Friday, December 12, 2008

Did the Cosmos exist before the Big Bang?

Well, this article seems to think so. I am tempted to co-relate this to the Hindu concept of the Cosmos (Brahmand) which says that it behaves like the lungs of the Brahma, inflating and deflating at regular intervals! May be this scientific theory has the same end result.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008


I have always liked this piece about Sachin Tendulkar!

It was 1992. The 18-year-old was up on his toes, carving bowlers like cuts of prime Australian beef to all parts of Perth's WACA ground. The murmurs around the press box grew. The boy had ability, potential, even the makings of a world-class batsman. John Woodcock could bear it no longer. The cricket correspondent of the London Times, wearing his 70s well, stood up, put out his hands and called for silence. "Gentlemen," he declared, "he is the best batsman I have seen in my life." A pause later: "And unlike most of you, I have seen Bradman."

Eat Ghee

Eat Ghee. This is what my mother maintained inspite of people telling her that other oils were safer. She replied, "It is healthier as you need to use less of it."

Seems she was correct. Here.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Some funny and motivational quotes

Education is a progressive discovery of our own ignorance.
- Will Durant

He that teaches himself hath a fool for a master.
- Benjamin Franklin

Give a jackass an education and you get a smartass.

We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him.
- Samuel Butler

Success is not the key to happiness. Happiness is the key to success. If you love what you are doing, you will be successful.
- Albert Schweitzer

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Books Read

Finshed reading a lot of books recently.

1. One Night at the Call Center - Too filmy in my opinion. This I thought when I read the book. At that time I did not even know that a film titled "Hello" is under production based on the same. A letdown in the story/plot department, after reading Five Point Someone. But the humour was quite good.

2. Anything for You Ma'am - Another of the I-was-in-engineering-college-and-I-had-the-time-of-my-life genre. Good narration, predictably filmy story. Nothing exciting in the story but author can certainly lift one's spirits!

3. Inheritance of Loss - Nice, if slow. Did it deserve the to say this....aaaahhh.....No, I don't think it deserved a prize like that.

4. A Prisoner of Birth - Surprisingly filmy from Jeffrey Archer. Old Jeff is losing his touch. Better than whatitsname novel about Art Auction and 9/11 but nothing better. So second last on my all time JA ranking.

5. The McKinsey Way - Reread this classic. Nice reading!

6. The Broker - Reread this John Grisham thriller. Above average by his standards. Could have been better.

7. The Intelligent Investor - Benjamin Graham's classic with updated commentary from Jason Zweig. Reread this one. How true it sounds in today's financial crisis. I am glad I followed his advice in spirit in letter. Following it still. In Warren Buffett's words - "When the world is greedy, be fearful. When the world is fearful, be greedy." I am following it :)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

How Jet Airlines could have averted the layoffs

Naresh Goyal and Jet Airlines are under a lot of media glare and criticism for their laying off of 1900 employees. Here's how they could have averted this by using some innovative cost-cutting mechanisms!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Ravana, Immortality and Vijaydashmi

This Vijaydashmi/Dusshera I was watching a live telecast of Ramlila and a strange thought came to mind, while I watched the battle scene between Ram and Ravana. As you would know, Ravana does not die when Ram hits him with arrows. When Ram cuts off his head a new one grows in its place. Ravana's brother Vibhishana points out to Ram that Ravana has been given the boon of immortality by Brahma and will die when the Amrita (Elixir) in his navel is hit by an arrow. Ram does that and Ravana is killed.

What struck me was there could be a scientifc basis for all this. Today's stem cell technology does look forward to doing this by harvesting stem cells from an umblical cord, the cord that ties a mother to a child, and using the stem cells harvested from there as a source for all 220 kinds of cells that make up a human body. Of course the end part of the umblical cord goes on to form the navel of the child. This is well documented and future research on human cloning also proceeds in that direction only with a large amount of attention focussed here.

Could it be that Ravana was a user of extremely advanced Microbiology and Genetic Research and that in addition to probably being the first person to use aviation also has this thing to his credit. We will know one day for sure.

As I search the internet for Ravana+Genetics or Ravana+Stem Cell or Ravana+Cloning, I can find related results but nothing which suggests what I have just suggested. When this post is published this may soon become the first entry on all these topics. Am I only one so far in the world to think of this theory, when the evidence has been staring us all our lives?

