Tuesday, December 27, 2005


I am going for tennis coaching nowadays. The other day, the coach was especially ruthless. He had made me run so much, that at the end of the session, I found myself looking to the skies for respite. And what did I see when I looked above. I saw two huge TV cable lines running along the breadth of the sky. The sky was a clear blue with many tufts of cloud scattered here and there. The cable lines gave an effect that the sky had been divided into regions by them. The sight reminded me of something, of which I can provide you a snapshot. Look below :-

Posted by Picasa

Guess this is what happens when you work too much with excel plots and scatter diagrams.

Sunday, November 20, 2005

Battle Ahoy!!

Written 3 weeks ago, Posted today

Getting ready for and going to office is a daily ritual that many of us perform. I too go through this ritual every workday morning. After having a sufficiently nutritious breakfast prepared by my mother, I leave for office. I pack the water, ask the Gods for blessings, get blessed and wished good luck by my parents, and then set off. If my timing is correct, I get the office car. Otherwise, I go the full distance by 'shuttle-taxi' (or 'share-taxi', depending on what one calls it). This particular mode of transport is usually co-habited by others of my species. By this, I denote the young people working in software, hardware and other '-ware’ offices in Sector 5, Salt Lake of Kolkata. Most of us Sectorus Fivus people are doing similar jobs. Almost always, we are similarly dressed. It’s almost as if we belong to different regiments going to the same battle. But even in this uniform setting, which could have been a perfect stimulant for conversation, there is usually a pregnant silence in the car. If we find someone from our own office, we instantly start talking to fill this void.

Speaking of battle, the phrase "getting ready for battle" might seem a little bit out of place today. But a thousand years ago, what with all the wars that littered our history texts, it would have been a commonplace thing. I can imagine the soldier setting off for battle. He would have shined his armour, much as we shine our shoes today. Then after having his morning meal, he would have been wished goodbye by his mother or wife. Their main concern would be his safe return. If the country won, it was good. For that increased the chances of the soldier returning home.

The soldier then would have set off towards the battlefield. On some days, he would be fortunate to catch his battalion's procession. After that, it would be a fun walk or ride, bantering along with his friends. On other days, he would be forced to travel along with soldiers of other regiments. And for some strange reason, the mood would not be as jovial. The cavalry would not talk with the archers, and the archers would smirk at the pikemen. And the pikemen would crack ‘arrow-bearer’ jokes within themselves, highlighting the imagined oddities of the archers. In the end, no one would talk with each other.

Coming back to my case, recently Kolkata received a lot of rain. As usual, our area was completely waterlogged. This resulted in my going to office wearing bermudas and chappals. Of course, once I was in office, I changed into the official 'armour'. People living in areas, where the drainage system is not up to the 'standards' of our locality, could not boast of similar exploits. And my voyages on land and water became the talking point among colleagues and relatives.

On such days, comparing myself with a common soldier of yore would not be appropriate. On those days, I felt like Arjuna, the main hero of the battle. It was feeling very similar to being "on top of the world".

PS : Between the time I wrote this piece and posted it here (a good 3 weeks), I have had quite a few interesting conversations on board the shuttle. So I should not complain anymore. If only all things got solved so easily!!!

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

'Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby'

A large number if Indians watch "Kaun Banega Crorepati" from 9 - 10 pm over the weekend on Star Plus. The slot just following KBC is thus an important slot for Star Plus as they would like to keep most of these KBC watchers hooked to their channel.

When KBC-1 was launched around 5 years back, "Kyunki Saas Bhi Kabhi Bahu Thi" occupied the hallowed 10 o' clock slot. Those were my IIT preparation days, so I managed to see only bits and pieces of it. However, as my Mom followed the soap religiously, I was usually updated on the plot.

Initially, I found "Kyunki" quite likeable. Especially Tulsi Bhabhi , Baa and the starting song-and-video sequence. But ever since Mihir started dying pseudo-deaths and the jovial theme song turned into a lachrymose weepie, I started regarding it with severe contempt.

Recently, KBC-2 ('dwitiya') has started. This time, a serial of a completely different genre occupies the 10 pm slot. It's called "Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby". Hopefully, the 'Baa' is the only common link with its' predecessor.

The serial depicts the day-to-day issues of a Gujrati joint family. It is usually very hilarious. But it would be unfair to term it as a comedy as it also portrays the remaining gamut of emotions equally well. I'll relate two episodes of the serial here.

