Friday, 11 April 2014

Horror of Horoscope!

Those of you are from West Bengal and regularly go through vernacular dailies; must have noticed ads of various ‘Jotish’ cover mostly half of a page. Occasionally they cover even more! Don’t think they get any concession for putting ads on newspapers. Obviously they can well afford those expensive Ads; since they yield. I used to surmise in 2014; how come so many ‘Babas’or “Jyotish’ who promise to solve your problems within 3 minutes, dare to advertise publicly! Our democratic law is so lenient that anyone can claim anything putting advertisements publicly. They may sale residential plots in ‘moon’ at a cheaper rate. There is none to question! Off course; there are people who get duped and have no complaint over them or their practices.

I have visited few of them; sometime on curiosity or other time being pursued by someone closed. Every time I felt convinced while sitting before them. Later when I recounted the whole thing, it came clear, the man talked a lot and initially he asked why I was there for. There is the answer. I told him the problem; he wove the imaginary solutions that may not solve your problem but bury it. Once I asked a renowned astrologer, who regularly contributes to a prestigious magazine on astrology, whether he finds my change of residence in near future! He simply said if you get good deal; sell it and buy another. Coolly while bypassed my question without offering no concrete foretelling. It’s just this way all other persons I met from astrological community they offer solutions. Some forecast imminent problems like accidents or terminal sickness and offer solutions with some gem stones or stems. They mostly refer particular stores wherefrom you should buy. They make sure that they get commission for what you buy.

Jothish, sooth Sayers or fortune tellers were always present in our society. But they were never so buzzing as they are now. How the profession became so lucrative remained a question in my mind. Of late; while venturing for negotiation marriage of my son; I got the answer. The terms like ‘Mangolik’, Bhowmo Dosh’, ‘Sare Sati’ or ‘Kalsorpo yog’ are very common these astrologers use and encash. All of them bear a covert threat for bring misfortune to your life! Negotiation marriage invites their tantrums in almost full-fledged manner in our society. This was unthinkable or so wide-spread two or three decade ago. My parents never consulted any astrologer for their wards marriage. So there were many others too. Are we moving forward or backward; I ask myself! Few had faith, as always in it and they insisted. Fortunately in my life time I hardly ever come across any of them. But to my utter surprise I find now, barring few exception most insist of horoscope matching. May be our society has become much vulnerable to modern world’s vice like divorce, separations et el. Celebrities like Amitabh Bachhan, had a lot of media coverage while getting his son married with another ‘Mangolik’ film star. This too appear to have proved a boon for so called Astrologers.  Now they have field days; so the gem-stone sellers. Just think people spends thousands or some time even lacs of rupees for gem that have mostly no re-sale value! Open any newspaper and find the ads or gem sellers. Offering original gems promising you to turn from rag to riches!

Nowhere in the world such trades are legal or allowed. It’s incredible INDIA again.

Monday, 11 March 2013

DIGITAL WORDS: Why do I love working out so much

DIGITAL WORDS: Why do I love working out so much: I was 16 when I took the gym membership for first time. So it's been 12 years I am continuing this. Yes, I am not ashamed to call mysel...

Sunday, 2 September 2012

Our Metro Society!

Life in metro; for most of us is becoming unsocial day by day. Open up news paper in the morning; you sure to find some news of crime or nuisance done by anti-socials. We are used to it. But the story of family suicide hitting the headlines; may still surprise you! These are the acts committed by un-socials. Modern life and society robbed us the community culture long back; iota of it still used to exist in the form of religious celebrations like Holi, Diwali or Dusherra. Off late ever that is also waning. Now a day; we hardly find our friends, kith and kins visiting our homes on such occasions. Thanks to cellular revolution; keeping in touch telephonically became or wishing someone occasionally became accepted norm initially. Now facebook does the things; leaving us totally cut-off from family and friends. Some feels it’s the last nail in the coffin of relationship! Unless someone is in need; rarely comes the phone call; keep afar visiting physically. Without our knowledge; many of us have turned allergic to visiting guests. Entertaining someone for hours or even days; used to be matter of pleasure few years ago. Now for many it’s unthinkable. We have time for facebook, TV serials, newspapers or magazines but not for friends or visiting guests; they are botheration. There is no common topic or matter of interest to share with. If it’s there; better they are shared in facebook or outdoors. Calling someone at home or residence is the last option and so is visiting someone at his place. Well, in most of developed countries societies are so. There they meet in pubs or clubs. Not that here we don’t; we do, we did; local tea or coffee shops are still popular meeting points of many. But paying visits at times used to be a part of our social life to warm-up the relations. Now tragically both are waning; even the tea or coffee shops have far lesser regulars.
 Recent news shocked us that three ladies, an octogenarian and her two daughters committed suicide, jumping off from 34th floor of Kolkata’s high rise in one of most posh areas. Both the daughters in their mid-fifties were unmarried. One of them had commercial pilot’s license and other was a Table Tennis coach! They lost their old, ailing father just two days before. What appears they planned their joint suicide much early; as they donated their cash and properties to one University! Police found a bag containing papers related to donations and their mobile phone. And phone did not have any of their relative or friends phone number!  The flat where they were residing; they were just known by face, nothing more! People could not tell anything about them to police. So, this appears to be an extreme case of being unsocial and the tragic consequence. Will social sites like facebook fill-in the gap?

