Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.

There's a coup going on in this blog. A regime change is highly probable.

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

That sunshine lady…

The bus came to a screeching halt as if on the brink of a brake-failure.  The ensuing jolt made us all sit up straight. Yeah, for some of us, a mini bus is the closest you can get to experience G-forces as in a rollercoaster, everyday. Six new faces boarded the bus, just one caught my attention. “It’s gotta be a lady’s”…yup! I have to give that to you. Her face brought those “ponds googly-woogly-whoosh” TVCs to my mind. “You just made my day!”, I thought…..but something, somewhere didn't seem right.
The seats were all taken, so she stood at a corner behind the driver’s seat, typing frantically on her cell phone. Hints of perspiration were clearly visible along the lines of anxiety on her forehead. She was upset,  I could tell that. She looked out of the window, having finished her texting. The morning sun fell on her face and how it glowed! irradiating the interiors of the bus (for some reason, others were impervious to this phenomena as they remained unbothered ) even though it failed to lighten her up…"diya tale andhera", i concluded. The rickety bus kept on jerking n jolting giving this lady a hard time staying put. In the meanwhile, her phone gave an sms alert and she went on to read it. Her expressions changed drastically…a gush of blood settled on her cheeks and forehead as I watched her face redden (no problem making that out, such being her complexion). Her eyes moistened and were on the verge of a teary outburst. But slowly this lady steeled herself, all the while murmuring within herself, desperately trying to find equanimity even as teardrops rolled down her cheeks. And then she deployed her sunglasses.
It worked! Once her cheeks were patted dry with handkerchief, she was back to her radiant self (now that her reddened eyes were no longer visible) , looking extremely serene in that white attire of hers. Any traces of unpleasantness left on her face were effectively covered up by her auburn hair curls. The lady in question gazed out of the window for sometime, her lips involuntarily letting out a few sighs, her fingers fiddling with her bangles all the while.
I felt annoyed with Him. There’s no way that woman deserved distress; such a spoiler to her glowing persona. My stop was near, I got up and motioned her to take my seat. She smiled and issued a thanks as she settled down. Her grace took effect on me as the voice kept on tinkling in my head as I got off the bus. I turned around to find her gripping her phone firmly and looking at nowhere. The bus moved on and so did I...

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Winds of change????

With the women's resevervation bill having made it through the Rajya Sabha and now awaiting green signal from the Lok Sabha, Indian women seems to have woken up from the grogginess of being denied what they justly deserve. The clearly evident "winds of change" have been blowing over our campus for the past couple of weeks. Something really heartening caught my eyes, a few days back.
The bending lining the avenue leading to the first lobby of the administrative building, which doubles up as an open air hang out where students  have chats/discussions over beverages all the while perched on the bending assimilating a 360 Degree situational awareness. This used to be a strictly male bastion for decades, a "bird-watching" vantage point to be precise. Well, I came across a dozen juniors lodged at the bending killing time/bunking classes/observing...I did a quick headcount and the stats were quite familiar. 8 guys & 4 gals...that would be 33.33% of the fairer sex of the sample taken. Isn't this figure close to what political honchos are trying to peddle in the Lok Sabha...33% reservation...Whether it's coincidental or mindfully done, the fact that girls of BESU having taken to the bending is a positive trend regardless of the percentage involved. So, Viva La Femme!!! Go f**k urself, Mulayam!!

Mayawati admiring Mayawati...

Mayawati a.k.a Behenji looking up to the icon of woman power in India and maybe across the globe. And why not? After all she seems have it all i.e the looks, the moolah, the men, the tashan, the attitude, the monochromatic salwars, the hair-do, the spot light, the elephant..................
Take a bow, BEHENJI!
Your persona makes even Sonia look timid, Indira Nooyi incompetent, Kiran Bedi juvenile, Katrina gauche, Rakhi Sawant sober & Mallika well-dressed(the pun implied is intentional) 

**********I often wonder about the other possible implications or say alterations of this bill??
Maybe, instead of a single(two  in some cases) ladies seat in the buses, there can a 33% reservation applicable. Perhaps a 1/3rd of the total no. of bogies in a local train will be assigned "ladies special". Who knows Shankar- Ehsaan- Loy may surprise us by casting off somebody from themselves and inducting a woman in the trio.************************************************************
(Hey!! I know what "Mahila Arakshan" bill  states, that it doesn't hint at any of the things I mentioned above...still, this post explores new possibilities and extensions for the proposed bill above and over the reservation meant for elected representative bodies only. This gibber should be taken with a pinch of salt)

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

How would you prefer to die?? charred in a fiery inferno or the gravity assisted concussive death?