In one, a guy and his family had come to see Baby. Baby is a girl of marriageable age and arguably the main protagonist. Here I mean 'see' as in "ladki dekhne jaana". Now, according to me, and many Indians will agree with me, Baby is very sweet. We seem to like the "khaate peete ghar ki" type of girls and not the bulimic sort. Of course, Baby has a physical disability - she uses crutches.

The boy who had come to see Baby was more seriously disadvantaged - he stuttered. Finally, it was Baby who refused the guy. The striking part about the episode was the way the situation was treated. Unlike the usual Bollywood practise, the guy's stutter was not mocked at. I think he even deserves a prize for enacting the role so realistically.

Another episode recreated the settings of the Mumbai rains. A member of the family, Praveen, was feared to have died in the deluge. His wife, Praveena (usually great fun - watching 'Praveen and Praveena' together) was in tears, and was constantly being given support by the rest of the family. Nothing extraordinary about the plot; except the maturity with which all actors acted.

Overall, I think it is an absolutely wonderful serial. It is attractive mainly because it portrays Indian family values so well. Many serials become stale with time. Hope this one continues its' likeable streak for a long time.

Finally I think 'The Bold and The Beautiful' was good only for U.S. 'Baa, Bahoo Aur Baby' is good enough for us.

PS : Speaking of US and 'us' reminds me of something. In today's world, where many offices in India do the work of U.S. by outsourcing etc., the following motivational poster spotted at an office struck me as highly conspicuous -

"May this year be very prosperous
for US"
 Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 07, 2005

In relation with my work, I have lately had to do a lot of 'cutting-shutting' on images of people's faces.

What I want to mention over here is with reference to the picture above. (Sorry that it is so small.) I got both these faces from one of the umpteen face databases that exist in the world. And thus I know little more about these people than the Godforsaken names of their pix (BioID001212.bmp).

Anyway, that is besides the point. The point I want to raise is this : If you had to see one of these faces a thousand times every day, which one would you choose?

My answer : Jai Eve!!! Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

This blog is dedicated to this pic (a popular wallpaper). And also to the new technique by which one can directly post pictures from one's computer to his/her blog using Picasa.

Also relevant is the fact that right now, Kolkata is totally washed out. Our area is totally waterlogged. For two consecutive days, I left for office wearing Bermudas and Hawaii Chappals so that I could wade through the waters. Of course I changed into trousers and shoes on reaching office. Posted by Picasa

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Holding Hands (The Last Day in Kgp - Part 2)

Read Part 1

That was to be my last day in Kgp. That was so because from the next day onwards, my beloved room would no longer be mine. It was to be handed over to the 'respectable' Warden of Patel Hall for use by future generations.

I had come to Kgp on a short trip of 2-3 days. There was still some work left regarding my research-paper writing! I had not expected much to come out of these 2-3 days in terms of positive results. At the end of the third day, when the results were what one would call 'mixed', I was not at all sad. In fact I was quite elated that I had tried till the last moment.

I had one more evening at Kgp. I had secured an invitation at a Professor's place that evening. Early next morning I would be leaving for Kolkata. Two days after that, I would be starting my job - a new chapter of my life. Today was the last day in the chapter of The Village (Kgp).

As I cycled towards my hall, I remembered that it was a long time since I had visited Jnan Ghosh Stadium for my jogging rounds. Usually, I would have gone to my hall to put on shorts and running shoes. But today, time was at a premium. I went into the stadium directly, in the same attire that I had since morning - shirt, jeans and floaters (typical Kgp ishtyle).

As I entered that green paradise, I wondered how much I'd miss it once I was in Kolkata. The stadium was quite empty today - quite natural since the holidays were going on in full swing. There was a small congregation of Mess Workers gathered on the steps. Their number and vocal presence grew considerably later on; but they were mostly busy with their own affairs. There was a young lad, wearing a vest and shorts, which revealed his good physique while he exercised. I took off my floaters and started walking on the tracks barefoot. Another old man came in for his evening walk.

As I said before, I was already in a very elated mood. Wonderful memories about the four years that had passed in Kgp came into my mind. Add to that, the sight of the lovely curtain of trees surrounding Jnan Ghosh. The wind blowing into you as you walked along - Oh! I was on a high. I felt like a bird. I took off my shirt and started jogging my last jog in this wonderful place.

