Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The "Naivest" Man

" Thats a cross between a lion and a Wolf !!!!! " .. he said. "Wow!!.. quite a thing!" we replied, looking at the Dachshund (Smooth)[here you must check out Google to get a glimpse of this beast.. trust me , U MUST !!]. So, that was the day when I realized: you don't have to be stupid , to be naive .. you just need an immense trust on people, a big heart and a saint-ish belief that all living beings are good !! Because the person am talking bout here had enough intelligence to teach a bunch of crazy lunatics a subject called maths! And among those lunatics, barring a few , rather 2 to be precise, rest all had the urge and the tenacity to learn about numbers! ...... But yet he sacrificed all his judgmental abilities to believe what his neighbor had said about their pet.. the Dachshund!

This is a tribute to the "naivest" and "simplest" human being I have ever known in the past 27 years of my existence on this planet... Konar Sir.

As most of my dear friends know that my brother and me had above average intelligence when it came to mathematics! Therefore to further hone our skills we joined the tuition classes of Mr. Konar. My friend Aveek also joined the same batch with us, and am sure will keep regretting that decision as long as he is sane. Because if not for us, he would have learned some more maths than what he did.

We first got the taste of Konar sir's naivety during an early morning class one day. It was circa 1999-2000, and TB6 was reigning the masses (for those who are unaware of TB6 pls use google). So naturally a large part of the pre-class adda was dedicated to discussions on TB6 ... and that day was no different.
(I am going to write this discussion in Beng-lish, rest everything will be in English)
"baba sourojit .. baba aveek .. TB6 ki re ?" .. suddenly sir asked ( we were unaware that he was standing behind us)
"sir, ota kichu na .. ota national geographic er ekta sister channel", prompt came the reply from ingenious Aveek
"ohh!! tai !!! baah baah .... ta ki ki dekhay ote?", Sir asked
"All natural stuff sir !!!! shob natural jinish patro!!... ei dhorun evolution theke shuru kore population obdhi shob!!", .. I said
"ohh tai bujhi !! aacha tahole ajkei ami amar cable-wala ke bolbo TB6 dite" !!!!!!!
(we never really tried to find out what happened next)

Arijit's Australia trip and the kangaroo Incident:

Since that event, we were sure that Sir was oblivious of everything on this earth except mathematics. So quite often we would discuss TB6, Debonair (magazine), Mermaid (magazine), kamona-bashona (novel) etc , and sir would enthusiastically take part in our discussion to quench his thirst for knowledge. Sometime he would even note down the names of these "educational movies and magazines' with an aim to look for them in Kolkata's College street during his next visit.
Things were going fine and smooth ... and we were now a little bored .. we wanted some new excitement ... Finally it happened:
It was a chilly morning in the January of 2000. Indian cricket team was touring Australia and the telecast would start early in the morning in India. It was also the time when my dadu (maternal grandfather) had an angioplasty in Vellore and so Arijit (my twin bro) went to vellore with my Dad. Konar sir used to take the classes very early in the morning, and on that fateful day, we all saw India being completely devastated by the Aussie pace attack, before we started for the class. So the general mood in the class was gloomy... very gloomy . (remember cricket was a religion for us back then!!!)
[ I will translate this discussion in English]
Sir: What happened to you all? Why are you guys looking so sad ?

Someone (I dnt remember who it was): Sir ..... Sir ... there is a bad news ... (!!!!!!!!)
We all could sense that something was coming ...

Sir: what happened !!!!?????????

That Someone: Sir ... Arijit .. Arijit is .....

Sir : WHAT ???????? TELL ME ??????
(we all were dumbstruck and quite....we didn't know what was happening)

That Someone: Sir... Arijit has been beaten by a Kangaroo !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
(Now that was it !!!!!! ..... everyone was trying to turn their head 360 degs and laugh!!!)

Sir: What??????? I don't understand !!!!
(it was my turn now....)

Me: Sir .. actually we forgot to tell u that Arijit won the Brittania contest and went to Australia to watch India play. Now there I told him to be careful ... but you know how he is ... he went to a safari ... and saw some kangaroo kids playing .. so he wanted to take one of the kids back home with him and also wanted to have a joy ride in the pouch of the big kangaroo!!!! ... he ran towards them .. and the father kangaroo .... sensing danger .. bit him !!!!!!!!!!! ( I still dunno where this story came from!!!)

[Pin drop silence]

Sir: Oh My God (OMG) !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! What are you saying !!! OMG !! How is he?? How bad is the cut ?? is he in a lot of pain? Where did it bite him ??

[ Now that was the point when we almost collapsed trying to control our laughter!!!! he actually had believed a complete bullshit story!!! .. we actually had devised a new source of fun!!!!!]

Me: Sir !! Sir!!! please calm down !!! control yourself !! he is fine now!! .. I talked with him today morning , he said it bit him in ... bit him in his .. in his .. ASS!!!!... and he also said that it was not painful at all!! rather he felt a little ticklish when the kangaroo bit him .. he realized later that it was actually a bite and not a lick!!!

[ha ha ha ha ha !!!!!! god it was all happening] ...

