Sunday, November 13, 2011


I was disappointed. Very.

I had waited for ‘The Tree of Life’ to get a wide release here in Kolkata. After all, this was the ‘kaalcharaal capital’ of India. But it was never to be. My hopes did a Sergei Bubka when I heard that the Kolkata Film Festival was to screen the film. Okay, it was a weekday, but never mind. I was ready to sell my soul for this.

I headed to Nandan yesterday to get tickets. And in a massive #KLPD moment, I found out that the film had ‘Press Cards Only’ entry. Fantastic. So you decide to screen a long-awaited film, and instead of letting the public to try and grab a seat, you whore out to the press. I contacted friends who had Press Cards, but as was expected, they wanted to watch the film more than being philanthropic.


I headed to Howrah from there, angry at what fate thought was funny. She was to be back in town after a week-long office trip to Hyderabad.

To cut the story short, I picked her up from the New Terminal, which is as navigable as a JFK Airport in Manila. I think even Harry Potter would have landed on the train tracks had he used the Apparition spell meant to take him to a certain platform.

The only interesting thing that happened was when she informed me that the train had already docked into the station, and she was waiting for the coolie (ref. me). I panicked, because there was no train at the platform where I was waiting. I imagined all sorts of things in a timeframe of 5 seconds, including being sentenced to being the middle berth on Patna-Chennai trains to being subjected to a tirade that will stop only when Frooti plugs the flow. 5 seconds later, I saw the train chugging into the platform, and broke into a cold sweat. “Baal baal bach gaye”, I grinned and muttered to the Bihari coolie standing next to me, who was not Bihari after all and spat out the choicest of expletives at me. Apparently, baal is not a term of endearment here.

A warmestest of hugs later, we set off for a cab back home. By we, I mean me, two suitcases and a bag on me, and her. Well, of course.

After haggling with the cab drivers outside the station, who wear glasses that stick ‘ripe murgi for halaal’ stickers on to young couples coming out of the station, we set off. The plan was to drop her off and then back home in the same cab. So the usual tension and worry had taken a walk.

The usual talk of how the trip was, how she was missed, how a dream had caused her to call at 2:00 a.m. zipped past, quite like the formidable but beautifully lit up Howrah Bridge and the kebab-laden aroma of the biryani stalls at Park Circus. We fell silent after that. Not that awkward ‘soooo-what-else-is-up’ kind, but the cheesy but sugary ‘Words-are-not-important’ kind. The lights whizzed by. A coquettish smile, fingers intertwine and an endless, warm hug cheating out the coming of winter on the highway. Suddenly, four years seemed only like four hours back in time. 

When I dropped her off and headed back home, I finally said it out loud to the flyover pillars hurtling by in the darkness…..

Dear KLPD, KLPD kaisa laga?!


Sunday, August 21, 2011

At The Other End of Extremism

As the barren mountains of Tora Bora saw the dust settle from the rolling away of T-62 tanks of the Soviet army post the failed invasion of Afghanistan, the Peshawar Seven, comprised of seven Mujahideen warlords, capitalized on the vulnerable advantage that the new country presented. The men as well as the Afghan army resorted to killing, raping, looting and plundering whatever was left of the war-ravaged country.

The country needed a hero. A young preacher and ex-guerilla from the ranks of the Mujahideen in Quetta, Pakistan - Mullah Mohammed Omar, answered the call, and formed the ‘Taliban’. His lashkar (consisting of the youth, or the students of madrassahs from all over Af-Pak regions) had high ideals – they did not loot, did not kill the innocents and did not rape. And most important of all, they did not take money for what they did. They wanted to root out corruption that had slithered into the system of the country, and succeeded. Mostly.

That is, until, the lashkar grew, burgeoning well beyond thousands, and then started splitting into factions. Newer heads surfaced, the ones that were not incorruptible and did not even intend to be so. The ones who had forsaken ideals for the means and were well prepared to use the movement to serve their vested interests. And possibly, even the cause of the greater good, the good of the country.

And Omar himself, played right into the hands of whom he had tried to defeat when he had started his fight – hate, greed, avarice and corruption.

What was once respected and just, has now become the very symbol of savagery and prejudice – the Taliban.


Now take a moment and switch back to the Indian news channels you have been watching for the last couple of months.

How different is the situation of this Anna Hazare & Jan LokPal Bill movement from the Afghan scenario of 1994? How different an extremist hero is Anna Hazare himself from Mullah Mohammed Omar?!

Now before you get your knickers in a bunch screaming “CONGRESS STOOGE!!” I would like to remind you that extremism does not always require a gun. In fact, extremism, as Gandhi had showed through example, could be as little as sitting on a fast and never strike back – thus weakening the authority’s position every time they tried to force you into a compromise.

And how different is a man from an extremist when he imposes his views on an entire village, and flogs drunk men after tying them to temple pillars? Mind you, these men were simply drunk, and had committed no crime before the punishment was meted out. How different is a man from an extremist when he lets schools be vacated to join him on indefinite fasts?

And Mr. Hazare has been doing it with aplomb.     

As for the minions and the comparison with the Taliban, how many of the pople who are waving the flags on the streets and the people screaming “STOP Corruption” know of the weapon called Jan LokPal Bill that they are fighting with? Heck, let alone the people on the streets. I doubt even the leaders and gurus leading the pack know of the intricacies of the Bill and the long-term impact it may have on the democratic structure of the country – the very thing they are trying to cleanse! And as they grow, they will grow factions, one more orthodox and power-hungry than the other – just like the Taliban had!

It seems the whole country has been driven by blind propaganda and a general unwillingness to dig deeper than mass Email-forwards or sending missed calls to unknown numbers – for they do not wish to uncover an ugly truth beneath the carpet, that upsets the steamroller they have in their hands now – fellow Indians seething in misplaced anger with a mass misconception of having shifted the power of balance into their hands now.

