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Friday, December 31, 2004

In 2005 I plan to ...
Aha! Everyone is doing it. Glimpse through the newspaper and every actor, actress, politician, sportsperson, Tom, Harry and their other friend have come up with their New Year resolutions. So moi shall do the same, if not for anything else I can at least do a reality check same time next year:

1. Get done with my PhD. Hmmm! I know I am being optimistic when I hope (wish, pray) for this but I really wanna get done with the degree this year.

2. Complete the requirements of a minor in finance.

3. Make lotsa new friends. I have figured out that I work best when I have great friends in my life. So any friendly, nice people reading this - if you want a slightly cranky new buddy - I'm the guy.

4. Start doing some serious social work. I told Nileen a long time back that "most people don't end up doing social work because they think big and refuse to do small" and I have fallen prey to that exact philosophy. I have to stop thinking that some day I will help lotsa people and just start with whatever little I can do now. My sincere apologies to Suka on this issue. He knows what I mean.

5. Start writing. There are things I wanna write about and I just wanna pen these things down; just for the joy of concretion. I've said this before - the reason I try to blog is because it brings some form of discipline in my otherwise unplanned attitude and I feel that a li'll more writing can help.

6. Travel a little more. I'm supposed to go to Denver in April and I really wanna visit at least one new country (I am thinking of some place in Europe) and two more places in US if possible.

7. Pursue film making a little more seriously. I figured that this is the most unlikely one coz you need to risk a lot to make this happen or be really lucky and meet the right people. Somehow my dream of bumping into some resourceful guy doesn't seem to be taking shape. So let this be an outside resolution - something I really want even though the "real"ly part seems unlikely. Lesse!

There are more but the more plans I make the chances of breaking them increases. Plus I'm not exactly Mr. Planner - so why fool myself :)) I shall sign off wishing everyone great luck with their New Year plans and once again - A Very Happy New Year.

Wish everyone a Very Happy New Year
May the year be full of happiness and joy and smiles for all of us.

Thursday, December 30, 2004

End of the Year
Hmmm! 2004 is abt to end and suddenly I feel a set of mixed emotions. For starters, I feel elated to spend the end of the year and the start of 2005 with my family. It's wonderful! However, there are other people who I wish were here too. It's been a loooong time since the Dam's threw their year end party and I miss that for sure; I miss the time Sourav, Abhik and I reveled aimlessly on 31st night ...

I had this extended talk with Sanjay and Abhik yesterday on whether we are indeed changing. They felt we "were" changing and that we "have" to while I was thinking (or claiming or trying to think or some thing) more old school. I miss being frivolous - I miss the choice of having friends around me all the time. This part of growing up where one faces new terrains and challenges all alone is very different (difficult) for me. G is right - I am immature and I need people around me to bring out the best in me; but I never thought that's a bad thing. I always thought that I'll find people similar to me around me and suddenly things seem to have changed. Maybe I'll change too BUT I don't want to initiate that change just because society expects me too BUT a single individual has rarely combated societal impositions and I shall fall prey to the demands too I guess. I don't know. Early morning is not a good time to think on all these things - I need to just stay chill!

So here is wishing all you people a WONDERFUL year end. Have a greeeeeeeeat time. May GOD bless us all

Resume
Met up with Abhik after almost a year. Both he and Sanjay looked very tired and kept saying that we are getting old - so I started feeling old too :(( Three single men - it was only a matter of time before we would get down to talking abt the remote possibility of us ever getting wives for ourselves. I suggested preparing a marriage resume ...

I am sure you've met job seeking people who say - "Hey, I'll just send you my resume so that you can forward it to your boss". The marriage resume will be the same thing. "I'll forward it to you and you can send it to your boss if she is a single woman; else forward it to whoever you want" - that is the idea. The resume will have the basic info - age, height, educational qualification. It will have recommendations from three referees - hopefully my neighbors and past room mates who'll vouch for good habits and decency. There'll be mention of my past "employers" (?) where my ex-es can share their experiences of working with me and why I "quit" the job (or got fired). I'll also mention my skill set - languages known et al. Seriously, isn't there a striking similarity in the kind of stuff we want to know before hiring someone as an employee and the kind of stuff we want to know before settling down with someone????

I don't know if this conversation between the three of us was a result boredom or a result of our sorry state :(?! Blah.

Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Hot Helpful Housewives
I have ranted aplenty abt the incessant spams I get. Earlier these social do-gooders just wanted me to be more qualified and kept offering me degrees that could be acquired in anything between a day and a month. I guess they then figured out that I'm quite happy with my ongoing PhD - so they started offering me a vacation - every possible tourist destiation was offered at the "Cheapest rates ever" but I still dint respond. I was then offered more Viagra than one could ever ask for but I refused to think "that big". Then money was used to lure me in - I was pre-approved for every possible mortgage loan. When they understood that I am not feeling "loansome" they decided to take the "lonesome" route - as a result in the last ten days I have been bombarded with "lonely housewife mails". I have seriously started wondering what kind of a person fantasizes abt lonely housewives - a lonely housewife is not a physicial or mental state, it doesn't reveal anything abt who/what/how a person is - so why advertise them. However, after deep thiking (I am a thinker after all you see) I think I know the advantages:

1. No long term commitments.

2. They probably know how to cook - so expect a good meal.

3. Their sons or husbands can be your friend in the future. Easy access to a snooker buddy.

So am I interested? NO. Look at the pitfalls:

1. Their sons and husbands can (will) probably be stronger than you.

2. They might not know how to cook - that might be the reason that they are lonely and bored. They are just going to use you to learn cooking. That's serious food for thought.

