Wednesday, July 29, 2009


Extract from THE TIMES OF INDIA, Sunday, July 26, 2009 :

Subject : After years of domesticity, Ishwar Pati's dream comes true as his wife fills the home with the sound of music :

"The songs are blossoming again, struggling to come out of their vocal pods after a long, dry hibernation. My wife's singing is somewhat scratchy, with her lyrical chords gathering rust all these years.

Time was, during the days of our courtship, her beautiful, captivating voice flowered from her lips like a splendid orchid before large gatherings . But her singing could never attain full bloom, wilting under the pressure of marriage and consequent relocation . In the domestic cacophony that followed, her musical notes withered and then fell silent. So keen she was to fulfil her role of a dutiful daughter-in-law , and then a responsible mother, that she was left with no time for music.

I did make an occasional effort to persuade her to sing, at least in small friendly get-togethers . But my request fell on deaf ears. You think singing is so easy, do you- she would snap at me. A lot of devotion and concentration goes into it, you know. Can you ensure me that ?

I was silenced. I knew my transferable job and our growing kids were hardly conducive to furthering her musical aspirations. Though she never spoke of it, I could sense that in her heart of hearts she held our marriage and especially me guilty of strangulating her budding melodious career. I swallowed her unspoken indictment , though I still nurtured the hope that some day after the children had grown up and left our nest, the ember of singing lying dormant in her soul would be rekindled.
But when the thaw came, it was so unexpected that I was literally blown off my feet. In one of the cultural evenings taking place in our colony, my wife was somehow cajoled into singing. She joined the voices and soon she was intoxicated with the flow of songs. When the game ended, she was swamped with compliments. After the party, there was a palpable restlessness in her steps as we made our way home. She started humming to herself too! I smiled and let her be. Next morning I was not surprised when she told me that she missed her old harmonium. It had been abandoned at her parents house along with her musical muse after our marriage. But I detected in her remark something more than mere nostalgia for an heirloom. I could discern the spark of revival in her heart, that overwhelming urge to sing. Under the circumstances, I indulged her whim and instead of opting to buy a new harmonium locally, I went all the way to my in-laws place by train to fetch her favourite one. She is still tuning her harmonium and taking her time about it. No reason to hurry, she says. All the dust gathered by the instrument will take time to be brushed off after such a long period of idleness. Her voice too will need to break out of its self-imposed confinement. So I am waiting, patiently. But I can feel the breeze that has started blowing from her newfound buoyancy. Her lilting voice suddenly wafts from the kitchen, humming odd bits of ragas or a mix of old songs. It starts slowly like a cuckoos , unsure of itself, then rises sharply to soar over mountains and flow into rivers before plunging down to earth as her breath gives way from lack of practice. But she doesn't give up. She breathes in again before launching her voice once again on its tuneful plane into the skies. The barrenness of our home is now pregnant with a melody reborn. Yes, after all these years the song blossoms are flowering again and the air is filling up with their fragrant decibels. "

Photo : Courtesy TOI

Friday, July 24, 2009

LUCK (2009)

I'm really looking forward to Luck (2009). Of course, it may prove to be quite a dud, after all. But it doesn't hurt to be optimistic. And then, there's Imraan Khan, who makes my heart flip with ecstasy every time I spot him. Aamir was quite the chocolate hero at this time of his own career, but Imraan is quite the package, I feel. The looks, the intensity, the voice, the understated acting, the vulnerability, the physique...well, I could go on all day. But in short, I'm really hoping 'Luck' proves lucky for him !

And then, there's debutante Shruti Haasan, Kamal Haasan's eldest daughter. Quite a headturner, if we go by her photos, having inherited her father's angular face structure and dark good looks. Looks like she's got potential, combined with her soft, vulnerable features and refined, subtle expressions (judging from the promos, of course). Well, no harm in having expectations, I suppose, being born of such illustrious parents. Also a trained music artiste, from what the net news articles claim. Her sister Akshara, looks equally if not more promising, from the several photos I've chanced upon. Vasundhara Das-ish looks with Sarika's eyes and face. Reminds me of the teenage Kareena. No idea whether she'll be walking the film road too but yes, in the photos there is a certain poise and keen-ness about her that struck me. An interesting prospect.

