Sunday, June 27, 2010

Building the nest

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Busiest Weekend Ever

We had an Agenda for the weekend which included a visit to New Market to get a bigger cage and some nests for our little Finches. New Market is the Mecca for shopping. Think of anything under the sun and you’ll get it at New Market.

Fortunately for us, New Market wore quite a desolate look because of the transport strike and so we decided to indulge in some big time lukkhagiri. After finalising the cage and stuff, the shopkeeper told us it would take about an hour to customize the cage as per our requirement. So we went into the market and ended up discovering and buying stuff we hadn’t dreamed of getting in a mall, including those fresh green veggies which called out to us.

Nahoum’s was a must and we popped in and had some patties and pastries. That took care of breakfast. After that we headed to Elgin Road to feast on some Momos.

Sunday took us to Mani Square and what better to do than indulge in Macdonalds. I was quite surprised to see that footfalls in this mall had picked up considerably since my last visit.

After Mani Sqaure, we decided to drop into City Centre, Salt Lake since we had come this far. After some lukkhagiri there, we finally headed back home.

By the time I got home I realised that the weekend was over.

Kolkata Metro E2W Corridor is progressing

Construction on the East2West Metro is happening at a really good pace, not by Kolkata standards, but by any standard. I'm a bit shocked, yet happy that Construction can happen this fast in Kolkata.

Am just looking forward to seeing all this construction culminating into a better Kolkata.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Tweets of the Real Kind

For most of you who tweet in bits and bytes, this little video is about the real twitter. 6 Little FINCHES tweeting away to glory. We had pulled them into our living room for the night as a storm had broken out with strong winds and heavy rain.

Of course over the past couple of days, a song has been playing in my head over and over again. I'm sure a lot of you have heard it. A song by the great BOB MARLEY called THREE LITTLE BIRDS. Of course with all respect to BOB (do forgive me for this), it plays like this in my head of late:


Don't worry about a thing
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright
Tweetin' don't worry about a thing
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright

Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun
SIX little FINCHES, sit by my doorstep
Tweeting tweet songs of melodies pure and true
Tweetin' this is my message to you-ou-ou

Tweetin' don't worry about a thing
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright
Tweetin' don't worry about a thing
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright

Rise up this morning, smile with the rising sun
SIX little FINCHES, sit by my doorstep
Tweeing tweet songs of melodies pure and true
Tweetin' this is my message to you-ou-ou

Tweetin' don't worry about a thing
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright
Tweetin' don't worry about a thing
Cause every little thing is gonna be alright
Tweetin' don't worry...

There’s more to the story. Update in a bit…

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Saturday, June 19, 2010

Addition to our Familly & Home

Well after a lot of debate about keeping pets, we finally got Six Little Finches on Saturday. Well the excitement started in the afternoon, when my wife stated that we needed to get bigger pots for some of our plants and so we went and while getting the pots also bought another plant. From there the mission was to get some Finches, as she was completely taken up by our neighbour’s birds. They had just recently got a pair of Finches.

So off we went to Santoshpur where we located the Pet shop that kept birds and Fish. My wife instantly fell in love with a couple of the Finches from the dozen odd that were in the cage. So we started off with two, which became four and finally we picked up six little birdies.

We brought them home, but before that, drove around looking for bowls for their feed and water which we got. The cage was set up among the plans in the Balcony and once they had settled in, we put some food and water for them. Gosh they are a chirpy bunch.

By late evening we had decided to name them. Six Little Finches, three male and 3 female. The only names apt for these new members of our home who were going to spend all their time together in that cage was inspired from our all time favourite sitcom, FRIENDS. So the six of them got their names; Rachel, Monica, Phoebe, Ross, Chandler and Joey.

Welcome to our HOME.

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Friday, June 18, 2010

Z's back to cruising the streets

Well every bad thing that happens has a positive side to it. All you've got to do is find that good thing. After the Swift met with an accident I was sad, to say the least. Distraught, but the ray of red sunshine got a twinkle in my eye. The poor beast had been parked there for months and so a couple of days ago, I decided it take it to town.

I was leaving for work and had climbed down as usual, backpack on my back and umbrella in my hand. As I walked past that red feline creature, something came over me, so I put the umbrella down and put the key in the ignition, got astride and pushed the electric start button. No pulse. The battery was dead from several months of neglect.

So I pulled out the kick lever, pushed the choke down and started to kick; first a few hard kicks, then more feverishly and finally desperately. I had broken into a good sweat by now. Having broken into sweat, there was no turning back. So I took a couple of minutes and started pumping the kick start and then giving it a good kick. After several efforts, my Karizma burst to life. A good twist on the accelerator and that warm rumbling sound of the beast got me excited. I revved the engine for several minutes and then immediately turned off the ignition, jumped off my bike, grabbed my umbrella and ran up the stairs in twos opened my front door, dumped the umbrella grabbed my helmet and gloves, told my wife I was biking it to office ran back down the stairs got it started and off I rode.

