Friday, 28 October 2005


It's funny how a person behaves with various people. There may be a common recognizable strain in the behaviour that sets the person apart from all others, identifies him as unique. Then again, maybe not.

Take Henry and Edward for example. Amy thinks Henry's an absolutely charming chap! Caring, considerate, sensible.. in short the perfect guy to have around when she's feeling a little low. He's sure to get her back to her chirpy self. According to Pink, there could be no one more irritating, self-centered and downright boring than Edward! Now all that's perfectly cool, till I tell you that Eddie and Henry happen to be the same guy. Now the fun part in the whole thing is when you have a clear third person view of the whole picture as Eddie/Henry's good friend Kris :D.

It's so difficult to know people these days. It's not so much that you find hidden depths in them that you didn't know exists, but the fact that the stuff hidden in those depths seem to invariably be dark and forbidding. It's a rather scary world out there...

Wednesday, 26 October 2005


Barely one day at Asker, a small suburb of Oslo, and I experienced my first snow fall! Well, it was also the first heavy snowfall of the season, and the countryside that was earlier dry and colourful, suddenly turned white all over!!

A day later, with the sun out again, and the sky a bright blue, the landscape is ravishingly beautiful. Too bad I'm stuck in classes for eight hours a day (which is pretty much all the hours of daylight). Oh, but it's so much fun watching snow slipping softly off the tree leaves!

Sunday, 23 October 2005

Of delayed flights and aerial traffic jams!

So I decided to put a nightout at home before catching flight last night. True to form, fell asleep as soon as I got into my seat. Trouble is I slept through breakfast! And by the time I woke up the flight steward very nicely asked me to wait for the next meal!!!
And at London there was a huge delay due to air traffic control! It meant that the pilot gave nice aerial tour of the city while circling near Heathrow airport, but I was stuck smack in the middle of the bloody plane!! Couldn't see a thing :(!! And then had to wait in queue for the next flight to take off! Reminded me of how cars in Kolkata keep edging each other out while getting into a single lane road!
Most interesting thing though was when I noticed two air crafts flying underneath our aircraft (in this flight I had window seat)! The tiny specs of blinking light heading huge smoky trails that stay hanging in thin air!! I was kicking myself for not getting a picture of that!
Norway seems to be a nice place (though I've barely been here for 3 hours :P). Most importantly, I figure I can survive the cold :D.

Friday, 21 October 2005

Days go by. . . .

I'm bored. It's been raining almost continuously for the last three days now. The sky is perpetually cloudy, and it's getting a bit chilly. And I have to finish up my left-over shopping for my upcoming trip to Norway (yeah I know I shouldn't be complaining about the Kolkata chill under the circumstances). It's not fun. Not with knee high water in some places, the dampness, the muddy, sloshy, slippery, crowded market. Oh yes, it's still crowded, people hurrying up to catch the last of the leftover Durga Puja sale offers.

My boss seems to be nice, he took the trouble of informing me that winter has already hit Oslo, and that I better be ready to deal with some heavy snow. And ice. He also informed me that the taxi service from accomodations to the office has been suspended, so we'll have to leg it. In the ice and snow.


Have been listening to Switchfoot (that's a band) these days. Don't have any mp3's yet, so hanging on to Yahoo! Music and VH1. I strongly suggest you try and watch the video of Stars. It's nice. Has people flying around. I think. It's a little difficult to make out actually. But the music's good :).


Was browsing through some pics I've been taking through my window and this one turned up and made me smile.

Friday, 14 October 2005

A Godess, a car and a few stops down memory lane.

So finally I'm back home. Left home early in the morning of the 8th, and promptly banged into a minibus on a crazy one lane street in the city. Six days and over 600 Kms later I had to go give the car in for repairs and I must say other than that one glitch the trip went like a dream. I was with my family during the Puja after a gap of four years and it felt good to be back!

Parents, grandparents, uncle and aunt!

For the most part the roads have improved a great deal, the 4 lane NH 2 lets you cruise at 120 Kmph and still feel short of a gear! Of course the highway and long flat roads aren't a place for the diminutive Alto, but in the narrow dusty tracks which we took to find old zamindaar families around Shantiniketan who still keep to their family Durga Pujas, it was perfectly at home!

Several villages and family 'mandap's later we decided it was time for some city flavour and took a trip to the city of Durgapur 50 Kms away. As the sun set, the lights of the huge, glamorous community Puja's strove to keep the gathering darkness at bay!

