Wednesday, August 26, 2009


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.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Transactions in Taste

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

"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 :)

Blogger Turns 10

Happy Birthday Blogger! :) Thank you. And Hug.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How to: Bookmark Sync on Google Chrome in three steps

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)
Download the channel changer.

Run it. You will see a dialogue like the one below:

Select 'Dev' and click on update.

This will download the Dev version and install it on your computer.

3. Now there is a Desktop shortcut for Chrome. Right?

Right click on it and click Properties.

You will see there is a field called Target. It will probably look more or less like this:

And the target contains the location of Chrome on your computer. Something like this:


What you have to do is add the following to the end of this text: --enable-sync

So that it will look like this:

C:\Users\Saptarshi\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\chrome.exe --enable-sync

Now Click on Apply and Ok.

You are ready to try the Bookmark Sync!

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.

The version I am using now is:

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Change in Twitter Address

For everyone who has been following on Twitter, specifically those who are following me at please note that I have changed my twitter account. Please follow me at the following address:

Sunday, August 09, 2009

Rain Post

aaj baishe shrabon.

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.