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The real purpose of blogging

Got this lovely one from Savage Chickens, one of my favorite pieces of cartooning! Check out the website at


I watched Om Shanti Om last year and wanted to write about it for a long time but just could not get around to doing it. Heard a song from the movie and was reminded of it.

The moview was OK(pun unintended). I mean the story is nothing great to write home about. But I liked the treatment of the extremely hackneyed subject. The celebration of Indian film industry, with a self-deprecating look at our movies, was a refreshing change. I think Manoj Kumar should have realised that Shahrukh Khan lampoons himself more than Manoj Kumar. I really liked the awards ceremony portion, where Shahrukh Khan is nominated for movies that are strikingly similar to each other, the same slow-motion-running-into-each-other's-arms, etc. Akshay Kumar's revolver-in-the-crotch routine was lovely and so was Abhishek's deadpan question, "Who's OK?"

Apart from that, the songs were amazing. Apart from "Aankhon Mein Teri" which is quite nice, the really soulful lyrics are in "Main Agar Kahoon", especially, "Kisi Zabaan Mein Bhi, Woh Lafz Hee Nahin, Ke Jinme Tum Ho Kya Tumhe Bataa Sakoon. Main Agar Kahoon, Tumsa Haseen, Kayanat Mein Nahin Hai Kahin, Tareef Yeh Bhi Toh Sach Hai Kuch Bhi Nahin." It is rare that someone like Jaaved Akhtar confesses that he has no words to describe someone, and that too in such beautiful words! Hats Off!

The other portions are quite Kitsch, but I liked one Sher:
Itni Shiddat Se Maine Tujhe Paane Ki Koshish Ki hai,
Ki Har Zarre Ne Mujhe Tujhse Milane ki Saazish Ki Hai.

Of course, this is the homegrown version of the "The Alchemist" or "The Secret"!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Policy Bazaar

My friend, Alok Bansal, has started a website along with some other people. Policy Bazaar ( is an insurance aggregator. An interesting and useful concept. The company has now received VC funding. Here are the details.

Info Edge will pick up 49% stake in Etechaces Marketing and Consulting, which runs . Info Edge India Ltd, the owners of, will invest Rs 20 crore for a 49% stake in eTechAces Marketing and Consulting Pvt Ltd, an online aggregator of insurance products, the company informed the stock exchange. eTechAces runs, an online aggregator of life and non-life insurance products. The website essentially collects insurance leads and let the insurance companies compete for it. 

In a press note issued from the company, Info Edge, Ambarish Raghuvanshi, CFO and Director, Info Edge (India) ltd. said, “eTechAces has a great management team and a differentiated approach to distributing financial products online, by empowering the customer to enable comparison of available options and make an informed data-driven decision. The company’s bouquet of products include insurance products to be sold online, which is so far an untapped area in India. In other countries, especially in Europe, it is a high growth category."

Etechaces is founded by Yashish Dahiya who is also the CEO of the company, Alok Bansal and Avaneesh Nirjar who act as the CFO and COO of the firm respectively. It was only in July that Info Edge invested Rs 6.5 crore ($1.54 million) for a 40 per cent equity stake in Applect Learning Systems, a Delhi-based education content developer. It had already disbursed Rs 1 crore as part of the first tranche of the investment. 

Earlier this year, Info Edge invested $1 million in StudyPlaces Inc, as part of the latter’s $3-million series A round led by Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers.

Back to blogging

Well, it has been quite a hiatus. Forced, mostly. As I check my blog, I realise that the last entry I wrote was on 27th June. A lot has happened after that.

My wife and I had a son born on 2nd July, 2008. So to that extent, I became very busy with the running around and arranging this and that. A normal delivery and all was well with the mother and baby. Named him Samyak.

My mother expired after a brief illness on 3rd August, 2008. A deep loss, which I am yet to overcome and possibly never will. She was the pillar of strength in my life, the guiding force of most everything I did, the proverbial friend, philosopher, guide, shoulder-to-cry-on, always-here-to-help-you and many more things. I still cannot believe she left me.

Plus, there's office and the busy season, what with CAT here and students anxious and my taking Workshops here and there, there is no time. e.g. I got to run the house as well now, something that my mother used to take care of.

