Friday, July 30, 2010

Bloggers' Comments

A lot has been written about this topic. But it is always amusing to read the take of each and every person on this particular topic. I am going to write  about the same things, but I know a few will really enjoy reading this post :P

This morning a blogger friend K and I were discussing about comments that we receive on our posts. Now, K and I have many common readers, so it won't be a problem for many of you to guess who I am talking about. K is a master story teller. Most of his readers love his long and intriguing stories. Now you know whom I am talking about? :)

Like always, our discussion revolved around the comments a few bloggers post. He usually gets comments like - excellent story, great narration, you have a way with words, that was some twist, I didn't see that coming, you are brilliant like always and blah blah blah. But nobody will comment on the characters, their traits, shades, etc.; nor will they know that there is supposed to be a hidden message in the story and as a reader you are supposed to decipher that! Poor K! He very sweetly replies to all. Moreover, he does not even mind those comments. When I pointed out these things to him, he simply brushed it off saying that it didn't matter to him. Well he is too nice.

I have experienced such things on my blog too. One of my old posts that was supposed to be a funny one on projectophobia and lecturophobia, people read the title, saw the image and read last two lines of the post. Quite a few comments I got that said - don't worry, you will be fine; take care; it happens with all and such! From that day onwards, I knew that i lacked sense of humour and I could not write funny stuff!

Then came another post on toilet plant. People took that seriously too and they even googled about it! I hope they were sarcastic, though they didn't sound so. Or maybe I am dumb.

Then there are few, who will say very nice post even when you mention about the death of your favourite pet! I am no animal lover, so it has not happened with me, but I have read such comments on many blogs. They are "nice post" bloggers. In the morning they copy these words and paste them on 100 blogs they visit.

Well there is no rocket science behind posting such comments and not reading posts. You will find many bloggers here who are hungry for comments. They just want people to come on their space and say nice things all the time. Thus they are nice with them too. And mind you, they are the normal sorts as most of the people do it. few of us are dumb and abnormal who do not post a comment until we really like the post or we have something to add on that topic.

Coming back to the conversation with K, he asked me to read one of his posts as majority of the people did not get it. There too, I found similar comments which were posted without even reading the whole story. Now i will wait for K to confirm whether I have interpreted his story correctly or not. I found only 2 comments which gave me a hint that they had deciphered the correct meaning behind "parallel" stories and they were actually not parallel! :P One of the person reads me regularly so she will get the hint. :)

Oh too many codes in this post right? Let me wrap up this post on an honest line - I find many comments fake ones. My regular readers are very good people. They will not leave a word behind if they do not like my post. But I know they read me. Comment for me is just another way of communication. And communication does not mean replying a "thank you" for a "nice post" comment. 

Ah, I can hear many voices saying - ditto, I go through the same thing!

Monday, July 26, 2010

Me and my various moods

It's always so damn convenient na to say something, or do something and then blame that on mood swings? Well, almost all of us do that, especially females. But I do not blame them. We have so many things going on in our minds, a long "to do" list each morning, almost all the time we suffer from under-performance (I would call it lack of time) as we cannot master each and everything. Things we cannot manage, or certain things we say, they are usually due to the mood swings that we get all the time.

Talking about the great moi, people around me are very much aware about my various mood swings. My mood swings are very weird. I do get regular mood swings too, like suddenly getting angry, or snap at people, or very very cheerful or extremely emotional etc etc. But the weird ones are too irritating than the regular ones. My talking increases-decreases as per my mood swings. Sometimes I get moods when I will talk non-stop and will not give anybody a chance to speak, other times I go so very quiet that you will think - sha, she is so boring. She does not even know how to strike a conversation. Very rarely I am in a 100% listening mood and very very rarely I am not in my short attention span mood :P

This thing I have realized very recently, rather, I was made to realize that I have a very very short attention span. Now it so happens that I talk to very few people on regular basis. I think there would be three to four people with whom I chat regularly. Insignia being one of them. But we share a great comfort. We do not have to keep talking all the time. Both of us usually multi-task while talking to each other. If the other does not respond to the most important topic for an hour, we understand that there must be something very important going on on the other side. So my short attention span does not get a chance to show its true colour :P

Second person is Shilpa. Again, with her it is on and off chatting about small small things we suddenly remember, or if I want any advice about anything, or a farmville gifts neighbours she wants (I quit it yet again!) and such. We speak for 5-10 minutes each time and that happens around 10-15 times a day :P So, no short attention span problem here too.

But the short attention span does come. I usually take a break from work a bit late at night and work usually through the night. I can work that way better. A few friends staying abroad are online at this time. When I talk to them, I do not multi-task purposely just to get a small break from work. But I cannot expect the same thing from them. If their reply to me is delayed even for more than a few seconds, I lose patience. I start looking here and there, I will start eating something, or play around with laptop and they feel that I am not paying attention to what they are saying! Ab main kya bolu!!


Isn't this image super hilarious? At least I found it too funny.

