Wednesday, 31 December, 2008

Random Quotes

"Why stay we on the earth unless to grow? (ROBERT BROWNING)

Tuesday, 30 December, 2008

Season's Greetings

New year is almost here, just two days to go. Time for season's greetings and new year cards.

When I was a kid, my father used to get loads of greetings cards and in my teenage so did I. In school days, exchanging cards was a big thing. I remember we used to throng Archies and other card shops, some used to creat these cards.

Even after school was out, we used to post greetings cards to each other. The internet came and sending paper cards became passe. E cards became the rage. Inboxes used to look festive if not anything else. Then sms greeting became popular. Smses are still doing the rounds.

I am an old fashioned girl and I still prefer the cards arriving via the post. Ah the thrill of opening an envelope and finding a greeting from a old friend. And it gets better if there is a letter or at least a note tucked in.

I must confess that I have also stopped sending cards to friends. My friends hardly ever used to respond back so I lost interest. But I still send e cards. I find smses very inadequate and in sufficient.

How are you planning on wishing happy new year to your friends this year?

Monday, 29 December, 2008

What is the cure for loneliness?

Loneliness is a wierd emotion which hits you at strange times. In my eperience almost everyone of us have felt lonely at some point or the other in our lives. Some of us continue to be lonely. For some, the point they are in their lives, loneliness is a constant companion. For others it is an occassional visitor.

From experience I can say that loneliness has a way of growing into you. Once we get used to loneliness, then it becomes a way of life, a constant state of mind. It even refuses to let go when we are in company. Loneliness is something which needs to be combated conscuiously and dealth with firmly. We often feel lonely in the absence of our parners, sometimes when we quit a job, or leave a city, bunch of friends basically relocate. Scarier are those who feel lonely even in the prescence of their partners. Our hearts often childlishy wants back the old condition of life to be wholesome and non lonely again.

The last few months have been the most non lonely in my life. So today when suddenly loneliness knocks the door of my heart, I do not know whether to encourage it or not respond to it. Today is one of those slow days, it is a Monday, work needs to be done, most people I know are holidaying, rest are home, unfortunate few like me are out trying to work. These are the times when I wish I was a school teacher, at least I would get these vacations. I am having a bad inbox day and a true blue Monday. Since now I am back home, I cant even miss home and wish to go home for a vacation (confused, huh?).

Ok let me make a list of the things I could do to cheer me up--
  • Eat Puchka
  • Meet some friend
  • Spend time with Ma and Baba
  • Write a long letter/ page of my journal/blog...
  • Read a book
  • Watch a movie/television
  • Go out with Tumpi or alone
  • Beauty stuff
  • Shopping
  • Stare mindlessly at the sky
  • Make plans for the future
  • Have a heart to heart chat

Hmmmm. Where is my enthusiasm for life gone??????????????????????

Friday, 26 December, 2008

The Holidays...

I saw this movie The Holidays onWednesday night at HBO. It was a lovely movie, and all the more special because after a really long time, I was comfy in front of our television set in home with my Jaipur quilt and a cup of green tea. It is a quintessential Christmasy feel-good movie and I simply loved it. I fell in love with some of the dailouges and must share them with you.

Iris: Because you're hoping you're wrong. And every time she does something that tells you she's no good, you ignore it. And every time she comes through and suprises you, she wins you over, and you lose that argument with yourself, that she's not for you.
Miles: Exactly, and on top of that there's the old standby, I can't believe a girl like that would actually be with a guy like me.

Arthur Abbott: Iris, in the movies we have leading ladies and we have the best friend. You, I can tell, are a leading lady, but for some reason you are behaving like the best friend.
Iris: You're so right. You're supposed to be the leading lady of your own life, for god's sake! Arthur, I've been going to a therapist for three years, and she's never explained things to me that well. That was brilliant. Brutal, but brilliant.

Iris: Shush. You broke my heart. And you acted like somehow it was my fault, my misunderstanding, and I was too in love with you to ever be mad at you, so I just punished myself! For years! But you waltzing in here on my lovely Christmas holiday, and telling me that you don't want to lose me whilst you're about to get MARRIED, somehow newly entitles me to say, it's over. This - This twisted, toxic THING between us, is finally finished! I'm miraculously done being in love with you! Ha! I've got a life to start living. [Picks up Jasper's jacket, walking to the door]

Iris: I've found almost everything ever written about love to be true. Shakespeare said "Journeys end in lovers meeting." What an extraordinary thought. Personally, I have not experienced anything remotely close to that, but I am more than willing to believe Shakespeare had. I suppose I think about love more than anyone really should. I am constantly amazed by its sheer power to alter and define our lives. It was Shakespeare who also said "love is blind". Now that is something I know to be true. For some quite inexplicably, love fades; for others love is simply lost. But then of course love can also be found, even if just for the night. And then, there's another kind of love: the cruelest kind. The one that almost kills its victims. Its called unrequited love. Of that I am an expert. Most love stories are about people who fall in love with each other. But what about the rest of us? What about our stories, those of us who fall in love alone? We are the victims of the one sided affair. We are the cursed of the loved ones. We are the unloved ones, the walking wounded. The handicapped without the advantage of a great parking space! Yes, you are looking at one such individual. And I have willingly loved that man for over three miserable years! The absolute worst years of my life! The worst Christmas', the worst Birthday's, New Years Eve's brought in by tears and valium. These years that I have been in love have been the darkest days of my life. All because I've been cursed by being in love with a man who does not and will not love me back. Oh god, just the sight of him! Heart pounding! Throat thickening! Absolutely can't swallow! All the usual symptoms.

Iris: I understand feeling as small and as insignificant as humanly possible. And how it can actually ache in places you didn't know you had inside you. And it doesn't matter how many new haircuts you get, or gyms you join, or how many glasses of chardonnay you drink with your girlfriends... you still go to bed every night going over every detail and wonder what you did wrong or how you could have misunderstood. And how in the hell for that brief moment you could think that you were that happy. And sometimes you can even convince yourself that he'll see the light and show up at your door. And after all that, however long all that may be, you'll go somewhere new. And you'll meet people who make you feel worthwhile again. And little pieces of your soul will finally come back. And all that fuzzy stuff, those years of your life that you wasted, that will eventually begin to fade.

