Saturday, 31 December 2011

Onto 2012

This year has been a year of hope ---- mostly not – fulfilled and some fulfilled.

We completed the first year of staying in our new house and got acquainted with the neighbours. We now know people by their names and can occasionally exchange a point or two without getting too much into the depths of the contents.

The work front has taken off in our new venture, but at the moment we are experiencing the famed mid-life challenges of any such venture. We are doing barely enough to tide over the present troughs such that the crest next year is meaningful. But this also was the year where new horizons opened up and enriched me with first hand knowledge. I have never travelled so much for work after 1997.

On a personal front I had started going to the gym for the first time after 1993. In fact, I like the experience and lost a couple of kilos of the flab till the festive season hit. The fun, the food and the furious pace put paid to the experiment (at least for the time being) ands I have returned to much rotund self, thank you very much.

Well, this year also showed that age has caught up with my ever-active parents. My father (a young 80 year old) has started having niggles which unfortunately are not really niggles but a reflection of the wear and tear of 80 years of active life, from the later half of the year. My mom, much younger, has started early on the same path. I guess, these ailments are signals for me to take up more responsibilities/chores at home. But it’s still fun when mom dutifully dyes her hair and baba goes in for a haircut in spite of having a near bald head.

Wifey and I completed two cycles of the 7 year itch. The itches were there but none which were non-curable after a couple of bouts of shouting, sulking and shopping. Thankfully, the basic friendship remains the same.

My friends , as usual remained by my side at the times of crisis and we had a great time meeting up and celebrating 25 years of school leaving this year.

There were heartburns, heartbreaks at times, pains both physical and figurative and periods of frustration laced with anger that things did not go to plan.

I normally do not do this sort of an annual review as I prefer a seamless transition of time where all activities are a continuum. However, at the end of this year, I somehow feel that 2012 would be a watershed year of my life. My gut feel tells me that new major responsibilities would be thrust upon me by my choice. New horizons and unknown territories are to be traversed. My abilities and strengths would be put to test and weaknesses attacked. Hence, as I embark on my own voyage in 2012, I wanted the immediate past to be documented.

And all of you who may be reading this, may the New Year be the best year that you have ever had till now. May all your dreams see the light in 2012.

Friday, 30 September 2011

Sign of Times ?

Come September and I would wait eagerly for the special editions of the magazines slated to be published during the festive season. These magazines, puja shonkhya, as they are known as, would take up majority of the time of my pre-pujo days.

It started with the special editions of the children like Anandamela, Sandesh, and Sukhtara with an occasional dose of Kishore Bharati. These were mostly adventure stories and comics aimed at the psyche of the growing child and they had wonderful authors who wove magic through their word imagery.

With age, I have graduated to the more commonly known Puja Shankya for the grown ups like Desh, Anandabazar , Patrika, Bartaman, and Anandalok ,too. Each year the newspaper vendor would deliver these by mid September and then on every free time between meetings or in the back seat of my car or Sundays would be spent in the joys of reading through myriad stories printed there.

I have always found the authors depicting present reality through these stories and events were woven round the ‘in things’ at that time, save a few ‘period pieces’. I have seen class struggle being the base of the majority of such stories in the early eighties. Cricket heroes replaced football heroes as a protagonist of the stories after one Sourav Ganguly proved that even the ‘mach bhat khaoa Bangali’ can play cricket at the very highest levels. A couple of years back many stories had  ‘land acquisition’ as the backdrop.

The moot point is that I have found that these stories are a veiled attempt at contemporary social commentary.

Of late, specially this year , I have found graphic descriptions of sex, lesbianism and seduction in a majority of the stories.

Are we becoming adults or is the social fabric, as we knew it, going for a makeover? Or have the authors realised that sex sells?  What say?

Sunday, 17 July 2011


And I saw myself being swept away
In the swirling muddied waters
While I sat in the safety of
A wet high branch of a banyan tree
And I laughed at my sense of false security
While I enjoyed my tea on my third floor balcony
On a wet dreary monsoon evening.
Then I snapped back to reality
And I rolled back into one whole self
I, Me and Myself.

Friday, 13 May 2011

Open Letter

As I sit back and watch the breaking trends of the elections in Bengal unfold, I feel that a time has come when I should write an open letter to the new chief minister about what I as a common citizen and a voter expect from her.

Dear Madam (or Didi as you prefer to be called),

I represent that part of your electorate who have stayed back in Bengal throughout the last 34 years and tried to make a livelihood here whereas a majority of my friends have left for other states and look at the home state in dismay and with disdain.

The left front came to power when I was just 8 years old—too small to realise what had happened. I grew up, studied, worked and started a business in an environment which knew that the government belonged to just one party. The policies (whatever little there were) were the same and as statisticians pointed out, the state was going downhill. I refused to lose faith in my dear Bengal and struggled manfully along. Buddhababu came on to the scene in 2001 but flattered to deceive. Your parties brand of ‘opposition politics’ made life difficult for us. It felt that we were being shoved down a blind lane by both the parties.