I was about to complete my first round when the above-mentioned old man stopped me in my tracks. He asked me, "Young man, why are you running so much." I wanted to reply, "Because I want to stay fit. Because I want to have muscles like that other fellow. And anyway, who gave you the right to ask me such questions. Do I know you?" But as is usually the case, I meekly smiled and answered, "Emni"(Just like that).

The old man was not satisfied by bringing about a premature end to my last ever jog in Kgp. He had other questions he wanted to ask me. He got me to walk along with him. After a while, he put his arm around my shoulder. I was taken aback - was this old man a pervert! But I persisted with him, wanting to be sure before reaching such conclusions.

Now one side of Jnan Ghosh was so overgrown with grass that it was impossible to walk over there. Thus joggers and walkers and 'joggers-turned-walkers' (like me) had to forego the usual roundabout circuit and be content with walking the usable part of the tracks in a to-and-fro motion. Now this to-and-fro motion influenced my present situation considerably. Let me explain a bit here.

Every time my newly made 'old' acquaintance and I neared the end of the usable track, we had to turn around. As you will appreciate, it is quite difficult to do the same with one person's arm on the other's shoulder. So the old man would let go off my shoulder at the bend. But after walking for a while he would put his arm over my shoulder again. Quite peculiar - the habits of some people!

The funny part was that, as we walked along, I began to like the person. He asked me a lot of questions about myself. But he did them with such innocence that I could not but answer him. At one point, when he went to the point of discussing the size of my flat in Kolkata, the number of bathrooms it had, I decided that I had had enough. It was my turn now. I would do the questioning from now on.

He told me about his schooling and education, his career, how he had liked Kgp and settled down here for the rest of his life, his daily schedule that included a morning session of Yoga at Jnan Ghosh, his children and family. One reply still resounds in my ears till today. He was talking about his two sons. They were studying in colleges in Kharagpur. I remarked that this meant they would surely be moving out soon in search of greener pastures. At this, his reply was, "Ki jaani, ora ki korbe. Ora to khub bhalo chatro noy. (I wonder what they will do next. They are not very good students after all)" The words sound like those of a lamenting father, but his expression showed that he was totally at peace with himself. Probably he had a deep belief in the divine forces, which gave him such strength of mind.

Another thing occurred as we walked along. By now we were speaking like the best of friends. Only age separated us - I would be starting my career in two days time. And my new 'old' friend was at the fag end of his career, past 60, but still continuing by dint of a false date on his birth-certificate (giving a false date on the birth-certificate was like a norm in those days) and by "the grace of God". Anyway what happened was that as we walked along, he started holding my hand. Again I felt a bit awkward initially. As we turned around, he let go off my hand only to hold it back again. After a few more rounds of "let-go and hold-again" he held my hand for good. From now on, as we turned the corner, he would turn while holding my hand. And I would turn in a bigger circle so that I could get to the correct side of him.

It would seem quite awkward to be holding hands with a 60-year old man in a park. We usually do not even do such public displays of emotion with our fathers or grandfathers. Ours is such a preened-up world. But believe me do, I felt so good while holding hands and talking with the man. A connection was made that day which I will remember for long.

I promised him I would try to visit his house one day. Having left Kgp, I have not been able to fulfill that promise yet. But I would request one of you who is over there right now to go and visit this gem of a person. I'll give his name and address here...

Mr D. K. Das
(O) Materials Science Centre
Ph: 1650
(R) Prembazar, near CPM Party Office
(you can ask about his residence there)

Wednesday, August 31, 2005

Last to last Sunday, I went to my Grandma's place. I had to drop a few medicines there and I had gone alone. The Metro being closed in the morning, I caught a bus. (It turned out that the bus went as fast as the Metro.) Anyway what happened was that, by mistake, I got down one stop before Gray Street, where I usually got off. Obviously I realized my mistake after the bus had sped off. I could sight the Gray Street crossing from this point. But it was quite far off. Not wanting to walk the distance, and also by dint of my navigation acumen, I made an interesting observation.

