It’s 3 o clock in the morning. Perpetually sleepless. Not in a mood to work. Bored of watching TV series. Tried and failed to watch a movie (Realization : Romantic Woody Allen is not such a good idea at 3 in the morning).  So, I turned to writing some crappy thoughts I have been getting over the past few days.

Well, I have decided I am going to settle down in India.

I know it’s a bit out of place, out of time, out of my age, and really weird to state such a verdict at 3 in the morning. Let me explain. First of all, I love travelling and also own a personal bucket list of places I want to go, dishes I want to try and things I want to do in different places just like a million other people. When I go to a place, I hardly ever complain about food, accommodation,  dry sanitation (hope you get what I mean),  home-sickness, weather and other usual Indian complains. Honestly, I am a pretty adjustable guy. Now, having visited more than ten countries, residing in one of them for around two months and with virtually no complains of adjustability, I think I can safely make this decision.

Being from one of the better colleges of India, I have had to hear this countless number of times from friends and relatives :  “I hope after graduating you would be taking a job in abroad right?” ; “Aapke bete ka Amrica jaane ka plan hai kya?” ; “Dude, Rio Tinto is THE JOB man! Package of 30 lakhs, Australia, Office Job, it has to be awesome!” ; “Haan yaar! I got a offer from UCB as well as Georgia! Spoilt for choices! but jo bhi ho, I am settling down there after my masters, bro!” ;

I have always been very confused about all this. This question has haunted me since around a year and a half. What should be my call?

 I guess I have finally been able to decide. Usually, decisions are made on the basis of reasoning and deliberation. But this time the decision was made first and then I tried to deliberate.

Honestly speaking, I haven’t yet found a satisfactory reason obviously because of the long list of benefits which favours settling abroad like easier life, higher salary, better standard of living, better health-care, more professionalism and the list is endless, but somehow, despite the long list of these perks, I feel this decision which I have made is one of my best decisions ever.

One of the reasons I think might be that, in India, there is this hard fact that you can feel in every step of your life, ‘Survival of the Fittest’! With such a mammoth population, the competition and rat-race is enormous as well. You have to fight at every step for the smallest of achievements. Perhaps, I have got used to this fighting and life now seems incomplete without this which is why I kept feeling throughout my two month stay in Taiwan, that I have a good dormitory to live, pretty good food, good transportation facilities, working five days a week and travelling on weekends…then what is it that I am missing?

Another reason, I felt can be the reason behind this decision is the sense of belonging. No matter, how many years you live in Paris, you will never ever be a Parisian . No matter, how many years you live in China, you can never learn Mandarin. No matter, how many years you live in NYC and how many trains you board there, you will never get the feeling of travelling in Mumbai local at the peak hours.

There are plenty of reasons which makes me think my decision is right. It maybe that I still prefer Bollywood hindi songs more than hip-hop or rock. It maybe that, given an option, I would still prefer to go to Kashmir or Himachal rather than Switzerland (Yes, The Himalayas much more beautiful than Alps, trust me). It maybe that I still love stopping the car and asking for directions rather than reaching the exact location using GPS. It maybe that I still prefer my good old non-touch phone rather than smart-phones and tablets. Maybe, I still love reading the news from newspaper rather than my tablet. Yes, maybe I am outdated. Maybe, I am living in the past. But, I am happy with it. I had read somewhere, Science and technology is advancing rapidly. Then a simple thought whirred past my mind, isn’t it getting a bit faster than humans can adapt themselves to? At least, it is pretty fast for me.

So, as you see, I have a lot yet no fully satisfying reason to support my verdict. I may go abroad to work or study for a couple of years, but India is my final destination, that I know. I just cannot live without the chaos every second of life. I just cannot live without the rat-race. The aimless talks over just a tea. The Hindi abuses. The smell of butter-chicken. The breaking of traffic rules. The multi-cultural, multi-linguistic nature. You can see a hot desert in India. You get a cold one too. You see a part of India getting flooded in torrential downpours, when another part suffers from drought. You can see temples, churches, mosques, guru-dwaras and monasteries here. In the same city, where on one hand you see one of the most expensive complexes of the country, on the other hand you can see the gigantic spread of World’s largest slums.  Seriously, India is indeed different. These differences may sometimes not be that good. But I guess, I have got used to these differences and I cannot survive without these. I simply cannot.Image

TAIWAN in 5!

Posted: June 11, 2013 in Uncategorized

Okay! here I am, sitting in a jam packed dorm room of a university in Taiwan, pursuing my 2 month summer internship. Still a month to go.

When I came to this country, all I knew about Taiwan was it’s tensed political condition with China and Taipei 101. That’s about it. But this one month in this country has given me some memories that will remain etched forever in my memories. I met a whole lot of new people, explored new places, hitch-hiked with virtually no money in my wallet, tried a  completely new variety of delicacies (No, they don’t just eat insects, trust me!). There are a few things which has made this country indeed special for me and I think, they deserve to be shared!