3. No long term commitments.

So to all the spammers - Enuff, no more.

Annual Summary - 1
Hmmm! Junta seems to be doing this and I think it's a good thing. I shall break this post into two parts - summary of 2004 and resolutions for the coming year. So here's a brief summary of 2004:

Overall feeling: Mixed

Achievements: A few small ones - mostly academic, nothing remarkable for sure

New Good habits: Started blogging, started working out a lot more

New Bad habits: Finally gave up my teetotaller status

Heart-breaks: One (yeah yeah - I spent a fair amount of blog space on that alone)

Happiest moment: No single one stands out

Saddest moment: Let me not answer that

Funniest moment: Quite a few e.g. home video at Vipul's place

Fav movie: Kill Bill II (Tarantino is a genius), I Heart Huckabees (for its sheer vagueness), visually speaking I loved Hero and Sky Capain

Worst movie: Julie (I'm sure there are others)

Fav songs: Jesus Walks (Kanye West), 99 problems (Jay-Z), Ladki Kyon (Hum Tum), Tere Liye (Veer Zaara)

New friends made: 3-4

Old friends lost: 2

Crushes: 1-2

Trips to home: 2

New countries visited: 0 (actually I visited Thailand in end Dec 2003)

Major buys: Car, new laptop, camcorder

Major sells: The only thing I sold this year was probably a used book on Investment Strategies (also tried selling my Intro to Filmmaking book - but no one bought it)

Books read: 2-3

Films watched: 100-150

Which one better - "2003 OR 2004" ? Don't know.

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Images that come to mind
A friend of mine recently mentioned that people who blog often take themselves very seriously. I found it very funny, specially coz every time I think of that statement I somehow think of:

a guy who stays in a yellowish broken house. he comes in and his wife enters the room and asks "have you brought any food for our kid? he is hungry and has been that way for two days." the man, wearing thick spectacles, looks up and says "there are more important things than that". Saying this he goes and starts his computer and blogs abt his day.

I know the image is terribly flawed. For starters, how does a guy who can't afford food for his family maintain a computer and net connection etc. BUT every time I sit to blog I think of this image :)

Similarly, there are lots of things in my mind that I associae with funny images. For example, while in Pilani I once asked Arijit abt some girl in his batch and he said "Eeeee maa! Why are you asking abt that girl? She looks like a maid servant!" Even though I thought the girl was quite pretty, thereafter every time I saw her I imagined her in a saree with a broom in her hand :) Ari (I know he reads my blog) - you a#*&&#, you completely marred this girl's image in my mind :)

One more mental image association and moi shall sign off - G has a bright yellow dress whose luminance is eye catching to say the least - every time I saw that dress I imagined her in a dark lane with a little street kid sitting next to her (she is standing) and reading his text book in the brightness of her dress.

Hmmm, I think I am mad!

A cup of Socie-tea
I was watching a program on the newly (at least it wasn't around when I came to Kol in August) launched channel Zoom. They were interviewing tons of celebrities and asking them their views on all things insignificant. While these luminaries graced us with their opinion, they printed their professions below on the screen. These read - actor, anchor, DJ, fashion designer ... AND ... "Socialite". For a few heavily decked and accented women their profession was that of a socialite. What? I missed this option completely when my dad laid down my career choices for me (that's actually stressing it too far coz dad dint give any of the other mentioned professions as an option either). No seriously - what or who is a socialite? What do they do? What does a socialite's resume have? Do they switch jobs? Do they have regular working hrs? Duh! I am lost again!!!!

Monday, December 27, 2004

Rap on the face
Na! The coming year will surely see me emerging as a lousy rap artist. Now all I need to do is find a niche market for myself - right now I'm contemplating whether that should be (a)techie rapper (b)Bengali-gangster rapper or (c)schizzophrenic mix of the two. Please help me decide - these samples might help you gauge which one I'll suck most at:

The Techie Trackie - SuckoMeter rating - High

Yo! yo! techies
With your C and Java
Meet Mr. Nandy,
The new age luvah
I'll take your web page
And make it whack
Put some flash animation
And an MP3 track
So join the wide web
And make it your house
Groove with Tech Rapper
At the click of a mouse

Bongstar Gangster - SuckoMeter rating - Super high

I've got the moves of Mithun
And the strokes of Ganguly
They call me gangster-dada
Thirty three percent Bangali

I grew up on the wild side
The tough roads of Kol
I'm as dry as a sandesh
As wet as mishti ghol

I rub shoulders with East Bengal
Mohan Bagan's my homie
Yeah! I'm the Bengali gangstah
It's time that you know me

Pics from Kolkata
Here are two pics from my moments of insanity last night ...



This photo was taken in Swabhumi where a guy and his lady love were sitting next to us and the guy was feeding his "dahling" some "chana". So Amitabh and I insisted that we sit next to them and feed each other too. Sadly, the couple left after seeing us express "our love" :( (you can see the girl in pink in the pic actually)



This one was taken inside the multiplex (where I saw Musafir for the second time). Hemo, Debo and Amitabh insisted that I play spoil sport to Shahrukh and Preeti's romance - if you are wondering why I am "approaching" Shahrukh as opposed to Preeti it's coz the gatekeeper was hushing us away and I struck the pose without even checking out which side of the poster I was on.

