Cutting the Chai has moved to a new domain:
You can get in touch with Soumyadip at

Friday, March 31, 2006

Simply Red

Simply Red
"Whenever I see red, I think of you," said she and she and she and he and he. There is a certain appeal about the colour red that I own shirts, T-shirts, kurtas, jackets, pullovers and shawls of the Bolshevik colour. But no red trousers yet.

This affinity towards red has nothing to do with political affiliations of any kind. Perhaps it is the subconscious feeling that I look better in red or red stuff look better on me. "But you overdo it," allege friends. Now there is even a ban in place against me eying an inviting red piece of clothing at the mall.

My earliest encounter with the colour though is not a very pleasant one. During an annual holiday at our native village, a bull chased me and my cousins. And all the blame was put on the red and white sweater that my mother stitched for me. It was much later that I discovered that bulls are colourblind. So I in a red tee wouldn't look attractive to a bull (thankfully), but women in red do keep my pupils focused.

And this blog received its 10,000th hit at 15:57:18 yesterday. Nothing much to celebrate about, but can the 10,000th visitor please come forward to claim his/her prize (??). Visitor number ten-grand is from New Delhi, India, surfs using Internet Explorer 6.0 on Windows 98 operating system has a screen resolution of 800X600 uses a Videsh Sanchar Nigam Ltd. connection with the IP address and in the last four days has visited this blog atleast four times. This is what StatCounter tells me.

StatCounter also informs me that the 10,012th visitor reached here searching for 'disgusting cleavages.' Sorry to disappoint him.Disgusting Cleavages Search

Click here for the complete post...

Wednesday, March 29, 2006

Let There Be Light

Let There Be Light

Click here for the complete post...

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Thank God for the Blog

This post by K (kay translates to 'who' in Bangla - he prefers to remain anonymous and so should he) speaks of what plagues the Indian media and he's not talking of the fast deteriorating quality. Maxim in its 'Circus Maximus' section (of Khushboo fame) says the female jurno "has slept with everyone in her office cos it's acceptable in media." Though 'Circus Maximus' doesn't claim any authenticity or seriousness, it drives a point about the general impression of media personnel. With news there spreads a lot of gossip. But lecherous bosses and subjugated juniors are not always figment of some gossip monger's imagination.

K writes, "I debated long and hard before posting this, and a part of me still thinks I should not have, but because at the end of the day, media incestuousness would mean that almost nobody will pick up the story, and as I mentioned, blogs do have a purpose of informing people about things that they will never get to hear about. This is a serious problem in the Indian media."

Thank god (or whosoever) for the blog.

Click here for the complete post...

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Radio Ga Ga

The language was Bangla, but the accent and the stories, distinguishably Chinese. An avid radio listener, my father tried to inculcate this dying habit into his sons. FM is not real radio. Short wave is.

Radio Beijing with its waves traversing the Himalayas captivated me. Stories from China, read out in textbook Bangla with a Chinese accent that sounded so sweet. I didn't know of the concepts of propaganda and censorship and I enjoyed every bit of it. Radio Moscow (now Voice of Russia), Voice of America and the good ol' Beeb. Later as I learnt to read, comic books took over followed by Doordarshan, then cable TV and now the internet. I no longer hear the crackle of shortwave. It's only the choked nostrils singer who seems to be blowing throughout the frequency modulation spectrum that my neighbours irritate me with.

Philips RL241 Digital Clock RadioA few weeks ago a telecaller from WorldSpace called up, I wasn't interested even at Rs 1999. I hardly listen to music these days. But when I eyed the new Philips RL241 Digital Clock Radio on a showroom display, I couldn't resist the temptation. Primarily because it had an alarm that would play me a station of my choice at the designated hour. I always wanted to own an alarm radio. Smaller and slimmer than a standard audio cassette case, it costs Rs. 440.