Yeah I was holding my breath the entire time I typed that last bit. So you can guess how excited I was when I actually was riding my bike. I knew I had to fill gas as the electronic fuel indicator was blinking on the last point. My bike was in reserve. So I made a quick pit stop at the BP petrol pump where I normally fill fuel in the SWIFT, topped up the tank with Speed, got air in the tyres and finally got on my way to office. The ride was the smoothest I had experienced in a long time and before I knew it, I was parking my bike out the office. A quick glance at my watch and the time was 9:10 AM. Wow! That has got to be the fastest I’ve ever made it from home to office. I left home at 8:40 AM, made a fuel stop and yet reached by 9:10 AM. Well I didn’t catch a single red light on the 10 KM ride and neither did I ride over 60 kmph. So I guess that’s how long it actually takes. My normal drive to work on an average on the same route is anything between 40 minutes to an hour.

Well over the next two days, I just had the most awesome time making that to-and-fro journey. And then last night was the best. I had pulled to a stop at the Parama Island Round About. I was coming down the Park Circus Connector this was the point it meets with the E.M. Bypass with the ITC Sonar on my left and Science City Auditorium to my right. Anyway I was the first bike at the stop line and parked a bit behind the line beside a taxi and another car on the extreme left lane. Well the reason I avoid being the first one at the line is because, though I have all my bike papers in order, they have no use in Kolkata. My bike carries a Delhi registration.

Anyway as I looked at the two cops, a sergeant next to his bike and one of his flunkies with a walkie-talkie looking around, I knew I had made the biggest mistake. I kept looking at the signal lights and the countdown clock. Gosh a whole minute and a half before the light would turn green. Just then the flunky started walking towards me. I ignored him and held my breath as he walked past. I noticed in my rear view mirror that he had gone up to a mini goods carrier van. Yeah, they’re always easy targets for making a quick buck. Anyway I kept observing him as he stood next to the window of the van talking to the driver. Meanwhile a biker crossed me on the left and pulled up ahead of me and stopped. He had this half helmet on. Like a skull cap. I looked at the light again and noticed it was still going to be a while before it turned green. Then I saw the flunky walking back. I kept looking in the mirror to see if he was looking at my bike and luckily for me he walked past and caught the biker in front of me. From what I observed having failed to make anything from the van guy he thought he might try his luck with the biker. He asked the biker if he had a licence and the biker immediately went for his back pocket. Sensing that the licence ploy would come back negative in his money making scheme, he waved at him that it was ok, but then pointed out to him that the helmet he was wearing was not legal. Well I could understand all this from 10 feet away. But then noticing that the signal would go green any moment, he let the biker off.

Just then the light went green; I put my bike into gear and rode off, thanking my lucky stars. I reached home after riding in that beautiful cool monsoon evening wind knowing that from tomorrow I would be back with the SWIFT.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Chinese Lunch

So after we got the car stuff done, it struck me, that we could atleast do one thing that we had set out to do. CHINESE LUNCH. It was more like Chinese high-tea considering that we were drinking beer and having Chilli Chicken and Chilli Prawns at 4:30pm, but what the heck, Chinese it was afterall.

The idea strck me when we reached the Garage. CHUNG-WAH was just walking distance from there, so we decided to get atleast on thing that we had planned for.

After several beers and starters, we got the all time favourite Chilli Chicken and Chicken Fried Rice. In fact after we were done, we even ordered take-away for dinner.

We wanted to make doubly sure that we did Chinese today!

Crash-Course in Aquaplaning

A grey and overcast Saturday noon filled with indecision finally got us out of the house and in our car. Well the plan was still undecided but the steering having a mind of its own led us towards South City Mall. Well all the way, plans of watching a movie this afternoon or tomorrow afternoon or this evening or the next coupled with the want for proper Chinese food came to a crashing halt when I slammed the brakes on the car, in the middle of traffic on Prince Anwar Shah Road just shy of South City Mall, and it went sliding on the slippery surface of the drizzle soaked slime on the road and collided with the rear fender of a Mahindra Xylo.

Well that’s how instantaneous our accident was. We were in the middle of traffic one moment, waiting for it to move and the next second when it did move and I got the car in motion, I realised the traffic in our lane, and the car 20 feet ahead of me had stopped suddenly, so I slammed on the brakes too. But aquaplaning got the better of us. Though I knew my wheels had locked, I watched helplessly, turning the wheel as much to the left as I could, as the car went sliding towards the one in front of ours and then…BAM! The next thing I could see was the entire front right of my car crumpled up and inside the back left fender of the Mahindra Xylo. Well it was a big SUV, and as I tried to open the door to get out and see the damage, it was jammed, so there was only one thing to do, reverse the car and pull it to one side.
As I did that, that I noticed that the car in front of the Mahindra Xylo was a Tata Safari which he had rear ended; so none of the drivers actually came out to talk to me, seeing the most damage had been to my poor little SWIFT. Anyway, I got out through the passengers side after my wife and went ahead to assess the damage. It seemed quite severe and I noticed that the coolant container had also broken in the collision. In proper Kolkata style a crowd of people gathered to discuss the situation and in the shortest time, the other two cars drove off, realising that they had just been scratched. We on the other, had to call the Garage and asked for a tow-truck to be sent. I wasn’t too sure about the condition of the right side wheel and didn’t want to take any chances driving from here to the Garage with a car in this condition.