Tell me, how are these men different from the thousands of young men being taught the wrong definition of Islam and Jihad and sent to die in no man’s land?! As I had pointed out, extremism needs no gun. All it needs are docile minds and blitzkrieg-like propaganda, made populist by a TRP-hungry media.

I was watching ‘The NewsHour’ and I was shocked at the lack of knowledge and reasonable answers to valid questions on the Bill, from someone who had been leading the protests in Mumbai from the front and egging bystanders to join the ‘Revolution’. What was also a letdown was the host’s inability (intentional or not remains open to debate) to call out the volunteers digressions from the topic and his rhetorical answers to simple questions like “Do you think the Lokpal drafted by the government is a failure?” 

Compounding the whole situation is the inability of the government to put their foot down and take a stand against such undemocratic conduct. Add to this hajaar idiotic spokespersons on behalf of the Congress making facepalmistry an art through their comments - including Manish Tiwari (He is corrupt too!), Mr. Alvi (there is a foreign hand/comspiracy) and the Hon. PM himself (well, he said nothing substantial. That’s the saddest comment right there!).  

As for the Jan LokPal bill drafted by the ‘jan-daradi’ Hazare & co., here are a few details of the bill you would love to do a reality-check against –

  • It is being suggested that The Jan LokPal will have a force of 20,000 officers, who will rush to any complainants’ rescue
How are you going to keep 20,000 men incorruptible and resistant to flirtations with money, when you can’t keep a municipality of 30 officers clean?!
  • It has been suggested that the Jan LokPal will have supreme powers – ones that can dismiss a case outright to blacklisting and penalizing a firm/individual – all on its discretion.
 How will you prevent such a totalitarian institution from becoming high-handed, or in the least-damaging scenario, corrupt?
  • The force of 20,000 Jan LokPal Bill inspectors, including the Chairperson, will be deemed ‘police officers’, with due authority and powers.
Why not do away with the Judiciary and the Police too then?! And coming back to the earlier point, what if the ‘police officer/LokPal members’ not be as corruptible as the police force of now, considering that they are being selected through the same social and ideological rungs that the IPS is chosen from?!
  • The totalitarian Jan LokPal will also have sway over the Judiciary and the PM (in its proposed version of the Bill)
Again, why will we want a new and cumbersome body to preside over issues like corruption and allied issues when we already have the Parliament, the investigative agencies and the Police?! Are these to be disposed off as the ‘third freedom struggle’?

And as a final nail in the coffin, Anna Hazare is 73. While I respect his ideals, I don’t respect his way of achieving them as well as his crony followers. When he steps down, which age will force him to do in some time, I would not want insane God-men dangling from the gates of a state penitentiary to take over the reins of an authoritative body that seeks absolute power. Am not sure the flag-whirling you would like it much either.

A more detailed and obviously much better argument against such unrealistic and autocratic pointers from the Bill has been laid out by the good Nitin Pai here. He is someone I have learnt a lot from. And as he so subtly points out, it is economical and institutional reform we need to root out corruption, not blind rage against a mythical enemy that the middle class is being tutored into.


And it is imperative for us to learn and act against this swathe of emotion. You want change from corruption and similar social evils? Be the change. Stop waving the tricolor and take action. Stop bribing. Stop turning a blind eye to issues closer to you and inside your homes – such as domestic abuse or child labor. Start being the idol you are trying to find in Mr. Hazare. And start it NOW.

As for me, I have already started it. And I hope you do so too.

For in the near future, I would not want these pseudo-Talibs to walk into a pub I am chilling in, with a beer bought with my own hard-earned money, tie me to a pillar and beat me to pulp. The police and the judiciary would be inaccessible, for these people will be THE police then, right?!

As I said, extremism isn’t always bursting out from the barrel of a gun.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Jurassic City

As the bus danced like an angry Obelix through the cacophonic roads, a lonely guard caught my eye. As nondescript as a lonely guard can be, I saw that he was manning a massive gate – that added to his non-existent existence – which welcomed nobody to a place that used to be a dreamland for kids once. Science City.

If you have ever been to Kolkata, and have ever asked anyone about the places to visit, I will be surprised if you didn’t get a mention of ‘Science City’.

When it had been set up in 1997, every single soul in West Bengal descended on it. And if you would had the audacity to say that you didn’t get the time to visit, the rickshaw-wallahs in your neighborhood would waive your fare and would ask you to take science tuition instead!

Yours truly was not one of them. And thankfully so, as one of the fondest memories, etched most vividly in my head, is that of me and Typo going to Science City with Ma, Baba & Chotomashi. What had initiated this trip from the languid, laidback town of Kalyani (almost 60km away from the capital), was a Steven Spielberg film – back in the days when he was the source for directorial-cliches rather than being the one emulating them. Jurassic Park

Now the thing is, with path-breaking CGI and a compact out-of-this-world narrative, the film had already blown collective minds. Science City, with a magical swipe of the government hand, pulled off an advertising coup of the decade unlike any other public sector initiatives of the kind before or after – by incorporating the Jurassic Park concept of ‘dinosaurs in theme parks’ in the City itself!

Okay, okay, Enough with the background.

As we entered the huge campus with two fantastic grass Tyrannosaurus Rex-es doffing their hats and ushering us in, I almost had an intelligence-quest-orgasm in anticipation of what lay inside those walled gardens.