To go to my Grandma's place from Gray Street mor (crossing), I would have to go East and then South. My current position being quite South with respect to Gray Street mor, all I needed to do now would be to walk East, and probably a wee little to the North. Also considering my father's penchant for exploring places on foot; by discovering new shortcuts, I would only be following the family tradition. (See Map below)

Thinking thus,I entered a lane hitherto untraversed by me. Sometimes, when you enter a strange place, you feel a bit unsafe. You view the people on the streets with a bit of suspicion. Not so here - firstly it was broad daylight and I'm a guy. Plus these people are Calcuttans - the people of my city.

After a few paces, I turned a corner. There were some shops here and quite a few people too. What struck me immediately the difference with what one would see down in South Calcutta. The shops were plain and paati. People here did bother about how they looked - remember one middle aged yet changra bhadralok wearing lungi and an unbuttoned shirt, walking as if he owned the street. He would look quaintly out of place if placed in any of the fashionable
malls of South Calcutta.

Such differences within a few miles of the same city!!

As I worked my way through the labyrinth that is North Calcutta, I got lost once. But it was a treat walking through those shoru oli-goli's. Peeping into the houses, it felt as if I was looking back in time. These houses are completely unlike any upcoming building of today. Some showed the signs of age - appearing dark and damp. A tubewell standing sentry beside the gate - the flooring crumbling and covered with moss at many places.

Again some houses boasted majestic facades and were still maintained beautifully. There is a saying that establishments are built by one generation of a family, maintained by the next and ruined by the third. Probably this ineluctable process of decay had forgotten to visit these houses.

After a while, I found out the right path to my Grandma's. I wished then that I had a digital camera to share these images of a different world with others.

A sample of the elegance of North Calcutta houses that I found on the Net

PS : The sights and sounds reminded me of Rituparno Ghosh's "Raincoat"... kudos to him for creating such beautiful imagery.

Monday, August 15, 2005


vantage point on 2nd floor room - time : afternoon - raining outside - dark gray sky - most importantly a chilly piercing wind - of course i am in room - windows shuttered tight - and 'Through The Looking Glass', gazing out of my insulated world

so protected - so artificial - so far away from being the mati'r manush (true human, child of nature)

all this development - housings, glass windows, multistoried-s : all providing good views - claiming to be right in the lap of nature - but which of them provides the real thing - none of them!!

takes me back to a visit to a Mumbai high-rise - on Worli sea-face - 7th floor - Arabian Sea spread out below you - but you can't wet your feet - can't breathe in the fresh sea air - if you open the windows, everything in the flat will go topsy turvy - as is usual, at night, AC is turned on - me and Fonta, rustic people, decide otherwise - so switch off the AC and open up two windows at slight angles - thus, natural AC !! of course, fan also on; helps to sleep.

sometimes, pride myself for my rustic-ness - in fact, one day, Bipul and I go on a completely rustic trip - board a train - let it take us where it takes us - get down at a station Bipul has passed before and has liked the look of.

a walk through a plantation (here too... human hands, but still... trees after all) - early in the day -pleasant sunny weather - walk along, enjoying being 'actually' in the lap of nature - have some packed food with us, sit down under a tree and have it - so far... so good..mmmmm...

a nearby pukur (pond) - 2 chokra-s (young kid boys) dancing around in the water - splashing water on each other - another senior chokra goes up on tree to hang his jeans pant on a high branch for drying - that way, probably, the naughty younger chokras cannot reach it - hmmmm... they seem to be truly rustic...

another sight comes to mind - a lady wading in thick mud - picking up some things - probably some shaak (veggies) - hmmmm....truly rustic....

well, back to our snack, which is over by now - and those chokras who scamper off to a nearby village - so we rustic city youths decide to follow them - now, stomach quite full - and sun not so pleasant anymore - and village not exactly a window-shopper's paradise - after twenty minutes of walking in the sun, not feeling too rustic.... hmmmm...

to sum it up, 'Through The Looking Glass' is good enough for me... opening windows at slight angles (accompanied by fan) ... yes, that's something I can tolerate comfortably...

Jerome K. Jerome gives a hilarious description of an exactly similar state of mind - in the last chapter of his famous book, 'Three Men in a Boat' - and that too, hundred years ago, while describing a boat trip, to get away from dull-monotonous city life - so, even hundred years ago, someone felt the same thing...cool huh!

PS : i'll add here a link to that particular chapter of the book (the book is 100 years old and hence is now freely available on net). start from the line "The weather changed on the third day..." (5th paragraph) from this link. if you have a bit of time and want a good laugh, don't miss this.