Sis-sy?
My sis is currently "friendly" with a guy who is from my batch. However, most of my sis's male friends are slightly wary in front of me because they aren't sure if I am the strict and possessive brother (some of them have told her in the past that I seem to scare them). So they treat me with added respect. So in spite of being from my batch this guy treats me like I am much older to him. He ushers a great amount of care to ensure that I am comfortable - making me very uncomfortable. The funniest thing happened the other night when we went dancing together and he was dancing with my sis. Suddenly he realized that I am standing alone and to make me feel comfortable (or himself less uncomfortable) he came and started dancing with me. I tried to tell him that I'd rather stand alone on the dance floor but before I could say anything this guy forced me into holding his hand while he did a fancy twirl-resembling move - just try imagining the sight and you’ll get a hint of how hilarious the whole thing looked :)

Sunday, December 26, 2004

The little bag
I believe a few bored women read this blog to further increase their boredom. I have a sincere plea to all of them - please explain to me the mystery of the little bag that women carry. For those who don't know what I am talking abt - a lot of women these days carry a small accompanying bag that doesn't look fit enuff for carrying anything of use. Yet, at least three-four times I have been amazed at the efficacy of "the bag". You hurt your toe and ask the girl in front of you if she has a band aid in her bag and she will amaze you with a band aid and an anti-septic creme as well. You need to take down someone's contact info and you don't have a pen - so you ask the girl in front of you and she'll not only give you a pen but will also give you a little pad; mirror, make-up, towel, cell phones, spare clothes, half-eaten hamburger, shoes, half built house - you name it and it's there in that bag. How? How is it physically possible to think of anything you want and have it in that bag. On the other hand I carry around a gigantic bag that carries my laptop and a whole bunch of stuff I don't use and every time I am in need for something I fall back to my female friends for their "bag". I need to unravel this mystery. Help me!

Saturday, December 25, 2004

No more Kolkata 1.0
Modi insists I not mention my home town in subsequent posts and moi shall try. I feel provoked to write abt my annual summary now but then I shall wait for another day or two. For now let me mention Indian TV channels and their changes since I last left the country.

For starters - Channels have re-packaged themselves OR maybe they have just started new channels - whatever be the case I am confused. They have Star One and Sahara One and both these channels write the ONE as the prominent factor - confusing me completely. News channels have broken themselves into Hindi and English channels and all this makes things fairly complicated. Moreover, the continuous bickering between the cable operators and the service providers makes all these channels very ephemeral. Bottomline - the abundance of choice in not necessarily a synonym for variety. I remember Ellen Degeneres mentioning once that there was a time when we had just two channels and people would have to endure whatever they played - but now we have so many channels and we use this plethora of options to finally watch human beings eat horse testicles - yes, we have progressed :)

Another funny thing is Tehelka - I don't know whether they are targeting me particularly BUT this is the third time that I have come down to Kolkata and Tehelka has come up with an expose. Whatever be the case I like Tarun Tejpal and his brand of "unconventional" journalism.

Things which haven't changed in six months (actually in three years for that matter) - Jassi still looks the same, Tulsi (of Kyunki Saas fame (?)) still cries incessantly, Cyrus Broacha is still funny and the program CID is still churning re-runs. More later.

Friday, December 24, 2004

Merry X-Mas
A very Merry X-Mas to all - have a wonderful festive season.

Moi spent last night and the wee hours of morning partyig with my sister and her friends in this place called Tolly Club. Some observations:

1. Kolkata has a higher "pretty quotient" now. Abhik and I used to joke that a lot of parents just waited for us to leave the city before letting their daughters out. Chaaah!

2. There are some people who just look around in a party to see who is looking around.

3. A girl throwing up still amuses people a lot more than a girl growing up. (p.s. nothing like a growing up girl who is throwing up I guess).

4. People sill play Ricky Martin (wasn't he termed archaic a decade ago).

5. A lot of obnoxious couples use kissing in public as a last resort to reflect coolness.

6. If your girl friend is wearing (?) a thread and a little top to hold that thread and some guy lustily stares at her, then it's a stupid idea to ask him - "What are you looking at?"

What are friends for?
While chatting with Sourav abt Chacha Chowdhury this afternoon I figured that I am lucky to have friends with whom I can discuss extremely varied subjects. Here goes the list of the most common topics of discussions with some of my close friends:

Ronny
Talk: Nonsense, fictional love life, fictional marriage prospects, career frustrations, Bay Area Indians, colleagues.
Don't talk: Personal problems, family

Nileen
Talk: GOD, philanthropy, philospohy, love life
Don't talk: Inane stuff, bitching abt other people (Nileen the darling is totally against gossiping)

Chitra
Talks: Love life, movies, inane jokes, occasional frustration, school stories
Don't talk: Family

Abhik
Talk: Career, Kolkata, philosophy, ambition
Don't talk: Women

Sourav
Talk: Inane stuff, Hindi films and music, school
Don't talk: Nothing that serious

Haunting music
Just bought the self titled album Rabbi by Rabbi Shergill. Have been listening continuously to the number "Bulla Ki Jana" and it is simply mesmerizing. The album is already the number one in almost all the charts - so I don't have to tell anything abt it but if you haven't heard it jut get hold of it and listen to it now. It is a very welcome change from the standard remixes doing rounds of the television channels. If you are further interested read this article which is quite inspiring.