There was a bamboozling collection of dinosaurs – right from the massive Diplodocus to the eerily confrontational Stegosaurus – all mechanized yet almost life-size models of the pre-historic beasts. Me and Typo ran from one to the other, taking in all the information from the plaques, displays and the volunteers. There were books, maps, AV displays – it seemed like a poor man’s Jurassic Park itself. We even tried to smuggle out a Dino egg but the genius that my brother is, he decided to smuggle it hiding it in his pants, freaking the elderly guard out as he had never thought that a kid aged five can have such bad man problems.      

There were other super stuff inside too, one of the highlights being the temporarily set-up Room of Mirrors. But we didn’t stay long there, as you really can’t digest 24 versions of an ugly kid with his brother digging his nose in tow. So we left in a hurry. (Did I forget to tell you that Chotomashi passed out inside the room, because she thought from the reflections that the small pimple on her forehead had assumed such gigantic proportions overnight? No? Okay.)

There was also a 3D Dynamotion thing, which let me experience how Harry Potter feels when he is on a crazy broom with shit controls zooming inside a pyramid. I barfed inside the purse of the lady beside me, but she said that it was okay because she had thrown up on Typo’s head too. People used to be so nice and understanding back then. Sigh! After we got out, Typo asked me if I had seen any sign that said free hair gel was being offered with the 3D trip, but I ignored him.

And as a final part of the dream we were living, there was a Ropeway too! There is nothing like being an eye in the sky and checking out every babe in the vicinity of the whole campus. I would have jumped out like a paratrooper if there was a chute in the cable-car, but there was none and so I didn’t. Typo insisted that a real paratrooper needed no chute and asked me to be a man, but I ignored him like always.

As I left the gates and the dinosaurs behind, fully content with the trip and actually looking forward to the 3-hour trip back home, I had already hatched plans to come back here again next weekend.  

That was never to be.

After our entrepreneurial adventures failed, we moved away from Kolkata, and came back only to find myself buried deep in adulthood and cynicism to revisit this place.

I travel every weekday by this giant scientific dream-turned-daydream, and can only see that its grounds now host romancing couples instead of inquisitive kids. Probably they have planned it right – to romance in the gardens of science itself, so that their kids are born Einsteins, Teslas and Edisons.

Science City, for me at least, symbolizes the happy and carefree curiosity I have left behind in time. It symbolizes the Paper Maps and the little World Globes I have left behind on my desk in my search for success in the real orbs of life. It symbolizes the pre-historic times when I used to have weekends that did not reek of work and evenings were unadulterated fun. Maybe, I never visited again because I was too scared to burst those little bubbles of joy, trapped in a head that has turned arid with time.

Science City, as I pass by you in a purple haze, racing to lynch deadlines and back, I find your charm is still the same. The only thing that’s changed is me. But that is the perfect way to be.

I want to go back there, and yet I don’t. In times when every key on every Smartphone is a Science City in itself, in times when you can't read up old books while searching for another one because Google is so accurate, I have kept my dinosaurs safely tucked away in my memories. 

For you are no plain “Science City – Phase I” to me, No.

You are my very own Jurassic City!

Thursday, June 9, 2011

My Encounters With The Third Kind

So I met a snake today.

No not the fake snake from ‘Anaconda eats Hippo WATCH THIS Vedio Lulzz’ on Facebook, but a real goddamn snake. And of all places I had to meet it in the lane that leads to my house, on the corner of my street.

Now the thing with the lane is that it is so well-lit that you can mistake an elephant chilling out in the lane for Baba Ramdev and ask him about the discount offers on sarees and salwars at Pantaloons. I don’t think Baba Ramdev would particularly like that. I am certain the elephant wouldn’t like that either.

Anyway, so that’s that. My lane is the poor man’s 'Cabinet of Dr. Caligari'.

But the snake was totally cool and mistook my horrified pause in the midst of my iPod-induced dance-walk as a cue for a hi-five. And it waited and stood there in its nonchalant poise like a North-east guy.

That got me thinking (and sweating, but fear is the heart of love) – What if the snake was from the North-East? Why I could totally ask him to come home with me and checkout my wardrobe. And help me be cool, like him. And go out with him to the Tantra and then get laughed at by my friends, courtesy the tilted hat and the low-waist jeans that lets Raju peep out of the closet. That would probably make me mad and I would beat the shit out of the chinki snake and you would all call me a racist bitch.

So yeah, no can do – the snake wasn’t from the North-East.

But, but it was blocking my way. Like a fucking Bong on ‘path oborodh’. Whazza? What if the snake was a Bong? Why then I could totally invite him home for a cup of Darjeeling tea and a debate over why the Communists got their ass whooped in the Elections. And then things would get all heated up and the snake would probably bite me in the face and I would die panting, all Red. That would be ironic, yeah, dying with a stupid Commie color on your face.

No can do boss! The snake can’t be a Bong.

The snake was Black! Oh yeah, as black as 50 Cent would be. I thought of inviting it to a pub, but his Nigerian friends had spammed me long enough to make me think twice about getting drunk in front of Black snakes. Or winning a lottery. Whatever comes first.       

And then the snake spoke. Oh yeah bitchezz…he spoke.

Snake: Hey Pal! What up?!
Me: Why, how do you do Naagger? (What? What? That’s wordplay raa, not racism!)
Snake: Heard chicks were checking you out? I came to verify.
Me (elated): Yeah man! I mean that fair one was go…..
Snake: Imma letchu finish, but yeah rumors were right. You are ugly as fuck. KThnxBai!

And the snake slid away into the grass. Probably to mate till kingdom come. I went home to sleep. Alone.

Right! That snake is one lucky animal!

[Addendum: The snake just said Hi from the window. It insists that it is a reptile, and not a fucking animal! Wokay, boss. Added this. Be at peace.]

You are still reading this shit?!   

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Small Change, Big Fish

A middle-class suburb.

7:30 a.m.

77 degrees and cloudy.

