Saturday, July 24, 2010


Every now and then I come across new and newer inventions, or at least upgrades of technology. Meant to make the world smaller and life bigger. It slows time, eases access, shortens distance, enables communication... It allows us to form a "network", in which we willingly surround ourselves with the closest family, the choicest friends, making a distinct, individualistic world for ourselves, that is linked to, yet separable from the universe.

In the process, our lives become highly publicised. But we only display what we want others to appreciate, a mere iota of our lives, which lives up to the standard and expectation of others. The glamour and glitz is out there for everyone to see, comment on, give a thumbs up to. But the notorious remains within us.

In the gimmick of acquiring virtual friends, we fail to recognise, and preserve the human ones. There are enough pings, but no face to face conversations. There are enough :)s, but not enough sound of appreciative laughter. Suddenly one day, we find ourselves staring at the screen, wondering who the hell in the goddamn friend list will understand how it feels to lose a loved one, to be dumped, to get pathetic marks, to lose a job. And it strikes, in a world of globalised connections, we are terribly alone.

Maybe technology did not do us a favour after all. It left us waiting for one single call deep into the night, it made us relentlessly worry about things we have absolutely no control over, but which pops up in the headline nevertheless, it heightened blood pressure, it created rifts (remember the last time you sneaked into someones inbox?). It gave us inappropriate exposure, intolerable closeness, and unlimited information. Not good. Not the way it was supposed to happen. And we are looking for a way out. Slowly.

But there was a time when hearing a voice thousands of miles away, flying through continents, and such normal feats would be considered a miracle. Such capabilities were considered Godly. Are we the Gods our ancestors worshipped? Are we the answers to the questions they asked? If so, we are probably the wrong answers. The wrong Gods.

Now, if and when you think of God, you imagine a peaceful old man (woman for the feminists), wandering somewhere in the mountains, surrounded with fluffy animals and uninterrupted greenery. You surely don't think of a cool dude with earphones plugged in, swooshing away on a Yamaha R1. Does that signify we are subconsciously looking up to such a life, without the network problems?

Do not ask me to explain further, but for all we know, Nature could simply take a steep turn, pushing us all into the World where we came from. Minus the distractions, the exposure, the long distance relationships and the network problems..

A life where apple and blackberry are just fruits. Eaten by the Gods.

Disclaimer: 1. I love technology. please do not take my laptop away from me.
2. I have terrific friends. From a time before facebook.
3. And, for the record, I am still to invade some one's inbox. Sigh!

Sunday, July 18, 2010

a semester later...

Aim of Experiment :
To honestly represent SP'10, NJIT.

Materials and Methods :
1. A backpack with laptop, mp3 player, camera, charger for each. Notice the absence of study material, laptop suffises.
2. Coffee mug. Red, Blue, Steel, Empty. Anything will do. The eternal sign of a serious student. Though I wonder, isn't it an indication that one feels sleepy in class, suggesting the lecture is sleep inducing...oh well, who am i to judge?
3. Windcheater/Umbrella/Anything to cover your head- It snows. It rains. Its hot.
4. Cash. If mugging phobia grips you, get a flex card. And the public safety number.
5. ID. Gateway to anywhere except the classroom. And we all know, fun lies anywhere except the classroom.
6. A Smile- might just get you an on campus job. No guarantee.

Class starts usually in the evening, for some rare unlucky ones, in the afternoon. Anyway, you get enough time to sleep. That is, if you are the good student. If you are like the rest of us, the later class starts, the more time you have. For Youtube, for New York, for GSA, for Clubs. And a lot of other things. Resulting in a steep decrease in the hours of sleep. Ahh...hence, the coffee. Get it?

The most populated site in NJIT has to be the library. Apart from the Food Court, of course. And before you get into your head that we are a hungry, geeky lot, let it be known the most visited site got it, facebook. Well, to do justice to ourselves, we do study. When nobody is online, that is.. And it is so much fun, in those small rooms. You get friends, you form a group, you get laptop, you study.You do not discuss the latest movie, you do not talk about your newest gadget, you study. Trust me.

Whoever decided on the location and design of the Campus Centre "actually" knew students. Inside Out. Imagine going from library to class. Heart heavy, head bowed, face long, life downtrodden. From reading papers to reading notes...huh! think you have just seen your friends. No, you have seen three of them. Relaxing in armchairs, protected from the latest nuisance that the weather has decided to be, gorging on Taco Bell/Hersheys/Starbucks, whichever takes your fancy...Salads too, if you are the healthy type. Life just perks up, doesnt it? What more does a student need? Except Friends and Food? Welcome to the Campus Centre. A small break, just when you need it. The "small" break might just become long enough for you to miss class. But thats obviously besides the point.

I am not going to details about what happens inside class. You all know it. and those who dont... lucky you.

