Tuesday, 17 September 2013


Girls do not wear helmets in Delhi. It is a rule. Bordering on becoming one, at least. Our poor heads are of no value apparently. :/

Rusk with cold milk is delicious.

Roomie and I have same nightdress that has a cow's face on it.

I want to go home.

I am reading The Lowland at a leisurely pace coz I am scared that one day it will just end.

"Main naa nahi bolunga. Aap soch lo." --- you'd think this was some boyfriend of mine, but it's not. It's my gym instructor emotionally blackmailing me when I expressed a desperate desire to go home.

There is an epidemic. Honey Singh.

Big Boss has begun, there goes one hour of my life down the drain as people gather in my room to watch it. :I

Also, I am broke, yet again. Everytime I punch in my pin number at the ATM, I almost expect it to scream at me.

ok enough

Good night.

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Red Label: the compromise.

Coffee has become such a hot accessory for intellectuals these days. 'Oh I can't think without my morning cuppa.' Really? I doubt your ability to do so with or without it.

Not that I don't enjoy my morning cuppa but it's enough now. Really. I want tea.

No this is not a tea vs coffee post. I am quite in love with both it's just my rant against God for making the tea-brewing process so complicated.

In winters, I can pretend to love coffee at any hour but in this weather, my heart longs for tea.

The light Darjeeling one with a hint of delicate aroma that I would sip at home and the super-sweet milky ginger tea for those headache-days. My father looks down upon the latter and dismisses it as 'fotano-cha' (which is a term of abuse because in his head he is comparing it with a divine cup of 'bhejano cha').

So one humid summer evening I trudge down to Gola stores ... yes that's the name of my neighbourhood grocery store. I find that huge box of Lipton Green Label. It was the broke-phase of the month (after 20th) and Green Label was too expensive so I abandoned thoughts of tea leaves and moved towards tea-dust and got a Red Label. Sigh.

Mom had suggested tea-bags but I detest them. I mean normally your troubles end in the kitchen but with tea bags you put the trouble in the tea cup. Okay after your tea has leached out, what do you do with the bag? Throw it in the dustbin? So then you might as well have used a normal strainer, same amount of trouble.

But if you carry it in your cup and settle down, what do you do with it then? Assuming you have not settled down beside the dustbin. Okay you put in your saucer, do you? chee!! I judge you. You are what my pishi calls 'jekhanekhayshekhanehaage' (you-defecate-where-you-eat)type. chhi chhi chhi!

No saucers -- who has them these days? No one even uses a cup, we use a mug, don't we? A mug for bathing, a mug for drinking, a mug that has our face on it, no matter how retarded we look on the cup, and then if you do the dishes yourself, you have the pleasure of rubbing Prill-soaked 'Scotch-Brite' across your pretty face. How utterly adorable!

Okay so then, no saucer, so what do you do with the soggy bags? Do you leave it in the cup? And then you take a sip and the wet thread reaches your lips or do you very skilfully hold the thread as you drink? Genius! But too much work thankyouverymuch.

So no tea bags, and Red Label.

Of course brewing it is not easy and not half as romantic as it looks on tv, you know a pristine white tea set, people pouring milk delicately and asking you 'sugar? how much?' On your own it's about milk in tetrapacks (unsightly 'dechkis' at home or worse in the form of bricks hardened in the freezer! - that's how my mom keeps them!) and the tea being poured into a strainer not out of a huge nice-looking pot.


I open the packet and discover that there is a serious dearth of rubber bands "gardar", which is stored in such abundance at home, all gathered together in a plastic case. Fine. The truant flaps are secured with a tic-tac, not even remotely 'air-tight' but it's not Darjeeling tea so well whatever! Then by a wondrous stroke of luck the milk tetrapack chooses to be empty at that very moment so one has to make black tea with Red Label. Good luck.

After a sad attempt there is something that aspires to be the Darjeeling variety and one settles down with that. And then after admiring it for a few seconds one has to come back to reality and face the empty dish with the wet tea leaves (sorry dust). 

They were happily bubbling and frothing a few minutes ago and now in a ugly brown mess they stick yuckily against the dish whispering 'clean-me' 'clean-me' into your ears. So well you clean. Which is not troublesome as I like my tea lukewarm not hot. 

So that's there. Why is it so much trouble? Did Bertie ever realise the plight of Jeeves? I do. Though I wish I had someone like Jeeves.

This mashi of mine, once gifted us a tea set, very delicate in shape but its colour was lemon yellow with broad brush-strokes of orange and green. You could not even drink water in that unless you'd be wearing sunglasses. It adorns the last rack on some sad shelf in my house. I have a lovely dream of breaking that set. One cup at a time.

Oh and all you people who love tea in your 'matir bhaand' and conical glass: go die. 

Wednesday, 31 July 2013

Home again. Back again.

It is a truth universally acknowledged that people who come to spend a holiday in the city blog about it, either when they arrive or before leaving. Since I am not extraordinary, how can I break the tradition!