Have been reading lots in the meanwhile and plan to write a lot about a lot.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Didi's comedy show

Here is a nice one which invoked a strong feeling of nostalgia. Didi's comedy show!

Mr. Bush, Lead or Leave

I really liked this one from Thomas Friedman. His analysis stops short of saying but gives enough hints that Bush's friends in the oil business are the ones behind the current carnage in the international oil market. Bush's weak policies are hammering the dollar too, which to my mind is the biggest worry facing Americans!

A good read!

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Is It Right?

Cowardice asks the question, ‘Is it safe?’
Expediency asks the question, ‘Is it politic?’
And Vanity comes along and asks the question, ‘Is it popular?’
But Conscience asks the question ‘Is it right?’

And there comes a time when one must take a position that
is neither safe, nor politic, nor popular, but he must do
it because Conscience tells him it is right.

~Martin Luther King~

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Women without Cosmetics.....Naaah

My wife and I had our usual argument about the use of cosmetics. She loves buying them and I, of course, consider this a huge waste of money.

I wanted to show how she is getting influenced by the mass-media fueled hype of cosmetics. So I typed "women without cosmetics" in google image search. I got the shock of my life (or not!) when it dutifully reported "Your search - "women without cosmetics" - did not match any documents." !!!

Try it here!

There are three results as on date and all, sadly, not relevant!

Vanity, thy name is woman!

Update on 19th October: After this post, my blog is the only link that currently appears!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Ahhhh - :)

Originality is the fine art of remembering what you hear but forgetting where you heard it.
- Lawrence J. Peter

If you steal from one, it is plagiarism; if you steal from many, it is research.
- Anonymous

An anonymous quotation indicates you were too lazy to find the original author.
- Anonymous

Interglobe 2008, An MDI Initiative

Management Development Institute, Gurgaon and ESCP-EAP European School of Management, London are jointly hosting InterGlobe 2008 the first in a series of annual conferences.The event is being organized by students of MDI and aims at bringing together personalities from the corporate and academic world to better understand the current business trends and issues that affect us all. The theme chosen for this year's InterGlobe Conference is 'India: Emerging Trends'.

The distinguished Speakers at this year's conference are:

1. Amit Chatterjee, Vice President, Tech Mahindra, U.K.
2. Ashish Gupta, Head of Design, British Telecom, U.K.
3. Ashvini Chopra, Head of Private Banking, ICICI, U.K.
4. Mark Bretton, Head of Outsourcing for UK & Ireland, TCS, U.K.

Discussion Panel Moderator: Dr. Davide Sola, Director, ESCP-EAP, London

Further details are available at the website.

Date of the event : 19th June

Official Website :

Friday, June 13, 2008

....then why does it feel so complete?

The last line really touched me!

"There are more than than one hundred different types of atoms, from lightweights like hydrogen and helium through welterweights like tin and iodine and out to such mumbling mooseheads as ununpentium and ununquadium, but they're all much the same nearly nil size. You can fit more than three atoms in a nanometer, meaning it would take 10 to the 13th power, or ten trillion of them, to coat the disk of our pinhead. And the funny thing about an atom is that its outlandish smallness is still too big for it: almost all of its subnanometer span is taken up by empty space. The real meat of an atom is its core, its nucleus, which accounts for about 99.9 percent of an atom's matter. When you step on your bathroom scale, you are essentially weighing the sum of your atomic nuclei. If you could strip them all from your body, go on a total denuclear diet, you'd be down to about twenty grams, the weight of four nickels, or roughly the weight of the doornail that you would be as dead as.

"Those remaining twenty grams belong to your electrons, the fundamental particles that orbit an atom's nucleus. An electron has less than 1/1,800 the mass of a simple atomic nucleus. ... Viewed from the more impressive angle of volumetrics, we see that, while the nucleus may make up nearly all of an atom's mass, ... it takes up only a trillionth of its volume.

"Here it is worth a final reversion to metaphor. If the nucleus of an atom were a basketball located at the center of Earth, the electrons would be cherry pits whizzing about in the outermost layer of Earth's atmosphere. Between our nuclear [basketball] and the whizzing pits, there would be no Earth: no iron, nickel, magma, soil, sea, or sky, ... nothing, literally, to speak of. ... We live in a universe that is largely devoid of matter. Yet still the Milky Way glows, and still our hemoglobin flows, and when we hug our friends, our fingers don't sink into the vacuum with which all atoms are filled. If in touching their skin we are touching the void, why does it feel so complete?"