A young lad was waiting out on the grass. Waiting for change. Adjusting his glasses, fidgeting on his cellphone, hoping for the sun to not break out of the clouds soon & wishing that the clouds did not get too happy pwning the sun and over-did the favor by raining down on him – and, waiting for change.

People were slowly trickling into the center, as the morning slowly sobered up from the frigid one-eyed yawn into a mumbling Pearl Jam song.

The lad was oblivious to all this. His mind had wandered off. This was his second opportunity at letting the wheel of democracy creak and set in motion prospects of a better future. And he was feeling like a speck of dust on the wheel of change. More alone than ever.

But was he alone, really? Could he, but for those fleeting moments before the act, not feel a thousand voices coaxing him on? Could he, but for his Gears of War & NFS skills, not isolate every single voice in that melee? Yes, he could. And all of them were with him – wishing for change.

Vote an Idea, Sirjee!

The man who lost his job because he did not support Hu Jintao as his Chairman was with him. 

The guy who had been kicked out of his house because ‘The Party’ needed it for a local office was with him.

The mother whose kid had been devoured alive by dogs in the outdoor ward of a government hospital was with him. 

The young lad who had lost his right to a job, because of being deprived of English as a language in school till Class VI, was with him.

The labourers and clerks who lost their jobs because they refused to go on hartal with the CITU against the 'capitalist' American owners  were with him.

The lady whose B.Tech degree went a-begging because ‘The Party’ didn’t allow computers to be used in offices in the state was with him.

The farmers at Nandigram who were butchered by the State police because they “did not get with the program, bitchezz”, were with him.

The journalist caned out of Singur for portraying the establishment in a frank light was with him.

The gentleman who had been clobbered beyond reckoning because the cadres were not paid their due ‘chanda & pujo maalkori’ was with him.

The autowallahs, bus drivers, rickshaw pullers and truck drivers who had been unofficially taxed to the last penny by ‘sympatheticComrades were with him.  

The ‘budhhijibis’ and ‘biddojons’, who had been slandered, abused and taken potshots at because they protested against the ‘socialist, pro-people’ agenda, were with him. 

The young 'Catering' entrepreneur who had been given the boot in subsidies for not entertaining the 10,000+ Brigade-goers was with him.

The son who lost his father because no ambulance reached his doorstep as a ‘bandh’/‘(strike)’ had been called for the larger good, was with him.  

No he was not alone. 22 million people were with him. Wishing for change.

Admitted, the change might be small.
After all, power only changes hands – and more often than not, the hands retain the hunger for it, along with a wry, disdainful disregard for any moral or ethical accountability to the electorate. But even a small change can unsettle the big fish.

And the lad has had a good premonition that the Bong electorate might fry a lot of fish this time. Big, small and the others. 

A middle-class suburb.

7:45 a.m.

77 degrees and cloudy.

A young lad is walking out on the grass. Waiting for change.

He knows it is not long now…..

Wednesday, April 27, 2011


I had ideally wanted to put a byline on that Title -- such as #BongRage - 'The Fire Within' or #BongRage - 'Real Anger Has NO Management', but didn't really feel right.

Anyway, enjoy the comic guys! My Phroots of Creatibhity - A brief chronicle of my sweet tooth Anna Hazare'd for Mishti Doi and what happens next.   


P.S.: More to Come Soon!

Sunday, April 3, 2011








LOVE YOU!! :-)

Monday, March 21, 2011

Smoke on the Water

I have noticed a peculiar-est thing at work of late. But before that, I need to tell you about a peculiar-er thing I noticed at work. There are only 2 washrooms on our floor, set a mile away from where our workstations are.

But within each of those 2 washrooms, there are 4 washbasins, 2 thrones, and enough space to let Shoaib Akhtar practice his run-ups. Very Peculiar. Considering the fact that people at work generally have not been witnessed practicing Shoaib Akhtar-ish run ups while taking a leak, especially with deadlines snapping away at their feet like a dysfunctional flush button.

I digress. The peculiar-est thing I noticed last week was the fact that every time I had the urge to let the river flow, and half-ran, half-walked a mile to the 2 washrooms, they happened to be occupied. Every time. EVERY FUCKING TIME.

After doing the needful, post a mini Kathhak Tap dance for 15 minutes outside the washrooms, I trudge back to my desk. And I instantly know it is some unholy nexus at work to keep me off the corporate success (B)ladder.

For every time I drag myself back from such emotional ordeals, I find 2 of my colleagues sniggering and looking at their respective watches.

This was what I could figure out with my intense psychoanalytical skills I have acquired, while trying to block out the psychoanalytical invasions of my Missuj after being late on a date.

Colleague 1: Haha, 20 minutes. I think we had Pal.
Colleague 2: LOLMAX. 5 more minutes, and we could have had an exPALosion at hand. 
Colleague 1: There’s always a next time.

More sniggering. 

Enough of that bitchezz. I have already hatched a counter-plan and put it to action.

Now each time Colleague 1/2 gets up to let the fairy out, I run and beat them to the washroom. Oh yeah! #FunFunFun

If I find the door unlocked, I walk straight in and slam it shut. Then I pull out my iPod, listen to ‘Smoke on the Water’ and execute the song. Yes. I am Da Man! And then walk out and snigger at my Tap-dancing Colleague.

If I find the door locked, I still win. I walk back, tap-dancing, and snigger at the Colleague. Piss off mate! Oh no, wait, you can’t. More sniggering. 

The plan is working.

And that, folks, is that.  

Friday, March 18, 2011

Chandrakanta ki Jawaani..

My name is Chandrakaantaaa. Chandrakaanta ki jawaaani. *Ahaa Ahaa/Cheap Indian Bhangra rap* I am too sexy for you. Mai tere haath na aani. *Ohoo Ohoo*.

