Thursday, 27 December 2012

It Happened One Cold Early Morning

We used to enjoy hell lot of corridor cricket at hostel during our engineering days, specially in winter. In fact, some of the laziest guys also enjoyed in the afternoon, a little bit of corridor cricket encouraged us to have bath in those cold days. Almost all the doors in our hostel used to have 4 square shaped glass panes. It was a hard time for some of the guys whose rooms were very close to the corridor as quite often someone or other used to break those glasses.Unfortunately Bhushan’s room was closest to the corridor where we used to play cricket. Bhushan was one of the most entertaining guys in entire hostel. He was quite popular for his amusing activities. He was very down to earth, emotional and extremely funny guy. If you have watched “Bheja Fry” movie, you must remember Mr Bharat Bhushan. For the first time when I watched the movie I was so much delighted to see our very own Bhushan kind of character and surprisingly they even had similar names.  If we ignore the singing talent of Mr Bharat Bhushan in the movie then there wouldn't be much difference between them. Initially whenever one of the glass panes of his door used to break, Bhushan brought a new one and somehow managed to fix it. But after 3-4 occasions he was fed up and instead of glass he used to fix chart paper on the broken pane. But cruel world didn’t  show any sort of mercy to those papers either and eventually Bhushan left his broken pane just like that.

In almost all engineering colleges, guys used to study only during exam. In our days most of us started to study only after we filled the examination forms. We had to finish 6 subjects in just 10-15 days and those days were really horrific. Some of us even had to run after the professors for our clearance, as we didn't have enough attendance.  Some of my unlucky friends even had to visit the University to fill the examination form, as by the time they managed to get the clearance, the due date was already over. Many of us didn't have any idea regarding the syllabus till that time and used to collect all the class notes, specially from our female class mates. After settling everything,  finally we concentrated on how to finish the syllabus? Some of us felt that it would be impossible to finish all the 6 subjects and we prepared only for 4-5 subjects.  In our days if anyone couldn't clear any of the subjects then they had to clear it next year.  There was literally  pin drop silence in the  entire hostel for the next few weeks.

During the exams many of us studied whole night and used to wake up late. Most of us used to do combined study (may be because there was no other option left for us) and everyone had enough stocks of cigarette. But there were a few exceptions, as some of us used to wake up early morning to study and without  much surprise, Bhushan was among them. Bikram studied the whole night in someone’s room and finally decided to sleep. It was a cold morning and I think it was 5 AM when Bikram was on his way to his room. As he passed through the corridor he was little stunned to see a moving hand out of Bhushan’s door. Bikram went a little closer and saw that the door was locked from inside and one entire hand was out  through the broken pane. Bikram waited for some time and out of curiosity he knocked the door.  

Bhushan opened the door and Bikram asked him “What the hell was that? I just saw a moving hand out  of your broken pane and it was moving for quite some time”

Bhushan replied with a smile “It was my hand dude! Actually I just woke up and was trying to check the temperature outside"

Bikram said "Kela ! ki boki aaso? What the hell are you saying?"

Bhushan tried to justify his point and said "I was just checking how cold it is outside. If it’s very cold then I thought of sleeping for another one hour."

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Oh My God !

In both first as well as 2nd semester of our engineering we had physics and chemistry. Most of us usually ignored those subjects as we thought those were not important and only limited to first year . It was comparatively easy to pass those subjects in theory but in order to clear the lab exams, many of us had to take some sort of pain in the ass during the lab exams. There were some 10-12 lab experiments in our syllabus but most of us used to bunk the lab classes. Sometimes by mistake or maybe because our friends couldn't give the proxy in the previous class, we had to attend the lab class. So, somehow we managed to do 3-4 experiments properly in the entire semester. During the lab exams we used to have some kind of lottery. The lab instructor used to make some chits with one experiment name written inside each chit. We had the opportunity to pick 2 chits and had to choose one among them. 

We had our 2nd semester physics lab exam that day and some of us were little anxious and wondered "what if we miss both the chances?". Nobody wanted to fail in those useless subjects as it would be a unnecessary headache later. We all waited for our turn to pick our share of the chits. 

All of a sudden one girl screamed "Oh My God! What should I do now?"

To be honest, I was little happy that moment and wondered “It’s OK, even the girls are also like us” 

After sometime we heard some noise as few of the girls discussed  with the OMG lady. We could hear her voice clearly as she tried to justify her scream and said “actually, I know both the experiments so nicely and I was totally confused which one I would choose?”

Thursday, 20 December 2012

We looked up into the sky all day long

When one of my friend call me that day and said "We are planning to go for Bangalore Air Show, are you in?". To be honest I didn't have much idea about the show and was not very much interested. But when I heard that a hell lot of friends are going and the show would be almost a full day event which would be held at the outskirts of Bangalore, I was very much excited. All of us eagerly waited for the day as we believed it would be a great outing for a day. We started early morning along with few friends and everyone met at the venue. Initially I was more interested for the kind of get together we were about to enjoy, but as soon as we reached the venue I was quite excited to see such a huge crowd. It was the first air show for all of us and we thought it would  definitely be something very interesting. As soon as the show started, we all tried to go at the front for a better view. We witnessed some breath taking stunts in the sky one after another. The show was a mind blowing one and we were really fortunate to watch such amazing stunts live in in front of our eyes. 

There was an hour of lunch break and we enjoyed our lunch out there and relaxed for a while.

My most favorite stunt was by the Red Bull, the aerobatic team of Czech Republic.

Monday, 17 December 2012

Sinha, the hefty eater

Our college and the entire campus were at the outskirts of Guwahati city. There were a few dhaba’s within the campus but everyone had to go to either Panbazar or Maligaon to bite some yummy stuff. Panbazar is at the heart of Guwahati city and is quite far from our college campus and Maligaon is at a distance of some 5-6 KM. The “Ritz” restaurant in Maligaon was quite popular among us. We really enjoyed the food out there and it also had a wonderful bar. I and few of my friends used to visit that restaurant quite often, usually in the first week of every month when our pocket was in a little good shape.  The most popular dish out there among us was “Chicken Butter Masala and Butter Nun” , wow! it was so delicious and my mouth is already filled with water. I don’t exactly remember the price but I very well remember that for one full plate they used to give 8 huge pieces of chicken.  Whenever we used to go as gang of four we usually ordered half plate of chicken butter masala and 5-6 butter nuns, but on  few occasions we had 2 pieces of chicken  per head as well.

