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Was caught in midst of a proper forex turf war today. Vicious. Like ’em mealy-mouthed piranhas. Like millions of ’em. Managed to escape relatively unscathed though.

Saw me a fight today. South City was the scene of action. Again. There’s apparently this Cal hotshot called Tapas Pal. Don’t think I’d heard too much about him before.  Well, in any case the chap merits a lal-batti. Which should suffice as a suitable hotshot qualificatory paradigm. (Heh, nudge, Maruti :), wink wink; Inside joke, don’t try figuring that one out). Well, in any case, our hotshot was traveling with his even more hotshot hanger-ons, when an Alto brushed their car’s rear fender. From the looks of it, I think the Alto came worse off. But, you should have seen the hanger-ons let loose. They probably regarded that as a personal affront to their resident deity. A few of ’em looked like they were on verge of coronaries. Good fun.

Disclaimer: I’ve no way of knowing whether the hotshot in question was INDEED, as stated hereinabove, Mr. Pal. Given my general knowledge of hotshots, I wouldn’t have known him from Father Adam. The credit for identifying THE man, must go to my auto-wallah, a maniac so engrossed by the spectacle that he parked himself in the middle of the road for five whole minutes, just to watch those gits shake their fists in each other’s faces.

Had some work at Esplanade yesterday. There was also this massive rally there, which basically put paid to all my plans. Now that’s not the surprising bit. Staying in Cal does kinda inure you to instances where bandhs, rallies, hartals, et al, reinforce again and again, the dictum of living in the moment. And that plans, of any kind, which do not involve ferrying people across in public buses to show the sheer groundswell of public support, are for cretins 🙂

But I digress. The surprising bit was that there was absolutely no publicity about this particular thing. Not even a word. Usually, the Telegraph, or more usually the Metro, might be relied on to serve some kind of advance notice, but in this case, nothing. Zilch. And then even today, forget about there being an article, there was not even a friggin’ sentence about it anywhere. I googled it then, all necessary catchwords, in place. All I managed to locate was one picture by some freelance photographer.

One thing I haven’t mentioned yet. This was a Muslim rally. By which I mean, the entire stretch from about Eden Gardens till possibly the Indian Museum, was full of bearded men, in Kurtas, and wearing skullcaps. Dunno exactly for what reason. And as most Cal-wallahs would know, rallies and reasons don’t exactly always go together.

But those are not the points. Neither the participants nor their agenda. The point is about this whole-scale media blackout. What really gets my goat is this truly awesome political correctness thingie. Not to mention, having a media in place, which for all its positives, still believes that there are certain issues to be handled with kid-gloves, because, we, even after sixty years of democracy, are still not mature enough to handle them.

P.S. Questionable non-sequitur 🙂 I think Rann releases today. Dunno which RGV would turn up this time. The one of Sarkar, or the one of Aag.

P.P.S. Might be guilty of a wee bit of stereotyping above. But then I guess, you gotta call a spade a spade. Much in the same was as a RSS rally = Knickerwallahs Unlimited or…No, I think I should stop here!

Obgarb The Trafick Ruls

Saw that emblazoned on the rear bumper of an auto today. When you come to think of it, it really ain’t that bad; just pronounce’g’ as you would in gentile. On an unrelated note, imagine two points, A and B connected only by one straight road. Now, the problem which my rather limited abilities at comprehenion faces is why on earth do the auto-rickshaw wallahs have to holler out that they are going to B when quite clearly there isn’t much of an option insofar as the destination is concerned. Apart from being a pitiful waste of lungpower it is also rather disconcerting for those sitting next to the guy.

Racing Cycles and Cal Roads (A 10-point Charter)

1. The notorious traffic sensibilities of Cal citizens which are second to none in the entire country

2. The kind of perverse pleasure they take in walking in right the middle of the road

3. And then swerving to left and night when you are just one or two feet away as if poked by an invisible phantom (At least applies to Golf Green residents out for their daily perambulations around the Central Park)

4. Racing cycles aren’t generally fitted with bells (atleast mine isn’t)

5. In the absence of which phrases like ‘get out of my way’ or ‘Hey, yooouuu’ are the only way by which I can avoid crashing into the walking or jogging crowd

6. Which, I do not think serves to endear me, in any way whatsoever to the hitherto mentioned crowd, and how they get their own back by resolutely coming right in front of me the next time, even though I’d have hollered my lungs out

7. Usual cycling hours consist of either early morning or late evenings

8. Which, as it incidentally turns out are also the hours reserved exclusively by winged beings for their daily bowel movements

9. Meaning thereby, that there is also every possibility of being torpedoed by bird droppings

10. Ergo, in the face of such arboreal and earthy obstacles, cycling enthusiasts of Cal, Beware

Bloody Comrades

Scene : 11: 30 this morning. I have my timetable charted out in front of me, the to-do list staring at me right in the face. Reach the bus stop and what do I see? A massive, gargantuan rally which has completely blocked all kind of traffic. Buses? *#@$! Forget it. They are more busy plying the CPI (M) party cadres to whichever hellhole (in this case, the Maidan which is actually a pretty nice place, esp. to play cricket), they’re having their rally in. And how could our beloved cabbies be left behind. They had to join in the festivities, charging around three to four times the normal fare. The scene at the bus-stop had to be seen to be believed. Choc-a-bloc with people, most of them as exasperated and annoyed as I was, muttering and cursing under their breath. And once a bus came along…..not carrying one of those frigging red flags, pandemonium, bedlam, chaos, the works, you know. All these people were running like maniacs, pushing and shoving just to get on that bus.I actually saw one character jump on a bus already in motion, trying to grasp the conductor’s hand, who by the way himself was halfway thrust out. For one fantastic moment, suspended in midair, he looked remarkably like some kind of a trapeze artist.

I haven’t launched into this diatribe merely to convey my annoyance and displeasure at the inconveniences which I and thousands of people throughout this city were subjected to. What really gets me, is the sheer futility of these rallies. I admittedly, am woefully ignorant of the nitty-gritties of whatever political causes espoused by any party. I, at best, can only pretend to have a general notion. But, the very idea of seeing busloads upon busloads, truckloads upon truckloads of men being ferried, just you know, to fill up the numbers, is something which I find exccedingly repulsive. And from what I have heard, most of these people are actually paid to attend these rallies. Forget about ideology, this is plain, bloody hypocrisy. Well, I guess thats the way it is and it shall always be, and lets face it, I’d take CPI (M) anyday over Mamtadi.

P.S. A person died the day before. A certain Mr. Heinrich Harrer. One of the greatest mountaineers the world has ever seen and the author of possibly the best travelogue I have ever come across. Herr Harrer, you shall never climb alone.