My Travel Map

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Me and my girls...the beginning...

Why have I been so bad with girls... I think about it sometimes...and receive no conclusive answer. I mean I'm not a bad human being ( and I'm being very modest here, trust me), I'm not bad at relationships ( okk it may be that sometimes I take a week to reply to an sms, but still that does not take away from the fact that my friend count keeps increasing by the day)...so what is it???

Don't give me the shit about good guys sitting on the highest branches of the tree where girls cannot dream of reaching and what not (this is quoted from some weird forward I received in my inbox some days back). I have seen good guys with girlfriends and trust me, they remained the same ol' good guys even after. So just plain bad luck for me, is it???

If at this stage, some of you are feeling that I belong to a depraved species, let me make it clear. I live this life for the experiences it has to offer. And being in love with a girl and being loved in return is one of the most satisfying experiences that life has to offer. I'm afraid I might not be lucky enough to have this facet of life in my life ever. If that makes me desperate, so be it. I am not ashamed to admit that.

So let me trace the evolution of girls in my life. Pre puberty I was in close touch with only two members of the opposite sex. One is still one of my very best friends,lets call her P, who I have known almost from the day she was born (well, we were family friends) and we spent our childhood together and much of our high school life, too. Granted, we were never like brother and sister, but we never had romantic feelings for each other, too. No hindi film stuff. Almost disproving the oft-discussed theory that a guy and a girl can never be true friends without interfering romantic angles!!! Of course, she is very much in love with a guy these days (actually for some 4 years, now) and in spite of my repeated requests to look out for someone for me, she hasn't done anything worthwhile yet. Girls...good for nothing!!!

The other was my cousin, Ar, one year younger to me. I think she has constantly been in love since she reached the age of 10 with someone or the other. She has all the crappy ideal romantic fluffy notions about love and relationships and of course, that brings expectations to all her relationships which are never fulfilled. So she flitted on and on...she was the one who opened my eyes to the fact that while we were chasing those "oh so innocent" girls all the time, they were not as innocent as we thought. We guys were much more naive. Our friendships were simple. To the point. Uncomplicated. Theirs were complex webs. I was a good listener. I heard her tales and I laughed (no actually, I gave her advice but I laughed on the inside). Maybe that's why she's laughing all the way these days and going steady with a kgpian working in bangalore while I fret and fume...

And what's this with kgpians and love across the cyber desert??? Both these childhood girls of mine now have boyfriends who were in IIT Kgp when they met them over the internet chat rooms. How is it that I got no girl to chat with me over the net??? My kgp tag didn't work and I don't think my iim tag will, either!!! What will, for god's sake???

I'll continue with the evolution process next time...

Sunday, September 18, 2005

Of Weddings and The Bengali...(Part 2)

The weather is really nice today...the sun is shining in full glory...the sky is blue...the birds are chirping...ahh the pujas are coming!!! The heart of the bengali starts skipping a few beats at this time of the year, and even though its the same thing every year, and every year i've the feeling that i've had enough of the puja festivities, i just cannot hold back the child inside me from imagining those "dhaks" and the "ashtami-r anjali" chants as i look out from my balcony!
The pujas are the time when the bengali spends his four most enjoyable days of the year, going out, having fun, no home-cooked meals, meeting friends and family, the whole gamut really! However, the bengali's idea of fun is quite far removed from how a north indian might rejoice. And this is where i come back to the topic of my previous post. A little difficult to pick up the threads from where i left off (blame the b-school time crises), but lets give it a try.
So the bengali celebrates in his quiet home-centered style whereas the up/bihari bhaiyya celebrates in his boisterous style. Quite distinctive but difficult to say which is better. A bengali "biye-baari" will be much more quiter and even a week before, u will not notice much difference apart from the hustle bustle of the family members. Whereas you have all these sessions in other communities where you have the ladies singing and dancing, loud music and what not. And booze.
Booze flows like water in north indian weddings, i mean you have to be in one to believe it. If you suggest booze to a bengali during a wedding, he would be offended, think you are a cheapo or pervert or something. I was literally taken aback that its all so transparent out there, i mean it was even being served in the place where the baraatis were put up while waiting for the groom to turn up and proceed to the mandap. Eventually, i could make sense of all the boisterous merrymaking and enjoyment i had seen in the countless hindi movies associated with the baraat and the shaadi. Booze, that's what. Should have struck me earlier but poor me, brought up in the conservative bengali household (where its okay to booze as long as the information that you booze is restricted to your parents, but society should be kept blissfully unaware of the fact), how could i have known. You may be grown up enough to live on your own 500 kms from home, you may deliver excellent academic results, but all that is nought when someone you know accidentally catches you at the local bar where you and your friends are drinking at one hidden corner at some obscure time of the day...well society turns its nose up and declares you as a dysfunctional juvenile addict and your parents are looked at as failures. That's how hypocritical traditional bengali society is about youngsters and drinking. That's why you wont find any booze at a bengali wedding (well you might, but you'll have to look very hard). And that's why its all so quieter, and it takes the groom only d/v time to reach the mandap (where d=distance from groom's home and v=at least 40kmph)compared to what seemed like an eternity at the meerut wedding!!!
But (yes there is a but, in case you were wondering), what also struck me on that trip was that the wedding did not seem like a family celebration, it was somehow, too contrived. I don't know why, perhaps it was too showy, and perhaps it was the fact that the actual wedding was witnessed by at most 30-40 people (of course, the fact that it was at 3 am cannot be ignored). From experience, a bengali wedding house is a chaotic place. Nothing is as organised, and should not be. Where's the fun then? So you'll find 10 people looking for the groom's "topor" when its already past the official hour of the wedding to start. And countless hours put in by the young people in arranging the "tattwa" (that's the gifts to be exchanged, remember there's no dowry here, a fact i'll dwell upon some other time) and there are so many people in the house and there is so much utter confusion that you might give up on the chances of the wedding actually taking place!!! And in most cases, we still have the wedding happening at the bride's own place instead of some contrived showy mandap, which adds the flavour of homeliness to the proceedings. The groom's household has its own share of festivities at "bou-bhat", a tradition not many other communities have sustained till today. And there's the "bashor-ghor" after the wedding, where all the young people from both sides have a nightlong fun session with the newlywed couple (still, no booze). Bengali society is still, largely free from the adverse effects of materialism, and so weddings may be less boisterous and boring for the casual observer, but look deeper and you'll find there's a lot of fun to be had!!! And oh yes, i almost forgot, the food is awesome!!!
~Disclaimer: No offence meant or intended. To be taken at own peril.

