There was this girl I loved. Now believe me when I say this, folks, the girl was all nice and fine but she had no time to see me at all. So when I fell in love with this another girl next time (and for good) she said to me, don't worry pal. I will always write songs for you. And true to her word, she did. Every one of them.
Even now when I have to say the most difficult of things I go back to her songs. And since the earth has gone around the sun once since we fell in love, old girl, she wrote a song for us. Man I love her. :)
Here's what she wrote: You and me and,
Me and you,
In my little room,
There's room enough for us to do,
The things we like to do.
Oops, I hit my elbow on the doorknob,
Its right there,
It's by the bed next to my head,
But I don't even care.
There's stars up on the wall,
And they all glow in the dark,
And we can hear the children playing,
Outside in the park.
There's bars on the window,
And if there were a fire,
We'd burn up for sure,
But that's just fine by me 'cause,
We would be together ever more.
In this little room,
In the big city we're so far,
From the people that we knew in,
My big ol' blue car.
But if we stick together,
Then I know we'll be ok,
'cause when it gets too cold outside,
This room is where we'll stay.
In other news I quit my job (the folks back at office passed off my writing as theirs and I said well what do you know I'm off) and am on a break. It is so wonderful to be meeting people and having all the time to yourself. Loving it while I wait for my joining at the next company. Date not confirmed yet. But it won't be very long.
The Poo treated me to a wonderful buffet and red wine at Sigree (Flame and Grill). The fresh river crabs were awesome. Hug. Not for you. You know who.
Edit: Here is some wood for you to touch. I missed this out totally.
Ever wanted to type in Bangla on a blog comment or a website or a mail or a chat?
Well, Google Transliteration Bookmarklets is just what you were looking for.
Type just like you would to write the bangla word in English usually and see it turn into bangla. What's best, you don't need to install a software or download something ridiculously lousy that shows at start up everytime.
How does one use it?
Just drag and drop the text below to your bookmark toolbar (you can enable it by going to View>Toolbar>Bookmark Toolbar in Firefox or Ctrl+B in Chrome):
It is so much easier to say things that you would love yourself to say- things that sound good, sane, progressive. It took me many years to learn to say exactly what I feel, even if it makes me look like a narrow-minded, possessive bastard to myself. It took me a lot of time to accept myself for what I am. Saying what I want to say is important specially when the person matters more than the image of my self I would love to have. S/he could hate you for saying it, but in case, just in case s/he doesn't, you will be saved the agony of keeping up a false pretense or the fear of crumbling under it. In the end, whether it works out or not, it's definitely worth it.
A mad woman just called me and made me log in to her farm and 'harvest her crops' for her. I harvested close to three acres of paddy and 2 acres of carrot at 12 in the night. Phew. I have bizarre friends :D
I don't know about the others, but the Azad Hind Dhaba on Purnadas Road sells absolutely bad, dry, fibrous and tasteless chicken kebabs. The Biriyani too is very sad (if you have had good biriyani you can't help noticing the difference).
Plus, they payed me 100 rupee less than they were supposed to. I did not notice then, since I was in a hurry. My mistake I know. But bad food experience. I loved their mutton dopiaza at one point. Not sure about now.
So, I took a train home to Calcutta. A Duckback carry all. The rubber logo was partially peeled. *Duckback*, it said in yellow with an oval border running around it. A jute bag with cane handles. The writing in red had smeared on the off white grid of natural fibres. From years of use. That was the last I saw of them. For after I returned home I never heard of them again. That night after everyone left, and it was time for us to go home, you had said you wouldn't mind a walk. Exactly a year. Like a maddeningly, unreally beautiful run in the rain. Underwears full of water. Shoes oozing mud. Lungs full of laughter. It's like a strange dream. Set in the hapless and desolate context of thousand others that were shattered.