So there was the customary outing with close friends, hahas and heeehees, the usual desperate effort to ignore relatives. Though really feel bad about not being able to meet some of them--an old uncle who wished to see me, my four nephews and nieces who are quite adorable (I hate kids but I love them). 
Ma would potter about in the house finding a million things that I could/would/might need in Delhi. She has discussed in great detail how much weight I have put on and how after a few months my eyes will be invisible as the fat in my cheeks expands in every direction. Then as I lazed around in my favourite, soon-to-be antique, sleeveless nighty, she looked at my arms and said (chewing every word) that I should rotate them c-l-o-c-k-w-i-s-e and a-n-t-i-c-l-o-c-k-w-i-s-e.

Baba is still in his post-retirement hyperactive phase. This is such a dangerous phase. Species suffering from this are gripped with a sudden fear of an empty bank account, daughter going on a shopping spree does not help things. At night before we go to sleep, the dining area is flooded with torch light, or so I thought, then I realised it's actually some hopeless new kind of bulb that emits an apology in the name of light. If Ma and I are reading in the morning, he arrives and switches off the light and parts the curtain. Often we are not in our best attire, fit to be seen by neighbours, but who cares? Then suddenly he will pace around with crinkled eyebrows mentally computing the cost of running the house and then asking me how I manage... my replies are nothing short of scandalous and often they shock him out of his wits. 
Before I arrived I made grand plans of visiting grand places. Nothing happened. I just lay there, like a dead body. Every day at eleven, Baba would tempt me with a cup of Darjeeling tea, which is my definition of luxury and sipping that I would read t2. What else does one do on holidays? I think even if I go on a Europe-tour, it won't feel like a holiday if I do not get my t2 there. The horoscope, the useless fashion advice, the outrageous celeb-photos, the twitter updates--nothing spells 'welcome home' more than t2 does.

There is much little sky visible from my window now, a house at the corner of the road is becoming a four-storey flat or something.

The two sides of the lane that leads to the main road is full of red stains of paan, the increase in the number of red blotches is directly proportional to the rise in the number of Marwari households and the number of cars and the number of drivers and the number of offices. 

Every time I come home I try and look for changes, as if looking for some sign that says that things change when I am not here. But they don't. Not much. My room is still the same. The other rooms are still the same. The paint is peeling off the walls from the very same places as they did few months back, my mother still needs the mandatory eye-drops at night. She still walks down the steps one step at a time because it hurts otherwise. The annoying showpieces still stand where they stood always. In their own subtle way, the universe reminds me that they can all 'muddle through without you'. For a few minutes nostalgia is replaced by a sense of obhimaan (I do not what English word fits in here) when I realise this. Ironically that is also comforting, it helps me to be in denial about my need for being there ... there's still time ... I tell myself. Till things remain the same, I can feel a little less guilty about not being there. For them. For my parents, for the rooms, for the city.

Good night.

Sunday, 21 July 2013


In the fifth standard the language was a nightmare.

In our syllabus, the poem 'Tal Gach' by Tagore was included. I read it, liked it, and recited it aloud. Although I wished Tagore would have paid homage to a shorter tree, being 4.8 I was not (and still am not) fond of things that peep into the sky.

I was never into metaphors. In the exam if I were asked what the poem was about, I perhaps would have written 'Tal Gach' (duh!) and that would be it. Of course the marks revealed my royal ignorance. I had still not learnt the magic word 'Kobimon' (the heart of the author) which was to be used to tell the examiner in verbose and magical sentences what one's own thoughts about the poem was and present it as the possible thoughts of the author but how does one really know?

Things did not improve at all. The only source of respite was the collection of story books at home (Sukumar Ray and his sexy son who created that sexy sleuth, Sharatchandra with his series of 'bous' and 'didis... only Srikanto was a welcome relief, in fact come to think of it, I was rather uncomfortable with all the ichore-pnaka girls falling for the very guys whom they called 'dada'). I never read Bibhutibhusan and no Tagore (I could not understand anything he wrote, when I read Bolai I thought 'okay so you love the tree but why would you go rolling down a slope?? The muck! The dirt!' So there. Fortunately, things have changed.

At school too the situation was grim. A teacher (not particularly pretty to put it mildly) who was fast approaching the age of retirement would teach us byakaron by uttering loudly (gesturing with her hands) 'amar mukher moton chaand, amar haather moton podmophool'. (my face is like the moon, my hands are like the lotus). Sweet.

But then God was kind and from the eighth standard onwards we had some amazing Bangla teachers and that was when I realised my mother tongue is not a nightmare.

Now almost a decade later, somewhere away from home, the language is a source of comfort and is almost a confidante, a friend, with whom I can talk in a tongue that no one else around me understands. Together with this friend, journeying on the crests and troughs of those curved letters I can travel to that place I call 'home'.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

New Place

Been a little more than a week at this new place in Noida. I am in love with the room, the balcony and the fact that I don't have to share the loo with 4 people. Obviously the only thing I detest is the distance I have to travel to reach office every morning but that's an okay deal as in return I get some much-needed peace of mind.