Of Weddings and The Bengali...(Part 1)

These days there's a new spark on the horizon...my elder bro's getting married and that's an event i'm really looking forward, too. It just struck me that some of my wingmates back in kgp had long wanted to be present at a bengali wedding and i suppose some of them might make it to my brother's. But what i fear is that they will be disappointed, or to put it more bluntly, simply bored stiff!
This brings me to the one non-bong wedding that i've attended (excluding the few weddings/receptions that i've attended back in my hometown, those were merely social occasions where i would, mostly, not even be interested enuf to meet the bride/groom and just go straight to where the free grub was being served), that being my wingie deepak's brother's wedding in meerut. It was my first look at a hindi heartland shaadi from the inside and it was frankly, a hugely different experience for me.
Firstly, the experience of meerut itself was quite new, as i had hardly had any experience of life anywhere outside bengal, if you discount the tourist places (even those are infested by bengalis by the dozen). The concept of family, friends, hospitality, socializing, everything seemed quite different from what i was used to back home. And you have to consider the fact that i'm not the usual bangali-babu, having grown up in a more cosmopolitan environment than most calcuttans would be. An industrial township gives you enough exposure to various cultures and i was quite well off on that count. Still, i was absorbing new things, every minute of my stay in meerut.
Bengal and bengalis have an unique culture that they take pride in, actually more pride than it actually deserves, and are hence, more often than not, complacent in the belief that their ways and customs are superior to all else. They have a word of contempt for possibly every other indian state, whether it be the bihari, the maru, the madrasi, the oriya, no one's exempt!Having lived for 4 years in a multi-cultural environment, i sometimes tried to reckon whether the prototypes actually made any sense, but couldn't come up with any definite answers. Of course, every state has its own unique customs, but who gave us the right to judge them and proclaim what's good and what's not? The one thing that we, as a race, universally lack, is self-appraisal. We assume that we are superior and hence, do nothing to uplift ourselves. We lack the spirit to progress. How long can a community sustain itself on its past?
In a state that boasts one of the highest population densities in the country, can you believe that there's not one other top notch city other than Kolkata? Visionaries built new cities in the belief that they would develop around a major industry/ educational institution. 40 years down the line, what do we have? Kharagpur, Kalyani, Durgapur, Siliguri...cities anyone??? If you cross the border to Jharkhand, the land of those utterly contemptible "biharis", you have...let me count...Dhanbad, Ranchi, Jamshedpur, Bokaro...at least 4 thriving cities. Still, we believe we are a much superior race...so nice and assuring. I'll not even begin to talk about work culture and stuff, that's all too well known, but notice the difference between an establishment run by a bengali and that by a "maru" the next time you are out shopping and you'll know what it is that has left bengal so far behind.I'll continue next time...i didn't even come to the wedding stuff...

Rakhi...and its ''fallouts''?

Firstly, people who visit this blog and don't leave their footprints (read--comments), that is extremely undesirable behaviour and highly unwarranted, too!!! In future, refrain from such unsociable behaviour...your comments act as my inspiration!!!

This blog is inspired by the musings of Rashmi Bansal, editor of the popular youth magazine called JAM, and without due permission, I am lifting part of her post "The Ya-Ya Sister-Brotherhood" dated Aug 19, 2005 from her blogsite http://youthcurry.blogspot.com/ for your perusal. As you will obviously understand as you go along, this pertains to the festival of Rakhi.

So here goes Rashmi:
"Rakhi can however be extremely trying - for those who have no siblings of the opposite sex. And they are inevitably tempted into creating 'rakhi brothers' and 'rakhi sisters'.This is thoroughly and completely avoidable. Simply because there are too many examples of girls tying rakhis to the boy next door door for 15 years before realising "Arrey! I'm in love with this guy".And needless and endless complications follow. No one plots for this to happen but nature has its mysterious ways.