Monday, August 08, 2005

'Park'-ed in Oblivion

23 years in one city ... In one house... Given these conditions, I thought I knew my neighborhood inside out. But last week, I was proved wrong.

In the last two-three years, our area has undergone a metamorphosis due to the following reasons:
  1. The AJC Bose Road- Park Circus flyover
  2. Forum Shopping Mall, Crossword and many other shopping Malls

Thus I would not have been surprised if I had bumped into a super-specialty mall right in the middle of the road. However, I discovered something in a completely different genre - an unknown, unkempt park right behind my house.

This happened during one of my morning walks. There is a park behind my house, called Woodburn Park, which is maintained by the Lions group. I usually do not visit this park. But one day I decided to explore it.

While doing so, I noticed a gate that I did not remember seeing before. There was a path after that which seemed to lead to Ashok Hall school, a known place.

However to confirm my doubts, I followed it. I was amazed to see another park at the end of it. This one was not well maintained, but it showed the all signs of being a grand one at one point of time - jhula's, a slide, a tiny decorative pool replete with a bridge over it.

All this had fallen to decay now. The grass however was quite trim as the caretaker's house was just beside it. This park and Woodburn park are in complete view to South Club and Punjab Club's tennis players. I however, saw it for the first time that day, and was quite amazed at my discovery.

PS : It obviously gave me a sense of deja-vu (thanks to similar park explorations in Navi Mumbai - 1, 2). However such a chance discovery, and that too, right in my own backyard, was beyond my imagination.

But then, life's full of surprises....

Saturday, July 02, 2005


Pranav mentioned ‘Total Recall’. In it, by some weird technique, one sees all the images of his life flying through his mind flying by like snow in a blizzard. However, I prefer them more in the form of a soothing breeze.

For the last ten days, I have been engrossed in a hi-fi flick. It’s titled, “Implementation of Biomedical Algorithms on DSP.” But right now, I feel the need to sit back and enjoy the breeze.

It’s early morning on Saturday. As usual, I am the only one awake within miles. Outside, the trees have just finished a nightly shower. They are still dripping wet. No use drying up, they’ll have to go in again soon enough.

Birds are up and about. Another creature who used to be up at this time (Abhinav) is right now doing a job in Gurgaon. Seeing me doing Yoga, he would comment, “It’s no use, Kriti.” The joke was that I was going through all these kriyas and postures just to become as smart and handsome as him. And no matter how hard I tried, it was all in vain – I would never attain his state of divine perfection. Playing along, I would say, “Kya karein, koshish to karna padega na.”

I knew another early riser in my first year - Godbole. He was studying hard at that time for a Department change. He had a peculiar trait, which was that he used to do recite his daily prayers while bathing. (He was a regular bather, which deserves a mention.) It felt funny hearing him during that time.

From second year onwards, he lived in a different hall. Gathering from the grapevine, I heard that the religious-studious boy had drastically changed. He was much more boisterous now and was getting involved in many hall affairs, some of them the subject of heated discussions. Among other things, he had started smoking.

Unfortunately, it took me a year and a half to make my first visit to his room in the new hall. It was spick and span as ever, with the gods and goddesses at their rightful places. At the time when I had gone, he was preparing for a seminar he was to give at an academic winter camp. I breathed a sigh of relief; some things, fortunately, do not change.

Anupam occasionally shared the morning with me by dint of his late sleeping hours. I had come to know Anupam at a time when my social circle was still in an embryonic stage. The thing about him which pleased me a lot was the way he talked. He talked with me in the same manner in which he conversed with others who were probably closer to him at that time. It was as if you had known him for quite long. And this not a small thing; I know people whose mannerisms leave you feeling quite cold afterwards. Later, Bipul and I have frequently come to the conclusion that Anupam is the epitome of a perfect gentleman.

In reading till here, if someone feels that it is mighty rude of me to pass judgments with such finality on others, he/she should remember that these are but passing comments by one traveler on another.

Wonder when this traveler will cross paths again with those mentioned above. Signing off for now.

