Showing posts from 2009

Come again to Copenhagen

All eyes or to be more realistic many eyes and ears had been focused in the direction of Copenhagen during the last two weeks. I would feel left out by not making a statement about this much talked about “Climate Summit” as it had a grand closing yesterday. The climate summit was not surprisingly given contradictory ratings by various countries as some terming it an unprecedented outcome while other saying it a good start and a few terming it an outright failure. Probably they have to come back to Copenhagen or maybe Mexico to take this further.

What does it really mean to us lesser mortals? We quite do not understand the difference between 2° temperature rise and 1.5° rise and how can a nation control that. It is particularly difficult for someone like me to perceive this extremely relative affair concerning temperature. I feel cold at 15° while my friends live comfortably at -25°. I guess it will be prudent to leave this complex issue of climate change and global warming in the able…


The New Year is synonymous to change as we bid goodbye to the old and welcome the new. This year I am very nostalgic about the Bajaj Scooter as we bid farewell to this icon with a heavy heart. The scooter has been a part of the life of every Middle class Indian and even if they did not own one.

The Message from the president said: “We have sold the last of our Chetak scooters and Bajaj Auto will not be building any more of these classics. Bajaj Auto has"retired" the Chetak tooling and closed the plant……”

I remember those teenage days as I first learned to ride a scooter and it wasn’t easy to synchronize the clutch and the gear and the accelerator. A smile crossed my lips as I thought of the college days when a friend wanted to try the scooter and nobody was ready to ride his pillion. I had volunteered and he managed to get us airborne followed by a nose dive to the amusement of all others.
A few years later I moved to Delhi and I had my own scooter, a Bajaj chetak and it was…

Celebrating Christmas

Over the past four decades that I have been roaming this planet Christmas had been part of my life bringing new flavors in new ways and had rediscovered this most celebrated Birthday everytime. My early memories are of more traditional celebrations in my first school “The Holy Cross School” which was run by Christian missionaries. In Kolkata the Christmas day is known as “boro-din” a popular belief that the days starts to become longer and night shorter from this day. This day is ear marked in all Bengali’s calendar as a day to go out for picnic. Our college campus which is on the bank of the river Ganges and adjacent to one of the oldest Botanical garden in the country used to have hundreds to visitors mistaking it to be the botanical garden, which turns into a family park during holidays.

In Bahrain I have some very dear Goan friends and we had great time together during the whole week leading to 25th and without a doubt had the best Christmas of my life. But all in all this day has …

When Spring Returns

This weekend the dark clouds gathered around the global economy once again and this time it was on concerns that two of Dubai - owned companies may default on their debt obligations. Watching the news develop in the television stations a thought crossed my mind … “How happy we were there”.

I was transported to another world when I read Oscar Wilde’s “Selfish Giant” for the first time. The statement “How happy we were there” remained closed to my heart and popped into my mind every now and then.
This time it was not so much for us as we had reached Dubai as matters had already started to get sour, though I would have loved to live there. There has been hundreds of thousand s of families who had to leave the land of their dreams. The economy was buyout many people lost control over their lifestyle started to live beyond their means. They were sitting on the edge spend their past , present and future income with an illusion that they are immune to the global economic downturn without real…

A few unrelated Current Affairs

We are scared to turn on the news stations these days and we wonder every time we switch it on about where has humanity gone and what value does a human life have today? We are dying in hundreds without any reason or fault of our own. This week there was this gore incident in the Philippines, where political rivals have killed 60 opponents and buried their body in a mass grave. Just for having different political views or was it the usual struggle for control?
Tomorrow is the first anniversary of the Mumbai attack. For us it is only a day to remember those people who lost their lives for just being there … wrong time wrong place for them. But for the families of those 165 people, it had been 365 days of painful existence.
Then there are two wars (would rather not call them war) being raged in Iraq and Afghanistan. The question is whether to increase the number of troops and if that will do any good. In brief they are putting more life at stake. My question to them is why do you struggl…

Simplicity in Glitches

As a kid we used to have radios, the SW/MW kind of gadget and a few years into our childhood we met the first TV set. It was a black and white television set with a selector which could tune into 6 or 8 stations the selector came with an extra ring which was used to fine tune. In addition to that was the off/on and volume knob and all built into one. The radio used to have exactly similar set of control to tune in to a station or control the volume and a knob to switch between short and medium wave and I cannot recollect the existence of FM (frequency modulation) in those days! And the telephone was a solid black piece of equipment and well connected (with wires off course!).
Life was so simple then. Whenever one of those gadget failed transmit we immediately knew the cause. If it was not the power source it was the antenna connection unless the station is having trouble with transmitting the program. In latter case we a sweet voice would invariably come up apologizing for the interrup…