Thursday, December 23, 2004

Little Delights
Three cute sights from my morning trip to the barber (which itself shall be documented later):

1. An ad saying - "Models and waitresses wanted - Apply". I still have no idea what kind of a job requires both models and waitresses and that too with equal necessity. Hmmm!

2. A shop selling cheap fakes with a hoarding outside that boasts of the "Crocodile"' brand having the same logo as Lacoste :)

3. A man peeing below a "Please do not urinate" sign. I wish I had my camera to capture this - truly an amazing photo that would have been.

I love this city.

Wednesday, December 22, 2004

The family meets
The interesting thing abt attending Bengali family gatherings is that you always have a few relatives who claim to have seen you last when you were "this small", saying which they gesticulate a height that is invariably half of what you are now. This always happens and makes you wonder why you never meet these people during any of your intermediate height stages. However, the family function I attended last night had a lot of relatives who had either not seen me or dint recall the meeting we might have had. So it was difficult to come up with the aforementioned cliche. This led to an even more hilarious thing where a lot of them started telling me how they had seen my dad when he was my age and that we look similar. Some things never change - even if it spreads across generations :)

the secret of the smile
An interesting thing someone mentioned in Bangalore - apparently most (more than 90%) people don't smile when they are asleep. So it is a good thing to crack something funny during talk to gauge if your audience is asleep. This however assumes that (a) you are funny enuff and (b) your target audience has a sense of humor.

From Kolkata
I have caught a cold, am kinda sleepy and it is pretty hot in here - but but but - I am back in Kolkata and that is all that matters. Bangalore was awesome and I have to thank Sourav, Chitra, Revathy and Leslie mainly for the excellent time out there. Met up with Subo too (it was great meting him) and bumped into Shrankala (whom I have met a few times before) and Shree (whom I had never met before). Have a wedding invitation to attend in a few hours and then have to come home and catch up on all the Hindi music I have been mising out on - I have alrady started liking this song calld "Billa Ka Jaana" (I hope I got the name right). Get rady for some good ol' Indian blogging - a whirlwind update ofthe country from moi :)

Monday, December 20, 2004

Kolkata 1.0
I was explaining to some people the beauty of Kolkata (I am a very very strong Kolkattan) and this is what I said:

"Kolkata is more like a wife and less of a hooker! You can't come to Kolkata for a night and get all that you want from it - you have to build a relationship with it ... but once you do that the city would be your companion forever. "

Bangalore 1.0
I like Bangalore. I have spent almost two combined weeks in this place spread across two trips and it has been very pleasant. The weather is great, the urban lifestyle is impressive and the people look exciting. Moreover, there is a certain amount of vibrancy that is endearing. In the past I've spent considerable amounts of time in Chennai and Delhi and what sets Bangalore apart from these Metros is that it seems more open minded in welcoming outsiders, partly due the fact the a huge part of the population is courtesy the influx of people from all over the country as technical leads. On the pit side, the pollution seems to have increased considerably over the past three years and the real estate prices have shot up at an alarming rate. Nevertheless, this is a great place and I wouldn't mind settling here.

Sunday, December 19, 2004

Acute alcoholic

"What do you call a sweet looking drunkard? .... A cute alcoholic".

Well well, nothing cute about my inebriated state though. For a "till-recent" teetotaller like me a lot remains to be learnt about the dos and donts of drinking. e.g. Moi wasn't aware of the fact that often the effect of alcohol starts much later. So the other night I took four shots of white rum without realizing that it is only later that I'll suffer. Got my first official hangover. The result was lack of sleep and throwing up and two days of absolute lethargy and queasiness. Hmmmm! Lesson learnt.

Have my conference in Bangalore tomorrow - can't wait to go to Kolkata. So blogging will hopefully be more regular from day after tomorrow. Incidentally saw Hindi movie trailers after eons and boy was I excited to see them. Yanyways! More later.

Friday, December 17, 2004

Picking the pockets
I am staying in Bangalore with my cousin sourav who is probably my closest cousin even though from what I recall he is my fourth(?) cousin - I believe his mom's grandmom and my mom's grandmom were sisters - so much for the family tree.

Yanyway while chatting with him last night the story of the pickpockets in our locality in Kolkata came up. now I stay on the junction of an area called Lord Para (there is nothing Lordly abt the street though) and next to Lord Para is Handi Para. Over the years the two streets have famously fought with each other on everything (from cricket matches to door latches) - bottomline they dont get along too well (and that is definite subtlety).

