Tuesday, 23 August 2016

Dipa Produnova

Yelena Produnova performed a gymnastic vault perfectly in 1999 Olympics. It is considered the most difficult vault in gymnastic history. Some people even called for a ban on this particular vault. There is a very good chance of injuring one self while performing this vault, most of the World class gymnasts just avoid this stunt.

Dipa was an exception. She performed the Produnova Vault in Rio Olympics and stole the heart of the judges, spectators and competitors alike. The gold medalist gymnast of Rio Olympics said, 'Lets rename Produnova vault to Karmakar Vault." There, an Agartalite girl performed exceptionally well and brought fame to the Nation. She could not won a medal, well that's perfectly all right!

Dipa at Agartala

Most of the Agartalites were waiting by the road just to see Dipa once. You don't get to see Olympic celebrities that often, right? It was a great day for Agartala. The happiest thing was, Dipa didn't forget her town even after performing that well in olympics. In India, it is a very common practice that athletes leave their home states in search of greater amount of money. It's good to know that Dipa is an exception.

Poor state of Sports

A lot of people are happy that India won 1 silver and one bronze medal in Olympics. Some people are frustrated with the performance of Indian Sports delegation at Rio. Well I think, the Govt can't even claim the 2 medals from athletes too. We live in a country where Govt. spends ₹0.03/person/day and expects medal (for comparison USA spends ₹22/person/day).

Lack of common sense

Here in India, the Govt is not ready to take care of the athletes when they are struggling. When they win or perform exceptionally well, they are showered with millions of Rupees. Those who are successful does need motivation, I agree. But what's the point spending millions of rupees on Sports person who are already successful, can take up endorsement from different companies and sustain their life style? This thing particularly saddens me.

Saturday, 9 July 2016

Kolkata to Agartala in an ATR

"Oh God! You booked your ticket in an ATR aircraft!" He uttered these words with a horrifying look, like I made a fatal mistake! It was bizzar. What's wrong with an ATR? The job of an Aircraft is to ferry me from Kolkata to Agartala, if it does it's job, Why the hell should I be worried!

To convince me that I made a mistake he started to elaborate his and his acquaintance experience in ATR flight. According to him, the ATR aircraft travels at 26,000 feet where as Airbus travels at 40,000 feet. As a result, the turbulent weather an Airbus can easily avoid, ATR has no option but to go through it. The weather today is not good, A cyclone is hovering over Bangladesh. I must go through some really terrible time today, he opined confidently. ATR even takes more time to travel the same distance, he said. And service of Air India, it's better not to mention..

Hearing all these crap, I was not actually very much confident while boarding the flight. I was worried as my father who is recently been operated is traveling with me. The first sight of the flight was like "Oh shit!" The flight was tiny compared to the other aircrafts on runway. There was even no need of stairs to climb on the flight, the door of the aircraft served as makeshift stair. It was a tiny flight with just 48 seats.

Representational image borrowed from google. Note the make shift stairs.

Up to this point I was thoroughly upset, but things changed dramatically as we entered into the Cabin. An Air India Air hostess welcomed us and handed over the daily newspaper. The over head luggage space was small, but enough to store small hand luggage I was carrying. I settled down on my seat and relaxed. The Aircraft was soon ready to fly. As the blades started to spin, I realized, the sound in cabin was a bit more compared to airbus.

The take off was smooth. After say 10 minutes as the flight settled mid air, we were handed over our FREE evening snacks packs (Air India Rocks!). Snack pack contained a cheese sandwich, pine apple jam sandwich, 2 sweet and 2 salted biscuit packs and one small soft drink. The pack was good enough to keep hunger centre quiet for next couple of hours.

The sky was cloudy and the clouds formed many interesting patterns. My time passed smoothly watching all those beautiful patterns. As we neared Agartala I was amused to note that Agartala is much greener compared to Kolkata, though it lacks the multi story building the mega city boasts off. The landing was smooth. The scheduled landing time was 6:15pm, but when I switched on my mobile phone post landing, It was just 6pm! Thanks Air India, Thanks ATR! This was my second best travel experience. Some day I shall write about the best experience, when I got upgraded to business class on Jet Airways flight.

PS: What is an ATR Aircraft? Wikipedia says, ATR (Aerei da Trasporto Regionale or Avions de transport régional; Regional Air Transport in English) is a French-Italian aircraft manufacturer headquartered on the grounds of Toulouse Blagnac International Airport in Blagnac, France.[1] It was formed in 1981 by Aérospatiale of France (now Airbus Group) and Aeritalia (now Alenia Aermacchi) of Italy.[2] Its primary products are the ATR 42 and ATR 72 aircraft.