In Kolkata I stay in Salt Lake, a place many do not even consider to be 'in' Kolkata, (a fact they conveniently forget when they spend hours gossiping at City Centre). I love Salt Lake (do not know if we'll stay there forever but still ...) , it's quiet. Though the proliferation of ground-floor offices, eateries and people who spit out betel-nut juice everywhere does get on my nerves yet even now once I enter Salt Lake, I feel I'm home. The space, the calm comforts me. I know for people who stay in busier parts of the city Salt Lake seems like a desolate place but not to me. I feel suffocated elsewhere. I do not like having twenty shops near my house, I do not enjoy hearing the noise of traffic all day every day.

Perhaps that is why I have taken quite well to Noida, (at least the sector in which I stay), it is green, there's a lot more space to breathe. Safety is a concern but I'm sick and tired of living in fear.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

The pretence of it all ...

Why are there no jobs in Kolkata? 

You argue there are. Well okay, there are. But not ones that I want. 

I can't work as an intern for months on end with a four figure salary fucking my brains out.

I can't work as some kind of professor or whatever fancy terminology is attached to my name when my salary is less than the cost of my handbag and I know that after I leave my students will rush out to buy a copy of the latest Ramji Lal. And I can't pretend to be an intellectual when I know I am not.

I can't work as a teacher in a school because I am not as good as my mother is. I can't handle children and I do not want to teach them. To be a teacher you should be a good person. I am not.

I am not an engineer/full-time content writer/technical writer so sector 5 is all about restaurants and not about jobs.

I am not a journalist (even their life pretty much sucks in Kol).

So my job is in Delhi. I am quite happy with it. But the question is why is it in Delhi? Why NOT in Kolkata?

Kolkata has all the nuisance of Leftist politics and bandhs.

Please my dear, don't give me that shit. Even here people walk in late into office. For every bandh we have in Kolkata, you have your Ram Navamis and god knows what. Also the people in your offices are mostly from the Eastern and Southern parts of the country--I wonder why! I am not generalising, just an observation. So what happens? Kolkata is where they drift off to sleep and suddenly here the very same people wake up and start working? 

About punctuality.

Oh we reach late, we do not work, we are lazy. Okay. You reach early. Then you go on FB or buy bags at online portals and just show off. New car, new lover, new house--give me a break. 


Please do not make me laugh. Yes you have better roads and a nice metro system and that's about it. Your public transport system minus the metro is non-existent. And the people on the road--the less said the better. You just need to hear them speak. 

So forgive me, I really can't understand WHAT the goddamn pretence of professionalism is all about.  And I still can't understand why these offices can't work from my city. Nope. Don't answer that. I may attack you.

You see I am not angry. This wasn't a rant. Just trying to understand things. Because on a hot afternoon when you want to be home, with your parents and your friends and you can't--life just gets a little drab.
Having said that I do not hate this city. I am earning a living here. My city too has it's share of ills and pretentious jerks--just like Delhi does. But my city could do with more jobs. MANY MORE JOBS.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

My take on the few places that I have been to in Delhi:

1. Dilli Haat: dragged there by my over-enthu aunt on a sunny winter morning. Nice place to be on a winter morning if you like shopping for new-market-pavement-type stuff or ethnic fabrics. I was not shopping, so was quite bored. Then I noticed few puppies and started clicking photos. People love the food out there. Food was great but the place was dirty--sorry I am not a fan. Many people lurrrrve this place. I did not. It's okay.

2. Select City Mall:  huge mall, huge shops ... yes that's about it.

3. Hauz Khas Village: erm ... no clear verdict on this place, it's where you find filth alongside the most expensive boutiques. I actually enjoyed taking a leisurely walk down the place. Narrow lanes, shops selling overpriced food and clothes. I went to the Yodakin store, which I liked. You can shop for books published by independent publishers which you are not very likely to find at your local Crossword.

4. Lajpat Nagar: uhh ... love-hate relationship with this one, hate the crowd, hate the congestion, (New Market is also crowded but I'll never hate it!). Anyway it's quite near to my pg in south Delhi so I do frequent this place mostly out of necessity.

5. Green Park market: It has two places which offer South Indian food (Jyoti Vihar--Malgudi Junction--type) where one can have good filter coffee and south Indian food at a very reasonable price.

6. C.R. Park markets (1 and 2) : Any other person from Kolkata would instantly feel at home with the huge fish markets, Kali mondir and Dadur dokan (I hope I am getting the name right!) selling chop, cutlet, dimer devil etc. But what spelt home for me was the sight of a packet of Mukharochak chanachur in one of the shops. That old bespectacled man cheered my heart. So many nights I have lain awake under a mosquito net in my bed in Kolkata either reading a book or observing lizards, with a kouto of chanachur beside me. Only to wake up with an upset stomach. Sweet memories.

7. Fact and Fiction: A tiny bookstore opposite the Priya cinemas. Amazing collection. Must visit.

Have also been to the Book Fair and Comic Con but too lazy to write about all that.

Wish to visit the old forts and CP and Janpath and Sarojini ... as and when I get the time.