How ‘truly’ embarrassing it is to speak in english on an international platform…

We have often been mesmerized by the concept of various country leaders speaking in their own native language in international forums. This has often made us make fun of ourselves for preferring to speak in the international language. But how big an embarrassment is it truly?

In maximum non-english speaking countries, the important people prefer to speak in their mother tongue. These are people who have translators tagging along with them daily and even though they are keeping the ‘translators’ profession alive, there is no other reason really, to be proud. If being able to speak your native language fluently is a thing of pride, speaking another countries native language fluently with a native of that country is a thing of greater pride. And indian’s do exactly that.

Whether it is english in an international forum, or any other language in any national forum, an indian tries to be as flexible as possible. In spite of that we regularly have discussions and sometimes official debates on ‘how indians are embarrassed to speak in Hindi on an international platform’.

The funny hypocrisy of this situation is that the people who say such things are usually greatly influenced by english. They watch the english news channel, read the english newspaper, do official work in english and themselves keep their native language for pleasure reading. They themselves do not speak in their native language officially.

The others who do not fall in this category either cannot speak in english or lead to meager lives to require it, so such views from them should not be very surprising.

It is high time we realized that knowing more languages and flaunting it internationally is a good thing. It is high time we realized, indian’s and their linguistic flexibility is what makes us more popular worldwide. It is this versatility that we should be proud of and not have frequent discussions on how ashamed we are of our mother tongue or native language.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Is kolkata a smaller model of the entire world??

First it was Mumbai, then it was Delhi. Then with a brief comparison with the United States, it was the english capital London.

In case you are completely confused about what I’m talking about, my dear reader I am talking about our very own city Kolkata. Back in the 90’s I remember hearing things like, “look at that new building, my god, Kolkata is turning into the next Bombay”.

With not even a second thought we tend to compare anything new that happens in our city, whether good or bad, with other places. It so happens that nothing can happen in Kolkata, not a single office can rise and not a single club can be established without being a direct influence of some outer territory.

It started with the high rises of “Bombay”, continued with the IT destinations of “Noida”, nightclubs of “US” followed suite and then the government just decided to convert the city into London. If this is not enough, a recent bengali magazine proudly portrays its cover story,”is new town the next Singapore??”. As much as I would agree with the fact that these places are well-known for each of these aspects we compare our city with, Kolkata is nothing more than Kolkata and nothing less than Kolkata.

The fact that our city is completely different from others, and the fact that every city in the world more or less has flyovers, hotels, cinema halls and IT hubs seems to be an unrealized thought in our minds.

With all due respect to the government, London is a beautiful city but we do not need to be influenced by them to be beautiful. I personally think we have the capacity to beautify our own city without outer influence.

The same goes to all those who claim that sector v is the new Gurgaon or Noida and new town is the new Singapore…trust me, people living in these parts never say, “this is the new Kolkata”.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Is kolkata a smaller model of the entire world??

First it was mumbai, then it was delhi. Then with a brief comparison with the United States, it was the english capital London.

In case you are completely confused about what I’m talking about, my dear reader I am talking about our very own city Kolkata. Back in the 90’s I remember hearing things like, “look at that new building, my god, Kolkata is turning into the next Bombay”. With not even a second thought we tend to compare anything new that happens in our city, whether good or bad, with other places. It so happens that nothing can happen in Kolkata, not a single office can rise, not a single club can be established without being a direct influence of some outer territory.

It started with the high rises of “Bombay”, continued with the IT destinations of “Noida”, nightclubs of “US” followed suite and then the government just decided to convert the city into London. If this is not enough, a recent bengali magazine proudly portrays its cover story,”is newtown the next Singapore??”. As much as I would agree with the fact that these places are well-known for each of these aspects we compare our city with, Kolkata is nothing more than Kolkata and nothing less than Kolkata.

The fact that our city is completely different from others, and the fact that every city in the world more or less has flyovers, hotels, cinema halls and IT hubs seems to be an unrealized thought in our minds.

With all due respect to the government, London is a beautiful city but we do not need to be influenced by them to be beautiful. I personally think we have the capacity to beautify our own city without outer influence.