My business makes me travel extensively across South Bengal, a majority of which is rural. I kept on meeting people who were excited by your call of change – or ‘Paribartan’. The urban population did not know what to do. The man on the street was faced with a choice where he did not know which way to go. This was all the more so for a majority of the electorate who had not seen a different party in power from their birth.

But, I guess the ‘Paribartan’ has caught on. People have given a huge mandate in your favour. They have agreed to your call for change.

Since, change is the platform on which this historic win has happened for you, I take this opportunity as a voter and a common man to request you to incorporate the following changes in our lives:-

a)      Change the work culture of Bengal. I am tired of hearing that we are lazy and we shirk work. Believe me, we work equally hard as other states, but some laggards pull us down. Unfortunately, a majority of these are government employees and hence, directly your employees too. Please make sure that red tapism and bureaucratic delays do not happen
b)      Create other work centers than Kolkata. Kolkata is chocked and development cannot be seen if it does not reach the corners of the state
c)      Ban bandhs, dharnas or other such stupid things. Protests are a right in a democracy, but not at the cost of inconvenience to others.
d)     Revamp the education and healthcare. These two basic requirements are in a shamble in the state, especially in the rural sectors.
e)      Create job opportunities such that my friends can come back to their home and do not have to stay away for earning their livelihood. We cannot afford to lose our best brains anymore, can we?

f)       Corruption has invaded our blood across the country. But can we just keep a check on that?
g)      Let the law enforcing agencies be neutral such that the man on the street can go to a police station with hope and not with fear of reprisal from a hoodlum supported by a political bigwig.
h)      Agriculture has been our backbone and needs to be supported. Can we still have some manufacturing industries please? There are enough parcels of land for such activities, if infrastructure can be provided.
i)        Above all, can we have clean governance wherein we can get to feel that we matter as an individual – as a citizen

I am sorry if I have crossed limits, but this is an outflow of angst from a person who loves his Bengal, who takes pride in being a Bengali and who dreams of a Sonar Bangla.

No, I do not want a London in Kolkata, neither a Paris in Digha. I just want my Sonar Bangla. Can I please have that?

With Regards. 

Thursday, 31 March 2011

Me and My Cup

In 1987, I was in class XI, under pressure to study hard such that I was well-prepared for the engineering entrance exams that I was scheduled to take the next year. I bunked my tuition classes and watched on Television, India being swept out (literally) of the World Cup Semi-finals by Graham Gooch and England. And just for the curious, I failed to clear the entrance exam whereas all my friends did.

The next time we had the world cup semi finals in India, I was doing my M.B.A. Needless to say, I bunked a presentation to be at the Eden Gardens and saw after a dream start (both Jayasurya and Kaluwitharna going cheaply), succumb to poor pitch reading and inept batting. I had to escape early, with minor injuries from a thrown bottle , to avoid being lathi-charged by the police after the crowd failed to accept defeat gracefully. There was another fallout too—A punishment assignment which screwed my grades in the 3rd semester.

In 2003, Sourav and his merry men conjured visions of the impossible before the finals and I, obviously, bunked office. The story was repeated and the Aussies belted us out of the finals in the first half itself. And once again, I got a reprimand that had an implication in the annual appraisals that year.

This year Dhoni and his X- Gen reached the semi finals after defeating the erstwhile invincible Australia. It was mouth-watering stuff, as the semi final opponents were Pakistan. Now what do I do? Here I am running my business and there’s really no one to force me to work, if I don’t want to. But I took a call. I fixed a meeting in Durgapur late afternoon. I was not going to watch another defeat. I was going to work. My  ‘didi’ was going to Mohali, my friends had bunked office and my colleagues had arranged for a mass viewing inside the office. But nah! I was going to work today.

And look what happened!! :))))))))))

I promise to work on this Saturday too.

Wednesday, 12 January 2011


I thought that I would not write anything about this.

I thought I would absolutely ignore this blaspheme. Like him. He has been quiet and dignified in his silence. ‘No reactions from him,’ cried the press. Coming from him who had always been quite sure and vocal about his points of view, it’s clear that he was answering back the assault with a snub of silence. I thought I would do the same.

But the amount of justification and pseudo chest-slapping by a bunch of people comprising of one hamming actor, one over the top businessman, two out of job actresses and some two - bit has been Indian ex-cricketers along with some corruption personifying sports officials have pushed me into this post.

I just wanted to put on record that the entire jing bang mentioned above and their cronies and assistants together would fail to assess what makes someone reach 17000 plus international runs aided by 38 centuries. They would obviously have no idea about what it takes to create a world beating side out of a rag tag team ravaged by match fixing allegations of such massive level that made even the Cricketing God himself was morally down.  Of course, they do not have any idea of how to lead a team of mismatched individuals to victories in at least some of the matches and to be within the first four run makers of the competition, even though the team was longing at the bottom of the table.

But I forget! I am talking of people who would think that the ‘Late Cut’ was a new tax avoidance procedure and a ‘Long Leg’ was what one needed to create a hit!!

So, Lord forgive those for they know not what they have done!!