Read Part 2 of 'The Last Day in Kgp'

Sunday, June 19, 2005

Blank Page Syndrome

Written 2nd May 2005

This is one thing writers are very used to. You sit down with the aim

of writing something with a blank piece of paper before you (or

nowadays, a blank Wordpad screen). And then, for hours on end, you

cannot decide what the starting line should be. You think up various

options in your mind. As they come to your mind, you reject some

immediately. And you like one or two options but cannot decide which

one is better. This tussle goes on for quite some time and hence the

name, "Blank Page Syndrome".

The stage of my life in which I presently am, presents to me a

strikingly similar situation. In a week or so, the coursework at IIT is

going to end. ----- then job after 2 months---- like blank page ----- last

few months, busy with project & studies ---- now that no more ---- so

many options in these 2 months ----- career building ------ holiday with friends & family

---- hang out with friends in cal ---- urge to do sth productive ------

going home early ------- phew! eager to choose & write the 1st line....


19th June 2005

The 2-month vacation mentioned in the above scribble is now going on.

Half of it is over. And phew! The first line has been written.

The vacation started with my project guide asking me to stay back and

write a paper. Paper! - such glory, such hoo-haa'ness. How could I say

no. Thus the first line of my two-month long blank-page was literally


The paper-writing episode continued for a good two weeks with a home

trip sprinkled in between. The writing had to be temporarily suspended

as the home front was threatening me with dire consequences if I did

not return within the month of May. My parents were convinced that

their son, who was showing no inclination of coming home, was up to some

dushtumi. If only they knew what a good boy their son was being at that


Anyway, circumstances were such that I found myself in Kolkata during

the last week of May. I had officially left Kgp. At least my parents

thought so. But some work was left for the project and that was a

good-enough excuse to come back again. However I could not breathe a

bit of this to my parents, because, as you well might understand, one's

life is precious to oneself.

A trip to Bangalore to visit my school friends who were completing

college there, had been long due. Also due was a relaxing getaway with

my parents. Punching these two, we decided to go to Bangalore for a ten

day trip.

This was my fourth visit to Bangalore. People found two things about our

trip difficult to digest. One - that we were not going anywhere apart

from Bangalore. For most Bengalis going so far South and not doing the

typical Ooty-kodaikanal-Mysore-etc-etc '2 nights-3 days' package is

sacrilege. And two, Bangalore being the preferred city of

employment that it is, that I was going there for relaxation instead of looking for

better job prospects.

The weather of Bangalore was just too good for scorched Calcutta’s like

us. We did not go to too many places. Our hotel, Pai Vihar, where we

had stayed earlier too, was just too good. Nevertheless, thanks to

Nilay and Soumallya and also Bhomesh and Fonta, we got to see quite a

few places - IISc Bangalore, Soumallya's college, Forum Mall, Bhomesh's

office. Finally we topped this with a trip to Tirupati and returned home

refreshed and blessed to face the onslaught in Kolkata.

There's one more month to go before I join my job. A string of

nemontonno's (invitations) has come up. I am struggling with all

earnest, in the departments of travel and gastronomical affairs, to do

justice to these invitations. Being of the opinion that such social

do-s prevent more enjoyable ways of whiling away time, I compare them

with similar social do-s that popped up ever so often in Kgp.

Sunday, May 15, 2005

I started blogging a year ago when I was in Navi Mumbai for my training. That time, there were so many interesting things to write about – the various parks, the mushrooming population of saloons, combined with the feeling of being far away from home; everything seemed worth a blog. I was also writing after a long gap, and that excitement pushed me along to write more and more.

For the last four months, mainly two thoughts have been filling my mind. One is related to my project; but if I start writing about ‘variable time-frequency resolution’ and ‘digital signal processors’, not many will be appreciate it fully.

The second train of thought is about my career. And writing about it does not seem a pleasing proposition, at least to me. The thought that someone is going to read it and say, “What a load of crap!” bugs me quite a bit. (The last time I expressed similar sentiments, a senior responded with an “Oh… you’re so confused and I’m so ‘not’ confused” chat session.)

After reading the previous paragraph, it will surprise you to still find me writing about the second train of thought. Yet I feel it’s good to express emotions in public. Otherwise, the world is too competitive a place to be able to live peacefully and happily.

Over the last one year, I have met a lot of people with the specific aim of discussing my career. The list includes a management professor, two high-flying executives and a professor of engineering among others. For the time being, I shall talk about my discussion with the engineering professor.