This post is in remembrance of many many people, places, especially: Dhruva. Dibyo. Donee. Dobandi. Dhakuria. and a couple of Dasguptas- one without hair, the other hates typography.
About a couple of months back I was approached by a graphic designer named Pinaki De for using one of the photos I had taken more than a year back at my mashi's house in Chittaranjan for a book cover. (I was making Ilish Machher Kolapaturi and had run to fetch my camera and take a photo of the grand affair.)
The book will be coming out by the end of this month and I will be getting one of the copies. Here are some of the details: Title: Transactions in Taste Publisher: Routledge India. Subtitle: The Collaborative Lives of Everyday Bengali Food Author’s Name: Manpreet K. Janeja Description "This book asks how and why food is pivotal to social relations and forms of identity that emerge as normal and not-normal. It does so by describing the production, consumption, distribution, and disposal of ‘normal Bengali food’ in middle-class households that employ cooks from poor classes, and in Bengali restaurants, in contemporary Calcutta (India) and Dhaka (Bangladesh). It thereby analyses the constant and fraught negotiations that feed into definitions of normality, the middle-classes vis-à-vis the poor, and Bengaliness, in the deeply intimate yet intensely public domain of food. Food transactions thus provide a window into shifting configurations of trust, power, and conflict integral to social relationships, shaped by events such as the 1943–44 Bengal famine, the 1947 partition of India, and the 1971 Bangladesh War. In a rare comparative foray into Bengali Hindu and Muslim food-ways on both sides of the border, the book includes addas (‘idle-talk’) and interviews with both men and women. It initiates a dialogue that links issues of agency, place, hospitality, and ownership with a new field that places food as an ‘artefact’ at the centre of its inquiry. It invites the reader throughout to approach food afresh, as the key that unlocks the complexities of what is mundane yet profound — the everyday. Food transactions have a centrality to any analysis of poverty, inequality, and hunger." I have the cover design too but cannot publish it here because the book is not out yet. May be I will once it is. I am happy :)
One of the problems I regularly face is, suppose, I am working in office and I come across a website that I would want to bookmark for reading later, possibly when I get home. The only way I can do this is either by copying the link and mailing it from my office mail to my Gmail or by using some kind of web based bookmarking site like Digg, Delicious, etc. The problem is bookmarking something on Delicious, involves quite a number of steps and it becomes a huge problem for someone like me who reads voraciously on the net and has to bookmark more than 10 websites a day. I know Firefox has add ons for web based bookmarking but I have almost completely stopped using Firefox now with the release of the super fast (yes it's amazingly fast) Chrome Beta and like I said, even on chrome it involves more than three steps to bookmark just one site. Now Google is testing a feature called Bookmark Sync that will solve this problem for people who use Chrome on multiple computers. In this new feature whenever you open Chrome (say at your office) you have to sign in to your Google account and it will copy all the things you bookmark. Now when you use Chrome on a different computer (say at home), and you login, it will automatically sync this browser with the one you used at office. And likewise whatever you bookmark at home will also appear on your office computer. If you would like to try this feature out, here are the steps: 1. Make a copy of the User Data\Default directory (for example, copy it to 'Default Backup' in the same location). The location depends on your operating system:
Windows XP: \Documents and Settings\username\Local Settings\Application Data\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
Windows Vista:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\User Data\Default
2. Chrome has 3 versions at any point of time:
Stable Channel (a tried and tested version for the non adventurous)
Beta Channel (slightly more advanced version with some features that are under testing)
Dev channel (this version gets updates as and when new features are released even before they are tested. The feedback from these people help build a beta and eventually a stable release)
Next time you start Chrome and you open an empty tab, it will have a message asking you if you want to enable Bookmark Sync. Follow the instructions there to sign in to your Google Account and voila all your bookmarks will get copied to Google Docs. Something like this:
This is how your bookmarks will be arranged in your Google Docs. You can make folders of different categories and save your bookmarks and all of it sync with all the browsers you use.