Other features:
FM (87-108 MHz) and MW (520-1610 KHz)
LCD display (for time and the frequency tuned to)
9-button control panel
Scrolling frequency and volume controls
1 foot long aerial
Wrist strap with detachable rear stand

2 X 1.5V AAA Batteries
DC 4.5V adapter socket

The radio is a wonderful companion, even in places where there is no electricity, there's radio. In an era when mobile phones have inbuilt radios, why did I feel the need for a separate piece of electronics (the mobile's got an alarm too)? I can watch TV on the PC with a TV tuner card but we like to watch TV on TV, don't we?

Click here for the complete post...

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Your Honour, mein nirdosh hoon!

Was doing a story on the mad rush for money at the B-schools and was somewhat lost in the highest, mean, median, laterals, PPOs, foreign and domestic. The last time I saw so many numbers together was writing my dissertation for that master's degree. Got the degree but didn't master anything. Atleast not yet. After a mind numbing day eight hours at a stretch before an obsolete PC which takes an entire Himmesh Reshammiya song just to launch MS Word (you can imagine how excruciating the experience is), I come home to spend another five (if not more) hours before a-still-not-yet obsolete PC. And what do I find? A tag!

It's been ages since the last one came my way and I was already feeling excommunicated by the blogging community. Thanks to the makeover girl - AFJ - I have something to post about tonight. But she, like a shrewd public prosecutor wants me to confess my guilt. I'm in the dock and all evidence go against me. Do I have a choice?

Bappi LahiriCulinary Guilt: I'm a reasonably good cook. Atleast my friends tell me so, purportedly because if I wasn't they would have to do all the cooking. The secret behind those tingling taste buds is monosodium glutamate. It may not be healthy, but I use it a lot.

Literary Guilt: The books on my bookshelf are not an indicator of my reading habits. The stuff that I usually read is under the mattress.

Audiovisual Guilt: I claim to be a movie maniac and have built a sizeable collection of movies without having watched many of them.

Musical Guilt: In middle school my favourite music director was Bappi Lahiri

BarsaatCelebrity Guilt: In school I was the House Captain and maintaining the house bulletin board was one of my responsibilities. Then the Shahrukh bug bit me. Next day the principal summons me to her office and orders all the Shahrukh pics and articles off the board. "'Negative influence' on the juniors," that's what she termed me. The next year I was caught on camera wearing Bobby Deol 'Barsaat' glasses.

I now summon five others sinful souls to confess their guilt:


Click here for the complete post...

Monday, March 20, 2006

Photography is Prohibited. Say Cheese

Photography Prohibited
Delhi Metro - the pride of the capital. Makes commuting a pleasure. The steel, cement and glass of the stations may not be photogenic, but sometimes you feel tempted to go shutter-happy. And many of us do. But if you read the long list of dos and don'ts somewhere lost in the long ad-glowed walls of the tunnels leading to the station, you'll find a sentence stating that photography is prohibited. Similar signs are all over the nation and beyond. Places of 'strategic security' are out of viewfinder bounds. Bridges, dams, radio stations, museums, historic places, courtrooms ... What purpose do these menacing signboards serve?

Cameras have shrunk; there are ones in wrist watches too. The one will malafide intentions will always have a way. What harm can an innocent museum photo cause? A duplication of a masterpiece? Or a plan to burgle those royal jewels? Imitation is the best form of flattery. The security systems and the guards also have to earn their worth.

If sketching is allowed inside courtrooms, why not let us have some photography and some moving images coupled with sound. We've had enough of the melodramatic courtroom scenes in the movies, it's the age of reality TV. We'll refrain from using the flash and the digital cameras don't make shutter noise. If we can watch Saddam and his courtroom drama, we also want Manu Sharma.

Don't take a screenshot of this webpage!

Can the above message really stop anyone from doing it? That's my point.

Why then the useless expenditure of the honest (??) taxpayer's (my) money on the obviously useless signboards (they can't possibly do anything with that)?

Click here for the complete post...