Now Lord Para is next to the main road and the main road is regularly witness to pickpockets. These pickpockets when caught become the source of entertainment for all the jobless (literally) localities. The first thing that happens on catching a pickpocket is to release the guy whose pocket was actually picked - he is the primary witness and his presence might dilute the rest of the "show". Then the pickpocket is made to sit in some place with a zillion people guarding him. Following this the honchos of Lord Para and Handi Para debate who should get control of the pickpocket - incidentally the pickpocket pleads to be handed over to the police for a much milder punishment. Lord Para claims that the pickpocket was caught in their area and they should keep it while Handi Para invariably claim that the robbed guy (who has already left) is from their area. FInally a deal is struck where both sides get to shower a set of abuses and random punches at the pickpocket. The initial "blow givers" normally get to give a speech that questions the poor chap' motives and warns him of further dire consequences in future. After they are done the second tier honchos get their chance of beating the poor chap up - this is followed by some onlooker who suddenly claims that the pickpocket abused him (though the guy can barely speak at that point) and lands a few blows himself - that's his share for waiting so long. All this and the pickpocket is then left. Rumors say that often the final blow comes from the pickpocket's accomplice who starts a raucus to create a diversion. The whole things is treate dlike a little entertainment bonanza in the locality and the good for nothing modern ethical freaks like me play a silent observer to the whole thing and later blog abt it.

Thursday, December 16, 2004

Bangalore
Reached Bangalore and am still not registering in my mind the fact that I am in India - yahoooo. Lots to write - shall blog back soon - everyone else - enjoy!

Wednesday, December 15, 2004

Musings from Bangkok
I spent a fair fraction of the already spent 12 hrs in the Bangkok Airport (of the 20 hours halt I have) thinking on random stuff. e.g. Is the guy in the pin drawing on toilet signs naked? Obviously we can make out that the girl is wearing a skirt - but what abt the guy - and do these symbols have a different meaning in Scotland where men wear kilts? Yeah - that random! Also noticed a general tendency of Indians (irrespective of what part of India they are from) to wear a lot of gold jewelry to show their coolness - the airport is full of such women who are dazzling the place beyond imagination. Also received a massage - no not the naughty types but a good invigorating one for my head and shoulders. This reminds me of a funny anecdote - but shall blog abt that later.

From Bangkok
Yes - paid Internet in Bangkok ... but cheaper than LA - $3 for 100 mins appx. The journey from Japan to Bangkok was less excruciating thanks to some good Cognac. Two American college students were sitting next to me and I was amused by their view on Asian cultures. They were of the notion that all of Asia (be it China or India) is part of one community. So they were quite surprised to know that I was as ignorant abt time zone differences in Thailand as they were and also shocked to hear that I did not speak any non-Indian Asian language. Currently I'm amusing myself by the conversations of some confused Bangladeshi gentleman. Shall blog more later ...

From Japan
Thank GOD and the Airport authorities in Japan for the free wireless access. Man, this wireless thing is spreading fast and i am excited. Feeling very ill coz the food in the flight dint suit my stomach. I am contemplating whether to throw up now (a lot more information than you all wanted) - coz if I do I will feel hungry and will have to eat the same food again. Have no idea what I will do during my 20 hour stopover in Bangkok. Mummum, insists that I get a massage and given that I am bloody tired I might actually get one of those massages - lesse. More later.

Tuesday, December 14, 2004

From LA
Well I had decided to try and blog from diff pts of my trip and right now I am at LA Iternational Airport using some Internet Kiosk for $0.25/min and a $4 minimum i.e. $$ for 16 mins and having checked my mails I thought I will blog abt this itself. That's it - till now the most interesting part of the journey was the scene of a German guy flirting with a Korean girl who dint speak too much English. More shall follow later.

Off for India
Well, will be heading off for India in another few hours. I have a 20 hour halt in Bangkok and still have no clue as to what I'll do out there - the prospect of leaving the airport (will require a visa = money + they have an entrance tax = money) and sleeping over in the night in a hotel (= more money) effectively means a lot of money. The other option is to sleep in the airport and go and check out the place again (I had a halt in Bangkok earlier too). Haven't decided. After that I plan to be in Bangalore for a week (16-22). After that I reach Kolkata. Now I have net access at home but am not sure abt my connectivity status till then. So blogging might take a back seat till the 22nd. However, I plan to blog whenever I can - as a matter of fact I once blogged from Singapore and it'll be cool to blog from both Bangkok and Bangalore - lesse, shall try for sure. So, keep reading and may GOD bless.

Monday, December 13, 2004

Interesting
Never thought abt this till Uma pointed it out (and Uma is a psychologist so she must be right :)). We apparently miss home a lot more just before leaving for home coz then we know that we are likely to be there and that's why we get impatient. On the other hand if we know that it's gonna be a while before we go home again we mentally prepare ourselves. Hmmm! Never thought abt it that way but I guess it's true. Bottomline - I wanna go home!!!!! (and I am saying that with a whining and shrill voice).

Line from Ocean's Twelve
"Nothing comes for nothing."

Sex, lies and no videotapes
Paper complete! Whoaaa! Back to blogging.

I just read Antara's blog abt the Outlook sex survey and a childhood episode came to mind. Now, I have one of the most liberal parents, but things weren't always this way. People who were avid watchers of Doordarshan in the pre-cable days know that 9 o' clock meant a Nirodh (the cheapest birth control after celibacy I guess) ad on TV. I must have been 7-8 when, driven to the point of frustrating curiosity, I went and asked my mom and dad what Nirodh was. My mom, for some very obscure reason, told me that it was a kind of butter and that is why they advertise it. Hmmm! I was completely satisfied with the explanation till I somehow figured out that Nirodh helped in preventing child birth - that's when tension began coz I wasn't sure if the butter Mummum was serving with toast in the morning was Nirodh or not. So I gathered courage again and asked her if it was Nirodh butter that I was having for breakfast. I don't know what she said, but boy - imagine I got to know abt birds and bees through "bread and butter" - eeeew!!!

