Sunday, December 28, 2008

Merry Christmas :-)

My maternal grandfather, who is, err, a great 'devotee', on Christmas Day.
My father and I in a taxi on Christmas Day.

My grandfather and I at a Chinese restaurant in Kolkata, where we had lunch that day.


My grandmother with my parents at the same venue.
My grandparents and parents at City Centre on that day where we watched the new Bengali movie of the famous Feluda series by Satyajit Ray, "Tintorettor Jishu"(Tintoretto's Jesus).




Sunday, December 21, 2008

A month of surprises

This December, I really am surprising my family. On my parents' anniversary, we were palnning to go for dinner. But, while planning, we realized that if we would start from our house after both of them returned from work, it would be very late because their offices as well as the restaurant where we wanted to go, are all very far from our house. So, I was struck with an idea and suggested that if I would travel to my father's office in the evening and meet him there, we would then go and meet my mother somewhere and then go for dinner. After a lot of pleading, they agreed. Thus, on their 20th anniversary, I went all the way from our house in Baguiati to my father's office in Chowringhee by bus. On hearing that I had completed that one hour and fifteen minute journey all by myself, everyone was all praise for me.

The next surpise came for them when I went for a movie with a friend, which I mentioned in my last post. And,the latest suprise was when I went and had food with my friends in a restaurant, for the first time ever, after the Christmas Celebration at our school on Friday. The function itself was not that good. But, I don't suppose any of us had gone for the purpose of enjoying the function. We had gone to enjoy with friends, to enjoy the gathering. Some of us suddenly decided to brighten up the evening more with the help of food. There were six of us, including me. Sukanya, Mekhala, Arittra, Sayani and Biswadeep made a nice group. The funny thing was that as I had invited Arittra to join us, he had assumed that I was the one giving the treat. But, while going to the restaurant, he realized from our conversation that Biswadeep was the one who would be financing. So, when the rest of us had already sat down, he stood staring at me with a very embarassed look on his face. I was forced to get up and talk to him. He said, "You're not the one giving the treat? But, I don't even know him(Biswadeep) and how can I just eat when he will be paying?" I replied very nonchalantly, " I didn't know him till today either. But, so what?" Hearing that, he became more unwilling to sit down. So, I said , "Ok fine, we'll all contribute something. Take your seat now." Thankfully, he was satisfied and occupied the last chair . We explained to him later that the reason for taking Biswadeep with us was that he is very rich and always has a good amount of pocket money with him! Now, wasn't that very clever of us? :-D

So, this month I have heard numerous time from numerous people that, " Tui to boro hoye geli!" (You've grown up!") I am glad that they have finally realized that!

Saturday, December 13, 2008

rab ne bana di jodi

Today, I went to watch 'Rab ne bana di jodi' with my friend, Sukanya . This was special for me because for the first time, I went out independently with a friend. Earlier this year, when I had gone out with my blogger friends, my cousins were there and besides, they were all grown-ups. But, today, there were only the two of us, without the company of any adult and it boosted by confidence a lot. Moreover, I was the one who guided Sukanya today because I have been to that multiplex and shopping mall more number of times than her and know shorter and better routes leading to it.

Coming back to the actual topic, Sukanya was extremely happy too because some of our other friends had been planning to watch this movie but hadn't invited her properly to join their group. She had been telling me that very dejectedly and on hearing that, when I had proposed our going to the movies without taking anyone else, her face had lighted up. Today, there was not a single moment when the smile vanished from her lips and that gave me a lot of satisfaction because she is the friend who has been getting closer to me for the last few months.

The movie was also very good, specially the first half. The first half was actually very funny. The second half was a bit boring . The story is kind of sweet. Anushka Sharma is very glamorous and has done a good job. Every time she smiles, its a treat to watch her. And, Shah Rukh Khan is superb. But, of course, he always is superb! The way he walks in this movie, the way he makes his two appearances in the movie equally adorable and above all, the way he smiles, all make 'Rab ne...' a must watch. The love story fails to be extraordinary, primarily because of the abrupt climax and the way Anushka abruptly discovers the person in whom she actually finds 'rab' or God. But, at the same time, the love story does leave an impression because of the way it conveys the message to us that some love stories are indeed created by God.

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Still life



This is one of my hand painted pictures, in oil colours. And, I changed my photo on the page because nobody seemed to like it. Specially, after protests from Nanny and Woodsmoke, I decided to change it. Hope you like both the painting as well as the photo.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Black and white


In my last post, I had mentioned that I would be a starting a new paint blog soon. But, following Subhadipda's suggestion, I would like to post my paintings on this blog itself. This is the blog which is very close to my heart and I don't want it to get less attention.


So, the above picture is the first of those paintings done with the mouse. Hope you like it!


Friday, October 31, 2008

Something colourful

A white paper, a pencil, a box of tubes containing water colours, a palette to choose and mix the right combination of colours, numerous brushes and a conatiner of water...or tubes containing oil colours instead of water colours and the container of water replaced by two tiny containers of oil...

Whenever I paint, my mind is burried in these things. A slight slack of concentration and the picture may go horribly wrong, especially with the water colours. But, its never difficult to get totally engaged in what I paint because I love to paint. It always keeps my mind away from other worries and after a good painting session, the mind feels refreshed. It is also a treat to see my own paintings after finishing them if I am really able to do a good job.

But, unfortunately, these studies don't let a person do anything else. Sometimes they are so mean! So, although I have been continuing my painting classes, I have not been able to painting the time it deserves. I don't suppose I will ever be able to give it that time ,which I used to give it three or four years back, ever again. But, since I devote a lot of time to blogging, I have been wondering for the past few days about combining the two activities together. If I start another blog and use it only for posting my computer and mouse paintings, it would help me to devote time to painting and become something new in my life. So, I have decided now that I will start such a blog. I will post the URL here so that you all can visit it. I hope you will like my paintings just as you have admired my writing.

I must add here that I first got the inspiration to start a paint blog after seeing Deeptidi's (Deepti Siwal's) paintings on her paint blog, Marasim. I don't know why she stopped blogging and can't be seen in blogosphere anymore now but as long as she was there, she created magic with her paintings. I too want to do the same...hope you will encourage me.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

The white abodes

At Chamoli (below); My parents on the ropeway to Chandi devi 's mandir(right)


The three of us at Bheem Pul(left)


The Alaknanda at Managaon(right)




Badrinath temple(right)



My mother at Chopta(above)






Mymother and I at Kedarnath(left)







The Kedarnath temple(right)






Clouds engulf the way to Kedar(above)









Forests on the way to Kedar(left)







My father in his doli(right)










On the way to Guptkashi(above)



The rivers Alaknanda and Mandakini merge at Devaprayag, on the way to Guptkashi(left)





The evening aarti(above and below)







Ram Ghat (right)














I used to think that no one in this world knew where heaven was. But, now I have been forced to change my opinion. Loads of people, including me, know where heaven is. And, it looks like the two bottommost pictures.The pictures are those of Kedarnath and Badrinath, the places I visited over the last two weeks with my parents. We started off on 5th October and first took a flight to New Delhi. Then, we reached Haridwar on the Janshatabdi Express the same night. Haridwar is not the type of town present in a person's dreams. It is rather congested and there is practically nothing to be seen in it except the Ganges. But, there was something about the town which made me like it though I don't know what it was. Our hotel was located in Ram Ghat, one of the busy market areas of Haridwar. Whenever we would step out of our hotel, a mixed smell of pickle and jalebis and the noise of autos and rickshaws would greet us and that would make me very happy. Ram Ghat and the nearby areas are marked by narrow lanes, sweet shops, shops selling woollen garments with the shopkeepers shouting in Bengali ( as 90% tourists are Bengalis), restaurants like Mashir Hotel and Dada-Boudir Hotel with their names written in Bengali and what not. I am extremely fond of sweets and I specially liked the gulab jamun at Haridwar! But, in spite of being a Bengali, I hated the food at Mashir Hotel, unlike most other Bengalis there, because it was just tasteless! There would haardly be any space to walk through these areas but there would always be a lot to watch and hear.

Away from this hustle and bustle, at Har Ki Pauri, the atmosphere is totally different and I felt that we had arrived at another part of the world. There, the Ganges flows widely and the people move calmly towards its banks. The evening aarti begins exactly at 6.20 p.m. and ends exactly at 6.30 p.m. Thousands of people gather around the banks of the Ganges to watch this ten minute show which is not just a ritual. It is a symbol of peace which attracts the rich and the poor, the happy and the unhappy, the religious and the non-religious. It is dominated by the sound of bells echoing throughout Haridwar and the flame and odour of giant panch-pradeeps spreading contentment all around.