Friday, 3 June 2016

The personal assistant

24 hours, this is the average length of day in most of the world. If you are not living in polar areas, there is good chance that you have only this 24 hours to complete your daily works. It's the same length for all, rich/poor, white/black, S/he. But some of us utilize these 24 hours better than others. There are two ways you can maximise your day. The tougher way- You can manage your time to invest more time on productive works.

For those who are not willing to do the time rationing or hate the word discipline, for them, there is a way out! Hire a personal assistant! The job of personal assistant is to help you with your personal works. You can just relax while your assistant is doing all the chores for you. But you need to pay hefty salary to secretary, right? Wrong!

About a year back I wrote about Natasha by hike, a mindless personal assistant bot. It was good for just a few common things. You can read about her here. Today I am talking about a personal assistant app that is actually run by human. It's called Haptik. I stumbled upon this app a few weeks ago. Using it constantly now and it actually frees up considerable amount of time from my schedule! The best thing, you get all these for free.

Haptik has a polished UI! It divides it's content under 8 heading. Reminder- You can ask your personal assistant to remind about anything and every thing here. At recharge tab, you get to recharge your Mobile, DTH etc. They also give you coupon codes for other websites. Looking for an eatery at new place, ask it in nearby tab! Travel options, places of interest, all for you under travel tab. Food, movies, Shopping, utilities are some other useful tabs.

I am using this app for few weeks and I highly appreciate it's performance. I would love to recommend it to you. You can download it here.

Here are some screen shots from haptik.

The welcome screen
The welcome screen

Sign in screen: Only google sign in allowed
Sign in screen: Only google sign in allowed

Catagories at a glance
Catagories at a glance 

Smart new way to book air ticket
Smart new way to book air ticket

Need a coupon? Ask your assistant!
Need a coupon? Ask your assistant!
Here is a video that summerises the performance of Haptik!

Disclaimer: Thia blog is in no way affiliated to Haptik. It's not a sponsored post. If you like my blog, please revisit. Thanks for your time.

Sunday, 15 May 2016

Riding the Horses of Moheen

Last few days were very much stressful at work. I couldn't get enough free time to update my blog. During these stressful time, soulful music by Moheener Ghoraguli helped me a lot to coup up. It's the first Indian rock band led by Gautam Chattopadhyay. Their inspiration was urban folk movement led by Bob Dylan, another favourite musician of mine. I will write a full story about Moheener Ghoraguli in future. For now enjoy some of my favourite hits from the band.

Wednesday, 11 May 2016

Jabra fan from agartala

Few days back I read a weather forecast in a local newspaper saying "There may be low, intermediate or strong rain, even there may not be any rain at all". The piece was amusing. It must be some printing mistake, but this is the true face of weather forecast in India. Only on a few rare occasions the met department was able hit the bull's eye. This is perhaps the most technologically backward section of science.

Weather forecast
Weather forecast

The forecast for next few days says there are chances of heavy thunder storms. Actually they are predicting this very thing for last 3-4 days, but the ground reality is different. The Sun God is at his peak shining like a handsome knight in his armor. The mercury is steadily rising with no signs of downfall. The high humidity and lack of any breeze, is making the lives of the common people hell. The wealthy ones who could afford are chilling in their air conditioned rooms. For rest of us boiling out there, the ceiling fan revolving over head is the only relief.

Most of the Agartalites grew with their fans. Even in 90's, the number of AC's were very limited. We learnt to love our fans from pretty small age as it is the one who saved us from the summer heat. Even today people enjoy the attention of their fans during the noon time and the roads remain mostly barren. If Agartalites are asked to compete with Shahruk for fans, we are sure to win it hands down! :p

Polar fans representational pic from web
Polar fans representational pic from web

My mom and dad started their married lives in a single bed room rented apartment. In 1991 they bought a Polar fan with a very little sum. The fan used to disperse a really cool breeze. Then as we shifted to out present home in 2000, three more fans were purchased. They have already gone though thorough make over, but our good old polar fan after just a single coil change gives away much cooler breeze compared to them. I have experienced Havels, Orient, Usha and many other brands, none is even close to Polar. Only a single brand can compete with Polar, that is Cinni!