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Holi Shouldn't be Colourfast

Rang De
Back in the overwhelmingly non-vegetarian society, eggs were a sticky favourite during Holi. This time around, I believe they exercised a little restraint in cracking those shells on an unsuspecting reveller's head, owing to the avian influenza scare. No one minded the eggs though, because eggs make for a good conditioner. The powdered blue (used for whitening the whites - rather making them patchy blue) mixed with mustard oil was another preferent. But the silver paint, grease and other unwashable substances are always the most unwelcome.

Post-Holi baths have traditionally been long drawn affairs. Kerosene, mustard oil, lime, lots of soap and litres and litres of warm water, were all put into the service of skin unstaining. This year due to limiting the exchange of colours exclusively to gulal, the bath was neither long nor agonising.

The United Colours of HoliAs kids, we used to derive sadistic pleasure on seeing the remnants of our Holi inflicted colours on others visible even a week after. If the festivities are limited to the non-toxic way, what a wonderful festival this is - minus the eve-teasing part. This festival is about enjoyment and mild flirtations, but the excuse, bura na mano, Holi hain (don't mind, it's holi) is indeed inexcusable. Colours, colours and more colours and then pour some water. The entire nation goes red, yellow, green and pink.

Fun it is, only if the cleaning is also as enjoyable as the application. Going for an assignment with green ears and magenta nails the next day isn't what I look forward to.

Click here for the complete post...

Monday, March 13, 2006

A Bowler and a Few Berserk Batsmen

Anil Kumble or Jumbo - the latter more suitable for the news headlines - scalped half a chiliad wickets in test Cricket. The engineer's unspinning legspin at a medium pacer's speed baffled many a batsman. When he pocketed ten Pakistani wickets at Delhi's Feroze Shah Kotla, I was running in and out of my Shillong home to update the boys playing outside; and during my last run, when I broke the record-equalling news, a kid innocently asked me, "Who took the remaining one?"

Yesterday, I witnessed another great happening in the world of cricket. Australia scored 434/4 - the highest score in limited overs cricket, only to last for 299 balls. The gritty South Africans, the real challengers to the Kangaroo stranglehold on international cricket finished with 438/9, thereby winning the series 3-2.

872 runs in a ball less than a hundred overs, the chasing side down to their last wicket, winning with only a ball to spare. The greatest one day international ever? Maybe. Maybe not. The greatest because the opponents were the mighty men from down under, and no one ever posted such an obscenely huge figure on the scoreboards. Maybe not, because the opponents there were not India and Pakistan. But again yes, simply because I didn't catch the last Indo-Pak series, nor did I watch Kumble's latest entry into the recordbooks. But watch the fifth one day between South African and Australia? I did.

Click here for the complete post...

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Splitting the Rent and Associated Analysis

Roomie Ad
Climbing down the stairs of a building, which houses a popular coaching institute, this 'ad' caught my eye. The message - plain, simple and to the point. Hope Gaurav finds his IIM aspirant roomie.

When it comes to the other human being sharing the room/apartment/barsati and also the rent, we usually look for someone with similar traits. Someone who can share the work, take up responsibilities and more importantly, someone who can cook. Not necessarily implying that we ourselves are bestowed with these qualities. If both (or all) prefer equal cleanliness or unorderliness; soothing silence or resounding rap - peace persists. Everyone is equally happy or unhappy with the present state of things.

Opposites attract, but also clash. Many can be the best of friends, but cannot stay under the same roof together. That requires a different level of affinity. Ever since I left that place with cooked meals and washed laundry - also referred to as home - I've changed my residential address eight times and had as many as nine different roommates. But the common factor there is a fellow blogger, and roomie for the last four and a half years. We hardly talk with each other, just a word or two about what's happening where. But he's been a great person to stay with (am not sure of the other way round).

A Possible Ad Looking for a RoommateHere comes the question of why Gaurav is seeking a roommate preparing for CAT 2006? Obviously, he too is preparing for the same and two minds are better than one. But then too much similarity might breed contempt. A friend said that it is never advisable to stay with someone who works in the same office as you. She reasoned that it inevitably leads to the official tensions, competitiveness and the assorted pollutants doing overtime.