Sinha was a real foodie guy and was never satisfied with one or two pieces of chicken even though the pieces were big enough. He was the kind of guy who could finish a full tandoori chicken without much effort. One day Sinha was on his way to hostel and he was quite hungry that moment. As soon as he reached Maligaon and came across the Ritz restaurant he couldn't resist himself and immediately got down from the bus and entered the restaurant.  One waiter approached him and asked for the order.  Sinha had a close look at the menu for a few minutes and order one full plate of chicken butter masala, one full plate chilly chicken and 3 butter Nuns.  

The waiter asked Sinha “Sir, are you expecting some friends?”

Sinha replied “No, what’s the matter with you?”

The waiter said very cutely “I think the food you ordered would be too much for you”

Sinha was little embarrassed and replied to him with a smile “you don’t have to take tension and better concentrate on your work”

Sinha enjoyed his meal graciously and took his own sweet time. He felt little uncomfortable whenever the waiter who took his order used to stare at him each time he passed by.
Sinha  took more than half an hour but still had to finish 3-4 pieces of chicken and his tummy already became a tight balloon. Initially he thought to parcel the remaining food but the waiter’s glances didn't allow his inner soul to do so. Later he thought to leave the remaining chicken pieces just like that, pay the bill and leave from there. All of a sudden the waiter passed by Sinha and starred at him as well as his plate and gave a cute smile. Sinha’s ego was badly hurt and he took it as a challenge. He took few more minutes and unwillingly tried to finish the stuffs. He was almost done and just one more chicken piece to go. By that time his tummy reached the threshold level and could have bursted any time. 

Sinha was not sure what to do? His prestige was at stake. He gave himself some more time and somehow managed to finish the last piece.  What a relief ! Sinha paid the bill and just before leaving had a look at the waiter and made a proud smile. As soon as he came out of the restaurant he wanted to have a cigarette but he didn't want to take any risk as anything might have happened that time.  His stomach could have bursted or the stuff inside it could have passed through some alternate route.

Tuesday, 11 December 2012

Happy Birthday Jia

Time passes so quickly. Today is Jia's first birthday. Even though I am an atheist kind of person right from my childhood and never asked anyone  for any sort of blessing, but for my little angel I want all your blessing and good wishes.

                                                                               1st Day

                                                                            2nd month

                                                                            3rd month

                                                                               4th month

                                                                             5th month

                                                                              6th month

                                                                              7th month

                                                                             8th month

                                                                               9th month

                                                                              10th month

                                                                           11th month

                                                                                 12th month

One Night in Ooty

It was year 2005 and those days were special as it was not a very long time we got our first job.  The second and 3rd quarter of year 2005 was quite hectic as there was no holiday for a long period of 5-6 months. Everyone so eagerly waited for 15th august as it was on Monday. So, finally we had a holiday after a long wait and a holiday on Monday just spiced it up. Most of the people had some plan for the long weekend and we also had something on our mind.I, Lami and Kamal decided to visit Coorg. We heard a lot about Coorg from our friends who stayed in Bangalore for a long time. I tried to google about Coorg that time and was happy to see so many good reviews. In some of the websites they even mentioned Coorg as “Scotland of South India”. I was very much excited as it was our first Coorg trip.We booked our bus ticket from Bangalore to Coorg a week earlier and it was scheduled for Friday 9 PM. That particular evening we started a little early as we knew about Bangalore traffic quite well. We took a bus at around 7:30 PM and by 8:15 PM we were somewhere near the railway station. The bus moved very slowly but we were not worried as we had hell lot of time. At some point the bus was motionless for almost 15 to 20 minutes and that moment we started to worry a bit. We took a very good decision that time and we got out of the bus and started to walk. We walked for almost half an hour and somehow fortunately we didn't miss our bus to Coorg.

Coorg is indeed a very nice place situated in the Western Ghats of southwestern Karnataka. Next morning as soon as we reached Coorg we had to struggle for almost an hour to get a hotel, the kind of hotel which would fit into our pocket. After breakfast we had a chat with our hotel manager and had an overview of the places to visit out there. We hired a cab for the entire day and visited all the well known places like Abbey falls, coffee plantations, Harangi dam, the Tibetan monastery and few other places surrounding Coorg. 

It's really a very nice place to visit, the entire surrounding is refreshingly green, the streams are so beautiful and the weather is just fantastic. But in one day we visited all the well known places and there was literally nothing more to visit. Earlier we had a plan to stay the entire weekend in Coorg, but there was literally nothing we could have done there for another day other than chill out. Coorg was a perfect holiday destination for honeymoon couples that time and to be honest the entire Coorg overflowed with honeymoon couples that weekend.  

We decided to return Bangalore on Sunday evening itself instead of Monday and we were about to book our tickets on Sunday morning. To be honest I was not very much satisfied with the trip so far, may be because I had too much expectation for the long weekend and wanted to enjoy for another day or two. All of a sudden I had an idea “what if we go to Ooty from here?” My friends laughed at me and said that's a weird idea. I tried to justify but they said that's wild idea as everyone had to join office on Tuesday. I said if we hire a cab, it would hardly take us 6-7 hours to reach Ooty and on the way we could enjoy some beautiful scenery. Next day we could visit some of the places in Ooty and in the afternoon we could come to Mysore by the same cab and from Mysore we take a bus or a train to Bangalore. It took me a long time but finally I was able to convince them.