Natalie Angier, The Canon, Houghton Mifflin, 2007, pp. 85-86.


Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Watch Sholay

Watching movies is fun, isn't it? And if they are free then even better :-) - Sholay on the net, free!

Sunday, June 08, 2008


There is something about a closet that makes a skeleton restless.
(Courtsey Mountainwings)

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Can Engineers be Touch-Feely

An article by Chetan Bhagat.

I remember the incident - I was in a restaurant, and one girl in our group was especially charming. So I, like any other male, tried to put on a wooing act and it seemed to be working.

She leaned forward when she spoke to me, and every now and again, we'd have a small conversation of our own, separate from our group. She laughed at my approach with the fork and knife, and I teased her about her hair band, which had little teddy bears. Yes, we were flirting. A while later, she asked me the question - what did I study? I said engineering, without any particular meaning attached to it. And then like a cold metal rail, she went stiff.

My jokes weren't funny any more. Her eyes wandered to everyone else. What was it?

Why? Why? Why?

Two days later, I still couldn't get over my great start that had dissipated listlessly upon mentioning my education. Engineer? What was wrong with that? My mom had wanted me to become one since I was five!

I had to call her. 'So what happened to you that day, hot and cold, missie?' And then she said, trying to be nice, 'Well, it's just that I am skeptical about engineers as friends. I don't know, they can be, you know, very logical and everything...not very touchy feely'.

Not touchy-feely. Now what the heck did that mean? Well, she obviously did not mean it literally, since girls don't really suggest that sort of stuff, certainly not in the first meeting across the table. I guessed it was something to do with feelings, sort of having an emotional side. The stereotype being, the nerdy guy who sees relationships like laws of physics, to whom love is just a bunch of chemicals going crazy in your brain, and getting to know a person means obtaining their bio-data.

It's time to set the record straight.

It's true that a lot of what engineers study (and they end up studying quite a lot), has to do with formulaes, laws and numbers. No matter how hard we try, some of the vocabulary we read all day gets into our language. So when my mother said, 'Are you getting married next year or not?' I was liable to say, 'Well, at this moment in time, the probability is relatively low,' and felt it was completely normal to say it. And when my sister went sari shopping and couldn't explain the shade she wanted, I told the shopkeeper the percentages of pink, orange and red in the sari.

Yet, ladies, I don't think we're bad at relationships, love and getting to know people. We too, can be touchy-feely, as that is part of our education as well. The reason for this is that most engineering students live in the ultimate educator - boy's hostels. Now, let me explain how this plays into this 'touchy-feely' thing.

Relationships. Imagine eating, sleeping, brushing your teeth, bathing (ok rarely this one) and partying with the same people all the time. So, when you are kicking that bathroom door down for the tenth time, or when you stand in line for 'gulab-jamuns' in the mess, and when you are done with the vodka bottle and sharing all your secrets, you know it is good practice. Yes, hostels maketh the man.

So, next time you are in a flirtatious situation with the techno types, go on, flirt a bit more. Of course, I am biased towards my kind, but if you find the conversation turning too geeky, just ask them, 'So, what were your hostel days like?' and chances are, you'll see a heart behind the calculator. Coming back to my missie, I thought of what would make me win her over. Flowers... too cheesy. Music... don't know her taste (nor trust mine). Teddy bears... don't even go there. Desperate for some good lines, I just turned it right back at her. 'Yes, I know what you are saying about engineers. The thing is, unless people with depth like you start hanging out with us, we won't get any better. Can you meet me some time for some touchy/feely...oops, I mean coffee/tea?'

She giggled. When they giggle,you have won.

Hence proved.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Man and Woman

A man is a person who, if a woman says, "Never mind, I'll do it myself"; lets her.

A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and he lets her; gets mad.

A man is a person who, if a woman says to him, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and he lets her and she get mad; says, "Now what are you mad about?"