The next day, we went to Guptkashi, one of the many spots between Haridwar and Kedarnath, where people halt. But, halting at Guptkashi is not a practical decision, as we understood afterwards because it is 35km away from Gaurikund, the point from which the trek to Kedarnath begins. So, as we halted at Guptkashi that night, we first had to travel to Gaurikund in the morning and could start for Kedarnath at 9.30 a.m. That is not at all good because it takes six hours to trek to Kedarnath and the weather there starts deteriorating after 1 p.m. So, people should halt at Gaurikund. The road to Guptkashi is much better than the place itself. When we had lamost reachd Guptkashi, our car turned a bend on the mountainous road and we got the first glimpse of the white snow-capped mountains! It was only a short glimpse but it gave me immeasurable pleasure. It was a feeling of joy and satisfaction and I could not believe that I had finally come near the white mountains which I had so much desired to see. After that though, Guptkashi offered us nothing impressive except the lush green mountains. Our hotel had no provision for food and we had to eat at a restaurant where there was a one man show. The man, Chauhan, was the owner, chef, waiter and receptionist at his restaurant, the only gentle one in this bizarre place. But, I must praise him because he prepared really good food. Although the food was hot (so hot that it made my mother jump up and down in spite of preferring hot food herself), it was good.

On 8th October, we started our journey to Kedarnath. The journey to Kedarnath can be completed on foot, on horseback, on dolis ( like palanquins but without the roof and carried by four bearers) , kandis (baskets carried by people on their backs with the passengers sitting in them) or helicopters. We chose the dolis because my father has been suffering from arthritis and both my parents are heart patients and it is not possible for them to walk 14 km. The doli stand is located a kilometre or so away from the point where the cars stop.It is ruled by total chaos and confusion and by the time we started off on our respective dolis ( one person in one doli), we felt like pulling our hair out. But, the doli bearers' job is very very praiseworthy because frist of all, they carry people. Moreover, the road to Kedarnath is very steep , rough and dangerous. But, the infinite energy with which they carried us deserves a million applauses.

The first few kilometres on the way are full of mountains covered with thick jungles and when my doli was moving just on the edge of the road, it was giving me the chill to look down and find the hills leading down to nowhere! The gorges are so deep that even when I noticed a stream or two, they appeared like long ribbons. The more we went, the less thick the jungles became and after a stage, disappeared altogether. But, the road became steeper and the cold went on increasing. We stopped five times on the way and every time, had either tea or coffee. A friendly feature about the trek to Kedar is that when people going uphill happen to exchange looks with those coming downhill, they say "Jai Bhole" to each other. This is not a rule but the urge to chant "Jai Bhole" occurs naturally to the trekkers.The mid-point of the road is at Rambara where we had maggi for lunch. Till Rambara, the weather had been bright and sunny but as soon as we crossed it, the weather suddenly deteriorated. Clouds engulfed our way and drops of ice-cold rain began to fall. The cold started pentrating even my thick power shoes and cotton socks. At Kedarnath, the cold was unbelievable! We were shaking even after wearing two sweaters. We just managed to visit the temple in the evening and see the deity but could only listen to the aarti as the temple became very crowded after a while. After coming back to our hotel, we gulped down mouthfuls of boiling hot khichdi and I went to sleep in my jeans. Even after covering ourselves with two quilts each, we took time to adjust to the cold and could not move in bed. The next morning, we went to offer puja at the temple. It was painful at first because we had to wait in the queue bare footed. But, inside the temple it was warmer and yet, it was worse because we had to fight the crowds there. Everything is very unsystematic inside the temple. The queue breaks up into two near the entrance and again merges into one of its own accord near the sanctum sanctorum, trigerring line breaking and complete chaos. People sit around a small pool where the deity has been placed, and offer their puja.It was a bad experience to see two people fighting around that pool just because one of them had pushed the other while trying to touch the deity. What I didn't understand was that why all those people at the temple that day have to adopt wrong means to reach the deity first. Why couldn't they have waited half an hour more for their turn patiently after having trekked for six hours? If they had maintained peace, the whole process would have become smoother and quicker. Reaching Kedarnath is not easy but once you reach the place, you realize that all your efforts were worth it. The white majestic Neelkanth range and the sight of the temple gives you a lot of satisfaction and gives you all the energy to fight the biting cold. In the world of those huge mountains, nothing else matters. All your big and small desires together seem very little.At least, this is what I felt ...

The return journey on the doli is very uncomfortable because this time, the doli bearers run down with their dolis and the passengers keep on bumping up and down in them. We also stopped only once on the way at Rambara and reached Gaurikund in, surprisingly, two and a half hours. Before returning to Guptkashi, we visited a place called Trijugnarayan where Lord Shiva had married Parvatin and the marriage fire has been kept burning till this day. On the 10th of October, we started the long journey to the second dham, Badrinath. This time too, we visited places on the way. One of them was Unkhimath, where Usha, the daughter of Surya, had married Aniruddha, the grandson of Lord Krishna, and the place where Lord Kedarnath is said to live during the winter season when he has no visitors at Kedar itself. Both Trijugnarayan and Unkhimath are nice place swith pretty temples but the palce which stands out is Chopta. Chopta is a very colourful place with a very blue sky, snow white mountains, mountians with rich green trees and a lime green valley visible altogether. Although the road to Badri is motorable, it is very bad and very narrow. So, only a certain number of vehicles are allowed to ply on the road for a period of two and a half hours, enabling them to cross the danger zones safely without any chances of congestion. Thus, from Joshimath, a place on the way to Badri and also from Badri, the vehicles start only at 6.30 a.m., 9 a.m., 11.30 a.m., 2 p.m. and 4.30 p.m. but not at any other time in between or before or after. If a vehicle misses the 11.30 a.m. 'gate' (as they are called), it will have to wait for two and a half hours to use the 2 p.m. 'gate'.

We entered the narrowest of roads by the 4.30 p.m. 'gate' and at once, forgot all about Chopta. The mountains were now mysteriously beautiful. They were bare and grey and as my parents said, (I have never before heard them speaking in this poetic manner and must admit that I was puzzled) strange people would come out of the mountains any time and charge at us. It was a different kind of beauty. The next morning, we first visited Badrinath temple but only saw the deity without offering any puja. At this temple, things are much more in order and people themselves are less frantic. Then, we went to Managaon, 3 km from Badri, which is India's last village in the north before the Chinese border. At Managaon, we had to use our feet to walk around and see the origin of the Saraswati river from the Bheem Pul and the Ganesh and Vyas Gumfas. So, naturally, my father, with his arthritis, could not see everything and waited in the car while my mother and I discovered the sweetness of Mana. We had even thought of walking 3 km more to visit the Muchkund Gumfa but local people said that going there and coming back would take two hours in all. Sadly, we gave up the idea. Both at Badri and at Mana, the Alaknanda river is peacock blue. The river there is just like the sea with its white waves and in fact, we don't even get to see the sea in such a form often.

On the night of the 12th, we stayed over at Chamoli, a district town on the way back to Haridwar. That is also a very picturesque place and although there is no special spot to be seen, one can spend hours sitting and watching the splendid view.

After coming back to Haridwar, we visited Rishikesh, Ram Jhula and Lakshman Jhula. Although these places are really nice, we didn't enjoy them to a good extent because their beauty was nothing compared to what we had already seen. So, its better to go to these places before going to Kedar, Badri, Gangotri or Jamunotri. The security in these places is very bad. Any time, any moment, they can be blown up along with the millions of people visiting them. We also visited the Mansa Mandir inside Haridwar and the Chandi Mandir on the outskirts of Haridwar. There too, the view from the hilltops where they are located is more important than them. They are accesible only by ropeway and the view from the ropeway is also splendid.