Cinni table fans representational image from web
Cinni table fans representational image from web

Few years back I joined hostel. As my room was on the Top most floor, the day long heat used to convert the room into a pressure cooker. The ceiling fans were not effective to circulate air. I bought a  Cinni table fan then and within few days, it was my favourite fan. Within few minutes it would pull the fresh air from outside and calm the room down. Hostel life made me a table fan lover ;)

Air Cooler representational pic from web
Air Cooler representational pic from web

As we got financially better, dad brought a cooler for home. Unfortunately after a few days use, the water circulating mechanism of the cooler got defunct, now it's used as a table fan only. A few times I suggested to install AC's, but high rates of electricity force us to postpon the plan. Again we are having extreme heat for only a few days (say 15-20 days), so it was not considered wise to install an AC. But as the extreme day count increases, we may have to reconsider our decision.

Fan is not only a tool to get relief in summer. It's used to dry the floor faster after pocha. It's also used to dry wet cloths on an urgent basis. As I am writing this piece sitting under a ceiling fan, it's calming me down and allowing me to concentrate on writing. I must thank my fan for it's effort ;)! Lets end it with an irritating personal experience. Whenever our house maid switches off the fan for dusting she just forgets to turn it on after her job is done.

Have you ever felt for your fan? Do write your funny experience in comments. Share it if you like it. Thanks for your time. please keep visiting.

Tuesday, 10 May 2016

Coffee tea and me and friends

Last Sunday afternoon, at the end of a busy week I was just chilling ideally on my couch. Suddenly the phone rang, It was Rajshree one of my very close friends. As I picked up the phone, she asked if I was free that evening. I had no plans as such, so I said yes. She said an outing was planned in the evening, Reea, another close friend of our's too will join us. I enthusiastically agreed to the plan. As I asked about the venue, she told that it was CTM. I didn't knew any place called CTM at Agartala. She clarified that it was Coffee tea and me.

Coffee, Tea and Me location
Coffee, Tea and Me location

Coffee tea and me is located in Ramnagar, between road no. 2 and 3 on the main road. It's quite near to my house, just a 5 minutes auto ride. I reached there at designated time, Reea was already there. As Rajshree could not made it by then and all the tables were booked, we went for a small walk through Ramnagar roads to pass time. The walk was over and Rajshree was there, we ventured into the cafe and luckily found a table with three chairs.

Three of us having fun
Three of us having fun

It was a well lit room with loud honey sing music. For IPL freaks, a roof mounted TV set showed live match. The walls too were creatively decorated with wall paintings related to coffee and tea. We were having friends get together after a pretty long time. Adda started and time was flying like anything. We talked continuously for at least half an hour, no one disturbed us. After another 10 minutes or so when all of us were convinced that we. were hungry, I called the waiter and asked for the menu card. Prices were on higher side, so we opted for only Cappuccino king priced at ₹99 including VAT.

Our cups of cappuccino King
Our cups of cappuccino King

The service was quite smooth. They delivered the cuppa in 15 minutes. The three cups with well decorated heart on the top were accompanied by 6 sugar sachet and three spoons, all on a single plate. While placing the order on table the waiter unintentionally dropped a spoon on table. He promptly said sorry, as the table was quite clean, I didn't asked for a replacement, but it's an area where they can improve.

The melting heart
The melting heart

With the cups on table, photoshoot started, a lot of selfie were clicked. Most of the diners there were aged 20-30 so no one raised an eyebrow over our foolish acts. All were in fun mood. The coffee was good if not the best I ever had. Rajshree visited the place twice before. According to her, most of the food served here is of good quality. The service was quite prompt but the prices could have been a bit lower.

The chocolate factory
The chocolate factory

We paid the bill and went to the shop next dore. It's chocolate factory, chocolate only arm of CTM. The decor is almost similar, just the wall paintings were about chocolate. Rajshree collected the birthday cake she ordered and we munched on some chocolate balls just for ₹15 each. Over all the experience at CTM was quite nice. I have decided to take my girlfriend here next time. You too should visit CTM if you are a Coffee/Tea/Chocolate freak.


Ambience- 8/10
Service- 7.5/10
Food - 8/10
Value for money - 6.5/10
Overall - 8/10

Review by Rajshree:
Ambience - 8/10
Service - 8/10
Food - 9/10
Value for money - 6/10
Overall - 8/10

Strict review by Reea (she must be pissed off ;)):
Ambience- 8/10
Service- 5/10
Food- 6.5/10
Value for money- 7/10
Overall- 6/10

NB: All pictures are blissfully edited by Reea.