For all those friends who feel that they are the only ones who are lonely and sad during the festivities, remember we all do go through it at some point. Cheer up now.

Random Quotes

"Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way into the dreary desert sand of dead habit;
Where the mind is led forward by thee into ever-widening thought and action -
Into that heaven of freedom, my Father, let my country awake."
----Rabindranath Tagore

Pimple Story

Hey all,

How did you Christmas day go?

Mine went super, spent the day with my parents and we did lots of different things together.

Lately a really irritating pimple has been making my life and face feel really horrible. I am sure all of you have had pimples at some point in your lives or continue to have them.

Some of my friends are horribly pimple prone like Angira and Jayshree. Angira at one point could have very easily carried away the 'most pimple prone face award' of the decade. Jayshree is not that bad, but she keeps having pimples. Both these girls are Capricons and very conscious of their faces and takes a hell lot of effort to keep their faces oil free. You should see them when they apply multani mitti mask on their faces and sit immobile. That is the best time to tickle them or tease them, generally make them laugh. Oh how I love troubling them during those times. Best part is that they cant do anything at that point. Of course after they have washed off the face, I hear a volley of abuses.

The there are people who are more or less pimple prone like Anasua and my brother. They keep getting pimples, now and then. Anasua gets very purturbed with the pimples, makes loads of getting-rid-of-pimples-plans but ultimately does very little. While my brother could not be bothered any less. Generally I have seen women get more worked up with things like pimples than men do. Mostly men simply ignore these things and the pimples dry and vanish on their own sweet time. But women do a lot of funny and at times really strange stuff. I know of women who have refused to get out of home because pimples have appeared on their faces.

In my teenage, the idea was that the girls and boys who mature fast get pimples. There is a particular Bong word (paka) which used to be applied to them. "Peke gache tai brono berochee"...(They have matured that is why they are getting pimples.) So for girls getting pimples was one of the signs of graduating into womanhood.

I never had a single pimple during my teenage. Looking back I marvel at my good skin, but at that age skin quality was hardly an important factor! Fitting in with the norm was much more so. Now I sometimes get a stray pimple on my face. Applying a little sandalwood paste helps in drying it. As long as it is there I feel very disturbed, it is like an irritating fly buzzing. I keep poking the pomple till it disappears and leaves me and my face in peace.

Wednesday, 24 December, 2008

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve always brings to my mind Christmas Carol. Funny how one book can shape your ideas about a day or an event or as in this case a festival. We had to read an extract of Christmas Carol in school. Even now I remember the trukey and apple sauce that the Cratchit family had for Christmas Eve dinner.
When I was a kid, my dad used to bring home a toy Christmas tree and decorate it for me. But that was on the 25th. 24th has pretty much always been a normal day for me.

The year I spent Christmas in Toronto, I went with my Philipina friend to her cousin's house for dinner. The dinner was good and different with whole telapia fish baked apart from other food. The funny part of that dinner was that there everyone thought I was half Philipina or I knew Tagalog, hence they are were all talking to me in Tagalog. After sometime I stopped clarifying to people that I do not understand Tagalog and just sat there, pretending to understand every bit of conversation. Much to my surprise my friend also started to speak to me in Tagalog. So people it is highly unjust to blame Bongs to speak in Bengali when we gather, every lingual group in the world does that I believe. Anyways to get back, it was a pretty different experiece to be with a group of people who were speaking in a foreign language. That day I realised how much our facial and hand gestures help in our communication.

After the dinner, we had picked up our Russian friend, (for whom Christmas is in January, hence she was not doing anything special) and went to the church for midnight mass. Going to the mass was also a pretty interesting experience. While going for dinner we had taken for a cab. Now while we were waiting for the bus on our way to the chruch, a cab slowed down and the cabbie recognised me. I asked for a ride and he agreed. Yes I have managed to get a free ride from a cab. The interesting part does not end there. The cabbie was South Asian and he started talking to me. He claimed to be from India, when I asked him where he is from, he said rather sheepishly "Rawalpindi". Later a Pakistani friend told me that some Pakistanis in Toronto were so ashamed of President's rule in Pakistan that they claimed to be Indians! Now wne I think back I have always met very nice Pakistani people in Canada and they were always more friendly and warm than their Indian counterparts.

Let me end on this warm friendship note. Merry Chritsmas folks!

Tuesday, 23 December, 2008

Jingle Bells Redux

Breaking every law
The mobs came asking blood
O'er the fields we ran
And very few got away
The police stood and watched
While Bajrang Dalis torched
Our houses by the night
And people by the day

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
It's no fun to be a minority
In Orissa today
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
All we want is the Sangh Parivar
Would let us live and pray

Not so long ago
We thought we would be fine
But soon these Sanghi goons
Came and stole the shine
The plot was mean and dark
A swamiji was shot
We were blamed for it
And a massacre we got

Oh, jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
It's no fun to be a minority
In Orissa today
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
All we want is the government
To ensure some fair play

Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
Oh, what future do we have
In Orissa today
Jingle bells, jingle bells
Jingle all the way
We will fight and we will win
And keep the fascists AWAY!!

Courtesy :

The Background: I don't know how many of you know about the Khandamal violence. Don't get me wrong I do not think that you are ignorant, but the incidents got very little highlight in the media. Well like the poem says a swamiji was shot and then Christians,mostly dalits who got converted were attacked on the Christmas eve 2008. Ever since violence has been going on. There has been immense loss of human lives and systematic destruction of Christian owned property. I am not putting in facts and figures here, you can checked for more detailed information. Human Rights Law Network (HRLN), the previous organization I worked for is heavily involved in providing legal aid to the victims. Some of my colleagues who had gone visiting the Khandamal district of Orissa have very grim stories to tell.
My uncle was in Bhadrak at that time, he said in his neighbourhood there was a Carmel Convent School for Girls which has been giving quality education to girls for the last hundred years or more so. Since that was the only standard school for girls, girls from neighbouring areas used to attend it. One night the mob came and torched the school and now it is no more than a burnt down building.
Has the Sangh Parivar ever done anything constructive than brainwash ignorant fools? I think as moderate Hindus time has come for us to seriously protest against these kinds of fundamentalist cruelty. Though Khandamal never got that kind of coverage, it is no less heinous than the Gujrat riots.
With the politicians, terrorists and fundamentalists working in tandem to destroy the country, future seems rather bleak, even to a die hard optimist like me!