That’s exactly what Chandrakaantaa sang to Doordarshan 15 years back in 1996, when after a bombastic run on the national TV channel for 3 years, DD did a Kalmadi on the show’s producers and pulled it off air – almost a year before the scheduled contract ended.

WAIT. If you are leaving because you think this is another shitty essay on how private channels & the corporate media have killed off a thriving DoorDarshan, come back. Because this post is not about that. At all!

We all know that DoorDarshan did not have the ‘door darshan’ to effectively counter the powerhouse packaging and CWG-scale marketing of cable TV. And as an obvious result, they were relegated to hosting boring quiz shows & singing competitions where the ladies dressed in salwar kameez or churidaars. Dude. Cable TV had Divya Dutta & Shikha Swaroop in mini-skirts. You could have had your women in a pair of jeans at least? Anyway point is, they effectively won the ‘Paidh pe Kulhadi’ award and fucked off into obscurity.

However, like an ice-cream trolleywalla who doesn’t come around the neighborhood anymore because of the ‘Mama Mia’ counter across the street, DD has left behind thousands of kids who still pine for Chandrakanta & co.

For what you knew but couldn’t confess for fear of being shunned in the age of MTV & FTV, a million kids grew up on DD – and built their lives around it too. And like they say, the child was the mirror to the man. For what DD will never apprehend, is that, in spite of their obnoxious production values & packaging skills, they had managed to inspire and engross today’s Indian youth when they were still teenagers.
DD. Facilitated Day-Dreaming
We learnt the art of geekdom from Captain Vyom, Knight Rider & Captain Samurai Cyber Squad. We shot imaginary AK-47s in the air & wanted to go Virender Sehwag on terrorists from Sea Hawks. We learnt the art of subtle, black comedy and satire from Dekh Bhai Dekh & Flop Show. We wanted to be globe-trekkers and go on world tours (on company reimbursement of course!) from Surabhi. We became fans of The Dark Knight from Shaktimaan. We knew how to track down the guy who stole stationary from our cubicles at work from Byomkesh Bakshi & Raja Aur Rancho. And we learnt about a lot of family-unsafe stuff from Chandrakanta & Chitrahaar!

Oh. We did learn about politicians and the Parliament too. From Duck Tales & The Disney Comedy Show (ft. Mickey, Goofey & Donald).

You see, it was not the cable TV that killed DD. It was us. We loved it and learnt from it. But like the neighborhood ice-cream trolleywallah, we left it when better stuff came along. We did not go out to buy Boroline as advised by DD anymore, for SRK’s snarky comments about DishTV's superiority seemed more important to tend to now. 

Not fair at all. But that’s life.

Chandrakantaa is turning in her grave now because of this shit Blog post that did not do justice to her awezomeness. Not fair, she says.

But that’s life.

P.S.: A big shout-out to Didi, who inspired this post.

Image courtesy –

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Get Off Your High Horse Lady….

Lava . Lava flowing down the streets.. No one can survive that dude!”

What.The.Fuck? I was laughing at these retards sitting in a hurdle, hollering at each other over issues. Issues that ranged from lighting a half-smoked beedi to the Triple Knockout Punch to Japan from Mother Nature.

I was travelling in a local train back home from a colleague’s wedding, in a compartment that had triple the number of people it could carry. And it seemed that the epicenter of everything stupid – from being oblivious of the “Smoking Prohibited” sign in the train compartments to the fact that Tsunamis involve water and not lava (Looking back, this might not be their fault after all. This is what you get when you watch too much of NDTV & Sagarika Ghose). 

A sudden comment from a well-dressed lady that questioned the parentage of the men broke all hell loose. A fight broke out. Not a fistfight. Bengalis never wield fists. Their tongues are better at the art than their maach-bhaat muscles. Two ladies had objected to the loud hollering and the beedi-jalayile-fog in the compartment. Hence the commotion.

Yo dawwg! Local train iz da thang yo!!
Correction – the local trains in Bengal do not carry ladies. Ladies who like chocolate and like their bunnies close by while asleep or ladies who smiley-SMS their boyfriends 10 times/second that is. The women (most of them, I apologize to generalize) here are Mamata-fangirls. And therefore, to say that the ladies have the upper hand in a tongue-wagging, fist-swirling, eye-rolling debate here is a massive under-statement. 

And caught in the crossfire was me. I knew that taking sides was meaningless, as both parties were wrong. Men – to smoke beedis, and the ladies – to use words that would make Army jawans wet their pants.

I was desperately trying to lose myself in my iPod, but to no avail. I started cursing myself for taking a train back home, at a time when offishers and claarks ruled the locomotive routes.

After my initial struggle, I gave in and switched the gadget off. And just stood there. The fight had receded. The ladies were still grumbling. And the jokes kept being pounded on each other till kingdom come.

But there was a subtle difference. Some of the jokes and the meaningless, crude leg-pulling actually were making me laugh, now that I was paying more attention (though forced). And laughing with me were passengers who belonged to every damn class that India held in its bold but scarred economy. The laborers, the hawkers, the peons, the clerks, the office assistants, the team-leaders, the assistant managers, et al. If BJP would have been in my place, “India Shining” would have been baptized “India Smirking” for sure.

And then they came. Random, unexpected incidents. Two guys who had been swearing the most and who I had labeled ‘pigs’ for the first half-hour of travel, gave up their seats to two elderly ladies – and were the most modest, loving examples of men you could imagine. A guy who had smuggled beedis into the compartment gave away his lunch to 2 little kids at a station. An impromptu donation campaign was worked up inside the compartment for a co-passenger some barely knew – who had confessed to his kids’ school fees going unpaid because of fat medical bills back home.