If you love Google Chrome you will probably want to try it out now. If you are not willing to undertake all the hassle, just wait for a couple of months. This feature will be available in the Beta channel only.
For everyone who has been following on Twitter, specifically those who are following me at twitter.com/the_tramp please note that I have changed my twitter account. Please follow me at the following address:
And what did I do? Worked on a presentation all day. Got posters printed. Rehearsed. Went to a Bloggers' Meet and discussed Web Marketing and Monetizing Blogs, made a pitch for my company, had sandwiches and cold coffee and crawled back to my home, then watched a movie on a Socialist Germany.
It's raining outside and tomorrow is a Sunday and I have a party to organize.
I am afraid the I am becoming way too anglicized, moving way too far away from my roots. Not once in the day did I come across one person or thing that would have reminded me that today was 22she Shrabon. I live the entire day in a chilly bliss of 16 degrees and I cannot hear the rain. I cannot smell the wet soil because I am on the freaking 11th floor. The only time I know it is raining is if I accidentally look up from my computer monitor to look at the window far away and see the raindrops stun themselves on the glass.
It's silent now and I can hear the rain. I miss it. Sometimes. When I remember it, that is.
My office has banned the use of Gmail. We now need to use Thunderbird or equivalent to check office mails. The reasons they site are lame. Some of them being:
1) We do not want people to use personal mail in office.
Hello! Guess what the Alliance-Axis brawl is over and Hitler is all but dead! Ever heard of Google Apps? It is possible to use Gmail as your office mail interface for free! Equating Gmail and personal mail is pathetic.
2) Storing office information in the cloud is not safe. We trust our own servers better. It is in the room next to my cubicle. So it is safe.
Believing that a server is safe because you bought it and it is in the room next to you is as lame as my principal who used to believe keeping CDs out of their packets would get them virus. Just because the sever is right under your arse does not mean it is safe. It is connected to the internet and you really don't know more about internet security than Google does. All the bullshitting about how cloud computing can be dangerous and risky business... dude gimme a break. You, everyone of you, use Gmail everyday to store the most private of your information. There is no place on earth where your information is more safe than Google's servers. Even you know that. Aren't all our late night coochie-coos saved somewhere in Gmail's chat messages?
3) People will use Gchat. Even if you don't, others will. So we decided to ban it for everyone.
From the little I know about network administration, it is possible to block only Gchat without blocking Gmail. And when one or two people are flouting the rules you go talk to them about it. You don't stop everyone from doing it.
Gmail does not reduce productivity. The best and the most productive company in the world uses Gmail internally. Any guesses who? Google! So, why don't you just admit that even you are one of those red-tape tangled, gun toting software companies? Because that is exactly what you are starting to resemble, with every passing day.
But what does change your life is all the things you do to not change your life just because you have a job. You enjoy the breaks and you are so desperate to make the best of them that you almost always end up exhausted. Even when you decide, you've had enough and know better and decide to just sit at home reading a book or something, you feel terribly guilty and anxious- always wondering if this is the best you could have done with your free time. You try to keep in touch with everyone like you used to, trying to spend quality time with them- not just superficial howdys. But I swear man. It's tough.
Most of the time you feel guilty for not having given enough time to one person or the other or to yourself. I even feel guilty for not having played my piano enough in the past week! So what actually changes your life is trying to balance all aspects of your life.
I met Kaichu on Friday and it was very nice. Walked right across the city during which Kaichu fell, lost her earring and ripped her shoe.
So anyway, the last Saturday was a quite some fun. Went to Dalhousie Institute with Daniel and Subhayu and a couple of Daniel's friends. It was very nice and relaxing sitting under the open sky and talking nuts, eating-sipping (ahem). Came home in time too.
Sunday was good. Lots of cooking to do as some friends came over to the PoO's house. Mystery meat burger, yogurt dip, Crispy Limp Oil Dripping French (my foot) fries and lukewarm (for we are still missing a fridge :D ) orange mint juleb. Not bad at all considering we cooked it up in only about 2 hours for 9 people.
