Sweets At My Desk

Inspired by TalkingTails in one part and a forward in others, I decided to give in to narcissism. Silly first attempt at podcasting. (heck, there’s even a mistake at one point!)


If the above doesn’t work, here’s a link.

Transcript

SWEETS AT MY DESK

Subha Utha , Nahaya ..Mast Deo Lagaya…
Usko Yaad Kiya Aur Muskuraya…

Muskurahat Ka Karan Tha , Kya Sapna Liya Tha Raat Ko
Main Company Ka Ceo Aur My Dream Girl Was My Pmo.

Mann To Kiyan So Jaon, Swapn Ki Duniya Mein Laut Jaun…
Phir Socha Uski Jhalak Paani Hain Office Mein, Kahin Late Na Ho Jaun…

Goggles Lagaya Style Mein, Sutta Niptaya,
Bike Kiya Self Start, Accelerater Maara

Pahooncha Office…Card Swipe Kara..
Khola Pc …Lotus Notes Top Par Mail Uska Paaya…

Mailbox Dekh Sanatta Chaya..
Uska Mail Ka Subject Humien Na Bhaya..

Ek Baar Phir Kiya Mail Ka Subject Check
Oh No ..Not Again..Same Words…”Sweets At My Desk”

Darte Darte Khola Mail…Andar Wedding Invitation Paaya…
Lo Bhaiya Lut Gayee Duniya…Mandraya Kala Saaya…

Dukhi Mann Se Socha …Chalo Ek Baar Contents To Padd Le..
Naam Kya Hai Ladke Ka…Details Se Rubaru To Ho Le…

Phir Ek Baar Mann Chakkar Khaya…Uska Naam Kahin Naa Paaya..
Mail Ka Phir Se Audit Kiya…Dil Ko Uska Report Acha Bhaya…

Mail Ke Subject Se Achi Mail Ke Body Nikli..
Jiski Shaadi Thi ..Woh To Uski Sister Nikli…

Bhujti Hui Low Phir Phadphadai…
Ek Umeed Jaagi..Asha Ki Ek Kiran Nazar Aayee.

Josh Bhare Kadmon Se Rukh Kiya Uske Cubicle Ki Aur…
Ab Sirf Uskee Jhalak Nahin ..Yeh Dil Maange More..

Aaj Tak Cubicle Ki Diwaron Se Dekha Tha Usko..
Dekhte Hee Usne Bola ..Lo Dear, Sweets Lo..

Humne Suna “Dear” , Humne Kaha Ab No Fear.
Kiya Jhuki Aankhon Se Usko Stare, Uthaya Sweats Ka Apna Share..

“Dear” Shabd Kitna Acha Lagne Laga Tha….
Uske Aur Mere Beech Ka Distance Ab Mitne Laga Tha…

Baton Hi Baton Mein Usko Bataya Mail Padke Hua Confusion Tha
Reply Jo Bataya Usne, Phir Se Chida Kargil Tha..

Phir Se Low Bhuj Gayee Thi, Umeed Mit Gayee Thi …
Uski Sagai Ki Mail To Ek Hafte Pahle Bounce Back Ho Chuki Thi…

Maa Kasam Ek Hi Gaana Yaad Aa Raha Tha Cham Se…
Kasam Ki Kasam , Yeh Pyaar Na Hoga Ab Humse…

O Haseeno Sun Lo Meri Iltaaja,
Please Mat Hona Humse Khafa,
Kuch Bhi Ho Jaaye Ab Na Hoga Adjust,
Ab Mat Daalna Mail With Subject “Sweets At My Desk”

Carnage and Children

Once again, we find ourselves in the midst of a bloody week. As though the carnage in Calcutta was not enough, we now find that Uttar Pradesh is now engulfed in the terrorists (f)ire.

What is saddest is that the perpetrators are fiendish, they show no sympathy to even children. One of the victims in Varanasi is 11-year old Sanjeev Kumar. The Calcutta riots happened in the middle of the School district around the time that primary school gets over. My own sister was stuck in her school and there was complete chaos around (thankfully, that was not in the center of the riot-hit area). The place where the riots had sparked, the Park Circus 7-point crossing, is a stone’s throw from my own school. I was left wondering what the condition must have been — 10 year olds stuck in the middle of the destruction having the faintest idea about what is going on. [Read this story from The Telegraph on 22 Nov about how the students suffered.]