You can't ensure you will feel brotherly or sisterly except to a real, blood-related brother or sister.So what do you do? I say we also promote same-sex rakshabandhan. Sisters tie to sisters, brothers to brothers. Only kids to their (same sex) best friends.I know this sounds strange, and slightly kinky. But it's way less kinky than eventually marrying your rakhi brother or sister!"

Pretty incisive, to say the least. And the points are pretty valid. I can say that from personal experiences. I won't, at this point, verify, what exactly those expereinces have been, but I'm sure, as I go along, they will eventually surface. For the present, lets assume I have sufficient knowledge and authority on this subject to be commenting on the issue.

For those who feel...''Issue? What issue?...This is pretty trivial stuff and doesn't necessarily concern me!"...my advice to them is to look around more closely, and observe relationships in and around you and I'm sure you'll realise the validity of Rashmi's point. These days, most relationships at an adolescent level and even slightly beyond that, are governed by peer pressure more than self-willingness.

So we are governed by the superficial desire of having a girlfriend and it seems to us to be an issue of overriding concern and one that has to be dealt with grave urgency. Though this desire is also partly due to physiological wants, let us assume at this point, that we have enough control over our primitive urges (and of course, we have other means to satisfy such urges, I won't dwell on that).

To continue, this desire manifests within us in various ways and gives rise to a lot of frustrations. Some of us treat these frustrations as a stepping stone to further success, some simply give up (now,would that be me?) and some of us develop alternative stategies on the path of achieving our final goal. One of these strategies is to maximize time spent with the other sex on the pretext of being ''rakhi brothers'' (here I am only concentrating on the motives of the ''superior'' sex, since i consider the motives of the ''fairer'' sex at creating ''rakhi brothers'' to be less ego-maniacal and more practically oriented like affection, self-protection, caring sensibilties and so on).

This is an art developed by people who crave for attention from girls, per se, and what better method than appealing to their sensibilities on the pretext of being a brother! Blood-brothers hold a special place in the hearts of all girls and its just a matter of capturing some of that heart-space for yourself! What does a man want when he desires a girlfriend...to spend quality time with her, to be enveloped in her fragrance, to be mesmerised by her words, her touch, her affection...if you can get all that without any effort (actually some initial effort, but nothing compared to what you would be doing if you were to do it the right way!), what more can you possibly want?

Except perhaps to transcend the gap from being a ''brother'' to being a lover? Relax, that's not even a major concern for those who play their cards the right way. Even an innocent man can be convinced that he's guilty if he's told the same thing over and over again...and here we are talking about matters of the heart! Why blame a girl when she falls in love with her ''rakhi brother''? That is what was intended from the beginning! So girls, be slightly wary of people who go overboard in trying to prove their brotherliness (does the word exist?), there might be ulterior motives lurking! And guys, I know there's nothing fair in love and war...but c'mon be more sporting!!!

Lots of unsolicited advice for one day...more later:)

Disclaimer: This blog is not meant to hurt any sensibilities. NO OFFENCE MEANT or INTENDED. Just a pure spark of inspiration.

Feelings and me...some reflections...

Well i don't know how best to put it but I never knew that what I wrote in my stupid blog could touch the hearts of so many people(now here I exaggerate, but anyhow, at least, a few people). Thank you guys, I am touched by your response and as Shubhashis aptly put it, it makes me feel that i will forever miss Kgp.

When we entered the strange world of IIT Kgp in our first years, fresh from high school and as naive and innocent as could be, we could never imagine that separation from the place could hurt so much. Indeed, in those first few initial weeks, all I heard was people cribbing about the town, the campus, the hostel , the rooms, the mess, the bathrooms, the classes, the professors (and of course, the girls, but that is an entirely different topic) and it was a neverending list.

In course of time, all that became trivial. What mattered were the souls that inhabited Kgp and the overriding spirit of the place that pervaded our lives in thousands of small ways and changed us for ever. All of us who have passed out and my friends still there in their 5th yr (as Sandeep put it, the last legion still standing) will admit that they are no more the doe eyed boys that they were 4 years ago. They have learnt the most important lesson of life - how to live - and they have emerged from the experience as mature adults who can face any situation in life without having to turn the other cheek.

Kgp has given me much, (forgive me for making this personal, but as such it applies to most) - it has given me my wingies, my other friends spread over all the 6 hostels (or shud I say 7, actually I should), it has given me the pleasures of spending time with them, knowing them, boozing with them, fighting with them, sympathizing with them, learning from them and teaching them.

Kgp has taught me the nuances of JIT, to do everything on time but never before time, it has taught me that I have it in me to achieve what I set out to - that I would ever play for my hall team would not have occured to me in my wildest dreams while preparing for IITJEE, being flatfoot and forever ridiculed as the studious geek who couldn't play - but I did it, nevertheless, and it will remain special to me.

The night outs I had during our preparation for ILLU in the three years I spent in Patel Hall is, by far, the single most vivid memory I'll carry for the rest of my life from my stay in Kgp - smoking those umpteen suttas to stave off weariness and sleep, to work on and achieve the utmost perfection reachable on those damned chatais with their damned white lines and that damned centre point between the 4 sub-chatais of the main chatai, where you had to climb between two slippery tables 15 ft in the air to tie those last few loops to maintain continuity - that along gave me a high that's incomparable!!! Slogging on through sheets of rain to get the chatais up on the bamboos, with Surya-bhai and Jha sounding directions despite a lost cause of a wet ILLU looming large - these are images that i can't get rid off, baggage I'll carry the rest of my life, for good or for bad.