Mithun and Sanjay Dutt seem to be getting typecast, however. The 'bhai' or 'don' or 'villain' or 'evildoer' or 'antihero' or 'bluff big brother' or 'bitter-not-so-young-man', you are welcome to your choice of term. I mean, you might love or hate them, but then you are also comfortable in their doing those roles, simply because you know you've seen them being there, doing that. Nothing very original or promising, I suppose, but goes down well with the filmgoing crowd, who are sure to cheer or whistle at their respective entries on screen. A pity, though. They are fine actors and need to land better deals than they are getting meted out at present. I'm not too sure about Ravi Kissen though. Big Boss made me sick of his general coarseness and in-your-face body hair and I'd have preferred someone else, although anyone as a rapist could seem equally revolting, I suppose, after all. Danny is always welcome and Chitrashi Rawat sure to prove refreshing, post Chak-De.

The action scenes in the film had better live upto the hype. All those sharks, blind shots and train/helicopter jumps do sound exciting, but we're so used to rip-offs from originals that the Bollywood remakes always seem considerably bland and dilute versions, after all. And there are so many reality shows out there anyway that a film premised on that doesn't sound too promising, in any case. Of course, you never know when an underdog vindictively turns up trumps all of a sudden, but I'm not too sure that's going to happen soon.

Here are a couple of promos of the film : have a look. The second one is a novelty.

And don't forget to check out 'Khudaya Ve', it's the best song of the lot.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009


The newspaper is getting increasingly interesting by the day. Take the TOI, for instance. It is finally reducing sensationalism to the span of its city supplements and producing some 'real' news. Check out a random selection of news items here :

1 ) Effect of Mamata's annual rally on the routine of the citizens

2) The sorry side of the above story

3) How greed might prove to be one's undoing

4) The actual, insidious effects of increasing pollution

5) How airlines are trying to be indiscriminately careful

6) Making a mountain out of a molehill

7) How the needs of women are currently being capitalised on

Whew, quite some variety, I must say. Makes one regret that one can't really somehow manage the time to read the newspaper from cover to cover on a daily basis. It would evidently prove be both informative and entertaining. Of course, a lot of people don't like to read real news, just the relevant gist. But I find the whole rigmarole as absorbing as that of a good crime thriller : a lot is said, a lot is left unsaid. It's upto you to fit the bits and pieces together to decipher what the current state of the nation is like. Often it's painful, cutting you yourself to bits and pieces before you manage to desensitise yourself to emotions and indignations and just watch and wait. For the reality that is more a solution than a problem in itself. Which might mean waiting for a long long time, really.

On a lighter and more random note, you might, like me, prefer to watch other people wait for irresponsible others who leave them locked out of their own home. My lunch was interrupted yesterday by the most awful hammering and shouting possible, almost precipitating a heart failure. It turns out that a couple opposite were unable to enter their own house, since a certain 'Henry' was not answering the door. They screamed the whole neighbourhood down in his name, peeped through the animal entry/exit slit lower down on the main door, banged their fists against the former (it's a wonder it didn't collapse under the assault), went down the back stairs into the parking lot only to return in a moment or so (just when I had been about to feel relieved and jubilant at their departure) ; in short, they did everything to arouse the curiosity and annoyance of the entire residential complex.

Pre-Henry :

I just didn't get it : was it a child they were calling out to and who might have fallen asleep or who was ill and who therefore they shouldn't have left alone at home in the first place or a guest or family member who was taking a shower perhaps and therefore simply couldn't hear them ? I mean, why couldn't they just sit down on the steps and wait for for a little while for the person in question ? By the time the two were done, exhausted, I was too. My audibility limits had been severely challenged and to top it all, it had worsened a migraine attack which had started that morning. By the time the said Henry turned up on the scene - a 30 something hefty young man with a very red face, an unassuming, cheerful voice and a receding hairline - wiggling his way fast to the source of all the chaos with a huge soda in his hand, I was ready to beat the hell out of him for making all our lives collectively miserable by his unexpected and untimely disappearance from the scene.

