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The Left-Right Dilemma…


Left-or-Right

The most important question in life is: “What do you do when you when you are walking on a road and you see another person heading towards you on a collision path: Do you move to the left or to the right?” What do you think of the importance of the question? Worthless? Nah… its not worthless. Let me explain. In countries like India, people would mutually agree and move slightly to their respective lefts. In countries like Germany, people would move right. In both cases collision is avoided and life is good. The problem arises when people from India (where Left is right and Right is wrong) visit Germany (where Left is left and Right is right). What happens then is called the left-right dilemma.

What happens is that you being an Indian move too your left and he moves to his right; still making keeping you in the collision track. And when both of you come dangerously close to collision, both of you stop and you look at the person closely for the first time; you observe two features distinctively. His height and his built. And both of them make you feel so timid. Believe me 6 feet tall in India is a big deal but it is there that you realise how ‘large’ the world is! So all the pride is washed out and a 6 feet tall bamboo stick looks ‘up’ to a person – an act that is not common in his homeland. What comes next is worse. Some words are spoken – and there is no chance of you understanding ANYTHING of it. C’mon we learn 3 languages ‘by default’ how much more can a sane mind grasp? So after the few seconds of understanding nothing, the scared and confused you is left with 4 options – ‘Yes’, ‘No’, ‘Sorry’ or ‘English Please’.

The trouble does not end here. The whole traffic system seems to be so ‘wrong sided’. Turning left is NOT always allowed as in India; turning right is. And the driving seat is on the left. So to communicate to a car which waits for you pedestrian as you watch in awe (yes… this NEVER happens in India), you look to the left of the car and not to the right.

And finally… How many times have I looked in the wrong direction while crossing the road. Now THAT is dangerous.

Sometimes I wonder… wouldn’t it be better if one nation would have colonised the whole world; the world would have been a much less confusing place to live in. 😛

The Sea of People


population

What’s the population of your city?”

This innocent looking question seemingly becomes one of the most frequently asked question in ‘foreign lands’. And if you are live in the west ask this question to an Indian, well I, being an Indian can guarantee you that situation will become humorously awkward in in a few moments. Why? Two reasons… Firstly, we generally don’t remember the population statistics of our cities. On the contrary I (including my friends) find it weird that people in the west actually remember their city’s population. So the most common answer that you would get any of the facial expressions expressing shock and confusion, a strange look, five seconds of pin-drop silence followed by a hesitant ‘quite large’. And I am telling you, he is being modest. Secondly if you meet an exceptional statics-crammer or a person who has faced this situation earlier and learnt from it; well then his answer will most probably blow your mind out. Believe me! Me and my friends have been asked this question many number of times in our short foreign tours and… there have been no exceptions… ‘Shock’ is the only word that can describe the situation of the person who asked the question.

Example required? OK… I am from Kolkata. And the population of Kolkata is… well infinite. No… probably ‘more than infinite’ is a better approximation. You may object to this claim and open up Wikipedia and say that it is ‘ONLY… 14 MILLION’… and then after a gulp, still defend your pride by saying… “Well that’s still not infinite.”

To that I would only say, “What matters is the feeling… Come to Kolkata and you would realise what I mean.” Upon that… it is not the population what matters is the population density. And you CANNOT beat my city on that. People seem to be crammed up in this city. Open up the list of densest cities in the world and you will find 5 out out of the top ten cities to be Indian. What is more surprising is that ALL of these cities are practically in Kolkata. Beat that if you can!

And if you really want to see the population miracle of the city; board the local trains. It would be an astounding experience for the newcomer to realise the various weird angles at which our human bodies can bend when crammed for space. And if you are a young boy; you might very well try hanging out from the doors of a running train. I have tried it (or have been forced to try it) several number of times and trust me… you can never get bored (my parents are not reading the post, right? 😛 ). And if that was not enough, your self-esteem will surely get a severe blow once you see a vendor with a huge basket on his head moving smoothly through a compartment which you thought could not accommodate a single more soul.

But all of this said, Kolkata is a city of its own kind. The cheapest, the vibrant and the nostalgic. quoting from my earlier post. There is something in the city which always captures your imagination. There is something in the city that it has produced so many greats in the world. There is something in the city that I just want to be a tiny drop in the sea of people… forever…

