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Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas Calcutta

Winter 2011, was lethargic, chilled and enjoyable; just like the way you would expect winter to be after a sweltering summer in the tropics. Calcutta is rocking in Winter and 2011 reminds me of my school days, when the chill was as bone shaking as it is today, (27.12.11; 00:07hrs). Well, it surely would come into the flavor, when I met my school-time pal as well as had a sneak peep into the night life at Park Street and associated areas after 7 long years. After 2004, that is; I have never visited Park Street in Christmas!

The carols weren't heard though, but loved the spices of "Bangali-ana", flavors of Bengal in it! Park Street, on 24th Dec, 2011 was almost inaccessible. Leaving the options of Oly, Mags or PeterCat, Arunima opted for the  Tung Fong - her family restaurant! Munching on the butter fry and tung fong chic specials and chatting over two and a half large pegs of Blender's Pride, I enjoyed my evening with Sudipto, Neel and not to mention, Arunima. Ironically, I celebrated my 10 years of friendship with her, since 2001. Old and seasoned ducks, we are!!!

Some memoirs...

Then there was 25th, December 2011. Well, the spirit was already in, literally as we well as virtually. After completing the quota of my Sunday tuition, I headed for the same place and this time, armed with my Nikon D5000, hoping to capture the moments of smiles and frolic. But Park Street literally clogged my ambition, due to the swarm of Calcutta public. Seemed more like 25000 strong battalion, marching to capture the minimal space of the street, renamed after Mother Teresa as Mother Teresa Sarani. I asked my colleague (Nandana), to board down at Maidan rather than Park Street. It seemed comparatively empty. Well, by the time the girl could arrive in her attire I took the opportunity to aim my lens towards the cultural heritage that Calcutta boasts of! Programs ranging from the tunes of Rabindranath Tagore to the modern pop like Kolaveri D! Little artists came under the spotlight with their recitations, synthesizers, hornets and claps from the masses. It was Christmas Chill in Calcutta. The mood was in and so was the light and sound. The city was vibrant and Calcutta justified her name as the Cultural Capital of India. It never deprives the intellect nor doe sit deprive the capitalists! Neon light flooded the streets announcing their presence within the neurons of the city, ready to give you kind in exchange of cash! There you have, paani-puris, which we adore in the name of fuchka, momos, santa-caps, horns, balloons, soap bubbles... name them, you have them!

And then, there was light too!


Nandana came in and thanks to her, I came across a very nice ritual, which I am not ashamed of mentioning. Lighting the candles infront of Saint Paul's Cathedral. Felt light and happy after doing so, although I have only a pic of her doing the same and a few more...

"Silent Night! Holy Night!
All is Calm, All is Bright!"

26th December, 2011. With India dominating the Boxing Day Test match, Down Under against Australia- little did I know that I will be heading for a fascinating exhibition at the Art College, beside Indian Museum in their annual cultural and art fiesta called Parampara. Its 147th year this time and my Holy Lord! The pinches of never pursuing this career started haunting me as long as I was out there. Some great photography, works of art out of scrap material, painting, knit work and then there was a skit performed on the college grounds. Loved it!

In brief, Calcutta shone and glittered amidst the footsteps of the Santa and Lord Jesus. Looking forward for a great winter ahead and also a great year! 2012, many things will change, but I wish, the winter in Calcutta (Kolkata) remains the same!


Till then... enjoy reading!

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Meri en: My Childhood.

When you hit on a bunch of tunes, that reminds you of your school days; inspite of several pressures in the career, you feel like winning all the avenues of life.

Anjan Dutta, Nachiketa... brings back the spices of the childhood romance.

2441139; Meri En; Samson; Ranjana... some selected spices of the 90's...

Kissed the leather boots, uniform, rickshaws, diesel cars and tin-made buses of Calcutta. The streets were less techno, still, they were Golden.

What have we lost?

1) Walking through the befallen bed of the Autumn Leaves; we have cars at our avail...
2) Licking the ice-lollies, escaping the eyes of the ever obvious watchful moms; this generation mom's are all too engaged in their career...
3) How can we forget the candy floss, ready made, warm from their spinning wheels; today we have Boomer packed ones - stale!
4) The golden sun used to burn upon our shoulders, making them sweat, salty and dusted! We loved those and miss when we see today the young guys are all neat and clean, running for their cars for their share of thrill in the XBox!
5) The scrap books were full of imagination. Pasting paper cuttings and often washing our hands off the glue; Today we have print outs! Come on! What do we learn?
6) Life... was so simple!

But today we have Apple!

Miss them... Miss my CBS (Calcutta Boys' School) ... Miss my sunny winter... Miss my Life!


Saturday, December 17, 2011

Death: Its a poem of Life.

Moved by another movie, I write this short article to what I think of the term; "Death".

Archies Final Project; rubs the Ginie out of my lamp. There are some moving dialogues that defines death, or at least try to define that.

Suicide: A permanent solution to a temporary problem.
Death: Its all about pain, blood that flows through our veins and that makes life complete.

In a word, Death defines life. How he/she led it. How he/she won or lose it. It does define life.

I have been part of several such incidences where dying was better than living. But, life won over the feeling because death at point meant an incomplete answer to the sweet tragedy called life. Its meant to be completed and not half done or left. Instances was followed by loneliness. The silent sound of the night drew into the dawn, making me feel the smell of air with each breathe. I felt lucky!

Today, after watching Archie's tryst with time, research on the meaning of death has brought forward those memories, a fresh. Today and even a few days or years ago, I have bid farewell to these vagabond thoughts and left the hobby of chasing geese in the open field of ever happy land

More over, pre-empt death always questions these people (Archie), the reason to try for it. Why? And then, people who give the loneliness pacify their adrenalin, they find the answer. And just like an End of Season Sale, you get a coupon free with the answer. The Reason to Live. Why coupon? Because, you can re-live and redraw your course of life, taking the turns, the right way. Just like Archie did.

You don't need an Oscar to think. You need a mind.