Anyway, coming back to my mood swings, I get in a blabbering mood too. I will jump from one random topic to another one and there will not be any connection between the two. God can also not save you if you do not get what I am saying. You cannot ask - what are you talking about. Ah, here "you" means my close friends who know me well :P With others, I usually pretend to be normal.

And those who say that mood swings are only girl thingi, contact me. I will introduce you to a few friends who are kings of mood swings. But more on them, later.

So, what kind of mood swings do you get? By the way, do you guys know that in English, a statement cannot start with "SO"? But certain things you like to do your way right? Be it calling lose - loose :P

Image Source: http://wendyusuallywanders.files.wordpress.com/2008/09/mood-swings.jpg
http://www.garyolsen.com/cartoons/ShortAttentionSpan350.jpg

Saturday, July 24, 2010

Celeb Craze

Don't we love our celebs? Now, here "we" is a very relative term, for at least I do not fall under "love our celebs" category, except in case of errrrr John Abraham or a few more. I am not talking about me here (sigh), so let me skip my long list of hot celebs. But I have seen this in India at least. Here people literally worship celebrities. They build up temples for them, queue up outside their lavish bungalows just to get a glimpse of their favourite star, die for their one autograph and a picture with them? Oh man, they would kill for that.

I have quite a few friends on my facebook who have uploaded such pictures with celebrity. Wherever they meet them, they will make sure that they have a photograph clicked with them! that they will upload on social networking sides with excited sounding captions like I met Karishma-ji here; that's me with Amitabh-ji and this ji and that ji.

Now, no matter how close that friend is, such traits tend to irritate sometimes. Especially when you have to listen to that story of their meeting and clicking photographs ten times in one hour and you are to spend the entire day with that friend! God Bless you! I have gone through this torture not once, not twice but so many times. A very close friend happens to stay near Filmcity. Now, this guy swears by celebs. He will follow each and every trend started by his favourite celebs. I think his list of celebs he dislikes must be of 10 odd names, not more than that for sure. He even has a photograph clicked with Harman Baweja! Back to my friend's story, he got passes for the filmfare awards for the year 1999. He went for the awards function, came back and was raving about the whole event for almost three to four months until the vacation started! Imagine, at that time, he raved about Fardeen Khan's voice too, as he heard him speaking over the phone!

Actually, he still has so many pictures on his facebook account. I so felt like flicking a couple of them and post them here, but stopped for obvious reasons :P But one thing is there - Indians are very strong when it comes to celeb love. They rarely faint or cry after seeing a celeb.

I still remember those early hostel days when we were not allowed to stick any posters on the wall. Now you know how crazy a teenage girl is about hot hunks even though it has nothing to do with only teenage, as girls are usually crazy about hot hunks whom you find rarely! But I remember collecting those posters, pictures, magazines and interviews of my favourite celebs. Now, this was more out of the feeling of not being left out when my hostel friends flaunted their collection. Told ya already, girls are silly!

But the collection thing was still fine, I did a very embarrassing thing about which when I think now, I feel ashamed. Our college organizes an annual festival called Brouhaha each December. In my very first year, they invited John Abraham there. Now, he was a super model then with zero movie under his name, but still a very well known name. He arrived in the college and interacted with a few people, gave autographs etc all. I happened to be sitting just behind him. Man, he looks hot! :P He was smiling at everyone, looking around etc. all. I went to him and asked him whether he could give me a peck on my cheek. And he did so - in front of the whole auditorium! I must have broken at least 1000s of hearts in a few seconds then.

When I think about that now, oh my! It is so damn embarrassing! Phew!!! OK I know, few more hearts will be broken now as well!

That's us. So damn crazy about those stars. They may not even recognize you if they meet you for the second time. After that peck on the cheek episode, I met John again, in my college. This time, I was in the PR department for the festival. I spent 45 minutes with him, but he didn't remember that incident at all. Of course I didn't remind him (the egoist me :P), but yeah, we still worship them, take their autographs, click photographs with them and when they see you the next time, they don't even remember you. There are so many like us - so many ordinary people who love them like we do or even more than that. But we are still better off. We do not faint each time we see them :P

A completely out of context question - what is the definition of Blog Celebrity according to you? Can you name one? Waiting for your answer in the comment box. Please do answer without fail. :)

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

My Solitude

Like I said in my previous post, today was indeed a hectic day. Though it was not an all nighter last night thanks to my net connection which conked off at around 3ish, but I got up by 6:30, and again, did not sleep in the noon, I am yet again sleep deprived. The workload has increased to say the least. But blogging rejuvenates me always. The reason behind catharsis posts back to back here. I need to cleanse my system by venting out everything. And there is no better place than a blog where you write and people read and comment. They make you feel nice by showing that they are with you. How those unknown bunch can make you feel good just by saying two words - "take care".

As I mentioned, my day started pretty early. I left for town by 8 and reached by 9:30 for a 10:30 meeting. Reason was simple - I preferred an hour wait to two hours travelling alone in bad traffic. The smart me had fixed up the meeting at tea centre as I wanted to enjoy the amazing breakfast and super amazing tea out there. Now, I enjoy my solitude the most. I love eating alone, going for a movie alone or travel alone or even stay alone for that matter. I as such do not need a company to say, pass my days or years. I stay with people as they need me. Errrrrrr, too conceited right? I am a loner that does not mean I cannot stand crowd around me. I can live alone too without worrying about anything else. And my mother gets really scared whenever I mention that. And I purposely mention it to scare her.