So, for the next few day all of us would stretch our imaginations to the fullest and tell stories from Australia (apparently heard from Arijit). I don't remember how long this went , but it ended when one fine morning Arijit re-joined the classes.."limping" (!!!!!!!!)

Konar Sir could never even think that someone can lie to him! His world, his perceptions and his ideas were as pure as his love and respect for his profession. For, how on earth could he believe the fact that a class XII student actually showed a "complaint letter" written to his parents and got it signed by them !!! Or how could he NOT believe that it was not the concerned students' dad ... but the student himself, talking with him over the phone !!!

After leaving school, I have tried to visit him whenever I went to Durgapur. But the last time I saw him was almost 5-6 years back. But still today whenever I do even a little of maths (the kind needed for my work).. I still remember that 5.5 ft tall figure... in crisp white "Dhuti-Panjabi" .. and with the most harmless and heart warming smile ..

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Twin Paradox

Statutory warning: This has nothing to do with Einstein's Theory of Relativity

Over the years I have come across a lot of inquisitive souls. And the most commonly asked question has been about my childhood: how it was to grow up with a photocopy/mirror image of myself or in short "How it feels to grow up with an identical twin?" .. and so I thought of writing this ... just to give them a glimpse ... after all you don't get to see a lot of identical twins around! ......

We came into this world in the August of 1982, weighing four and a half pounds each; with hard little knots of muscle in our arms and legs that our mother said came from fighting in the womb. And I think she was correct, because we were the living embodiment of the cliché about brothers who beat the hell out of each other but team up to defend each other against anyone else.

Most of our early childhood was spent on risking life and limb with daredevil stunts. Like the time we saw that man on TV (later I knew he was Mr. AB) beating hell out of another guy, and went to the bedroom and tried to cut off each others head by using a sliding door of the dressing table! We were pretty good, as well as I can recall; we came really close, but nobody got beheaded that day. In the later years our fights became more competitive, I exactly knew what his next move would be ... and so did he !! Therefore in most cases the result was a bi-lateral damage and mostly needed a third party intervention with force (read mom or dad or both)!!!

Being kids we thought that we have supernatural powers. This idea was further re-inforced by the hindi movies (specially the 70s,80s n mid 90s stuff) where they showed the highest level of wireless communication possible :... yess between twin brothers! We saw twins transferring data, sound, videos (probably more than 1000 GBs!!)etc etc etc ... just by thought!!! Needless to say, after several failed attempts (specially during exams) to replicate the superhuman feats depicted by those human beings on screen, we were convinced that reality sucks. But people around us didn’t seem to believe that! Because they kept asking "Do u feel the pain if someone pinches your bro?"(!!!!@#$%@#$%) . Now I wish I could say "Yes" .. and make a fool out of them!!! .. But, back in those days, I was not that mean ! (am talking about III-IV standard).

Although mother nature didn’t allow us the supernatural powers, but it did give us an added advantage over others, and that is the “confusion” associated with identical twins like us: Teachers, friends, x, y, z ... no one can call you by your name. Everyone seems to be apprehensive - in case they "hurt your sentiments" by calling you by your brother's name!! For most of our childhood, teachers, friends and some relatives tended to address us as if we were one person! BUT to tell you the truth it never mattered to us! On the contrary, this confusion helped me more than once when I was a kid, like when I committed some crime in school.. and my naive brother faced the consequences !!!! Therefore as a kid it was a good cover for both of us .. depending on the situation :)

By now, you must be jealous of all the twins in this world! So, to make you guys feel a little better I will tell you that everything was not that smooth and fun. Being twins has its downside too: First, when you are a kid you are MADE to wear similar dresses.. and hence you become the center of public attention everywhere. Now that’s the norm for all twin kids … people around you seem to enjoy the ‘double trouble’ !!! But ask any twins and am sure you will understand how frustrating it is!! Then as you grow up you gain your "rights" and can now stand up against the "inhuman dressing torture" inflicted by your parents .. so you consciously wear different colors and dresses . But now that you are growing up, you have to pay the price for it. And like all of you, bhowmick twins also had to pay the price:
Firstly, we both got caught more than any of the other trouble-makers did in school, because everybody recognized us. Someone would see a bunch of boys bunking classes or involved in a fight, or whatever the particular offense was, and call the authorities to report: "I saw a bunch of boys doing (whatever). I couldn’t recognize any of them, but I know the Bhowmick twins were there (even if only 1 of us was present)." The Bhowmick twins always got caught, even when we weren’t guilty. If there were any two boys in a group who happened to look alike, the Bhowmick twins got the blame !!!

Secondly, while Bhowmick twins were a strong united force against any enemy, they started having issues as they grew up, which resulted in occasional disputes among them: I must mention here (and you will know why) that all this happened for the last time in college ... and thankfully it has never happened again. But this was an issue that kept us busy from school days till the last day in college (before we got physically separated by distance). The problem was .. our similar genetics always made us admire the same girl !!!! ... Wait !! dont get a shock !! .. I told you it stopped at the end of college!! So STOP your imagination from going wild !!!! Anyways, we soon found a solution to this problem !! - Thankfully there were more than one name.. "almost" EVERY TIME and so we always had an EASY SOLUTION when the number was EVEN .. BUT in case of ODD numbers, it was a diplomatic nightmare! Under such circumstances the deal generally made sure that "you pay a heavy price for attending the 'target' un-interrupted" .. that meant loosing your rights to choose a dress, shoes, watches or even the "equal share of cigarettes and pegs" ... for almost a month! Hence, a detailed scrutiny of the "subject" involved was mandatory before you sign the deal (NB: For women activists: please dont screw me for these words, its a joke after all!!) .... Good old days !!! :(

(I can go on and on and on writing about the exploits of and the experience of being the Bhowmick Twins, but am sure that some of my readers are slowly moving towards that little red cross sign at the top right corner of this page. So ... I will try and wrap it up ..)