A woman is a person who, if she says to a man, "Never mind, I'll do it myself," and he lets her and she get mad, and he says, "Now what are mad about?" says, "If you don't know I'm not going to tell you."
He went into his father's business
He lived at home until he was 33
He was sure his Mother was a virgin,
and his Mother was sure he was God

He never got married
He was always telling stories
He loved green pastures

His first name was Jesus
He was bilingual
He was always being harassed by the authorities

He talked with his hands
He had wine with every meal
He worked in the building trades

He called everybody "brother"
He liked Gospel
He couldn't get a fair trial

He never cut his hair
He walked around barefoot
He started a new religion

He had to feed a crowd, at a moments notice, when there was no food.
He kept trying to get the message across to a bunch of men who just didn't get it.
Even dead, he had to get up because there was more work for him to do.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Biggest Drawing in the World

Check this out - this is indeed the biggest drawing in the world! Some people have waaay too much time, money and waaaaay too many ideas. But good, nonetheless!

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Another one on Bongs!

To choton, gulgul, khoka, laltu, gogol, tutu, bubu .... et al.

In these pages, I will attempt to alert people to a great injustice that is being perpetrated upon the sons of Bengal. So you thought they were wimpy to begin with.
Far from it, my friend. Their current state is a result of years of conditioning by the oppressors - namely the women. By using a variety of psychological weapons, they have reduced these fine men to what you see today.

Today we focus on the first weapon in their hands - the nickname.

When a son is born into a Bengali household, he is gifted with a resonant, sonorous name. Bengali names are wonderful things. They convey majesty and power. A man with a name like Prasenjit, Arunabha or Sukanta is a man who will walk with his head held high, knowing that the world expects great deeds from him, which was why they bestowed the title that is his name.

But it simply will not do for these men to get ahead of themselves. Their swelling confidence needs to be shattered. How can one go about it? This task is left to the mothers of these lads and is accomplished by the simple act of referring to the boy, not by his fine-sounding real name, but by a nickname which Shakti Kapoor would be ashamed to answer to.

There are some rules for creating nicknames, which need to be followed. They are -

1. Nicknames must have no connection to the real name. Arunabha cannot be called Arun. No, or that would be logical, and such things are anathema in the world of women. Instead he shall be called Bhombol. If possible, the nickname and real name must have no letters in common, but an ancient alphabet proves to be the constraining factor there.

2. Nicknames must be humiliating. If you are a tall strapping boy with a flair for soccer, an easy charm and an endearing personality, then you shall be nicknamed - Bhondu. And every time, you have set your sights on a girl, and are on the verge of having the aforementioned lass eat out of your hand - your mother will arrive and pronounce loudly - "Bhondu, chalo".
The ensuing sea of giggles will drown out whatever confidence you had earned from that last winning free-kick.

3. A nickname must refer in some way to a suitably embarrassing incident in your childhood that you would give your arm and leg to forget. If it took you a little too long to shed your baby fat, then years of gymming will not rid you of the nomenclature - Motka. If your face turned crimson when you cried as a toddler, you will be called Laltu. When you turn 40, your friends' children will call you Laltu Uncle. Even age will not earn you the right to be taken seriously thereafter.

4. Different members of the family will make up different nicknames - each more embarrassing than the preceding one. If one member of the family calls you Piklu, then another will call you Mitul, and yet another will call you Jumbo... The humiliation multiplies.

5. You will always be introduced by your nickname until people forget you had a real name. Ranajoy might have taken on a gang of armed men single-handedly, but Toton really didn't have a chance. After a point Toton will completely take over the beaten body of Ranajoy, weighed down by the pressure of a thousand taunts.

6. This strategy is surprisingly effective. Ask yourself - would you take Professor Rintu seriously? Or put much weight by the opinion of Dr. Bubai? Or march into battle under the command of General Thobla?

7. The power of the nickname has scarred the psyche of Bengali men everywhere. It follows them like a monkey on their backs. That too, a monkey with a flair for slapstick, that was gifted to them by their own mothers.

Thesis on Bongs

This is hilarious. Someone with a fantastic ringside view of Bongs has written this! I don't know the author but if someone points it out, I would be glad to cite the person!

There are two kinds of Bengalis that I know. Probashi or Expatriate Bangalees, a fairly large and diverse group about which I can't write as I am one of them. And Bengalees who are from Kolkata. This group is incorrectly known as Bongs, as they are merely a subset. However, this is the only group which matters. Gokhale told of them, long years back, 'What Bengal thinks today, India thinks tomorrow.' To which Rene Descartes responded, 'I think (today), therefore I am (Bengali).' Like all other Nobel Prize Winners, Oscar Awardees and most successful Indian cricket captains, Rene Descartes was also a Bong (this fact is not known outside of Kolkata).

