Thursday, November 30, 2006

The Building Where I Live

Ok Out of sheer lack of anything exciting happening, I clicked a picture of the Building where I stay. So any of you guys coming from Delhi, Mumbai or anywahere else in the world, please take note. It is located right as soon as you come down the No.4 Bridge on New Park Street.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Competition at my doorstep

Last night while riding back home, I had seen it driving past and since I didn't have the time to click a picture of the vehicle I realised I'd get another opportunity soon enough.

Soon enough??? The last thing you want in the morning as soon as you wake up is seeing competition branding right at your doorstep. I went to the balcony to have my morning cup of tea as usual and couldn't believe my eyes. Man I rubbed them a couple of times, then dashed for my mobile and my camera and clicked a couple of pics. Parked across the road was the van I had seen last night.

Wonder what the van is going to be used for? Junior B is getting a lot of mileage and he's turning BIG now, be it with scissors, stop sign or headphones.

AAAH. Just got news. They got three of them to ferry their staff to and from office.

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Working Lunch

Out of sheer boredom and desparation for work to start up here, we guys decided to head out for lunch. Peter cat was chosen and though we made a pit stop at our office which being constructed, it was worth it. There's nothing to beat the kebab platter - Chicken tikka, 2 sheek, some fried rice with butter, a fried egg, a couple of tomatoe and cucumber slices.

After that we walked around the corner to the famous Flury's on Park Street and had a couple of pastries. The place lives up to it's reputation and deserves the MTV Lyra Style Award perched in the middle of the cafe.

This was followed up with a visit to India's Hobby Center, weher we spent a good hour chatting with Rishi, with whom I have become quite friendly now due to a common interest in cars and flying.

Action, not words

“Don’t say but do.” Exactly my dad’s words yesterday. I’d been telling him how I was putting on too much weight and how I needed to start some sort of exercise. So today after I got back from office I decided to actually start putting some meaning to the very words I had been using to epitomise the state of Bengal.

I had a cup of tea, got into my shorts, pulled on a t-shirt and my sneakers and headed out at 7.30pm, straight to the Park Circus Maidan. I spent the next hour circling the park, walking briskly. 4 rounds later I was quite exhausted yet elated. It takes about ten minutes once around the maidan. I also went to the gym in the maidan and enquired about their fees and timings. Yippie! it’s open till 10pm. I know what I’m going to be doing with my evenings now.

I came back home quite kicked with myself and after dinner, spent half and hour with my guitar, learning some new songs. I’ve got a whole lot of Christmas carols too. So this Christmas I am going to be playing and singing them. About time too, I guess.

Today I downloaded three more albums. Bad Company was the flavour of the day.
1. Bad Company
2. Straight Shooter
3. Run with the Pack

Monday, November 27, 2006

Monday Morning - Fighting the Deadly Dengue

This morning while walking down the lane office, for the first time I felt the cold North Wind channeled down through the lane towards us. later on when i stepped out at a bit past noon to catch some sun, the Corporation guys came around to rid the streets of the killer "Dengue Mosquitoes". I guess that amount of smoke must be suffocating the tiny pests.

Saturday Night, Sunday Plight

THE BIRTHDAY BOY-KEDAR
Saturday night was something I was looking forward to. So after getting back home and began watching a movie - THE TRANSPORTER 2. Halfway through the movie, got a call from Kedar. We were meeting at Aqua. So got ready and headed there. Drove into The Park driveway and there was no valet. Yeah I figured out you only get service if you drive a big swanky car and not a battered old Maruti 800. So when I went to the back to park my car in the parking, the guard immediately recognised me from the night before and asked me if I had come on a Red Karizma. Sorry Parking full was the message I got there. So I drove out and fortunately I got a spot right outside opposite the drive-in of The Park.

I headed up to Aqua and met with the Birthday Boy, Kedar and he was already there with some friends. Aqua was rocking with most of the crowd we had seen the night before. These must be the “usual suspects”. I realised this from my experience at partying. You visit a place often enough and very soon, you’ll identify the regulars. The suave pony tailed guy chatting up yet a nother svelte model type, the oddly dressed yet wannabe babes, yeah something in their attire gives them away. Maybe the wrong type of shoes, or the out of place bag, just something. Ofcourse the guys to look out for are the ones who from the moment they walk in seem to stop at every table, or then people coming up to them to say hi. These are the regular players. They know everybody.