Post-Henry :

In fact, I wonder what we'll do back in Kolkata, after all the tranquility we've become habituated to here now. This place is definitely a quiet, picturesque residential locale, and we often speak in whispers or at least hushed voices in our bedroom or over the phone or lower the volume of the TV at night, fearing that even the normal pitch of our voices or the latter might sound loud to neighbours because of the extreme quietude of the neighbourhood. Although this is much more peaceful than what I myself have been used to all my life in my own locality at Salt Lake, it's not half as cacophonic as our current home, post-marriage, at Kalikapur, where rickshaws, autos, taxis and whimsical microphones seem to own the place, rendering us residents an intimidated and even apologetic (!) lot. Add to that my extreme edginess and irritability after facing all the honking, hooting and hawking on the busy intersections of Gariahat and Ruby General and there you have a very jittery me, contemplating the distinct possibility of not being able to pen a single line of poetry for the rest of my life. Talk about stark contrasts and bleak prospects. I'm beginning to feel quite sorry for myself, after all.

Our neighbourhood (photo : courtesy K-Factor)

Monday, July 20, 2009


This weekend started on a fairly mundane note, we spending Sat morning doing some shopping at Walmart. One of K's colleagues, Kaushik, called up in the afternoon and expressed his desire that we get together for an adda session and he was duly encouraged to come over for the same. The adda was just warming up, with K and the former (both of a similar reserved temperament) just beginning to show signs of relaxing their guard in complex areas such as emotion and experience, when there was a sudden and quite unexpected interruption. Another colleague called, announcing an impromptu plan to set forth about 40 mins later for a spur-of-the-moment group outing to the nearby Laurence Harbour. K and I were in a bit of a fix. For although all of us were quite amenable to the idea, it wasn't good manners to rush a visitor through dinner, especially when he wasn't of the eat-and-go type. Fortunately, however, he seemed totally unperturbed by all the rushing and fussing and managed to enjoy his dinner in the midst of it all. We all assembled at the parking lot of Mayflower Apartments in Piscataway, home to several members of the group, and set off with three cars around 11.30 pm. We reached the projected destination within half-an-hour and that rather too eventfully for my taste : Kaushik taking exits at exactly the same speed that he seemed to be driving on on the highway, which could range anywhere between 80-100 miles/hr, scaring me into donning seatbelts (which I usually hate and prefer to avoid if and whenever possible) even on the backseat of the car. Coupled to that was his preference for really loud music. I'm lucky I still have my hearing intact after the volume at which he seemed to prefer his songs.

Anyway, we were all glad we'd fallen in with the plan, once we'd reached the place and taken a look.

Of course, it was pitch dark at the waterfront and too dimly lit for quality photography, but there was a keen sea breeze with a sharp tang to tantalise our senses and cool us down. Besides, the long boardwalk was interestingly structured, with benches at decent intervals and numerous nooks and corners designed to encourage romantic rendezvous.

In fact, we ourselves stumbled upon a quite classic instance of the latter at one end of the boardwalk, which jutted right into the quietly rippling, ruffling water itself. The couple concerned were unabashed by our rude and often rowdy interruptions and seemed quite lost in their own world, romancing with ruthless abandon throughout the duration of our halt, which might have lasted for half-an-hour, or maybe even longer. Some of us ventured down though the steel fencing and made our way to the rocks, where we sat quietly, watching the blue-black sheets of water slide towards the white sand, stumble and mutter a pained, smothered retreat. There was something immeasurably soothing about those sombre, still moments that we spent there, quite difficult to put into words but certainly offering a pacifying, placating compensation for the immeasurable cruelty and clutter in our everyday lives.