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Spirituality and Middle class

Somewhere I read; some wise guy drew conclusion after discussing a lot about human faith and  dependence on God; that man created the God! My poor memory does not help me to recapitulate his whole narration but this, his last sentence cast a permanent impression even in my dull brain. In fact history suggests since ancient times where ever human civilization developed in whichever form, they had their own God. Chinese had their own; so the Mayas or Aztecs ;despite of their civilization proliferated on either side of Pacific!

In fact , in the initial stages of civilization mankind felt quite unsecured and vulnerable before wild animals and natural calamities. To hunt or fight they needed strength; that was physical and to brave flood or thunder storm they needed stamina; that was mental.  For both they looked for placebo and that was God.

Well; I don’t want to be dragged into the charge of blasphemy; after all the God is great to provide us unique elixir in terms of ‘hope’. And that helps us to endure with patience, tolerance through ups and downs of life. Though the basic formula of living life is ‘ trust in God but keep your powder dry’. With absolute faith in God no one could ever survive without appropriate protective measures. You are sick; suffering from tuberculosis. Without antibiotic no God can pull you out from clutches of death. But with antibiotic and faith in God can hasten your recovery as you have more mental strength with your faith.

(pic of Indo-Greek God)

Now; as the title of this article suggests, the god and urban middle class; what is the conjunction! In fact; in our urban or metro societies we find many people who can be branded as ‘God fearing’.  They go to temple regularly. offer their obeisance or ‘puja’; draw a ‘Tilak’ on their temple and attend their trade or calling. Like me , there must be many of you surprised seeing optimum corrupt officials or businessmen being so ‘ god fearing’. In their offices the picture of some ‘god or goddess’ hung on the wall, incense sticks are burnt emitting a holy smell all around; and the man within is just waiting like hawk for a vulnerable pray. For him the god is their to keep steady supply of his visitors who would readily grease his palm or give in to his wants.  Go to any Police station to verify this or for a change you may visit income or sales tax offices too. God is every where.


Saturday, 2 June 2012

THE BYSTANDER: Driving with electricity

THE BYSTANDER: Driving with electricity

Driving with electricity

One million plug-in hybrid vehicles on America's roads by 2015 – what seemed utopian just a few years ago is now President Obama’s stated goal. The world’s rising demand for energy, limited oil resources as well as stricter environmental and climate protection regulations are causing us to rethink our driving habits in order to achieve sustainable transportation and energy efficiency. Electric vehicles, powered largely by electricity generated from renewable sources of energy, meet these objectives extremely well. Electric vehicles are destined to eventually conquer the last great bastion of conventional fuel consumption – road traffic.

Green transportation: Electric cars and vehicles in urban traffic

Particularly in cities, quiet, emission-free electric vehicles are ideal green transport solutions. Public urban transportation, such as trams and trolleybuses has been part of our lives for many decades. Electric cars and vehicles are the only forms of transportation that provide a clean solution for individual mobility. Electric cars, electric bicycles, and electric scooters are therefore gaining in popularity. For electric cars to make a real breakthrough, the automotive and electrical industries will have to come together and jointly create the necessary infrastructure for electromobility.

Fit for everyday use

Siemens started writing the book on the electric car in 1905, when it produced about 50 “Electric Viktoria” cars, which were used in everyday traffic as elegant hotel taxis and delivery trucks. They moved at a speed of up to 30 km/h, traveling about 80 km on one battery charge.
Today, Siemens is again a pioneer in electromobility. Though Siemens does not produce electric cars, it has established a separate business unit that develops key components for the drive train of electrically powered cars and light commercial vehicles. The portfolio includes electric motors, power electronics, and smart on-board charging technology.
Siemens researchers are also working together with the German company RUF Automobile GmbH on innovative concepts for the high end car market. They are building ten test electric cars based on the Porsche 911 focusing on modular drive trains and intelligent charging. Findings from field testing will be used to further improve the entire vehicle and sustainable mobility.
Pioneer: The “Electric Viktoria” in 1905
Pioneer: The “Electric Viktoria” in 1905

Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Ali and My Mother

I was just transferred to that small district town. As a bachelor I found it was difficult for me to get a modest accommodation on rent. My colleges were all quite supportive, promised to find out one. But even after a month they too failed to find a hovel for their young boss. Their hesitation to disclose the reason for the failure of their sincere mission turned me bit curious. I asked Burrababu , calling him into my chamber considering this would offer required confidentiality. Frankly disclosing uncomfortable situation with my purse after meeting the hotel bills for a whole month; I pleaded staying in hotel for discharging my duties would finally land bankrupt! Mind you; salary in 70s with government job was not so lucrative. Burrababu understood my point; then submitted prudently that as a eligible bachelor I am not eligible for accommodation on rent from any good Samaritan. Just think my plight!

