Category Archives: Kolkata

WHEN BLOGGING IS SHOT DEAD….

Why do famous bloggers stop blogging?

1. Is it because they forget their username/password and get locked out of their blog?

2. Is it because they start new websites and write for the development of that site?

3. Do they lose their speech because some greedy female fan bit off their tongue (a species of Ardentophilus linguophagicus)? Aside– do ‘they’ have a tongue or several tongues?

4. Do they get elected President?

5. Do they rub shoulders in fashion events with scantily clad nymphs who look like Asian Paints representatives? 

6. Do they lose their sense of humor and start writing columns for other websites?

DSC00133

DSC00131In case you guessed it, here is a holiday for two to Alaska from me– here is a priceless depiction of the erstwhile blogger Rambodoc (now occasionally seen, like a horse in pajamas, in social media like Twitter or Facebook) on the ramp. The pictures of sundry Asian Paints representatives rubbing their ample assets on his strong arms have been deleted by the Indian Government. 

Oh, and about the Alaska trip? Just buy the tickets. I will buy you a bear beer.

WHY NANDAN CANNOT FIND INDIA ON A MAP

I have not had any urge to write all these days, and I can’t say I am in the best of mindsets to do a good job. However, here is a small essay written, with my active help, by my son. I hope you tolerate me for this. You cannot find a drier piece than this, I am sure.

I live in the city of Kolkata, surrounded by dusty buildings, most of them made of bricks, and some of them of a mix of thatch, wood, mud and plastic. The latter type of building makes for the shanties that freely thrive in my neighborhood.
In one such shanty lives Nandan. I have been seeing him for the last two years. Nandan does not study in my school. He works in a garage next door, by the side of the street.
At those times when the ball flies out of the building walls and lands in the garage (whenever we play cricket in our compound), Nandan is found ready with it, handing it over to us reluctantly. I have sometimes heard him being rebuked by his master for wasting time looking for the ball beneath some damaged car or the other.
Nandan looks like a grease monkey. Really. He works on his back, lying on the rough muddy ground and hands over tools to the car mechanic who is his teacher and mentor. As the day goes by, the muddied lubricants from the spare parts of the cars find their way from his hands to his face and neck. The only thing the black paint cannot hide is his brilliant smile. But that is something I have seldom seen.
Nandan does not play with us, as he is busy at work. When we are at school, he is at the workshop, and when we are playing, he is right there. We got talking sometimes, but not much.
While me and my friends are getting plumper watching TV and playing on the computer, he is thin as a rail. He cannot even find his country on a map, I found! He told me one day that he wanted to learn English and maths, and asked about how my school looked. I don’t know whether he believed me when I told him how grand and old my school was.
At home, Nandan gets to eat with his brothers (while I have none), but his mother is too busy with household work to talk to him or put him to sleep. Or else she is too busy fighting with other ladies in the shanties over whose turn it was at the toilet or the water pump. I have seen this many times from my verandah, high up in my building.
I am sure he must be getting bitten all over at night by bugs, while I sleep in comfort a few storeys above him. I sometimes wonder whether I deserve being better off than him, but then, this is not the age when I need to handle tough questions!

A HOME TRUTH

The wife needed to go to the tailor and was one driver short. This was one of those occasions an alpha male finds himself poorly fitted to oblige. However, when one is the guarantor of the other’s debts, one has but little choice. Not for this occasion the male choice of resting from the rigors of city life in one of the clubrooms or the (environmentally friendly) dimly lit lounge bars where one can be with the kind of company where discretion is the sole chaperone. The ones quite favored by business owners when cooking the books with their auditors in a public-private venture.
Anyway, I drove her to the depths of Wellington, Central Kolkata, to which hellhole this Muslim tailor had shifted. Incidentally, all half-decent tailors in Kolkata are Muslims, and I dare say the same applies to specialists in gold filigree, embroidery, etc. in other metros. Wonderful word that: ‘etcetera’: comes in very handy when you want to escape the imminent public visualisation of the bottom of your knowledge.
After reaching somewhere near the destination, I showed immeasurable common sense in parking my car, and engaging a hand-pulled rickshaw to the ultimate spot and back. Now those of you who live in places with flat roads may get shocked. “Why couldn’t you walk or take a cab? How could you ride on a hand-pulled rickshaw, a living symbol of the depths of mankind’s cruelty and oppression?”
To which I nod my head, South Indian-like (a Zenthil), and say, “Quite, quiet!”
A polite way of putting duct tape on protesteth os oris.
When you have delicate female folk who can’t walk except on named streets like Bond Street, Fifth Avenue or Champs D’Lysée, you have a big problem in life. You need to deal with violent retching, the covering of face with nearest available clothing (one important reason for women to use a dupatta or stole), and the “Omigod, it is so dirty!” (repeated till you begin to retch), as if you were personally responsible for the recent decline in civic standards.
So you cop it, and do good to the rickshaw-pulling industry. You refuse to get up, but concede to public demand, and take pictures.

photo-1

photo-2

photo-3

photo-4

At the tailor shop, Her Majesty got a calendar as a token gift. Women, some men believe, are inherently brimming with the frothy cappuccino of human goodwill and bhadrata (‘gentility’ is a close translation, perhaps). When we got off back at the car, she (spontaneously) offered the calendar to the rickshaw-puller.
Didi, I live on the pavement. Where will I hang this calendar?”, he asked with a smile.
The lady went red in the ears, and was muttering remorsefully to herself. Or to me, but I wasn’t listening. I was thinking about how I (ever the consumer in the open market) reduced the rickshaw puller’s initial demand of the fare by ten rupees, to which the clever rascal immediately consented.
I went there the next day, and yes, he was there all right. I gave him his ten rupees back. He smiled again.
Sometimes, being kind, being a sucker and being charitable are entirely different things. What do you say?