Today when I look back I realize how important it is to have a twin brother. Because when you are a kid or a teen (the two most vulnerable stages of life) its your twin who is the only person on earth who can understand you the best. He is the only person with whom you can share anything and everything AND he is the only person who ensures that you always have a "partner in crime" ... and hence that way the "punishment" gets shared!!! (Even if it involves the heinous crime of "re-scoring" the mark sheets.. or bunking the ever boring Brilliant's / NICS exams !!) .
Ask me, and I will say, those were the wonder years! Although things have changed now e.g we do not fall for the same girl anymore except for gals like ……. (that’s a classified info), we do not look exactly same now, and the Bhowmick Twins are no more the “notorious” bhowmick Twins, BUT as they say , old habits die hard .. still today if I make a mistake …… its always his idea ;)

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Fokker 50

Ever since I started flying a bit frequently I got more and more hooked up to those creepy television series like Aircrash Investigations (Discovery channel), Minutes before disaster (discovery again?) etc. Ironically though, these programs made me more worried than ever before. e.g: after watching an aircraft crash due to ice formation on its wings, I was so paranoid that last December (while flying back to India) I kept looking through my window for any ice on the wings !!!! My fear seems to increase exponentially when flying over large water bodies than over land !! This might sound stupid to many of you but I have a smart reason for that: ... am a bad swimmer and afraid of sharks!!! This "aero-hydro-phobia" led me to continually scan the waters of Lake Michigan for any "spots" (boats, ships etc??) while crossing it on my way to CA last summer !!! One more factor that adds up to my fear is the kind of aircraft am flying in ! For some unknown reason I feel totally unsafe inside those turbo-prop small aircrafts (the ones with propellers). They look more like toys and totally unworthy to carry people. What if you look through the window and one of those big fans suddenly stop rotating !!!

Now that I explained the nature of my aviophobia, let me come to the main story....

May 5th, 2009, San Juan Airport, Puerto Rico:
After a 4 hr flight from NYC, here I was at Puerto Rico, waiting for my connecting flight to Antigua (West Indies). There was a 3 hours lay over and I was thirsty..
It didnt take long to locate the only bar inside the lounge area. Now when in Puerto Rico, its a crime not to have a local Rum Punch!!! .. specially when Rum being their national drink! So after a lot of "gracias .. gracias", I came out of the bar contended: 3 absolutely refreshing rum punches (the best I ever had till then) in a flat 60 mins...
Back at the gate I took a seat facing the runway. It was a cloudy day and it was drizzling outside. If not for the rum, I would have started thinking about my swimming skills by now!!

So after waiting for almost an hour, I first saw "it" : a rickety, old and almost collapsing figure ... she was marching very very slowly towards our gate .. " GOD! NOT THIS ONE !" .....
But when the turbo-prop Fokker 50 came and stopped near our gate, I was sure ... "thats it ... I will be crossing a part of the Atlantic (2 hrs) in probably the worst aircraft one can ever imagine , and on top of that its a turbo-prop AND TO MAKE THINGS WORSE - the weather is absolutely crappy !!!". Although my e-ticket had told me that it would be an ATR-72-500!!! My first reaction was to look for a local map of the islands and see if there is any land in between San Juan and Antigua (I was almost certain that a crash landing is imminent!).... "What the F@#$ !!!" I thought, "How irresponsible!! .. they want people to fly in these pre-historic flying objects .. and plan a route which starts and ends on a runway WITH ONLY WATER IN BETWEEN!!!!!! " .. My mind was clouded with thoughts and questions "what if .....????"

Ever since I was a kid, I have been interested in aircrafts.. mostly military aircrafts though. But off late I developed this habit of reading about the craft in which I am supposed to fly (yeah! they give you the aircraft name in the e-ticket). Now you can describe this as a part of my aviophobia or my hobby ... even I dunno the answer!! Anyways,I knew these Fokkers run on Pratt & Whitney turbo props (not the reliable names like GE, Rolls Royce or Boeing), so the question was how long can it float if/when the fans stop rotating!!!???! Does it have life vests inside? what if the weather asks for an immediate landing !!! ... I was sweating, tensed and and and rum-med ...