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Monday, 9 May 2016

90's kid's Rabindra Jayanti memories

Yesterday we celebrated 154th birth anniversary of World renowned poet Rabindranath Tagore. He was the first non-white, non-europian to be awarded Nobel prize. It's a real honour to be his countryman and being able to read his soul touching poems in original Bengali version. Though he is famous as a poet, his talent was multifaceted. Poem, song, short story, Novels, he wrote them all. Apart from his literary ventures, he was a great painter, social reformer and educationist too.

Rabindra Jayanti 2016
Rabindra jayanti 2016
What I have written above about Kaviguru, the master poet is how the world knows him. Now let me tell you how I came to know him. In the year 1997, my family shifted to Agartala. The cultural movement was at it's peak by then. On 25th Baisakh, the birth date of Rabindranath Tagore according to Bengali calander Rabindra Jayanti programmes were organised in every nook and corners of the city. Children used to resuscitated poems, sang Rabindra sangeet, danced on the beats of Rabindrasangeet on stage. Through Rabindra jayanti the first encounter of each and every child happened with stage. It helped the 90's kids of Agartala a lot to overcome stage anxiety.

I was perhaps in the 4th grade then, on The morning of Rabindra jayanti, I declared I'll participate in Rabindra jayanti this evening. My mom was very happy. She quickly skipped through the Rabindranath's poem collection and book marked two poems. The first was Nirjharer swapnabhanga (The rousing of the waterfall) a soulful poem and her personal favourite and Another was prashna (The question) equally good. I choose Prashna as it was easier to remember then Nirjharer swapnavanga.

The poem Prashna had 3 stanzas as I was quite young and could never by hard all the three stanzas in just a day, I was told to master the first stanza at least. I did that and went to the programme. When my name was announced on sound system, I walked on to the stage confidently as I could easily memorise the whole poem. But as I climbed on the stage and noticed around a thousand pair of eyes judging me, I was like "shit"!

My legs were trembling, my mouth was all dry and the forehead was covered with sweat beads. As I was stagnant for a few minutes, the crowd started murmuring. I realized, I need to do it or within minutes I'll be a laughing stock. I somehow managed ti walk up to the microphone, clinched it and started the ressuscitation. That day I forgot to address the audience and give introduction about the poem as taught by my mom. I completed the poem and hurriedly left the stage. My mom downstairs received me and congratulated me. I was a bit relieved that the resuscitating must be at least ok, later I received a Rotomac pen as consolation prize. I was a bit confident while receiving the prize as it was my second time on stage.

Next year I resuscitated the same stanza but was a bit more confident then. It was on the third year I was able to resuscitate the whole poem confidently, though I got nothing more then the consolation prize. As I grew older, I left the resuscitation competition for my younger siblings and started participating in quiz competitions etc.

I somehow escaped the embarrassment on stage, but not all were that lucky! One of my elder brothers while resuscitating a popular poem by Raindranath Tagore (বৃষ্টি পড়ে টাপুর টুপুর) did a blunder. A line said "another wife being fed up went to her maternal house" (আরেক কণে গোষা করে বাপের বাড়ি যায়). Being very much nervous he uttered "another wife being fed up went to Nandi House" (আরেক কণে গোষা করে নন্দীবাড়ি যায়). Our maternal home was known as Nandi House. Each and every one who heard this resuscitation, laughed their heart out :). Though the next year he acted in a short play and was highly appreciated for his acting skills.

My initial introduction with Rabindranath was through this poems only. Later in life I read a few short stories and novels by him. Specially Rajarshi, the novel written about the Kings of Tripura is a hot favourite of mine. In 10th standard I read about his social reforms in history books. As time passed, Love happened to me. That time Rabindra Sangeet was the music I loved. As my girlfriend is a Rabindra freak, we could easily express our love though Rabindra sangeet. Some of our favourites are "Amaro parano jaha chay", "Mone ki didha rekhe gele chole", "Krishna koli ami tare boli" and many many more.

15-20 years later now, we are not having Rabindra Jayantis at such a mass scale. Some cultural societies that nurtured Rabindranath are dead, some are struggling, some new organizations have come up, but they choose to have different dates for their programmes. A central cultural programme on 25th Baisakh is still celebrated, but I miss the small Rabindra Jayantis that used to be organised in localities. In those small programmes, Rabindranath used to share dias with Najrul and Sukanta too. Now these are sweet memories of 90's kids not to be lived but to be cherished.

Here I am sharing some of my favourite Rabindra Sangeet and poems:

You can read the works by Rabindranath Tagore here. I would suggest you to read Rajarshi. You'll know more about Tripura.