Many of my friends would feel that I am not the emotional type, I have never been seen to get emotional, never get angry, never cry - indeed, my single largest defining point is my incredible laughter. Hence, it is a valid assumption that I am not the "senti" type. But believe me, it takes a lot of effort to be smiling always, a lot of emotions keep getting bottled up - but that's me. I may not be showing it always, but my feelings can never be doubted. I don't believe in expressing my feelings vocally - I feel relationships are too precious to be diluted by cheap expressions of affection. If that puts off certain people, so be it. For the rest, I will be always be there.

~ cheerioz and keep smiling :)

Last Days in Kgp...a brief note

Now that I'm done with the kerala experience, I guess I should move on to the next phase of my life, namely, the last semester at IIT Kharagpur. After that, I'll come to life at IIMC but that'll have to wait for now. Kgp beckons first and I guess, always will!!!

First let me describe the location where I spent my last two years at Kgp -as we defined it, it was the Eastern Wing on the Middle Floor of the Farthest Block of the Oldest Hall in the Oldest Institute in the IIT Community - so respect!!! Here lived 13 very good and nice people and they really lived their life to the fullest! I'll give but one small example to highlight what I meant by respect - 7 of those 13 guys passed out this year and there was something unique about all of them - one was the Hall President, one was the Best Allrounder (passing out), one was the Patel Trophy (highest hall honour) recipient, one made it through the highest paying job on campus (that wud be Schlumberger Inc.), one was the erstwhile General Secretary (Social n Cultural) of the Institute Gymkhana, one made it to IIM Calcutta (yours truly) - really there was no end to what we had achieved in our time on the campus. And we had also had some of the greatest fun in our lives!!!

In the last two years, we had the added advantage of feeling that we owned the hall - though it will not please many of my friends, I guess it was but natural to feel that way. Since most of what happened in the hall happened because we made it happen, acquiring power was a necessity. But one thing was for certain, the fact that we had the Hall President among us was not the sole factor that made us feel we ruled the hall. There was more than that. There was the wing. Without the wing, the HP is nothing more than a decorative position, as I feel, many present Patelians would surely be feeling, and though I do not want to be embroiled in the present political scenario, I feel the boarders made a terrible mistake last time around when they chose an individual over a wing. The repurcussions are surely being felt, and will be felt for a long time.

Of course, I am not terribly concerned with the current state of affiars. Instead, what I'll remember and cherish is the Hall we had when we came in our 2nd years and the Hall we left in our final year. Final year is of course, a term which holds special meaning to all Kgpians. Well I am not talking about the 5 % "muggu" populace, but for the rest of us, it signifies a period of time when we can finally let our hair down and RELAX! Especially in the post campusing period, its "peace" all the way to graduation!

I didn't enjoy all of the peace though, mainly on account of the IIM interviews which were held in the latter half of my final semester, but still I guess I had more fun than the other IIM aspirants. From January to March, all we did was booze, dope and play 29. Upto our final semester, we were not aware of each other's card playing capabilities when suddenly, we found that most of us could play this dastardly addictive game of 29, and those who couldn't - after two months of being a very supportive audience - found themselves well equipped to match us veterans!

When I had come into the wing in my 2nd year, I was the only guy, apart from Tripathy (who has always remained a very casual smoker), who fagged - but by sheer perseverence, I converted 6 others to take the tally to 8 by the end of final year. Most of us were committed 'Flake'rs, owing to the paucity of cash reserves. As to boozing, we had Harsh Singh and our very own pub-owner, Sachin Shukla whose Cloud #9 hosted innumerable parties over the final four months. Most of my wingies were very concerned that I did not seem to be taking the GD-PI part of the IIM selection process very seriously since most of the other aspirants had been taking classes and all and I, simply did nothing apart from reading up on all material available. No mock GDs, no mock PIs for me at all. The first GD I faced was at IIMK!

Actually, post campusing season, I had come to the conclusion that I had no means of improving my GD-PI skills and so better leave it to divine intervention to save my ass. I almost relied on the fact that since my percentile was passably good, I would by default, get a call from one of the big three, at least. In the end that was what actually happened, but I cut it too close for comfort. Indeed by the time I had got down to checking the IIMC website, I had checked all the other 5 and all of them were negative. It was a strangely disconcerting feeling and I cannot describe how I felt while waiting for the IIMC results - it is a dark and painful thought even now! (Later of course, i qualified for L also, I'd like to kick their bloody asses for keeping me confounded for one day before the Cal results came).

Post IIMC i.e. 9th April, days passed like a dream - everything was too easy - a SGPA of 8.5 in the final semester, with an A in my BTech Project (I bow to my guide) and an EX in my Comprehensive Viva Voce was what i eventually achieved - and finally a sem in which there was not even a single C! When it came to the part when we were actually bidding goodbyes to each other, I couldn't but help not feeling too sad, because somehow I knew that this was not the end, that we were not being separated, that nothing, actually, could separate us. Finally, this is to thank my wingmates for being there for me, supporting me and giving me two of the best years in my life - this post is dedicated to u guys!!!