Anyway as the night progressed and we decided to head out to Sheesha. I’d heard about this place a lot. The good thing in Kolkata, is that the Clubbing scene is totally centralised. So every place is just a hop-skip-and-jump from Park Street, if not on Park Street itself. Before that we tried our luck at some other place, where the entry had closed. It was a bit past 2 am. So Sheesha it was. When we got there, I realised that this was the place where the real party crowd went.

As we drove in, there were girls ouside in stilletos, mini skirts and whatever latest attire was in vogue. So we got out and up the elevator and bang out into the lobby of Sheesha which was packed. We did have a little trouble getting in, because there were a couple of us single guys, but Kedar;s perseverance with the manager got us in. The place was a far cry from the sophisticated Aqua. The dim lights on one side and strobe lights on the other, the latest hindi remixes pumping up the dance floor and highly volatile crowd was the perfect mix for a Saturday night. Now this was what one expected when one went out on a Saturday night.

We guys hung around there for the next hour and a half before calling in a night.

I spent my Sunday in a daze. i had gotten up at about 10 am and thereafter was quite wasted from the two nights of partying. I spent the after noon watching FORREST GUMP. What a movie. Makes my hair stand and parts of it even bring a tear to my eye. The movie has captured the essence of recent American History and more the Spirit of a simple individual. He makes life look so simple. We seem to complicate our lives with so many issues.

Anyway later in the evening I rode out to catch a glimpse of the newly lit Rabindra Setu (Howrah Bridge). I seem to have gone a bit early it seems. I rode to the strand a bit after sunset at about 5.15pm. The bridge gets all lit up at 6pm. So hopefully one of these days I'll get pics of the majestic Howrah Bridge.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY KEDAR & JAIDEEP

Last evening was a blast. I was finally getting my groove back. After work, we guys headed out to Oasis on Park Street. Kedar joined us and I learnt that at the stroke of midnight the boy was going to turn a year older. So after a good drinking session at Oasis, where I must add that the service is excellent and the Fried Chicken and Fish Fingers are even better, Kedar and I decided that the night was too young to head back home. So while Amrit and Kartik headed home, we guys walked across the road and got on my bike just to ride into The Park about a hundred metres up the road.

Kedar was quite kicked about the fact that he was sitting on a bike after ages. At the entrance the guard didn't allow us into the driveway, so we just went a bit further and took the back entrance (actually the exit, right next to Trincas) and parked my bike at the back entrance of Trincas.

We headed straight for Some Place Else. Man the place was packed. Hip Pocket was at their musical best. Reela Banerjee's vocals added punch to the great music being dished out. Anyway we guys headed to Roxy after a short while, where the crowd hadn't yet picked up so we headed up to Aqua and Wow! This place was buzzing with people. Yeah! So this is where the hip crowd of Kolkata hangs out. It was a fashion extravaganza and we weren't complaining. The DJ was playing some cool trance kind of stuff, the attendants in their white Tees, short Denim skirts and Sneakers looked sporty and add to that a swimming pool, it's got just the right mix. Yeah Diddy could throw one of his famous White parties here. If this was Delhi, am sure there'd be some guys and gals in the pool too. Wonder if they allow that here?

At the stroke of Midnight, I got the DJ to play Happy Birthday for Kedar and wished him all the best and hoped he scored tonight. There was some fine talent in the house. Stilleto's, halter tops, plunging neck-lines, drain pipes, sunglasses at night, you name it, it was all there. Not to miss the "flip-flops", you know, the confused about their sexual orientation types who turn up at all the hippest places. I feel nowadays alot of these people are coming out of the closet as it seems to be a fashion statement in itself. No party I feel today makes the grade or to the page 3 tabloids if you don't have a couple of them in attendance.

Kedar wanted to smoke a cigar and asked one of the attendents to get one for him. She told us that they were out of stock and she'd have to get it from either ROXy or Some Place Else. Well that was the most elusive cigar. We're still waiting for it... Anyway tonight Aqua here we come and we don't light up until the Fat Lady Sings.

We headed back to Roxy and shortly thereafter. It seems the entire Aqua crowd descended there too. So one quick one for the road and we were outa there. It was a bit past 2am, and while we were crossing the drive way, Kedar suggested, since we had been to all the other places, we might as well go to Tantra and complete the entire package of Clubbing in The Park. Well the guys at the entrance wouldn't let us in without paying the entry fee. What the hell? We hadd been partying here since 10pm and there was no way we were going to pay to enter. So we just decided to call it a night, finally. Yeah anyway we had I think completed our quota of drinking for the night. One more and who'd ride my bike back?