Now, those of you who are regular here, I am sure they are aware about my love for tea and tea centre. Apart from amazing varieties of teas, you get very good breakfast there. With the familiar chattai curtains and bell, after a long time I felt as if I was at the place I really enjoy. If you are a lawyer, you will know exactly what I mean. I have clicked the bell picture as well.
After a good enough breakfast, now it was meeting time. It must have lasted for around an hour. I had another 40 minutes before I leave for home. I decided to go and sit at Marine Drive - the place where I spent most of my youth (have I become old?). Sun was not at its brightest, breeze was pretty much mild and the sea was calm enough too. I must have gone and sat there after years. But like always, I felt depressed. Sea usually depresses me. Whenever I sit there, I get all negative thoughts all the time. This time around it was no different. I got negative thoughts only, along with some nostalgic memories. 

In my 12th standard, we had gone to marine drive one afternoon. There was low tide that day, thus water levels were pretty low. First time ever we spotted shore there. We just jumped on those rocks and went down. That was one of the most memorable visit to Marine Drive. I was remembering that as well. Those good old college days, those small small dates, those hang outs etc. all suddenly seem so special after attending a boring meeting as a geek! I will not talk about depressing things at the moment, but I shall leave you to ponder over a few images that I clicked. Now I am not so good at photography as few of my fellow bloggers like Gautam, Insignia, Guria, Merlin, Kavi, Shilpa Garg and such. And I didn't even have my camera with me. All I had was a geeky looking business phone.

Click on the image to see the crabs crawling on those rocks




So many times I have sat at that end point..
Yes, I am in love with these rocks..I keep clicking them

That's that for today. I am very tired, so I don't think another all nighter is possible right now. But yes, if the days continue to be so busy and depressing, then you will see here me more often. See ya :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

People and their codes

I have been keeping too busy these days, with a very urgent and important matter that has come up in regards with a retainer client. I will not bore you by mentioning the details of the notices that my client has received from a government body (sigh! I wish they were drafted well!), but sometimes, your work that you really enjoy doing leaves you frustrated. And that too, when you have to work through weekend while your entire family is holidaying in a resort while it's raining - ok, I will not tell you how it feels, but if the computer screen could reflect my mood at the moment, it would have exploded by now!

Anyway, I am here to talk about people and not me. It's always easier for me to write about others, especially when I do not have much of time to even catch up with some sleep. I have been majorly sleep deprived these days. I do not get to sleep in the noon, and I am getting a sleep of five hours on an average. My system needs at least 8 hours to function the whole day and another couple of hours if I want to feel fresh throughout the day.

Ok ok, do not remind me. I know I again started talking about the great me! But I cannot help it. I know very few people around me about whom I can write. Those who matter to me, I tell them directly or send them a personal note about my feelings for them, or I blog about them, mention them in passing or write something they like to read. I especially write about them when they are not in right state of mind. I have done that in case of G so many times. That's my way of showing that I care and tell them that I am always there :)

Now, on this blog, I may come across as a very extrovert and bold person (the exact words of one of the bloggers who happens to be a very good friend too), but in a real life, I am an ambivert. I cannot put it in any other manner as I am 10% extrovert and 90% introvert! Thus, ambivert. Ask Mumbai bloggers whom I met earlier this month and they would confirm my nature. But again, that's not important here. My point about writing this post is to take a break from busy schedule and upset mood as weekend was bad.

People - I have written about them in past. Read this post and this one, about their nature and types, how they manage to entertain and irritate you with their typical characteristics. But well, I am too rude a person. If someone really irritates me, I simply block him/her rather than increasing one more tension in my already stressful life! And again, apart from being an ambivert and rude, I am too dumb when it comes to take care of someone when that person is low. If someone tells me to leave one alone, I will do that; if that person wants me to sit there, I will do that; if that person wants me not to sympathize, I will do that. But I cannot make you smile if you do not ask me to do so. I will sit quietly next to you until you ask me to @#$% off from there. I cannot not leave you alone when you want me to. When I am low, I tell what's on my mind. 

But not all are the same. A few days back, I got into a big trouble with a friend. She was upset as she had a fight with her husband. She gave me the background of her situation. I told her that everything will be fine, and she said that she would be fine if I'd just leave her alone for a while. I left from there the next moment. After a while I smsed her asking about how was she feeling. No reply. I was worried but I didn't want to be the intruding and nagging friend, so I refrained myself from calling her up. Ah the busy me completely forgot about this incident the next day. 

A common friend called me a few days back to tell me that my upset friend was pretty much angry on me for my tactless and ruthless behaviour towards her. I didn't even stay with nor nor I bothered to call and check on her when she was very upset and needed me! As I always say, People!!!!

