Well Said

“I hope to hell that when I do die somebody has the sense to just dump me in the river or something. Anything except sticking me in a goddam cemetary. People coming and putting a bunch of flowers on your stomach on Sunday, and all that crap. Who wants flowers when you’re dead? Nobody.” – J.D.Salinger

The Child

One day maa took me to the puja room and prayed…Then she told me to pray every day, and whatever I asked for I would get…So I tried…I prayed for maa to smile, but nothing happened…I prayed to be allowed to play like my brother did, but nothing happened…I prayed to be allowed to go to school like my brother did, but nothing happened…By and by I asked my mother why God wasn’t granting my wishes…She looked at me sadly and said I was a fool…She didn’t tell me why and I couldn’t make it out…

I sat down on my bed and thought about it…Why did maa ask me to pray for anything I wanted if she knew nothing would come out of it? Does God only grant wishes to boys? He must, because my brother had more than me…No, there’s nothing in praying…

I went and told my friend’s mother about it, and she said the things a person could get from praying were spiritual…She explained…I must help other people, do everything I could for other people, look out for them all the time, and never think about myself….I went and sat on my bed and thought about it for a long time…I said to myself there is nothing in praying…Why should I pray only for others? If others are praying for me, then why don’t I have the same things as my brother? What about me?

I went to the puja room and asked God one last question “Why?”

(Inspired by a passage in Chapter 3 of ‘The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn’ by Mark Twain)

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Top 5 Ways To Tick People Off

5. TYPE ONLY IN UPPER CASE  – Stop yelling, will ya! Your written work is not that important

4. Write like Dan Brown…Milk an idea (Christianity and symbolism) till your hands drop off…Tie bits and pieces of reality closely into fiction to create a fabulous world of nothing-is-as-it-first-seems-to-be, and then call it a work based on facts…Plots should be simple and full of holes…Writing style: action, long explanation, action, long explanation…Opening sentences should always be the same – don’t ever deviate from the tried and tested formula…

Da Vinci Code – “Renowned curator Jacques Saunière staggered through the vaulted archway of the museum’s Grand Gallery.”

Angels and Demons – “Physicist Leonardo Vetra smelled burning flesh, and he knew it was his own.”

Deception Point – “Death, in this forsaken place, could come in countless forms. Geologist Charles Brophy had endured the savage splendor of this terrain for years, and yet nothing could prepare him for a fate as barbarous and unnatural as the one about to befall him.”

Sentences like “A voice spoke, chillingly close. “Do not move.” and “…crawled out from under the canvas and scanned the cavernous space for someplace to hide” (Da Vinci Code) are a must…

Oops! I nearly forgot the most important thing – your tome should be at least 10,000 pages long and each chapter only one

3. Eat noisily – chomp, slurp, belch, fart – with gravy dripping down the side of your mouth and then wipe it with the back of your hand…Make Homer Simpson turn on his head

2. Go back for more items when the cashier is already checking out your groceries…Remember to do this when there are at least 10 people in the line behind you

1. Call pseudonymous bloggers ‘the anonymous elite’

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R.I.P.

There once lived a bhadrolok named JB…You may have heard of him…

One day at a public rally many years ago, he said that if people followed him they would become diamonds amongst pebbles…The great state of Vengal would reach heights hitherto unknown…Instead of courting favour from the moneyed and powerful, he would protect the poor and the powerless…All resources and capital would be owned by ordinary workers, everybody would be equal…

By romanticizing poverty and the underdog, he managed to get a grip on the emotional core of the Vengali…

Thus the journey began…Droves of people followed JB, some voluntarily and others forcefully…They wandered for years while Vengal went from a thriving state to a wasteland…Party members could do anything they wanted to make a buck – after all, they were just making a living…From time to time, the great leader took breaks in America and England to get away from the power cuts, heat, filth, and sweaty workers…He sampled some of the best single malts on these breaks and always returned looking younger and fresher…

30 years on, as JB lay on his death bed in his mansion, an old man came to meet him…He said, “Babu, I heard you speak at the great rally and your words touched my heart…I followed you for all these years but my life is worse than it was then…My children are uneducated and jobless and the little parcel of land I had was taken away by the government and given to an industrialist…I believed in you, but now I’m a broken man…You haven’t delivered what you had promised.”

“But I have, my dear man, I promised you equality and I have given you exactly that…I have driven away the capitalists, ambitious and educated…We are a land of mediocre and unambitious have-nots  now…And the best thing is,  we all live in a wasteland.”