Death is your mind, always defining it and directing it to find a way to Live. And just like the name-roll in any movie, where the director's name comes in last;

For the Movie called Life,
Directed by
Death

It follows....

Friday, December 16, 2011

Gandu: "The Censored Film"

Q.

Well thats not the question as to why this film is "banned" from the Indian Market of entertainment. Its the pet name of the creator, who was bold enough to do something different in the arena of entertainment.

Its a film with least "civilized" dialogues. Its a film where action spoke for the theme. Its a film not for the losers, but for the winners who missed to savor the flavor of watching different. Something that's true to each and every teenage's life and better to say, something which 80% of the males think; in India. But again, its all about censorship.

In a country obsessed with mileage, production of the "common man's" thinking in its un-polished nature, is a crime. Kapil Sibal's obsession with monitoring the social media is an example and so is the censor board's decision to throttle the film from the mass. Reason? Well... you know as well as I do. Here, when you slap a politician, you get behind bars, but when a politician slaps you, he gets the other "b"- bail. So we have to go with the society and I followed the route.

Torrent it! You get the film. Appreciated the work expressed within it.

Really, Gandu is an "off-beat", "lack lustre" movie. But I loved how it was expressed. The colloquial slang came smoothly, because we too use them. No one can deny it, like "mathata chude geche" (thoughts have been fucked), "bal" (many meanings, depends on the expression), etc etc...

The story of a youth, who wants to be a rapper. The single mother child was fed up with "Das-babu", who made is mom nothing more than a slut, but the mom was helpless, as Das-babu used to pay their livelihood. Frustration flows out in RAPPING, the ambition of the guy; when suddenly he wins a lottery. He gets famous due to his rapping, whereby he comes to the forefront as DJ GANDU. The story starts here, with drugs, lazy-hours, masturbation and of course sex (defined as the first Bengali Movie to show it in real skin).

People who take it as a pornographic rated picture, are welcome to do so. I pity them, coz out of these people, 90% have had the desire for what was shown, leave aside the profession. The rest, will appreciate the work, the art in it!

Afterall we do have Kamasutra, so why not Gandu.

There lies the Q... by Q... expressed by S...me.


Monday, December 12, 2011

Notification.

From today, I uphold my new photographic logo:


This is just a step forwards towards adopting the passion of photography. In this regards I would like to mention my assocaition with the Photography club, whose iClickers website is full of activities and admirable things. I think, the people who have the inclination towards photography can join in the elite group of members list! Its a great learning podium.


Sunday, December 11, 2011

Black Friday: AMRI- Kolkata.

A very common name. Known by many and the Holy Bible encrypts it as Friday the 13th. The day of the Devil.

Searched the net and Wikipaedia came up with a list, where I added a very painful truth just now. The line reads like this:

Black Friday (2011), AMRI hospital, Kolkata, India. Fire and carbon monoxide smoke suffocates 89 patients to death on the day. Dec 9.

But, Wiki has a long list.

AMRI, Kolkata. Is a big name in the field of Medical Health care, equipped with great instruments of life care. But, thanks to the untrained management and house keeping, 89 (now 92); lost their precious life. That too at a place where they have had come to get their ailments cured. Who knew, December 9th, 2011 will spell their date with hell, rather than heal!

Shocked! Never in the history has such a tragedy struck the heart of mankind. Sources say its a second largest death toll afte the Guatemala massacre, which killed 225 patients.

I have nothing to say, only a prayer to make:

It is never easy to replace death.
May be we will never be able to-
Just a prayer in hand...
Hope in the eyes...
May their death never go in vain...
May we learn from their loved ones' despair...
May we be humans first...
And money makers last!


Friday, December 09, 2011

Tip Toe...

The winter has announced its presence in the midst of a Friday dawn... The crows shrill through the mist that is yet to give way to the sun's rays...

Its winter in Kolkata, and I have to trod past the wet pavement, looking forward for another day to unviel at Indian Institute of Chemical Biology. Just a year ago, there was also a world outside the premises of IICB, where I used to to tip toe out of the lab-hours, and meet you. See you and hold thy hands, apart from savoring the fragrance that you always smeared the air around you. Life was so lively back then.

Today, my heart... you will be facing the panel for a presentation, and I know you will rock. More so, I shall surely call for the stars to be beside you and my wishes are always there with you. After all, its Us who will win the US from there and here... undoubtedly, the prayers have always been answered and it shall never be an Odd incidence today.


Om Ganeshai Namah!

Ingenuity.

To deliver something to the world, in your own fashion statement is mostly termed as ingenuity. Handling pain is one of them. You handle that, absorb that and then deliver the world with your reaction: "I am Fine" and smile...!

Thats why, its better to say "Smiles to Go before I Sleep!" (Anonymous; may be)

Today, I realized it in a very unique manner. I realized that I have this in-born capability to smile away amidst unjust pain that I recieve (sometime in history). Its a different that fellowship is delayed at the moment and I am facing a uphill financial task; better say downhill...

See! Its always better in the words, although I know that its atrociously hot and spicy life at the moment with thousands of thorns biting my bumps!! (prickly beans!)

But, to every article there is a note of history, that .... mmm increases the "hit rate" of the blog! As it is, my articles are going down day by day, in standard! Today, 8th Dec, 2011; Sehwag smashes Sachin Tendulkar's recordof 200 ODI runs in a single innings and reached a  new height of 219 in 149 balls. This pounding was against West Indies, in Indore.


Bodhgaya, Bihar (India)


I need the peace badly!!!

Saturday, December 03, 2011

Renewing Ties...

It had been a long time, since I last pinned my article in this electronic medium. But I had my reasons as well.

More than staying in Kolkata, I was busy chasing the goose in the open fields of Bihar (disgusting) and Assam (which was cool, thanks to a half day halt at Meghalaya).

I ended partly with the Himachal Pradesh news, and with the essence of 2011 almost over and clicking into the cooler and nicer part of the year in Kolkata, I would love to describe this as a year of Travel, for me. I roamed a good part of India this year, which includes introducing myself to the North eastern corridors of the nation, into Assam and Meghalaya!