The same goes to all those who claim that sector v is the new Gurgaon or Noida and new town is the new Singapore…trust me, people living in these parts never say, “this is the new Kolkata”.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

child labor in india, a controversially practical overview…

Child labor has been existing in our society for a long time now. It is one of the biggest social problems the country is currently facing as every year hundreds of children leave their homes to do menial yet dangerous jobs for a very meager pay. To top all of this, parents have refused to send their children to free school that offers mid-day meals even after education was made compulsory for all and child labor was made a punishable offense.
Now we wonder why this is so, what is stopping these families from taking up these opportunities…this makes us believe that lack of education and narrow mindedness is to be blamed, but is this truly so??
The families from where these child laborers come are mostly below poverty line. For such families affording one square meal a day for every member is a struggle. How can we expect these people to think about their child’s future education when they do not have the capacity to think of their future meal and guarantee their survival.
In such a situation, they send their children out to do these petty jobs so that the money that comes in helps guarantee at least one extra days meal. They do not send them out because they are against education, all that is secondary, they send them out for survival. I doubt any of us would have done it differently had it been us in their situation.
Taking into consideration that a family after much hardship manages to send their child to school, what is the point? The school is either closed or there is no teacher. If luckily these provisions are available, the mid-day meals that the school offers is too terrible to be given to children. The quality is so bad that even people below poverty level would throw it away. In such situations why on earth would any father send their child to school?
Starting from government reforms to non-government organizations, no one has been able to start and maintain most of these village schools, on what grounds do we force people to send their children here.
Now a lot of people shall turn their attention to family planning, I personally think that is secondary in this topic, I’m talking about the kids who are already working long hours.
Educating these people for family planning is truly important but telling them to send their children to school is like telling them to forget a day’s meal and I’m sure no one would accept that, not even us.
I would just like to make it very clear that I’m NOT for child labor, I’m just trying to tell you how a person living on one bread a day feels when he is told that he has to send his 11 children to school and forget whatever money they are bringing in just because its a good practice.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

A quick journey back in time…

On the 8th of january 2012 Statesman house organized its annual vintage and classic car rally, the venue like every year being the eastern command stadium situated inside Fort William. The rally this year saw 163 vintage cars and bikes participating, each of them unique and reeking of class.
The list of participants ranged from rolls royce, jaguar and hudson to austin’s and BSA bikes. Some of the participants also took part in the fancy dress competition where they dressed up according to the era of the cars they own. One of the participants, Mrs Brinda Ganguly Sarkar owner of a pink ’68 beetle bug was dressed in a hippie costume accompanied by her son. They resembled the hippie era which was also the era of flower power and was dressed in a very colorful fashion with the flowery clothes and to add to a little spice, her son carried a vintage video camera with him to record the event.
After speaking to most of the owners one thing was sure, these people really love their. Meeting Mr Agarwal, owner of the orrisa queens 50’s playmouth savoy, he says he received the car 12 years back in workshop in monohorpukur road which he bought and restored and today is most definitely standing proudly as a mark of aristocracy.
Another interesting car that I came across was the something that can be called the mascot of the entire rally, Statesman’s owned customized Model T Ford. The car, being a combination of sab green with blue borders stood in one corner as a symbol of The Statesman’s glorious past and how it has survived the test of time. Just above the grille was a customized golden fairy that was holding the ‘S’ of Statesman. The Statesman logo was also printed on the two doors.
Barring these there were ’37 Austins, ’26 Enfields mercedes 200, Cadillac’s and Rovers just to name a few of the many diverse beauties.
As the cars completed their wibbly wobbly test and was flagged off for the race, the entire city got a chance to see the aristocracy of old Calcutta once again. I really look forward to next year when I can re-live this experience of being a part of this classic era of the automobile industry.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