Monday, 22 December, 2008

Editor Bob

Do you guys read Editor Bob?

He is the guy who writes the newsletters form Some years back while sending a ecard through 123 Greetings I had accidentally clicked on newsletter service. So next week a newsletter was delivered to my inbox faithfully, only to be deleted promptly by me. Newsletters always bore me.

Then one day while cleaning up my spam mail I saw a couple of Editor Bob emails. Before heartlessly deleting them, I decided to open one and see what was in it. I was expecting samples of new ecards. But to my amazement found this very interesting piece of write-up-- nothing heavy, just easy stuff, mostly about friends and upcoming evnets and how this guys was planning to spend them. His writing is very lucid and while reading it you would feel like you know all his friends, you get to know about his crushes etc etc. It is a bit like reading the Friends series than watcing it.

Ever since I have been hooked to Editor Bob's writing. What seems like fun, light reading to us, am sure the guy must be sweating it out to write. In my experience simple writing is the most difficult to achieve.

Those of you who enjoy reading should give him a try, he is a great read at the middle of a hectic day in office. A strong excuse of mine to take a break.

Thursday, 18 December, 2008

Why do couples fight?

This is a light post not involving couples who are fighting seriously, filing for divorce etc.

My parents who have been married for the last 35 years, fight almost daily and those fights are mostly based on really silly things and embarass the hell out od my brother and me. While growing up I dont remember discussing the issue of parents fighting, I guess I was too embarassed about it all. One day in JNU hostel while discussing something or the other, this issue cropped up just by chance. And lo and behold it opened a huge plethora of reactions amongst my friends-- all the girls present complained about their parents fighting and how it embarassed them. I was amazed, at the same time breathed a sigh of relief that my parents are not the only ones who do such loony things, there are other equally mad people in this world. One of my colleagues once came about two hours late and when asked said that his parents were fighting and he was the alibi in that fight and therefore not allowed to budge!

When asked, my mother says that she enjoys fights, it breaks the monotony of her boring life and some such. Though post a fight, she hardly seems like she had gone through an enjoyable experience. Other friends report that their mothers report similar things-- that fighting with their husbands actually is a fun process and all that. It is best not to ask women much, once they open the list of complaints about their husbands, it is difficult to shut them up, my mother included.

When asked, my dad says that he does not enjoy fighting but ma is so impossible at times but he just cannot control himself, but he hardly enjoys the process. I have heard other fathers report similar things, the impossibilty or the immaturity of their 40 to 50 year old wives and how that forces them to fight. Men invariably don the cap of victim with the heavy burden of impossible wife. Being a woman, I know how untrue this is and how good men have it.

Cutting back to new age couples, my ten year older cousin sister is really sad that her husband cannot fight. She says it is the most frustrating thing in the world that one wants to fight, have a good roaring arguement and one's spouse is not cooperating, rather sitting there calmly with no sign of agitation. Previously I used to laugh at this-- I mean how funny can it be that the wife is all ready to fight and getting frustrated that the husband is not cooperating. But yesterday night I had a similar experience, I wanted to fight very badly with Indranil and he was not fighthing at all. Not that he is all docile and 'yes darling' type, his sarcastic barbs are of superior quality with perfect aim. But yesterday night he was just not cooperating and picking up my queues for a really roaring fight! I cannot tell you how much that frustrated me. Now I completely understand what my cousin goes through everytime my brother-in-law refuses to fight.

What I realised yesterday is that when we women want we should be allowed to have a good arguement, we should be given the space to vent out, have an attentive audience and that audience should also participate and make the process interesting. And then of course make up very mushily with chocolates and flowers et al. I think I should add this to Indranil's tor ;)
If he reads this, I can expect a fight tonight, what say????

Wednesday, 17 December, 2008

Good Inbox Days...

What are good inbox days?

The days when you open your inbox or refresh it in the morning and there awaiting you are a couple or more emails. Ah the joy I feel on those days. I love reading the emails of my loved ones and friends slowly and sometimes reread, most of the times there is a smile on my face while reading.

The days get better if more emails hit my inbox throughout the day.

Even though I catch up with my friends on the chat, I prefer reading an email. It has the essence of a letter and can be enjoyed at my own time and pace. There was a time when Angira did not have chat access and we emailed each other about 20 to 30 times a day. These emails generally were very informal and sometimes would contain just one line. But I think we communicated way better than now we do on chat.

I started interacting with Indranil through emails as well. That time a strange email fever had gripped us both. We would be emailing each other once a day but that email would be the mother of all emails-- it would be about 5/10 pages long and be stuffed with thoughts. I remember getting up early early in the mornings just to check his email and enjoy it in the morning peace. He also used to enjoy reading my reply (he lives in a 4 hour later time zone) while sipping his morning coffee. Throughout the day I would plan what all to out in my reply. I would be having a foolish smile lingering on my face much to the delight of my friends who were ready with merciless teasing. According to Jayshree the expression on my face while I was reading his email was worth documenting. I am sure I must have looked crazily foolish and besooted!

Sometimes I reread those emails just to connect back to those crazy days.

And then there are bad inbox days like today. Apart from two mails which were waiting for me, not a single email has hit my inbox and not a single friend has pinged me. I hate these mostly because then I have no reason to take a break from work. Also somewhere it feels like my friends have forgotten me. On these bad days I usually get into cranky moods and then God save whoever crosses my path.

I know good reason and sound logic says that we should not let external factors control our moods. Payal always gives the example of Samantha from The Sex and the City. Samantha was one gal who was always happy or sad because of her own self and not anyone else. But I am sure Sam was also a human or rather a fictional human and she also was sometimes sad because of external reasons.

And then there are sappy inbox days when wierd forwards simultanously blessing and cursing you keep comming or one of your friends or nephew goes mad and sends about 20 forwards at one go. Then you just do not know whether to read or delete them.

Ugly inbox days are when a bad piece of news comes through a email, but it has the flip side sometimes happy or good news always comes through. But generally I hate opening those emails and they always make my stomach growl. The hate the moments when they hit the inbox and till I am reading them. If the news is good, then I relax, stomach settles down and I reread to confirm the news, if it is bad news, stomach becomes worse, I feel totally incredulous and immediately delete the email.