I believe it's very common and natural to experience mood swings. But when you are going through a particular mood swing, why do you have to talk in the code language? Why do you say X when the thing you want is Y? How can an insensitive and useless person like me will ever be able to decipher what you exactly mean to say.

I think I am ranting. I cannot help it. I have a meeting tomorrow morning. I still have a lot of work pending, had to take a break from legal papers and write something just to feel better and fresh. Time for another all nighter people. Tomorrow promises to be a busy day with an early start, travel to town in the traffic, breakfast and a cup of ginger tea at Tea Centre alone and loads of work.


Friday, July 16, 2010

Do you believe in Magic?

Don't we all want to possess the powers to get whatever we want? At least I do. Magic - it fascinates me so much. You can get anything and everything with just a blink of an eye. Erm, the nice me always thinks of using the magic in a nice way that does not harm anybody, but yes, magic all around you - the thought only brings a smile on my face.

I was never into watching cartoons during my kidster days. I still do not know the names of famous cartoon characters, from status messages updated by friends, I realised that Garfield hates Mondays, show me a few images of cartoons and I will not be able to identify them. I used to paint, and once I had made a backdrop of a few cartoon characters. There were four heads involved to prepare the backdrop - three cartoon geniuses and the hopeless me. I painted Jerry and Archie comics characters - Archie, Betty, Veronica and Jughead. And that was an achievement as for the first time, I knew about more than one name in a particular cartoon show.

I never even read comics. I have read NONE of them so far. I listen to people like a dumb alien when they discuss comics! By the way, does Shinchan fall under cartoon category? I watch that these days. Going back to my earlier days, I always preferred to watch sports and news.

Once I happened to watch I dream of Jeannie and Bewitched. I fell in love with those characters and their powers. I started thinking about possessing those powers too. My each and every act was now influenced. All disappointments had only one if - if only I had magical powers like Jeannie and Samantha! I always tried to cast a spell by blinking my eyes and hoped for the magic to work. Now, don't get ideas about my disappointments. I am talking about school days, where a big thing was the first rank that I usually missed by a few marks (ah, the brilliant me), or when I never got to bat in a cricket match as I was a girl (sigh!) and few more stupid things.

When I entered college, there was Harry Potter fever all around. Almost everyone discussed about Goblet of Fire book and Sorcerer's Stone movie. Suddenly, Hogwarts school became for real, wand was waiting for me to be chosen, so were the school houses. All I had to do was to find out where it was. My Harry Potter obsession kept on increasing with time. To an extent that I started reading those books again and again. My last count of reading all the books and watching each movie must be at least 50 times (more, but not less).

In short, so far my wish has always been to become the magician, or a Jeannie or a witch - anything that had magical powers. I loved the feeling of performing magic and get things done. It all seemed so easy and convenient.

Though quite late, but I did become sane and realized that I cannot get a phoenix core wand to perform the magic. Sigh!! But the truth and realization is bitter if you believe them to be the only right thing. Believe in magic and it will be all around you.

My faith in magic has been restored again. But this time, it is slightly different from the earlier phase. This time around, I do not want to be a magician, or a Jeannie or a witch. This time around, I want a Jeannie or a magician to perform the magic for me :P

Imagine a situation. You are leading a busy and stressful life. Each day, you work late nights. Your working hours are anything between 14 to 18 hrs each day. You even work on a Sunday. All you need is a bit of peace of mind, a bit of entertainment, fun, love, pampering and magic. Yes, magic. Try to believe that it exists. And it will make you happy. It will bring a smile on your face at the end of a super hectic day. Your heart will believe that the magic exists and the magician performs it for you.

I come home each day after a hectic schedule. I feel stressed out, but I have magic around me. I have a magician around me. The thought itself brings a smile on my face. I am no longer the tired and stressed out Neha. I am the same old Neha who wanted to perform magic to get the first rank that she lost due to 3 marks she didn't score in history, the same Neha who believed that Hogwarts does exist. The same old Neha for whom the wand is waiting to be picked up.



Yes, Magic is indeed all around me :)

PS: Believe in magic and this post will make sense to you.

Image Courtesy - http://bowlingballgalaxy.com/ebonite-bowling-balls/ebonite-magic.jpg
http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-cartoon-magician-image6455550

Monday, July 12, 2010

This Strange world of Blogging


This strange world of blogging! You find people here – the virtual one, with virtual names, sometimes weird ones too. Names that amuse you, names that make you wonder about the real person behind them. As the normal human nature goes, you usually tend to imagine a person behind those wonderful write ups that you love. Usually we end up visualizing the blogger as “good looking” one and never an ugly face as we are so very fascinated by their writing style or their sense of humour and such. Well, a person with such an amazing talent can never be NOT good looking right? But sadly, I am not supposed to write on their good looks (if at all they have any), but about this very strange world of blogsphere!

I have been blogging for more than a year now. I cannot call myself a great blogger (ah, the modest me!), but I have observed enough about the blogs and bloggers to write this post dedicating to them.