I will mention the excerpts regularly, just like the old proficient blogging, but just on the parting note!

"It was a nice year, blessed in many ways, hard in some others... but I loved it and love 2012 more, coz I believe it shall be life changing for me!" This article serves as a renewing link!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Story of a Little Indian State: Himachal Pradesh (Part 3)

In this article, I shall love to boast like several Indians, that I have had touched history; meeting it upclose and personal.

After the previous day's bitter experience during the trip to Fagu and Chail, where, unfortunately for the clouds we couldn't absorb any beauty of the places mentioned, the bus driver presented us a platter full of wavy experiences, driving the coach like a mad man. I have had taken the bus ride round the wavy mountain terrains, but never felt so bad.

Hence, Day 2's trip to Naldegra was cancelled and I planned a historical trip. Heard about its beauty from the various shows conducted in the Discovery Channel or the History Channel. Read about it's significance, making the scars on the subcontinent prominent. We were about to visit the Shimla House (as commonly known as); but in original, its the Viceroy's House. The house, where the great Indian subcontinent was torn apart by the Indian National Congress and the Muslim League, under the supervision of the last Britton Viceroy of India, Lord Mountbatten...

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011. The Viceroy's House, Shimla.

Lush green garden, covering over 75% of the property, this building presently house IIAS. Indian Institute of Advanced Studies, which was gifted to the scholar fraternity, but the second President of India, Dr. Radhakrishnan. In his honour, the institute house his portrait at the entrance, being the founder of the institute and thanks for his pioneering activities, our teachers get a deserved day of treats; The Teacher's Day!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011. The entrance of IIAS, Shimla.

IIAS is housed within the lavish house, which has 332 rooms in total. Un-altered since its 1921 costruct, the Viceroy's House is a marvel of interior decoration using wood! Cedar and Walnut wood have had borne the lustre over the years (and so have the German Switches, which are still being used, unrepaired for 90 years in running!!!)

Irony! German within the British Domain. No wonder, Indians and Germans have had good links!

What followed in the 20 minutes of guided tour, well narrated by the trained scholar of the institute. The pack of 30 odd tourists tried to grapple the history, (thankfully known by me), and hence I could indulge in my minor clicking! I guess you all can understand as to why I mentioned a word of Thanks for knowing the History by Luck! It was not snobbish!!!

The Viceroy's General Meeting room. Now a days used by the IIAS students as seminar room -

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: Viceroy's meeting room.

The next room that followed, made me shiver once, down my spine. Within minutes I found myself standing infront of that great round table, that had smooth boundaries, but had played the crucial role in making a country's border; rough... Pakistan was carved out from India. And I was standing just behind where Mr. Jinnah sat!!!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011. Replica of the Partition Table.

The artifacts were great. Had taken some great snaps, but its useless to share all of them here. So, just shared my pieces of emotions!

Emotions... being an Indian, its always high to see such places where the beautiful (geographically) Pakistan is now unreachable. More so, because it had taken away the Indus Valley Civilization with it! Lines of thoughts plagued my heart... when I encountered a beauty of a situation, which made my soul happy... Hence I have named it: Beche Thakar Akash.. Translated to English from Bengali, it means; The Sky to Live For!!!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Story of a Little Indian State: Himachal Pradesh (Part 2)

From my previous snippets of the trip, I had reached Shimla, with my mom. The day was 1st October, 2011. Back in Kolkata, Pujas was just starting!

From the station, we hired a cab. Still skeptical about the choice of the hotel, because it is for this place, I had quite a bitter experience with Travelguru.com, with whom I had initially booked, but they let me down. Firstly, they couldn't confirm the hotel of my choice: Hotel Gulmarg. Secondly, they provided us accommodating with another Hotel, Hotel Sun n Snow, but there too they failed to confirm our stay. Pissed off and after uselessly spending over 500 rupees for the Mumbai STD at the Travelguru office, I cancelled the booking. I found their representatives rude and un-proffessional  bunch of hooligans!

Anyways, after a history of dallying around, I booked a room in Hotel Doegar (Click here). Pretty nice hotel. Bit expensive, but the people are really warm in behavior! I paid a part of our stay as a token of booking from their designated bank account and wella..they had all the information! In fact, they arranged for a pick up as well. Mr. Raju, the driver was a great company as well which we realized on the third day of our stay at Shimla and then following that, the car ride to Manali.

Exquisite. It is the only word, I could describe the hotel view from our veranda! The morning had a magical viel upon the several red-green-blue tiles against the green backdrop of the Himalayas! The contours were mystic, "V" shaped...like the Holy Grail... In one word, with a different flavor, I would describe it marvelous!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: Good morning Shimla.

It was a simple Mall Road trip on Day 1 (1/10/11). My previous experiences with the Mall had been great. Thrice, to be precise. First time it was in Darjeeling, second time it was Gangtok (both in 1994) and the last time it was in Rabong (Sikkim, 2011). This is the fourth time, and as far as my imagination chips in, The Mall at Shimla is the most clean one that I have ever seen. It was a table top, with ridge on both sides, where the capital of the state expands its wings! It was cloudy, without doubt, but each day, the Mall posted its own beauty. From Gloomy to Sunny...

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011. Shimla Municipal Office, Mall Road.

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: Christ Church, Mall Road. Shimla.

Day two at Shimla, beckoned me to rethink the journey as well as the finance. Initially, a Rs. 20000 trip budget looked like it would be escalating by another 10K, soon. But, it was after the bus trip on day 2; incidentally, it was bright and sunny morning and also the date was 2nd October, 2011. Although I was in Shimla, I could bet that the birthday of the Father of our Nation was marred by the Puja madness; it was Sasthi...

Being a holiday, the Mall sounded high pitched. School students in their uniform paid homage to Mahatma Gandhi. There were baloons, soap bubbles and candy floss. In between them was a whole India. being a hill station, several famous boarding schools are in Shimla, where children from all over India use to come  and pursue studies! But among the smell of the Candy Floss and the ring of the bells, announcing the Indian Fast foods namely PapriChaats on offer, I could smell the Mahogany, the Cedar and the Pines... Sun, weaved a nice picture upon the mountains, bringing the dark cloud shadows upon the lush green!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: Hide n seek!