After we made it to the other end of the pier and back, we were both tickled and tantalised by the sight of a couple, who were just settling down on the sands, under the stars, for what seemed like a good night's sleep. "Poor fellows, they don't have the money to buy a fan or AC and decided they'd cool down the natural way", I sympathised. Needless to say, most of the others had considerably more obscene explanations to offer.

The outing ended with dessert at the Gulatis' place on Mercer Street, Somerville, which consisted of the residual tiramisu and cheesecake from Sritama's birthday. We finally ended up in bed at 3 pm, me remembering just in time to call Tua to wish her on her birthday. She was considerably mystified, of course, to find us wide awake at that ungodly hour. It was also Titai's birthday but we had had the good sense to call her up when we were out on the rocks, quite literally.

That reminds me : Titai informed us that Abir had been to his first day's shoot of Anjan Dutt's adaptation of Saradindu's Byomkesh story Adim Ripu (Primal Instinct) that very morning. And I was pleasantly surprised to find it had been covered by today's TOI too. What fun ! And I seriously think Abir's looks in general contribute quite felicitously to the character in question. Am definitely looking forward to the film.

Sunday afternoon was spent scouring shops for a new pair of formal shoes for K. We did the rounds of Walmart, Target, Kohls and Marshall's, quite annoyed at the lamentable dearth of options for men and the exorbitant price tags. We finally found a happy deal at Payless Shoesource, which we therefore judged as thoroughly worthy of its name. So K has gone to office, a happy man today, sporting a new haircut and new shoes. The last time I'd been to Great Clips, I'd spotted an impressive haircut look on one of the 'Inspire' magazines they seem to stock a great deal of. This time though, I had the presence of mind to photograph it on my cellphone, for future reference :

After a very late lunch of bhaat, daal and tandoori butter chicken at 4.30 pm (!), we took a short nap and dropped in at the Maitis' place at Somerset Mews. They've bought a good deal more furniture recently and the apartment looks really pretty now. I took a few photos and Moumita was glad that at least she'd possess a couple of photos to send to her friends, who were bugged with her lethargic inability to share the same with them for a long time now. Well, I'm glad my photographic sorties are proving to be of some use to someone. K doesn't take it seriously most of the time !

Well anyway, after a pleasant adda, we were back home, doing such mundane tasks as cooking. We ate very little dinner and spent a happy pre-bed hour reading and net-surfing respectively (no prizes for guessing who was engaged in the latter). Btw, we've finally discovered the immense difference between the effects of yellow and white light, and are relieved we finally plumped for the latter. Nothing like cool, clear light to encourage one's reading habits, that's for sure.

Saturday, July 18, 2009


This poem was composed in a fit of inspiration last night after watching 'Antaheen' ; it voices the unspoken thoughts of Avik (Rahul Bose's character) towards the 'end' of the film. I do not like the word 'end' as it seems to blight the vision of the film that its name serves to convey so faithfully...but for lack of a more apt word, I surrender.

Please do give me your feedback, it matters.


I cry for the tears you never shed
I mourn those letters you never read
For now, alas, I am but a life unled
For you, I am emotion unsaid, unbled.

There were tunnels where I dared not read your eyes,
Remorse, that shared, would not be wise,
Silences I feared to tread on, believing lies,
Words hard and hateful, but no goodbyes.

And now, I stare into a vast unknown…
Treading tortuous, tortured lanes, all alone ;
Reliving moments love might have sown
Mourning the stranger whom I have always known.



Thursday, July 16, 2009


Children, as Baba loves saying, are as good as the Cartoon Network. They do the most unexpected things, behave in the most unpredictable ways and often, say the most unlikely (and often rather embarrassing) things. However, one thing is for sure : you can always count on them for entertainment. They'll never disappoint you !