So, after lunch we hired a cab(Indica) for Ooty and we started at 3:30 PM. The journey was awesome and quite thrilling as we also had few sips of vodka on the way. We enjoyed some wonderful flora and fauna, sunflower garden and some dense forest. We missed some of the thrills when we passed through the Bandipur national park as it was dark outside. We expected to find some fierce wild animals on the way, but had to satisfy ourselves with some wild pigs. We reached Ooty at 9 PM and it was damn cold outside. We saw a hell lot of crowd outside; there were people all over the place, almost like a carnival. We saw a huge group of students enjoying their camp fire and most of them were singing and dancing.  We were so much thrilled and I said to my friends “see, Ooty is so lively and you guys were not ready for it”

We went to a nearby hotel and there was a huge crowd at the reception. We asked the manager for a room but not even a single room was available. We went to a different hotel and even there we got the same reply. So, we went to a 3rd hotel and there the manager asked us when did we arrive in Ooty? When we replied that we reached Ooty just half an hour back, the manager started to laugh.

He said “You see those people standing in the road? They came in the morning and till now they are not able to get any room. I just did a small favor as I agreed to keep their luggage’s safely here”

We were stunned with the manager’s reply. We tried our luck for another 2 hours and approached almost every hotel in Ooty but no where we were able to manage  a room for the night. It was a pathetic situation as we all were so tired. Our cab driver was also very much surprised and he said to us that he came to Ooty more than 15 times but never experienced or heard of such a situation. This kind of situation is quite common in Goa during New Year time. We even tried our luck in some expensive resorts but Ooty was on carnival mood that night. At around 11:30 PM we had our dinner and everyone wondered where to stay the night? Our cab driver was generous enough and asked us to sleep the night in the cab itself. That was the only option we had that night and the driver parked the car in a safe place and we tried to sleep inside the car. It was a pathetic situation and the vodka helped a lot but after sometime my entire body started to pain.

Early morning we went to a small restaurant  to have tea as well as to refresh ourselves. After tea we didn't waste much time and immediately we were on our way to Mysore. The early morning journey through the Bandipur National park was quite thrilling and the smell of the forest was so refreshing. On the way we saw hell lot of deer’s, few peacocks, some elephants and few more wild animals.

We reached Mysore by 10 AM and had to wait in the railway station for a couple of hours for our train to Bangalore.

Friday, 7 December 2012

Cost Cutting

My wife is into Health Care industry and she works for a company which provides health care services to the corporate. She is part of operations as well as business development and quite often she has to go for client visits. They have various kinds of health care services to impress the HR of the companies they visit. Organizing health camp within the premises of the organization is quite popular among the HR  community. Companies usually organize free eye checkup, free dental checkup, free heart checkup and so on. With some big companies they have a little different kind of business called “OHC”. Don’t worry if you are not familiar with the term, for me these terms are just part and parcel of my everyday life. OHC is basically “Occupational Health Care”, which is nothing but a kind of dispensary set-up within the organization itself. HR's usually outsource these kind of services to those companies which provide health care services. The minimum requirement for an OHC is to have a doctor and nurse with necessary arrangement of basic medicines/first aids. Also there should be an ambulance along with a driver ready for any kind of emergency 24/7.

The OHC concept was initiated by the “WHO” and is actually a primary health care service that any organization can provide to their employees working in factories, construction sites, refineries and many such organizations where there is considerable amount of probability for the employees to get hurt. But now days the concept is not limited to such organizations, it’s within the HR policies of some of the large software companies as well. Now for doctors as well as for nurses it’s a pretty cool job. In the whole day few employees would visit the OHC for their minor problems. The visiting frequency could be a little higher if the doctor on duty is an admirable one. Whenever any employee visit the OHC with a little serious problem the doctor never hesitate to recommend him/her to a bigger hospital.  

One day my wife was in the middle of a discussion with a client and all of a sudden the client shared one of their OHC experiences. They said that they have outsourced their OHC to a health care company the previous year and everything looked so perfect, as all the doctors and nurses were quite good and the OHC was open 24/7. The client said that the OHC also had an ambulance for any kind of emergency. The OHC guys were quite professional,  specially the ambulance driver. The driver usually used to chill out but was always visible in and around the OHC. Whenever any patient employee used to visit the OHC, the driver stood proudly in his  neat and clean uniform near the ambulance. He looked very enthusiastic  as if he was fully prepared for any sort of emergency and  almost ready to take the patient  employee to a hospital.

Now in a software company what kind of emergency one can expect?  Hiring ambulance drivers for 24/7 and literally doing nothing is  a waste of money but we never know when any emergency kind of  situation might develop? Also it's a part of the business deal that ambulance driver should be available 24/7. The client lady said that after almost 6 months of setting up the OHC one day they had an emergency situation as one of their employee had a mild heart attack. Some of the HR people also came along with the patient to the OHC that moment. The doctor out there suggested  to transfer the patient immediately to a nearby hospital. The ambulance driver as usual was very enthusiastic but was a little nervous that time. Initially he had to struggle a lot  to start the ambulance and once it started in no time the vehicle had a head-on collision with the nearby wall.

Saturday, 1 December 2012

Hostel Picnic


After passing out from AEC (Assam Engineering College) I enjoyed a few picnic trips but hostel picnic was something completely different. It was purely raw and we enjoyed our picnic in some of the most exotic places. December/January was the peak picnic season and all the well known picnic spots was usually crowded with college students. Some of the exotic picnic spots in Arunachal Pradesh were not very much crowded even in the peak seasons. In order to enjoy in those spots we had to go a little  deep inside the forest. sometimes we could hear elephant sounds from the other side of the stream. Some adventurous guys dared to cross the stream and used to go a little further  inside the forest.  Those days New Year celebration was incomplete for us without a picnic trip.

Those magnificent places in Arunachal Pradesh was favorite picnic destination for all the hostels in AEC. In fact those places were admired by  most of the colleges in and around Guwahati.  There are hell lot of highly recommended picnic spots in and around Bhalukpong and Tipi in Arunachal Pradesh.  It was almost like a dream to booze in such exotic river banks, as if Mother Nature herself  treated us. 
Even though it used to take almost 8-9 hours from hostel to our destination but the journey was so amazingly exciting. We used to keep big sound boxes inside the bus and the voyage was completely "Dum Maro Dum" kind of. During the drive we had the opportunity to listen to all sort of music, right from Bollywood blockbusters to rock music to metal and never forget our very own Bihu songs. Everyone was quite well prepared and used to keep the stuffs in excess quantity than the usual capacity, just to be on the safer side.

Oh !!!,  I so much miss those picnic trips; they were just out of the world.

