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.

Friday, July 30, 2010

charting my way by streetlights...

The 6th of April, 2010 is definitely going to leave some impression in my mind. That evening i did something stupid yet got satisfaction out of doing it ( Kindly keep the temptation of thinking something entirely out of place, at bay , for the time being :). In one of my quite frequent mood-swings, i challenged myself to get off the bus someplace near the Victoria Memorial and to walk all the way home navigating through lesser known streets and lanes.

A requisite of this challenge implied me not asking anybody directions; only taking cue from the landmarks i encountered and the use of billoards or glo-signs to get my bearings. Cellphone use was obviously out of question.This was agreed upon subconsciously to make sure that i have only the sense of direction to help me get back to my crib. My conscience was entrusted with the responsibility of officiating this weird deed. "Weird" cuz i don't think u would come across many who would waste time trying to get lost willingly.
So, I plugged the ipod in my ears and got off the bus. As my feet hit the tarmac, the eardrums began vibrating with coldplay's "cemeteries of london", sending a wave of vitality through my body. The fatigue (reminiscent of the hectic time i had back in the college) vanished and all i desired was to get moving. Now, to keep walking is one thing but to get somewhere I had to proceed with purpose...That means basically to pick one of the four directions...So the place where I stood, south (my home's in south kolkata) was to my right. But there were so many streets to choose from.

The thing about neighbourhoods in Kolkata is that the lanes are serpentine and have plenty of dead ends...worse, if you loose track of the places you passed, it's probable that you may take a wrong turn cause at night time the buildings hopelessly similar. My strategy was to follow the streetlights...to avoid lanes with less or dimly-lit streetlamps and stick to properly illuminated path with considerable traffic...As a result the streetlights became my waypoints; I was wary enough to align the streetlights such that I keep heading south following them.

Watching out for these waypoints closely, I stumbled upon a small discovery of sorts...No two of the streetlights I came across were alike...the streetlight posts were like the totem poles of the locality they were in...the profile of people living there could be read from these posts...
In the posh colonies, the streetlight poles were mostly devoid of any grass/moss at the base, no hand painted message or posters glued to the body...just glow-signs/kiosks for anything from pizzas to dance classes...cars and bikes parked near them...some elderly people and mostly buddy-gangs sharing experiences from the day that went by, taking up position beneath those posts soaking in the soft light from the sodium vapor lamp lighting up a small patch of the tiled pavement...

Distinctly different were the lamp posts in shoddy, less privileged neighbourhoods...
Most of the posts had hawkers sprawling around it...be it tea stalls, tit-bits or even ayurvedic medicine stalls...only the posts near open air lavatories were spared...the posts were covered with coloured posters/ flyers for more practical purpose say tutions, income tax consultants and of course, consultants for sexual problems...urchins alongwith kids from housing societies playing unmindful of the autos and cars incessantly horns honking jostling to weave through the dingy lane further constricted by the overflowing street side canal. Countless accounts of love affairs were scratched on these posts by lovers who wished for a public acknowledgement.

 I kept moving by following the streetlights lined towards the south till I got my ass over to Jadavpur Thana having walked a good many kilometers on a way one wouldn't come across while using public transport. I convinced myself that the terms of the challenge had been fulfilled and took an auto to get back to the coziness of my bed. Lest my mom began doubting my sanity, I didn't give the actual reason why I got home late that evening.

In case, the whole concept of trying to get lost in city (of course, premeditated) or the purpose of writing a blog on it appears beyond reason, then I say give it a try and let me know.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lafangey Darindey and likes....

Be it "Creativity" or "Artistic Necessity"...the keen and the curious will always find strange titles(movies and serials/daily soaps*) being hurled at them ...Did you hear "Dabangg", "Teri Bin laden", "Lafangey parindey", "Milenge milenge" by chance?? or you may have come across the biggies; "Once upon a time in Mumbai" , "Agley Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo" yada yada yada...
KISS formula is now a passe....Keeping It Short n Sweet is no longer the concern.
The new norm is that titles should either have rarefied, iterated words or half a dozen word stringed together. Got this in your formula then rest assured, attention is sure to follow and attention spells money...so to all you perverts having the hots for a complicated name...Cheers!
As for me, i still prefer "Ziddi" & "Zor" for a Sunny Deol movie...Certainly works much better than "Kal kissne Dekha" for a Jaccky Bhagnani (Pardon me if the spelling's wrong).