All is not lost

Last week while I was being driven around I had noticed a building with big neon sign announcing that it housed the “Jarir Book Store”. I had decided on that very moment that I will have to visit this place, and I will have to do it sooner rather than later. Yesterday when I reached home after work, I was very disappointed to find that someone e has occupied my parking. So I decided to venture out in search of the Book Store…. in quest of knowledge, so to say. But with my level of road sense it is never easy to find a new location and as I lived up to my expectation. Fortunately for me there is a roundabout very close to my house and so I could first go straight, and then right and finally left, every time coming back to the roundabout to change direction. After taking a few turns at the signals I could see the neon sign I have been so desperately seeking to find. At that moment I thought of giving a “Land Ahoy!” cry but restrained myself somehow. But all was not as smooth as I had to…

A Modern Day Gypsy

Last few weeks have been very hectic for me. Tough decisions are always tough to take. It was not at all easy to decide to leave Dubai and go. The stay in Dubai was short but sweet. We had some of the best moments in our life while living in Dubai. But as it turns out I am only a modern day Nomad ……. a gypsy of the 21st century. I have tried putting up a home in so many times in so many cities in the past decade but could never stay long enough to grow my roots and that is the reason why I am able to relocate myself to a new place with relative ease. As they say that a rolling stone gather no moss… I am on the roll once again! I do not have any regrets in leaving that place, but I am a bit sad that I had to leave in such a short notice.
The boom of the past few years had attracted people from all walks of life and from around the world. There had been a mad rush in the past years to reach there to make a living and build the city. When I landed there, it was as if a grand party was in…

Spot the real model

Few days back I had written about the living statues in my other blog A Slice of Art & Design. What a coincidence that a very similar technique was being used in one of the popular malls in Dubai last week. A few stores had come together with a Radio station (who runs a few FM channels in different languages) to host a competition. The competition was quite uncommon (I shall not comment if I liked the idea or I did not) for this city where there is a constant attempt to inject new ideas to promote consumerism.

This particular competition was called “Spot the real model”. There were a few (5 to be precise) model who were posing with the mannequins in the display windows of the stores spread all over the mall. It was exactly the same act as one of those living models. The only difference probably was that they were working under a corporate or a modeling assignment and not as street performers.
All one had to do to claim a prize (shopping vouchers) was to be one of the first three per…

A man's dream

Probably there are two types of man in this world. There are those ones who let out a sigh after reading an “Andy Capp” cartoon and the ones who does not. Every morning while reading this comic strip a smile lights up my face and I always end up dreaming for a few moments "what if" I was going to spend the rest of today like Andy. But never succeeded to cross the "what if" threshold. Even if I am at home, I would not be able to spend the entire day for instance in that sofa couch of Andy. What amazes me the most is the extent that a person imagination might reach to create and keep a character like "Any" and "Flo" alive and filling up the morning of millions like me with their sense of humor and a feeling of freshness.

In the early days of my blogging I had written about the "Stay At Home Dads" where we spoke about the lucky “stay home husbands”. The lot who doesn't really have to struggle for daily sustenance and on the contrary c…

Our Crime Master Gogo

"Aaya hoon, kuch toh loot kar jaoonga" is a dialogue from the movie "Andaz Apna Apna" and no one can do better justice to this than my 15 months old. To put things in perspective, this is one movie I do not mind watching every time it shows up on TV because of the sense of humour and comic timing and to sum it up, I find it entertaining. The music too is entertaining with a comic as well as retro flavour. I do wonder if Amir Khan and Salman Khan are together in another movie. The villains here are portrayed as a bunch of comedians rather than the usual ruthless killers. One such character is "Crime master gogo" which is played by Shakti Kapoor. Every time he showed up, his opening dialogue was "Aaya hoon, kuch toh loot kar jaoonga. Khandaani chor hoon. Mogambo ka bhatija, Crime Master Gogo" (Since I have come here I am not going to return empty handed.)

My daughter follows the same principle and so at times we affectionately call her "crime …

A Thought for the Day

Today as I was driving up to work, I had a thought which I would like to share with you all. It might sound a bit odd at the onset. Did you ever observe a strange resemblance the way we look at us and our cars!