We usually used to start early morning, in fact it was late night as we started by 2:30 to 3:30 AM. Some guys used to sleep early that particular night but out of excitement some of us couldn't sleep at all and after dinner it was a long wait for the picnic bus to come. 

Out of boredom and excitement some of us used to open our stuffs a little early. Everyone was highly charged for the initial 2-3 hours of the voyage and then many of us experienced snoring sounds echoed all over the bus. We used to have breakfast somewhere near Tezpur, situated in the banks of river Brahmaputra. After breakfast everyone was recharged and the party would come to live once more.  All of us used to party like hell the entire day and our hostel cooks also used to enjoy a lot even though they  were quite busy preparing food the whole day.

We usually used to have our special picnic meal by 3 PM and finally at 4 PM, it was time  to say good bye to those wonderful and magnificent streams. By that time everyone would be literally tired. After such a hard core party some of us, specially few of the first year brothers usually had to struggle  a lot to balance their foot steps.  Now, it was the senior’s responsibility to see that everyone is inside the bus. The return journey was almost lifeless, no music and there was complete silence all throughout the journey except those snoring sounds. Quite often one or two guys used to make the bus a little dirty, as they couldn't digest the over dose of the stuffs. We usually stopped at some place for the evening tea and after tea everyone used to come back to life for a while and someone would play the music. But after some time again most of us would go to deep sleep. We used to reach hostel at midnight.

We just returned from one such picnic trip and I was in my 5th semester that time. My good friend JP was the kind of guy who was able to digest hell lot of "Kamur" from us. “Kamur” is an informal word and used very frequently among the youths in our state. "Kamur" basically means “pulling someone's leg”. JP remained cool almost all the time but sometimes even he also used to get irritate and that time we realized that we may have crossed the line. That particular day JP somehow digested too much over dose of "Kamur" the whole day from many of us. We all were so tired after returning hostel at midnight and most of us went to sleep. But there were few stuffs left and some of us thought to  finish them off. We were some 7-8 guys and JP was the center of attraction for us and to be honest he started to show some symptoms of his irritation. After few rounds all of a sudden we realized that JP was not there with us. We went to his room but he was not there either. We were little worried and started to look for him in the entire hostel.

It was already 2 AM and we couldn't find him anywhere. Then someone said "JP is a very sensitive guy, he might have committed suicide”

Another one replied “holy shit !  what the hell are you saying?"

Our level of tension considerably increased  and some of us went to other hostels and few went to the nearby surrounding to look for him but JP was nowhere. Finally we gave up but  still awake, may be because we had to finish those stuffs completely. At around 3:30 AM, someone went to the loo and was little surprised as he heard some unusual sound out there. He had a close look and saw something bizarre and immediately came to call us. We went there and everyone was highly amused to find JP  lying inside one of the bathroom and was literally snoring like a pig.

Monday, 26 November 2012

Demand for Cooks in Bangalore

Eating homely food is really a big challenge in Bangalore, specially for bangalorean from other states. For those who can’t cook, there’s no other option but to eat outside. Now one can’t bite pizza or briyani every day, everyone prefer homely food. There are hell lot of options  out here in Bangalore, right from North Indian meal to South Indian meal and never forget Andhra meal which one can get just at any corner within Bangalore. But nothing can compare to a home-made meal.For those who can cook well, sometimes they get little frustrated spending time in kitchen after returning from work. Bangaloreans usually have to spend hell lot of time in the road as Bangalore is quite well know for it's smooth traffic. To be honest we don't get irritated when we get stuck in traffic jam, as it's part and parcel of our daily life. There's a simple solution, just hire a cook to enjoy a tension free and happy life. Most of these cooks are from Orissa, they have a huge gang out here and believe me they are in huge demand. They usually prefer to cook in houses where there are 4-5 members and they demand around Rs 1000 -1500 per head. In one day they cook at minimum 6-8 houses. They are not professional cook but some smart guys from village and I really feel happy for them as they earn pretty decent to support their families back home. 

Earlier I thought that demand for those cook was limited to bachelors but I was wrong. For many working couples preparing food is a big challenge, specially in the weekdays and sometime the relationship just go for a toss for this very basic issue. Few years back we also felt the need for a cook and started to search for a good one. I had a hard time and I collected some 20-30 contact numbers and called each and everyone of them. Some of them said that our house a bit far from their place, few other said they would work only in houses where there are 4-5 members or else we have to pay the equivalent amount, some said they would come but only at 4 PM as they didn't have any other free time slot. After 2-3 weeks of hard work we  literally got fed up and was about to drop the idea but somehow we managed one cook who was ready to come at 7 AM. Initially 2-3 days he came on time and he cooked quite well.

But one morning he called me and said “brother, I was just on my way but unfortunately my bicycle tire punctured. As there is no cycle repair shop nearby so I am sorry, I will not be able to come today”

Again after one or two days he called me and said “Brother, today morning my cousin is coming to Bangalore, so I will have to go to the railway station to pick him up”

Again after one or two days he called me and said “brother, I am not feeling well, I have very high fever and I am on medicine (he coughed quite badly over the phone). This excuse is actually like a trump card for them as they usually play it once or twice a month. If they call and say they have fever then it's almost certain that they would not be coming for at least next 2-3 days.

After 2-3 weeks he became quite comfortable with us and instead of calling he started to send SMS on the  particular day he wouldn't come.  We were so much irritated with that guy that we decided not to continue him.

After Jia's  born, my mom was with us for a couple of months and once she left it was very difficult for us to manage. Again we decided to hire a cook and we had a hard time to search for one. Ultimately we managed one at a little higher price but the new guy was awesome.  After a few days some similar kind of drama started  but  with some different flavor. He used to send me SMS which i could read as  “I can’t well. I cannot today” and immediately he would switch off his mobile. After few more days I started to receive his SMS with exactly the same texts very frequently and ultimately we had to discontinue him. That time we decided not to hire any cook in future.About a month back Anjali joined office after a long break and we started to keep Jia in a nearby creche.  We again felt the need for a cook. One of my friend recommended someone and said that he cooks really nice and he is a decent man and very punctual. He is quite elder to us and we fixed him at a little higher price than the previous one. His name is Ravi and we call him “Ravi Ji”. 