Now call this weird trait of mine, rather, a weirdity as a fellow blogger puts it, the first thing that comes to my mind is the Anonymous Identity of bloggers. Here, people call themselves lonely heart, crying eye, running skeleton, stupid character and what not. And they all are proud of these names. Call them by this in real life and see their reaction! Don't sue me if they beat the hell out of you.

There are few who have decent names too. They don't want to reveal their identity or they can relate to that term really well. Few among them become really popular bloggers. But people know the pseudo name of the person. Popularity is yours but the name isn't! Hmmm.

Usually, people with anonymous identities have a Personal Blog. There, they usually rant. Rant about work, family, husband, boyfriend, friends, loneliness, crowd, food, roads, potholes, moods, happiness, sadness, jealousy and every possible emotion you can think of. They rant and we read. Sometimes we enjoy the rants, other times we leave a comment in spite of not liking the rant at all, as we need their comments too! 


 Somehow, I have always enjoyed reading General Blogs that usually concentrate on day to day observations, regular topics, photographs, general people, small joys of life that we tend to overlook. Such general blogs include Travelogues, Review Blogs, Fashion Blogs, Photo Blogs, Short Stories Blogs, Food Blogs and such kinds. Now “always enjoy reading” is a very relative term, for I somehow lack patience for the reviews, fashion and recipes. I love to read posts on observations, cities, cultures, or even geek stuff for that matter as I can really relate to it. Geekdom fascinates me the most; as I belong there.

I have even come across Political Bloggers, Social Bloggers, Tech Bloggers, Sex Bloggers – oh yes, there are plenty of them who write about raunchy stuff on a public blog and you will faint after looking at their popularity and if you love to receive plenty of comments and want hundreds of followers, you will get tempted to start such a blog too. A sacred form of Sex Blogs is Mushy Blogs. Here, the love and affection have been portrayed beautifully. Even an unromantic person like me can read one whole post. Rest of the posts do get too monotonous for me, but still, even that is an achievement.

One lady whom I regularly read has a blog for her son – A Mommy Blogger I call her. She writes about her experiences with him, his growing up days, the first word he said, the first sentence he formed, the first friend he made, the first letter he wrote, the first competition he won – each memory, each and every memory is preserved in her posts. Some bloggers even write from the child’s prospective – it reads as if the child has written those posts; his perspective, his perception, his feelings and emotions.

Professional Bloggers – the luckiest of all. Geeks like me blog for free, and use the free space to vent out. We do not care about hits, Adsense, Alexa and Page Ranks, SEO, number of comments, number of subscribers, followers and fans. But Professional Bloggers make their passion a business and earn out of it. No wonder they are successful. And we let our passion be just a passion, no matter how popular our blog is numbers and readers wise. We prefer to be called a geek in spite of being tagged as Blog Celebrity.

Blog Celebrity reminds me of Celebrity Blogs. Various film stars and celebrities blog too. Their language is so lucid, their description is so vivid, and their posts are very long and make a good read. Blog is updated pretty much regularly, around 12 to 15 posts a month. They will have two posts in five days even though they might have travelled through four countries in those five days! Now aren’t they amazing? And they write so well, that you sometimes feel that it must have been written by some professional blogger! Multi faceted personalities in its true sense, don’t you think?

Ah, the list will go on and on. Even Teenagers blog these days even before they enter college – they are that talented. They even advice geeks about how to blog and make money. You even find online magazines - free as well as subscription ones, Group Blogs, Contest Blogs, News Blogs, Campaign Blogs and such. Group blogs bring in like minded people under one roof, while contest blogs bestow you with name, recognition and erm virtual prizes (sigh!) while few of the campaigns on blogs have been very successful.

Now it’s time for my favourite category of bloggers – crazy for comments, followers and numbers. They go into depression if nobody reads their post, they comment on other blogs and posts so that others come back and comment on theirs. One of such bloggers once asked me about the secret behind getting a lot of comments. She wanted a lot of comments and she thought that a geek would know the answer to her question. She wanted me to advice her on how can she get a lot of comments. Time for another sigh!!

Now I think I have the answer for her question. I am in an advice mood as well. All you wonderful bloggers, who think that receiving comments on your post is a difficult task, or you do not have many readers on your blog, here are ten golden rules for you – Ten Blog Commandments. Use them and see how far you reach in the world of blogging and become a blog celebrity:

1) Choose the topic that has some kind of discriminating factor.

2) Blog hop a lot and leave an “over the board” comment on others’ post. They are bound to visit your page after you have left many praises on their post. If the post favours them, they will praise you back and may add you in their follow list. If they dislike your post, they will still leave a fake comment praising you.

3) Agree with your readers. But ask them questions. They will come back and reply again. The number and length of comments will keep on increasing.

4) Do not write a new post for the next seven days.

5) Publish your post at all possible networking sites.

6) After three days, once the traffic starts decreasing; blog hop again, leave a nice comment, call the blog owner intelligent, leave your post link and ask for his/her views on it.

7) After another day, follow step two again.

8) Next day, follow step three.

9) All this while, you only keep posting anonymous comment on your post that is opposing and replying to others. Enjoy the game being played among your readers.