The UP violence is being (proudly?) claimed by a “new” terrorist organization called the Indian Mujahideen. I wonder what holy war involves killing innocent children. What’s worse, this leads to the seeds of hatred being sown among children. My sister mentioned that she was chatting with a few others, when a good friend of her from the minority community (having not even heard anything) mistakenly thought they were talking about her “religion”. So much for 10 year olds being introduced to communal riots.

May God make them humane.

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Awesome Benglish poem!

Received as forward quite a while back. Papa showed this again to me today so thought will post it here.

Through the jongole I am went
On shooting Tiger I am bent
Boshtaard Tiger has eaten wife
No doubt I will avenge poor darling’s life
Too much quiet, snakes and leeches
But I not fear these sons of beeches
Hearing loud noise I am jumping with start
But noise is coming from damn fool’s heart
Taking care not to be fright
I am clutching rifle tight with eye to  sight
Should Tiger come I will shoot and fall him down
Then like hero return to native town
Then through trees I am espying one cave
I am telling self – “Bannerjee be brave”
I am now proceeding with too much care
From far I smell this Tiger’s lair
My leg shaking, sweat coming, I start to pray
I think I will shoot Tiger some other day
Turning round I am going to flee
But Tiger giving bloody roar spotting this Bengalee
He bounding from cave like football player Pele
I run shouting “Kali Ma tumi kothay gele”
Through the jongole I am running
With Tiger on my tail closer looming
I am a telling that never in life
I will risk again for my damn fool wife!!!!

Brilliant!

Diwali and Lights

A very happy and prosperous Diwali to all my readers.

For some reason, those who have lived through IIT Kharagpur at least on one Diwali night, can never forget the splendour of Diwali at the small little town in the Eastern fringes of the country. One whole month the students toil hard and the result is huge chatais (wire mesh) alight with diyas (earthen lamps) which depict scenes very often from mythology. And the rangoli (floor painting with powdered colours) they make will probably win any art competition. If you don’t know about them yet, check out my earlier posts (on my old blog) here and here. You can guess how important illumination is for KGPians from the fact that it is one of the most inspired pieces I have ever written. Some more stuff about illumination is here on Maddy’s blog (was pleasantly surprised to find myself in some pics!).

If you are a KGPian, Diwali comes back and haunts you every year with that heady feeling, the 15 minutes of fame and glory when the diyas light up, all your blood and sweat up in 15 minutes of smoke but that 15 minutes of smoke is worth remembering for a lifetime. It’s a feeling you can’t forget for all your life. It’s a feeling that reminds you of the fraternity that you are forever a part of, of those four beautiful years that you would always miss.

And yes, of course, the kgp tempo shout:

KGP KA TEMPO HIGH HAI!

update: hope you had a safe diwali. firecrackers aren’t very safe. discovred yday :(

Statistically Speaking: The Story of Water

[I had written this article for a magazine called The Rosetta, for which I have been occasionally helping out with. It was written quite a few months ago, but just got published. Find the original article with some pictures on the magazine site.

In other news, I am currently in a place which is definitely not water starved. I hope I can get back very soon!]

I have an Indian everyman in mind. For today, let me call him Mr. Sharma.

Mr. Sharma has a fetish for water. He takes his own time (and not to mention an incredible amount of water) doing his ablutions – slow and careful brushing of teeth (he wants to be a Colgate model), washing his utensils for his coffee (wash once after using and once before using; lizards are so common), wash his feet after coming home from the vegetable market (cleanliness is next to godliness), an elaborate bathing ritual (upholding the traditions of the Indus Valley Civilization), and not to forget the water play using his lotta (an integral part of everything Indian). Mr. Sharma is a typical Indian.