Before boarding the bus, for the day's trip to Fagu >> Chail, it was a nice view. Hopeful, I boarded the bus with mom! But then, this ride would determine the next 8 days!!

Anyways, I moved on with my mom....


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Story of a Little Indian State: Himachal Pradesh. (Part 1)

Little as it may look, the undulations of the lower Shivalik Range makes it a tall order... Tailor made but God Himself, Himachal Pradesh is all but boring!

It is a learning trip for me. The first time ever, I ventured with mom, all by ourselves. No relatives, no touring companies... unknown of the fate as to whether we will ever make it happily. Thank god, we did!

As the Cleartrip would say: Every trip has a reason, my reason were two; to mention. After 2007, it will be the first major trip for mom, who had been getting bored at home. Secondly, I wont get any more spans of such holidays in near future, thanks to PhD commitments, so it would be a good exercise for my Nikon D5000.

The planning started well ahead. In the month of June, 2011 for the October 2011 trip. There were several choices, like Madhya Pradesh; Rajasthan; etc... even thought of Arunachal Pradesh. Looking at the time leave of just lucky 10 days, it was impossible to browse through these places without an expert guidance (Touring companies) or a group! I had neither of the two options. So, thought of the Himachal's most stepped in places: 1) Dharamsala-McLeodgunge from Amritsar (Punjab);
or,
2) Shimla - Manali.

It was tough, but thanks to the internet. It was smoothened!

Before I go into the intriguing beauties of the mountains, I would like to put forward certain points to be kept in mind. May be, this first post, as any other posts might look total travel planner, but heed you amateurs. Its a helpful advice.

1) Go to the nearest tourism office and get to know about the travel routes.
2) Book online, at the notice of 91st day..keep trying from the 91st one!
3) Cleartrip is cool and all things are done on time. Travelguru.com is a cheat and they have all the lollies to harass you! DONOT GO FOR TRAVELGURU!!!!
4) Plan your trip, taking help of Google Maps. Its cool!



 My plan was simple and initially made online:
1) Boarding Kalka Mail from Howrah to Kalka. The journey is 36 hours long, and in the middle would seem lagging. But, this mail, luckily for us entered the terminal station on time.
2) From Kalka, we boarded the Toy train upto Shimla. Its a journey, which made me remind of Kirandool Express Journey, from Vizag to Araku Valley (AP). It had tunnels, sounds, views and chilling beauty!
3) We stayed on in Shimla for the next two days. ( reached on 1st October, 2nd and 3rd stayed at Shimla).

Let me get into the main stream of good writting....

There was a third hidden reason behind moving out to the mountains, during the festive seasons in the plains. And that too... after identifying myself as a Bengali who loves Kolkata Durga Puja like anything! Actually, for the past three years, my habit had been spoiled by my beloved one... this year, she has been to States, so I thought I wouldn't enjoy... feeling lonely...which is the last thing I want to feel back, during the Pujas. So the escapade, under the mask of the deserved vacations for mom!

Reaching Kalka and smelling the cold breeze of the lower himalayas, the morning of 01.10.11 was as easy as the binary... 011011... Atlast the trip would be a lovely escapade from the humid plains! More so, the journey in the Sleeper class was not worth enjoying...except that the two nights, we got good company who did lend the lower berth for my mom...

IRCTC has had played its own joke! The morning ticket (connecting rail) of Shivalik Express had been confirmed for only me...my mom was in the WL1. With 6 minutes for the second train to leave the platform, I rushed in mom to the Rail Motor coach...with one confirmed! But again...lucky us, we found a cordial Bengali family welcoming us and sharing their seats! The misty journey unveiled into a lovely sunrise, which my camera took as the first shot of the trip!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: Good Morning Himachal!

The bents and tunnels; 92 in all... made the lofty mountains reachable... touchable (like the iPhones)... the clouds seemed reachable... fluffy cotton making their way to noman's land... Looking at them, the pungent soul cleared it's thinking rays from the forehead... The soul now followed them...longing to be inside them! Himachal Pradesh has...something which I longed to absorb as a taught! a good taught!

The windings kept on!

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: Windings twine towards Shimla.

Memories clouded my mind. I remembered the ride during such a November, 2005. B.Sc, Physiology. Araku. I also remembered the trip to Ghatshila with my M.Sc friends, in 2008 January... But I also hoped that 2011 will be a new beginning of the "Globe-trotter" Somnath Paul...

With this thought, I welcome all my Blog readers to Shimla,

(c) Somnath Paul, 2011: The Ridge View of Shimla.


.... the capital of the Little Indian State; Himachal Pradesh!!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Living Custody.

It had been a long wait...over a month, for a few documents to be set into place, so that I may take on the wings and move abroad. But may be, this time, it wasn't meant for me. Growth and age, through the several years, have taught us to be strong and have a brave heart to hope for more! So, I am obedient and am following that! In the mean time, there are plenty of work to be done and all will be pressing in hard and fast!

The dates are all fixed. It seems that coming November, I will be less at home and more out in the open space, roaming and doing my stuffs the best way possible. Camps to Bihar and Assam, during these weeks will be hard... Following will be some more drops of Vodka and Rum a home drawn conference. Dances and tangos will set the mood with my friend getting married, infact, two such marriages in line!  After that, there will some in-state camps...

With time. may be I will get indulged in these outings. But, I am missing you the most at these peace hours...when Kolkata sleeps and a slight quilt of mist tries to grab the streets, preparing it for the coming winter...I feel lonely and alone! Everyday, the Sun brings news for me..the warmth of yours, half the world round is brought in through the rays, that creep through the old wooden windows, even though they remain closed. I twist in the bed...feeling the bed sheet, instead of your hands, that I was holding in my dreams, just a few moments ago! The warmth pokes me... Wake Up! Its Skype time....

