Month: September 2009

‘Tis Puja Time (And Other Things)

‘Tis Puja time in Cal. Everyone seems happy and chirpy all of a sudden; Pandals have been erected overnight, every square inch of acreage’s been milked for all they’re worth; the dhakis are all set to do what they do best; the street food wallah’s are ready to make a killing again. Nothing’s changed. Nothing ever will.

Had gone back to NUJS a couple of days back. Didn’t go back to Room No. 217. The last time I’d been there, I’d found somebody else cooped up inside. Bit of a shock to the system, that. With the vacs on, there were hardly any peepul around. Met up with the Tea-boys, the LAN-man, Miskhan and the Poet Jr. They were probably the only few fellas still left. Also, ran into Rookie who is up to strange and wonderful things at the SC. And of course, had Dim-wala Maggi with onions and chillies 🙂 Friggin’ brilliant. Brought back lots of memories. Most of them though, from those unfortunate mornings we used to have uttapam for breakfast.

Speaking of food, Benjarong’s the new Mainland China. Most certainly so. And their Chicken Satays are bloody awesome. Sigree’s finally spruced up on its main course act. And that was the best Dum Biryani I’ve had in a long, long time. Who knows, people might actually start going there for a reason apart from them kebabs.

Henin’s apparently making a comeback. All’s well in the world again. There ought to be some sort of a law expressly forbidding anyone with a backhand like hers from being ever allowed to retire. Mein Gott, I could keep on watching replays of that single-handed backhand for hours on end!

The Post Office on Southern Avenue has got to be the cleanest, most well-ventilated, supra-spacious government facilitated message disbursal mechanism I’ve ever been to. ‘Tis speshul. The fellas behind the counters though are having none of this speshul-ness. There was this one lady in particular, simply refused to tell me which counter to go to. Thankfully, I’m of a calm, equable disposition. In fact, at times I’m positively Zen. Otherwise, (mutters darkly……)

Speaking of Zen, I present another Zen master.  ‘Tis truly a measure of the times we live in, that I get to see stuff I might not have even heard of otherwise. I hereby present, Zidane – A 21st Century Portrait. Real Madrid vs. Villareal. April 2005. From the first whistle to the last. 17 Synchronized cameras. All focussed on ONE man, his slightest actions, his every movement, his sudden sprints, his subtlest feints. On Zidane. (Cross-linked from here)

Getting All Tweeted Up

A person who tweets is apparently a very lonely man who is in serious need of social counselling. Or so the Congress party would have us believe. (Link here) No wonder they’re getting so worked up. Even intra-political party dysfunctionalism has some bloody limits, innit.

I don’t tweet, by the way. I merely blog (at times). Which, when I come to think of it, might be significantly worse. Damn.

The Day it Rained Forever

Cheesy song, that. Currently listening to it. On replay mode.

Saw a full-blown insurrection today. Propah Mangal Pandey-type chap. Was ranting about assorted calumnies being visited upon the proletariat staff by the Bar Bourgeoisie.

Riled him further by asking him about the appropriate procedure pertaining to the submission of a Rule 40 application. Right in the middle of a strirring, fire-and-brimstone monologue. Was told I was at the wrong counter. Dunno, if  ’twas literal or metaphorical.

Lost my umbrella handle on the road. Didn’t notice until a kindly shopkeeper pointed it out and despatched one of his underlings to rummage for it. He didn’t find it either. Walked the rest of the way with an umbrella without a handle. Pretty cool. Not half as cool as my mini-umbra though; the one I used to tote around in college.

Butter Chicken and Cappuccino is one BAD combination. Not recommended. AT ALL.

There’s a point on the seventh floor terrace at the City Civil Court, where you can see the Hooghly to your right, the Cal HC ramparts and the Eden floodlights dead-centre, and what looked like the Ochterlony Monument, to your left.  I’d have probably seen more, but for the blasted rain

My shoes are clean. As clean as they have ever been. Wading through a couple of feet of water all day long does have its strong points.

On the Subject of Homes

He sat quietly in a corner of his room, brows furrowed, and wondered.

He wondered what people meant when they called something, someplace a home. And then, he wondered, about his own home.

He wondered about that small city he spent his childhood in. That small hill-top at the bottom of which he used to stay, and silently chuckled at the thought of the sixty degree angle their cricket pitch invariably made, whenever they played on that road which angled down from there. He remembered all the times he’d had that Samose wali chat at Kamboj Sweet Shop, Kulfi at Kumar’s or had borrowed those dog-eared Tintin issues at the nearby kirana shop. He remembered Gupta Aunty, the Khannas, Charu Didi, Jogen Bhaiyya, Shakti-Nanha and dear old Uncle Bhaiyya. His old school which was just a fifteen minute walk away, or Nikku Bhaiyya and Mabel Didi who walked alongside him to school everyday. He remembered his friends, his teachers. He remembered studying by the light of a lantern during those all-too-frequent evening power outage sessions and how every night he could see the lights of Mussoorrie gleaming in the distance. He remembered all those days, when he was still a boy, and silently willed them to come back again.

Then, he wondered about that city he grew up in. The City of Splendour. The City of Squalor. The City of Joy. The City of Sorrow. The City of Palaces. The City of Pot-holes. He remembered how, the first thing he had noticed about this city, was that he’d never seen so many Ambassadors in his life before. He remembered a certain something called rallies, and an even bigger travesty called the Book Fair. He remembered marvelling at the sheer variety and quantity of food, food, and still more food. He remembered his school; he remembered his college. He remembered the uncluttered views he used to command from the floor of his 10th floor apartment and how green everything seemed from up there. Classmates, acquaintances, friends, neighbours, he remembered them all. He remembered how unbelievably helpful people were at times, at bus-stands, on roads, anywhere. He also remembered how he was once called an outsider and asked to go back where he came from. He remembered the good times; he remembered the bad. He remembered all that; and, he remembered more.

His thoughts went to the other city now. That city where he was born. That city where his Mum and Dad came from. That city, where once every couple of years, he and all his relatives used to come together to catch up on all the time they had lost. To deal in constants like love and affection; and to compare variables like height and weight. He remembered having Alu-Dum Dahi-Vada off Barabati Stadium, or that killer Rabri Lassi at Buxi Bazaar. He remembered his Aai’s uber-licious chaats, and those meals at Kalyani Nagar, where every session closely approximated a veritable feast. He remembered all his relations who still stayed there; his grandparents, his uncles and his aunts. He remembered his little cousins, all of whom seemed to be as irrevocably scatter-brained as he was. He remembered, and he treasured those moments anew.

In turns, he thought about all the moments he had spent at each of these places, a few weeks, a few months, and a few years at a time. Details, every single one of them, came flooding back to him. In vivid technicolour mode.

And then, he realized one thing. Homes are not where you come from. Homes are not where you go. Homes are, where your heart is, and forever there, shall you stay.

And by the way, which blasted dingbat said that homes had to ever conform to some kind of a singularity paradigm

He sat quietly in a corner, and wondered no more.

He switched on his comp and listened to Adele blitz ‘Hometown Glory’ instead. 🙂