Thursday, November 24, 2005

'A' for Apple

Overheard a man screaming on his cellphone:

"I......I for iPod".

Would the Apple Corp consider this as their new slogan:

'A' for Apple,
'I' for iPod.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

Defect-free Wife

Everyone wants a defect free wife, and so do I.

A defect-free wife for me would be:

1) Non-alcoholic...
2) Non-smoker...
3) Non-vegetarian...

Hope you understand what I mean...

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

What Kind Of Blogger Am I?

Quick and snappy.

You make your own rules and boldly go where no one
has gone before. Some may think you are
arrogant and even rude, while others admire
your keen observations. Not that you really

What kind of blogger are you?
brought to you by Quizilla

Sunday, November 06, 2005

To Tell Or Not To Tell

Those who know me personally know that I am an athiest, and this in fact is true. I find it surprising how so many educated poeple still believe that there is God. But this is not the issue I want to debate now, and to avoid coflict, I respect their wish by making the 'G' capital in the word God. But there is something I have been unable to decide since long time.

My parents believe in God. They taught me a lot about God, our religion, the rites and the rituals. But over time, I grew up and realized the truth (Atleast I believe that its the truth) that there is no God. Since then, I have taken part in the religious ceremonies only for their pleasure. But I don't mind it much as being a Hindu doesn't bind one with much to do. Had I been a Muslim or Christian, I would have to go to Mosques/Churches ever so often against my wish that I would have start planning for a revolt. But for me, thankfully, it translates to a couple of Pujas in the whole year, and a few days in which I am not allowed to eat non-vegetarian food.

I don't care if my wife would be religious or an infidel like me. But anyway, for the sake of compatibility, I would prefer her to be a Hindu by birth. I am sure we would be able to find a middle path if conflicts arise. But what has been bothering me for a while is that what will I be telling my children about God. Should I tell them there is no God, or adopt the same technique used by my parents. If I choose the latter, I run the risk of being a hypocrite as I don't practise what I plan to preach. But for children's point of view, the former should be avoided.

This is because in many places, it becomes very easy for parents to answer questions if we take the help of God. Be it a question like where people go after dying or how children are born, it is very convenient to use God as a solution and many times plead ignorance by saying that we are still very small and unable to understand the working of God. Many a times, the hope that God is there keeps us going and it is essential that we encourage our children to move ahead. Though I want my children to realize the truth as I did about God, I am still unsure how to go about explaining them about God in their early childhood. Things would be easier if my wife turned out to be a religious person, but my greatest fear is that she might as well turn out to be one like me. I may be one of the very few athiest who want a theist as a wife.

Can anyone help me with this?

Wednesday, November 02, 2005

Another Travel Diary

I spent the past few days traveling to my Mamaji's place, both in Tatanagar and Dhanbad. The journey has a sorry start. I was supposed to board the Steel Express that arrives at 7:20 pm. So on last Friday's night, in order to reach by 7 pm, I took a rickshaw at 6:30 pm. On the way to the railway station, I noticed something odd; that no vehicles are coming from the opposite side. It was a strange feeling, but I don't know how I noticed this and actually chose to ignore this as coincidence. But I noticed the reason very soon. When I reached the railway crossing, I found that there was a train standing across the railway crossing. This was again strange as I had never seen this before. I dodn't remember any signal just after the crossing, and I would regard it a folly of the engineers if this were the case. But soon, the red-light thoery was dismissed. People started coming looking for something with torch-lights. Now I proposed a new thory.....A chain pull. But alas, even this was not true. When they zeroed in onto a place, instead of climbing the train and catching the culprit (who, if existant, must have already fled), they started seeing under the tracks. A few more people joined in. One of them came back to tell that a scooter-rider has been hit by the train and has died.

That the crossing was manned should not create stirrings in your mind. There is hardly anyone who abides by the dropped level-crossing bars by his own choice. All the vehicles, including bicycles, rickshaws, scooters, etc., use their flexibility to create a mockery of the crossing. Even I do it, though only after being triply conscious. But anyway, someone had been in hurry to have missed noticing the incoming train. From what I gained from eye-witness account (they spoke in Bangla, and I understand it in parts), the man's scooter got shut down on the crossing, and the man tried to start it instead of steering it to safety first. The man managed to get the scooter going, but the train was also quick to knock him off. I couldn't help blaming the IIT authorites who have for some mysterious reasons, kept the joint project with the railways of creating an over-bridge over the said crossing in back-burner for years.

Coming back to the story, I waited for the train to start again as it was not possible to cross the level-crossing on the rickshaw. But then people told that this is not going to finish off quick. There will be a police enquiry and only after it will the train move. This all will take close to half-an-hour. I was undecided whether to believe their speculations or not. But within a few minutes I realized that I better do something quick as time was running out. I gave a 5 rupee note to the rickshaw-wallah and crossed the crossing by going over the train. I had a few moments of panic when I was aboard the train. After managing to board the train and before I got to the other side, the train gave a whistle, prompting people to board the train from where I was supposed to get down. The big shoulder bag I had added to my misery by restricting free movement. I panicked as I knew that if the train started going, there is no chance that I can get off it before the next station, which will surely mean two things: Missing the train to Tatanagar, and a hefty penalty. Fortunately nothing happened and I crossed over to the other side without any problem (as if this was not enough). On the other side, I took another rickshaw to the railway-station, and I realized that I got it just in time as on reaching the railway station, the Steel Express entered the platform with me.