Guest Post: Through the Clouds of Smoke


This post is written by one of my dearest, wittingly humourous friends Harshda Mangal who gratefully accepted to honour my blog with this post… So sit back… and enjoy….
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funny_fish_smoking
Well, this post is inspired by one of the friends who smokes badly… and when i say badly,I mean 4-5 packets daily and on that he says, “Well, take content that I and Shahrukh Khan have one thing in common…”
And here am I to share an incident that changed his life…
You may very well ask, how did he get into this habit… Well, nothing very special there…
He got this habit of smoking while occasionally smoking with friends at parties. Then, one day his girlfriend left him and he smoked in grief. Then, after two months, he got a new girlfriend and he smoked in joy. And now, the situation is, that
Bandi to aati jaati hai, cigarette hi sachchi saathi hai
So, I was telling about an incident. Ye apna hero has a very good image in front of all the teachers. And, its admitted that whatever ho do in his personal life, he is  very sincere in the academic front. So, one day, when he was busy making rings of smoke in boy’s washroom with his friends, one of the juniors came in search for him.
Junior: Sir, who is Shankar among you??
Rajan: Oye?? naya murga?? You came in first year na??
Junior: Yes Sir… Are you Shankar??
Rajan: Ille Shankar… tell me your name…
Junior: Sir… My name is Adarsh… Now will you please tell me who is Shankar??
Rajan: Abbe… Shankar ki kya pooja karega?? Don’t you understand that we are trying to rag you… chal naach ke dikha…
To everyone’s amazement, the junior danced on the latest item song, “Dil mera muft ka”…
Now, the seniors sensed some dead fish… So they put Shankar ahead; Shankar who had killed two cigarettes by this time…
Shankar: Ya… tell me… what is it??
Junior: “Sir, I would like to tell you that I am the son of Mr. Tripathi, Mr, Suresh Tripathi, The same person who is your mentor for your project. Since, I am new to this place, he asked me to meet you and get some tips on time management. He also asked me to take previous year notes from you… But now I think I would pass on it…And I don’t know if you know this… but he is really impressed with you.. maybe he doesn’t know about this habit of yours…
Now, How can Shankar, a fourth year student, take all this from a first year ( professor ka beta hoga apne ghar me hoga) So…
Shankar: See, you don’t have to blabber philosophies on me… This habit has never affected my academic life… so, you should not be bothered about it…
Junior: I am not Sir, But I think you should…
With these words he left the stinking place.
And after two days or so, Shankar was called by Mr. Tripathi and told that he would not be able to continue his guidance in the research project, because of some personal reasons…
Shankar: Why Sir?? Your son told anything?? See Sir, I don’t see any reason for you leaving me like this just because I smoke…
Sir: You smoke?? Really?? And what did my son had to tell me…
Shankar: So, you didn’t knew about it??
Sir: No, but now I do… I would not be able to continue as your mentor because of the sudden death of my elder brother.. I would have to go to hometown for 15-20 days… and by that time you have to complete the project…So, I am gonna ask some other professor to help you out..
Shankar: Oh, I am very sorry for your loss,Sir…
Sir: But, really ?? You smoke??
Shankar: Sometimes, Sir, very occasionally…
Saying this he didn’t waited for teacher’s reply or counter- question and came out of his room. He went straight to the washroom to light up another cigarette to ward off the stress… Wo kya hai na…
Padhai to bheje pe waar hai, sutta hi asli yaar hai…
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So… enjoyed the humour? (Definitely you did… otherwise you won’t be reading this post till the very end…).
Visit her blog for a larger dose of humour of similar kind. And if you visit in time, you could also get a chance to win a bag full of prizes, before Christmas…

Men Not Allowed


800px-Men_not_allowed

Troubles always come in groups… huge groups. And troubles have a special affection for your dear author. And the beloved troublemaker of all times… The laptop… (For glimpses of the trouble-making refer this followed by this). So one fine day pretty close to exam time; when my laptop entered the yearly phase of trouble-making (this time it was motherboard which had passed away); I had no other option but to bunk my classes on a weekday and give the service center a visit.  And after gloomily handing over my beloved laptop in the center; and having ‘something’ to eat from the roadsides of Kolkata, I decided to return back to the hostels. And this is precisely where the fun begins…

I look at my watch which says 5:30 PM and rush to the metro station… And I saw exactly what was expected – A sea of people… No literally… Combine the following facts together – End of the office time; a country of 1.2 billions; a city of over 4 millions and the cheapest metro of the world. What else would you expect? So waiting for the metro amidst the crowd you realise how insignificant you are and how large is the world. 😛 And as soon as the train arrives, the fiercest of the races starts – the race to a vacant seat. Being extremely well versed in the art, I kicked a person ahead of me, punched another who was trying to get ahead and gloriously sat on the seat which I had won. But as fate always has it moments of glory were limited. A couple of moments elapsed and I realised the mistake – the above the seat, proudly announced, “WOMEN ONLY”. And so did the eyes of a lady standing just in front of me. I cursed my luck and the race which I lost after winning and humbly left the seat.

After the metro, came the train, where luckily seats are not reserved for women (certain compartments are). But there too, neither my luck nor the fairer gender spared me. After successfully establishing myself on a hard earned seat, I thought I could relax an have a nap. So with A.R. Rehman plugged in my ears, I peacefully dozed off. But for long… a (gentle)man wakes me up. I realise that a lady is sitting next to me and the (gentle)man sat besides her. “Don’t sleep!  Sit properly!”, said he. I analysed the situation… dress extremely traditional, age- 40 to 50, man and lady sitting side by side – Conclusion: They were a couple. And the problem was that in sleep there was a slight possibility that by mistake I touched her wife. I mean… what the hell… If you have problem with sitting besides a young ‘potentially dangerous’ man, why don’t you exchange your seat with your husband? Why disturb the sleep (which is the most dear thing to a student) of a person who is now forced to keep his eyelids open, staring at nothing for the 2 hour journey?