Also consider visiting Visva Bharati website. It was the educational institute established by Rabindranath Tagore at Shantiniketan. They have thoughtfully preserved the Rabindranath tradition.

If you liked my post, please do share and give constructive suggestion. Thank you for your time. Please keep visiting.

Saturday, 7 May 2016

The auto nightmares

I am having nightmares for last few days. Nightmares of being left behind by the auto drivers as I am not being able to provide them the change, the nightmare of getting my knee joints crashed! Nightmares of having a bitter fight with auto drivers as I asked them to take the legal fare.

Ok, let me tell you the background of these nightmares. In Agartala, the roads are not that wide, as a result, artery roads are not capable to handle buses. The people here too are in so much hurry that most of them are reluctant to take lengthy bus rides. The main mood of public transport in Agartala is Auto rickshaws. They enjoy the monopoly and abuse it fully.

The Agartalites by now must know the pain oned had to endure while traveling in auto even a year back. I remember when I joined my college, the fare from my college to Battala (8km around) was ₹7. The drivers used to carry 4+5 passengers in an auto designed to carry 3+1 passengers. As the area was a suburb, traffic rules were not that stringent. Even at places where traffic police was present, they just avoided conflict with auto drivers. Thus our roads were full of illegally and dangerously over loaded vehicles.

A year or so back the Govt. imposed strong laws and the traffic system was brought to life Autos were forced to carry not more than 3 passengers. It dramatically improved passenger comfort. A fare hike was imposed by Govt. it took the fare that was previously ₹7 to ₹10. The auto drivers themselves hiked the fair more and took it to ₹13. Still we were happy as first time Agartalites could sit properly in an auto.

Good things are short lived, we got the instance few days back. In Agartala to remove congestion Govt. decided to erect a flyover. For the construction purpose, some routes are diverted, including the route to my college. The autowalas too a cunning approach. They started carrying 5 persons, as a compensation to the diversion they had to travel. For a single kilometer extra travel, they were having ₹26 bonus.

The autowalas here in agartala are very much organised. A common man can't even dare to mess with an auto driver as they fight in herds. This organised approach by them is even feared by the traffic police. They never carry change and if your fare is ₹13 you need to give them ₹10+₹3 all in change. My experience in quite opposite in Kolkata Metro and buses where change is never a problem. To be frank, I drooled over the bag of coins carried by the bus conductors.

I hope the anarchy that is currently there is public transport system will be solved and we will again be able to ride autos like a king. An advise for those who are visiting Agartala, please carry enough change. You may try motor pulled rickshaws or tuk tuks as alternative, though they are a bit slow. If you liked my post do share and let others know. Thank you. Keep visiting.

Tuesday, 3 May 2016

Congratulations Agartalites

Congratulations Agartalites

Agartala is at last on the BG Rail map of India. Yesterday a passenger train carrying passengers from Silchar entered Agartala and thus transformed it into second NE state capital to get Broad Guage connectivity. Today the blog Agartala Express is more relevant then ever before. Cheers!

Broad Guage passenger train connects Agartala
Broad Guage passenger train connects Agartala.

Saturday, 9 April 2016

Charaka : The most painful way to praise Lord Shiva

The fan over head is trying its level best to cool the things up, but with 350C temperature today and a sun burning as hot as it can, it’s just impossible to maintain composure. As my core body temperature neared boiling point, a knock on gate was heard. As I opened the gate with disgust, an older man with a drum (we call it Dhak in Bengali) hung from his left shoulder and a young boy dressed tip to toe in red entered. The man started playing his drum and the young boy started playing his best moves. On close inspection, I saw the boy was carrying a bunch of rusted iron nails atop his head. I was confused about what I was supposed to do. Then my mom appeared to my rescue. I asked her what they were doing. She told me that they came to collect funds for Charak puja.

Charaka Devotees
The two devotees who came to enlighten me.