"Passengers of Flight 5052 to St. John's, Antigua, please proceed for boarding" ...
the announcement broke my train of thoughts. For the first time in my life I was boarding an aircraft where I had seat 1 A (the first row after cockpit , since there was no executive class) but I was the first person to board!!!! because: The boarding was from the door at the back (apparently there is no other cabin door in these aircrafts except the emergency ones). The seat beside me remained empty even after the cabin doors were closed, "which means, I dont have to help anyone unlock his/her seat belt when the time comes!!!" .. well thats a good beginning %$@#@$%!!
I tried to make myself comfortable, fastened my seat belt and waited for the plane to start rolling. Just when I started to feel a little better, there came an announcement from the flight attended which raised my BP for the next 2 hours: "Ladies and gentlemen, since we do not have a packed flight today and some seats are empty, we need to re-arrange the sitting ..SO THAT WE CAN BALANCE THE WEIGHT INSIDE THE CABIN" . ....... AND .... I ALMOST FELL FROM MY SEAT!!!!!! These kind of an announcements not only make you anxious but raise serious questions about the aircraft's reliability as a means of public transport over the atlantic !!! "GOD SAVE ME!!... I HAVENT EVEN TICKED THE FIRST POINT IN MY BUCKET LIST !! THIS IS TOO EARLY !!! .. I DONT WANT TO BE A FOOD FOR THE SHARKS !!" :(

The take off was smoother than I expected!! But within 5 mins after taking off we could feel the air turbulence. The pilot announced that weather will remain almost the same for the next 2 hours, so we are supposed to keep our belts fastened throughout. But everytime there was a vibration ... I was getting ready to unfasten my seat belt so that when we land on the water I can dash for the nearest exit!!! Although, even after 35-40 mins that crash landing didnt happen and the plane was still flying - so I felt a little better, closed my eyes and started enjoying the rum :). It might have been about an hour or so .... because I woke up with an announcement that we will be touching down in another 20 mins. "Yes! its over !! But still a slight fear remains : bad weather, wet runways and a turbo-prop aircraft is not a very good combo" (thats what I had gathered from Discovery's Air crash Investigation series!!)

We could feel the loss in altitude as we descended towards the small island of Antigua. It was cloudy but sometimes we could get a glimpse of the pristine blue waters and the white sand beaches. It was breathtaking and only appeared for a few seconds. In another 60 seconds we were close to the airport and flying at a very low altitude, just about to touch down ....... and then it happened...
suddenly the aircraft started to bank on the left .. "a routine maneuver may be" .. I thought, but then it started swaying towards the right!!! I could see the runway below , and I could almost visualize a scene from one of the episodes: An aircraft swaying badly while touchdown.. hits the runway- wing first ... and topples!!!

As we neared the surface the sway became more and more drastic! It was as if the wings were actually going to hit the ground! There was suddenly a pin-drop silence inside the cabin! I looked towards the air hostess- And, when you see the air hostesses sitting with their legs tightly closed , and hands clasping very very close to their body and that plastic smile no more on their faces ... you can sense immediately that something is wrong!!! The aircraft was swaying vehemently .. if I remember correctly, we were just about 70-80 feet above the runway!!! "Thats it.. will crash in a few seconds!!" ....... Then in a flash I felt an immense thrust ... the force nailed me against the seat ...Almost everyone shrieked!! The aircraft was suddenly climbing up again at almost a 70 degree angle and with tremendous force!!!! It was like sitting on a huge swing! One moment you are coming down and the next you are going up with a heavy acceleration!... "An aborted landing!!! Probably they coudnt manage the first one and are now going in for a second attempt!"... We again climbed into the clouds.
I was scared and I must admit that a lot of faces of my near and dear ones, friends and family were flashing in my mind! The silence continued.. no one was in a state to utter a word.. except some occasional "shit" and "god" !! Later I thought the former must have been an atheist!!

Although you expect some voice from the cockpit in situations like these, but there was none! This transpired as a sign of tension inside the cockpit too! After hovering in the clouds for about 5 mins, we again started to descend.... the second attempt for a landing! As the runway became visible and we started loosing altitude I closed my eyes. I could feel the craft vibrating .. a slight sway to the left, then left again ... and then almost immediately the "thud" ... it was harsh!! shook everything inside!! But we were on the runway!!!! It took a few seconds for all the passengers to realize that we had touched down safely .. and the claps started ! ... The aircraft slowed down... "Ladies and Gentlemen Welcome to St. John's Antigua" .. the voice from the cockpit said .... and then it added "Please remain in your seats with your seat belts fastened while we taxi what's left of our airplane to the gate!" ... .. yeah right !

After I came out of the plane, I met a few people who were also traveling to Antigua for the same purpose as mine. And needless to say our eventful flight became a topic of discussion for the next 3 days!!

Later when the flight became famous among everyone in the conference (for which I was there), one of the pretty French faces asked me "Were you scared? God! I would have been scared to death!!"
"Well yeah, may be the same would have happened to me if I was unaware of the situation. But I knew it was common .. they show it all the time in Discovery channel!!!!"

.. afterall I was right ! .. I think I was the most prepared than anyone else in that flight! ... Because I was the only person who was sure that we were crashing ... MORE THAN ONCE !!

And, the next time you get the insane urge to go blasting through the skies in a pressurized metal tube over the atlantic, I hope you'll be smart enough to wear those life vests before hand. ... just in case!

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Catch them ... and KILL them ...