A few things more about this trip. Its a completely wrong notion that only the rough and tough and young people can go on a hectic trip such as this. We saw many elderly people enjoying the trip. If people are a bit careful, anyone can enjoy the trip. Also, contrary to what we had heard several times before going, there is no need to be part of a big group for going on this tour. There were only the three of us and we didn't face any problem.Besides, there seemd to be no other business in Uttarakhand apart from tourism. Wherever we went, we encountered hotels, tourist lodges, guest houses, etc. etc. but very few houses of local people. Moreover, there's no good connection between people in different sectors of the tourism industry. For example, the hotels don't know when they'll get the advance money paid to the travel agencies by the tourists. The industry is marked by double crossery and treachery. This trip will be memorable because before starting on the 5th, every moment we feared that we might not be able to go at all becuase of the numerous obstacles which came our way. And then, we could go after all! If any of you ever need any information regarding this tour, you can ask me. I'll be very happy to help you.
Jai Bhole! Jai Badri Vishal!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Rajarshi

Rabindranath Tagore was undoubtedly a great man and a great novelist. His writings really are different. But (I know I have no right to say this considering the fact that I am talking about a man like him; forgive me if I hurt your sentiments which I know I will) sometimes, they are so boring!

'Rajarshi' was a novel written by him after having a dream. He dreamt that a little girl had visited a temple with her father one day and seeing the blood of animals sacrificed to the god/goddess, on the temple steps, the girl had asked, " Why is there so much blood?" Based on this, Rabindranath Tagore had penned an entire novel. I haven't read the whole novel yet but I have felt that our Nobel Laureate was just not at his best when he wrote this one. Why did he have to describe the time of the day so often? In every chapter, there is one long paragraph about either the day or the night or the afternoon or the early evening. In two lines about the atmospheric conditions, we could have understood the coming incidents, whether they will be good or bad. In one of the chapters, he describes the morning as a very pleasant one and tells us about everything and everyone from the sun rays to the squirrels and from the goats to the people happily chatting while preparing to take a bath. But, then he says that Jayshingha (one important character) is not happy to see everyone else so merry! Then, why did he make us read so much? And that Jayshingha! He changes his mind every alternate chapter. He is just not able to decide whether to support the king or the priest. By inserting this character into the novel, Rabindranath Tagore makes things so boring. There was simply no need for the readers to digest this man called Jayshingha when he practically does nothing and finally kills himself. Chapters have been on Jayshingha. And, what's the point of having such a philosopher like Govindamanikya as king? Just because a girl asked the reason for all that blood, he ordered that all sacrifices should be stopped! Why didn't he just concentrate on his other administrative duties? Oh, but of course, he was a philosopher, not a king. So, how could he? Govindamanikya was also a big bore in the sense that he was wanting to listen to the 'dhrubopakhyan' from a little boy of five or six who, all the while, was wanting to go and meet his friend and play in the woods. The only smart person in the novel is Raghupati, the priest, who doesn't waste a singel moment in deciding what he wants. He is the villain but to me, he is the character who makes us open our eyes properly and read every time he comes into the picture.

I hope I'll get something better in the rest of the chapters though I have every doubt. I know I have already hurt a dozen sentiments and am already being cursed but I could not help it!

Friday, September 12, 2008

10 messages received

Here are some of the really nice SMSs which I have received over the past few months. I don't know whether you all have received some of them too or not. Anyway, I hope you'll all enjoy them!

1.What did Kangaroo say when she found her baby missing?
Just think
Try again
She said, "Aaila! kisi ne meri pocket mar li..."

2.Jab barish hoti hai, tum yad ate ho. Jab kali ghata chhaye, tum yad ate ho. Jab bheegte hai hum, tum yad ate ho. Ab bata bhi do mera umbrella kab wapas karoge!

3.Ek sardar ki maut bijli girne se hui,par uski lash muskurate hui mili. God ne puchha,"Aisa kyun?"
Sardar: Oye, mainu laga koi meri photo khinch raha hai...

4.(kuch kuch hota hai remix): Exam pass aye, dil ghabraye, teacher ne na jane kya paper banaye. Ab to mera pen ruk ruk ke chalta hai, kya karun haaye, kuch nehi aata hai!

5. Sardarji dukhi the, kisi ne puchha, "kyun tension me ho?"
Sardarji: "yaar, ek dost ko plastic surgery ke liye 2 lakh diye the, ab saale ko pehchaan nehi pa raha hun!"

6. S_nrise
B_tterfly
Pict_re
L_nch
Clo_ds
St_dies
M_sic
S_nday
all are very boring without "U"!

7.Maintain silence for 2 minutes in memory of all those poor mosquitoes who died last night after drinking your blood; they had a diabetes attack because you are so sweet....

8.If you find a friend better than me, i won't stop you, but if that friend leaves u, just look behind. I will be there....To slap and say, "HO GAYI TASALLI!"

9. Teacher: If I saw a man beating a donkey and stopped him, what virtue would I be showing?
Student: Brotherly love.

10. A man ordered soup in a restaurant but found a fly in his soup. He said to the waiter, "Mere soup me ek makkhi hai!" The waiter replied ,"To main kya karun? Main dhaba chalaun ya inhe tairna sikhaun?"

Sunday, August 31, 2008

An element of my blood

I have often talked about my hatred for Mathematics. Whenever I have complained about the problems cropping up while studying, I have blamed Mathematics. But, I have never mentioned a word about the subject which has helped me to stay calm even during the most critical situations. I have always assured myself, "Never mind, there's still History...."

I had liked History from Day One. It has always been fascinating to read about people who lived years ago and to understand their lifestyle, their achievements using nothing but human labour, both physical and mental and their ability to think beyond their times. The strength of mind that they have shown before numerous wars or their failure to show it and the reasons associated with either of the two attitudes always provides for an interesting read.

How can History ever be boring? I know that different people have diffferent preferences. I myself hate Math whereas there are many who don't. But, I have seen that eighty percent people don't like History. And, its not just hatred. They treat History as an inferior subject; a subject whose study requires no special skill, a subject where success is guaranteed if you can memorize well, a subject which is infinitely boring , a subject which is useless because it deals with the past....Their comments hurt me and prick me like a needle because History has been my saviour. Over the years, I realized that it is the subject on which I have a very firm grip and it is difficult for others to loosen that grip. But, its not that I like History just because it fetches me good marks but because of the subject itself. We must know something about our past. We have got to be acquainted with the reasons for the existing world problems and those reasons can only be provided by History.

The other day, my friend was telling me that its good that I have taken up Humanities and that all my subjects are good. But, how am I tolerating History? "Even if you are studying History now, you obviously won't do your graduation in History?", she asked and then added, "Will you?", a bit doubtfully. I replied that if the circumstances let me take up History, I will do it. Then, she said, "You have a lot of patience." Now, why is it that one always needs patience to study only History? Isn't patience needed for studying itself, irrespective of what subject it is?

Anyway, I have stopped caring about such comments because deep down, I know that History is an element of my blood. I love to get transported to a different world whenever I study History and the two of us are inseparable mates. If History is removed from my blood and my soul, I will not survive...

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A day of the bloggers, by the bloggers and for the bloggers

Woodsmoke mentioned in her comment on my last post that of late, whenever she has visited my blog, she has felt like a celebrity. Well, after reading this post,I'm not sure whether she's going to feel like one again because this time, there will be other celebrities also.

Rohit, a dear fellow blogger, came to Kolkata late on Thursday night to meet my cousin. This morning, he came to our house along with SubhadipDa, another fellow blogger. Then, Woodsmoke arrived too, with her sibling and my cousin, AriD. Now, AriD's a blogger too. So, we, the five great bloggers, went to Vedic Village, a resort just on the outskirts of Kolkata. Instead of wasting much time there seeing the other things and admiring the greenery they have tried to maintain there, we straightaway entered the restaurant, Bhoomi. It was a very nice place for having lunch. We(except Rohit) had rice, moong dal,mixed vegetable, mourala fish wrapped in banana leaves, prawn, mutton and two kinds of sweets. Rohit only took a very small quantity of rice, a very small quanity of dal ,an even smaller quantity of vegetable, only one type of sweet and nothing else.I was rather surprised because after reading his blog, I had somehow felt that this guy really loves to eat. I don't know when'll be the next time that I'll meet someone who eats lesser than him! Anyway, nothing was wasted because AriD was there to help the others finish off everything. During the meal, we only heard him asking us to pass some item or the other to him. And, he was sitting next to Rohit! So, there were two people sitting close to each other of whom, one's plate was almost empty and other's was completely full!