Saying this, he slowly shut his eyes and passed away to the nether world…

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Faking It

I’m a wine ignoramus and have no problem admitting it…Whilst I like wine, I have no idea what bouquet, body, balance etc. mean…Let me clarify…I know what they are supposed to mean, but can’t tell the difference in them between different wines and vintages…All I know is that wines are white, red or rose and sparkling or non-sparkling…I never could understand why a wine was called dry when it was clearly a liquid…And what does it mean anyway? I’ve always preferred white wines (non-sparkling) because they are served chilled and are not as heavy as the reds (which idiot made the rule that red wine should be drunk at room temperature only?)…Whilst I lived in New York City, I made friends with some ABCDs and Indian expats who considered themselves wine connoisseurs after drinking the beverage on a regular basis for only 3 – 6 months…It seemed to me that as soon as an Indian landed in America, he/she became a wine expert when the person hadn’t touched the stuff whilst in India…Was it the water? I never could understand this phenomenon but what I could understand was that these people made me feel insecure…

Then one day I had an epiphany – most of these so-called wine connoisseurs were faking it…Nobody knew anything about wine…What an idiot I had been for thinking that these friends knew their wines just because they were tossing around some fancy words they had memorized…And why do I say most people are faking it? Because one day I noticed a friend-cum-wine aficionado turn back a bottle of wine at a restaurant saying he had tasted it before and it had bad bouquet or something when a month ago, we had had the same wine and he had said it was good and worth every penny…I remembered this particular wine because it came in a nice bottle (yes, I admit, I do sometimes buy wine by how cool the bottle looks) and it was then I had my epiphany…

Now I’m no longer intimidated by people who think they know what they are talking about and have no problem saying that I like a $10 bottle of wine…

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Yours & Mine

Should some things remain private in a marriage? Yes, I think some things should…My husband and I haven’t shared our e-mail or FB passwords with each other not because we have major secrets, but because we both believe we each need our individual space…I believe that my husband does not need to know about each and every conversation or e-mail I exchange with my family and friends because I am an individual and being married doesn’t change that…E-mails, in my opinion, fall in the same category as snail mail…I wouldn’t want my husband to open any physical correspondence addressed to me, and thankfully he doesn’t, just like he wouldn’t like me opening his mail without his knowledge…Sharing stuff with him is my choice…I would be completely smothered if my right to privacy was violated…I strongly believe that some things should remain private for a healthy and long marriage…

Some of my friends tell me our thinking is weird; by deciding not to share everything with each other at the beginning of our marriage, we had started planning for it to fail…I obviously don’t see it that way… Just because someone is exceptionally private does not necessarily mean that he or she has something to hide…I tell my husband everything, even things he’s not interested in – I just don’t want him to spy on me…Trust and love mean that you don’t need to know everything about each other and can give each other space to be who they are without you…

What do you think?

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The Rudest People I Know Are…

  • The politicized proletariat on the streets of Kolkata…Their sense of entitlement for just existing never fails to amaze me…An aggressive lack of consideration and respect for others and property has taken hold of the people of this once great city…The roads belong to them – it doesn’t matter if they are inconveniencing others…Women belong to them and exist to be molested…Honest work and gainful employment are for idiots, the intelligent proletariat only demands – maante hobe, cholbe naa! The so-called bhadrolok culture is nothing but a thin veneer concealing a rot that has taken over Bengalis…Who  do I blame for this situation? The CPI(M) government…Defiance of authority, indiscipline, poor work ethic, lack of respect, loathing for private capital etc. are just some of the traits the CPI(M) has encouraged  amongst the people in the last 30 years…Soon, the city and Bengal will be left with only lazy, ‘entitled’, unemployed and uncouth ruffians who blame the Centre and Hindustanis for all their ills
  • The know-it-all arrogant NRIs who can’t stop giving impractical solutions to India’s problems
  • Indian Airlines’ pursers and air-hostesses who make you feel like a criminal just for travelling with them
  • Old Bengali men who make you feel like an idiot just because you are young and don’t agree with their out-dated opinions and values…So what if I didn’t change my name after marriage or wear my loha and sindoor? So what if my husband and I have chosen to spell our daughter’s name in the Punjabi way? How is it any concern of theirs especially the oldies I don’t even know? And yet, they don’t hesitate to offer their opinion and tell me how I’m disrespecting Bengali culture…These people are just rude, plain rude