Disclaimer: This post is a result of extensive research. I stand by each and every statistics discussed below. For information about the source of the data please ask me. If you are new or if you are thinking why I suddenly wrote this, please look up and read the title and description of my blog. And finally, as usual, you are most welcome to write your comments, but I must say that I feel very strongly about this issue and nothing on earth can change my take on this. I would always say.. Catch them, Torture them and Kill them ...
Oh yes, one more thing, some words used may be very derogatory, but am sorry cant help it ..

The incident of Josef Fritzl who was jailed for life for treating his daughter as a sex slave in the cellar of his home during a 24 year orgy of depravity in which he fathered seven children, sent shock waves across the world. So much so, that the day an Irish news channel released some pictures of the “bunker” Fritzl had made to house his daughters, it became the most viewed picture in an hour! Am sure people were sympathetic and remorseful and wanted to share the pain of Fritzl’s ill-fated daughters, by scrutinizing those photographs.

Anyways am not writing today to talk about that. Its already been discussed all over the world and in every circles. While Fritzl was convicted on 17th March, 1000s of miles away in Mumbai a similar story was unfolding. In a shocking case, a sexagenarian allegedly raped his daughter repeatedly over a span of nine years at the behest of an occultist (who said the act would bring prosperity to the family) and was arrested on the 19th of March. Media was intelligent enough to draw an instant comparison between Fritzl and this 60 yr old ass-hole. But unlike Fritzl’s case Indian media could not give it much mileage and barring a few news channels and 1 or 2 newspapers, others lost interest within the first 24 hours of the arrest. Do you find that shocking? Many pundits will say that 9 years is nothing as compared to 24 and hence this wasn’t a big issue in India. But I think the reason for this lack luster coverage is far beyond the time factor: Its just that we the people of India are so much well accustomed to cases of rape and child abuse reported almost everyday in the newspapers and TV channels, that this incident of the 60 yr old man wasn’t a big shocker !!!

There is one more difference: Fritzl was arrested in April 2008 and sentenced for life within 11 months. The fast justice ensured that the incident remain as a fresh wound in the minds of people. During the trial some Irish and American lawmakers expressed their willingness to award Fritzl a death penalty if Ireland had Capital Punishment. And pseudo intellectuals, filmmakers, poets, artists or human rights proponents never chased down those lawmakers for their statement!

On the contrary we all remember what happened in our country some years back: A teenaged girl, full of enthusiasm and hope after taking her exams well, comes home to be raped and brutally murdered by her society's security guard. The girl's parents fight for justice. And WHEN finally, after 14 long years of legalities, the rapist-murderer gets the capital punishment, some pseudo social activist and even eminent personalities from West Bengal realized that they are against the capital punishment being given to a rapist-murderer. They hurriedly came together to protest and even write to the hon'ble President to pardon the culprit who was to be hanged till death. These pseudo social activists, writers, thinkers and reformers were never seen before for the last 14 years when the case was pending with the court. If anyone needed their help, it was the victim’s family who had a tough time fighting a long battle to seek justice.

In a country where you find so much of sympathy for a man who should have faced the worst death, what more do you expect from crime statistics??!! According to a latest report by the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) there has been a phenomenal eight-fold increase in the number of rapes committed in India since 1971, the year from which data for rape cases has been collected by the NCRB. This stands in marked contrast to other serious and violent crimes like murder, robbery, dacoity, kidnapping and rioting. Overall, violent crimes under the Indian Penal Code (IPC) have actually declined. Between 1971 and 2006 violent crimes showed a decline of 16%. In this context, the 678% increase in rape cases (which is taken as a special category by the NCRB) stands out as a shocker!! Moreover a recent survey by an international NGO and a leading international women’s magazine revealed that of all the reported cases of rape (only one out of 70), only in 20 per cent of cases someone is held. Consequently, only three out of 1,000 rapists ever get convicted. And of those who are convicted, 80% comes back to the mainstream society after spending some years in jail. So the bottom-line is that most rapists can get away with rape. A woman gets raped every half an hour in India. And yet the system and society fails to prevent a rapist from entering the mainstream!! I have always wondered why police need to cover the face of a rapist in front of the media! even if he is a 60 yr old man! Let the whole world see who this person is ! Let the “aam junta” mark him, so that after he plays around the legalities and come out clean, someday somewhere his corpse can be located once he starts walking on the streets! I don’t believe in a second chance or mercy for rapists! And if you do so, then shake off you intellectual avatar and think rationally… can someone with a twisted psychology be ever corrected? I think NO , and an interesting statistics from RAINN (discussed later in the blog) explains why am correct.

SELDOM do people hold those robbed responsible for getting robbed, or those murdered responsible for getting murdered. If we made such statements as a matter of routine, our sanity would be questioned. Yet, it isn't at all uncommon to blame women for getting raped!! I happened hear, a social worker, who ironically used to work with women, once comment: "Young women nowadays dress so provocatively. What do they expect? Men get tempted, naturally." Such views are commonplace in the aftermath of the heavily publicized rape cases in Delhi and other metros. Such statements are extremely offending and generalize the behavior of some violent men to all men. To believe that all men are abject creatures at the mercy of their hormones, compelling them to uncontrollable acts of sexual atrocities at the sight of female flesh, is a specious view of male sexuality. It places them at a par with sociopaths. And even if some men do get tempted by the way certain women dress, is rape their only recourse?? Cmon you reformers, social workers and pseudo intellectuals … its all in the mind and you can change the thought in a person but cannot change his psychology!! So, just because you are unable to keep the culprit behind bars or unable to give them death penalty (which I strongly support) it doesn’t mean you blame it on the victims! So please catch them and KILL them !!