Ravi Ji is the best we have experienced so far and he can cook a variety of dishes and he was also quite punctual for the first two weeks.  

But one day he called me and gave me the cycle tire puncture excuse. I just wondered “Oh! Not again”

One day he called me and said “Brother, it’s raining. How will I come?”
I said “if it rains, I wouldn't go to office or what?” 

Last week he played his trump card  as he called me and said in the old fashioned way "“Brother, I am not feeling well, I have high fever and I am on medicine (he coughed quite badly over the phone). there was a very high possibility that he actually had fever but I accepted it as an excuse :)

I said to him “would you come tomorrow?”
He said “I have taken medicine, I think by tomorrow I would be OK”

Next day I called him several times but his mobile was switched off and I was a little pissed off.

Again next morning I called him but he didn't take my call. I was quite angry with him as I never expected him to be like the other cooks we experienced earlier. But that day he actually came to work and I said to him "Ravi Ji, if you don’t come to work, you should inform us and at least send an SMS. He told me that the previous day he was not well and slept the whole day.

I asked him “why you didn't take my call today morning?”
He said “You never called me today morning”
I replied "Aree Ravi Ji, at this age it doesn't look good if you lie like this"
Ravi Ji smiled and tried to justify that he never received my call.

After some time my good friend “Ravi Pratap Singh” called me and said “you called me today morning, sorry I couldn't take your call that time” I was a little surprised and wondered “when did I call him?” After talking to him I had a look at  my mobile and realized that I actually called “Ravi Pratap Singh” a few hours back.

Wednesday, 21 November 2012

The Story of Our First TV

We have a very wonderful and quite hilarious memory of our first television set. I was born and brought up in Bongaigaon, a town in Assam. I don’t remember exactly how old I was that time, maybe I was in 3rd or 4th grade. My father decided to buy a color TV. That time 21 inch color TV was more costlier than today's  price J. During those days we had only one TV in our entire locality and it was a portable Black & White television. The news spread far and wide that my father would buy a new color television and people in the neighborhood was very much excited. People started to give suggestions and one uncle suggested my father not to buy a TV with a remote control, as those were not of good quality. He said that if the remote is damaged or lost then the entire TV would be useless. That was the time when remote control color TV was launched for the first time, at least in our hometown and there were only one or two TV dealers. My father decided not to buy a remote control one, may be because it would be little over budget for him.

My father knew one of the TV dealers quite well and decided to buy from there. Coincidentally on that day one engineer from the Beltek company visited that dealer's shop. The guy somehow convinced my father to buy a “Beltek Color TV” with a remote control. We, including many of our neighbors simply waited for my father to return home. Now installing a TV was not any child’s play that time as it required to fix the big antenna's with the booster. The antenna had to be fixed in a particular direction, else it would not be able to capture the desired signal.  Everyone believed that the picture quality was directly proportional to the height of the antenna. People usually used metallic pipe to fix their antenna's and to support the tall pipe it required digging up the ground and hell lot of strong wires to support it from at least 3 different directions, each 120 degree apart.

The next day was almost like a festival and some 8 to 10 people worked really  hard to fix the antenna. It was a very difficult job as the pipe was too tall and quite heavy, also there were electric wires nearby and made the task more difficult. It took almost 3 to 4 hours to fix the antenna. Everyone was desperate to watch some moving pictures on the TV screen.  Many people, including my father tried a lot but nothing was visible on the tv screen. My mom was quite busy preparing and serving tea/snacks to all of us. Someone suggested that the direction of the antenna was not proper and few guys tried to rotate the pipe. All of a sudden someone screamed “it’s came, it’s came!” Out of excitement everyone rushed to the TV room. But nothing was visible on the screen and the guy tried to justify and said “just now I saw some moving pictures”. The drama continued the whole day and finally everyone left with a heavy heart.

Next day my father went to the dealer and explained everything to them. One mechanic came along with my father to help us installing the TV. The guy analyzed everything and said that the position of the antenna was wrong, as just at a distance of half a KM there was a tall and big tower of the Indian Oil Corporation. He explained to us that the tower interfered with our share of the TV signal. So, people started to work again and fixed the antenna at a different position.  Many people worked hard for the whole day and at the end nothing was visible on the screen. The mechanic was adamant on his point that the IOC tower interfered with the TV signal.On that evening some people came to watch Chitrahaar and they were highly disappointed to go back empty handed. Next day people took our TV to an entirely different location, to the house which already had a TV in our locality. People tried many things, from rotating the antenna to adjusting the booster, but still nothing was visible on the screen. The drama continued for almost a week and not only us but the entire locality was literally irritated as well as very much frustrated. One uncle  said my father “see, I already told you not to buy a remote control TV”.

My father decided to replace the TV with a non remote control one. One evening my father and one neighbor uncle went to the dealer to replace the TV. After so much of drama somehow the excitement was gone and I already went to sleep as my father returned home very late that night. As soon as I woke up in the morning I heard some kind of sound. I saw a TV in the drawing room and cricket match between India vs New Zealand was going on. The picture was very clear and the cricket field looked so green. It was like a dream to me and I just screamed “wow, the new TV is so nice” My father smiled  and said that it’s the same TV we bought few days back. My father actually went to replace the TV but fortunately the same engineer from the Beltek Company visited the dealer's shop that evening. He did some simple setting in the remote control and almost like a magic my father could see clear picture on the TV screen.

It was really a very nice TV and my father had an emotional attachment with it. It had 12 channels and initially we watched only DD1 but few years later we could also watch DD2. Later when we grew up and took cable connection, we argued a lot with our father to buy a new TV as there were lot of better option in the market but my father never exchanged it. I think more than the money part, he was quite attached with that TV. When I was in my engineering college, our TV was at a very pathetic condition and finally my father had to buy a new one. 