If my roomie happens to get married, which will lead him to seek a separate abode, because no self-respecting woman would like to call our bachelor pad home. I'll not move out because shifting is a tiring thing and I'm already fatigued. All that I would need to do is to cellotape an ad on the wall of the liquor vend.

Click here for the complete post...

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

We're Not Afraid

We were not afraid then:

We were not afraid then

We are not afraid now:

We are not afraid now

Terrorists target the holy city of Varanasi. Twin blasts leave 21 dead and over 62 injured.

The Hindu
The Times of India
The Indian Express

Click here for the complete post...

Monday, March 06, 2006

Enlightened Tree

Sunset at Connaught Place, New Delhi


Click here for the complete post...

Pedestrian Treatment

Keep Walking
It's boom time. The most powerful man on planet earth said all those goody goody things about the country. The GDP growth is impressive and the planners are already dreaming of that double digit. The Bombay Stock Exchange Sensitive Index seems to be on the overdrive. The dollars are flowing in and the reserves fattening. The aam aadmi under the shadow of the hand might not be smiling, but there isn't much of a frown either. All this is reflected in the construction frenzy in urban India (to our planners, observers, strategists and experts India is exclusively urban; no one gives a damn about the country side).

Speedways and flyovers are the hallmark of developmental achievements. Good, pretty good. Home to office will soon be a red-light free zone (no one cares about the red-light areas either). But how do I cross those damned roads with vehicles zipping past at speeds greater than 60 kpmh. Does the average Indian who moves about on his feet, rather than EMI funded wheels have a chance? The flyovers are many, but the pedestrian subways are far too few. No one slows down at zebra crossings. There are no policemen manning the zebra crossings, they're either busy protecting VIPs or waiting at the traffic intersections for someone to violate some sub-clause, so that they can pocket that some extra.

The roads are barricaded so that people on foot cannot cross them, and if they have to, they will have to travel atleast half a kilometre to find a subway (if luck permits) or the end of the barricade. To add to the woes, the subways remain closed 9:00 PM to 7:00 AM (though the official timings mention 10:00 PM to 6:00 AM). If someone happens to wander on feet late at night or early in the morning, there's some serious leg work in store.

A footpath, as the name suggests is a path for people travelling on foot. But here in the national capital, it implies space to earn extra dough. No not by the pavement vendors - they are illegal in the eyes of the law - but by the authorised municipal parking contractors. The pavements are packed with parked cars, leaving no space for someone to walk.

All Parked, Nowhere to Walk
In this high speed world of fast lanes, the only place for a pedestrian is in the middle of the road, lying in a pool of gushing red liquid. The speeding vehicles only swerve by. Nobody stops.

Click here for the complete post...

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Bushing Around the Beat

The troublesome twins didn't accompany their parents to India. The last time when Chelsea Clinton accompanied her Democrat father (who was disappointed on knowing that a bidi wasn't as effective as a cigar) to this age old land, a friend had a major crush on her. Fortunately for him, the absence of the Bush sisters had let things remain uncomplicated - it would have been tough to focus his affections.

The Bush visit has kept sting operations off-air for some time. From sniffer dogs at Rajghat to Sania Mirza's Hyderabad, the channels had a lot of questions to ask their exclusive panel of 'experts.' The nuclear (or energy) deal (or agreement) will also provide enough fodder for weeks to come.

Junior Bush was all praise for the world's largest democracy and the Prime Minister cum External Affairs Minister stretched that arm a little extra. After all, it's all about money, honey. One is greedy, the other needy. There were protests, some pretty visible and audible ones. Some protested just because they are in the habit of protesting, else no one takes notice of them. Back in the US of A the Democrats would've had their claws sharpened, but Bush wouldn't worry much, he's got the numbers in the Congress. It will be business as usual, more investments, more Bangalored workers, more H1-Bs, more sales and more Iraqs.

Though the Bush visit was a big event, it wasn't a phenomenon (in appeal) as the Clinton visit. The absence of the twins and the presence of Chelsea wasn't the difference.

Click here for the complete post...