As a new car is launched it becomes the most sought after object in the town. Everyone dreams for a few moments of togetherness. But only a lucky few succeed. The real character form within is often quite different from how it looks from the outside. We try to explain saying that looks can be deceptive!
The most striking fact is that the same car for which everyone vied for a few years back goes unnoticed in the crowd if it was not in the good hands. After the first owner has let it go after use and abuse, things has never been the same. It only exists as wreck of what it had been, a shadow of its former self.
But to retain honor and still held be held in high esteem after losing the youth, one has to be a Classic or a vintage model, well kept and well maintained and well cared f…

An Effort Worth Taking ...

Earlier this month my fellow blogger Gaelikaa of “Gaelikaa’s diary” passed on an award to my blog and I thank her for that. I like to receive awards of all types like any other fellow human being. For awards and citations are recognition and appreciations for what we do.
I have not received many awards like most of the achievers of today’s world. I remember having received only a few of them, 3 to be precise. And out of that only one was at a national level and remaining 2 at zonal summit and nothing in the International level. Those were long way back during my college days. I do not even have the certificates as they were hanging in our college department wall when I saw them last. I hope they are still hanging on and have been joined by many more brought by the boys, who came after us!
Though I was very happy to receive the award, I was not able to put it up in my blog. I was a bit too busy doing something which I have not done in years and definitely not done it enough when other d…

Durga Puja ..... In our hearts and minds

The Bengali self within me does not allow me not to think and talk about the Durga Puja while at home we are celebrating the biggest annual festival. This is the time when all Bengalis come together in celebration leaving behind all their differences, well most of it! This year we did not get the taste of the Puja, we thought of going up to Muscat and then we thought of visiting Abu Dhabi but finally decided to sit back ruminating through all the earlier Puja. The only taste of Puja this year was when my brother let us listen live to the “dhaak and kasha” playing in our building for the “shandhya arti” via Yahoo Messenger voice service.
The puja in Agartala used to be the greatest in terms of fun and enjoyment and I cannot imagine having the same fun in any other time of place. Ironically I did not quite enjoy the celebrations in Kolkata to the same extent even though it is the heart of the Bengali land. But it definitely provides immense pleasure to see how vibrant a place can be and …

Those Two Days

Two months back I celebrated my first birthday. Do you this was the second biggest party of my whole life. We celebrated the first one in Kolkata. It was the day I got to taste of rice for the very first time and along with that a lot more thing that made very little sense to me. Many curries including Fish and also sweets, which could hardly fit within a 10” plate... all I could think of at that moment was... "ore baba re" (OMG)! They (ora) like to call it my annaprashon. You know, I was very sad this time as we do not have my relatives here in Dubai and I missed them all very dearly. I thought I will not write about this party at all as I missed the family so much. But now that I have spent a good one month time in Kolkata with all of them, I feel much better. This time most of the uncles and aunts we know here in Dubai have also gone out for their summer vacation and there were suggestions that we postpone the birthday party. But tell me how can we postpone my first birt…

Thinking Aloud

Be it a tilt in priority or a time management issue but the matter of the fact is that I am not being able to do much of blogging for the past few weeks. I do try and take a quick tour of the blogs that I follow whenever I can manage. I wish I could scribble a few lines in my blog now and then but ….. I guess blogging have to wait a bit more!
I could best describe this situation by following Filmy line …. “Majboor ye halaat idhar bhi hai udhar bhi” (“I am restrained by the compulsion is on either side”. Excuse my poor translation)
Following are a few pictures of My City, Calcutta. These are taken from emails which have been making round for sometime now and most of us have received once already! These pictures were taken in 1930ies (nineteen thirties) less than two decades prior to our independence from the British rule.
One point bothers me whenever I look at these images. Almost 200 years into British rule our people have been dressing themselves in traditional attire. But what happene…

About Awards, Copy, Paste et al

I believe one of the most powerful inventions of our life time is the personal computer. I was introduced to this thing of wonder a bit late in my life maybe not as late as some other but late enough. At our Engineering College the computer room or computer lab as it used to be called used to have an uncanny similarity to an ICU. This boss man used to reside in an air-conditioned glass room under lock and key and with limited access and strictly under supervision of the protector of the glass castle. When we were allowed to enter that room we had to leave our foot wares outside. It was imbibed in our mind that it was a very delicate instrument and one has to take extreme care while dealing with him. Little did I know at that point that you need to be a genius to spoil it (not by vandalism)!
Later on in life I got the opportunity to have regular handshake and at one point could manage the limited network of pc in the office. But those were the DOS days and we used to write long command…

Two Tales in Two Cities

Today India celebrates 63rd Independence Day. We undoubtedly achieved a great deal in the past years. But there is a long and bumpy road ahead. There are two events that bothered me this morning.