~Cheerz

My kerala trip part 3

Ahh...eventually i find some time out for my blog. First there were the godforsaken midterms (which, incidentally didn't go too bad, except for that course on data structures, which i'll have difficulty passing!!!) and then there was the world war!!! Hey relax guys u don't have to panic, this world war was restricted to the premises of IIMC alone and we warriors, after 3 days without sleep resembled zombies in action! I lost my voice...well ppl in war do tend to lose something, i sacrificed my vocal chords, nothing much. Then i was in kgp for my convo...fun time after a long time with my wingies...love u all, guys!!! Finally here...so here goes the concluding part of the kerala trilogy...So from aleppey we went to kollam and this was one heck of an experience coz we covered some 35 kms on water on a rickety double decker boat through some of the most glorious countryside! It was Christmas Day and we started round 9 am and reached kollam around 5pm. Though my mom started off by falling off the stairs of the upper deck and landed into the arms of a bemused nipponese tourist, who was very apologetic about it all, the cruise remains the finest 8 hrs of the entire trip. The upper deck, barring me and my bro, was fully composed of foreigners of all shades and in varying degrees of undress (which prompted my mom to stay primarily below deck). One thing which disoriented me was the nonchalance with which these bloody tourists kept littering the deck and the backwaters with their banana skins and water bottles and what not, these same ppl would be so civic minded in their own countries! Anywayz the last phase of the cruise under the moonlit sky and the lights form the chinese fishing nets illuminating our way was breathtakingly beautiful!The next day (Boxing Day, 2004) we started off towards trivandrum on the last phase of our journey and stopped midway at a beach called Varkola. This is a little known beach, not on the usual itinery of Indian tourists, but nevertheless worthwhile as advised by the travel magazines we had referred to. The beach in itself, was quite a surprise since it was quite narrow and overlooked by a cliff...one had to climb down stairs to reach it. Once we reached down, i was pleasantly surprised to discover that indian tourists were grossly outnumbered by the bikini toting populace. Indeed shocked would be the right word...it was a scene straight out from california...never seen so many bikinis at one place! Suitably enthused, me and my bro took to the seas and my father followed soon after, though he hadnt planned on doing it and cosequently, was short of a bathing costume. However, true to kgpian tradition, agar tempo high hai, to kaun rokega...he goes into the water in his briefs and soon, we have to advice him to stick to being underwater!!! The waves were quite high at this time and we were having quite a whale of a time...my mom was of course, suitably psyched out since she was having difficulty spotting us during the time we were ducking under the waves. However, even our bravado was cut out when a towering wave crashed down, flooding the whole beach upto the cliff face in its wake. The tourists sunning themselves, suddenly found themselves without an umbrella! Another one followed, and soon we were scampering to safer places...two blasts on the whistle by the guards and even the burliest of the white tourists had come out of the water. However, nothing followed and soon the bravest among us ventured out again and continued our games with the sea...only later were we to learn that about that exact time, tens of thousands of lives had been lost elsewhere on the planet...the thought really chills you to the core.We checked in to our hotel in trivandrum and only then, i received an sms from my aunt, vacationing in goa, asking whether we were all right. All right? What the heck? I switched on the TV and we were literally too shocked for words. The images will forever remain etched in my memory and the fact that we had been so far, yet so near to it all really hit hard. We thanked our lucky stars...i mean, we had been on a beach at precisely the time when the tsunami had struck! 50 kms due south at kanyakumari (last stop on our tour, dead and broken) the waves had claimed at least a thousand...50 kms due north, the waves had eaten up whole villages in alleppey and kottayam distrcits, places we had been to just the previous day...the whole thing was too unbelievable, it almost made me sick!!Nywayz our spirit of travelling remained indomitable and we chugged on towards Kanyakumari, our last halt, inspite of being warned that tourits were not being allowed entry. In the meantime, we had been to the hallowed beach of Kovalam but red flags littered the shoreline and no one was being allowed within 10 feet of the pristine alluring waters which had swallowed up so many just the previous day and yet, that day, looked so calm and innocent! Kanyakumari resembled a ghost town, with its shoreline properly devastated and the jetty broken and the boats all on the roads with their owners playing cards to while away time. A place usually thriving with more than a lakh of tourists on any given day had no more than a thousand tourists to boast of and it seemed the townsfolk were still to come to terms with nature's fury. Finally, we come to the end of the eventful trip...lots of memories, some i've managed to pen down, some remain confined to my grey matter...in short, NICE!!!