Getting married was a long drawn process as far as arranged marriages are concerned. The same is true even today. Thank God! Most of the parents are relieved by their smart wards of this arduous task these days. So; for getting a rental accommodation to keep my body and soul together with meager salary, my aged widow mother volunteered for my rescue. The lady was Victorian in nature. As in those days, a Brahmin , widow lady used to be strictly vegetarian and people surrounding her should adhere to her own set rules and regulations. I her only son , was just the right humble subject. Burrababu immediately found one two bedroom sprawling single storied accommodation for her with a local Brahmin family. They too were apparently delighted finding a lady tenant with her bachelor boy.

Well the days there after become easy. At least at the end of the week I did not have to worry about the hotel bills. It even less the half I had spend for running my household with mother than what I was paying to hotel wallas. In six months I developed a rapport with my colleagues. They are happy with their less experienced, almost stupid boss who believed in them and accepted their bare lies as truth! However, I felt amused watching one lying before me in most amateurish posture.
Amongst them Ali, was different. The man was sincere and hard working. He was the only Muslim in that office and I found him bit lonesome. At times I used to call him in my chamber just for a chat. Found the man was a ardent reader and updated with all the recent developments Bengali literature. Interesting; our friendship crossed the barrier of men-officer fencing. Ali use to invite me to his house for dinner time and again. He was newly married and staying in nearby locality. I just casually use to not his invitation , never to accept it really. Neither, I ever gave a serious consideration to them. Ali became insistent; just to divert the direction; I told him ' I am you boss why don't you come to my place with your wife for dinner'. Ali readily agreed.

How stupid I was I tried to gauge in that evening when I was heading to my house. At the time of inviting Ali, it did not crossed my mind how my mother would see it! An all white, Brahmin widow traditionally would not cook or serve one who is not from here community. It was something like tapped in one's own trap. I surrendered to my mother. By then she developed good relation with Burrababu's family. She assured me the day Ali comes, she would go to Burrababu's house and be back after Ali's departure. Think my embarrassment. But I had confidence in Ali, consoled myself Ali would understand.

The next Sunday; I was getting ready to receive Ali; I already talked to local Hoteliers, who promised to protect my dignity and assured the best non-vegetarian lunch they would deliver at my door. I was surprised watch my mother was not in hurry to leave for Burarbabu's house. I reminded her, Ali was expected at any moment. She revolted and retorted back ' you want me to be out and you enjoy their company alone!'. I was shocked to hear her comments! Ali turned up with his wife ; they both were bright and wore a very smiling face. Perhaps my embarrassing look did not escape their notice; aging to my utter dismay they appeared to be more amused for my embarrassment. Then to my horror; my mother turned up. Ali's wife bent her and touched her feet in cent percent traditional Hindu style. My mother embraced her closed to her body and dragged her to her own room!
Ali stayed for the whole day. His wife took her afternoon nap sleeping beside my mother right on her bed. In the evening when they were about to leave, my mother started weeping for her incapability to cook non-vegetarian dishes for her daughter. I was perplexed!

Wednesday, 22 February 2012

Old Age

Aging being a natural process; we all age but few are aware of this. Here is a story I received; narrates the embarrassment of this natural precess : .... Several days ago as I left a meeting at our church, I desperately gave myself a personal TSA pat down.  I was looking for my keys. They were not in my pockets.  A quick search in the meeting room revealed nothing.  Suddenly I realized, I must have left them in the car.  Frantically I headed for the parking lot.  My wife, Diane, has scolded me many times for leaving the keys in the ignition.  My theory is the ignition is the best place not to lose them.  Her theory is that the car will be stolen. As I burst through the doors of the church, I came to a terrifying conclusion.  Her theory was right.  The parking lot was empty.  I immediately call the police.  I gave them my location, confessed that I had left my keys in the car, and that it had been stolen. Then I made the most difficult call of all, "Honey," I stammered.  I always call her "honey" in times like these.   "I left my keys in the car, and it has been stolen." There was a period of silence.  I thought the call had been dropped, but then I heard Diane's voice.  "Ken" she barked, "I dropped you off!"  Now it was my time to be silent.  Embarrassed, I said, "Well, come and get me." Diane retorted, "I will, as soon as I convince this policeman I have not stolen your car?"

Sunday, 27 November 2011

Horror Story !!