Anways, have a good inbox day guys.

Tuesday, 16 December, 2008

Random Quotes: Friendship

'Friends are angels who lift us to our feet when our wings have trouble remembering how to fly'

Catching Up...

Dear Friends,

I have been out of loop for quiet sometime and different people have been getting different info about me and getting pretty confused. Hence this catching up post.

I am fine, hale and hearty, fatter than ever. Recently moved back to my home city Kolkata. Finished my second round living in Delhi, this round lasted for two years. These two years have been a time for tremendous growth for me. I got my fitst job, loved working in the filed of developmet, figthing for the protection of human rights for the vulnerable people. This job was demanding and very taxing both emotionally and timewise. But I enjoyed every second of it.

Made some very good friends, most of whom are crazy and dynamic in their own way. Hope to continue being friends with them forever.

Shifted house thrice in two years, this part did not enjoy, but each house was home in its own way and I will miss these homes always.

Started blogging, rather tentatively at first and then I started to enjoy it so much that now I am hooked to it.

Met Indranil and fell in love with him and we took the decision to spend our lives together. Right now trying to figure our when we can get married.

Lots of milestones in two years.

Time for a new beginning in my old home city.

Hope to write more and also a lot more frequently.

Yours sincerely,


Saturday, 13 December, 2008


enough money within her control to move out and rent a place of her own, even if she never wants to or needs to...

something perfect to wear if the employer, or date of her dreams wants to see her in an hour...

a youth she's content to leave behind....

a past juicy enough that she's looking forward to retelling it in her old age....

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

one friend who always makes her laugh.. and one who lets her cry...

a good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her family...

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a meal, that will make her guests feel honored...

a feeling of control over her destiny....

how to fall in love without losing herself..

how to quit a job, break up with a lover, and confront a friend without; ruining the friendship...

when to try harder... and WHEN TO WALK AWAY...

that she can't change the length of her calves,the width of her hips, or the nature of her parents..

that her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over...

what she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

EVERY WOMAN SHOULD to live alone... even if she doesn't like it...

whom she can trust,whom she can't,and why she shouldn't take it personally...

where to go... be it to her best friend's kitchen table...or a charming inn in the woods...when her soul needs soothing...

what she can and can't accomplish in a day... a month...and a year...

Friday, 21 November, 2008


Suddenly I look up from my laptop and look abesently outside. I am thinking about social research, if you please. Suddenly my thoughts stop and focus on the scenery outside. It is a clear day, the blue sky is looking picture postcard awesome and it is snowing lightly. For someone like me, having grown up near the Tropic of Cancer, it is indeed a pleasant surprise and a sudden thrill.
I remember the first time it snowed the winter I spent in Toronto. One day in my usual winter gear (read resembling an Eskimo of the first order) I was standing in the bus stop, suddenly I felt a white something float down from the sky. I had heard and read about this numerous times but no one could prepare me for the real experience. Soon other snow flakes followed suit. I forgot the cold and the wind and went outside. It was like today a clear clear day and the snow flakes fell down from the heavens and gently kissed my upturned face. I stood there for a long time, much to the amusement of the passers by. Some even could relate my experience and smiled at me, some showed me thumbs up as if to say "girl I felt exactly the same way when I experienced my first snow fall...". Today I am alone in this room trying to meet a deadline and there is no one to see me drool over this snow. So dear readers I am sharing this with you. I am sure you have had similar experiences. Isnt it great?
Snowfall is synonymous of magic for me and the first snowfall is always the most magical. I know that during a long stretch of winter snowfall gets really depressing but initially it is very exciting. Snowfall reminds me of a long list of things and colours like white, cold, clear blue sky, Christmas, gifts, chocolates, green tea, waffles with cream and jam, crepes with maple syrup, nostalgic music, strange countries, sweet love, home away from home, Toronto and now Europe is added to this list. What is in your list do let me know?
Have a good day folks!

Monday, 17 November, 2008

nothing is gonna change my love for you...

when i was growing up glen mederios singing soulfully "nothing is gonna change my love for you" was an integral part of threads weaving "knight in shinning armour" types of dreams. this song along with others like " i just called to say i love you" were then available in the 80s most romantic song collection. a cassette which was pretty steep in price in those early 90s. so if a friend or friend of a friend had it, we would all get it recorded from it. after a long time i am listening to it on you tube and it is brining back fond memories of growing up, school, long forgotten friends and the excitement of first romance knocking on our hearts.
whenever we visited archies cards shop, this song among others would be sure to play. the mushy romantic cards promising endless ever lasting love, the over priced cuddly teady bears and songs like this would make the perfect atmosphere for romance. i remember those trips to archies shop in gariahat near basanti devi college. we would always go there after school, five or six of us. it was almost always girls, i dont ever remember going to archies with boys from school. some of my lucky friends who had boy friends in school would be going through the cards, sorting out the cheapest but mushiest card for their boy friends. while others like sudeshna and me, who outside the shop did not want boy friends, would go all sentimental, wishing just then that we did have some guy waiting for us with sweaty palms outside the school gate. there used to be those huge archies card, which at time would be hundred bucks or more. we would be looking at those and wish freverently that when we had boy friends, that boy friend would be romantic enough and rich enough to send us one. we loved going to archies. the best part about it was that archies would be decorated on the theme of the up coming occassion like christmas, val day, rakhi. "cool" people would be hanging out there. and it felt nice to be part of that crowd. we were such innocents. now a smile lingers on my face visualising me some 15 odd years ago in my rolled up blue school skirt and white shirt, trying to look like i belonged and there were some hundred boys i needed to buy romantic cards for. but alas. so i would just be looking at those cards, and store them in my brain for future needs.
another important occassion was when our girl friends recieved cards from some boy. the moment the boy gave a card our teenage esteemation for that boy would shoot up. he would be the nicest and most romantic guy ever. imagine a guy sending cards. if the size of that cards would be slightly bigger then our ohhhhhs and ahhhhhs would increase. but the girls would have trouble smuggling it inside their homes. so it would be given to someone like me who never had strict supervision at home for safe keep for sometime till mother dear goes away or something. then that girl would call about ten times to remind me to get that card that day. she would take her card home and put it under her mattress and look at it futrively when no one is at home, or everyone is asleep late at night. sometimes boys would propose girls with cards, even if the girl was not interested in the boy, she would simply take the card from him before rejecting his undying love.
funny how our sense of romance was regulated by archies and limited to cards, chocolates, music and maximum movies like qsqt and maine pyar kiya etc. but i wonder if we have actually matured more than that? maybe years have added cynicism and sophistication, maybe now a trip to europe or diamond on our finger would make us happier but even then whenever i hear "nothing is gonna change my love for you" my heart does a flip. and visions of mushy romantic cards and cuddly teddy bears float up!