Did they feel Jesus-y for a day? Maybe. Was it just an off day for Satan? Maybe.

I am not justifying the wrongs. All I want to say is – You need to get off your high horse, lady, to appreciate what is good around you.

For I was wrenched off the high pedestal I had placed myself on, by the collar, by these very men who I thought were repulsive and sick. Sure they still were, but that didn’t stop them from having shades of good too, innit?

It only took me an hour’s train ride to realize it. What will it take of you?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

You Know You’re Growing Old When..

You ain’t old till you think you are. Possibly true. However, once the latter kicks in, you will age faster than Sourav Ganguly blinks.

And as some wise men in China had once said (and had been detained for trying to spread boisterous capitalist ideas), age drops subtle hints before coming out at you outright naked. So, those of you who are or have been contemplating editing their Facebook profile info, here are some hints that age might be prodding you in the eye with.

You know you’re growing old when…

  1. You peer too long in the mirror, pretending to check on your stubble, all the while trying to check out signs of balding or whiteys. 
  2. You prefer staying put and boarding the next bus/train instead of running behind the missed bus. And/or jumping up on its rear footboard, holding onto the collar of a co-passenger.
  3. You find the domestic-pleasantry-borne expletives from the co-passenger embarrassing.
  4. You find the only hand up for smoking dope at a party is yours
  5. Majority of the crowd at the local pub you frequent seem like irritating fuckhead college-going pricks.
  6. The autowallahs actually respect you and do not try to push you off the front seat for laughing at his driving skills.
  7. You find your dream job of driving an auto and smoking Dhania-chhaap beedis is not exactly the dream job your in-laws-to-be are dreaming of.
  8. You want to have dinner at home, even though you can afford Pizza Hut.
  9. You find tying firecrackers to the dogs’ rear fucking atrocious.
  10. You hate the word ‘fuck’ and people who use it in random sentences. Or points.
  11. Is the number your girlfriend gives you out of 10, because any less could make you go on a drinking binge again.
  12. Your girlfriend also tries dropping subtle hints that you should start thinking about marriage. Also when outraging on the issue doesn’t seem to work anymore.
  13. Watching Cricket seems more interesting.
  14. Watching Soccer simultaneously makes you feel adrenaline-pumped and yet older than a 70-year old Alzheimer’s patient.
  15. –year old girls call you Dada/Kaku/Uncle, and ominously without giggling.
  16. Getting drunk in the middle of the night, because your non-existent dog just died an imaginary death, sounds weird.
  17. Call of Duty means groveling at your boss’ feet and not fighting your way through German machine gun nests on Omaha Beach.
  18. Furniture exhibitions interest you more than a rock/metal gig.
  19. Is an age you wish you could go back to.
  20. You have more regrets than a Vietnam war-hero in general.
  21. Motorcycle Diaries’ incites forlorn dreaming of what you could have achieved, rather than what you plan to achieve as a rebel.
  22. You would rather drink with your boring colleagues than with your old pals, simply because you are too scared of getting drunk and landing up in odd places with odd chicks at odd times of the night.
  23. You try guessing other guys’ ages and compare yourself on that parameter.
  24. Is the threshold where you either become a handsome lumberjack or a petty, humorless Bong.

I guess you know now.

Go back to your mirror, or your girlfriend, depending on whichever is new. FIN.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Heavy Boots & The Alarm Clock

It was a hot summer night.

Even the crickets and the fireflies seemed to be tired from the heat. Silence mingled effortlessly with the sweat of the farmers that still had the fields wet. And scraping, half-crawling through the mud was a young lad of about 20.

The full moon reflected on his face – blackened hollow eyes leering eerily into empty darkness. The iron chains on his feet stopped him from standing up. His face, arms and bare back glistened with blood, oozing out with every movement of his muscles, from deep lacerations made by a thousand hits from the whip.

The whip that dangled like a snake spewing venom.

From the hands of one of the dozen men wearing heavy military boots. Thud after Thud, they followed the crawling, half-dead corpse. Like wolves following a dying foe.

“That is his fucking village, alright”. “Ji, Saheb.”

The village courtyard had been swept clean. Only to be dyed dark red as the boy panted onto it, muddied by the boots following him. They stood there – 12 men and a half-dead corpse, waiting for a door to fling open and a woman shrieking out to comfort her son.

Nothing happened. Except that the crickets were awake now.

The Brit officer was losing his patience. A four-mile walk through muddy paddy fields and mosquitoes for nothing. He whipped the boy hard on his back. Half the whip hit the ground, producing a weird ‘Crack’ that mixed with the boy’s gurgled shriek.


“Water.” The boy half-whispered into the night.

You could almost see the dozens of pairs of eyes flinch shut from behind the boarded doors and windows. Yes, they were watching. The whole village was watching their son. Dying, under a full moon night.

“Show us the house. And you shall have water.” The boy spit blood onto the brick floor of the courtyard, “Ha. Ha. I sure will.”

The second officer kicked him in the head. The boy writhed in pain.

“Bloody Fucking Natives”.

Inside the second house on the left lane off the courtyard, someone moved.

“Ma, please. Let me go. Dada will die.”
“NO. Please Reema. He killed Inspector Sands. If they know that this was where he was hiding, they will burn the whole place down”, the mother knew she had to choke her tears, if the village was to live.  
“But Ma..”
“NO. Give that glass to me. GIVE IT TO ME..”

*CLAANKK*!! The bronze glass landed with a thundering clatter on the windowsill, and rolled off onto the floor.   

The sound echoed around the village courtyard like a giant bell ringing to the chimes of death.