First Incident:
"Do unto others as you would have others do unto you." It's the Golden Rule and we believe that it is the ultimate norm of high morality in all culture.
Last Saturday night I was on my way back from Kolkata, my hometown, where I went for a brief break taking a week off. I was travelling back alone as my family stayed back for a few extra weeks so they could spend some time with the family.
We were on an emirates Airbus A 330 aircraft and the flight was smooth enough to let me start writing this blog at a height of 36000 feet above the sea level. I was a bit skeptical about the departure time as the flight preceding ours was delayed by a few hours. To shake my confidence further I spotted a dead cockroach in the waiting lounge and none of the house telephones were in …

My Password protected Life.

We all require safety and protection from the big bad world outside. Today I am sitting at my desk well protected and with a sense of security but totally entangled in a web of random numbers and letters. Every moment of this existence, I am reminded that all good things in life come with a price tag and in this case I am almost paying with my mind. I consider myself fortunate that I can still use a key to enter my house (a remote key like the car is in my wish list though) and a keyless biometric provides access at work. I am thankful that keyless access to cars by punching access code did not go too far.
Password has been in existence since time immemorial. I am told that in earlier days sentries would only allow a person or group to pass through or allow access only if they knew the password. The dictionary meaning of the word “password” is a secret word or expression used by authorized persons to prove their right to access, information, etc.
Before we were required to make an effor…

Remake and remixes

A Taj Mahal Remix by me

I resisted myself from watching the remake of the film Don directed by Farhan Akhtar even though I like his films. In fact when I finally watched it on the cable I have to admit that I quite liked it even though in my opinion, it was not as good as the original one. But the matter of the fact is that I am not too comfortable with this concept of Remake. I do agree that many changes have been made to the original one to align it to the present times but the fundamentals as well as the concept remains unchanged.
I wonder how the people of the world, particularly the French, will react to the idea of remaking the Eiffel tower with some modifications and changes. Maybe we could suggest adding a few stainless steel members in between to get some polish and shine. Another remake I may suggest of my mind is the Statue of Liberty. Maybe we can replace the crown in her head with a baseball cap to give it a more realistic look and connect with days generation. After all in…

Navigating the high street

A shopping trolley abandoned in the middle of the aisle in some super market is a common sight and we all have learnt to navigate our own cart around such obstacles. Abandoning one's shopping cart in the middle maybe still acceptable with a little bit of inconvenience to fellow shoppers but to find a pram with a child nicely parked in the middle of an aisle makes me nervous.
Certainly there is something mostly in the female genes (no offence intended) and in some males too, that causes the brain to freeze the very moment the eye spots an interesting package on the display shelve. All other logic stop working if there happens to be some red tag declaring a “Sale” or a yellow tape wrapped package stating "special offer" or “buy 1 & get 1 free” or maybe a yellow sticker with "free" written in red ink attached to any product on display. The world around does not exist anymore as the brain starts working on complex calculations towards establishing how much profi…

My Wonder Years - I wonder what they do

Ora je ki kore - I wonder what they do!

Last few days I am noticing a new of excitement around me. We have been making frequent trips up to a hotel and they ("ora" as I say in Bengali) are talking to a manager uncle about banquet hall and balloons and food and what not. I have a feeling that they are so excited because I am about to reach my first milestone. Actually this happens to be the first anniversary of the best thing that happened in my life. I remember that day in Bhagirathi Neotiya hospital very clearly. It was the morning of 11th of July and that was day I have seen the first ray of light and felt the first gust of fresh air hit my face and blowing whatever little hair I had that time and most importantly got the first hug from my mother. After a little while one aunty dressed in white clothes took me out through the corridor. I saw many people waiting for me there but I was so sleepy that I could barely keep my eyes open. Somehow managed to open both my eyes for a…

Three syndromes that caught my fancy

This is my second post on the English language but that does not mean that I am a pro in this language. But language like habit keeps growing on oneself over the period of time and we keep plucking and storing an odd phrase, word or a sentence. Following are three syndromes that are not so medical and did catch my fancy and would like to share with all who are interested.
Emperor's New Clothes syndrome: An emperor of a prosperous city who cares more about clothes than military pursuits or entertainment hires two swindlers who promise him the finest suit of clothes from the most beautiful cloth. This cloth, they tell him, is invisible to anyone who was either stupid or unfit for his position. The Emperor cannot see the (non-existent) cloth, but pretends that he can for fear of appearing stupid; his ministers do the same. When the swindlers report that the suit is finished, they dress him in mime. The Emperor then goes on a procession through the capital showing off his new "clo…