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The TB6 Era

We've grown up without any internet, computers or video games. On the Sunday’s we used to play cricket match and we literally played at each and every corner of our hometown and with  every possible kid in town, right from rubber ball to leather deuce ball. Everything was perfectly fine, but that time late teenagers were deprived of some basic entertainment. Most of them had no other options, except for those Sunday morning shows and after experiencing few shows, everyone felt little cheap and didn't like to continue further. The pathetic situation was not only limited to the young adults, but also to the elders as well. I think the middle aged people got some sort of consolation in the form of Friday late night movies on Doordarshan.  The censor board must had been little generous that time, as I can recollect few glimpses of the Friday night movies. But those stuffs will definitely be considered as peanuts by today's generation. 

After the introduction of cable television, guys tried their luck on some programs like Santa Barbara, MTV Grind, etc, but soon it got boring. Few people had the luxury to keep VCR at home and they rented video cassettes whenever they wanted. Sometimes grown up kids used to rent VCR on special occasions like “Saraswati Pooja”, as the Pooja is specially for students, so parents usually didn't argue much if their kids stayed out of home, even during the night for the Pooja preparation and celebration. Guys usually used to rent VCR along with 5 or 6 cassettes for 24 hours. The list usually included one Bruce Lee kind of movie, one Hollywood action movie, 2 Bollywood blockbusters and 2 entertaining movies for the night. But thanks to the electricity department, few of the movies always remained unseen. 

Now in  those dry days, there came an Avatar in the form of “TB6” channel to enliven not only the late teenagers, but also the middle-aged, as well as the older people. The channel was of Russian origin and was broadcast-ed by cable operator in many areas across India, for almost over half a decade. The channel had given immense entertainment and spread love and happiness among the common man and beyond any doubt must have contributed a lot to India’s population boost.

TB6’s main attraction was Playboy branded movies on Saturday nights. In our locality the cable operators broadcast-ed it very late and people there could enjoy the magnificent channel just for couple of years, before the government decided to ban it. Although the channel was live only after midnight, but it had enormous viewership. TB6 had an intoxicating effect on many of us, as it was the only source for the kind of entertainment we looked for those days. I knew about TB6 much before I had actually watched it. The channel was telecast-ed in BRPL Township much earlier. I was able to “Darshan” it very late, only when it started to broadcast in our locality.

During those days, we usually used to play cricket match with one team or the other on Sundays. Earlier we used to start our match by 9 AM, but later, as few of our seniors became so much addicted to Saturday late night TB6, we could have started our match only after 10 AM. Most of us knew about TB6 and about the Saturday night playboy, but it was extremely difficult for us to have had watched it late night. Few of our friends were extremely lucky, as they used to sleep in the TV room itself. Michael was one such lucky fella and he never used to miss the Saturday late night erotica. Quite often he used to narrate us the exotic stories he used to watch. Padu was so excited, that on few occasions, he secretly used to go to Michael’s house in the middle of the night, to experience the Saturday night sensual magic.

Saturday, 10 November 2012

A Memorable Diwali

It was Diwali time and we wanted to celebrate it in a little different way. We were in 11th grade (class 11) that time and were enjoying our school days in KV BRPL. We thought of celebrating Diwali in BRPL township with our friends. It was little difficult for some of us who stayed quite far from township but finally I and Ratul decided to go for it. My house was in the mid way between town ship and Ratul’s house and from my place to township it was 15-20 minutes bicycle ride. Our plan was to enjoy the evening and return home by 9 PM.We wanted to enjoy that evening in a more adventurous way by throwing crackers inside people’s house and we also had a few targets in our mind, some teachers and few of our female class mates. I, Ratul, Ajay and Padu were the main culprits, although there were few more guys.  Padu was riding the bicycle and I sat at the front, Ratul and Ajay were on another bicycle. First we went near our Mishra sir’s house and threw few crackers inside his house and then we immediately disappeared from there. Wow! It was so much fun and we all just loved the thrill. But there was a little problem as it was quite windy and we struggled to light the crackers.

Considering the amount of fun we were having and also the risk involved we thought of some another alternative to light the crackers. Immediately Padu came up with an idea and it really worked. We bought some agarbatti’s, lighted few of them and fixed them at the front of our bicycle. It was very effective and we were able to light the crackers very comfortably even thought it was very windy.We threw crackers in few more houses and felt very happy and satisfied. Now Padu badly wanted to throw crackers in one of our female class mate’s house.  As soon as we reached near her house we saw her father standing in front of the gate in his Lungi, lighting Diya’s near the gate. We waited for a while but her father stood at the same place for a long time, as if he was testing our patience  There was a Maruti van parked just in front of the gate. All of a sudden Padu started his Bicycle and tried to hide beside the van. I was little tensed that time as her father was just standing on the other side of the van. Without wasting much time Padu lighted a cracker and threw it. The uncle was simply jolted with that act and he tried to go inside the house, he had no idea what just happened? Immediately we lighted 2 more crackers and threw at him but that time he saw us and shouted “who’s there? you bloody fool… who’s there?” Padu started his bicycle and tried to disappear from there. To our surprise the uncle started to chase us and screamed from behind. It was quite funny as described by some of our friends later who were hiding nearby at that moment. The uncle in his Lungi chased us for quite a distance but ultimately he gave up.

It was so much fun and we were having a wonderful time. We gained some confidence and started to throw crackers at random houses. I threw a cracker inside one house without consulting anyone and immediately 2-3 guys started to chase us. All my friends shouted “run, run just disappear from here”.  Unknowingly I threw a cracker inside SP’s (Superintendent of Police) house.  Those guys, not in their uniform though, were not like the earlier uncle and they literally chased us for a long time and finally caught us near the infamous township pond. We had an argument with them and as soon as we got some opportunity everyone just disappeared in the dark. I and Padu were together and hid somewhere near the pond. But Ratul was left alone and poor guy was very much tensed and he tried to hide in someone’s garden. Suddenly one of the security guard asked him “What’s up? Who are you?” Ratul was very tensed but his major advantage was that he looked quite decent and he decently replied to the security guard, but obviously  a different name. The guard asked “what is your father’s name?” Ratul was very confused and one name came to his mind that moment “Mr R.M. Hazarika “, coincidentally he was the CEO of BRPL that time. The guard was very impressed and asked him “oh! when did you come?” Ratul replied “just few days back”. Again the guard asked “so, you will be staying for few more days” Ratul replied that he would be staying few more days and tried to avoid that guy and left from there.

