Bangalore, Ludhiana, Ahmedabad, Indore, Agra, Meerut ... all are densley industrialized compared to its population.In female WPR comparisons, places like Pune, Nagpur, Thane, Mumbai, Ahmedabad appear in the top ten (29% - 20%), whereas Delhi (11.2%) stays way below. Somehow all these places are known for IT or some other soft industry sectors. Interestingly Bangalore doesn't appear in top ten. As for Delhi, it was never a good place for women!As for Patna, very expectedly it ranks last in both male and female WPR.So the comparative study indeed a representative of industry penetration into the grass-root level of population. And the myths get clarified through surprise statistics. The per capita income may be high on metroes but WPR is much higher in cities brought up industies.Now there comes two real surprises! First one is Jaipur's rank of the scond topper in female WPR. In fact Jaipur has showed a steep increase in female employemnt (27%) in last five years! Which parameter can be attributed to this unexpected phenomenon? Penetration of education? Or insufficient contribution of male income to the family hosehold? Jaipur is not that industry powered. Then what? This is something to be looked in to. And moreover, Jaipur (38%) supasses nearest contender (Pune, 29.3%) by a whopping 9%. It is surely not a joke!The second surprise, which as a matter of fact seemed very obvious to me after a second thought, is the city that ranks second in male WPR and first in female WPR. Before revealing the city, lets solve a puzzle.Which is the biggest industry in India?Garments? Steel? Automobile? IT?Allmost all the cities appearing in the top lists of both the WPR is backed by one or more industry sector; still none of them have been able to perform consistently in male and female WPRs. In fact, other than the city in question, only Indore (4th in male, 5th in female) and Ahmedabad (7th in male, 8th in female) have been able to manage a top ten spot in both the male and female lists. So the power of this industry, which is backing up our city in question is undoubted.The city is Varanasi. The industry backing it is Religion, the biggest industry in India.Varanasi records a 86% male WPR and 41% female WPR and has no other industry except religion. Isn't it very obvious in India?There are more puzzles to solve. We talk of women liberation. 'Modern and cultured cities', like Pune, Mumbai, Bangalore, Delhi, Kolkata, etc., where this 'woman liberation' is a burning issue, a regular topic of discussion and processions lag way way behind in female WPR old, tradional cities like Jaipur and Varanasi. How to explain this?

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

Confusing politics

After Singur its Nandigram. It is so confusing... especially sitting far away and almost disconnected from daily news (I don't have a TV and stopped taking Newspaper). My sister is appearing for her XIIth, probably the most important public examination that determines the student's future. Day after tomorrow is her first exam. She called me this evening and said,
"I have a surprise news for you. Can you guess?"
I thought of the wildmost news and answered very matter-of-factly,
"Your exam has been postponned."
She was stunned!
"How did you come to know? Are you watching TV?"
This was my time to get puzzled.
"No I just told you the most unprobable thing. Is your exam really postponned?"
"Yes, We have a All-Bengal Strike day after tomorrow..."

