Sunday, September 28, 2008


khamkheyali elomelo
sesh bikeler brishti shey...
bhije haway matie tola
aadhar alor drishti shey...

thomke geche hothat hawa
hothat jeno harie jawa
notun kore fire pawa
ochena ak srishti shey...
obhuj kalo, thanda alo...
odbhuture doshhyi meye

jotpakano moner majhe...
akche nanan rong diye...

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Beyond Comparison

“We had joy, we had fun, we had seasons in the sun. But the hills that we climbed were just seasons out of time”---

Tucked away from the swanky high-rises, multinational big shots and snazzy décor in a dingy lane stood this ‘infamous’ 8 storeyed pink colored building in Sector 5---Well a year back sitting on the third floor of this building all we could dream of was a job, a fat pay package, a brand name and desperation to move out of the mess. After a year as I look back, when I'm settled, I'm happy with my job, I have found new colleagues and friends …the pink colored building, the unpaved road and its people still haunt me----

Compare Infobase----it was my second job---a new designation---"knowledge executive" they called me –I’m not sure what knowledge I had or what knowledge they inferred but its true Compare taught me some important lessons of my life-

Endless bitching sessions, suggestions, pranks, numerous ups and downs, copy paste issues, salary hitches and between all this I found them...Do I mean colleagues?

My job was to write travel articles ...all about the journey--- where to go, what to do and how to reach--- but my life was not restricted to these travelogues…My life was with them….We spent endless hours…Hours iced with gossips, hours of struggle, hours of doing nothing---
We shared our lunch, our thoughts, and our dreams. Be it the end of the day aloorchop or the after-lunch orange sticks, life had a different flavor---may be a different color--Did you say ‘lavender’?

Job hunting was a part of our weekly schedule--- we went for interviews together, applied to different organizations with the only hope of getting a job. Numerous resumes, job portals, interesting HR calls and interviews--- and finally the lucky few moving out leaving the rest—But the rest never gave up!

I still don’t have a clue what binds me to that place. I wanted to leave it desperately but on my last day I realized it was really difficult to come out of the Compare cocoon. What was so interesting about Compare? My team? My friends? The morning breakfast queue? My salty lunch? The frequent and much awaited power-cuts? or the “meet your new friends” episode? Can’t single out one thing----

The evenings at Compare ended with an interesting shuttle ride. When the rest of the world packed in that crowded shuttle with glum faces carried on with their dumb monotonous ordeal---We were different! We shared office gossips, eavesdropped into strange conversations and laughed aloud to our way home.

Yes it all started with that pink colored building, with Compare and with all you guys. I still remember my last day as I walked out of the building--- I was sure Palla will again be late the next morning, Maddy would happily log in others and Sup will be taking home the pending work or ‘patas’ as we called it----

I’m writing this after 8 months---Its been 8 months I have left Compare--- Compare does not exist physically between ‘us’ anymore. The connection is not there. But today I realize the bond is still there, the lavender colors are still fresh.

Here’s to all the pseudo-names, all the ‘LS –HS-MS’ people, the interesting HR, the salary issues, ‘polka dots’, our wallpapers, the messy track changes, budding love stories, the 10 page targets and so many more things----Without you my journey would have never been so interesting and so ‘in-comparable’!!!

Bong Connection

Her name is Calcutta. Does the word conjure images of quintessential intellectuals, the juicy Roshogolla and mishti doi? No. Calcutta has grown far beyond that. It’s the Calcutta of the tech savvy, swanky mall hopping and hip swinging generation. It’s a new Calcutta which has shrugged off its images of “bangaliana”.

Let’s talk about a different breed of Kolkatans. The “Sector 5” Kolkatans or do I say the new age Kolkatans. Every morning as I start for sector 5, I get to see a new Calcutta. The shuttle takes us to this “Land of Oz:” where you can get to see all of them everywhere.

They come out in the morning wearing their tags heading for the never land. The car halts in Sector 5. And bingo here you are…. is it Dallas, Bangalore or Hyderabad? No it’s our very own Kolkata. All over its swanky plush high-rises, smart tech savvy office goers and everywhere there’s an expression of monotony. Actually “being formal” is the code.

Throughout the day they spend their “Microsoft” lives in front of that big fat box. As the day gets over the techies come out. Waiting for the shuttles they have their earplugs on so that the voices don’t reach out to them.

In the weekend you can get to see the new age Kolkatans. It’s not the Flury’s or Nandan for them. It’s the Inox and the City Centre. Come to any of these glittering malls and multiplexes you can spot them. Food tastes better if it’s Mc. Donald’s, KFC or Pizza Hut. And if you wish to try out some “Bengali” stuff, well you can trust the master chef Bhojhohori and Oh Calcutta to bring in that “Bengali” flavor in to your lives.

Junk food movies disc and then back home. They buy the tickets; watch a film head for a nightclub and the weekend is over again. Literature and Bongs have a close association. They display dusty Tagore on their book shelves, read One Night at a call center and praise Chetan Bhagat as the world’s best author. Movies appeal to them only if it’s fast and programmed. Murder scores over Motorcycle Diaries and Golmaal scores over Ganashatru. They also go for shopping the daily groceries at C3 or food mart. From branded vegetables to branded emotions, they have it all.

Somewhere this Calcutta seems more like Bangalore, Hyderabad or Mumbai. It’s not about spending your days over cups of coffee and raising a storm. It’s not about strumming the guitar at the Jhilpar or just taking a walk through the by lanes of Shyambazzar it’s all about joining the bandwagon.

Coffee House is still there only carrying its age old but ‘better-forgotten’ legacy. CCD is the new mantra. The cobwebs of 36 Chowringhhee Lanes and the rooms in Bow Barracks lie deserted as it’s totally ‘down-market’. Nahoums is a passé and Biscotti has taken over. The city does not wake up to the age old Akasvani tune but it’s the new age “good morning Calcutta” from the over friendly RJs who have taken up the job.

Welcome to this new city which swears by pizzas and not mishti doi, by sushi and not Ilish Mach and by Inox and not Nandan. The city has gone through a magic makeover in just a few years. From the Bangali Babuana it now boasts of a Bong Connection.

Somebody had said variety is the spice of life. And voila we are all spiced up right now. And infact I love every bit of it, I love every change but desperately cling on to every passing memory as this is the place which I call home. And wherever I am in this world I wish “the country road always takes me to my Home My Calcutta”.