Physical Description: The Bong has a large head, glasses, glistening hair and dark skin. Older Bongs develop an ample stomach to balance their large heads. This happens by the age of 25. They smell of Keo Karpin. The average life expectancy is 65 years. What is even more impressive is what they do in those years. Outside Kolkata, regardless of weather, sex or age, Bongs can be seen in Monkey Caps. This is a must-have accessory as well as a sign to recognize other Bongs. (please see second update for more). The Bongling can often be recognised in either over-sized or under-sized school uniforms. The Bong mother's second biggest fear (See diet for the biggest one) is that the 'porer bochor o lomba hoye gele abar notun skirt kinte hobe!!' or 'Next year, if you grow taller, we'll again have to buy a new skirt!!' Thus, the school uniform is selected to last at least three years. Thus the uniform sits as conspicuously on the Bongling as the plumage of a macaw.

Early Years: While most Bongs are born with innate talents in singing, dancing, painting, film-making, cooking or embroidery, their creative talents are honed even before they can start speaking. Frequent meets are organised between infants and their successful ancestors and other relatives. MA degrees (preferably from Cambridge , at least from Presidency or Jadobpoor) are displayed over the cots. The infant is exposed to the best of Bengali thought - Marx, Bentham, Kalidas, Tolstoy, Chekov. This increases the sizes of their heads and the height of their ambitions. Similar examples, though rare, can be found in European tradition as well, like in the case of Mozart. In India , however, Bongs have the sole preserve on such activity during infancy. Soon, when they grow up a little, their characters are honed in the best of schools. Here, I am not referring to the South Points, La Marts, Don Boscos and all. They are important in the nurture a Bong child goes through. What is even more important are the schools the Bong child passes through before school and after school. Many a Bong child wakes up at five o'clock in the morning to attend swimming classes. After one hour of swimming, he attends tennis coaching before rushing off to one of the South Points, LaMarts etc. mentioned above. School finishes by two or so, from where he scoots along to Singing/ Instrumental Music/ Dance Classes, then tuition (for at least three of all five subjects). He rounds off the day with coaching on either Debating or Quiz. Many a Bong mother will carry the child along through this day, feeling equally energised. This behaviour is again not restricted to Bongs. It also seen within kangaroos in Australia who rush along from one clump to another bush.

Growing up: Soon the Bong attains adolescence, doesn't find friends of his age (since everyone is competing for the Nobel Prize or the Indian captaincy) and finds intimacy in conversation in his/her parents and poems of T.S.Eliot and Pablo Neruda. When school ends, they move on to the good colleges- Presidency, Xavier's or IIT Kharagpur. The best of them, though, move straight to Joo (Jadobpoor). However, in recent years, Dilli (Stephen's obviously) is becoming the preferred destination for some escapists. In colleges, they decorate their rooms with books or portraits of Robi Guru (Tagore). On the opposite wall, men would have posters of Che/Maradona and women would have Enrique Iglesias, thus expressing solidarity with Latin American culture. All of them share equal interest in the Bong-Rock (Bhumi, Chondrobindu, Cactus, Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and Deep Purple).

Later Years: Bongs mature early. Critics have said that they grow old early, but that is nothing but old hat. Years of toil and Eliot would obviously bestow wisdom. The reason they look older is because the sole purpose of a Bong's life is to win the Nobel Prize or the Oscars (and in recent years, captain the Indian team). With great responsibility comes great age. Add to it the chlorine in the swimming pools and you know why Bongs grey prematurely. As far as their mission in life is concerned, they have been very successful at it. Every Indian Nobel Prize winner has been Bong (the others who weren't don't matter). So have the Oscar Awardees. And most successful Cricket Captains. And Bipasha Basu. Once Bongs have kids though, their mission on life changes. The only raision de'etre for them is making sure that their progeny achieves the heights that they could (or couldn't). Hence, they are mostly found outside of schools, colleges and tuition classes.

