Memories

Goodbye Chester

21st July, 2017.

Numb

In The End

New Divide

What I’ve Done

Crawling

Breaking The Habit

Somewhere I Belong

Leave Out All The Rest

From The Inside

The entire day, I’ve been listening to these songs. They took me back to a distant past.

It was around 2001 that I was first exposed to international music. And the first international artists I listened to, just happened to be Linkin Park. What my mother calls screams, I call an outlet.

It wasn’t just the music I connected with. It was the hidden angst, the deeper meaning behind the songs that affected me so much. It was actually many years later, when I was battling my own demons, when I didn’t know what’s worth fighting for, that these songs lifted me up.

I wanted to heal, I wanted to feel what I thought was never real.
I wanted to let go of the pain I felt so long.

These songs gave me the strength.

Today, when I listen to these songs again, I can’t help but notice the fiery pain in the lyrics. It took me back to the first encounter with Chester’s voice. It took me back to the time I felt there was no more hope left in this world.

Thank you, Chester, for lifting me up during those difficult times. It’s a shame the coming generations will never fathom what you meant to our generation. Yours is a name that will remain etched in our hearts, long after you are gone. You will not be forgotten. Your voice will keep you alive.

In memoriam.

Chester Charles Bennington (March 20, 1976 – July 20, 2017)

4129638-chester-bennington-wallpapers

Anecdotes · Bengal · Bengali · Sarcasm

Royal Bengal Diaries

Stuff that Bong aunties say that has the potential to piss the hell out of anyone…

1. Omaa, eki koto boro hoye gechish? (Holy Mother! Look how much you have grown!)

*Yes, I know its incredible! I was supposed to be on a Shrinking Potion!!

2. Ki mishti hoyeche go! (How sweet he has become!), promptly followed by yanking of your cheeks.

*I am sorry I did not wash my cheeks with Hydrochloric Acid.

3. Meyeke/Chheleke shaamlao, akdom bokhe galo. (Keep an eye on your daughter/son. She/he’s going out of control.)

*Yes, I have female friends and no, they are not my girlfriends.

4. Meyer/Chheler biye dao ebar, boyesh to hole. (Get your daughter/son married. She/he is reaching a marriageable age.)

*What have I ever done to you?

5. Amaader shomoye eshob hoto na baba. (These things didn’t happen in our times.)

*Yes, I know you are a dinosaur.

6. Mathaye bhalo kore tel lagao, bhalo chul hobe. (Apply ample oil on your head, you’ll have a fine hair growth)

*Why? Just so you can make me look like a nerd?

7. Amake chinte parchho? (Recognise me?)

*I have no freaking clue but what the hell! Smile and wave…

8. Amar chhele/meye porashonaye aeto bhalo je class er miss oke khub bhalo bashe. (My son/daughter is so good in studies that the teacher is absolutely in love with him/her)

*Ah… so your progeny is teacher’s pet….

9. Accha oi naach/gaan ta korte parbe tumi? (Can you dance/ sing that song?)

*I have two left feet and sound like a frog. Go away!!

10. Just when you have stuffed your second fish cutlet into your mouth at a Bengali biye (wedding) / mukhebhaat (feast), aunty pounces on you and exclaims, “Bhalo kore khaccho to, lojja peo na akdom.” (Eat properly. Don’t feel shy.)

*Lady, they had to refill the chicken lollipop counter because of me.

Controversy · Hindi

आखिर पैसा ही बोलता है।

लंदन हो या लखनऊ, लोग भाषा एक ही समझते हैं।
कोई कितना भी क्यों न बोल ले, सुनाई एक की ही देती है।

ये दुनिया गोल है साहब, और ये घूमता एक ही चीज़ के इर्दगिर्द है।
पैसा हाथ का मैल ही सही, पर आखिर बोलता वही है।

गरीब चोरी करे तो आजीवन कारावास हो जाती है।
अमीर करे तो चंद पैसे देकर तीन घंटे में ज़मानत जो जाती है।

ये दुनिया का उसूल ही है साहब,
पैसा हाथ का मैल ही सही, पर आखिर बोलता वही है।

Daily Prompt

Mr. Cranky Pants

It’s that time of the year again.

Summer. Western India. Where average temperatures are in the region of 43-44 °C.

Temperatures like that, more or less, tend to have an effect on the mind. You tend to feel lethargic. You tend to be at the edge of your temper. Temperatures like that will make you have a permanent scowl on your face.

It’s Sunday. You were really looking forward to the date you had set up during the previous minute. She called it off at the last moment without a reason.

The next day, Monday. The bus didn’t arrive on time. So you had to take a cab.

The cab wouldn’t go beyond the main street, and you had to walk for half a kilometre in the sweltering heat.

You reach the office, only to find that the AC isn’t working. You call the service centre but they can’t send anyone until the next day.

You open your inbox, but the one mail you had been expecting,regarding a lucrative deal you had almost closed the previous day, hasn’t arrived yet.

With such a spectacular start, guess what it makes you for the rest of the day.

Yep.

