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.