I rush out..., but most of the instances, the clock outruns me and indulge in a tryst with the paste, tapwater, tooth brush and the flush!

May be, this day, 20th September, 2011, I shall never board the EK571 from CCU... but I will wait for my turn in near future...for that strength, you are there...boost me my lord...boost me!

Click on the photo...

Thursday, September 01, 2011

Eid Mubarak.. Life in Calcutta.

After a long time, I was working all alone and was alone in the streets of my home town...the city with inexplicable memories, each and every nook and corner. The calender earmarked it with Eid. One of the pious festivities that the Islamic world celebrates with one singular voice: "Mubarak (congrats)". This world has traveled all the lexicons from the Mecca to the Macau... Arab to Phillipines... "Mubarak..Eid Mubarak".

31/8/11. A day, that I revisited the by-lanes of city. Those, that I was regular, at a time when everything was new with the freedom of becoming a High School kid! Then college, brought in those places, vividly. Today, Eid glittered the lights through those by-lanes, bypassing the present day's chores of a PhD scholar, to a regular Bengali, loving to walk through the streets of Calcutta..

It was some nominal chores at my work place.. feeding the bacteria on some new "food beds"; spinning down the DNA; frantically finding the primers for a Gradient PCR...technicalities is so normal these days, for me. Then, I had promised a Biriyani treat for my mom; from the famous Arsalan. But then, you had to cope up standing in the queue for more than an hour to book your parcel. Wish I had Barrack with me to give me the taste of Arsalan's Biriyani on Eid MuBARRACK! ;) I retraced the pavement, and succeeded in buying the stuff from Alibaba. (It was good, but not like Arsalan's)

With the food packed in order, I boarded the auto, not knowing that my romance for this OLD CALCUTTA would change the day...still keeping pace with my mood!

The vehicle swerved through the Mullickbazar's vehicular debacle, to land up in Eliot Road. The name was common as ten years ago also, I was a common factor in these lanes,  twice a week. For my English tuition. The group that changed my outlook, happened to be formed in here and there you go; the names and faces came fluttering across my memory... (all settled in their own spheres...busy with life now).

Eid always brings in a jolt of breeze that suddenly start smelling like autumn. The genetical clock of the Bengalis start sensing time for the Pujas to arrive. The roasted meat, the biriyani, the flowers..they all intermingle with the smell of the old residential bricks that brings in the sense of belonging to the place, with your soul. This season I will miss a major chunk of the festivities... But I wish to rediscover Calcutta more...

This time, I will have my Nikon D5000 with me!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Drops...

They just covered me up, when I was just about to finish off the day's chapter at IICB, signing off at the gates last Wednesday. It was 10:37PM and I was little worried that I might be missing the K8, the only vehicle that could take me to my destination called home, at this dry hour.

Think of dry! It started with a few drops on my cheeks, eye lids and then in gripped upon the rhythm of tips and taps, with occasional slush from the speeding cabs and bikes that tread past the S. C. Mullick Road, Jadavpur.

Drops...

They made me swim through the sweet times. Those red eyed scoldings that I used to get from you and my mom regarding my special adaptive hobby to get drenched in the rain. That day, when I described myself to the lifeless tree standing in open air, drenching with the hope of getting some life back. That is how I described myself to you and described you to the rain. Our first date... started with and in the rain...

Life has taken several years to settle into this groove. The incessant trials to crack the competitive exams... "incessant"...again a colloquial for the rain forest, describes our lives; at present. Several miles disrupts our regular meets...skype/gtalk becomes life savers. I envy the several ads of cheaper local calls... (Why weren't they present when you were around!)

Last Wednesday, brought to me the essence of water to life. Life savers, no doubt. It had really been a strenuous day, but like the most suitable chemical reagent and justifying its title of being an Universal Solvent, those drops of water dissolved all those pain. Infused life and made me remember those days... shining within the corner of my eyes... when you were around.

Today, your smile and eyes are around me... in the Drops...

Courtesy: Kanad/ Joydeep/ Arijit. (Aug, 2011)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Same Place.

Recently there had been a commercial running on the Indian Television, depicting the inefficiency of a Maruti-Suzuki model, where a long lost friend chirps over a social networking side to her friend in the city, to meet up at the "same place". Perplexed, the guy moves into his car with very low fuel to search her. After crossing through the several "gallis" in Delhi, he found her in wait in-front of a cafe called "SAME PLACE", quite like the innmerable spots, in the city where i have had used to stand for you. Hours!

The dew settled in the long grasses of Maidan and Victoria Memorial; I used to trod among the longer grasses soaking my socks and boots in the moisture of purity; dew. You came and we used to move across the gates, trying to relive some past years and try to live in the present and look for the future. That "same place" will look barren, without your footsteps.

The commuters' platform railing of Esplanade metro witnessed by incessant hourly waits... Whenever I go to work, those railing shall bear the testimony of the "same place" where I used to wait for you... for the past 4 years! Love brings such thoughts, clouds them in your brain!

And then you ask: "What is the use to go and fulfill dreams, hurting and parting from so many..." The answer my friend is in the wind. That's life.. and that is how we have conquered the world since ages. Destiny unwraps the goodness of future...bright and high.

The flight alarm has started counting it's final few hours... funny how it came..I seldom remember... for it was just the other day we met! Today, US calls...its one "US" that becomes part of your life parting you from another "US". I shall wait for the previous "US" to take its shape, in full grandeur...same way, may be different time, but definitely the SAME PLACE!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

New India. Age 20 years.

It started 20 years ago, on the same date of 24th July, 1991. Back then, I was in Standard 1. Never knew what was done by the PV Narashima Rao Government and the present Prime Minister, the then Finance Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh. I only remember those years to be turbulent after the assassination of Rajiv Gandhi. Then two years later, it was 1993 bombings of Bombay. But, today we are supposed to enjoy the fruits of the nationalized as well as the international brands.