I don't know what the others will think about this, but according to me, the journey was more enjoyable than the lunch. I was my usual self all the while, talking extremely less. I obviously was teased about it but I enjoyed Rohit's and SubhadipDa's funny expressions when I talked very softly, even when I did talk. But, I also want to mention here that although the two of them talked more than I did, they are not the kind of people who go on talking. They, too, are rather quiet, specially SubhadipDa and, Rohit's voice is very low. AriD has always been a man of few words. He actually fell asleep during our return journey.So, the only person who literally talked non-stop today, was my dear sister (as she always does, of course)!

The Rohit that I had imagined after reading his posts, was definitely not the Rohit whom I met today. But, this was only our first meet. So, I'll get to know more about him after him after this. I hope we'll become more friendly after this. Maybe then, I'll be able to relate him with his blog. Today's impression is that he is a really nice guy...a bit shy but definitely, the type of person I like.

To describe SubhadipDa in two words, he is handsome and serious. Today, he was our guide and he was quite serious about his job. At the same time, that calm expression and light smile were always lingering on his face and he too, has got a good sense of humour. Overall, he is also very good and really good looking and to a good extent, I could relate him with his blog.

To conclude, the day was splendid and the other four bloggers will keep on popping up in front of me tomorrow, no matter where I go or what I do. I can imagine how many times I'll laugh to myself in the bus tomorrow remembering today's jokes( still haven't figured out why this happens so frequently to me in a bus only)!

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Amazing weekends

Last Saturday, Woodsmoke and me went to Gariahat market with our mothers. She needed to get some new salwars and shirts made for herself. It was so much fun! The purpose of going itself did not matter much to either of us. The real enjoyment was staying together all the time and cracking jokes about something or the other. Woodsmoke got quite bored while choosing the dress materials because the other three people with her too had to be satisfied with them. After that, when my aunt took a considerably long time to buy dress materials for herself and started talking about buying more things, you should have seen Woodsmoke's face! I didn't know that she despised shopping so much. As for me, I was pretty amused throughout. This was not because of the shopping but because of all my cousin's actions. For me, shopping always means spending four to five hours at a stretch with my parents outside, which is very hard to come by. So, even though I am not a shopaholic, I look forward to shopping. Anyway, I know that Woodsmoke was enjoying herself with her family but not quite the way she had wanted to. So, she was extremely delighted when my mother suggested that we should take lunch first.

But, my aunt was not to be put off so easily. Post lunch, she resumed her shopping business. Woodsmoke kept on teasing her that she probably wanted to buy something for every neighbour back home.Well,she took it quite sportingly! I should have liked to photograph my dear cousin's bored face when the senior ladies were choosing sarees. The man at the saree shop opened one of the sarees and showed its different parts to us. He was looking like such a cartoon that Woodsmoke whispered to me, saying that he should try it on himself. Then, the two of us started giggling and I also remember giggling over certain other things. Every time we did that, my aunt exclaimed, "Look at what they are doing!"

Woodsmoke's experience that evening at a cyber cafe was hilarious too. I went with her there and we worked at different computers. Her computer's keyboard didn't have a single letter or digit printed on the keys. When she asked the fellow there whether there was a better keyboard or not, he replied, "Why, the keyboard is perfectly alright. Only the letters are missing;that's all."

The next day, we went to Dakkhineshwar, Belur Math and Shaktigarh.This time, we were also accompanied by our fathers and our common grandparents. Once more, Woodsmoke was thrilled to see the mad crowds at the temple who were ready to throttle one another to catch a glimpse of the goddess. It was the to and fro journey that we enjoyed more than whatever we saw at these places. I didn't even know that there were such beautiful roads in West Bengal. While returning, Big 92.7 Fm radio channel started playing songs of Shah Rukh Khan movies! This time, both of us were truly thrilled and we started singing the songs. "Jadoo teri nazar", "Main Agar Kahoon", "Aankhon mein teri", "Kal ho na ho".....it was the icing on the cake!

Yesterday, me and seven other students of our school went to Jadavpur University for an essay-writing and a debate competition. Six of us, including me, wrote the essays and two participated in the debate. All were environmental topics. We were escorted by two of our teachers in a sumo and had a marvellous time both at the campus as well as during the journey.When we were having lunch on the campus, a man was sleeping on a bench nearby. Our friend, Arittra, went near him and coughed loudly enough to rouse him! And, this is just one example of the funny things which happened yesterday, thanks to Arittra of Class XI and Lalit and Soumyodipto of Class XII!

Friday, July 25, 2008

She's here!

Usually, for me, Tuesday happens to be the worst day of the week. Somehow, I always want them to end as quickly as possible. But, Tuesday, the 22nd of July,2008, was bright and cheerful right from the morning. The weather was beautiful. It was neither drizzling nor was it too humid. A very pleasant wind was blowing. All this perfectly matched with the fact that we would be going to the airport that night to receive my cousin Woodsmoke.

I would be meeting her after two years. During these two years, we have mostly communicated through blogging. We have sent emails but not regularly and when we used to talk over the phone, those five minutes of talking were too less to express our sentiments properly. Unfortunately, I did not know the Google Talk formula for a long time and when I came to know about it, I could not download it properly. So, I was counting the days and the nearer her arrival time drew, the more excited I became. So, the most recent Tuesday was very promising.

My uncle and aunt(Woodsmoke's parents) came to our house in the evening. After having dinner together, they went to the airport along with us(me and my parents). It takes just about 15 minutes to go to the airport from our place. So, we were there in a flash. After a few moments, board showing the schedules of different flights informed us that the flight from Frankfurt had arrived at the expected time(11.05 p.m.). Those were some moments! My excitement and impatience was increasing every minute. The first passenger to come out was a swarthy German man. As my aunt and me were standing in front and smiling widely in happiness and in the hope that any moment we would see my cousin, that guy smiled back at us. Probably, he had thought at first that we were the ones supposed to be receiving him.Anyway, then two more Germans came, then an Indian family, then three Koreans and so on. But where was Woodsmoke? Just when we were thinking that she would be the last passenger to show herself, we saw her coming! As she came closer, I saw that she was looking extremely pretty. Her smile somehow looked more charming that night.

But, I won't be able to say that the Tuesday was 100 percent good. When I was returning home in the evening after attending school and tuition consecutively, I fell down from the autorickshaw. I am used to sitting on the front right side seat with my bag but that day I was a bit absent minded. My right leg was very badly injured. I didn't realize its seriousness on Tuesday because of all the excitement. Besides, there was only a burning sensation on Tuesday. But, the wound started showing its real colours from Wednesday. Yesterday, I was walking on one foot. Couldn't even dream of going to school. Today though, its much better and tomorrow nothing will stop me from having a grand time with my cousin.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

The Diary of a Young Girl

We all have read about the Second World War (1939-45). In all history textbooks, the important events and battles, the decisions of important people and leaders and dates are written. Sometimes, we get tired of learning those long paragraphs about the treaties, their causes, thier consequences, etc. We think we know almost everything about the War. At least, that's what I thought till last week.

But, after reading 'The Diary of a Young Girl', by Anne Frank, I feel that my knowledge about the War is zero because I had no idea about exactly how much the common people, specially Jews, had to suffer. Anne Frank was a German Jew whose family had sought asylum in Holland during the Second World War. They used to live in a proper house till July 1942 but were forced to go into hiding like millions of other Jews because the Jews were being captured by the Gestapo ( Nazi policemen) and sent off to concentration camps. Just because they were born Jews, Adolf Hitler had forced billions of them to live a life of misery and had given orders to murder them mercilessly. Even when Anne Frank and her family had not been compelled to go into hiding, their life was troublesome, thanks to Mr. Hitler. Anne had devoted three-fourths of one page of her diary to writing about the restrictions imposed on Jews. They had named thier hiding place as The Secret Annexe. They used to live their with the van Pels( referred to by Anne as the van Daans) and Dr. Dussel, a bachelor. Anne had started writing in her diary from 12th June, 1942 by describing her feelings and experiences in letters addressed to an imaginable person named Kitty. We first get a taste of Anne's happy life as a teenager at school, with many friends, many admirers and at home. But, at the Annexe, her life was f ull of troubles. Life was hard for them. The Annexe was part of a big office building and a warehouse was also attached to it. Few of the office members namely Mr. Voskuijl,Mr.Kleimann, Mr.Kugler, Miep and Jan Gies and Bep had secretly helped them to hide at the Annexe for two two years. There wasn't always fresh food, they could never open the windows beyond an inch, there were rules regarding the use of the lavatory, they could never raise their voices and they obviously could not go out. No one else knew what had become of them. Anne had written about the conflicts between different members of the Annexe, her love for her father, hatred for her mother, relationship with her sister, the irritating habits of Dr.Dussel and Mrs. van Daan and affectionate relationship with Peter van Daan. We get to know how her feelings gradually changed over a span of two years. When Gerrit Bolkenstein, a member of the Dutch government in exile had announced that he would collect eyewitness accounts of sufferers during the war (like letters or diaries) in 1944, Anne began to edit her diary. She hoped that a book would be published based on her diary.