And the trend if far from over because even fresher, infinitely more challenging and intellectually taxing titles are waiting to be dug up from the graves of modern lexicon.....subtitles bearing the meaning or interpretation of movie, soap etc. will soon have to be provided for the "not so learned' audience....The whole frenzy will get so intricate that the multiplex guys will be compelled to hand out flyers justifying the film-makers motive behind going for such tiltles...as for TV, pilot promos bearing the context and explanation for the titles will be composed and aired prior to their premiere...
India's on the verge of vocabulary overdose and as always pre-empting the future, I've come up with some really hep names meant for books like "1001 Baby names"...should people get the idea of going for a long and complicated (i.e. names which leak IQ in between letters)
for your eyes only...
Sample "Ms.GkG.Saxena" or "Mr.MdL Balhara" for a change...attention guaranteed!


"What's in a name? That which we call a rose
By any other name would smell as sweet."........

Shut thy f**king mouth, you imbecile!
U game for name??

* Daily "Soaps"...now where did that come from??

"The name soap opera stems from the original dramatic serials broadcast on radio that had soap manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble, Colgate-Palmolive, and Lever Brothers as sponsors and producers.These early radio serials were broadcast in weekday daytime slots when mostly housewives would be available to listen; thus the shows were aimed at and consumed by a predominantly female audience and hence the name Daily Soaps was coined for serials."
-- unceremoniously ripped off from the Wikipedia...

Friday, July 16, 2010

Congratulations! It doesn't work!

My trusted ''sometimes shaken but never stirred'' PC is just 3 months away from its 3rd ''birthday'' (though assembly-day or installation-day should have been more apt). Despite all the strenuous rigors I put my machine through, it hardly ever bothered me with any technical issue, except something as routine as a hard disk formatting on a few occasions. This year (here comes the disheartening bit) my PC outlives its warranty period. So, come November, any and every repair or replacement of its hardware is gonna dent my wallet (my dad's to be precise).