Bandh, Hartaal, Strike ... These were slightly off-the-track for last couple of years. Thanks to unputdownable Mamata Banerjee and industrialization of West Bengal, they have come back with a bang! Tomorrow and day after tomorrow are consecutive bandhs called by various poilitical parties. So the students can wait, let the issue be politicalized first.
In Singur the Tatas wanted to build an automobile industry. They took hundreds of acres of field for that. Protesters came, as most these lands were moderately fertile and few part was very fertile. So the farmers will lose their business. Well, the industry will certainly create employment for more people than all those who will lose their land, but still...
So entered Ms Mamata Banerjee and Trinamul. They put up heavy protests, which were followed by riots, bandhs and hunger strike. Everything in vain! Tatas are on their way to build up the industry. It was not a very successful campaign for Mamata. So at Nandigram they had to play more cautiously.
At Nandigram Govt. is planning for a Special Economic Zone (SEZ) for Chemical Industry to rip the benefit of proximity of Haldia port and petrochemical industry. Eventually most of Nandigram is barren salty land. But protest is more vigorous here. Opponents have allegedly brought cadres from outside of Bengal to protect their stronghold. They have even cut-off the roads to prevent incoming traffic in the whole area. This situation lasted for almost a month and today the police were there to evict the outsiders and clear the land. I heard ten people has been killed by police. This has added more spice to the tasty dish of political turmoil. So there is Bandh. Tomorrow called by SITU and day after by Trinamul and Congress.
Whatever news I get are mostly from my parents when I call them. They are commoners. Singur or Nandigram shouldn't bother them. But still they are bothered like all other Bengalis. What I don't understand is that when everybody is talking of unemployment, poverty, crime rate, etc, an industry like automobile or a SEZ may light up the scenario for sure. There is certainly a price ot pay, the land, in these cases. But if you think economically the industry will generate more employment and revenue than hundred acres of land. Ofcourse it wold have been a real concern if we were running short of farming land. But at least at present we are not. Some say, they could have chosen a barren land for automobile industry. Sure, they could but the infrastructure is poor and moreover you should give some positive points to the man who is going to invest. Again Nandigram is a barren land. But still there is no dearth of protesters!
I think its not the immediate effect of losing land and homes. What we should think about is the social impact of having such big industries. Economically an automobile industry will bring forth a huge amount of small scale industries in its vicinity. (I'm not clear about of Chemical Industry, but anyway they are on barren land!) This means a lots of employment. This will lead to decrease in antisocial activities as the youths will be engaged and employed. Yes the nearby villages will become more and urban losing its virginity and culture. That is a trade off. But we are already going towards that, only industrialization will make it happen faster! Similarly if more and more industries come up, then we may land up in shortage of farming land. But at present, I presume, we don't have that musc fear. What we need more is to strike a balance between industry and farming. And now we are really lacking in industry.

By the way, bandhs are normally called on Fridays and Mondays (especially the ones called by Trinamul) so that one can enjoy a long weekend! Otherwise they could have combined their protests by calling a bandh on same day as SITU, i.e., on Thursday.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Vegetable Story

I was in the vegetable market after office. Bright white radish, shining cauliflowers, green peas, cabbages were abundant. The winter isn't over yet. But now at least at Pune you can't guess the season from the vegetable available at the market.
I remember in our childhood winter was usually marked by arrival of cauliflower and coriander leaves. We used to devour the cauliflower curry spiced up with green coriander leaves and peas. Cauliflower used to be one of my favourite vegetables. So was beet. But now I eat cauliflower throughout the week. Not only cauliflower, almost all the vegetables are available throughout the week. They doesn't seem so tasty now. Now-a-days when I go to market, I try to avoid cauliflower, cabbages, beet, gourd, tomato, spinach as they are very common. But then what is left? Sometimes I get tired of having the same set of vegetables in the market. The evergreen presence of the seasonal vegetables have stripped the taste and charm out of them. They are now as ordinary as potato.
Although, I dare not say potato is a ordinary vegetable. It is one of the prime vegetable in our dishes. Its a filler in every dishes. Just like a piano or accordion playing behind a songs fils the void, potato completes the curry. It used to be one of the cheapest vegetables. Now prices are rising. But still it is one of those few vegetable which the poormost category of vegetable buyer (considering the fact that poormost part of the society can't buy a single thing on a regular basis except country liquor or bidi) buy on a regular basis. I think after the food grains like rice or wheat, potato is the most popular vegetable in our country. But as it is too common, its presence is never felt unless the price soars high all of a sudden. Similar things are happening for other vegetables also. They are becoming season independent.
On a hot summer day cauliflower doesn't delight me now, nor do patol in winter night.
I miss old vegetables.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

Oh! What a beautiful morning!

11:45 AM.
Just now I finished sweeping and mopping my room after three months!
What a beautiful Sunday Morning!

Friday, February 23, 2007

Good Morning Starshine

Saturday morning. Its unusual to wake up so early at 7:30 AM! With cup of black tea I came to my veranda. Mild sun rays flowing over the fruit-bearing Palash tree is caressing the floor of the balcony. I remembered one song. I played the song on my desktop.
"Good Morning Starshine!"
With the song came the artist's credit. It is Oliver (I don't know the authenticity of this information but I know this is from a musical called 'Hair'). That reminded me of the movie 'Oliver!' I watched on TV couple of months ago during one of week long holidays at home. I liked the movie for wonderfully spirited choreography. That TV channel (Sony PIX) was running a series on orphan movies, and 'Oliver!' was followed by another charmer, 'Annie'. I had planned to write a review on them, But eventually forgot.
After a long time, almost three months, I am at my room on a Saturday and have not planned yet to go out on tour. Yesterday I was just thinking to go out on Saturday to the city of Pune and have some nice montages on my new camera. I postponed the plan for one more day and started to write on 'Oliver!' and 'Annie'.