While reading the diary, one will feel that the eight members of the Annexe were not united. There always was a quarrel between some of them. But, there are times, when one will feel that they were united. When Anne describes how burglars had broken into the office on two nights, how they had narrowly been saved on those occasions and how they all were waiting patiently for England to invade Holland so that they might be free once more, one understands that they were united. There was a lot of anxiety and optimism in Anne's last few letters. The invasion had finally begun in 1944 but before the whole of Holland could be occupied by the British, someone had tipped off the Gestapo about suspicious incidents at the office. So, just when Anne's miserable days had seemed to come to an end, they were captured. At the end of Anne's letters, we get to know that the different members were sent to different concentration camps where they ultimately died. The most painful part of it is that all Jews were liberated from each of those camps just two or three days after the members of the Annexe died there. Only Anne's father, Otto H. Frank, survived and edited Anne's diary and devoted himself to sharing his daughter's thoughts with people the world over.

So, when we read about a period of two years in textbooks, we never understand how the common people had to suffer. They had to live through each and every day of those two years in terrible insecurity. We might read that Holland was conquered in 1944 by the British, but it was not that easy. The leaders had to debate a lot before invading any country and any small town or city in the country. All this can be made out from Anne's writing. The individual amotional woes of the Jews in hiding were always there to add fuel to the fire. We will never understand them, no matter how much we try. We can only hope that the world will never see another Adolf Hitler. Oh, why was he so cruel? How can anyone be so cruel? If he had not been so cruel, Anne might have fulfilled her dream of becoming a journalist and later on, a writer. She might have been able to see this book being published and might still have been living.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Namesake

'Sinjini Sengupta is suffering from a nervous problem', 'Sinjini Sengupta had participated in a reality show', 'Sinjini Sengupta was eliminated from it', 'Sinjini Sengupta is now in a Bangalore hospital', etc., etc., etc.

All this was being flashed on every news channel last Saturday. I, Sinjini Sengupta, saw the images of another Sinjini Sengupta in hospital, on TV last Saturday. Sinjini had participated in a dance reality show telecasted by ETV Bangla. She had been eliminated in one of the rounds. She had been so hurt that she actually had to be admitted to a hospital. The news channels were so happy and excited. They had got some hot news and had got the opportunity to criticize ETV Bangla, the judges of the concerned show and all reality shows. Serious talk shows were being held by each Bengali news channel to assess who was to blame for Sinjini's condition. People were sending SMSs and presenting their individual opinions about the problem. It had beome an all-India issue.

I became a bit irritated of all this. It did not give me a very nice feeling to see my own name being flashed every time, stating that I was sick. Personally, I felt and I still feel that it was her and her parents' fault. She already had that nervous problem. In that case, they should not have allowed her to participate at all.In a reality show, one can be eliminated in any round. There will be a lot of competition. Not just reality shows, there is a lot of competition in every field now. If one does not have the guts or the mental condition to face that competition or to bear the misery of being beaten, one does not have any right to participate in the battle. Under such a circumstance, one should should not be forced to participate either. If one's performance is not good in any episode, one can't expect the judges to smile at him/her and shower false praises. One will deliberately be criticized and that criticism can help one to improve in future and to learn from mistakes.

Having said all this, I must also add that I am feeling sorry for Sinjini. From the deepest corner of my heart, I hope she gets well very soon. After all, it's not every day that you see people who have the same name and surname as you and even study in the same class! Yeah, she is a Class XI student! And, since all these particluars of mine have matched with her, some people actually got a rude shock at first. Richa, one of my fellow bloggers, had thought at first that it was me. The dreamer, another fellow blogger actually asked me whether I was the same Sinjini Sengupta or not. My most favourite teacher at school, Shaluk Ma'am told me that she had got the shock of her life on opening the newspaper on Sunday morning. Our Bengali teacher, Ratna Ma'am said to me in class, " You're Sinjini Sengupta. Then, how come you're here? Hadn't you become sick?"

Well, let me confirm in this post that I am not that Sinjini Sengupta. I had learnt Kathak till I was in Class VIII. But, I never ever thought of participating in any dance reality show!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

The story of a benevolent thief

On a fine sunny morning a few days ago, I was awaken by a commotion going on in our house. Instead of hugging me with the usual charming words, my mother asked me whether I had seen my father's bag the night before. She was referring to a small brown bag which my father carries on his way to work. I went to the study and found my father searching frantically for his bag. I joined him in his efforts but could not find anything. He said that when he had first come to the study that morning, the cover of the bed had looked as though it had been tampered with. Moreover, not just one, but two of his bags were missing. When all our efforts proved futile and my father was absolutely certain that he had not left his bag at his office the previous day, we concluded that it had been stolen after all. The brown bag had his identity card, a diary containing the phone numbers of fifty million people, other important papers, a cheque book andthe duplicate keys of the main gate of his bank, but no cash. The other bag, a big black one, was absolutely empty.

My parents thought of lodging a complaint with the police station although they knew that the bags would never be found again. They also decided that the broken window of the study would have to be repaired on the very next Sunday. We suspected that the bags had been taken by the thief with the help of a long stick, as anything else had not been broken. After that, they both left for work. My father had to see to it that the payment from that cheque book was stopped and pay the money to order new keys for his office gate.

At about 8 o' clock that evening, our calling bell rang. Imagine my surprise when one of our neighbours handed me that same brown bag! She said that she had found it lying beside the drain behind their house but had not found any other bag. She had found my father's identity card in it and had thus come to return it. I checked the contents of the bag and found that none of them were missing, not even the keys! It was clear that they had been tampered with because they had all been shoved together into one pocket of the bag. I informed my parents over the phone and they were equally stunned.

That night, we decided that the thief was rather benevolent. He had not found any money in the bag. So, it had turned out to be pretty useless for him. He did not touch anything else and thus saved my father a lot of trouble.He could easily have thrown it into a dustbin or the drain or somewhere quite far from our house. But, he left it at a place where it was quite easy and natural for someone to find it out. The funnier part was that he took the big black bag, probably to carry other things which he would steal in future!

Friday, June 13, 2008

Tagging is great when there seems to be nothing else to write about

I have been tagged by Woodsmoke. This one is interesting.

Name three most valuable assets.


PC, cellphone and a bag containing my pocket money.


If you were to be stranded on a deserted island, who are the three blog buddies you would take alongside with you?


Woodsmoke, SubhadipDa and Amiya Didi


Where is the place that you want to go the most?


Hogsmeade village of Harry Potter books.


If you can have one dream to come true, what would it be?


Buy a top-floor flat of a very tall apartment and watch the whole city from one of its big glass windows.


What are you afraid to lose the most in yourself?


Determination.


What would you do if you found a briefcase full of money?


I would try my best to make sure that it wass returned to its proper owner. If I am not in a position to do so, I would leave it as I had found it.


If you meet someone that you love, would you confess to him/her?


No, I would never do that. If he loves me too, it is he who will have to confess first. If something goes wrong between us later on life, I will not be able to accuse him. He will obviously say that I had proposed to him and so, it was because of my initial mistake that I am suffering now.


Which type of person do you dislike the most?


The ones who always brood and the ones who get tired after doing very little.


If you were given the chance to have one super power, what would it be and why?


The ability to predict the future.


If you could do one thing different in life, what would it be?


Get fromal singing lessons.


Are you a shopaholic?


Not at all.


Which actor/actress would you like to be?


Of course Shahrukh Khan! He is good in every respect. Aamir Khan might technically be a better actor than him but his charisma cannot be matched by anyone. He was good in studies and sports and as the owner of Kolkata Knight Riders, he was fantastic. He has such an amazing amount of energy and enthusiasm. I have stopped reading Aamir Khan's blog after he confessed that his dog was called Shahrukh and said that 'Shahrukh is licking my feet'. Although he asked everyone not to jump to any conclusion, I know why he wrote about his dog and why added that horrible line. He really can't underestimate SRK, no matter how great his acting skills might be. After all, SRK is the best performer among them all.