To watch those poor souls who took the leap from windows of the Stephen House as they came crashing down on the pavement just so to escape a death by fire, filled me with a myriad of thoughts whose essence still eludes me. What would I have chosen, had I been in their shoes?
 Exactly a month earlier we witnessed a similar tragedy at the Carlton Tower, Bangalore. Now, its easy  to draw parallels between the two incidents interestingly these accidents share the same date of a month i.e the 23rd. Almost similar negligence of fire safety measures, late emergency response, politicos milking the situation, the brave common man leading the rescue efforts while authority sheepishly shrug their shoulders of any liability etc. For us, denizens of Kolkata, turning on the idiot box to grab the latest breaking news, these events/accidents barely touch upon the eventuality of us getting trapped in similar mishappenings. You see, the Grimm Reaper has this trick up his sleeves, of catching one off guard; a surprise that he throws so aptly that you don't get the time to react.

In India, he doesn't even have to get his timing right because everywhere you look(don't mistake it for a paranoia), you can discover scores of deathtraps set for unwary victims. I won't dwell on the loopholes cuz there are simply too many to cover. 
 Simple hydrants and fire extinguishers are obviously ineffective against such raging fires. We must consider other more potent safety measures...cuz its prudence in assuming that fire brigade would never get to you in time.

* Fire escape chutes: must for high rises and apartments...Really effective for evacuating safely multiple victims rapidly. These cost quite a fortune but pays even by saving countless life in such dire circumstances.

* inflatable Rescue  cushions: Cost effective solution for saving people who jump out from a couple of floors above ground. These can be deployed really fast, could have saved so many people who died hitting the ledges and pavement trying to escape being burnt alive. Reports indicate them to be available with the fire services but kept in a godown somewhere in kolkata at an undisclosed location (Even the fire fighters don't know where!)

* Retractable escape ladders: Could have made a lot of difference for those who had to use cable TV wires and curtains to rappel down. The rescuers would have found them handy as well.

Automated Rappeling line for gently lowering victims down high rises:
Much better than those unreliable nylon ropes they put to use yesterday.

 * Fire Sprinklers: critical in arresting small fires before they can grow into a wild blaze. These are a standard in homes abroad but here in India, we can so easily give' em a miss.

well, i do know this...writing this post ain't gonna rustle even a leaf. Just so to lessen my guilt of being latent to do anything about it made me dig up this stuff . I have complete faith in the 100% desi "Chalta hai" spirit that these measures won't be there, in may God forbid, future fire accidents.

Monday, March 08, 2010

Everything is “fare” in love and war

How do you tell the relationship status between a hetero-couple travelling on a bus together?? Think , think…must have wondered at some point in time.
After much observation, consideration and subsequent deliberation, I can now identify with certain degree of accuracy as to what's cooking between the two i.e. their chemistry.
Here’s how…the omen lies in them paying fares…so watch out for the obvious signs.
#1. Dutch Treat: going dutch with bus fares is synonymous with “just acquaintance” variant of couples or the best of pals in some cases.
#2. Both of them reluctant to cough up fares: hmmn, misers!! Love doesn’t patronize misers! So minus the love angle…probably covert competitors/rivals who are trying to go one up…you know the types!
#3. Either one overtly eager to pay the fares: well, that's simple! One of them striving to earn some brownie points…not too late, pal!! the target ain’t tagged and bagged, yet!
#4. Both of them sticking out to pay for the other: Mutual affection there.maybe be stemming out of previous instances of benevolence but indicative of budding affection nevertheless… call it courtesy, chivalry or whatever.
#5. One of them pays while the other looks on: If the non-paying party appears condescending of the other, then
:-( forget it yaar ! They have reached a mutual understanding in accordance with their future financial designs.
:-) cool it yaar ! its his/her turn to pay…typical amongst daily commuters who travel together or colleagues.
#6. “left my money bag at home!”: you wouldn’t wanna get up, close and personal with these types…think preponed good riddance!
and finally…
#7 Either one of them smirks/chuckles on successfully coaxing the other to pay up: well the latter happens to be head over heels in love whereas the former is a cheap douche bag/leech.
(The views expressed in this post are completely personal in nature even though universal in appeal)

