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.