One song that gives you goosebumps?


There is a Rabindrasangeet called 'Jakhan porbe na mor payer chinho ei bate...'. That song gives me goosebumps.


Do you have any plans for tomorrow?


Yes. I have to attend my economics tuition in the morning, study at home in the afternoon and go for a movie in the evening with my parents. The movie is called 'Chalo...Let's Go'.


I tag?


Shreya, Richa and SubhadipDa.Do at least some of these questions, please.

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

Gifts: Expected and Unexpected

I mentioned in my previous post that a party would be thrown on the occasion of my good result and that it would be the ideal gift for me. The party was thrown and it was wonderful. But, before describing that event, I will talk about one unexpected gift which I received.

Two days after knowing the result, my father suddenly anounced that he would have to go to Shillong to attend a conference. It would be a two-day affair for him. At least, that's what my mother and I thought till he asked us whether we would we would like to go with him too! Without losing a minute, my mother took a leave from her office too. The flight tickets were booked, the bags were packed and the camera was made ready in a single day. So, it would be a two-day affair for us too!

We took a flight to Guwahati from Kolkata and reached Shillong from Guwahati by car. The car journey was one of four hours. But, it was not at all tiring. The road was so beautiful. Everything around us was only green. I was mesmerised by the hills covered by dense green jungles, the winding hilly roads and the narrow streams with their big rocks and swiftly flowing water. One can never get tired of these sights.

On Day One or rather, Evening One, we could not explore Shillong much except for Golf Club. Golf Club is actually a vast green ground for playing golf. It is really very vast and when golf is not played there, it is a favourite hangout for the residents of Shillong as well as a tourist spot. The sky looks amazingly blue standing at any point of Golf Club and the clouds that can be seen, are the most beautiful ones I have ever seen.

While my father attended his conference the next day, my mother and I went over to Ward Lake in the city itself. The lake is surrounded by very neat and well-maintained gardens. There was a very beautiful white flower called 'Forget-Me-Not' in the gardens. I also noticed a very nice purple flower which was common even on the streets. Shaluk flowers had grown in the lake itself. Altogether, it was a very pretty sight, specially from the wooden bridge which connects the two segments of the gardens. After about twenty minutes, we were forced to return to our car as it had started raining quite heavily. We found my father sitting in the car as his conference had got over. Then, we decided to go to the Elephant Falls but when we heard that it was situated on the Shillong-Cherrapunji road, we changed our destination to Cherrapunji instead. In about two hours, we reached Cherrapunji. This time again, the road was spellbinding. The higher we went up the hills, the more prominent did the clouds gathered at the cliffs become. It was pretty funny too as our car struggled to pass through the fog for fifteen minutes and sunlight flooded in through its windows in the next fifteen minutes. On the way to Cherrapunji or Sohra, we stopped at a 'View-point'. The sight from the point was lovely and it gave me goosebumps. The forest trees covering those hills were gently moving in the breeze but to me, it seemed as though many people were hiding in tose forests and whispering to each other. From the top of a hill in Cherrapunji, we witnessed the fog slowly clearing to give us a glimpse of the the Seven Sisters Falls. One can see seven small waterfalls at a time from the top of that hill. We also visited the Mawsmai Caves in Cherrapunji but did not risk entering them as we had neither torches nor the proper shoes(it was very slippery inside the caves) with us. On the way back, we also got a taste of the rainfall of the place with the second highest rainfall in the world.

We also saw the Elephant Falls on our way back. Somehow, I did not find it that beautiful and I found it very spooky! The next morning, we went to Shillong Peak from where the whole of Shillong can be viewed. We were quite lucky as we were able to do so. Sometimes, the fog refuses to clear for hours on end, disappointing many tourists by hiding Shillong from their glance.

As a city, Shillong is not a typical neat hilly one. It is not the sort of hilly place which everyone will imagine at first. The outskirts of Shillong, the tourist attractions and the roads to different places from Shillong make it a place worth visiting. We could not visit many other spots as time was limited. But, the trip was very enjoyable and an excellent gift. The surprise provided by the gift was a gift itself.

While coming back to Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi Airport, Guwahati, we visited the Kamakshya Temple. To describe it in one word, it was untidy. It is a place ruled by the Pandas and it didn't seem as though we offered a puja at the temple. It seemed as though we were running some sort of a race. The way that Panda rushed us through the rituals was annoying and something close to torture.

Back home, I received my expected gift. The party was a huge success. My paternal aunts, uncles, cousins, maternal grandparents, two of my friends(Sritama and Mekhala) and some office colleagues of my mother had been invited. I wished my maternal uncle and aunt and my cousin Woodsmoke could be there too. The fun would have become two-fold then. On a sultry Sunday afternoon, our guests enjoyed rice, dal, stuffed parwal, Topshe Fish's fry, Bhetki Fish's paturi, chicken korma, mango chutney, papad, rasgulla and two-in-one ice-cream. I got loads of pens. Those pens will last till the last day of my ISC exam. Besides those, I got two glass bowls, two table lamps, two Titan Sonata watches, a cheque, some cash, two Ganesha idols, two flower vases, chocolates and five books. The books are 'The Iliad', '101 Short Stories by O.Henry', A collection of short stories by Bibhutibhushan Bandyopadhyay, 'Galpoguchha' by Rabindranath Tagore and 'Gone With The Wind' by Margaret Mitchell.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Degrees of Ecstasy

Tuesday
20th May,2008
2.55 pm.
I was sitting in front of my PC for one and a half hours. The internet connection was excellent. It did not show any sign of getting disconnected in spite of the fact that millions of students were trying to view their ICSE, ISC and Higher Secondary (State Board) results simultaneously. But, inexplicably and much to my frustration, I got the following message on the screen exactly at the time I mentioned at the beginning of the post: "Local Area Connection:A cable is unplugged." After that, I simply could not connect to the internet anymore. Five minutes past three, ten minutes past three, fifteen minutes past three....the time was flying! But, I was sitting helplessly as I continued to see "Error 678: Could not connect...." on the screen . The results were supposed to have been declared at 3.00 p.m.

Then, suddenly, my father called me and started telling me my marks! He said that my mother had been able to know the results through SMS and both of them had forwarded the marks to me. When I checked my cell phone, I found that I had received the messages but somehow, the message alerting tone had not worked. Both of them were on their way home!

Coming to the marks, I have got what I had wanted. My overall percentage is 94.4. This is according to the ICSE rules. There are seven subject groups. The English marks has to be taken into account along with the marks of a student's top four other subjects to calculate the overall percentage. I have got 90% in English, 96% in Bengali, 98% in Environmental Education, 94% in History-Geography, 94% in Maths (what a pleasant surprise!), 94% in Science and 90% in Computer. I have stood fourth in my school. The top three are Krishanu Ray (95.6%), Souvik Choudhury(95.4%) and Soorma Das(95%).

Yesterday was one of the most fantastic days of my life. My parents were so happy. My mother was extremely excited and a broad smile lingered on her lips all evening. And, I have never seen my father so happy before. Their smiles mean a lot to me. I'll just remember the expression on their faces and that is my greatest gift. My other relatives were so happy too. My maternal grandparents have a very disciplined lifestyle. But, yesterday, they forgot to take their evening tea on time after knowing about my results! My paternal aunts started informing all their neighbours about their only niece's results! These are not material gifts but they are invaluable. They clearly show that I have been able to live up to everyone's expectations. My teachers were very happy too!

I am extremely happy and satisfied. I have only one demand. I want to celebrate with everybody one day. A party will be organized in a few days. And, this is just the beginning. After this, I have miles to go. The next big exam will be the ISC exam. For that, I will work harder and much harder than I had done for my ICSE.

I thank my parents and all my teachers( both of school and of tuition) for helping and encouraging me so much. They have always been beside me. You all obviously don't know who Bonu is. Well, her real name is Radha and I have been calling her 'Bonu' since childhood. She has been a sort of a bodyguard to me and has looked after me all day in my parents' absence. Although I go to school and tuition classes all by myself now, Bonu used to accompany me till I was in Class 10. So, her contributions are not less and I thank her too. Last, but not the least, I thank all my fellow bloggers because they too have wished me luck before my exam and have been such good friends that I have had reason to enjoy myself in the midst of studying.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

Name problems

After reading my last post myself afterwards, I was convinced that it was my worst post ever. So, I request all of you that if you haven't read it already, please don't. Let me just talk about something different.