1. First of them being, the 7-11 down the corner of our road!

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Trust me, this was a life saviour. 7-11 is one of the largest chain of convenience story! Supposed to be unhealthy, this fed me when I got hungry at midnight, when I was too bored of the same chinese food smell, when I had an over-dose of my ready to eat MTR’s or Cup Noodles!…I owe it a big thanks!

2. Have you ever heard of ‘Underground city’?  Well, wiki defines it as, “An underground city is a series of linked subterranean spaces that may provide a defensive refuge; a place for living, working or shopping; a transit system; mausolea; wine or storage cellars; cisterns or drainage channels; or several of these”. So was the case of Taipei, filled with underground malls with an exit every hundred meters! Why was this special? ‘Coz my work is usually in Taipei, and since it’s a 1 and half hour journey, I had to come to Taipei for around 3-4 hours twice a week, and update the professor about my progress! But that is not the point. When you are left with 4-6 hours twice a week in one of the most developed cities of the world, you cannot help but start exploring every nook and corner of it. I have spent hours tirelessly window shopping of random stuffs ranging from souvenirs to the latest electronic products! and every single time it left me awe-struck! and imagining the speeding vehicles and the massive concrete jungle of Taipei just around 20 feet above you! Goosebumps, I tell you!

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3. Moving on. this one is a small beverage that has been helping me quench my thirst and satisfy my hunger at the same time ! I had tried this in Singapore when I was young and was an instant fan of it. I used to have it every single day in Sing and missed it bad back in India. When I came in Taiwan, this was one of the first things I searched for. It’s called ‘BUBBLE TEA’ or ‘BUBBLE MILK TEA’ or ‘PEARL TEA’. I won’t go to the wiki definition for this one. Its like small round chewing gums in milk shakes..and it can get addictive at times! I was really filled with a childish pleasure on getting my long lost love back 🙂

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4. P.L.U.R : A night club near my place! I would not go into details of this one for obvious reasons ! This was kind of my first visits ever to a night club and it was…umm…..ya the terribly abused word deserves to be used here correctly…’AWESOME!’

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5. The best of them all was the street food. When you go to a night market, you are immediately welcomed by a thick crowd with road side stalls selling all kinds of stuffs but primarily food! all kinds, every single kind! Truly, a mecca of street-food lovers! The best part is you do not what you are eating! It’s a gamble! You may have just eaten a leg of a frog without knowing it, but still licking your fingers like anything! (No, I don’t think I ate a leg of frog, I was just exaggerating :P) If you include chicken as veg, I might be considered as a pure vegetarian. I cannot tolerate the smell of sea-wood or random boiled meat! at least I thought I could not. Initially I was disgusted and nervous of trying anything. Thanks to some gutsy friends, I started trying random stuffs, and you know what? they were actually not as bad as you think! Rather some of them were one of the most delicious dishes I have ever tried! It’s one month and I have already tried stinky tofu, octopus, squid, shrimp, prawn, duck and unknowingly many more! The gutsy friends here say, there is something called Eel noodles and Frog-leg soup very famous here! Though I may have loved a range of Taiwanese food, I made it very clear, I am not going to try Eel or frog!UGGHH!! There is supposedly a snake market in Taipei, where you are served with snakes! We might be going there next week…let’s see, what God has in platter for me (:P)

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These were some of the things that have indeed made Taiwan, a unique experience for me! Let’s see if the coming month have some more things to offer. Looking forward to it…

The “DRAMA”tic Merger

Posted: April 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

Perhaps, after the elections, the hottest topic of discussion that’s spreading like a fire is THE REVOLUTIONARY MERGER OF DRAMATICS SOCIETIES. Some say the bill has passed, some say it’s just a mere rumor, some say it will destroy the dramatics of KGP or at the very least bring it to huge standstill!

Change, for good or for bad, has always been resisted. Every KGPian knows that this would be a revolution, a revolution that would change the dramatics environment of KGP! Yes, it will be good for the Gymkhana, it will be very good for the G.secs, VP, less budget and all you know! Congrats! A brilliant proposal and congratulations to the Technology Student’s Gymkhana on it’s almost successful completion of the proposal.

Less Budget , Agreed ; Less Governors , Agreed ; Less Management responsibilities, Agreed;

Less productions : DISAGREED BIG TIME!

The proposal looks very jazzy and revolutionizing but did any one give a thought as to what would be the impact on student level?

When it comes to dramatics, KGP is the best for dramatics culture and people sitting at the Gymkhana are just killing it for saving a mere 10k-20k bucks in a place where professors are eating up crores in scams?