Here they are.
The Orphan Story Part - I
The Orphan Story Part - II

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

21 she February

Today is 21st February. The Language Martyr Day. It is the day when the common people of Bangladesh came to streets with demand of making Bengali, their native language the national language instead of Urdu. Few Bengalis still get emotional, few more get proud of their Bengali origin on this day. The reason is very simple, this kind of martyrdom for a mere language was unprecedented, and we did it! YO! And that is a one-day pride. From next day onwards we again feel sorry for our mother tongue. What a pity!
In today's world English is the most dominating language. Though Bengali is believed to be one of the sweetest languages, it is ultimately confined as a regional language only. And the Bengali speaking population is decreasing day by day. The future of Bengali is bleak.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Back again

Finally I'm back on my seat! It had been long and winding tour for almost a month. My room is filled with cobwebs, my computer is covered with dust. The air inside is stuffy. The bed sheet covering my bed has a visible layer of dust on it. My veranda also filled with dust and flying Palash (Flame of the forest) seeds. The Palash trees in front of my veranda are now full of fruits. A bunch of parrots are loitering on them. The seeds ejected from fruits have covered my veranda.
Its all dirty and dusty. Still its good to be back.

Sunday, January 21, 2007

Mandu Pics ...

I bought a camera. A beginner's SLR. It was a very old dream, and now I own an SLR. Yo! This is my camera Vivitar V3800N (Photo Courtsey -
Today I'm moving out again for couple of weeks. This time I'll have a trip to home also. Ahh.

Meantime I just uploaded my pics of the trip to Mandu, MP.

Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Unsolicited calls

I was in the office. I got a call on my mobile from an unknown number. A young lady was on the opposite side of the phone.
- Sir, may I talk to Mr. Roy?
- Ya, talking.
- Sir I am calling from ... Bank, do you use any credit card, sir?
- Where from did you get my number?
- Sir, I have a database with me.
- Where from did you get the database?
- Sorry sir, what?
- Where from did you get the database with my number?
- I got it from the office, sir. My boss gave it. Do you use any credit card, sir?
- Well, eventually, I do. But tell me some thing. What is your name?
- ...
- Ok, which bank are you representing?
- Sir, ... Bank.
- And what is the name of your boss?
- Sir, but sir, why are you asking these?
- I am just inquisitive about the database with my personal mobile number!
- Sir, I got the database from my boss.
I hear her voice cracking. There was a break. She talks to somebody, another lady's voice replies, 'Cut the phone yaar'. Some more noises come through the earpiece. I talk to mouthpiece, 'Hello!'
- Yes sir?
- Can you tell me the name of your boss, from whom you got the database?
- Sir I got it from my manager.
- Yes, tell me the name of the manager.
- But sir, why are you enquiring all these?
- Because you called me in my personal number. I don't want any unsolicited calls at this number. This supposedly a personal number and that is why I want to know how did you get my number!
- But sir, we have database sir!
- Yes, I know that. That is why I want to know the name of your boss, who gave you the database. Do you know, yesterday the High Court has imposed a fine of Rs. 50 Lakhs for these kind of unsolicited calls from a certain Bank?
I can feel the moisture in her voice. She is about to cry. She, I presume got worried about her job.
- OK, Miss ..., you personally have nothing to do with the fine. But certainly your boss might have to! OK?
- OK sir.
- Please convey this message to your boss. OK?
- OK Sir.
She seems sobbing. I cut the phone.

That lady is a poor call center lady. She has, as a matter of fact, nothing to do with all these unsolicited calls. Only thing is that she is ordered to gather all potential customers. This policy of direct marketing is the culprit. Its irritating. And the judgement from the High Court is very very just. In the judgment a fine of Rs. 50 Lakhs has been imposed on the bank and the cellular service provider. It is a great decision.

But eventually the call I got was from a bank whose credit card I have already applied for and got sanctioned. But due to my absense at station the courier couldn't deliver it. It got returned to the head office of the bank. But I have started recieving my bills! May be the call was regarding any information on that issue! Was I too impulsive? But then why should she ask whether I use any credit card or not?

Monday, January 15, 2007

Running on empty ...