Saturday, December 11, 2004

The blogs I read
Aha! I finally put up links to the blogs I visit regularly (can be found to the left of this page). Now I wanted to do this for a long time but dint end up doing it. The main reason was that there were too many blogs that I visited and I was sure that I'll forget some of their names (and offend some friends). Incidentally, I am pretty sure that I've still forgotten some names. Yanyway, with Ronny, Ari (for the second time), Chitra, Chaitanya and Suka discontinuing their blogging, my blog-read list has been curtailed considerably. Well - was thinking of a cool line to sign off but for the sheer lack of creativity - later.

The Eleven are back and more
Had to see Ocean's Twelve first day and did so. The critics dint quite like the movie - the main complain being that it doesn't add anything new to the original - bottomline, I liked the first one and if this one is just like that there is no reason I should dislike it - so I went and saw it. I liked it - more than liked it - liked the original more - but loved the fact that the movie took itself so lightly. You can almost imagine these people sitting and lazing around and making a movie in between. The camaraderie is awesome - the plot is interesting (albeit mildly confusing) and the star cast couldn't have been better (though Zeta Jones's character isn't that great). Without divulging the plot details - I loved the Julia Roberts bit. So go watch it - coz you've probably seen a lot of crap and this aint no shit but pure fun. So go and n-joy it!

Friday, December 10, 2004

The Indian Jack
We've all heard of the saying "Jack of all trades". My father wrote to me about our local electrician Tarit this morning. I have known Tarit since I was a kid. He is a crafty electrician but with time and the increased reliability and warranty services of the present electrical equipment, Tarit has been forced to diversify. Now he can not only serve as an electrician but plays the role of a plumber as well. Moreover, if you need someone to fix up a cracked wall or build a small shelf, Tarit is your man again. To top it, Bubin claims, that Tarit is the most authentic, yet exhaustive, neighborhood gossip source. Bubin goes on to believe that much of Tarit's high end service charge is endured by the neighbors just to keep themselves aware of the latest rumors doing the rounds.

Bubin's mail reminded me of the famous Mangi Ram - people from Pilani who read this blog will know who I am talking abt. The great Mangi Ram used to walk the sandy roads of Pilani with his bicycle and smile at every student and say "Electric ka kaam hai?" Whenever a student needed a new socket board or tubelight fixed Mangi Ram will be there. Surprisingly, in my four years of stay in the desert land I never figured out where Mangi Ram actually stayed or if he had a shop BUT whenever I needed any of his services the man seemed to be there. However, Mangi Ram, like Tarit, was a master of several domains. When not masquerading as the mysterious electrician, Mangi Ram would offer to sell wooden crates, music systems, bicycles and even blankets. Every time a student would leave campus he would see Mangi Ram at his door, offering to buy back whatever he wasnt thinking of taking with him. Students joked that the man was affiliated to the Business Program in Pilani and was by far the most skilled salesman the West of India has seen. Cheers, Mangi Ram - you were the man!

Thursday, December 09, 2004

Calm down!
I need to calm down - too many things in my mind - going home, last minute shopping, paper deadline, G, packing limitations (I am first going to Bangalore and then flying to Kolkata and that means that I can carry only one suitcase), meeting some friends who are leaving San Diego, ..., the list goes on. Too tired! Exhausted! Need the vacation badly. Wanted to blog abt some stuff but completely forgot what it was. Yup, memory aint a good companion of panic I guess.

You probably got bored reading this post - so you can amuse yourself with these links - link1 and link2 (what an amazing nomenclature).

Almost Anonymous
This is an actual conversation that took place last night:

Me to Zee (the same guy who I can't mention on my blog) and Rakesh: Good that Wesley Snipes did this new Blade movie, otherwise people had already started forgetting him.
Zee: Who?

Well, I guess the movie is a little too late then.

Wednesday, December 08, 2004

Secrets
Well well! Feel like opening up a bit (or maybe these things just came to mind and I need an excuse to put it here). Whatever be the case - here are some things that I have purposely not shared with too many people due to their possibly high embarrassment quotient. If you have done (do) any of them and you are not embarrassed - even better:

1. In a quiz in class 5 I had guessed that the legendary Pink Panther theme tune was composed by Pink Floyd.

2. I often watch E! True Hollywood Story.

3. During my first year in undergrad someone gifted me Aqua's "Barbie Girl" and I actually played it quite a few times.

4. I still don't know the exact orientations of North, South, East and West (there are lots of funny stories abt this).

5. In spite of being a CS grad student I have never been able to configure and run Outlook from any of my machines (interestingly my dad does this with absolute ease even though he is computer-usage-wise challenged :))

Oh Kolkata (nothing to do with the restaurant having the same name)

A few more days and I head for home
The City of Joy, its jostling sounds,
Its shower of people, warmth that confounds.
Fast metros, slow trams,
Spacious Maidan, claustrophobic jams.
Rising buildings next to slums.
The beauty of opposites; the answer, the conundrum.
I have traveled places, but none like ye,
I miss you Kolkata (chah, Calcutta) every day!

Tuesday, December 07, 2004

Nice Read
Delightful read. Enjoy!