Do they have any idea of the ego clashes that may take place on just deciding which language would the next production be?

KGP is already a village! Outstation trips are some opportunities societies strive for in the thirst for  a platform, for some exposure. Nice proposal to reduce the budget and prohibit any more outstation participation too! WOW and people appreciate this?

Every society has its own culture, a culture that has been inherited and refined since over 15 years, and all it takes is a piece of paper to destroy it completely? Some respect please.

HTDS gave a silver winning rangmanch production this year, ETDS won silver in both stage play and nukkads in IIT Guwahati, BTDS is perhaps the biggest vent for the professors who are interested in social-cultural stuff! Do you think clubbing all these, reducing budget which in turn would reduce the number of production perhaps is a viable option?

12 Goverenors, 60 first years selected! I really feel like LOL when I actually think this has been suggested by some sane person!

All the four societies are extremely talented in their respective languages and genres, have different cultures, have different audiences to cater! Clubbing them is just not done! and if the merger does take place, to give a non diplomatic (non-SOP box type) statement in the words of a friends “The dramatics of IIT Kharagpur will come to a stand-still”

#Mis-facebooking!

Posted: March 29, 2013 in Uncategorized

Some of the things which annoy me the most on facebook : 

 

1) Using Hashtags. Trust me, they are the dumbest. I mean even till 6 months ago, if you would have shared or copied a status update, a courtesy and @tag would have been enough. I do not get the point of using “#copied”. Using a hashtag on facebook without any reason just shows how desperately you are trying to show the world that you are a twitter addict which you are not actually and you have a million followers which obviously you do not have!

 

2) Setting a pic of your eyes as cover pic. I so hate this. Plain Dumb. No explainations needed.

 

3) Clicking on status updates of long lost contacts which say, X tagged A,B,C,D and you in his status and wants you to have a look at this link. I shout “STOP! THINK! If X has indeed updated his status and wants you to look at the link, then he would have said it to you himself. Why would he have someone else telling you through his status update to check out the link! “. So once and for all, stop clicking on those links and save humanity of some notifications. It is a test of stupidity and common sense.

 

4) Election Time. IIT Kharagpur. Age old picture of a candidate playing with lego blocks and hotwheels car resurface. Dude, do you really think that would make some random guy vote for him/her? 

 

5) Photoshop your probable profile picture till the tiniest pimple is smudged.

 

6) :poop: . THE MOST IRRITATING DISCOVERY OF MARK ZUCKERBERG. DONT YOU DARE SPAM THIS THREAD WITH :poop:

 

7) You have been asking me for last three years. Here is the answer.

 

“NO I DO NOT WANT TO BUY ANY LAND IN FARMVILLE NOR WILL I SEND YOU A GODDAMN ENERGY PACK IN MAFIA WARS”

 

8) Setting butterflies, puppies and other innocent animals as your profile pic. Researched a lot, still could not get a good reason for this. I mean if you do not want to show your face to unknown guys, simply don’t upload a profile pic. Do you think uploading your profile pic as a pic of a teddy bear would make us believe that you are actually the only bear in the world with a fb account? 

 

9) Pictures of dishes that you are having for meal. Senseless, meaningless and worst of all, when I am hungry, it makes me even more hungry!

 

10) Lastly, one of the most addictively annoying thing is “CONFESSIONS”. I pray day in and day out, that I wish one fine day, there should be some server problems, and all names start getting displayed with their respective confessions. *WICKED* 

How to piss off people on facebook!

Burning Materialism…

Posted: February 4, 2013 in Uncategorized

The silent chill of winter around,

 a shiver ran down my spine,

 I stood quiet, embracing the solitude,

 as I saw materialsm burn, burn into a void!

 the violent flames engulfed the plastic,

 ate it with vigour, a savage hue surrounded me,

 tears rolled down my eyes,

 was it the smoke blinding me?

 or was it the pity choking me?

 I just felt the quick sand of helplessness underneath me!

 the materialsm was burning, burning into a void,

 crackles of flame echoed like roars of a beast,

 I could feel the insane hunger that reflected in the flame,

 strangely, the warmth of fire was actually cold,

I stood there with a pale face,

was it the pale hue of flame?

or was it that my heart stopped beating?

frozen from the chill, I merely stood there,

as the materialism burned, burned into a void!

Yet another masterpiece by Rashmi Bansal lands up in my bookshelf straight from the Crosswords New Releases corner! Finished it literally in one breath, it sent a chill down my spine in some parts and helped me give a new perspective on a problem which I, or rather we mostly turn a blind eye to. “A poor little rich slum”. Dharavi! ( Asia’s Largest Slum, they call it, something we should be proud about! ).

Every chapter in the book gave me one shock after another. Unimaginable things surround that mammoth crowd.