Charak puja! Yes, I heard about it. I saw a picture depicting charak puja in horoscope book commonly known as panjika or paji. It shows a men hanging from a pole. Few days back, when I was doing my duty at Emergency block of my Hospital, I attended a person who came with chest pain, when I inspected him, I saw 3-4 wounds over his back, on asking how he got the wounds, he told shyly “kichu din age Charak korsilam” (Attended in Charak festival few days back). I didn’t have the chance to enquire him what Charaka was, but today as I got the scope, I decided to make use of it. I rushed to my room and returned to them with my DSLR. 
As I returned, my mother was transfusing mustard oil from her bottle to a bottle they brought. She also donated 50 rupee to them. The little boy smeared Sindur (red powder) over her bangles. As the ritual was over, I asked them if I could click their picture. The man was interested but a bit shy, but the little one was so much enthusiastic. He managed his dad to give consent. I clicked a picture of both. Then the boy asked me to show the picture to him. As he saw him on the display, his eyes brightened, he asked me if I could click a single picture of him. I did it gladly but as the boy decided to go quiet in front of the cam, not a single picture was as lively as he was in person even he was not impressed with his picture when I showed it to him.
The little red monk
The little red monk carryimg nails over his head.
As the photo shot was over, the man cordially invited me to attend the puja. I informed him about the fact that I don’t know a single thing about this puja and requested him to enlighten me about the puja, how it was started, how it is done etc. He humbly admitted that he didn’t know much about the history of this puja, but he can certainly elaborate the methods of puja. The puja is celebrated on Chaitra Sankranti, the last day of Bengali calendar, it continues for 2-3 days. They collect fund for puja like this, by singing and dancing on the beats of drum. The puja is actually done to praise Lord Shiva. It revolves round charaka tree; a small shiva linga wrapped in a red cloth is placed near charaka tree. Then a pole is attached to long bamboo structure. (Now comes the horrific part) The nails I mentioned are nailed in the back of two devotees, after short puja they are hanged to the poles with the help of some ropes and they just revolve around the centre Charaka tree. During this act banana, batasha (small sugar cakes) are thrown at them. They catch those and return those to the devotees. The devotees who are hanged to the pole are supposed to get direct access to heavens and the devotees who catch the Prasad are sure to have a Great year ahead.

The flying devote
The flying devotee, enduring immance pain to praise the Lord. Source: Internet
After acquiring all the knowledge, I bid them good bye with promise to attend the puja. Back home I asked mom if the Shiva-Gauri who used to come to our homes and these people, are they same? She confidently answered in negative. I asked her if she could tell me more about the custom, she declined. I asked dad, even he was not of much help. As the last resort I decided to Google it. With the help of Ridmik Bengali keyboard I asked Google about charak puja. A wiki page does exist about charak puja, but the link was not that informative, so I further researched, not only on internet but also in small amount of religious literature available to me.

The research shows that Charaka puja is mainly a festival of bengali backward class, it never enjoyed any respect the influential class of Bengal. There is a reference in religious scripture about Shiva worship in the month of chaitra, but there is no reference of the word Charaka. The Charaka puja was first documented to be observed by Raja Sundarananda Tagore, a small king of Bengal in the year 1485. The festival is also known as Nil puja (The praise of the blue, Shiva), Gambhira puja, Shiver gajan (The songs of Shiva). Regarding the procedure, the things the man mentioned was true. Apart from these, some people loves to take the things to the extremes. Piercing tongue, walking on burning charcoal, nails are some examples. Some even pierce their body parts with red hot nails. And yes, The Shiva-Gauri and Charaka both the rituals are same. Sorry mom, you gave me wrong info.

The Shiva and Gauri. Yes, they are supposed to come in pair to collect funds. Our cute nail carying Shiva was not that happy probably because his Gauri was not accompanying him today. :). Source : Internet.
People around India do a lot of weird things to praise their beloved God. Specially for lord Shiva, the sacrifices are always high toned. Girls do fast on 16 Mondays to get good husband. Devotees even travel to china for Kailash-Mansarovar Yatra. But regarding Charaka festival, I have never heard of any other festival that includes so much pain, at least to please lord Shiva. So I think it is the most painful way to praise lord Shiva. Do you know about anything more painful ritual done to praise the lord, do share in comments.

PS: I wrote the whole piece while watching Harbhajan Singh hitting boundaries. So if there are typos and grammatical errors, please help me correct them by pointing. Thanks, please keep visiting. :)

Friday, 1 April 2016

April fool memories. :)

April fool meme.
April fool meme. Source :Internet
“Hey, Yesterdays IND vs. WI match was fixed, listen to the conversation here.” It was followed by a sound file. This was the first things my sleepy eyes saw today morning on whatsapp. This message was shared on our college whatsapp group by a friend of mine who was known to be an avid cricket follower. So no confusion downloaded the sound file hurriedly. As I tapped the play button, a vintage music started flowing; the music was followed by lyrics “April fool banaya to unko gussa aaya”. With a smile on my lips, I confirmed the fact that was evident by now, yes it was 1st April.