Those days, a BMW was a wow on the roads of Kolkata (the place from where I am). I still remember gazing at the pics of the bikes and the automobiles that originated across the border. Back then, it was only America for us. Tinge knowledge of the globalization settled our minds. Today, even a toddler knows about the Nikes and the Addidas, the Porsche and the Mercs!

Globalization have taken its stride to introduce international brands settle in India, providing jobs. Before '91 there were only the government firms and the few private ones like TATA or Bajaj or Reliance, to name a few, or the few Mehtas and the Agarwals' outlets. Now the norms of super markets, glitters India. 20 years into a realization, which I believe can bring about good stead for those 37% (Tendulkar Commission; 2007) individuals below the poverty line, in the coming years of another 15 years may be!

I am not a finance Guru, so that's much I can put my feeling forward. Anyways, its happy birthday to New India and Finance Policy!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Zindegi Na Milegi Dobara...

Life, there will be no second chance to live it!

Zindegi Na Milegi Dobara is a very nice film and I loved it to the full. But have we ever spared a second in thinking for the lives of those, who faces the tough truth, if they don't get blood on time.

Just think.

You have almost 6 liters of the  red fluid in you. Getting bruised and waste it  for useless things, are common. It will not matter if you part away with just 300ml of it, annually, to make things sweeter for you. Not even sparing 10% of what you have. But it means 100% for those you deliver it and those eyes that look through the glass opening of the ICCU/ICU just to see their loved ones, wake up from unconsciousness and wave at them! That's why I mentioned, what I felt: The currency of happiness is Blood. Donate it to receive your pack of happiness.

Think.... and then read on!

IICB Research Scholars' Association (IRSA), is quite analogous to the Graduate Student forum, at Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (A unit of CSIR), Kolkata. It, along with the IICB Club on the whole, had organized the noble event.


Every year, IICB conducts an annual blood donation camp in association with a government recognized blood collection organization like the Haemophilia Society of India, etc. The target is achieved amongst the faculties, office staffs and the scholars of the institute. I have been part of this process for the past two years, experiencing the support, co-operation and labour that goes behind the process. Since my B.Sc first year (2004), every birthday I made it a point to donate blood, once annually. It gives me immense happiness and I shall continue the good work, if I am alive for 55 years... In fact I believe, every individual, healthy to the core, should donate blood once a year. In fact, to ear mark the event, celebrate the "donation" on your birthday. It comes every year! From 18 years to 55 years, you can save many lives. In fact, each donation leads to saving three lives as the blood that you donate is segregated into Plasma, Whole and Erythrocytes, required for different purposes!


Here are some good facts, if you donate your blood:
1) The blood donation creates a positive stress in your body that keeps some of the minor hormones in good stead like the erythropoeitin, which makes your bone marrow work a little more than normal for four days. This is like an exercise that keeps your marrow healthy.
2) In fact, healthy marrow lessens the chance of marrow degradation, with age.
3) The iron store in your body is depleted, which is necessary to keep your iron storage machinery rejuvinated.
4) last and not the least, you get happiness and lots of good wishes that, I promise, will make you feel good!


Annual Blood Donation Camp, 2011.
Indian Institute of Chemical Biology (An Unit of CSIR)
Kolkata, India.

As part of a parting note, I would like to mention the following, that I made up today:

Maladies of Life are the thoughts to be Well!!!

Diagnosis of these Maladies is to BE Well....

By the way, Life will not always give a second chance ( Yeh Na Milegi Dobara!). So live it...let other's live!

Monday, July 18, 2011

Prelude..

From figments of imagination...


The chariot will be due in a fortnight.

Time will run in a different direction.

Relation will web a new lease of life in a different continent, based from Kolkata to half the way round the world. The waters of the Ganges will recycle back to the Gomukh, may be at least once, before the nuptial rights are knotted in place.

The sun will do His business more than 365 times, playing like a messenger of warmth, that I am warm in Kolkata, looking out for her steps, retracing... and when the eyes come back, watching upon you. Radiant...may be ever clad like the little princess, or better say the little red riding hood!



Just after today's dinner with you, while walking in the rain, I made this for you...

যখন ব্রিস্টি নাবে।

আকাশ থেকে যখন ব্রিস্টি নাবে,
তখন মনে হয়-

তুমিও একদিন ছেড়ে চলে যাবে,
মেঘের বুক চিরে চলে যাবে উর-জাহাজ়;
সেদিন আমারও বুকে বাজে সে সুর,
চারিদিক হবে শূনসাণ।
তোমাকে দেখতে চাওয়ার ইছে গুলো,
ডানা মেল্বে সেই আচিন দেশে।

পাহারি গান আর সুর-
উঠবে সূয্য,
মাধ্যম হবে আমাদের কথার,
ভাব,
ভালোবাসার!

Thats how it all shall be... strength and aura...I will walk with you, your warmth and heat shall be with thee...


Sunday, July 10, 2011

Now and Then

The Question is: What has Changed?

I put forward one pictures of Pre-independence.
Time: 1905.
Incidence: Partition of Bengal.

Calcutta, 1905.

Then, the Viceroy in Power, Lord Curzon decided to divide and rule, making a scar on the face of Bengal. Today, P. Chidambaram and KCR does agree on the same. 
What has changed? The faces. 
What remains same? Personal gains. And also one letter... C!

To cleave the Hindu Muslim unity, such a step was adopted which later on helped some "nasty" intensions of Jinnah to divide the nation. That time too, Indian National Congress got subdued. This time also. 
What has changed? National demand. That time it was International, now its National! 
What remains? The segregation on simple regions and castes. Humans no longer say or stay...its the caste that does!

To counter the above cause, today what people in Telengana and Rayalasema are upto...


Funny!

What has changed? The cause!
How has they changed? By partitioning your own MOTHER!

Aah... there is a little more to it. The pinch of colour.

This was Then....

Muslim Population Distribution in 1909

Hindu Population Distribution in 1909

The Biggest Gandhian Mistake, 1947: To Let Jinnah Win!

Well, today the colours and dimensions have changed though. Some have turned Pink and Others Maroon.