During the discussion, the professor kept mentioning how their childhood was much more enjoyable than ours. He said that his generation, i.e. our parents, were to be blamed for this. He recounted the incident of a person coming to collect ‘chanda’ for a local sit and draw competition. The chanda, that person said, would be spent in buying the first prize.

“Competition even in the name of art! Parents rebuking their children for not coming 1st – how enthused that child would be to continue drawing!”

The professor tried to drive in these thoughts into the person’s mind. But seeing that his was a futile effort, the professor drove him away instead.

Monday, March 28, 2005

Movie Review : 'Before Sunrise'

Sometimes, I have been moved after watching a movie. And then I have felt the urge of writing about it. After watching ‘Before Sunrise’, a similar thing happened. Thus the following piece is not a review in the strict sense of the word. It is more of a personal reaction after watching the movie.

One day, as a friend was watching 'Before Sunset', I joined him and watched a bit of the movie. I realised then that I liked the movie. Later, I heard from friends that ‘Before Sunrise’ had been released in the mid nineties. And at that time, it had been a big hit. Then after a gap of nine years, the sequel ‘Before Sunset’ was released. My friends were in high praise of the two movies, and more so of the latter.

A few days later, another friend was watching ‘Before Sunrise’. This time, I saw the last few scenes of the movie. In whatever little I saw, I loved the bit where the morning scenes of Vienna are shown. I felt that the director must have a keen sense of art to be able to portray a whole city so beautifully.

This was my prologue till I finally got down to watching the whole movie. Needless to say, I was already inclined to like the movie. However it was only when I watched it, that the liking turned into love.

The best justice I can do is to list some of the moments that moved me. For those who have watched this movie, they can compare their personal feelings with my checklist. And for those who have not yet watched it, my request is that they watch it as soon as possible.

So here goes my list of the ‘movie’s moving moments’ (Alliteration, eh!) : -

1. The scene where Jesse and Celine go to the cemetery – while watching the whole movie, I remembered that this cemetery featured among the morning scenes shown at the end. Earlier, I had admired the sheer beauty of the shots; now I realised their significance with respect to the movie. ( More about that later.)

2. The scene where Jesse and Celine sit on a roadside bench, and while talking about the existence of God, Celine says, “Y'know, I believe if there's any kind of God, it wouldn't be in any of us. Not you, or me... but just this little space in between.”

3. When Jesse and Celine are on the Ferris Wheel and they kiss for the first time. My other room neighbour (who had also watched the movie earlier) came in just when that scene was going on, and remarked, “Hmmm…. Romantic scenes dekha hocche!!” I was quite excited by the on-screen display of romance, and remarked, “Kya karein… humare life mein to kabhi aisa moment nahi aayega… ”

4. And then there is Julie Delpy as Celine who looks pristinely beautiful throughout the movie. For a while I contemplated to surf the net for some hot pics of her. But thinking that it might diminish her stature in my eyes, I restrained myself from doing so.

5. And finally, the morning scenes of Vienna once again – only this time, they carried much more significance.
a. The Ferrys Wheel at total standstill – the scene of such a romantic affair just last night.
b. The roadside cafĂ© with umbrellas, overlooking a forlorn street – no lovers gracing it right now.
c. An old lady walking by the spot where Jesse and Celine made love last night – reminds me of the isolation of old age. A bit sad.

Well, that was my reaction to ‘Before Sunrise’. Planning to watch ‘Before Sunset’ soon.

Saturday, February 19, 2005

The Butterflies

From my vantage point
In my second floor room,
At a certain time of the year,
I get to see a fantastic sight.

The tree before my window
Is a very greedy tree –
Hundreds of thousands of butterflies
Are held captive by it.

But when autumn comes
And a strong wind rises,
The tree can hold them no more.
Then, these butterflies break free.

When the wind comes
And sets them free,
These butterflies
Do not fly away immediately.

For a while
They twirl and float around
Their place of captivity,
Before descending finally
To their flight of glory.

Come to think of it now,
In that short while,
These butterflies, most probably,
Stick their tongues out at the greedy tree
And proclaim,
“Weeee. I’m free. I’m free.”

And then, hundreds of butterflies
Fly around on the whims of the wind.
Some reach beyond the compound wall,
And some go out of sight.

Finally, all these butterflies
End their flight by falling to the ground.
And on landing,
They turn into dead leaves.