10) In those seven days, think about your second topic and mention it in bold and capital letters in your comment form and other social networking sites.

Do this exercise. I am sure you will get more than 100 unique hits per day. Activate Adsense and earn money. Moreover, you will be considered as one of the finest bloggers. Additionally; add all your readers/followers as your facebook friends. Now you are secured that they will always come back and read your post and comment as they are your "friends" now.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Wish


This post has been published by me as a part of the Blog-a-Ton 12; the twelfth edition of the online marathon of Bloggers; where we decide and we write. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

“Papa! Look what I have got from Kolpotoru Dadu this time” exclaimed an excited Drojo clutching a new Noddy book wrapped in coloured cellophane paper.
“Very nice! ” I smiled at my little son.

Today, let me tell you the story of Drojo’s Kolpotoru Dadu, my Kolpotoru Dadu, our Kolpotoru Dadu.

We had just moved into Flat No- 61A, the south facing flat on 5th Floor of newly built Vishal Towers, 5A/1 Gangullypara Lane. I was living there with my parents and two little sisters, Dimpi and Tinki, who were twins. I must have been of Drojo’s age then, 6 years and my sisters 3 years.
The school bus would not enter our lane and drop us at bus stand on the main road. Since our apartment was inside the lane, we had to walk about 500-600 meters from the bus-stand while returning or going to school. Ma would escort us between the bus stand and home.

On some days Ma would stop at the ‘Delite Bakery’ for some fresh loaf of bread or pastries. Invariably Tinki, the younger twin would tug onto Ma’s sari and point to the toffees in glass jar on the counter and cry out ‘Please Ma, I want one of those’. Sometimes Ma would oblige. Actually I loved visiting the bakery mainly for the sweet aroma of cakes, muffins, pastries, cookies etc. But I would be very disappointed because I would merely be able to see the bottom most rack of the glass display and it would mostly contain biscuit packets. The upper racks would have the lip smacking delicacies. Oh! How I wished I grew tall by some magic and peer into those delicacies. Other way was if somebody picked me up on his or her lap but with two cute little sisters, how could I ever stand a chance?

The bakery was run by an Anglo-Indian couple, Mark and Anne. Though they were Anglo-Indian but they spoke immaculate Bengali and were very friendly with the local community which was mostly Bengalis. Hence for any Party, Birthday, Anniversary or any occasion that required Bakery items ‘Delite Bakery’ was the one-stop solution. That year Chirstmas we dicovered besides the Christmas decorations, special cakes there was another big attraction for us the children. It was the ‘Kolpotoru Boi’ or the Wish fulfilling book. Yes Mark used to keep a notebook in his bakery for the children to write their wishes and on Chirstmas day the Wishes would be fulfilled. I was very excited and had written ‘I wish for a Noddy book, anyone of them’. And guess what on Christmas day the book had arrived at our flat wrapped in a beautiful cellophane paper. But Dimpi, the style queen was very upset as her wish was not granted.

She had rushed to the bakery and complained to Anne ‘Mistake! Dida look! I have got these stupid crayons and colouring book, where I had asked for a red nail polish’.
Anne Dida had smiled and said ‘Kolpotoru Dadu only fulfills legitimate wishes, once you grow up and become a beautiful lady like your mother, you’ll get it’.
Dimpi was not convinced, she turned to me and said ‘But dadabhai...’
‘Sshh...listen to Dida she is right’ I had hushed her.

Since then every year I would get all my wishes granted in form of Phantom, Asterix, Tintin, Famous Five,Hardy Boys but Dimpi would often run into trouble naturally, yet like everybody she would write her wish in that book every year without fail.

I remember when I was in Seventh standard I had written “Kolpotoru Dadu, Thank you for fulfilling all my wishes till now but this year I want to wish for something very big. I wouldn’t mind if you don’t fulfill it. Can I have a Saxophone like Mark Dadu”.

My fascination for Saxophone or Sax had developed by seeing Mark Dadu play it every evening in his room above the bakery after closing it. I wanted to sway n roll with the Sax like him. Now guess the biggest surprise of my life I had when a Saxophone had arrived at my doorstep. This time my parents were certainly not amused by it, not that they hated music or something but it was too expensive a gift. They had tried to reason with Mark Dadu but he very humourosly dismissed all my parents arguments. On that day I realized who the real Kolpotoru Dadu was. From then on every weekend Mark Dadu aka Kolpotoru Dadu would teach me the Saxophone diligently.

Other than the Bakery and Music, Kolpotoru Dadu’s passion was football. He was an ardent follower of the game. He would be ahead of everybody else in supporting our local club, Milan Sangha in Para Football tournament or supporting Mohun Bagan in National League or rooting for Germany at any international events. Yes he simply loved the German team, he followed the Bundesliga persistently and his favorite was VFB Stuttgart. During the FIFA world cup, Kolpotoru Dadu would decorate his bakery with football trivias, flags and make special pastries resembling the different participating country’s flag. He would leave Anne Dida at the counter and join us to watch the matches at the Milan Sangha club room.