Wednesday, 12 November, 2008

Eating lunch...

'Little Miss Muffet sat on a tuffet,
Eating her curds and whey.'
Just like Miss Muffet, today I am sitting alone in front of my computer, eating my lunch. In fact while eating I am taking a little break from my work and stress and writing.
Today's lunch is unique. I do not remember when was the last time I had lunch alone in this office. Eating lunch alone is definitely not fun. They guy in the picture looks happy wearing suit, sitting on the ground eating sushi. But I am sure I look aboslutely the opposite.
In this office, initially we had a big gang for lunch-- Aaatreyee, Priya, Aparna, Rekha, Elisabeth, Smriti, me and sometimes Anubha, Jayshree, Aagney, Anant, Vipin and Jai. Whoever is visting us would also join. About 8/9 of us would gather, lunch boxes would open, food would get delivered and pandemonium would ensue. 10 minutes prior to lunch we would be calling each other on our extensions and remind that it is about to be 1 p.m. (our designated lunch time). Choosing the place for lunch (whose desk it is going to be that day) was also a matter of research. Some of us like Aparna and me, we were/are the early birds, reaching the lunch spot at exactly the right time, others would always be late and need 4/5 reminder calls like Rekha and Anubha. Finally when everyone had gathered, those lucky ones living with family would open home made lunches while types like me would open yet another chowmien packet from China Hut.
The ordering option in Jangpura is punjabi style chinese from China Hut, paranthas from Simple provided they have delivery boys, sandwiches from Hawkers, thali from Panditayan and sweets and samosa type snacks from Kadmi. So for us the food option would be from one of these places. Since China Hut is the only non vegetarian choise in the option I frequent China Hut. So much so now a days whenever I call them they know who I am, what food I am going to order, so the conversation ends before it begins.
Mostly we would be eating whatever is on display. Rekha is one consistent good cook in the gang. She always gets up at 5 am to cook and brings yummy stuff. With the food there would be great conversation-- we would be teasing each other, pulling our own legs mercilessly, gossip and bitch, joke and laugh, discussing politics mostly office politics, love, men, make plans for the evening. Sometimes our big boss Colin would join in for a bite before rushing off to somewhere. The gang started decreasing with Priya's leaving, Aatreyee and Smriti also there is just Aparna, Rekha, me and sometimes Jayshree. On days like today all three are out of office and hence am eating lunch alone.
I am going to miss the full house HRLN lunch.

Tuesday, 11 November, 2008


Right now I am experiencing very high level of stress.

Ask me why? Even if you dont want to, lemme tell you...

I am quiting this present job of mine---loads of work to finish before I go-- not in the mood to work at all, but then how will I finish my work and get going?
Relocating to Kolkata at the end of this month-- frantically looking for a mover & packer who will not rip me, yet provide door to door service...calling them from people are giving wierd suggestions and cracking inane jokes which are not helping me at all. Why cant people know just when to crack jokes and when not to? Hope I am not this insensitive to others in plight or stress.
Travelling for the coming ten days for which shopping & packing still to finish-- lots left in the to do list.

So there are two parallel packing going on in my life--wrapping up two years of stuff, junk, memories and lots of unnecessary things is no mean job. At least it is freaking me completely. Also when I start doing something, I remember something else to do and then midway I get confused as to which one I should be doing first.

Right now it is a vicious vicious too stressed to finish stuff, since pending list is growing longer by the minute my stress level is shooting up.

Ok Suchismita, cool down my girl. Take a deep breathe and relax. It is just a mere transitory phase and soon you would be able to laugh over your stress like your officewallahs.

But what do I do till I get over this stress? Well bugger over it girl. I can almost see the sneer on the face of the men saying " this is the reason why we dont want women to be too independent...they fall apart everytime there is a crisis..."...!!!!!! At the risk of sounding helpless female I wish I had someone to help me with this. Not feeling too strong or independent right now...

Random quotes...MAD...

"But I don't want to go among mad people," Alice remarked.
"Oh, you can't help that," said the Cat: "We're all mad here. I'm mad. You're mad."
"How do you know I'm mad?" said Alice.
"You must be," said the Cat, "or you wouldn't have come here."

Monday, 10 November, 2008

Rishi's first bhaiphota/bhaiduj...

Wednesday, 5 November, 2008

An evening to remember...

It was an usual day in office. Indulging in my usual work, equal doses of firefighting and wool gathering. Suddenly Anant brought along a batch of 20/30 people who were students and teachers from Goa out on a mission called 'Discovering India'. They came to visit our office and then were planning to go to meet the Tibetans. Anant was coordinating the meeting.
Post lunch when I was about to settle down to my regular 10 min nap, Anant suggested that I accompany him. Lewis our British intern was also coming. Prodded by Jayshree I finally agreed to sacrifice my nap and go meet the Tibetans.
On our way Lewis became an instant hit. Girls were drooling over him, the boys dutifully took the cameras from the girls and asked Lewis to pose for them. I could see the interested girls blushing all around. Since Lewis was walking with me, I became an unwanted celebrity too. In my 2 minutes of fame I got about twenty photos taken. Oh well...
Initially we heard some interesting talks on Tibet, but the real fun started when we went to visit the Tibetan refugee settlement near Majnu ka tilla. A monk who had been in Chinese prison and dreadfully tortured by the Chinese came to talk to us. He told us how he was educated in Chinese run schools in Tibet and regarded Mao as his leader. Then he met an American lady who told him about Dalai Lama and changed his life forever. When he started getting involved with the freedom movement he was picked up by the army, tortured and kept in prison. I have seen loads of documentaties on Tibet, heard lots of Tibetans speak but listening to this monk speak was an entirely new sensation. He had a very soft voice and a gentle manner and it was very difficult to imagine that this gentle man had to undergo such torture and better still he survived.
Next we heard a young boy speak of his passion--Tibet. This boy born of Tibetan parents was born in India and lived all his life here. A school drop out, because he was terribly afraid of learning the English language, he had been a monk for 3/4 years. The he became a fireband freedom activist. He had stormed Chinese embassy in Delhi, demonstrated before Chinese delegations, been put into Tihar jail for his efforts and yet seemed undaunted. For someone like me without any strong conviction, talking to this boy was a revelation. His entire life seemed centred around Tibet and the freedom movement. I am sure with maturity he has the capability of becoming a leader for his people.
Met some more interesting people, Tibetan settlement looks like a mini Dharmashala, has great and cheap food and very touristy.
On the whole it was a nice and very interesting kind of evening. I would miss these kinds of experiences once I quit HRLN.