This does have an impact on your mental peace. I feel pangs of morbid realisation that one day I'll have to stare at some defunct part of the PC which no longer enjoys the umbrella of warranty. At times like this, sinister thoughts cross your mind...such as what if the entire machine breaks down in a manner in which the whole machine can be replaced i.e. before the warranty expires ? I'll get a new PC in replacement...that too without dropping even a penny...cool,nah?
Of course, ''a far fetched idea this is...'' as master yoda would have put it. However, this did happen to some extent...my PC, on the 26th May, without  any prior warning, broke down and would not boot despite my best efforts. With a hope in my heart (to find a fatal yet replaceable problem in the PC) and prayer on my lips, I began diagonsis and soon found out that in all probability, its the RAM (ZION 1 GB DDR2) that had gone kaput.
Distraught at not finding any other problem, I resigned with the job of having that RAM replaced at the Zion service center near Orient theatre somewhere on the Chittaranjan Avenue.
To look for the service centre in the heart of Kolkata's Chandni Chowk area is a daunting task. Its basically a miniature manhattan minus the skyscapers and that most of the buildings are rickety, some so dilapidated that they would soon make it to the breaking news...
Disasters waiting to happen, thats what they are. This building I was seeking for had a liquor shop on the ground floor, tailoring and laundary facility on the second and ZION help desk on the third. Frankly speaking had it not been for a ''Blue Dart'' guy(traffic cop, local paan wala, porters and others were no help at all),I would have taken hours to reach the office. Now this ''help desk'' was a door leading to an office. The door had a neatly cut window with a panel placed on the sil horizontally. On that panel was placed a register and pen, a poster which read ''no admission to non-staff'' had been fixed on the door. Inside the office from what I could gather, there were six or seven tables with motherboards, monitors, tea cups, paper littered all over them.
 The people inside the office had the air of government babus as they took momentary breaks from their gupshup to attend to the clients and customers. I went ahead and entered my name in the register...one of the fields of the register asked about the problem...I felt like writing ''RAM ram satya hai'' but did not.
A distant voice from inside the office almost instantly asked me to get in the queue. Ah, the queue! Only seven harrowed customers in there...waiting for their turn...eyes on the wall clock and ears standing out trying to make out if they were being summoned by the ''babus''. I joined the queue...and soon it became evident that it would take a while to get anywhere near that ''help desk''.
Hanging out like that with nothing happening, made my mind go into a sub-conscious surveillance mode (Interestingly, it has been scientifically ascertained that the human conscious mind gathers info at 16 bits/sec whereas the non-conscious mind works at around 11 million bits/sec...kindly refer to the movie Karthik calling Karthik to discover more about the powers vested with the sub-conscious mind) ...I could distinctly pick up what others were mumbling, my eyes were seeking targets of opportunity i.e. Bills, warranty papers, the parts which were to be repaired or replaced. Preliminary prying revealed 5 out of those seven cases were that of malfunctioning RAM. The other two had motherboard problems. I kept on assimilating ambient info.
Very soon the first guy in the line left the counter...he walked off spouting an assortment of colorful  language... I asked the gent in front about the issue...he wasn't sure himself so he asked someone standing in front of him and the question got relayed to the lady now standing at the window, being serviced. Answer was relayed back in the same fashion...they found his RAM fully functional...but our "behaved" guy won't believe them, he was hell-bent on having it replaced (probably it was the stress seeping into him realising that  some other parts of his PC might as well be damaged and it led to his erratic insober behaviour...to come this far...find this building in the urban jungle...stand in a queue braving the hot and humid corridor leading to helpdesk and ultimately  to walk off empty hand is certainly depressing...Gotta give that to him). Meanwhile, the babus(read service engineers) inside were having a good laugh over his anguish. As the minutes hand on the clock ticked on, impatience kept growing...and those intermittent bursts of laughter originating from somewhere inside the office were getting really irksome. Soon the lady being served at the ''help desk'' was relieved and she had a big grin...her face was glowing with smugness as she flashed her newly replaced RAM in front of us...However, she was very quick to realise that it wasn't the RAM which had us all gravitating towards her, that something in her left hand...a brand new ''Zebronic'' audio/PC headset worth nothing less than a 100 bucks. ''oh! This??? They are giving away small gifts for RAM replacement cases like mine...''.

 She left the place teeming with people now reeling from heightened desperation to get their peripherals replaced by any means. The next two hopefuls were denied within the first few minutes of preliminary inspection. The parts they  brought this far worked okay on being tested by the technicians inside. Both of them made a quiet exit. Next up to try his luck was a twenty something fellow who was visiting this center for the third time (his claims for a replacement were dismissed on the previous occasion), and he was confident that this time his motherboard would surely prove flawed. This unassuming, bespectacled, lanky lad tensed as a would-be father outside a maternity ward, was eagerly expecting the report...soon the technician turned up. These were his exact words, ''yeh toh apko pasand nahi karti, par maike aate he kaam karne lagi !''... A feeling of pain and dismay flushed the face of the guy as if he had been kicked in his groin,''What?? U can't be serious!'', and the argument ensued but his plight fell on wax clogged ears of the technicians. I felt pity for that guy as he went away after his hope of getting a new motherboard for his aging one was dashed.

The line moved on...3 more failures and a single successful replacement later, my turn came. The passed on my RAM to the technician...he had a suspicious look on his face,'' You sure this thing malfunctions??''. ''I would not have taken the pain of coming all the way over here, otherwise.''
The eye contact lasted for a while...we sized each other up...the technician turned away with a dry grin on his face,'' I'll be back!''
So this ''Schwarzenegger'' left the help disk in a manner which suggested he was pissed. Now normally this implies the job at hand suffers miserably, but to my surprise it did not. The RAM passed the examination with flying colors. It proved itself to be faulty enough to deserve a replacement. That technician had a heartburn uttering, '' Congratulations! It doesn't work!!''...'' We'll replace it free of cost as it is covered by our guarantee and you'll get a complimentary headset for having availed our services.'' Not often does one feel so thankful about something not working properly. I joined the elite list of customers who could afford to breathe easy even when the guarantee period  is at its fag end even if only for a RAM.