Yesterday night was very good too. A gloomy/lame office meeting culminated in something that resembled a German beer fest in more ways than one. I say resembled because there were also kebabs, baby corns, and liquids of dubious colors and questionable aftermaths. I realise my office has a lot of nice and fun people. I did not even know Sanket was treating us! I am still not certain if Sanket and R went home or not. The last time we saw them, they were still at it. No no. Beer I meant. Hmmm.
I'll leave for office now.
PS: My blog is increasingly starting to resemble Robinson Crusoe's. Thankfully I don't keep a count of my goats still. I guess, it's a long way still.
A lot has been happening in these past weeks and I am not sure this blog place is the right place to write about it. The Poo has been very busy balancing work and shifting house. Even when we thought we had planned for everything, little things seemed to go wrong at the most unexpected junctures and it was crazy. Thankfully, almost all of the moving has been done and the next few days will be easier. But all of it was good fun :)
Kaichu got a Google Mug for me from Amreeka and I have proudly gone and showed it every creature I met today. Oh and Google will be launching an OS. So I am super excited about that too. It is time, really.
Not much else to say. My mind isn't working right. Very scattered. Will catch some sleep.
Those were Sunday morning I never thought I'd fondly recall. I was 9. Wake up in the morning. Tensed and terrified about unfinished piano lessons and the looming fear of scoldings of a balding teacher. Sunday morning cartoons and loochi aloor torkari were a luxury I wished I could afford. The bus journeys with the father to Deodar Street on Ballygunj Circular Road...walking past the huge Deodar Mansions (a housing complex stands in its place now), past the narrow lane of phuchkawallahs drying phuchkas in the sun in wicker baskets...to the house of the piano teacher. He had an upright piano. I would have to wait in queue for my turn while other students played and got scolded in the rightful order and sometimes in conjunction. When my turn would come, I would play the previous day's lessons carefully (and fearfully) until the teacher would give me my new sheet of music- the lesson for the next day. Somewhere along on those dreaded Sunday mornings of my childhood I had loved the piano. Touching a piano still gives me goosebumps. A piano is not an instrument for me. It is my entire childhood (and teenage) longings crumpled together. Something that I have wanted to have for most of my life always half knowing I could possibly not afford to. Or do justice to.
And if things go right, tomorrow, I will have a Grand Piano. Yes. The one with a wooden shade and all. I am not quite in a position to talk about it.
From the first time I heard a song on radio 107MHz back in school I have loved her music. There has rarely been a day in my life when I have not heard at least one of her albums. Her voice has kept me sane in times of utter insanity. They were the my last straw in a world then, when innocence and simplicity were running out fast.
Today life is different. I have been re-returned to the simplest state of being. It is like childhood. There is sadness. And there is happiness. Things in between have suddenly disappeared. If I were the me of a year back, I'd call myself shallow. That's the word I'd use.
It is a simplicity that is not exactly like a child's however. For a child is unaware of complexities.
And even today, her songs fill up the spaces, remind me of how things can be. Remind me to be grateful for everything that is. I have said this since the first time I heard her, I'll say it again. She writes for me :)
It's been two weeks that I've started working. I love the company. The people. All very nice and affable. I am trying my hands at different things here. It is good, in general. However it leaves me with zero time for meeting friends and stuff. I need to get a new bank account and I have no time to do that either. Phew.
We were working on some new designs for Ex Nihilo. New sections too. Then suddenly the other day I found out that our site has been hacked by some Iraqi hackers. I don't know for what reason or end. They deleted our entire database, which basically means we lost all our comments. Feels horrible. But there's not much that can be done now. We ought to have been more careful.
Which means we will take some time before we can get this month's issue out. I am quite disappointed because we had some lovely work I personally was dying to share with everyone. Oh well.