Cranky.

via Daily Prompt: Cranky

Daily Prompt · Uncategorized

Is Life Meaningless Without a God?

As an atheist, you often come across believers of various faiths. Believers, who seem to hold the notion that life, without a god, without a deity to watch over you, is meaningless. Indeed, as a regular contributor on Quora, I have often been asked questions on similar lines which ultimately boil down to the following queries:

  • Without a god to watch over you, how do you live a fulfilling life?
  • How do you deal with the complexities of life without God?
  • As an atheist, what do you have to live for?

What do I have to live for?

Everything!

Well… not actually everything, but certainly quite a lot.

I have a family to live for. I have a few very special friends to live for. In the face of the eventuality of finding a partner in the near future and sharing my life with her, I have a future to live for.

In order to live a happy, fulfilling life, gods are not all that necessary. True, it IS a big deal for a majority of the population. But for some of us, life, without a presiding deity, is far from meaningless. We are not sacks of meat. We are our own masters. We created our past, we create our future. We are not automatons. We are more than that. Much more than that. We are humans. We are the most advanced species on the planet. We certainly ought to give ourselves a little more credit.

Life, without gods, is far from meaningless.

via Daily Prompt: Meaningless

Memories · Railways

A Journey Down Memory Lane

I recently came across a video by Paper Boat, which salutes the Indian Railways.

The video, as was promised, brought back old memories.

The last time I travelled long distance in a train was when I moved from Bangalore. My first journey in a First Class compartment. I cannot even remember the last time I travelled long distance in Sleeper Class. It was a long time ago.

The loud and constant sound of the wheels rattling on the rains, the distant sound of the engine and thick black smoke billowing from it. The patient wait for a glimpse of the engine when the train turned. And of course, trying to find familiar faces to get back to my seat.

Memories of a time long gone. Nowadays, flights don’t allow so many adventures.

For the curious, you can find the video here.

Controversy · Daily Prompt

Controversy, Our Daily Fix

It’s an everyday affair.

Open your Facebook feed. Scroll down your Twitter Feed. Open the newspaper. Hell… open the online version of your favourite newspaper. And it hits you right in the face.

Controversies.

Some or the other new one.

Yesterday, it was about the Uber CEO misbehaving with a driver. Today, it’s about the Founder of TVF misbehaving with former and current female employees. Tomorrow, it may very well be about a brand new obnoxious statement by a prominent politician.

What is it about controversies, that pull so many eyeballs? Grab so much attention? It all boils down to one factor.

Shock value.

The world today thrives on controversies. There’s a reason ‘Reality TV’ is so popular. The prime driving factor is, as you guessed it, controversy.

So and so slapped so and so on Prime Time Television. So and so posted a racist/sexist tweet. So and so had a drunken brawl at a club. It all leads to almost a day-long analysis on every news-channel worth its salt, and that follows even more chatter online.

At the end of the day, what does it all achieve?

Diddly squat!

via Daily Prompt: Controversy

Uncategorized

Faith in Humanity, Strengthened…

7 December, 2015

My belief in humanity got a new lease of life today.

The anecdote begins a few weeks prior to this. I have been appearing for some competitive exams for the past few months. Naturally, I’ve been frequently visiting the stationery store to get the print-outs of call letters.

Like any other time, I had taken a copy of a call letter on the USB thumb drive. As luck would have it, it started raining as I was about to get out of the shop, and without bothering to take the USB drive, I sped off towards home.

It was only a couple of weeks later, today, did I realise that the drive was missing. I had searched all the possible places, when I realised where it might be. Without any hope of recovering it, I took the copy of the document I needed, on a spare device, and reached the shop.

Imagine my surprise, when the shopkeeper, seeing me, hurries forward and hands me the very thing I had lost all hope of ever seeing again! He even goes as far as to assure me that he had had it in his pocket ever since day, hoping to return it to me as soon as he finds me. Words weren’t enough to express my gratitude. What’s interesting is that the shopkeeper is Muslim. Why is that relevant?

Just the previous night, I was talking with my mother over the phone. Discussions led to the topic of family, and we recalled that some members of my family are extremely prejudiced against people of other religions and castes. I particularly remember some nasty ones that seem to blame Muslims for converting the kingdom of Gandhar to Kandahar, in present day Afghanistan, or abusing migrants from Bihar for being of lower caste. Some hold the belief that they can never be honest with people who follow a religion other than their own, and will leave no stone unturned to inconvenience others.

Well… here’s an incident that proved it absolutely false.

Uncategorized

Divide and Rule

Most, if not all of us, have studied history as one of the subjects during our schooling years. Being Indians, it is obvious that at least one part of the syllabus was dedicated to our Freedom Struggle. That’s where more or less each one of us came across the policy of ‘Divide and Rule’, used by our erstwhile colonial masters to prevent us from uniting against them. Reservation seems to be the newest form of this ages old ploy to keep the masses divided.

The other day, while talking with a friend about this latest fiasco to grip the headlines recently, I realised it and felt it first hand. I had a moment’s hesitation before I said what I was about to say, lest he too belonged to a community that already had, or was demanding for reservation.