The Gym. The only place where you perspire happily. Where you can move in whichever way you want to, and not be laughed upon. Where you work out with such enthusiasm and dedication, which if given to your research, PhD would have been well over by now. Personally speaking, what with the whole school laden with either food or food vending machines, this has to be the most important place of all.

And then night falls. A day in life at NJIT comes to an end.

Observation and Result:
There were, and will be a lot of "firsts" in USA in general, and NJIT in particular. The first day, in the Campus Centre, being welcomed to this strange, unknown world at Orientation, to the first time you speak aloud in class, wondering about others' reactions, the first time you see Times Square, the first time your throat dries up before a presentation, the first time you see a snowfall, the first time you walk through it, the first time you buy a calling card to speak at home, the first time you eat out of the cart, the first time you hear the sweet chimes of the bell, the first time you realise you have unknowingly made a friend, the first time you apply for jobs, the first time you sit for an exam....

All through these firsts, you realise your own powers of adaptation. Suddenly, you fall in love with all the problems, the eating at ungodly hours in Subway, the fact that you can eat in class, the festivals and functions, the realisation that other than you own self, you have no one else as your guardian. You have finally become an adult. Like all around you.

What was that? GPA? What GPA? Refer to the absence of study material !

To survive here, all you need is the ability to go on. Constantly. Not a fake accent.

Thursday, July 8, 2010


aajke khub porisrom gelo. ekta kaaj eRiye chola, alshe meye-r jonno bajar kora, ranna kora, shei ranna chokh kaan buje khaoa, kom koshtokor noy. shob kichu konomote khyanto deoar por jei ektu guchiye boshar sujog paoa holo, bojha gelo, mone ekta cha cha icche jagche. ta raat tokhon praye 10 ta. tate ki? cha er abar kono somoy ache naki?

cha-e ami chini beshi khai. jotoi jeans er botam birodhita koruk na kyano, ei jinish tar shonge ami kono rokom compromise e jete parbo na. oi panshe panshe dudh chaRa, chini chaRa, laal laal podartho paan kore ami kono din i "waah taj" bole uthte parbo na. tar jonno besh kore chini (chini i, sugar free othoba sweet and low na) diye, jompesh kore ek dhumayito peyala dorkar. e hyano cha gilte gilte, klanti flanti kothaye ube gelo. tokhon amaye bolle ami chaar baar appartment er khaRa shiRi othanama kore dyakhate pari. tai bhablam, jotoi frappe aar smoothie bajar dapak na kyano, amader cha ke topkabe, emon buker pata kaar ache?

cha je sudhui olosh ke pranobonto, ba bhyabla ke chonmone korar upokoron, eta bhable cha er proti onyay-er shesh thakbe na. cha holo socialism er jeeta jaagta udharon. cha ke khaye na bolun to? ghor er chate bosha malik, ghore-r bagane kaaj kora maali, AC ghore bosha babu, baire ghormakto daroan, vote khaoa montri, vote deoa proja, rasta banano promoter, rastaye bosha bhikhiri, cha sobar jonyo soman. cha pata-r gondho aar dudh er porimaan tai ja dNepomi kore. amader gorib desh e aar jai thakuk na kyano, adi theke onto obdhi emon kono moR nei, jekhane cha er dokan, tar tin er chaad aar kaath er benchi nei...

cha ekaki dupur er janlar dhare bosha Shonkor, brishti bheja bikele pNeyajir sathe Satyajit ebong haR hiim kora leper tolaye lukono sheet er Shrishendu-r jogyo sohokari. Coffee jinish ta jemon detective golpo ebong thanda-r shongei jome bhalo, cha er baba tyamon kono baynakka nei. je jekhane jerokom acho, cha ke chao, cha chole ashbe.

amader baRite cha hoto dupur goRiye bikeler dike jetei. tai na holei baRi shuddho loker mathaye bojropat. ekjon tv dekche, ekjon chade paychari korche, ekjon naak deke ghumocche, sobai ke deke deke cha poribeshon na korle..hNu hNu baba.... ei jonnoi hoyto meye dekhte gele, take cha niyei ashte dyakha jaye. aar kichu she paruk na paruk, cha ta thik somoy hajir korte parlei holo.

amar mone hoy cha ekta shoNshar er obostha ba durobostha-r protik. je kono pujo, biyebaRi, onnoprashon er aage, cha er cup er size niye besh ekta uttejona dyakha jaye. kon size hole kipte mone hobe, kon size hole cha er bonna boye jabe, eirokom onek kothai ami sunechi. ekta baRite jotogulo tea set thake, aar kichu mone hoy na thake bole. konota sonali border deoa, konota abar golapi sobuj lota pata sojjito, konotate jhimono nil ful er abcha abhash. lok bujhe cup showcase theke ber hobe. rong dekhe thahor kora sohoj, ke ashaye baRiwala dhonnyo ar kake bidaye korte parle hoy. aar baRi-r lokjon? tader abar cup-plate ki? huh...tader sudhui cup. oi ekta nouko gocher kichu ekta aNka.