My name, as you all know, is Sinjini . But, the spelling of my name should have been Shinjini because that's the actual Bengali word. So, in Hindi, my name should be written using 'Shalgamwala sha' . But, my father had written 'Sinjini' in my birth certificate.

When I was in the sixth standard, I first became aware of the fact that most of my friends and also some teachers pronounce my name exactly like its spelling. I used to become very irritated that I was being called by a different name. It was always "Sinjini", "Sinjini" and "Sinjini", but never "Shinjini". Then, I told some of my friends, with whom I interacted the most, the actual pronounciation of my name. After requesting them repeatedly, they gradually started calling me "Shinjini". I don't really blame them for calling me 'Sinjini' because I can't blame them. It's not their fault if they correctly pronounce what is written.

I have often asked my father the reason for which he had written that spelling. Every time, his reply has been the same. He says that writing just 'S' and not 'Sh' implies that my name should be pronounced as 'Shinjini'. He says that trying to change the spelling in the birth certificate itself will give us enough trouble for a lifetime. According to him, another reason had also motivated him to write that spelling. He had intended to keep the spelling very simple so that I would not suffer throughout my life like him and my mother for a long and complicated spelling. "Would one additional letter have made my name so complicated?", is what I ask him in return. His reason is not entirely rubbish. I have seen different people writing his name in different ways. His name is Saumyabrata Sengupta( quite long!). I have seen rarely seen that correct spelling written anywhere. It's either 'Soumyabrata', 'Soumyobroto', 'Soumobrata', etc. If he writes the correct spelling somewhere and somebody else pronounces it, the pronounciation is deliberately wrong!

For my mother, it is still worse. Her name is Nabanipa. A very similar and a very common name is Nabanita. So, people always write Nabanita Sengupta! Even if her name is pronounced laying special emphasis on the 'p', nobody writes 'p'. The spelling of her name has been changed to 'Nabanipa' for her bank account after repeated efforts.

In future, I can't expect many people to call me 'Shinjini', specially if I move out of West Bengal. I also can't try to correct everybody. So, I will have to live with that spelling for the rest of my life. After all, it's my name, it's my indentity.

Wednesday, May 07, 2008

'Great Expectations'

Ten to fifteen days later in this month of May, I'll be sitting in front of this very PC and viewing my ICSE results. For the past one year or so( yes, that's even before I actuaaly sat for the exam) , I have often pictured myself sitting in front of the PC, typing the URL of the website in the address bar, waiting for a minute or two while the page remains white with the cursor and dumble and suddenly shows me my result, my percentage....Then, I had pictured myself laughing and going to inform my parents that I have got above 90% and informing my tuition teachers the same thing. I had even thought that if I become the school topper, my name will be published in the Anandabazar Patrika( every year, the newspaper publishes the names of certain ICSE schools along with the ICSE and ISC school toppers' name and percentage and we had seen our school's name in that list) . I have expected too much and no matter how much I make myself understand that it is not good to expect much, I have failed to control my imaginations.

The main reason for which I desperately want to get above 90% is that I want to give something to my parents. The more I think about how much they have done for me and how much I have done for them, I feel that I just have not done enough. They love me much more than I love them. But, they do expect a lot from me. I have found it in their eyes and words.

I also want to get something that big because I want people to notice me. When I say people, I don't mean my parents or other family members, I mean my classmates and the entire school. I know why they don't may much attention to me (there are, of course, exceptions among them). It is because I don't flirt with the boys. It is because I don't indulge in the gossip about new and old student couples. It is because they have not been able to relate me to any boy. It is because I never cheat during the school exams, unlike most of them, and don't show them my answer script during the exams. It is because I am short and not so attractive. So, I just dream of getting above 90% in my ICSE exam with the hope that I'll probably be noticed by them after that.....

But, these are great expectations. They will never be fulfilled too easily. They are not giving me any happiness. Just making me feel more desperate and lonelier the more I think about them. I have to stop expecting greatlty. I just have to....

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Nostalgia

From left to right: My father, myself, my cousin Woodsmoke, my cousin
Riju Dada, my uncle, my aunt and my mother in Jaipur in October 2001 Woodsmoke and Riju Dada at Chhatri in Jaisalmer


From left to right: Riju Dada,Woodsmoke, My aunt, My father, myself and
My uncle inside Junagadh Fort in Bikaner


Bottom row(left to right): My mother, myself and Woodsmoke
Top row: Riju Dada. Picture was taken on the way to Rajasthan





















Friday, April 18, 2008

Kajol, Humanities Aur Hum

“Sometimes, the greatest journey between two people is the distance between them….”

The above is the tagline ( it might be a bit wrong , I don’t know the exact one) of the latest Bollywood movie, ‘U, Me Aur Hum’. But, after watching it, I could not find out any connection between the tagline and the actual story. Not any strong connection, at least. If I describe the movie in one word, I will say that it is boring. Plain and simple, boring! It is also unnecessarily long. In the first half, Ajay Devgan and Kajol spend one and a half hours singing, dancing and talking and thinking rubbish . How can a romantic relationship be possible between a well-to-do passenger on a cruise and a bar maid on the same cruise? According to me, it is one of the most absurd things on Planet Earth. Moreover, the music of the film is very poor. Ajay Devgan irritates you with his role and his direction. The story is not that bad, but it could have been presented much better than this if the length of the film would have been shorter. For watching this film, my parents had to spend 690 bucks (ouch) on the first day of the Bengali New Year! Yes, that’s 230 rupees for one person! We had expected the movie to be good. The only positive point of the movie is Kajol. Her performance stood out and if you ever watch ‘U, Me Aur Hum’, watch it to see Kajol and nothing or no one else.

My school has reopened. I am in the 11th standard now. Since I will not be shifting to a CBSE school, I have taken admission in my own school , which is an ICSE/ ISC one. Besides, I don’t know whether my ICSE result will be good or not. The CBSE schools in Kolkata ( very few of them) only take those students who get at least 85% in their board exam. In some schools, the minimum marks required is 90%. One can never say anything about his/her board exam results with confidence….Anyway, the main reason for which I preferred to remain in an ISC school is that I wanted to pursue Humanities . And, I have done it too. Now, I am very happy and am enjoying myself . English, Bengali, History , Geography….I like all these subjects. I have also started to like the two new subjects, i.e., Economics and Psychology.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Jane Eyre

I just finished reading ‘Jane Eyre’ by Charlotte Bronte. Written by Bronte in 1847 under the pseudonym, Currer Bell, ‘Jane Eyre’ is an account of the life of Jane Eyre, as is evident from the name of the book itself. I enjoyed reading it although it was a bit boring in parts. I must also add that it was tougher than Sherlock Holmes and far tougher than Harry Potter. But, the language was very clear and by the time I reached the middle of the novel, I was familiar with certain words that Bronte had used frequently and so, it became considerably easier.

Jane Eyre is an orphan. After the death of her maternal uncle, she is left under the care of her aunt, the arrogant Mrs. Reed. Right from the fourth page, the readers find Jane Eyre being looked down upon by her aunt and cousins. When she is sent to Lowood Institution after that, she feels that she is better off, but she still fails to find the warmth of a home at Lowood. Bronte has described the first ten years of Jane Eyre’s life excellently. Whether it is Jane’s trauma in the ‘red room’ at Gateshead Hall(her aunt’s place) or her confrontation with Mrs. Reed or her affectionate relationship with Helen Burns at Lowood, the author surely engages the readers. In fact, she has been at her best while describing the first ten years of Jane Eyre’s life. At the end of this period, she says, “But this is not to be a regular autobiography: I am only bound to invoke memory where I know her responses will possess some degree of interest; therefore I now pass a period of eight years almost in silence: a few lines only are necessary to keep up the links of connexion.” But, I would have gladly read a more detailed account because I feel that Bronte would have given us more of those wonderful descriptions which she has given in the first ten chapters of the book.

After that, Jane Eyre becomes Adele’s governess at Thornfield Hall and also falls in love with her employer, Mr. Edward Rochester. From this point onwards, the novel proceeds in a manner that finally unites Jane and Mr. Rochester with interesting twists and turns. The enigma of Thornfield Hall is the backbone of the novel. It makes the novel very thrilling at times. The worst part of the novel is St. John Rivers, Jane’s cousin, who according to me, talks too much and gives us difficult and long paragraphs to comprehend.