So we headed to the parking and got on my bike and headed out into the coll night. I dropped Kedar at his residence in Alipore and went for a spin on my bike. It's very seldom that you get empty roads in Kolkata, so I made the most of it. I especially like the 2.6 km flyover on AJC Bose Road. As usual, I opened up the throttle and covered the distance in a blink of an eye...125 kmph is fast, I wish I could go faster.

So you're wondering why is it Happy Birthday Jaideep? Because it's his birth day today. I just found out. So we're headed out for lunch now.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What Does The Future Hold For Them?

After over two months of writing this blog, today I went back to my first post and realised that my blog seems to have lost that breath of freshness that was there when I originally started out. I guess a bit of cynicism does creep in when reality bites. Kolkata I believe has so much to offer it’s citizens as it did in the days of glory past when a saying was common “What Bengal Thinks Today, The World Will Do Tomorrow”.

I guess seeing the state of apathy, has made me me a bit bitter at the glorious heritage and legacy of this great state. Though there are winds of change which are evident. Yet it will take a lot more than just a dynamic statesman and visionary like Budadeb Bhattacharya to put Kolkata back on the Map. It requires the People of Kolkata to buy into his vision and rise in unison to live that vision.

Here is the reality of the state we live in. Our driver with whom I was having a chat on the way back home on Saturday opened the the harsh realities that none of us sitting in our airconditioned offices or at the club on a Saturday afternoon can grasp. He's been working in Kolkata for many years now as a driver and left his native village in Bihar many years ago. We believe in our society that Education will solve people’s problems. Well answer this one. In conversation, he mentioned that his son was getting married and he had got a little over a lac of rupees and a motorcycle in dowry. Wow! Now here is the killer. He told me his daughter was doing her class eleven and after that he’d get her married off. Alarmed I asked him to atleast let her finish her 12th standard. He told me that if she did, he’d have to pay more dowry. Right now it was to the tune of a lac and a half rupees. After 12th standard it would mean about 2.5 – 3.0 lac and that if she graduated it would be over 5 lac rupees. Why? I asked. Well the more educated she was, the more educated the boy would have to be and the more educated the boy was, the higher the rate of Dowry. Imagine this, a Doctor or Engineer would command 6-8 lac rupees.

So here’s my question. Is Education helping? The way I look at it is, it’s just being used as a tool to become more foolish. Atleast here it is. And I’m not saying this is the practice just here. Am sure it’s prevalent in other parts of the country too.

See this is exactly what I’m talking about. My eyes are opening to a lot of harsh realities of the life common Indian and is making me think what am I doing to change their predicament. Is there anything I am doing to change at least this little part of the world I live in.

Yes beautiful pictures of Kolkata will keep coming, but at the same time what about the millions of street dwellers. I saw a kid, not a day over 10 years smoking his lungs out on the roadside and the other little boy in rags seemed to look up at him in awe. His Hero! I wonder what future they’re going to have? Another pavement dweller in the making. He’ll get into stealing, drugs and produce a whole new generation of street dwellers. That really makes me wonder.

In our race to get better jobs, bigger houses, bigger cars and more money have we ever stopped and thought about that ever growing population of immigrants into the cities from rural India and the ever growing poverty stricken population in the cities who are clinging on to dear life and a an elusive dream of riches that city life promises.

This morning while waiting for Jaideep, I watched this "Daab Wala" (Coconut Seller) and his family meticulously working on their Daabs and the promise of a good sale on this sunny morning ahead of them.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Weekend Blues

I spent the entire weekend brooding I guess. And the best thing to do while booding is eat. So I treated myself to some fabulous food from Zeeshan - Chicken Biryani, Mutton Biryani, Paranthas, Chicken Rizala, Chicken Chaap, Malai Kofta and lots of Rosogollas. Ok that was Saturday Night.

Well the reason for the brooding was I finally gave my bike for repairs. When I took it there, I realised that the damage both to my bike and my pocket was more than I had anticipated. My Karizma had been dropped on both sides and the whole front was going to be changed. Other parts that needed to be changed were the handlebar, the silence shield, the side stand and the brake pedal. Man that kid really had a field day with my bike it seems.

Anyway the saving grace apart from the food was the music. I had downloaded a whole lot of stuff and I spent the weekend listening to them. First was Pink Floyd:
1. Wish You Were Here,
2. Dark Side of the Moon, and
3. The Wall.

Apart from that The Band:
1. The Band, and
2. The Best Of The Band.

