Monthly Archives: June 2011

>Durgapur Diaries V – The Good, The Bad & The Ugly


The final installment of my humorous diary of sketches of life as seen by an internee, an ode to, among many other things, the legendary sketches of Charles “Boz” Dickens and his larger than life “Pickwick Papers”…

Internship has been completed and I’ve finally returned to my good ol’ Madhya Pradesh. Trip to Durgapur was unforgettable for many reasons, and a very personal journey has been started, as fate would have it,  Durgapur was destined to be it’s starting point. The railway station from which one heads into a never-ending journey towards the unknown. 
Anyways, lest I get too poesy and nebulous in my disguised interpretations of my dreams and motives ;), I should just get back to recapitulating the whole thing :D. In classical Western ‘cowboy machismo’ style, I would like to summarize down the things which will remain in my mind, as parts and reasons of memories both good and bad, ludicrous and embittering, interesting and boring.
THE GOOD (Thumbs up)
  • Junction Mall: Hands down man! Without Junction Mall we wouldn’t have been able to complete our intern, we would have died in the middle, either from under-nourishment, or pure tedium, or pure nausea. Everyday we would go and get “दो बूँद ज़िन्दगी की” at Junction in the evening ;). Let it be known, it just revitalizing energy of the atmospheric benevolence, rather than a whole class of beverages which some ‘dirty’ minds must be imagining with relish :D. Sitting on those steps…
  • Crosswords: It would be more appropriate to say that we had our intern in Crosswords, Durgapur rather than at CMERI, Durgapur :D. Though last two weeks saw infrequent visits to the bookstore, initial weeks were pure awesomeness. I read my first Gabriel Garcia Marquez and Albert Camus there. Oh, and got to know Khushwant Singh better than ever too :). Sitting there reading, or scouring the whole lits section, it was equally satisfying. And occasionally, a good ‘leg-piece’ would spice up the whole apparently prosaic atmosphere 😉 a la Khushwant :D. 
  • Clean, organized city: Thank god for that, we didn’t have to jostle every evening with crowded streets or road to make our weary way back home ;). It was soothing too, though occasionally depressing.
  • Mausi ka Dhaba: Hahaha, I’ve already said enough about that, refer to previous posts.
  • Weather: This year, I didn’t have to face brutal(though I still love it) summers of Kanpur, or Gwalior. This summer was cool, breezy and rainy. (Without noting that it was slimy, ‘toad’-y, humid, and muddy too :D)
THE BAD (Thumbs down)
  •  CMERI. No need to explain. Usual government moth-ridden, termite-eaten system, which hinders everything except regular salary to incompetent and slothful staff. I don’t want to say anything else about this whole ‘system’ thing, it’d only irritate me more.
  • Prof. P. S*****a: Real name excluded for personal security reasons :D. Never seen such a insecure dickhead. But I know governmental research institutions have lots of guys like these who mug up their way to a secure job and stick to it like a leach, constantly afraid their incompetency would come to light and their credibility lost, and hampering every kind of free thought and scientific progress of this nation by their bloodsucking parasitic attitude.
  • Food. Food problems too I’ve already described too well…
  • Walking: Never walked so much in my life. Though this is a good thing in hindsight, it was a positive pain then. To have to travel 5 kms for one meal, can put off any taste for food.
  • Rains and bloated toads. You’ll vomit your intestines out watching those hideous beings, bloated by stuffing themselves with insects, with their shiny slimy skins. Normal toads look prince in comparison to that.
THE UGLY (Thumbs way way down)
  • No prizes for guessing. Bengali girls. Biggest disappointment. 

>Durgapur Diaries IV – "Thou shall pay for thy sins!"


There is no pleasure more sadistic and intense than watching your professor finally signing your project report helplessly, after days of harrassing you and trying to extend the project. I was literally shaking with cruel excitement, imagining all the things I would do to him after I’ve got the project report signed and the certificate in my hand, when watching him sign the report. I had already crucified him numerous times in my mind. “Thou shall pay for thy sins! O Heathen Professor” 😀

X) X)


…and I tried to get through that moment, discovering, in the process, that there is nothing worse than the feeling that no one cares whether we exist or not, that no one is interested in what we have to say about life and that the world can continue turning without our awkward presence.

Paulo Coelho – ‘The Zahir’


>Durgapur Diaries III: Mausi ka Dhaba!


Food has been our main source of worry here since Day 1. Why do these guys have to make food in so different a way, and give them so horrible names as to send shivers down a person’s spine and make him bless himself two times before he gulps it down his throat. The day we got here in Durgapur, we had lunch in the mess of the hostel. There we were given something which was looking very fishy and out of the ordinary. We dared to ask for its proper name, it turned out to be quite a formidable one: Zhinga Posto! (i guess there was a middle name to this dish too, like a gentleman, though i can’t remember it) Fortunately, and rather ludicrously, the dish turned out to be made of potato and a UFO (Unidentified Feeding Object). At least, that UFO wasn’t a zhinga(shrimps), that much i am sure 😀

Food in CMERI mess is worse than that. Chapatis are nowhere to be seen, there are mountains of rice and rivers of daal flowing there. And mind you, the main function of daal in Bengali culture(or so it seems) is just to wet the rice, nothing else. Nothing. For this purpose, it is usually made thinner than water itself, with the sole purpose of pulses to give it a yellow color. For those with a experimental bent of mind, they can try using yellow-colored water instead of daal, i doubt if these guys here will notice the difference.