Obama won...

Obama's winning seems like the long waited brightest piece of good news in the world right now. Good for the man and US of A. I am sure the world would benefit from his presidency.

But I have been really stunned the way Indians have been going on about it. I know many Indians who have been following this election and the campaign really closely and fanatically. My Indian friends in US following it closely makes sense but Indians in India being so super enthusiastic eludes me completely. As a student of political science I should be happy to see this high level of excitement and involvement in the political process. Or was it just fan following of the charming man Obama is projected as? I only wish Indians were this involved in their own elections and actually went to vote. When will the educated Indians feel the same way about elections in India?

Tuesday, 4 November, 2008

Walk to work....

"'Walk to work' concept to tread into industrial policy"--Punjab government is planning to introduce this walk to office thing in their new industrial policy, so claims yahoo.

Cool, I would say. It is such a great relief if you are staying near office, and do not have to travel at all. When I got my job I was staying about 40 mins away and it used to cost me a bomb travelling by auto. So initially with great enthu I used to get up really early like freaking 6.30 in the morning and get out by 8 and run for the bus. This enthusiasm stayed all for 2 months. Soon I was reduced to taking autos. Initially I would make excuses to myself for giong by auto like 'today I am not feeling well', 'today there is an urgent deadline', so on and so forth. But very soon I got tired of that as well and started taking auto with impunity.

Fighting with autowallahs twice a day took me to a whole new level of aggression. I am sure a bit of agression is good in everyone, but where I was headed oh ho no you would not want to be that way. Also without my realising it I was getting really stressed about the whole travelling process. Now that I do not need to travel that much daily I realised what a burden it was.

Then when I was almost broke with this exhorbitant travel, I shifted 10 mins away from office. It was such a liberating feeling, I could afford to get up at 8 and then still be in office on time and spend a miniscule amount on travel. I remember during last winter I used to sleep till 9 or so and then just rush to office somehow.

Things got better. This summer we again shifted houses and this time landed up just 3/4 houses from office. Life got so much relaxed. Now sleeping time extended till 9.20, get up, rush to the loo and then somehow topple down the stairs and lo and behold I am in office.

One bad thing is once you shift this near to office your timming goes for a toss. Ever since I have shifted here, I must confess that I have rarely been punctual. Also you tend to loose your street smartness and super duper agression. Now seeing an overloaded bus makes me nervous while not in too distant future I could jump into one and muscle my way in.

If Punjab government introduces this policy I would definitely vote for this government.

Monday, 3 November, 2008

Shopping till dropping...

Today yahoo is flashing this article "The formula for the perfect shopping spree revealed". On any day shopping is something close to my dear heart, but after yesterday's mega shopping spree this article struck me as read and thought worthy. This article talks about the result of one of those mumerous studies going on whereby after collecting data they have come to the conclusion that women on the whole prefer and also enjoy shopping than men. Dumb ha? As if a study is needed to understand this, should have asked me or one of those thousand women who spend more money shopping than they can afford. Stupid I must say. Universities with more resources than common sense indulge in all these time wastes.

Ok enough study bashing, to get back to the serious topic of shopping. Yesterday I seriously went over the edge and spend more money than I could afford and stopped only because I just could not stretch my money limit in any way any more. One good thing about me is that my shopping contains lots of stuff for other people as well. So I cannot be labelled as totally self centred. Thank God for small mercies.

At the brink of leaving Delhi, I realise that I would miss shopping in Delhi. It has been ages since I shopped in Kolkata. I would miss markets and shopping paradises like Dilli Haat, Janpat and other parts of CP, Lajpat Nagar market, Sarojini Nagar market, sometimes South Extension, GK, Priya complex etc etc. With each of these places I have fond shopping and spending memories. I have spend hours in each of these places, trudged into each nook and cranny, explored every shop, lugged heavy bags and got really exhausted in the process.

And defnitely I would miss my partners in crime opps no in shopping. A special heartfelt thanks to Anubha who forewent going to her office to finish urgent deadlines just so she could accompany me in my shopping. I do really appreciate it, Anubha.

I am not one of those loitering kind of shoppers. Before I venture into the shops I know in my mind what all I need and from where to get them from. I go to particular shops and take quick decisions. Over the years I have at times been stuck with a fellow shopper who had agonised over one tee shirt (to take it, or not to tak it a bit like he loves me, he loves me not) for over an hour. (Forget tee shirts I cant even agonise for an hour whether a man loves me or not! I guess it is all with my grand old 30s hormones doing impatient tricks. But then I have always been the impatient sort, though I completely agree that living with Jayshree has made me doubly so.) Uff I deviate so. To get back to shopping, I get soooo impatient with such people that I never ever go shopping with them again.

My kind of shopping partners are women who are quick on decisions, do not hesitate to spend money and definitely do not cry over it later.

My all time favourite shopper is my father. Unlike men generally he is a great shopper and has great tatste and can bargain to boot. Good thing about going back to Kolkata is that I can now shop more with him. Ahem.

Monday, 20 October, 2008

What do you do when you have no money???

While growing up I dreamt of becoming a being of my own, a woman with an identity. I always assumed that whatever job/work I would do would get me money. I mean it never even registered in my muddled brain that I could become a modern working woman yet have no money in life. Women who have no money are the ones who are dependent on their fathers/brothers/spouses and cannot break through shackles however much they face discrimination. Since I had no interest in becoming such a person, money I assumed would flow naturally.