And finally the bus… For the half an hour journey, I deliberately chose a bus which was scheduled to depart an hour later (as it was be empty) so that I could securely get a seat and ‘relax’.  No use… Slowly as people poured into the bus, I could see millions of standing souls. And… despite 50 per cent seat reservation… a few of the souls were ladies. Unfortunately one of those souls stood besides my seat. And being a young blooded gentleman, I forgot all my sleep and left the seat for her… so that the atrocities of the violently rocking bus (yup… it was on Indian roads) are born by these tired legs…

In short that day (as many other  days) made me realise that we are the most unfortunate group in India. Caste reservation eats up half of the seats in the competitive exams for any ‘general’ candidate. As a ‘young’ citizen you are supposed to be responsible and sympathetic. And as a guy, you must be considerate towards women – even though they receive reservations in buses and trains; they pay atleast half of the fee we pay in any exam, preferential treatment in scholarship and so on…

But… Ladies! Beware! Every gender has its day (or set of days)… There would be a day when train compartments would announce “Women Not Allowed”

Hostel in Exam Mode


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Well, my exams are just over; and I am one of the lucky ones to enjoy this luxury so early. (And I can see my friends giving me that envious look). Although the education system of India has made us extremely habituated to this periodic ritual of exams; they are still a distinctively special event. Even before you enter the hostel, you would be able to tell if the hostel is in its ‘exam mode’. Here are some features of this grand event of ours.

1. Night Canteen: Inevitably the sales of the night canteen increases at least 10 folds. After all late night studies imply a continuous supply of glucose to the brain cells. And hence night canteens become our place of pilgrimage. Add on that the amazing sight and aroma of bakery products. How can one resist?

2. Philosophy of Life: Another universal fact. Creativity of brain increases to its maximum. The only problem is that creativity increases in a direction that is never evaluated. Brilliant questions arise – “What is Life?”, “Why do we exist?”, “Is this world real”, “What if it is just a mirage?”, “What is the real use of studies?” – And brilliant answers accompany too. But alas! none of our subjects offer us credits on these questions. An open challenge to all professors reading this… Ask us the ‘real’ questions and check our real brilliance.

3. Coffee: This one does not need elaboration. The formula is pretty simple: The more you drink coffee, the less do you sleep; the less you sleep, the more is the opportunity to study. (Note: Creating opportunity to study is totally unrelated to amount actually studied – read the next point)

4. Movie Time: With a plate of pastry in your reach, a mug of coffee in you hand and the most philosophical questions in mind, how can one expect to study? The most obvious option at hand is… VLC player. Thanks to the technology. Well, we try to be earnest. “Only this scene. Promise!” But we all know, promises are made to be broken, right?

5. The Slang: Well, this and the next points are censored. What does that mean? Reader’s discretion is expected Please read them more carefully. The use of figures of speech of our colourful hostel language – slang, swear words and curses – is intensified. Why? Simple. Anger and frustration do need a way out. And in the line of fire come the professors, the subject, the author of book, the founders of the subject and obviously our own dear friends.

6. The Smoke and Booze: The ultimate motivation. And my persistent, humble no. However, no description of exam time can be complete without these two companions of ours. 🙂

No matter how much, we hate exams, the fact remains that exam preparations in hostel are an experience of their own. And for me, they would surely be one of the most cherished periods of my hostel life.

“So my dear room-mates… Studying for the exams? With a coffee mug in hand and a movie on the lappy? Good! Please continue… ;)”

Well…


She is Sinking!


SONY DSC

 

I knew this was coming… And now that the inevitable can be seen, let me admit it… But wait! First let me set up the obituary…

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OBITUARY

Oh my mate, my soul, the irreplaceable being

I know time was short… and the journey too long

I know that you were faithful to the best of your abilities.

Yes, I believe it was painful with all the punches on your heart

And the more than occasional twist that I caused on your neck.

I hope that you would forgive me for all the physical atrocities I committed on you.

You were but a brilliant and faithful comrade

You did the most complicated computations in seconds.

And not to forget the weird and complex logical networks of programs, small yet great

Which you resolved within the blink of an eye.

And in the test of all tests, you valiantly fought

And bore three operating systems on your small microchips;

When most of can’t survive two.

Yes! you make me proud…

But now I feel, you have become too old…

And understandably two of the three OS have given their lives up…

Even two heat sinks, a battery and a motherboard replacement does not seem to be enough to save you

Alas, I feel your time has come…

MAY YOUR SOUL REST IN PEACE (AFTER YOU DIE)

Others will come, but none can replace you…

MY VERY OWN LAPTOP

In Grief

Arindam Saha

(The proud owner)

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Yes my dear friends, my dearest laptop is on its death bead…

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