Though Kolpotoru Dadu was Christian but would whole-heartedly participate in all other festivals, specially the Durga Pujo. During the Pujas, he would close his shop to give a stall at the Milan Sangha Pandal. Incidentally Milan Sangha Pandal was quite famous for its innovation and uniqueness, hence would receive a lot of spectators and ‘Delite Bakery’ stall was also a major attraction. At the stall Kolpotoru Dadu would keep Ice-creams and Cold drinks as added attraction for the Pujas. It was the favourite watering hole for us, the volunteers of Milan Sangha. In one such recharging mission my world had changed forever when for first time I had seen Subha relishing her favourite Ice-cream and chatting merrily with her friends. Needless to say I had lost everything that moment but before I could secure my future, she had melted into the crowd bringing my world crashing down. Since that day every time I passed the ‘Delite Bakery’, I looked at it with a yearning in my eyes. Eventually that year I had not written anything in ‘Kalpotoru Boi’.

Seeing that, Kolpotoru Dadu had said ‘Don’t worry son! Ma Durga will grant your wish, Your girl of dreams will come to my stall again next year and that time don’t let her go just like that”. Would you believe if I tell you Kolpotoru Dadu’s prophecy had come true, she had come to ‘Delite Bakery’ stall the following year and rest is history as they say. That is, to cut the long story short, today Subha is my wife and Drojo’s mother.

Then one by one Dimpi and Tinki got married and moved to their respective husband’s home, I shifted to Bombay, sorry Mumbai, when I got a job there. My parents too moved to a different apartment as the Vishal Towers, Flat 61A was too high and old for them. But whenever I visited Calcutta, I would drop in at my old para, Gangullypara Lane. Meet old friends and most importantly visit Kolpotoru Dadu in his ‘Delite Bakery’. Unfortunately, Anne Dida had died by then and Kolpotoru dadu was very lonely. But the twinkle in his eyes was still present, the one which I had grown up seeing. Finally one day I received the inevitable news that our revered Kolpotoru Dadu had passed away. I wanted to rush back but couldn’t come due to some unavoidable circumstances. Later on when I went to visit my old para, I was very upset because a chic coffee shop had replaced the outmoded ‘Delite Bakery’. Seeing my uneasiness, friends showed a sign board just behind the cafĂ©, it read “Kolpotoru Foundation”. Just before his death Kolpotoru Dadu had created the organisation along with my friends to help the local community in general. It’s true that Kolpotoru Dadu is no more but the ‘Kolpotoru Boi’ continues to take requests from children and tries to fulfil every legitimate wish.

PS: Kalpataru or Kalpavriksha is a hindu mythological wish fulfilling tree. It is believed that this divine tree alongwith Kamdhenu(the sacred wish fulfilling cow) had evolved from the sagar manthan.

Notes: I. Dida and Dadu is grandmother and grandfather respectively in Bengali.
II. A locality is called para in Bengali.

Before you guys appreciate me for this excellent post and my amazing Bangali, let me introduce you to the author of this wonderful write up - Dhiman or D-man the champ. I am sure most of you must have seen him around blogsphere. He is also known as Dmanji - The beard man and happens to be a very popular blogger. A very good friend and a great listener (now that's a mandatory requisite if you are my friend), Dhiman has a way with words when it comes to blogging. The simplicity and honesty of his posts touch your heart each time you read his article. He is the only commerce graduate I know who calls himself a techie. Now, isn't he brilliant?

Thank you D-man for writing this post on Neha's. It's an honour to have your post published here. I know this sounds so much unlike me, but still, I can be nice once in a while right?

Images from : http://www.atlantarex.com/w/?p=195
www.noddy.com
http://www.afromix.org/html/musique/instruments/saxophone/index.en.html

The fellow Blog-a-Tonics who took part in this Blog-a-Ton and links to their respective posts can be checked here. To be part of the next edition, visit and start following Blog-a-Ton.

Friday, July 09, 2010

Delhi Trip - Part 2

This post is a part of Dehli Trip post series. To read Part 1, please click here.

27th February, 2007 - Delhi, here we come

Early morning, we reached Mathura Station where train halts for the maximum time. Our morning started with good tea served in kullads (clay pots). Now mind you, this was the very first "nice" tea we were having since the journey began. Tea available in the train - masha allah - You do not know whether to call it tea or a flavoured water in gray colour (no exaggeration at all!).

The most disgusting thing for me is to brush my teeth in those general wash basins where people watch dirty hands - yuck. I bought a Bisleri; a better, safer and more hygienic option! I had around three kullads of tea in one go. No, the tea was not extra ordinary, but I was not sure whether I would get another good cuppa in those seven days stay or not!

Train journey came to an end and so did our eventful endeavors as an audience. Now there were better things to look forward to. We were scheduled to visit "formal" places in the morning and "interesting" places in the evening. We were taken to the hotel in Karol Baug Area. Now, the hotel part surprised us the most. It was day time, we checked in and we were taken up by the elevator to the top floor. Then we were asked to follow the staff so that we find the right way to our rooms. Strangely, after coming out of the elevator, we were made to cross the corridor, take stairs again for one floor, take another elevator and we are in a different premises altogether!