No wonder Indians withdraw almost 633 cubic metres of water per capita per year while Europe withdraws only 586. Paper has its own advantages. If Mr. Sharma were to dissect his daily water requirements, he would realize that the water withdrawn by him and his ilk measures upto 87 buckets a day (at 20 liters per bucket). How much water did you use today? How much water did you waste today?

Aah, numbers playing games with you? It’s funny the way statistics can hide reality as much as they show it. The number (87 buckets) actually includes all forms of water withdrawals, including usage for irrigation, industries and so on. The domestic consumption would come to only about 3 buckets per day or 20 cubic metres (ADB). But again, do all of us even have access to 3 buckets of water? My friends from Chennai would certainly disagree.

But then, statistics can tell stories. Stories of change, of evolution, of men who lived and men who are remembered, of wars and loves, of births and deaths, of civilizations, of forests and rivers, of how we affect nature. And effect we do – negatively. Per capita availability of water in India has gone down from 5177 cubic metres in 1951 to about 1820 in 2001. Our increased national virility has had much to do with it. Over a billion people (up from 361 million) now need water to fill their lottas to elutriate themselves after the act. 1820 cubic metres means less than a bucket of water a day.

Bislery, Kinley, Aquafina, Evian, Himalaya – the list is endless. We can, of course, buy water. Water which costs 25 paise and sells for 10 rupees. India is rising, India is shining. Isn’t water supposed to be free? Coca-cola withdraws half a million litres of water per day at less than Rs. 25 thousand per year . At every bottle at 10 rupees, that’s about Rs. 182 crore. Contrast it with Rs. 25 thousand, and it is a profit of 75 thousand times. Indian laws stipulate that if you own a piece of land, you also own all the water beneath it. You can siphon off all the water from under your neighbors’ feet – legally. Wish it were oil.

Necessity is the mother of invention. Water markets are emerging. Farmers in Tirupur have begun to abandon farming so that they can sell ground water at a premium to water hungry industries and urban users around the region. At least some families would not go without food, even though we might not get water to drink after the meal in a few decades.

We, Indians, are not alone. Global water consumption has grown at double the rate of population growth, and the figure for 2000 was about six times the figure for 1950. If the current consumption pattern continues, almost 48 per cent of our population would live in “water stressed” regions by 2025. Water shortage has been reported near bottled water factories in Texas and the Great Lakes factory. German RWE and French Vivendi control 40% of the world’s water market. Vivendi and Suez, the number three, have revenues of over $70 billion . Water is big business already. I think the way we are going, we will make it one of the largest industries in the world. The global GDP will swell, fat cats will get fatter, and the poor people would not even have water to drink.

Where does all this water come from? The catchment area of our major rivers covers about 85% of our land area (CIAWRM). Our rivers fall from Shiva’s knots and never run dry; we call them perennial. The Gangotri glacier, currently 30.2 Km long and between 0.5 and 2.5 Km wide, is the primogenitor of one of holiest rivers, the provenance of the livelihood of hundreds of millions, and has been found to be receding at an ever increasing pace since 1971. Over the last 25 years, we have pushed the glacier back by almost 850 metres, 76 metres between 1996 and 1999 alone (EO). The government has more pressing needs. There is some election or the other every alternate month. Isn’t it essential to communicate their successes to the franchise, contrive to fracture them on the basis of religion and caste, and of course, utilize the five odd years they have in office to hoard such that the next few generations would have enough to eat and drink.

Statistics can be biased. They acquire the colour of the lenses you read them through. A trip to Coorg in the beginning of April, and all we found was parched ground, yellow soil, lifeless, livelihoodless. It has rained since, but it is usually dry for well over half a year, and all the farmers can do is twiddle thumbs. Bisleri at Rs. 10 per litre is too expensive to water their fields. And natural water is receding fast.

Did you turn off your tap today?

Statistics and data credits courtesy: WRI, The Hindu, Indian Budget – Population Figures, Klessill Lance- Bottled Water Industry, Larsen Emily Arnold and Janet – Bottled Water –Pouring Resources Down the Drain, National Portal of India-Water Resources, World Watch Institute, The CIA Factbook, Water Resources Ministry, Asian Development Bank.

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