After around half an hour we all met at some place and it was time for us to go home as it was already 9 PM. But Padu and Ajay suggested us not to go home that time as the security people at the main gate might catch us. It was quite a good advice, so I and Ratul stayed the night at Padu’s place.

Wish You all a Very Happy Diwali

Wednesday, 7 November 2012

One Funny Miscommunication

People in general are very much attracted to babies and many of us don’t hesitate to approach the parents to have a close look at their cutie pies.  New mothers usually have hell lot of confusions and whenever they see a woman holding a baby they would never hesitate to approach her and discuss about their confusions.  One day my wife took Jia to a nearby park. I think Jia was into her 4th month that time. The park is usually crowded with Parents/Grandparent and their little angels during the early evening. One elderly lady was holding a cute baby and as soon as she encountered Anjali, she approached her to have a look at Jia.

Now there was a little problem as the elderly lady spoke in Kannada. Although Anjali doesn't understand Kannada, except for a few words but sometimes she pretend that she know Kannada very well.  Specially while dealing with any auto driver she would behave like that. For example if she needs to ask any auto driver whether he would go to JP Nagar?, she would ask  something like this “Eddu… JP Nagara?“ Few times I have noticed some kind of secret smile on the driver’s face.  

Now the elderly lady asked Anjali something and Anjali didn't have any idea what she asked? She simply replied “Eddu… 4 months aaa” The lady was not satisfied with her reply and again she started to ask something in Kannada. Now Anjali was not in any mood to say “Sorry. I don’t know Kannada; can you please speak in Hindi or English?” She tried her best to convince the old lady and the drama continued for a while. Finally the poor lady realized that it would not work out like that and all of a sudden she pulled down the pajama of the baby she was holding and let Anjali had a close look at him to let her know that  it’s a baby boy. Immediately Anjali realized what the lady actually asked her?  and she replied “Oh! My little one is a baby girl and we named her Jia”

Friday, 2 November 2012

Ragging Days, Part-1

Within a few days I realized that our ragging was not an act of aggression or any kind of "Vulgar Display of Power” but it was actually some ways to open us up perfectly to the seniors. Our ragging period is one of the most memorable phases of my life. Every hostel/college has their own set of ragging rules and in our hostel also we had certain simple rules. 

1) Entire 1st semester batch  need to wear complete formal all the time.

2) The entire fresher’s required to wake up early morning by 5 AM and had to go for jogging.

3) We  had to introduce ourselves to each and every senior and that too in their own room and not anywhere else.

4) We had to memorize “full name, semester, block number, room number, branch, which place he belongs” for each and every hostel boarder, including the fresher’s.

5) Cigarettes and alcohol were strictly prohibited for the fresher’s during the ragging period.

Those were the basic rules and anyone who violated any of the rules had to face some kind of music.

It was quite painful to wake up early morning but once I woke up and got ready, I really enjoyed it. We all used to gather near the hostel gate and for the initial few days some seniors took the responsibility to escort us and also took our attendance. During jogging time all the 1st semester guys would be together.For the first time I experienced how does it feel to be a part of  such a big gang. We had the opportunity to know each other much better and during the initial days quite often we used to see some new faces. The landscape nearby our hostel is just awesome. The "Deepor Bill", one of the largest lakes in the Brahmaputra valley of Western Assam is very near to our hostel. Also the road from hostel to Saatmile pass between two hills and early morning it's too green and quite refreshing. Some of us used to hide cigarettes in our pocket and that was the perfect time to have them.

Now the level and type of ragging varied from senior to senior as well as the fresher to fresher. From my experience I think  it more depended on the fresher.  By talking to a fresher any senior would know very well about his personality and attitude. Some of us had some kind of attitude as well as ego problem. Seniors usually have hell lot of techniques to deal with such fresher's which effectively  lowered  their attitude and ego. I can remember one simple but very effective technique, the seniors used to send such guys to the nearby shops very frequently to bring their stuffs. Some of my friends were able to dance nicely and during entire ragging period they danced in one room or the other. Some  used to sing quite well and they had to sing many times. Not only that, the seniors even encouraged them to dance and sing during the college week on stage in front of the whole college and  the guys managed to gain some kind of crowd appreciation.

Some of my friends were too shy, decent and reserved kind of.  For those guys they had different kind of treatment. It usually started with the basic question “Do you use your hand?” Sometimes some seniors even asked to demonstrate, not the actual demonstration but only the expression part and they would not satisfy if the expressions were not candid enough. Now my good friend Prasu was quite shy initially. One day one of our senior asked him the same question and Prasu replied “I don’t do such things”. The senior was decent enough and only asked him to try it out that night. That day Prasu discussed with us regarding that and Nair immediately suggested him not to give such replies. Nair already had some prior hostel experience but of course not up to engineering standard. Nair and Prasu were from the same school but Prasu never had any hostel experience. Nair said to him “Look Prasu, even if you don’t do such things but whenever any senior ask you, you should always say yes. By the way, you really don’t do it?” Prasu replied “of course I do it man, who the hell doesn't do? We had a little laugh and felt good that Prasu was opening up gradually.

One afternoon I was in my room and all of a sudden Nair came inside with a new guy. Looking at him I understood that he’s our batch mate and might have joined hostel that day itself.  As I was in my shorts, he assumed me to be a senior and he had an artificial expression on his face, the kind of expression some fresher’s usually had in front of seniors. Nair said to him “No need be afraid of man, he is also one of us” The guy asked me “you are also a fresher?” After my confirmation he said in a very weird way “Bhaaaak sala” with an amusing expression on his face.  That was my introduction with Bhushan and I can never forget it. I was totally amused that time and thought the guy would definitely give us some entertainment in hostel and I wasn't wrong. 