My kerala trip part 2

So cochin was where we had stopped last time. Nice city cochin (or kochi)...its actually a twin city concept...the mainland is ernakulam and there are 5 islands which constitute cochin. So a boat ride is what it requires to get a feel of old world cochin. The portuguese touch is very evident and the jew town has an antique feel to it. Next stop...munnar...sleepy hill resort, surprisingly cold compared to the rest of kerala (dec temperatures hover around 25 degrees). We had great fun on a power boat ride in a dam reservoir closeby...it was a topsy-turvy ride to say the least. We discovered a old hill road leading to kodaikanal but unfortunately, the road was not fit for consumption.Next on the itinery was the hilly lake town of periyar. We had a boat ride scheduled at 7:00 am, on my father's assertion that early morning is the best time for animal viewing (the periyar lake is surrounded by thick forests, infested by tigers, elephants and other varied wildlife, the lake actually was formed by flooding of forestland due to the construction of the periyar dam).As it turned out, at that unearthly hour, we couldn't even see the water from the boat...thick fog (the thickest i've seen) covered the entire lake surface. Animals...what...where? Where's land, for heaven's sake? When the sun finally broke through the cordon, it was a special sight, and though we eventually did not sight even a single species of wildlife apart from some wild boars (obelix, where art thou?), the fog created an extra dimension to an unforgettable experience.On to allepey...the land of sunshine and beaches and the annual boat race, it was a short stop but the beach was quite good. Oh incidentally, periyar will forever remain special to me 'coz that's where i checked out my CAT results and in alleppey the next evening, we celebrated my 6 calls and 99.85 percentile with a few beers. It was the first time i was drinking in full view of my mom and though initially unnerving, i was surprised to find that she was so cool to it all. I'll end this one now...the concluding part of the trip and oh yes...the tsunami(!!!) next time!

My kerala trip part 1

Well i'll be going for the chronicling stuff with retrospective effect...so i'll start with one of the most enjoyable trips i have had in my entire life. That will be my December trip to Kerala, alongwith my family (parents n bro). This trip was in stark contrast to the one we had undertaken earlier in the year when we had gone on the haridwar-hrishikesh-kedarnath-badrinath route. That had been more of a pilgrimage, bitter cold, harsh environs, shabby lodging, and i wont even begin to talk about the food. Suffice to say, it was tough on the body and tough on the mind but that made it very a very special trip indeed. I'll never forget the 14 km walk/trek upto kedarnath...it was amazing...one of the best experiences of my life. The sheer up-climb, the glimpses of snow-clad mountains in the distance, always beckoning, the roar of the mandakini as it flowed alongside in the gorge all made for a heavenly experience. Add to that the multitudes of people, the khacchars (mules, for the uninitiated), the dolis, the pitthus, the coolies, the roadside(or gorgeside, for that matter) tea stalls, and u have the general picture of something unforgettable. The kerala trip, on the other hand, was pure indulgence. Comfort, luxury, good food, even better sights. Kerala has everything to offer - from hills (munnar) to forests and lakes (periyar) to beaches (allepey) to commercial centres (kottayam/ trivandrum).The trip started on a rather ominous note when i broke my glasses on the morning we were supposed to leave for calcutta. I was playing cricket (december is the time u play cricket, don't blame me!) and somehow, the ball found its way to my specs, of all days, on that day. I was initially psyched out but, somehow, managed the situation by running to the optician (i actually availed the bus service, though i cud have driven the scooter, but my mom wud have none of it), and we were able to reach calcutta on time. Dinner was on the Shatabdi Express since we were travelling executive class (for those who haven't guessed, my father's company was paying for the trip...wat do they call it...LTA i guess). We had our flight the next afternoon and it was a rather strange setup. My brother was going on the Sahara flight and we had the IA flight to madras and then we had a connecting flight to Trivandrum. As luck wud have it, both the flights got delayed (for very separate reasons!) and we missed our connecting. This incidentally was the first time i was on a flight (actually once b4 at the age of 10 months, so i discount that) and i did quite well for myself.This though, resulted in some fun actually as IA had to put us up at a nice hotel and all with buffet dinners and hot tubs and large screen tvs and what not. Quite nice, very nice, in fact. Who knows when i'll be able to afford such luxury, so enjoy while u have it. Two international flights later, we landed in cochin and on the way, befriended a local family who gave us a lift to the city (thereby saving us 1000 bucks). This now...rest will follow later.

Sunday, July 10, 2005: A new beginning!!! (hopefully)

Ah how good it feels to be writing again...its been almost 10 months since i last posted anything on my blog! I am decidedly poor at this, unmotivated u might say but that's my attitude towards everything, or u might also say, common human attitude. The marginal satisfaction keeps going down but in my case the marginal rate of decrease of satisfaction follows an exponential curve. Ah see, now an engineer-cum-wannabe manager speaks in his engineer cum managerial jargon. So typical. And so unavoidable. So u might be wondering and so i make it clear...i've passed my engineering exams and am now officially a graduate, B.Tech (Hons.) in Manufacturing Science and Technology from IIT, Kharagpur. What an achievement! I feel like laughing. What a gross wastage of the nation's resources when they turn out engineers like me from the nation's premier engineering college. It reflects poorly on the system but that's the way things work here. Add to that, i've now decided to waste the nation's frugal resources further by getting myself admitted to another of its most highly rated institutes, IIM Calcutta and prrof of my unsuitabliity is that i have enuf free time now to waste on trivial issues of life like blogging. But I keep taking these plunges, knowing not where i'll reach finally. I try and make some sense out of the whole process but sense and sensibility eludes me. As Hemingway said so shall i ask, '' For whom the bell tolls?"...any answers? Not me...not today...not tomorrow but definitely sometime in the future which is ever so dark for me. Not figuratively dark but actually dark...i can't see into it, i need some very bright lights. Who's gonna provide me those? Anywayz i'll keep it at that this time round...short and enigmatic, to say the least. Next time i'll update u on whats been happening in my life all these days...how i landed up at IIMC and how life actually is at IIMC. I promise to chronicle my life out here, lets see if i can live up to it.