Was that a smile curling up on the corners of the Officer’s mouth? Was it failure that now shone through the eyes of the battered lad? Could this be the end of it all…


Oh fuck! It is 8:00 a.m. already. Yours truly is going to be really late for office today. Damnation be damned! I leaped off my bed and ran towards the bathroom, grasping the day’s paper on the way.

Waaaait a minute. The big tri-colour on the front page could only mean one thing! It’s Republic Day.

Haha. Fuck you Alarm Clock. I am going back to sleep! Yaay!

What? What happened to the young lad and his village? Who cares?

They probably died. Trying to get us our freedom. To sleep.

I mean what else could you do on a boring holiday, right?

What are your plans on this Republic Day by the way?!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Chivalry Is Dead. And They Are Loving It!

This is no news to most folks. But it was news to me, especially as I came to know of the dear friend’s death only a couple of days back.

Now what transpired was this.

I was scraping money off the bottom of the ATM from my Bank account with my card. Now the thing is, I fall in the almost-homeless category of ATM debit card holders, and hence I do not feel the need to check, re-check and recheck the check of the account balance while in an ATM.

I go, type in the amount, take the money and scoot.

And that is probably why I am often looked down upon scores of ATM-goers who have a serious day job of standing in queue in front of an ATM, and checking, re-checking and re-Rambo-checking the balance in their accounts, withdrawal or no withdrawal.

So when I was getting out after my swift poke-in-the eye of the ATM, I found that a lady, with two mammoth-sized bags by her side, was trying to push the door and find a way in.  

So I stopped, flung open the door and with a smile and a slight nod of the head pre-accepted her appreciation of the act.

Lady glared back in such a manner, my left part of the brain almost assumed that the right part had tricked it and made me utter something as heinous as asking her to sleep with me.

And that too with the money I had just cashed out at the ATM.

I mean, what gives man?
Here I am trying to act chivalrous by the book – and the beneficiary just gives me a cold stare and possible “silent gali-galauj”. Is it because she has had many a leering ass trying to be chivalrous and courteous just to be hideous later? Or have only almost-homeless hideous guys been chivalrous to her, which made her label me as the same?

Whatever. But from my perspective, I won’t stop offering my seat to an old lady in a crowded bus just because the last woman I offered my seat to turned out to be a man. A weird man at that.

So I will hope that you women would start doing the same too. Though I don’t think it will help revive my old friend back to life. Chivalry, for all I know, is dead.

As they say, “The age of chivalry is past. Bores have succeeded to Dragons.”


Friday, January 21, 2011

Story of a Budding Entrepreneur

I was about 9 then. Or maybe 8. An ordinary boy living an ordinary life in an ordinary town. Along with Typo (my non-evil twin, in case you forgot), I was content with life unraveling at a languid pace – cornflakes in the morning, school in the day, cricket with 3 other guys and a dog in the evening and homework at night.

Now, all of these activities seemed real hard when you were at that age. I mean how can any kid put up with Math and an agonizing wait to relieve himself simultaneously in school? And playing cricket with 3 guys, using the dog as the wicket, is not very easy. Try proving that you bowled the batsman out, with your wicket running, screaming in an odd voice, like a dog hit in the rear by a heavy rubber ball. Very hard, I tell you. And pretending to finish homework while slyly catching up on the latest fashion on FTV at night is even tougher.

Anyway, point is, life was hard. At least for me and Typo.   

However, like all Bong kids, it was mandatory for us to take tuitions. Now in 21st century, it is easy to say hah, big deal! But back then, what made taking tuitions, & life in general, hard for Bong kids was the tuition teacher – who was not exactly the online voice-over, giving lessons like serenading a monkey.

Ours was no exception. And after 3 months of being pummeled with formulas & equations, we gave in and scored a neat Jhiro on 30 in a Test de la Grande. Yes, me and Typo both did ‘Aryabhatta’ proud.

However, Mr. Tuition Teacher was not a fan of Aryabhata, but admired Sarah Palin instead. This was evident from his ‘red-eyed’ refudiating of everything good that Mr. & Mrs. Pal could have envisaged in their boys.

And so, we ran away from home. Into the wild. Or as Bongs call it, to the Math of the Tepantaur (can’t help if it sounds like a bad breed of the Minotaur). 

Almost-Gone-Missing Aryabhatta-Fanboy
Unlike what you’ve heard in stories, running away from home is easy. All you need to do is this – Sulk > Think of buying a gun & kill Mr. Tor-mentor > Realize it’s not possible > Suicide > WTF? > Talk to Typo > Run away from home at 12 pm post-lunch > Climb over barbed wire fence of Campus > This.Is.Freedom.!!

In our case, all went smoothly except the fact that Typo’s pants got caught in the barbed wire and he has been experiencing man-problems ever since. Rest was all good.

We made our way over mud dunes, paddy fields, passed by a Bata factory & also ogled at women bathing in a nearby pond (Typo insists he did not. What a liar!). We were also stared down as potential kidnap/extortion victims by 4 weird men playing teen-patti in a hutment. One of them was a Steve Jobs-look alike, smoking Dhania-chhaap beedi. Come to think of it, maybe he WAS Steve Jobs - considering the fact that he’s got pancreatic cancer now. Yeah, Dhania-chhaap beedis are not at very good terms with the pancreas, last I heard.

Whatever. We got traced down by the CBI (Chanchal Bhushan Ishmail, our gardener), who had been alerted by terrified ‘gaaowaalon’ about a bear bathing in their village pond. Turned out it was actually yours truly having some harmless topless fun in the sun. Blechh.

By now you must be outraging over the title of the post, and what the fuck am I trying to prove here – with a misleading Title et al. Well, there’s a twist in the tale here.

Yours truly, being a genius sans parallèle, had not run away from home on an impulse. After all, we had planned to set up camp in another city and build an empire ala AOE III. Hence, like a true-blood, nifty entrepreneur, we had made plans for a business first.