This is what reservation has done to us. It has made it difficult to even speak about it freely with people around us, lest we incite trouble or offend them. And what better way to prevent the masses from speaking against injustice, than to make one group the sufferer, while promising uplift another?

There is a new rebel in the news these days, literally a random face in the crowd, who has suddenly become a face of the crowd, going by the name of Hardik Patel. This gentleman is seeking reservation for a community called ‘Patidars’ or ‘Patels’. What is the most ironic and laughable aspect of the cause is that the said community happens to amongst the wealthiest, most accomplished business minded individuals known in India, are the owners of commercial and residential properties worth crores, are significant stakeholders of the diamond business of Surat and property business of Mumbai, and happen to be able section of the Indian diaspora abroad, with almost each and every family in Gujarat having an uncle, a brother or a distant cousin based in the US of A.

I am not a Gujarati by birth. I have lived in multiple places. But I consider Gujarat to be my second home, because I was educated there, was brought up there and mostly because of the immense amount of warm heartedness I felt when I was growing up in the state. That’s why, Mr. Patel, your ‘agitation’ boils my blood, and pisses me off to no end! You are threatening to set fire to the state once again, that for so many years has been known to be one of the most peaceful and developed states in India, and as a citizen of this nation and once a resident of the same state, I must say it disturbs me.

While on one side, where a majority of the community strives to fly away to distant lands and settle down there, this particular youth still feels that it’s not enough. Now he wants even more sops and free meals in a system that has destroyed the lives of deserving people, all in the name of ‘equal opportunities’. I’m sorry but the quota system is anything but equal. A system where a student with 90% marks loses out to another with just 50%, just because the former had the misfortune of being born in the house of general category parents, is anything but equality. It’s the reason why we as a nation will never come out of the ‘developing nation’ tag, even after a hundred years of independence.

This system is the cause of resentment for a large part of our youth population, and may be one of the reasons for the phenomenon called ‘brain drain’. If I don’t get ample opportunities because somebody less deserving than me took it away, simply by the virtue of being born in a supposedly backward class than mine, what stops me from looking elsewhere?

What if tomorrow, another frustrated youth from presently a general category, feeling that the system is unfair, demands for a quota? Soon a day will come when there will be only quotas and no general category left.

Coming back to my original point, the existence of the quota system, and the deep resentment that many of us have towards it is like an exposed nerve, that we all fear to press. As a common man, I can hardly speak about it in public, not knowing whether I am in the presence of a person who belongs to a so called backward class, unsure if I might offend him/ her. This is what the quota system has done us. Afraid to speak, afraid to object, lest we touch a nerve. We have stopped being Indians, and remain only as Hindus, Muslims, Patels, Jats, Brahmins, Kshatriyas and what not! Once again, we are being effectively controlled by the same old policy of ‘Divide and Rule’.

Wake up, free-loaders! In the quest for ‘upliftment’ for your kin, you are dragging the nation backwards…..

Uncategorized

Earth, Our Home, May Soon Have a Universal Identifier

There was a time long back when earth as we knew it didn’t exist. It was a steaming, boiling sphere of molten rock.

Then it slowly cooled down. It rained for ages and the water assimilated. Earth was divided into land and water.

Time passed by. Plants formed. Then the animals began crawling about. Cataclysmic level changes happened and the world as we know it today took shape.

Men divided the lands. Nations emerged. Within them, states; cities and villages began to grow. There are now private and public lands. Even the seas are claimed by nations. There are residential and commercial zones. Pieces of land are owned, bought, sold and leased out.

As time progressed, we got divided more and more.

Now, with the advent of the space age, sooner or later we were bound to unite again. Movies like Independence Day, the Marvel Universe or The Transformers series have shown us what could happen if we were to come in contact with alien races at a global level.

And what better way to unite than under a banner, a flag, if you will.

Flag_20x30

These days, any space expedition’s craft carries a flag of the country from which they originate. With the newly proposed flag of the earth, that could all change. Since they are representing the planet as a whole, doesn’t it make a better sense to carry a flag of the planet itself?

Just think about it! The planned Mars expedition, maybe an expedition to planets and celestial bodies like Europa, or Io, could solely be conducted under the flag of the earth, and not individual nations.

Artist's Rendition of a planned mission to Mars.
Artist’s Rendition of a planned mission to Mars.

According to the official website, the seven white form a flower – a symbol of the life on Earth. The rings are linked to each other, which represents how everything on our planet, directly or indirectly, is linked. The blue field represents water which is essential for life – also as the oceans cover most of our planet’s surface. The flower’s outer rings form a circle which could be seen as a symbol of Earth as a planet and the blue surface could represent the universe.

According to my own observation, the blue planet is represented on a blue flag, while the seven rings signify the seven continents.

It could not have been more accurate than this.

My only question is, what if some other alien race already has the design and may sue us for copyright infringement in the Universal Court of Law.

Source:

Official Website of the International Flag of Planet Earth (http://www.flagofplanetearth.com/)