What to blog?

The thing that follows logically from my last blog( for those poor lost souls who haven't read my earlier blog, this is one way of making you read it) is what i should be writing about in a blog. Sometimes it might be that you have been contemplating some idea sparked off as a reaction to what has been recently happening around you and you think you should pen down your thoughts. Coz that's why we are supposedly here...to pen down our thoughts. But tell me, is it humanely possible that you have incisive thoughts day in and day out...thoughts that are fit enough to be penned down that is, coz it would be an understatement if i say that we are not thinking all the time, but mostly the cutting edge of all those thoughts are connected with a blunt tool!!!So as i was saying, is it only about writing down what you have been thinking? Even that is a difficult proposition...who can ascertain that your mind works only when you have a computer handy? And it is really hard to write about some feeling that's come and gone...well ok, u can try but it won't come off that good.So another option is you can try updating on a daily basis or at least on a regular basis important facets and events of your life...that will throw some light on your character...what you like and what u don't...what you like to think about and what u don't...but here also, comes thew very important question of why you are writing, for yourself or for the readers.I would advocate a middle path...write about things that you yourself would like to read at a later stage and would make you reflect about yourself... how you are evolving as a human being.Or you could use this medium to advertise your writing skills by posting articles about any topic under the sun...by writing about personal experiences and how they have affected you...others might relate to your experiences and be compelled to consider how they themselves would have reacted under the same circumstances and appreciate the different ways in which a human mind works. Coz as a blogger, i know it is a pleasure to go through a well compliled blog, you not only learn about the other person but it helps to broaden your horizons.What i've written thus far may not appear to be quite compact and leading to any conclusion as a whole but that's the fun of the whole thing...who says all thoughts must follow a pattern...thoughts really are quite like particles of dust flying in the wind...you never know which one you'll catch when...so write whatever you feel like, whether on a predetermined topic (like this one) or sth that's just struck you or sth that's happened ages back...who cares what u write about, just do it!!!

Why blog?

This time i thought i should spend some time thinking why i'm keeping this blog...this must be a much deliberated topic in blogging circles...however, since i'm a absolute newcomer to this arena, i confess i'm not quite privy to the accepted norms of maintaining a blog...i sometimes wonder whether i'm doing this just coz some of my peers are doin' it too...confess it, men, i know though you would like to pass it off as only inspiration derived, there is always the iota of deficiency if u haven't tried your hand at sth your friends have tried and found quite interesting...so even if u didn't think it was a good idea at first, u might change ur minds once u see ppl reading blogs of friends and appreciating the efforts!!!Of course, this is not the main reason for everybody, for some it might be a genuine urge to try their hands at something new...or as was the case with me, try to dabble in a creative arena just for the heck of it, a medium of expression when u've nothin' better to do or no one better to tell...but this urge might also be mixed with a sense of personal satisfaction or smugness with the knowledge that ppl will be goin' thru ur writings...ur 15 minutes of fame wat?Some of this might sound too concocted but they do affect you subconsciously while you are writing a blog and might render it a not wholly honest ''from the heart'' effort but an effort suited somewhat to the tastes of the reader...perhaps we do not intentionally want to keep the reader in mind but we cannot eliminate the factor either!!!Blogging thus, might be pretty useful for those wishing to promote glamour tabloidism but i'm not saying that we do not write just for the fun of it...for most of us, we derive happiness in our written word, the type of happiness we cannot get from speaking, we let our words flow away with us and carry more than we ever intended them to!!!So keep up the good work bloggers...we might just someday change the way the world thinks!!!( see that's wat i was just saying...that last sentence was aimed for the readers with blatant disregard to the tone of the article...not good...not good...i'm yet to be an honest blogger!!!)