On the personal front there are many reasons to rejoice. I meet up with Anuj on and off at lunch or in the evening and head for a Coffee or a Subway. There's always the hurry to return to the office. But it still feels better to have friends close by. (in fact in the next tower!) The poo got the job she was looking forward to yesterday. So we were very happy and ecstatic. I managed to get out of office a little early (6ish) and we met up at Pizza hut. We ordered somethings stuffed with cheese and were set the stop watch on to see if they really served the pizza in 17 minutes. 20 minutes later they served us a kadhai chicken stuffed crust instead of a paneer. We told him this is not what we had ordered. The man went back. But we were feeling bad for him, so called him back to say, it's fine. But he insisted on giving us what we had ordered.
While we were waiting he came back with a tray of ginger breads with cheese (free!) apologising for the delay. Ha ha! :) Finally we finished the pizza. I was too full to move. Ended it with a warm brownie and vanilla. It was great food. The Pizza Hut guys are really really wonderful.
Quick! And do spread the word. If you want the Shoitanir Oboshan badge, mail me, or at the email given above or leave a comment here. This is the badge:
I have also realised that what is truly modern is necessarily eternal. Which is why at this ecstatic moment I suddenly find meanings to so many songs by Tagore...
'mora cholbo apon pothe tobu milbo tari sathe
mora noi badha noi dasher rajar trasher dashotte
noile mora rajar shonge milbo kishotte, amra shobai raja...'
Or Hirak Rajar Deshe...
'Kotoi rongo dekhi duniyaye o bhai re, o bhai
ami jei dikete chai dekhe obak bone jai
ami ortho kichhu khunje nahi pai re...
shonar foshol folaye je tar dui bela jote na ahar
hirar khonir shromik hoye kana kori nai'
or 'Ei bare raja shono, jeno nistar nei kono...'
and numerous other lines.
I am reminded of one of the most memorable days of my life. It was evening at Dobandi, a village in Singur. We had set up the screen in front of a club-house just adjacent to the TATA factory wall. Then with the children, youngs and olds of the village (and security guards watching from over the walls) we watched Hirak Rajar Deshe. It is difficult to express the frisson, it tends to overwhelm you. The children went home along the dark firefly-lit roads between the green fields, in groups, shouting 'Dori Dhore Maro taan...raja hobe khan khan..'
It will be impossible to tell you why I am so happy today. You won't understand :)
There is still a day to go. But the Post-Poll reports look monotonously grim. Frankly I do not think it is going to matter much to India whether the Congress or the BJP lead the coalition. What I am worried about is the State Assembly Elections of 2011.
Scenario I ;
Congress forms the government this time with the usual allies (I am not sure about RJD, but I have a feeling they will eventually join) including the Left. The left will naturally not take up ministries. They like drinking stuff with a long straw.
Now TMC has 2 options.
To join UPA- in which case it will be extremely difficult for them to form a credible opposition in 2011 against the Makku-Party. Plus, I have serious doubts if the Congress will be willing to partner with them. SUCI probably will. And hopefully they will manage to reconcile the differences with PDS.
To not join the UPA- This will give them more credibility in the State Polls, but make them strategically weaker since the Congress and the Left will be allies at the center.
BJP forms the government. From the pre-poll campaigns it is quite clear that they will invite TMC to join NDA. Again TMC has two options.
To join the government- Horrible move this will be. The congress won't stand by them in 2011 and above all it will seriously taint their credibility. To an extent that it will be the doom of them (recall 2004?)
To not join the government- This is clearly the best possible situation strategically. The congress and the TMC remain allies. The left remains an opponent at the state level. The BJP government at the center will ensure neutral polls at the state level.
Disclaimer: I am anti-pseudo-communist. Hence, all 'best possible situations' are naturally my way of looking at things. I am looking at things from the perspective of the State, and as to what could be the best way to oppose the left here.