Here are the two most recent instances where I've derived much personal enjoyment from observing the children in my neighbourhood, who are currently going through that much loved and idealised time of American life : summer holidays. Which reminds me, I still cannot get over the irony of the fact that children here get summer vacations so that they can enjoy the season while we used to get summer vacations so that we could sit at home and basically escape the suffering that the season was. Of course, things weren't really as bad then as they seem to be now. We had quite a lot of homework, which we managed to wrap up within the first couple of days, so that we could have the rest of the month free. But these guys actually get almost 3 months (June to August). Now that seems rather unfair. Not grudging them their vacation of course. Just grieving about the fact that our childhood doesn't seem as important to the powers-that-be back home. I mean, childhood isn't something you can just wish back, right ? If it's gone, it's gone. And it sure sped past in my case, I think !

Anyway, back to the relevant incidents. The first is best illustrated by these photos :

Basically, the girl had captured some tiny frogs from the depths of the abundant foliage hereabouts and was busy giving the other little chap a hurriedly improvised lesson in zoology. The little one was evidently a visitor, and the girl had probably been instructed to keep him occupied while his parents took a welcome break, at least for a couple of hours, from constantly monitoring his every move. However, the funny part of the incident was that the little one, who wasn't more than 3 years old at the most, seemed to be wearing a huge cap that somehow frustrated, every time, his efforts to inspect closely the frogs that the girl carefully placed on the ground which made enough movement to arouse his interest. Consequently, after several efforts to concentrate on the potentially interesting creatures at hand, his attention wavered and he walked off. It somehow never seemed to occur to him that he could simply take off the silly cap !

The second one was a bit more complicated and took place yesterday afternoon.
I was just preparing the dough for some chappatis yesterday afternoon, when I heard the most awful shrieks somewhere near our living room window, followed by ear-shattering fits of crying. I rushed to the window, flour all over me, to find out what was happening. I found the following scene :
This boy, abut 6 years old, is named (very mistakenly) Angel. He's anything but that. Always mooning around without any occupation whatsoever and bursting his lungs out, either crying or screaming with rage, the moment he doesn't seem to be getting his own way in whatever it is that he wants. His father is the most sober, sombre gentleman I've ever seen. He never raises his voice, even though this little devil is enough to provoke anyone to a temper. Just a few days ago, K and I were out for a walk, when we chanced across the gentleman in question calmly walking down to the basement laundry room and carrying out, with equal composure, his shrieking and sobbing son. All we gathered was that he had been making himself a nuisance to the girls playing there and one of them had possibly complained to his parent. That's just to illustrate his usual habits.
Well, anyway, here he was, screaming his guts out. I was about to walk away, grumbling, when he started complaining in the highest pitch possible that he had been hit on the head and that consequently, he had fallen off his cycle and that the latter was new and that it had been damaged. His vociferous laments soon roused the attention of children of his age or slightly elder all around the locality and they crowded around him to find out what was wrong with him. The eldest girl soon left, disillusioned, but those of Angel's age satisfied his ego by gathering around and paying the utmost attention to his narration of the pereceding events.
Apparently, one of his female playmates named Rachel (see photo below), tired of his annoying attitude or something similar, had thumped him on the head, to ward him off her side. He had consequently lost his balance and almost fallen. His bicycle, a brand new one, had suffered serious damage as the seat had become irretrievably displaced. (It's surely a coincidence that we later found the contraption unharmed, the seat quite happily in its former position and the boy himself riding it quite unperturbed by the so-called damages). One of his friends (the yellow-red attired one) was convinced enough by his crying and story-telling to march upto the girl and demand an immediate apology within a count of 3. Otherwise he would hurl her cycle aside forcefully. The girl (who didn't look very innocent either, to be fair) protested that she had already apologised and that it had been nothing intentional, just in jest, and that there was nothing the matter with his bicycle at all. The staunch friend however proceeded to unflinchingly topple over her cycle, since she stuck to her resolve as to not apologise again. Luckily, the girl stepped aside just in time.

After displaying what he evidently considered as proof of his loyalty to his friend, the former lost all interest in the proceedings. Along with the others, he immediately walked off and they all returned to their former occaupations. Angel, contented that he had been placated enough, stood absent-mindedly in the midst of a path, picking his nose.