a display of armed brilliance…

On the 11th and 12th of december 2011 Royal Calcutta Turf Club played host to the Indian Army’s annual stunt show display which they organize every year celebrating their victory in the 1971 war against Pakistan.
I had the good opportunity to witness this wonderful event on the 11th and the experience has most definitely left me awestruck. It made me wonder how much control these soldiers have over their body and mind to be able to do these things with such ease.
By the time I reached the turf field I realized that I wasn’t the only enthusiast as even 2 hours before the event,the place was swarming with people. Starting with 5 year old kids right up to 70 year old people,everyone had come to cheer the army,and pay their respect to the flag.
The flag was hoisted and everyone stood up as a mark of respect,it also kicked off the event as just after that a black army ambassador with four mounted police officers on its sides entered and rallied around the field once.
This was followed by three helicopters coming from turf view side almost racing above our heads, the choppers had the Indian flag hanging from one of them.
This was followed by a stunt display where a pilot was flying his propeller plane in perfect circles right above the crowd. At this point everyone was on their feet spinning their heads round and round trying to follow the plane.
As the plane left,we saw a very small object falling from the sky. It was soon joined by many more similar objects, they were all par a-jumpers. What a view it was to see so many people descend from the heavens. The last par a-jumpers were three soldiers descending together with three parachutes resembling the tri-color.
The next act,my favorite one yet was a hostage rescue drill a team of commando’s performed. It was splendid how two choppers flew in and air dropped around twelve commando’s and then left. The commando’s took their positions and their mission was to blow up a wooden entrance of a house. The entire drill took around twenty minutes where some were trying to approach the door while others were watching their back. At the end they blew up the wooden door,the explosion was rather loud and unexpected and it left the crowd awestruck. The choppers came back and took the commando’s away leaving the crowd applauding like crazy.
Next in store was a par a-glider showing of his large propeller ed par a-glide. It was announced that par a-gliding is a stunt of intense practice and we were amazed to see how well this soldier was using it.
The next display was the most anticipated one for the crowd,police motorcycle display. The shweth ashmaved were a group of 29 riders,each of whom were mind bogging stunt men who left the audience with wide open jaws after their performance. These men did stunts like the v cross,the double v cross where bikers would cross each other at great speed in v form.
This was followed by swimming on the seats,standing,making a bell shape with 7 people, two people standing on a ladder,flying fish,spinning like a chakra and finally all 29 on 7 bikes making a moving pyramid. Only god and they themselves know how they kept those bikes moving while standing on the seat upside down. Their last stunt was where 1 person drove his bike and jumped over quite a few of his team mates. And to think all this was done on royal en fields!!!
The event ended with the gorkha battalion band playing a beautiful tune as the sun set,giving a feeling of what a glorious nation we truly are…

Photo courtesy sutirtha chatterjee

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

MEDIA MINDPRINTS 2011

MMP KOLKATA..
Kolkata december 3rd-ISBM school of communication today organized a seminar called media mindprints where media stalwarts from every line in the industry came and hosted sessions where inquizzitive students took part in the discussions making it a rather interesting and interactive seminar.
The seminar took place in kalakunj which is the basement of kala mandir. It was inaugerated by Dr Pramod Kumar,Director International School of Business and Media,Mr Surendra Poddar campus head of ISBM kolkata and fashion photographer Mr Maxwell Agacy. Mr Maxwell Agacy thereafter hosted the session on photography where he told the students the story of his life,how from being a struggling photographer in tollygunge he became a well known photographer in Miami. He also answered various questions asked by the students on the industry and how to make a mark there.
He was followed by well-known ad maker Mr Saugoto Guha. What he mainly spoke about is how a person must live life to the fullest and break all social barriers to properly understand the true essence of advertising. He claims that he sometimes gives his subordinates in his company certain exercises that are pretty awkward and sometimes force them to bend their normal ways in order to do them,but it helps to break the ice. He also made a valid point by saying,first know every detail of your own backyard,then venture outside,that makes a true observer and innovator.
This was followed by a performance by the students of the college amongst whom was a student named Saheb Sharma who was playing the piano and then the violin but is visually challenged.
This was followed by the screening of the various short films that had been submitted by various colleges for a film making compitition.
In the second half Subhanker Banerjee the regional programming head of star jalsha took the stage and gave a rather interesting address al on how TV shows are made and how they analyse a show to be a success or not. It was interesting to know how they condition their shows and ads in accordance to the target audiences.
The last guest was Mr Mainak Bhaumick who is a renowned short film maker who has also worked in tollywood in a few films such as bedroom.
This was followed by the prize distribution ceremony for the the film making and photography compitition. Almost every participating college won in some category or another. The day ended with a performance of kolavari di by the college students after which there was a performance by the gurukul dance troop. Overall it was a splendid event indeed.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