Bhushan was one of the most entertaining guys in our hostel during our entire stay for 4 years. One evening one of our senior asked him the same question “do you use your hand?” Bhushan said that he doesn't and he even had some sort of argument with him and said he would never do such thing in life. The senior was very upset with him and he gave him a tiny bottle and asked him to fill the bottle latest by next morning or else the consequences would be very severe. That night Bhushan literally approached each and every fresher in the hostel and asked for contribution. He looked very tense and  said “Please contribute a small amount yaar, otherwise tomorrow they will beat me like a cow” We all were shocked and Bhushan got the same kind of reply from every one “stupid, are you mad or what? How can you ask such a thing to any one?” Next day we asked Bhushan “Dude, were you able to manage last night?” He replied “None of us helped me, I managed it  by myself” We asked “but you said you don’t do such things” He replied “what option I had? I don’t know what more things they will ask me to do?”

The jogging helped me a lot. Since my childhood my mother used to have a hard time to feed me breakfast. I just couldn't take anything early morning before going to school, sometimes I even puked. My mother used to give me heavy tiff-in and usually I and my friends used to finish it by 2nd or 3rd period. But during my ragging days, after jogging we used to have breakfast and I enjoyed it graciously and could easily digest 10-15 puris. During my first vacation one morning my Mom was so happy when she saw me having breakfast without any problem.

It took us a long time to memorize “full name, semester, block number, room number, branch, place he belongs” for each and every hostel boarder. Once we memorized that, to be honest we used to remember them all throughout the four years of engineering. Many of us still remember part of it even today after so many years. Whenever any guest used to visit our hostel looking for someone they would ask any guy they encounter. Say for example a visitor came to hostel and ask anyone of us “Can you please call “Nibaran Wari” The guy would usually escort him to Wari’s room.  On the way he might ask "Are you Wari’s father?" If the visitor would reply as yes then the guy would ask "so, you are coming from Barpeta?" We felt the kind of satisfaction and comfort on the visitor’s face.

Monday, 29 October 2012

How I Met Anjali - 1

Entire Hostel was empty as everyone was enjoying their semester break that time. We had a minor problem, as our (I, Mehboob and Dhiru) 7th semester project was not accepted by our guide. Although he was generous enough and gave us another one month time to complete the project. Initially we thought to stay in hostel during the semester break and seriously work on our project. But Dhiru had to go home and we were really upset with him, as we wanted at least Dhiru’s moral support to have completed our project. Now in order to stay in hostel during the holidays, we had to address certain basic issues. Most of the dhaba’s within the campus usually used to remain closed during the holidays. Also, our hostel was located at an isolated area. Actually it's in a small hill and our hostel used to be the end point of our college campus and is at a distance of  around one km from the college. It would have been a little scary to have stayed alone in the hostel. My roommate Nair, told us that he didn't have any plan to visit  his home town, Kerala that time. Sinha and Tarok were also interested to stay with us for few days. So finally it was all set and we decided to stay back in the hostel.

Now our AEC (Assam Engineering College) is quite far from Guwahati city. AEC bus service was excellent and all the buses used to go to the heart of the city and even the bus frequency used to be quite decent. Well, during the holidays the frequency was not that great (after every 2 hours). But as far as I can remember, in the evening one extra bus used to be functional. Those few days we had a typical daily routine. We all used to catch the evening bus and few of us used to get down at Sundarbari (just outside the college campus) to buy chicken and 2 movie CD’s on rent. Remaining guys used to go till Maligaon (some 5-6 km from Sundarbari) to buy our stuffs. After buying our stuffs, we had to wait for some time for our college bus to go back to hostel. Our friends who got down at Sundarbari, were also used to wait for the same bus and we used to go back to our hostel together. We fixed “Ghottu”, one temporary hostel boy who stayed nearby our hostel to cook dinner for us. We used to pay him 50 Rs per day.

By the time Ghottu prepared food, I and Mehboob worked on our project and the remaining guys used to spend some time in the common room. There was some problem with the TV we had in the common room and it was not working that time. Once the food was ready, Ghottu used to have his dinner and before leaving he would give the mess key to us. He prepared very tasty dry chicken and we used to bring some of it to our room. By 9:30 PM we all used to say “CHEERS” and enjoy one of the movies we bought on rent. We tried our best to sustain our stuffs till the end of the movie. After completing the movie, we used to go to the dining hall to have dinner. After dinner we used to spend an hour in the common room and then everyone used to go to sleep.

The dhaba nearby our hostel was closed, so we had to go to a different dhaba near the college for breakfast and lunch. After breakfast we used to work on our project for few hours and then go for lunch. After lunch we used to watch one more movie and again in the evening we used to go out. Two of us would return the CD’s and used to take 2 more new CD's and of course the chicken. Other guys would bring the stuffs and we all used to come back to hostel by the same bus. For 3 days it continued just like that and then one night something happened that completely changed my life.It was a stormy night and it rained heavily, we could hear the lighting thunder sounds. There was no power that night and after we finished our stuffs to the last drop, we literally had nothing to do.We had already shifted the hostel land line phone from common room to one of our friend’s room. Keypad of hostel land line was usually locked but since we were just few guys in the hostel, so the key was with us. Those days we had to rely on land line, as that time mobile phones considered to be a luxury and very few people could afford it. Out of boredom I and one of my friend thought to make some prank calls. We had a look at the telephone directory and dialed our engineering girl’s hostel. It kept ringing for quite some time and then got disconnected. We tried one more time and the result was the same.  Now, why should any girl would stay in hostel during vacation? Once again I had a look at the telephone directory and that time I tried to dial “Ayurvedic College” girl’s hostel. Ayurvedic College is just near our engineering college.

Someone received the call and said "Hello.. Hello !!"

I was not sure what to speak and just said “I am calling from engineering college and I have a very serious problem. I am suffering from severe insomnia. You are a doctor right? Can you kindly treat me?”

She replied “Yes, of course, kindly come to our hospital tomorrow.”

We talked for few minutes and as soon as she realized it’s a prank call, she said “there is lots of grass in your engineering hostels and you better start to clean your up hostel by cutting those bushes for 2 hours a day. You would definitely have a good sleep after that."

We continued to talk like that for few more minutes. I asked her name and which place she belongs?

She replied “I am Poonam and I am a north Indian, born and brought up in Shillong"

She also asked my name and I replied as "Rajiv". Her voice was very attractive, but who the hell had the slightest idea that in future we would be staying together for our entire life?

Next Part
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