To Be...Soon!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Presidential Blues

And its all about Presidency University, whose confluence behaves like those of the College! Of course, the college cannot be undermined, presenting some of the best academicians and thinkers that India will boast for ever.

People used to lick the cream, cast in the yesteryear. The out going Left Front Government of West Bengal decided to play a political trick, of reviving the face of Bengal Education, by releasing the clutch of University of Calcutta, over the renowned college. They passed in a bill that embossed the title University, beside the name, Presidency.

Being a Presidencian (Physiology Hons; B.Sc 2006), I am happy like many. It meant delivering the following:
1) Right to formulate a competitive Syllabus that would help us crack All India Entrance Examinations for Post Graduation.
2) Right to appoint Faculty.
3) Develop an ambiance of Research and Development. Given the Laboratories, many state of the art instruments can be installed to help the Undergrads take the opportunity to taste the fun of research and new thinking, along with the Masters and most importantly, the PhDs.
4) Proposal of Research and bringing in Funding under the Umbrella of Presidency University would be more easier, compared to the work load that rests upon University of Calcutta.


It means good...It means better. And who knows when the Best Days would be shining back from the muskets of history!

Amidst all these good thinking and others, you need funding. Government is an option and so are the Private Funding agencies. But, students also play an important role in the generation of the revenue of an institution. That cannot be undermined!

I am an ex-IC. It really hurts me to see that IC protests against the decision of fee hike. Instead of a general protest, I believe that the protest should have been much more organized. Since this is an University, and we are talking no less than autonomy; the IC or on a general aspect, the present Presidencians should demand scholarship for the students who cant afford fee hike. It will not only stop the fee hike for the poor students, but a scholarship would allow them to study for free. For the well to do family, this hike of Rs. 220 from Rs 110 shouldn't be a pain. Come on! Don't make me believe the CRAP that only poor comes and study at Presidency!

An University should never be like this. This will do no good. we have won this "freedom" to do something useful...not WASTE AWAY!

That's why,

Be productive and Meaningful in your demands. The University can develop if you increase your pay scale and provide scholarship to the poor, from that god gifted money of the richer classmates! Be Sensible. Be Productive. Be Presidencians!

Presidencians. 
Physiology. B.Sc 2006

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Change that Chain...

Is the topic making you feel like a pup? Or like the bigger figure, a bull dog. Recently, I even heard that the present Indian Cricket Team captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni would like to chain a Royal Bengal Tiger; ahem... I mean, adopt him. Not only him, many others have achieved the feat. So, how would the chains look like? Studded with Diamonds, as for Dhoni's pet or a simple steel twines round the neck of the poodle, that you may spot in your neighbors balcony? What ever it may be, its a Chain that speaks for the status and also, its a chain that speaks your personality. Compare the widths of the stuff that I been blogging for the past few lines, between the poodle, tiger and say for example an elephant.

Huge jump eh?

Well, in our life style, our outlook always chain in our mood. The way we present ourselves reflects the mood-o-meter's present status; is it the P-mood (Pessimistic) or is it the B-one (Brighter). Changes always synchronize our lives, with our personality and our desires. There are many examples which can be cited, but to bring uniqueness to my post, its me, who would be cited. (after all, that's what blogs are meant for...to do things I like or wish to participate!) By the way, I am participating in a competition entitled "Change is Easy", conducted by Indiblogger, sponsored by Dell's New Series of Inspiron Laptops, which Changes colour. Simply, these laptops are good devices to portray your mood, the way you want. To check it out, click here or here.

So, where was I - Talking about how my devices have portrayed my personality. Taking excerpts from the autograph books, where many of my friends have scribble goodies as well as cons about me, since my school ending years and then college days...

Sitikantha Dh Das: A helpful friend... The gadget that talks all about it is my Laptop. (Although I am participating in a Dell-sponsored competition, I don't know whether this will marr my chances or not!) My Laptop, Lenovo G560, is bundled with softwares that come on handy in any one's daily life. Playing with them from the amateur level, had made me a master of many such stuffs, and thankfully, I am still helpful to my friends and juniors, bringing in instant relief; be it Photoshop to Tally to Powerpoint Presentations to DJ Mixes!

My present gadgets that define my personlity, taste, desire and choice include:
1) Lenovo G560 [for the digital lover], 
2) Nikon 5000D with Nikkor Lenses (18-300; 4 different sets)[for the artistic eye], 
3) HTC Desire S [for those urgent mails, contacts, blogs, skype, fring, ficall, facebook and pubmed]

They change their outlook, defining myself.

When sad, my Lenovo only has the work front on, with MS-Office running through out the eon. When, its jovial, you would see me scrolling through the numerous songs and videos, chrome shows several colours and my facebook gets a mobile update: "lief's cool..."

Its easy to change... as easy as to sink or rise in a mood... develop your personal skills and present yourself to the social world!

Chain..that Changes... may be!

Monday, June 20, 2011

CSIR - NET: A Positive Change.

Council for Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR), is the highest funding organization in India and is being considered as the heaviest investor in Scientific research in Asia. It, along with UGC conducts a National Eligibility Test (NET), for candidature in PhD in different arenas of science, in India. The arenas include Geo-Science, Life Science, Physical Science, etc. I have had taken this examination to qualify for the better position and blend a better life style with research. It was never tough to crack the Lecturership position, but it was tough to crack the JRF-position. The pattern of examination, with respect to life science always had two papers. The first one was a general science knowledge paper while the second one was subjective, but in that too... it had all the life sciences inter mingled with it. It was hard for a Physiology graduate to cope up with details of Botany, Microbiology, zoology and environmental science, in the first go!

Now, from June 2011, a huge change have been inducted to the pattern. Primarily, you are allowed to take the question papers home and getting a look into the pattern, the following salient points can be put forward in favor of the students, who have trained their minds into research, only.