An hour later, K and I set off for a walk. And there they were, the whole lot, all four of them (not the big girl) calmly sitting in the middle of one of the foot-paths, drawing pictures on the gravel with some chalk. Totally oblivious to all the chaos that had taken place not so long ago.
Sometimes, there are lessons to be learned from children too.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009


Moumita just called and only confirmed what others are already suspecting : that I'm in a phase of extreme lethargy, which would be termed in colloquial Bengali as 'churanto lyaadh'. I plead guilty, of course. I've always been extremely transparent about my ideas, opinions and intentions,and would be only too pleased to have people consider me so too.

Well, this is not going to be a post dealing with righteous self-justification. I just wanted to keep the nominal few who are good enough to read my blog updated as to my current preoccupations. Now that summer has arrived (yes, at last !), I've undergone a radical transformation in my daily habits. What is torpor for others is actually a state of extreme planning and preparation for me.

Firstly, I mean to take my blog more seriously than ever. That has finally determined me to learn HTML online, which was precisely what I was doing before I decided to do this post. I was tired of googling websites all the time for help on how to make 'n' number of changes to my blog and I decided to make life simpler by learning the language myself. There seem to be quite a few good online and what's more, user-friendly tutorials on HTML and I mean to make good use of them. Perhaps I shall even go in for a certification later (hoping I continue in this enthusiastic vein for long, which is rather unlike me). As they say (well, maybe not exactly verbatim) : 'Laziness is the mother of invention'.

Secondly, also inspired by my blog and Orkut-olleagues, I am taking my photographic skills seriously. Which means, I'm venturing out into editing in a big way. I plan to apply this in future, of course. I may not turn out a Raghu Rai, perhaps, but any of the creative careers I might choose to take up back home would only serve to profit by such add-ons. Hence, I spend a couple of half-hours each day practising various editing techniques to keep my hand in, so to say.

Thirdly, I'm back to my voracious reading self. I have a whole set of books lined up for my express (pun intended, people) perusal and it's all the more challenging when I insist on reading more than one at the same (one of my numerous eccentricities, as K is only too familar with). Here's the list :

The Winter of Our Discontent - John Steinbeck
The Age of Innocence -Edith Wharton
Kim -Rudyard Kipling
Lucky Jim - Kingsley Amis
Shirley - Charlotte Bronte

Of course, I'm also reading an Agatha Christie (for casual relief) on the side. I just completed her 'A Caribbean Mystery' which I had been following not only for the story, but also other reasons, which I'll return to in a moment. And I must say, I was as impressed as ever. She's certainly the 'Queen of Crime'.

I also tried to learn Spanish from a book I found in the library and which I had issued once in the not-too-remote past also. I say 'tried' because I just returned the book, having failed in my attempts to learn the basics of the language all by myself, without any tutor whatsoever. I really had my work cut out this time. It was hard to try to remember the Spanish equivalents of words without knowing for sure whether I was pronouncing the Spanish words themselves correctly. I think I'll buy some software/CD instead, to make my job easier. I spotted some language software packs on sale at the nearby Bridgewater Commons Mall and I think I'll go back and have a serious second look at them.

I'm back to poetry. Yes, I know. I do hear the applause. But as I did warn everyone, I do possess the artistic temperament, which renders me extremely sensitive and susceptible to the influence of such frivolous factors as the weather. I've really tried, but winter in New Jersey is just too severe to nurture my creative urges. And the good news this time is that I think I'm improving as a poet, favouring themes and topics athat appeal more to my sense than merely my sensibility. Which is not to denigrate the latter. Only reminding myself that I'm ageing and consequently need to address commensurate issues.