I was 6 years old when I first fell a victim of April fool day prank. I used to be a huge badminton fan back then. I used to play with my 2 years older sibling. Back then shuttle cock used to be a luxury for us, we used to have only one shuttle cock to play with, if its lost, we were done for that day. That day when I went to play badminton with my big bro, he welcomed me with a grin on his face, “see what I have today”. He waved a bottle like thing at me it said Vicky shuttlecock pack of ten.

I was confused what it was. He told me that it was a collection of ten shuttlecocks that from Vicky Company that used to manufacture tennis balls we all admired. I was like in heavens and started pleading him to show me the box. At first he resisted, but as I insisted, he agreed to show that to me and handed over the bottle to me. I opened the bottle with the high enthusiasm, but to my utter surprise, the bottle was empty. As I was thinking what just happened, the big bro screamed এক গোল খাওয়াইসি” (fooled you once) the term homologous to April fool!

It was the first time I fell a victim of April fool day and the trend continued and for last 20 years. It was not like only I was fooled, I fooled others too on occasions. The tricks included sudden screaming to carefully crafted prank. As I grew older, the fun too increased. At times, the pranks were played even on days that were not April 1. Today I would like to share such a prank that was shared by Rebika, a friend of mine. It’s a sure shot prank, may use it to scare your friends as hell.

Settings: Dark room, friends chatting while seated.

The story starts with a girl who just shifted to a hostel. She was accommodated in a single room where a girl names Ankita hanged her. The girl joined the school midterm and was unable to cope up with the studies. Teachers asked her to collect the notes from her batch mates, but none provided her the same. The teacher used to scold her every day for not bringing the notes.

One day just before class exams she was crying silently in her room, suddenly someone knocked at her door as she opened a girl of her age was standing there. The girl asked “I heard you need notes, here are mine, you may keep it for today, I’ll take them the day after tomorrow.” The girl was very happy; she thanked the second girl a lot and took the notes. She studied the whole night and faired really good in exams.

After the results were published the teacher called her and asked where she had the notes from. She narrated the story. Teacher told her “If you meet her again, do ask her if her name was Ankita.”

6-7 days passed after the incidence, the girl almost forgot the incidence then suddenly one night someone knocked the door again, as she opened the door she found the girl who lend her notes has come to take her notes back. The girl returns the notes to the second girl, after receiving the notes she was leaving. Suddenly the girl remembered that the teacher asked her to enquire if she was Ankita. The girl interrupts the second girl and asks, “Hey are you Ankita?”

The second girl suddenly turns back and screams “Tumhe kayse pata?” (How do you know that?)

Act the last line yourself and scream too. It’s sure to scare your friends as hell. Try the prank this April and have fun. Thank you, keep visiting.

Wednesday, 23 March 2016

Happy Holi!!!

Many parts of India will celebrate the festivals of colour today, my present location kolkata included. Though at my native place agartala, holi will be observed tomorrow. Today we celebrate Dol (দোল), we apply colours over tulsi tree and at the foot of idols. In simple terms, today we dedicate colours to the devine and tomorrow we'll be smearing colours on the faces of our friends. So the people who are celebrating holi today, many many greetings for them. Stay safe, play safe. Check the website to know more about precations to be maintained while playing holi here.

Tuesday, 22 March 2016

What the Callous!

A common man from Tripura may not know about many medical institutes, but he must know the name of Apollo Hospital. Apollo Hospital are of two types, one found in Chennai and another found in kolkata. The better one is in Chennai, but in Kolkata we have an Apollo Hospital that is good enough, but costly. In Apollo hospitals, doctors are actually Gods, every thing is good there. This is the perception, people from Tripura have about Apollo hospitals.

I never got a chance to visit Apollo hospital chennai ever. So, when I got a chance to visit Apollo Kolkata, I just grabbed the opportunity (lol, I went there to accompany my mom and aunt to senior doctors). So the procedure was really cool. you go there, reception desk would refer you to doctors chamber, attendant  there would refer you to cash section. The suited booted staff on cash will charge you the amount and refer you to a nurse who will take your vitals and then allow you to go to the consultation chambers of doctors.

The other things went of smoothly, but vital monitoring part came as a big shock. The young nurse there put the BP cuff around the arm of my aunt, kept her finger on wrist and started inflating the cuff. It is called palpatory method of Blood Pressure measurement, you can measure only systolic BP (the numerator) in this way. At the end of measurement, I thought they would write the Systolic BP only, but to my utter surprise she wrote both systolic and diastolic BP(the numerator & denominator both).

I approached the nurse and asked her how she could comment on Diastolic BP as it can't be measured in palpatory method. With a puzzled look on her face, she told "It must be normal! that's why I wrote normal values."