Light at the end of the tunnel

Well firstly i must inform you with absolutely no sense of pride that ive eventually landed a job at some weird software consultancy firm called accenture...for the uninitiated(dont worry i was in the same grp till yesterday morning) it means accent to the future...watever that's supposed to mean. The only good thing this does is make my mind a little lighter, which was beginning to feel a tad overburdened of late.Not that i was ever in fear of not getting a job, but time is a major factor, especially for someone who cannot look beyond a career in management and sees a certain sense of unaccomplishment(watever that means) and unfulfilment in anything else.Indeed i dont know where else i wud be if not in management.Any other scenario does resemble a horror story to me...i feel i wud be in a dark tunnel with no light at either end.Well i wont be more morbid today but these past few weeks have opened a lot of avenues of self-contemplation inside me.Like what exactly do i want from myself and my life.Like what are my current expectations and my current capabilities...after much contemplation i've come to the honest conclusion that i dont know much abt the basics of any technology but i've a good working knowledge, that i'm good at analysis and logical reasoning, that i've got a good grasp of language and that I'm good at MCQs...speed and accuracy are my main weapons.So what do i do with these in my armoury...what exactly are these good for...ive no damn idea.I would have liked to work in an industry i.e. factory maybe primarily coz my father has served so long in one.So factory stuff has always fascinated me and this childlike fascination led me to beilieve that i'd be very happy on the shop floor...i dont know how long this wud've held true were i given the chance!Well i wasn't and really after being kicked out by 8 bugging companies you wud take anything that comes ur way. I really didn't feel that waiting any longer was going to serve me any purpose save prolonging my exasperation. Because of two things i was very much sure, luck is the single most important factor in this respect and that your performance in any campusing event is hardly reflective of your capabilities. So keep faith in your capabilities and be strong...the law of averages will catch up one day...this was my only thought during the last few days.Anyway this weekend i'll be most probably going on a trip to Puri alongwith a 20 member team from my mamarbari(thats's mother's side of the family) which had been planned long back and had i been unemployed for a little longer, i might have put both mine and my parent's plans in jeopardy coz however much my mom might have denied not being tensed about my not getting through for so long, i was sure that was a charade so that i would not be unnecesarilly burdened! So it makes me very happy that i'll be enjoying with them this weekend, coz honestly speaking i deserve this and much more.Bad luck can only hold me back this much. Beyond that its my attachment to my friends and family and my belief that their happiness is what matters most(myself included) keeps me going.chalo this much for now...my friend sandy rath is breathing down my neck...so i'd better go now coz u see i'm using his computer and not allowing him to use the messenger. I may still be single, but that doesn't mean that i shud ignore the feelings of thoss who aren't...wat say?

Tension

Well I told u i am lazy...so here i am, posting my 2nd blog a good 40 days after my previous one. I have excuses, no doubt, but nothing more than sheer laziness when u come to think of it a little more dispassionately.Now what do i write...my entire mind nowadays is occupied by one single thought...a job...koi mujhe achha job dila de plzz...jaldi!!! Unless n until i get a decent job, i'm not being able to concentrate on anything else and its a rather unnerving phase of life. Being rejected outright by companies is a nightmarish scenario but its true that all life is an experience and all experiece is an arch where thru gleams that untravelled world whose margins fade for ever and for ever as we move( not my lines, of course...adapted with a few pardonable mistakes from "ulysses" by Lord Alfred Tennyson)...ya so coming back from this literary stupor, wat was i saying? Oh yes, the constant tension is making me even more unproductive these days...so u guys who want my creative juices to flow better pray for me.Nothing much else is going on these days except long and winding discussions about future plans and priorities. Many of my friends have clear cut goals but some, like me, wud prefer to wait n watch...i'll take whichever path life offers me...but this throws up conflicting thoughts inside me...u know, all this while, all i believed in is that i shud be happy in my life, watever i may be doing doesn't matter coz happiness of myself and my near and dear ones is all that matters. These days i sometimes contemplate this to be a slightly selfish thought process...is my happiness all there is to my life...is that going to be that be all and end all of my existence or am i meant for something else?This morning i was having a rather stimulated discussion about the much publicised hanging of dhananjoy chatterjee and contemplating the pros and cons of a death penalty, or more generally any corporal punishment. We were unable to reach any concrete conclusion but the point that drove home to me is that there is a wider world beyond my own selfish ''happy'' existence and that there must be some contribution that i might be capable of making that might change just a little sth in some little corner of this earth. If i can achieve just that little and be able to influence ppl to do the same too, perhaps i would be making the best use of my education in one of the best colleges of the country because there is no denying the fact that IIT's education system is designed to make not perhaps the best engineers( I think ppl from the NITs are more capable academically that most of us out here)but to make us capable of handling and managing any situation and to broaden our horizons. That is why IITians have proved to be so successful men because the 4 or 5 yrs they have spent here has completely changed their outlook and mindset. And if so many examples are out there who have managed some change, however infintesmal it may be, then perhaps it would not be a good idea to shirk my responsibilities...perhaps i'm meant to repay the debt of the nation...its certainly no small matter and needs a lot of level headed thinking...if u have any solutions do tell me...till then,bye bye...i'm thinking, u see!!!

My rediffblog posts

I am copy-pasting all my previous blogs on rediff for easier reference for future blogs. Here's the first one:

since this is my first effort at writing on the net i'll keep it short and limit it to an introductory one...myself, suvro sarkar, final year student of engg. at IIT Kgp...currently doing my training at Alloy Steels Plant, Durgapur...if you are wondering why i chose such a weird place, its coz this is where i hail from and this is the company that has fed me and my family for the past 32 years...so RESPECT!!!Anyway i got the inspiration for this blog from my batchmate,hallmate and friend kriti sen sharma who's himself started a blog and it seemed to me to be quite an interesting prospect what with the internet on my fingertips anytime i cud keep you updated on my life almost real time.So here i am...wish me luck...hope this will be quite an enjoyable saga...c u again soon...tata!!!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

First Post in blogspot

Well i'll just say this much...check out my blog at http://lazygarfield.rediffblogs.com coz that's where i have been blogging for some time and will continue to do so...i'll try to post the same things here too, but may miss out on some, so bear with me.
This account is primarily created with a view to post comments on blogs i read and enjoy...i believe commenting is an essential component of blogworld and without appropriate comments, the writer is incomplete...so there...nywayz till the next post
~ensoi