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!"