This happened about a month ago near Lonavala.  A guy was driving from Bombay to Pune and decided not to take the new expressway as he wanted to see the scenery along the old road. The inevitable happened, when he reached the mountains. His car breaks down - he's stranded miles away from nowhere.  Having no choice, he started walking along the side of the road, hoping to get a lift to the nearest town.
It was dark and rainy. And pretty soon he got wet and started shivering. The night rolled on, and no car passed
Suddenly he sees a car coming towards him. It slows down and nearly stops next to him. Without waiting or thinking a bit , the guy opens the door and jumps into the rear of car which starts moving by then....  Seated in the back, he leans forward to thank the person who had saved him. To his horror, he realizes there is nobody behind the wheel!!!........  Even though there's no one in the front seat, and no sound of any engine, the car starts moving slowly. The guy looks at the road ahead and sees a curve coming. Scared almost to death. he starts to pray, begging the Lord for his life.

He hasn't come out of shock, when just before he hits a curve, a hand appears through the window and moves the wheel! The car negotiates the curve safely, and continues on the road to the next bend. The guy, now paralyzed in
terror, watches the same hand appearing every time  they approach a curve and later moving the steering wheel just enough to get  the car around each bend.

Finally, the guy sees some bright lights ahead. God!..... Gathering all his courage, he silently wrenches open the rear door of the slowly-moving car, scrambles out, and runs as hard as he can towards the lights. It's a small town.

He stumbles into a restuarant, and asks for a drink, and breaks down. Then he starts talking about the horrible experience  he's just been through, to the people around.

There is dead silence in the restaurant when he stops talking ......... . . 

.... . . . . . . . . .

.... . . . . . . . . .

......  that's when Santa Singh and Banta Singh walk in.
Santa angrily points to the fellow and shouts  'Look Banta,  that's the idiot who got into our car, when we were pushing it.'

Tuesday, 20 September 2011

My siprited Colleague; Amit Sammadar!

I can not remember when I first saw him! May be in early 90s; when at our main branch in Dalhousie area used to hold lot of indoor games competitions like Carom, Bridge and Table tennis ; I found him playing cards. I remember his head was covered with a white towel cap. This made me curious! I heard of him earlier, that one alike me from Air Force, joined our Bank in one of our North Calcutta's branch. He was playing cards with deep concentration and some time howling with triumphal joy as usual in any competitive card games here. The man was heavily built with muscular body and emitting a masculine spirit in all his gesture. With a voluminous voice and typical accent of 'Bangladesh'; he sounded warm and humorous. That was the first sight of him I had.

Back in office I enquired about his 'towel cap' in sultry summer evening. To my utter surprise came to know the man was fighting cancer! It was his nose , that was affected. I tried to visualized the man I saw, full with spirit, not a slight symptom of any disease. I heard that chemo therapy had its effects and his hair fell; so he was covering his head with that cap! I scolded myself for thinking of him something mischievous; looked like joker! Anyway human minds go astray sometime, I consoled. He cast a deep impression in me; I felt him living with old Air Force spirit; fly till die.

For the past twenty years; time and again we met. Later got introduced, talked sometime in trivial matters, joked but never felt that the man standing in front , has been suffering from dreadful disease. Heard from his friends about his chemo therapies; how boldly he used to take them, surprising even the treating physicians. I never heard him discussing his disease or treatments on any occasion. He ever remained bold and spirited; hair fell and grew again but he remained the same.

This year he retired in the first quarter. I met him once after his retirement and found with the same spirit; talked about his time after superannuation. He seemed happy and fulfilled. Just yesterday I heard he is sick and admitted in a Nursing Home. Today I heard he left us for ever! Last word he uttered with a smile, I fought in Air there ; so fight with cancer here; both are risky but adventurous!
Well he was my colleague Amit Sammadar; hat's off; my kudos.

Monday, 12 September 2011

We loot; please don't hoot!

M.L.Shah, who upheld the cause of circulation of small and medium news papers and periodicals in our country; specially in the eastern region. I remember him as he inspired me to fight with pen; the man never thought that the days of pen was counted then; the key board arrived, soon after his departure from this earth!The present generation may not know there were many small local news papers published from many of our district towns even two decades ago. Some small periodicals or weekly like Blitz; enjoyed pan Indian popularity amongst educated middleclass. Mr R K Karanjia was the editor. In 60s and 70s; his weekly carried a fresh report every week with the title “ India’s do-nothing projects”. That revealed the scams and quantified the loots, pinpointing the looters! With no Anna Hazare or  omni present medias; they went on and on undaunted.
In fact India has a history of looters except Mughals; so you cannot blame us for looting. It is in our genetic codes. Generations after generations having been ruled, nurtured, cultured by looters; you ought to be their followers. The last band of looters were from overseas, the Brits. So now we loot, pilfer and stash the cash with overseas Swiss banks.v
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