I also managed to get three albums of Buffalo Springfield:
1. Buffalo Springfield,
2. Buffalo Springfield Again, and
3. Last Time Around.

So I decided if music was going to make me happy, I might as well play some myself too and thus strummed my guitar way into the night.

Sunday was some good breakfast made by your's truly. Fried Eggs, Chicken Sausages, Chicken Salami, baked Beans and Toast. This was followed by some Pulao and Chicken curry for lunch. Then I had tea with some great biscuits and stuff I had got from the shop around the corner.

In the evening I went to Salt Lake to a relative's place and averted a near mishap near Salt Lake Stadium on the EM bypass. I suddenly saw smoke rising from the front of the car and immediately pulled it to a side in that mayhem of traffic. Yeah right outside oneof the gates pf the Stadium. OK the commotion was because "Mr. Suroooor - Himesh Reshamiya" was performing there tonight. Anyway in that melee I pulled open the bonnet and smoke was billowing out of the front. I immediately emptied half the bottle of cold water I had in my hand on the radiator. That cooled the engine down, but still didn't reveal the problem. I started the car and made it to my relative’s place, where on further investigation, realised there was absolutely no coolant in the car. Wow! We were driving without coolant. No wonder teh car kept stoping. The engine was overheating and stopping at will.

I filled water as a makeshift remedy and after having a couple of Shingara (Samosas) and Shonpapri headed back home without much incident. I guess the car needs to go for servicing desperately.

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Digging Begins

Today, I commuted by Auto after a long time and as I was taking the usual route via Elliot Road and onto Free School Street, I came upon the KMC or was it the KMDA labourers having a go at the freshly laid asphalt.

They had just done up this road about a month ago, and now these guys were tearing it apart with Power Drills. It's amazing what sense of co-ordination and planning the Civic Authorities have here. It's such a waste of Taxpapyers money. Am sure all hell is going to break loose on this street shortly and traffic is going to go into dizzying dissaray right upto Park Street.

Anyway this is the 180 degree view right outside our office. Used this new software I got to put it together. Its called Panorama Composer.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Funny Posters

Ok if you guys are wondering what place these weird images have on my blog, well on insistence from a friend of mine who has been following my blog and who also happens to be a recent immigrant to the city, I have put these up. Kedar has been clicking these weird Sleazy Movie posters around town. I'm seriously planning to hold a contest for the weirdest one that can be found pasted on the walls of buildings around Kolkata.

The sight is not uncommon in other cities either, but the reason I wanted to put these up today is, an article I ready in the papers which talked about the West Bengal Government legalising wall paintings and posters. Ofcourse it did say this would apply to those of non commercial nature (read POLITICAL POSTERS) which could deface the walls of Kolkata's mighty buildings.

Anyway coming back to the posters at hand, Kedar has offically been designated a syndicated photgrapher (Spiderman a.k.a Peter Parker started this way too) for my blog. Keep up the good work boy. I'm going to post some really good one's tomorrow about something I saw yesterday on my way back home. So people come back for some more laughs, or then read the posters carefully for show timings in case you're interested.

People Have Too Much Time

This morning I was bored stiff and while I was waiting for Jaideep to pick me up, I indulged in some music. I realised how much fun Kunal Ganjawala's - Channa Vey sounds in the morning, add to that Bunty aur Bubbli, Bluffmaster and Saathiya, man I was all charged up to get to work and rock. Since I was all charged up and I had time on my hands, I decided to take some self potraits for this very blog. My own pictures seem to be the only thing lacking on this blog. I feel. Ok yes I have put on a few extra pounds, but then Kolkata as you'll have realised is a foodie's paradise.

Well when I came down, I just had to click pictures of the little flags which had been put up on the railing of the central verge. I had noticed these guys putting them up since morning. Some political thing that some political party hass called on today. Yeah the schools are closed today. I say what a national waste. If these Political Parties had anything better to do, they'd get down to some real work and make sure that West Bengal progresses at lightening speed to catch up to the rest of the metros around the country, rather than calling on bandhs and rally's and beating up people or keep the police occupied beating them.
This picture is from yesterday, just outside the HDFC Bank in Dlahousie. The point being, that I'm retiterating the fact that people here have nothing to do. So if some guy on the street side can grab their attention with some silly little toy or anything for that matter, a huge crowd would gather around and watch and listen. They'd forget where they were going, or why they were there. Just the crowd mentality. If there's a crowd, something must be going on. Most of them don't even know what, but they are gathered around. This could lead to them engaging in all sorts of discussions ranging from how the Americans put the first man on the moon to the rising costs of vegetables these days, or the rogue bus drivers on Kolkata's streets to Chidambaram’s budget. Man they have all that knowledge and yet are so damn dumb. Get on with it people. Apply that knowledge usefully at work, not on some streets side and see a sea of change coming over Kolkata.