1) Instead of two papers, there was a single paper, of 3 hours.
2) Its divided into three subsections: group A (15/20), Group B(35/50), Group C(25/75). (Need to attempt/Total Available)
3) Group A had a parity with the previously stated Paper 1. General Science.
4) Group B was objective, relating to the variety of stuff in Life Science. This section bore parity with the second section  of the Paper 1, that previous examinations used to have.
5) Group C. The most appealing of all. Its a solid 100 marks dedicated to analysis. "Research based questions are placed, and the candidated will have to determine outcome of a particular technique or apply practical knowledge to approach the problem."

Not only students, who have a research oreinted mindset can over come the test, but the people who have already been into the research, awaiting their JRF from LS, would get the spring in the steps to approach this exam. Its no longer clumsy, as it used to be!

CSIR Logo

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Planning a Trip: Feeling the Elderly Family Man.

Feels good.

Although these plannings would materialize in the Pujas, but planning a trip for just over a week is really a work that can bring in some grey waves across the curls, you so gently combed in over the years. And then, you start feeling that you have grown up. Similar incidences were common in the past as well; but there was a huge reversal of act. Those days, Dad and Mom used to chalk out all the trips and the finances, while I was too excited to pack my binoculars (bought from the Hongkong Market, Siliguri in 1994). There had been quite a number of trips that I had the opportunity to make with my Dad and Mom. I still remember then thin and thick:

1988 - First ever trip of my remembrance was to Puri.
1990 - Second one was Digha.
1992 - It was Puri again.
1994 - Darjeeling, Gangtok, Rotang, Changu
1996 - Delhi, Agra, Mathura, Jaipur
1998 - The last trip with dad was to Digha.

After that, many equations in life had changed. Although I was frequent within the trip books, making a all new dimensional trip to Mirik, Lava-Lolegaon and Kaimpong with my school excursion trip in 2001 and then in 2005, went to Hyderabad, Vizag and Araku with my Presidency Excursion team; the University trips were great. Infact, it was these University trips that had put me into the practice of trip planning. But again, I had the luck to have Joydeep, Budha, Avisek and Kanad to manage the finances, while Ari and myself, along with Sioma and Ankita made all the jolly go merry stuff. Three trips to be included with this group; 1) Digha 2) Diamond Harbour and the most enjoyable, 3) Ghatshila.

Since, tripping was a very thought productive stuff, hence, in 2007 mom and myself, opted for Kundu Special, the oldest tour operator of India to make a pleasant trip to Kerala, the Land of Gods! Simply awesome, especially Munnar and Periyar although the trip had Kanyakumari, Cochin and Thiruvananthapuram within it's grasp!

After 2008, that is Ghatshila, there was a mini trip to Shankarpur followed  by Ravangla in 2011. In between there were two conference trip to Vellore and Shankarpur, yet again.

2011 promises a new challenge for me. For the first time I am planning a week long trip, to North India, taking mom alongside. I had several portals at my aid, to plan the trip, find the hotel availability. This article is a testimony as to what one should keep in mind, while planning a trip, all by him/herself, as an amateur. Small experiences did help me, but, I had faced new avenues to make a trip successful.

Salient Points:
1) Plan the trip considering spare days in hand. This is important as the convenience may face hindrance, natural or political.
2) Survey the packages offered by the different travel portals. If you follow my advice, I looked into the costing at makemytrip.com, cleartrip.com and even at Thomas Cook. But what allured me and helped me to plan my trip was the IRCTC website, governed by the Indian Railways. They had proper information about the railways as well as helped in planning the trip with all the available stations and hotel contact details.
3) Always consider the maximum possible price, especially in the transit. In this regard, to get an idea of the transit price, you ca visit wikitravels.com. In this case, my moto is, travel less but just don't be monetarily harassed at an unknown place. The magic equation is take 30% extra cash, of the total trip cost.

Hope, you all will have a success, amateur trips in running. You all will be beautified, with the trip, due this October, 2011. Till then, keep reading.

Somnath Paul, 2008. 
Bungdugri Artificial Lake, Ghatshila.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Finances: Getting hold of Nothing!

It is a simple story of a simpleton from a simple-town. He wanted to invest and dream of winning the races in a very short go. Just like the famous song of Raju Ban Gaya Gentleman. The famous film has significance in everybody's life. The one, who has always been dreaming of money, house, car, servants...better food, drinks and girls/boys! Well, RBGG has SRK in everybody's mind. It was a dream come true for the slum dweller to dream big and become big, thanks to the luck of meeting a GM who has the desire to love the slum dweller. Who doesn't want the properly waxed legs come walking in their life.


Today's Raju is different... he is smart, is gizmoed... he smokes heavy, party hard, even spends too much on the deo! You have the online solution for everything... finances come fast, mutual funds, insurances, public provident funds, fized deposits and then we have the share market as well... money runs in hard as well as easy. Today need the luck to have the easy lips kiss your forehead, rather than the hardcore to set you hollow or satisfied to the brim. Still there are hard players, who like to play with fire!

And then we have another type of Rajus in the Indian Market. These Rajus make money by just simply clasping their hands every 5 years! Not all fall within this category, then that will be a slang in the name of good leaders, after whom the term leader was coined. But there are many, most infact, whose money in the foreign banks led these banks issue information that if all these money are summed, then presently, each Indian above the age of 18 years will get a stipend of Rs. 2000/- for the next 60 years, every month, without a fault! A billion strong Indians still dwell in the gutters of being a THIRD WORLD Nation, while the politicians; I mean not all.... make their life in foreign banks!

Following Shri Anna Hazareji, Baba Ramdev have become physically ill, but I protest against the barbaric action of the government and the police over the people who were sitting on a peaceful fast at the Ramlila Grounds, Delhi. This is not done! Its time to Throw our Shoes at the Specific Politicians...and this time, let some mud fly in as well... they deserve that!

Somnath Paul Photography

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The author holds all the rights to publish the contents and the specially earmarked materials. Any breach of this can lead to Indian Penal Charge, under the Act of Intellectual Property Rights, 2007.

The articles are not to be considered promotional neither detrimental of their credits. Its just opinion of a Free-lancer at Free time.

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