There is no question that the whole of Indian society is more sexually repressed than most places in the world. But that isn’t an excuse for the alarming numbers of rape in India!! Its just because we let those bastards go free. A recent study by the RAINN (Rape Abuse Incest National Network) revealed that 46% of rapists who are released from prison are re-arrested within 3 years of their release for another crime. This further re-iterates the need for a law which makes capital punishment mandatory for rape. And also the need for a system where the convict is hanged within a few months of the sentence so that our intellectual asses do not get a chance to help a psychopath back into the society. Especially in countries like India where life imprisonment can be easily reduced to a few years and capital punishment is in most cases pardoned, such a law is must. I have always been an extremist regarding certain issues e.g terrorism. And I strongly feel that to curb a crime you have to set example of the worst punishment that can be given for that crime. The fear of getting caught and an almost certain death, if caught, can only create an atmosphere of insecurity among rapists or people who help rapists. And the fact that it can work is evident from statistics in the US, where the Louisiana law (passed in 1995) of extending the death penalty to rapists of children under the age of 12 has been followed by Georgia, Montana, Oklahoma, South Carolina, and Texas. And quite astonishingly, since 1995 the number of rapes per 1000 people in these states declined from 1 to below 0.5!!

So those of you, who have been yelling against capital punishment, think twice! We have faults in our system! We know that life imprisonment never happens! And the only way to prevent these psychopaths from returning back is to KILL them. And before hanging them, take off their nails, slowly …. Because am sure the fear of a painful death will be able to surpass all psychotic thinking. After all, India is not a barbaric country, and its extremely barbaric to let rapists roam around in your neighborhood!!!

Friday, March 6, 2009


DISCLAIMER: Those who are new to my blog, please read the small definition of my blog above. That might help you understand why I wrote this. Secondly, am sure many of you wont like this. So, I would really appreciate if you could write down your criticisms in the comments section. Finally, 98% of whats written below is true , its upto you to figure out the rest 2%. And lastly, the title of this blog is inspired by Leon Uris's QB-7. If you are unaware of QB-7 than never mind!


It was Nov 29th 2008 , a bright sunny day, and I was on my way to the JFK International Airport, to drop off my girl friend who was flying back to India. With the infamous NY traffic always at the back of my mind, I tried to cover up as much time as possible before we cross the state border and enter New York. Now here I need to mention the car that I was driving, because it's the main protagonist in this story. I was driving a Chevrolet Impala LS with a 3.5 L V6 engine, which had been on the road only for 6 months! And for someone who drives a V4 Toyota Camry everyday, it was quite an adrenalin rush!

So, here I was on I-84 and along with many others, was going at about 85-90 mph (the limit on this stretch has been 58-65 mph for years!). Although am a very sober guy with just a few ounces of hooliganism (which is exposed after 8-10 shots only) and although I had no intention to cross the speed limit by more than 10 mph, but yet I did it , and I sincerely think that the damn CAR is to be blamed!!!. Because had it been my old horse, it would have warned me once I go beyond 75 mph with its characteristic mild vibrations!!

Just as we crossed a town called Waterbury, the car in front of me slowed down (I was on the left lane!). Its frustrating to be on the left lane and go at a snails pace! So I lean on the gas a little to pass him, and I'm back on my merry way.

That was it ! the moment I cut the old man or may be a Chinese (that's a guess coz he was below the limit!), I could hear a squad car behind me and then could see the 100 flashing lights from 1 car ( a waste in itself!). Immediately, my GF gives me the biggest "I told you so... " speech of all time. I already felt like the biggest bonehead in the world. I thought I was screwed. ....
Needless to say that I didnt want my birth certificate to be useless from that day, and so like a law abiding driver, I stopped.

"Sir, you were doing 85 on a 58! whats your problem?"

"Dyslexia!" .. .. I wish I could say! Instead came the reply "Oh! really ! am sorry about that!" (yeah right it should have been 'short term memory loss' instead of dyslexia!)

"You don't know how fast you were going? I guess that means I can write anything I want to on the ticket, huh?"

That was my LESSON# 1 : Never F*** around with cops ... coz you never know which one turns out to be intelligent!

Anyways, despite my best puppy dog eyes, he takes my license goes back to his car , makes me wait for 10 mins (I had all sorts of thought in those 10 mins- from license cancellation, to jail to being deported) while the "I told you to .." speech continued in the background ...
Finally after the most painful 10 mins he comes back with the infamous "pink slip" .. a $ 400 ticket ! My offenses: "going 85 in a 58 zone"- $300 and "passing on the right!!!!!!!!!" $ 100. This second offence made me realize that USA still have officers who watch a lot of "Imandaar Police officer" movies!

"You can either pay the amount in full or contest the ticket in court, sir", said the man in uniform.