Problems cropped up when I decided to get into development field. In development field you get a lot of things like hands on experience, excitement, over work, interesting no highly interesting collegues, genuine warmth of people for whom you are working, sophistication of superior beings who work in UN and other such superior organizations but money. No ladies and gentlemen, you do not get any money. You go to work for a NGO they would welcome you, burry you under work but money, that is not a polite thing to ask for. What money? NGOs are hardly paying organizations, we can pay you enough to surivive a month in Delhi, well barely, rest please depend on others. So whom do you depend on? For me I went back to depending on my father.

Depending on father/brother/boy friend...does that make me a modern working woman? I mean not having enough money does that qualify me for the rest of the tag?

My colleagues and me, we keep cribbing about this lack of money in life. But lately this lack of money has been stressing me out with more frequency than what is good for my cholestrol level.

Time to look for some money making schemes.

  • Ok, I could play lottery: Have any one of you won a lottery ever? I could play Lotto but going by my luck dont expect to win. I have never ever won any kind of lucky draw, let alone a lottery of millions. Worth a shot at least...
  • Indulging in Criminal Activites: This could be a sure shot way to easy money making but since I am one of those hyper tensed people I do not think I would ever be able to enjoy the money acquired through this. Scrap...
  • Business venture: Mmmmm...worth exploring....

Ok cant think of any more ideas...

Friday, 17 October, 2008


Met this boy when I went to click photos of Ravan. He seemed very interested to see what I was clicking. So when I asked him to pose he readily agreed.

Name : Ratan

Age: 14

Occupation: Works in a dhaba (local food joint)

Lives in: Sarai Kalekha, New Delhi

Ram Lila 2008

Burning of Ravana and company which singnifies according to Ramayana demolition of the evil.

Last man standing-- Kumbhakaran and Indrajeet already torched and burnt down.

All three in a row...

The old man who created these idols and a gaggle of kids who were more nuisance than help I am sure.

Bodyless. This reminds me of an incident in school years ago. In class ix or x in our history book there used to be a photograph of Kanishka where only his face like this was shown. During one history exam one brilliant fellow wrote "though bodyless Kanishka was a great king"... I remember our history teacher fuming and the whole class erupting into load laughter when she told us this.

Thursday, 9 October, 2008

Jayshree's new love

We were walking through Lajpatnagar market yesterday when we came across this maniqueen. Jayshree promptly fell in love with this dress. The fall of this dress is really nice. But the material is not really good.

Durga Pujo in New Delhi 2008

Durga Pujo 2008, New Delhi. Durga pujo is the most important celebration of the bengalis. Most important is the point to be noted since we have a festival or two every month. There is a saying in bengali "baro maash ee tero parbon" (thirteen festivals in twelve months) and out of all these festivals durga pujo is the most grandest. We believe that ma durga is coming to visit her parents. She comes on sasthi or the sixth day and brings along her four children. On the tenth day she goes home with her children. We dunk those beautiful idols which are made over a period of six months in the tributary and feel sad and forlon till the next year when ma comes to visit us again.
Preparation of the festival begins just as soon as the current one ends. On rakhi purnima potters go to pick up clay from Hoogly's bank which is what Ganga is called in Bengal and start the work of creating these idols.
Bengalis give gifts (read new clothes) to families and friends before the pujo. The norm is that during the pujo days from sasti to dashomi everyone wears new clothes, a fresh change for each part of the day and also new shoes. So a very common sight in Kolkata during these days are people wearing new clothes and limping badly :)

Saptami or the seventh day of the nine auspicious days...second day of Bengali durga pujo. This photograph is taken in Kashmiri Gate pujo which is in old Delhi. This year the pujo celebrated 99th year and is gearing up for its 100th year celebration next year. This pujo is held in the compound of a school building. They distribute khichuri and payash in the afternoon as bhog which is very delicious. Also you get Kolkata style (read Bijali Grill) type biriyani and chap in the eating stalls which is just awesome.

C.R. Park B Block pujo on ashtami or eighth day morning when anjali is going on. The crowd gather are giving anjali. Bengalis fast in the morning, wear new clothes and come and offer group prayer to ma durga with flowers. The prayer is done three times with flowers accompanied by mantra and the last time just the mantra. Then they eat prasad and break their fast. Anjalis start from 9/9.30 in the morning and go on till mid morning. Anjalis happen from sasthi till dashami or the tenth day morning.
Magic show going on in B block pujo. In Delhi cultural functions are held. The cultural functions used to start from panchami or the fifth day and almost everyone get chance. So the on the fifth day kids would perform, antaksharis would be held etc. Then with the beginning of serious celebrations artists from all over the country espcially Kolkata and sometimes even Bangladesh would be invited. Early slots were not so famous ones but as nights progressed famous artisits statrted performing. I remember one pujo maybe 2002 or 2003, my cousins and me, we chased Usha Uttuph all over pandals in Delhi. I have heard bands like Indian ocean and Euphoria in pujo pandals. But over the years due to security reasons organizers are being forced to cut down on these and not bring in high profile artisits to performance.

Announcement of some of the fun things happening during pujo days in B block.

Greater Khailash 2 durga pujo during asthami/eighth day evening aarati.

Chandelier in the GK 2 pujo pandal.

C R Park B block again. Ma durga with her two children Lakshmi-- the goddess of wealth and Kartik-- the god of good looks. Lakshmi is accompanied by her special pet owl and kartik with peacock.

Ma with other two children Saraswati-- the goddess of knowledge and Ganesh-- the god of wisdome. Saraswati is accompanied by her special pet swan while ganesh has his mouse.

Preparation of Sandhipujo. This is the time when we believe that Ma had killed ashur or demon and triumphed over evil. Ma has ten hands and each hand holds a special weapon and she is helped in her fight by her special pet the lion.

Mounted police on asthami night to control crown. But this year because the pujo dates fell on weekdays and also due to bomb scare the crowd was not that thick.

Inside of the B block pujo tent.

Monday, 6 October, 2008

Pear's Lil Bro...

I do not know what this fruit is called, Anubha says it is called nag for some strange reason. But I am in love with this fruit. It is like younger brother of pear. I have never had it or even seen it while growing up. Few days back when we embarked on the infamous gm diet (which was highly unsuccessful, I have a sneaky feeling that we are the only ones in the history

who gained more weight than loosing it) we went fruit shopping. It was then that I discovered this fruit. If you guys have not tried it, please do.