Of course, there are unlucky ones
Which die the moment they break free
And just like any other dead leaf,
Fall straight down.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

A Campus Placement (Part II)

Read Part I

"Final year mein aur kaam hi kya hai - career ke
baare mein discuss karne ke ilawa.
" ("What other work is there in the final
year except for sitting together and discussing our careers?") - a friend.

The final year, truly, has proceeded with a lot of
discussion about careers. And along with it, people have slogged to get the
career of their choice. Well, with so much heat about 'career'-s, it is natural
that one turns to nature, once in a while, to clear a jammed-up mind.

My habit of going for a jog in the evening gave me
ample opportunity of doing this. One day, as I was doing my rounds in the Jnan
Ghosh Stadium, I noticed a man a little far off. He was sitting down on his
haunches and was cutting the grass. Now two things about this struck me at that

One - I have observed the grass cutting process which
takes place annually in our hall. Here, when the grass reaches alarming
proportions, a huge gang of grass-cutters descend on the field and clear it
within a day or two.

And, two - in the off-season, when no events are
scheduled, the grass in Jnan Ghosh Stadium is left to grow. I have observed,
while passing it, how particularly 'alarming' the proportions of grass become in
such times.

Thus, what struck me as odd was that a single person
was cutting the grass of the entire stadium. I do not know how many epochs that
person had been working for, before he got the stadium fit for joggers like me.
(Now it strikes me that probably, a gang had descended upon the stadium, not so
many epochs before, to get it into the shape it presently possessed. And that
this particular grass-cutter was just doing the finish-up job.)

Anyway, there is something about the act of
grass-cutting which deserves consideration. The act of grass-cutting involves
squatting on one's haunches or bending down, sometimes for hours, and shaving
the land of its extra growth by a scythe or something. The task, as I see it, is
repetitive and proceeds slowly. In simpler terms, it is boring. On the brighter
side, the grass-cutter has a very nice work environment; sitting as he is, right
in the lap of nature. (Our grass-cutter might not agree on this term, and cite
the harshness of the mid-day sun as a valid argument.)

A comparison with the work-environs that we, the
passing out batch, are going to join comes naturally. Most of us shall be
assigned a cubicle in a plush office, with a computer to work on. In the future,
for a few years at least, that cubicle will be our workplace. Just as the Jnan
Ghosh Stadium, lined by trees on all its sides and the blue sky above it, is
workplace to the grass-cutter. Somehow, by fate or otherwise, we and the
grass-cutter are doing entirely different things at entirely different places.
Ultimately however, both of us are doing the same thing i.e. working. Hopefully,
both of us will work to the best of our capabilities. Hopefully, both of us will
be happy doing what we do.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

I did something funny today... you can try doing it too.....

All you need for carrying out this prank is a junior who you are friendly with, but can boss over a little bit too.

I was hurrying for college when I noticed this junior (who fulfilled the above two criteria quite well) just ahead of me. As I liked his company, I thought I should talk to him. However, at that time I had not thought about the prank. The idea came spontaneously.

As I turned around to face him, I saw his cute and innocent face. This aroused the devil within me, and I asked him a question, "So how is your girlfriend?" A cute kid like him was inclined to have a girlfriend, but I had no previous idea whether he actually had one. Faced with such questions, people usually evade the topic or behave as if they have never thought about girls in their life. Likewise, my junior appeared surprised and his innocent face had "Me and girls? No way!” written all over it. It was possible that he was so straight that he had no girlfriends, but I still persisted, "I saw you the other day with a girl." Now, given that I was seeing him after a long time and that he and I resided in the same city, the probability of such an occurrence was not too low. So I poked him further about when and where I had seen him, with fictitious details; "It was in the middle of December.... In South Calcutta.... I don't remember clearly. Probably Rashbehari." I kept my details as general as possible.

Luckily, the "Rashbehari" arrow hit the target. By now, the junior's expression had changed from one of angelic innocence to that of slight unease. He said, "You might have seen me there as I use the Rashbehari Metro quite regularly." Grabbing the opportunity, I hurled a barrage of questions at him, "So what wa, the girl's name? Is she your girlfriend?" After all this, my junior assumed that he had actually been spotted by me while he was roaming with a girl. With a guilty face, he divulged everything, "She's just a friend. Her name is A***".

I left him and had a good laugh on the way to college. Maybe I can get some more details out of him next time. So don't tell him about all this just now ;-)