So while we waited for the tow-truck, we got the low-down from one of the people who had witnessed the incident and he informed us that, none of the three cars involved in the accident were at fault as the vehicle which was at fault had long left the scene without realising the damage it had caused behind. A Gas Tanker had stopped in the middle of traffic for no apparent reason leading to the pile up we were involved in. Since the tanker hadn’t been hit and wasn’t aware that it had caused a pile up behind, it drove off. Anyway that’s how accidents happen.

Finally our tow-truck arrived and as the driver assessed the damage, he informed us that the car would have to be lifted from the front and towed away. We enquired if we could ride in our car as it was being towed. He informed us that it wouldn’t be a problem if we didn’t mind a swaying and bumpy ride. No sir, no problem at all. How much worse could it be than crashing into another car? So he rigged the chains in front under the fender and then started hoisting the front of the car up till it was in place to be towed. Then my wife and I hopped into the back seat our car and off we went. Just in the nick of time too, because as we started to move, the rain came down. It was the strangest experience. Firstly I couldn’t remember riding in the back seat of our car and secondly at an angle that we were travelling, swaying and being bounced around.

We finally got to the Garage after the strangest joyride. I booked the car for repairs and said I would do the insurance paperwork on Monday. Well so much for us watching a movie… We were just in our own movie!

read on coz the story just gets better!

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Flavours of Friendship

After a long hiatus a bunch of us got together last evening and all thanks to Dharmesh. He had popped into town a week or ten days ago, headed up to Gangtok and on his return to the city called me day before yesterday and asked if I could get as many of our batch mates together. I immediately went about the task. Calling was going to be rather tedious, so a group text to all the boys was sent out. Monday evening’s plan got derailed as I guess the notice period was too short, and so Tuesday evening was confirmed by a couple of the guys.

On Tuesday morning Dharmesh called me and confirmed that instead of the usual Magnolias, Nizar had suggested a place called Flavours of India. Well that was no problem for me because it was just around a corner from my office and 7:00pm suited me just fine. So as I was getting into my car after work, Dharmesh called me and informed me that Nizar, Narendra and he were already there. Punctual fellow, I guess timing is everything if you’re a Stock Broker.

Anyway I arrived and suddenly realised that parking was going to be the most painful thing to find here, but as I pulled up in front of the restaurant, a Sardarji waved out to me and came up to the car and asked if I was going to Flavours of India and I gave him a confirmatory nod so he came around to my side and said that he would park the car. Yippy! Problem number one solved; now to find the guys.

As I walked in and looked around, an elderly gentleman standing in front facing me clicked his fingers nearly in my face surprising me and said, “Joseph’s?” As I nodded my head up and down involuntarily, he pointed to a table inside. I walked up and saw the three chaps sitting there. As I narrated the story to them, Dharmesh told me that since he had come in early he spent about 10 minutes with the old man and had told him about his life’s history and how he was meeting up with old school friends. Well that solved the mystery of how the old man knew my School’s name.

Anyway we got straight down to the business of catching up and the best way to do so is over chilled draught beer. So along came the first pitcher and then the next. As we got chatting, we were joined by Rahul, Neeraj, Rajat and Punit. More beer and snacks were ordered and the decibel level at our table also rose.

Dharmesh was meeting some of the guys for the first time after school and it was a nostalgic evening which got better as we remembered some of the funny incidents that had occurred in school. Gosh how we guys can meet up and talk about those same incidents every time we meet and still have so much fun. It’s like if we had to relive those times, we wouldn’t have wanted it any other way.

Finally Manpreet and Pankaj joined in towards the end of the evening. By now the buzz had set in after what seemed like an entire keg of beer had been consumed at our table. It was a week night and a lot of us had to get back home to our wives and kids and so we called it a night.
I just loved our flavour of friendship, even though we guys met up rarely and some of us after years, but it never seemed like we had been separated. Our friendship is caught in some sort of time warp where we always get transported when we meet.

Anyway for any of you guys wanting to catch up of cheap booze (they serve Draught Beer and by the pitcher of 4-6 mugs too) and some fabulous munchies (ask for the cheese-onion-chilli-kulcha), visit Flavours of India.

6/3A, A.J.C.Bose Road,
Kolkata – 700017
Tel: +91 33 22901972, 22906574, 30284018
(Free Home Delivery Available)