Friday, March 05, 2010

A subterranean tale of twisted fate…

Watching helplessly as trains came and went, I limped on with the queue as it snail-paced towards the ticket counter. The very limits of human longanimity were being re-configured as I quietly cussed my misery. To make matters even worse, Kolkata Metro doesn’t really have  air-conditioned stations anymore. The air inside was so heavy with humidity that even precipitation(read rain) seemed possible. Sweat, body odour, bad breath, stinking socks etc. immixed to a super-duper stink cock-tail, even thinking about which turns my stomach.

Another tidal wave of humanity descended upon on the rickety queue I was in and had to excuse umpteen commuters as they breached our lines and dashed towards the exit.

And then it happened! I felt a sharp pain rippling through my body, shooting up from the toes. Someone had bulldozed my feet. My renegade mouth let off the choicest of profanities like a shot. Someone stopped and took notice…

”Hey mister! watch your mouth!!!”
“Why don’t YOU watch where you step??”, I volleyed.
“It wasn’t intentional” …the voice was feminine.
<my line hobbled on> “ I’m so not convinced…my toes are crushed!!”
Our eyes met briefly but my toes pined for attention so I stooped to check the damage.and then it occurred to me…I was no longer in the queue, I was left behind. Using my innate steely will power to overcome pain and supreme agility (i was bitten by something, don’t ask we what, hence my super-powers) to scoot back to my spot as I tried to reclaim it.

“O Bhai!!! Ki Hocchhe?????” (“ what are you up to, bro??” in bengali with a pinch of animosity) , a collective protest went up in unison. I asked the man trailing me in that queue to let me in but that amnesiac(the very short term variant) bastard asked me to fall in line! “This isn’t happening to me”, I murmured. Someone tapped my shoulders and asked “Where is it you wanna go?”
New Garia! but why do you care?”I asked, a bit surprised why she was still around…uttering nothing, she walked away, couldn’t tell where.  I went back to the squabble with that sicko. When words became ineffective,I tried to push in as the counter was quite near. He resisted constantly fending me off but I didn’t relent. We took our tussle right up to the ticket counter where the ticket guy vexed by our immaturity asked a cop on duty to pluck both of us out of the line.

That plonker short-fused and lunged forward to get my neck…i ducked but I couldn’t get away…both of us got tangled in the next incoming wave of the commuters…he caught hold of my shirt. A fight seemed inevitable even though i was desperately trying to avoid one (for reasons best known to me). Fortunately, the cop intervened and whisked that man away ( maybe to hammer some sense into him). I wasn’t concerned where he went cuz I had to get back to any queue which would lead me to a coveted ticket.
Willy-Nilly, I scanned the options and picked one of the shorter queues.
Another tapping on my shoulder. “Now What?”, I swung around.
“Here’s your ticket.”
It was her…and she had a “3 zones 1 passenger” ticket( New Garia) in her hand.
“Why?…..”, I uttered.
“You are in this shit partly because of me being unmindful of my stepping” she had a simper on her face. Damn! that dame looked damn cute .
“Okay, but how did you…”, I was motioned by her to shut up…”It helps to be a girl…I asked this gent at that counter over there and he got this ticket for me”.
I reached for my purse to fish out the fare but…”Don’t you dare give me those 8 bucks, your ticket is on me as a "penance" for trampling your toes and the mess!!”, she said.
I felt a sudden urge to ask her name (and of course, her number) and opened my mouth but had to zip it up immediately.
“Mister, just because of what I did for you, don’t start getting ideas,okay?” Omigosh! Did she read my mind?? Maybe bec…”I’m XYZ by the way, ABC college”. I was zapped & speechless. “I guess you can figure out the rest. Bye!”and she headed for the exit.
Numbly, I took the stairs down to the platform to catch my ride home pensively attempting to appraise myself with what all had transpired in the past 2400 seconds.
I found myself standing in a train speeding towards New Garia, amidst a bone-crushing crowd, painting a very rosy picture for myself.