We handpicked the choicest of ‘Hot Wheels’ from our collection, some of the rarest books and some easily saleable stuff like pens, chocolate and Femina Miss India posters (wink wink nudge nudge). We were planning to sell off these and make a living till Google or Stevie hired us for one of their sweatshops in Bangkok.

And like a quintessential entrepreneurial partner, Typo chickened out, almost jeopardizing the venture. However, telling him that chickening out may ruin the chances of radio silence on his barbed-wire-man-problems helped sort it out amicably.

And like a quintessential entrepreneurial venture, we lost all of the investment; lock stock and barrel.

There. Explanation complete.

However, the upside of the whole story is that we learnt 2 valuable lessons that day.

Lesson #1 - Running away from home is overrated.
Lesson #2 - Nothing can beat gorging on home-cooked food, especially after learning lesson #1 the practical way.

As I said, life was hard back then. But it was also great, in parts!

P.S.: You really thought this was another ‘Steve-Jobs-is-so-awesome’ story, didn’t you, you bloody Apple fanboys?!   

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Autos & the Great Class Divide

Prologue – By autos, I do not mean the swanky Volkswagen Jetta or the Lamborghini Gallardo. I mean this. So if you had any plans to read up an article on your dream ride, dream more about it, and then get back to coding software, this is NOT for you.

Ok, so – most of you who stayed, know how cool these rides are. And how lame city traffic would be without them. I mean which fancy car can fit in 7 guys AND the driver, and still do a decent 70? Right. Without autos, life for us low-lives would be Zilch. Naught. Jhiro.

Anyway, once upon a time in West Bengaul (that’s how Bongs pronounce it, so relax!), autos ruled the roads. They roared, callously did wheelies, paralyzed cyclists and honked dead people deaf. And more importantly, they were Black. Black – ala Samuel Jackson. And like Samuel fuckin’ Jackson, they didn’t fuckin’ care.

And the even-blacker drivers of these black panthers were in a league of their own. They would swivel 100 degrees towards oncoming traffic, exchange gutkha with their north-bound brothers and chew out any dissidents then and there. With 206 auto-unions (last I counted, it was actually 286) to back them, who could challenge thy manhood, Herr Jackson(s)?

However, many gutkha-covered-moons later, a great, great revolution swept the Bengaul plains, and the roads too!

A new breed of autos had emerged – Tadaa!! C.N.G.!!

And before you knew it, the Great Class Divide was born. Green was the new White. Black was the new… Err… Black.  

The green autos were swanky, had fresh coats of shiny paint and most importantly, were elegantly subtle while on the move. And they had a certain autocratic, cocky demeanor while being on the move.

And as was expected, it irritated the fuck out of the Blacks. They felt downright ostracized – and even more inferior than their rusted bolts could mirror. Outrage soon turned to Enrage-ment. And thus, the Never-ending Feud of the Auto-bots was born.

Now, Black autos would swivel 100 degrees towards oncoming traffic, only to exchange domestic-borne pleasantries with the north-bound Green rival, like “tor maa ke mere gutkha kore debo” (‘I will beat your mother into the gutkha’ – Trust me, it sounded much more menacing in the native language!) and likewise, 7 screaming passengers notwithstanding.    

Apparently, 7 screaming passengers is no mean deal, especially when they are all trained in Rabindra Sangeet – hence you can imagine the amount of pent up anger the Black autos had to vent. And vent they did. Every other day, Green autos fell prey to Blacks. Swathes of scraped-off paint, headlights & rear-view mirrors littered the streets of Bangla. And, obviously, all of the said collateral damage was for the Greens.

After all, what did the Blacks have to lose anyway?

Till this very day, the bloodthirst continues.

And to top it all, like in the Black Supremacy & the Black Panther Party era, caught in the feuds of the Blacks & Whites (or Greens) were the Asians. This class included the Black autos who got themselves painted Green to enjoy the luxuries of the Green life, and yet not get their rears slashed open by the Blacks. Turncoats you say? Wise guys, I insist!

And so everyday, while going to work, yours truly does a 28-minute ‘sashtanga pranaam’ before the Goddess Durga, and wears a Kuver Kunji & Dayal Baba’s kavach– wears war paint ala Geronimo and walks out to the mercy of the autos. For being one of the very few ones not trained in Rabindra Sangeet, death will be pretty silent. And boring. Yours truly certainly does not deserve that.

And off I go!

As I said, what would our life be without the Autos?!

Monday, January 17, 2011

Vhelkaam to My Blog!

Tadaa! That’s it!

Finally, I have a brand new Blog handle to post from. Something that is probably only as good as a spoof of a bad movie. But in more of the “Airplane” fashion, rather than the “Meet the Spartans” type.  

Anyway, it is not that this is my first leap into the Blogosphere. Being a copywriter, I have been writing on Blogs for clients, corporate firms as well as other guys.

Now the fundamental problem with letting your ingenious ideas fornicate on other peoples’ Blogs is the same as doing defense research for the French. You may have the best resources, the best talent & the best results ever – but at the end of the day you need to sell them off to the richer/retarded guys to make a living. 

But those days of whoring out for money is over. Oh ok, it is not. I am still doing it. However, now I can also whore myself out for fun! This. Is. Freedom.

I promise these posts will get better with time. Or, at least longer. Keep a tab on this for more. Especially if you are as jobless as I am.

As Confucius says: “Man who want pretty nurse, got to be patient.”  Yeah, I made that up.

P.S.: I owe two guys who urged me into Blogging. One is Typo (my brother, whose name I dare not spell). And the other is Fat Man, whose sense of humor is quite his namesake. And if this Blog gets too unbearable for you, I will be ready with their addresses as well!