Diet: Diet is as important as Robindro Shongeet. There's nothing that a Bong can't eat. However, they prefer protein over other food groups. The largest source of protein for them is fish, then meat, and then mishti (sweets) made from milk. More than fish itself, it is the knowledge of fish which is coveted and enjoyed. Carbohydrates are tolerated if they are fried in oil or if it is accompaniment to fish. Luchis (somewhat like a Puri), Telebhajas (pakoras) and Phuchkas (Paani Puri) are the favoured source of carbohydrates. The young Bengali though invariably always has Farex, Lactogen and Waterbury 's Compound. As far as they most important meal of the day is concerned, please do note that what dieticians have been saying in the last few years, Bongs have known for centuries. Breakphast/tiphphin is an occasion where the entire family comes together, to watch the office-going Bong male and school-bound Bonglings eat. The Bong woman's biggest fear is that 'Shokale bhaat dal mach bhaaja na kheye beriye gailo' or 'In the morning, He went out without eating rice, dal and fish fry.' To round off the calories, Dal is often accompanied by aaloo bhaate, aaloo bhaja, potol bhaaja and various other heartily fried stuff. Not for the faint-hearted.

Mating and procreation: A few Bong end up being in relationships, which lead to love marriage. This is sometimes shown in movies and song. However, most do not have any such social malignancy and end up marrying the woman of their mother's dreams or men of their father's choosing. This results in mixing the right genes for the next cycle of Bongs.Love marriage, by its very nature, is random. It sometimes results is tragedy, like marrying into another country (like India ). Hence, it is avoided, wherever possible.

Social Life: Adda, robindro shongeet and cha. Repeat. Do note that the young Bong doesn't have a social life (at least not till he wins the Nobel or gets a Government job). And phootball. the Bongs have had an illustrious history of achievement in football. Every para (neighbourhood) has stories of when they won the World Cup at the expense of the next one. The last time it happened in my parent's para was in 1986, when Argentina won in Mexico . Diego Maradona, who looks Bhodrolok enough, give or take a few lines of coke, scored famously using his hand, a skill which he learnt in Kolkata. Over the last few years, Brazil has been gladdening the hearts of many Zicos who were born in Kolkata around 1982-86. The only team which is not Bong is Germany as they play with more efficiency and no creativity, which thus is not amenable to adda. Do not ask of a Bong doing anything on the phootball field as then the Bong will keep you occupied about Jakarta ,1962. 'Chuni Goswami je Ball tule dilo PK ke. Match-er aagei bolechilo, 'Ekta Ball debo. Daam kore maarish. Gol hobe'.' Chuni Goswami put a football up for PK (Banerjee). He told him before the match itself, 'I will give you one ball. Hit it with a bang. Goal will happen.' Obviously, it is also the crowning moment of Indian phootball.

Habitat: While you may find a Bong in other places (like occasionally in offices), the best time to observe a Bong is in his natural habitat - the best of colleges, the best of schools, the best of coffee houses. It is here that he will tell you about Balzac while she will recite poetry with gay abandon. To mix in with the Bong, apply Keo Karpin to your hair and carry a jhola. Hopefully, they won't notice your small head. Do not worry about not knowing the language as the Bong likes being heard.

Famous Bongs :Many famous Bongs have been referred to in this extract. Hence, this section is used to debunk that big myth about Bongs. People believe that Bong men can't be hunky. If so, then what about Abhishek Bachchan (via mother), Saif Ali Khan (via mother), John Abraham (via girlfriend), Hritik Roshan (via grandmother).

Bongs in Literature, Film, Art: Everywhere you care to look.

Closing Word: Being Bong at the end of the day is a state of mind. Or, a case of being discovered by them. Best of luck.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Amateur vs. Professional

The amateur works until he can get it right. The professional works until he cannot go wrong.

- Madame Stiles-Allen
Courtsey -, which is fast turning into my favourite email of the day!

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Abraham Lincoln to his son's teacher

This is indeed an excerpt with enduring value! Abraham Lincoln to his son's teacher in this letter captures what life is really about!

"He will have to learn, I know, that all men are not just and are not true. But teach him if you can, the wonder of books, but also give him quiet time to ponder the eternal mystery of birds in the sky, bees in the sun and flowers on a green hillside.

In school, teach him it is far more honorable to fall than to cheat.

Teach to have faith in his own ideas, even if everyone tells him he is wrong.

Teach him to be gentle with gentle people and tough with the tough. Try to give my son the strength not to follow the crowd when everyone is getting on the bandwagon.