Since we had abandoned the scary zhingas of out hostel mess, we had to look somewhere for daily dinner and lunch. Our search took us to various outlets and dhabas, but they all were either too bad or too Bengali. So we went furthur along, breaching the walls of NIT Durgapur and infiltrating deep inside. We had infiltrated so deep in, that we were almost about to infiltrate ‘out’ from the opposite end. Anyways, after witnessing two or three horrible scenes of food-crime and finally on the verge of passing out, a hypothetical oasis appeared in the hypothetical desert: Mausi ka dhaba. We were graciously taken in and were rescued from our slow demise by serving perfectly normal North-Indian food. From then on, that dhaba(and the eponymous Mausi, of course 😉 ) became our saviour.

Mausi is Mausi. Whole NIT-D calls her Mausi. Regular visitors have been so attached to her, some become extremely talkative in that dhaba to the point of being disgusting :D. Even for us, when we had come three or four times already, she’d greet us with a beaming smile on her face, as if her neighbourhood friends’ children had come over to eat. And the whole atmosphere was quite wholesome(if you manage to shut out your hygienic sensibilities, that is). There’s this guy called Vishal, must be in his late teens, who is as crazy about music as any of us. One day we were all sitting inside, teasing our guitarist friend for not having yet heard ‘A Thousand Suns’ by LP. Suddenly, he got interested in the conversation and began recounting his favorite tracks of LP and Green Day. Soon, he went to those songs of Green Day which i hadn’t heard myself, which was a little embarrassing really, hehe. He’s quite passionate guy, wears Megadeth and Iron Maiden Ts when we don’t even have the customary LP and Nirvana ones :D.

Those days were nice. But one such day, Mausi announced that she’s shutting the shop because their family is going to Vellore for somebody’s operation. Said it was only for 10 days. But our food crisis loomed large on us again. And since then on, we’ve again turned into nomads, wandering here and there, for a decent crummy of normal food. And what’s worse, it’s been 20-something days, and she isn’t back yet. Food hasn’t been ever the same since. We have tried lousy south-indian joints, and contented ourselves with Maggi in lunch. Since few days, we’ve returned to NIT-D for another, in another dhaba nearby the now-closed Mausi’s. Food is normal, sometimes good. But there is still a difference. Atmosphere just isn’t the same. And nobody calls her(the proprietress of the shop) Mausi.



>Durgapur Diaries II: Bengali Beauty – Myth or what…


The legend of “Bengali Beauty” has haunted the fantasies of young males of India for decades. Bollywood had been the real culprit in this crime ;). Ferreting out the most beauteous of ladies from the parts unknown of West Bengal, since pre-Independence era, they weaved a web of mystery around the fertile(concerning other kind of productivity) lands of Bengal.
Hence, with all the high hopes, hungry eyes, and ready-to-go-week-knees, we landed in the mythical state of West Bengal….
The end of story.

Yes, that was the end of the story for us, because alas! neither did our knees go weak, now our eyes sated, nor our hopes fulfilled. Where was the Bengali Beauty? For three weeks, we searched in vain in Durgapur, for any trace of the legend. All, but empty hands. Disheartened, but still not defeated ;), we headed straight for the heart of the kingdom, Kolkata. The situation was better, but still no trace, no clue, no suggestion…
This is outrageous! The legend has a myth….. The virile youth of India was deceived by the devious Bollywood for over six decades. An outrageous fraud comparable to 2G!

O! The mighty youth of India! Do not get deceived by the lures of Bollywood. Go out, search with your own eyes, the beauty (not only Bengali, but the ubiquitous one :D) which lies hidden in the vast tracts of our nation. Actresses and models are only two-dimensional (on celluloid) ;), search for your own three-dimensional beauty :D.

>Baba Ramdev: The Complan Boy


Everybody must have heard of the now-omnipresent Complan ad: “Sirf latakne se height nahi badhegi, mummy ko bolo complan pilaye :P” (the tongue-in-cheek was my insertion 😉 ).

Well, recently after hearing whatever happened at Ramlila Maidan, when I got to see this ad again, I was suddenly, and ludicrously, reminded of Baba Ramdev. Looks like Baba needs to understand that his (political) height won’t increase by hanging onto old (read: Anna Hazare’s) tactics. He should ask his (hypothetical in this case 😉 ) mom to make him a Complan drink of fresh, relevant and feasible issues, and the politically correct way to protest ;).

Three Kinds

Recently i had a strange thought. Now it was just a thought, so i would not recommend you to attach much importance to it, but it sure was an interesting thought, and i personally believe this is true (or if not, then closer to truth than what we normally perceive).

People can be broadly and roughly categorized in three different types in the context of destiny/fate (or whatever broad term you may like to use for it).

1. Those who don’t care a shit about their destiny and live life on autopilot.

2. Those who know exactly what their destiny is and their every step is a step toward meeting that destiny.

3. Those who don’t know what their destiny is but they feel it’s absence in their life, and they struggle against their fate to find out and fulfil their destiny.