Thursday, November 16, 2006

A Night At ROXY


I was dying to party on Wednesday reminiscing my Turquoise days and as luck would have it, Dipankar called me and told me he was going to be in town in the evening. What a stroke of luck. So after office, drove down to ITC Sonar Bangla and picked him up.

On arrival at The Park, I bumped into Kartik and his friends hanging out in the lobby. We decided to go to Some Place Else because Hip Pocket was playing there. But on reaching there, a slight reshuffling had been done and they were going to be playing on Thursday. Some other band was playing there tonight. So we decided to chill out at Roxy which was just on the opposite side of the lobby. I had been to Roxy earlier, but I didn't quite like it. Too boring for my taste. Maybe the company wasn't good that time. Roxy, though it wasn't packing a full house, was playing some fine music. Kind of transported me back in time. Old disco, pop and rock classics from the 70's, 80's and 90's. The drinks kept flowing at the bar, where we had perched ourselves on the high bar stools. I was beginning to like this place, the music was just the right decibel and he could engage in some conversation without straining our vocal chords.

As the night progressed, Amrit and Denaz also turned up at Roxy with a couple of their friends. We finally decided to pack up, not before having a couple of laughs with the pretty hostesses, who suggested we should visit Aqua. So that is exactly what we did. A couple of flights up and through some narrow passages and voila! We were at Aqua, the poolside lounge bar. Amazing. The crowd wasn't really our type and we decided to skip another drinking session here. Some other day maybe.

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Karizma Smashed

The day can't get worse than this, can it? The love of my life smashed. Well as it happens, I stayed home a bit later than usual waiting for the elusive courier guy who had come to the house during working hours yesterday to deliver my elusive ATM card and since I wasn't there he told me he'd come back this morning. Well I waited till a bit past 11 am and finally decided to head to office. Since I was running late, I thought I'd take my bike to office today.

When I got down to the Garage and asked Mahendar (the chowkidar) to open the garage, he asked me with a look of surprise whether I was going to take my bike. Ya! Duh. That's why I'm carrying my helmet and gloves. His answer made me go dizzy. He told me that the bike was smashed and that's why he was asking me. Smashed what do you mean smashed? I remember parking it in there myself on Sunday and there was not a scratch on it.

The Plot thickens. As he was opening the gate, he told me Rahul (my kid cousin) had come down last night and tried to ride the bike. How the hell did he allow him was my next question. Well stupid one too, that rascal kid threw his landlord weight on the poor guy and rolled the bike out. I'm wondering how he even managed to do that. The last time he tried to hold the bike, he nearly fell over.

So he pulled the bike out of the garage started it, put it into gear and obviously it was beyond his dimwit ability to control the machine, so he just let it fall to it's left side. The entire front faring and handle will need to be changed.

I just took my aunt's car to office.

So much for saving a bit of money this month.

Monday Night Partying

Last Evening after a hard days work, what better to do but head out partying. So Amrit, Kedar who we picked up on our way, and myself headed to Saturday Club. After knocking back several at the club, we headed to Arsalan and feasted on some Biryani. Except for the Hostess at the counter, there was nothing really splendid about the place. I've had better Biryani.

Anyway after that we guys headed to Some Place Else for Monday night Latino Music. Orient Express was there pelting out great latino music and shortly after we arrived the whole KOLKATA FILM FESTIVAL crowd descended on the place. Right in front of us were Aparna Sen, Rupa Ganguly and Anjan Dutta among a whole lot of expatriates, probably diplomat crowd.

Monojit Datta & The Orient Express
Monojit Datta - Clarinet, Flute, Recorder, Congas, Bongo, Timbales, Guido, Drums
Dwaipayan Saha - Bongo, Congas, Timbales, Guido, Drums
Subhankar Ganguli - Guido, Clave, Congas, Bongo, Maracas
Sourav Chatterjee - Guido, Clave, Bongo, Congas, Drum
Joydeep Dutta - Timbales, clave, guido
Som Dasgupta - Keyboards
Mainak Nagchowdhury - Fretless & fretted bass
Kallol Das - Flute
Sreyoshi Datta - Accordion
Sumit Bhattacharya - (Devadeep?!) - Guitar, harmonica