Teach him to listen to all men; but teach him also to filter all he hears on a screen of truth, and take only the good that comes through.

Teach him, if you can, how to laugh when he is sad... Teach him there is no shame in tears.

Teach him to scoff at cynics and to be beware of too much sweetness..

Teach him to sell his brawn and brain to highest bidders, but never to put a price on his heart and soul.

Teach him to close his ears to a howling mob.. and stand and fight if thinks he is right.

Treat him gently, but do not cuddle him, because only the test of fire makes fine steel.

Let him have the courage to be impatient.. Let him have the patience to be brave.

Teach him always to have sublime faith in himself, because then he will have faith in humankind.

This is a big order, but see what you can do. He is such a fine little fellow my son!"

Friday, April 18, 2008

You Know....

You know........

.....things are different, when in the newspaper, the lawyers and politicians are on the sports page and the cricketers are on the fashion and lifestyle page.

Monday, April 07, 2008

Letter of the Decade

This is an old favourite that I found today while doing some spring cleaning in my atticesque cupboard. I am transcribing it from an old handwritten version!

This ‘Letter of the Decade’ was sent to the Scotsman in 1987:

“Sir, I note with interest that you have published my letter of 13 June three times (so far) this week. I’m pleased that you like it so much but if the letter is to become a regular feature in the Scotsman, I’d quite appreciate a small fee by way of acknowledgment. May I add that I approve of your use of different headings each time the letter is published. This helps to prevent it becoming too stale or repetitive. Let me know if your readers grow tired of the letter and I’ll write you a fresh one.”

Unfortunately, they omitted his name, but thank you whoever you are.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Houses worth less than the copper inside them!

Read this article to see how the sub-prime crisis and rising commodity prices are combining to make this extraordinary situation!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

DRM Free Music

With DRM (Digital Rights Management) more a pain than a useful thing, the music industry must come out with DRM-free music.

Misusing technology to harass users will only alienate the companies further from the consumers. I personally believe that this ostrich-in-the-sand mode of the music companies will do no good to the companies. While they should get a fair price for their services, it is important to realise that the market fundamentals have changed and while they can hold on to their empires for some more time, it will soon be beyond them to control such sweeping technological changes.

Here are two nice articless on DRM - one on how to buy DRM free music which is legal, and the other on how to remove DRM protection from songs that have such protection.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Free Rice and Good Vocab

Try Free Rice, an online initiative to help improve vocab and distribute free rice to poor!


A tale of optimism to ring in the good times! This is from Academy Award-winning screenwriter William Goldman. Here Goldman recounts his first trip as a young boy to Broadway where he attended the Gershwin play Porgy and Bess:

"My family went and we sat there and if you don't know the story, it's about this cripple, Porgy, who can't walk, and he gets around on this pathetic goat cart, towed by a scrawny goat, and we're someplace in the Deep South. Porgy is hopelessly in love with Bess, a beauty but weak. Toward the end, Porgy is sent to jail (he saved his friends by murdering the village monster) and while he is there, Bess is wooed by a pusher, Sportin' Life, who, using drugs as a lure, steals her away, takes her to New York City, which is the other end of the universe as far as anyone in this town is concerned.

"Porgy gets out of jail, and I am dreading the moment when he finds out Bess is gone. I mean, cripples don't win beauties in this world, not unless they are very rich indeed, and Porgy is a beggar. So he is out of jail and I am so scared for him, his life is over, how is he going to survive his loss, and he chitchats with the villagers and then he says it--where's Bess?
"No one wants to answer but finally he finds out - Bess is gone, she is gone forever, gone to New York City.
"Silence in the theatre. Then Porgy says these three amazing words:
" 'Bring my goat.' "

Hmm...thought provoking!

  • Exaggeration misleads the credulous and offends the perceptive.
    - Eliza Cook
  • False eloquence is exaggeration; true eloquence is emphasis.
    - William Alger
  • Exaggeration is a billion times worse than understatement.
  • We pay a person the compliment of acknowledging his superiority whenever we lie to him.
    - Samuel Butler

Monday, February 11, 2008

Religion in Definitions!

  • All religions are the same -- basically guilt, with different holidays.
    - Cathy Ladman
  • People who want to share their religious views with you almost never want you to share yours with them.
    - Dave Barry
  • A religious war is like children fighting over who has the strongest imaginary friend.