gasp! I need some air, and was searching for it at - of all places- on google, semi-geek that I am, when I came across this website. Not quite what I was looking for, but refreshing nevertheless.

Monday, October 25, 2004


The weekend was one big flurry of activities. This was one of the rare years when I managed to get together with a group of my friends and go enjoy the Durga Pujas - the all-time favorite festival of every Bong. After checking out all the available options, Kansihka-Ranjita-her parents-Snigdha and I decided to pick Kallol.

Saturday began at a leisurely pace, and got a kick start from a wonderful home-cooked brunch at Kanishka-Ranjita's place. Nothing like a good meal to make me happy. Specially when followed by a half-hour siesta. Then we all headed out, transportation courtesy Lahiri-Bhagwan, and reached Kallol just as their dinner was starting. We had to do some justice to the mangsho, inspite of being pretty full. And fried papad (with chutney).

Met Sulipi Kundu at Kallol - the last time we met was when Vivek Sahay-Sutapa and I had driven over to Long Island a couple of years back. Kallol has a good reputation that way - I get to meet at least a few people who I don't meet on a daily, or even annual, basis. My LLR senior, Somdeep Dutta was also there. Snigdha, of course, had a whole bandwagon of friends and acquaintances she had to say hello to. I am more than happy to have met my school friend from years back!

Kallol had several strong points. Of course, there's the Mangsho. And Khichudi. And the papad bhaja and chutney, with rossogolla. Well, the food in general - you get the idea. If you go towards the end, they may run out of sweets, but they are more than generous with the extra mutton curry. That apart, they had performances by Srikanta Acharya and Indrani Sen. Unfortunately, we did not make it to either. We did make it to a very funny Natok on Sunday evening, called "Honeymoon".

Snigdha and I also managed to get to a Garba/Dandia meet somewhere in Elizabeth on Saturday evening. Mind boggling scale of things. Have never seen so many people so decked up in their finest silks and lehengas in one place. The dance part was utter chaos, since every pro had his/her own little jiggy wiggy, but then it was nice to sit on the stadium seats and soak in the culture in the air.

BTW - is an excellent website to make you nostalgic about Pujas in Calcutta. And they have this supercool animation about Durga and Mahishashur as well:

Thursday, October 21, 2004

Are you looking suspicious?

I was stopped right outside work today, as I was looking suspicious. Not entirely without reason - there were some 20 NYPD cop cars parked on the street in front of my office (Hubert), and I stopped to take a picture with my micro cam. There were some 20 cops meeting in one place, and one of them called me over and asked for an ID. I gave them my office ID and my driver's license. Then, they wanted to see the pictures. Now, that's where things went downhill. You see, I had taken a few shots of the subway, a few days back, when I was waiting for a train and was bored. So, there I was - taking pictures of the subway, and taking pictures of police presence. Highly suspicious, as Lal Mohan Ganguly would have said. I became the center of attention of all the 20 cops. If only I could grab attention like that in the dance clubs around. They called their superiors. They called to verify information about me. They even called the terrorist research group. My boss was walking into work, and he stopped by, and they talked to him. They also talked to each other. They asked me details of just about everything. They talked to each other. At the end of it, I was convinced that I was really a very suspicious character, trapped in this absent minded body. Anyway, they checked all the information, and everything was fine, and then the whole episode ended and I walked into work and the rest of my uneventful life.

Oh - that reminds me - I was stopped on 91S, somewhere in Vermont, yesterday - the customs official handed me a notice, saying I was required to carry my passport/visa with me at all times, or my green card (which I don't have), etc. - otherwise be subjected to a fine of $100, or a jail time of 30 days.

Interesting. The way things are proceeding, I'll consider myself lucky if I don't land up in jail by the end of this month.

Unfortunately, the pictures were deleted, so I don't have anything to show.

Friday, October 08, 2004

NYC Trivia

Ranjita took the CircleLine Cruise around Manhattan with her parents, and came back with a bunch of trivia. Trivia mails are carefully saved into oblivion, and finally deleted when the mailbox overflows, so I thought it would be nice to put them up here for easier access.

  1. NYC subway is the largest in the world, with around 400 miles of track.
  2. There is a small red lighthouse under the George Washington Bridge which was to be demolished but Hildegarde H. Swift wrote a children's book called "The little red lighthouse and the great grey bridge", which popularized the lighthouse so much that they could not bring it down.
  3. The mayor's residence (Gracie Mansion) is a really nice place -- only the current mayor does not live there. He's rich enough to have his own townhouse.
  4. There are 20 bridges around manhattan island. Official Site.
  5. Statue of liberty is made of copper.
  6. The metlife building used to be the pan am building.
  7. The Chrysler building is the prettiest skyscraper on manhattan.
  8. The amtrak train bridge across the hudson is made in 3 sections. The side sections are fixed, while the central section rotates to allow ships to pass through it. (Sorry, can't find a better link to the bridge - let me know if you know a better one)