We didn't have much of time to wonder about the hotel. We changed into the boring formals and went for the visit to small courts. There were many high profile cases on board along with petty crimes. The court room we were in had one of the most famous Judges. This Lady Judge was known for disposing off 40 cases each day! Phew! after attending L. K. Advani's brother's case, and hearing about Rahul Mahajan's case and few more cases, we went to see the Akshardham Temple.

Now, if you are fond of architectural beauty, then I am sure you will fall in love with this  place the moment you see it. It's huge, crowded yet calm. There is some kind of pure fragrance in the air, a mixture of sand and sandalwood, something very raw and soothing and cannot be explained in words.

After taking a wonderful tour of the temple, we went to see the fountain show. Now, many people are fan of such shows, but not me. I find them all in the same - different size of fountains and different colours of light - a perfect synchronization with the music playing in the background - but that's that! There is nothing else to see for the next 45 minutes. Anyway, it's still "interesting" for many (I don't know why or how!). 

Cutting the crap short, the next event was that of a boat ride. And I must admit, I have never ever seen such an amazing set up in my life. Now, I am not so good with words, so i will paste what Wikipedia has to say about it:

Boat ride

Named Sanskruti Vihar, this ride takes visitors on a journey through 10,000 years of Indian history in approximately 12 minutes. Visitors sit in specially designed peacock shaped boats that make their way around an artificial river, passing through a model of Takshashila, the world's first university, chemistry laboratories, ancient hospitals, and bazaars, finally ending with a message expressing hope for the future of India.

None of us wanted the boat ride to end. We were transported in the different century altogether. Hungry and tired, we returned to our hotel. The scene that we saw there was one of the scariest and most frightening one. The restaurant was full of social workers from all over the world. There were around fifty of them with men from around the world too! Our travel agent was not contactable and it was 10:30 in he night already. We didn't know what to do. We didn't want to stay there for another minute. A friend of mine had come to visit me. Somehow, we managed to cancel all our bookings from there and booked another hotel. Luckily we got a decent one and by midnight, everything was settled.

All of us were scared with the mere thought of that nightmare. So what if police had raided the hotel. What would we have done then! Nobody felt like eating anything. Ermmm, except for me and my room mates. Now, if you have a friend visiting you, witnessing what you went through in past one hour; and to cheer you up, he gets the yummiest cake and burgers, fries etc. Which person will not feel hungry? :P

Now we were not so selfish too. After finishing more than half portion of the cake, we gave it to others too; to cheer them up.

But the hotel incidence still frighten us. Whenever we discuss it, we think of Delhi Jail and arrest and no bail!

PS: Part 3 will for sure have Supreme Court and maybe Parliament Visit - My promise :)

Monday, July 05, 2010

Mumbai Rains

Mumbai is one of those rare cities in India that has two seasons in a year - Summer and Monsoon - both in their extreme states. Once in two-three years we get to experience winter for a few days. Summer is really bad here. The moment you step out, you are drenched in sweat even before you reach the main gate of your building. I am now used to this humidity so much that if I go in some other city and I do not perspire, I fall sick thanks to my stupid psychology that the heat is not coming out of my body as I didn't sweat even if it was too hot!

But the season i really hated here was monsoon, until now. Reasons - how many of you have heard of 26th July floods in Mumbai? If not, then click here to see the photographs of that nightmare. Mumbai drainage system is the worst. Whenever there is a continuous heavy down pour for five hours or more, the trains stop as the railway tracks are flooded. You may find stand still traffic almost everywhere, a 30 km journey takes more than 3 hours, roads are muddy and dirty, if you travel in a local train or a bus, then people even stamp on your feet, clothes with their wet and muddy chappals and sandals, you have to be very careful while standing anywhere as an unannounced umbrella wire may get poked in your eye and such.

But the monsoon in Mumbai is at its best when you are at Marine drive enjoying the rains. Just take a walk near sea side, water drops drawn you in their beauty, while waves touch your soul deep inside. Usually sea depresses me, but not during monsoon when it's at its wildest and best. Bhutta wala, chai wala, chana chor garam wala and such make their presence felt too. You cannot stop yourself from buying those things and relish on them while it's raining.

I never appreciated rains so much in my life until now. These days, suddenly I have started falling in love with the monsoon. The rain drops lift my spirits instantly. Like a child, I feel like going out there and get wet, play in the rains, make paper boats, take a long walk or a bike ride. It sometimes feels very strange to see how our perspectives suddenly change.

Have you ever had garma garam Mirchi Bajji with spicy garlic chatni while getting wet in rains? Try it out. Your eyes are watering, but the rain water soothes you completely. Go out there and have an ice cream. It tastes ten times better. Just stand at Marine Drive and let the waves kiss your cheeks. You will never want to leave that place. Take a ride around Queens Necklace, Colaba and Fountain at midnight. You will be the luckiest if it's drizzling. Go out there with your loved ones, family and friends. Live your life to the fullest for that glorious day. Live each moment, experience each rain drop, feel each wave. Trust me, it feels like heaven...