I was like WTF! How could staff of such a reputed medical institute like Apollo kolkata could be so callus! Vitals are most important for diagnosis of a disease or conditions. If the vitals are measured like this, how can we expect the doctors to make the diagnosis and treatment correctly?

The perception that the doctors in Apollo hospitals are so good, no doubt about it. But if other staff do such blunders, how could we expect good services here! Here my intention is neither to blacken the image of Apollo hospital nor to do negative publicity. I would just like to have the attention of Apollo hospital people. Come on guys, you have created the brand equity with much difficulties, why ruin it like this. I don't personally have problem with doctors or their attitude but how could we expect your doctors to perform when they are not fed with right info?

PS. I have a suggestion for you Apollo people, why not equip nurses with electronic BP monitor.

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Friday, 18 March 2016

Offf Flipcart..

In India, online shopping is synonymous to Flipcart. With 44% of market share, flipcart is undisputed leader on the board. Second place is occupied by Snapdeal with 32% and amazon is on third position with 15% market share. Report says that flipcart is not yet making any profits yet as they are more concerned about expanding their business. It's probably first time in modern India, a "Make in India" company is kicking the ass.

Market share of major e-retailers
Market share of major e-retailers. Image curtsy: Business Standard

All these stuff made me very happy once. As I live in the North east where most companies don't establish their show rooms as this is not profitable for them, could get my hands on hands on latest tech by ordering them online. First few days were euphoric. Every thing was delivered and every damn thing was good. I remember prebooking and buying Revolution 2020 from flipcart. There were shops who used to order LCD TVs (they were in fashion then) and resale them for some profit.

But as the time passed, flipcart started curtailing products that were delivered in north east (and some areas in UP, Bihar too). The share of not-shippable products increased with time, at  some point even less than 20% products of 15Mn strong inventory of flipcart became not-shippable.

I remember, Motorola unvailed their flagship phone Moto E, G and X just after it was taken over by google. It was only available on flipcart. That time flipcart had a policy of not delivering products costing more than 10,000 rupee in north east. I was not able to procure the Moto G phone I wanted badly, rather I need to settle with a Micromax HD mobile.

Things have moved a bit forward in last few days, Flipcart increased the quantum of products shippable to North-East. I heard this info from my friends. So when I had to buy a pair of shoes few days back, I went streight to the play store and downloaded the flipcart app (flipcart is not accecible from mobile without app). I went to the shoes section and after say half an hour of scanning, I sattled on a pair of shoes and went on to order that. As I entered my pin code, BANG! It was not available! The second choice, not available. Third, forth nopz.. not available.

This is when I tried to buy Moto X today
This is when I tried to buy Moto X today.

With a broken heart, I just casually copied the product name and searched it on snap deal, the product was there. I entered the PIN code. Yes, it was available. Ordered it from snapdeal and recived the curier after around 10 days. It was available after just 7days, but due to neglect on part of bluedart the delivery was delayed. At Amazone too, the product was available and was shippable.

I am not advocating for any perticular brand here, I am just putting forward the plight of people from Agartala and the North-East. We too have the same right as the people from main land of India to shop products online and get good deals. If flipcart is not willing to do so, let them declare this openly that they wont deliver to North-East. We have other online retailers to choose from. It's a request to my readers, kindly put pressure on flipcart authorities..

Thursday, 17 March 2016

Apologies and renaming.

The blog I am writing today is intended to serve two different purposes. First, it emphasizes on my ever growing laziness and second the change of name and web address of the blog.

If someone has visited this website more than once (please ignore, these are imaginary people I am talking about) you must have already noticed, this is the worst kept and most irregularly updated blog on the web (Gosh! still 607 page views, 600 among them must have been suicide goals). Whatever, today, I would like to make a pledge (which may get broken any time) that I would update this blog at least once every fortnight.

The second announcement is about change of blog address and blog name. As some of you must have known that broad gauge rail line is already operational till my home city of Agartala. I am expecting to see an express train ferrying people directly from Agartala to Kolkata in less than a month. To make the moment memorable, I have decided to change the name and web address of this blog post as Agartala Express which I suppose would be the name of first train leaving Agartala station. So my request to the beloved reader is that if you by mistake bookmarked this page, kindly change the web address to agartalaexpress.blogspot.com. Thank you. Please keep visiting.

Agartala Train Station built with design clues from Ujjayanta palace, the Royal residence.
Agartala train station built with design clues from Ujjayanta Palace, the royal palace of Tripura. Image Source: Internet.