Sunday, 5 October, 2008

This and that...

Ok, after a long time I am in blog writing mood. Now that I am in blogging mood, I cant seem to stop.

Durga Pujo 08 started today. Sasti or the sixth day when the grand aarati in the evening flags off the pujo officially. Today is the beginning of the Bengali Durga Pujo which though follows the navratra calender is different in lots of nice ways. For starters Bongs do not go on rigorous fast. This is the national Bong celebration time, we eat plenty, wear new clothes (two sets a day so a minimum of eight new clothes), new shoes (you can understand whether a person is wearing a new pair of shoes or not by watching the way he/she is walking, if the person walks normally not a chance but if he or she is limping, bingo) pandal hopping, hanging out in old favourite haunts, meeting with long forgotten friends etc.

I am in office on Sunday/ Sasti evening doing no good in particular or for that matter nothing harmful either (lets ignore those deep friend momos I gulped down half an hour ago dear friends) so thought I will catch with you guys. Yesterday Anant was saying that I have not written anything for a really long time, that I make do with photographs now a days. Now that I come to think about it, yes it is true, I do use photographs a lot. Also I have been distracted a lot lately. But blogging I shall continue, maybe some months the number of posting would go down but I would be here posting nonetheless. One piece of good news-- over the last few months I have come to realise that there getting bored is not a good option always.

Found this photograph during one of my google image hunts. Image googling is actually like a treasure hunt, you never know what gem you are going to stumble across.
Maple leaf or chinar ka patta as the Kashmiris call it is one popular leaf. Prior to my Canadian expereince, I had heard Kashmiris talking about chinar ka patta. I once had a Kashmiri friend who could go on and on about how the chinnar ka patta floats down from the tree and how it looks carelessly fallen on the ground. Likewise in my once upon a time Kashmiri boss's house virtually every art object was designed on the maple leaf. Then I read the book called The Tiger Ladies: A Memoir of Kashmir by Sudha Koul. Again the book had chinnar patta strewn all over it.
This particular photograph of maple leaf brings Kashmir to my mind very strongly-- the red signifying bleeding heart and body to my over imaginative mind.
When I lived in Canada I was pleasantly surprised to how a whole nation can be crazy about a leaf. Maple leaf is the national symbol of Canada and you see maple leaf in everything be candles, candies, car freshner, sweater motifs, art objects, photographs, tee shirts, caps, bags and all other imaginable commodities. Maple syrup is another popular thing there-- it is poured over crepes or pancakes for breakfast (yummy, highly recommended), maple flavoured yogurt which strongly resembles misti doi of the Bongs, (so whenever I was misti doi craving I used to make do with maple flavoured yogurt), maple flavoured chocolates etc etc and some more etc.
May the chinnar trees continue to grow and yield beautiful leaves which feed the imagination of the people the world over.

New bag...

Ok let me make this my accessory posting day. Now for my new bag. I gave this to myself on my birthday. I have been eyeing this bag forever. When I initially saw this bag it was in black, but the last one was already being paid for by someone. with heavy heart I saw the bag being given to someone else over the cash counter. Even since I have been to the shops numerous time, left my phone number with the sales boys there, to no avail. I have seen this in dark brown, beige, red and white but none stuck my fancy like the black one. Then finally saw this cherry colour and since the sales boys had no idea if black bags would come anytime in future bought this one. The cherry one is also nice and I have never carried anything in this colour. The colour is rich and deep, yet it goes with everything.
The little hanging bird is Aparna's gift to me from Varanasi. It is a cute little wooden bird with bells which tinkle when I walk.

Some of my ear rings....

Satutory Warning: If you do not drool over ear rings and think they are women's best friends then please do not read this posting, you are sure to get bored.
This Saturday, Anubha and me did some spring cleaning of my ear rings. I have been facinated with ear rings since school. Though facinated I was, I never got into gold. I find gold very boring and also wearing gold is so much responsibility like be careful, dont loose it types that I am much better off without gold in my life. My mother is not the sort who likes silver and other junk jwellery, she is a regular gold wearer. So she was not much help in this regard. During my teens I used to collect whatever was in fashion like plastic ear rings courtesy Madhuri Dixit in some movie like Sajan or Dil. Thankfully I soon developed some good sense and left behind plastic and other such tacky stuff. Now I concerntrate mostly on silver, copper, beads and other interesting stuff like tribal jwellry like there is a special tribal jwellery from Orissa called Dokra. The metal looks like gold but is not so. You can see one ear ring in the picture above. Like all good things in my life even this was encouraged by my dad. In fact my first pair of nice dangling silver ear rings were gifted by my dad. I still remember those shopping expidetions when dad and me, we would pour over ear rings and my mother throughly bored would be hurrying us up and be really impatient.
When I was in class x my cousin sister got married and left me her booty of some great silver jwellery. Her stuff was all acquired with great care over the years from Jaipur. I was estatic when she gave me all of that. I still have those preserved. I started collecting silver ear rings since college but in the past one year have gone way beyond and collected silver ear rings like mad. I spend most of my salary on these ear rings. Some of my ear rings on display here. Uff I am so proud of them, they make me complete.
If you are interested in silver jwellery Johri Bazar of Jaipur is the best place to go. They have some amazing stuff and price wise much cheaper than Delhi, while the range is greater. There are some two hundred or more silver shops in that bazar, I can very easily spend days there.
Next is Delhi-- Dilli Haat, Chadni Chowk, Silver Line in Khan Market and one shop in Janpat and other shops strewn all over the city.
Jaipur and Delhi are the best two places to go silver shopping. Other cities I find too expensive. Tibetans also have amazing silver collections like in Goa, Delhi, Dharmashala and other hill stations. But I find them too exorbitant.
Silver should never be bought abroad. One ear ring which would cost Rs250 in India easily costs $25 dollars. In that money five more ear rings would come.

In case you ever need any help silver shopping you can always count on me. I charge only one ear ring for an entire shopping expidition. Now ain't it cheap???

Saturday, 4 October, 2008

Dumb Boys Series 5...

Dumb Boys Series 4...

Boys are sooo blahhh....

Dumb Boys Series 3...

Extra sharp ones with lethal edges....

Dumb Boys Series 2...

Boys can pollute Jupiter now...