I spent the next day at Tatanagar with my eldest uncle (Mamaji) and his family. My grandmother was also bed-ridden owing to a fractured hip. After spending the Saturday and the morning of the Sunday, I took Swarnarakha Express to go to Dhanbad. On the day I was to travel, my uncle gave me a suggestion. That instead of taking the train to Dhanbad, I should get down at a station called Patherdih. The reason he gave for it was quite interesting.

Not long back, the said train travelled from Tatanagar to Dhanbad going through Patherdih and then Jharia before going to Dhanbad. Then happened the great fires of the underground that have been raging even till today. That led to a sinking of the section around Jharia as the coal under it gave way. Since then, the train has been retained to run till Dhanbad, but from Patherdih onwards it now takes an alternate route by going around Jharia. This means that the train has to change direction and now the situation is that while the journey can be completed in under 45 minutes if we take a Auto-rickshaw from Patherdih, it takes almost one and half hours to complete the journey if we continue to stay in the train. This translates to a near complete emptying of the train in Patherdih. This is a chain reaction as a more empty train means a greater chance of incidents like robbery and this prompts even more people to leave the train.

So even I unboarded the train to get into a crowded tracker (I believe its called so) to my Mamaji's place. That the tracker was crowded looks like an understatement to me. Though designed to hold eight people (including the driver), it moved with 15 people on board. And this even with the condition that the roof was so low that it was impossible to stand upright.

I spent the next few days in Dhanbad (upto 2nd November). I don't play with crackers as I have a history of smoke-related problem since the Diwali of 2000. But anyway, this never came into picture owing to the tight schedule of pujas. We had a Laxmi puja at home from 7 pm to around 8 pm. After that we took a cab to reach the shop where we had a Puja from 9 pm to around 10 pm. After that, we went to a nearby Kali temple to have a darshan and bhog and by the time we reached home, it was already midnight. I came back the next day from the usual passenger train to Adra followed by Rupashi Bangla Express to Kharagpur.

Help Me

Urgent help is needed by me.

A friend of mine is getting married. This is the first time I am planning to buy some gifts from my own side for someone's marriage as she is the first in my friends' circle to get married. Till now this was done by my parents, but now as this does not concern them, I will have to go on my own.

Had it been for friendship day, etc., things would have been easier. But I have reasons to believe that wedding gifts should be different. As I am planning to send the gift by mail (as I will not be able to attend the wedding owing to exams), the gift should be light too. My budget is upto Rs. 500/-.

Please send in your suggestions as soon as possible as I will be shopping for it the coming week. Her marriage is by the end of this month.

Me? A Spend-thrift!

My mobile says so. Over the past 2 months, I have managed to spend Rs. 1800 from my mobile and will be forced to live with Rs. 300 for the next 4 months as I have no plans to recharge before the due date.

Thanks to my over-sympathetic attitude towards my friends and family members, whom I chose to remain in contact with by calling again and again, and choosing to take incoming calls while roaming, I now face the crunch. For the first time in my life, I am feeling the guilt of being a spend-thrift. But as always, I have managed to find scape-goats. This time they are my wing-mates. And to prove my point, I have the figures too. And after calculating, I found that of that Rs. 1800, Rs 600 was spent by my wing-mates. I still haven't decided whether I should withdraw the concession I give them (A call for which I charge Rs. 2 actually costs me Rs. 2.29). Maybe I will have to if the situation doesn't change. And maybe, the situation will never change if we start believeing the Freakonomics!

Correlation and Causation

Coming back after a long time, as I went to visit my uncle place for Diwali's. And I have a few blogs to write.

Let's start from the very beginning. Before going on vaccations, news came around that the IIT Kharagpur authorities are unhappy over a piece of article that came up in the students' newsletter (Scholar's Avenue). The issue concerned contained an explosive article about the sorry state of affairs in IIT Kharagpur's Hospital (I will not link this article now as I might as well be brought into the perview of board if I dare to do so). Apparently an executive took the case as a hint of corruption against him as the article indicated rampant corruption in the hospital. The issue was taken so seriously that there were news of disciplinary actions against the students who were behind that article and even a top student representative. The blog-mirror of the magazine was made offline and the angry officials even took off the gymkhana website, the Kshitij website and Spring Fest website offline.

While the authenticity of the news was investigated, it was found that all the news (by themselves) were though correct, they were not causation of the main event. The news till taking off the blog-mirror was found to be a direct cause of the article, the rest was not a related news. Apparently, during the same time, a hacker broke into a webpage of IIT Kharagpur (maintained by students) exploiting some security vulnerabilities, and posted some anti-pakistani comments. The authorities got alert and decided to take all student managed pages offline until the possible security flaws were patched. So this wasn't a case of causation but just correlation.

P.S.: I know that this isn't correlation but coincidence. Anyway, till the message goes to the audience, I don't mind such errors.