For last couple of months, I'm running and running. Nashik - Bangalore - Goa - Bangalore - Indore - Bangalore ... Allmost alwyas travelling by bus seating for 15 - 16 hours at a stretch. I've been in Pune for hardly seven days in last two months.
After coming back from Bangalore yesterday, I was feeling dead tired. My room is dirty and dusty. I've not cleaned it for two months, Clothes are schattered, the kitchen is full of spiderwebs as it was hardly used for last couple of months. After coming back from a trip I didn't get any enthusiasm to cook, or rather to buy vegetables to cook or to even clean the room as I knew I'll have to move again on the next day! My vegetable stock is now some chilli, onions and potatoes all dried up. Potatoes have started germination. Stock of ready-to-eat dishes are empty.
I may have to move again in a day or two. I am very fatigued now. Only thing I can do now is sleeping. I had a rest today as today was holiday. Makar-Sankranti. As per the traditional rituals, today we are supposed to clean our house dispose off old utensils and start using everything new. But I am not in a state of cleaning now.

Thursday, January 04, 2007

A well planned vacation

We have got three days off this weekend! I was planning to have a hike off like last year's Chikhaldara trip. Planning in the sense, I had just chosen few places of overnight distance. Yesterday evening one friend came along and was eager to join me. OK - no problem. He said, lets plan properly, where to go, how to go ...
So we sat down in front of the internet. Searched up and down and shortlisted the same few places I had shortlisted earlier!
  • Toranmal
  • Lonar
  • Matheran
  • Murud-Janjira
  • Aurangabad-Ajanta-Ellora
  • Mandu
  • Daman
Matheran was striked out at the first instance as it is very near and you can go on any weekend! Then a second friend came in. Daman was next to be out. It is too far! Next was Toranmal, Mandu and Lonar as they are slightly off beat! Places like Toranmal and Lonar are not typical crowdpulling. But from my past experience of Chikhaldara, I knew they offer real virgin beauty of nature and great chance of exploration new bounderies. I like these kind of spots. But when you are going as a team, you must consider others' points also. And to be more selfishly precise, I wouldn't like go to these places with someone who doesn't appreciates sight-seeing rather than the spirit of travelling. So let them be my own pleasures.
With all these calculations we finally came down to Murud-Janjira and Aurangabad. This time two more friends came into picture. But one of them had already visited MJ and the other had visited Aurangabad! The first one was soon out of the campaign as he had some other appointments this weekend. So we three again got together started discussing all over. I didn't really prefer Murud-Janjira as I was actually planning for hill or jungle not a beach! So when all the places were again discussed, among three of us, Toranmal suddenly emerged as black horse as the third friend is fond of trekking. Now the battle narrowed down on Toranmal and Aurangabad. I liked all the places, and I don't mind to go to any of them either. So I tried to keep a nutral position!
After a long meeting of almost five hour, when we went to bed, it was still undecided where to go. TOday we were supposed to meet again in the office to finalize. But we couldn't make it and when we got together after office, it was too late for today to start on a trip! I realized they won't be able to make it at all and went back to my original plan of goign alone. May be they'll go for a hike in the nearby Sinhagad or Shivneri and I might go to Mandu or somewhere else through Nasik. It all depends how do I feel tomorrow morning! My vacation is already half spoilt and over planned.
Moral of the story: we plan only when we are afraid of the unknown!

Monday, January 01, 2007

Happy New Year

Everyday is a new year's day and every night is new years eve! Why do we celebrate so vigorously on this particular 31st December night? Last night was a restless night. Fireworks and crackers made the night sleepless. I was, I don't know why, in a depressed mood. I tried to sleep off early and the firecrackers kept me awake till one o'-clock in the early morning.
Lying on my bed I was thinking why the hell we celebrate this new year so ecstatically? What is the reason behind 31st December being the last day of the year? I mean to say the year could have been started at any other day - say 1st February!
There must be a reason behind the calenders we follow - a real astronomical or socio-economic reason. Say if the new year starts after the last day of harvest it is well justified. Over a century of evolution that particular last-day-of-harvest could be fixed to be a particular day in a particular calender. Reasonable, isn't it? But to be more authentic, the calender should follow astronomical events, not simple earthly events, which are not so perfectly regular. For example if a calender is based on the Equinoxes and Solstices, it will be a perfectly reasonable calender.
I think every calender is based on astronimcal events. But I was wondering which astronomical events form the basis of the Julian calender that starts on 1st January, 11 days after the Winter Solstice.