cha er moto bondhu amar moto anaRi-r aar keu nei. aar kichu pari na pari, ami ei ekta jinish besh pari. onek lojja jonok poristhiti theke onekbaar rokkha peyechi. "ke boleche o kichu parena, ei to besh sundor cha kore eneche" :-) aar porikkha-r somoy chotto chotto koto cup cha je ami kheyechi, tar hisheb nei. poRa egiyeche ki na jani na, tobe plastic onek joRo hoyechilo, eituku bolte pari.

amader onektai lok dyakhano, shoRojontre thasha, meki hashi-r jogote, cha shekhaye ki kore ekta samanyo jinish nijoguNe, shadharon bhabe, sobar kache odwitio hoye uthte pare.

ei pocha desh e nestea-r khub chol. tar abar flavour er ki ghota. lemon to achei, raspberry, abar passion fruit. dhuuush...

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


Being a single child is sometimes described as being lonely. Not for me. As far as i fathomed, there was always another child in the family. My grandfather. My Dadu. I have no earliest memory or any such thing. Dadu was always there. When, from being the eldest member of the family, he became my friend, i dont know. I have a best memory, I have a hilarious memory, I have a sad memory, I have a proud one... but no early, and no last.

My conversations with Dadu was often on the terrace. With his evening cup of tea with me, I went to him whenever I got tired of Enid Blyton. Along with being highly calory unconscious, Dadu was a great story teller. With his simple words, the jungles of Ramayan, the battlefield of Mahabharat, the frolic of Krishna, the adventures of his own life in the Sunderbans came alive on a warm evening on a warmer terrace. He gave to me a world that existed only in my imaginations. I do not know if it coincided with his, but who cares? All that mattered to me then, was that no one had the guts to take me away and make me study as long as i was with Dadu. He would not tolerate such tortures inflicted on his Shona.

For a long time, Dadu was my shield. There was only one place to go to, one bed to sleep in, when my bad marks, worse behavior, and worst food habits came into my father's attention. Dadu would unflinchingly praise me even if I burnt the food, tore up his rose garden, or got pathetic marks in every single exam. In his eyes, I was perfect. I could do no wrong. Even the time I replaced his sweater for a similar coloured mosquito net, and he actually went halfway down the road untill someone pointed it out to him, even when I broke his specs into two, in a futile attempt to look studious. Not only did he not mind, he proudly went about telling the same to all his friends, showing off how naughty his Shona was. As if I was not notorious enough!

Dadu thought he was the luckiest man alive. Coming from a very poor family that migrated from Bangladesh, he could never tire of wondering how in the world he landed up taking an evening stroll in Juhu beach for the last years of his life. To remind himself of the days gone by, he kept rubbish in his small bag. It consisted of the most unnecessary things ever collected by man. But to him, they were priceless, they spoke the same language as he did when he himself, was a child. He often told me, "to be successful, all you need to do is remember how hard you worked to get till here". And perhaps to keep reminding me of his humble life, he always got me the same gift throughout his life. A single sweet in a small paper box, found in any roadside sweetshop in Kolkata. It was too sweet, too small, too cheap, but to me, it was priceless. Just like the stuff in his bag.

Then a time came when this relation was reversed. Dadu became ill. He became old. He often became, a child. And then, I became his mother. A very indulgent one at that. I bathed him, read him his newspapers, told him gossip from my teenage school life, supplied him with an occassional ciggarette. He was a demanding, yet happy child. One day, the happy child fell. In the closed confines of the bathroom.

Seeing the most vibrant man lying helpless in a hospital is probably the most scared I have ever been. I still dont know what ailment he suffered from. His lost his eyesight, he lost the strength in his legs, he kept losing his breath. I knew he would go anyday. As the doctor ruthlessly told us, it could be three days, it could be three years. I knew it was the beginning of the end. And i still allowed him to smoke in stealth. I wanted to give him what gave him joy. It would not make a difference as it was. Night after night, I woke up to see if he was breathing. If he was still in form to tell me another story. If he would still be my playmate.

Years have passed. I do not have to share my room with anyone anymore. I am finally, a single child, whose motherly instincts are uncalled for. His luck was with him untill the very end. He breathed his last among the closest people he had, in a second, without any pain, any prior warning. He just....vanished. He had gone to Kolkata to visit my aunt, and the day before he was supposed to be back, he called me saying the journey back home would be tiring. The next morning, he made his shortest, simplest, tireless journey possible.

I gave away his bag of rubbish with him. I was not sad. I did not cry. I did not know then.

Now I know. Now I need him again, to be proud of me when I am not good, to comfort me when nobody else will, to listen to my ramblings when all are too busy, to partake my imagination which nobody else understands...

Because now, you see, I am lonely.