All about the eves
I am completely exhausted. After a not so exciting final exam I accompanied a friend to a dental clinic. While my friend was busy working inside, I had to keep myself occupied for two hours alone. The clinic, for some reason, had a whole bunch of Teen Vogue and Seventeen (saw this for the first time) magazines and nothing else to read. So after checking out the entire locality for 30 mins I was left with no option but to read these magazines. So - now I am an expert on all things pink - I know abt Lindsay Lohan's favorite evening gown and I know abt what women (girls) think abt the cast members of OC. I also know which perfume Beyonce used for the "So and so" music award - etc. etc. etc. All I need now is a pillow fight and that's it - moi will be ready to join a sorority.

"Fashion is a form of ugliness so intolerable that we have to alter it every six months." - Oscar Wilde.

Exam blues
Author of the blog has an exam at 8 am in the morning - that's why author is wide (?) awake at 5.30 am! However, as it is evident from this post, author is not studying. Author (now I am (a) overusing this term and (b) using it loosely) is feeling guilty. Incidentally, I was discussing yesterday how tonsa people address themselves in third person (many profs do it for their bio data). This post was my attempt at that. Yanyway, shall try to revise now. Later ...

Monday, December 06, 2004

Heart felt
The thing abt bitterness is that you just need a little bit, tiny little bit, to completely spoil all the sweetness. Aaaah!

M(r)s. Jones
I went and saw the second installment of the Bridget Jones saga - where "good guy" Colin Firth and "bad boy" Hugh Grant vie for plump Ms. Bridget Jones's attention. To start with, I wasn't exactly the biggest fan of the original but I have a certain amount of faith in Brit comedies and have seldom been thoroughly disappointed. So due to a slightly bugged state of mind, a free movie ticket I earned and the inability to study for my upcoming final, I went and saw the movie.

The movie was quite ordinary. I know of quite a few men who feel that Renee Zellweger is fabulously gorgeous but I don't exactly fall in that category. That, coupled with her added weight, whining tone (with a forced Brit accent) and too much focus on her face made her not half as delectable as I had expected her to be in this movie. Colin Firth suited his role to the T but the role wasn't anything great. Hugh Grant in his small role seemed to be the pick of the lot with his trademark cockiness in action. Overall the movie had some nice sequences (there's one where Bridget teaches a whole bunch of Asian inmates to sing "Like a Virgin") but not enough for me to recommend to it anyone other than an "almost anything watcher". Hmmmmm!

Sunday, December 05, 2004

A Sunday in CA
I got terribly frustrated this afternoon and called up Ari and the two of us cribbed for a while. Just look at the change - let's compare a standard Sunday here (today) with Sundays in the last two places I resided in (Kolkata and Pilani):

Pilani
10.30 am - wake up
10.30-11 - read TOI and specially the colorful Sunday supplement
11-11.30 - wake Kittu up and sit in his room and talk
11.45 - get everybody ready to go to the mess for lunch
12-12.45 - have lunch with amazing french fries, kachauri and paneer on menu
till 2 - contemplate whether to watch a movie or sleep again
2-4 sleep again
5 - go and meet G
5-11 spend the most wonderful evening with G
11 - back to room
11-12 talk nothings in Kittu's room or Asad's room
12 - sleep off

Kolkata
11 am - wake up
11.15 - ask mom for toothpaste
11.30 - brush your teeth
12 - mom forces you to eat breakfast even though you insist that she serve lunch
12.15 - 1 - watch TV (mainly Hindi movie song clippings)
1 - tell mom you are hungry again
1-2 - on the telephone (with Pummy complaining in between); fix a meeting with Ronny for the evening
2.30 - mom serves lunch - the most amazing prawn dish and slender french fries - aaaaaaaah!!!!!
3.15 - take a shower
4.00 - go out and meet Ronny in Park St.
4-6.00 - walk around Park St with Ronny and maybe Amitabh and make at least one trip to Barrista; discuss either Ronny's friends whom I don't know or my friends Ronny is oblivious about; eat chicken rolls in front of Karnani Mansion; bottomline - have woonderful time
6-6.30 - decide on a dinner place
7.00-8.00 - dinner
8.30 - back home
8.30-9.30 - bug Pummy or get bugged
10-12.00 - watch some English movie
12-1.00 - watch Hindi movie clippings
1.30 - sleep off

... and now take a Sunday in San Diego
9 am - wake up at the sound of Subs eating breakfast
9-10 - check emails and blogs and emails and blogs and emails
11 - brush teeth + have breakfast or have breakfast + brush teeth
11-12 - watch TV (either MTV Hip Hop countdown or some movie)
12-2 - call up people and do week's quota of catching up OR watch TV
2 - cook lunch - no prawn, no french fries - just some chicken dish I make and call by diff names based on whether I am adding sour cream to it or not
2.30-4 - sleep (coz there is nothing else to do)
4-4.30 - shower
4.30-6 - TV
6-7 - gym
7-8 - dinner at home (normally milk and cereal)
8-9 - bug housemates by telling them that I am getting bored in SD
9-11.30 - go and watch a movie alone
12 - come back home and watch another movie or BBC or MTV
1.15 - zzzzz!

You decide!