In the end, the credit goes to Charlotte Bronte for completely stepping into the shoes of Jane Eyre and then writing the novel. By ending the novel happily and adding a touch of mystery to the novel, she wipes the impressions of the boring parts off the readers’ minds. She has created a real heroine called Jane Eyre. We have been obliged to love and respect Jane Eyre because of her perseverance, unique attitude and a brave approach to the numerous challenges of her life.

Monday, March 31, 2008

Friday, March 28, 2008

A bad phase

YESSSSSSSS! The ICSE exam is finally OVER! What a month this has been! It was not all about the exam though. Both good and bad phases made up my March 2008. Actually, it was mostly good as I was satisfied after sitting for each exam. But, seven days were bad, very bad.

It all began on the night of 17th March. My father said that he was not feeling well. He had vomitted and had loose motion and was extremely tired. But, his face didn't suggest that it was something which would be cured after a good night's sleep. What scared us the most was that he showed certain symptons which he shown in August 2004 (when he had been admitted to a nursing home because of a mild cerebral attack). The situation didn't improve the next night either and my mother got angry with my father for not looking after himself, specially during my exam. I only kept quiet and tried to prepare for the Chemistry exam which would be held next day. But, my mother continued to be angry and my father continued to say that there was something wrong with his health, but he didn't know what was wrong. He just sat with a peculiar expression on his face. At the same time, they both kept on telling me that I had to give my exam very nicely. I know I should have been a bit more patient and should have cooperated with them for a bit longer. But, I couldn't control myself and burst out, "There's no peace here!" It's not that they got angry with me but my mother became more frantic.

Anyway, when I came back home on 19th March after sitting for my Chemistry exam and assured my parents that I had a spectacular exam, I was sure that the happiness in our house would prevail once more. Moreover, my father would visit the doctor that evening. Certainly, everything would be ok after that. At least, we would get to know what exactly had happened to my father. But, I was so wrong. At about 8.30 p.m., my mother called me saying that my father would have to be admitted to a nursing home. It was something more than just loose motion after all. She came back at half-past eleven that night and explained to me that the sodium and potassium levels in my father's blood had fallen much below the safe limit. He needed hospital care. But, such tough situations do arise in life. It was not the time for us to sit and cry but to stand up strongly. I felt weird. The first thing that bit me was that I had my Maths exam four days later. I simply hate and fear that subject. Would I be able to go to with my mother to the hospital to visit my father? Would I be able to cooperate with her ? How would I help her if I had to prepare well for my exam? Although she told me that by studying, I would help her the most, I was not happy. I hated the thought of staying at home with the books of that subject to keep me company while my mother did all the work alone. Besides, everyone else would visit my father, but I would not be able to visit him! I just couldn't tolerate that thought! My mother had seemed to read my mind. She suggested that if I had carried my books with me the next day, we could go and visit my father first and then to a relative's house nearby. I could study there all day and then we could visit my father again in the evening. I agreed at once.

The next three days passed according to our plans and expectations. I was considerabely more cheerful because I could study well( at our relative's house in the morning, at our house at night and in the bus during the one-hour fifteen minutes long journey from our house to the nursing home). My mother was cheerful too because she has always told me that as long as I am with her, she has no fear. My father was also happy because his health seemed to be improving.

Although we expected the doctor to release him on 23rd March, Sunday, the doctor, Goutam Sarkar, told us that he wanted the sodium level to increase just a bit more. My father was a bit upset and he had wanted to drop me at my school on Monday. Then, Dr. Sarkar asked me,"Will it be ok if your father doesn't go with you on Monday? Will your exam be good?" I smiled and said ,"Yes". Dr.Sarkar remarked,"That's settled then. Your responsibility is to give your exam well and my responsibility is to make your father fit by Monday evening." I was not disappointed. In fact, from that point onwards, I felt that I had to do well in Maths. Somehow, I had to. Doing well in Maths would not only be beneficial to my overall result but would also provide immense satisfaction to my parents. And, I was bale to provide them with that satisfaction when I myself on Monday that I had sat for my best ever Maths exam. It indeed had gone very well. From then onwards, there was no more grief. That evening, my father was released from the hospital, much better than before.

Everything is alright now. We are all happy. But, let's hope that such situations will never arise again. But, I think that's too much I am asking for. Bad phases will come and go. We have to stand up to them. If we never cry and if we are never worried, we can't expect such happiness to come our way either.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Questions

With two and a half days left for my ICSE exam, I simply couldn't think of anything else to write. So, in my tiniest post ever, I welcome all of you to ask me three questions. Any 3 questions, whether random, private or personal. I'll have to answer your questions honestly here. In return, you have to post this thing on your blog and allow people to ask you questions (though I know that most of you have done it already). I myself should have done this long ago because I asked questions to Richa, Jayant and Amiya Didi.

You could also check out Muskaan, my pet monkey, in the side bar. I found her at bunnyhero labs where Jayant found his pig.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Six Random Details about myself

Our very favourite Woodsmoke (in my case, even Jayant has tagged me)has tagged us all and we have to post at least six random details about ourselves on or blogs. So, I post the following six random details about myself:

1. I hate those boys who wear ear rings.

2.I also hate those children( specially boys) who get pampered by their parents. I particularly find boys being pampered by their mothers. Their mothers often think that they are very good and very innocent. But,in most cases , it is seen that the boys show their real faces in their mothers' absence.

3.I don't think that anyone in this world has eaten more apples than me.

4. Sometimes, I find one of ears growing hot and red and the other one staying equally cold at the same time. I don't know why this happens though.

5. When I go to school everyday, my mother comes down from our first floor flat and standing in front of the building, she waves goodbye to me . I always look back at her when I reach the end of the lane. But, most of the times, some people are there in the lane and we fail to see each other properly. That is something which really gets on my nerves.

6. I hate it when my parents' bosses (specially my mother's boss ) telephone them at home. Most of the times, I happen to pick up the telephone and I feel like putting the receiver down with a loud bang. But, I have to supress my desire because my parents don't approve such things.

Friday, January 25, 2008

A chicken-less life

Yipee! My selection exam is almost over! Only the Bengali exam is left. But, that is on Monday and my preparation is quite good. So, I should be feeling very happy now. Well, I am feeling very happy and relieved. Yet, there is one terrible sadness....

This is just the right time for tasting some of that very delicious ckicken prepared by my mother. But, I can't! And, it's all because of this wretched disease called bird flu! Bird Flu has made my life chicken-less. I have not been able to taste ckicken for only one week now and I have started missing that clear brownish yellow chicken curry that my mother makes for me every Saturday. I have already started missing the soft leg-meat. I wonder when I'll next be able to taste that curry bit by bit and at the end of the meal, as I always do. And, the chilly chicken! The chilly chicken whose smell automatically takes me from my study-table to the kitchen.....oh, I'll miss it so much. Allowing me to taste that chicken has been one of the best gifts given to me by life.

I sometimes wonder what a horrible disease this is. It will not even let you eat eggs. My stomach aches when I think that I'll not be able to eat that hot, half-boiled egg with its pretty yellow yolk. Egg yolk has easily been one of the best things I have ever tasted. It's not as though we can't eat chicken at all . But, it must cooked upto 70 degrees celsius! By the time the temperature reaches 70 degrees celsius, the egg will almost turn to a brick and the taste of chicken might not remain as good as the cook wants it to be.And, who has that much patience anyway? Besides, there is no need to take a risk....

People might say that we could eat mutton in the absence of chicken. But, how can mutton ( with apologies to all mutton-lovers; this is a personal opinion) ever be the substitute for chicken? How can that hard goat meat ever replace the marvel named chicken? Fish is better than mutton. But, it can go nowhere near chicken. Only prawn is fit to compete with chicken. But, prawns are horribly expensive. One can't afford them every week like chicken.

People might also say that this is a temporary problem. Well, it is. But, I just can't help wondering why there is never any outbreak of goat flu ,or pig flu, or cow flu.Why does it always have to be bird flu? But, let's hope that it will not linger for more than a month. Let's hope that we can all get back to our chicken-full life once more very soon. And, let us also hope that bird flu will never again torture all chicken lovers. Let all the birds lead a very healthy life and let all chicken lovers never be deprived of such an important feature of their lives.