Last but not least, I've been influenced enough by Agatha Christie's autobiography to try my hand at story-writing. No, I haven't started yet. But I'm mentally preparing myself. A miracle might just happen soon. For the eager and impatient, I quote the Queen of Crime herself :

"It is an odd feeling to have a book growing inside you, for perhaps six or seven years knowing that one day you will write it, , knowing that it is building up, all the time, to what it already is. Yes, it is there already - it just has to come more clearly out of the mist. All the people are there, ready, waiting in the wings, ready to come on to the stage, when their cues are called - and then, suddenly, one gets a clear and sudden command : Now !

Now is when you are ready. Now, you know all about it. Oh, the blessing that for once one is able to do it then and there, that now is really now."

I rest my case.

P.S :

Speaking of novelties, here's the most recent one: Some weirdo named Paul Recherche just added me to his contacts list on Skype (where I have neither a photo nor any sort of personal details that would be even remotely likely to make myself sound attractive to anyone of his sort !) and sent me a message in French, which I not being very conversant with, just got translated on another website. I reproduce the English translation of the original message.

"Hello, this is Paul Recherche here. I'm looking to establish a serious relation that might end up in marriage. Here is my number" (I refrain from reproducing the latter).

What the hell ?!

Monday, July 13, 2009


Any idea what the above is ? No guys, it isn't the latest version of the computer accessory we're more familar with nowadays than the typical household pest we learned to live with and tolerate. It's a battery operated can-opener.

Having had a miserable track record in can-openers, where
1) either the plastic coating came off and made the basic handling of the article a veritable torture
2) the grip seemed to loosen by the day, making our nerves as jittery as the can-in-waiting itself
3) the contraption came without a necessary part and it took us intellectuals a fortnight to reach enlightenment,
we finally decided to take a $18 worth plunge into the ocean of 'As-Seen-On-TV' items that even Aamir Khan could not resist . I, personally, am rather wary of the whole ad world in general, brought up as I was on a rigorous diet of post-1980s cultural studies at JUDE. And when it comes to risking several dollars in a new-fangled and over-hyped invention that may turn out to be a major flopshow after all, I promptly shy away. But there are times when K pretends to be completely oblivious to my perceptions of marketing in general and goes entirely by his whims. This was one of those red-letter instances.

The instruction on the manual seemed few and simple. First, one was supposed to insert two AA batteries into the designated grove. Now, batteries are the things that you somehow always seem to have spotted around the house a couple of days ago but now seem to have not even the faintest idea of their probable whereabouts. However, frantically searching our respective 'pet' storage areas, we managed to hunt a couple of them down. After this eventful start, we moved onto the actual functional aspect of the tool. All one was apparently supposed to do was place the can opener 'on top of the can with its rim positioned in the groove at the bottom of the can opener'. K proceeded to turn the thing over and study its underbelly.

After identifying the aforementioned 'groove', we moved onto instruction 2. This said that 'we had to place the can opener on a flat surface'. Fine. We positioned it on the kitchen countertop. Next we had to 'press the start button for about one second and release it' once the can opener started to cut the can. Here, we faced the second setback. Several such 'one second'-s passed. But the can opener simply refused to make any motion whatsoever, much less initiate its assigned role. K stopped and stared, first at the tool, and then at me.

I decided it was time I took over. I re-read the first two instructions. Try as I might, they had no hidden meaning and were simply not ambiguous enough to occasion any other intelligent interpretation. Crestfallen, we proceeded to try the whole series of steps all over again. No result.

K didn't look very happy. I did, since I was already anticipating this as another occasion most likely to climax with one of my "I-told-you-so" and "see, this-is-why-you-should-always-listen-to-your-wife" speeches. I was just considering the degree of conceit that should suit the speech, when K rudely intervened. "I think we need to recharge the batteries", he burst in, looking disgustingly confident and detestably hopeful. My face fell. So much for presumption.

He tried with the recharged batteries the next morning. Nothing happened. I cheered up.