Can I have your number please?
Subs mentioned that even though names are not unique we still use them to refer to people. The system could have very easily been one based on numbers so that there weren't any such confusions. Every person will have, say a 10 digit publicly known unique id number that can be used to address him. Obviously this wouldn't be a very likely social policy but I got thinking on how things would change in case things were like this:

Boy: Excuse me miss. What's your name?
Girl: I am 1248921100.
Boy: Wow! That's a nice name. What do your friends call you?
Girl: Oh, people close to me call me 1248.
Boy: You won't believe it - I have another friend called 1248.
Girl: What?
Boy: Yeah! But her last name is 734429.
Girl: OK! Yeah, 1248 is a common name in North India etc. etc. etc. etc. etc.

Won't that be funny?

Saturday, December 04, 2004

Pawn
I just told someone this on being asked why I was gloomy:

I am like a little pawn in a game of chess. They give me a false sense of success by moving me right at the beginning but then rarely do I get to decide the outcome of the game. There are too many of them like me, I can't go back once I have made a move forward and I can't even jump over someone to move ahead.

Check this mate.

The person listening said that the metaphors completely confused her :(

Well said!
Saw this sticker that I really liked on a car:

"GOD bless the Whole World.
No exceptions."

Wonderful!

Things I want to do
This is a follow up to the post where I whiningly mentioned the 10 things I didn't feel like doing. Here are some things I really wanna do now:

1. Go back to my undergrad or high school days.

2. See G smile without worries.

3. Take up film making.

4. Sleep a little more.

5. Make enuff money to not worry abt money for at least 10 years

6. Go back to Kolkata and be with my parents.

7. Go back to Kolkata and be with my parents.

8. Go back to Kolkata and be with my parents.

9. Go back to Kolkata and be with my parents.

10. Go back to Kolkata and be with my parents.

I miss Home so badly :((

Friday, December 03, 2004

Miss Match
My campus shuttle is turning out to be a major source of material for this blog. I mentioned the bus occupying habits and some guy's reading material in the past few days and both of them were courtesy the shuttle. Today, on my way to campus, I saw this delightful sight of an elderly white lady (say in her early fifties) head banging to Snoop Dogg's "Drop it like it's Hot". The whole thing looked amazingly mismatched but delightfully adorable at the same time. This surely ranks high on my list of cultural mismatches (probably second only to my desi friend Saket lending his voice to an operatic piece in an Italian restaurant).

The good people at MSFT
The good people at Microsoft have made their investors richer by nearly $3/share. So why is someone who normally writes abt random musings, movie reviews and stray lines suddenly talking finance - coz when I first decided to invest in shares 10 months back, MSFT was one of the first shares I bought. Thereafter I made some good moves and some not so good moves but the Windows OS maker always stood by my side - thank you mom, dad, tommy and Bill Gates.

Ironica 2.0
I just figured out that if I was a little less lazy, I wouldn't be doing many of the things I am doing now! Aint that ironic?

Thursday, December 02, 2004

Line from bus
Saw this nice line by peeking into a guy's reading material - "A psychology student questions the meaning of his own major" :)

Questions
1. What am I doing now?
2. Do I want to do this?
3. What else can I do?
4. Should I do it?
5. What if I am wrong?

Somehow I am asking question 5 straight after question 2 and that means I am not even considering 3 and 4. Why am I doing that? Oops. More questions!

Marriage
Another batchmate ties the knot. I described it as "Another one bites the trust."

Right now I don't feel like
1. Going for my early morning class.

2. Eating breakfast.

3. Preparing for my end term.

4. Taking a shower.

5. Missing Joey this evening for a review session.

6. Working on a paper deadline I have.

7. Walking in the cold outside.

8. First putting my clothes in the washer and then taking them out and putting them in the dryer.

9. Thinking of other things that I do not feel like doing right now.

and came another quote
I came across this really amusing quote:

"I like the word 'indolence'. It makes my laziness seem classy."

Wednesday, December 01, 2004

Plan
For my business class we have to present a business plan and before we do that we have to plan out our course of action to get the plan done on time. We are currently in a meeting discussing that plan. In case you are missing the irony - we are planning the planning section of a business plan.

Keeping myself Bus-y
For the lack of anything to do (actually that's untrue coz I had some stuff to read but was too lazy/reluctant to take out the book from my bag) I tried to observe how the seats in a bus get filled up. I would have guessed that people occupy seats soleley based on the nearest empty seat but I (one of the earliest to get up on the bus) myself proved to be an aberration to this rule. I chose the seat in the middle of the bus based on the following two points:

1. I like the feeling of being in the center as I am a lover for symmetry.
2. The seats in the center are shaped like UUUU as opposed to EEEE so you can have more leg space.

Thereafter I tried to see how other people chose to sit in the bus (yeah yeah pure joblessness). Most people dint follow the "closest empty seat" rule. Here are some trends I observed:

1. People respect other's privacy and try to space themselves out till they can't any more (there will be the occasional guy who'll just take the first seat that's free and you will have to remove your bag from the seat for him though he could have chosen a zillion other places).

2. Girls in general like to choose a seat next to another girl if no neighbor-free seat is left.

3. Guys normally like to sit next to a girl if no neighbor-free seat is left.

4. There are some people who like to be left alone and take the extreme seats on the corners hoping that no one will bug them.

That's it - this is my new research topic - from address buses to buses that actually take you to addresses - what a digression!

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