With two options in hand, I selected the the second one i.e to go to the court and try and reduce the amount of money I had to pay. A lot of thoughts, discussions, tips and advices finally led me to this decision. I was almost termed as a psycho who walks in the corridors of the health center building and stops any known face and asks "Did you ever get a speeding ticket? Did you defend it? ...". To my surprise everyone seemed to have an idea about speeding tickets!! Even the guy whose stories of delaying people by being in the car in front of them are legendary .... had something to tell me bout speeding tickets !!!! Thank god .. human beings are so very helpful!
Beside all these what really led me into this decision was the fact that according to reliable legal analysists, for every idiot who wins a case, thousands of other imbeciles don't make it that far!!!!!

So I finally got a hearing date on March 6th 2009 .... after 3 months of my crime! In those 3 months, I always had the fear of being busted even when driving on the most nondescript streets in town!
And, despite some very ingenious advices like "Dont show up and they will forget the case" or "Tell them that it was a racial discrimination" (yeah right... when the cop himself was an african-american !!! ), I went to the court with a PLAN. the plan was to tell the judge that I was "over the limit" because of the following reasons: The car, My "first" drive on the highway, my GF's flight to India (I got the boarding pass scanned from her) and then to request him to reduce the charges.

Never in my life I had been to any kind of courtroom before! So naturally the moment I entered court room 1-C, I was a little disappointed! Why? .. because I could not find much similarity between this one and the one I had in my mind (as seen in movies)! So I was kind of "not feeling at home" ! Looking around I couldnt see any scary convict in chains or any judge wearing that funny headgear ! Instead it was a big hall , more like a church, and in place of jesus there was a small dais with 3 simple chairs and a table (without any occupant). And on the right, below the dais there was this 50 something man with a bunch of files (he was the hearing officer). My sense of guilt was considerably reduced when I found that there were almost 100s like me who had similar tickets! And that included some hot babes , elderly ladies, suited-booted gentlemen and snobbish asses!!!!!

Anyways, after waiting for about 15 mins, finally the time came! It was my first and last chance to explain to the officer that unavoidable circumstances literally forced me to cross the speed limit by 27 mph !!!

So, as previously planned and rehearsed, I started:

" Sir, I agree that I was going over the limit but am here to explain that it was completely un-intentional. I was delayed for the airport .. blah blah ... not driving my car .. blah blah ... the car in front of me slowed so I just tried to cross him hence pressed the gas .. blah blah .. its not that I was speeding all throughout ..and finally (with those puppy dog eyes) .. I am a grad student and cant pay the amount .. "

"Am sorry to hear that !!!!!" .... wow ! my trick was working, I thought !

"But unfortunately, you started late for the airport hence you got delayed, ... you chose the car, ... and if you cant look at the speedometer while you drive , I must send you to the driving school once again! Also, the officer had been following you for over 600 fts before he stopped you .... again you didnt notice that ! You didnt show any respect and further pressed on the gas !!!!!!!!!! "

LESSON# 2: Always show respect to the cops

... I could feel my stomach .. again the jail > being deported etc etc scenes were coming back !!!! ...

AND then the final blow:
"You know, you should have paid the full amount .. that would have saved you from getting a point in your license because a point in your license means your insurance will go up .. and its a recurring expenditure!!!" ....

The final Verdict: Pay $ 130 , go home .. with a point in your license.

While coming back, as I crossed that same spot where I was ticketed 3 months back, I told to myself, "Thank god! the speed radar was not accurate! otherwise 90mph would have been a 'reckless driving' charge" !!!!!

LESSON# 3, 4, 5, 6: ... Don't look for small profits ... think long term ! Learn to identify squad cars ! Have your GF sitting beside you and not in the back seat ! AND ALWAYS REMEMBER - for every idiot who wins a case, thousands of other imbeciles don't make it that far!!!!!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

The Year That WASN’T

Before You read : This is crap, complete crap... Although some parts are not e.g the first para (err! a part of it). It is not meant to hurt or demean anyone. In case u are hurt .. pls dont let me know. And finally - after I finished this .. I realize that its boring, but please if possible.. hang on till the end. Lastly ... pls do read the definition of my blog above .. if you are a first timer here .
This is the Year that wasn't....

I didn’t get drunk at the beginning of 2008. On Jan 1st, 2008, 12:01 am, I was with my parents at Kolkata. A peaceful beginning.. Isn’t it? But despite the delicious food … the jobless and hence tension less life … and obviously the fact that there was no “do your laundry” routine, Me the nerd still managed to catch one of those crappy trans-atlantic flights to head back to “Bush-land” (for those of u who came in this world not long ago … its now called “Obama-Land”) sometime in the middle of January. The flight didn’t have even a single remotely good looking air-hostess contrary to the perceived notion that all air-hostesses are pretty!!

Back in the USofA from home.. I thought.. “Man ... I was just waiting for this day!!” .. felt great !! And hence I was all excited to start working right away! I felt sad that I didn’t take any work with me and hence didn’t do anything during the long 1 month break.

The weather was very nice in the mid of January.. Warm and bright.. the beaches were full … and you could walk even without a shirt on !

The first few months in 2008 were un-eventful. April saw me visit the West coast.. SD and LA .. but could not make it to SFO or LV. The purpose was a conference and as you correctly guessed : I hardly had any time to see around LA and SD. But guess what.. I just loved attending all those talks and participated in every single discussion!