As a last, futile attempt, K suggested, before leaving for office, that I try my hand at getting the thing to function. There's a reason underlying such an audacious hope. We bought a fruit/veggie chopper from Walmart a few months ago and after several hours of vain persuasion and brain/muscle-storming on K's part, he had washed his hands off the "damn thing" and handed it over to me. The next morning, after he had duly departed to discharge his engineering duties, I sat down on the sofa, read the entire instruction sheet, inspected the thing from all angles possible and after almost memorising the construction of the whole thing, actually (and quite miraculously, I must confess) managed to make it roar into function. Hence, the use of me as a last resort. I too, however, failed this time.

That very night, we re-read the manual, re-charged the batteries (once again !) and re-tried, on a different can. It worked ! All we had to do now was follow step 3, which ordered us to 'lift the Can Opener off the can. For your convenience, a magnet in the center of the One Touch Can Opener will pick up the lid as well'. That part was duly and quite uneventfully executed.

We finally got to the root of the problem. It appears that the surface of that particular can had not been level. Hence, the thing had failed to take off.


To be honest, I think, we were both relieved.

I think I'll soon put up a video of how the can-opener looks when work is in progress. It's really fun to watch.

Btw, here's an interesting photo for you . Had you ever imagined that an ordinary everyday capsicum can actually be made to metamorphose into a flower ? Have a look !

Now, this was a fun and educating read. It reminds me of this !

Thursday, July 09, 2009



Life ventured into vague debenture,
Spent in sordid fits and starts ;
A dream devoid of adventure,
A fiasco of cynic hearts ;

I groped about each morning
For fabulous grapes, however sour,
Stumbling, often, into obscure yearning :
For one brief, magical hour.

Then, one sultry summer evening,
You stunned me from grey slumber,
Sung me into swift, simple meaning
Stoked strength into my dying ember ;

I drank nectar of mist and water
Smiled rainbows of solace
Rose to froth, all a-flutter
Seeped in iridescent grace…

Nightmares thinned to nothing.
Doubts died of sheer exhaustion.
I found my own Xanadu :
Wisdom to ease each question.

Resurrected by nature’s own creation,
I now stride centuries tall,
Humbled by revelation :
Oh Niagara, how proud you fall !


Tuesday, July 07, 2009


Most people find exercise to be a big stress buster. That's true for me, too. But I don't believe you'll find many people who love exercising in a long, black full-length tiered skirt. The elastic at the waist has become loose with the passage of time, which actually helps to not hinder my movements when doing free-hand workouts at home. In fact, it even gives me a high when I feel the skirt whirl during the twists and turns that form my regime. I think my feeling of fun and frolic while wearing it during exercise stems from the fact that it's the closest approximation to dance I'll ever be able to make in this lifetime. I'm one of the unfortunate few born with two left feet. My ultimate nightmare is being pushed onto a stage before the scrutiny of a huge number of spectators and being coerced into dancing. I don't think I'd emerge from such a situation alive, so great is my self-consciousness when it comes to making even the minimal dance moves that even the dance-ignorant valiantly try out during the bhashaner naach that accompanies our protima bishorjon on bijoya dashami. I'm totally in awe of those who can dance and happen to watch every reality dance show with a veneration for dancers that rivals the devotee's reverence for the godly ; but at the end of the day, I've reconciled myself to the fact that this talent has somehow been denied to me by the powers-that-be. In short, I just can't dance.

And even as I sit here typing these words, 17,500 people are gathered at the Staples Center in Los Angeles, shrouded in silence, to pay their last respects to the man who moonwalked across their dark skies. To celebrate the life and legacy of he who displayed the triumph that the human body can be disciplined to become in engineering, art and beauty. Who united the black and the white, music and dance, entertainment and ethics. Whose every living step was dogged by controversy, but who survives, in the love and respect of all who knew him , directly or through his performances. Where a $25,000 worth, 14 carat plated regal gold casket contains the focus of the concentrated sorrow of all those who loved him for the difference his very existence made to their lives. Who confessed shyly during an awards speech that it felt good "to be thought of as a person, not a personality". Who makes me feel that maybe, just maybe, I too shall be able to dance some day. If not in reality, then at least in my dreams.



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