Eventually I headed off to Asansol to be a part of the final idol immersion festivities in my old neighbourhood. I was really saddened to notice that the huge seesam tree that used to stand smack in the middle of the pandal had died some years back and had left the place looking too clean. And empty.

The same pandal, the same idol, but no same old tree.

Everyone I met seemed to expect a 16 year old in my place. And some of the other 16-year-olds I seemed to remember had somehow morphed into serious 22-year-olds who I could hardly recognise. Well, most of them had simply disappeared. It was eventually up to the evening's traditional display of fireworks to cheer me up. Which it did, considerably :).

As promised, I've put up some pictures of the Godess, the pandals and the trip on my photoblog.

Tuesday, 11 October 2005


Connecting to the net after 4 full days! That's the longest such stretch since my trip back from the Trident, the difference is, here I had at my disposal a supposedly serviceable BSNL dial-up link that simply refused to connect. Till now that is.

There's just one more day to go for this year's Durga Puja to conclude. In the last few days I've relived at least a bit of the flavour which I was afraid I'd lost completely, but it's not the same. Actually I don't think I expected it to be just like old times either. Still, I must say the enthusiasm is infectious! Will post some of the many photographs I took once I have a more reliable net connection. (Which I suspect will only be once I get back home in another three day's time.)

Now I'm looking forward to another long drive from here (that is Shantiniketan) to Asansol. The road's an absolute dream, at least by local standards!

Friday, 7 October 2005

Festive season

It's that time of the year when every Bengali's heart beats to the rhythms of the 'dhaak'! It's the time for Durga Puja, the greatest festival in the Bengali calendar (and that's saying something, given the huge number of festivals in the Bengali calendar :D). And here in Kolkata the preparations have reached a fever pitch. The pandal (you can think of it as a disposable temple made of bamboo, cloth and whatever else the builders deem befitting) near my house is all but complete.

Maa Durga
With just one more day to go, it's not just pandals being finished in a hurry, people all over the place are rushing to complete their Puja shopping. In the heart of central Kolkata, the throngs of shoppers have all but obliterated any sense of discipline in the traffic. Traffic Police are rendered helpless as crowds simply refuse to part and allow vehicular traffic to ply on the roads.

Amidst this frenzy, I feel oddly left out. For the last four years I have been living away from home and now, I can't seem to be able to get back into the groove. Maybe it's just because I've never been in Kolkata during Puja. Tomorrow I'll head back to where it all began for me, to my grandparents' place and to my earliest memories of Durga Puja. And from there I'll be off to my earstwhile hometown, Asansol. I recall the fun we used to have in what seems to be such a long time ago, fond memories. Well, tomorrow I'll see if it all comes back to me!

Tuesday, 4 October 2005

The Kolkata Taxi

Currently they maybe seen in their 'yellow with royal blue strip around the waist' avatar, but this was not always the case. There was a time when most of the city cabs were just yellow. And then again there was the time when all of them were half black and half yellow. However, one thing that I haven't seen change in these past two decades is the fact that the taxi's themselves are invariably the Hindustan Motors Ambassador.

And today the wisdom in this dawned on me as I sat in one of these behemoths as it carried me over the sea of potholes and tramline ruts that passes for central Kolkata thoroughfares. I was imagining what would happen to my teeny-weeny Alto if it were to face such a situation. Very possibly it would have disappeared right into one of the gaping manholes that appear suddenly in the road! (Oh, the manholes have covers and all, it's just that they form depressions in the road whose depths can be measured in feet!) The Amby of course had no trouble negotiating these minor hurdles, and why not, the suspension is the one used in most TATA six-plus-wheeled trucks!!

Monday, 3 October 2005

Blistering barnacles in a thundering typhoon!

Seems like bad weather has a sure way of following me around. First on the ship, then typhoons hitting Tokyo, then depression over Mumbai and now an even worse depression over all of southern West Bengal with Kolkata smack in the midlle of it!

Been stuck in the house, thankfully my cousin's visiting, so it's not so painful. He managed to finish Max Payne 2 in under twenty-four hours, with me watching out to see where the bullets came from every time he got killed :D. It's good fun actually, and we found some interestig things about the game. For instance, suppose you are stuck on a ledge one floor above the ground, leaping face forwards is a sure way of getting killed, however, if you fall butt-first, not a scratch!!

Also found out that people try extremely vague names for their blogger accounts! I was trying to give my cousin an example, and had to go through usernames arbit, aarbit, aaarbit, till I finally found aaaaarbit available!!