While I was working hard here, back home in India space scientists devised a way that would cut their workloads into half : dumping 10 satellites into the space in 1 go !! The world applauded.. and as Indians we thought … if that’s a record then we should have been in the record books long ago: for .. the maximum number of people travelling in a train compartment / bus / boat etc etc . It wasn’t a great achievement.. we do it everyday!!

The month was April and summer was approaching …and so was the “prelims” (that’s a PhD lingo.. for further details contact the writer). So finally it came.. and went .. I didn’t even feel a pinch ! Just wrote a few nonsense lines, on a crumpled sheet of paper and that was it .. prelim was over !!

Although every year the summer in India start from march onwards, but as you all know 2008 was different. The whole country was shivering … it was cold.. and everyone talked about climate change . But then sometime around July, some NGO run by some social activists, devised a way to generate a little bit of heat: 7 bombs all across Bangalore and Ahmadabad. No one died and we all clapped at this ingenious feat.. to bring in the summer ! In the mean time, child rights activists and news-wallas were doin overtime to cover the case of Arushi: The delhi kid who stood first in a Delhi school. The intense discussions in all the news channels that ranged from “child rights in rock music” to “Exams and school bus” were informative. Also MoonNews got an exclusive interview with arushi’s closest competitors’ maidservant … and again as you all know, that interview got the Academy Award for the Best emotional drama in 2008!! Sitting here and following those events unfold was fascinating!

While things were getting warmer back home, 1000s of miles away a bunch of Indian athletes were creating history! Never before I had followed athletics so fervently as I did during the Chinese Olympics! With the temperatures going beyond control (someone did a calculation mistake with those bombs), it was a gratifying feeling for all of us .. to see our country of 1.13 billion win 40 golds (7 in wrestling) and 75 silvers. Abhinav Bindra was given a special distinction (2 golds for 1 event) since his glasses were not working on the day of his event.

The Olympics did a lot of good to the world! Pictures of Yasser Arafat-George Bush-Hugo Chavez in shorts and playing Tug of war against Manmohan Singh-Asif Zardari-Osama Bin Laden, are still oven fresh in our minds!!! China was so happy with their performance that they signed a blank Rs1000 stamp paper and asked Dalai Lama to type in whatever he wants regarding Tibet! It was truely a historic Olympics. Even the US army was happy - thanks to Michael Phelps’s aquatic achievements, they now are using him to test their latest “water-boarding” techniques!! Am sure the world is going to be a safer place if they master it and apply on all the “bad guys” they capture!!

While I was recovering from the Olympics hangover (calculate 1 party for each gold we won!!), one fine morning my neighbor said his pay have been doubled overnight and so we shall have another party!!!! Apparently the company where he was working: Lehmann Brothers, were no longer brothers (thanks to Lehman A’s dog … who terrorized Lehman B’s rooster) and therefore he got a job from both of them after the split, and now will be paid twice the amount!!! Many days later I came to know this was actually happening worldwide! All big financial houses were having family feuds and hence breaking up .. and all the employees were earning double the amount !!! But there was a problem … everyone was soo rich that no one was happy. So, recently the World Rich Control Organization have passed an international Law according to which each earning person is supposed to use 10 units of their respective currency bills, as tissue papers, atleast once in 2 days. I hope this intelligent decision will help us overcome the “All rich” problem soon! Am sure U guys are aware of this excellent measure… and hence I would appreciate your thoughts on this.

At one point it seemed to me that even the Indian scientists were enjoying this worldwide excess of cash!! Otherwise why on earth shall you spend Rs. 386 crore (US$ 80 million) (Ref. The Times of India 2008-10-26) on a piece of metal, to take a few pictures of the Moon and analyse what Moon mud is made of !!???? … Specially in a country where every year approx. 100,000 people die of road accidents due to the lack of trauma care facilities, where 58,0000 people die of cancer every year and over a million suffer from aids (all data are referenced) !!!!! But I was happy that we have come of age .. we have understood that the answer to these problems may be found in heaven .. and hence this first step towards the moon !!! bravo !

That was the month of October. A long and “eventful” year was comin to an end. And just when I thought that I would increase my pace of work …. Someone very close to me .. decided to visit me. By now am sure you have understood that I the nerd strongly believe in “work is worship”. Naturally I didn’t want this friend of mine to come over and waste some more time. But alas ! there she came and for 2 weeks I missed my tiny little mice and the cute chemical boxes and the beastly microscope . Finally that ordeal was also over!!!!! With a sigh of relief, I went in for the slog overs in the month of December.

There is nothing much to write about December … because I don’t want to bore you guys with minor details of what I do. New Years Eve was great fun! Unlike one of those morons who get drunk at the middle of the night with a bunch of friends, I was sipping chocolate milk and watching “Gulliver’s Travels” . ………. What???? That sounds boring !!!??? You moron … can you tell me the name of all the places Gulliver's travel led beside the Lilliput ? (yes that’s actually the name of the country and not those tiny people). If u can’t answer me .. I will say go and watch / read it. But If u CAN … then … please scroll up and check the title of this blog …… before giving a verdict 

Note: As many of u may have noticed, the Bombay massacre didn’t find any mention in my yearbook …. The reason? : ... well, I write to feel good …