A fusion of culture…

This year salt lake’s CA block played host to a handicrafts exhibition that had exhibits from practically every region of the country ranging from small home decors of delhi to large wooden sculptures of deities from tirupati and Tamil Nadu. The beauty of such a wonderful exhibition is how we can get a glance of all the rich heritage and cultural diversity of our country and at the same time notice the typical things that hold them together and make it one large heritage.
Sitting on a typical charpayi with the winter sun on my back just observing the artistic brilliance around me,I see an old man working away on a chakra making khaadi. Eventhough I’ve heard numerous stories about it in the Gandhi era,it was still a wonder to see how it actually works.
Behind me stood a store with very large wooden statues of ganesh and tirupati. I ask the good man at the store about them,each statue is about 6 feet tall,made out of a single piece of wood. A craftsman takes about 6 to 9 months to properly sculptor and design something like that.
On my way to the food park,I sit with a plate of rajasthani dal baati churma,a rather new dish for my taste buds. After having this spicy yet sumptuous dish,I made my way to a stall from Orissa that specialized in tiny brass figures of various shapes. These figureines looked like they had a story of their own to tell.
As the sun started setting and darkening the day,the festival had just started getting more colourful. The evening stars were greeted with baaul sangeet and soon after by a rajasthani folk dance performance with elder men on the instruments and young little girls dancing to their tune. It was a true spectacle of cultural brilliance and young talent. It was aspecially wonderful to see these young ones approaching the stage,like superstars of their very own world. The music of the been helped allure audiences from all around the park.
I ended my most wonderful tour by watching a puppet show where the puppets were doing modern dance moves to the beat of a dhol. As the crowd increased and buyers started pouring in I left the exhibition greatly impressed by the cultural fusion it had to offer.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

Regularity is as important as work quality…

Every year the biggest pollution threat for bengal,especially the ganga is the immersing of godly idols into the rivers. Every year thousands of deities are immersed into the rivers which leads to tons of toxic chemicals being dumped and affecting the ecosystem.

Considering this to be a great threat,the government has for years tried to find a suitable way of avoiding such level of intoxication in the rivers without going against the rules of religion. Most of these were not very effective until this year the plan of lifting the immersed idols by crane and properly disposing them.
This procedure was a grand success this year after durga puja,and the organizers received a thumbs up from the entire population of bengal.
One month later,the story was not quite the same. A week or more after the celebration of jagadhatri puja,neemtala ghat did not exactly look like a place where revolutionary steps had been taken clean the rubbish so soon back.
Lying there so close to the banks were tons of melted clay,wooden and hay figures and toxic colors. It was as though the water had been converted to slush. After what we saw a month back,this was surely not expected. So what was the use doing something that great if the goodwill job could not be maintained.
A matter of such grave concern,something that greatly affects the marine ecosystem and directly the people of bengal should be given more importance. The people concerned should realize that durga puja maybe the most celebrated festival but the others are not far behind,and larger the festivals,larger the idols and great the content of pollution.
At the end let me come to the moral of the story-no job is a good job until it is carried out at the right time all the time.

Posted with WordPress for BlackBerry.

corruption and the youth…

It has been a default conception in the Indian society for many years that the youth or the young generation are nothing more than a large bunch of people who have been given the independence of adults but do not truly deserve it and hence should not be involved in various important decisions taken in the society. All the decisions are taken by the elderly on the grounds of being more educated or having more experience, the youth body is merely a body that political parties use to increase their support base. Over the past few years, this conception is greatly changing or rather is forcefully being changed by the youth themselves, where they are telling the policy makers how they can see through the flaws of their decisions and how they can very easily go against them. In today’s India, the youth stand to be the part of the public that needs maximum satisfaction; they tend to ask the maximum questions over a particular decision and do not think twice before telling a policy maker that he is wrong and threatening to withdraw support. By doing so, the youth that was once laughed at and shoed away by their superiors is today the subject of maximum concern and their support is the most vital. Keeping this rapid transition in mind, we turn our attention to the greatest problem that India as a country is facing, corruption. A problem it seems that even the prime minister is losing hope on. Every day the morning newspaper is flooded with news on how one leader or the other literally looted the Indian treasury over some huge scam and the tax payer’s money just disappears in thin air. After that the stories are all the same, CBI does a probe, finds the guilty one, trails start, they may get a sentence to some jail for the VIP’s and then we have news about how these people are spending their jail time. It went on like this for sometime till the youth started speaking up, in debates, news bulletins young India came out and just spoke their heart out not bothering if it hurt anyone’s sentiment, they were just interested in the fact that if a person has created a folly, that person should pay for it. Also to speed up the trail processes something that was taking a lot of time to properly take place. It was these small steps that gave hints to the government they are slowly losing support, yet nothing could prepare them for what Anna Hazaare had in store. Here was a man who completely took the government by storm in a very non-political fashion and he did it all with the support of the young brigade. I mean the thought of Anna Hazaare campaign reaching even the fraction of the success it has received seems to be too much to visualize.