I felt like puking when I read, there are organised and guided slum tours through Dharavi, which apparantly is one of the leading tourist attractions of Mumbai and a highly popular subject of research for PhD scholars from abroad. People come from abroad to oggle and take snapshots from their newly bought SLRs of our poverty!

I mean how, being a mumbaikar, I ask, how can we so easily turn a blind eye to something which occupies sixty percent of Mumbai’s population. Yes, 60 % is the percentage of mumbaikars living in slums!

We all look at the mammoth jungle of tin, asbestos, and plastic bags as nothing but a blotch of ink on the white canvas of Mumbai glamour which has to be erased by some cock and bull Dharavi Redevelopment plan. Yes, it is cock and bull indeed, the DRP initatied by the honorable government of India in 2004, still lies locked in a 700 MB CD.

You may feel, I am just another guy playing another blame game, and I do not deny it. I accept, I am nothing but a participant in this blame game, but this book was really an eye opener. It is not an impossible dream to achieve. Infact you would be shocked to know, the entire turnover of Dharavi is 650 Million $ ( as quoted by Rashmi Bansal). Yes, even my eyes popped out

Why do you think there is so much resistance from Dharavi to this redevelopment projects? Frankly, Just like you, till now I also used to think, that they just do not want to change, they love it the way it is, the dharavians. But, trust me, do not take their positive spirit and ever-smiling nature as a satisfaction with their livelihood. They are not satisfied. The biggest proof is, the commercial sector of Dharavi. Unimaginable number of business minded youth and budding entrepreneurs loiter the ‘gali’,’muhallas’ of Dharavi trying to grab opportunities life flings to them. Entrepreneurship by JUGAAD, some of them deserve to feature as any other rags to riches story. They do have the urge to grow. From music classes for young rag pickers to a gym that creates the best body builders of Maharastra today, sometimes even notable ones in national level. Ideas are endless.

But the question remains, if such an urge to grow, why the resistance? A simple answer, The redevelopment plan is sometimes too unrealistic, rather stupid. An interesting example I found in the book. Kumbharwada is a section in Dharavi is a place full of conventional pot makers. Old hands still running over the wheel, trying to scrape of bread for two meals, by selling their art. Their place of stay, is ideal for pottery, but one fine day, A government official comes, and announces, “Ye sab todke hum aap logo ke liye, sundar sa flat banake denge” what do you expect the reaction of potters to be? Stop assuming they are brainless. You take away their housing and commercial place, convert the zone to a high flying SEZ, and station them as security guards in front of the SEZ, do you call this redevelopment?

We want to develop the people, land development would follow. A lot of things are happening. A lot will happen. As said by Rashmi Bansal in this book, the seed has been planted! Watering the seed so that it grows to be a flowering tree lies in the hands of us. Rather than a piece of land being wasted, I urge every mumbaikar, to see it as millions of lives being wasted. She concludes the book with some touching lines, I would really love to quote it here too.

” It was six men of Indostan

  To learning much inclined

  Who went to see the Elephant

  (Though all of them were blind)

 

  Lo and behold the Elephant,

  They see it whole and wide

   Its majesty is evident

   It is a source of pride

  

   Alas the greed of man prevails

   They care not for the whole

   They want its precious ivory

    That is the only goal

 

     No matter if the elephant Is wounded

      or is maimed

      Now if that elephant goes rogue

     You know who must be blamed. “

 

As the enchanting spring set in that year,

Little did I know, this was my last,

Fragrance of roses wafted to me,

An orangish hue set around by the sun,

Butterflies fluttered around me,

Hung from the strongest branch of a tree

 

I swung, and swung again,

With childhood carried on me,

I gave a tinge of happiness to the world,

But as the showers came carrying the thunder,

Everything grew grey,

With no echoes of children anymore,

No fragrance, no hue, no butterflies,

Got washed away bad,

But no matter what, I hung,

Hung from the strongest branch of the tree

 

Fall came stripping the flora naked,

Chasing the fauna off to their burrows,

Winters, covering me in a white blanket,

Nothing but a white desert,

The park seemed to be,

Surviving the chill, in the hope of new springs,

I hung, hung from the strongest branch of the tree

 

The Spring set in once again, I looked up eagerly,

Hoping to see the butterflies greeting again,

The roses, the hue, hoping against hope,

That a kid would run, run to me,

And swing to his heart’s content,

But…all I could hear was,

The noise of an electric saw running against the tree,

The cacophony of traffic,

The harsh buzz of drill,

The piercing sound of spades and axes,

All I could see was,

Men, bigger ones, not children,

setting the hedges on fire,

Drilling the rose beds,

Suddenly, I felt my chains loosen,

I fell down to the ground,

I wanted to cry out loud…

once and for all….

I want to hang…hang from the strongest branch of the tree…